Still here…

Hi y’all,

Long time no speak, see, hear anything.  Though truth is you’ve heard it all before and so here we go again.  On this cycle of existence, compounded by the need to know.  The narcissistic pressure of a Facebook driven world to impress our unique and wonderful perfections on an unforgiving world.  Hey presto, I’ve been drowning in the silence of my own determination not to exist in written form. But now I realise I’m just standing in God’s waiting room, only he, she, it has left the building and the only I that’s here is me on my lonesome; wanting to find my way through the emptiness of treadmilling.  That’s me on the hamster wheel of work and no play, although my littlest one is now a threenager.  Filling his little head with isms and ideas of how it is and how it should be.

And how’s that you may ask?  How should it be… You tell me. I pray, you tell me.

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Hiya everyone and whoever may or may not be out there!  I just wanted to share some thoughts I’ve been having about truth. Coz the truth is out there you know, and some might say it’s in here too.  I was thinking that it’s all relative, and changing moment by moment.  The truth is it’s always changing.  That’s probably it in a nutshell.  As you can probably tell I’ve been finding it challenging to get the words out.  Out there. And so it boils down to lack of momentum, Christmas, excuses and lack of motivation.  I’m disappointed in myself for this and I know I only have my own self obsessive unrelenting critical persona to blame.  But hey ho here goes.  The days are passing and if I don’t allow myself to press override and do something constructive and creative with my time then another year will pass and before you know it I’ll be fifty.  As we don’t know how long we have on this planet I think it’s about time I made a commitment to something.  Neurosis and fear aside or on board I think I’m going to use this platform just to scribble and get my blocks out so I can finish the current project. 

I’m sorry, forgive me, I love you, thank you.  The Hawaiian mantra works wonders and I’m trying hard, really I am.  Though what I’d really like to do is get on a plane and trust myself to live again.  I tend to be fearful and hiding these days.  I need to do something about this but I guess acknowledging the problem is part of the solution.  One step at a time I’ll be better, it just takes time to trust the tides as they carry you forward.  I’m still a babe learning to walk.  One day I’ll fly.

Mandala of Peace

A mandala is a symbol, a circle which represents the universe, in Buddhist or Hindu thought and it came to mind when I thought of this day and what it has come to represent now that a great man of peace has entered the final veil.  Peace. May the sacred heart of Peace and the divine Love and Wisdom which Nelson Mandela shone so brightly on this earth envelope him now in an everlasting light.

I just wanted to say thank you for his choices that have moved so many lives to rise beyond injustice and into the heart of action and forgiveness. May we all make the right choices to help us on our journeys.  May we always be guided, protected and encouraged when we feel most at a loss in our lives.

I haven’t shared for a while.  I’ve been too self critical and losing sight of the goal.

It’s half five in the morning and she’s snuck out to escape the booby monster, no not Mr Lovelybones, but Dylan their eighteen month old son.  She made a cheese sandwich and drank some grapefruit juice from the carton, no straight from the carton, no one else drank it anyway, and she read somewhere it was good for losing weight.  Then found herself wondering about where she could escape to  in the world.  She was always feeling this sense of urgency.  Why can’t I be happy where I am?  It’s just not so easy.  Although after their month away in the camper van travelling all over Portugal she ought to feel released from the need.  For awhile at least.  Truth is she feels trapped by circumstance and her continuous need to make excuses for not writing the novel/s.  Today she is working in a school with a year 6 class all day.  Tomorrow she has the day off as her son Joe who is twenty-one in January is off to Thailand with his girlfriend.  She finds it hard to think about him leaving.  It is hard to let go of our children.  Even when they are grown. Her neurosis about life and death kicks in and she hates goodbyes.  But she is going to bite the bullet on that one and take him to the airport. A huge part of her will be travelling with him.  Another part will be relieved to have some space from the constant compulsion to mollycoddle all her young ones.

 

“In God’s Kitchen” extract

So this is in honour of the post I read by thepublicblogger about autobiographical writing. Thank you for the inspiration Kendall.  

Why must it be that we seek to reveal ourselves in printed form when moment by moment we vanish like shooting stars? Still, here I am, trying to tell the story of my life and then I realize how much it is about other lives. When I was a young child I was the centre of the world and I thought everything revolved around me, now I understand how my own story is simply a small fragment of one incredible narrative; the ancestral tree that created me, so now I guess it may be that I am simply here to pay homage to this journey.

To the memory of the British Empire in India,

Which conferred subject-hood upon us,


But withheld citizenship.


To which yet every one of us threw out the challenge:


“Civis Britannicus sum”
Because all that was good and living within us


Was made, shaped and quickened


By the same British rule.’ Nirad C Chaudhuri

Hemp is like weed and in India it just grows wild…” the talk is about this and corporations and fur coats and me? I am thinking about my mum riding on the back of a motorbike with her sari flowing in the breeze and then it gets caught somehow in the wheel and papa doesn’t realize she is pulled off. And she crashes her jaw on the dirty guttering. Her jaw cracks as it smacks on to the sidewalk. History reveals itself and I simply exist as part of someone else’s narrative, as I re-member the fragmented parts that create my whole being. Perhaps, that is why I landed in England all those aeons ago, the land of spells, of crafting magic with words, the land of the great Shakespeare and my surrogate mother-land, to teach me the words that would unbind me, uncast the spell that has captured me in the darkest well. I have been washed up, washed out, wasted on this dry earth, a foundling in unfamiliar waters, in search of home and of love.

Yesterday, I took a drive into the past. As I drove closer to the town where I grew up, I recalled people I had known. Many of these individuals were dead now. I knew how their stories began and ended. I felt emptiness and strength at this realization. If all these lives are finite, then it is a shame they disappear like raindrops. Rain, rain, I want to catch some rain, falling through the gullies into the rivulets and rivers, in one continuous flow of never ending time. Life is timeless, or so it can be, when the lives are drawn and spoken of and remembered. So what is time? A measured moment of eternity, perhaps, or is it the eternal return of cycles and spins, the myths and fantasies that hold me in. Trapped by my own sins. All my past and future collide when I remember how it came to pass that the sins of my forefathers would land upon my head. And my memories are woven in silken threads of rich Indian golds and reds, just like a bridal chamber for newly weds.

I am living in this green and promised land but it is the land of ripe mangoes that is my birthright and my first home, not this England which has become my home and in which I have always been an interloper, a thief and an outcast, not of my choosing, but I am grateful for the destiny and the journey which has brought me here, allowed me to learn this foreign tongue, perhaps, it will allow me to unravel the harm done by the invader who invaded and I remember my father once said, ‘raped our mother India’, as the roots of my grandfathers and my grandmothers implanted themselves in a forgotten history, one that I seek to find. My ancestors who were invited here, to work and help in the building pf railroads, and tracks and scanty towns for shanty people who were once living in ‘shanti’, in a land called India. Me, I was born in India, bred in England. Bread, breadth, breath of life give us this day our holy bread, in Christian schools where I must learn to say the Lords Prayer and return home to learn to live a double life.

It was my mother who named me, Priti, which means love, because my father was not present at the birth. I never really knew my father, though I was told about him and his philandering ways. Thus, memories became infected with the resentments and deeply embedded pain of others. My mother said,

You come from a family of opium smugglers on your father’s side, his mother died while he was still drinking at her breast.  Your papa grew up in this world without a mother. When he was little he had no friends, no one played with him, the other children were warned not to go near him, ‘he is the boy who ate his mother’, they said and I say it is no wonder he is so selfish, so angry and mean. He has never known a mother’s love so what can we expect?” And on and on she would continue with half finished stories and judgements and reflections and I half listened, half shut my eyes, whilst my mind and my heart were filled with fear of being swamped by the darkness which had fallen around her whenever she spoke of Him.

I listened to her wistful stories about a man she married and escaped from. I often think about what she said and I feel curious. When she first told me these tales I was still too young to fully comprehend the extent of this loss. But every life has a measure of suffering and sometimes it is this that awakens us. In my own desire to know my father I tried to imagine how it must have been. I concluded that nothing could absolve this loss but being young he learned to forget. Perhaps, somewhere deep inside his mother still held him, in silence, and perhaps, sometimes, the scent of jasmine reminded him. And sometimes, when he was especially overwhelmed, it may simply be her name that haunted him, as it became a shadow of truth, testimony to the simple fact that he had a mother, once. But his weeping must have been silent and his tears invisible for no one ever saw his tears, the invisible tears that fell from an invisible father who became real only in my mothers’ angry words and torments.

 

Blog world

She’s thinking about weddings as she sits on the park bench.  There is an inscription honouring a now dead couple who spent “happy hours in these tranquil gardens.”  A mad dog runs up to her with wild eyes and no collar and she tries to feign serenity  but her fear of rabid dogs and the background drilling of the workmen on the tennis courts is not helping.  She is having a sneaky smoke.  Trying to hide the fact from her adult offspring, as she gave up smoking five years ago.  Ahh the twists of fate such cliche’s that send the mind on twisted tales and knives. Forgive her these pretentious parlances she is a writer after all and a blogging one at that with an unknown audience of voyeurs.  She thinks about her depression and about marriage.  Perhaps if she married Mr. Lovelybones happiness would ensue, it would be the icing on the (wedding)cake of her miserableness. This time round it would be different.  Her first two marriages were ugly. But she wasn’t, she was beautiful. Unlike now.  Middle age and sagginess was creeping in relentlessly.

Last night Raph came round.  Emily and Moses read her journal and laughed loudly. They set up the blog and forced her into the 21st century.  If you don’t like it you can always do one of two things or both, stop reading or blame them.  I can happily pass on their details if you wish.  Anyway when Emily sees this she’s going to raid my room and destroy what’s left of my secret stash, so I’d better get busy rolling some more tobacco smokes now or surrender my one small selfish pleasure.  Anyway, I’m sure I can replace my selfish choices with others.  Now at least I have a blog and a voice to echo into the wilderness of the blogosphere.  My neurosis has a platform and a virtual audience.  Most of them remain silent in their rapture.  First she was excited, thrilled even, as Emily exclaimed, “Now you can say you’re a published writer!” Hmm, yep, not quite what I had in mind but hey better than nowt.

Raph gets his rapé pipe out and she blows some rapé, a Brazillian snuff from the rainforest, up his nose.  He reciprocates and they both laugh hysterically, and she is over manic now that she’s also had thirty virtual reader hits and an obscure life purpose in the world of Blog.

To be or not to be, in that sleep…

She marched down Regent Hill inspecting their old home from across the street, she had just sold it to a Chinese family. Clothes were hanging from the curtain rail in the living room window. The house was a four storey town house and they lived there for a good six years. Emily, Joe and about one hundred different language students and lodgers who remain like a nameless sea of changing faces. It was a challenging experience which seemed part of the insanity of her existence. It was a large four bedroom Regency town house with basement and two reception rooms. The shadow of a hint of sadness flew over her and she continued past to the square and noted Pie Society had closed down.

When she finally reached the shop where Emily worked she found her standing outside in the ugly yellow shirted uniform that was part of her outfit. She looked deadpan. So it turned out she didn’t get the sack but was being given a written warning. After only fifteen days on the shop floor and still in her probationary period she had sold a bread knife to a seventeen year old without obtaining ID. Emily was relieved and somewhat irked at the same time at the prospect of being in the same dull job.

It’s not easy to know what to do. When she thinks of her own dreary existence and the party people in the flat opposite where the all night gatherings pound out the sounds of wild and eclectic funky tunes while she lies next to her baby boy and her man/partner/friend/annoyingly perfectly balanced significant other. The point of it seemed futile. Floating in a consistent state of unease she lay quietly contemplating her need for something. If only she could be cajoled and brainwashed by consumer society but she felt detached. Unable to relax or to reach out anymore she felt sick. Quietly she got up went to the bathroom and made herself vomit. Now perhaps the queasiness would vanish and she could go back to sleep. But it didn’t and she started to wonder how if ever she could find peace in a world consumed by slavery and addiction.

It’s not as if I’m any kind of authority on any matter, but I’ve been around for a while now, in five years it’ll be half a century. I’ve seen some change and sailed through some tumultuous waters but right now I’m at a complete loss. He thinks she should get out more, make some friends. But each friendship is another drain on her already empty brain. More energy and more commitment spells more pain, disappointment and risk of loss. It all boiled down to one thing really. Fear of death and fear of loss. On Saturday night he was going to see John for a birthday bash. They could have got a babysitter, Emily perhaps. But she declined and opted to stay in, it was the easiest way out. And then when he left she prepared her mind for the assault. Thoughts would sneak in fearing the worst. How could tragedy strike this time. She was overwelmed at the horrific ways we can suddenly lose those we love and she wished she could be less disagreeable to those she loved the most. Equanimity was to be cultivated in the buddhist teaching but all she could think about was that story she read in the paper about some guy who went to the pub while his girlfriend and baby were at home and he got stabbed.  Crazy thoughts like that stop her from feeling safe.  Coz it could happen to anyone, just like cancer.  And her eldest son had cancer.  Although that was seven years ago. Stuff like puts you on edge.  So now she’s a little bit edgy.  It was tricky to share that. Thankfully, Mr lovelybones came back safe, smiling and happy.

November 19th

Dylan was up at 3am. Oh the joys of motherhood, I moved to the office and slept on the spare mattress. I could hear him fussing, I awaited the call “Booby, where are you?” but he couldn’t quite string the sentence together this time. If he had I think I would have gone to him, we should have called him Einstein. Or Frank (lol), anyway at 18 months his language is pretty well advanced. I’d better watch out next time I spill something and say shit. The walls have ears now and Dylan is a fast learner.

Seriously though, I’m glad I’m doing this but not so impressed with myself for not writing yesterday. I do have daily blogs to share but my main problem is time and the second one I guess is perfectionism. This can go two ways for a neurotic. It either means you take ages analysing and editing a piece of work or you just surrender and accept the first thing that comes up. Today I fall into the latter category. And when it comes to housework, appearance and life generally too. I guess anything goes now because nothing is ever good enough. When I was a child my mother used to call me fussy. But it really is much more than that. My neurosis about perfectionism is an overwhelming desire for life to be neat and tidy, this of course is crazy because my life, and most lives do not follow through this way. I reckon it’s because of the random nature of events that intersperse the daily happenings, spicing up events. God/goddess/divine omniscient creator/flying spagetti monster whoever/whatever must be a grand chef, or a great comedian. Only problem is the laughs on us. Anyways, I’ll write up some more random thoughts later but for now I’ve got to head to work, it’s been over five weeks and I’m not in the mood, thankfully it’s only for a morning and I can entertain year 1 kids for that long now that I’ve had some sleep.

Is this thing on?

NeuroSeas for Beginners

She stares at her hands. Brown, medium in size and shape, knobbly knuckled, bitten down nails, a silver ring with an amber stone on her ring finger, she notes it is not of sentimental value in that no-one gave it to her. She realizes how few material gifts of value she owns, in fact, she tries her best to avoid sentimentality. You never have to worry about losing something if it has no emotional value and are no photographs framed in gild adorning walls. None. I guess you could say she was self obsessive and over protective and aging ungracefully into a size 14, still squeezing into the 12’s for now, holding on determinedly to her over ambitious dreams of becoming a writer. She leaves the flat which is on the third floor and then wonders where she put her passport. She starts to feel the urge to go back and search for it but manages to hold off and convince her anxious mind that it is in a safe place. It’s probably back in the knickers drawer.  She recalls an ex-boyfriend saying he loved her for this,

“For what?” She asked. For her nutty professor ways he’d replied.  He had noticed the passport. It had found pride of place stationed in safely along with the potatoes in the kitchen. The top drawer of the white plastic crate which was home for veggies. It had lain there for weeks, no months, actually it was probably years after the relationship had ended. She didn’t try to defend herself but accepted his statement as a compliment.

Well, that was at least twenty years ago and now she had upgraded to the knickers drawer. If she was burgled she doubted a thief would look there and hence, the passport was safe. I know her so well and yet I know nothing. This is why I am writing this now,  to give voice to the neurosis that is quietly driving her insane. So I guess you could say she and I are one and the same although somehow by looking at it from the outside in she is getting better at holding off on her compulsions. She turns and takes eleven strides to the lift, twelve would be perfect so she sneaks one tiny step in and stands up close to the elevator door. It hiccups on its way up and she is relieved when the door opens and there is no one inside. Her twelve step rule has led her to bump into strangers at times but if she can’t follow through then her compulsions get the better of her and she’s trapped in a world of her own making.  Aren’t we all?

The palpitations in her chest have lessened and she breathes deeply, it’s 11.45 and she needs to be at the shopping mall by noon to meet her daughter. She has given birth three times and her overhanging belly and droopy boobs pay homage to the fact. Sometimes when she lies on her side she thinks her belly looks the same as a cat who has just had a litter of kittens. Two of her kittens are now fully grown. One is a graceful lioness and the other a wild tiger about to go and explore Thailand and Australia with his beautiful girlfriend. The youngest is still a kitten and she is living on lack of sleep and frustrated at his constant need to breastfeed. She worries for his future and for all futures. She wonders how to overcome her sluggishness and finally make it as a writer. She thinks about calling her partner and telling him where she is going but then changes her mind. Better to walk quickly, time is pressing, better to canter along and try to catch those thoughts that keep catapulting me into confusion and stopping me from doing what I know it is I am meant to do. Not that it matters. Writing is an art form and it has occurred to her lately that she has no art and no form to speak of. Only a jumbled mass of journals and creative outbursts that sit in boxes around the flat. We are all self obsessed she tells herself as she walks along briskly trying not to let her intermittent thoughts of someone coming up from behind and whacking her over the head intrude on her progress. She glances at the strangers in the parked car and looks down at her leopard print socks inside black shoes. the print is black, grey and white, she is wearing black. A black lycra mini skirt with black leggings and a black top (with easy access for breast feeding), a burgundy tight fitting cardigan, and her black waterproof parker which finishes the ‘look’. It is too young for her she concludes. This look is more suited on someone in their twenties but she is forty five now. Her mind focusses on her feet, her daughter hates feet, although she did work in Clarke’s for awhile. Then again her daughter has a passion for shoes. She doesn’t. She hates shoes. She prefers to walk barefoot. If she would find a pair of shoes easily then perhaps this attitude could change but the choices are endless and time is always limited. Besides she prefers practical things to makeup and fashion.

But it’s also part of the fear of choosing. It’s so hard to commit to things sometimes even if the commitment is only to a pair of shoes. Time and experience have taught her that shoes are fine when your trying them on and difficult to break into, everything needs breaking in to become comfortable, but she has been broken too many times already and now she is just a collection of shattered fragments that make up the whole.

Anyway, so back to essentials. Where do you keep your passport?