Monday, October 31, 2011

Bump in the Night

It's Hallowe'en and I'm unashamedly promoting this lovely vid made by the Zig Zag Birds. It's a band that Son is in, see if you can guess which one is him (clue: torn white T , hollow eyes and you don't see him very much but he looks distinctively intense). If you like it, pass it on.

There is a small but hopeful-looking pumpkin sitting outside in the rain waiting to be given a face. But Mr. Signs is clobbered with a cold, and pumpkin-carving isn't one of the things on my C.V. On the other hand, I have stocked up with a few goodies to give the Hallowe'en knockers - but the kids are polite here and if they don't see a lit pumpkin they won't knock. And if they don't knock, I will have to eat all the goodies myself, which I would love to do but it is bad for me.

Tomorrow is the beginning of NaNoWriMo, which I am signing up for, if only to be along in spirit. There is no way I can bash out fifty thousand words in a month, if I manage between five and ten thousand I will be pleased. But I like the idea of a novel-writing month. It's good to tell stories. It's good to feel one is in the flow and swim of things, and I intend to be. In my fashion.

Postscript: While I was putting up this post Mr. Signs did something to the pumpkin. Punk art, people - and expressive!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beat, Broken and sometimes Mickey Mouse

This is a pyjama day - my red, white and tinsel ones that go on surviving, a bit like my Purples, or like me. I have been winging it for a couple of months, meaning that I have not been spending most of every day lying down and that I have been seen out and about (shops and stuff, a poetry reading), and with my new short hair people say, oh you look well, you look better, you look - well, whatever, clearly I look brighter. And if someone asks me how I am, I say good, even though there are substantial grammatical issues around this ('good' is actually more correct than 'well' but we won't go into this now) - because while I have ME/CFIDS it is not truthful to say that I am well, but there are days that are, for whatever reason, good. And therefore I am. In my 'winging it' times I can move through the day as long as I keep, in some way, moving. The moment I rest or sit down I feel something more akin to the true state of things. Gravity homes in, sucks at my limbs; electricity, and all the strange manifestations of the malfunctioning body that goes by the name of me, begin to buzz, twitter and growl.

When I write, I can also (sometimes) feel as though I am winging it, as long as I keep going, like Mickey Mouse walking off the edge of the cliff - as long as I don't look down. I have used this image before, probably several times. But it does so perfectly represent how things are when one is like this. It isn't as though the ground (abyss) is not there, just that while in the air it is better not to look down and see it. If I believe I can keep going, the chances are I will get to the other side.

My Dad once wrote a play with a character who had the ability to walk on the ceiling and did so, going against logic and the law of gravity, until someone insisted that what he did was impossible. It only took a split second - the realisation that this was, in fact, impossible - for him to fall to the ground. He lived his life ever after according to the laws of gravity, with only footprints on the ceiling bearing witness to what he had been able to do. Perhaps I should stop before I stray into the murky territory of the positive-thinking self-help manual - when all I really wanted to say is that sometimes I am Mickey Mouse. Ok?

I have been enjoying the Twitter thing, unexpectedly, considering initial misgivings before I understood how it worked and thought it would feel like being trapped in a room with hundreds of people all talking at the same time. It is somehow easier than Facebook, not so much in your face, and one can dip in and out more smoothly. I came across the Railroad Poetry Project there - as far as I can gather, they are a couple of Kerouac-loving, Beat poetry true-hearts who have started an online magazine for people and poets who are "beat, broken and beautiful" and they asked for submissions. Well how could I resist? So a couple of my poems will be there at the end of the month, and I'm listed now as one of the contributors. It's pretty obvious which one is me - and I seem to be the only one who wrote the bio in first person.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Soap and Philosophy

I've been trying to buy a bar of soap. Anyone else noticed that these are becoming increasingly difficult to find? Apparently what we all now want is liquid soap that can be pumped out of a spout. And if we must have bar soap then what we want is twenty different varieties of Dove. Pootling around the streets of Brighton, I ended up in the enormous Boots chemist on North Street where a shop assistant pointed at the rows of Dove, shook her head and reminisced about the good old days of Palmolive, Lux, Knight's Castile and Camay - especially Camay, with the rich lather and the sillouhette of a gracious lady on the packet. They all want the liquid stuff now, she said, handing me a double-pack from a newly-arrived consignment of Cusson's Imperial Leather as though it were contraband. We reminisced about the old TV adverts for that: the rich couple in their private jet up to their necks in suds as they sat in their marble baths, soaping themselves luxuriously while the rabbling hordes shouted and agitated outside. They want the Imperial Leather, said she; clearly, said he, before giving the pilot instructions to bugger off to Bermuda (best place for them, probably).

But anyway, I'd like to know what the world is coming to when you go into a chemist for a bar of soap and come face to face with a pamphlet called Philosophy, which is all about skin care products on the one hand - but on the other hand seems to be peddling a serious nouveau new-age take on every aspect of your life. Under bath and shower products, for example:
remember to dance in your nightgown, sing in the shower, ride a bike, fly a kite and take an occasional "wind bath" in your bare skin, give those you love big kisses, huge hugs and the words "i love you" often and always.
Under antioxidant moisturising is offered the insight that
where there is hope there can be faith - where there is faith miracles can occur.
Would you expect anything less from a manufacturer ("a skin care entrepreneur and visionary") that produces a shampoo called Unconditional Love?

Just take me to Bermuda. Though actually, Brighton pied-à-terre does very nicely for me just now - clear, fresh and bright, as I would like to be, but sans Philosophy. Mr. Signs joining me tomorrow. Another poetry reading on Sunday. Then back to the forest edge.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Fabulous day here on edge, pristine blue/gold autumn with a touch of sting in the air. What to do with it? Or, more specifically, how to use the time available before energy meter times out? (Esp as this is in part borrowed from cup of coffee). I could: go for a walk on the beautiful forest; do last night's washing up; write another three A4 sides of novel, which has clocked up a surprising number of words considering I have not been able to give it much of me; write a poem; pre-prepare the evening meal; or I could sit here and do a blog post. You catch me, so to speak, in medius res, doing just that - PWME in action. Of a kind.

There is no right way with this. You make your choice and feel bad about the other things you have opted not to do. Or you make your choice and decide not to feel bad about anything because you are doing your best. I no longer understand how everyone else (without M.E.) lives. This is strange, because when I was in Monaco looking at all the super-rich peeps on their yachts I could quite easily begin to imagine how it might be if one had unimagineable amounts of money so that you could, for example, spend a quarter of a million just on getting the right kind of fridge/freezer for your floating monstrosity. Monstrous perhaps, but I could imagine it. Money is just another kind of energy. So why can't I get my head around the idea of an ordinary day in the life of someone who does not have to negotiate with the bastard disease? How do you work, shop, clean, go to the gym, see a film/play, get on a train, do admin, cook a meal, talk on the phone - all in one day? How do you even do two of those things and feel ok? Energy aside, I do not know how anyone can process everything without becoming overwhelmed. I belong to the one-a-day club, whose members can really only do one thing a day. Even so, I break club-membership rules. I push myself, do more, pay for it - can't do the pacing thing, stupid me, but on the other hand, the moments, each splinter and fragment - I want them so much.

Cat of Signs is now taking a daily pill (cunningly hid in sliver of tuna fish) for her hyperthyroid condition. We discovered also that her increasingly wretched state was due to fleas, picked up from the cattery in August. Dealt with. But she won't leave the kitchen and basically lives in an empty Abel and Cole vegetable box. The vet says that this is because she associates the rest of the house with fleas. Also, that we need to vacuum the house every day paying particular attention to corners and edges (yeah, right) so as to avoid a nasty infestation situation once central heating is switched on. And that we should be spraying something (toxic) around the skirting boards - just to make sure. Strategies.

If I say fuck off enough times, will the fleas get the message?

If I bring C of S's daily saucer of cat milk up to the living room will she leave her Cinderella abode and come back to us?

Because otherwise, I don't know what.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

- just because

I happened to come across it today (beautiful world and universe) and confess that from time to time this is the sort of thing I pure and simple need, for restoration, and I am not talking dentistry, though I have been there today for restoration, and it is national poetry day and although poetry will not confine itself to solace, restoration and beauty, it often seems that people come to poetry for these things or for a breath of air from 'yon far country', which is paradise never-quite-lost - and because I love the animals and the birds much more now, as I have said, probably too many times, but it bears repeating and anyway I want to, and because there seems to be no evidence at all that the meek will inherit the earth, and the creatures may teach us how to become more human, it may be so

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Word has got through to Headquarters at M.E. Central, and the powers that be have been alerted: I have been Doing Too Much. This comes with penalties, as any M.E. fule kno. But it was festival time on the Edge and much to see and be involved with. I didn't sleep much. Why would I? It's in the small print (Headquarters again) - if you go ahead and do things don't expect to sleep. Sleep comes after, the long, heavy kind.

But I am still better than I was heretofore, the betterness having begun several weeks ago for no discernible reason and it is not a particularly trustworthy state, relying to some extent on being a little excarnated or in the air, like Mickey Mouse strutting off the edge of a cliff, and it's ok to keep on walking as long as you don't look down. I probably shouldn't say the B word at all. Headquarters doesn't like it.

And there are Things on my mind. Does it get longer, I wonder, as one clocks up the years, the litany of Things? Probably not, but one is less easily distracted. One of the Things is Cat of Signs, whose over-active thyroid is becoming increasingly manifest. Her once beautiful coat is thin and scraggy, as she herself is. Having been a dainty picker before, she now eats like a horse but grows leaner by the day. Sometimes she goes outside and lies stretched on the wooden patio table, but mostly she has taken up residence on the kitchen table and won't go upstairs any more. We are treating her homeopathically (as per Vet's prescriptions) in the hope that her condition can be, if not cured, managed. Other options are: feeding her pills twice a day (impossible, she won't), surgery (too old) or radioactive iodine. This last offers the chance of a good outcome but is hideously expensive and, disorganised hippies that we are, we never did organise pet insurance.

So what to do? Though not exactly loaded, we could raise the money. But spending nearly two grand on our sixteen-year-old cat seems inappropriate.
We love her, though, and in her animal heart there is love for us too. I have never loved an animal before and it is a significant love because it has opened my eyes and changed me and my relationship to all animals.

She stands four-legged by the window
looking at the moon. Her heart is full
and empty, she cries like a human