Friday, 24 February 2017

Seven Answers XXIII: An Experience

(Read about Seven Answers).

It has to be when I met him for the first time.  I was very nervous - he'd sounded lovely on the phone and very funny on texts.  I was wearing my favourite dress and had a bit of a tan, both of which boosted my confidence.  I walked into the pub and as I scoured the room I had the sensation of someone standing at the bar, checking me out.  He seemed very relaxed and confident, which helped me... When he asked what I was drinking I just said the first beer that caught my eye.  Fortunately it was the best one.  We sat and chatted and drank beer for hours and the rest is history.

Seven Answers XXII: A Dream

(Read about Seven Answers). 









am stood in the entrance way to a high vaulted room.  In front of me is a short corridor of cream-coloured stone with beautiful carvings all around.  It looks quite old, medieval perhaps.  As I pass through into the room it suddenly opens up, becoming vast like a cathedral.  A woman with grey hair pulled back into a bun, like my primary school teacher, is sitting at a low stool in the centre of the room with a wooden easel in front of her.  She is painting.  But as I approach I realise her brush is not actually touching the easel, she is painting three-dimensional women into the air, creating human forms out of paint in front of me.  The painted women begin to grow and their legs become archways filling the space before me.  I am not afraid of these women and when I wake up I feel energised and strangely comforted.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Seven Answers XXI: An Experience

(The words below aren't mine; they're part of Seven Answers).

A few years ago I decided to end the long term relationship I'd been in for eight years.  It probably took a year to make the decision and I fought it all the way.  Up until then I'd been an easy going, go-with-the-flow, take things as they come sort of person, never wanted to make waves or upset anyone. But all of a sudden I found myself liking myself less and less and doing things I couldn't believe I was doing, avoiding the reality that what was wrong was that we were no longer happy together.  But to solve the problem would mean making one person, my partner, unhappy.

In the end I had to do it, even though it was hard (as we talked and I told him, my physical reaction was extreme, shaking, crying, a real adrenaline surge).  Afterwards I felt so elated and the months after were some of the happiest of my life.

The experience made me realise that to make people happy to have to be honest with yourself first, then think about others.  That life is better when you really take part in it - it's messy but then that's half the experience.  I'm a much stronger person as a result.

Seven Answers XX: A House

(This isn't my house; it's one of Seven Answers).

There is a family summer home built by my great great-grandfather that to me (and countless other relatives) meant idyllic summer days, long and breezy.  Though an undemanding place to be (being always there on holiday, we never had to be anywhere; days were our own to explore), the inside was captured time, frozen with old photographs tucked away in drawers - distant, dead relatives posing starchily like cut-out figures - while tattered, proudly dated furniture gave most rooms a museum-like feel.

On rainy days, there was a library to explore in the shaded section of the house, dark and mysterious with a Victorian sofa that scratched your legs if you got too close and an over sized desk with dusty, weighty bric-a-brac.  Formal books, all of the same golden font, lined the shelves.

Sunny days belonged to the large open kitchen, the informal part of the house, the only downstairs room living firmly in the present.  It was here, on a vinyl, plaid-covered table-top that we gobbled food, coloured and drew, and rushed furiously from to get back to the nearby lake.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Seven Answers XIX: A Crime

(This isn't my crime.  It's one of Seven Answers).

I stole a book, a paperback by Jeanette Winterson, from a  library in London.  It is the only thing I've ever stolen.  I wanted to know what it feels like to steal something.  Curiously, even now, I don't feel guilty about it.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Seven Answers XVII: A Fear

(Read about Seven Answers).

I am driving my car on a dark winter night in a port city and I skid off the road while turning over trolley tracks and plunge into the harbour's icy cold and black water to die.  For years this was a recurring fear, popping up at unexpected times.  It became quite vivid and for a long time I thought it could be a prophesy.  The city was usually Toronto, which was strange because I had never been to Toronto until much later in life and in deepest summer.  The visit had no impact on the fear, which is to say it didn't come up and the images in my fear did not seem to fit with my real experiences of Toronto.

Seven Answers XVI: A Memory

(Read about Seven Answers).

Rock pool fishing in Newquay and catching my cock in the zip of my trousers at primary school and having to be taken to hospital and put to sleep to have them cut off.