I remember sitting in my car years ago, waiting for my child to finish another Bar Mitzvah lesson. It was always a tedious hour, for him and for me. Until one day he discovered there actually was meaning tucked deeply behind all those Hebrew words. And he … Continue reading Nora Ephron
So I sat at my dining room table yesterday, chair in, back straight, legs crossed, phone in hand, and I sexted.
All very short. Easy writing.
Today I sat down to work on my book. Same book I’ve been working on for years. I used to write a few pages a day. Then, a page a day. That became a paragraph. Now, a couple of sentences.
These days I write short.
A few words and I’m done.
It’s the times we live in. It’s not that I don’t want to write lots anymore. I can’t. I am so distracted and I know it’s because of this digital age.
It’s the same as reading. I used to get through four books a month Now, if I get through one I think it’s fabulous and I tell everyone I know, hey hey, I read a book.
We have all become used to short.
And we’re all distracted. Apparently it’s something about our brains and dopamine and we see one thing but there’s something else to look at and our brains get excited and unfocused and let me just check my emails and look at twitter and one more tweet and oh let me see that article and that video and….
BUT IT’S OKAY!
I am not in a panic. It is what it is.
And I have decided that I don’t need to write books. Or stories. Or even blogs.
I can just stick to titles.
Here are some that I did today.
Other peoples shoes. Fashion.
This chocolate ice cream. A love story.
I want him, now. Erotica.
Get yourself that frock. Inspirational.
I dropped my last valium. Horror.
I got dressed for gym. Memoir.
I also want to climb the Trump Tower. Fitness.
The whisky bottle is empty. Disaster.
Much better. Easy to write, easy for you to read, everyone’s happy, go check Facebook, look at Instagram, and hey, look at that tweet, cool, thanks, see ya, oh man, is this my blog, where am I, what was I even writing…
Come over to my house tonight?
No Violet, you come to me.
Oh come on, come here, I have a fantastic fire. And soup…
I have central heating and French champagne sweetheart. Also, my car’s in for a service.
Yeah, but – French Champagne? Ugh still. Then I have to get up, get in my car, it’s freezing outside, I’m lazy, I don’t feel like putting on clothes and…
I also have chocolate.
I don’t care about chocolate.
Goddammit stop being difficult, I’ve been looking forward to this all day.
You know it’s like zero degrees out there, and did I mention I’m lazy, also it’s so cosy here, my dog’s on my lap, I’m reading a great book, a fantastic book in fact…
Oh come on, you’re choosing your book over me?
I put the phone down on him.
And that’s the thing about winter. It’s just too hard to have a lover.
We’ll try again in Spring.
Sometimes you read a book and it has such a profound effect on you that you have to keep looking at the cover, front and back, and think – ‘Why have I never read this before?’
I’m reading Susan Minot’s Evening. And it so beautiful that I never ever want it to end. I’m reading each chapter over and over, dog-earing my favourite parts and wandering around reading aloud to my friends.
Driving them mad while I weep.
The book is about love and memory. Ann Grant Lord is sixty five and dying. She’s had a full life with three husbands, a few children, a lot of disappointment, a lot of courage and tons of love too.
But in death, she is taken back to a love affair from forty years ago.
A love affair that was the most exquisite ever.
A love affair that could never be realised.
Page 63, from her deathbed.
Well it does matter now, she said.
Of course it does.
It still matters, he said.
How can it? How can it matter anymore?
It matters inside, he said.
Where’s that? Can we go there together?
In a way
She was silent. They looked at each other in silence.
I just love that paragraph. They’re together, perhaps, and going back to a time, a day, of absolute love and passion.
The book is about memory. And how there are things in our lives that we will never be able to let go of. Even if we think we have. And that sometimes a love is so strong that it is always there. Even when everything else is forgotten.
Susan Minot has the most extraordinary way of writing. She has these run together sentences, sometimes a whole page long, joining past and present, feelings from then and now, without any punctuation. Just pure gasping magnificent reading.
And the fact that you cannot breathe as you read the sentences is exactly how one should feel about the most astonishing kind of love.
Breathless. Tortured. Passionate. And delighted too.
This is the book that is going to remain by my bedside table. It’s magnificent. I’m going to keep reading it.
Sorry to my book club, but you’re not getting this one back!
Susan Minot. EVENING.
I tried hard not to spill crumbs on the sheets or coffee down my cleavage. I tried hard not to smear butter over the pages or honey on my cheeks.
And I did try really hard to get up and out of bed.
But I couldn’t. Not until I’d read every single last word of Melinda Ferguson’s new book, Crashed.
I almost felt guilty for enjoying the book. Not just enjoying it, loving it. Because I was never overly complimentary about her first book, Smacked, also a memoir on addiction.
I know Melinda, not well, but I know her. We have kids the same age, mutual friends and we’re kinda in the same community. I’d struggled, reading about things that she had done and had to do to get her daily fix. Smacked was a pretty in your face kind of book.
I have to admit, when I read that book, I was harsh.
Judgemental would be the word.
And not just me. I’d sat around many a dinner table where people trashed Melinda and her writing. Not because it’s badly written, because sweet Goddesses she is the most wonderful writer, but because people felt she’d aired just a little too much of her dirty laundry.
In her current book, Crashed, she’s been clean for fifteen years, then smashes a Ferrari. You’ll have to read the book to find out why she even has a Ferrari.
And then she spirals, out of control, fast. And she keeps on, crashing and crashing and crashing.
It’s compulsive reading. She airs a lot more dirty laundry.
And I have been a little obsessed by it.
Because I have learned so much. Apart from Melinda being very bloody brave, she has opened up discussions and debates about addiction. And not just addiction to heroin or crack cocaine but to social media, to sex, to love and to men.
I have one of these addictions. Maybe two. As do a lot of the people around those dinner tables.
Melinda’s journey of self-discovery really shed some light for me. She gave me quite a few boom bang kapow moments. And I realised how harsh I’d been with her first book. Somebody has to write these stories and good for her for being the one.
I don’t think this book is meant to be inspirational. But I found it inspiring. And helpful. And bloody brilliant reading. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s raw and it’s heartbreaking.
And really worth a read. Buy it.