Rachel Cleverly in the spotlight Lucent Dreaming Interview

Rachel Cleverly in the spotlight

This week the spotlight is on Rachel Cleverly, whose piece ‘Past Bedtime’ is published in issue 7 of Lucent Dreaming.

So, what inspired your piece ‘Past Bedtime‘? Can you tell us a little more about what it’s about?

I wrote ‘Past Bedtime’ a couple of years ago. Unusually for me, I had an idea of the form before I had a narrative, and I knew I wanted the lines to creep slowly across the page and appear like stairs descending. My writing often takes inspiration from domestic scenes, which move into something slightly more sinister and surreal, and it was this that pushed me to explore the use of rituals and habits in the home as a quiet form of communication.

What are some of your favourite books and art (including shows, videos, music) – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?

I’ll go with recently as just thinking about all time is making me feel stressed.

I (finally) began reading Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Novels at the beginning of Lockdown, but have since slowed down to savour them fully. They were excellent at helping me to feel less isolated from the world, and they gave me the feeling of catching up for a gossip with old friends.

Similarly, I became obsessed with The White Pube and have been going through their archives. I’m trying to write more criticism/reviews, and they’re great for creating content which is provoking, accessible and chillingly sarcastic. In particular, they record audio versions of the weekly texts, which have been a big comfort to listen to when I’m feeling frustrated about the literary/arts industry.

What, if anything, are you looking forward to right now and what writing/creative projects are you currently working on?

Going out less has definitely meant writing more, which has been a hidden benefit of the last few months. I finished an MA in Creative Writing Poetry from the University of East Anglia last September, so now I’ve found my feet a bit more in the real world I’m managing to have time to do more creative projects. I just finished a programme with BBC Words First which has left me feeling restless and inspired. I also recently committed to writing some reviews for SPAM Zine, so I’m hoping that’ll be the beginning of a new interest for me.

Can you tell us about how you got into writing and art? Is there anyone whose support or encouragement really inspired or motivated you?

I am lucky enough to feel supported by a huge range of people – one of the benefits of poetry is that people generally have little idea of what the form entails, but are always enthusiastic to find out.

In terms of a more productive encouragement, I find workshops incredibly beneficial to my writing process. They’re so supportive and encouraging, and it is always heartening to have fellow writers show their appreciation, thinking and gratitude toward your work. I’ve recently done a couple of projects with Apples and Snakes, such as BBC Words First and The Writing Room, so I have to push them as great facilitators of constructing supportive and transformative spaces.

I’m also part of Wriot, a poetry collective for womxn and non-binary poets. We’ve been doing Zoom workshops weekly for about 4 months, and they’ve been really energising. We’re putting together a zine of bits we’ve written throughout the Lockdown/pandemic/apocalypse, so watch this space!

Where can people see more of you and your work?

I’ve very recently got a website (https://www.rachelcleverly.com/), so head over there if you want to learn about new releases, upcoming performances or just point out some typos. I’m also on Twitter and Instagram @rachel_cleverly if you want to know real-time where I am and how much I’m rolling my eyes.

Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine of surreal writing and art, and publisher of emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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