As I walk back from dropping Oz on the bus I've started to notice the same characters out and about before 8.30. It's a kind of secret Falmouth underground of faces.
A few now smile and say hello to me. The knock on effect of this is that I now smile and say hello to some of the others. So there is a bizarre karmic smile going around. A bit like a chain letter but not so creepy.
Today I smiled at a very old man who was posting letters. He was so old and looked so interesting that I really wanted to go and sit down and have a cup of tea with him.
There's one guy who sits on a bench at the top of the hill, and he seems to be adding clues every time I see him. To start with he just sat there and I was a bit cross because I thought that I should like to sit there. Even though I won't - I was just being a pedantic arsey cow.
He sat there smoking a cigarette and admiring the view.
Then on another day I noticed that he sat there with a cup of tea.
Next, and by this time the weather was considerably colder, appeared a cup of tea and a cigarette.
One day he got out of his car with a cup of tea in hand. Thus removing any thought that he came to the bench because he lives nearby. (Although I guess it's possible he was just getting something out of his car.)
Today, he was there with cigarette, tea and a notebook.
Aha - he must be a writer, I deduce with Holmes like erudition.
Funnily enough, this didn't make me inclined to speak to him, not in the way that I really wanted to talk to the old old man. We writers are probably best left to our own devices when sitting with a view, notebook, fag and cup of tea.
But it did give me a whole idea for a book...
Monday, December 10, 2007
As I walk back from dropping Oz on the bus I've started to notice the same characters out and about before 8.30. It's a kind of secret Falmouth underground of faces.
It is so bloody Monday today.
Head is full of cold.
I wish someone would give freelancers sick pay so that I could dose up on 'magi' cures for colds and go to bed.
Am living in the domestic equivalent of the Cold War.
Can't justify any further procrastination with the 'joy' of internet shopping because I've bought everyone presents and am skint.
Can't go out for a walk because I ordered everyone's presents online and the postman only brings parcels when I go out.
OK, enough moaning, the point of this post was to 180 my head, turn a runny cold into a vibrant blog post so that I could get on and do some work, and stop being so self-indulgent.
I think it might just be that it is one of those Mondays.
Reasons to be Cheerful?
- I am not likely to go out and shoot any one. Because a) I don't have a gun b) It's a horrible thought that anyone would do that anyway c) I've got to wait in for the postman, who won't come if I'm here, only if I go out...
Ever wondered that things might be going round in circles?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Overheard in Falmouth.
Man 1: I reckon it's a conspiracy you know.
Man 2: What do you reckon Trago* planned it?
Man 1: Yeah it had to be them.
* There's no real easy way to explain the dubious pleasure that is Trago Mills, unless you've lost the plot/way/door out whilst there. The phrase "Just need to pop to Trago" is not only beautifully oxymoronic, it is also second only to the internet as a means of procrastination for writers living in Cornwall.
Is there a whole novel in the great Trago conspiracy? What did they plan? I think I'll just 'pop over' there to see if I can solve the mystery...
[The lovely beyceyar normally reports these snapshots, but he seems more troubled by windmills at the moment.]
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I fully admit that in the same day I might read Dickens, then Heat - and enjoy both.
I watch EastEnders and Hollyoaks and hate that people denigrate popular culture as 'opiates for the masses'. Who are we to judge? I'm equally happy going for a walk by the sea or out in the country. Entertainment is what we make it.
I've no shame in admitting that I'm a consumer of culture: popular, unpopular, past, present and future.
But. At times I do wonder if the two sides of me might be a little in conflict.
I went out today with my wicker shopping trolley. Full granny stylee, I love it and, (although it sounds like ten skateboards hurtling down the road) it saves both my arms and the need for plastic bags.
So, off I trundle, to buy wholesome, local, organic veg and bread from the Farmers Market. Feeling even more green and wholesome, I gave Mrs Veg Lady a load of plastic bags and Mr Egg Man a load of egg boxes. Recycling to boot - I trundled away feeling positivley virtuous.
I trundled away into Tesco where there was an 'uber-deal' on Quality Street. As I headed for the queue with my super cheap tin, some kind of reality check hit in.
The contrast between my wicker trolley full of conscience clear, real food was too much of a contrast. I stood there with the lurid Nestle tin of chocolate - and not just any chocolate, this is the 'buy now for Christmas which is so far away kids can't open advent calendars but we wan't you to panic buy, so you will spend even more when it really nearly is Christmas' kind. I looked around me and the shop was chaos - full aisles, no chance of getting near a till. Funnily enough, most people had the super cheap chocolate in their baskets.
I put the tin back.
On the way out, the store detective followed me, trying to get a look in my trolley.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I had a stream of very 'cozy' dreams last night, the sort that leave you feeling like you have been swimming in one of those little chocolate Gu puddings when you wake up.
When I woke up it was Monday morning, which is OK for us freelancers, but not for those who have to go to work 'out there'. Mr A. had to go to work 'out there' and was (I think) a bit upset that I wouldn't tell him what all my lovely dreams were about.
I couldn't really tell him, because in one part I know I was kissing strange boys and I knew that would upset him. Does kissing in dreams count as being unfaithful? I can't see how it does, especially if they are people that you don't know.
That wasn't all of the dream though.
One part did involve eating lots of chocolate.
In another part a producer asked me how much I would like for my script. So I answered, 'A house please'. The nice producer man agreed and gave me enough money for a very large house. After I dropped Oz at school* I walked past lots of big houses, and really thought that I might just be able to go and buy one today.
Hoping that this part might be a premonition, I also bought a lottery ticket this morning*. (Well, you never know..) It did take far less time than the re-write that I know my script needs.
Another part of the dream was being part of a group of friends who just seemed to go form party to party. Not the kind of big silly parties that always leave you wishing you could just go home and drink tea. No, these were small parties full of good people, choclolate, film producers who liked my script and some boys who were nice to kiss.
Then I woke up.
* These things really happened, as in were not part of the dream. The rest of the things I'm hoping will happen. Well obviously not the kissing strange boys bit. Although it would be good to figure out how to kiss for real and make it feel like one of those kisses that you have in a dream.
I realised that this blog is over a year old now...Despite serious neglect in recent months (I blame Facebook...) it was never through lack of love.
Life was so very different this time last year. I was dipping my toe in, testing the waters, and now I'm out here full time in the wide ocean that is freelance writing.
It's a beautiful place to be though. No regrets. None.
A few weeks ago I did a 'tour' of the country to catch up with old friends from various incarnations of my previous lives (kind of feels a bit like that when I add together all the pieces that have gone to make the adventure so far). One thing that was really heartwarming is that evryone reminded me that my dream, for years and years, was always to be a writer. No one was surprised, everyone reminded me that it was what I'd always said I would do.
And so here I am.
The script needs a re-write. But - it is a complete script, and I'm hoping can only get better. I'm working on a book commission. I can see the sea, boats and Cornish coast from the window where I write.
Take a dream, and double it. Dreams can come true.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Been too long away from this blog. Which, given the situation in Burma over the past few weeks feels like a complete Western indulgence.
I wore a red shirt on Friday, sent whatever prayers I could, but... I feel so useless and so humbled. Except for holding some faith in the power of prayer, what more can I do - although given the beautiful dignity of the monks, I dare not believe in anything other than that all prayers will be heard in someway, somehow.
Here is a Facebook group - watching the numbers grow over the past week has been astonishing. The internet offered a new way for the Burma story to emerge globally.
Last week people were able to communicate with the world - their words and pictures revealed an incredible story. Monks marching. People marching. The junta firing.
It worked too well - Internet and phone connections are now dead.
There are still trickles of news coming out... Now there is a terrifying silence on the streets and the pictures are those of nightmares.
If you follow the links to pictures on the Facebook group, there are some pictures that were posted four hours ago. Putting a link to them here felt too voyeuristic. They left me speechless, sad and wondering how and what can I do?
This is one small thing.
I've somehow managed to break/cut the picture - but you can read more about the Free Burma blog day on the 4th October here.
Why? If nothing else, perhaps just because we can still log on, still write, still go out on the streets with relative freedom. As further pictures and stories emerge - perhaps enough people trying to do one small thing might raise a big enough shout to be heard.
We can but pray.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
You know that hand in is a week away when:
1) You nearly make a pot of coffee - with cat food.
2) Even with no childcare to sort out, you'd rather watch X Factor and eat Minstrels than go out.
3) You revert to finger food, thus avoiding the need to co-ordinate both knife and fork.
4) When you can be bothered to cook, you cook twice as much as needed, thus avoiding the need to cook again.
5) You realise that Hula Hoops are a great substitute for any form of potato/rice/pasta.
6) You find yourelf wondering if introducing a cat called 'Jack Sparrow' into a script might be a good idea.
7) Owning your own thermal heat binder seems like a good idea.
8) You buy acryllic paints and canvases and decide you might become an artist instead - if you knew what to paint.
9) You go out wearing jeans and a hoody - confused as to why the rest of the world are wandering round in shorts and summer clothes.
10) Sleep becomes a four letter word, and you realise you can't even count.
11) You seriously consider stealing a boat - whilst sober.
12) You put the same load of washing on for the 5th time, because it never gets hung to dry and smells.
13) You'd prefer to talk to a cat because they won't 'say the wrong thing'.
14) You get cross at a cat because it 'gave you a look'.
15) You start writing lists that account for your slightly irrational behaviour.
Friday, August 24, 2007
I need to rewrite and restructure, again.
It's like standing at the bottom of a mountain, again.
Feel scared and daunted, again.
Actually, feels a bit better to have written that and realise that I should actually stop faffing about and just get on with it.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Many people apologise to their blogs and I've never quite understood it. But in full knowledge that I've sadly neglected this blog... here is my apology.
It's not willful neglect - just a sign of the times. Dead lines Add to that a move, 180 degree shift in personal circumstances and the insidious return of anaemia and I guess there's some kind of rhyme and reason going on.
So I'm currently sleep deprived and floating about in the middle of Act 2. Perspective - use it or lose it? I really don't know any longer. Living, breathing and sleeping a film script has taken me to places I didn't even know existed. Got to write through the night so that Oz at least has some semblance of a summer holiday.
That 3am eternal stillness gets to be kind of addictive. Not to mention more productive. Wonder why that is? Perhaps the complete lack of distraction, save for the self induced world of online procrastination. Perhaps just the calming of thoughts around me. After all, most sensible people are tucked up in bed dreaming.
Last night though I bailed at about 2am, but as I drifted off to sleep I kind of asked for some guidance/ideas/inspiration to float by in a dream.
This morning I woke up wondering if, floating sky high in the world of archetype and collective unconscious that script writing has led me into, I might have met a part of my animus.
I'm bloody lucky if I did, because it was Jack Kerouac.
He was old, but he was gorgeous and I know that in the course of the dream the sticky bits of the script* were discussed, and sorted out. If only I could fully remember just what happened...
I've always had pretty vivid dreams, often the kind where I get to read books and know if I can 'bring it back' it will be something pretty special. Sometimes it works, but only in fragments.
Last night Jack Kerouac agreed to be in the film. He was a bit of an old time Rat Pack crooner, there in my dreamworld with another iconic male figure. Can't remember who that was, but Jack is still totally vivid.
It's all so vivid that I had to get it down on the page somewhere. There are clues within clues within clues here.
So all very excited about the dream I return to said script and...
Mr Kerouac? Are you there....
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Despite himself, Oz had a good time at Port Eliot. When I explained that we were going to a Literary Festival he exploded,
"No way am I going to a LiteraCy Festival. It will be just like school."
It was interesting. Great to be out in a field, but I felt a bit odd - so much 'festival-ness' has become too generic. A bit going through the motions. There were many lovely people there. It was fun, even though we were astonishing in our propensity to arrive at every tent just as an act was closing...But where's the element of surprise and randomness gone?
The real reason to blog about it - I feel old.
Festivals played such a part of the past 20 years of my life that I worry about my state of cynicysm. I'm more used to being here but that' all changed beyond recognition. Tidied up and sanitised. Eeew. Despite a last min desire to go this year, I know I'd just look around and mourn the halycon days of the past. Not that I want to deny anyone the fun I had, but I do know, they won't know what they missed.
Half the fun was always climbing over the fence, and the best party was always in the travellers field...
I spent about five or six years working at a bundle of other smaller festivals that are now much bigger.
Am I just becoming part of a sad generation. Castle Morton, free partys... Am I just one of the many who is still looking for the party, even tho I might just be too old, too cynical to even enjoy it when I got there? Nature abhors a vacum, so there must be the same old same old going on somewhere? Yes? No?
I don't know.
Perhaps it's time I just took a big sigh and admitted that I should just raise my hands gently in surrender and enjoy, literacy...
Friday, July 13, 2007
Three things of note occurred yesterday.
1) Tink decided to talk to me again, after we fell out over her walking around with a small bird in her mouth.
She then promptly went and caught a small mouse.
What does she think she is? A cat or something?
2) I ran in the 'Mum's race' at Oz's sportsday.
I was barefoot - realised I was clearly unprepared when I saw the serious contenders in trainers and taking a 'proper' starters line stance. When the race started I got elbowed in the face by a proper 'runner' and nearly stopped, in astonishment. But I ran. I did not fall over. I did not finish last (in fact I was faster than my roll-uphabbit might lead people to believe).
I only ran cos Oz asked me to. When I asked if he was happy I'd run he didn't believe that I was in it as he hadn't seen me. Had to get one of his friends to 'prove' it. I'd even removed my faux fur leopard print coat so that I didn't show him up, and he didn't see me, let alone cheer...
Next year, I'm going to win. So 'deal with it' all triainer-wearing-elbow-pushers.
3) I finished Act One.
This last point is clearly the only one of real significance. However, it does lead to...
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
upon a time, as all good stories start, there was a girl who realised that it was easier to bend like a tree than to be rigid. Probably some Chinese proverb said that first, but never mind. Yes, it's easier to move and flex and change, because then things can never quite catch up with you and you can dodge other things that might be hurtling straight towards you, particularly those things thrown by other people. It took a long, long time to discover this trick, but, once she had found it life seemed much easier and much more full of laughter.
So, she learned to become rather like a lump of clay or playdoh. Not quite as poetic sounding as a tree, but it still worked. And, in clay form she was able to just about dodge and trick herself away from too much of her past ever quite catching up, or too much from anyone else being able to stick about for too long. You know, the kind of things that others often try to jettison from their own waste disposal units onto the world around them. She also managed to keep a little less of the stuff from her own waste disposal landing too heavily on anyone else. Things seemed to be going along just about fine. After years and years of being the one who seemed to attract bizarre amounts of 'stuff' and to crumble and crack at the first sign of trouble, she finally got what some stories call 'a bit of peace'.
The trouble with clay, is that you have to keep it wet, but not too wet or else it will simply become sludge. The bigger trouble, of course, is that tears are made of water. The salty kind.
Now it came to pass that there were just too many tears about. On top of that it rained and rained and rained, for days and days and days. Oh oh.
But our heroine figured a way to trick the too many tears and too many rainy days in summer. So she managed to find a patch of sun. Look at me now she thought. I can dry myself out and get strong again. So she did.
It was a bit harder, as the new shape was kind of fixed. But it was just about OK, if a little unwieldy compared to the flex and flow she'd found before.
But the problem? Ah yes, the problem. Now she was all died out into this strong shape, was the danger of stuff landing on top - it builds and builds and builds. There will come a time when the littlest bit of fluff, the littlest word, the littlest thing, will tip the balance. Crack.
Crack and crumble, and there you go. All broken up into a million little pieces.
At last I can blog again.
Apparently I had some 'invalid html' [painful] so everytime I've tried to go to new post the 'nice' blogspot in the sky booted me back out again.
Feel quite smug to have fixed my html all by myself. Three weeks of frustration, and then I remembered. Doh, can't blog on an Apple. Mr Firefox has fixed me up.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Time and Money. Why do they go together like horse and carriage, salt and pepper, tick and tock?
I'm not saying the dreaded 'time is money' - hate that sentiment and have done everything possible in life to avoid that mantra having anything to do with me. No, it's not so much that, but rather there could always be more of both. I'm not saying that there is not enough. If I've a roof over my head and food in my belly, that's abundance really. And time - beyond the unknown and the inevitable I'm not conscious of 'marking' my time.
But oh, would a bit more of both be useful from time to time. See, that word again, dropped in from the sub-conscious. All I want to do at the moment is sit at my desk undisturbed and just throw myself into the screenplay. Dive in, loose myself, immerse in the story.
With the return of the sun has come that alive feeling of committing to a bundle of projects and feeling right now that I'm always on the run and never standing still. I'm not complaining, part of me loves it, another part longs for stillness. I know that the ideas form an merge out there even if I'm not sat here, so the busy feeling is all good. But I need some stillness too.
The biggest irony of it all is that 'time' and 'money' and the lack of those two things being a barrier to writing, are the very same things that I need to be writing about in the script right now. Need to move on and create a sense of action and drama and they are the first points of call. I'm back at a new start with the whole script right now. it feels like being a peeled snail, and I've got to put the time in to grow a new shell, move a little further on.
There is also a curious magic going on with the whole process. It seems eerily like the things I plot seem to take some form of reality. Like time and money. Then I found Flo's house.
I found Flo's house today.
I don't want to go into too much detail until other details and fundamentals filter into tomorrow. But, what happened was a bizarre combination of special, scary and bloody exciting.
I was inside Flo's house talking to the her that was not there. The whole experience was a cross between a waking dream and a surreal drug induced experience. I'm not being deliberately enigmatic (though it does sound as though I am). I'm simply trying to find some sense in what has been a beautifully strange day.
So here I go again, full circle. Running on empty with both time and money is creating the third thing that comes from the space in between them both. Magic. Just the pure magic of adventures. Time - the lack of it is creating more magic.Money - wishing for it and forgetting to live and laugh and breathe and dance, means missing the magic of time.
Oh I've tangled my self up in words again. Something to do with Flo's house. More to do with needing some sleep...
Sunday, June 10, 2007
In the past two days I've 'lost' the use of two mobile phones. One through an 'accident' that I really don't want to go into. The other was the 'replacement' that despite paying for insurance, I had to pay £20 for. The second one got very wet in a boat and its loss is actually quite funny.
So, as I sit here unable to contact anyone, it's got me thinking about that strange and mythical time (not so very long ago) when no one had mobile phones at all..
Somehow, the world functioned. Everyone got to where they were meant to be going, made arrangements, knew what was going on...All without the need for a mobile phone.
OK, so I'm one of the many who stored all my numbers on my mobile. I'm sitting here looking at a little address book that is giving me a positively smug and self satisfied grin, because despite all best intentions, I never did sit down and copy all the nos into it. There's another rather tatty pink faux fur book in my desk that reads almost like a four year diary when I go through it. It came from that far away premobile time when I did write [yes, with a pen] all my numbers down. I've wondered about just randomly phoning people that I haven't seen for 10 or so years, just because I have their number...But, they'll probably all be out of date.
So what about serendipity? In pre-mobile days, were there more chance encounters? Or is that another urban myth that those of us with an 'idyllic' 70s childhood, complete with Buzby adverts*, harp on about? [Along with white dog poo, Texan bars, and longer days in summer...] I'm almost tempted to give it a go, not replace the phone and see what happens.
But then I remember, that there are numbers for people on there who won't know that I lost my phone and will just think I'm being rude. And, I get the panic that if anything happens to Oz whilst he's at school and I'm out, then no one can contact me (how did that one work pre-mobile?). Even worse, someone might see Johnny Depp in town and they won't be able to let me know.
Talking of which, looks like I might be avoiding work, again. At least there'll be no distraction from my mobile phone though...
[*instead of the 'modern' family with silly lighting ones]
Friday, June 08, 2007
Been far too long away from this world. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, presentation, exhaustion - pretty much in that order. Followed by sunshine and a certain smugness about living in Cornwall that I won't even to pretend to apologise for. It's another glorious day out there but I've got to get back on track...
Been a funny old time, not least because my powers of indecision hit an all time high. Yesterday was A's birthday, we had a big chocolate cake with candles and everything on the beach. The following conversation kind of sums up the recent weeks.
ME: Did you have some cake?
ME: Was it nice?
ME: Did you eat it?
L: Erm, yes.
ME: So you did have your cake and eat it?
L: I'm going to slap you if you don't shut up.
ME: Fair enough.
Random as it is, the concept of 'having cake and eating it' has always confused me. I know what it's supposed to mean about trying to 'have it all' but in a very literal sense my conversation with L kind of shows that most of us have our cake and eat it all the time. BUT we don't realise we're doing it because it's one of those things that you are not 'meant' to either own up to or to do. So anyway, I tried it and both scuppered myself and found peace all at the same time. Two MA projects was never going to work, well perhaps it might have done. Had the chance to work with an amazing supervisor on an investigative journalism story and decided for many pragmatic reasons to take the oppportunity and 'go for it'.
I thought I could tap away at the screenplay one day a week. The end result being that I would have my cake and eat it. Nice plan. Too nice - it was never going to work because Miss Heart over Head here had organised something so sensible that I couldn't find any kind of focus. The screenplay 'won' me back and in the process of doing so I cocked up my presentation and am in supervisor 'limbo'. But, it's all OK because it's shown me beyond any shadow of doubt that writing is, first and foremost, about passion. I need to just throw myself into the screenplay and nothing but the screenplay for the next few months. Funny thing is, with all the 'cake' and eating it business, I still feel like I have it and am eating it, because the prospect of just one project feels like a breeze after trying to tackle two 'biggies' simultaneously.
Ah where would I be without this blog, to just whittle away on with the beautiful illusion that I'm actually getting on with some work, is such a simple pleasure. I've missed it. Mission on.
I'm going to get the scene by scene done by early next week. But, just as importantly I need to get a bike with a basket, and cycle around playing 'Fly Me To The Moon' to fully 'get' into character. So work will involve index cards, pins and cycling.
See, looks like a very tasty cake to me.
Monday, April 30, 2007
The world seems very Alice in Wonderland at the moment. Everything seems to get bigger and smaller all at the same time.
Weighing up the hideous consequences of Global Warming against the sheer pleasure of feeling sunshine and watching trees in bud. It leaves too many questions.
Yesterday I interviewed two amazing people, both of whom were convinced that we are slip sliding towards a torrent of war and destruction globally. How do I balance that with a belief and conviction that unless I think positively, act positively in what ever ways I can, then in some ways I'm only adding to the bigger problems.
I can't take on the belief of their views when I watch my son playing on a day that was warm enough that he could swim in a river. I know I swam in the sea at this time of year as a kid. Some things don't change.
There's a theory about the Hundredth Monkey - 99 monkeys can learn to do something, but whatever they can do will stay localised. When the hundredth monkey learns to do it, wooosh bang wallop. Critical mass; monkeys everywhere learn to do the same thing.
I've got to keep some kind of faith that we as humans are at about 96 or 97 monkeys in terms of how we are behaving towards each other and treating the planet. Until we get to a hundred everything will look the same and stay the same. But we've got to be close to some kind of wake up call.
Don't really want to think about the other possibility.
On a more mundane level, I'm trying to convince myself that is how it is with pitching. Even if I get the equivalent of 99 rejections or positive but non-committal responses, the 100th will kick in some kind of critical mass, well - enough to create a new perspective and momentum in it all. I think I got the whisper of 99 and a half today. I'm hoping that other half will add on tomorrow.
Meanwhile I face the age old debate of slogging away at the keyboard when I know I'm tired, against sleeping now an getting up really early.
Blogging's just great for putting off those decisions for a while. This screen has become my through the looking glass place - on the other side are a million different worlds and possibilities. All sitting there at the same time...
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I had to face one of my greatest fears to day; sitting in a classroom with all the other mothers from my son's class.
I got the normal 'sympathetic' looks, that I expected, as I'm an 'invisible' - rarely seen at the school gates, and tend to hover by myself when I am. It's not even that I'm anti social, far from it, but The School Gate thing has always been incredibly intimidating. Being a full time working mum, meant that I never got practiced in the art of The Gate small talk. Now it's got to the point, that I just don't know what to say, and always sound silly when I try. Having been a teacher, it's not even the 'school thing'. Give me a room full of teenagers, no problem. Parents at parents Evenings, no problem.
No it's not school, just The School Gates.
Even if they are not all 'Yummys' then I most certainly am a 'Scummy'. My day seemed quite normal; sitting barefoot typing away, plotting out script structure on little cards (very satisfying game), singing along to Amy (Winehouse), so what if I pulled the hoody and jeans off the floor and stuck random things in my hair to keep it out of my eyes.
Of course I was so lost in the little card game, I nearly missed the lift to The Gates and so ran out as I was. Flip-flops, random hair and all.
Ah. Beyond the 'sympathetic' looks, once in the classroom I realised what a state I was - truly scummy. Marker pen all over my hands, bare feet on a cold day la la la. I was not wearing clothes from M&S. I was not wearing sensible shoes. My hair was not 'styled'. I clearly was not even a gentle looking hippy type Mum. Everyone was taller than me (except our kids).
So whilst eclectic and random might best sum my dress sense up, in their presence, I looked and felt more like an Asbo-stylee-hoody-wearing-teen mum.
After the meeting, Oz and I walked down the road, bought an ice-cream, and snacks, and sat on the grass (not on the benches). Suddenly it really didn't seem to matter - I realised that everyone else had driven home and were doing far more sensible things, as we sat there in a world of our own. Supper will not be on the table anywhere close to 6. We are both full with ice cream and Jaffa cakes.
This is a very short post to direct anyone (who might be interested) to the 'result' of the writers who blog analysis - it is here.
I thought it was hidden, but cyber space is too fast; far away and patroclus found it, for which I'm very grateful as their comments were a big help :)
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Thank you to everyone who left a comment here. And here is a beer to say thank you. Well, a beer coupon to be more precise. Just take it to your local bar, swap for your favourite tipple and say it was given to you in good faith, which it was...
It's been one of those days today. The sort in which my faith in beer tokens has been restored.
After months of frustration I found out how to do this which means that I'm one step closer to being able to write about this.
So this has made me smile. So much so, that I'll just try it one more time. Not being able to do the linky thing has been driving me mad for ages, and it was as simple as leaving safari...Also has a lot to do with the sunshine that warmed the ache in my sleepy bones away so gently, and finally managing to bury Mr Resnick in a pastrami on rye at about 3.42am this morning. I hope he's gone, I really do hope.
It's the racing chasing deadlines thing. Part of me hates it, and a very strange part loves the stillness of 3am writing. I've just woken up from a snooze and there is still an allure to just keep typing through the night and into that stillness.
On Friday I fully intend to print off pocketfuls of these beer tokens and swap them for a pint or three of sanity, sleep and vodka. Not neccesarily in that order though.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
If you are a blogger, who also considers writng to be their main focus/drive/employment in life could you spare me a comment?
I'm doing some research into the impact of blogging for writers as part of an MA course. Given that there are millions of bloggers out there, narrowing research down is a duanting task; I spent a week lost in the blogosphere, reading some amazing posts, but having very little to focus the research on. So, if 'the medium is the message', I thought I'd try a live and direct approach.
Blogs are free, uncensored and ever growing. What I'm trying to find out is how you got into blogging, how you feel it impacts on your writing, how it might affect the print based industry and where you think it might be headed the coming years. There's a sense of search engines manipulating/creating a blogging A list, where might this lead? Will blogs keep going or will the bubble burst? Some blogs have been picked up as books, there are prizes and awards - is this a motivation or do blogs fulfil another function? What are your thoughts, in general, about blogging, particularly as someone who writes as a major part of life?
If you could spare a moment it would be hugely appreciated - doesn't need to be much, just a few lines. My aim is to see how far and where this post might leapfrog to over the next week; from this I'll be able to focus on what bloggers have written and get an inkling of how messages/ideas might travel.
A big thankyou to anyone who can help with their thoughts :)
[I reckon I'm due to loose many more hours discovering new blogs to read after this...]
UPDATE: There are a lot of lovely people out there. Huge thanks to all those who have commented, and to anyone else who is going to.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
After months of reading our blogs, and commenting verbally (mainly from the other side of the room in a rather rude manner about why I'm glued to this computer) Andy has finally given in to the blogosphere.
He's a bit shy, but if you go to 'bricklayer playing the piano' on the blog roll he's right there...
Monday, April 09, 2007
Given the few glorious days of sunshine, I realise that there is a very big danger that many pasty white types will blend into the same colour.
Some will be pink. I saw them on the beach yesterday and did not quite understand how/why they got so pink so fast.
Many (including myself) will be a strange hue of yellow. This is because of the wondrous (?) invention of mosituriser that comes out white but apparently leaves you with 'natural looking sun kissed skin'. I'd never go near fake tan as a) I don't want to go streaky orange and b) it smells so strange, I know the chemical cocktail must be too toxic.
Why, then am I fooled by this moisturiser stuff? I'm sure that the chemicals are just as bad, but it has this clean innocent illusion of not being too scary. So I lovingly applied it to my pasty white legs and they are now a satisfying shade of...well I can't quite say that it is a tan, as to sunkissed? Perhaps, sun pecked? The truth is that I am a very subtle shade of, well - yellow. And so it would seem are many people wondering about with shorts/skirts/rolled up jeans.
We are all the same colour. What happens when the sun comes out? Perhaps it's just a girl thing, but there is this implicit assumption that you must have smooth, shaved legs that pretend not to have been locked safely in tights and trousers all winter. Every year I think this is rubbish. Every year I some how join in.
Perhaps one day they will name a paint shade after us all. 'Sun pecked white' [White with a hint of, yellow]
However, no matter how scary this is, it is not as scary as a 'fashion tip' I saw in a magazine. A special new product, guaranteed to stop fake tan streaking - a suit that you wear overnight after applying fake tan.
Tell me if I'm being stupid, there is no other way to explain said new item as anything other than a giant...babygro. Surely, there's no one who'd actually consider it, I thought to myself. And then I saw three people and two children wearing Crocs.
I might be uniform 'white girl with yellowish legs', but, it could be worse. I could be an orange-babygro-wearing-walking-draining-rack.
Friday, March 30, 2007
I did agonise over whether this post should be titled 'rites of passage' or 'wank' - OK not so much 'agonise' as consider...
Anyway - wank it is.
A few months ago my lovely son, Oz, had a conversation with my boyfriend. It was the kind of conversation that might not have taken place with me in situ: aka 'boy talk'. Oz returned from school and threw the word 'wanker' about with the careless abandon of one who does not know what it means. Andy carefully (and I would imagine, with the pragmatic care of a science teacher) explained what 'wank' really meant, mainly that everyone did it because it felt nice, no big deal etc. etc. Here follows my transcript of the conversation that followed the explanation.
O: Well I'm never going to do that.
A: Errm, well you might find that you do as you get older.
O: No, never, I won't ever do that.
A: Well, I bet you you will by the time you are 18.
O: I won't. How much do you bet me?
A: Bet you £1000 you will - by the time you're 18.
O: OK then you're on...
So Oz took the bet, and oh, how we giggled (in private) about the humour of the bet. Knowing that of course, it was kind of inevitable that event would take place sometime in the next nine years... And what a thing to remember in the midst of 18th birthday celebrations.
Until the other night. Somehow the issue of voices breaking, puberty and the changes that will come along over the next few years came up in conversation. Believing in being open we talked about what puberty might entail; figure it's best to know about the ways in which the body is giong to change, rather than it all being some big mystery that's giggled about with many myths and not much information by school boys. The subject of body hair and where it will grow came up, and I pointed out that 'nob' might not be the best word for Oz to use. "It's not swearing" he told me, and I explained that it kind of was, and just to be aware of that.
O: Well when is it OK to swear?
Me: Well it's never great, but it's certainly more offensive when kids swear.
O: So I can swear when I'm an adult.
Me: Guess that's when it will be your choice.
O: When will I be an adult then, do I have to wait till I'm 18?
Me: In theory.
O: Does puberty make you an adult?
Me: Well, that's when your body is changing to become an adult.
O: How about if you've had a wank?
Me: Errm, well you said you wouldn't before you were 18 anyway.
O: So if I'd had a wank, I'd be allowed to swear?
Me: I suppose you would.
O: [grins] Fuck, shit, bollock...
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I think I might have a feminist kitten.
Not growly, angry type feminist but the reali-truilo post, post (or whichever post we are now at) type feminist. The sort where seemingly it's now OK to stay at home with kids/have a career/wear lip gloss/drink pints/drink cosmos/ask boys to fix cars,bikes and shelves/swear at boys who offer to fix cars,bikes,shelves... The kind of 'do it all' kind of feminism that we apparently now have. [Have it all... that's a different story]
Today I thought she was running about with her toy mouse; she's the only cat I've ever known to actually play with the toys that inevitably get bought when a new cat comes along.
I had to do a double take when I realised that it was not her mouse, it was a tampon*. It made me giggle out loud, and I followed to try to get a photo. Everytime I held the camera up, she dropped it with one of those indignant 'this is my game not yours' type looks.
Tink clearly knows that she has choices, doesn't need to please any one else, and is not afraid to show her feminine side . I think that might make her a feminist kitten?
[* fully wrapped and unused, I have to add. Might not have been so funny otherwise.]
Monday, March 26, 2007
Certainly time to grasp back some kind of sense of humour, no matter how wry/sarcastic it may be. Otherwise I am in danger- big danger, of falling down an internet fuelled shitpit, and getting very smelly. There's a funny thing that seems to happen with research, according to my mood. Something about a slightly bleak/dark mood can just attract such lowlife gremlins forth from search engines. Is there a man sitting in the Google box after all? Can you get poltergeist activity on link buttons? I really do wonder sometimes.
But, if nothing else, it's all there for amusement. I feel like one of the Famous Five, who has just returned from a 'rather spiffing' adventure.
Oh OK, so the thing through 'the forest' got far worse than I ever could have believed possible due to: hideous 3am row; spending a whole day seemingly achieving nothing; spending the latter part trying to get online writing jobs, due to being skint beyond skint.*
But there is a better world out there. Having fallen down the vast poo hole that is 'paid online surveys'. At last I can see the funny side of it all; for several reasons.
1) 'Get Paid To Take Part In Online Surveys' - was I really stupid enough to believe it possible that money could be so easy to get? Yes. I hang my head in shame. These sites are a 'brilliantly' interlinked festering-consumer-scum-toilet, all set up for you to flush yourself down. All they do is link you from one scabby online gambling session, to an overpriced creditcard/bookclub/dvd hire/debt morgue to another. You can't access anything without going through some 'Free 30 day trial-give us all your bankdetails here-it will be impossible to find the link to cancel-before your 30 days are up'.
It all looks so simple, but even getting paid will cost you, and if you dont sign up to an 'affilliate' deal, no points honey. No points means you won't make the grade to even enter a survey, following which you could pay someone to recieve part of the money you earn, via another scam hole.
Here's my biggest confession, the first site I found was a US one - that charged. Due to "Special Half Price Offer Must End 12am Today'. I nearly signed up, thought I was 'getting a deal, hurrah - lucky me'...until I realised (thankfully, I am now aware, just for once being broke helped) that I don't have $34.99 left on my overdraft. But, there was a moment...Yes, I do hang my head in shame for even contemplting it.
2)' Supersonic ScriptWriting Packages' - on a day long cyber 'Research Cruise' looking for distribution/production companies that might take scripts, it was inevitable that I would plunge headlong into this baby. For everygood site, there is a shop, that seems to lure you through the link bar without even noticing it. Even more seductive the 'Free 30 day trial-give us all your bankdetails here...' (is there a theme emerging here somewhere?). Taking a look at all the script writing packages, I began to suspect that given a few thousand dollars, there is enough software out there to suggest that some people can entirely computer generate a script at the push of a button. The 'Character Creator' was outrageous, a few key details, and wham bam 'Character Synopsis'. No wonder Hollywood turns out so much generic dirge. I just wonder do they all have this software in the US, and is that the real meaning of industry standard now?
Am I doomed by the fact that I've barely got to grips with the (free) ScriptSmart? If I am, I really don't care. Rather have an over active imagination, and crap sofware any day. But gosh, is it easy to feel inadequate when you see what's out there.
(Am aware that I may have got this hopelessly wrong, and that some of it is worthwhile. But, wasn't there a time when (brilliant) scripts were written on a typewriters?)
3)* "They" have decreed that bus fares shall now cost me £7/day just to get my son to the childminder who gets him to school, as it's 4 miles away. Apparently student discount is cancelled due to 'holiday'. Have "They" forgotten that some of us actually live here/will live here/have lives and families? The child fare is just wrong too. Even in London, where everything is more expensive, (because the streets are lined with gold, of course) even there kids go free. This bit does not make me smile, but it might explain the current need to try to get some kind of income, and hence thinking I could do an instant hit, and be paid for a few words pooed down the 'free money, answer online survey' toilet seat.
4) Observer Woman Makes Me Spit (still can't do the linky bit here, but they are on my blogroll) is a wonderful blog. Such a perfect antidote to the darker side of t'internet and all things consumer.
Read their latest post and all the days pent up frustration eased away, as I remembered, it is, most definately, good to spit.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
It's been a strange kind of week; feel like I've sat at this desk everyday with very little tangible evidence of ever having been here. It set off a stange kind of reclusive self-deprecation, the kind that every writer goes through I guess. All part of the journey...
As the week closed, the hail stones stopped thrashing the window; the sun shone momentarily and it was somehow easier to step back out into the world. Seems a few people had also been on a similar journey. Perhaps it's the time of year? The last throes of winter trying to clutch at us all before warmer days (and hoardes of tourists) descend for the next few months...
I felt almost ashamed of the dark cloud space that pulled me so far in, that I'd been seriously considering applying for another full time teaching job. Not that in itself there is anything wrong with that, but it makes a mockery of this year - the leap of faith to finally stand up and say 'no, this is what I do'. Writing is a funny old game; pitching is just a surreal cycle of lottery/rejection. Got to be on full power to send yourself out there, knowing full well that the odds are that it will pull in a big fat 'no' more often than the elusive golden ticket. So in those moments of self doubt it's all to easy to stand like a scared rabbit in the headlights, and of course doing that is a brilliant double whammy. If I don't ask there are no rejections, but the stasis equally leaves me wondering what and earth I'm doing it all for.
A lovely friend reminded me though, that this is all part of the journey; an integral part of story structure is the challenges/ obstacles, the dark night of the soul, the all is lost moment. He very astutely reminded me that our story mirrors the story of writing. So beautifully simple, but I'd lost all perspective of that... so here I am, facing the deep dark forest that every good fairy tale depends on. It's that moment of panic - I either go through, or I turn back to where I came from. That's a far worse option; so the only way is on and through.
It's still scary though, knowing I'm right on the edge, in my heart the only option is to plough on through. Can't turn back now, come too far to just settle for an 'easy' teaching salary in September. Got to remind myself why I left that behind, if not forever, then certainly for now, to give this my best shot. So its off through the forest I go.
But, today is Sunday - so perhaps I'll hover here on the edge, for just another day, and plunge in tomorrow...
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
My son often makes the most astute comments, such as 'wouldn't it be better if buses cost 10p and no one needed to use their car' or 'why can't we all have a windmill so we wouldn't have to pay bills'. So this morning whilst making his packed lunch, I was bemused by the following conversation.
me: "Oz where's your water bottle?"
Oz: "I threw it away."
me: "That's a bit silly, why did you throw it away?"
Oz: "It said 'do not refill' on it."
One nil to Mr Asda/Tesco I think.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The very lovely Poster of Occasional Comments saw this before I took it off, in shame of not being able to figure out the neat link thing... If any one is passing who can explain how to do it, then I will be off and away. The clip is worth watching, despite the cut and paste effort with the URL!
I just found this, won't say much - but it made me think, really made me think. So much so, that I can't sum it up in a neat little phrase and won't even try. Apparently it really did happen.
ps apologies, the link thing not working..
Monday, March 19, 2007
Since becoming a mother, I have come to really dislike too much about Mother's Day.
Not the side of loving, thanking and remembering how much I love my own Mum, or how lucky I am to still have her here, strong and healthy. Especially as I head to the age where that means more, because not everyone's Mum is still here.
Not the beautifully random hand made gifts and morning hug that my own son gives to me.
No, I don't like Mother's day, because it is a sharp stick in the face to remind me that I'm no longer with my son's father. Thankfully in my case, but Mother's Day still niggles and stabs - shoves the neon 'I'm a failure' sign right at me. I wouldn't change my son for the world, not an ounce or moment of regret for his beautiful being. I haven't even really minded being a single mum, just one of those things that you 'get on with' - mostly too busy, or too tired, to worry about the logistics of it all. Happier to be a single Mum than in an abusive relationship. But the truth is in any relationship that follows, there are moments when you realise that no matter how much you all love each other, as a Mum you are there on your own. No one else is ever going to love that child quite like you do.
My bitter perspective is the direct result of my son's father leaving me when he was 10 days old. So I spent that first Mother's Day exhausted, bewildered, and in tears. Everyone else from the ante natal class was deluged with flowers, chocolates and tea in bed. Silly that there was even some kind of expectation on my part. But there was; some kind of rites of passage, that now I was on the other side of the 'Hallmark' flowery-card-fence I would bask in the balmy glow of love, respect and adoration for the day. Missing any kind of rites of passage can mess you up a bit. Consumer laws dictate that mothers shall be indulged and cherished and waited on by the fathers of their children. In the absence of this looms up a big fat 'lack' that, no matter how pragmatic I may be at other times of the year, haunts me when thrust into full vision.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not missing the true meaning behind the day - I know the historical roots of service girls given a day off. I'm not dismissing the chance to give my own Mum special thanks and love. I'm not ungrateful for the nursery or school made gifts from my lovely little boy. Really those are what is important. Nothing else should matter.
But... there is a cultural expectation as a mother of school age kids that you will get pampered and slightly indulged. At very least a cup of tea in bed, breakfast perhaps. Just something to make the day a bit different. I wonder how many other separated mothers feel the lack of that as some kind of slap in the face? Is it just me? Or does the shopfront-marketing-overload prior to Mother's Day guarantee to leave too many of us feeling somehow tried, judged, and found as lacking in some respect?
My Mother's Day catalogue of disasters is impressive. Things that would have hurt no matter what, have managed to sting that little bit more as a result of colliding with that day. It has kind of come to be an anniversary of shitty events. The first was spectacular. On another my then boyfriend stayed out 'till six am, leaving me in that hideous limbo of knowing that 'something' was going on (it was). I got dumped one Mother's Day. This year was heralded by the kind of shitty row that puts a relationship on the line, the frosty silence and bitter one liners carried on throughout the day. Perhaps I'm just selfish, but all day I wanted to turn round and say "It's Mother's Day, can't you just be nice?". Perhaps I should just drop the expectation.
But it hurt, and it hurt more because casting my mind back I couldn't remember a Mother's Day that hadn't brought the whole situation of having the right child with the wrong man so clearly into focus. It makes me wonder what it might be like to share the responsibility of having a child with someone else, of not feeling guilty if someone else helps in whatever way with some small or large parenting duty, of what it might feel like just to be 'in it together'.
That's not something I'm ever going to know about. Fact. Perhaps I might in the future, but not with Oz. When the chips are down, He's my responsibilty and I've got to give him the love, security and protection of both a Mum and a Dad.
I feel selfish for even writing this here, my life is blessed in so many ways. I guess it's the hurt of a relationship that failed before the stitches of childbirth had healed coming back to haunt me. In those days following birth mothers feel as newborn as the babies, it's a precious time where hurts can bury in too deep. Sometimes it still hurts, and Mother's Day seems to be the day when that hurts the most.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Well, to be accurate, there are 'worse things I have done'.
As the dust settles from Friday nights 'antics' [?] I'm left somewhat bemused by the whole situation. Having charged police lines in pink fluffy bra and 6ft tail fan, and being hauled 15ft above the ground by a rope tied to handcuffs from a tunnel (they don't count, as I knew I might get into trouble) I've realised again, that lying on a chair in a club is a really silly thing to get so much hassle for.
So, in this reflective reverie, have decided that perhaps it is a good time to list all the things that could have been worse.
1) Being asked to stop dancing in the Trevi Fountain by the Cabinari; getting out before they pulled their truncheons.
2) Dancing on the table that didn't collapse.
3) Dancing on many tables that did not collapse.
4) Scary plain clothes police in Prague taking a bribe, thus avoiding a trip to police station and missing a flight home.
5) Getting away from a mad Arab man, who locked me up on a boat.
6) My brother changing flights at the last minute, and thus avoiding the Tsunmami.
7) Coming through childbirth after a 'ne na' ambulance trip to hospital, when my son got stuck.
Actually, think it's time to stop there. a) because 7 is a magic number* and, b) because as the list goes on it all kind of comes into perspective. There are worse things I could do, have done, and, there are far worse things that could happen.
*have to attribute that genius way 'out' of a list, to long time mentor and inspiration Lorna Sage. Sadly no longer with us, but her memoir 'Bad Blood' is a wonderful book..
Saturday, March 10, 2007
It was just a night out, don't do that very often these days, for the usual reasons: too much work; too little money. Even so, it wasn't a big night out, just a drink with friends in the pub, and the inevitable move to a late night bar. In this case it was an over sized pub, the kind that call themselves clubs, but not really.
Had been a long day, up at 6 and non-stop editing to get bloc up. The music had not really got my groove going, to say the least. I spied a small two seater settee, and, ever the opportunist, wandered over to lie down.
So there I was, lost in a private reverie, thinking that I really should sit up and be more sociable, when a rough hand grabbed my shoulders.
'Oy , you can't sleep here, going to have to ask you to leave.' It was a text-book-bald bouncer.
Now, and this is important, had I been asleep, I never would have sat bolt up right, and aplologised in an absolute lucid tone. That's important because of what followed.
This big, ugly, bald guy insisted I leave, so I told him yes I would, once I'd finished my (overpriced) drink. Not good enough - onto radio for immediate back up, well guess I was looking dangerous at that point. Cue two more bouncers, lady bounce grabbed my drink - I wouldn't let go. She did let go, realising that I was not particularly drunk, or aggressive. Not good enough - next thing two huge bouncers lunged forward telling Tim to get out of the way. He refused and was lifted up and tipped out of his chair, wearing one of the best expressions of simultaneous surprise and determination I've ever seen.
Before I knew what was happening I was in a double arm lock - ouch - being shoved out of the building down a big flight of stairs, feet no where near the floor, as though I had just glassed someone or pulled a knife. One of the bouncers put enough effort in on my arm to leave it pretty bruised and sore. All because I lay down? I don't know what happened up there after I was so unceremoniously thrown out, but Liam was out next, hauled down the stairs by his neck, Tim was in a similar state.
One by one, people wondered out in a state of shock, anger, confusion. We had to negotiate getting our belongings back - bouncers refused to tell their names. Policewoman refused to help.
However, in the midst of all of this some very funny things happened. 1)A guy weaved his way to the door, so drunk he could barely stand, bouncing from wall to wall - the bouncers all smiled and greeted him 2) A girl was puking outside the door, she was let in, with a smile. (Not neccesarily funny - just wonderful irony. Those two were semi conscious and pretty gone on. Whilst we were all pretty lucid, but treated as though we were drunken/violent scum..) 3)Liam said when someone went to get my bag back that obvioulsy it was full of drugs - I think the word 'sarcastic' was lost on them 4) Ben, in an attempt to collect our stuff, picked up a coat. A really horrible coat, that made him look like a dodgy 80s German raver. He decided to wear it home.
If my arm didn't still hurt so much, I'd say that sight nearly made it all worthwhile.
I rant this here, because it was all such a stupid, miscalculated, badly judged balls up. Why do they call them 'bouncers'? Why don't they just own up and call them mindless, zenophobic thugs...
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I just read a friends blog, with a brilliantly witty entry about shoes, and in particular 'Crox'.
Anyone who has ever seen them will know what I mean, anyone who hasn't you really don't want to know. Anyone who owns/loves them - apologies and do not read on.
Crox are like jelly beans for grown ups - only not as pretty. The most offensive sightings of them have been by 'kooky' student types who wear a different colour on each foot. Yuk. I know that there are more important things to worry about in the world, but I do wonder how we got into a situation where, normally intelligent women will wear those things.
I know how it happened, a certain fashion spread here and a fashion spread there, started to feature them as some kind of high fashion item. People read, bought, and wore. Now I reckon that it all might have started off as some kind of 'joke' at an editorial meeting.
'Lets put those in for a laugh'
'No one will ever wear those!'
'Bet you they will, dahling'
'A double skinny, lo caf, taste free, Latte'
'Ok sweetie, your'e on'
And so it came to pass... Now fashion must kind of be the ultimate and most visible meme thing that there is going on. It not only expalains the crox thing, but also other oddities.
So given the rise and rise of memes in blogospheres, would it be possible to start a fashion tip, and see how far it spreads. I reckon it might head all the way over to the pages at Vogue. Memes are word things, but I'm sure they might have enough sense of humour to want to take flight and start walking the pages a little more.
My suggestion for this season, is - Teddy Bear slippers, those silly big ones - to be worn with evening wear, as an ironic juxtoposition of our post modern aesthetic...
Wonder if it will catch on?
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Obi is back!
Obi is a very distinguished old man.
He walked out of the door last Monday, and vanished. We thought he might have gone for good, but he just walked in - very hungry, slightly damp, but otherwise his usual self.
It is a very good reason to :) :) :)
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Our car is broken, very broken, so broke, that it is properly brokEN. What I mean is, that is not a euphemism for, 'not working at the moment'.
Actually, it doesn't bother me too much, as I like buses and walking. All good, unless you need to leave Cornwall - then it becomes very bad because it is a long way to walk, and there is only one train line in and out (that is true!). Last time I travelled by train we were 6 hours late, on account of 1) a branch on the track 2) sheep on the track* 3) a broken down sea wall. I wish that were some blogging exageration but it is not.
*I don't know if there were two sheep on the track or not, they only said some.
When I got home from getting some shopping, I had no cornflakes.
Struggling round Tesco I had a whole box of them, under one arm as they wouldn't fit into the basket. Organic ones. I'm sure I put them through the bleeper thing. But, they were not on the slidey thing when I packed. Even stranger, there would have been no room to put them in the bags that I did bring home - they were all full. So where did they go?
I'm convinced that there is some interdimensional shoplifting place in between the place where you put the basket, the bleepy thing, and the slidey bit where you pack your bags. That is not some X files type conspiracy, just honest confusion. I've lost many things in that space before - the little bits that you only remeber when you get home. Because they were little, I always assumed that It was just me being vague.
However, I now have evidence to the contrary as this box of cornflakes was huge. Where did the cornflakes go?
Perhaps it is my secret Karma, as I did consider stealing a copy of 'heat' (it should never be paid for, only stolen or found). But I didn't. Was the thought enough to cancel out the conflakes? It would seem so.
Friday, March 02, 2007
I've made some friends out here.
Have to say thankyou to: bluecat who suggested that; xtina make us all do it; tim who made it all seem like there was a point to it all; and to andy who read it all from the start...
Oh dear, that sounds like some torrid award ceremony speech. Eugh.
Well, it's just me sitting on the carpet, telling myself a story - about a story that I want to write. Friday night, I mean where else would I choose to be, but in flannel pyjamas, sitting here typing away - sod the clubs and bars, from here I can go anywhere.
The Pheonix and The Carpet did that.
The Box of Delights had some kind of magical music that made all seem at peace in the world.
Oh, perhaps the self induced nostalgia might have something to do with having been at a Writing For Kids workshop today, discussing, in part why, you can't write kids books like that any longer, and finding out the clues for cracking the code to get past the 'Gate Keepers' - parents, teachers and psychologists... A milion and one, very much loved, books would never have got written in todays PC world.
PC - Police Constable Righteousness.
or, PC world - a place to buy computer things, where the staff are as holographic as the adverts.
It was a really good workshop.
But, PC-ness is out there pissing on the leg of manuscripts that see any child hero/ine even talking to stangers, investigating abandoned aeroplanes in fields, going out on a boat with out responsible named adult and full safety equipment .
Argh - that is what let the ultra-smug-should-get-a-job-and-stop-making-normal-people-look-silly-for-being-normal Annabel Car(bet it's a 4x4 really)michael woman onto the bookshelves. She should be pureed and placed in one of her own stupid freezer containers (I read a chapter at my sister in laws house, she doesn't like her buggy going on the beach because it cost more than 'most peoples cars'...Nuff said). On a similar note, can someone please bake Nigella-would-she-be-anywhere-without-a-politic-Dad-Lawson in one of her own (branded) muffin tins.
Lip gloss cookie bakers, should be enmeshed in their wicker baskets and have a facial in their moulinex.
Why the rant? For some reason their names were mentioned at the end of the day, and the ensuing gremlins unleash themselves onto this page. Should I feel inadequate because I just made my son boiled eggs and soldiers - rather than arranging broccoli florettes like a forest, on a coulis of bullshit, with a pizza face, on homemade bloody dough bases.
If I listened to those two, then yes I should.
Which kind of brings me full circle. The Famous Five ate boiled eggs, and had adventures without adequate adult supervision.
Hurrah! Found my way back again.
Moving House Is Bad For You.
That is (highly unlikely) the last thing I will say on the matter.
Dum de dum de de.
See, can't help myself, it's got to get out somehow. I DON'T LIKE MOVING HOUSE.
Forgive me if I am a little fraught, I've just moved house you see. It took 10 days, due to a glorious cross over of tennancies. This a) cost lots and b) created the false sense of security that we had moved, when in actual fact we had not.
It took: 10 days; countless midnight brown cardboard box commando missions; two pairs of Marigolds; a done in back; several rows; a few near misses on deadlines; oh, and I forgot how to log on to my blog. So I am glad to be back, and despite the chinese puzzle of brown cardboard boxes, the fog is slowly lifting and I remembered how to sign in.
Where does the mind go? Presume it got lost in one of the brown cardboard boxes that was in the old house whilst I was here. Happily now re united, it feels like I've been holding my breath for two weeks. Ah, it's good to breathe again.
So this brown card board box puzzle is a curious thing. You know those [big breath] "little puzzles that you got when you were little the ones with the little tiles that moved around to make a picture if you could figure the right order".
Yes. It's a bit like that.
Monday, February 12, 2007
So now I know how to link to other peoples blogs life has got a bit more interesting, there's a whole world out there. But, I wonder if there is blogging traffic - could I be a Lollypop lady?
There are several reasons for this:
1) It is a job that I have always wanted to do, out there on the other roads, not here in cyber-ness, well that was not a consideration until now. I do not think that it is a job I will ever have because a) I do not have grey hair b) there are fewer Lollypop ladies (and men) on a proportional rate to 4x4s. There are lots of 4x4s and therefore, fewer Lollypop people.
2) They have a very cool uniform, not to mention the Lollypop itself, but there is no rain on computers, so I could do this job from home or a cafe and never get wet. I do wonder though, quite what the costume for a blogging Lollypop Lady might look like...Would I get the flouro tabards and giant Lollypop? Perhaps it might jus be a case of sitting at home with a Chuppa Chup, or a bag of Harribos - if I'm lucky. With a good dose of crap telly, that actually sounds like a good (and very typical) night in. Oh bring on the dancing Gummy Bears and let's party.
3) I do not want to stop or hold up any traffic, having just pondered the situation, I do wonder if perhaps I would not be very good at the job anyway...
I think that it might be late and I should go to sleep.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
So can we start a deal here?
a) if you read this post a comment.
b) I learn how to put you all on as links, so I can leave comments for you.
Then somehow, we all emerge as blog-artistes. Tim and Liam are already the blog-kings, and I have utter respect for them, always. But this blog-traffic ting might be fun...
Probably by the time anyone reads this it will be submerged beneath a pile of random comments, but, you never know what traffic may be passing.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Oh, how they boast... twas not the can-can, nor the cha cha cha (the supposed dance on desk yesterday). It was random legs kicked, and I got in trouble as his mum was unaware of it when I (stupidly) mentioned it at the school gates.
That is why although I always feel inadequate as 'invisible/working mum' I do not like that school gate thing - I just always say the wrong thing.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
So here is a funny tale.
Collected my son from the childminder and he was bouyant. During prayers the class were meant to have their eyes shut, they half did, half didn't and so giggles errupted when a boy called Elliot decided to dance a can-can on the desk, thus disrupting the solemn occassion.
Even the terrifying Mrs Benney could not supress a smile, apparently.
Even funnier, apparently Elliot did know how to can-can. Oh the youth of today.
See, it even looks different.
Time to change, to move on, to stop hiding. Have struggled with this blog - looking back through the postings it feels that there is too much contrived, contrite waffle. Verging on pretension. I'm allowed to say that, it is my blog.
So just get it all down, the day to day blah de blah, but get it down. Self-discipline, what a grail to search for. Oh god, at it again.
Yesterday was a good day.
Saw my first piece of paid copy. Ok so it won't win the Booker Prize, but I wrote it and will get paid for writing it. Hope I never loose that buzz of seeing my name in print. Some how, knowing me, I don't think that I will. Think I'll still bounce up and down, literally or internally, with a grin to myself to say 'I did that'.
Got our portfolio grades back, and I'm happy and proud. Kind of draws a line on the work from last year so time to move forward, in more ways than one.
Oh, and there was the bus trip to Plymouth. The reason for the bus trip was to see Dereks play, but the night almost seems like two separate occasions.
On the bus. And Off the bus.
On the bus we drank, sang and made merry. Perhaps too merry - is there such a thing? Don't think so really. Whatever, it was fun. I asked D to save me a back seat, he asked if that was because I was cool, and I explained that I never, never, never was one of the 'cool' ones at school. Far from it. I was always a bit of an odd-ball, never cool. I'd never say that I was cool now, despite wanting to sit on the back seat.
Actually the backseat thing stems from 'airport terror'. This phenomenon is a term I use to explain the total personality change that I go through the moment I step into an airport, as a ressult of the quest for the window seat. So, heres how it goes, I tense up, and run and will fight anyone, anywhere near me to a) get to the check in first b)make sure I get the window seat c)stay at the front of any queues anywhere. Some how, if I'm in a window seat, and can see the sky, land, and the emergency exit then everything will be OK - the plane will be safe, we will not crash, and no one will blow us up.
So, translate it to a bus, and the emergency exit is always near the back seat, so we will be safe, we will not crash, and no one will blow us up.
Oh, did I forget to mention that the back seat is always the best place to have a sneaky ciggy, there's room to dance and you always seem to drink more.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
When I was a little girl, I had a very best friend. We understood each other - despite a ninety year age gap.
I remember him to this day. Photos of me with my Great Grandpa, or Alvo as we all knew him, show us holding hands or him pushing me in his wheelchair, we are caught on film talking, and, always smiling. We had that magic that 'thing' that happens between the very old and the very young.
I almost cringe as I write this, it sounds too Disney and sacharine sweet; perhaps a little creepy even. I deleted it all, but it just came back - that really is how I remember him.
He died when I was four and a half. His wife, Florence, my Great Grandma, died a few months before I was born. My middle name is Florence, but from what I've been told, Alvo used to call me Florence anyway.
There is no doubt that they were remarkable people - they met at SouthFields, the leading centre for freethinkers and humanists. They always stood up for what they believed in and refused to 'tow the line'. They threw religion out, kissed before they married, thought the hippies were great, and let their daughter live in a bus at the end of the garden, in the 1940s. Not to say that they were perfect, this is real life, not Disney after all; they could be stubborn and idiosyncratic, to say the least. However, they were very much loved.
Thirty plus years on their influence is still felt in my large rambling family. Thirty plus years on seemed like the perfect time for me to gather as much information about them and write a book, about their amazing lives. Thirty plus years on it seems that someone has tried to turn their memory into a possession.
If it were not that I really hate the book that goes by the same name - it felt like literary self masturbation if I'm honest, but it was on the A' Level syllabus when I was teaching - then there would be a beautiful humour to all of this. I say that because i really do feel that I have somehow wandered into that story and got stuck on the pages. Really not a nice thought.
I'm a writer, chasing the love letters of two remarkable people. Just to add a bit of extra sparlke to the plot, there is also rumour of other letters to Alvo and Florence from Christina Rosetti and Byrne-Jones. I know that there is a photo in the family album of George Bernard Shaw. It's a great story.
But in trying to piece the story together, it seems that I've opened a family can of worms.
I'm writing all of this here for the record. I am going to go ahead with the story, although quite what form it will take I'm not yet sure. So as I go, this blog is a great place to chart the stages. Family worms then...
Florence and Alvo had four children. They lived in a house in Stoke Poges. It was commonly assumed that when they died, the house would be left to the four children.
When the will was read there was (I'm recounting this from heresay and embellishing for effect, the facts are true but any emaphasis is mine) a HollyWood sigh of shock. The will had been changed in the last few weeks, months of Alvo's life, he left everything to one daughter and the other children were written out. Needless to say, this caused a few issues.
I'm young enough to have been oblivious to all of this, I was young enough to just get on and love all my Great Aunts and uncles. In true Middle Class style, most of this was only ever discussed behind closed doors. A few years ago I was told a final spin on the tale that turns it into something from a Desperate Housewives episode; the rumour in certain branches of the family tree is that Alvo did not die naturally, he was helped on his way, to speed up the reading of the will.
It's strange, this is my blog and my space for creative freedom, but I really don't like writing about this, partly because I don't believe a word of it, and partly because it's a vicious story that doesn't need to be given extra fuel. However, now it's down perhaps I can leave that bit of the tale well alone and just get on with the book. If any libel laws have effect in cyber space then I just say that I made that bit up. Call it exorcism, you know who you are.
Anyway, back to my part of the story. The house was left to my Great Aunt, who spent many years nursing Alvo and Florence towards the end. When she died it was left to her daughter. With the house went many things, including furniture, letters, photographs and memories.
When I first started to research the book I called my cousin (she's actually something once or twice removed but cousin is easier) to ask if it would be possible to have access to the letters and photographs. Sure, I was told, she had been keeping them in the attic ready for the day that someone came along to do just something like this. Next time I spoke to her she was rather edgy, asking for a synopsis, alluding to 'issues'. By the time I got to see her she's pulled the rug.
I was handed some scanned letters, her choice of letters, some very difficult to read. I handed over a draft of my proposal, thinking that once she read that then we could get on with it and I could start reading and archiving. But no. She has drawn a line that I don't seem able to cross right now. In her eyes she was left the house, and therefore the letters are her own private posessions. Hers. She owns them.
How can you own the memory of relatives? How can one person claim possession of their love, their story? The glimpses I've seen offer the promise of something so beautiful and unique. Even were I not considering the book I would want to read them. I loved them, their children and grandchildren loved them. It seems to somehow taint their memory to pull a stunt like this. I know, beyond any doubt that Florence and Alvo would not want it to be like this. I have no doubt that they more than any others would have understood me and some of the rather more unconventional 'life choices' that I have made along the way.
It's too big to post in one blog, this is the first of many. I write this in slight shock and confusion. It's a good place to put all the bits that have no place in the bigger project.
The story has only just begun.