I have several things to say.
Firstly, I went to Glasgow with Tabby to take all her stuff up there as she is studying at the Conservatoire. We stayed with my cousin Meg. She showed me a video of this man called Hale Dwoskin. The best thing about him is his bonkers laugh. He was talking and laughing about the unlimited field of possibilities right in front of us if only we care to discover it. I know all this shit, really, I already do, but it reminded me not to waste a single day. I went home and did a couple of his ‘paraliminals’ which is where you listen, preferably with headphones (which I did not have), to him talking one thing in one ear and another thing in another. It’s about letting go. He said to focus on an area that was giving me difficulty and ‘can you just let it go?’ I thought about the corridor and how it is full of crap. I let it go, just like he told me to. A couple of days later I cleared up the corridor. Pretty odd. Very odd, if you take into consideration that we have not cleared up the corridor in fourteen years.
I told Janet about it. She came round and we did some paraliminals. In the first of five, Hale puts you in a kind of trance so he can brainwash you better. You start to feel very relaxed and pliable. You don’t know what he’s saying because one ear is hearing one thing and the other another thing. It’s all a mush of words and phrases. After four paraliminals, Janet blinked (slowly) and said she had to go as she had shizz to do. ‘Oh, OK,’ I said, and started to listen to number five on my own. Half-way through Hale said something like: ‘Now I am going to start bringing you out of your deep trance…..five….start to bring your mind slowly back into the present….four……so you are beginning to be aware of things around you…..three, so you are almost back in the world……two…..you are getting ready to open your eyes and be perfectly awake….one….you are now awake and you are opening your eyes.’
I opened my eyes. I realised with horror that Janet must have gone off while still in the trance. I phoned her up. ‘How are you?’ I asked.
‘Errr, I’m kind of OK,’ she said, ‘but I crashed the car into a tree on the way out of your drive.’
So, since being brainwashed by Hale Dwoskin, several things have happened. I have a new job. I am a French teacher at Euromondiale down the bottom of Bell’s Hill. It is the best fun ever. I make the students work very hard, he he. If anyone turns up to learn Modern Greek, I am ready and waiting. No takers so far. Damn.
I have also become a novel-writing teacher! Ha ha. That’s good that is! Sometimes I think I know nothing about novel-writing and sometimes I think I know loads. I have a little flute pupil, Lucy, out in Radwinter. Her sister Anna wants to write novels. I said I could maybe help her. By the time we had our first meeting, she had outlined five chapters. Wow, her novel is much better than mine! It’s set in Roman times. Melissa’s mother is very ill. The only thing that could maybe save her is the honey from her childhood island. Melissa is sent away to Athens to stay with an evil Aunt. She runs away to find the island and the honey, accompanied by her sister Letta, Nikos, a greek boy she saved from drowning, and Akua, the wicked Auntie’s slave girl. They brave storms, evil kidnappers (the greek boy unbeknownst to them is a rich prince), trampling horses, injury, crumbling cliffs, hidden caves of jewels, a mad and mysterious bee-keeper and swarms of bees attacking them. It is so exciting. Who is the crazy bee-keeper? Will they manage to get the honey? Will it be in time to save their mother? When the story gets made into an e-book I will post the link on here.
So the hour a week I have been spending with Anna, hoisting sails upon the Aegean and eavesdropping on kidnappers in ancient taverns, has just been the best fun. Really, if someone said ‘What is your absolute ideal job in the world?’ I would say, ‘Helping a child to create a novel.’ It gives me the biggest buzz. All the way home from Radwinter I have to have the radio off, because I am living the story, ravelling it and unravelling it. It’s the best kind of puzzle.
So I went to the cancer centre to see Dennis and all the lovely people. They were having a little party as they do quite often. I took a plate of food and looked for somewhere to sit down. Dennis was talking to somebody, so I looked a bit to the right of him. ‘Shall I sit there?’ I thought to myself. Hmm, no. I looked further to the right. I went over there. Shall I sit on that sofa? Maybe not, it didn’t look quite right…. I turned my head further. ‘Oh, now that one looks just right. I will sit there,’ I thought, quite deliberately, almost prosaically. I settled down. The woman next to me turned to me and said, ‘I was just wondering when you would come and sit next to me, Hester.’
Eek. I did not know her. But Carole had told me about her and have been fascinated ever since. She is Margaret, the healer who has two angels with her. I couldn’t see them, but I could kind of feel them exuding a bright calm. Margaret met somebody who really needed to write a book, but was seeking help with it. Margaret listened to her and my image popped into her mind. ‘I know when I am being guided,’ she said. I was quite excited to think that the angels know about me. She gave me the woman’s number. We met to discuss the book. It is going to be great. I am her mentor.
I have been writing several things. Firstly, I finished the book of comedy ‘Sketches for Tabby.’ People have been telling me that I must do them, not Tabby. I tell them I am not an actress and they say it doesn’t matter. I must perform my own work. Hmm, we will see about that.
I participated in Nanowrimo this year. National Novel-Writing Month (November.) It was great. I am not a winner though. I did not manage to get 50,000 words down. However, I did manage 27,000 words. On re-reading, I see it is mostly crap, but not all crap. It is set in the near future in a world where it is normal for rich couples in New York and London not to have their own babies. Instead, they order their babies online and nine months later they go to pick them up. Sally-Anne is a sixteen-year-old surrogate in one of the many centres which pop up. She seems a bit of a dum-dum and is easily manipulated. However, it turns out that emotionally she is zillions of times more intelligent than most people, and during the pregnancy starts to bond irrevocably with her baby. Will she give the baby up? Will she fuck!
This story-line has apparently been done recently on Coronation Street. My Auntie told me. Oh, well, there are many ways to write a story. Their surrogate decided not to give the baby up, but a while after the birth handed it over. My surrogate realises there is something funny about the ‘parents’ of her baby (there sure is! and there sure is something funny about the baby!) and runs away before the birth. She gets into difficulties giving birth in a beach hut, so her boyfriend Duncan from Dunkin Donuts panics and….oh hang on, I mustn’t give any more of the plot away, as I am going to serialise it on here for your delectation during the month of January! Lucky you!
In my usual yearly style, I crunched the story down to one page for the Bishop’s Stortford College Short Story Competition. I think it is definitely too weird this time to get into the top five, but I had to do it, if only to give the judges a bit of a laugh.
It is great fun writing in Sally-Anne’s voice. I am enlisting the help of my delightfully dyslexic friend, Olive, although she’s gone off on her travels, damn. Of course, the story has become black comedy again. I don’t seem able to escape this genre…. Let me just say: there is more than one murder, a little bit of cannibalism and quite a lot of mental illness. My favorite quote so far: ‘How can you dispowse of a boddy with no car?’ The answer: Duncan from Dunkin Donuts makes a rarft and flowts the boddy off down-streem.
I saw that No More Page 3 were running a play-writing competition, in collaboration with Fluff Productions. They were looking for three plays thirty to forty minutes long. I only saw this two days before the deadline. However, I managed to copy and paste the film script of my Breast Book into a Final Draft Stage Play template. I then worked on it feverishly, as you obviously can’t have things like close-up shots of syringes with ‘Anthrax’ written on them, or stage direction such as: ‘Tarquin’s car swings into the car-park’ in a Stage Play. Seeing as how the plot needs fifty women to come and be milked at the farm every day I had the brainwave of using the audience as the women. ‘Thanks so much for coming and volunteering to donate your milk,’ Hetty tells them. Doing it in two days was a massive effort, but it taught me a huge amount. The main thing? That writing comedy for the stage is GREAT GREAT FUN. Oh yes. You have to imagine the scenery, the pace, the way of presenting the material to the audience. Every word, every stage direction is CRUCIAL. It’s like you are preparing treat after treat for the audience. A stage play is a tightly wrapped bag of treats ready to explode.
Sadly, the ponies are on their last legs. Here is a pic of dear Princey for you. You can see his legs get a little confused:
They have, however, enjoyed the most wonderful mild autumn and sunny winter days. I went the other day and held Siffo round her neck and sobbed and sobbed. I think I have realised it is time. They are just so old. But they are so sweet. It is just awful. The finality. Gwanny says, ‘Och, just think if it was me and Grampa in that field in the coold and the wet! You would want to put us out of our misery!’ I didn’t agree with her until the night of the big storm when we went to check on them at one in the morning in lashing rain and a fearsome wind.
In other news, Alfie is Head Boy. No, we don’t know why. We are as flummoxed as everyone else. It means we have to teach him not to eat like a Neanderthal, as he has to have lunch with the headmaster every week. We are currently in the kitchen ‘supervising’ his NYE party. Eighty sixteen-year-olds are living it up in the big room and the bar and the loggia. They are generally chilled but so far three people have been chucked out, two people are passed out and having tlc, two people have been inducing a tc, (tactical chunder fyi) and one other is about to vom but doesn’t want to. They are all snogging each other, it’s ridiculous. Oh, Big Ben on the radio, whoop whoop, fireworks, Auld Lang Syne, Happy New Year everyone!