Another Indie piece that’s just a little too quintessentially Brit for its own good. It started life as a 500 word entry in an Escape Pod competition and, while it didn’t get voted through to the next round, it acquitted itself very well considering the main character is a man with Down’s Syndrome. The aim was to write something the people I work with would see as positive, that has humour and authenticity, and doesn’t dissect their vulnerability. You may find the authenticity claim a bit hard to swallow but I can vouch for every bit of dialogue – some bloke with Down’s has uttered those lines to me at some point in our sessions together, and the need to work therapy through Dr Who or a Superhero is almost common enough to need its own literature! It’s over here on This Personal space.
Performed at SWAGs ‘Oscar’s Oscars’, Worthing, May 18th 2012. Is it prose or poetry? Who knows!
Find it here
There can’t be too many more daunting things to do for a more-or-less beginner writer than reading your work out loud. Oh wait, there’s reading it out loud as part of a group that doesn’t know you yet, to other groups of writers and performers, at an Oscars night for a local arts and theatre group. On stage. With a swan-neck microphone that had gone dipping for weed during an earlier dramatic reading. No sweat then!
The evening was the occasion of the Sunny Worthing Arts Group ‘Oscar’s Oscars’ honouring winners of their poetry and short story competitions and including, by invitation, readers representing local writers’ groups. Ours, (I say ours – I’d been to my first meeting just last week), West Sussex Writers’ Group was fielding a winsome trio. Tracy Fells with a piece about ‘lady naughtiness’ she hoped wouldn’t get us banned, Lyn Jennings who explodes her poetry out into the audience from a deceptively unassuming frame, and me. I think I must have missed the trick where, at the call for volunteers, you take one step backwards and leave some poor blighter in the spotlight. So WSWG took a chance, I took a very deep breath, and nobody died, even theatrically. You’ve seen my two pieces here before but, in honour of their survival in the face of extreme duress and extraordinary rendition (it was indeed, quite extraordinary as sticking to a script is not my strong point), I’m going to give them their own posts. Look out for ‘Kitchen Forensics’, revised for immediacy, and ‘Philosopher Stoned’ for which I had to find out how to pronounce ‘hegemonies’. My head is not concerned with such matters, but my mouth needed to know. In the end we were no wiser as it seems there are two, which might both be American. You, Dear Reader, are on your own!
Thank you WSW, thank you SWAG, for one of the most delightfully wacky evenings I have passed in a long while!
An older tide, touched
So they walk; ancient crystals of silicon counting the millennia between their toes. For the moment, they are silent. All that could be said has spun away to echo across time in infrasonic broadcast, pulsing its message from the inferno of inception to the deep, dark, thundering conclusion. But then:
Where did we come from?
Where are we going?
Those are our questions too, or would be if we had any place in this way-station.
What lies between?
I don’t know.
What is ‘I’?
Older than the seeds of life carried on meteoric messengers, newer than the glistening surface of the sand after the wave retreats; Alpha and Omega, the dust of a pulverised star and the soft pliable skin of the container of new worlds, exchange dark energy.
Are we alone?
Who else is here?
No one, for now.
The tide rips threads of knowing from each of them; washes them back, tangled, untangled, woven, unpicked, revised and native, to etch form into the unformed and to fracture time.
He touches her hand with lips of alternatives. She caresses his face with fingers of light; fills vacuums with quantum energy; spinning, sparkling with flickering duality. When they kiss, nebulae shatter into gaseous ova streaking out from their birth mother to crash, collide with penetrative violence and become new stars.
And so they walk. Worlds shift, adjust their alignment in the gravity wells of trans dimensional dynamics, and punctuate their endings with the threads of futures.
(c) suzanne conboy-hill 2012
Yesterday was the best day ever
It was the day mum and me had just been to the big shop in town to get my senior school uniform and even the smell of it was thrilling. I couldn’t wait to wear the dark green winter skirt, scratchy or not; and the satchel – well that was glorious! All shiny leather with new, stiff straps and brass buckles. We hurried off down the high street towards the bus stop, mum putting her purse away and me thinking about the bubblegum in one pocket and the thirteenth birthday lipstick Gillian had given me in the other. What was I now, girl or woman? I imagined myself as Brigitte Bardot, all slinky and sexy, and practiced a pout as I passed a shop window.
‘Hurry up will you, we’re going to miss the twenty five past if you dawdle!’
‘I’m coming, these shoes hurt!’ I was teetering along on the tiny new heels given me by my grandmother who worked in a shoe shop, and wearing my first pair of stockings with all their clips, hooks and bits of elasticated lace so it wasn’t that easy to get a move on.
Suddenly we ran into a crowd clogging the pavement and looking at something in the road. The traffic had stopped and it was backed up right the way to the chemist’s shop on the corner but I couldn’t see why. Ducking down to peer through the gaps between elbows and bags, I spotted a large gaudy vehicle with gold painted wheels – the circus was here! I wriggled to the front and hovered on the edge of the pavement, gawping at the glitzy glamour and the slapstick tumbling like a silly six year old.
‘Janice! Come on will you, I’ve dinner to get going!’
‘But mum, the traffic’s all jammed and it’s the circus and we just have to stay and watch!’ I used my best big eyed not-quite-whiney voice. ‘I’ll do the washing up after tea…’ She stopped, I stopped. Victory!
Jugglers and clowns were leaping about in the street, a large white stallion with its dazzling, glittery rider was rearing and prancing, and a dark faced boy was coming round selling tickets for the show. As he came closer, I saw that he also had dark sparkly eyes, gold earrings and a smile straight off a toothpaste advert. His shiny, crinkly, black hair tumbled down to his jaw and I thought I could see the beginnings of muscles in his bare brown arms. He was just gorgeous!
‘Ticket for the most beautiful girl in town?’ He held one out to me.
‘I haven’t got any money!’ I told him. How embarrassing, I was almost wailing!
‘You’re my guest then.’ He pushed the ticket into my hand and winked as he moved off into the crowd.
I stood there for ages, feeling dizzy, getting my breath back. Then I put the ticket in my pocket with the lipstick. Definitely with the lipstick. Yesterday was the best day ever.
(c) suzanne conboy-hill 2012
Her resolve faltered as she reached the kitchen door. It would be huge and offensive. It would require a delicate touch. It would be hers to deal with – yuk!
As she approached, an advance scouting party of flies lifted off and dispersed itself across less appetising surfaces to wait, she imagined, for the all-clear. Well, not for a while and not here she told them. She regarded the agglutinated mass forensically, put on gloves and aimed a squirt of surfactant at the festering heap. Then, dissecting out two small bones and a piece of cartilage, she wondered for the nth time how come last night’s washing up was always her job.
(c) suzanne conboy-hill 2012
Some stories are just too British to compete well in the predominately US market and so this one is out as an Indie.
‘Stop it right now, you dizzy tart!’ Marissa Nalletamby is giving herself a telling-off in front of the mirror. ‘He’s married, you’re married, and you barely know him.’ She pokes at her hair with the end of a comb, ‘And did I mention, you barely know him?’ read on?