Friday, October 24, 2008

(& this is how I side-step actual blogging.)

& Another (old) bastardisation of Greek mythology, written in February 2007, a second-person re-telling of the story of Eros and Psyche.

& monsters under the bed

Your beauty was always a problem. There were always monsters under your bed and there was bugger all you could do about them. Your parents didn’t even try to help. You think they were spooked by your beauty too and, even though you were too old to die by exposure, they left you on a mountainside, all alone (with your matching luggage set and a .45). You hitched a ride and got hitched and you didn’t have a damn clue who you married because you were drunk on misery and tequila sunrises.

Your new home was a penthouse, high above everyone; it was just like the song that played on the jukebox in the seedy dive where you signed your marriage contract (love was lifting you up where you belonged).

You never actually saw him, your significant other. He was away during the day and always made love with the lights off. He used to joke about how, if you ever tried to see him, if you ever turned on a light or lit a candle (or even a bloody cigarette) in his presence, he would walk out on you. The funny thing was that it wasn’t really a joke and it scared you to think that he might offer you up to the monsters under your bed. That was why you never turned on the lights when you heard the rustling sound of wings at night or when you felt a draught (even though all the windows and doors were closed) or when you heard whispers in a language that was not your own.

You did not think that your own sisters were the monsters under your bed although you should have known. They were always such vindictive bitches because you were always so much more beautiful than them. It was their fault and their whispers in your ear that made you turn on the light and he left you because he didn’t believe in second chances or child support.

You talked to your mother-in-law and learned the true meaning of vindictive bitch. She was the one with the goddess complex and the lipstick-smeared martini glasses who always made you feel as though you were the worst thing that ever happened to her son and it was all because you were more beautiful than she was. She resented you for making all the guys crazy when you walked down the street in your miniskirt and high heels.

You didn’t want all the guys, though; you just wanted the one who deserted you when all you had done was turn on the light to ward off the monsters. You knew he was beautiful too, with dark, kohl-rimmed eyes and feather-soft kisses and strong arms.

You won him back, of course; you were stubborn that way and you made ground-rules, like counting to ten before losing your temper and leaving all the lights on and all the candles burning and pretending not to be home when your mother-in-law came to call.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Every year, for the past 26 years, I have forgotten to wish my cousin a happy birthday on his actual birthday. I am always one day late and I really do apologise.

Happy Birthday, Andy. Maybe I'll get it right next year? Anyway, I'll be catching up with you age-wise in a month or so. Do they hand out zimmer-frames when you're 27?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

&Ahahaha. I see my venture into public acknowledgment of my literary endeavours went largely unnoticed. Probably just as well but I suppose that now is the time to point out that November happens to be National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write 50 000 words between the 1st and the 30th of November and it is something I haven't managed to do. I've made three failed attempts but perhaps this year will be the year of sucess. It's one of those things that irks me, I have to say. Over the years, I've written tens of thousands of words. Pages and pages. A lot of it never sees the light of day. Some of it is posted here and there, under an assumed name (and wild horses won't get me to admit to where, so don't even try). Some of it is actually quite good. The story/novel(la) I intend to write for this year's NaNo is provisionally entitled Copper Alley and has nothing whatsoever to do with the street in Dublin or the café near Christchurch Cathedral. For the first time (at least, where NaNo is concerned), I'm writing something that might be called fantasy.

&I've started to re-read The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I'm only fifty pages in but, yes, it's grabbing me just as much as it did the first time I read it, over three years ago. If you haven't read it, do because this book is the very definition of original and excellent writing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And this is why I should not be allowed to play with the Classics

+So. Sometimes I write and do not blog. This is something I wrote about two and a half years ago and I've revisited it often. Warnings for strong language and implied naughtiness of various flavours.

+the wrath of achilles

Briseis looks so pretty on the cover of the crumpled magazine in the wastepaper bin, even with creases all over her, like old scars. She’s no Helen of Sparta but she has a glow all of her own. Agamemnon is ripped clean in two, with a beard and moustache of blue biro drawn on his face.

Achilles never knocks when he enters a room so Patroklos has learned not to knock either. Achilles is still asleep. If he was angry, rip-roaring force-of-nature furious, Patroklos would understand. Instead, he is childish and determined and on strike, a petulant protest at the world. He does not blame Briseis; the girl did not have a choice. Faced with blackmail and fear of exposure, Briseis swallowed her pride and has allowed herself to be seen on Agamemnon’s arm. If only she could have swallowed Achilles’ pride too.

It should not have surprised them that they were under surveillance, that the Atreides somehow knew about their arrangement (and they thought they were being so discreet). Patroklos misses those days, with Briseis and Achilles kissing on the living room couch; she would be wearing one of Achilles’ shirts and their legs would be entwined across the coffee table, between the overflowing ashtrays and empty whiskey bottles. There would be three pairs of jeans on the floor, tangled up like drunken dancers losing their balance, spinning out of control.

Every time Helen appeared on the television screen, with the sound turned down, Briseis would have to ask. “Do you think she’s pretty?”

“Mm, not as pretty as you,” Achilles would say, his lips pressed to her collarbone, devout and improbably innocent. “Really. Ask Patroklos,” he would add mischievously. “He dated her for a while.”

“Scurrilous lies,” Patroklos would say, wandering back in from the kitchen, eating corn flakes straight from the box. “I wasn’t rich enough to date her.” (And he wasn’t.)

Patroklos misses those easy days with an ache; they can never be comfortable again. Now the empty whiskey bottles surround Achilles’ bed, and the overflowing ashtrays, and the girls’ faces are never the same. There are people dying still and Odysseus’ protection racket can only go so far. Achilles will not lift a finger to help Agamamnon now and where would Patroklos be but in Achilles’ bedroom, opening the curtains wide, letting the sunlight splash onto Achilles’ bed? Between rise and shine, you lazy bastard and fuck off, you miserable wanker, Patroklos bullies Achilles into the shower and brushes his damp-darkened hair off his shoulder and presses his lips to Achilles’ skin. He knows he can’t make it better, not when he misses Briseis too, and he knows that their every movement is probably being watched, because Achilles is the unknown quantity.

Stubborn hero, Patroklos sighs. The bathroom tiles are smeared with condensation and handprints that will fade long before Achilles’ anger subsides. Stubborn, foolish hero.