Recently, I’ve been watching Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish each night in bed, while attempting to switch off from all the writing and editing and reading and promoting and thinking of something new to have for tea. He offers a look at life that is interesting enough to stimulate, and light-hearted and bite-sized enough to let me unwind. He argues, via PowerPoint presentations, that life isn’t bad or good, but goodish. He has a nice beard too.
I particularly like the Found Poem segment. In this, Dave finds the most random comments that have been left on various websites (in response to some bizarre current topic) and fashions them into a poem. He then reads said Found Poem aloud, accompanied by the Billroth String Quartet, as though reciting TS Eliot. They have included such masterpieces as Not a Very Nice Biscuit, Badgers Don’t Vote, Spray Gravy, and I Like Eggs.
I don’t always understand poetry. It scares me a little bit. And so it occurs to me every single time I watch that this is my kind of poetry. Real. Surreal. Funny but somehow serious. Silly and beautiful. Accessible and relatable. Dave takes life and makes it into… well, art. Such has been the popularity of it, there is available a thin volume of his works.
Which you can apparently purchase here… Dave Gorman Shop
Being a writer, I felt I wanted to have a go. To take the comments actual people had made, somewhere, and turn them into something bigger. But which comments? Whose comments? I had a piece to write for a wonderful gig I take part in every month at Kardomah in Hull, the Women of Words event. I realised the Found Poem was made to be read aloud; perfect in its multi-voice format for sharing verbally. My writing is usually part of a large thing – the novel – so not always ideal for a five minute slot.
And then I knew which comments I would use for my Found Poem. Negative ones. The 1 and 2 star reviews my novels have received on Goodreads, Amazon, and other places. The critical words that tore apart my books, the opinions that reviewers were fully entitled to have, but that naturally sting a bit. Why not make it into art? So I did. I had a blast too.
I read it aloud at Women of Words, to much laughter and encouragement. People came up to me afterwards, said it was the best way to deal with criticism, and they were inspired to keep going with their writing. But criticism is not the hardest thing to cope with as a writer – rejection is. And so – on a passionate wave of creation – I wrote my second Found Poem, using lines from the many, many rejections I had for my novels and short stories. I took eight years and probably a thousand rejections, and turned them into something glorious. Thank you Dave Gorman, for your fantastic beard and your genius idea. This is, It’s A No.