Sunday, March 22, 2009

two's company

Two daffodils in a vase.  One slightly shorter than the other.  Each a little past their best.  Two that have broken away from the crowd - preferring the company of each other and no other.  Two that have sunk their toes into cool water held in good quality glass.  Two friends who grew the same way, inching a little higher every day, facing the sun, never turning away.  Now back to back, silent, speechless.  Not even waltzing in a gentle breeze.  Unable to look each other in the eye - when they used to kiss.  They used to sing.

Monday, March 09, 2009

the skin of my teeth

When I first started writing I used to struggle with sensory detail.  I used to worry that I was somehow rather numb to the world around me.  I was especially un-tactile - forcing myself to stroke brick walls just to get to know them better.  Now I realise that I’m just a rather strange creature who feels more with my lips and tongue and teeth than with my fingers and toes.  As a number of my posts have shown, I’m firmly stuck in the oral phase and proud to be there.


From between my teeth a pip appears.  From a kiwi fruit I ate a little earlier.  I crunch it and it tastes of nothing.  But sounds like the beginning of the end of the world.


She says the browned edges of the Jerusalem artichoke taste like bonfires.  I hadn’t noticed until then, but they do.  And suddenly I’m eating the beginning of November.  I’m devouring piles of censored books.  I’m sucking on cannibal roasted bones, and kissing boys who have spent their evening torching car seats in derelict playgrounds.

haiga #14

Sunday, March 01, 2009

more than words

Annie at Ink Haven recently tagged me.  I don’t usually get involved with these things, but this one seems quite useful.  It asks me to list five things I do to support and spread the love of the written word.  And I do love it.  But sometimes it’s good to examine and reaffirm that love.  And whilst I’m not sure how I exactly support and spread that love, I do butter a slice of what I like and offer others the occasional bite.

Ten years into regular writing and I find I’m still thrilled, excited and indulged daily by the simple pleasure of it.  Choosing words, discarding some, making sentences for sentences sake.  Imagining a path and following it.  Painting word pictures and sending them on postcards to myself.  It costs next to nothing and can fill an entire day, or the time it takes the kettle to boil.

I like to give my words a comfortable home.  I indulge them by buying beautiful notebooks for them to rest in.  This is the delicious tactile side of writing.  Turning smooth and heavy pages, words sliding quietly along feint lines or making their own way across a blank page.  I’m always on the look-out for the next perfect receptacle.  At the moment they are settling into a black Rhodia Webnotebook.  I write with a cheap ballpoint pen that looks like a wasp!  I once wrote a piece for a writing class about a paper addict which was very loosely based on me!

I’m bricking myself in with books.  They fill every available shelf and teeter in piles where piles shouldn’t be.  I read them too.  And I try not to feel guilty about my infidelity to music - which was my first love and used to assume it would be my last.  But those spinning discs of silver no longer lay sole claim to my heart.  Now they have to share me with my paper-spined friends.  I read every day and feel almost seasick if I can’t, and I give gifts of books to my friends whether they want them or have time to read them or not!

I try to appreciate and reciprocate the network of support and encouragement that blogging offers to writers.  Sometimes all this time with pen and paper and the echo of your own words can feel a little isolated.  I’m unlikely to invite a friend around only to say ‘listen to what I’ve written today, what do you think?’.  Bloggers build bridges between desert islands.  I try to post fairly regularly with things that I like and I think my readers might too.  I like to read good blogs and take time to comment thoughtfully (most of the time) on their content and execution.

I’m recently learning to challenge myself - edge closer and at times even dangle over that precipice I’ve stayed back from.  I’ve always been guarded around real-life writing, stammering over the word ‘autobiographical’ - but I’m starting to work on something that seems to feature me.  Or at least me as a bit-part, a walk-on extra.  It’s a little bit scary, but fun too.  I feel like young cress, spindly and pale and flopping about.  I need to toughen up and grow true and head for the light.