A life in two paragraphs

For Writing Workshop ‘Can you see me’ from Josie at Sleep is for the weak:

I was the one who came second. I was the one who screamed all night and was put on the doorstep; who – discovered drenched by the paddling pool – claimed my absent brother pushed me; who didn’t spill the yoghurt on the fireplace but still got a smack for it, who didn’t nick the Spangle from mum’s bedside table; who did burn plastic bags nailed to a shelf in the garage, who did pee in the bedroom sink. I was the one who “wasn’t a proper girl” but who knitted, crochet’ed, embroidered, sewed and macrame’ed my way through primary school; whose clever friend could tie her own tie but couldn’t skip properly; who stole peas through the neighbours fence; who danced oblivious to everything but Mozart yet lasted only ballet lesson.  I was the one who tried on friends and found them lacking. I was the one who longed to belong but was always too shy, too brash, too frumpy, too ugly, too keen. I was the one with the metal mickey.  I was the one they tried to bully (but a temper makes a fine defence). I was the one who skiied off alone into the dank mist, who ran and ran to get away from them, who swam so hard they’d be left in my wake.  I was the one who played too rough, laughed too loud, drank too much, smoked too many, loved too easily, stayed too late. I was the one who lost my way, my purpose, my goals, myself.
I am the one who picked you, with your crazy hair and chequered past.  We were the ones who partied hard, who travelled wide, who settled down.  I am the one whom you gave a son whose every move I watch with swelling pride.  We are the ones who groped our way blindly.  I am the one that held you close when your father died, that clutched your hand on a hospital bed, that scolded you for worrying while cold fear balled in my stomach; yet I am the one who pushes you away from my troubles. I am the one who looks through your eyes to see me for the fraud I am; who reads your mind and finds I am wanting. I am the one whom you gave a daughter. I am the one who strokes her brow, her palm, her fingers and who cries with joy. I am the carer, the cook, the teacher, the artist, the swimming instructor, the cleaner, the decorator, the writer, the gardener, the dreamer, the traveller, the singer, the musician, the disciplinarian, the poet, the sportsman and the raging harpie.  I am your wife. I am your mother. I am your pal. I am exhausted but I love you all.  And I am excited about tomorrow.


Saturns rings

We’re down in Kent visiting the in-laws. The kids are happy as the proverbial pig, and G is loving her older female cousin; the hero-worship is already palbable.  Last night, my brother-in-law got his telescope out (fnar, fnar) and showed me the moon, Mars and Saturn (I saw the rings!  Fwip, fwip!).  How utterly, beautifully amazing it all; I can’t believe I’ve seen the craters on the moon in real life and not just a picture. We’re hoping the skies are clear tonight and we can show B (who will doubtless shrug his shoulders and ask where the aliens are…)

Writing workshop: sieves and mantras

For Writing Workshop #14 from Josie at Sleep is for the weak:

1. What is your personal motto?

As I sat frowning with my hands poised over the keyboard, having typed the addresses and with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ hanging ominously at the top of a blank page, my old mantra came back to me.  These are the words that adorned the welcome screen of my mobile phone and flashed boldly in pink on my screensaver at work:


Sage advice for a stroppy soul like me.  You see, being furious is easy.  It’s a little harder, true, to channel that fury into actions that might get results.  And it’s even more tricky to supress that anger and seethe quietly, remaining outwardly composed.  But the supreme challenge is taking a deep breath, exhaling and genuinely letting it go.

When you’ve re-filled the toy box for the fourteenth time that morning.
When the supermarket run is met with an exasperated *sigh*, drifting forth from the rear car seat (like it’s going to float your boat).
When those limpet lips are clamped shut on presentation of your spoon, after you’ve boiled, mashed, pureed and pulverised all morning.
When work encroaches, niggling away at your subconcious as you’re trying so hard to be with your children.
And when that bloody shop assistant turns away from you to yak away with her cohort, draping an arm casually across the counter in anticipation of you meekly sliding a bank card between her limp fingers.

This is when you should let it all go properly.  Now, what did my mum say?  Lift your head as if you’re a puppet with a string running from your crown to your heels that someone’s pulling taught. Drop those shoulders back. Eyes ahead, or closed if you prefer. Feet flat on the ground. And…inhale through the nostrils…that’s it, blow up that beach ball inside you…now exhale through the mouth….aaaaand relax.

Feeling better? No?!  Okay then.  Grasp the keyboard at either end….raise your arms slowly above your head…now inhale deeply…aaaand….WHACK!!



And I can’t help adding something which could come under 3. Write a letter to something that you own, that you love, or maybe that you hate, or perhaps 5. Talk about a time where you found something magical in the mundane…

…Because I’m loving a certain bit of kitchenware I bought myself recently (how sad).  Somehow it reminds me of my Gran, who was the kind of woman to have dead poultry hanging in the pantry:

I raise a glass of Bollinger

And toast thee, lovely colander

Suspended from your kitchen rail

O sleek, enamel, holey grail