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Love Letters to All Things Meat

This week was all about writing. As a set university task, I wrote a chunk of automatic writing and thought about the key topics that arose in the text: food and body. From these topics, I set about writing a short piece of fiction.

Automatic Writing

During this same week, I had watched The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. As well as my own usual contexts that are always floating around my mind, I also felt that this film had a large affect on my automatic writing, directing and inspiring the words. From this, I

decided to run further with is as

inspiration for the short story, especially when thinking about the colour and aesthetics of the scene setting, which is one of the many striking aspects of the 1989 film. It also became important when thinking about the overt actions that consistantly feed into the key themes of greed, lust and violence. With my story having ideas of greed and cannibalism, I felt it important to have similes and metaphors that kept that tension and uncomfortable theme in the very front of the reader's mind, being as (if not more) important than the plot itself. It's about a food critic who, whilst dining in a restaurant, meets a man who tells a story about a butcher who hits hard times and goes on a murder spree, selling the flesh of his victims to unknowing customers and culinary establishments. The climax involves the revelation that the man telling the story is in fact the butcher from his tale and the food critic is perhaps his next victim, chosen because of the fine dining diet he lives on (supposedly making the 'meat' tastier). The idea was very much inspired by Roald Dahl's adult short story Lamb to the Slaughter, which involves a man being murdered by his wife, who bludgeons him with a leg of lamb. When the police come around to inspect the missing husband, the wife feeds them the murder weapon for lunch. It is as horrifically grim and is it wonderfully absurd, which is something that I wish to continue to develop in my work all the time. Whilst my short story is not quite as comic, there is something excessively absurd about the story line, and there is plenty of room for tongue-in-cheek moments.

I have not yet finished the short story, in fact, I feel it best to have a short break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes. I don't quite know how this piece of writing will inform my artistic practice yet. Perhaps it could be made into a script for a short film instead, or be read out loud. However, I do think that some interesting ideas could be developed out of a different way of thinking and perhaps develop some imagery that could be made physical.

In keeping with the theme of writing, I also played with a different writing process. Instead of overtly using the word meat, or showing images of it, I wrote a piece of text describing meat (without ever using the word itself). The writing was based on a list of words compiled from my first reactions and connotations to "meat", and of those of my friends. The list ended up being over a page long (some of which you can see below).

After writing the piece, I decided to record a reading of it, as I felt the words included have very visceral sounds and could be better played with in speech. I feel that this could be used as sound for a future video piece on the subject.


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