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Writings

Love Hearts

All my sisters were there in my dream. We were organising the cleaning of a house together. My youngest sister was in charge (so perhaps we weren’t all there). I’d suggested something by way of a solution and she’d been impressed and I was pleased (something to do with her car and taking a taxi because she had to leave it, all very prosaic). We were opening out bin bags and I had a packet of love hearts in my hand. I remembered, in my dream, how I’d loved them as a child. (Anything with words it seems did it for me, as it still does, I wonder why?) We’d begun stripping the outer covering off the sweets revealing a grey plastic bag and my alarm went off.

Why is the National Library lit up in red?

The moon was shining directly on the ex-butcher’s house. It was stunning.

A new month. My drawing month. And I have no idea what I’m going to do.

I’m still a little out of sorts. I am fighting myself. Let it be, he says. I’m not sure if the month thing will work. I didn’t know what I was going to write last month but a story began to evolve and now it has taken over my head. Though I’ve a lot more to research before it can really take shape. What will come of March? I intend to just sit at my desk with my sketchbook and see what happens. I’m tempted to work in silence – with just the birds song outside for company. We’ll see.

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Writings

Caring

He tells me not to listen to Radio 4 on Saturday mornings. It’ll only upset you, he says. And he is right, it often does. The stories from Our Own Correspondent can be harrowing – but the writing can also be exquisite, such as Nick Bryant’s piece yesterday about New York. And then there is Money Box. A woman was featured talking about the paltry increase to the Carers Allowance. She’s a carer for her son who is autistic. She is a widow and has cared for him these last thirty years. It’s a 24hr thing and she’s had no respite or holiday in all that time. My heart leapt out to her. She wasn’t bitter, more saddened by what seems like the government’s lack of compassion or understanding. Some people have such hard lives. I need to know this, and be reminded of it whenever I fell self-pitying or cross. What else can we do but feel with them, for them? And take that walk in their shoes. So, I listen. I must.

It was a good thing to do. I think I have pleased him. I hope so. It is enough, is it not to touch others in this way. A fillip. I gave him a fillip.

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Writings

Photographing the Moon

I was discombobulated yesterday, losing my temper, getting ratty and tipping over a glass of water, was it the moon? Is it wholly full yet? I thought it was to be the 28th, tomorrow. It was glorious though, walking in its light, and the way it shines into my studio and on the roofs of the houses of the town making them silver.

People were out while I walked. There was the lady with the bag, a young lad on a bike riding along the pavement and a man with a camera and tripod photographing the moon. Lights were on in students’ rooms – I saw a girl in a downstairs living room (the one with the billiard table) reading from a laptop, and another girl with a ponytail watching TV in bed, her walls covered in photographs.

I walked on the Perygyl, the wooden slats made white by the moon. I stood at the end and saw a falling star and made a wish.

The sweet peas have been potted and sit on the windowsill downstairs waiting to live. I hold my breath for them.

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Writings

My Life

I’m currently reading a few lines of Lynn Hejinian’s My Life each night before sleep. Her recall of seemingly trivial incidents from her life is amazing – such as her being sick in the school toilets because she missed her mother or the child’s tricycle lying upside down with its wheels still turning and her and her siblings being ‘sticky’ on the back seat of the car. They stop me still. Can I do the same? Even just one? Maybe. Losing a the pearl ring that my Norwegian grandmother had given me in the long grass. Not detailed enough? I will try harder. I promise.

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Writings

Ghost

I’ve heard people say on the radio that it happens with Facebook. It can’t know that people have died. It’s a bit like companies still continuing to send junk mail long after a person has passed away. It’s still pretty unpleasant though to be asked if you want to ‘befriend’ someone you’ve known who’s died. He looks so sad in the picture, lost, no longer invulnerable. I still think of him, though more about her of late, alone as she now is.

The moon was marvellous. Not yet full.

He was so kind and kept saying how impressed he was. She writes to say thank you. Is that all? he asks. He is proud of me. And that is so nice.

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Writings

The Good Wife

I’ve the woman with the bag the last two days, after months of no sightings at all. Usually she crosses the road when she sees me coming (I’m sure that this isn’t personal to me, she’s just shy, I think) but today I stepped into the road to give her space. She has grown a little heavier though she still wears that grey sweatshirt top. Her supermarket bag was swinging the wind as she walked.

The birds were just as tuneful this morning, come rain or wind they still keep singing.

Our neighbour was at his window smoking as I left the flat and I handed him a parcel that had been left in the hallway for him. His hair looked wild. Another two months till we call all get a hair cut.

An empty sardine tin lay on the ground outside Ultracomida. It’s lid was curled up like a tongue. I thought of my mother and her penchant for oily fish.

You’re a good wife, he said to me a few days ago. Do you mind me saying that? he asked, what with all your feminist principles. I thought about it. No, I said, I like caring for you. It’s been indoctrinated into me, that that is what you do, I do. And I want to do it well.

It’s not clear cut all that. And besides, I told him, it doesn’t matter what the outside world thinks, this is how we live, how we look after each other. Exactly, he said, fuck ’em.

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Writings

Dolls’ House

I can see it sometimes when the flat across the way from us has their blind pulled up. It looks like a smallish dolls’ house and from another window I think I can see a collection of plastic animals. As far as I know it is a flat share comprising maybe three of four adults, male and female. Whose is the dolls’ house?

He came home with a camembert. It’s a long-running thing with us. He likes the really soggy brie but mostly they are wrapped in cellophane which makes them a messy thing to use. Buy one in paper, I asked. Hence the camembert. A new problem has ensued. It stinks. It is stinking out the fridge. He can’t smell it. It’s your sense of smell, he said.

Monday’s TED talk was about animals and humans. Don’t ask if your dog loves you, one contributor said, but ask who he is. A blackbird flew across my path as I walked home this morning. It chirruped loudly and landed on a wall in front of me. I stopped walking and looked at him. He looked back at me, leaning his head slightly and staring, seemingly out of one eye. Who are you? I asked him. He said nothing. I stood for ages just looking at him. He didn’t move. It was probably seconds. I left before he did. I have work to do. Good morning, Mr Blackbird. See you tomorrow.

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Writings

Birdsong (5)

Every other day I walk with my headphones on. I don’t have the music too loud but it does separate me a little from the sonic landscape beyond. The birds have been singing louder and more beautifully. There is a blackbird who I hear along Llanbadarn Road that wins my vote hands down. His song is marvellous.

My sweet pea seeds are beginning to sprout. Isn’t that just marvellous?

And now? To work.

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Writings

Toad

He was in the middle of the road. I couldn’t be sure if he was alive or dead. He wasn’t crushed but lay on his belly his legs splayed out behind him as he was going to spring up at any moment. He didn’t. One of his eyes was swollen and red. Perhaps it was a frog not a toad. I’m not sure that I know the difference. I don’t think I could’ve brought myself to pick him up. Maybe it was a toy. The half-light of early morning plays tricks on my eyes.

I want to help her but it is tricky, and I’m not sure that she wants it. He says leave her be. I just don’t know. I never have.

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Writings

Ready Brek

It was very distinct. I smelt it as I walked down Great Darkgate Street. And it wasn’t the smell of porridge but that of Ready Brek. We were given it as children for breakfast in the winter. I used to sprinkle a layer of sugar on the top and wait for it to melt and then dip my spoon in. The layer of sweetness against the cloying stickiness of the milled oats was yum. And I’d think of the advert on the bus to school, the one were the child’s stomach is radiating red heat after eating some. Where had the smell come from? Such a comfort. There was no stink of TCP along Northgate Street this morning. A man sat in his car outside Costa Coffee, his window was open and the radio was on. He was slumped in the driver’s seat and he stared at me as I walked past. It was 4 am. And the light is still flickering in the doorway of the flats on North Parade.

They are closing the zoo. The owners are bankrupt. The lions are to be re-housed elsewhere, what of the rest? It was always a sad place. Most zoos are, though I have always loved drawing in them. They were doing their best, most of the animals were rescued. And then that thing happened over the puma – was it a puma that escaped? They never really recovered. I am sorry for them.

I began it – I made a start on the new beginning. And there was some pleasure in it. I like to write about her, to have her in my head. That way I make her a little bit mine.