waiting in a photobooth, libs

An open letter to my friends

It’s a Sunday afternoon in June, all warm sun and idling time, and I’m stuck in traffic on the motorway. Without warning, that song comes on, the one we sang and danced to, the one whose lyrics overlaid our lives. And all at once I’m frozen, knocked backwards. And I miss you with the force of a freight-train.

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Red Scharlach lesser of two

My Grandmother's Trunk

So, as some of you know, I've been working on some poetry for an upcoming event (today, eek!) and this idea's been fiddling around for a while. When my brothers and I were a lot younger, my grandparents used to live on the other side of London, miles away, and it would take several hours of Beatles tapes and car games to get there, usually with at least one of us getting somewhat nauseous en route. I Spy was a classic, obviously, not least because meant everyone had to look straight ahead, which was handy on the twisty lanes, but My Grandmother's Trunk wasn't far behind.

Unfortunately my grandma died in the middle of March - actually, both my grandmas died in quick succession, which was a bit overwhelming - and since then I've been helping my dad to pick through the pieces of her incredibly cluttered flat and work out what needs to be kept. I may have got some dates wrong, but otherwise everything in this poem exists and has spent the last month being unpacked and carefully organised, mostly by my poor father. You'll get the general impression in a minute 

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So, yeah. What do you think? Obviously, it's not perfect, but I think I'd quite like to read it at this thing tonight. Is this advisable? Or a really terrible idea? Give me some feedback, please?! 

waiting in a photobooth, libs

Mrs Albion You've Got A Lovely Daughter

Albion's most lovely daughter sat on the banks of the Mersey dangling her landing stage in the water.

The daughters of Albion
Arriving by underground at Central Station
Eating hot ecclescakes at the Pierhead
Writing 'Billy Blake is fab' on a wall in Mathew St
Taking off their navyblue schooldrawers and
Putting on nylon panties ready for the night

The daughters of Albion
See the moonlight beating down on them in Bebington
Throw away their chewinggum ready for the goodnight kiss
Sleep in the dinnertime sunlight with old men
Looking up their skirts in St Johns Gardens
Comb their darkblonde hair in suburban bedrooms
Powder their delicate little nipples/wondering if tonight will be the night
Their bodies pressed into dresses or sweaters
Lavender at the Cavern or pink at the Sink

The daughters of Albion wondering how to explain why they didn't go home

The daughters of Albion
Taking the dawn ferry to tomorrow
Worrying about what happened
Lacing up blue sneakers over brown ankles
Fastening up brown stockings to blue suspenderbelts

Beautiful boys with bright red guitars
In the spaces between the stars

Reelin' an' a-rockin'
Wishin' an' a-hopin'
Kissin' an' -prayin'
Lovin' an' a-layin'

Mrs Albion you've got a lovely daughter. 

waiting in a photobooth, libs

(no subject)

so, um, the drummer from my old band - who left me rather painfully by the wayside - just 'liked' my "I really really miss being 'in a band" facebook status...

...What Does This Even Mean?!
brittana credit sweetsuccessx

we lived in the gaps between the stories

So, hey, I joined tumblr. And I'm loving it so far. Honestly I think that much of my lingering struggle with posting on lj comes from the fact that I used to use this so much when I was younger and teaming with teenaged issues. It means that talking about my ~feelings~ here and now just feels self indulgent, whether it is or not.*

Obviously, this is stupid. And it doesn't mean that I'm leaving you lovely lot, but rather that there'll be a great deal of cross posting. I'm going to try to do a big, serious post at least once a month, but otherwise I'll be reblogging pretty pictures oof books, nifty quotes and important political thoughts over at http://betweenthestories.tumblr.com. So, if you tumbl, please follow me?

2012 has been interesting so far. It got off to a great start, obviously, partying with iltaru, helenfharvey, ardvarc and myriad others, in an event which went on for several, several days and left me on top of the world. On the down side, I've recently left my lovely band Fjords due to "creative differences"** which have been breaking me since early December. I'm writing, planning all sorts of schemes with helenfharvey and the brilliant Beth Webb*** and applying for jobs like an unemployed fiend, but feel weirdly naked without a band & upcoming gigs to call my own. However, it's a new year and there are Plans Afoot. I'm sure I'll have some better news soon.

I've been doing a lot of theoretical writing thinking over Christmas to give my brain a break from book!stress, and keep stumbling over posts on the place of gay characters in fiction. (Summary: We Need More) Bookshop has a particularly important article, I think, but I'm also going to link to you sarahtales talking about the "Circle of Suck" because a. this is important, and b. she has even more links than me, and c. she is witty and brilliant and far more intelligent than anyone seems to give her credit for. Her post also talks about the representation of PoC in YA writing, which is equally important and equally absent or compressed into sterotype.**** And I know you already know but none of this is ok!

When I think about my favourite quote from The Handmaid's Tale, resplendant in the title of this post, I tend to think of it from the perspective of a writer. As a writer, I chose to focus on the story, to slip my own life in around it. And, in return, my experiences almost certainly linger in the margains of the stories that I tell. But guys, guys, a lot of the time the writer is not the only person in the margains. Writers' unintentional stereotypes, readers' expectations, social norms, the edits a publisher might - in perfect innocence - suggest --- all of these can leave homosexual characters... characters of colour... differently able characters... anyone different from the "norm", in the margains. Subtext. A running joke about two characters' relationships. Generic stereotyping. The list goes on.

And you know what? Despite my earlier statement, I am going to take a moment to talk about my feelings. Because as a writer, I chose to live in the gaps between the stories. But, as a queer woman, it's chosen for me. And that makes me angrier and sadder than all the band dramas in the world.


*See, I can't even reference them without irony. I hearby call this meeting of the self-deprecation party to order. Eurgh!
**Which is not, for once, a coded phrase for drug problems. Hate to dissapoint, but...
***more on these later. They are great and exciting in every sense of the word and I can't wait to let everyone know fully! However, I am also declaring them TOP SECRET for now
****you know what I really can't wait to see. Pariah is what I really can't wait to see.