Friday, December 19, 2008

Death Watch Beetle

The death watch beetle can be heard by those lying sleepless at night wondering about the sound of death. It taps or ticks, and is named for the vigil kept beside the dying or dead, and by extension the superstitious who have seen the death watch as an omen of impending death.

I am a death watch beetle. I keep watch by the side of one who is about to pass on.

It is with some trepidation that I write this, because I know how much this subject hurts the person closest to me.

But it plays on my mind. I can't stop my thoughts, and my thoughts ask if you would seek peace or torment?

Would you choose to be imprisoned in a decaying unresponsive shell?

Would you choose to be a rag doll dependent on others for all your bodily needs?

I will sing to you until you stop. I will give you my voice until it breaks. But I cannot truly believe that the God that you believe in would wish you to end your days this way. A prisoner of your own soul. A frail vessel that disintegrates whilst those about you can only try to do what is right by them.

I do love you. But this is breaking my heart, and his soul.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I had a fab day. I also got a bit hammered and hugged the world and it's mother. My maiden Aunty Elsie (76 and never dallied...) was shocked at my apparently outrageous flirting! Saying as the hugs were indiscriminately being sown (my classmates, my lecturers, my husband, my aunty herself, the Big Issue seller on Grey Street, the nice boy in Fenwicks who sold me Laptop Ares at a vastly inflated price whilst I was inebriated...) I suspect it was more a case of hug diarrhea than any serious attempt at flirting. Anyway when I flirt, I flirt like a house brick.

Class of 2008: I'm the gormless redhead on the left, next to Louise, David and Andrew (who won a prize, the Git!)

GD is:
listening to the plumber destroying the bathroom, Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals, and enjoying an illicit afternoon off work. Also about to drink red wine, eat chocolate and attempt to put the Christmas tree up. And make a start at rebuilding my I Tunes library, as I don't download, I import from CD. I'm old fashioned like that...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Death of Zeus

You're probably thinking who the hell was Zeus (apart from the fact he was the head of the Greek gods, obviously...). Well, Zeus was my laptop for the past four years. Solid, dependable, honest and hardworking, he never flickered as the repository for all of the crappy story writing and dodgy web surfing that I carried out on his uncomplaining shoulders.

But Zeus is no more. I killed Zeus. And it damn near broke my heart. Now I treat my electronic objects with respect. I name them. I never treat them rough and I always read the manuals. And it all started with a late finish at work and a very bored dog...

Came home several hours late. Found laptop power cable had been eaten (thank the pantheon it hadn't been switched on). Very guilty looking puppy sat in a mess of plastic bits and toilet roll (she'd rampaged in the bathroom as well as the study). So order new a/c, you'd think it be easy as Zeus was Dell born so rather ubiquitous...

Oh no. Not so easy, so I borrowed the power cable from my friends almost identical Dell laptop. Plugged in my baby and POOF! Zeus no more...sad little warning lights twinkled and faded and he died a sad and dignified death by electrocution at my very own hands...

So farewell Zeus, my well configured boy. My tooled up and switched on baby, holder of four years of stories, photos and knocked off software.

So to how to replace Zeus...well I now have Ares, a young upstart with pretensions of grandeur. Like not giving me administrator rights to allow me to install free anti-viral, anti spybot etc software. No Microsoft office (they'll give you a 'free' trial if you sign your life and your laptop's integrity away to them so THEY can spy on your every action). We'll see how he settles into the family. But wish I'd bought the right a/c and just waited a little longer for delivery. Or bought an I-Mac instead of Ares.

GD is: foaming, irritated and burning a very short fuse; having to socialise tonight at a restaurant I don't like (everyone's fingers are in everyone else's dishes - EURGH! Germs). Listening to Siobhan Donaughy's Ghosts which is quite lovely but very Natalie Imbrulia; reading Alan Moore's Watchmen, The Colour Purple (which was on the shelf for about ten years before I finally picked it up) and Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir. Not much then...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hodge Podge

Life's a bit of a mixed basket at the moment. There's a few ripe cherries (notably the Saw Doctors last Friday, complete with a bit of dancing in the aisles and pints in the Bodega afterwards) and a few sour plums. The sour plum knows very well what and who it is and is currently attempting to make recompense for it's transgressions....we shall see how it fairs. I really don't like people taking the piss, so the plum had better learn it's lesson or find itself squelched beneath the boot heel of doom.

I graduate my Master in Creative Writing next Monday with commendation (I may have mentioned that before....big head? Moi?!), have bought fabulous if slightly frivolous frock for the occasion. Not that I need an excuse for frock buying. I'm looking into sponsored PhD's - I can't afford to pay for myself any more, what with spiralling costs. P's MSc is £1,800 this year, £200 more than last year which is shocking as he doesn't get formal teaching, only dissertation guidance three times a semester.

So life just...trundles on. Despite my inherent solipsism I haven't even got the bones of a decent post to stick here, only a recounting of the passing of my days in a haze of mediocrity and cold bones.

Oh, I did have a message on the answerphone the other day that made me shudder in abject horror. The Father (ten stone weakling, in 70's) has a girlfriend (twenty two stone, 60's). Not a pretty picture is it? Especially as GirlFriend has a new phone that OldGoat can't work, so left a message hollering 'Where are you? You're never bloody in!'...then failed to hang up, upon which a conversation ensued regarding GF's new phone. 'Fit's in yer hand nicely,' spouts Dad, 'Bit like me dick...'....NO NO NO NO NO!!!! NO and NO!!!!!

I'm having lunch with them tomorrow. HTF am I meant to keep a straight face...?

GD: freezing her hypothetical nads off, listening to QOTSA, ordering inappropriate presents for work colleagues (damn that Secret Santa! Damn him! This year's recipient is getting a Jew's Harp, otherwise known as a Khomus amongst other things)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Slightly Off Target

I'm having a small, unexpected hiatus. Nothing wrong, just a lack of time through various activities. Needless to say Whitby was fabulous, cold, full of beautiful people, I ate too much and didn't get enough sleep. The crepes with vanilla ice cream were particularly well received. As was being almost run over Voltaire's luggage in the Spa on Saturday afternoon where he and me were lurking with a pint. Oh! And there were pirates and wood nymphs and men wearing nothing but boots and grey body paint...

I did discover that I'm not as goth as I thought I was. It appears to be developing into a very pure brand of Victoriana, with the odd deviation such as loli and the T-Girls. I'm not really any of them so I felt a bit odd. Which in itself is...odd!

Anyway, brief list because sorrow is on my mind: the five songs that make my gut physically clench in pain:
  1. Unintended by Muse
  2. Damaged People by Depeche Mode
  3. If I don't see you again by Neil Diamond
  4. Hurt, the Johnny Cash version
  5. And we have a new entry....Wire to Wire by Razorlight, a band I usually dislike intensely. Which came as a bit of a shock when this song first played on the radio.
Honorable mentions to Cannonball by Damien Rice and St Patrick's Day by Oh Susanna.

GD: grieving her lost Bob, her Gringo and her little critter that came from the sea. I love you Bob. Wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Whitby Goth Weekend

Me, somewhat drunk and collapsed!

I'm shooting off to Whitby soon, for the Oct / Nov Goth Festival...I'm very excited, if a little overawed by the sheer sumptuousness of my fellow attendees outfits / preparations. I'm obviously 'modest goth', should I need to pick a category to plonk myself into. I have three frocks, two pairs of boots and two coats...I appear to be somewhat under prepared to my female counterparts currently waxing lyrical on the WGW forum!

Still, it is nice to be going somewhere where difference is celebrated and much beer is consumed. For a taster of the weekend ahead I've been watching YouTube. Don't like putting the full thing in my blog, but the Culture Show article is worth a watch (six mins long, but captures it perfectly):

Whitby Goths

There was another vid that appears to be 101 things to do with a rose when surrounded by goths...

WGW - Roses Bring Sunshine

And my personal fav, five goths in a tent - a song / photo homage to the event...somewhat tongue in cheek...

Anyhooo...have a good weekend all, I will no doubt be in some pretty states (particularly Friday when we celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary!).

GD: battling a red wine hangover, watching bizarre stuff on YouTube, ON HOLIDAY YAY!!!! and playing at loud decibels The Sisters of Mercy. Particularly Temple of Love.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Caught on a wing and a prayer

Introspection isn't really a very useful life pastime. It tends to raise issues with one's self that one really doesn't wish to deal with, change, develops angry tendencies over or just cups their head in their tender (and very cold) hands with a fervent wish for it all to change.

This post isn't about that. It's about the fact that sometimes being a narcissistic blogger and pouring forth all of the festering rot that hides within your core has a value. It has a use. Whilst I appreciate the blogs of others and their views it has a far more basic construct for me than just reaching out to an audience - it allows me to gesticulate wildy in word in a way I am unable to in the *real* world for fear of alienating all those around me.

More, it has given these frozen digits a purpose. A voice. I think of this now because I was going over the archives of my previous blogs (now offline, Breaking the Angel & Spitting Blood). It is notable how they developed the more I wrote.

That's not to say that what I write now is of any purpose or delicacy of form. What I am saying is some of the early entries were excruciating to behold. I cringe when reading some of the past drivel from BTA. By the time I abandoned the vindictive outpourings that characterized the end of said blog, I'd marginally improved but I suspect that was because the writing was informed by rage and pain at the events taking place in my life at that time.

At least I could vent, and Lo! Spitting Blood came into being. It's colourful recounting of my visit to the STD clinic being one of my personal highlights, closely followed by my deconstruction of the *values* of the Chicken Factory I worked in at that time (a metaphorical chicken factory, I should add). It brought home how I felt to the person closest to me who had to stop reading it because of the level of pain expressed within it.

Then we come to The Repository. I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that I'm often diverted from blogging by giving the girls in my head an outlet to run free and confront the misery of their own personal circumstances (creative writing, folks, I haven't gone barking mad). I think it has informed the fact that these girls express themselves generally in the first person, and that there is so much of myself pouring into Caitlin at the moment that it's a little freaky (she being the she about who my novel is about).

Confused? Try being in my head. Blogging has it's detractors. But for me it gave me a voice when I obviously needed one, albeit a somewhat rusty and awkward squeak. And people. And friends. And it's made me edit myself more thoroughly (is this she, he or it, or could it actually be me? Did I really think that? Am I really such a vindictive bitch?!). So I got wings. And I got caught. But it ain't a bad place to be.

GD: really overly excited about Whitby Goth Festival next week, dreaming of chips, listening to the Mission (UK), amending the short story 'The Moon and Selene' for submission to the Big Girl's Magazine listed in the side bar (Myslexia - EEK! No chance, but if I don't try I won't know...!) and five inches taller in her new goth boots - WAAAYHEEEEY

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

After the euphoria strikes the crash

Reality. Good, ain't it?

Trips you up real good and proper just when the light begins to emerge. Oh, that's not to say things are bad. They're not, just indifferent and bubbling under with future grief.

You can see situations forming but you can be left powerless to do anything. Then there are the problems that you could do something about but choose not to because the person involved caused you great harm in the past. Blood is thicker than water, and I wouldn't ignore an outright plea for help. But if I offer myself on a plate right now I'll get swallow and drained to the very marrow.

So I hold off emotional involvement. At least that's what I tell myself but truthfully it's all bollocks because you can't help not be emotionally involved when this person is so closely related. I can't decide if I just can't be bothered to help, or if their grasping and naked need actually freaks me out so much it causes inaction.

We'll see this weekend when I take steps to address it. It's awful to describe a person as a problem, but they made their bed an awfully long time ago with a seriously deleterious effect on my life and subsequent choices. They had a choice: I did not. They chose to blow it.

GD is: frustrated, slightly sophoric after the osteopath, smelling somehow of patchouli and not knowing how, wishing she was alpha-pretty, wasting time

Friday, October 03, 2008

Smug Mode

Your little Ginger Doll has been neither use nor ornament this past day. She's been very happy however, basking some would say, in the glory of achieving her MA in Creative Writing and for a pretty nifty mark for her dissertation. And she got a merit overall!!! Go ME!!!

I've just released the first installment of 'Playing the Angel' to my unsuspecting work colleagues. In fact, to my Chief Executive. Now given that it is somewhat blasphemous and peppered with rather sarcastic observations about...well shall be interesting to see if I have a job next Wednesday!

Oh well! Eccentricity is a bonus as far as I'm concerned.

And NOW I'm off to allow myself a celebratory glass of gin and tonic.

Chin Chin my friends!

GD is: hyper, happy, pursued by wild dogs (they haven't been fed since breakfast...), probably unemployed and yodelling 'Broken Boy Soldiers' along with the divine Mr Jack White.

Monday, September 29, 2008


  • I'm wanting you to know I know
  • I'm wanting you to know that I'm sorry
  • I'm wanting to contact you to say that sorry
  • I'm wanting it not to be so late in the game that my apology would be meaningless to you
  • But I'm also wanting to know why?
  • I want to understand, get me. I don't condemn you, it's your choice and you have the right to develop however you want
  • You have the right to want to be different
  • You have the right to change yourself to become the mirror image you want to see
  • I guess I want to know if it's my fault, which is basically a very selfish reason for thinking about you so much after this time
  • But, such a fundamental change...I can't let it go. I want to understand why.
  • I want to understand how, and the fascination for it revives my interest in you which again, I'm a little ashamed of.
  • I'm wondering where you've gone and I want to know if you've come back to your roots. Will it be easier for you here? Will your family accept you, now you are longer Jeff?
  • I have no right to want. I gave that up many years ago when I hurt you so pointlessly. I'd like to think that if I'd known what was truly going on in your head that I would have treated you better, not been such a bitch. In truth, I know that I would have acted the same way - seventeen makes for shallowness that only bitter experience can cure
  • I don't love you. But I do wish you well. And I want you to know that, sweetheart. I want you to know that you'll always be intrinsically good, no matter what skin you wear. I want you to know that you're a wonderful person who has had probably one of the most tragic lives I have ever known.
  • I just want you to know I'm forever sorry. And I wish you well.


Monday, September 22, 2008


I'm bed ridden and furious.

That's all I wanted to say, really.

GD has: a spastic rib (literally, it's in spasm); in bed yet freezing cold; trying to type whilst lying flat, which ain't no picnic; banned from working, reading (what?!), watching any television, standing upright for any length of time; totally skint so can't even waste money on Amazon and very, very grumpy about it all. OH! But I am allowed to eat so I'm turning into a cheese and crumpet monster.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gimme More?

I’m a little subdued at the moment. There’s a kind or reversible envy going on in my household: he’s back at uni and I’m not. He hates uni and I’m crying out for educational stimulation. You’d think that less than a month after submitting my final dissertation I’d be enjoying the break: far from it. I’m pining. Pining for academia.

Being somewhat of a solipsist I have examined my feelings towards. This. It stems from early failure – I was the first person in my family to attend university, ergo I was also the first person to be thrown out on my ear at the end of year 2. The fact I did have a spectacularly wild and abandoned second year (lived at home year 1, moved out year 2) cut no mustard with the family: I was deemed an academic failure. Worse, I had wasted good opportunities to better our social standing.

The day I told the Mother I recall sitting on the local playing field with my good friend Helen who found the whole situation very amusing (she’s knows my mother very well: angry little squaw being an appropriate description of her). I sunk a quarter bottle of vodka (the cause of my downfall that year) on that field before breaking the news and letting the wrath of the disappointed smash me into thousands of tiny pieces.

My transgression was never forgotten. I have always been a failure, defined by teenage excess. No matter what my latter achievements have been I cannot be allowed to forget I bombed out (and had my head stapled to boot).

Thus I’ve become stuck in a cycle of defining my worth by education. I worked through an HNC (two years of an undergraduate degree), four years of a different degree, then took a full time masters. Didn’t seem enough, so when I started working again I took my second part time masters over two years, duly completed last month. Now I’m hankering after a PhD. Don’t know what in, can’t afford it but still…

Perhaps I need a new definiter (does that word exist…I don’t think so!). But then I look at what I have – a job that I adore three days a week that gives me the leisure to indulge in creativity and writing. I give money to people and get paid for the pleasure. I help people on a daily basis to make their lives and communities just that little bit better, that bit more supportive. I don’t get paid a huge amount, but what I get reflects the fact that I am a professional who works for a charity. I certainly don’t care about earning more, and I realise that’s quite a rare gift.

I’m not materialistic (unless it comes in book form). I don’t need objects to make me happy. I’ve been scraped along the bottom of the barrel in my personal life, usually by those I love the most, but I’ve come out smiling and with my backbone reinforced.

So why the emptiness? Why the longing to be on campus, mooching about the library and drinking tea on the lawns? Sigh…I’ve actually started to read philosophy text books when commuting…who, why, what? Hard questions for an atheist.

GD is: peevish. Spending too much time on the Whitby Goth Forum. Searching desperately for the one bit of paper with the name and number of the one person she desperately needs to call which has of course disappeared into the ether; balancing the textbooks with Dexter volume 2; listening to 30 Seconds to Mars cover of Kayne West’s Stronger which is surprisingly good; now onto the fifth and final series of Six Feet Under – hurray / boo…

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Loving Russell Brand

Normally I don't. Nor do I love MTV. However, I do love Russell just a little bit more following his MTV 'outburst'...

Russell Brand says it like it is

In other news GD is: headachy, whingy, waiting for the telecom engineer to switch the TV back on, listening to Clannad of all things, wondering quite how she's managed to overspend quite so much this month, and thinking she really ought to be doing something creative but all she wants to do is eat. Oh, and don't forget the new boot lovin'...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Identity Crisis

How do we define ourselves? We could be in a certain state of mind that generates how we see our situation at that particular point. For example, which of the following is true?
  • Well employed with a skilled job that gives me the freedom and flexibility to be who I wish to be or a trapped, bored corporate whore?
  • Outgoing, friendly and helpful to those who approach, or hiding a ‘Burn Everything’ mentality?
  • Lucky to live in a land of plenty where I am rich enough to live comfortably, or a fat, grossly self-indulgent bucket of lard?
  • Highly educated and seeking further enlightenment through study, or hiding from responsibility behind academia?
  • The proud owner of a lovely seaside house that keeps me warm and nurtures me, or trapped into a cycle of mortgage repayments and negative equity?
  • Tinged with a first world country healthy glow and the benefits of the National Health Service, or a neurotic, self deluded harpy…

You see where I’m going with this? Incidentally the answer is yes to everything.

GD is: at work; perspiring; extremely anti-social; wondering what to do now this stage of my formal education has ended; suffering from a week without television; watching too many DVD box sets (Dexter, Heros 1 &2, Six Feet Under, which I’m loving) and having a Tarantino Fest

Sunday, August 17, 2008


This is a peculiar phase in my life. Certain places, times and people are coming full circle in my life to a natural close. Some of it is desperately sad. Most of it doesn’t even affect me directly. The effect it has on my psyche is an entirely different matter.

Throughout our lives we build unconscious bonds with places that come to hold great significance at key parts of our lives. One such place is my friend Tish’s childhood home. It still is her home in many ways, despite her having not resided there for any significant period of time for the past eighteen years.

Tish in TX Maxx. Yes, the bright orange PVC was only being modelled for fun....shame you can't see the gigantic crotch hole that made it even more special...

It’s a nondescript 1960’s semi detached house on a pleasant, family orientated estate. It’s right next to our old infant / junior school, with the swathes of grass and gorse bushes that marked our childhood boundaries now replaced by ten foot metal prison fences and uniformly flat lawn. My old classroom has been demolished: Tish’s bedroom overlooks where it used to stand.

At this house I first got drunk and paraded about in silver tights, I first wielded a whip (don’t ask…!), I watched Tish high karate kick her bedroom wall when her heated rollers wouldn’t work, and in this room we would always return following a hectic night out rock clubbing, to fall into camp beds her dad had set up for us, complete with hot water bottles to keep us warm. I would change here from the parentally approved demure long skirts into far smaller creations, whilst I constructed elaboratly linked drinking straws to allow us to drink from the same two litre bottle of cider on the back of the bus to town. And one memorable night my dear friends managed to turn my face green and I learned all about crabs (the sexual disease kind)…

Tish’s dad is very frail and the house has to go. We stayed there again recently, just the two of us, drinking wine, eating chocolate and discussing the incontinence of age. Looking at pictures of us twenty years ago (my god I had bad hair: on one photo I look like Princess Anne) was a sharp reminder of how far we’ve come. We listened to Nightowls, a regional radio programme that was the required listening when we were kids, if only to see which of our friends was ringing up to confess to an illicit crush or illegitimate baby.

So I say goodbye to something that has been a vast reference point in my life. Farewell to old memories. I need to move on. Stop drifting.


GD: listening to the Bunnymen live on; finishing my university portfolio two weeks ahead of schedule (no, I can't believe it either - there's just the final edit and presentation to complete). Contemplating the pleasures of my new bathroom which is currently being installed (thank the lady gods I have two toilets as the bathroom's been out of bounds for four days). Being nibbled by a very bored and farting dog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ineffectual Flailing

Will someone please give me a solid kick up the arse and tell me to stop time wasting?


GD is: Procrastinating, expanding, eating waaaaaaaaaay to much sugar, not wanting to get off her ass and go to work / complete her dissertation / be productive and smiley. Listening to Kate Bush. Watching way to many Olympic fringe events. Since when did I like synchronised diving and clay pigeon shooting so much?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Night Before The Morning After

That's a completely stupid post title. It has no relevance. The whole point, it was a line in a song that just played in the background as I was sat here in a crippling ennui of writers' block. Seems to have achieved it's objective, at least I'm typing now, even if my head is just going about in concentric rings. Fact is, it's been so long since the last night before the morning after I have no idea what it's like anymore to experience that fizzy sensation of starting a night all dolled up with many places to go and many pigs to snog.

It was supposed to happen last week. Was supposed to be the Mayfair Rock night reunion (yes, yes, reunions are sad and pathetic. But this one would have been special. Mr Claypole. Mr Rock. Pigs of the Mayfair. Torpedo Tits and Tiara (who had wheels. I really wanted to see if she still had wheels)). Should have known it wouldn't happen. Truth be told, I'm not quite sure why we didn't go. Think it goes back to the aforementioned ennui.

So no dolling up, no red lipstick and false nails revisited, just a sofa retreat with a Heroes box set (yes, I am the only person on the planet who hasn't watched the entire first series of Heroes, though I'm up to number 17 now, so will soon be a normal, functional member of the human race again). Gin and Tonic. A few desultory texts amongst friends also supposed to be Mayfair Revisited who'd also hidden in the sanctuary of their sofas. We did raise a glass to the Queen Mother (Chin! Chin! God rest her soul!). But it doesn't really make up for missing a hard night boogying on down to Nirvana, NIN, GnR, Irom Maiden and the obligatory Sabbath (usually Paranoid. Never changed).

So life is sucky right now. Work is stressful (but I wouldn't be anywhere else for all the Russian rubles in the world). I have absolutely no clue what to do with the parent who appears to be developing dementia and is a real physical danger to himself and others on the roads in his shiny new, hire purchase bought 4x4 (what were the garage thinking, giving a 71 year old man of no income credit?!). He's also a hysterical, often nasty man prone to shouting abuse at people in the street (that's not the onset of dementia, it's the product of a grossly inflated ego. He's always had that!). He's also entertaining, occasionally funny, scared and lonely, despite my occasional thoughts that revolve around removing his head and boiling it.

P's mum has recovered to a certain extent, but there are a myriad of problems still to be dealt with. He's doing amazingly well, given how much strain he's under.

So, fellow bloggers, I need to party. Need to paint myself white and black and purple (giant bruise - yay!). Want to wear fishnets and inappropriately large boots, preferably with pointy toes. Want to wear purple victoriana dresses and decolletage (sassy not slutty). Want to sip long G&Ts with ice and slice, and feel alive again. Feel young again. Feel worthy again.

Instead I sit and adjust my finances for the credit crunch. I charge my retro ladden ipod. I bite my nails and scrape my hair back after removing the grey I found lurking within. I buy industrial strength bosom scaffolding to cope with gravity. I wait for the boy to get back from the hospital, tired and sad, when we'll both put on a smile and make like it's all OK.

GD is: thinking about shoes, college deadlines (thinking, not acting...), visiting the town of her name tomorrow and very foolishly listening to Disintegration by the Cure which is currently on Pictures of You and doing nothing for her humour at all...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


'I had a dream that we were skating, the ice was thin and we were waiting. To fall right in', All About Eve, Pieces of Our Soul

P's mum is in hospital. Not unexpected, but for many reasons frustrating. She's a prisoner in her own soul.

I'm so very weary, but it can't be anything compared to what he's feeling.

GD: lacking sleep, bruised with light drink, worrying about all and sundry...and so very, very frightened by it all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

To my extended family

Sigh. Where is one to start? Life has it's highs and lows, and then it has it's strange impasses. This is currently impasse phase. There is nothing bad / unusual / cruel happening to me personally. Instead, life's shittiness has just spread itself against my nearest and dearest and is conspiring to make their lives generally miserable, difficult and often downright unpleasant. For reasons of privacy (theirs, not mine - my life is often a distressingly open book..!) I can't go into the details but if any of them pass by this way, then I'm thinking about you and I'm loving you all very much. Wish I could do more, but right now it feels like my place is to stand helplessly by and hand over the Kleenex when it's appropriate.

For P, because this is very much how you feel and I can give just a little help when you need it:

Dancing In The Dark: Bruce Springfield

I get up in the evening

and I ain't got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain't nothing but tired
Man I'm just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can't start a fire
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
even if we're just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
radio's on and I'm moving 'round the place
I check my look in the mirror
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man I ain't getting nowhere
I'm just living in a dump like this
There's something happening somewhere
baby I just know that there is

You can't start a fire
you can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
even if we're just dancing in the dark

You sit around getting older
there's a joke here somewhere and it's on me
I'll shake this world off my shoulders
come on baby this laugh's on me

Stay on the streets of this town
and they'll be carving you up alright
They say you gotta stay hungry
hey baby I'm just about starving tonight
I'm dying for some action
I'm sick of sitting 'round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
come on now baby gimme just one look

You can't start a fire sitting 'round crying over a broken heart
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
You can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancing in the dark
Even if we're just dancing in the dark

GD is currently: stubbing her stocking clad toes a great deal, weeping over certain passages in certain emails about the previously unknown affection of someone who killed them self some time ago, thinking that age has definitely got its cold grip into my soul as all the adult orientated rock that I so despised in my youth suddenly speaks with perfect clarity, hence the Brucey lyric above. Oh, and I'm wearing purple which clashes tremendously with my hair but I don't care because it's a pretty dress and I'm feeling the need for decoration.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Swiss Roll Breasts, B'God...

I'm all bits and pieces right now. Will concentrate on gluing myself back together with lard, then no doubt normal (if erratic) service will resume. Take care, all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Drinking the Snot of Summer

The post title may sound gross but it's exactly what I'm doing today, and what I have been doing for the past three weeks, leading to a black hole of activity, cognisant thought and an excess of mucus and apathy.

I'm sporting a pair of beautiful black rimmed eyes right now: no, not gothic excess, just as summer paints some people with golden hues, it taints me with decay. I risk an asthma attack every time I walk outside. I am being a morbid drama queen of doom right here and now, but I don't care. I've put on seven pounds in weight in a month purely by not being mobile in my usual way. And now I'm sick of it!

Nine million people in the UK have hay fever to varying degrees. People who have never had it before are developing it now in their fifties and sixties, not childhood as previous, and they're not growing out of it in their forties (bad news for snot bunny here). It's a curious phenomenon yet it is an ailment derided by the working establishment for not being a serious ailment. Well, I can't see properly, look like I've been fighting, am so crabby that I would actually like to have been fighting and I have HFT (Hay fever tension). My lungs are gasping like holey bellows and my nose bleeds frequently. I'm a lovely sight either at work or play...

Given the widespread nature of the disease there is very little support or research happening aimed at finding comprehensive cures. I'm still hankering after the worms (you eat them, they live happily inside you, your immune system turns on them and ignores the pollen) but the husband isn't quite so keen. Gene therapy solutions are a little new and permanent for my liking (just watched I Am Legend, crap film but likely scenario).

Anyway, this little tirade has quite exhausted me. I am now off for my afternoon nap. I feel about 102. Pah...!

GD is: listening to the Juno soundtrack again, lusting after pencil drawings in the Baltic arts centre by Yoshitomo Nara, especially the one that states 'Burn Everything'...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If I don't see you again, it was a hell of ride

Genetics by Sinead Morrissey

My father’s in my fingers, but my mother’s in my palms.
I lift them up and look at them with pleasure –
I know my parents made me by my hands.

They may have been repelled to separate lands,
to separate hemispheres, may sleep with other lovers,
but in me they touch where fingers link to palms.

With nothing left of their togetherness but friends
who quarry for their image by a river,
at least I know their marriage by my hands.

I shape a chapel where a steeple stands.
And when I turn it over,
my father’s by my fingers, my mother’s by my palms

demure before a priest reciting psalms.
My body is their marriage register.
I re-enact their wedding with my hands.

So take me with you, take up the skin’s demands
for mirroring in bodies of the future.
I’ll bequeath my fingers, if you bequeath your palms.
We know our parents make us by our hands.

GD is: in a wistful, abstract mood, listening to Neil Diamond's 'Home before Dark', thinking that anyone who likes the above poem should buy the Bloodaxe twin anthologies 'Staying Alive' and 'Being Alive' (from which it is taken), wishing I'd the skill to craft something as beautiful as either 'Genetics' or Mr Diamond's 'If I don't see you again', and being very very avaricious and ordering all five Johnny Cash American Recordings in one go...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Passive Voice

"You can put it down to lack of patience
You can put it down to lack of sleep
But it's in my head to stay in bed
Tucked under the sheets"
We're Not Deep, The Housemartins

And there it is. The real problem with this girl is she says she can't when she can (and I'm being very flippant here in line with the Housemartin's LP storming along in the background). Having said that it is true.

I'm being seduced by late spring. By soft grey rainstorms and intermittent sunshine that illuminates my little world when I least expect it. I'm drowning in girliness and realise its a substitute for youth.

I'm planning outings and then actually undertaking them. I'm buying cute dresses (again) like the recession is just a creepy little dream. I'm drinking less but making it count more.

I'm reading, wallowing in high fantasy that stretches across six thick, satisfyingly good tomes (Robin Hobb, for the record). I'm dreaming (nocturnally) of princes who need kissing and the joy of that first touch (not sure if that's such a good thing...).

I'm pulling the brittle cords of the first grey hairs from my head and trying not to admit it scares me. I'm watching other peoples' children and thinking how beautiful they are, whilst trying not to admit how glad I am not to have one as their incessant demands for attention override even the sweetest of curly blond heads.

I'm a little thief. I steal peoples' thoughts and emotions and weave them into the fantasies that fill my days but fail to materialise on paper. The words of others more literate than me sustain me as I wheel flippant fingers on the perfectly formed black wheel of my pretty little needful thing music device.

I wait impatiently for the bulbs that I planted in fallow ground to take root and blossom, and I scrutinise their progress each day with little regard to the slow passing of time. I look at my grey headed father whose mobility is dwindling week on week, and my grey headed angry little mother and I feel the quickening pace of their lives' as they speed towards extreme old age.

I'm scared. Scared most of all by this passive voice that colours my activities. Passivity caused in part by contentment, by relief that I have a period of time where I no longer have to fight. Sometimes adversity forces us to act, without it I become a dumb animal. Or so it seems. What will I regret most in thirty years time I wonder?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I've been asking myself this a lot recently, both in the personal and wider sense of the word.

Ask me what my dream is and I'll sing you a song that encompasses freedom and self fulfilment that is all tied up in escaping the now. I'll sing of Whitby and wonky houses (if you follow that link you'll see my dream house...), a life spent reveling in the written word, a place and a time where I can step away from the shackles of responsibility and be truly free. I could spend my days elevated above the world in my own little piece of sky and write about love and death and all that passes in between . He could spend his days being a code monkey to his heart's content.

It's his dream too, relocate to the place that speaks to us both of who we really want to be. It's only two hours away by car. It is not the end of the earth. Sure risks would have to be taken, jobs given up, friends to be made. Parents would be further away which would cause concern as all of our siblings has happily shuffled responsibility for their well being to ourselves. But still only two hours away...

What pisses me off so much right now is myself. Y'see, my dream could so easily be reality. There is absolutely nothing standing in the way of it's realisation except fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of risking the comfortable, middle class lifestyle we've built for ourselves. Fear of stepping outside the trap that we have created.

And it is a trap. It's a gilded trap, these four walls. They give the illusion of security all wrapped up in a candy coated shell. There is the ties of a mortgage that we can never hope to pay off. There is the tie of everyone else's disbelief that this isn't enough for us, there is the weight of expectation from the older folk that we stay here evermore (croaked the raven and we all know what happens in that poem...).

So why can't I do it? Why am I not brave enough to say fuck it all, sell the house and move elsewhere? Why can't I fill my days with writing and determination, commitment and self discipline? Why am I such a lazy arse, sat here spreading with middle age acceptance and flatulence, conforming to society's view? When did I become so scared?

Wider World
I've mentioned Whitby. Last weekend was Whitby Goth Festival, at which a bench was dedicated to the memory of Sophie Lancaster. Sophie was a twenty year old goth who was beaten and kicked to death in a park one night as she tried to protect her seriously injured boyfriend when a gang of youths attacked them. The little bastards responsible showed no remorse. The police investigating the case said that their parents found the whole thing funny and laughed during the investigation. This story has really hit a nerve with me. I've been meaning to post about it sooner but found every time I tried I got upset.

I have no right to grieve for a girl who didn't know me. That right goes to her family, in particular her mother who has acted with dignity and humanity, starting a fund in Sophie's name (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere). But my heart is gladdened by the generosity and efforts of the goth community of which she was a part, who raised the money for the bench and saw it dedicated to her on the 26th April. Who made pilgrimage from Whitby to see her murderers sentenced to life in prison. Perhaps something wonderful will come out of this senseless loss of life.

GD is: moping about like a big fat fly stuck in a web, listening to The Damned's Phantasmagoria on very scratched vinyl and thinking it hasn't survived the eighties very well.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I hear the word for love, I hear the word for death, but I don't hear any answers

I'm feeling somewhat recovered but suspect that's due to the studious application of red wine. Yes, good reader, I am somewhat inebriated. I'm also writing which is a good thing. In a recent critiquing session my fellow students very kindly said they liked this passage from my novel, so I'll share it with you:

"In truth my father was a tall man with hollow shoulders that stooped slightly as he walked. Like all of our family he looked younger than his proscribed years but his hair had greyed preternaturally and I can’t recall him ever looking fully rested, even when on holiday. There was an overt gentleness to him that masked a hidden core of strength and practicality. I watched him once wringing the neck of small bird found cat injured on the path leading to our house. He told me to go in whilst he saw to it but I turned and watched instead, saw those pale long fingers caressing the bird gently before the sudden twist and crack and his unflinching eyes that met mine over the small carcass. Sometimes, he said, sometimes you have to make hard decisions. He could never fly again. What life could a bird have when it can no longer ride the thermals, when their wings no longer send them spinning into the sky? And through the tears I understood what he meant."

Through my tears I wonder when the thermals stopped catching me up like they used to. Do birds know, when they get old, what they're about to lose? Or does nature and no forewarning of death protect them?

NB. Don't fret about me. I'll be fine come the morrow. I'm just mourning the passing of time and opportunity. And my fingernails.

GD is currently: drinking more Shiraz than recommended, scared witless but rather thrilled by the spectacular thunder / lightening storm outside her window...facking hell, the sky's gone out....all whilst listening to Nightwish's Nemo...

Defeated in Body

The Snot Monster cameth. He saw, he conquered, he torn my little chest apart, shook me up and filled me with mucus and sputum, then left me drown in a pool of codiene, asthma meds and inertia.

Yours from the Land of Nod, The Sickly Redhead.

Who is currently: eating her own fingers, nails and all, listening to excessive amounts of Guns and Roses and feeling very very sick.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Read My Mind

I’m feeling a little washed out (or maybe up?) at present. Hence I’ve been listening to this a little overmuch. I’m also mangling the English language marvellously well in a whole three sentences. Go me!

"Read My Mind" The Killers

On the corner of main street
Just tryin' to keep it in line
You say you wanna move on and
You say I'm falling behind

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

I never really gave up on
Breakin' out of this two-star town
I got the green light
I got a little fight
I'm gonna turn this thing around

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The good old days, the honest man;
The restless heart, the Promised Land
A subtle kiss that no one sees;
A broken wrist and a big trapeze

Oh well I don't mind, if you don't mind
'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
Before you go, can you read my mind?

It’s funny how you just break down
Waitin' on some sign
I pull up to the front of your driveway
With magic soakin' my spine

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The teenage queen, the loaded gun;
The drop dead dream, the Chosen One
A southern drawl, a world unseen;
A city wall and a trampoline

Oh well I don't mind, if you don't mind
'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
Before you jump
Tell me what you find when you read my mind

Slippin’ in my faith until I fall
You never returned that call
Woman, open the door, don't let it sting
I wanna breathe that fire again

She said I don't mind, if you don't mind
'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine

Put your back on me
Put your back on me
Put your back on me

The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun
When you read my mind

Today I is: tired, vulnerable and emotional, a big fat shoulder to cry on, shuddering at the thought of alcohol tonight and yet knowing I do not have the willpower to say no.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I'm turning into a batty old lady. What else explains my current compulsion to dress like Alice in Wonderland on a regular basis?

Normal posting will probably resume tomorrow, right now I'm off to find a white pinny and I'll leave you with a quote that stopped me in my tracks when I saw it inscribed in white marble at the Baltic on Thursday:

"He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star"
William Blake

Jane is: listening to The Mission's God's Own Medicine (retro still strong in my world), reading Wide Sargasso Sea (the story of the mad woman in the attic, marvellous!), freezing her tits off in her study (common occurrence, I need mittens), lusting after all the pretty spring frocks she can't afford, feeling emotionally asleep whilst trying to write a scene of developing love which really doesn't help.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Declaration of Intent

Before, I was just playing.

Now, I'm serious.

Let's see what the year brings.

Today GD is mostly: washing her hair with a jug, playing Consolers of the Lonely by the Raconteurs (though bizarrely I'm convinced it's called Connoisseurs of the Lonely), repenting excessive birthday consumption, eschewing meat again, wondering when personal grooming became so reliant on umpteen product applications (including 3 types - yes 3!!! - of moisturizer)....

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I make no apologies!

I sincerely don't. For you see, the EVENT of my birthday is upon me and I turn the grand old age of 36 on Tuesday. All Fools Day, which is about right. I have been spending the last few hours happily cocooned in '80s nostalgia and avoiding all thought of the sartorially painful '90s at all cost.

It's funny how a time defines us. For me it was the late 1980's because I think that was when I began to realise what type of person I was going to become (which is different from having a clue as to what is going on!). I was fortunate to have my very own 'summer of love' in the shape of 1989, and a sixth form common room that I dressed with daffodils, lenient teachers (dress code wise, anyway), finding an identity of sorts and playing with the boys a little. But not too much! I've always been a dreadful prude...

I spent that summer and probably most of that year in a goth-romantic haze. I have no diary entries for this period, they petered out after the horror of being sixteen. I read Marion Zimmer Bradley's 'Mists of Avalon', T.S. Eliot, excessive amounts of Thomas Hardy and John Fowles 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' - an A level text that held a satisfyingly puzzling narrative (including several endings, a description of prostitution in Victorian London and the nature of condoms, plus probably the most unsatisfying sex scene in history). I ADORED David Eddings Belgariad books and read my copies into extinction.

I started going to concerts proper, either with friends or the current love interest (Jeff). I was content with my peer group and knew my place within it. I saw Evil Dead and The Lost Boys for the first time, and I knew film heaven. I lost my heart to Keifer Sutherland's vampire David and posted him next to the consumptive Ian McCulloch in pride of place at the side of the bed. At the head of the bed was The Master - Robert Smith looking unbelievably delightful in a Betty Boo t-shirt. I ran round Tish's back garden in a t-shirt and silver tights with an unbelievably high backcombed fringe and leather whip (don't ask...).

It was a time and a place where I felt beautiful. Radiant even, though you'd have never guessed it from the demeanour, dress and music! I played the Mission's Carved in Sand, The Mary Chain's Darklands and anything by All About Eve I could get my obsessive little mitts on. I learned which Cure albums to love and which to avoid. 'Just Like Heaven' on white 7 inch vinyl was my prize acquisition.

I wrote down my life goals on a piece of paper that I kept with the Sisters of Mercy's autographs (now sadly lost):
  1. Go to university (big thing - first in family)
  2. Go to see The Cure (Rob was god, after all)
  3. Pass A 'levels (which I did, all three though I can hardly say I stretched myself in the sitting)
And that was it...! The sum total of my seventeen year old self's ambition. It all seems so innocent. And it was. Jeff taught me to shoot a pistol in his back garden whilst we were supposed to be studying for our politics exam together (we both got 'B's which is quite an achievement considering most of time was spent canoodling in various fields) and I wore an exquisite little black top with beads that fit me like a glove and which now I can barely get over my forearm (I can't bear to part with it). I was tiny, so tiny and I used to look at my chest in desperation, willing for some growth action (cured that by going on the pill and going up 4 chest sizes in two years!).

I Tunes is currently playing 'Where were you when I needed you?' by the Bangles, a satisfyingly '80's band that Angela idolised. There's a picture below that shows us all on New Year's Eve that year, and she's at the front with the bare legs. What that picture doesn't show is me two hours earlier frantically rubbing sunshine tan into her milkbottle legs to give her a glow that our winter sun couldn't. Note I'm palm down on the right: I had stunningly brown hands that contrasted rather sharply with my magnificent translucence!

All things end. At the start of 1990 I dumped my big haired Jeff for a number of reasons (young, callow stupidity being one of them, prudery another). You see everything changed for us that night, as a group. Just after midnight we received a call to say that my friend Tish's mother had collapsed with a stroke and died. She was so young, only in her fifties. Our secure little world was irrevocably breached. Ties shattered and reality hit home. I don't think that is any coincidence that my sound track to 1990 was Depeche Mode's Violator, a far cry from 'Flowers in our Hair' and 'Shelter from the Rain' All About Eve staples. The world was becoming less pretty. Grunge began emerging and I threw myself into Doctor Martins and Nirvana with equal fervour. A dark decade for many reasons.

It scares me to realise that the first decade of the twenty first century is nearly at a close. I have better hair, better frocks than the nineties, a far more developed sense of self and liberalism. I read far wider than ever before and I write my sad little stories wondering where they stem from. I dared to dream and now I intend to take wing. Age takes no prisoners and life is fragile.

Bon nuit, sweet readers. Enjoy the pics - I enjoyed the taking of them!

Big Haired Jeff & Me
New Year (Jude at back, l-r front Helen, Angela, Me. Jude's bedroom and her New Kids on the Block pics...)

Jane: The Emaciated Years

Monday, March 17, 2008

For Erinye and for friends in need

A friend Called Jack

Like rats we chased one another through the rubbish strewn corridors of Knotts Flats. Like vermin we grew into teen awkwardness with little more than a sense of home, a time, a place. Our territory expanded into the surrounding urban wilderness – the sharp metallic ruins of Victorian railway architecture that was filled with endless possibilities from its shattered iron and steel construction, coupled with the relief of thick vegetation that crawled with life and small boys when private refuge from public mischief was required.

We cut feet and teeth on the shore below the flats, angling our kicks on the sharp rocks to ensure that the limpets that lived in harmless state would fly loose from their rock sanctuary to face the internal inspection of small fingers before being cast aside indifferently to a certain death. There were worlds within worlds on our shoreline, and you created and embellished their stories with each breath that you took, a story teller dressed in thin skin and scrawny sinew. Your bright eyes could see beyond the mundane greyness of adult explanations that sought to strip the glamour you painted from our childhood views.

There were casualties amongst us. All childhoods hold some form of tragedy and ours was no exception. The industrial heartland of our playground was cruel. Tommy was lost, crushed by the fall of gigantic machinery at the shipyard, illegally accessed one balmy Sunday evening, prompting the bile to pattern my boots as you stood wide eyed with distress as we watched the light fading for eternity before adult support arrived. Soon after, following the path of the freight giants along the tracks we found so little of Petey Harrison’s father left by the sleepers that all I recall now is the sharp stench of diesel and the faint cast of rotten meat spilling from his sad remains.

We were chased by the dead as we scaled the cliffs at the Priory, and then hunted by the living, a chorus of disapproval from the good folk of Tynemouth who despised the sewer children of social housing. No respect, they would mutter, as we ran gloriously free, too wily to be caught by their lumbering, well upholstered bodies.

You wove these times into your tales, embellishing our small victories and painting a vivid world of colour through which your joy for life shone. You incorporated the sharp phizzz and SLAM! of the call to sea for the rescue crews, a sign of ships in distress in the harbour. We’d rush onto our respective balconies and hang precariously over the edges as we shouted and waved at the small craft flying past into the harbour, then we’d watch anxiously for their return, carrying the hopes of all sea dwelling folk in our small prayers.

Then the call to war caught us tight in its implacable march. Separately we were deployed, you to the Navy, myself with the foot soldiers. Without your bright chatter I entered the iron giant that I’d watched constructed, with childhood awe stripped away and replaced by fear, a fear left to gnaw at me silently without your light tales to turn it into something new. I imagined you on your separate metal warrior, cresting the waves with aplomb as your charmed your new companions with your memories of the girls you’d flattered at the fish quay, your patter woven with charm and flattery as you spun their beauty into your starry world.

Before leaving we had strutted in our uniforms, brisk with purpose and bonhomie. I will never forget how you turned to me when the bright eyes of the girls were distracted, and clasped my hand tightly. You spoke quietly, with hesitation so unlike you I was concerned. You spoke of your fear, and it burned into my very bones as you spoke. There were no fancy words, no false bravado, and as my gut clenched in agreement I hated myself for the cheery platitudes I made myself spout to calm your fears. You smiled briefly, I remember, and briefly clasped my rigid body before turning back to our bright haired companions who’d come to wave us off with furtive kisses on our separate journeys.

No need to write of the horror of war. We were both medalled for honour, although in truth I felt nothing but numbness at the reward for peddling death. There was no return for you however, no long evenings for us to spend at the Comrades Club sipping our stout, me your silent companion whilst your tales drew in the young people. The raconteur of Knott’s Flats was forever silenced beneath a grey sea, the same sea in which we sent countless small molluscs to certain death. The sea that coloured our dreams with the sound of the wash upon the banks below our childhood home, that same endless body of water we blithely ignored daily. She claimed your tales in tribute, I believe when I think of you - this the first thought I had when all eyes in the Flats watched the slow progress of the sailor bearing the telegraph to your mother. My dreams are still peppered by the piercing sound of her keening as she fell to her knees before the young man whose eyes were swimming with unshed tears as he stared straight ahead.

There were to be no more childhood tales from your lively tongue echoing those concrete corridors. Childhood ended with the silencing of your vibrant voice and the marshalling of mine. I took up your mantle. I became a tale spinner, widening my eyes to the unreality of life and the bright beauty that dances all around me, even in the bleakest of northern industrial life. I sought to enchant the generation of the jaded and exhausted. To carry on with your voice that implored that adults ought not to fall into greyness, your greatest fear but to show that even from apparent ugliness the most beautiful seeds can be sprung.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Amber Girl title in ref to Tori Amos' Scarlet's Walk which is playing right now. Think I'm an amber wave girl, but just don't tell anyone!

I'm stealing other people to be me today. Tori, Post Secret, I'm living vicariously through the eyes of others.

Today I am: identity confused, musically retrospective, university challenged and personally pessimistic.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Economy Sized Dreams of Hope

I confess to sleeping little last night following the parent's bad behaviour. As my brother said somewhat wryly to me this morning when we talked, she has a dreadful mouth and doesn't stop to think when she opens it. Ho hum, enough of this misery. Hope has landed in the form of the creative banshee.

I visited CB this morning to talk about my final MA project, Playing the Angel. This is a pure fantasy novel, written for that genre only and therefore not particularly literary fiction. Dense, as she put it, as opposed to rushed and thin as my first attempts to get the voice right were. I'd gone completely back to the start with the submission for this tutorial because so many things didn't work for the last piece of work and it was absolutely no fun at all to write.

So I switched to first person, which feels as natural as breathing (I have asthma so make of that what you will...). She was extremely complimentary. She literally had no amendments, no criticisms other than to tweak one sentence that didn't read quite right. I was shocked, stunned and a little teary at her praise. It was completely unexpected because I was beginning to give up hope of producing anything other than bog standard third person prose with no life.

The irritating thing is, I only switched to third person in the first place because I was so heavily criticised in year 1 for writing in the first all the time and not experimenting enough. Apparently I've moved up into another level. I'm so relieved that she actually likes something I've written I am now physically unable to do anything other than slump with disbelief over me keyboard.

Oh well, the praise is nice. Now just another 65,000 words to go...

Today I am mostly: listening to shuffle on the Ipod, which means that Green Day (hence the post title), Pink Floyd and pop tarts are popping up quite a lot; being very silly and drinking two full fat lattes (I must be strung out and emotional); wondering why my husband is occasionally a numpty (to long to explain); realise just quite how much typing 65K words actually is and thinking that maybe I should back Zeus up more often...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Unlocking the Inner Demons

This title does not refer to me. It refers to my mother, who has decided to embark on yet another voyage of lunacy. There has been a great deal of press recently about depression and how - drug dependency aside - it is can often be very good for the soul, building a person's empathy and resilience for later life.

I've found this quite hard to stomach, and some of the newspaper coverage has been so flippant it's irritated me beyond belief (its probably a good job the comments box on the Caitlin Moran pages in The Times regarding a good backhander weren't working when I vented my spleen, kidneys and pancreas). The reason I'm so irate? Not a mention of the families of the depression sufferers. Not a mention of the devastation and harm that parental abdication of responsibility through mental illness causes. No discussion about the repercussion of growing up in a household dominated by blackness for the duration of your teenage years.

If there is one thing that these teenage years taught me, its not to be afraid of my emotions or who I am. My mother hid her illness from all those outside of the family and refused to acknowledge this huge, gurning monkey sat squarely on her shoulder twisting her brain into tortured and fanciful notions. She refused treatment. Outwardly she seemed like a perfectly nice if somewhat sharp tongued middle aged lady. Within doors she cast us down and eviscerated us to keep us in line.

Only in later life, once my brother and I were unceremoniously dumped from her life and refused to crawl back begging for scraps like she intended, did she seek help. Give or take the odd blip she has been relatively well behaved for the past fifteen years. This is largely due to our refusal to entertain some of her wilder denouncements or to venture into a full-on argument with her. These arguments always invariably lead to her screaming repeatedly 'You're just like your father' as she spits at you incoherent with fury.

Well, yes, I admit I am like my father. I'm very like him, without the alcoholism factor. I have a smart brain (and I'm occasionally narcissistic!!), I love books, don't mind a bit of dirt and love a good debate on politics. I'm not an all out money grabber. If there is one key difference between us its that I don't shag around (admittedly, that's a major flaw of his). I look like him, with dark eyes and red hair. This is a fact that hurts my mother every time she looks at me and she cannot forgive me for it.

Well, there is little I can do about this. However, what I can not - and will not - allow is for her to turn her twisted mind on my fifteen year old niece and by extension my brother. My niece is smart, funny and beautiful. She is sweet and cute but she sees and retains information effortlessly and my mother has a careless tongue. My niece has also strayed perilously close to an eating disorder and is monitored closely for signs of slippage. My mother uses this against and tells her she's getting fat (the girl is a spelk). Whilst she's done this to me for years (including when I was seventeen and six stone nine), I cannot allowed her to destroy my gorgeous niece's self esteem the way she did mine.

But my mother's sights are set on more than controlling my niece. She is now hellbent on destroying my brother's two year relationship with his lovely girlfriend. She doesn't care if she loses both of us in the process because her fevered delusions are more important than our happiness. It is reasonable to expect that my brother and his girlfriend wish to create a home elsewhere from the marital abode he lived in for ten years with his ex wife, or so you'd think. Oh no. All the excuse needed to release my mother's inner physco (how in Tartarus do you spell that?). Worse, she's doing it through my niece without bothering to ask her how she feels, but assuming she knows her thoughts better than anyone else, because 'she knows...', the stock phrase she always turns too when she can't win an argument.

I refuse to be drawn into a bitching session at my brother / his girlfriend / ex-wife etc at her behest. Now she is no longer speaking to either he or I, but she is still happy to brag about his achievements (he's a very successful businessman, just won a rather nice award etc). She feels keenly her loss at not being the centre amongst my brother's 'professional' friends, amongst who she could pretend she was important. The job title is more important to her than the person beneath...

God I'm exhausted. I'm caught up in the middle of gross unpleasantness with little hope of reconciliation and my dear parent has ceded responsibility for explaining her hatred towards my brother and his girlfriend to my niece to me, because she will not take responsibility for her own actions. It is all so pointless and futile. We are all supposed to be adults. Is it so wrong that I believe my brother's happiness means more than the location of his house?

Today I am mostly: shattered, reading Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart (again), needing to get it all off my chest, hit by darts of ice whenever I venture outside, eating bad things like kettle chips and white chocolate, wishing I didn't have to be a grown up anymore :-{

Monday, March 03, 2008

Let Me Steal Away

Firstly, I am beyond cold. Why this room is so cold I can't even begin to fathom. Even with the added benefit of dog water bottle on my feet I am cold to the bone (and probably bad too).

Secondly, I am supposed to be tidying up some work to send to uni to be distributed amongst my fellow students for critical discussion. This is scaring the bejesus out of me so I am procrastinating. It's futile of course, it just means that by the five pm deadline I will have achieved little and embarrass myself even more fully by the submission of substandard, poorly planned prose. Oh well. Be that as it may be, some of the inertia comes from being uncertain which way the wind blows in terms of authorisation to take the project forward. I'm pissing in the wind if I expect direction from my tutor, who cancelled my latest tutorial. Besides which, this project is boring me. I want to do something else but the Creative Banshee won't let me at this stage of the course. Oh man.

Thirdly, I am contemplating the godlike loveliness of Eric Bana (a state which occasionally rears up in a most welcome, distracting way). I'm so very much hoping that he shows some bare naked flesh in his new movie, The Other Boleyn Girl. OK, so I'm being slightly crass here, but sod the acting, just bring on those big ears and long limbs. AS Mr Bana has very little to do with the book I'm allegedly writing (Playing the Angel) I suspect that this is another form of creative procrastination. And the 'heroes' are modelled on Billy Joe Armstrong and Viggo Mortenson, so that clears that up!

OK, so I've burnt my heroine's parents and baby brother to death, I had her outcast as scum from her family, lose her first boyfriend to an alpha female, exchange sparky dialogue with the family patriarch which ends in her throwing her shoes at him, almost run away with a hot as hell vampire angel, and then abducted by the son of said angel, then called a liar when she is returned to the family, all within the first 8th of the book. What more does the banshee want? Blood apparently...

Today I am: stroking new cds by Juliette and the Licks and the Killers, loving 'Deus' by the Sugarcubes (see, reading Terry Pratchett's Making Money (I wish...), bunking off uni to finish uni work, thinking about the box of organic chocolate truffles in the cupboard that technically belong to Paul...