- 26 Nov 19
In a remarkably personal piece, Hot Press fave Wallis Bird gives us a unique insight into her creative process.
Begin an email with a nice greeting. End an email with a nice greeting. My manager taught me that. Shake the promoter’s hand and share a chat when the deed is done. My Dad taught me that. Be open to fun. My Mam taught me that. Take fun seriously. Thank the chef. Clean the toilet after yourself. It’s for the next person.
Smile when you walk into a room, greet the space. Say “hello” to the hotel cleaner. Do not be rude to the waiter. Do not expect me not to be strong enough. Be kind to me when I am kind to you. I’ll kick your arse if you need it. Sorry about that but we had to meet on a level again. Always the benefit of the doubt. Three chances. Wash myself, brush my teeth. How I look is also a choice.
Learn a new joke. Work on my craft. Work on my craft. Think about it, dream for it, imaginate silliness and see it into suuuuuuch beautiful blood-like pouring growth. What I love is a gift. Everything that I do for my happiness is a gift. I will make it easy for me to access, and smear it all over my mind like oil on skin, because that is my private peace. My whole joy. It is my friend. All day, I will please my mind with gentle kisses towards my private happiness, my public loves. I will breathe the bouquet of that like a pluming rose – it’s natural medicine filling me.
My words are my portrait. And words are always findable, even the quiet no words – especially the ‘thought’ words… I will begin absolutely anywhere so I can at least begin… Say the written words out loud. Hear if they’re real. If I didn’t get what you said the first time, I’ll ask. Listen. Let the person speak. Ask questions, ask if it’s too many questions. Frame the exact feeling. Describe the feeling so you feel the feeling. Trust that it’s going to be viewed skewed. Trust that how I intended it can also be so wrong. Trust that I can change this moment, make it better. Stop tryina’ rhyme. But do it anyway.
Take a pen. Or a pencil, something. Look at your hand, loosen it. From the wrist, turn your hand slowly and feel what muscles are moving. Sometimes it makes a quiet gentle click. That’s good, that’s your body talking to you. Now rest it on the table lightly, next to your paper. It’s a nice blank one. You’re sitting comfortable, breeeeeeeathe a long good nice breath through your nose and out your loose open lips. Your shoulders.
There they are. I’m about to write for five minutes, no pauses. NO pauses. No thinking, just blank thinking, hand will work. Hand is loose, breathe the shoulders loose now. I’m gonna lower my head and begin writing, but I’m free writing, my expression will become so taut that I’m definitely going to cramp, what do I do, I visualise my hand, shoulder, neck and limbs slowly loosen, safely, I am encouraging my body to begin writing. Drag that pen and make any mark. Once that page hairs ink or chalk, the second has begun… ok loose, I’m writing, I’m breathing, I’m free. The only thing I must remember is to not to stop. Not until it just happens.
• Wallis Bird’s new album, Woman, is out now. See our review here.