Thursday, 24 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
I’ve had a great day with Sam. Today we floated to Bristol in the red and blue stripey hot air balloon; drove in the blue and silver car; played golf, football and tennis. We built and zoomed rockets and decorated Christmas trees, had a tea party and went to see the oak trees down the road. I watched Sam 'rollerblade' across the bathroom after his bath.
Bookended as ever with music, he pulled some fantastic guitar poses with his tennis racket this morning to ‘Pump It Up’ by Elvis Costello. And tonight was demanding to hear ‘Surf Safari’ by the Beach Boys. Not bad for a quiet day where we barely left the house.
Sam’s imagination and creativity seem to be coming on in leaps and bounds and I am trying to encourage it as much as possible but it’s hard to keep up with him sometimes. Last night he insisted that he had to sleep with the ‘surfboard’ he was playing with in the bath aka Granddad’s nail brush. A friend of mine very wisely said to me after I had Sam to “choose your battles”, so I decided not to fight this one. I did go and remove it once he was asleep though…
The lurgy which I’ve been ignoring all day has finally hit me and it feels like someone is treading glass into my throat. I still managed to do singing and ballet dancing to Christmas carols, read three stories and sing Sam’s bedtime song twice but I am now officially done. Now is the hour to load up on manuka honey, hot lemon and ginger with a nip of calvados, and head for bed.
I am very, very happy.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
I've tried two Oulipo-style writing exercises and both have pushed my writing in new directions. One produced a new character and the other a new perspective on an old obsession.
For more information go here:
Monday, 30 November 2009
I can’t carry you around with me anymore-
you are too heavy.
The weight of you is dragging me down.
It is time to put you in a safe place
where I can access you from time to time,
when I need to.
I phone up the self storage company
and I pay for a small unit.
I order a cab to take us there.
I have a padlock and a key which I take out of my pocket.
I fill out the paperwork and sign my name,
Then I am shown where to go.
I open the door,
It is a silver cell: safe, dry, not too warm or cold.
Your lights blink...
Black box recorder,
Don’t worry, I’ll be back-
you will continue to record my successes and struggles.
You are treasure and wisdom as well.
Then I say goodbye,
I shut the door and click the lock,
I put the key in my purse,
I am cleared for takeoff-
The future is light.
This is a poem I wrote a year ago. It marked a big change in my life at a time when I was having bereavement counselling and learning to leave the past behind. It also marked a point where my writing changed. I can't say exactly why but maybe it just became more honest. I would happily pull this to pieces now and re-write it but I am putting it here in its original finished form for posterity. A lot has happened since I wrote this and I have much to be thankful for. At the time my tutor said it was as if I had walked away from disaster unscathed. I think it is more accurate to say I survived, gained some valuable insights and then moved on.
Anything is possible.
Monday, 9 November 2009
Burrowing under the duvet with a teddy tucked under one arm, your cold feet on my legs.
First cup of coffee.
Your surprised smile as “Rock Around the Clock” hits the car stereo half way round Tolworth Roundabout.
Feeling torn as I leave you at nursery,
Feeling relieved to know I can leave you there and you will be fine.
A quiet hour to dye my hair green and get organised. Blessed indeed.
A woman at the door selling organic compost, who remembered my mum, was surprised to see me, shocked to hear of her death three years ago. Still remembered ,Mum, still remembered.
A crazed half hour of trying to print out poems and get out of the door: lots of swearing.
Hellos and How are yous from friends after an intensive one to one playful weekend with my beloved 2 year old son ends.
Mistaken for being in my twenties by a fellow student – she could not believe I am 39.
Two drafts of poems I am happy to read aloud. The promised land.
Each day a shimmer and a change in the fabric. Weft and warp.
Friday, 23 October 2009
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Dot Dot Dot
Tidal wave of
Crashing through the kitchen
All Hope washed away
Not a game of
Not a game of
Dragged to the surface all
Puffy and waterlogged
Two hugs, one kiss of life
Be here, now
Monday, 19 October 2009
I wish I had more time to explore all this and do it justice. I feel like I am either letting the wave take me, or flailing around in the water, or desperately trying to keep up but only able to doggy-paddle frantically.
I am making more choices about how I use my time and more decisions about which direction to go in.
I need to be more disciplined. I know of old that I am inclined to try and keep up until I burn out; get distracted by what someone else is doing or dither until the moment has passed me by.
As the end of October approaches it is time to think hard about which steps to take on the path and at what point I need to stand still and let some of it pass me by.
Tortoise not hare.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Thursday, 8 October 2009
I am in the middle again
But digging deep
The crossroads has buried treasure
And this time I am staying here
To find it, finally.
Then I will know which path to take
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Friday, 11 September 2009
As I’ve said previously it’s been a good, very busy, summer, and I am now trying to tick off my To Do list before I go back to the intense experience of university. I’m not complaining- it’s mostly good stuff: clearing the patch of garden I am going to grow vegetables in next year; writing; planning activities for Sam and doing research for the work which will at some point turn into a book when it and I are ready.
As I planted bulbs in the garden yesterday afternoon I realised that the garden looks messy. Windblown and overgrown, flowers are drying and going brown on the stem. Leaves strewn across the grass along with windfallen apples and pears. And the ever-growing heaps of bindweed, brambles, ivy and other garden detritus which are piling up as I continue with my mission to clear the space at the end of the garden. My mum would have said: “It’s gone over.” It is bloated and worn out and brittle and dry and tired. The pots are still full of petunias and trailing lobelia and everything is still green and bright but it’s coming to an end and ready for change.
A bit like me then! I feel messy and out of shape and ready to break free and have a change of space. So, from today I am going to detox and get ready for university. It’s all going to be different again this year.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Monday, 31 August 2009
But we did not
We got drunk and amorous instead
Caught up in an illicit thrill
We were exes now
I lay down on summer rain-drenched grass
On top of your jacket
I wore your old dress shirt
But we did not
It was too dark and rainy
We had a romantic adventure
But the next day I was your ex
And I had to leave
Knowing that your new girlfriend was on her way
And it was over
Friday, 14 August 2009
On the saturday I spent time at my friends' Paul and Kat's allotment, digging up onions, chatting with and gaining inspiration from Kat, while Paul looked after Sam and their gorgeous daughter Maya. Later we all headed off to Ashton Court for the Balloon Fiesta. The weather was perfect and we saw 66 balloons ascend and then waited for the Night Glow and fireworks. Sam rode on a merry-go-round with Kat and Paul and Maya. It is the latest night he has had so far. It was quite a mission getting through crowds of a quarter of a million people and managing to keep him from running off. He absolutely loved it and I think he thought he would be doing the same the next night!
Thursday, 16 July 2009
This meta-fictional Pilgrim’s Progress must also have its own barefoot Billy Pilgrim.
The anti-surrealist philosopher Georges Batailles, writing in his 1929 essay “The Big Toe”, described the big toe as “hideously cadaverous”, and said:
“One can imagine that a toe, always more or less damaged and humiliating, is psychologically analogous to the brutal fall of man- in other words, to death.”
Early on in the book the first mention of feet comes at a point when Billy is writing to the press about the Tralfamadorians view of death and the phrase “So it goes”, which he says whenever he hears of someone’s death. Directly after this Vonnegut describes Billy’s feet:
“His bare feet were blue and ivory.”
This concrete image is repeated when Billy is back in World War Two, and captured by the Germans:
“Billy found the afternoon stingingly exciting. There was so much to see – dragon’s teeth, killing machines, corpses with bare feet that were blue and ivory. So it goes.” Immediately the reader is reminded of Billy’s feet being the same as the corpses, and of his being there and of his experiences, and the affect they had on him.
Before his initial capture Billy is close to death and hallucinating:
“He was wearing dry, warm, white sweatsocks, and he was skating on a ballroom floor.”His feet are covered –he is no longer confronted by his own mortality. In Bataille’s view: “Man’s secret horror of his foot is one of the explanations for the tendency to conceal its length and form as much as possible.”
Unfortunately whilst staying at our lovely little holiday home, The Triangle House, or more properly "The Hives" I had a big flare up of hayfever, asthma and eczema. It was going to happen sometime and being suddenly surrounded by nature, and with visiting the ponies round the corner a couple of times, it decided to happen then.
I've currently got a chest infection so have been taking it easy but haven't needed to resort to antibiotics or increase the medication I take for asthma so, with a bit more rest I am getting better.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Over the steady stream
Specks and motes of dust float by
Weeping willow dips a leafy twig.
Above the heads of smoking students
Dances a damsel fly
A joyous din of children spin
In summer uniform nearby.
The epitome of ‘Flaming June'
Gazing at the blazing sun
I can’t resist a write about it
Now the season‘s near mid-run
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Sunday, 3 May 2009
We span round and round
Until so dizzy
We fell to the ground
Only to get up and point at the moon.
When it disappeared behind the clouds
You up-ended a broom
Swept them all away with a brush upside down
And cheered and pointed again at the moon
Then we went inside for tea.
Friday, 1 May 2009
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Motherhood is The Big One. For me anyway. I wanted it to change my life, I knew it would but I had no idea what it would mean in reality. Does any woman? I woke up the morning after having Sam, on a Monday morning, after a weekend of labour culminating in a caesarean, in a different world, in another dimension. The weight of the responsibility just starting to dawn on me, the lightness of the joy still enveloping me.
I lost my Mum at about the time I fell pregnant and so her life and death and my pregnancy and Sam’s birth were and are irrevocably tied.
Ultimately the ‘weight’ has set me free. It is both the hardest and easiest job on earth. I hope that one of the things I achieve as a mum is for Sam to know who he is and to have confidence in himself. To love himself. I believe the best way to do this is to teach by example and so I have had to face up to some home truths and to take better care of myself. I have started to place more value on myself and the things I do.
The idea of weight and lightness came into focus when I read Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being recently for uni : “The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfilment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.”
Sam is my responsibility- I don’t think of him as a burden. But this resonated with me. Being a single mum is about taking the responsibility on both shoulders.
I miss my Mum now, almost three years later and I talk to her every day. Mums are human and not perfect but there is no one like your mum and you will never know this or how much they know about you, truly, until they are gone. And it is irreplaceable.
One of my oldest and bestest friends wrote “You are the mother” on the card she sent me after Sam was born. It has become my mantra.
So to all mothers I say:
You are The Mother. Rock On.
And for all mothers-to-be:
I salute you.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
I don't even have one!
This is the first 'release' by Lucy and Dog, on cassette, made-at-home, all hand-printed and hand-stuck-on labels etc...and made in 1989. BUT -this cassette says Primordia, so possibly a second 'edition'?!
It is so long ago I can't remember.
The band became Primordia after Lucy and Dog. Then we signed to the World Serpent label.
I wonder where this person got it from? I might ask.
Monday, 9 March 2009
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Not a lot of time to work on it at the moment but I am stockpiling notes and ideas.
And as this happens I feel more and more myself. More and more solid, rooted feet and head in the sky.
Sam ran around the garden earlier, shouting: " Sunny morning! Sunny morning! Bounce! Bounce!"
Monday, 16 February 2009
I've quite enjoyed watching the frantic card/bouquet/ingredients-for-special-meal/chocolates buying going on in Marks and Spencer etc. I've even had a bit of a reminisce about some of the lovely Valentines days of past years and loves that I have been lucky to have had.
I've been more interested in the history of Valentines day, most of which seems to stem from the Roman pagan festival of Lupercalia, celebrated on the 15th February. Thanks to http://www.witchology.com/contents/february/valentines_static.php which has some great information on this and to the National Geographic Web site as well. Originally a pagan festival of purification and fertility, and where the month of February gets its name. It is held at the very time of year when the earth is stirring, birds are starting to nest and the first buds are seen on the trees. A time of getting ready for what is to come and what is wanted. Abundance and Creativity.
And on Valentines day this year I thought I love my life.
Go Go Go!
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Heheh! Little did I know what was coming as I flicked my hair around like a Silvikrin girl ;-)
This postpartum hairloss is a not unknown phenomenum but like everything else in pregnancy doesn't affect everyone and also affects people to varying degrees. I would say it affected my hair significantly but not severely- some women look like they are suffering with alopecia. It's to do with the hormonal balance, which changes vastly whilst you are pregnant and then, more or less, returns to pre-pregnancy status once you have had your baby. Again, this is different for every woman and is also affected by things like breastfeeding.
I have really enjoyed having my hair short and it's been pretty funky but I looked at myself today and thought...Feck, I ain't no middle aged housewife. I might be approaching 40 with a nipper but this is not me. So I am sworn off the hairdresser until it's long enough to tie back. Eek! But I am ready. I want long hair by the time I finish my degree so I am prepared to go through all the various stages of dragged-through-a-hedge-backward-styling that's a-comin' my way.
I suppose at 38 people look at you and think you want to look feminine and elegant and well-groomed. Well, feminine and elegant and well-groomed is fine but not dowdy and boring. And I need some Dis added to my (Dis)gracefully growing older.
The hairdresser I have been going to has done a great job each time and I am under no illusion that I need to experiment any more with my hair. I've done just about everything I can do to it- purple dreadlocks, skinhead, wild-goth-crimping-backcombing, green/pink/purple/blue at the same time etc etc...but I do not need to hear anyone tell me again in a slightly urgent way that "You do want to keep it soft round your face though, don't you?" like I am some raddled old bag....not yet!
Monday, 9 February 2009
I left Sam with Grandad and ventured out to get supplies and it was so fantastic. The best and lightest and cleanest and brightest powdery snow. Crunch crunch under my big old goth boots (survivors of many a muddy Glastonbury- wellies were in the boot of my car and needed digging out!) and that almost squeaky noise that comes with a proper amount of snow...ah, lovely.Cold and still snowing I made it up to the local shops and back again, laden down with eggs, sausages, black pudding, bread and hot cross buns. Perhaps I thought we needed to put on an extra layer of winter fat all of a sudden. I hadn't intended to buy such stodgy fare, the snow took over, honest 'guv. I listened to the silence and then I put my ipod on for the journey back and blasted Sigur Ros- perfect snow music. The best walk back from the local shops ever. Then out with Sam who could not and would not keep his mittens on but thought the snow was super dooper and was off stomping down the road, checking out the snowman already built. We made our own, which was not conventional but full of personality (and antlers).
The snow hung on for a couple more days, getting icier and slushier but now it is all but gone and it has been tipping rain all day today, so we have been having a rainy 'indoors' day, singing and dancing and playing "Where is Sam?" and finger painting, well, elbow and arm painting really.