Marianne Eloise, a brief bio: I am a writer and MA Film Studies graduate living in Brighton, UK. I currently work in the media but I have been a poet for several years, and have been running www.februarystationery.com for three. I write across a few mediums; including academic, poetry, prose, and journalism. When I’m not working I can be found reading, watching films, or by the sea.
Q. In one sentence, who is Marianne Eloise?
A. A viewer and writer of stories prone to thinking about things a little bit too much.
Q. What do you wish people knew about you as a writer?
A. Nothing, I mostly just want people to think I’m good! No, but I want them to know I am serious and my work comes from a genuine place. I just want people to enjoy my work and start a dialogue about it.
Q. You wrote your MA dissertation on taste cultures. Why that topic, and what did your research reveal?
A. Taste cultures is such an important topic for me as I found throughout my life that the tastes I had in film, TV, and literature were perhaps not the “right” ones to have. I saw through personal experience that the media being admonished was often for younger people or women, and I saw an inherent bigotry in the way that we deem certain tastes “correct” rather than others. To say that opera is better than film or James Bond is better than Twilight carries certain classist or sexist connotations, and at the end of the day neither party is right. I eventually became disillusioned with academia due to its inherent class and taste systems, and it wasn’t a great fit for me. In the end my research revealed that we make snap judgments on the quality of media based on our bias and prejudices, and that many consumers who genuinely “enjoy” the “wrong” media will lie about it to seem better or smarter. I essentially learned that nobody is right, we should all be nicer, and if film entertains you, that’s all it needs to do. It’s okay to criticise media on its genuine downfalls, but you should look at your own prejudices when you make a snap decision – if you think something is bad because you aren’t its key demographic, or because it’s “for girls” you’re probably a little bigoted.
Q. Why are your blogs named February Stationery and February Film and TV?
A. I wanted to start a blog, I didn’t have a title, and I pulled a lyric from the song Deer by Manchester Orchestra. When I came to making my film blog, I applied similar logic as a temporary measure but it stuck.
Q. In what ways do art and media affect society, or does society influence how art and media evolve?
A. This is such a poignant question. I believe that art and media have the power to educate society. Art can show us the world from so many different perspectives and corners of the earth, and can be persuasive enough to educate the most closed-off of minds. Society influences art in that we are always inherently influenced by our environment. I think Science Fiction is the most potent example – the Science Fiction film and literature of an era will always directly reflect the fears or hopes of the masses. The Cold War, new technology, new frontiers, apocalypse…
Q. Talk about your poetry. Cactus appealed to me because it seemed personal and revealing. Does personal experience drive your poetry?
A. Thank you! Cactus is about how much I suffer with winter and thrive in sunlight, essentially. I find myself best functioning in a dry, California heat – like a cactus – so a Brighton December is always tough. As such, I named my first poetry collection – which is about places – Cactus. Personal experience and longing are often the only factors in my poetry, selfishly enough. I am primarily motivated to write poetry when I am angry or desperate or looking to the future – it’s my way of exploring myself and often the only way I can be sincere or honest is by dressing up the truth in rhymes! I also write to capture a place or time before I forget it. I would say that personal experience is 90% of what I write.
Q. What challenges you about writing poetry?
A. I love poetry because it isn’t too challenging for me! It can be hard work, but mostly poetry is enjoyable and comes naturally to me. I write because I need to, and that’s what makes it easy.
Q. What do you hope people get from reading your work?
A. I mostly want people to be entertained for five minutes. I want them to see a bit of themselves, and maybe gain some insight into myself and my work. I sometimes write in the hope that someone I know will read it and understand what I really want to say. But mostly I want people to get the same thing I get from literature – inspiration, enjoyment, solidarity.
Q. In your writing are you an influencer, an observer, or a reporter and why?
A. I am probably a cross between the last two – as much as any one person wants to think of themselves as an influencer, there is no way to really quantify it! I write based on things that have happened to me, things I feel, things I miss. I observe everything around me and report back on it, I suppose.
Q. Please include links about what’s current or next for you, or write a blurb about your current work.
A. I have just released a collection of poetry entitled Cactus, centered around themes of place and home. You can find it here. (This is the currently updated link.)