Tuesday, 22 May 2012


When tragedy strikes its impact is violent. Like being winded, a truck driving through your chest at speed, sucking life as you know it from your lungs before chucking you out, through the cracked window of what was once upon a time reality, onto the side of the road.

In the ditch you grapple around in the dirt, desperately trying to breathe. But you can't breathe because you're not in control of who you are. You're not you, you're a shell, and in the space where love and happiness once bounded around with a playful hope and enthusiasm there's just pain. You're not functioning in the way you instinctively know how to, something else, stronger, sadistic even, is in charge. There's no hemlock, no drowsy numbness, just fear.

You can't move forwards or backwards, all you can do is spin out of control on an ‘oh so inappropriately’ titled merry-go-round. You can't get off and even though your eyes are full of grit the world flirts mischievously with everyone else, laughing and loving and spreading it's almighty colourful wings as if there is going to be a today, a tomorrow and a forever.

I've been winded with the news that mamo margot's little baby is far from well. At a time when my son and his beautiful fiancĂ©e’s lives should be filled with so much promise they are at the side of the road, reaching out and trying to grasp hold of a tiny fragment of hope that will allow us to crawl back through the window.

It's proving to be elusive but somehow we need to try and keep breathing, no matter the weight crushing our lungs, their lovely, lovely lungs. We need to rise from our perpetual present and find a way towards today and tomorrow.

Isn't that how it's meant to be?

Monday, 7 May 2012

unreliable and strong

Like 2.5 million others in the UK I spent the last 12 weeks watching the American import Homeland on Channel 4. It was incredibly gripping, even when the narrative was implausible.

But hey, it's telly, it's made up. The writer has the freedom to tell the story how they see it and that's what makes it so darn strong.

What really stands out in this powerful drama is the use of two unreliable and uniquely challenging narrators. Carrie and Brody within their own spectrum have deep issues and we are always on the edge of curiosity,  never fully trusting the point of view of either to be exactly as it might seem. Bold and exciting it works really well on television and it's given me some comfort in two characters of my own.

I've just begun writing a new novel, although the thinking process has been going on for some months with my two protagonists, a brother and sister, driving the shape of the story with strong, often loud and frequently opinionated voices. Each though also possesses a soft and vulnerable side, a kind voice that emancipates them from the darker, troubled elements of who they are.

In different ways they are threatening to take me in directions I hadn't originally planned for them. It's incredibly exciting, I love them both for suggesting the way ahead and rejoice that they are strong enough already to think that it is they that can dictate the proceedings.

At the moment we're stepping off a jagged cliff face and hoping that the wind will carry us. Today I believe that we can fly.