Friday, January 05, 2007

Whisky and words

Have been feeling like I've been drained of all energy today (query: is it Torchwood's revenge?) and am hovering delicately on the edge of a cold. Hell, and the year had been going so well - up until yesterday, that is. I decided last night to drown my sorrows in whisky (and consequently have thrown my new alcohol-lite regime into the roadside bushes with merry abandon). This helped a surprising amount - which just goes to show that the Scots are right after all. Och aye, the noo (or similar). As a result, I wrote a poem about it which - equally astonishingly - is longer than my customary three lines. Here it is:

Whisky song

Sometimes alcohol is the only way:
when you’re hunting the wild dogs,
or being hunted by them,
or when the blue day
you were stepping into
turns black
after all
and just when you thought
you’d cracked the bloody secret
of how to be happy.

Don’t believe it.
That’s when the dark rages roll,
those hours, days,
you can’t control
and when it happens
there’s no way on earth to do
what your precious gurus recommend:
walk away; procrastinate;
drink water or calming tea;

No. Instead
do what your heart’s need tells you:
take the secret bottle of heathered gold;
pour long and deep; breathe in
the warm satin richness;
let its fierce kiss
burn crimson on your tongue;
swallow down that longed-for surge of happiness
into your body’s constant, clamouring
and medicate.

So there you go. Maybe poetry only turns up when I'm spitting feathers or in the black gloom. Or both. It's a mystery. But, hey, it's more than three lines - hurrah!

And, talking of writing, it's interesting how today's 1000 words of "The Gifting" have been full of poor Simon getting enraged and doing a lot of yelling. Perhaps my novels should be read purely as a diary exercise to see what mood I was in when I was writing them. Or, more accurately, what mood I was in the day before. But where does that leave the sex scenes? Hmm ...

Meanwhile, the march of time has journeyed onwards ... I picked up my new (name drop alert!) Armani glasses today (which look fine, thank you) and at once the world became significantly larger and more in focus. And there was I thinking that everywhere I went the world was slightly misty. Much like the Queen Mother, who must have imagined that England was terribly clean and strewn with rose petals. Bless her. Still, it meant that the residents of Godalming were far safer on my journey home. And Lord H has already emailed to say I look lovely. What a smoothie, eh? Though actually Lord H has gained at least a hundred brand-new Husband Points from last night - when he spent a long time listening, nodding sympathetically and hugging, even though he'd only just arrived from work and had yet to take his coat off. And he didn't even frown at the amount of swearing going on. What a hero. I can see I shall have to do extra cleaning and (perish the thought) even perhaps some home cooking in order to balance the marital niceness scales once more. What's that? Did someone say I'm overly competitive? Ah, surely not ...

This afternoon, after hammering out Simon's latest trauma, I gave in to the siren call of the sofa and have had a glorious two-hour nap. I can see myself becoming more and more like Lydia Languish who, from memory, spent most of her theatrical fictional time swooning on the sofa and taking smelling salts. Hell, don't knock it. It's a career after all.

Which brings me to thoughts of professionalism. There seems to have been a lot of talk about this on various writing sites recently, but I don't think that on a personal level I can subscribe to its unnatural demands. Rest assured that, whatever happens in the Curious World of Brooke, I shall never turn into a scary professional anything. Please God. I hope I shall always be me - a small corner of the virtual world which shall remain forever determinedly amateur, threateningly unprofessional and (hopefully) as searingly honest as I can be. Please God I never turn into one of those authors who (if I ever make it anywhere else but where I am now, ho ho) smile and smile, and say how wonderful the publishing world is, dahlings, and how charmed their life is now, and how absolutely awful those other wretched would-be writers are. And have one of those cut-glass accents too, even though they came from Bognor and spent most of their childhood in a caravan. Why do they all sound like that? Ye gods, is there a Stepford Authors club out there? Do you have to have your personality removed if you make it into the hallowed corridors of a mainstream publisher? And don't even mention those irritating airbrushed photographs which make every author look the same. I mean, I ask you! Perhaps it is after all a cunning plot dreamed up by a Government marketing department with way too much power and time on its hands. It wouldn't surprise me.

Today's nice things, then:

1. Writing
2. Getting new glasses - Armani! Hey, babe ...!
3. Still having a personality. (You might not like it, but at least you know what it is!).

Anne Brooke


Cathy said...

Hmm, glasses, first sign of old age?!

Have had mine for a while ( just for reading and computer, you understand) and when I'm wearing them I actually do look quite like the cartoon me on My Space!!



Anne Brooke said...

Goodness me, Cathy - you must be super-glam then!! Good for you!!



Jackie Luben said...

You must try to listen to Ed Reardon on Radio 4, 11.30 a.m. Anne. He is an impoverished author (fictional) after our own hearts, despising his publisher and agent and telling us all about it, while he bluffs his way through life.

Wonderful poem though. You're back on good form, but lay off the scotch, now.

The Periodic Englishman said...

Man alive - I thought I would be safe coming here today. But no. You would poetically praise the merits of whisky in front of the very eyes of a Scotsman laying off the bottle? Really? Shame on you. I feel parched and distraught.

(nice evocative poem, though)

Kind regards etc...

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Jackie & TPE. I will definitely listen again to the embittered author, which I seem to have missed yesterday, damn it! How could I not have known this was on?!? I am truly ashamed.

And I will endeavour to lay off the scotch for a while, if I must - TPE and I will have to quench our thirst elsewhere, though I think that gin is really not the same. Sadly ...



Irene Black said...

loved the poem, Anne - made me feel yes,yes,yes - that's exactly how it is!

Glad you had a rant about the publishing fraternity. Helps get it off all our chests. Personally my defence mechanism is to develop a thick skin. However, that means it's only skin deep.

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Irene! I can see we're going to have to form a Disenchanted Authors Group before too long! Reckon we'll be way oversubscribed though ...