Monday, April 16, 2007

every move you make

Last week or so has been a bit scary on account of symptoms threatening with the usual push-me pull-you bully tactics. I’m well used to it but still after all this time I still have a fear of being clobbered into complete submission by M.E. I decided, unwisely probably, to work on a poem about all this and managed to produce something that was a) crap and b) suggested something about my relationship to the illness that isn’t true and makes me want to throw things. Of course poems don’t have to be true and we can take on as many supposed selves as we want, but this was simply unacceptable. It made M.E. seem a bit sexy and seductive, albeit in a dark and murky way (which is ok in different circumstances and don’t get me started on sex and death – really). To explain: I have often pictured the illness as a stalker figure who watches my every action with a kind of “every move you make” obsessive interest. He is a sweaty, toad-like creep in a suit who sits in his luxury but airless office where he monitors me on a screen and can bring on relapses at the push of a button, and does so for his own amusement or to remind me of who is boss when I do things that are a bit too much like living a life for his liking. This is not the stuff of erotic fantasy – not mine at any rate, but that’s the impression the poem gives, unsurprisingly with phrases like “touch of a demon lover who’s after your blood” and “poor Leda of the loosening thighs” (I told you it was crap), which I had intended to be so deeply and acidly ironic as to be purely sarcastic. Only once written it didn’t look like that at all. Even Keats would not have been half so in love with “easeful death” if he had known about this bugger. Anyway, I’ve binned it and have another inkling of an idea which I’ve begun to work on, so feeling in better humour now and for the moment a bit less clobbered. Planning a week’s island-hopping (words – doncha love ‘em) in Scotland with Mr. Signs in May. Yesss!

My son flies off to New York today to compete, with others from his uni who are part of a jazz a cappella group, in an international a cappella championship event at the Lincoln Centre. Then it’s back to maths and philosophy exams and the summer term. My daughter is busily involved with organising a festival in London for which she has also written a short play. My kids might guess, but will never know, the intense joy it gives me to see them living their lives.

23 comments:

Anna MR said...

Ms Signs, I couldn't even finish reading your post, I was in such a hurry to get down here and ask you to get started on sex and death. What a yummy subject. I will be back (but first, I shall go and finish reading your post).

Anna MR said...

Hello again, Ms Signs, I shall now try to sound a bit more normal and like the compassionate adult I am in real life. I am sorry, truly, to hear this bastard of an illness is trying to rear up its ugly toad-like mug again. Tell it (from me, if you don't normally swear) to f*ck right off. Ok? I shall bring my rubber gloves and handy plastic apron and wring its sorry neck otherwise.

Your kids sound like they really have their act together. Mine are still in the awkward age of "I-wonder-if-they'll-do-well-or-indeed-anything-at-all-in-life". Love them to bits of course, but ages and stages, you know.

*goes off wondering whether she succeeded in her mission to sound normal*

goodthomas said...

I am not sure how it happens but every post of yours, I find myself circling 'round, emotionally, making a complete journey courtesy of your words.

I cannot imagine your daily life, with such a monster, such a shadowly stalker round every bend. I second anna mr's plea in telling ME to just "f*ck right off." Seriously.

I would love to read your poem, really. Even though you think it crap, I am sure the mere fact that you wrote it with this monster lurking gives it some real merit, a true sensitivity. I would love to read it.

Your children sound like amazing people. I am very glad you and Mr. Signs have them to fill your chests with pride. No, I do not think they do know the intense joy they bring. Mine are much younger (10 and 7) and I am constantly filled with joy watching them doing the most mundane things. It would repulse them to know that.

Reading the Signs said...

anna mr (you do normal and eccentric both beautifully) - it is, isn't it, and believe me it has crossed my mind to begin a thread called sex and death and rock and roll, but the Signs way favours the implicit and the subtle dark allusion - if you get my meaning. Not to say that the thread would probably degenerate into talking about cigarettes. But I'll think on it, hmmm. The F word is fine - I seem to use it on other peoples' and not on mine - perhaps because I know that once I get started I don't stop and it can be a way of me not bothering to find the real words I want. Sometimes there's no substitute though, is there?

Anna MR said...

But cigarettes are deathly sexy. I am back on them again, after nearly six years off, and that must mean they have an unstoppable lure, a bit like that other stuff (sex, you know). And people keep telling me they'll kill me, so they may be deadly, too.

I said something silly on my site about stalking. I hope you don't mind.

Reading the Signs said...

ah goodthomas, even if it had some merit (and yes, there are a few things I could pull out), I wouldn't post work, other than my posts, on this blog - works best for me that way right now, but this might change at some point.

Thanks to you and anna mr for the f*ck-offs. Warm-heartedness and creativity always confound the stalker a bit, I think.

I can't say I fully understand it, but I do like the idea of a "journey courtesy of words".

nmj said...

signs, which islands are you going to? that sounds so lovely lovely lovely!

Reading the Signs said...

nmj, we'll be going to Iona (where I've been before), Lewis, Harris and Skye - driving up via Oban. The only thing we've actually booked is a couple of nights in Iona - hoping to wing it, so to speak, once we're there.

nmj said...

i've never been to iona, supposed to be wonderful. skye is a treat. i went once with an american boyfriend who got so drunk on whisky the barman had to carry him to bed (i had already retired for the night). i thought he would die, he was so drunk. & he smelled of whisky for days.

That's so pants said...

I find I only ever write crap initially but I'm often rewarded by persevering with an idea. Despite my best efforts, my first stabs are invariably pretty much the opposite of what I meant to say. That can be SO infuriating. It's a bit of a numbers game. I pursue every idea that comes to me because it's so brilliant to get them - even though most of them end in blind alleys.

Chronic illness often manifests to a writer as a shadow or stalker. Any number of examples spring to mind - usually apropos of depression. I guess your challenge is to turn the cliche into an originality. I think of JP Sartre who often felt himself tailed by a lobster (apols for the appalling pun). As phantoms go, you have to admit it was novel.

The Moon Topples said...

I think children do know, even if they don't know. I think it is reflected in some secret shine on the insides.

nmj said...

Signs, can I please tell Moon that he is wonderful with his words?

Reading the Signs said...

You've just given me an idea, Ms P - stalked by a cabbage! Now that would be a novel twist on the cliche. Actually, I didn't know/wasn't aware of how much of a cliche the stalker thing is (I thought it was just me and nmj. But yes, turning the cliche into something original is the challenge, I think.

Mr. man-in-the-Moon, did you hear what nmj just said? She's right, you know.

The Moon Topples said...

NMJ: Thank you ever so much.

RTS: May I suggest "stalked by celery?" Comes predisposed to stalking a bit more than cabbage, which keeps its head about things.

I have resorted to puns. No more comments for me.

cusp said...

I do so enjoy reading your posts. I've been following them for six months and finally decided to take up blogging again myself.

You may remember that when I first added a comment you asked why I didn't blog any more: too tired and frustrated and fed up with trying.

Funnily enough what has inspired me to start agin is your latest post about trying to find the words to express how it feels to cope with M.E.: ironic since I started my bog to have a place of refuge and escape where I could hide from the illness and pretend I was as I once was.

Thank you for helping me to turn a corner and move on

Reading the Signs said...

Mr. Moon, this is awful, love it.

Cusp! - I'm a-comin' over to have a look.

nmj said...

Yes, I wasn't aware of the stalker metaphor either, though I suspect, as Pants says, it is maybe more common in people with depression. But as I've said before, mine is a devil in a cheap shiny suit.

Mr Mahti Moon, You, who were so wonderfully poetic before, are lowering the tone with your dreadful puns!

Anna MR said...

Since you have already started to lower (thanks Mr MahtMoon) the tone here (and may I say it has been remarkably high-brow), it is probably not too untoward that I pop in and tell you, esteemed Ms Signs, that the resume you requested is awaiting your perusal at the considerably-lower-than-low ground floor cellar basement area of That Orgasm Post.

The Moon Topples said...

NMJ: I shall wear your obvious disappointment in me as a badge of shame.

nmj said...

Mr Moon, I could never actually be disappointed in you, I was more confused that your first startlingly beautiful observation was followed by such awful punnery.

Signs, Anna MR is doing a great job in PR to get you back over to her shamefully off topic (partly my fault, yes), oversubscribed post - there are 119 comments, it is not right, all these voices in one tiny box. I can't go back. I just can't, much as I love her.

Anna MR said...

Hells bloody bells, nmj, you are forcing the same sad fate on Ms Signs, now, hiding here at her place. You can visit another room in my house, you know. I may even do a PE and close the comments on That Orgasm Post soon, if it'd make you happier?

(Hello Ms Signs, sorry about taking up space here. Lovely blog. Going now, a bit cap in hand like)

Reading the Signs said...

ok - I'm off to ms mr's cellar basement as she's been so kind to oblige with a resume. Because one has to, you know, keep one's finger on the pulse.

nmj - I remember the devil in a shiny suit. I wonder if our stalkers have ever met. Now there's a new take.

nmj said...

Signs, I'm sure they meet regularly and discuss new ways of evil.