Monthly Archives: February 2014
(exerpt from Sleeping Elephant… draft one)
To say that his kiss was beautiful seemed too generic a description to do it any justice. The universe is big. War is a bad idea. All the understatements ever made could not compare. Antigone walked around for days in a haze of sheer fascination. She nearly giggled like a girl each time she felt diaphanous flutters in the pit of her stomach when she remembered how his tongue parted her lips– It was fucking gorgeous, she thought.
Flashbacks of their impromptu meeting at the pub that Friday afternoon nourished her for days. The touch of his hand on her cheek–the way his fingers slid through her hair–the way he held her gently to him— she was the heroine in a film. But she sat in traffic on the following Friday on her way to see him again with demons inside her head. –It had been too perfect. It was staged. Player. Alert. Battle stations.
But she could not deny how much she wanted him. He smiled when he saw her. She smiled at him. He took a big breath. They embraced. His eyes looked into hers–they followed her hairline–her cheeks–down her neck–her mouth–back at her eyes. So optimistic. There were tears there. He had lingered. She had not wanted to leave. He had not wanted to go.
–Maybe he was being real?
He had to go. He was late to pick up his children for their weekend visit so he kissed her one last time and went. Antigone drove home in a virtual vacuum of delight. For the next two days, all seemed well. There had been good conversations via text on Saturday. On Sunday, there had only been one explaining he would be out with his children. There had been no text on Monday. The text message came through on Tuesday morning. He was not ready for a relationship. He felt guilty. He did not want to hurt her. He was messed up because of his ex.
Antigone turned the kettle on. “Stupid,” she said. She closed her eyes.
Loved writing the last four blog entries using the Kansas City Star rules:
Use short sentences
Use short first paragraphs
Use vigorous English
Be positive, not negative.
“Those were the best rules I ever learned for the business of writing. I’ve never forgotten them. No man with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the thing he is trying to say, can fail to write well if he abides with them.”—Hemingway
Have a go!!!!
BE POSITIVE, NOT NEGATIVE
The BBC news droned on in the back of the room.
“…five cars and a lorry at Junction 25…”
Coffee smelled better than it tasted. There was no arguing that. The office had chipped in and bought a mini barista at Christmas. It did not matter that we used the generic beans. The smell snaked through the room. It was God-dammed lush. The top of the day morphed into mid-morning. People moved about the office. Everyone talked fast. They laughed at random information that featured heavily in their lives. People droned on about television shows and the football.
“…the driver of the SUV had been travelling south-bound…”
Everyone smelled clean. The clinical nature of office attire made the clipped chit-chat and general anecdote trading appear like something out of an advert on antiperspirant.
“…police are questioning the lorry driver who is from Lithuania…”
People yammered on the phone. Others tapped away on the keyboards. I’d been mentally skiving since 8:45am doing just enough work to exculpate getting this job. Someone decided they preferred tea to coffee. Janine asked if anyone else wanted a hot drink. She was taking the kettle to go get water. Only two people wanted tea. One said he would not bother because there was no milk. Someone said they drank green tea. The debate on green tea versus regular black tea morphed into how many atheists there were in the office.
“…the M1 South is open again…”
The tally was three atheists, one ex-Catholic agnostic, a Buddhist, and the rest C of E. Someone mentioned the Green Man and everyone decided that pagans had it rough. Everyone switched to spread sheets when the manager walked in.
“…in other news, a rare Grevy’s zebra is born at Chester Zoo…”
The manager motions to me to follow her. Her eyes looked watery. Her lips were taut. As I walk through the corridors, I notice people in other offices going about the day as I have. I spot Stubbings. He owes me £5. I see Hayley. I wonder what she will be making for tea tonight. She always talks about what she will be making. I walk into reception with the manager. There are two policemen standing there. She introduces me to them. My heart begins to race. She leads us to the boardroom off reception and closes the door.
“…regret that your husband did not make it…” he said.
“I’m sorry…” she said.
I remembered the BBC news had droned on in the back of the room.
USE VIGOROUS ENGLISH
The sign in the window read: Full set nails £15.
It was a busy shop.
The lights that ran around the sign seemed to dance in a kind of Morse code; all dots and dashes. Bian Cai sat at the desk next to the window answering phones all day. It was dark and dull outside. It had been all day. The blinking lights began to hurt her eyes. Still, she felt this was much better than having to wear the face mask. The shop had an acidic smell to it but she did not have to worry sitting at the reception desk. It was not as strong there.
Bian Cai was glad that she did not have to use drills or electric files today either. She would not be shouted at if the drill slipped and cut a cuticle of some guileless, bland girl. She would not have to concentrate so hard when she looked down at the countless hands, shaping and filing pale nails of these insipid women who just stared at her, not saying a word.
And she was happy not to have to touch the customer’s hands.
They had soft, pink hands. They looked so clean. Soft and pink and clean. They had never known hard work. They had never known what it was like to climb or grasp or pull. They had never hit at men’s chests.
“Can you tell me anything about the procedure or the product?” The voice on the phone was harsh and almost sing-song. It was definitely British but not like the people that usually come into the shop.
“You come in. You can see. I book you in. Ok?” Bian Cai hated when they asked questions. She let Sang Ngu answer those kinds of questions. She was older and had been there longer. She was Big Mother to all the girls.
The voice on the phone asked about someone working there. She asked about a student doing work experience. Bian Cai said yes. The voice asked about liability insurance number and if she would answer health and safety questions.
“Who is this?” asked Bian Cai
“Siobhan Grainger. From the college. Asking after your work experience student, Mel Gray. I need to fill in the Health and Safety Vetting before she can work there,” said the voice.
“Oh no. We don’t need any vetting. We are ok.”
“No, WE need to do the vetting. Mel listed that you had agreed to take her on for work experience and we need the information to ensure that she is protected…” the voice kept going and Bian Cai looked around the shop. She saw all the girls she knew in the world diligently filing and painting away. No one looked like they would carry a name like Mel Gray. She became fearful. Was this a trick? Was this police seeking to shut the nail bar down? Bian Cai could not go back to being under old, sweaty men again. She could not endure nights of walking in next to nothing down the city streets and being made to do things to fat, old men.
“No, we do not need work experience students. We do not have them here. Thank you. Good-bye.” Bian Cai replaced the phone. She heard Kieu advise a client that she would need a new set of nails. Not infills. She even offered her the special price of £10 instead of £15.
They would all sleep well tonight. They would all be safe tomorrow.
USE SHORT FIRST PARAGRAPHS
He spent the night with an old friend. A woman.
It was a bright, crisp day. It had not been this lovely for a long time. Winter was giving way to spring but this upset Emma. A new season would mean new clothes. But months of being happy in a new relationship showed around her belly and thighs. Too many nights down the pub. Too many nights ordering from the chippy.
She moved alongside of Gina through the Victoria Centre. Innocuous faces floated by as she followed Gina through the exit and began to merge with the crowds on the street. They had not been in the city for more than an hour but already the blur of white noise made Emma feel tired and lost. “I’d rather be on my couch,” she said.
“Let’s go get breakfast before we start shopping,” said Gina.
They crossed the street and meandered through Nottingham until they found a narrow street that led to a teahouse. The smell of bacon assaulted them as they opened the door. Emma looked at Gina. “Oh God. Food.”
“We can start our diet on Monday. Forget about everything today. Let’s just have fun. We never get to be together anymore,” said Gina. Emma looked at the menu and shrugged.
Rog was away on business with Katrina. Katrina of university days. Katrina of smiles on Facebook. Katrina of countless and pointless text messages. Katrina. Not-in-a-relationship-Katrina. Non-fat-Kat. And Rog was away on a business trip with her. Emma checked her phone. He still had not sent Emma a text since yesterday. Emma had kissed him and whispered naughty things in his ear while Katrina was in the other room preparing her briefcase. Katrina had joked with Emma about life and love and sex and lack thereof. Katrina spoke about needs and having been rejected by some man she only just met. Rog had laughed. He had been amused. Emma smiled and offered words of comfort. Kat had smiled. But now, Emma had not heard anything from Rog. Is Rog giving Kat “the business”? Rog had kissed Emma goodbye before she left him in the very capable hands of the smiling Katrina.
Six months into her new relationship with Rog, Emma had only met Kat once before yesterday. She might have been ok with this over-night trip had Rog never mentioned how he once fancied Kat. He said that it had been a failed pass. Kat did not even remember that incident. But they became friends because of a chemistry that revolved around wit, business and energy. “A great set of knockers don’t go amiss, either,” said Emma.
“Fuck sake. Are you still thinking of them off together?” Gina shook her head. “If anything was going to happen, it would have happened a long time ago, right? He’s with you now. You both look so happy.”
“They are just on business,” said Emma. She picked up her mobile phone and checked it for messages. She dropped it into her handbag. “So, shall we have cake and coffee or just a blow-out breakfast?”
Use short sentences
She poured the scotch. The clock read half past 10. She sighed. “Saturday night is alright for writing.”
Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Crossed the street for a cuppa Joe—watered down and strictly coffee in the academic sense because, around here, they seem to think everyone takes it with milk and sugar and will not taste the difference— They will knock it back, finish their sausage roll and flick up their blue collar—“oooh but coffee isn’t tea, is it, duck?”—and light a cigarette.
I smile–chew my gum— muse on mushrooms at breakfast with tinned tomatoes and fried egg vs. long-ago-IHOP days and memory of boysenberry syrup– I see you jogging to the car park– flowers in hand–fumbling for your keys–parking stub between your lips—I check my phone for the time of day and wonder, is it her birthday or your anniversary?
I thought to call your name—thought to catch you up—thought to smile–thought I might forgive you today—if only you would wander into Casey’s for a cup of brew. But I smiled and turned away.
Walking into Casey’s—I ordered a bagel sandwich to go—and my cup of Joe.
You’re a Genius all the time
I know you have pain but let me spin something at you, just to see if you can relate.
So– I sat there once– in some blackhole– thinking of a time when I was running through a meadow—Not a real meadow—A nostalgic meadow– like the one in some axiomatic scene in some powerfully wild cinematic film where the camera does that crazy-ass zoom in thing at the same time that the camera trucks out— you know that scene–that one that feels like the moment you realise what you just inhaled was the real thing and not a waste of money—That fluuuuuuuueeeee-better than being on some rollercoaster ride moment. Or that moment when all eyes are on you and everyone is smiling and nodding in agreement. Yeah, that moment when you realise the simple fact: You got this thing down, Ace.
Those moments are like that bit of God that touches you through someone else’s lyrics on the radio. The lyrics that make you ejaculate “TUNE!” before you collapse into the cushions in that softie-sound-afterglow.
That’s where you need to be right now, yo?
Don’t be coy. Don’t be calm. Don’t be sedate. Don’t be humble. Just go. Go with it and have faith that you are absolutely fantastic–the power–the key–the foretold. You are the man with a plan–whether the plan is immediately obvious or not is of no consequence at this time. Time is but a name to what we have loads of–honest.
Think about it–that last time you were all freaking out about “stuff not happening” or “stuff being a bit of a bummer”–who knew you would be right here, right now? The accomplishments achieved thus far are a far cry more rock and roll than the accomplishments made over a year ago.
So The Man said “no” today. Maybe that is for the best. That “no” probably gives you the freedom to not worry about getting untangled from regret at a later date—like that a narrow escape I had in Mexico with not being able to find that street with that burrito man. The one that was cooking up his neighbour’s dogs, it turned out—the one that was responsible for all those people getting sick and dying. That was a wild time. Remember how much I kept whinging about not being able to have that burrito and how hungry I was. But then we went back to Raul’s mom’s house and we had home-cooked menudo instead and we woke up all copasetic and with no hangover.
But I digress.
I will not be sitting here regurgitating proverbs and conventional greeting card sayings to get you through your shit. Just remember, You are going places. Rock and roll, fool! Rock and roll! Fire up that great, massive, cerebral riff and shred that bad ass tune.
Oh yeah. Keep the beard and don’t go bald.