Gosh- I’ve been so busy writing, writing, writing… and a fair bit of living too… I’ve not had time to keep this up to date.
Where do I begin…
Trouble writing, my Wednesday class, is interesting and very inspiring.
Our homework was to write a short piece in the form of a letter to ourselves inspired by the short story
Canaries by Yasunari Kawabata which we had read and discussed in class.
The subject was to be love but not necessarily a love-letter. I enjoyed it- found it very cathartic. I had attempted to write a poem around the subject a while ago but it was proving unweildy. The intense and densely layered format worked well and the end result is neither poetry or prose. A hybrid- a prosem?
Please forgive me, although you cannot forgive her.
I know you loved her, in a way, your shopping and gossiping girlfriend. You felt sorry for her very English body and her stretch-marked knees, derided her shallow life and the desperate ways she tried to please. There was no hint of her duplicity.
But she saw all and laughed in the face of your pitiful arrogance. When she came to your party, dressed unsuitably, swept down the stairs and couldn’t care less, that all the guests stared at her too much young flesh, embarrassed, you looked away, missed the thinly disguised deceipt and guile in her smile. Everyone noticed desire in her eyes, but you.
There was a time when you were my muse, provided manna enough to satisfy all my appetites. Contempt and boredom blew inside a marriage through doors left carelessly open wide. I closed my eyes and mind, ignoring all the warning signs, too busy to think, too blinded by living to see. As your green-eyed gaze turned away from me, albeit briefly, she seized her moment, forged a chasm through a chink.
While I was cutting loose you were braiding the noose with which she’d later hang you. You handed her your whispered sweetmeats on a plate. Deformed in her manipulative grasp she fed me her mendacious morsels and, open mouthed, I devoured, hungry for those half-truth tit-bits. Flattered by her youthful side, I allowed her to apply sweet unction to my wounded pride and later, salve to my urticating culpability.
Thereafter she gave chase, armed with a weapon honed on her sharp-witted bitching she deftly cleft forever what was one, into two. Her guilt-edged sword cut keenly through, leaving a parasite that grew until it entirely obliterated us both, hid us from each others view. Immunity blown, defenceless, weak, your forgiveness then, proved an ineffectual remedy for such a disease ridden soul.
I was unready to accept your remorse-coated gift. I no longer cared to look at you, with your wasting bones and shrinking flesh, you were disappearing rapidly. When I by chance, casting my eye about, met yours, shrouded in your mirrored cloak of invisibility, all that was returned to me was censure. I felt diminished by this hideous anamorphosis.
I dug a deep moat, erected huge walls to surround and protect me from your supplicant pleadings. They grew wider and deeper, taller and steeper each year, until I realised you’d given up trying to reach me. Our marriage sat crumpled in the corner, sullied and worn, a discarded item on the bedroom floor as we lay apart staring up at the ceiling, the cracks in the plaster echoing the increasing crevasse between us, growing too large to be bridged.
Was it a lack of due care and attention or criminal negligence or dereliction that caused such a catastrophy? Why did I not take up arms and fight to protect what I knew was mine by rights? Deafened by pain, blinded by rage, my impotence reigned supreme. I recognise my culpability and ask again, will you, even though you cannot forgive her, forgive me?
We had read and discussed in class My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid. An allegorical tale heavy with metaphor and surreal imagery. We then went on to discuss size/scale and prisoner/jailer situations. We worked in class on some exercises around these and our homework was to write a short piece either inspired by the Kincaid story or written as if we were either being held prisoner or holding someone prisoner in a doll’s house.
I wrote the following which I want to carry on with and use to explore the changing relationship with my Father as he becomes older and ever more dependent on me.
‘Pa… Pa!’ I struggled to make myself heard. Not only had I shrunk to less than a tenth of my former self, the power of my vocal chords seemed to have diminished proportionately, unsurprisingly, I suppose.
‘Pa! PAAA!” Oh, it was no good. I would just have to wait until he chose to pay me some attention of his own accord. I paced the floor for a while, sinking into the carpet, the shag pile itching my shins, feeling as always, like I was wading through tall, coarse grass. Patience, never having been one of my virtues, was certainly not coming easily to me this morning.
I busied myself by sweeping up my own pathetically small piles of crap with the help of an old mascara brush and a guitar pick… How the mighty are fallen.
‘Hello? Hello… Lindsay… love?’ the net curtains shook as he bellowed, thrusting his huge silvered head into my sitting room, knocking askance my most recent arrangment of crude ugly blocks that mocked the very description of the word ‘furniture’.
‘Pa, don’t shout! I’m here… obviously… Where have you been?’
‘Oh, Sandra and John turned up for coffee. I couldn’t turn them away. You know how they like to check on me every now and again since Ma… since Ma…’ His sentence tailed off dejectedly. I really was not in the right frame of mind to bolster anyone today,
‘Check, smeck, what the feck… Pa…?’
‘Lindsay! That is unnecessary. I know you’re not happy with the current…”
‘NOT HAPPY?’ I interjected aggressively. ‘No, Pa, I’m not bloody happy. Not bloody happy at all. You got me into this mess, this place, this… this…’
It was my turn to tail off dejectedly and it’s not often that I’m lost for words, but how do I describe where I am? I’m trapped in my fucking doll’s House for God’s sake… and… I fit! How do I find words to express what my life has become, or begin to come to terms with the weird occurrences of the past weeks?
Twenty six days ago I awoke in a strange room on a very hard lumpy bed- and no- I’m not acting the princess- believe me, it is hard and it is lumpy. What’s more- I’m small. I am, in fact, minute; I measure precisely five inches and seven eighths. We measured me against Pa’s wooden biro-ingrained ruler. The bed in which I awoke is the sole item in the ugliest emptiest bedroom in any house in any world. My unfortunate home is a scaled down replica of a rather utilitarian 1950’s army quarters we once inhabited in Aldershot forty years ago… so I am told. His choice of army barracks, never having been known to be the prettiest of domains, has since forced me to question, big time, Pa’s taste in many things.
‘Lins, Lins, don’t be cross. I’m sorry. Are you hungry? How about a pomegranite seed? I know you like them- they’re a super food don’t you know? I read about them in the…
‘PA! Please! I’m not hungry! It takes me a day to munch through one of those. Have you any idea how tough the skins are?’
Calm… calm… breathe… focus…
‘OK… sorry Pa… only… I get so lonely Pa. I don’t even have any music. I need music. Oh!’ I had a sudden light bulb moment,
‘I could have music. I could have my Ipod in here. I could turn the wheel myself I’m sure- shoulder against the play button. I could do that… yeah… ipod…ipod… Pa?’
‘Ipod? Sorry? You’ve lost me. Is that your music machine, that tiny black thing with a little screen? Where is it?’
I’m so excited now- why didn’t I think of it before? Perhaps because I wasn’t thinking about a diminutive future, eeking out the rest of my days as a living doll. I was hoping all would suddenly, miraculously, revert back to normal.
“It’s in my handbag, wherever I left it- I think on the work top in the kitchen next to the microwave- go look Pa…’
Ten minutes later Pa returned- with Ipod. Oh My God… the monolith from 2001 A Space Odyssey. Where are the crimson skys, the desert winds, the tumble weed, the orchestra complete with kettle drums?
He breathed and wheezed with the imagined effort of it all and leant the small black thing against my sitting room wall, carelessly shoving aside various balsa wood flotsam (I bit my tongue,) and plugged it in with a cable as thick as my neck. The huge black speakers he set up on the table next to my house were the same height as my bedroom and looked like a spaceship that had just landed from some far off dark star. I would have decibels to die for. I’d always loved the feeling of being rooted to the floor by a bass line, pinned to the walls by a wailing guitar, nailed to the ceiling by a sinful melody, knocked down by the boom of words… what should I listen to first?
I sent Pa off on an errand to find a cutting implement I would be strong enough to handle in order to trim his wayward eybrows- a chore that had always been mine since days of yore. They were fast encroaching, dying to entwine with his eyelashes. While he was gone I managed to turn the scrollwheel using both hands and all my weight, feeling like I was navigating the spaceship through the sheres and discovered a good Karate kick activated the menu and play buttons. I pondered my choices and decided on The Rolling Stones… (I can’t get no) Satisfaction. I deemed it appropriate as it was fairly jolly and seemed to sum up my enforced captivity- ie celibacy- to a tee.
I dragged the remote over to the coffee table, levered it on top… Mmm, a definite improvement to its pitted ugly surface… quite sleek… selected aux, depressed the on button, hit the volume and Shit! that fuzz box guitar riff nearly knocked me off my feet! I felt suitably moved to dance and leapt maniacly amongst the thigh brushing verdant hair that is my dance floor… feeling happy for the first time since my spaceship steered my life and I on to it’s new course.
Pa returned, grumbling and immediately turned down the music, knocking the Ipod off balance. I leapt out of the way as it came toppling towards me, only just missing me as it landed in the middle of the room, taking out the sofa on it’s way down.
‘What a racket!’
I was immediately transported to those long ago days as a fifteen year old when I seemed to spend my whole life feeling churlish and misunderstood, hopelessly attempting to make Pa see that my music was not rubbish and the reason the radiogram had a volume control that turned up to number nine was so you could hear it over a whispered conversation in the next room.
I sat down in a sulk and sneezed- a stray strand of the axeminster tickling my nose.
‘Jeez, life’s a bitch…’
To be continued…
Last night’s class involved cutting and sticking- interesting… We have to write a piece connected by disconnected headlines and random passages cut from newspapers. Looking forward to getting started.
We listened to everyone’s homework and there was really imaginative and brilliant writing. I really enjoyed hearing all the stories.
Thursday brought with it the Leicester Writers Club and I very nervously read out the first half of my story Rabnatt and the Lost Art of Communication. hoping beyond hope that all the members wouldn’t think me a completely incompetent jerk. The criticism I received was so constructive and I was really pleased and surprised by the positivity the piece was met with. I have made many of the changes that were suggested and the story is so much better for them. Very happy and encouraged. I feel really lucky and privileged to have the chance to be part of such a group.
Had the best evening on Saturday with my Sis in York at a fabulous wonderful I am KLOOT gig. Oh it was good… I stood rooted to the sticky boards in the black painted low ceilinged tatty cellar and as the notes floated like glistening dust motes all around me I wept. Bought the first album that’s been remixed by Guy Garvey. Fantastic… or ‘Sick man!’ as my eldest would say. My favourite song of the mo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O9WgFEevzAJanuary 15th 2011
A very dear friend of mine, Joe Little, who I’ve known since he was two days old, has a new band -Peyote
Click on the link to listen to an amusing interview and one track. The whole radio show is on the link but Peyote come in 4 mins 35 secs into the recording.
http://soundcloud.com/spaliferadio/spa-life-radio-5January 15th 2011