It is time to bring out the woman in the glove box again.
There are no gloves in there.
But there is Olive,
Quirky , off-kilter as this blog which is perhaps why I like her.
I like her feistiness too,
How she tells her husband,
“Stop shouting! Do you think that makes you a man?”
“All men need to be told this,” my partner tells me
Who likes Olive too.
She is getting the new book, the sequel, when it comes out.
But she is not like Olive.
Olive has a big personality and is not backward in coming forward,
As my mother used to say.
She is curious but curiously vulnerable.
She is the engine of the novel, the fuel, the vehicle
That takes you there.
She waits in the glove box like a car in a garage.
* have you a favourite fictional character?
* what do you admire in them?
She’s reading the graphic novel Donna had accidentally left from her last visit. It’s Wuthering Heights. She’s unfamiliar with the format but rather relishes the art work that captures the violence and energy of the original.
Outside in the garden she is listening to the wind picking up, whining and whimpering like a dog that’s been shut out in the cold and she’s out on the moors again with Cathy and Heathcliff, her wild grey hair escaping from a loose bun.
As she lay in the hospice ,
cranked up by morphine,
she thought of Mr. Barnes
That little red rooster from her childhood days
In Battlelake, Minnesota.
That Barnes — he was something,
Puffed out his chest and walked through life:
“I want the biggest and the best and the most of whatever
He had attitude.
He had a harem.
One day when she was home from school with chickenpox
She watched Mr. Barnes
Fornicate with his hens forty six times and that was when
She was awake.
He was the sheik of Battlelake
Even strutting off to other farms.
That Mr. Barnes!
He thought the whole world belonged to him and beyond that —
The sun, the stars, the Milky Way — all of it
& as she lay dying
She hoped to meet him on the other side.
do you have a hero? what qualities do you admire in that person?
do you have an animal you admire, either in literature or real life?
We were seated at the feet of the Great Writer who at 37 already had three novels published, the latest of which had just won the Booker Prize as it was then known.
“I will tell you a secret,” he said. “one which is not really a secret. It has been known for millennia but it has been largely overlooked and forgotten. Aristotle first taught it in his ‘Poetics.’. It is the principle of Endings. “
We leant forward. I had my notebook ready. “The ending,” he said, “is written in the beginning. There should be only one way a story can end. The challenge for any writer is to surprise the audience with the inevitability of everything that happens. There is no such thing as alternative endings. I repeat, there is only one way a story can end.”
do you agree with that? Is there only one way to end a story?
can you think of a story — fairy tale, parable, short story, film — that could have ended in a way different to how it did?
have you read Salman Rushdie’s Booker prize winning novel, ‘Midnight’s Children’?
I am reading a book of very strange stories.
One of them is called ‘Falling Awake’.
It is only six sentences long.
Here it is in its entirety:
I have no trouble falling asleep.
I have a lot of trouble falling awake.
Sometimes I sleep ten to twelve hours a day before snailing towards the light.
One day I will fall asleep and not fall awake or fall awake and not fall asleep.
Neither prospect daunts me.
I like adventures; no matter how short.
I thought of the times I had fallen short.
Let the side down.
Not been up to scratch
Been urged to pull my socks up,
My finger out
To take a good hard look at myself.
But I was always a few kangaroos short
Of a top paddock
So it didn’t get to me like it could have.
And anyway you can lead a horse to water
But you can’t make it drink.
For too long they have lead a solitary existence,
Moping in corners of the internet, blushing wallflowers
Stuttering if someone even comes to speak to them.
Now all this is changing.
I am introducing my poems to each other,
a matchmaker, if you like, partnering one poem
with another of similar makeup, all in
A single manuscript, a mass marriage of poems,
With the publisher’s blessing.
Together they will lie next to each other
for the ages. All will be invited. Now all
I have to do is pair up like poems,
Nervous Nellies unused to company
* apologies & thanks to Skyhooks