Thursday, July 10, 2014

Old men in old houses

"she's going to cook lasagna again,
isn't she?"
my wife sighs, upset
I was late home from work
and our eldest son didn't come home at all
and now we are on our way
to my brother's house
for dinner.
she with the smooth blonde hair
in the slim white jeans
ankles crossed neatly
in high heeled sandals
fingers drumming
upon the window sill
of the M6
hates having to step into 
the mundanity
of my brother's existence.
"how long do we have to stay, dad?"
my daughter huffs from the backseat
"please don't make us stay til midnight
like always,
the twins are so annoying."
I sigh.
"we'll see,"
is all I'll say.
"no really, Leo,"
my wife insists
"we can't stay late.
I have Pilates in the morning."
"we'll see,"
I repeat
which I know she hates to hear
but sometimes
it feels good
to play on that hate
to dance on that hate
I don't want to placate her
for once
I want to push the steam
out of her ears
feel her wrath
scraping against me
all night long.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My catfish friend

The city of love
they say
but of course, where there's love
there's loneliness
and a searing
pang of envy that scrapes
against every bone
every inch of skin
every beat of heart
each time you feast your eyes
upon a
beautiful young couple
kissing on a bench
haggard middle-aged parents
appeasing each other with a knowing smile
through gritted teeth
elderly lovers
holding hands through the
winding streets
not saying a word
as you tread unnoticed
behind them.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On epiphanies

You could say that this blog is, at its heart, a collection of the small epiphanies that I have experienced over the years. Clearly, my writing here is not disciplined or routine, but spurred by sudden insights and jolts of clarity into life and what really matters.

Yet even though I know, on the page and deep in my heart, what matters, I don't always act accordingly. Here I am, claiming to see the world clearly, yet behind the keyboard I am still my own worst enemy. Because it's one thing to know what the truth is – and quite another to consistently act upon that truth. I am a fraud.

However, I've recently decided (another epiphany!) that maybe I'm actually okay. Maybe it's natural – normal – to know what's best but do what's worst. Author Jim Shepard, in arguing against the conventional literary wisdom that short stories should be structured around a life changing epiphanies, suggests that a moment of clarity only lasts an instant (referring to Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find):

O'Connor really believes that we can flood, momentarily, with the kind of grace that epiphany is supposed to represent. But I think she also believes that we're essentially sinners. She's saying: Don't think for a moment that because you've had a brief instant of illumination, and you suddenly see yourself with clarity, that you're not going to transgress two days down the road.

I find this idea enormously useful in my own work. My characters are all about gaining an understanding of the right thing to do—and avoiding it anyway. That sense that we can be in some ways geniuses of our own self-destruction runs, in some ways, counter to the more traditional notion of the epiphany—which tells us that stories are all about providing information to characters who badly need it. Epiphanies are, in some ways, staged and underimportant.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Career ideas

As my book-writing is not unfolding quite as quickly nor as smoothly as I'd hoped, it may be time to consider other, more realistic career options that reflect my talents and attributes. 

professional list writer
personal book shopper
Instagram photographer
babysitter who caters exclusively to well-behaved small dogs
book accumulator
reality television connoisseur
gourmet food taster
Nespresso barista
stickler for grammar
Matt Corby groupie
procedural TV drama crime-solver
literary quote collector
writer for an unmonetised personal blog

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Hello, 2014.

So, resolutions. 

They never seem to work, do they? At least they don't for me. Or, more fairly and accurately, I don't work for them. And after Christmas each December, when I reflect upon the year that was, they serve as a bittersweet reminder of what I've failed to do.

I won't stop making them, though. Because sometimes – often – throughout the year, I can feel lost. A little weakened, directionless, unsure of what to do and where to go, and in those moments, I tend to reach for what's easy and familiar. So it's helpful to look back, in the midst of my listlessness, to see what I wanted my year to look like at the start of it, when my heart was full of raw hope and anticipation, and to act upon it, in some small way.

Here's a list of things I'd like to do this year. Hopefully.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The One

I am often asked,
how do you know
he's The One?
as if The One
is a
as if there is
A One
as if there is
any way
of knowing

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The quarter-life crisis

The quarter-life crisis is a thing, and Matt Corby's Resolution is its anthem.

Earlier this year, Matt did an impromptu interview with The Spit Press, in which he explained the story behind his song:

I was in a bit of a hole, let’s just call it, and I decided to finally ask the right questions, I think. I started to try and understand why I was here and what’s the point of it all and was it all just a bunch of bullshit, to live and exist. You know, all those fundamental questions that one must ask if they want to head on some path to enlightenment. And when I say that I don’t mean in some weird, fucking hippy, like, out of context way, I mean it in the most humanely real way possible. How do I master this thing called life that we are constantly in the state of being ‘in’? It’s crazy, all the way down to subatomic particles, all that bullshit, right? If that gives you an idea of the headspace I was in…

I just realised that it should just be about people and it should just be about love because without them there’s nothing. The rest of this game and every single thing that’s been created comes from the human network and the collective consciousness. So… The song came from that, the reason that we are human. 

I just got to a point where I just really needed to love people. That’s about it. And things become a lot simpler after that. So when I say “you will be my resolution”, I’m talking collectively.

The meaning of life is
                                             I like that.
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