Failed Love Spotlight: Songline

 

The SAB interviewed Songline members Catalina Trigo ’17, Lavinia Liang ’18, and David Exume ’19.

 

Catalina:

What poems will Songline be performing at Failed Love?

Catalina’s poem is about love as the struggle of picking out a set of plates when you know you won’t be throwing them out.

What motivates you to write? 

I’ve started to notice that my most inspired or motivated states happen after a set of steps. First I’ll experience art that I think is good and gets me thinking. Then I’ll wrestle my way through a storm of thoughts inspired by that event until I realize that the only thing I can do is sit down to write and see if it helps me get anywhere. Sometimes there’s a slight variation or a few more steps, but it’s hard if I have to write but haven’t gone through that process.

What does love mean to you? How does love inspire your poetry?

It helps me to think about beauty, art, and love all working towards a transcendent sublime or divine. When we love or create art, we are trying to feel more human and less human at the same time, and in the case of the artist, trying to make our audience experience that. It’s sometimes frustrating when you realize that the struggle for the sublime is asymptotic and can never be fully achieved, but it maybe doesn’t detract from the struggle for it. In other words, both love and poetry feel like the beginning of something bigger than ourselves

Another completely separate definition of love that I always find inspiring is to think about it as a flame. If you take a flame and use it to light a thousand more, the original flame won’t be diminished at all. And that’s how love works.

Have you experienced heartbreak or failed love? Any advice for those who might be in that position now?

Yes. Find art. If you can’t, ask your friends to help you find art. Keep finding art.

Heartbreak is a yo-yo. Allow yourself to waver between Marianne and Elinor Dashwood as necessary. Read Sense & Sensibility if you don’t know what that means.

Time is the slowest and only effective anecdote.

 

Lavinia:


What poems will Songline be performing at Failed Love?

Lavinia’s poem is about her relationship with social media.

What motivates you to write?

Toni Morrison once said: “At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it…It is enough.” Well, I’m not quite as cool as Toni Morrison yet, so I find that I have to write and make art in order to process all of the beauty and pain and grief and joy around me.

What does love mean to you? How does love inspire your poetry?

Every poem is a love poem, in a way. I write about things that move me, whatever the initial emotion may be (anger, fear, hatred, sadness, happiness)–and in the end I find that it always turns into a discovery or re-discovery of the things that matter to me. Every poem about injustice is really an ode to justice, right? Every verse about discrimination is a reminder of how important it is to love who you are. Love means doing the harder thing, whether that’s holding on or letting go. Love means to keep going, to keep living. Love means never stop.

Have any of you experienced heartbreak or failed love? Any advice for those who might be in that position now?

Yeah, definitely. As much as I like to pretend that I Don’t Have Feelings, it still happens, and I advise everyone to do the same thing that I do, which is Eat a Large Waffle with Nutella, and then Inevitably Feel Bad and thus Go Run It Off on a Treadmill.

David:

What poems will Songline be performing at Failed Love?

D: David’s poem is a story about self-image and keeping love close.

What motivates you to write? 

D: Literally anything can be the start of an idea.  A weird guy that walked by you at the bus stop, a hole in the pavement that looks like a country, stuff like that.  I think what gets me motivated to write is the urge to externalize.  I keep a lot bottled up, and writing is a good release.  It doesn’t even have to be shared – just jotting down a quick note in my journal makes me feel like that image or memory is concrete.  Writing’s also just a great way to connect to people and your surroundings.

What does love mean to you? How does love inspire your poetry?

D: Saying that love is instinctive would be true, I think, but also a pretty bad cop-out.  Love, to me, is a balance of acceptance and self-improvement, and it takes genuine effort and communication.  You’ll always want the best for them, you know that they want the same for you, and even though you both know that, it’s still good to verbalize.
Writing is kind of my own exercise communication, acceptance, and improvement.  I struggle a lot with being clear and verbalizing, since I make the mistake of assuming the other person already knows.  And right now, I’m hardly satisfied with how I am as a friend, a family member, or someone in love.  But I’m focusing on making sure that the people I value know that they’re valued.  And I like to think that I’m getting better.

Have any of you experienced heartbreak or failed love? Any advice for those who might be in that position now?

D:  Reach out to your friends, your family.  Remind yourself that you are still valued by many, and value yourself.  Try something new, practice something you’re good at, do small things that keep your confidence up and give you a sense of purpose.  It might feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself, but you’ve still got full control, and it’ll take time, but you can be happy.

 

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