The truth, the whole truth and nothing but…

masks

I am in awe of David Bowie. There, I said it. His music is complete poetry to me and there isn’t anything about his albums that I dislike (even his dabble in dance music during the Nineties). This is because each song, each album means something. Each one evokes different emotions and memories, every style has its place in my world.

Another particular favourite of mine is his work on the film Labyrinth. I can’t possibly be the only one perhaps who contemplated the fact that should I have been Sarah, I would have actually stayed. On the proviso that Toby was safely returned home that is. Maybe that’s just me being blinded by the fact that I don’t always see Jareth. I see Bowie; and so naturally I assume that living with him would entail nothing but love and daily mini concerts from Ziggy himself. Either way, Jareth has proven he can sing so whether it is Jean Genie or Dance, Magic, Dance…I do honestly think that I would have a happy life. Plus, as a bonus, my friends would be a fox riding a dog called Ambrosia, a goblin called Hoggle and the cuddliest giant called Ludo…what would I possibly be unhappy about?!?!?

I feel the same way about other films actually. This honesty malarkey means that I can safely admit to a few other home truths. Take Beauty and the Beast for instance – I am in complete love with the library (and rather impressed at the stock levels too). I am very sure that I am alone in this opinion, but hey, we’ve passed the point of embarrassment so I am just going to go with it. I am very disappointed at the end. When the Beast returns to his human form I am left feeling…well, meh actually. Beforehand he was this brooding, dark shaggy haired creature with the deep voice of Worf from Star Trek. The petals fall – and then…Oh. He’s now this snobbish looking, blond-haired pale man who looks like he has no personality whatsoever. I definitely know who I could have lived happily ever after with.

Maybe this says more about me than anything else I could say or do. Nevertheless its me being honest and I can’t change that. I mean, what’s wrong with being truthful anyway? In my novel, I am working with characters who throughout go on a journey whereby the truth is constantly smacked in their faces. To the point that by the end, they either have to embrace it, or attempt to bury it deeper than they ever had before. This got me thinking about some of the things that happen in my life. I like to think that I am fully aware of all that I am, my personality, my humour, everything. I’d like to think that no-one could hurt me with words – because I have the confidence to live within myself and know exactly what my strengths and weaknesses are. One character called Demetrius, is fully aware of his “self” but he has worked all his life to try to hide them. Blissfully living in self-imposed ignorance. To the point that when someone grabs a metaphorical mirror to his face he works to smash it to smithereens and destroy everyone around him with it. Another character Georgina, on the other hand – is faced with her truth and it gives her comfort. Solace. Because finally she doesn’t have to pretend anymore – someone else, it could be anybody, has finally taken the time to recognise her for what she is…beyond the mask. They didn’t shy away from it. Georgina, has found her peace and that’s probably something that we all strive for.

Writing these chapters has given me comfort in fact because it has highlighted something in me that I am grateful for. My family is the most supportive that I could ever want – considering everything that has ever been. They are my mirrors, they hold up everything to me; there are no masks when I am with them and I am the most happy that I have ever been. I am extremely lucky to have my family, these mirror holders, who I look up to. In addition to this, four years ago I met someone who has become my best friend. I have met someone who has become family, she throws in to our little friendship pot equal amounts to what I do. We laugh with and at each other, support and criticise (there’s nothing like a bit of banter, she called me a knob once), we have cried together and then slapped each other out of it. She has been one of the best gifts that I have received in life and I have changed because of her. And this is something that makes me different to Demetrius and Georgina and that is something that I am grateful for. Four years ago I allowed myself to open the window and in flew my Honeybee.

Day One – The Pipe

pipeI have never smoked in my life but my parents, as a gift, have bought me a pipe. A really nice, smooth dark wood pipe. I’ll never use it for its purpose but that’s not the point. It shall be used, for my purpose. A very dear friend of mine bought me a pipe last year. A plastic toy one to fill a need that I had somehow created. Whilst joking around one day I felt that in order to emphasize my point, I needed some kind of hand held device. This item would not only push my point home, but also would ensure that my listeners would listen. Therefore, I decided that the only item I could think of which would give me this authoritative, distinguished air would be a pipe. Not really taking it seriously, and also due to a distinct lack of funds, I mimed the actions of holding a pipe for the following six months (did I tell you I was a competent method actor?), this then progressed onto fashioning a makeshift one out of a biro and a bulldog clip until one day. One glorious day my best friend came to see me with a present in her hand. Now that I had had this one for some time, my parents decided to mark the occasion of me completing my novel by presenting me with my very own bona fide pipe.

I’ve been working on my novel now for I’d say about four years on and off. In that time, its completely changed in terms of narrative and storyline but today marks Day One of that process. Do you know why? Well, because simply put until you start actually editing the draft you have in your hand (or on your computer) you haven’t finished anything. You haven’t made one single decision that will ultimately at least resemble the final product. Don’t get me wrong, its doubtful that any pre-edited work will take any final forms either; but this isn’t my first draft…..this is my fifth. I can safely say, hell I’ll brag about it gladly, that the cuts or additions I make now are more likely to actually stay cut, or stay in the final manuscript. So, as this is the first time I can say that – today is Day One….today is the day that I (metaphorically speaking, of course) smoke the pipe.