Writer's Commentary: Sick Cycle Carousel

On Post: Sick Cycle Carousel

Date: January 18, 2013

Find it here


The title of the song evoked, for me, the cover of the edition of Something This Way Comes that we were assigned to read in, I believe, my middle school G&T (not gin and tonic, I promise) class so it put me in the headspace of a “wrong” looking merry-go-round standing alone on the outskirts of a town. In the story, if I recall correctly, the carousel could run backwards and de-age you, but I didn’t want to/see any need to replicate that as well.

Instead, I pulled from the song itself. The “plot” of it, if you will, is about how the disappointments of our lives can trap in sort of loops where we endlessly rehash those moments. At least that was my interpretation. So the carousel is the literal expression of that, a looping machine that returns you to your worse moments ad nauseum.

The ringmaster/barker figure was not a Mr. Dark type (again, from Something Wicked…) in my mind but rather more like the androgynous rainbow wearing Trickster from the Cirque du Soleil production Kooza. I intended him/her to be ambiguously gendered and very seductive in voice and movement, selling this thing that no one could actively want with almost supernatural verve.

That, of course, brings us to the criticism of the piece from my perspective: I think I miss the bullseye. I can totally see this still working in someone talented’s hands. They could really sell it. Unfortunately, though, on the pure basis of words, I don’t think I land it. It just doesn’t have the creepy eroticism I was hoping for, the sort of drawn in and simultaneously sickened feeling that I wanted to reach for. So is the risk of the format, though. Minimal revisions, done on the quick.

I would still love to see someone do it live someday though, to see if it could be sold.