Jun 7

Ep 114: Beyond a Joke 5 - Rachel O'Neill talks with Pip Adam about Pockets and Everything Everywhere All At Once by the Daniels

Rachel and I talk about two films by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

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This year I’m producing a series called Beyond a Joke where I speak with writers and other artists using something that has made them laugh as a jumping off point to discuss their work.

Rachel O’Neill

In this episode, Rachel O’Neill and I are talking about Pockets and Everything Everywhere All At Once two films made by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen these films and want to, I wouldn’t listen to this podcast. Like really. Both these films are such a joy to see with no previous information. Rachel and I made a decision to talk about all of the films and there are some quite big spoilers in this episode. There is a link to Pockets below. It’s a short film - like 3 minutes.

Rachel is one of my favourite artists and I love how this conversation starts by talking about these two amazing films which both of us love and moves to talk about the ‘hows’ of making art. I have a Post-It note above where I am typing this which says, ‘Your only job is to keep the faith’ - it was something the writer Kirsten McDougall said to me last year and it helped get me through the final draft of a novel. Next to this Post-It note is another note with a quote from Rachel which I scribbled down during the launch of their amazing book Requiem for a Fruit. This note says, ‘You are the only one who knows what will make you happy’.

I think read out of context these two notes seem to suggest a way of working which is all about the self but what I love about this conversation - what I got out of it - is that there are ways to find a type of ‘faith’ that is worth keeping. Here I think I’m using ‘faith’ to mean purpose or integrity or vision or commitment. While editing the podcast the quote about happiness also started to come into a deeper focus. I think through this discussion with Rachel I came to recognise happiness as synonymous with healing. That this hard work of finding a way to be in the world is intensely personal and at the same time absolutely imperative to being part of communities and creating work that is offered into these communities.

In this series, I’m finding again and again that I’m talking to people about how profound ‘funny’ is. How we do this strange thing where we value ‘serious’ work differently to ‘funny’ work. In this episode we talk a bit about the heavy-lifting silliness does. And I think the same can be said about happiness. For a lot of my life, I’ve thought I’m only productive in a state is distress or sadness. What I’m starting to see, is that maybe I write when in these states as an attempt to find what makes me happy. I’m really interested in the idea, raised in this discussion, about what type of work healing produces and of the productive possibilities of happiness.

These conversations are very much a process for me and maybe (probably) I won’t stand by the things I’ve written here in a week or a month - but I’ll be grateful for the thinking of them and for having a space to write them.

Thank you again for subscribing. It means a lot to have this space to think and write and talk.

Here’s some links:

This is a link to Pockets a short film by the Daniels.

This is a link to the trailer for Everything Everywhere All At Once

Here is a link where you can find Rachel’s book Requiem for a Fruit on the We Are Babies website

In this episode Rachel talks about a quote of the New Zealand filmmaker about the impact of a single gesture. The short film is Journey to Ihipa - a 2008 drama directed by Nancy Brunning and written by Vicki-Anne Heikell, who said the following in the Writer's Notes section of the Press Kit:

Writer’s Notes – Vicki-Anne Heikell (Nö Te Whänau-a-Apanui) ‘As a writer I am interested in examining the nature of relationships within Mäori communities. Journey to Ihipa looks at the way people can be lost behind their eccentricities that distance them from others in the community and indeed from their own story. I like that compassion shown by one person to another can come in a throw-away line or a small gesture and in those inconsequential moments a person and an entire community can change.’