Wednesday, 29 April 2009

When the music stops

Silence. There is something quite melodic about silence; the lull of breath, the dull roar of blood in ears and the faint thud of hearts as they beat.

In a world where noise is like our shadow; trailing behind us, never ceasing until the sun falls and our bodies rest in a room of quiet darkness, silence is often desired, hoped for, wished upon. Everyone wants a bit of silence. Time to collect their thoughts and clear their minds.

Not me. I fill my days with noise. I love the sound of people chatting and laughing, phones ringing. And when those days are over, I fill my nights with music. Song after song, every beat, every voice, every melody makes me happy and I settle into a rhythmic ease.

Yesterday the music stopped. I was sitting in my room writing, the sound of my iPod playing happily in the background when suddenly, nothing. The noise of the house filled my room which all at once seemed too large, too hollow. Cold. But the truth was, there was no noise. The house was vacant. There was nothing but empty rooms, empty air. Silence.

And so I realised. I hate silence. Sitting there in the cold of my room, the slight hum of my computer my only company, my mind went haywire. I was alone. And with that realisation, my thoughts trailed to more depressing places; the fact that I've felt alone for a long time now and I didn't want to be. And so in my enforced rumination, I understood that my continual desire for all things loud, this thrist for music playing 24/7 was just a lie. If I filled in the silence, I drowned out my thoughts and the truth; the truth being how unhappy I was.

Of course, I am not completely unhappy. I actually feel quite at home being on my own, more so that anyone else I know. (Plus, this is what being a writer is all about; enforced alone time). But it was in that instant of stark silence, in all of its harshness, that I grasped at a minor flaw in my life and became aware of its implications. I tell you, realisation is a powerful thing.

As is silence.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Barbie is a Bigot

For the past week I have been lost in slumber. This doesn't mean I have been asleep for seven days. I'm not that lucky. I've just been kind of numb. Vague. Life seemed a bit blurry around the edges. I've been on a drug trip, without the drugs. I have no idea what bought it on. It must have been time for a funny five minutes. Or perhaps a silly seven days.

It is not often that something can anger me so much that it jolts me from my own numb little world, where life (in my head) is equal and just. But this weekend it did. I was watching the news when a barbie-doll-type creature appeared. Her dress was so sparkly I feared I might be blind as the light reflected off the silver gems and burned my eyes. She was so plastic she looked close to melting point under the harsh studio lights.

I'm talking about Miss California. This past weekend was the Miss USA pageant; a disgusting form of 'entertainment' that thrives on the idea that women are objects and beauty is paramount. I never thought of myself as a staunch feminist but catching a glimpse of the contestants in their bathing suits with their fake tans and perfect white teeth, parading their bodies like show-ponies, I have to admit that I am.

However, it wasn't the whole beauty-objectifying aspect of the Miss USA that became world news this weekend. It was gay marriage. When celebrity blogger Perez Hilton asked whether she believed in same-sex marriage, Miss California Carrie Prejean, a.k.a Barbie, replied:

"We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."

This was the moment that jolted me from my numbness. Can you believe I actually forgot that people like her still exist? She's not the only stupid one.

And you know why Barbie is so stupid? Because she makes her own belief sound ridiculously outdated. She points out that she lives in a country with the right to choose but basically states that the right to choose is wrong. Furthermore, she bases her whole argument on the way she was raised when actually her sister is a gay rights activist. Surely her sibling was nurtured by the same parents and yet she never turned out a homophobe.

Perhaps I am being unfair. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and in a twisted way, it's refreshing that someone had the courage to voice theirs in a world rife with political correctness. But everyone should have EQUAL rights. If people can't marry because they are the same sex, we are endorsing the idea that gay people are second-class citizens. Why do so many insist in moving backwards when society has struggled with a ferocious determination to move forwards?

Consider me truly baffled. Reader, what do you think?

Monday, 13 April 2009

The Lone Voice

Now I sit on Bond Street,
incarcerated in stone,
leaning towards Roosevelt
sitting casually to my right
and I wonder;
was it worth the fight?

I think back
to 1940s Britain, where
Chamberlain had failed us
and I offered nothing
but blood, toil, tears and sweat.

As Hitler beat his iron fist
against my nations heart,
families huddled in sodden shelters
that offered themselves
like watery graves,
hidden in the depths
of the underground-
where children forced
trembling palms onto aching ears,
and mothers clutched love,
memories and hope,
wrapped in brown envelopes;
the faded string fastened
tightly around their past.

Whilst hands lost their grip
on life, in streets and homes,
darkened by black-taped
boots trailed muddy
footprints through fields,
lightened by orange flames
of bomb-wrecked planes-
where the dust of men
lingered in metal crevices
and charred remains
of their static two-way radios.

I think back
to May 8th 1945, where
a mass of relief gathered
in Whitehall, waving victory
with flags of red, white and blue.

And I wonder,
as our nations
fight once more
in this endless struggle for power,
do men still say this
was our finest hour?

Sunday, 5 April 2009

There's no business like show business...

So. I saw my play. Yep, you read that right. My very own play. That I wrote and everything. You wouldn't think I could manage to write a whole play considering the way I'm writing at the moment. Short sentences. Incomprehension. But this I can put down to the shock of seeing my words performed before my very eyes!

It was a strange experience. I wasn't sure what to expect. It was my first play and its first production. I sat there as the lights dimmed above the audience and the song 'there's no business like show business' started playing. (You see what I did with the title of this post. I'm so clever.)

My heart flipped, an erratic beat in my chest. Blood roared in my ears. I swallowed down my stomach that had somehow found its way into my throat. My hands gripped the paper programme so tightly that the creases in my fingers turned white. I was suddenly nervous. Why? I wasn't the one acting. I was never very good at that type of thing. I'm more the drama queen and we drama queens have the tendency to over-act.

The actors appeared and a hush fell around me. People were actually there to watch my play. Then it hit me. I had written a comedy. What if no one laughed? Can you imagine it? Lines that you had struggled over, re-written, deleted and then re-re-written and no one even laughs. My palms began to sweat. I squirmed in my seat. Breath held, I watched as the actors arrived on stage and the first lines were uttered. Two more lines passed and there was silence. Oh dear. Where did it all go wrong?

I slumped into my seat, felt the shame grow like fungus around me. More lines passed. Three minutes felt like an hour and I wanted to crawl under the row of seats and disappear out the door. Then it happened. It sounded like angels singing and harps playing. No, wait, I can't in all honesty type that without laughing. It didn't sound that cheesy. It sounded like relief. And you know what relief sounds like? Laughter. That's what.

They laughed. The audience laughed. After that I relaxed. I went with the flow. I smiled and watched the actors make the parts their own, watched them faff up their lines and recover with perfect professionalism.

As the lights brightened and my family congratulated me and I heard about the good review I had received from the previous week, I felt kind of proud. And now I'm like a little proud bunny. (I thought the bunny would be appropriate considering it's Easter. Again, I'm so clever.)

I never imagined I would feel this way. As well as putting an overdue smile on my face, the play has given me a bit of a morale boost. Maybe I can do this writing thing after all. It wouldn't hurt to try would it? And you know what else? All of a sudden I'm feeling inspired.

Inspiration. I'll take that from anywhere.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Don't be late...

I wake up
It’s on my mind,
So I walk around it
I waste some time.
I’ll be working on something
In the middle of the day,
When it will land before me
And take my breath away.
I’ll put it aside
Do the task in hand,
Then it’s there in my face
In the lie of the land.
Its fingers seize my neck
The pulse in my throat
Tightening its grip
I cough, I bleed, I choke.
It’s like it’s telling me
To deal with it,
Think it through
To know what I want with it;
I have no clue.
Then it’s above me
Pushing me down;
A weight of solemn pressure
Under which I’ll surely drown.
I try to get to sleep
But it blinds me with its light,
I try to switch it off
But it’s not giving up the night.
This is how it goes
Morning till day break;
My future
Giving me a hard time
Reminding me;
Don’t be late.