The Polaroid Press is One.
(Almost) One year of entries, 52 in total, with many little realisations and events strewn between in which I’ve learned more about myself and how I want to write than I ever guessed I would. This is only a good thing.
I conceived it as a group-blog, a kind of scene-building exercise to gather a few different writers together into the same space. That, thankfully, never really happened – though bless Adam Brooks for his early contributions – and within the first five entries I knew it would be a great space for me to exercise all the little brain itches that crept up on me in my meanderings across the city. It was an antidote to the dry and distressing review process I took part in at Sound Generator. I usually didn’t care about what I was writing there: The Polaroid Press gave me the chance to only write when I cared, and it shows when I care more about some entries than others.
I don’t always escape cliches in my writing, but I’m trying very hard. I’ve made enough errors in tone to know how I sound now, though my voice hasn’t settled quite yet. I’m learning how best to use white space and pauses, and that they have an impact on the printed page that the screen doesn’t convey. I’m starting to trust my metaphors, and to know what to leave out of my text entirely. I am making progress, and the exercise is fantastic. I’ve also managed to print a couple of thousand flyers, which should keep me going a lifetime, as well as the collected packs (which sold out at Rough Trade – more in stock soon). I’ve become a Small Press geek, and I really love that.
My life has changed tremendously since I started. During my most prolific phase I was technically homeless, living out of a suitcase at my then girlfriend’s, and after moving, getting a second job and reviving my interest in freelancing I’ve slacked somewhat on the updates. Also, I got my heart broken. It became harder to separate journeys from thinking about all of those things, and I really didn’t want the Press to become a diary. Autobiographical often, yes, but still always stories, with enough fiction that I’d happily see them published, after I polish them.
The year ahead is a strange one. I’m going on holiday, and by the time I return the domain will no longer be mine. If nobody’s sitting on it then I might well renew it, go for another year, but with a slightly different twist, more in line with Her Wilderness and Waves. If it’s taken, then I don’t mind letting it be. I can always come back to it, and the WordPress site will be around to fiddle with indefinitely.
If that’s the case then Pressing no. 52, Her Wilderness and Waves, closes the run. It draws together a lot of the things I wanted, and grew to want, out of the project. Her Wilderness… is a review. It’s about the truncation and erratic memories stirred by criticism, by music, and it’s about having the luxury to think about all that it kicks up. It’s about walking around in memory. The printed edition will be an altogether stranger beast, in that each section and photograph will come unbound in an envelope, so people can read it in the random order they buy it in or devise their own order.
The Polaroid Press was a definitive project in what will probably be one of the most important years of my life. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and if it is the end of the site then I’m happy with its swan song.
Matthew Sheret, surrounded by people in the staff canteen, and then alone in the same place, 2009