Tuesday, 4 October 2011

On, on

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Out in the world, people are doing serious things. The Conservatives are having their party conference. Journalists are asking questions about the strategy for growth. Boris Johnson is making excellent jokes.

Here, I think: I know I have to cut that paragraph, but oh, oh, oh it hurts.

Sometimes, I watch myself circling around a point, like an aeroplane put in a holding pattern. Round and round I go, and never quite make the runway. I stomp into the kitchen. Come on, I say to myself, as I make a ham sandwich: what are you really trying to say? Then I imagine I am being interviewed on Woman’s Hour. Under the forensic examination of Jenni Murray I may not waffle or equivocate.

This is actually quite a useful tool for writing in general. If you find yourself going a bit opaque or abstract or tangential, all frailties from which I suffer mightily, imagine you are going to have to explain yourself to Jeremy Paxman. Imagine that arched eyebrow of surprise, the quizzical voice, the terrifying Paxo ‘Really?’ spoken in his ironical falsetto. That will sharpen you up.

Sometimes I debate with myself. I do it whilst I am cooking. On the one hand, I say, out loud; but on the other hand…I think the out loud thing is quite important. Thoughts can cohere when said aloud into a room.

It’s a bit one step forward, one step back at the moment. I feel stretched, like a bit of old elastic in the hands of an antic child. Come on, come on, I say; it’s only a book. Yeah, yeah, I say, that’s like saying it’s only your arms and legs.

I woke this morning filled with inchoate rage. It’s a concatenation of things. It’s racing deadlines and people behaving badly and things not working and demands being made and irrational upsets. It’s life, mostly. Sometimes anger is the correct response. I am not especially good at it though. I think I grew up with the notion of girls being sugar and spice and all things nice, which is what held sway at the time. Even though I was a furious tomboy, always climbing trees and ripping holes in my trousers, there is still a lingering sense that fury is not what the ladies should do. (Although I do not quite know why I think that, even subliminally, since I do not regard myself as A Lady.)

Anyway, I took this morning’s anger, sat down at my desk, and threw it all at my work. Yeah, vague sentences, take that. Ha, ill-conceived notions, have this. Tap tap tap went the fingers; delete delete delete went the delete button.

And by lunchtime, I had some sense of achievement, and I felt human again.


No time to take the camera out today, so some quick pictures from the last few days, because you must have something pretty to gaze on:


4 Oct 2

4 Oct 3.ORF

4 Oct 4

4 Oct 5

4 Oct 6.ORF

4 Oct 8

4 Oct 9-1

Daily Pigeon glory, as now mandated by law:

4 Oct 9

4 Oct 10

I know I say this practically every day, but oh oh that face. I start to think that she has gone into adorable overdrive, just to see how much I can take.

The hill:

4 Oct 15


  1. I have always loved the word concatenate. I struggle with how best to express my anger. I don't like to raise my voice and I do not like to apologize. Raising my voice generally leads to having to apologize to someone afterwards, so I don't do it. I generally end up cleaning when I'm angry...sometimes I wish my mother were Italian instead of English.

  2. Susan - love the idea of cleaning whilst angry. So know the thing of raised voices: I run away from confrontation like a frightened deer.:)

  3. Ladies don't don't get angry, they don't raise their voices, and they certainly don't shout.
    The countless times I've been reduced to stammering, furious tears because of that voice (my maternal grandmother's) in my head. And the awkward conversations about how, yes, so-and-so has upset me, but not the way they think. The anger has to come out, and for me, it's always tears. Utterly mortifying when it happens in the workplace.
    Glad you had a productive day, and the Pigeon is gorgeous as ever!

  4. As for what "ladies" do or don't do... utter rubbish! That was crap made up by men to keep us from having an opinion. Balderdash, I say. Let it RIP. You'll feel better.

    What sort of book are you writing? Is it fiction or non? A novel? What? Do tell! Apologies if you've already said it... I have been bewitched by the Pigeon and made unable to pay attention properly.

  5. Mona - SO know that internal voice.

    Marcheline - excellent advice. And so glad you are suffering from Pigeon bewitchment.


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