I showed little discretion about my plan for Montreal: write Notes Towards A Short Film About Flying, a fractured love story about escape told in the unfinished parts and notes of a screenplay. Formally it was bang on, a lovely little mixture of straight prose and script, leaving room for improvisation and a mess of ideas. The problem was the content just wilted, vapor thin as it was. It took the work of an afternoon to see that the medium and the message just didn’t gel.
I thought about the time I’ve got open to me here, and besides realising I can really blitz through threesixfivestart it occurred to me that I’ve never really gone through my last project, The Polaroid Press, either to tidy it up for the purposes of a permanent archive or to just think about what works and what doesn’t.
It’s been six months since I finished Her Wilderness And Waves, the final Pressing of the project. There are words and phrases in those stories that even now I cringe at, but many many more I’m stunned actually came from me. New favourites have billowed up, Nostalgia & Before The Dawn Heals Us in particular spring to mind, and in going back through it all I’m starting to learn the things I am better at, and the moments of distance I need in a text for it to really sing.
Another surprise was appreciating just how small the pieces of myself and the people I know in there are. When I talk about The Polaroid Press I often risk making it sound like a diary project, but it’s really a body of fiction. I’d be wary of anyone taking an idea of me from it, not least because I hide myself a lot better than I hide my impressions of others.
The big realisation is that, as a complete project, The Polaroid Press means too much to me to restart it. From the stab in the dark moments it started with to the very complete final entry it actually works, and I’m very proud of it. As a format I have no doubt I’ll use it again – Liz Greenfield has received one in the post about a photo from Team Comics trip to Stockholm, and My Sentimental Melody, my first contribution to Julia Scheele’s How Fucking Romantic, already demonstrate that – but they won’t be Pressings, just stories in the shape of The Polaroid Press.