You will need:
A friend who has suffered some kind of immediate trauma or stress in the past few minutes
A fear of human contact
Probably some kind of humorous card to awkwardly explain yourself in the way you otherwise can’t
Let’s get going:
Pre-tune your tension levels to react in direct response to those of others. Line your palms with the kind of mild sweat that keeps you just embarrassed enough to burrow your hands away in your long sleeves.
Walk around for a bit with your centre of gravity in your groin, to show that you’re in control.
Make yourself oblivious to anything that would normally be observed as ‘unusual’ within your proximity. In fact let’s go all out and ignore everything on both sides of that boundary.
Wait patiently for said friend to announce said trauma or stress.
Stare blankly at them in an attempt to offer a sincere ear while conveying utter nonchalant apathy.
Apply your £1.something to the inside of the nearest Greggs.
Presentation is key – return to your friend and place the cake down in front of them silently, preferably while they are busy with something else.
Make like a tree.
Observe friend’s disappointment and disillusionment from a safe distance.
If you opted for a card, probably best wait a few days until you start to wonder if your friend is wondering why they ever spoke to you in the first place. Leave this lying around in a general area they may or may not pass through. Don’t be seen. It’s probably best they don’t find it anyway. You did your bit.
I wish I could help people more.
I have taken on my first writing commission! Outside my usual comfort zone in terms of schedule and topic, but I am very excited about where this new stimulus and exposure could lead. I have never really applied my latent inspiration to the needs of a specific third party before. Perhaps this could provide the perfect channel for my untamed desire to write…
My brief is to write a full-length play in four weeks – first samples ready by the end of this week – surrounding themes and implications aroused in the phrase, ‘A ship of fools’.
Having been previously unfamiliar to me, being explained threw up all sorts of connections in my memory. The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, for one – a childhood fondness on VHS that I now come to question in terms of motives and message, having only enjoyed the unique, home-made looking stop-motion at its most immediate level.
I listen to songs of that title; all seeming to barely cover the imagery, emotion and raw thoughts on civilisation and morals that surely must come up when one delves into its origins deeply enough to discuss it intelligently.
What does the phrase evoke in you?
What does it mean to be a fool?
What are the positives of being a fool?
Getting to ride this amazing sky-boat?
… Suffering from one. Recent chats with my boyfriend and a close friend have pushed me to question my habits, predicaments, behaviours, thought processes. Even my self-perception, which is pretty unchanging. I’ve been wanting to do a sort of re-evaluation of all things that make me me for a while anyway. Scrubbing away the debris of old likes and re-instilling my excitement for what used to make me tick. I cleared out all my old homemade compilation CDs. Rearranged the piles of Have/Sell/Empty DVDs. Gok-Wan-ed my wardrobe. Am trying to make more time to rediscover the joy of reading. There are lots of things I have forgotten about or neglected somehow. Now I am trying to bring them back. But only what I need.
This recent quandary is to do with who I am in a social context. Up until a few years ago, I was a very quiet, solitary, independent woman who had a favourite colour, a favourite meal, and a lot of alone time. Then a relationship hit. Things got serious and I got paid a lot of attention. It’s been hard to shake the feelings of manipulation and subversion I was left with. I think I felt suppressed for the first time. My feelings were out of my control. I was not allowed what I considered basic freedoms without a garnishing guilt.
Now, in a much freer position and circumstance, I have been taking advantage of my born-again teenage status. I am allowed to network, have active friendships, invest time in various areas of my life and relationships; whatever I feel like at the time. I have a very accepting boyfriend. My problem lies exactly here. He is the kind who loves me unconditionally, farts and all. And I worry that I am swaying too far in the opposite extreme from where I was before. Am I being too selfish? I have been most disconcerted (in a constructive, pensive way) by how my friends see us in comparison to themselves. Which has been merely solid food for thought. I understand that our own life has to be determined by what we find works best for us. That’s just it. Getting the balance right so that it serves both of us well. An unhappy him makes for an unhappy me, and vice versa.
I am starting to see myself as a grown up. He and I are alone in our world. When we live together, it will be me and him vs the world, using our tools, our habits, our vocabulary, to make sense of the day-to-day and to reach a new kind of harmony together. Alone together.
With that in sight, I think I have been trying to cram friend time and social activities in as much free space as possible, making the most of this ‘freedom’. Sometimes forgetting that the freedom also allows for me to choose to spend time with the boyfriend, should that be my first choice. Which it is. I look forward to him being around in my space full-time. Maybe I can distance myself from these presuppositions enough to gauge exactly what it is I (we) need, to fit in the necessary alone time and also the together time.
Yesterday I came downstairs to the most beautiful bright natural light coming in through our conservatory kitchen. I may have been too cosy the night before to venture out and capture the fresh snowfall, but the next morning I was still moved to do so. So here is a view of our little hidey hole in York that I bet you most keen photographers won’t have noted.
In honour of William McGonagall, “the writer of the worst poetry in the English language“
Oh my dearest River Ouse,
How you teem with gulls and booze
And bodies who, now filled with both,
Would surely tell you by their troth
That safety really should come first
At least before one’s competitive thirst
For macho points and gainly attentions
From wenches of ungainly contentions.
Such acts are met with poorly kudos,
The loyalty shy and the respect the crudest
And when your watchers’ demands are met,
What can you do but pretend the choice to let
The gulls and booze and bodies sway
To the conclusion wiser people keep at bay
Oh my dark horse River Ouse,
You can keep your gulls and booze.