Meg Cule, also known by her internet alias @desperateidiot on instagram is an artist and writer based in Montreal, Quebec. Through varying mediums of creative exploration, namely free verse poetry, visual art, tattooing, lyric composition and printmaking – Cule has explored the depths of her artistic curiosities for years, always finding writing to be her most natural manifestation of truth.
On a spring afternoon in Toronto, I chatted with Meg at Tandem Coffee over lattes about living, writing and everything in between.
It was January 2022 when I came across Meg’s page on Instagram, I stumbled along a photo of a short piece she had written and tattooed on her arm – after visiting her page I was captivated – her feed was full of written work, poetry and short turns of phrase embodying different states of emotion, posted spontaneously upon creation in photodump form.
Cule has been posting her written work online since early 2019, hundreds of poems and written work are showcased on her personal instagram where she displays her multidisciplinary creative projects and sells handmade prints of her work.
Banner & Manifesto by Meg Cule via @desperateidiot on Instagram 02/03/2023
Print & words by Meg Cule via @desperateidiot on Instagram 02/23/2023
When I asked Meg about her writing process or lack thereof she naturally resonated with the latter, agreeing that her best work is born in an organic and casual fashion, inspired by her surroundings, inner emotions and phrases uttered by the company she keeps. Like any writer, she brings her notebook wherever she goes – setting down her purse on the coffee table before pulling out her little black book to demonstrate her process “it’s just the perfect size” she remarks flipping through the pages covered in scrawls of written work.
When it comes to writing blocks, Cule employs the same philosophy which she keeps in mind while writing – leaning into a lack of inspiration to let it eventually pass rather than trying to force herself to create, she explains “I really just don’t write at all when I’m in a block”, reflecting for a moment before insisting “when I do that, It just comes out shitty – you can’t force it”.
Mundane moments and inconsequential events are the topic of much of the artists written work, many of her poems read like passing thoughts and ideas scribbled down in a notebook for safekeeping, emblematic of the freewheeling Gen-Z ethos of photo dumping and opposition to curation. Her short form free verse style can read like poetry, lyrics and narrative stories – tonality here is defined more by the readers experiences and disposition rather than the writers intent. Cule’s work is rarely rewritten, and does not follow any specific rhyme scheme or structure – expressed as an arbitrary train of thoughts.
The artist doesn’t have many rules when it comes to writing, except the ones she likes to break, of course – “I don’t like super rhyme-y stuff” she quips, “you can see that from my work, a lot of my stuff is written quickly – like someone who’s writing very frantically.”
When asked about her favourite piece of work, she takes a moment to think before reciting the words to a short poem (below). “Writing helps me get out everything I’m feeling inside, and if other people resonate with it too – then that makes me really happy.”
The topic and theme of Cule’s writing is often intentionally ambiguous, “I don’t like writing anything too literal that someone can figure out right away”. Once reading through the artist’s work it’s easy to see that while short in length – the prose is anything but straightforward. What may appear to be a personal insight into the artist’s life through words, in actuality, is more of a riddle, the moments behind her words purposively elusive.
Finding influence and inspiration from other mult-disciplinary artists like Jenny Holzer, Louise Bourgeois and Thom Yorke, Cule continues to explore the combination of writing and visual art to birth a new medium of creative expression, and in doing so, carves out a lane wholly emblematic of a new style of hyper-mediated prose collage on social media. One part thought dump, one part diaristic catharsis, altogether captivating and elusive.
By creating written work in a fluid and unrestricted manner, Cule finds herself with the freedom to carve out her own niche and create a linguistic style, and a method of sharing her thoughts which feels altogether new – attracting an audience of readers who resonate with her words. “I’m very grateful to have found my writing style, and to have people that enjoy reading it” she admits.
Reading Cule’s poetry is an indirectly intimate experience, her writing often transcends context and setting – resonating with readers in an isolated system within the subconscious, evoking a multitude of meanings and emotions from her reader depending on how and when they read it.
Her prints are written by hand, every one of them made personally by the artist – and made to order on her instagram page.
A collection of work, written & selected by Meg Cule for Liminul Magazine.
Meg Cule @desperateidiot on IG
Sydney Goldhawk is a Freelance Stylist currently living in Toronto.
With a love for all things vintage and runway, her perspective draws heavily from her fascination with the synchronicity she observes between modern aesthetics and references to the past.