Friday, 30 March 2012

Thank - insert deity - for that…

Whoever your god/goddess of choice (even if it’s F – the spirit of profanity), it’s worth thanking them every so often for the good of your soul (or innards in my case – apparently gingers don’t have souls). And let other people know what you have to be thankful for too - it put a big smile on my face recently to see a friend revelling in her dream job. In doomy and gloomy times it’s nice to hear about people that are happy with their lot and taking pleasure in the little things, whether it’s that dream job or a sunny Friday (like today! Yay!)
...come more naturally on a Friday.

It’s natural want more, what with us being greedy buggers and all (admit it!), it’s completely inevitable to dream of those lottery millions (and, I think you'll find, a very sensible life plan), and it’s admirable to strive for something better, but it’s also worth stopping every so often to appreciate where you are now and what you have (be it a mansion in Lagos and/or working limbs). As Lennon wrote, ‘life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’ (or in my case, lists). Life is also happening while you’re busy lamenting the price of pasties, coveting other people’s shoes/body/tanks of petrol and tutting at the slow person at the head of the queue.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about that brand of saccharine gushing sentiment that turns stomachs. It’s a bit much to take and those that subscribe to it tend towards an over-frequency that crushes any genuine emotion. I know cynical self-depreciation is generally more entertaining and a good moan can be cathartic - as can mourning the weekend …we all know the bittersweet pleasure to be found in cursing Monday morning and all it stands for. But the only people that don’t like the odd bout of positivity are complete mardy-arses and let’s face it; in this world, if you know where your next meal is coming from and you’re not having the arse shot off you, you’re doing pretty well.
If you’re ever feeling a little ‘meh’, focus on life’s little niceties and always remember it could be worse – you could be ginger or *gasp* George Galloway could be your MP… <shudder>.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sometimes only effing and jeffing will do

I have a slight case of potty-mouth, and when I say slight, I mean rampant. This is a little disappointing given I have a reasonable command of the English language. I even know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ - basic grammar so many people seem to have missed at school (don’t get me started…) I’d love to tell you all my retorts are clean and pithy, and my expressions are filled with smart similes, but mostly they’re just filthy. The first word I said this morning was... rude.
I’ve let myself down on so many occasions, immediately wanting to suck the words back in, but at times it’s like Tourettes – my mouth takes over with no input from my brain whatsoever. The best (worst) example is when my ever so romantic husband got down on one knee in a snowy square in Stockholm’s old town, with twinkly lights glowing and no-one around but us. I was blown away. And how did I express my surprise and delight in response to this most perfect proposal? ‘F*****g hell!’ Lovely.
Lovely setting - shame about the expletives
I don’t know where it comes from. My parents were very careful not to swear in front of us when we were little. I was 9 or 10 before I heard my dad curse – on the golf course, of course – and that only happened because he’d clearly forgotten I was there (my caddying skills were very subtle and involved wheeling his bag on the flat bits exclusively. I’m expecting a call from Rory McElroy any day now…) My mum generally manages to catch herself in time with a ‘ffffff…izz’ or a ‘sssshhhhhh…ugar’, although she will permit herself the odd ‘gobshite’ – because that’s in the dictionary. Pointing out that the F-word is in there too doesn’t seem to affect her theory.
So why do I have a mouth like a sailor? The only explanation I can come up with is that sometimes nothing else fits. When something is so overwhelming that you’re carried away with the emotion of it all (be that extreme outrage, surprise or joy), nothing satisfies and channels the feeling quite like profanity, or even better - a string of it. 
I'm careful to avoid the C-bomb though - that’d be taking it too far altogether.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Shame, shame …we appear to have forgotten your name.

Is it just me, or do people seem overly eager to get their bits out on national telly lately? From One Born Every Minute to Embarrassing Bodies, the opportunity to get extremely intimate with complete strangers abounds - generally while screaming in horror and trying, unsuccessfully, to tear your eyes away from the screen. Anything befitting the title ‘car-crash TV’ is likely to have media executives salivating, but what’s the incentive for the randoms who get involved with these programmes? 15 minutes of fame for their fanjita?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not known for my shy and retiring nature, quite the opposite, but I have my limits, and getting my ‘jardin du femme’ out on telly would certainly be one of them. Maybe it’s growing up in *ahem* holy catholic Ireland, but I just can’t fathom what would posses a person to think ‘my penis appears to be shrinking, I think I’ll go on TV…’ (that particular affliction was a ‘buried penis’ by the way – just so you know). On that note, I can see how Embarrassing Bodies does share important information and could prove invaluable for anyone watching who’s been ignoring ailments and hoping they’ll go away, but is altruism the motive for the people inviting the cameras in for a ring-side view of their rectal exam?
Given fresh (and no-so-fresh…) hoards may now be hot-footing it to the nearest doctor’s surgery, having seen a mirror image of their stricken bum on TV, maybe the government are trying to reduce NHS bills or prevent a population boom by scaring the bejesus out of anyone that might consider having a baby? There won’t be one born every minute for much longer if this continues. You can almost hear the sound of chastity belts clicking into place as women watch, wide-eyed and cross-legged, while grapefruit-sized heads are squeezed through sausage-sized holes (and that’s what got them in the trouble in the first place!)
It used to be that birth programmes were confined to the daytime, when the women most likely to be watching were already headed to the maternity ward and needed to see what was in store, now it’s prime-time and it leaves no stirrup (or stomach) unturned. And what really strikes me (once the initial horror has passed) is the midwives talking about the intimate moment a baby is born and how special it is for the parents. All the more baffling as to why they’d want a nation of strangers along for the ride.

Hiding my shame ...also know as a bikini.

I can't bring myself to say it

'What do you do?'
'I'm a writer...'
Nope – I can’t bring myself to say it. Despite writing for years on subjects as varied, and generally dull, as pensions, banking systems and charity fundraisers, I can’t call myself a writer. Maybe it’s because it still feels like an aspiration, or that I need to fulfil a stereotype in my own head to gain the title - the novelist deeply engrossed in their latest work, beavering away in their shabby-chic lakehouse, or the tortured artist, wrestling with their latest piece in a dimly-lit bar with a cigarette burning away endlessly in the corner of their mouth (pre smoking ban of course).
The nub of the issue is that I’ve never written about what I wanted, just what was required by the job, and corporate-land is not know for it’s blazing creativity. So I bit the bullet and started a writing course, thinking that would give me a kick up the bum, get me writing 'my stuff' and earn me the right to call myself a writer (and maybe a few pennies here and there). What I discovered, though, is that very few writers get to blather on about whatever they’d like – and a lot of their time isn’t even spent writing. Research is king. Viable ideas don’t come from thin air (or chin-stroking musings, pondered while staring into the middle distance), they generally come from analysis and similarly ‘uncreative’ activities.
That put a stop to my gallop. But it also made me realise that (sadly?) I could be closer to calling myself a writer than I thought. Research and analysis – I’ve done that for years, I just need to point my skills in the right direction. So I’ve thrown myself into it, making lists to my hearts content (my, oh my, how I love lists...), and found that there is inventiveness to be found in the mundane. Amongst the 'constraints'  of length, style and suitable subject – what’s the best angle? Where’s the fresh perspective? How will this entertain people? Not so much a creative flow as a tentative trickle, but it’s getting there.
But what of my typecast writer image? Will I ever be able to unleash the random thoughts that dance around in my brain at stupid o’clock? 
Of course I will – isn’t that what blogs are for…?