Our Daily Mess

In praise of the clutter – the crust, the dust, the musts we never quite get around to sorting.

Sometimes a project stalls*. Sometimes we can’t do everything. I’ve been trying to juggle writing, promoting my debut novel How Saints Die, being a mother, being a wife, performing, cleaning, worrying about money and how to make it. It feels like a mess I can’t sort out. Then I remembered in a Homeresque (Simpson not Iliad) epiphany of Doh! That’s why I started this project.

Because we can’t edit our lives out of the work.

It’s a celebration of the messiness of everyday life. It’s secular poetry in its clunky workingness, a resistance of the perfection of daily prayer, a go easy on yourself, good enough response to it. It’s made in the gaps of time we have between duties. In praise of the clutter – the crust, the dust, the musts we never quite get around to sorting.

So in that spirit I’ll be posting a Daily Mess as it falls. The mess might take the form of an actual spill, something my baby did, one of those WTF dreams, something I encounter or my hair. Whatever form it takes I hope it will cheer you, make you feel OK, help us all to understand that messiness, strangeness and realness is human and good enough.

*One big reason the project stalled is because one of the most important people on the project, John McGough, died. He was being treated for cancer but his body just couldn’t take any more. He was everything this project is about. He was the kind of person who made everyone feel good. Who looked inside you and made you see the good in yourself. His role within the project was the musician. But he made music his daily practice, a spiritual necessity. He never complained about it being work, he knew that was the devotion and privilege of being a music maker. He only regretted time not spent making. So please go make something even if it starts out broken, just try.

Author: Carmen Marcus

As the daughter of a Yorkshire Fisherman and Irish Mother, my writing brings together the visceral and the magical. My debut novel #How Saints Die was published with Harvill Secker in 2017. It won New Writing North's Northern Promise Award as a work in progress and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize in 2018. My poetry has been commissioned by BBC Radio, The Royal Festival Hall and Durham Book Festival. As a child of an 80s council estate I am an advocate for working class writers and stories. I’m currently working on my first poetry collection The Book of Godless Verse and my next novel. I try to live up to the words of my first critic and primary school teacher ‘weird minus one house point.’

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