May 22, 2008

Isn’t that a great word? Circlejerk. it just rolls around the mouth coming to an abrupt halt. I wonder if the word jerk was originally onomatopeic? Circlejerking is what I think some misguided people do when they blog about issues they feel passionately about (good up to this point) get all their friends to read it then all congratulate each other on such ‘right down to the bone’ rants. This is just a thought by the way and not directed at anyone I know – the only blogs I read are large public ones.

My actual word of the week is ‘stereotype’ – seeing as I’ve had time to use my brain this week this word has been spewing out of my mouth rather frequently. From the arguments used in the abortion/fatherhood debates to widely anticipated Sex and the City movie stereotypes abound. I want to say I am drowning in them but that would be a cliche. It’s painful to be aware of these things, it makes you lose respect for people. It also forms part of my reluctance to write – trying to get around then will be like walking on glass (I saw Derren Brown do this, but only after putting a plastic bag over his head first. I find this man fascinating and last week dreamed that I found him in some unknown suburban house while on a school trip and had a delightful natter with him).

I should write though. I believe this blogging to myself is a great help. Aside from creating a secret identity as the great Snarkista it allows me to a) think, b) without judgement, c) out loud on a page. I’m not sure if I’ve thought anything at all for a very long time except within the context of a debate – talking with others does bring out some good arguments and I am often surprised at my capacity to think. Not in an egotistical way either, more like when you run for a bus and not only catch it but don’t have a stroke. Was that too cliched? I avoided the obvious ‘heart attack’ but I’m still not really satisfied…

I guess that is what they mean by the ‘inner editor’ at NaNoWriMo. I was going to do that last year, made a profile and got all ready, but 2 days before the start I was struck down by a meddlesome plague and missed the first week. By that point all my ideas disolved and I called it quits. I like to pretend I’m realistic but usually it’s just a lack of confidence (my second most hated word after ‘potential’).

On the plus side I have been reading, which I believe increases my knowledge of writing. Still reading F. Scott Fitzgerald, occasionally I want to say “Are your flies undone? Because I can see your peen.” I don’t think it is because of the character’s either, but the writer’s voice – obviously embodying the sentiment of the time (and potentially some resentment towards his wife). It got me thinking about the author’s voice: in a large number of books you can guess the gender of the author. It is possible to write in a gender neutral style, such as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (only HP book I’ve read, and I didn’t find it particularly interesting or special) and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Some books are written to reflect the gender of the main character, such as Neil Gaiman’s American Gods which has a hypermasculine protagonist, or Marian Keynes’ Anybody Out There? which is centred in a very female world (but not in a gross Bridget Jones way). F. Scott Fitzgerald was both very involved with Tender is the Night as it took him years to write and a massive ego as he thought it would define the great American novel. I suppose that for those reasons it has quite a heavy imprint of him on it.

Considering authorial voice I wonder what my voice is – it’s easiest to express in blog form which is why I think blogging helps, because it makes the voice stronger. When writing fiction it is very easy to slip into ‘this is what a writer sounds like’ voice. It’s similar to the voice people get when they read poetry. I want to write. I’m not sure what. But I think I should start sketching.

A Parody of Virtue

May 21, 2008

I generally maintain an exterior of innocence – it’s annoying when people are suddenly astounded to hear me swear or express an opinion, or ask directions because I seem to harmless, but it does have its uses. Like having people assume I am sensible, or working hard, or couldn’t possibly have caused the large catastrophe in front of me.

Right now I am pretending to be busy by typing while those arround me natter on. The boss has stepped out to a meeting so people are pretty relaxed. Most relaxed of all is the guy who sits next to me who I assume is still in bed cos he sure ain’t here. I find him useful in case there is ever a ‘down-sizing exercise’ as he ensures that there is at least one person more likely to get booted than me.

I am a little down as my new assignment has been passed on to another person. I was told this is because she has done something similar recently, which may be true but I feel I am being chastised for not chasing up information I needed for my last assignment. I feel there was little more I could do but it still stands that my assignment has dragged on long after it should. Oh the impotence.

For those somewhat less impotent: abortion is still available to the 24 week limit. Excellent news. I can’t say I would want to have an abortion, especially not a late term one, but there is always going to be someone who needs to have this option. I am simply lucky to have never been in the situation to have to make that choice, but at least the choice exists. Of course even better would be if certain catholic politians weren’t following their own agendas and would do the job of representing the people who elected them.

I am not anti-religion – I told you about my religious experience last week – I just think it is a personal thing, not something you should impose onto others or that should effect your work life. We all have to make sacrifices in behaviour to get on at work at politics shouldn’t be any different. Just as you put on a suit in the office and save your jeans for the weekend, you must put on your work attitude and save your personal beliefs for places outside of this. It is for this reason I rarely socialise with people from work: I don’t want them to know what I am like behind my workface.

On a side note: M&S picnic food is the devil and should not be sold in train stations where sleepy-minded commuters with no self-restraint may wander in and accidently buy them.

Bonus post

May 20, 2008

I can’t resist the urge to rant, and a tingling sensation in my kneecaps makes me think I may be busy tomorrow and not have time to post. In a way this carries on with the discussion of my beliefs.

So on with the rant. Debates are raging in parliament today about whether abortion limits need to be reduced. On one side are a bunch of creationist catholics, protestant moralists, and media outlets with the tagline  ‘we’re all going to hell in a handcart’ on the other side are some medical professionals and women who enjoy having autonomy saying ‘why are you having a spaz about this? it’s fine the way it is’

It is fine the way it is. Or rather the limit is. If it was easier to get an abortion, say if we had abortion on demand like most of Europe, even less people than the tiny minimal amount that do it now would need to get a late term abortion. I would say make it less of a stigma but people can think, say and believe whatever they want – I just wish they wouldn’t use their backward beliefs to interfere with the lives of others.

Why is it the most stupid people who get paid to write about their stupid thoughts and beliefs? I really shouldn’t read the Daily Mail website – it’s so full of venom, bile, and other toxic fluids. Sometimes I write comments to them telling them how poor the articles are, like when they googled ‘fat pets’ published the pictures and had a list of commentors saying how cruel it was to treat animals in this way. Today, after reading my ‘favourite’ journalist Liz Jones (who I used to believe was fictional satire, her life is that pathetic) I stumbled onto an article on how you can nag your way out of marriage.

Yup, a woman can nag her husband away. It’s not even that he will leave her because of the nagging, he will be too hen pecked, but she will gradually nag apart the marriage. Because that’s what women do: nag pointlessly without thinking. It’s not that they are annoyed or resentful toward their shit husbands and it happens to manifest as nagging. It’s not that he’s just a bit rubbish at doing his chores. It’s not even that they just aren’t compatible people. Nope: it’s the woman’s fault (for fulfilling a stereotype if that’s actually what happened).

And feminism destroyed the nuclear family. The nuclear family that has existed for about 150 years. Destroyed by women daring to leave husbands who for some reason weren’t good enough. Because a man would never leave his wife (just have her commited or lobotomised – shame we don’t do that anymore). And sometimes babies are made by accident. and sometimes people don’t want to be together. And sometimes people want someone of the same gender. And sometimes people want to be single (surely not #incredulous face#).

So why all the interference into other people’s lives?

If there was ever a reason to never get married it can be summarised from the above.

And going back to the abortion debate: funny how 4 of the top 5 comments on the BBC forum are by men. It really bugs me, because I want to have mixed gender debates, but it’s going to be a while before women can shout as loud and be taken as seriously. It frustrates me. I can talk to men who respect me about this but they don’t see my perspective on it, they don’t understand how I might feel in a male dominated debate. I can’t talk to men who don’t respect me because I can always tell that behind their eyes there’s a little part of them that isn’t listening. Whether they don’t respect me because I am a woman or because I am me or because of any of the other things I am or simply because of what I am saying at the time is open to debate.

Is snarkasm a word?

May 20, 2008

I plan this to be a departure from yesterday’s tragic emo-fest. In fact there has been a degree of emo-whinging in the last few posts generally. It’s time for the bitch to get back on top.

Last night I was still on my ‘being sensible’ based downer, particularly after falling up two different sets of stairs, begging the question: What the shit? I bathed the stress away and soothed my mind with the chibi delights of Final Fantasy. Ah, cliched girlie game with undertones of misogyny, how I love you. (NB: you can analyse the inherant flaws in something and still enjoy it.)

I also awarded myself a gift which arrived in the post yesterday: the complete works of Zelda Fitzgerald. The cover sleeve says she is to the jazz generation what Marilyn Monroe is to movie fans. The definition of Marilyn in my head says: tragic corpse, once possessor of the most emotive eyes on screen and epic tah-tahs. I bought the book so I could read Save me the Waltz after Tender is the Night (cue stupid Blur song coming in to my head again) and see how they compare. And also to feed my new-found fetish for literature of the Lost Generation (because there is no conceivable way that that doesn’t sound cool) despite my vow to not buy more books until the old books have been read. There are still about eighty books that need to be read. I may need to spend a month in solitary to make even a slight dent in the pile.

I have started collecting jokes with the idea of putting them into a sitcom. After all the encouragement in class to write radio plays, despite being the most unfamiliar with them I could possibly be, I have decided that my many years of TV consumption would make a visual format much more applicable to my experience. I don’t know how far I will go with this; like the vast majority of my pet projects it may never even see a first draft but it’s nice to have something to think of. Knowing the BBC reads unsolicited scripts also gives me hope.

Ah that dirty little word hope. It doesn’t matter what you are doing or whether you achieve anything from it as long as you have hope while you do it. You may have noticed the last time I was having hope was when cross stitching and discovering Etsy as a potential outlet for this little art of mine. I’ve not mentioned it since as I have had very little time to do any of late, though I have designed and started my second piece.

*feeb out*

Can the busy-ness finally end?

May 19, 2008

Please? I’ve had enough, I really have. It was great having my one and only sibling visit this weekend but I’m ready for a rest now.

My brother, over-taxed himself, thankfully wanted little more than some burgers, beer and boardgames. I bullied him relentlessly and he tried to trick us into adopting new phrases that would make us sound moronic. Or he may just be a moron, it’s a tough one to call.

I feel I owe my partner something. A combination of tiredness, stress and hormonal imbalance has left me in tears three times in the last week. That’s my usual quota for the whole year. I’m now suffering dehydration and have sore patches under my eyes. He is confused as I haven’t been distraught about anything, just a bit full of stuff that overflowed and left my body in the form of mucas. I’m considering bringing back the rest cure, though I’m pretty sure I tried that in uni when I inexplicably caught man-flu.

I feel my distress is unfounded, but in the last three weeks I have visited my in-laws, hosted 2 sets of guests, been to the cinema three times, been drunk twice, prepared for house inspection and been terrorised by a cat who won’t let me sleep. And worked full time, including work-based stress. So I think I should cut myself some slack, rather than just use it as an excuse to eat more pies.

Not doing things for a bit may mean less to write about but I’m sure there will be plenty to fuel my snarky flames, like TV movies, arsey colleagues and general observations. Observation is the key to good writing after all.

Day of Doom

May 16, 2008

We were lead to believe it was a Day of Doom today, as the powers-that-pay (our saleries) would be visiting and inspecting our work. I went first (as I am certain I have spent my entire life doing) which I did not mind as it gave me an excuse to leave and miss the rest of the six hour meeting (but still have buffet lunch. Why so many parentheses today?)

What did bug me was Hated Colleague #1 pointing out a stylistic technicality when he didn’t have to. Why is it that no matter what the situation, whatever group you may be in, there is always one person that inexplicably deserves to be hated? I hate this man. Or rather I have an intolerance to him, very similar to a food intolerance in that if I get close to him he makes me feel sick and gives me a slight headache. I used to sit next to him but I’m so glad he was moved…

Enough of my irrational hatred: the other meaning of the title is a reference to the film Doomsday. If you can picture two guys sitting in a beer garden, somewhat anti-sober, having this conversation:

Dude A: oh man, what if, what if you like Robin Hood, bear with me on this, Robin Hood, versus Mad Max?

Dude B: But why would it be all Robin Hood-y, cos it would be, like, the future?

Dude A: Cos every one else died, and they all went crazy. We could totally make this into a movie.

Dude B: Yeah, with a hot chick who kills Everybody.

And that’s all you need to know about Doomsday.

And so back to my irrational hatred (because I love to express that) and generous use of parentheses (because I always have another layer of thought there for some reason). Last night BFF took me shopping so we could express some female stereotypes (the origin of the word ‘stereotype’ is facinating by the way) and I was in dire need of a bra. I have rage against bras, usually because they are poorly made and don’t do what they are supposed to, so I can only get them from department stores. Cheap bras are the devil, as they rub causing sores and don’t do anything to keep the boobs where they should be. In considering whether I would giving wearing them I remember an episode of 1900 House, where a family lived as Victorians. The mother of the family said that although she was not obliged to wear the corsets provided, if she didn’t she couldn’t get any of the other clothes on. I have that problem – clothes are designed for bra-wearers. And small breast owners, which I am not. Also if I had to run for the bus I’d probably take someone’s eye out.

So large breasts are difficult to take care of, but at least they make me look slim. Debenhams, on the other hand, were being absolute arseholes in order to try and saving their ailing store. Their ‘spectacular’ is spectacularly annoying, as the aisles are jammed with discount crap, the floors are littered with discount crap, most of the changing rooms were closed, there was no bra fitting service, and most of the till points had been abandoned by the time I came to pay. It’s like they were trying to compete with Primark by making themselves look like Primark! And it was shit (damnit, I didn’t really want to start swearing in my blog, but what’s the point of being so pretentious if no one knows who I am anyway) because a) people only go to Primark for uber-cheapness, which even at sale time Debenhams still doesn’t have, and b) if I had wanted to go to Primark there was one just down the street I could have easily reached. RAGE. A doom on both your department stores: I shall get my boulder-holders online.

And minor doom to giant 5 storey Waterstones for not having Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save me the Waltz but stocking all of Thomas Suckfest Hardy’s back catalogue. Although it did amuse me to consider the helpful staff member’s reaction to hearing apparently well-read women criticising literature using terms like ‘suckfest’.

God baiting

May 14, 2008

Excuse me for being groggy. I got 5 hours sleep for the second night in a row. The cat is now in the bin. The coffee is half drunk, so fluency should improve during discourse.

I usually wait til after lunch to make my post, giving me time to consider what I might discuss, but today I know what to talk about. I also need a writing warm-up while the coffee finds its way to my veins, which I imagine are something like cable insulation tubing. Combined with my nutritious breakfast of supermarket sushi and kettle chips I’m well on my way to my five a day.

Last night I took part in a pagan ritual with BMF (best male friend, in case any person ever starts reading this. The people I expect to talk about most are him, Best Female Friend, Partner, housefolks, and possibly colleagues and boss). BMF is passionate about his religion, and I am always pleased when he shares this with me. I have taken part in group rituals he’s lead before which have involved a guided meditation to call up the guardian spirits of the elements and the sharing of bread and wine (consecrated bread tastes so much better for some reason) but this was the first time we’d done it by ourselves and at my house.

We chanted to invoke the god Hermes. Chanting something over and over, particularly with at least one other person, puts you in a weird state. I felt blissful, was swaying quite a bit, felt uninhibited. I also felt I couldn’t look up, not that I was afraid to, but that I couldn’t comprehend how much I didn’t deserve to. It was like the top half of the room wasn’t there anymore. I focused on channeling my energy into the offering plate, bowing lower towards it over time as if I was deflating. BMF said after that he could almost see the energy I was pouring out – like the ghost of sand falling from my fingertips. It was exciting.

The purpose of the ritual was to clear communication pathways in my brain and gain clarity of thought. I have long felt that my thoughts were too flitty, I would catch a glimpse of something I’d want to think about but the slightest tap of distraction would dislodge it again and it was back in the cloud. I spend a lot of time wondering where my thoughts have gone (probably early onset alzheimers). I am hoping it will give me the ability to focus properly and develop my creative skills. I have the maturity to know that a carefully considered composition is so much more deep and meaningful than a spontaneous outburst, but I don’t have the confidence to trust myself to work on a big project. I keep saying I should read a lot more first for the experience but it is secondary experience – it is both vital and an excuse.

I also had my cards read. I am about to undergo a major internal change, and must maintain my confidence when people try to knock it because I do have the inner strength to overcome, I just don’t credit myself with having it. Some of the other housefolk had readings but I have not asked them about it yet.