Tag Archives: bleating

I’m only obsessed because you won’t leave me be.

I don’t think of you all the time but you’re never far from my thoughts. As though the air is part gas, part moisture, part you. As though my brain is part creative, part logical, part diseased. As though my life is part real, part dream, part delusion.

You seem contained inside images and everyday objects. Artificial faces, door jars, underneath bushes.  You seem not aware of this. You seem not aware of anything but I know this isn’t right. You are shrewd. Not like a liar, like a master of ceremonies. You know how this whole thing will end. These are the things I notice when I daren’t look at you too much.

And the jokes you once told return to my head like songs that catch in my ear canal. Yet the jokes somehow mock me, because I remember them and they weren’t that funny. It’s your intonation, the crafted slant of an eyebrow, the fact that you always smell so good. A bundle of pheromones drifting like the free spirit that my denial isn’t.

The rotisserie of unrequited love. I can guarantee you’re not that fussed, yet your friend is stepping up, ready for slaughter. He feels about me exactly how I feel about you. We make the same dumb jokes to try to make our propositions more casual. There is nothing casual about the future I try to wish you into, push you into with an imperceptible shove. But you’re stronger than me. You’re a lone wolf by choice not by default. Able to rejoin the pack anytime you please because you’re quietly confident. Not a stumble of tangled limbs. Yapping at unseen enemies as though that will drive them away.

So, I’m sorry for hanging around you like the ghost of hope. I’m sorry for ruining the friendship that was. I’m sorry for not taking a hint when I should. But I’m only obsessed because you won’t leave me be.

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Dashboard Confessional

Creative diary blogging is best done anonymously. That way you can fictionalise real life, or realify fiction without anyone whinging that you’re either bitching about them, or that you’re exagerating. We’re raconteurs dammit, of course we exagerate.

One of my favourite discoveries is The Wuc She doesn’t blog so often these days, but the elaborate coded world that (I assume) reflects on her own experiences is very clever, funny and oddball. I like how you have to spend some time picking up background on characters or events for it to make sense & take shape.

Also extremely addictive is 27bslash6. Is it entirely fiction or was there some reality somewhere where these emails and so on took place? It doesn’t matter. They ring true, and they make you choke with laughter on your 4pm brew. Job done.

I’d love to have the freedom of an anoymous blog. But as someone who hopes to make some sort of coinage from their writing, it would be counter-productive. My sister tells me I share too much on social media sites (micro-blogs in my brain) and I probably do, when I stop to think about the real life humanoids that are witness to such things. But it’s all an experiment to me and in some ways a semi-fiction. A version of a version of an opinion of events. Maybe I should just start to make shit up completely and then nobody can spot the sneaked in truth.

“I eat bugs and don’t stay out of the rain!”


I watched ‘Papillon’ (1973, Franklin J. Schaffner) last night.  I mean wowser.  It’s gottah be the ultimate Bro-Mance movie (I know y’all thought it was ‘Bad Boys 2’, but they made other stuff before we were born with like original ideas and stuff.  Who knew?).  Steve McQueen (butch hottie of the time) and Dustin Hoffman (quirky character actor, not much has changed non?) star as the unlikely buddies, in a bizarre-but-apparently-accurate old prison system set on ‘Devil’s Island’ in French Guiana.  That’s bizarre to us by modern standards, but probably ‘normal’ to Americans, who have cleverly evolved their prison system into a new form of slave labour.  And I ain’t even gonna start on Guantanamo or the treatment of Iraqi prisoners described by the wacky genius of Jon Ronson in his book ‘Men Who Stare at Goats’ (please don’t mention the Clooney vehicle, it’s a touchy subject).

Anyroad, I digress (that’s posh for ‘get distracted by other brain mush’).

Papillon is at heart a wacky movie despite the subject matter being awfully deep, and the spread of the film being epic (long but worthwhile).  McQueen is the innocent murderer determined to escape from Devil’s Island et al, Hoffman is the squinty weed with a lot of bribes in his poop pipe, who thus needs beefy protection.  The story charts their friendship, and escapades, from youthful and desperate, to crazy old men swearing at pigs and refusing to give up on the ultimate goal of freedom.

Freedom, that favourite of abstract concepts, muddled with a little Isolation, marinated with the meaning of Existence.  All topped off with a life-long Friendship in which death and starvation are risked for one another’s sake.  Heavy dude.  Three o’clock in the morning spliffs & whisky heavy.  But the wacky tone of the film, and the relentlessness of stuff happening (something lacking in many other films that make the top one hundred films of all time) carries it along at a jaunty pace, a bit like riding a VW van down a bumpy Cornish road.  No time to dwell on Existentialism ta, too busy getting narked that the Cornish don’t measure anything (1 ½ miles my arse!).  Apologies for my casual racism, my Dad’s a Plymouthian, it’s in my blood!  Bygones.

Also in Papillon, there is a reoccurrence of coconuts, which along with the island location, made me wonder if The Mighty Boosh’s ‘The Ballad of Milky Joe’, might not be a tribute?  It featuring the other great Bro-Mance of our times Vince and Howard.  And in many respects their ‘unusual’ adventures could be likened to those of McQueen and Hoffman (Papillon and Dega), wrestling crocodiles, surviving on centipedes, and romancing scantily-clad Mexican ladies (of the type that may’ve existed before the Whiteys ruined Mexico, dunno specifically how we ruined Mexico, but doubtless we did…and then we ruined popular music *sigh*).  In fact I’m still not sure if the bit with the muchly idealised Mexican beach tribe was a Papillon dream?  This part of the film also draws me to the moral conclusion ‘Never trust a Nun’, (spoiler alert) as said nun sends poor McQueen back to his doom with the words ‘If you are sinful, you have paid for some of your sins (with the pearls he gave her to hide him), if you are innocent, God will see that you are looked after’.  Back to solitary confinement for our innocent protagonist then.

In fact, the more I think on it, if this film was recast with a few other familiar faces (Michael Palin, how I love thee, let me count the ways), it could easily be a Monty Python outing.  Almost.  No it wasn’t quite that silly.  But for the sake of a digested review, Papillon = Monty Python does Existentialism.  Y’know, a cacky quote for the film poster, which basically misleads the potential audience into seeing a film they didn’t want to see.  That’s what they do these days.

Cynical, moi?

Over & owt

In search of the Good Jeebies*

*The Good Jeebies, are positive heebeejeebies, created through laughter, music & spending time with folk who make you happy.  In oppositition ‘Bad Jeebies’, are the negative energy you get built up inside you from the effort of being polite to irritating customers & smug middle management.

It’s just me & my murdering cat at home now for the time being.  And even though we have a pre-existing three year relationship, during which I rescued her from the inbred backwaters of Kirkby, I think we’ll still a fair bit to learn about one-another.

Oh the look of horror on little Mitzi’s face as I sang along to an Alanis Morrisette song.  To be fair I only ever dig this stuff out from the mossy mires of time, when I’ve just broken up with someone.  The look said ‘I’ve never seen this side of you before, this is not acceptable!’  She’s prolly worried that living alone with just feline & Alanis companionship, will drive me to become a bitter spinster of a cat lady…which means more cats & my Mitz ain’t the sharing type.  This means war.  She’ll be maiming vaguely eligible men in the street soon, dragging them back to the flat as ‘offerings’.  ‘Look at this one!  He’s got an i-phone, there must be some app on it to train him to feed me on time lady!’

Along with comically musing over my agreements & disagreements with ’21 Things…’, I have many a way of purging my neurosis.  Only trouble I’ve done it all before.  I find pouring certain traits into characters I write, is most therapeutic.  I abuse my power over them to yak up elements of weakness or weirdness I want rid of.  And quite often this works, at least temporarily.  I’ll be able to read back a passage and think ‘I’ve got rid of that particular angsty  tendency, no more of that shit for me’.  But now I’m finding that the little f**kers come back!  And I can’t be writing the same old rubbish again, else people will realise I’m as much of a twerp as my characters.

…And so I must rush headlong back into the chaos, as my stir-crazy cat pins herself to the window, and plots the demise of creatures in the garden (not least the neighbours’ charmingly batty mutt), and raise a glass, to me & Mitz, in search of the good jeebies.

 

this & that (a life without bubblewrap)

Whatcha been up to? “This & that”

How you feelin? “So-so”

In the past few weeks I’ve smashed up a lot of stuff.  Not least a loving relationship based on rum, fun, rambling (both types) & laffing…as opposed to mutual mundane torture, as is the norm…  What can I say except I’m terribly skilled at kicking myself in the teeth?

I’ve been packing all my stuff up in the cohabited flat, and so dismantling our life together, taking to pieces our ying & yang of DH mountain bikes, moomin pictures, 70s coffee tables & micro-brewery paraphernalia.  I was wrapping up picture frames today to protect them for their travels, bubble-wrap & masking tape & rolls of old lining paper.  I finally came to my favourite frame, one I bought from an antique/junk shop on Abbeydale Road, back in my Sheffield days, all decoratively carved wood, scratched by time & provenance.  I leaned my knee on it to secure some tape and CRRAAACCKK.  Being on the fragile side, I began bawling like a kid fallen off their trikey, but as quickly as the tears spurted, they stopped, like a kid being handed a lollypop, and so immediately forgetting why he was upset.  It was my pretensions to ‘art’ that stopped the tears & made me fetch my camera & alter the lighting in the room.  I’ve got a thing about photographing smashed glass.  Which is just as well.  I’ve worked in bars for nearly 10 years, surrounded by glassware & crockery, and one of the few errant genes I’m sure of is the clumsy gene.

They say clumsiness is linked to emotions, and I can vouch I can measure my own stability/happiness by how often I break shit.  At the most anxious/unhappy time in my life I was smashing a couple of things per shift.  Needless to say the head bartender (a dickweedious blob of an ego, also my then-boyfriend’s housemate) would rip it out of me every time, and while I’m certainly able to return such ‘banter’, it didn’t make the bags under my eyes any lighter.  That particular job/boyfriend scenario was one of my lifes lowest ebbs, and before I left both I even managed to break someone’s arm.  Another dickweed thankfully, through the ‘gross negligence’ of leaving a box of wine in the way.  A trip hazard it seems.

In the past week or so, there have been some breakages.  My favourite being an entire tray of salt & pepper pots at the end of a saturday night slog.  Sneezy, Dopey & Grumpy were all present by the end of the evening, sweeping up the debris of my self-esteem.

Have you ever bought a pint, set it down on the table, gone to take your seat (mid-conversation) & up-ended the entire unsupped pint into your own lap?  I’ve done that twice.  Once it was Guiness, once it was Black Sheep Bitter.  Although they both happened at good times in my life (Sheffield city of dreams), so on my sliding scale of being a clutz, skirt-full-of-beer = good, glass-i-barely-touched-exploding-near-my-face = bad.

Anyway, back to the packing…

Over & owt.

Extracts from Dogtooth Chronicals

I’ll nolonger be putting up extracts that will make the final draft in ‘Dogtooth Chronicals’, as I hope to pursue its publication shortly, and many publishers/competitions have rules about this.  I will continue my ‘Kill Your Darlings’ series of the bits I’ve sadly had to delete, often not because they lack something, but simply to make the plot progress more efficiently.

On a side note, getting down to the boring nitty gritty of editing is very difficult when the news is currently making me gawp like a trout.  It’s not been a quiet year of the news front, I hope things calm down, and my thoughts are with those who are suffering from all these crises.

All my little words…

Writing a novel has so far been an incredible experience.  However I’m now reaching the two toughest parts – detailed, tedious editing (as opposed to creative editing) & the challenge of getting published.

Anyroads, I shall allow here a little nostalgia.  In between working in bars, cafes & pubs, in between completing an art degree, in between deciding between rum & ginger or a nice pint of local ale, inbetween drinking more brews than is good for the brain or the bladder, inbetween over-egging the ‘inbetween’ pudding, I’ve managed to nail 200,000 words, most of which I’m proud of.  Writing, particularly about the murky depths of characters minds, has worked to keep me sane.  I can admit at times it’s done the opposite, I’ve accidentally fallen into the pond of ‘method writing’, which has left me worse for wear.  But whenever the mundanity of work, studying or friend/family politics has got me down, I’ve had a surefire escape.

Although I owe a great deal to my hometown of Nottingham, and all the amazing people & places I know here, in many ways the novel is a lovesong to the North (albeit a cynical, doom-riddled one, a bit a ‘ Magnetic Fields’ song, one title of which I stole for a blog heading).  I love the drinking holes, the atmosphere, the latent potential, the shabbyness next to the clumps of uber-shiny regeneration, the wild moors & drizzly inner cities, I love the importance of gumption & the overwhelming lack of it.  Yorkshire my love, when will you take me back?!  I know I don’t quite talk proper yet, but I’m working on it…

I digress, as is usual with memory fog & rum riddled bleating…

A typical armchair know-it-all recently asked me flippantly, “So, what writers have you ripped off?”  Truth be told, I’ve ripped off everything I’ve ever known that got under my skin.  The difference is that I chewed up & regurgitated it, and now hopefully it’s even prettier than West Street gutter, 3am Sunday morning.

And so, and so…back to the drizzle of grammar & layout, & this & that… wish me luck on the road to meek success or noble failure.

Over & owt.