Monday, August 25, 2008

Sugar on the floor

Ickity stickity sugar on the floor
It dissolves in part on my socks.

Sticky socks throughout the house.
They follow me in my frenzied cleaning burst.
Behind the vacuum cleaner little pieces of sugar
Stick and shift,
Signatures of disarray
Throughout the house.

My son spilt the sugar.
He filled up the sugar jar while I ladled porridge.
His idea of housework perhaps.

Tiny pieces of my children attach to me
I leave smudges of them throughout the rest of my life.

I can't see the madonna's feet in any famous paintings.
That baby must have stuck to her too.
Left his signature.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Washing machine

No, I don't have a special name for my washing machine. I don't have a pet name for God either. They both get things done in mysterious ways.

I don't know if God goes on holiday and that's when the devil gets moving and shaking and the tsunamis roll. Maybe God is at the Olympics right now and the devil is rocking on down in Georgia. I don't see redemption and salvation in Osetia on my news channel.

I do know that my washing machine got appendicitis. It did. You get washing machine appendicitis when you swallow socks into the wrong places. It doesn't have a Latin name this illness because washing machines weren't invented back when learned people spoke mostly in Latin. It's just ordinary washing machine appendicitis. Expensive dicky tummy as an alternative.

So now I know how to check the filter on my washing machine. Front loader you see. That's what greenie types who hung out too long in the UK like. If you haven't considered your washing machine type, then you don't wash enough and you don't have children. Go back to sleep. There will be someone more urbane on soon. Perhaps a metrosexual type for you non-school lunch makers in the audience.

I also know that the washing machine filter is not filter enough. There are some people at Ellerys who now know a lot about my washing machine. I imagine it's a bit like having a caesarian. Lots of women give birth without stomach lining being inspected but if you give birth enough times or have other deep and dark complications, the doctors will see your stomach lining. They'll cut it up no less.

So now we have the washing machine back. We also have a wee plastic packet of slimey mouldering socks. They don't live on top of the pressure switch any more. So now I know that washing machines have pressure switches. I have a pressure switch too. You'll know about it if you press on it when the school lunches haven't been made and the baby poos and the reading folder is nowhere to be found and my big boy announces he wants to wear a clown suit to school and you work for Expertly Irritating Market Research Consultants and you ring me. Just fifteen minutes you say confidently. Off your life expectancy or mine?

My washing machine is occasionally expensive and mostly very obliging. I shall henceforth think of it as my wife.

report on writers' group #1

We all met this evening. Four teachers and a midwife. Great writing and empowering. I don't feel so crap and I don't feel like my whole life is about dishes and nappies.

We are going to do a series of public readings. Soon.

>Insert expletives of terror<

Although I do concede that having to read publicly is a great way of making me write.

I'm beginning to suspect that I'll have to write all this domestic stuff out of my system before I can get creative outside of it. Watch this space for more on the washing machine and the chooks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Writers' group meeting #1

And it's all about me. Too self absorbed to write fiction it seems.


Once I was new. Tiny and beloved and I slept and ate at the right times. Later I was medium sized with long blonde hair in a neat ponytail. I read the books at school and learnt my words whncih were kept in a red and gold tobacco tin.

Later still I wrote stories which I never finished which had something to do with me starting far too many minutes after everyone else and something to do with endings being difficult.

Then I got to be a big kid, with periods and acne and books a window out of small town, small home. Poetry was useful at school because you didn't need endings for it. Once I wrote a poem about women bitching on the telephone and they put it in the school magazine. Dad was horrified . How could I do that to/about my mother? My German tetacher really liked it. But then my German teacher left his wife and hooked up with the psych teacher. Whereas Dad stuck with Mum and even took up Catholicism.

I went to university and wrote essays. A lot of them. I hung round and wrote longer and longer ones. That's why I can write MA after my name. Although I don't because I think it could just as easily stand for Middle Aged.

I got a real job and then a longest ever boyfriend and then a ring on my finger and then we went to London and went travelling. And that is my best ever memory of writing. While husband went up hills like Heidi, I sat near the bar and drank red wine and wrote. The campsite owners thought I was a real writer. Of course I never finished anything. Two chapters of a novel imagining how my great great grandparents met across the Canterbury plains. I'd been building up a starring role for the Catholic priest.

Then I had children. I became some kind of housewife. The children are still thriving and have no suspicious bruises. What I have become spectacularly bad at is housework. I have raised it to an art form. Even the mice have scarpered. I suppose there is a neighbouring cat to be thanked somewhere.

I do something else for money. I supress children's talents. When I have tired of supressing their talents, I repress their personalities. It's called education and I don't recommend any of it.

Another thing about me is that I've let myself go. It;s one of the many things my mother warned me about when I was still her financial responsibility. Fat tummy and dowdy clothes and half dyed hair. And no war paint.

So this is me, Sandra. Fat bad housewife with a tiny glimmering residual memory that I used to write once.