Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

The Crimson Petal and the White

 I am very uninspired today, so since I’m doing the whole NaBloPoMo thing, I thought I     might as well nip over to their website and check out the prompt of the day. Today’s prompt is:

“Which character would you most like to meet?”.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about the character I would like to meet. It would be Sugar from the über-talented Michel Faber‘s novel “The Crimson Petal and the White“.  Those of you who have been reading my writing for a while should know that I am a cynical, jaded miserabilist who’s impressed and excited by very little. Oh, but this book! It’s 894 pages long, and yet I finished it in two days.

If you only ever read one book again before dying, then it has to be this one!

I’ve also read “Under the Skin” by the same author , and I’m constantly amazed by his ability to write from the point of view of a woman and by the fact that he actually does it well. He understands women so well that I would easily have imagined both of these works to be written by a woman if I hadn’t already seen a man’s name on the front cover.

Why would I so much like to meet Sugar? Well, she’s a self-educated, feisty nineteenth century London prostitute. Those of you who know about me and my past will surely understand why this alone would appeal to me.

The following passage isn’t about Sugar, and the thoughts aren’t hers; this is actually Carolyn, another London prostitute’s point of view:

“Responsibilities, responsibilities. To get enough sleep, to remember to comb her hair, to wash after every man: these are the sorts of things she must make sure she doesn’t neglect these days. Compared to the burdens she once shared with her fellow factory slaves, they aren’t too bad. As for the work, well…it’s not as dirty as the factory, nor as dangerous, nor as dull. At the cost of her immortal soul, she has earned the right to lie in on a weekday morning and get up when she damn well chooses”.

As a former sex worker myself, I can relate to the above passage wholeheartedly. Now that I am no longer an erotic masseuse, I guess that I’m now earning my living “honestly”. People would consider it a “good decision”; that I’m doing the “right thing”. The only benefit I can see to having a regular job is that I’m guaranteed a regular income – that was something I could never be sure of with sex work, especially after the economy went pear-shaped. Apart from that, though, what’s good about it? I earn less money; I’m doing a dead-end job in which I’m not really appreciated; I have less time for myself; I barely make ends meet. And, oh, don’t forget that I’m a contractor, so I’m not entitled to any benefits (that means health insurance, my European friends) or any sick or holiday pay. I could be fired at any point, and once my contract is up next February, I will have to find a new job because the company can’t legally hire a contractor for more than a year – although they can wait six months, and then hire me back for another year of benefit-less joy!

If you’ve got the stomach for it, then, hell, sex work really ain’t that bad in comparison to that. Quite frankly, I miss it.


My Beautiful Laundrette

Double whammy of crappiness! I went to bed early last night (well, midnight – early for me) so I would get up early and have time to do all of my annoying Sunday chores. I did indeed wake up early, only to find that I’d started my period and that I was having trouble breathing. I do have asthma, and allergies, but when I have asthma symptoms in the morning it can usually only mean one thing – mould spores! I checked a pollen count website and, sure enough, mould is high. Can someone please tell me how it is possible for there to be mould spores in the middle of a fucking State-wide drought? Doesn’t all the heat and sun get rid of those wee fuckers?!

Ugh. I felt so tired and crappy that I actually went back to bed for a while, and only felt well enough to get out of bed around  noon. So much for “carpe diem” and making the most of my Sunday. In a short while, I will force myself to go for a run (no small feat give that it’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit – 40 degrees Celsius, my European friends) and then there will be the highlight of my Sunday – doing the laundry and replacing the litter in the cat litter boxes.

We don’t have a washing machine, so I am forced to go a local laundromat or laundrette, as we call them back in the motherland.

I know that laundromats are a necessary evil, but it seems to me like they have been invented to make me even more depressed about my life.  The only “normal” people in laundromats are students; everybody else is just plain weird and creepy. When I was nineteen, and on a “gap year” in New York State, a black guy even sat down beside me in one, and started masturbating. It was quite depressing that I saw my first black penis under such circumstances!

It wouldn’t actually have been so bad if he had just marched up, whipped it out, and started going at it. That would have been disturbing, yes, but at least I would have had a choice to leave. What really happened was that I sat down, read a book for a while, and was only vaguely aware of someone sitting next to me. Gradually, I sensed that something wasn’t quite right, and when I looked to my left, I saw a guy with his cock in his hand. It wasn’t really the cock that disturbed me, though; it was the creepy, sleazy smile he gave me that grossed me out, and the thought that I had unwittingly been dragged into his little perverse fantasy. Ugh!

Never been a big fan of laundromats since. They do seem to attract an undesirable male element. Makes sense in a way: you’ve got a captive female audience.

On another note, I’ve signed up again to write every day in August as part of NaBloPoMo

I wasn’t going to at first, as I know I have a terrible tendency to take too much on – and writing every day is such a terrible commitment for a perfectionist like me – but I miss blogging, and I think it’s good for me to do it more often. Sometimes it just seems so terribly self-indulgent to write about my little life and my little problems, though. It makes me feel that I’m some little self-obsessed teenager who can’t look beyond herself. Who could possibly be interested in me and my boring life?

From time to time, I’ll read blogs like Bella Caledonia and I’ll come away from them thinking that I, too, should write about more “worthwhile” stuff. I care about all of the issues discussed on that blog, but, if I’m truly honest with myself, I’d much rather read a blog like the Cat Girl Speaks. True, Cat doesn’t write about anything of earth-shattering “importance”, and sometimes I don’t care to read about what dress or make-up she’s bought, but her writing is compelling, and I always want to know what’s going to happen next. Will she find love?! Will her mum stop being a bitch?! It’s a very personal blog, but I can relate to it on so many levels as a woman. It goes beyond the personal, then, and if that ain’t political, then I don’t know what is.

I guess this is just my way of saying that I’m going to try to post every day – or as much as I can- because it’s good for me, and I’m going to try not to give a fuck what anyone thinks of me.

Born to Run

Well, as you can see, my NaBloPoMo intentions have fallen by the wayside somewhat. In fact, I didn’t even make it to Day 2! Oh, well. It’s Day 5 now, so I’m going to congratulate myself for not giving up completely.

I failed miserably to post on Day 2 because I got up really early that morning to go trail running in a nearby greenbelt, and I was so tired later that night that I fell asleep before blogging. As you can see from the pictures below, the trails, and the view, were quite beautiful, so it was almost worth it to see them and fuck up NaBloPoMo.

Unfortunately my iPhone camera couldn't really capture the beauty of the view.

If you look at the very top of all the trees in the picture above, you might just be able to make out some sort of building. I think it’s somebody’s house! It must be so wonderful to live up there, surrounded by trees and sky.

A rare overcast day.

There is something just so wonderful about trail running and, for all of my bitching about the town I live in now, I would probably never have tried it if I hadn’t moved here. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even have got into road running. There are many, many things lacking in this town, but one very good point is that the great climate makes it possible to do outdoorsy activities year round. And, then, of course, there are some fantastic greenbelt areas close by. I wasn’t able to get to them before I owned a car but now that I do, I can go all the time! Friday was the first day that I really felt a sense of freedom from owing a car because it was the first time (why?!) I’d used it to get out into nature. I want to take my dogs to a different park or trail every week. My only regret is that my pit bull mix can be dog aggressive so I don’t feel comfortable letting her off the leash. It worries me that I’m ruining her quality of life by not allowing her to roam freely.

A couple of weeks ago I entered a 30K trail race, and I was the 3rd woman, which was quite an achievement given that I’m somewhat bored of running these days, and hadn’t really trained properly for the race. I’d have thought twice about entering a 30K road race, but I seem to be able to run, and run, and run forever on the trails without feeling much discomfort. I think it’s because I’m so busy trying to avoid tripping over rocks and tree roots that I don’t have time to focus on how shitty I’m feeling.

Despite how good running (whether on roads or trails) is for me, I have a hard time forcing myself to get off my lazy arse in the morning and out the door. Ideally, I’d get up incredibly early and run, but I’ll always find some excuse to stay in bed, and convince myself that I’ll run “later”. Very often I’m too tired to run “later” or I’ll do it but right in the middle of the afternoon, so my day is split annoyingly in half.

I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get into a routine, and develop some self-discipline? Sigh.

People who don’t like animals are weird.

I’m not sure how long I have until the battery on my iPhone dies, so I’ll make this quick. I’ve decided to do NaBloPoMo again, so it would be embarrassing if I missed the first day.

Sitting in a café, sipping on yet another soy chai, and listening to the Velvet Underground, and to the overly-tattooed barista say “dude” and “man” too much. I’ve just returned from a volunteering session with this high school senior I’ve been mentoring since last October. I helped him pass the reading section of the SAT’s, and now I’m helping him find and apply to scholarships. He’s a good kid – very polite and responsible.

My meeting with the musician didn’t go terribly well on Monday. Well, he was nice enough but we just didn’t click. I could tell we wouldn’t as soon as he walked through the door. You may call that overly judgemental; I’d call it intuition. He was one of those people who don’t like revealing anything about themselves, or care to ask you much about yourself. How the hell are you supposed to have a conversation in that kind of situation? People like that scare me, to be honest. I have realized, through experience, that some people are like that because they’re shy or socially awkward, but this guy wasn’t like that. He was just guarded. Why be guarded? What are you hiding?

I also didn’t like the fact that he completely ignored my cats and dogs. I have well-behaved animals, so it wasn’t like they were all over him, causing mayhem. My dog did sniff around him a bit, and, for some reason, decided she liked him, and lay beside him on the couch but again…nothing. Didn’t acknowledge her existence except maybe a slight sign of irritation. I don’t expect people to love my pets anywhere near as much as I do, or to pay them as much attention, but I find it off-putting when people treat them as an inconvenience, or just simply ignore them. I realize that some people are scared of animals or have alleriges, but this wasn’t this guy. I can’t help but think that people who don’t like animals are missing the compassion gene.

What do you think? Have I got a point?

An infuriating person.

Well, I missed posting last night for the first time in about six weeks. Technically speaking, I also skipped two other days this month but, seeing as those posts were published at exactly midnight, I don’t really count that as having skipped a day. Ach, so I failed the NaBloPoMo challenge this month. So what? At least I have a good excuse…for the first time in months, Midwestern Man and I actually went out on a date. It was to see one of my favourite singers…somebody I’ve been listening to for about thirteen or fourteen years. I wish I could mention who it was, but if I did, then you’d be able to google her, and find out where she played last night, and then you’d know where I live.

My husband and I are not getting on very well again. To be honest, I’m quite sick of him, and I find him infuriating. He constantly lectures me about all the things I do wrong which affect the relationship, and I’m fed up with it. I don’t mind him expressing his feelings but, ooh, it’s the way he goes about it. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, or how drunk, or if it’s 4:00 a.m. or if I’m in the middle of something, he will just start ranting about my bad behaviour. The ironic thing is that I generally agree with most of the things he says (generally, that I’m too much of a control freak and too critical) but when he just starts ranting like that, the last thing I want to do is listen to him and think about my behaviour. The main reaction I have is that I want to get away from him because his rants literally give me a headache.

I’ve told him again and again and again that it would be much better for us to schedule a specific time to talk about our issues when we won’t be tired and overly emotional, but he wants to talk about it on his terms.

I don’t know what to do because he wants me to make all these changes when I feel that he has just as many to make. He says I don’t listen to him, and that’s true because I find his ranting abusive and pointless. It achieves nothing and it puts me on the defensive. I also think he’s a huge hypocrite because somehow it’s OK for him to rant at me non-stop even though I’ve told him how much that upsets me. I’m supposed to listen to him when it’s apparently OK for him to ignore my wishes.

I know I have many flaws, but being too proud to admit them or to work on getting rid of them isn’t one of them. I don’t mind arguing if I feel it would lead to growth on both sides. However, I feel that we’ve reached a stalemate, and I honestly don’t think it’s my fault. I think it was emotionally healthy and mature of me to suggest choosing a mutually convenient time to discuss our flaws. However, the fact that he’s not willing to do that, and would prefer to call me up and expect me to drop everything I’m doing to listen to him rant shows that he has no interest in looking at his own behaviour.

How can I be the only one to change? Surely it takes two people for a relationship to progress?

Comment, for fuck’s sake!

I came home this evening from a volunteer training session and immediately checked my email in the hope that I’d find at least one wee comment on yesterday’s post. But no! Not a single comment – and that despite the fact that poor Petrichor here nearly left the realm of mortals yesterday because of a careless driver!

Come on, people! Comment, goddamn you! I’m not just writing this blog for the good of my health, you know…well, OK, so actually I am….but still! Show me some love!

Yesterday I finished the NaBloPoMo September challenge (i.e. blogging every day for a month), and yet not a tiny word of congratulations from anybody? No? Sigh. Oh, what an underappreciaed, unloved blogger I am.

I do worry sometimes about having lost a bit of my mojo over at this blog. I worry that getting married, and no longer having quite the same need to seek solace in the blogosphere, has made me a bad writer. I also worry that writing every day with a time constraint (I try to take no longer than one hour for each post) has made my writing duller, too. Oh, but what if it has?! I can’t go through life being miserable, depressed and single just so more people comment on my blog. I really like what Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, has to say about the romantic myth of suffering for your art:

“Art isn’t really born from pain – rather it’s just that the pain focuses our attention on the details”

I will leave you with that thought while I go off to drown the sorrow of your terrible neglect in red wine and an episode of my beloved “Deadwood”. Goodnight, you miserable non-commenting bastards.

Saturday…ballsed up by Benadryl

I’m only here, sitting at my keyboard, because of that bloody NaBloPoMo challenge. I have spent the whole day (from roughly noon to 9:00 p.m.) sleeping off a horrible Benadryl hangover. The bad thing about living where I do in the US is that the climate is warm pretty much year round, so there is nearly always something in bloom to give me chronic hayfever. I thought I had outgrown my childhood asthma until I moved here, and it came back with full force. Yet another reason to leave this place!

Every year it seems there is something new I’m allergic to, so it’s very hard to predict when I’m going to get sick. The first year I was here, my allergies were so bad that I actually had sores inside my nose from having blown it so much. Yuck!

I’ve found that taking quercetin supplements, and drinking nettle tea is a good preventative, but this year I’ve been too broke to buy stuff like that. This morning I tried using my faithful neti pot and when that didn’t work, I knew the only thing for it was to take Benadryl. Usually one of those works like a treat, but I had to take two, and that sent me into a zombie-like trance for most of the day. I’m pissed off, but at least I got lots of sleep. If I hadn’t taken them, I’d have lain around feeling miserable.

Well, I’m off to watch Deadwood on DVD again, and have a few glasses of red wine. Don’t you think that Timothy Olyphant, who plays the character Seth Bullock, is just totally delicious?! Yum!