Thursday, June 15, 2006

One more day...

...of work, and then I'll be officially on vacation for a week plus two days. I'm sure everyone I work with will be glad for the respite from my daily "it's almost my vacation!" babble. :)

I may or may not blog very much while I'm there. Last summer I posted something almost every day, and that felt like the right thing to do at the time. This year, we'll see how it goes. If you don't hear from me, assume I am writing my butt off and drinking beer (or whatever) with poets. Not necessarily in that order. *grin*

I'm writing a poem about this horrible story that's been on the local news for the past couple weeks. There was a traffic accident in which several people were killed; due to an identity mixup, one young blonde woman was mistaken for another young blonde woman in the same vehicle, and one set of parents buried what they thought was their daughter's body while another set of parents kept vigil over a comatose girl -- until she woke up and they figured out what had happened. For some reason the story really got to me when I first heard about it. The poem is from the point of view of the young woman who survived. I feel kind of weird about appropriating someone else's story, when they are real people with real names (which I do not use in the poem) and everyone involved would probably have a very different take on things than what I write in the poem. But, art is art, I guess. What do you think?

1 comment:

Trista said...

hmmm, that's a good question. I once interviewed a friend and then wrote a poem about him -- but I wrote it as if I were him, which was interesting and surprised him when he read it. I think the thing that kept me from slipping irrevokably into Arrogant Poet Land was that the poem plays with the concept of first person narrative -- I was pretty obvious about the fact that I was appropriating another person's face and voice and thus the first person was merely a puppet for what I was trying to say, or something, it's a weird little poem. But, back to you. Something like this, where it's a tragedy that gains national attention, loses a little bit of privacy, it opens itself up to art, I think, in a way that (IMO) a best friend's private tragedy does not. I think if you're approaching the subject and the voice with respect and creating art out of it, you're fine.

But I do think there is an interesting ethical discussion to be had. How far could you take something like this and still be ethical? Do ethics even apply? Not that I think you would do this, but could you have the girl say that she was a satan-worshiping drug-using cat eater and call it art and be ok?