Why I’m Writing a Mixmoir?

Mixmoir is a word I’ve created. Mixmoir is used instead of mixed-genre memoir or a mixed creative non-fiction memoir. Mixmoir is so much easier to say, to use and is short-hand for a rich creation I’m working on now and have been for the past 5 years.

At the moment, the mixmoir is a collection of personal essays, poetry, photography, paintings, quotes, visual journaling spreads, zine. It’s a mixture. And I’m okay with this. I could be stressing about how is it going to be marketed or where is it going to sit on the shelf in a bookshop. But I’m not really bothered about any of that.

For me the point is to write the thing, in anyway it wants to be written. However it wants to show up on the page is how I want it to be. How I will record it and present it.

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

–Franz Kafka

I’m allowing the book to be written the way the book wants to be written. As a human being, I’m a mixture of so many different cultures and heritages and influences. To pretend to be one thing and to write/ create/ produce in one genre is false, is a construction in itself. As I do not live and breathe in just one vein/ way or along one path. There are multiple paths back to the soul, and creating a mixmoir is my way of exploring all the paths.

Sticking to one way of creating this book would be a limitation on my way of expression. It would be cutting out elements of myself, moulding myself into a box, which is limiting and stifling and controlling. My creative expression wouldn’t have free roam and therefore would be stale and pale and just not me.

Therefore, a mixmoir is the most true expression of myself and experiences and I’ve been enjoying the journey so far. I’ll let my editor/ publisher worry about where this creation will sit on the bookshelf. My concerns right now is writing the damn thing.

Cento for black birds pushing against glass*

Cento is a piece of writing, esp. a poem, composed wholly of quotations from the works of other authors. It like a patchwork quilt, a fabricated whole from scraps from other places, people and times.

May ZINE spread

For me I also see Cento pieces like collage, disparate fragments of texts, images, quotes, colours brought together, moved around to create something totally new and unique which pulls meaning from the parts in construction but together go beyond their initial meanings and purposes.

Alchemy comes to mind as well as conjure. Magic.

Is this Mixmoir a Cento? No as I’m using my own text and anyone else’s that appear within it are credited. But I think there is an element of Centoism within the text as I pull from my body of work for the past 6 or 7 years to construct it. Also the different genres of writing and art that are going into the mix to create the whole is Centoist in practice, maybe.

This is an example of a Cento I created recently, which I think will be included in the Mixmoir, eventually.

Cento for black birds pushing against glass*

The first breath comes from early morning blossom.

Rain falls short. Look. The unbuckling sky. Rain.

There’s an old pain. The memory of water keeps

flowing heavy with blood. Bloodhounds catch the scent.

Black bodies packed into boats and the tide still rolling in.

A corpse dangling from the end of a rope. Justice they say.

And they cut off parts for souvenirs. Within these city walls

there is no room for self-love. Grin, keeping grinning at the camera.

My heart catches on fire as it could easily be my story. My body.

Along blood lines, pumped into the centre of the wound

it’s the body that remembers as tonight this river will receive

the crushed burden like black morels under foot.

Pull the earth on top of her, turn her black face away from the light.

I can not. But they’ve got the centuries’ old tradition to fall back on;

the rich white man and the black woman kept close

in the big house always ready to be split.

*Cento composed of lines from my past poems which were partly composed of lines taken from various other creatives. The title is from Lucille Clifton, and other lines are borrowed from James Allen, Kara Walker, Tafisha Edwards, Ocean Vuong, Billie Holiday, Martha Collins, and Toi Derricotte. There also a nod towards the film Monster’s Ball.

NaNoWriMo 2020

2020. I’m biting the bullet. October was billed as a creative retreat at home earmarked for me to get back into my mixed genre memoir writing. It didn’t go to plan and I found myself connecting more with the outside world and other people than I cared to really do. So this month of November, I’m taking back my time and space to focus on my creative endeavours.

I’ll continue reading a poetry book a day and writing a poem from the inspiration. But I’m steeping up my writing by taking part in the month long challenge of writing a novel, NaNoWriMo.org
it’s been a few years since I’ve taken on this challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days but I feel I just need this accountability and energy this challenge brings to get my out of my no writing rut.

And I have already felt it’s benefits as I am 5000 word done. It’s amazing what can be done once you get your arse in the seat, turn up and write. Keep tuning in to see how I get on.