ST snarl

I think I've sold my soul to a sixteen year old...

She wanted to make an online zine. 

A B C — Anything But Covid. 

Hurrah! Brilliant — sign me up!

I submitted a handful of stories. It became clear from my submissions she would rather short, humorous tales, despite never having mentioned that in the brief nor the feedback. By trial and error and her ongoing complaint that no one could write and she had to submit her own stories, I figured the narratives had to be silly, funny, quirky and about half the maximum word length.

In what I can best describe as a surreal children's book, I referenced Yeats' Second Coming — which is not an obscure poem if you actually read poems in the English language. Also the words are so odd they don't occur anywhere else — a Google search will answer your WTF in under ten seconds with the first or second result. But no, she had no idea nor did she try to look it up. There were also a couple of English language grammatically correct 'quirks' she had never heard of and asked me to 'correct'.

She's probably not 16. She's probably 19 or 20. She's definitely American. And she's not as well read or educated in the English language as I am. And I'm dyslexic. Which is... distressing because she's my editor?

Yes, it's an editor's job to question my use of grammar. But I shouldn't have to school my editor on poetry. I will now have to clue her in to the literary hints I dropped from famous pieces and also tell her UK spelling is a real thing, and in short, it's not that I made a mistake, it's that she needs to get out more, listen to how different people speak, and read more books. Poems. Shakespeare. Stoppard. Something.

Also yes, in writing descriptive narrative I occasionally repeat myself or say things that are not necessarily needed. But if you remove them from the sentence, how does the sentence sound when you say it out loud? Unbalanced, and a bit shit, that's what. You think I don't know I put extra words in there? It's the rhythm of it. Read it aloud like you were doing the voices reading a bedtime story to a child. 

FFS. READ IT ALOUD. PROPERLY. Like an actor. Or a person with a sense of linguistic rhythm, if you can at least manage that...

I dunno, I'm annoyed. I've had years of battling dyslexia and of my father correcting my grammar like he's a Victorian school master, cane in hand. I don't like discovering that an editor's English literary and linguistic knowledge is not as good as mine. That's just depressing.

Scar

Icarus is flying too close to the sun...

I want to post the Good Omens Icarus Bastille vid. But it isn't working. And I'm too tired to care any more. It's here if you like - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymHv_TECanI

This has been quite an un-fun night.

Give me a fucking surgical needle. Or whatever, never mind. Not fussed. Probably an embroidery needle or something will do the job. No one gives a shit anyway and I'm too tired to care, so there we are.

I'm cold. Not that that's important - I cleaned up the bathroom so that's okay.
ST wtf lovett

Isolation...

So I'm on an island far away from 99.9% of anyone I've ever known in my life ever. Which was a choice I willingly made. But it's a choice that's felt a lot more complicated recently.

I don't have a job and I'm not very good at making friends.

Covid19 doesn't really make social interaction that easy these days either. Technically I have a few friends in London, one in Hungry, and one in Berlin and maybe one or two across the UK who might remember me if I'm really very lucky.

Even so, I have no one here. I suppose when there was a place to go back to in the UK it felt manageable. Now I just have a storage unit with a fee to pay. My life has been in sodding boxes for more than a decade and I don't even have any friends any more.

I don't have friends in this time zone or side of the planet or continent.

And my life is 95% in a storage crate on the other side of the world.

I obviously need to fix this but I'm really not sure how right now...

...Well fuck.
ST snarl

Classical Education.

Meaning: to be taught the Classics - Ancient Greek and Roman plays, Satires, poems, the languages, fashions, politics and history of that time.

I don't know if a 'Classical Education' is all it's cracked up to be - I know it leaves out just as many (more) things as it leaves in. But if nothing else, what a classical education gave me was a full sense of art, life, and politics in Europe 1000-2000 years ago. And you know what? That's essential. Because it's just the bloody same as modern day.*

- Artists are dreamers who have to find patrons who want them to paint stuff they're not interested in and lie whilst they do it.
- Poor people are mocked by the rich and given empty promises by the politicos. Many have to appease a local power to get their weekly rations. All of them have a charioteer team or local gladiator they are fanatical about.
- Religion is viewed somewhere between a social background norm, an outmoded state convention and a joke you'd like to make but can't for fear of prosecution.
- The higher up the religious official - or any other official for that matter - the more likely he is to be corrupt. Good intentions rot just like any other fruit.
- Women are protected/free/educated/crazy/pure/sexy/frigid/girly/lovely/slutty/insane/sex-hags/innocent/darlings who may or may not be mental and may or may not be allowed to wear 'spartan' short skirts.
- War? Sucks. Read Aristophanes' 'Peace'. He disagreed with the bloodshed and complained bitterly that it was the civilians who had to pay the price when kings or statesmen couldn't settle their differences.

But really, everyone, just please, read the Oresteia by Aeschylus**. It's actually three plays: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, & The Eumenides. It starts as a revenge tragedy of the sort that Shakespeare, Marlowe or Webster would be proud of. But slowly through the trilogy we are asked to agree with each semi righteous yet problematic character's view as their reasons for their terrible actions are explained to us and made to sound sane. The Tragedian's way - the old God's way - was that blood must always have blood. But at the end, when bloody justice was about to met out on Orestes (who'd killed his mother... 'cos she'd killed her husband (O's dad)... 'cos (O's dad) had killed a daughter (O's sister, and by the by his other sister was pissed...)

In the way of plays, Orestes had it coming - but before the devil could take his soul (so to speak) Athene turned up and being the goddess she was bitch-slapped everyone into holding the first trial by jury to decide his guilt. The jury was split 50/50: so she put in the casting vote and told everyone they were forbidden from taking revenge. From now on things were going to be judicial and lawful - they were going to be civilized...

I know there will always be those who abuse the law, or those whom the law cannot stop in time. There will be bad laws too, laws that need to be changed.

But I believe in Athene***. The Furies will gnash their teeth and demand blood for blood, recompense with interest for every slight great or small whether committed yesterday or a thousand years back. Emotion demands we satisfy these hurts - you strike me so I strike you. But Athene is reason, not emotion, and reason sees that an eye for an eye and blood for blood leaves us all blind and wounded: the cycle of vengeance must be broken and justice put in its place.

Justice is imperfect, alas, even after all these years. But I still think despite its myriad flaws it is a better system than vengeance.

I've been told, since I believe in justice in this mode, that England should pay back damages not only to all its old Empire pieces (India, Africa, etc) but any other country it ever shat on in the past. (And the longer it shat on it the more it ought pay.)

Okay. I'm up for a Time-Lord Geneva-Convention. But how is this to work exactly - what are the rules - where's the start point? Because... I know Wessex owes Mercia and Cumbria for being a dick for a start, eventually England owes Scotland, Wales and Ireland for being a bastard (but apparently all the different clans in Scotland Ireland and Wales are cool to let bygones be bygones about THEIR inter-murder-history) then Britain or the UK (how united are we at this point in history?) owes Australia and America and anywhere else we colonized first time round... Then India and bits of Africa and the Caribbean and some other places...

If we're paying for land taken and people killed and revenue piked over time, honestly bits of England might be paying other bits of England the most - not to mention demanding dividends off of the Viking lot. And the Romans - do we demand Italy pay us back for the shit they started? And how are the Greeks to pay back all they took across the world? Or the Persians? Or the Mongols - surely we should all be demanding child benefit if nothing else from the Mongols - Genghis Khan sired half of bloody Europe!

...And America - how is it you think you're so clean of this awful historical murdering bastardry? Fucking hell - you can't pin all your sins on the Europeans - though you do try. You're independent my dears - have been since 1776 - that makes you your own country! Such a pity there were those pesky 'natives' you had to constantly 'deal' with - how tiresome! The ongoing genocide, marginalization and mistreatment of native clans - which you have yet to rectify in any meaningful way... Nope, you'd rather get hugely pissy about what the English did to your ancestors 400+ years ago than acknowledge the horror you committed to an indigenous people less than 200 years back...

Sod off. You pay back all that land and death and damages you did to the American Indian tribes and then I'll be happy to talk as an 'English' person repaying your Irish/Scot/Whatever ancestors for that blood debt.

People and countries are bastards and have been for all time, I suppose is my point. We all have laws to try to elevate us from us murderous horrible pasts - WHICH IS REALLY BLOODY IMPORTANT. Because that's what law is at its most basic point - it's an attempt to be right next time - to aid human society as a whole - even if we can't make right the past.

PS. Please do shut up about Cromwell being our fault. We didn't elect him, we lost a sodding war to him, and we hated him too - he was a cunt. We tried, we failed. Sorry.

PPS. Also yes by all means tell me how the IRA were fine - when you didn't even know there were different arms/splinter groups to the IRA in the first place or what they stood for. Or the fact that the bombed their own people a lot. Fekkers. I can cope with that - that's ignorance. Just don't bloody tell me that the bombing campaign during my childhood was some sort of magical fiction made up between the BBC, my brain and the adults I knew who all worked in different independent news/TV - cos that's just bloody rude.

===========================

*= I'm remembering mostly satires by Horice and Juvinal for the social stuff but also the religious chatter from some Comedies and a history of Rome and Senneca and some other peeps - I'd quote chapter and verse but all my books are stuck in boxes far away. Please comment with quotes that support (or not!) from those or similar sources.

**= I know there are lots of other texts ((oh gods please read Marcus Aurelius too)) and that's not counting all the OTHER AWESOME philosophical texts from AROUND the WORLD.

***= I'm not actually keen on Athene and her ilk they were all pretty bloody shit (and Zeus was a cock-monster) but in this case I mean Athene as her primary aspect: reason and wisdom.
Me - Emmy

Dear Sir/Madam/Guest,

Please don't argue and then dictate terms to me of 'never speaking on this again' in my own room or you can sod off and sleep in the bloody garden.

Alternatively, (according to rank/gender/frailty/weather/etc) I'll sleep in the bloody garden. (I don't really care much at this point, am just mostly sure I don't wish to inhabit the same domicile as you since I am as vastly grumpified by your opinions as you are by mine.)

Tired and vexed regards of the type that only fruitless argument can bring,
Whatever ffs,
Corvid.

Post Script: Apparently it wasn't terms to me, it was terms to them. ...Fair enough then.
Me - Emmy

Caitlin Moran's post about advice to her daughter.

My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to get out – I’ve thought about writing her one of those “Now I’m Dead, Here’s My Letter Of Advice For You To Consult As You Continue Your Now Motherless Life” letters. Here’s the first draft. Might tweak it a bit later. When I’ve had another fag.



“Dear Lizzie. Hello, it’s Mummy. I’m dead. Sorry about that. I hope the funeral was good – did Daddy play Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen when my coffin went into the cremator? I hope everyone sang along and did air guitar, as I stipulated. And wore the stick-on Freddie Mercury moustaches, as I ordered in the ‘My Funeral Plan’ document that’s been pinned on the fridge since 2008, when I had that extremely self-pitying cold.

“Look – here are a couple of things I’ve learnt on the way that you might find useful in the coming years. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. Also, I’ve left you loads of life-insurance money – so go hog wild on eBay on those second-hand vintage dresses you like. You have always looked beautiful in them. You have always looked beautiful.

“The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are – so lovely I burst, darling – and so I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux, and this will save you the anxiety of other, ultimately less satisfying things like ‘being cool’, ‘being more successful than everyone else’ and ‘being very thin’.

“Second, always remember that, nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit. You’d be amazed how easily and repeatedly you can confuse the two. Get a big biscuit tin.

“Three – always pick up worms off the pavement and put them on the grass. They’re having a bad day, and they’re good for… the earth or something (ask Daddy more about this; am a bit sketchy).

“Four: choose your friends because you feel most like yourself around them, because the jokes are easy and you feel like you’re in your best outfit when you’re with them, even though you’re just in a T-shirt. Never love someone whom you think you need to mend – or who makes you feel like you should be mended. There are boys out there who look for shining girls; they will stand next to you and say quiet things in your ear that only you can hear and that will slowly drain the joy out of your heart. The books about vampires are true, baby. Drive a stake through their hearts and run away.

“Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are – marvel over the world turning over within, the brilliant meat clockwork, as I did when you were inside me and I dreamt of you every night.

“Whenever you can’t think of something to say in a conversation, ask people questions instead. Even if you’re next to a man who collects pre-Seventies screws and bolts, you will probably never have another opportunity to find out so much about pre-Seventies screws and bolts, and you never know when it will be useful.

“This segues into the next tip: life divides into AMAZING ENJOYABLE TIMES and APPALLING EXPERIENCES THAT WILL MAKE FUTURE AMAZING ANECDOTES. However awful, you can get through any experience if you imagine yourself, in the future, telling your friends about it as they scream, with increasing disbelief, ‘NO! NO!’ Even when Jesus was on the cross, I bet He was thinking, ‘When I rise in three days, the disciples aren’t going to believe this when I tell them about it.’

“Babyiest, see as many sunrises and sunsets as you can. Run across roads to smell fat roses. Always believe you can change the world – even if it’s only a tiny bit, because every tiny bit needed someone who changed it. Think of yourself as a silver rocket – use loud music as your fuel; books like maps and co-ordinates for how to get there. Host extravagantly, love constantly, dance in comfortable shoes, talk to Daddy and Nancy about me every day and never, ever start smoking. It’s like buying a fun baby dragon that will grow and eventually burn down your f***ing house.

“Love, Mummy.”
Me - Emmy

So back in the day...

...if I had a night like this I would carve random bloody chunks out of myself (or possibly if it was a very very very bad night, try to actually kill myself.)

I'd loathe myself and maybe cry and certainly bleed and then I'd swaddle my arm or neck tightly in a towel and myself in a duvet and pass out. In the morning I'd make tea, and view the previous eve with an ironic sort of dispassionate amusement as I cleaned the blood off the floor and stuck myself back together with multiple sticky sutures or occasionally needle and thread or even rarer visits to the A&E when the wound wouldn't stop slowly bleeding no matter how tightly I bandaged it.

What do I do now? The worst excess of my emotions has been curbed. (Maybe I've outgrown my depression. Maybe the meds have fixed me. Maybe this is just that one or two year fallow cycle where my madness lies dormant and I'm pretty much 'normal'. Who knows? Not I.) Whatever the reason, cutting bloody swathes from my arm isn't my current go-to response to escalating sadness. These days I just sort of sit in that mental stew and think 'well, fuck' and hope it will eventually drain away like dirty bath water.

That's probably a healthier response than cutting. But it relies on other people cheering me as a primary catalyst rather than me stabbing my pain. And this has one downside: I can stab me and my self loathing any time of the day or night and anywhere I carry a scalpel, but relying on the support of others is a hell of a lot less certain. I don't always broadcast my moods, people are busy, sometimes even when they're not busy I don't tell them the full story or they don't understand...
In short, me improving my mood by cutting is a low down dirty fix, yes, but a far more certain one than relying on others to aid me.

Recently a family friend asked after my 'demons' and gave me a MIND booklet on self-harm. It told me all the things I wish I'd known aged 14 and had since worked out for myself, and all the things I wish my family had known back then too. I wanted to tell her that my demons were fine; they were as calm and quiet as I could wish for, and the few times they raised their heads they distressed everyone else far more than they distressed me.

I've lived with self harm and bouts of suicidal tendencies since I was 14. Really, there's few things in this vein I haven't been through or tried - either on the destruction or the fixing side of things. I'm not fazed by my depression or the fact that sometimes I want to 'stop' (which alas usually equals being dead because there isn't a handier way to fix the issue.) You might mean well by freaking out or trying to helpfully pamphlet me because I have a bloody wrist - and I do appreciate the kindness. But I am not in the least bit clueless about this shit: I have been depressed and self harming for 22 years more than the 14 years I haven't. I don't need your pamphlets. I need your support, as quiet or as loud as you fancy voicing it.

Eh. I'm just bitching because - heh - I suppose it's a cry for attention. Which my self harm never was. Oh irony upon irony etc etc.
JS English Magic

You all know that 'ye' means and is pronounced 'the', right?

Faery Spell.jpg

A spell written in the 1630s for the summoning of faeries, annotated by three separate unknown persons at different times.

(I will give some sort of prize to anyone who correctly translates the magic-wibble. Bonus points for who Great Granddame Miranda was and what the significance of Birch & Heather is, also what the other plant illustrated is and why.)
Scar

My incomprehension knows no bounds.

I don't understand pitting people against each other.
I don't understand insulting someone and then demanding they stick around for another earful.
I don't understand threats of violence, whether truly meant or facetious.
I don't understand hanging a friend or relative out to dry - especially if it has serious repercussions.
I don't understand drama escalated to the level where everyone is threatening to call the police on everyone else.
I don't understand speaking to someone in a certain way when you *know* it's only going to blow up in your face and everything will be far more awful.

Most of all, I don't understand rows and people who stay in them. Perhaps you can win an argument; but by the time it's a row, everybody's already lost.

On the other hand, I understand that people are quite often short-sighted, manipulative, untruthful, hot-tempered, fuzzy-brained idiots with issues. And they will fall for the obvious trap, say the unkind/untrue/stupid thing, fold when they ought stand tall, go all in when they ought back off and all manner of other wrong-headed behaviour. Because they're not that bright, and they like to get their own way.

I'm starting to think there's no such thing as an adult. There's just a bunch of emotionally repressed freakishly tall and endlessly puzzled four year olds. Many of them are drunk and only some of them have read a dictionary. Many have real-pretend-Monopoly-money which they spend on things in the hope it will stop them being so miserably confused. Some of them order the others around to show how TOTALLY NOT CONFUSED they are. But they're still four year olds...

And they're five seconds away from throwing a tantrum.
Me - Emmy

Bling!

Back in CA, there was a jeweller who said he'd make my wedding rings in time for the wedding - it was six months away after all. (I wanted three bands that stacked, made of silver, and set with a rough diamond, a sapphire and a third stone I hadn't quite decided on.)

He said he'd do it in platinum infused silver because that was better. It would cost a grand or so. And by the way the stacking rings wouldn't work so he'd make one ring that looked like three rings... Then he forgot about us because he had an art faire to attend.

I gave my designs and the stones to a local jeweller in Eastbourne (http://www.nigel-graham-bespoke-jewellery.co.uk/goldsmith/) about three weeks ago. Got these back yesterday. True to the design, a tenth of the price, and a huge whollop of shiny:

bling.jpg
bling2.jpg

I have shinies =)
And very talon-like nails.

Also, CA - just no.
Your residents love you and I still have no damn idea why. You are, frankly, rubbish.