I’ve recently spent a lot of time inside a book with a pink and green and obnoxious cover. This isn’t the book’s fault. Nobody really chooses their skin.
The skin was given to the book, as a means of selling it to those passing it by (on shelves, on Instagram squares, on websites, in the hands of strangers on public transport). The way you put clothes on a model, saying, sell it, meaning, sell yourself wearing it. Regardless. I spent a lot of time in this book, maybe because it was slow-going, maybe because I am a slow reader. Maybe both. It’s a book that worships the ‘both’, the way one worships a gun. The violence (though not that of guns) is everywhere in this book: it starts Continue reading
This is how old I will be in a few days.
I’m not sure I’m ready. But I also don’t know what the processes are, that will ready me.
the blind cat’s eye, the pupil
in all that whiteness, a blueberry
fallen in a glass of milk
I want so much more than just this sense of relating to life in a once-removed sort of way. I want the plunge, in full; I want to climb a tree, then live in it. I want the scratches of every surface I climb lingering in the skin of my palms. Every breath breathed fully. I think it’s so much easier for people to exist on film, because on film all you see is their bodies doing, their bodies existing, the body from the outside: you don’t see the mind racing, being elsewhere, being absent.
So… I got a story published.
As part of The Learned Pig’s editorial called ‘Wolf Crossing’. Check it out if you’d like, and give some of the other contributors some love!
My Story ‘Were’
The whole of ‘Wolf Crossing’
The cat dances on the largest leaf of a potted plant. It is a small cat, tiny, hardly bigger than a bumble bee. The cat seems to levitate above the dusty surface of the leaf. The leaf is dusty because the house has not been cleaned in a while, and skin cells keep sloughing off its inhabitants. The inhabitants are watching TV with the sound off in a brightly lit living room. The sound is off so the inhabitants can have a conversations, but they’re all just silent, looking at the people flickering on screen. A man shoots another man through the back of the head. In the room, one of the inhabitants flinches and remembers where he is. He looks around, meets no-one’s eye, and extends a hand towards a glass bowl on the table filled with nuts. He picks at the nuts with a hand puckered into a kind of beak, like delicate water fowl, and collects a few nuts. He sinks back into his chair and places the nuts in the palm of his other hand, above his lap in case he spills any. The nuts are mixed: some walnuts, some hazelnuts, which he discards, and some cashews. The hazelnuts return to the bowl in pairs, and the rest of the nuts are slowly placed into his mouth and chewed into a paste to which more nuts are added. He feels like he is making cement. Eventually, he swallows the paste and on screen a man surprises his wife (?) in the shower. It is not clear whether or not she is his wife because the subtitles aren’t reliable and that fact was seemingly never addressed. The inhabitants all assume that it doesn’t matter what the naked woman’s official title is, because all we know about her from the way the scene is shot is that she is young, she is pretty, and she is an actress with an unfortunate contract. The cat is so small the inhabitants cannot see it slide off the dusty leaf of the houseplant and into a watering can at the foot of the pot. The cat has fallen into the watering can and is seen no more. Presumably, it can swim, but only for so long. It cannot fly, and there is only one way out of the watering can, and that is through flight. A few hours later, the cat is presumably dead but no-one checks on it because the inhabitants do not know it’s there. One by one they stretch and yawn and leave the room until the last one, the one who ate the nuts, gets up, stretches for the benefit of no-one in particular, and turns off the set.
[In other news, NaNoWriMo nears its end. Today is the second-to-last day, and I’ve amassed about 43000 words so far, which means I’ve got some serious work ahead of me if I want to reach the required 50ooo by Wednesday night.]
I’m not sure what possessed me, but I seem to have started NaNoWriMo this morning. There was only minor peer pressure, and there is peer pressure every year, yet this is the first time I’m going for it. I don’t have a clear idea of what I’m writing, and I’m not signing up officially either. So, really, it’s not NaNoWriMo so much as just Write-A-Fuckton-Of-Words-All-Month-And-See-What-Happens. I think I might just be desperate for a project, a project that involves writing new stuff without any pressure to publish or end up with anything in particular (other than a word count of 50.000). This will be good for me, I hope, after three months of doing nothing but editing my own writing.
So far, I’ve written 1300 words. It felt bizarre to flex those muscles again, to write spontaneously in a way that isn’t a diary (or blog) entry. To write fiction without any idea of what the story is or who the character might be. But as the morning progressed I got into it. It helped that I had a 1h break between writing sessions in which I walked in the cold air and took a couple of trains to meet up with friends for our weekly writing session in a café. The break and walk allowed me to think through what I’d written earlier in the morning, shortly after waking up, and see themes emerging already.
I think I might actually be excited about this. Let’s see how it progresses. But to have a project, a set of creative tasks, in November, especially a November as cold and grey as this one promises to be, has got to be a good way to keep any weather-related sadness at bay.