Friday, August 31, 2018

A letter to my husband

Today, I read an old Guardian page via Facebook. It was called "A letter to my husband...who simply stopped loving me." I suspect many women reading it will know something of the pain it describes - when the exciting phase is past and two people just don't communicate anymore. Sometimes you might see it happening and feel powerless to change it. Other people may wake up one day and realise that they have been sleeping through their relationship and it has died like a forgotten house plant.

Here's an extract:

You no longer have any zest for life, no interest in anything other than your gadgets. Conversation is one-way, no questions are asked and responses to anything I might pose are one syllable (paired with a grunt and a roll of the eyes). Meals have only ever been cooked by me and you have never attempted to prepare anything, I have asked that you try but to no avail. At night, we lie side by side, never touching, never speaking. I don’t cry myself to sleep any more, my tears don’t get me anywhere, no one can hear.

The pressure is often more than I can bear. I want to scream: ‘Where is the man I fell in love with?’  

You haven’t touched me since the conception of our second child. All I want is to be held, to be brought a cup of tea in the morning, to be told I am appreciated, to enjoy life’s simple adventures with the man I am meant to share my life and my world with. You are irritated by any plans I make to ensure our free time as a family is spent as best we can together. All you want to do is sleep.

What this made me think is - THIS COULD BE ANYONE. ANY AGE, ANY GENDER, ANY PLACE.

We all seem to require our friends and family to be telepathic about our wants and needs. And we expect others to make us feel whole. Nope. It's all on you, baby. Communicate.

So if you are reading this and you feel even slightly sorry for yourself - you know how you didn't get that job, someone scraped your car in the car park, and then you realised you had your skirt tucked in your knickers all the way round the supermarket?  TIME TO WISE UP.

MAKE A PLAN. Re-invigorate yourself. Go make someone (anyone) a cup of tea, and have a chat. Book yourself on to that course. Play that track on the radio at full blast at the traffic lights and sing along. Tell the person who is staring at you that you've discovered a new butterfly species and need to celebrate. Whatever will make you happy. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you.

And if that poor person you live with is looking a bit tired and worn down by life and doesn't respond to you, MAKE THEM. Take them out. Kiss them unexpectedly, tell them a joke. Don't let your moodiness dictate your whole life, when you can turn it around. And all it takes is a bit of imagination. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The perfect CV

After three years inseminating elephants
I became a full-time mime

But due to on-the-job pressures

I was delighted to accept an opportunity

To study the impact of Brexit negotiations on the lunch choices of the UK’s pre-schoolers

I mean, my CV doesn’t say that.

It has an eclectic mix to be sure

Sub-editing Lime Lizard

Co-ordinating Tangible Arts

GAP Project Training Manager

Acting editor of Spain’s first national English language newspaper

Communications Officer for a school Sixth Form on the edge of Dartmoor

But you can see the thread, can’t you?

It’s there in the bullet points

Where it says

Ghostwrite, edit, empathise, evaluate

Where it says

Research, read, study, scrutinise

Where it says

Unearth, explore, provoke, expose

Where it says

Scratch, stab, poke, bleed

Where it says

Do what it takes to be a poet

Live, breathe, suffer, scream.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


February 15th

Purification, the Romans called it
Mud month
Lupercalia, time to avert evil spirits and emerge cleansed
I do need to be rid of the mud
It has clung to me all this first year,
and I am ready to wipe it off with milk-soaked wool
I’d like to scrub the tainted fields, the curse-drenched rivulets
Gather in all the leafmould, unpick it from farmer’s boots
And condense the hate down into productive black humus

If I have to be flagellated with goathide strips in public
It will be worth it
For the healing to begin, fertile Lupercalia must first have her sacrifice
Her dark and bloody time

The snowdrops look clean
Among the ferns and hellebores
Like my intentions
They have arisen from the dead mulch of winter
Spiking through the rotted remains of last year
With improbable freshness

I like to make plans when the year feels this crisp
As though enthusiasm alone can carry wishes to fruition
I shall plant heat-loving seeds and salad greens
In anticipation
Looking ahead, shielding my eyes from the starched sky
Beyond the grey smudge of Devon hills
To a heat haze fulminating on the horizon

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why 'Singular Cake'?

Words should be chosen with precision. Words hurt. Words can damage people if used incorrectly. Choose your words, like your cake, with care...

Years ago, this became a maxim of mine. I still try to live this way. Take only what you need, one slice please, I can re-use that, no I'm fine thanks; say less, do more. In writing, as in life.

It takes practise. It is a daily struggle, especially as I love words, to only use the right ones, and discard the 'purple prose'. But it is so much more effective. And can save your relationships. And the planet.