Sunday, 21 February 2010

Age is a prison from which we cannot escape...

Staring at my Granddad, I had a revelation. He's 96 years old- and looks it. His chin drapes leisurely onto a sunken chest, skin stretched thin and rough. Fingers skewed- he means to point ahead but points left without realising. He's blind in the left eye, deaf in the right ear and both hips are fake. And he has one leg longer than the other. Evidently, he has a lot going for him.

I watched him sleep in the armchair. Listened to the slight whir in this chest. The slip slap as he unconsciously sucked up streams of saliva running down the creased valley at the corner of his mouth. Breath too quiet, fistfuls of fear pounded my chest but the alarm abated when he woke with confused eyes at my expression. If this is my gene pool and I'm in for the same inevitability- I don't want to get old. Well, old old.

It has been said that aging is a prison- a sentence we cannot escape. Though we may try. Some yield to the surgeon's knife. Others simply lie. But these are no means of escape. It's mere escapism.

Besides, with age we gain. Love. Experience. Memories. The strength of these possessions can act like a remedy to the harshness of aging. A sort of therapy for acceptance. Why we don't mind the odd wrinkle around the eyes because we remember the laughs that made them.

But is there a point where aging- living - is cruel? My Granddad spends all day in the same chair, watching a TV that he cannot see. Images blurred beyond pattern recognition and voices a shrivelled whisper to his ears. He barely has the strength of muscle or mind to heave his weariness from his seat. He doesn't live. He exists. He crossed that line and now waits in a realm akin to limbo. Surely waiting for your own death- willing it- wishing for it- is a vicious hand of nature?

Reader, what do you think?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Book of Love

The Book of Love is long and boring; no one can lift the damn thing. It's full of charts and facts and figures, and instructions for dancing. Apparently, it also contains music, flowers and heart-shaped boxes. A highly original book, I may add.

I did not make this up. All credit goes to The Magnetic Fields- the band- not the electric current.

With all the red-love heart-shaped mess occurring in the world today, it got me to thinking. What if there was a book of love? Would it be of help or hindrance? Let us imagine...

The book is red and pink and the letters 'o' are shaped like hearts. Cupid's soft profile peers from the back cover, his wings embossed gold. He wrote it when his career hit a rough patch; his bow and arrow deemed a dangerous weapon and confiscated at Airport security. Still, the silver lining was a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Every year for eternity. In bookshops it sits between 'How to get rich for life' and the other big seller, 'Instruction manual for Babies, Children and Unruly Teens.'

Every home has one. Pages dog-eared and scuffed from years of reference. When a guy doesn't call, the girl flicks through its wisdom searching for the answer to her prayers. Chapter 5: 'what to do when a man isn't interested' is especially scruffy in most households. When a man can't understand his other half, chapter 11 often comes in handy: 'reading between the lines: a woman's prerogative.'

With this modern age, there is even an e-reader copy of the book available for download, as well as an iPhone 'Love' App. On dates around the world, men and women flick through phones, hoping to avoid a disastrous dinner, just as their dates excuse themselves for the restroom.

Hmm. This alternate reality sounds too Stepford Wives for my liking. Where would our conversations be without date disasters and love woes? Hearts are meant to be bruised and broken sometimes. Love isn't always supposed to be easy. It's dirty and messy and can screw with your head. Much like life. On that note...

Happy Valentine's Day, readers.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Happy Blogiversary!

A year ago today, I became a Blogger. What a fun-filled tumultuous 365 days it has been. Let us hop aboard my non-existing time travel device and go back to the beginning...

I introduced myself in a list of random facts. Wrote about the importance of memory and acting your shoe size. Explained how the violent relationship with my abnormal appendix came to an end, and the first rate hospital service provided during recovery. Throw in some poetry, a Top Ten series and a few jobless rantings and you have the perfect mix of what my blog represents. Sadly readers, this isn't a recipe. Apologies.

In order to keep this blog going, I've decided to shake things up. A bit like a couple desperate to add some spice in the form of handcuffs when their sex life goes stale. Here's a list of what's coming up (no pun intended) this year:

1) The LiveWriteDream Blog Review:
Occasionally I will pick a random blog to read and review. If I like what I see, I will promote it. If I don't like what I see, well, I'll write that too, constructively of course. Perhaps it will end in a libellous lawsuit, perhaps it won't. Nevertheless, I'll have fun trying.

2) Rant Day:
On a yet to be named day of the week, I will write a purely rant-filled post. This will be about something that has annoyed me, be it what I've read, seen or experienced. It may even be about a celebrity. Not so fond of those. At present, all of my blog posts are general rantings so you may have to wait until everything stops annoying me. Readers, it may be a while.

3) The LiveWriteDream Blog Award:
Currently, I am creating my very own blog award to present to my favourite bloggers here in the blogosphere. I can't promise it will be fancy. It may look like it was created by a 5 year-old. But it will be given with love and admiration and should be displayed proudly for all to see. Just like the stick-people drawings by a 5 year-old given to her parents and stuck proudly on the fridge door.

And there you have it. The new and improved LiveWriteDream. Coming soon(ish). Maybe. When I can be bothered. Oh, the anticipation!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Room 101

Day: 1billion and twelve
Job offers: Zero
Outlook: Bleak

It's 10am. Job centre. Perv guy waits outside. Slouched against grey stone, puffs of white smoke trickle between a crooked yellow smile as he nods in my direction. I wince and walk inside.

Level One. The swarm of unemployed builds. We look like normal people and yet underneath our soft human skin there lies a bitter soul, hopeless, seething. The smell of vodka and shampoo overwhelms. It mixes with damp clinging to a worn leather jacket on bony shoulders. I shuffle away with an awkward smile. The kid behind glares up with demon eyes black and clicks a tune with his tongue. I throw evils in his direction. He clicks faster, louder. My nails dig a deep crescent pattern into my palms.

Later, name called, I sit as the woman types quickly without looking at me; her fingers heavy and pronounced on every letter. Keyboard clicks, tongue clicks. Head hurts. Her pupils flit over my form once before she signs in hurried blue strokes.

'Can I ask you a question?'
The woman sighs, head cocked to one side.
'If you must...'
'Well...' I struggle to find the least offensive words. Inside, my bitter self sharpens her bite, ready to lunge.
'Look, I haven't got all day.'

The clock says 10.30am. Clearly she's lying.

'Do I get any guidance at some point?'
'What do you mean?'
'You know, do I get to chat with someone about my prospects or potential job avenues?'
'What do you think this is?' She lifts eyebrows to furrowed skin.
'Well, you're just showing me a computer screen of jobs. I can do this at home, online.'
'Go do it then.'
She pushes my form towards me and shouts 'next' over my shoulder. Demon child pokes his tongue as I stagger away.

Floating downstairs, my eyes sting. I refuse to let them win, and battle with my lids to keep them open, to stop the flow. Outside I gasp air and let its crispness flood my lungs, clear my head. I shake myself and walk away, leaving the dreaded place behind. I do not look back. Until next time.

Monday, 1 February 2010

A novel taster...

I don't know why I'm here. Here in this decaying building with single paned windows that rattle in the slightest breeze and walls so blue I feel sad just looking at them. People come but never go. We sit, talk and listen until it's time to sleep and if we're unlucky, we wake, sit, talk and listen all over again. It's one endless nightmare of circles. I hate circles. They always make me dizzy.

I don't know how I got here. I opened my eyes to the blue, the strangers, to closed doors. I stood- grogginess clung to my sandpaper skin and tasted grey in my sticky mouth. Lead-filled bones had slept for a hundred years except no Prince had kissed to claim me.

I ran at the doors, shoving them with the full force of my body. Arms jarred, elbows cracked, the metal threw me. I landed on my backside. Brushing dust, I walked over and shook them again. All doors opened. What made these so special?

Whacking them with my palms, I rattled the handles, pounding fists on thin panes of glass until my chest heaved. Pain nestled in my joints and stayed there. I didn't care. I just wanted to get out. Later a dark-haired woman peered up from her magazine and pressed a button. Two burly men walked out of nowhere and pinned me to the floor with big fists and heavy thighs. The hard edge of a boot made an imprint on my cheek as one of the men pushed at the clothes around my hip. I flushed as hands touched bare skin. Hairs provoked rose sharply from my neck. I felt the violation rush down my spine. The fierce prick of an ice-cold needle would have floored me had I not already been there. I felt like shouting for a Doctor or a Lawyer but wasn't sure which was needed first.

Whimpering, my breathing slowed. Thousand tonne eyelids blocked out the light and the boots, and I felt my fists slacken to palms. I was air and nothingness, clouds and stars. And then, I was night.

So reader, what do you think?