And we’re back to letting you know about good new stuff today. It’s a pleasure to welcome Freya J Morris here, whose new collection, This is (Not About) David Bowie, published by Retreat West, is out now. And, specifically, she’s talking about finding her voice. So giver her your ears…
Finding your voice
On this day three years ago, Bowie released the song BLACKSTAR. A song that inspired the story ‘Lifeline’ in my collection: This is (not about) David Bowie. He sings about not being a popstar or a marvel star, not being a gangstar or a filmstar – He is a blackstar, born the wrong way around.
Don’t we all feel a bit like that? That we’ve been born a bit wrong? If there’s one thing that Bowie embodies – it’s giving yourself permission to be who you really are. To find your voice. That’s something writer hear all the time: find your voice.
I am an intensely emotional person deep down. I have so much feeling and had no way to manage it. I love to get to the root of people, to find out who they are, why they are, and how they came to be. But with that comes an intense amount of empathy.
Feelings. Oh how the brits hate their feelings. And here I am – QUEEN OF FEELINGS! I used to be ashamed of it. I’d hide it. I’d supress it. I’d bottle it in and collapse in on myself. You’re ‘too sensitive’ I’d hear.
And it was true. Partly. The words were true but the tone wasn’t. When I started to write This is (not about) David Bowie, I began to OWN it. To embrace who I was. I had been treating this thing-that-nobody-understood, this intense-ability-for-empathy as a flaw. But in fact, it could be a strength if I could see it differently.
That’s how I discovered my voice. That’s how I found my space. That’s how I became my own black star.
‘Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.’ David Bowie.
That quote, along with some other Bowie-wisdom runs through my collection. He was a living contradiction. He was the King of Pretending and the King of Truth. And if you’re a writer, you’ll know how wonderfully human that is.
I wanted this collection to embody that messy truth, because that’s what Bowie did for me. When someone asked me if I’d write a collection, it gave me permission. It also gave me a deadline to stop getting in my own way.
Permission. It’s such a weird thing. Permission to show up for yourself. Permission to define yourself. To let go of that impossible ideal. Bowie is an impossible ideal. Having a collection orbit around him was risky. In most cases I wouldn’t have dared use his name in vain.
But I knew how important it was to get out of my comfort zone.
So I hope when you read the crazy-weird oddities in my collection, that they will inspire something in you. To really see yourself, flawed, complex, full of contradictions, and wonder at how amazing that all really is…
You’re a blackstar.
And here’s a sample of the good stuff…