Walk home in silence,
mind calmed by nature’s gentle hand.
Apparently fibs are a new form of haiku inspired by the Fibonacci sequence, with two rules: the sequence of syllables is 1/1/2/3/5/8, and no one-syllable lines can contain an article. On a day when I face a week of corporate writing, these little beauties have set my brain on fire: why can’t I spend the day composing fibs? As I’m already feeling fed up with this ‘real’ work, I’m going to post a fib (a faiku?) every day this week, oiling the writing muscle ready to start next week’s book writing stint with enthusiasm and, ahem, verve…
how to love again;
a bruised heart heals slower than bone.
For more faikus, go here
Unlike some people I know, music isn’t the be-all and end-all of my existence. I can quite happily spend the whole day at home, working in total silence. But then there are those other days, when I need company, or a rhythm to get my bones moving. If I like a song I will play it hundreds of times until I’m sick of it, then I will never listen to it again. These days I try to ration out portions of music I like, to make the joy in my ears last a little longer. But generally I find music too distracting when I write – and I loathe the radio.
I don’t know which is more potent – the memories our ears find or our noses recall. I would probably have to post every day for a year to share all the songs that punch me in the memory guts, but this prompt has brought a few songs to mind that I’ve spent the last hour listening to, and what a bittersweet meander it’s been.
If we discount the Disney album I received for Christmas when I was nine, then Sade’s Diamond Life was the first LP I ever owned. Your Love is King sounds as curiously fresh as it did back in the 80s (though perhaps a hip eighteen-year-old would disagree). I’m trying to plug into the feelings of being eleven or twelve but nothing is coming – I see my grandmother cooking dinner, I know I have homework to do, but the emotion of that time is missing…
Listening to Lucky Star by Madonna provoked a more visceral reaction. This is the song of hope and sass and hormones. I can see her dancing around in cut-off black leggings and rubber bangles and I remember my fingerless lace gloves and the cerise-coloured boots I wore with leg warmers. I remember going to see Desperately Seeking Susan when I was fourteen or fifteen and thinking she was the coolest woman I had ever seen in my life. Will Britney fans have the same memories when they’re in their 30s? I think not.
Hearing the first harmonic bars of David Sylvian’s Answered Prayers found me sitting in Madeleine’s flat at the age of twenty, smoking joints and drinking beer. I knew my ex was the man for me when he said this was his favourite Sylvian track. Then I indulged in the powerful voice of Me’shell Ndegeocello, singing The Way. The moment she started singing I was mesmerized, that smoldering night in Italy when Maurizio played us her CD as we drank Limoncello and espresso; I brought home a taped recording of her album and played it over and over until the tape broke. I don’t think there’s a single song of hers I dislike.
And then the memories started to overload. I hate Dido with a passion but White Flag always makes me think of my love. We’re in his car driving home and this song comes on the radio: ‘I’m in love and always will be’ he’s singing along with the chorus, out of tune, but the words are repeated to me and I laugh and squeeze his thigh as he changes gear… Then I played the song I have listened to over and over since he left and I realised I can listen to it now without the tears coming: ‘I taste the air around you and I feel brand new/ come fill my senses up with you/ you’ve turned the jaded into new/ come fill my senses up with you/ life would be senseless without you’. Jericho by the Weekend Players, a hypnotic song, one that carries my heart in its tune; when my tear ducts were blocked, when I couldn’t get the emotion out, I played this song and let myself wallow. Sometimes you have to blast through the centre of the pain to make it through to the morning.
So, which song should finish off this blogging mix tape? My favourite song of all time (Good Times by Chic)? The most recent song I downloaded (You Make Me Feel by Milosh)? I’d certainly have to include Take it From Me by The Weepies and Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez, but the most important song is Wedding Day by Rosie Thomas, the song that started this blogging adventure. If Denise hadn’t felt compelled to write about the memories the song triggered for her that day, and if I hadn’t felt compelled to leave her a comment, then our friendship wouldn’t have been ignited and I wouldn’t be here now, writing this melodious Sunday Scribbling.
This meme was borrowed from BB. These were the first five books on top of the pile I have by my bed…
1. Take five books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 – first sentence~ Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson
3. Book #2 – last sentence on page 50~ The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
4. Book #3 – second sentence on page 100~ The Erotic Life of Anais Nin, Noel Riley Fitch
5. Book #4 – next to the last sentence on page 150~ Hotel World, Ali Smith
6. Book #5 – final sentence of the book~ The Famished Road, Ben Okri
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph (or poem).
Why is the measure of love loss?
Sometimes she collects blankets
and lies under them, enjoying them more for their weight
than for the warmth they bring.
“If we ever tie up I think there will be a comet
let loose in the world.”
She stopped and thought:
a dream can be the highest point of a life.
I thought I saw my love in Dublin. I was walking out of Trinity College with Anna, and as we approached the covered gate I saw a man who, for a moment, bore the face I have wanted to see for sixteen months. The resemblance was so uncanny my heart dropped into my shoes instantaneously. His hair, his face shape, his expression – all were the same. As he walked closer to us I saw without question that it wasn’t him, of course, but this is the first time this has happened. My keen eye has been on the lookout – in London, in this town – and I’ve seen a similar haircut, a glance, heard a laugh, spotted a signet ring, all of which would unravel a ribbon of memory, but nothing like I felt on Wednesday when I saw this man. I don’t know what it means – perhaps nothing – but it has been on my mind today.
My other thought today may sound utterly incongruous, but I’m starting to see its relevance to this period in my life. I have been thinking about my film star boyfriend, inspired by Michelle’s recent post. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I have a passionate (and sadly unrequited) love for Pierce Brosnan. It’s the blue eyes, the hairy chest, the 6’ 1” package of Irish charm and confidence that dazzles me. In true six degrees of separation style, I once went on a date with a very handsome artist who worked as a first class air steward to pay his mortgage while he painted portraits. Over dinner he told me how Pierce Brosnan had been on one of his flights across the Atlantic – it’s a wonder the date continued after I’d grilled him for every nugget of information about PB (apparently he was incredibly charming and friendly with everyone).
My love had an extensive wardrobe of Saville Row suits, and I remember him telling me the story of how he’d had a suit made from the same fabric PB had chosen from the same tailor. He delighted in telling me (knowing of my sweet girlish crush) that his tailor had commented that his measurements were the same as Pierce. The connections are more than obvious to me now – my love was my very own Pierce Brosnan, so stylish and charming and devilishly handsome.
So today I googled for pictures of PB, harking back to the days when I swooned over George Michael and (heaven help me) Michael Douglas. Are our film star crushes normal in our thirties I wonder? Am I like my teenage self, trying to construct the perfect man for me in my head, one with the qualities I admire and the facial characteristics that make me melt. I take it all lightly this evening, in the hope that this is a part of my healing and not some terrible betrayal on my part of the love that has burned so brightly, and painfully, in my heart for so long. Listening to one of my dear friends talk tonight about how waiting for a man to call is such torture makes me nervous of ever doing that again, makes me fearful of revealing myself to anyone, of letting them know my past, my old crumbling pains – and I know I’m not ready, not yet, maybe not ever – but still, these are the thoughts swirling around in my head this evening. Ghosts, Pierce Brosnan and the possibility that one day, perhaps, I may be ready to let another man look at me.