I wrote for British Vogue about why I wore my mother’s wedding dress after my parents divorced. About sentiment, superstition, heirlooms and searching for a sense of permanence this year. Wishing you all a happier new one. Read Here.
It smells like smouldering embers. Someone nearby has had a fire going overnight. Strange thing to be doing in London but we’ll all be lighting fires in bins soon. The smell is of wood smoke and it is comforting, anything elemental is comforting. Give us further reminders of our place. Render me small again.
The mornings are frequently beautiful. Then, as if mirroring our collective intake of news throughout the day, the weather turns. Usually by lunch. This morning, however, is different. It’s milder than it has been but there is thick cloud cover, reminding me of mornings in Spain before the sun heats up and melts the white blanket below it.
Our dystopian laundry sways on the line; face masks twitch in the gentle breeze.
I’m reading Beowulf now. Turns out he’s not a wolf, which was a little disappointing, but there is at least a monster in it. So that’s good.
The woman next door has a bath. I don’t know how one person can make so much noise in there. It is as if a whale has squeezed through the plughole and beached in the bath, and having realised the mistake it has made, is frantically trying to escape. Squeaking and creaking and splashing for its release. I would forgive it every now and again, but she does this every morning. A very sad thing to take the grace out of bathing.
I go for my bi-weekly jog. As a walker most of the time I have become aware of manic joggers getting very sweaty and out of breath, and then being very sweaty and breathing heavily very close to me, very close to everyone. I hold my breath a lot when I walk.
So as not to be one of these super spreaders when I do jog (which apparently is now something I do–jogging, not super spreading), I make sure I keep my distance and keep breathing at a minimum. I am also fortunate that, like Prince Andrew, I have had military training and therefore do not sweat.
The fact I walk for around three quarters of my jog probably helps with the sweating thing. But the training is also important.
However, I do have to breath a little, but I do not want to be frowned upon, so keeping my distance is paramount. This has its hazards. Today, I jog daintily around the lake, admiring the light on the water and smiling to myself in a moment of wild, endorphin-induced positivity. Suddenly, a very, incredibly old man appears out of nowhere. Why is he lurking by the reeds? Why is he even out of the house?! I don’t have time to question this ancient health-risk’s motives. Instead, I launch myself away from him and almost into the water so as not to contaminate him with my breath particles.
He laughs. I do too, but not because I think it’s funny.
Old superstitions passed down by my mother resurface. Whatever happens, however weird this all gets, regardless of my military training, I will only ever salute birds. Magpies are my master now.
I see a dead magpie lying on some ivy on one of my walks and raise my hand to the fallen. Three other magpies are bouncing around the trees above it, cackling as they do, but they seem distressed.
I don’t know about all this “great equaliser” talk surrounding the virus. I had thought it might be true, but now I’m not so sure. I appreciate all of us could die (no change there then), in the mean time it seems to me like everyone who was poor before is still poor now. Anyone more likely to die before is still more likely to die now.
Anyone rich before is rich now. Anyone doing ok before is still doing ok.
Everyone picking up the pieces before is still picking up the pieces.
Everyone at the bottom of the pile is still at the bottom of the pile.
Everyone who fell through the cracks is still falling.
I speak to a friend about her time in Cuba, because I want to go there one day, and ask her to remind me why she didn’t like it. She reminds me. I wonder if those calling for communism here will let us share their second homes and healthy salaries? I’m all for it, baby. I got nothing to loose. See you in the bread queues.
I take refuge in the past. Even bad memories seem attractive now.
While out shopping for an old gentleman, I catch my reflection in the shop window: face mask, latex gloves, leather trench coat. The look is very ‘Dr. Death will see you now’. And I think, If I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t buy more leather coats.
Dear little mice,
How are you? Is it sunny where you are? If not I hope you have felt its beams on your skin at least twice this year. (If you haven’t … where are you?? I’d love to hear from anyone living in a cave/centre of the earth.)
So, firstly: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for starting a blog and keeping it running for god knows how many years and gaining your trust and making you believe that there would always be mediocre content at least once a month and then all of a sudden … dropping off the face of the earth.
Secondly: I’m not sorry! Because I have some good things lined-up for all you excellent, strange creatures that follow this blog.
I’m still writing, and I’m writing a lot at the moment. The reason you haven’t seen any of this is because most of that writing is a book — a novel, a book-book. And it turns out writing a good book is actually very hard, even for very arrogant people like me. But I am very happy to tell you that earlier this year it was awarded an Arts Council ‘grant for the arts’. This not only provided some much needed money (for some much needed food), but has also given me confidence that I am hopefully dedicating a large portion of my life to something worthwhile.
Other than that, I am currently studying for my masters and have had the blessings of a couple of other writing contracts that have kept me busy, and quiet. But no longer!
As of Summer 2018, I can confirm more poetry is heading your way (yeah, let those fist bumps lose!), there will be a video with me talking about being a failure at poetry (at some point), there is an article about superstition and assigning meaning to nature in Breathe issue 12 for you to buy, and to the wonderful person who wrote in to tell me they’d dreamt I’d put up another Motherisms, you’ll be delighted to hear one of those is in the pipeline — as is a Fatherisms.
I’m also still wanting to do a collective Motherisms, so please write in with anything wonderful/hilarious or ridiculous your mother might have said and we can make something funny together. Isn’t that nice? ISN’T IT??
Happy Thursday everyone, it’s going to be beautiful (whether you like it or not). x x x