THE STACKHOUSE JONES PROJECT IS PUBLISHING VANITY PROJECT, A COLLECTION OF POEMS AND SONGS WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY SIMON TRAVERS IN A 40 MINUTE FILM TO BE RELEASED SEPTEMBER 2017.
I had a dream about becoming a poet-priest. Throughout the history of the English language, there have always been writers who combined the vocations of being a poet and the Christian priesthood. I thought life could give me no better than to walk in that tradition.
I took the dream seriously. I trained and qualified as a minister. I invested in my writing, and in November 2013, I self-published a collection of poems and essays based on the Song of Solomon called Anatomy.
Anatomy helped me clarify my purpose for writing. When I write, I am expressing my faith. I am not looking to define or apologise for what I believe, I am trying to witness to what it feels like to live with faith as a primary reality.
My dreams didn’t turn out the way I expected. I’m still proud of Anatomy and I’m still qualified as a minister, but my day job is now in a warehouse. I am grateful for a job that pays my way through life and for the people I work with. As I have grown in a new time and place, I have gained the confidence to ask questions about what it feels like to live with faith when faith doesn’t give you the thing you’ve dreamt of.
The resulting poems and songs have all been road-tested at open mics and poetry readings across South Devon. Taking inspiration from French Chanson, Tom Waits, pioneering synth bands and the constant companionship of the Radio Plymouth playlist, I’ve learnt something of what it means for me to perform poetry by doing what I wrote acapella.
The completed project pushes further. In September 2017, I will present a 40 minute film, Vanity Project, combining audio performances of my poems and songs with a video collage made from my workday commute. This film is not revolutionary, it will not trend, it is not a game-changer. It is a vanity project released in a time of a pop culture glut. But I wrote it, filmed it, recorded and produced it with all the love and effort I am capable of. I hope that you will find something to love about it too.
Plymouth, UK. June 2017.