Determined: not deterred

3 days into the year and I’m yearning to begin, can’t wait for Tuesday – Tuesday, fool, is the day of pain! Dentist-day. Fill the house with smooth soup and pain-killers. I want two appointments a week…I must be insane, but now I’ve faced the fact that this is a fact I want it over asap. It wouldn’t be so bad but my old dentist moved away somewhere else…which is why I’m in this predicament and haven’t visited the house-of-pain for about three years! …and in that time two back teeth have had rock-slides, two built-up teeth have unbuilt themselves, and a crown has fallen out and its base is crumbling and throbbing. Oh, woe is me. What a crapper.

So, I will go to work tomorrow, and begin the ruthless new plan of no cakes or sweets or rubbish, in the first inst. Then, there will be less mashed potato or chips, or trashy meals. I won’t force exercise into my world yet – that would be a bridge too far.

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PLAGUED

I am surprised to find that I am not myself: this sodden soul is blowing herself to bits, has driven her nostrils red and crusty, and now owns a deep, sexy voice…except when she’s coughing – though is not yet fit to bust. Number4 grandson was hardly in the house six hours before my sneezing fits began – he’d been coughing up his lungs and deeply sniffing a million snotters…I thought about telling him that everything he dragged up there would be sliding down the back of his throat some time soon, but I settled for telling him to blow his brains out. Why don’t boys like blowing their noses? Number2 son has a little line on his nose from that palm-to-nose sniff in his childhood.

It might be going on for twenty years since I had a cold – does this mean I’m getting old, really decrepit and will be sinking into the bog sooner rather than later? I want to be 108! Of course I’m still working, and only the loss of voice can change that unless I learn to tap intelligently on the phone and, that clients could understand what I was saying. Wednesday is my day off, and I have a cinema card, and was planning to go this week but coughing through films is considered reason enough for murder; I’ll stay in, out of the rotten rain, and cook stovies, followed by custard and bargain/reduced raspberries. All hail winter.

WHAT IS LOVE?

I’m an almost 60yr old woman watching certain dramas because I like to look at men. Not just any old men; there has to be a hook, and I have to find the worm tasty. Now, when I think about it, it’s mostly got a lot to do with the eyes and the voice, but I don’t think I fall for the actual actor – I think I fall in love with the character. Yes, I must be crossing over to the fantasy side of love, although, I’ve always known of its existence – mostly because of the rainbows and fireworks that never actually appear.

Love is so convoluted that it cannot be described in a nutshell or even an opera house, and I or my opinion could never be measured as normal or average – just brutal and comedic…where’s my hacksaw? I once tried to write a love poem for a competition and produced a couple of women on a roof watching the husband of one and brother of the other falling to his certain death while they dusted off their hands, bidding him farewell.

I don’t remember the anguish of love now that I’m dead. Two dozen evenings in ‘68 ended in a fortnight’s mourning, tracking tears, Motown records dropping one at a time. Was that love? I fly over the past searching for evidence of concrete romance but it escapes me. Is the only witness to love, youth? It’s a kind of madness. We were Cavaliers on the weekend tour keeping eyes peeled for well-heeled men with wallets, in clouded rooms, guessing careers, comparing body parts to heights. The man I got with child in ‘75 made me sick. Is sex love?

The 80s were hotter than July ‘til Frankie said Relax. See single women everywhere, bonking – these enthusiastic meetings of parts are too earthy and sensible for  moral interference from wifely men and women. Married women are garnished with gold, promise to keep the light of love shining in their dignified windows, persuaded in feeble negotiation into Sunday sex, regardless. Is that love? This heaving of the underworld stretches beyond coin, cash, salt. We are all customers consuming what we desire but the business we should be minding is our own. The man I married loved me almost to death. Was that love?

So now that I put brain activity before that of the nether regions, I can see clearly, that clearly, love is a malady and used as an excuse for all sorts of abuse by maniacs…but it is a path through a necessary jungle and I’m glad I made it through alive…to watch the lovely male creatures on the flat screen where they can’t do any harm.

Character

I like men with character; if they also happen to look good, the universe gets a lolly.  Gargoyles and carbuncles have interesting features and histories, to some people, and ordinary men blend into backgrounds to create the foundations of that thing we call society. I always wanted a man who could do the backstroke and butterfly right through the sludge…the trouble with men like that is that they are fragile. All the men who captured my attention got broken and I had to leave, or die.

Little did I know that I was never meant for real men or real love in the real world. Fiction is the feast I should have stayed with instead of the battleground of insane relationships, but I’m glad I had all the sex, and added to the population. The wisdom I gained far outweighs that of the 50yr marriages – no, once is definitely not enough. Fantasy men, especially surgeons, US Marshals and wizards, are knocking on my window at all hours of the day and night…honest to God. And, I can read with my eyes shut. Yes, there are voices in my head – only because they’re part of an audio book, of course. The surgeons are mainly on TV so I have to make the effort there.

Last week, I realised that I’d fallen in love with Jim Butcher’s wizard Harry Dresden. Madly, and now I don’t know what I’m going to do until the next book comes out. Remember last year…when I fell in love with McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy?

Well, I’m right back in that armchair. Ah, life is but a dream. My head is full of James Marsters’ voice dragging poor old Harry through all those dangerous adventures and lashing out spells all over Chicago. I want to cry Fuego! And blast up a fire storm under the publishers, and Mr Butcher to get my book done. Meanwhile, I’ll just return to The Lord of the Rings for comfort and snuggle up with Strider, on video. I like the grubby character of the ranger rather than the clean and sweet-smelling king.

These people slip into my armour and become part of my obsessions and I will love them forever, re-watching, re-reading, and re-listening until I fall out of my rocking chair. Does this make me a character? Probably. I won’t be a bag-lady but I’ll never fit into the normal shape of an old woman. As long as I don’t slobber over young men in public I shouldn’t make anybody sick…but I can’t consciously think salacious thoughts about young men because my grandchildren are stretching into manhood and it doesn’t feel good. The men I want to hook my eyes and ears into are all over thirty – so that’s all right then, isn’t it? And don’t get me started on Timothy Olyphant from Justified. God, that man’s a god.

So, how do some characters bury themselves up to their armpits in your life and hundreds/thousands of others don’t? I need to know how almost every episode of Greys Anatomy makes me feel something, and how I’m drawn to Harry Dresden so I can write characters and build scenes like that. My characters are never going to be the standard of beauty or climb into one-size-fits-all lives but I want them to cast spells. I want people to feel them, to need them in their bags, on their tables and talking in their ears.

I’ve done a lot of thinking this past six months of not writing and now that it’s over I feel the words falling out of the air, dropping like bombs – a big one landed today and has changed my plans for tomorrow night. I’m alive after all. But, now I’m wondering what my Harry Dresden would look like.

McDreamy

I’ve spent a whole week of my life engrossed in six seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Why do I get obsessed like this over drama? I’m not writing for the stage and screen and yet I’m hooked on hospital and forensic dramas on TV. This one is making me cry. Whatever the writers/directors/actors are doing, is working and I am caught up in their crises feeling the pain of their characters and falling into the stories. I love it, and the fact that I can stalk McDreamy all day and night – it’s a dreamy way to live.

Some people might say that I’m wasting my life by being so sedentary and unproductive but I feel inspired. This is a dreaming time. I’m thinking about the novel I wrote in November, trying to catch the right mood for my characters and if slobbing around consuming drama works for me then who’s to say that’s wrong? I am involved with the surgeons of Seattle Grace, in love with more than one of them and wishing I had created them myself.

I am in love with character but I can’t watch real people on these reality shows or cookery and grim social documentaries – drama is the best place to live in this world; it’s full of bodies squirming in physical or emotional pain and I don’t need to sacrifice anything to help. All I have to do is feel empathy, laugh and nod in recognition at depictions – even if I’m studying them it’s still an escape. But, I worry about dying and lying behind my door for weeks because I prefer fiction to real life.

After seven seasons, all those episodes where I lived with surgeons I am now suffering the pain of withdrawal. So, have I learned anything about characterisation and will I now steep myself in my own work? Perhaps. I know that I would like to be as good a puppet-master as the creators of Grey’s Anatomy. My mind is working on switches and strings and how to employ the perfect wrist movement to tweak that first chapter of the Nano novel. I am McDreamy, present but not fully functional yet.

 

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