Thursday, 5 February 2015

Oh Lux.

 "People think that we're funny, I kinda feel sorry for them because it means that they think it's a joke. We've spent our lives searching out incredibly wonderful things that most folks just don't know about yet."

Lux Interior

a small private decadence

There are things that feel decadent to do when she lives alone.

Such things include: breakfast pancakes, a bunch of tulips on the desk, candlelight, the hob and the oven: both on, using the heated towel rack, using the heating in more than one room at a time, miniature bottles of bitters, owning Tabasco sauce.

Sometimes, she does these things anyway. There are always going to be difficult times and when she treats herself like a rare precious creature—a thing that needs wooed—it is worth it, for the pale orange light it casts upon the rest of the day.

Of course, she also feels decadent for living alone. She feels decadent for working two days a week. Sometimes, she hears her voice complain from another table across the smoky bar and she wants to leap upon and wrestle this idiot to the ground, laughing, her hands entwined in her hair.

It’s not really like that. It’s hyperbole. But still: she might as well enjoy it. She might as well be small, gentle, and kind.

 The days of late have been grey and swaddled, but this Thursday morning is an anomaly: a gaudy clownfish amongst minnows, a startling blue. It feels decadent to eat pancakes in a fleece dressing gown, to sip coffee slowly and think, to curl by the radiator with a stack of books, to slip outside and wander along the frozen canals.

Still. The day is going to turn with or without her penance. The internet will howl and scratch up the table legs, shit on the carpet, no matter what she decides to do. Besides, who knows what inspiration will seep into her brain from this rabid white snow globe?

Her decadent fingers sink into the skin at the top of her arm, and she yanks herself down the stairs.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Hysterical

An excerpt from the story I wrote in January about a laughter epidemic, rape, and the media. And the darkness! Oh Berlin, your winters are stuck in my bones.

They said it was the darkest winter since records began. When I heard that, it made sense. I mean, it had to be something. We can’t always be so brittle, so close to cracking. But on those shifty January days, when the light barely nuzzled out of the holes in the sky, it was hard to stay on track. I felt it. And when everything began to unravel, it was hard to feel surprised.
    I don’t mean to downplay the causes. It was more than the weather: it was the violence too, of course it was, the horror that this could happen here, of all places. It was him. Still, I can’t help but think that it wasn’t for that thick grey that swaddled everything that winter, things might never have got so out of hand.
    When you read reports of it now, they use the word “hysteria”. As in “mass hysteria”; as in “those bitches were crazy”. Women, amirite? But if everyone else’s reactions were crazy, then I guess that means mine was sane. And I want you to know: it wasn’t. I’m not the smart one here. If things were different for me, it was for a whole other reason. And I want to explain, because for all I have to say about the darkness, the weather, I am also afraid. Just because I did not laugh. I want you to know: I was also afraid.

fine fine fine

The most important thing to remember is that you’re doing fine. There are about a million other things to remember, all shooting off in different directions like spider silk from your wrists, but as long as you got the important one, you got this. You? You’re doing fine.

Having said that, we do all wonder if perhaps you aren’t spending just a little bit too much time online. Having said that, that’s a lie: that “wonder”. We’ve decided. We talk about it. You are definitely spending too much time online.

While we’re at it, we’ve also been thinking about the time you’ve taken to compare yourself to other people. You spend a lot of time panning the dust of the internet for shiny golden nuggets, from which you craft their present intentions. Their past indiscretions. They ways in which you are: better/worse/kind-of-sort-of the same.

If it wasn’t for the time you spent on the internet, and specifically the time you spend on the internet comparing yourself to other people, and specifically to those other young women writers of a certain age, style and indiscretion, we can help but wonder if you might not have written a little bit more by now.

You might have a book, is what we’re saying. We might be sat by the radiator with a big blue mug of fennel tea, unfolding the pages, letting the spine crack—there! right along your name.

But we are not. There are so many stories we haven’t read yet, is what we’re saying. There are so many bookshops we haven’t snuck inside and signed all the copies with secret messages, because there are no secret copies, and all the messages read:

“Hurry up” at the bottom of every left-hand page, and

“Take all the time you need” on every right.

Perhaps the reason we are telling you this now is because of that message you sent your agent this week, the one with the 60,000 word manuscript attached. We are stirring up your soup because the only thing more terrifying than never finishing anything is the thought of finishing something and putting it outside.

Sooner or later you are going to have to hack out your heart and send it out into the world inside a box. You would like to be there when they open the box, to whisper in their ears “be kind”, but you will not.

But that’s okay. The most important thing to remember is that you are still going, still making things better. The most important thing is not all the things you did wrong to get here. The most important thing is you. You. You, doing fine.