Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Own Brand

Perhaps it is not a surprise that I didn't manage 50,000 words in November. I should say, though, that I was "on track" half way through the month, just before going down with flu proper. My revised target was then to reach 30,000 by the end of the month, that representing a respectable 1,000 a day, and I am exactly 399 words short of this - a bit annoying, but still. I did what I could, and it has been worth the doing, for I now feel that 1,000 a day is manageable - just - and I have, in spite of everything, produced something I want to carry on working with.
I am post-viral, very, and this is the real bastard, not the actual flu which conducted itself in a predictable and proper fashion - one feels ill, yes, but it is a normal, healthy kind of ill with stages and resolutions. This too will pass. I had a scary bout of asthma, not too bad, but reminding me of the time I was hospitalised with it and each out breath felt as though it might be the last. I have the toothache - nothing (apparently) wrong, but something has agitated the nerve, which hammers most insistently to be acknowledged. Hello nerve, hello tooth. Talking of which: hello heart, hello psyche. Yes, I know, but would you ever just pipe down and let me get on with, you know, things.

So here we are again in advent which, for the whole of the civilised world - in my neck of the woods at any rate - means shopping. Though not for me because, as you know, shopping never was or will be my thing. I was standing in a post office queue the other day gawping at the quantity of cut-price sweets and biscuits on the shelves (post office is in a Co-op store).
Doesn't that look disgusting, said the woman next to me, and for moment I was thankful that the shelf display was there, having its (unintended) effect. For I love chocolate as much as the next person, but there is nothing like a heap of Celebrations and Cadbury's Roses to make you sicken at the excess. The same woman (a village acquaintance) said, I think that everyone who did all their Christmas shopping in June should be shot. And though I might feel that to be a step too far, I cannot but applaud the spirit. I will achieve grumpy old womanhood yet. Ok, I have bought advent calendars and beeswax candles. There will be a feast at Christmas, as is right and proper. The Signs children will get some money because that's what is needed, and little gifties to open, because they are good for the soul, and Mr. Signs will get - well I don't yet know what, as The Wire is all finished, but something. Actually, he has made a list this year and although this may appear to contradict everything I have just grumped about, I do like a man who knows what he wants. And everyone else will get a jar of home-made (but not by me) chutney or jam.

Me, I might have put silk underwear on my list, but actually I need them now because of the cold so I have ordered some from Patra - silken long johns and vests. The creative unconscious is a strange beast. I recently wrote my first ever proper sex scene (bear with me, this is relevant) - proper in the sense that it describes two people who are actually Doing It, whereas usually I tend to come at these things (shut up) more obliquely. By this I do not mean euphemistically, you will find no "she felt the length and breadth of his desire" in my works - forsooth. Focussing on apparently unrelated particulars can sometimes be more potent than zooming in on the act itself, but this time the story asked for it, so I obliged. And blow me down with a feather if silk underwear (thermals, actually), didn't find their way into the scene, yes, and on the male character too, not the female. There he stood in his white undergarments, very fine he looked too, and it did occur to me that if only I could bring myself to get the brand name in I might be onto something lucrative. She felt the depth and quality of his Patra thermal long johns. No, I couldn't possibly.

Happy advent, peeps. The light shineth despite the Celebrations. And that's quite enough brand names for one post.

16 comments:

Zhoen said...

It is indeed a nasty flu, I've seen several folks at work take several months to properly regain their strength and color and energy after it was gone. Including myself. Congrats on getting so much written amidst that.

I love my silk long johns. I'm afraid, though, that any erotic scene involving them would elicit more giggles from me than sighs.

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks, Zhoen, it does feel something of an achievement.

I tried to read the long johns scene to writing buddies yesterday and did rather fall apart. I never mentioned the word Thermal - the word itself is, somehow, anti-erotic. But I'm open to being challenged on this.

Montag said...

Absolutely not a snigger nor a guffaw at:

"...whereas usually I tend to come at these things.."

Not a the slightest hint of juvenile laughter...


Had already broken up wildly at:

"... wrote my first ever proper sex scene (bear with me..."

Reading the Signs said...

Montag, Montague - and you a scholar and a gentleman! (Secretly thrilled, of course, that my words hit the spot). I felt that I exercised a good measure of restraint in this piece. A word in your ear: my father once had a bit part in a Carry On film. It's in the blood, you know - just ask TPE.

Cusp said...

Happy Advent to you too, dear Signs.

Well done on the writing/creative front...takes real sticking power for anyone, let alone a post-viral peep.

Know what you mean about excess at Xmas but you was in de Co-Op ...and you KNOW what I fink about de Co-Op: all dim, dim staff and teh smell of cardboard and washing powder:you have only yourself to blame ;0)

Keep warm and silky (sounds like a hen !)

Love Cusp

Reading the Signs said...

Actually, Cuspie, the smell at the moment is much more pooey than cardboard and washing powder, I think someone has been hiding old Roquefort behind the Celebrations as a joke. Yes, it's definitely a mildewy old sock kind of smell. But the place is packed so, you know, the peeps must like that kind of thing. Or it's better than spending three hours in big supermarket purgatory. But listen (am I still waffling on about Co-op?), unsavoury smells aside, they do seem to have been making an effort recently, veg is fresher and they are doing organic etc. But dim, yes, I think it's a requirement. I may end up working there myself if things go on as they are.

Cusp said...

Surely nothing could be as bad as working at the Co-Op !? Even the old jokes about working on the sweet counter at Woolies had a certain nostalgic ring to it ....but not the Co-Op.

If you MUST work in a shop it should be in a lingerie shop specialising in silk longjohns with embroidered 'trapdoor'. Think of all the inspiration you could muster there. You could be the next Jilly Cooper....if you wanted ;O)

Reading the Signs said...

Embroidered 'trapdoor'? Sounds more Agent Provocateur than Patra. On a more prosaic note: I am having to betake myself to M & S tomorrow - for uplift, you understand. I swear I'd rather nip to the Co-op.

That's So Pants said...

Good to see you in bullish fettle dear Signs. One of the best books I've read recently (The Spare Room by Helen Garner) is a scant 40K words. It won prizes. I can remember learning in school that George Orwell's even slighter Animal Farm (at 30K words) was 'a model of economy'. I'd say what you have is the solid basis for a novel.

xxx

Pants

Digitalesse said...

Well done on the writing challenge. I think you did very well, especially with the flu knocking you sideways.

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you for reminding me about Helen Garner's book, Pants, I am ordering it now, this very minute. Blimey, was Animal Farm only 30K? Well my little blockbuster is still unfolding. But yes, a solid basis, and even a plot.

Thanks Digi, I think I did well too. Most of it done before the flu, though. And it stretched me to the limit.

trousers said...

This is fantastic reading, Signs, most playful amongst other things. I don't know if I have much else to add, but do please take this as a note of appreciation.

Reading the Signs said...

Trousers, Trews, Housut, Hosenkavalier - House of Signs hears and appreciates.

Montag said...

So....you're saying...
the affair was something like "Carry On, Bear" ?

Reading the Signs said...

Basically, Montag, when the Carry On becomes part of one's genetic structure, there's very little that doesn't bear the possibility of an awful, awful pun in the oven.

Remember Barbara Windsor, cleavage a-wobble, teetering over to someone biting into a piece of fruit: "Ooh, wot a lovely-lookin' pear!"

Montag said...

Hmmm....I had a similar experience with one of the Windsors...