Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Kidulting


1.
 I like my bed when it's unmade. When it's stripped of it's layers and trappings to reveal the basic, off-white glory of it's nakedness. Duvet and pillow and mattress become a mass of cushion that I can burrow into, right in the middle, tucking my knees under my chin. I went three days recently without making my bed to keep my wonder of a bedtime routine. Eventually, I could practically hear my mum's nagging, so reluctantly pulled my covers off of the drying rack to clothe it again.


2.
When I feel like a kettle primed to boil (which has happened a lot recently) I like to sit. Mainly, on the floor. Back pressed up against something sturdy, usually a wall or a cabinet, crossed legs like I'm back in Circle Time in primary school. Except here, it's just me, either looking up at someone or alone, controlling my breathing. Sometimes I do it to hide from something, or somebody, like the act of removing myself from where I am expected to be makes me completely invisible. It doesn't though. I am aware of people looking at me, or aware of how long I have been away and always have to get up to carry on.


3.
One of my favourite things is when the sun streams through windows and glows a patch of light on the carpet. I like to lie in it for hours, edging slowly over as it moves with the day. When I was younger I'd do this on the top of the stairs, the biggest step framed by massive stain glass windows. I'd rest my feet on the one above and lie back, hair dangling off the edge, the blood rushing to my face making my forehead pop and crackle. Living in a flat means I live stairless, so I recreate this by hanging my head off the side of the bed, careful to not fall.


4.
Growing up as one of four, which in turn was half of a pack of eight, means that my childhood was high volume at a high frequency. If it got to much, though, I'd take myself away from the roars to a corner, just for a few minutes, to pull back parts that had been shouted over and recollect. Open plan offices often reach a similar pitch as a swarm of pre-teens does, and when my headphones don't work over the ping on my inbox I do the same thing. Find corners - one by the printer, one by the bookshelves, one in the corridor - the places that the rumbles don't reach and I can finally hear myself.


I'm managing to adult by regressing, slightly. I think it's ok though. I think this is how you're meant to do it.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

No Spine

you ain't got a spine son,
what holds you up so steady - 
without a 
backbone of pride,
don't even know your own echo sort of ignorant, 
the glass houses sort of victim, 
so it is me who riles you, 
who has you shaking in your boots, 
which you stamp out on me, rub me loose from your sole - 
go ahead, make my week 
give me reason to raise my voice
and screech all your blindness away from your eyes,
because I know where mine is,
and what holds me high, 
and when my compass points north or south, I trust that it is true, 
whereas you are so doubtful, 
that if you counted to ten on your hands, you'd have to triple check just in case,

Don't try me. 
I've been taught how to spot a weak one.  



Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Memory Jar 2015


I'm a bit of a hoarder. My bookshelves are overspilling, some of my clothes date back to when I was in Year 11 and I have scrapbooks full of paper that I can't bear to throw away. So last year, in another stunning act of hoarding, I started a Memory Jar. 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Encounters with Strangers #3






  • At Victoria train station, where all of these encounters seem to begin. Approaching the inferno that is the staircase to the underground.  A headphones-wearing passerby strides up the stairs as an eager jumper-wearing man descends. They get tangled up in one another, and momentarily stop on the stairs, trying to unwind. "I guess that opposite attract" Headphones says awkwardly. Jumper laughs, equally as awkwardly.

  • In a New York restaurant, having all you can drink Sangria. Unsurprisingly, need the toilet, and join the sprawling queue for the ladies as we watch men waltz into the doors across from us. "It's ridiculous", the woman in front of me suddenly spurts. "Urinals take up 3 times less space than ours!". "Freakin' patriarchy," another from the back chimes, and then the queue erupts into loud, drunk cackles of solidarity.

  • Still in New York, this time trying to get into the MoMA. I ask for an adult ticket. The seller laughs. "No, honey, you must be a student". Me, slightly indignant, assure him that I am an adult. He gestures to my camera, my well worn notebook and my foggy glasses. "In this get up, I'd think you're studious enough." I'm a bit pissed as he prints me a ticket, until I leave and check the price. He was letting me have the $2 discount.

  • Navigating the hell that is the Elephant & Castle roadworks. A guy is kicking a ball against the wall of the university building. It ricochets to the feet of a suited worker, who nonchalantly nutmegs himself and kicks it back, just as another walker appears, who does a brief keepy-uppy and kicks back to the original player. Everyone who has found themselves caught up in this game breathes an impressed sigh, before continuing on with avoiding the hardhats.

  • Walking through Southwalk, pass a bus stop, on a hot August day. A city boy leans against the pole, drinking milk. Directly from the carton.

  • Again, walking through Southwalk. A man at a crossing is on his laptop, with Google Maps open on the screen. Half perplexed, half impressed. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thanksgiving 15.

I'm thankful for my family, who I wear on my left wrist and are never far behind my echoes. Who have been knocked repeatedly this year but can somehow still turn their bruises to blossoms. I'm thankful for my wonderful friendships which now span countries and time zones but all lead back to knees under tables, hearts on photos and cups of teas on desks. I'm thankful for the roof over my head and the sheets on my bed and the fact that I can press snooze for ten more minutes in the morning. I'm thankful for the laughter, as it drags me back up when I feel like I have sunk. I'm thankful for the words, who always seem to know how to pull something out of me and make it make sense. That's been needed a lot this year. I'm thankful for potential; the great unknown, the burgeoning buzz, that thing that I am desperate to build out onto and upwards. Lets see.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

"God Bless"

People aren’t homes – but some come close.
Welcoming you in with open arms and open doors,
Making room and space for you to fill,
To spread and grow up into,
To leave marks in stained floors and mudded carpets,
Water drenched flower beds and crayoned walls –
Mess met with a sigh, a smile, and a tidy.

Sweet tins hidden in cupboards,
Campbeds pulled out from under mattresses,
Boxes of duplo waiting behind sofas,
Videos of cartoons lined up against the VCR,
Antique lamps subtly repositioned,
Pound coins for pick and mix located,
Towels poised and ready,
A house and a Nan prepared for any child who ran in.

All weathers, all seasons, all of us together,

Summer holidays meant eggy bread breakfasts and water fights that were timed to the meter, drenching birdbaths and greenhouses and windows,
Being turfed out into the fresh air to dry off, cycling to the park where we’d push each other on swings, scrape our knees falling off bikes and riding the dog,
Poking our skin with twigs as we played pooh sticks on the bridge,
Tirelessly traipsing back home to be met with a glass of juice and potato smiley faces to play games of spirographs and pretending to be the United Nations, trading our dinners for Japanese armies and Playstations,
Interrupted by escaping budgies and the complicated arrangement of beds and mattresses and sofas to finally fall into,

As it got colder, she only got warmer,
Decorating the ceiling with red and green diamonds and tinsel that brushed our heads and dazzled when hit with by fairy lights from the Christmas trees,
All of us in close, elbows and shoulders, shoved into the fancy living room, Laughter high and spirits higher –
Boxing Day noise rising as we stole presents from each other, kids playing cheeky but the adults playing cheekier,
And she was there, at the heart of it, in her chair,
Slyly trying to hide her growing mountain of gifts behind one of her grandchildren.

She taught us lessons only a Nan could teach,
To always finish your drink before leaving the table and to only cycle on the paths,
That when a dog goes missing in the park, they will always come back for dinner,
That family will always, always come first.

People aren’t homes, but she was ours. We love her, and she loved us,
Told us every night when tucking us in,
when stretching up to give us hugs as we towered over her,
when sending a text with no punctuation –


“God Bless, Good Night, Sleep Tight,
and don't let the bedbugs bite”.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

We Need To Talk.


Last week, I became a published author. My short story "Family Language" has been published by Jurassic London in WE NEED TO TALK, a short story collection produced by Kindred Agency and the female cancer charity, The Eve Appeal. The theme of the collection is difficult conversations, something that was an easy prompt for a writer who deals with communication, silence and noise. I went to the launch last week with great friends who forced me to sign many copies and feel extremely embarrassed. It was amazing.

All proceeds from the book go to The Eve Appeal, and I'd love for you to support it if possible. To tempt you, how about a cheeky extract...? (Ebook available here, paperback here)