Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Just got back from seeing my son in the school Christmas play. He was great, I know that all parents feel indulgent at this time of year, but he truly was wonderful. It's not just my obvious love and bias; the people behind me were talking about him and looked in the programme to find his name, and at the end, he was given a huge bar of chocolate by the woman who wrote the poem that he spoke.
I'm writing this here partly in the hope that at some point he might read this blog, and in turn know that my love and pride are more than just fleeting words. It's written here in indelible cyber-space for all hyper time, well done Oz you were a star.
Knowing that he might read this, it occurs to me that perhaps I should not continue with what I was about to say. Time to change track.
Or perhaps not - should we hide what we really think and feel from our family?
In a strange way the very thought of wanting to censor myself brings me full circle.
Watching him up there on stage, I know that he's got a real gift for Drama: clear expressive voice, cute smile, not to mention the freckles, but most of all he was so clearly enjoying it. I've always wanted to encourage him into theatre because I loved it, but didn't, as I didn't want to be the kind of mother who pushed a child into something that I always wanted to do. But, now he's found this by and for himself. He so wanted a part and put everything into the audition. He got such positive feedback from everyone; I know he's dead chuffed to be 'good' at it. How he memorised such a long poem in such a short space of time I don't know, but all respect to him. So if he wants to find a drama class and explore it further, then I'm right behind him.
Which is where I was going, wondering why I had such negative feedback as a child about something that I loved to do so much. The 'advice' to me, was that drama was something that I could do if I failed academically and writing was something that I could do in my spare time. Those were my biggest passions for years. But always as a Side-Show-Bob.
I've always felt that this blog should not become an emotional diatribe, but right here right now its bugging the hell out of me. I won't go into specifics; I'm sure that will only make me cringe in a few days time. But - what is it with family? Why the need to niggle, put down and criticise. I guess me getting on with the writing might present a 'certain' threat or jealousy. But the bigger picture is that in finally taking the plunge, I'm happier than I've ever been.
Writing came before the love of acting. From as early as I can rememember, the characters in the books I read were as real, if not more so, to me as any person around me, and I was always writing stories in secret little note pads. I won a competition when I was nine. I'm still quite proud of the stuff I wrote as a child, there is a certain quality to it that I see even now. So why it took me thirty six years to get to this point I really don't know. Lack of confidence I guess, a permanent feeling of never quite being good enough.
So, as this is my blog, I suppose there is the space for me to use it in a wholly indulgent way, just to pick myself up and start over again. Back on track. We always look for parental approval on some level, no matter how old we are. It's the biggest dent to receive those little chips and scratches time and time again in the same place - your internal body work errodes and corrodes. I love writing, I always have and there's no palce in my life now for external crushes to confidence.
I want my son to grow up and look at his Mum doing something that she loves, something that she's good at. I'll do the same for him, after all isn't that the biggest thing that I can do as a parent; just allow him to be who he is, not who I might like to think that he may be. I love that he loves maths and computers, because I don't 'get' them. I also love that he's finding a love for drama, it gives us a common territory. That's not any kind of threat, just a pleasure.
Oz, no matter what talents you may choose to pursue in your life, I love you.
You are a star.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Four Weddings and a Funeral

I know, it's a cheesy film (the kind I love to watch on my own with pyjamas and lots of chocolate) but it seems to be such a relevant theme to life at the moment - part of the reason why this blog has perhaps been overlooked for too long. The weddings are ok; a fine excuse for a new pair of shoes and over indulging in Champagne.
The funeral bit, well that's a different story.
Grief is a strange thing; many people have written about it, but no matter what they may say, there simply are no rules. It is, of course, far, far, worse to go through it yourself, but to stand alongside someone and try to support them through it, seems that there are even fewer rules. The hardest thing is that if the loss is not immediate, time returns some sense of normality to life so much faster. It is just too easy to bumble along with out much change and therefore, to act and feel stupidly ignorant about the sense of loss that someone right next to you returns to on a daily basis. I'm not suggesting for a moment that it is harder to support someone who is grieving than to go through it, far from it. However, as someone who reguards themselves as pretty sensitive I'm shocked to find that I seem to be permanently wearing size ten hobnail boots. More to the point I feel like a callous cow, not because I am, but because I'm not going through the grief and someone I love is.
The weddings, well, there have been four this year. What a strange irony. Perhaps there was 'something' to the film after all. Perhaps all families should double check that they don't manage to book four into any one year on the basis of a new fad superstition. Perhaps I am talking absolute rubbish.
The most recent was my brothers. I'm just back from London, and just recovered from the hangover. It was very beautiful and very much everything that I would never do myself. An even bigger irony it took place in one of the churches used in the film that this posting alludes to. The duck face one, with the punch. It was a beautiful church, very gothic cloisters; the sort that I fully expected Dumbledore to peer forth from at any moment. Not so nice was the long walk that I had to take to the lecturn for a reading. I've never had any desire to walk down an isle myself, and was acutely aware of the sound of my heels as I clattered along, even more paranoid that people might be watching my bum. Turns out that I was right about that; all of my brothers friends admitted to that once the wine started to flow. Seems their perception of me fifteen years ago as the very scary big sister was finally blown away; I'm glad about that. I never was as scary as they all thought.
The ceremony was very religious with a vicar doing all of the 'assunder' and 'troth' bit. It seemed so much more impersonal than my Mum's registry office wedding earlier this year. There was such depth and emotion to the words spoken there. Similarly, the funeral. It was a humanist ceremony and so much more moving because every word spoken was absolutely unique and personal. Words are just so bloody powerful. I have never been a devout Christian, so perhaps that is why religious language leaves me so cold. Not the songs - they are always beautiful - but the organised traditional ceremony 'script'. It just does not seem to convey anything personal to the people involved.
Back to the old words and audience theme. It does matter. The bible contains some very beautiful writing. But the interpretation of it all I just don't understand.
When asked to do a reading at my brother's wedding, I found a beautiful poem by Christina Rossetti. The vicar said no. So I read a verse from Romans as instructed. Just makes no sense to me. The Rossetti poem would have actually meant something to my brother and his new wife; rather than imploring them to 'service the lord'.
There really is so much power in words, particularly at poignant times.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Regarding Mr Happy

Given the work that we have been doing in Bill's classes about Genre and stereotyping, this seemed like an appropriate posting. Surely if nothing else as an example of a) what happens when two stereotypes collide b) one way to play with an established genre.
Sounds like I am trying to justify it, with some intellectual spin. Perhaps I am a little, in these days of political correctness can never be too sure what may or may not cause offence.
It made me laugh, and I do think it says a lot about streotyping and genre. 'A parody of the post modern aesthetic', or some such intellectual waffle, does that get me off the hook?

Mr Happy Meets The Chavs!