Sunday, 30 December 2007

Why 'You Can Call Me Al' Is Not A Good Wake Up Song

I have been doing a lot of writing today. I have been thinking and tying up loose ends. I really like this time of the year. I like all the plans I make, and I like the looking back over what I've done in the past year, and thinking about how I will build on it, and do more and do much better stuff in the new year.

Right now I am listening to "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon. It is a great song. I love Chevy Chase. I think at one point I was going to have this song as my alarm wake up song, because it has that ability to put you in a good mood no matter what is happening in your life, but then I decided I would end up hating the song because the bad feeling of having to get up in the morning would eventually override the joy of hearing that song. It would taint it. And so I don't have it as my alarm wake up song. Instead, I have the song "Going To Happen" by Koufax, and I can't bear to listen to it for pleasure anymore. I feel bad for Koufax. And I quite often think I should change songs, and I even go so far as to make lists of possible choices, songs I could never tire of, songs I could never get angry with. But at the end of the day, I don't want to chance it and risk losing another song I love, and so poor Koufax remain as the bane of my morning existence. Sorry Koufax.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Apology to a Christmas Tree

I feel like somebody has broken into Time and fast forwarded it by two weeks. I can’t believe it is the date it actually is. I am definitely NOT READY for Christmas this year. I haven’t even put you up yet. I usually put you up on December the first. It is now the twentieth of December and you are still in your box in the big cupboard in the bathroom. There is a little tree in the front room. (Nothing to do with me, I swear.) It is very cute. I feel bad. I feel like you are missing out. And it’s not that I favour the little tree over you, because actually, I love you, and when you are standing in the corner of a room, dressed in baubles and all twinkly with the lights and everything, you are the loveliest thing ever. But I’ve had so much happening this year that it’s seemed like too much of a hassle to lift your box down from the cupboard, carry it downstairs and into the front room (which is always messy and never has any space in it to do anything), then sort your branches into colour-coordinated size order, then fit everything together, and THEN start trying to untangle the fairy lights. I have made this task a mammoth undertaking in my mind, and so it has got to be the twentieth of December and you are still hidden away in the cupboard.

I really don’t want you to miss out on Christmas. I would rescue you right now if it weren’t 2 a.m. But I will definitely fix this situation tomorrow. And then maybe it will actually feel like Christmas, and Time will seem right again.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Bourbon Tasting Day

Every time I go into the kitchen I get really excited about the Bourbon tower. The count is currently up to TWELVE different varieties of Bourbon Creams. I just looked at the tower when I went to get some pop. Every time, it makes me think: I could REALLY eat a Bourbon right now. We did originally have doubles of some packets, but they didn’t last long. We are now down to one packet of each kind. And we have to save them for Bourbon Tasting Day. On Bourbon Tasting Day, we are going to be giving each kind of Bourbon marks out of ten in various categories. The categories are a closely guarded secret, i.e. we haven’t made them up yet. One thing we do know is there will be two sets of experiments - dry Bourbons and dunked Bourbons. I’m really hungry for Bourbons. I really hope Bourbon Tasting Day is this weekend. I hope it is tomorrow

Hearts and Nails and Secret Dance Halls

Once upon a time a girl snuck out to a secret dance hall in the woods. The woods weren’t very dense, they weren’t like the ones that those brothers hid in to escape the Nazi’s and ended up creating an entire secret village in, with bath houses and workshops and everything that nobody knew about. No, you could walk from one end of these woods to the other in about twenty minutes. And the trees were all pines, so it smelt amazing, like Christmas all year round.

When the girl got close to the secret dance hall, she heard a double bass going bom bom and it made her heart vibrate in her ribcage. She went inside. It was all dark at first, until her eyes adjusted to the light. But even then, it was still pretty dark. She’d brought a bottle of wine with her. She felt like she was turning up late to a party to which she hadn’t been invited. She took a swig from the bottle and stood against the wall, trying to seem like she was relaxed.

People were dancing in rows. It was all in perfect time. She wished she knew the moves. There was a sway here, a hand clap there. She drank more wine.

From the corner of her eye she caught a boy in a brown suit staring at her, or at her wine, she wasn’t sure which. She met his gaze and he smiled at her, and at the wine. She smiled back and he took this as an invitation to approach her. When he got within smelling distance she, satisfied that he wasn’t a tramp, offered him the bottle. He declined, pulling a flask from his pocket instead. He took a swig and offered it to her. She wasn’t a whisky type of girl. She stuck to her wine. On the dance floor the bodies pulsed and spun. The bass buckled her legs. It moved through her insides like a pinball. She let the boy in the brown suit lead her outside, where the air smelled of Christmas and where the bass was dulled by the wood of the walls. Taking her hand, he started to sway slowly, pulling her other hand to rest on his hip. She followed his lead, until they were under the pines and the secret dance hall was completely out of sight. They danced and circled and twirled, away from the other bodies, away from the rows and the hand claps.

They decided they would stay in the woods until the sun came up.

The boy made his arm a pillow while they both lay down, looking up through the trees at the stars and the clouds. The girl liked the sound of his breathing. She liked the way her own breaths slowed to time themselves against his. When she turned to kiss him, he was asleep. She kissed him anyway. She started slow. She tongued his lips until they parted, and in sleep he kissed her back.

The boy woke alone. In his pocket was a piece of paper with digits he would commit to memory. In his heart was a girl-sized nail, hammered in deep enough to stem any bleeding, but shallow enough to rupture everything the instant he forgot it was there.

Houmous has a lot of O's and U's in it

Tonight I’m wine drunk. It’s a good kind of drunk. I’m still in control of all my faculties, but I feel like dancing and singing. I should drink wine more often. Sometimes I really like to listen to a song on repeat. I am doing that right now. The song has a double bass in it, that makes me feel like I am in the ’50’s, and I am at some secret dance hall out in the woods somewhere. My housemate is obsessed with the ’50’s, and I really wish he was in right now. I would probably have a lot to talk to him about. And I would enjoy the weird jazz he listens to. I hear it extra loud when I go into the bathroom, or when I stand in the corridor outside our rooms. The jazz he listens to doesn’t really have the same feel as this, though. He listens to the drum type of jazz. It is not great. But I would probably think it was right now, if he were to play it loud enough.

I went on a work’s night out tonight. I like the people I work with. We got a bottle of wine each, with our meals. The food was okay but not great, although the houmous was amazing. The houmous made my night. When I look at the letters in the word “houmous”, it’s reminds me of a set of letters I have in one of my Scrabulous games. So now I am wondering if I have any available M’s. I am not going to do any more Scrabulous tonight, though.

There is a line in the song that I am listening to that goes,

“I found a woman who’s soft but she’s also hard. While I slept she nailed down my heart.”

It’s a good line. I am trying to imagine nailing down someone’s heart, metaphorically. Would it mean that they couldn’t move in the morning? Would it mean that the nailer is in control? All I can think of is a massive long nail. Six inches, I think. It’d still get lost somewhere in the ribs or the shoulder-blade, if it even passed through. It’d have to be something like a ten inch nail to do the job properly. But then, it’s not actually meant to kill. I’m getting away from the subject, because it’s meant to be a metaphor anyway.

I want to write a story about hearts and nails and secret dance halls in the woods. But now it feels like those themes would be a Tori Amos song or even album, which is not what I am going for, even though I don’t have anything against Tori Amos, per se.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Sharks Patrol These Waters

For some reason I just got a song in my head that I haven’t heard in years and years. Well, not even the whole song, just one line, sung in a weird voice: Sharks patrol these waters. And again: Sharks. Patrol. These. Waters. From the Morphine album Yes. I don’t know why I suddenly remembered it. It’s weird sometimes what your brain chooses to spit out. Maybe it was the mechanical sharks on Dragon’s Den yesterday. Maybe my brain was just thinking about sharks and wanted to put the thoughts to music. I think that’s the only shark song I know, apart from the Jaws theme, but that’s hardly melodic. Now I’ve got this voice in my head singing: Sharks. Patrol. These. Waters. I think I’ll have to hunt the record out in a bit, though I can’t really play it ‘cause it’s 3am and my housemates are asleep, so I’ll have to wait for tomorrow.

Since NaNoWriMo ended I can’t seem to kick the 3am writing habit. Which is a good thing, on nights when I have the following day off work, at least. It also means I can get back to writing short stories, which is something I really missed this last month. I did cheat and write a couple earlier on in the month. But there were more that were fussing round me like attention-seeking cats that I had to ignore. I didn’t even post any more excerpts of my NaNo writing. I was just trying to concentrate on the actual doing of it, rather than stepping back and choosing bits to pick out and think about. And a lot of it is utter crap. I was getting pretty panicked by the last week. But I do work best to deadlines. The less time I have to do something, the more I’ll get done and the better it’ll be. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever put myself through. But it was good, too. Forcing myself to sit and write when I was totally knackered, or when there were people downstairs watching films and having fun, that was something I wouldn’t have done if I’d not set myself the task. So it got me used to writing every day, which is a great habit to have.

For the last week of it I had to stop playing Scrabulous completely, and I was staying up till 3 and 4am trying to get my word count up by another hundred, another thousand. Then I’d get up at 7am and go to work feeling like crap, and do it all again when I got home. The novel itself is not really a novel. If it made any sense it might be a novella, but as it is, it needs a lot of work and a lot more words. I need to research some of the stuff I wrote about. I don’t really know if you can plant irises in September. I’m sure you can, but whether that’s the optimum planting time, well, that I do not know. But I hit my 50,000 words, and I broke my constant editing habit, and I also learned that on the nights when I have taken all my turns in Scrabulous, and no one is online to take their turn and thus make it my turn again, I end up writing loads. There is a message in there somewhere.