Friday, 31 December 2010

The Last Day Before Tomorrow

Cats are possibly the heroes, or perhaps they are the villains.  On the desk are currently the urns of my own pet cats.  I don’t particularly want urns on the desk where I write every day, but they were on the windowsill, and have left rather worrying stains on the wood, presumably from the sun bleaching the varnish or some such, and I don’t know where else to put them. 

I loved The Cats very much.  I find in hindsight that my affection for the felines is greater than I hold for most people I know.  And as such, I don’t feel able to have another pet.  But that doesn’t stop me from petting other people’s cats, which makes me a crazy cat-lady. 

I spent some of Boxing Day giving attention to the cat who was obviously distressed by the presence of a toddler in his house.  Generally in the presence of children, I find myself drawn to the pets of the family, again establishing me as a crazy cat-lady or hamster-lady, or whatever. 

Although a childhood incident where I tried to give attention to an old dog who was ignored due to a new puppy and the stupid dog bit me has somewhat put me off dogs.

That and the vivid nightmare of hellhounds hunting me down, that I had so frequently as a tot that I eventually became convinced it really happened; I am only guessing now that it probably didn’t. 

The ‘memory’ I have is being alone in the hallway of The Childhood Home, The Family were possibly in the living room at the far end, I was in the dark.  I pressed The Face against one of the bottom panels of glass in the front door to see outside.  A huge angry vicious black dog ran straight up the path to the door, right at the glass, right at me and terrified me beyond reason and the memory cuts out abruptly.

After this, I had repeated nightmares in which a huge black wolf sent from the Devil, or who was the Devil, was going to kill me, right up until I was in my mid teens.  The clues that this might actually have been imagination first occurred a few years ago when I saw The Neverending Story in which there is a huge black wolf-like creature hunting the hero to death, bearing a startling resemblance to the thing in my nightmares and memory.

And last year when I moved house, I went through The Old School Work, throwing away anything that wasn’t a story or a drawing (why would I want a maths book from 1994?).  I found a drawing of a dream I had done in Year 3.  Two black wolves with huge sharp claws and teeth, dripping in blood, smashed through the glass in the front door and prowled the house, hunting for me.  The image of the dog at the glass in the door is very similar to that in the memory, so perhaps it all started as a dream.

However, I would have been about eight when I drew this picture.  Was I this old when the memory happened?  I thought I was younger.  This drawing doesn’t mean that the dream started the memory.  I know I had repeated nightmares for a long time, so it could easily be this was simply a nightmare inspired by the memory.  The fact that I had it several times would only make it a more likely subject for a drawing. 

I did see the start of The Neverending Story as a child but I have a very vivid memory that I turned it off when the horse died, which is before the wolf creature turns up.  So maybe it did really happen.

Add that all to that episode of Eerie, Indiana, I’m just not comfortable around dogs.  Although I did used to pretend I had a pet lassie, called Cod.  For some reason. 

Anyway, for Christmas I received a bird feeder, that when the ground is soft enough, I shall erect.  I like birds like those funny birds with the cartoon legs, and other silly little tits.  I like crows because they’re like little people.  And I’m rather fond of pigeons, despite most people’s hatred.  I’m also a fan of squirrels and they eat the same sort of thing. 

But if I stick a bird feeder in the garden, that makes the cat the enemy.  I shall become one of those insufferable old people who moan about cats pooing in their gardens, as if birds don’t poo all over the car (and on people’s heads).  Poo on the ground is a lot easier to sidestep than poo falling from the air.

And on that note, so another year is come.  Though the names of the years have held little meaning since leaving school.  Back then, one had to copy it off the board every day and there would always be a confusing first week back after Christmas in which people kept writing the previous year.  But these days I have little cause to think about the date.

I won’t make resolutions; the ol’ L-A-Z-Y stands in the way.  But I will endeavour to increase the efforts towards publication instead of living in a sort of fictional cocoon. 

I wrote a little more of Working Title: Afterwards and had some idea of where it was going.  But seeing certain images of certain scenes yet to come does not prepare me to write them. 

I was rather proud last year that Christmas meant so little to me that it didn’t get in the way.  This year, it was all-consuming.  Since the last blog entry, every day up until Boxing Day revolved around preparing for and celebrating the holiday.  I managed to send cards, deliver gifts and visit with friends.  I even went to church.

I had the good fortune to speak to someone who is not an embittered atheist, which is refreshing in my line of friends and I took to opportunity to ring in Christmas Day among believers.  But as it turns out, church is exactly how I remember it and there’s a reason I don’t have a religion.  This is a shame, because that’s just another social arena in which I failed to meet anyone new.

I’ve tried book readings, acting classes, the job centre and church.  In The Head, I build it up, and reality is always a let down.  Perhaps going more than once might help, but apparently, I’m easily dissuaded.

Monday I woke up ill.  Or rather, at five in the morning when I finally went to bed, I felt ill.  This did not stop me playing on The Sims for three whole days.  I got two new (to me) expansion packs for Christmas and on loading them up remembered that The Sims is addictive. 

Being able to create little people and control their lives runs a little too close to writing and can be dangerously absorbing.  Unlike writing, it leaves me with nothing to show for the efforts or to share with others, being entirely self-involved, and it becomes necessary to forcibly break away.

Yesterday though, having been reading The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale (another gift) I had a hankering to pull out the detective story, Working Title: Better Late Than Never about a dead detective returning to solve crime.  I did and went through it filling out the plot, but most people who write detective fiction have some background in police work.  I have none and really don’t know what I’m talking about.  Still, I was saddened when night drew on and I had to stop.

This day however, I was less inclined to look at it.  Filling out bits of plot is easy enough.  Writing the thing is what now lies before me and I’m just not dedicated enough.  Or perhaps it is this malady that hangs over me, stuffing up the brain as well as cutting off the voice. 

I’m not enjoying Summerscale’s book as much as I had hoped, mainly because I didn’t quite realise what it was.  I knew it was a true story, but I thought this meant ‘based on’ not ‘an essay about’. 

I am pleased to discover I am not a ghoul for true crime.  Working in a bookshop showed me how true crime is the biggest seller these days.  Apparently, I find it disturbing and not something I wish to learn about.  It’s always nice to discover when I have normal human emotion.

Today I found a hankering to write The Decoy Stories about my experiences of acting.  I’m not sure why, but I do remember it going around the head last night while I was unable to sleep due to the pain in the throat.  That and the word ‘somnambulist’. 

I’ve been typing away at the latest instalment of the semi-autobiography, only to notice a few gibberish words cropping up, and sentences with the guts missing, and I have finally deduced (a cold slows the senses, right?) that the keyboard keeps cutting out in the middle of sentences.  I think the batteries may be dying (damn you, wireless technology).  The mouse died twice yesterday since I don’t have any more rechargeable ones to fill it with.

So I had to give up and come down here to the laptop, at which point I thought I might as well update the blog.  The short story so far lacks dialogue, wit and that passion that would keep the reader engrossed.  It’s just a list of random, heartless paragraphs.  That’s fine as a work in progress, but this jolting departure in the middle of writing has sort of sucked the excitement from me.  Writing on the laptop is uncomfortable because the table is too high and the room too cold.  Besides, I’ve never written well when I’m ill.  It’s all a bit hallucinatory rather than gritty.

I seem to be sinking into self pity again, a state which infuriates me.  I have no time for people who moan about their own problems, but this sticky, sluggish illness really does seem to be stopping me up.  It seems with no audible voice, the inside voice is also stifled.  Or perhaps a mushy brain and a childish sulking about no messages from friends over the holiday have got the better of the ambitions.

Still, I did very well, present-wise this year (this I truly believed until The Housemate returned with four times my haul).  I even got a Woody doll.  It’s only been a fifteen-year wait.

AND DEAR LORD ABOVE, I have just received the New Year’s Eve gift from the ever-faithful Housemate.  It’s a Matt Smith figure in a fez and with mop.  This day suddenly got really good.  Forget the cold, let’s party.

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