So about this...
More from Giorge Thomas
I’ve neglected you.
Other words, at the time,
were true. Too true
to ignore, too bray
to close book with
paper pen where
where mind summersaults,
You, my true friend,
have been patient,
waiting in darkened
softly, hoping I’d
hear the tune.
The words I may
have suppressed, but
the melody strikes,
deep in my chest.
Last night at precisely 1.41am I finished my book.
A little sad to be leaving these characters behind (although I will be with them for another few months at least due to the editing process) but I am glad that it’s done.
There. I’ve put an end to something. I’m usually quite shit at that. As in, I’ll get half way through a story, decide it’s a disaster and then delete to start again. I’d then get halfway through that draft, decide its shit and delete and start again. Again.
I’ve basically been doing that for years now. My manuscript corpses could fill a library.
However. I like to think that’s part of the learning process.
It’s fitting, I think, to finish this piece the same week we’re moving out of Newton. It’s the end for some things, the beginning for others.
Right now, I have immense self satisfaction which has never been felt before. I kind of enjoy it.
Only once in my life have I had an African Violet flower at a time other than when I bought it.
It’s false advertising. You buy these things with their lush dark-green, furry leaves and clumps of glittery flowers and you think that’s how they’re always going to be. You know; beautiful.
Yet within weeks the flowers have died and the leaves, once pert and upright, begin to sag before decaying into a slimy mess.
I’m not sure how I did it, but once I managed to persuade one of these plants to flower for a second time. And honestly, until today, this was my greatest achievement.
Mr Thomas wonders why I bother. In the eight years we’ve been living together, he has had to share his home with these often on-the-brink-of-death plants. Once he asked me why I bothered. Probably after I’d parted with my hard-earned cash for, once again, two new plants after the previous two had died.
If I recall I got a little angry with him. Because I couldn’t explain it. These plants, they’re a part of me. They are my life’s challenge. I keep them because they’re a challenge. They’re the plant version of cats. You know, you can give your cats all the love and attention you think they need, feed them regularly, make sure they’re healthy and all of that and the buggers still look at you with the peering, evil eyes of something that wants you dead.
What annoys me most is that I’ve managed to keep two cats alive for sixteen years but African Violets continue to be a mystery to me.
And yes, I’ve done it all. I bought the proper soil and the proper African Violet fertiliser (though for many years I found fertiliser as a form of cheating) I don’t over-water them or under-water them. I make sure the leaves don’t get wet. I do everything the dozens of websites and YouTube videos I’ve perused over the years say to do.
Still, more times than not these plants defeat me.
My Aunty Didge, the woman I was named after and the person I have most admired in my life kept African Violets. She had one on the windowsill of her kitchen, always. More often than not it flowered with those traditional sparkly purple flowers. If she could do it — and the woman was as clumsy as ditzy as I am (must be in the name) surely I can?
But then… maybe she was doing the same thing as me. Buying plant after plant when each died in succession.
Now there’s a thought.
Today I’ve had a success of sorts. About eight months ago, just before my last African Violet was ready to die (and by this point I knew the signs), I cut the final two healthy leaves it possessed and planted them in seedling pots. I nurtured these bloody things for eight months. Yes, it was a gestation period. I sat them in a tray in my bathroom, watering them when they were dry, fertilising them every month or so.
And then, just this week, the last week we are to spend in this home I’ve had for ten years (another story; the thought of leaving this place is far too depressing for me to discuss it) a miracle occurred. Each cutting had given birth to a clump of baby leaves.
Because we are moving (again, too sad to discuss this) I knew I had to repot these beauties. This despite being in the middle of packing, because I have the attention span of a two year old, it seems.
So now my two fledgling African Violets have new homes, in the pots where dozens of their relatives have died before them.
Part of me wants to see this as a sign of ‘new beginnings.’ Fuck that. With African Violets, it can only be luck.
Did I mention seagulls in my last post? Big beasts of animals, they are here. Double than those back home. The kind of bird my mum would look at with a keen eye, ready to wrong its neck, pluck it, and serve it up with sugo. They squawk funny, too. A kind of harrowed whelp of a cry.
So that’s what I’m thinking about right now. Seagulls.
Currently, we’re in Wales. As beautiful as always.
To follow Giorge’s journey around Britain search for the hashtag #GTUK2015 on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
So I’ve just had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
Okay. I’m exaggerating. But still, terrifying.
Sitting in our hotel room here in Cornwall, minding our own business when a massive spider pops its terrifying head out from the curtain.
Huge. Massive. Bigger than any spider than I’ve ever seen. I freaked out like a little girl. There was actually a moment (when the fecker decided to run across the ground) that I jumped up onto the bed, shrieking.
So while Mr Thomas ran around the room with a teacup trying to trap this spider, I thought how ironic it was that I, from Australia, home to dangerous, poisonous animals, has found creatures in England far more terrifying.
The spiders here are huge. They also have these things called daddy long legs which look like giant mosquitos.
There are these things called hedgehogs which toy companies try to make us think are cute, but anything which is covered in spikes and hides in gardens, only coming out at night, cannot be cute.
There’s a frog at my in-laws house that likes to hide by the back door and could jump out at me at any moment.
The seagulls are huge. Like, massive. Beasts of a bird.
There are evil-eyed squirrels.
Wasps seem to appear whenever you step outside, flying around you in a threatening kind of way until you do the mad arm-flapping half dance half run to get away from them.
In the country, the sheep and cows stand in the middle of the road and stare at you in a defiant manner, as if challenging you to a fight.
There’s just too much to contend with here. My anxiety is at an all-time high.
Mr Thomas, I’m sure you are all interested to know, accidentally killed the spider. I’m kind of glad for it.
Other than that England is beautiful. Terrifying, but beautiful.
Staying in a lovely little village called Charlestown. Apparently they’re filming Poldark – but I’ve not seen one fecking camera.
I’m typing this on my iPhone. Basically, when in wifi area, make the most of it.
Have you all been keeping up on the twitters? (Marian Keyes phrase) or Instagram? Or whatever other fecking social media I’ve chained myself to?
Anyway, so far, in a nutshell:
Driving, driving, photo of moor, photo of hills, driving, photo of beach scenes.
For examples of such, please see included photos. Guess where they were taken because can’t be arsed to caption them. Suffice to say they’ll be photos of the South west of England.
It’s all been lovely by the way.
Remember the hashtag #GTUK2015
It’s that time of year again. You can follow the Team Thomas adventures on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll be using the hashtag #GTUK2015. I’ve added the GT in case anything else of note happens in the UK this year. Twitter uses may be disgruntled to find my posts when searching. I mean, who the hell will give a crap when I have my first M&S BLT? Mm. M&S BLT. Might have to go and get one right now….
Mr Thomas and I have tentatively started looking at houses. Basically, we’re bursting at the seams here in our tiny little house so the option is either one of us moves out, or we start looking for somewhere else together.
The thought of it is scaring the shit out of me to no end. I don’t want to move from the area we live in. My suburb has a large Italian community, so I feel right at home. Besides, I’ve been here ten years. It’s the first house I’ve had that has actually felt like a home. My two cats have grown old in this house. I said goodbye to my beloved dog in this house. This is where I was living when I met Mr Thomas. PLUS, we’ve got the best. Neighbour. Ever. Seriously, don’t even compete with our neighbour. She’s awesome. I’ll miss her more than I’ll miss the house.
Anyway, not sure if we’ll be able to afford a house in the area we currently live, but that’s the dream. We’ve been hitting realestate.com to see what places are selling for and what we’re likely to get for our money.
In the process, we’ve discovered a phenomenon.
So I told you I live in an Italian area. An Italian area means Italian houses. Big, monstrous palaces with two kitchens (the second more often than not in the garage), pillars (even when they are not providing any structural support) and tons of fruit trees.
And some of them have what we’ve decided to call… the Nonna room.
They’re probably just a spare room. An extra single bed for that rouge guest that turns up unannounced. Yet given these rooms are in Italian houses, places large enough for two extra guest rooms, we’ve decided they couldn’t possibly be the guest room.
So we’ve imagined this is the room Nonna sleeps in. Inconvenient and uncomfortable because Nonna is too much of a martyr to stay in the proper guest room. A small single bed because Nonnas are always, well, small. Downstairs and by the kitchen, not because Nonna’s legs can no longer make it upstairs, but because she’ll be spending twenty hours a day cooking in the kitchen anyway, so she might as well be close by.
Here’s a few pics I’ve managed to find so far. Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll come across more during our house search…
While my main focus is going to have to be finding the perfect home for Mr Thomas and I, I’ll be keeping an eye out for Nonna rooms from now on. Hopefully I’ll have more photos to share. Although, come to think of it, the only people who’ll find this entertaining are those from Italian backgrounds. Which I think accounts for like five of my subscribers. Well, hope you five at least got a giggle out of these pics!
For more hilariously hideous real estate photos, take a gander at http://terriblerealestateagentphotos.com
Pitted in barren lands
strips at sleeping souls,
leaving it to decay,
Hope that exceeds lust,
loyalty enveloped in dust
I might, I might.
You may bleed
at the sight of me
Your eyes may
haze in anger
but whose truth
are you willing
to spear with your
In the beginning
I was fourteen years old. My best friend Tina and I were hanging out in a Loket tree. In my memory we were actually in the tree. Maybe we were. Maybe we were a little too old to be hanging out in trees. But then, I really, really like Lokets, so it’s understandable if I was in the tree, trying to reach at the biggest, juiciest Loket.
So anyway, we’re hanging out, eating Lokets, and either I said, or Tina said (who can remember; it was so long ago) said, ‘Did you see that video?’
We knew, instinctively, that we were walking music videos. These were the days before YouTube and Vines and, well, the internet. Besides; we were teenagers. Music videos were our life.
So then either me or Tina replies, ‘You mean, that one with that band, Take That? That Could it Be Magic song?’
‘Oh my god, yeah.’
Thus ensued a half hour conversation about how cute they all were and which one we loved the best. And so the obsession began.
Fast forward a year and I had every poster, every single, every album — everything. Take That was my obsession.
I guess I was a Belieber
I was just like Justin Bieber fans today. Take That were my life. That band got me through those tumultuous teenage years, because I had something else on the outside of my reality to reflect upon when times got tough.
And to think that I’ve made fun of ‘Beliebers’ (or whatever it is they’re called). How can I make fun of them when I was just like them?
Bye by Take That
My Take That obsession came to an end in 1996. It was the Brit Awards, which I’d taped because Take That were performing Back For Good. They sung the hideous song (even then I knew it was hideous) sitting on high stools like a bunch of eejits. And I thought, this is shit. Utter shit.
Not to matter. That year, Blur and Oasis went toe-to-toe in every category. It was the first I’d heard of them. I immediately loved them both. Britpop was born in me and I didn’t give Take That a second glance.
The band split up soon after.
Take That are back
Fast forward I don’t know how many years, but Take That reformed, minus Robbie Williams of course. Take That were one of the first 90s bands to reformed, before it became a ‘thing,’ before there was a reality show dedicated to it. I read about it online out of interest, yet by my late twenties I had definitely outgrown boybands.
But then my sister, who was never as ‘in’ to them as me, suddenly became a fan. She loved Take That 2.0, and joined the hoards of women who were re-living their youth through their favourite teenage boyband crushes.
My sister leant me their CDs, and, admittedly, I found a number of songs that I liked. But those songs were just another addition to my iPod playlist. For whatever reason, my sister seemed to form the kind of obsession for Take That as I had in my teenage years. She follows them on social media, has a major crush on Gary Barlow and has even joined some Take That Australian fans Facebook page.
Reminded of my passion
So last night, I headed off to the cinema with my sister and her friend to watch Take That in concert. What a weird experience. Watching a concert on a movie screen. But do you know what? I really enjoyed it. Seeing them perform those songs reminded me of the absolute passion I had for these guys at one of the most important times in my life.
My embarrassment at even being in the cinema, of having my sister singing along to every song and even standing up and dancing was soon dispelled once nostalgia set in. I kind of missed those days when you have your whole life ahead of you, when you can love a band so much you can convince yourself that one day you will meet your idols. You believe it because, as a teenage, anything is possible. You’re not weighed down by life, money, commitment, parenthood; you have the absolute freedom to hope.
There is no hope
I think that’s what I miss most about being pre-adult — you lose the ability to hope. The more you live life, the more you learn. You recognise the patterns of living. You’ve learnt enough to accept the reality that you live in. There’s no mystical ‘one day I might’ thought process — you know the score. You know dreams aren’t real (no matter how many memes to the contrary appear on your Facebook feed) and life will just continue in the same vein as it’s always done from the moment you became an adult.
Nostalgia is the key
Which is why nostalgia is so important. Wouldn’t we all give up now if we didn’t have those moments of hope to get us through? To remember the feeling of what it was like to be young and be utterly in love with something or someone you’ve never met or known? And maybe it’s sad and yes, embarrassing, that those joyful experiences of mine happened because of a boyband in the 90s, but I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
What about you?
Was it a band? A movie star? A writer? What gave you hope as a kid? What excited you? What got you through your teenage years?
Today at lunch one of my work colleagues was talking about a book she’s currently reading. She mentioned how there was a ‘really good twist’ in it, and that, in order to be satisfied by a book, there had to be a ‘twist.’
Which made me think, ooh…
So then one of my Facebook friends tagged me in a post about keyboard short cuts for novelists. Which is hilarious, by the way.
But then I saw the short cut key to add a plot twist.
Which made me think, ahhh…
You may have seen my previous post about finishing the first draft for my current tale. And even though I wrote it, I really like the story. I think it’s really sweet; just a simple tale about the coming together of two characters. Yet the events of today have me thinking: Is a plot twist really important?
I mean, would you be satisfied with a book knowing there’s no real twist in it? That no one dies or has some hideous event happen to them, that the goodie doesn’t turn out to be a badie but a goodie after all?
Because the thing is, the satisfaction I got out of writing this story was due to the fact that nothing really happens. I mean, like, nothing. I wasn’t putting my characters through turmoil, or keeping myself up at night trying to pull together all the different threads you need to sew for a super good plot twist.
A part of my thinks it will be fine, that the story will stand up on its own without a plot twist as long as the writing is really good.
Fuck. What if the writing is shit?
But then — what’s the use of a plot twist if it’s written badly?
I’ll be interested to know what you guys think — is a plot twist an absolute necessity in a good tale, or can you live without it?