Friday, 23 April 2010

Eviction Night

     It’s eviction night. I’m…excited. If that’s the right word for it. No, no, it doesn’t seem strong enough, it’s just not enough.

Excited; aflame, agitated, aroused, awakened, eager, enthusiastic, provoked, roused, ruffled, wild.

Thank God for the online thesaurus, it helps me define myself. But more of that later. Back to what’s important here.
     Its eviction night and I’ve been voting for her all day. Finger on the re-dial button, I’m nervous, fidgety, which is weird because I never normally get like this. I’ve never been one for reality TV, it’s inhumane, appealing to the lowest common denominator and you never know what might happen. Colonic irrigations and live liposuction, Richard Madeley being eaten by a crocodile whilst Ant and Dec watch on, open mouthed and horrified. It’s far too spontaneous. I used to hate them. I used to hate all of them, but then I saw her.

     It was love at first sight, I saw her enter the house at 9.21pm, she was the third person to go in which didn’t automatically endear her to me as I’ve always found threes quite confusing. As a child, I thought if you put two of them together you would make an eight. But she makes all that seem so unimportant.

     She is breathtakingly, deniably beautiful. An Earth Goddess, her favourite colour is black and she doesn’t like turnips, trainers or daffodils. Her favourite snack is stale bread and she despises insecurity. She’s an only child and an orphan, her entire family wiped out in a freak whaling accident when she was thirteen. She’s rubbish at counting and was picked on in school. I know this because I read it on her myspace page. It’s now my homepage and I know almost everything there is to know about her.

     I know lots of other things about her as well. I know I love the way she hides behind her hair when she’s moody, I love the way her eyes are different colours, I love her webbed toes. She is an eclectic rainbow of perfection, my anarchic angel.

     As soon as she stepped out of the car, tips of her shiny black boots pointing Westwards, I was mesmerised. I rolled the soft syllables of her name round my mouth like marbles. It seemed to call to me from a distance, the sea at the bottom of a shell. Mooma…Mooma…Mooma…real name Moira but she couldn’t pronounce it as a child so she became Mooma and it just stuck. Funny, because I normally despise nicknames on grown-ups, it’s a sign of weakness, makes me think they’re hiding something. But in this case I’ll make an exception. In this case it seems to suit her. Mooma. Like a comfortable chair or a favourite aunt, Mooma my love you have taken over my life.

     I love to watch her. Relentlessly, religiously, like an alcoholic reaching for the first whisky through a vague haze of sleep, unconscious, the TV on in the background subliminally filling my head with her. Lovely, lovely her. She is like sunshine.

    I had every reason to dislike her but I even love her when she’s doing the conga and her operatic rendition of Leo Sayer’s You Make Me Feel Like Dancing was nothing short of inspirational. The others only exaggerate how wonderful she is with their childishness, their bitchy comments. Darryl and Carol were in the diary room the other day and they said that she was insincere. Insincere? Nobody in their right minds would call a finger-painting vegetarian insincere!

     It was only logical really, this next step. It was the only thing to do. When I saw her big, promotional cardboard cut out, poised as if to jump, her features contorted into an unnatural expression of “look how zany I am! watch me defy convention!” When I saw her there, alone in a sea of other housemate’s friends and familiars I knew. I knew what I had to do.

     Now I’m here, I can’t quite believe it. Can’t quite believe I did it. I normally think spontaneity is so over-rated but here I am. Day twenty-one and I’ve had the three most wonderful weeks of my life. Like the holiday of a lifetime but without the foreigners. And there’s that three again. See what she does to me? If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

“So, how long have you known the lovely Mooma?” our mock-cockney host asks, with just a hint of sarcasm.

“Oh, not long,” I said. I’ve never been one for lying and live on national TV is no time to start. “But she’s very important to me. She’s stolen my heart.”

I’m so excited, my hands are sweating and I have to concentrate very hard so I don’t accidentally wipe them on my trousers and leave marks. I’ve never been like this before. I never normally get so bothered about people, I don’t see the point. But she’s different. She makes me different. Makes me normal. Makes me feel what normal people feel.

     I feel like I’m going on a first date. Not an ordinary one but a big one, like an arranged marriage or something. I can’t quite believe I’m here.

“So!” shouts the over-sexed teen with the microphone. “It’s thirty seconds to go! Who will be re-united with their loved ones? Twenty seconds! It’s hang by the seat of your pants time! Ten seconds! And with a record ninety four percent of the votes the third person to be evicted from the house is…”

     They say Love changes you. She’s changed me. I feel like I’ve woken up. I can’t wait to meet her.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Welcome to the shortlist (some would argue that this is the list I’ve been on all my life…)

So way back in January I entered a competition to write a story on the theme of Heaven…results are in today and (drum roll please!) I made the shortlist! There were three hundred and seventy four entries, and mine is somewhere between numbers nine and twenty. I’ve already had my calculator out. That’s top six percent (six is my favourite number). Well done me. This afternoon we broke out the coffee and donuts to celebrate.
I’m happy because I knew that my story was good and I just feel completely validated. The fact that I didn’t actually win doesn’t matter. I got through enough rounds to have my story sent off to the agent (yes, agent) and on a different day, with a different reader, I could have won. Its close enough to make it all seem worthwhile.

I feel so happy, and motivated and generally awesome.
If you want to see my name on the shortlist, follow this link...(my story is called The Chosen)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

this is awesome

my new favourite song...

and check this out too, I would really like to be friends with these people!

I think I'm going to see if Cal fancies starting some sort of maverick interpretive dance group and taking it onto the streets of Newcastle...hmmmm...naturally, I'm supposed to be writing now. I'm finishing my story for the Biscuit competition. I'm not pissing about on you tube, and I am not going to go and see if the Glastonbury line-up has been announced (keep your fingers crossed for Dolly Parton)

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Secret

     You always made a big deal out of my birthday. There would always be a party, and you would always bake a cake and dance with the neighbours, swinging the women round in your strong arms, twirling little girls and drinking beer with the men. As I got older, you would always phone early and wake me up.

     That’s how I knew that something was up, before Mum called me and told me. It was my birthday, and you hadn’t phoned at 6am. Mum phoned at midday.
“He’s dead, isn’t he?”
     She’d found you on the sofa that morning. Cold cup of tea balanced on the arm, cigarette burnt down to the butt in the ashtray in front of you. You’d been dead for hours. Almost twelve by the time I found out. She hadn’t wanted to tell me, hadn’t wanted to ruin my birthday and make it the day you died. But it was always going to be that day, no matter how long she tried to put it off for.

     The funeral passed in a blur. Crematorium. Pub. Club. You’d always been the one who would encourage everyone to remember the good times. Jake tried to do that for you, to step up to be you but your shoes were too big. Mum had pulled out one of your old suits for him, quickly taken it up and in. I couldn’t believe my son was almost as big as you. It didn’t seem right.

     Afterwards, I drank your best Merlot and went through your things. Mum was asleep so it was just me, on my own with your memories. I heaved boxes down from the loft, knowing Mum would struggle on her own and really thinking I was helping. I thought that I would finally get to know a bit more about you. About the family you never spoke of, of your past before you met Mum and had me.

     The box, when I found it, just looked like any old box. It didn’t have any taped warning, no signs, “no do not open”. So I opened it. And nothing, at first, old photos of you when you were a child – oh, you looked like Jake! Your mother was an austere looking woman, all drawn face and high necked dress. And you had a brother. I never knew this. A letter you’d written home when you were in the army, postcards from far away places. Nestled in between all these things, a single, faded newspaper cutting.

     ‘Local man charged with murder’ and a photo. Of you. ’Gerald Rafferty, 21, of Heddon Street, was today found guilty –‘
I woke Mum up.
“Did you know?” I asked. She shook her head.
“He was 43 when I met him, he seemed so wordly. I was just 19. I didn’t think to ask what he’d been doing, and by the time I did, it just didn’t seem right.”

     I sat on your bed and sobbed quietly.
“Oh, Pandora,” she said.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Saturday, just before midday

so last week I found out that I hadn't won two competitions, neither mslexia nor the writers and artists yearbook. I found both of these things out via the medium of facebook, last wednesday. I felt a little bit sad, as you do, but then when I read the winning story for the writers and artists yearbook competition, I stopped feeling sad because it was so lovely, and much, much better than the story I'd submitted (which I already know how I want to change it in the re-write). I haven't read the mslexia stories yet because I am waiting for my magazine to arrive. although there is a place in my heart for the convenience of reading short stories on my blackberry on the bus, there is a much bigger place in my heart for having a magazine that I carry around with me in my oversized handbag until it becomes a little bit tatty (but not so tatty I can't keep it forever).

so one of my plans for the next few weeks is to re-write, and re-submit. I have Fishtank - which is new, and needs a few minor changes before it goes, and then my lovely little rejects, The Journey, The Lesson and The Shephard.

but as well as all that, some long weekend fun is in order. happily, my lovely pink tent has arrived, so I am, officially, going to be the pinkest girl at Glastonbury. today I am going to town with my friend Azita for some Thai food (mmmmm) and then I'm off to my friend Laura's house for some drinks and Goldie Hawn movies, before they become bastardised by Hollywood

is nothing sacred?

anyway, I must dash. I have an important date with Jack Reacher. bye!