I Got Ants in My Pants and I Want to Dance

It’s time to write a little reminder note to myself to remember to watch my two children walk across the fresh-cut lawn in bare feet.

When I read interviews with writers bitching about how hard it is to write, rewrite, how the writing profession is like some kind of density of misery with no space for relief, I wonder what’s the point of writing if all it ever does is make you feel bad, bad about it, as well as put a bad taste in your mouth.

Today I overhead 2 people reminiscing about their youth. Remember when we….Remember how we…. Remember that girl who lived in the next town…. Remember those fantastic empty relationships with anything or anyone…. We drank so hard, I remember nothing….

I wouldn’t go back to those days if you paid me.

I just finished Edward Carey’s amazing Observatory Mansions. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Pithy, clever, unusually constructed, non-linear, comic, dark, depressing, bathetic, easy on the pathos, not trite with honesty, and wholly human in its depiction of fictional characters. I loved Francis Orme for his wickedness and his compassion for saving his dead brother’s remains. I have already requested his novel Alva and Irva from the library and look forward to reading his YA novel Heap House set to come out in September.

Last night I pitched our tent in the back garden as a way to get away. And next week, I’ve booked a 2-day camping adventure for my family at Lake St. George. We haven’t gone anywhere in years. Not since the children arrived with their soft toys. Sometimes I tell my wife, let’s pack our portmanteaux and move to Normandy. I could teach English to existential street kids. But we have no savings. And my wife doesn’t speak French. Neither do I, but that wouldn’t stop me.

It’s raining here in Maine. Grey sky like liver and clouds like onions.

I must go and clean my house. I never knew household chores could be such work. I think I was swapped at birth with a working-class baby. I want a castle, no disposable income, and some national trust to turn my castle into a tourist attraction while my family and I live in 10 rooms and I proudly state that all I can do is write, stoke the fire, catalog the inherited treasures, and never get involved with casual work.

Here’s some Iggy. And if this song doesn’t make you dance wildly, then you really have no lust for life. And shame on you.


Let’s Be Normal

My breakfast is half English. Where did that come from? Well, it’s half bacon, sausage, eggs, sunny side down, and toast smothered in marmalade and freshly squeezed Florida oranges.

Today I thought of 10 writing rules to break. I’ll write them tomorrow.

Here are a few of my favourite memories:

Moving on with the windows half down.
A night out drinking with my brother at the pub my grandfather used to drink at and coming home so drunk I let a whole box of Black Magic melt in my lap.
Finding a dead goat in the miner’s pit.
Winning a Donkey Derby in Kent, the Garden of England, and getting to celebrate with my winning bottle of champagne.
Modeling for Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe with my wife in a cow field in Ireland.
Racing my bike under the gates of the railroad crossing as the Intercity 125 raced towards Carmarthen.
Eating bara brith in my grandmother’s kitchen as summer rain fell on her conservatory.

“Art is made by those who consider themselves to have failed at whatever isn’t art.” Howard Jacobson.

Kick my backside if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Holmes, that failure has been outlawed in our dangerous days of success?

I have no idea, Dr. Watson, I have the imagination to fail.

There are 2 kinds of failure: private and secret.

Somebody with more butter on their bread and maybe plums in their apple trees said that being a writer means having 2 ambitions. One is to get known, make money, and wave to the gathering crowds as if you aren’t really drowning in their expectations. The other is to write a really good book.

I’ll take what he’s having.

Oh, will you? How about one reader at a time? Can you spare one? I think so, I’m crowd sourcing. Is that like licking the cream out of an éclair? I don’t know, I don’t go in for pastries, I prefer a crowd of blueberry muffins.

Ok, say there was this bloke, who hadn’t met Billy Bragg, but, still, he was a bloke. Now this guy he liked to identify with those he admired and kept notes in his pocket about those he was determined not to identify with. In fact he kept so many notes about one such incompetent, pompous drunk of a writer that he started to believe he had a book. Then he realized it might turn into a success. And that was shaving way too close to the stubble of things.

If you cut me, do I not bleed? Yes, but make damn sure the blade’s sharp enough, there’s a good fellow.

Way over yonder there is another yonder way over still. When it gets to be like that, it’s best to stay at home, potter around the garden, and then sit in your beach chair and watch a sailboat tacking and hauling until the sun sinks like a giant life buoy.

The moon last night was 30% bigger than usual. I’m not sure what to make of that. Is it on moony pills, cosmic testosterone, universal enlargement, or does it simply mean it’s closer to the Earth? I think such attraction is wonderful if you can pull it off. If you can’t, well, imagine yourself as a star in your own private universe of one and half a billion others.

I wanted to be the Milky Way! Well, you can’t. You’re way too nervous, frightened. It takes a lot of nerve to be a faint band of light that high in the sky. Stick to terrestrial goals like a football in the back of a net.

Written on a headstone now covered in vines, weeping with weeds, and pissed on by a passing stray: We are all beautiful, all clever, all happy, all successful.

I love this Tooting trio, the Kitchens of Distinction. And this song, “Drive That Fast,” is about as good as it gets for someone from Wales.