Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lizz Murphy - Get over yerself: My response to questions

1. Why were you interested in joining Project 366, and how did you see it relating to your art practice before you got involved? 

It was a moment of madness. I hadn’t been able to write much at all for a couple of years (life challenges) so suddenly I thought – sure – I can produce something every single day! It’s not quite the outback here (far from it!) but I do feel isolated from the contemporary poetry scene much of the time and the opportunity to be a part of a group of poets and artists was compelling. I anticipated that the camaraderie and group challenge would help move me to a better place. It has. Thank you everyone.

2. How does working with other people affect your art practice/ process? Does it also affect / change your style of working? In what way?

I have on a small number of occasions responded to other works and have appreciated and enjoyed the inspiration but mostly I am following my own directions. I love the idea of a collaborative dialogue through poetry but I have a backlog of poems/projects of my own I am trying to make some headway on. There are a great many connections – Sarah and others talk about the synchronicities – so I think the blog works well as a body of work anyway. Overt dialogues when they happen add to that.

The project has forced me to get on with writing in spite of things – to find that (yet) again. In particular to just write regardless of whether it’s the kind of writing or the topics I was wanting to explore or research in-depth - or fallbacks like a fleeting image, an average haiku, yet another café poem … Some weeks it feels like throwing scraps to seagulls but on other occasions I hit the mark. There is more found poetry and there is a looser interplay of images/ideas/fragments. This has all happened before to some degree but with the commitment to daily posting it has happened more frequently than it has in a long time. The daily deadline (must post!) and the ‘permission’ to post draft work (can post - phew!) is freeing and facilitates some of this writing.

3. Has Project 366 been a good way for you to be with others in an art practice community? Does it feel like a community to you? Why?/Why not? How?/How not?

I feel buoyed and connected by the whole process/project. It certainly feels like a community – most of us seem to be reading one anothers work and a good number make time to comment. The quick positive quips are as welcome as those who take time to respond more eloquently. I enjoy reading the comments on other people’s work as much as anything.

It’s been wonderful being in regular contact with people I know and getting to know others. There is a strong sense of friendship with some.

4. Do you see 366 as a dialogue? If so, in what way? Can you see ways in which it could be more of a dialogue or a better dialogue?

I think Anna’s response – the analogy of conversations in a big room – is perfect. And there’s often a sense of ‘oh I was just thinking that’ or ‘we were only talking about that the other day.’ There are many cross-references between works – intentional, unintentional, coincidental – it’s like a self-compiling anthology with wonderful links and connections. I like it the way it is. (That doesn’t mean there isn’t scope for some participants to create conscious creative responses to one anothers work. I don’t think it’s for everyone though and it may involve more time than some have.)

A label gadget on the home page as already mentioned might reinforce a sense of dialogue. For example a visitor might really like the content of a given work and may be interested in who else has written on that topic or how else it has been treated by other participants.

5. Has working on daily artmaking through Project 366 affected your work or the way you work? If so, how?

See response to Q2. Plus: I’ve picked up on some interests like experimenting more with found poetry, fragments, ‘collaging’ text – also making mini-collages. I intend to make more collage. I’ve found that a small play in lieu of a big play will still get me a poem, that a quick bit of research in lieu of in-depth research will still get me a poem, that maybe there’s a fresh way to approach not-another-café-poem or not-another-hospital-poem, that I’m not yet over writing micropoetry. Methinks: ‘just get over yourself.’

Re-discovering the notion of going searching for a poem, a bit like a detective. Being mindful as I go about daily business that there may be a poem around a corner. Discovering the thrill of that expectancy on a prolonged basis.

6. Do you think others in the project have influenced you / affected your ways of working or your subject matter?

I’m inspired by the writing and images of the others. Often it’s thrilling looking at all the new posts. When it feels hard meeting the commitment of every day for a whole year (into our eighth month as we speak) and I see the others coming in with another piece through the evening – especially those I realize have major demands on them - it helps me keep going. Sometimes when I’m having to settle for writing scraps for the seagulls someone will come in with something outstanding and it will urge me on to try to lift my game again. There’s no rest in this regard though :) I’m thinking of a particular week when I’d posted a couple of punchy pieces I thought, and then Robert posted something with ten times the punch and upped the ante! (Not that it’s a competition, like.)

(Once I completely forgot! Wrote about it next morning and posted. This fortnight is a bit scatty for a few reasons – I will have to do penance.)

7. How have you found the cultural diversity in the project so far? Has this had any effect on you? Do you think things could be different / better in this regard?

There is scope for more but what we have is terrific. I think the translations and bilingual writing add a wonderful dimension. I love hearing and seeing other languages even though I don’t understand them. Having a poem translated into another language feels like such an honour - although I haven’t had that pleasure in this project yet
:(   :)

8. Do you think there's what you could call a learning process going on through the project? If so, could you describe that?

Learning that it’s okay to aim lower to suit what is practically possible in my life at this time. That it’s not always going to be too much of a compromise. Stalling for the higher aim is a bigger compromise. 

Re/finding a freeness.

Learning about participants’ personal and artistic lives through their work and comments, following their themes and directions, seeing work in progress. There is a great generosity of spirit.

9. How do you see your role in the group?

To post creative work every day like everyone else – to hold my artistic end up whatever it takes! To create half-decent work as much as possible – to hold my artistic end up whatever it takes!

To try to participate through commentary as much as possible. Some have said how much they need and appreciate it. I certainly appreciate it myself (need?) and I think reciprocation is just good manners, but also the least I can do having had the pleasure of sharing in someone’s beautiful work.

To draw in some of the Irish. To scour the streets for the YOUNG writers/artists Kit hopes to
involve (no luck so far - wrong streets). Must work the visual arts network soon (any age – get in touch).

I believe in taking a turn at the hard slog behind the scenes – my apologies for not being able to yet. Huge thanks to Kit and Anna for ongoing work, Sarah for her contribution, and others making new offers.

10. How has participation in Project 366 affected your sense of yourself as an art

It has provided the validation that I periodically need. Thanks all.

11. How would you like to see Project 366 develop for the second half of the year?
To continue on – hopefully with more inter/national monthly guests and cultural diversity as expressed by Kit and others.

12. What do you imagine after Project 366? (Both in terms of group art practice with a comparable vehicle and in terms of your own personal practice.)

Personal: Sifting through the year’s work for good pieces or those that could be developed into something, sorting the surfacing threads and developing as suites or manuscripts, catching up on submitting poems for publication (displaced by the project). More than anything, keeping up a daily practice of some sort.

Group: All the suggestions for ongoing online projects and publishing projects sound terrific. Not sure what I can manage myself yet.


  1. *Re Q7 The first half of the year is a blur at this point!! But how could I even for a moment forget that Chrysogonus so generously translated my poem If Happiness were a Place way back in March. Special.