Monday, 25 February 2008


I'm on standby, using up precious energy to light a little dot of red LED that has no real use in the world.

I have to keep to this state of standby because I have nothing to write now. I have got to the point of first-draft uselessness and actually compleated the draft of the play and I now have nothing to do but digest.

Every time I look at the draft I think its brilliant. I can see there are a few creases, a few quirks but they will iron out in a little while.

My observation of it's brilliance will fade with time. I do not understand how anybody could not enjoy it, how anybody could not see its potential. Perhaps it is significant that in, maxumum, 4 weeks, I will want to burn it, Chuck it away, dump it in the compost and actually turn myself on for use to try and improve, start again, rebuild from the destruction I have created.

I will be unsatisfied.

I don't really like standby. I prefer to be writing

Sunday, 17 February 2008


I’m feeling like a fat, ugly failure. I’ve gone straight back to the dull side of drinking-too-much. Mostly because I have a trapped nerve in my back that came on suddenly last week and I’ve been drinking to block the pain out for the past three days.

However, drinking for three days does nothing for the constitution. Today I am utterly flatulent, equipped with a tickly dry cough, unable to sleep for more than forty-five minutes throughout the night and utterly not with it. The lazy eye has undertaken a weird twitch. I’m falling apart.

Last night I was sick in the bin. HM didn’t like that much, I also wee’d in my baseball boots. I didn’t like that much. I missed my driving lesson today. My life is falling apart. HM seems to enjoy it. Every night and this morning have been filled with another one of his sexual advances. This is particularly weird, as I usually chase him around the bedroom demanding sex, demanding orgasms. At the moment I could take it or leave it. The pain in my back leaves my desire undemanding.

The worst thing about all of this is the lack of productivity and optimism I am now feeling about the characters I have created, the overall feeling and the world that I have been slaving away on within Trapped in Amber (Daddy was like the Autumn has now been officially dropped as the title – it has little / no resounding influence to anything in the damned book. Trapped in Amber however is used in a Bell Jar type of way – I suppose). As I am being depressively manic or bipolar I can’t connect with the housewife I have created and who my story emanates from. Ten chapters in 2 weeks has left me in a resounding slump. I’ve run out of steam and it feels worse because I was doing so well. It’s like what’s happening to the tortoises and the British weather. They start waking up because of the sunshine. What you really should do is put them in the fridge to make them go back sleep or else they will die when the weather drops again. Another bad thing is sitting and typing is almost impossible. I can’t really do it without lots of pain.

I have done one other thing. To cheer myself up, I escaped and retreated into fantasy worlds. At least I observed two very absorbing ones and then created something myself from the collage.

I quite like Meatloaf. Fattyman sitting about in his castle with its moving furniture, drippy candles and Buffy-vampire face. I like the texture of his world. I like the dusty drapes, the bearskin rugs, the fire, the broodiness, the huge circular glasses of what-could-be-blood.

I like The Sandman. Mekon leant me Brief Lives the other day and it’s taken me quite a while to finish it. I like the dream world, the soppy charisma of Dream, Death’s assuredness, Destructions dog and Delirium’s ability to make little multicoloured frogs.

I decided as a treat I would write something and not worry.

So I’ve begun a short, short story. Something that is particularly weird. Its about a temple dancer called Freckle, an oversized roommate called Esmeralda and the Italian restaurant downstairs. It actually reads much better than it sounds. I’ll finish it this afternoon if I can sit on the sofa with the laptop on my knee; slowly going sterile… somewhere on the internet might publish it. That’s my problem, I keep forgetting that I can publish little bits on the internet and don’t send any out. I also have the gremlin in the back of my brain (no, not HM!) that says my work is shit and I should not bother inflicting it on the world.

The website is being created. It’s a right pain to create and upkeep I. There is also another set of professional pictures being done thanks to Sarah Francis. I want some indorsey type ones, possibly done at her house as it is the prettiest interior I have ever seen and it fits into my whole style I suppose…

…and she owes me a favour.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Where or what am i upto?

I did an excercise today which was simply writing each of the main characters names down and listing what was thir function in the overall novel. It thew up some intresting points about rewriting. I suggest you do i if you ever get stuck!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Here is an Xtract

from the novel. its rough and ready still...


Alfie and I were sat in the living room. As usual I was bundled into a few vests, t-shirts, woollen fingerless gloves, jeans, leggings and two cardigans buttoned up. We couldn’t afford to get any central heating installed. The fire blazed wildly but seemed to generate little heat. Alfie was a small, child-like man with almost elfin features. He was all Pointy nosed and sharp cheekbones, deep dark eyebrows that almost cut into his pale-skinned face. If you looked closely there were lines that ran over his face, like some cracked ceramic pot. He had wildly curled deep brown hair that had begun to spring over his ears and down his neck. He was beginning to look a bit like a seventeenth century dandy. Barbers and hairdressers were a luxury and we couldn’t afford luxuries. He made that plain to me when I agreed to marry him. He had grown a beard so we didn’t have to spend precious pennies on shaving foam and razors.
“Go on,” he said. “Take a holiday. Try to recapture some of that spirit.” The tone seemed in my brain to say “Go on, take a holiday. Try to capture rainbows.” An impossible task, something that I could never do.
We’d moved because he got reallocated with his job and he loved his job. we were married only last year because it was a whirlwind romance and I loved whirlwind romances. For the most part I was happy. It didn’t matter that I’d traded in work and home for this cottage with its spiders, missing tiles, mildew and brown broken terrazzo. It was cheap, and I supposed with the Arts Council money and the Playhouse acting as an agent for the scripts, I could work anywhere. All I needed was (bare minimum), typewriter, stationers and a post office. Seeing as I had laptop, internet and all the stationary that Alf could carry from his office I was set. It didn’t matter that the laptop gathered dust as I busied myself making compost, growing vegetables and learning how to bake, it didn’t matter that I wrote better at night and Alfie needed his sleep for work and he could never sleep without me next to him. It didn’t matter that I’d run out of things to write about. I occupied myself and tried not to think the crushing-failure thought that I’d lost the magic even before I’d begun.
“You said yourself,” continued Alfie “that you wrote about real things that happened to you, the characters were not full leaps out of your imagination. You told me once that every person you wrote about you’d met.”
“Hmm. Kind of.” I said staring out of the windows, glaring at the daffodils that were trying to bloom in the cold.
“Come on,” said Alfie coming over to the armchair I was huddled in. All the furniture that we’d gathered was from auctions, reclamation yards, his charity furniture project. Nothing was new and that was the way we both liked it. He cuddled me in the patchwork blanket that I had made the first week we were here. Alfie liked my thriftiness, my organisation, my reusability. Things that only became apparent when we moved. I didn’t even know I could do them, frugal things like recycle and cook and sew. After only a month and I’d become a fully fledged 1950’s housewife. Alfie seemed ambivalent towards the change in me, he pretended not to notice. Only once in a blue moon he would comment that his mother made compost heaps, that she recycled religiously and that she would cut foam pads in half to cut down on the impact to the environment and the cost.

“Are you sure your ok with all this?” he asked. I nodded.
“It’s not as if it was a surprise.” I said with resounding finality.

To tell the truth I was worried about the money running out and having to return to work. I really, badly wanted to write but the little tricks to keep the cash lasting seemed to be taking up the time I should be spending creating this play, or at least soul-crushingly staring at the blinking icon on a empty white screen. Perhaps Alfie was right. He snuggled his curly head under my nose and I cuddled him. I picked him up and placed him on my lap. My little husband was slight. Shorter than me and weighing about nine stone, his curly hair made him look head-heavy, slightly pale, wrinkly and worm-like. I liked this about him. The fact he was small and cute and young looking. He was in his mid twenties but got ID’d at The Riverside by every member of staff there until they got used to us.
“Of course I’m going” I said into his curls and he hugged me in for a tight squeeze and then let go. “I’ll drive down.” I said “for the week, but you have to come on the Friday when you finish work.” There was no way I was going home alone. It’d been too long. If I was going back then he would have to come with me. He groaned and jumped off me sprightly to stand legs wide apart, in front of the open fire. His black jeans were tattered and bulged around his thighs giving him the illusion of wearing jodhpurs.
“Why do I have to go?” he whined “they’re your friends.”
“Because Pete will be there with Mary and Wilf will be with Emma. It’s just the way it has to be. Remember when I came to your granddad’s funeral with you?” he nodded. He knew there was no way out of it. I knew he was just trying, playing on my temperament to see if I would let him escape. His little, slipper-clad feet peaked out of the bottom of his jeans, his arms folded sulkily across his garishly woollen chest. He sulked and looked a little like a cuddly toy. I smiled. At least he wasn’t angry; at least he wasn’t obstinately refusing. He was just being morose for the sake of it.
Alf went to bed early. He’d been doing this more and more since we’d moved out into the sticks. I presumed it was a combination of country air and more things to do at work that made the guy, who once was a total insomniac, sleep for England. I manically wondered about the house folding blankets that I had made from scraps of cloth and old pillow stuffing, poking the open fire down to its last embers, washing cups that had once contained organic coffee and herbal teas, inspecting the fridge, counting eggs, checking the humane mouse traps for mice that I knew full well didn’t exist, but Alfie thought otherwise. Anything really rather than write or plan what I was supposed to be doing the forthcoming week, when the phone rang.
I’d never lived in a house that had a phone before. The eerie ring sounded alien for a few moments before I went over to the pink ring-dial phone that Alfie had picked up as a donated item from his work for two pounds fifty.
“h-hello” I said. Easily spooked by the ghosts of my imagination.
“Sarah, it’s me.” said Mary’s quick voice. It was half ten. No time at all in the city but practically midnight out here in the sticks.
“Oh, hey Mary. You made me jump. Sorry. How’s tricks?” I asked trying to sound offhand and positive and not like someone who regularly goes to bed at eleven and is vaguely put out by an old friend ringing up at the ungodly hour of half ten.
“Made you jump? Ha! You and Alfie and all those ghosts in that place should be all fine together.” Mary had been to the cottage when we first bought it, when we had nothing in it and not once after. Her excuses were that she thought it was haunted and didn’t drive. She lived with Pete, the newest in a long, long line of men, with another couple to cut down on rent in one of the many dilapidated houses down The Narb, ran by the Shonki Brothers estate agents, who I too had always previously rented off. The houses were the cheapest in town and true to the name, were Shonki as hell. The last time I had been into Leicester and over to Mary’s I had pulled the banister clean off the wall trying to combat the ultra-steep stairs to get to her bedroom.
“What do you want?” I asked. I had the leisureliness to be blunt to the point of unfriendliness with someone who I had known since year four at school. Something I immediately missed as soon as I said it. I dint meet anyone in my daily routine here who would understand the abruptness of our conversation.
“Well, cheddar pants,” she continued, undisrupted “I’ve just found out that Emma hasn’t done any of the funeral arrangements, so you might have to come back earlier to help her.” reading between the lines, I knew what this meant. I wasn’t going to be called in to “help” but to take over the arrangements of the funeral as Emma rarely did anything herself these days.
“Why isn’t Dianne’s family taking care of it?” I asked. I had met her mother twice, very briefly for short periods of time over the years I had known Dianne. Both times she seemed distracted and eager to get away, like she thought I was going to put poison in her coffee, steal her car or replace her prescription vallium with tic-tac’s.
“They know. They’re not coming back for it. Her mum and step-dad live out in France now… they said they’d put up most of the cash, we just need to do the arrangements.”
“That’s awful.” I said, but I knew exactly why. I paused in thought “Why can’t you do it?” I tried. I realised I sounded whiney, and there was no way that Mary would do the funeral, but, like Alfie, I couldn’t help ask.
“I am doing it,” said Mary, indignant “I just need some help. Now you’ve moved to the sticks you think it’s so much better to be out there, pretending to be lady of the manor. Not even thinking about us. Get your priorities right.” She said. There was a real harsh tone. it wasn’t one of Mary’s brief interludes of random snappiness. It sounded like she’d had these thoughts running about in her head for a while.
“All right” I said, resigned. “When should I come back?”
“Well… I’d say soon as. Tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow? I have a play to write y’know.”
“And we both know you’ve not written a word.” She said and put the phone down.
Stunned I picked up the cushion I had started to embroider a few nights ago. It was almost finished. It was an emerald green peacock pattern that Alfie found in the “donated items” section of his work. There was a little bit of red thread, which was supposed to be the ground, but to me it looked like a bloody egg. I held it up to the candle light. Alfie didn’t like us to waste money on the electric lights unless they were utterly necessary, and seeing as he pilfered candles from the stock draw it just made sense. I thought about what Mary had said. Often she implied that Emma needed someone to look after her. We both thought that this someone would be Wilf, but evidently, after a few months, we were wrong. All Wilf did was play on computer games and moan that his illnesses would kill him in a few years. Emma seemed to like him so who were we to argue?
I picked up the receiver and dialled Emma’s number. I felt a bit guilty as I hadn’t even spoken to her since I found out about Dianne’s death yesterday. The phone rang and rang and didn’t answer. Eventually I gave up and put the receiver down. Emma often didn’t bother replying to messages, answering her phone or calling people back. I sewed some more red around the peacock and it looked like a phoenix. I hunted about in my bag and found my mobile phone. I hadn’t bothered using it much since we’d moved here. I sent a text to Emma

Cumin up 2moz to help wiv stuff. Wil cal u wen gt there.

And I went to bed thinking of how weird it felt to type words.

Recycle - for a greener consience

Well the main motif with the recycling and everything is simply that my main narrator fancies herself as an eco warrior and she recycles everything almost... including her friends. can this be done?

Sunday, 3 February 2008

shaping up

ive got a weird fasscination in the novel with the kumari devi, a transexual and a ladydiva who is a heroin addict.