A Message to An Older Me

Since National Poetry Day 2016 is just around the corner (6th October) here is a poem I wrote in relation to this years theme of Messages.

A Message to An Older Me

You must have frost between your joints now,
you find that the days run like clockwork and it’s
left a t ic k i n g insanity
teasing the mines in your head
your hands are tired, but so is everyone else
it’s not romantic anymore and it’s a bore to talk about
the glass is seldom lonely and the morning turns grey
with the soft sweet murmur of last night’s liquor

it’s been years
so I guess the kids can go a week without calling
now that they’re twenty-two
they’re out changing a world you finally thought you knew
you believed me once, or have you forgotten?
it’s me, don’t you see?
it’s me – I’m you
and you should listen, old lady, you should listen
I am young
a lot younger than you

I see an ageless dance in the sweet silver of today
in the space between the leaves
there is always a lucky piece of blue
now tip your chin up towards a shredded sky and wave
to a dawn of immortal flimsy gold
and never doubt
we are always part of The Movement
the world is loud
the world is old but life is young
and the best of times don’t leave the stage until the play is done

This is an original poem by Vivien Lin, if you wish to share or publish it elsewhere, please make me aware of this by emailing me for consent. 

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FOR ALL TIME: SHORT STORY

There were only four rooms on the sixth floor of the Clearview Hotel. Phillip Eastwood had designed the level before five too many shots of tequila on his twenty-sixth birthday killed him. They’d built the floor the way he’d drawn it as a memorial and named the four rooms after his four Siberian cats, because he had no children or distinctive achievements, apart from dying in a hurricane of neon signs and his own vomit.

Allister Web, more commonly known as The Spider, occupied The Rusty Suite, which was located to the left of The Shrimps Suite, which, very fittingly, housed Mrs P. Haddock. On the opposite side of the corridor, there resided two people who had spoken just once and then never conferred again.

From the moment he saw Gregory Valentine, Nate Silverman could not shake the feeling that, even on a different coast, he still shared a wall with his father.

This was what he thought of on his last day at the hotel, with his eyes fixed on a grey thread of dust by his lampshade and his forehead pulled back into an absentminded frown, Nate’s thoughts streaked through eight states, all the way back home.

He stood, poised outside his front door with one fist raised to knock, like he expected someone to answer. Noiselessly, he turned the brass knob, stepped in, and stopped.

‘Happy birthday, Nate,’ Mr Silverman bellowed from his dining room, two months after his son’s nineteenth birthday.

Nate eyed the gargantuan store brought cake that had been clumsily hacked into crumbling squares. A whole lemon had found its way into the lemonade jug, bobbing and struggling to stay afloat, drowning in a sickly sweet froth. The pearl of light in the top right corner of his father’s eyes made him look like a madman.

Nate let his bag drop to the floor with a thud as his father waited for his reaction, the hand that still held the cake knife trembling with anticipation. Nate sat down, one hand gripping the table leg and the other half stretched out towards the front door, grasping at the lingering strands of reality that licked his fingertips until they stung.

He thought he should visit them, the others, and bid them farewell. He’d see to Mrs Haddock first, she talked like tomorrow would steal her vocal chords, regardless of who was listening. Nate could hear her clarion voice now; it made the wall that faced her room hum like an electric fence.

‘Nate?’ Mrs Haddock’s voice blared out like a siren. Inches away from her door, Nate winced.

‘Yeah, it’s me.’

‘Well come on in, I’ve been waiting for you,’ Mrs Haddock rambled on as Nate let himself in ‘you know I can’t get far with my knees, else I’d walk right on over to your room and murder you for not visiting me.’

‘Well, yes I’m sorry,’ Nate said ‘but, you see, I’ve got this condition with my knees too, they pop right out of their sockets whenever I take a step and then swell up like balloons, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve had to adjust these bad boys coming across the corridor just now.’

Mrs Haddock let a smile breach her stern expression as Nate sat on the edge of her bed and knocked his knees together repeatedly.

‘Oh, you are terrible,’ she swiped at him, aiming for his leg, but brushing his shoulder instead.

Mrs Haddock was old, Nate knew that the first time they spoke, but she had not a single strand of grey hair or age spot. Her lips, coloured scarlet each day, still had some kind of youthful fullness to them and the nape of her neck remained smooth as glass.

She barely looked a day past thirty, but had he asked her who currently resided in the White House, she would have said Wilson. It was only her legs that betrayed her, they could barely keep her upright and Nate knew they had sentenced her to several life times in this suite

‘I can’t stay long,’ Nate said, holding tightly onto the hand that rested on his leg, but being careful not to grip tightly, even though he wanted to.

‘Will you come over here and talk to me again tomorrow?’ Mrs Haddock inquired as Nate began to leave, he paused and honesty stole tact from him.

‘No, I don’t think I will.’

Fingering her pearls, Mrs Penny Haddock smiled like a ten-tonne truck had not stolen her dancing legs over a lifetime ago.

‘I’d hoped you’d say that.’

It happened again the next day, and the next and the next. Nate would come home to a bizarre birthday welcome; sometimes Mr Silverman would even go as far as to tie half inflated balloons to the front fence, which Nate untied hastily as soon as he got home, in case the neighbours saw.

Each day, before he left the house, Nate reminded his father that today was just a normal day, not a celebration, not a special occasion, but each day he would forget again. According to Mr Silverman, Nate was thirty-nine years old when he was made redundant for arguing with his boss about his own name.

By the time his son was middle aged, Nate had stopped trying to remind him and locked the front door each morning instead.

Nate leant against The Spider’s door for a few moments after leaving Mrs Haddock to the sound of her own voice. He felt his perspective shrinking; his world was a peach stone, with only a fissure between Oregon and New York. The walls pinched and collapsed inwards like crumpled napkins, but this time, he refused to follow their example.

‘Nathan Eldred Silverman, I can hear you thinking from all the way over here.’ The Spider’s voice came from the other side of the door, Nate’s middle name was actually Caleb, but The Spider really didn’t care. He pushed open the door to the Rusty Suite and stepped in.

Since arriving, The Spider had terraformed the once immaculate hotel room into an alien landscape. Splintered plastic littered the torn carpet and a drum-kit slumped against the back wall like a beggar, a gold curtain tassel draped on the crash cymbal.

‘So you’re out of here.’ The Spider scratched a hangman stick figure into his guitar lacquer and blew off the residue before leaning back to observe his handy work.

‘I just came by to say bye,’ Nate leant against the wall tentatively; the room seemed to emanate the same restless energy that The Spider did. ‘And, uh, maybe I’ll see you soon, on the cover of Rolling Stone or something.’ Allister scoffed and flicked a lime green pick across the room with a deft hand.

‘Oh please, that ship sailed before you were born,’ Nate stopped himself from pointing out that The Spider was barely twenty. His brain was so vast that it would take you fifty lifetimes to explore it, but you didn’t bother, because his unfathomable arrogance made him unlikable even to his own mother.

‘Sometimes I think about calling home,’ a silence followed as Nate tried to conjure a response to Allister’s unexpected confession. He lay on the rumpled covers, insolent green eyes darting across the ceiling; the arm that hung off the side facing Nate was flecked with old track marks.

‘Where’s home?’

‘Minnesota.’

Nate turned this new information around in his head, ‘I’m sure Minnesota misses you.’

‘I’m sure you’re wrong,’ Allister snickered as he said it and finally turned to face him. ‘I’m also pretty sure you want to bludgeon me alive, so you better get going,’

Nate didn’t expect him to cry when he told him, but he did, mercury tears pooled in his eyes and dripped off his chin like a broken faucet.

‘I can’t look after you here,’ Nate paced around the kitchen table, exasperated. ‘I mean look at you, dad, just look.’ He jerked open the fridge to reveal the ludicrous amount of kiwi fruit that occupied it and slammed it shut again. ‘What are you doing?’

With his head bowed and tears dripping steadily onto the table cloth, Mr Silverman said nothing
.

‘Look, I’m sorry,’ Nate ran an eye over the wilted sandwiches and week old bowl of trifle that took pride place in the centre of the dining table ‘it’s for the best, this way I know that you’re not going to be in danger when I’m not around.’

‘Okay.’

Nate didn’t say goodbye to Gregory Valentine in the end, he opened the old man’s door and saw him ironing the same two creases out of the back of a blazer over and over again, his arthritic fingers fumbling the iron. It took ten minutes before Valentine noticed Nate stood watching him.

‘What it is?’ Mr Valentine eyed Nate with suspicion, he had these washed out blue eyes that used to be bright, but had now faded like the rest of him. Decades of neat lawns and clean gutters, but no one to share them with had gouged cavernous creases into his face. Gregory was old enough to be Mr Silverman’s father, but the familiarity left Nate winded.

‘Nothing, Mr Valentine, I’m sorry to disturb you.’

Mr Silverman died nine months after checking into the local nursing home, by then his son had disappeared.

New York had never looked so full, the street was heaving with people as Nate stepped out of the hotel lobby, even though it was nearing midnight.

‘Hey kid, are you okay?’ a street vendor tapped Nate on the shoulder and looked up at the Clearview Hotel.

‘I’m fine.’

‘They’ve been meaning to knock this place down for decades, you know,’ the street vendor gestured towards the hotel.

‘Knock it down?’

‘Yeah, it’s been abandoned since like the 1920s, but no one’s got around to it for some reason.’

‘But people still live there,’ the street vendor fixed him with an incredulous expression.

‘Are you kidding me, the windows are smashed and all, the place is a goddamn ruin.’

‘But it’s-‘Nate stopped himself and stepped back onto the pavement ‘right, uh, thanks.’

A few streets down, Nate turned back to spot the Clearview Hotel’s neon sign, so red that it seemed to scald the indigo sky.

‘Excuse me, sir,’ Nate approached a police officer stood outside Mary Goldberg’s Flowers ‘I’m looking for a place called Clearview Hotel, could you tell me if I’m anywhere near?’

‘It’s just a few blocks down, are you a photographer or something?’

‘Yeah, yeah I am, how’d you know?’ Nate lied.

‘I’m always having you guys asking me about that old place, it’s the most photographed abandoned building in the city, you know.’

‘No I didn’t.’

Nate turned back to face the Clearview Hotel and thought he could hear The Spider wailing on his drums, he thought of how the hotel, in all its forty story splendor, would never be big enough to contain Allister Web. Nor could it banish Penny Haddock, who still dreamt rosy dreams about dancing on Ninth Avenue, from his memory.

He looked around him and wondered who else knew the Clearview Hotel as an active establishment, because he couldn’t be the only one who made it out.

He felt brand new, no longer hiding in plain sight, he was new. In this sleepless city, that Mrs Haddock had known as a world of speak easies and jazz, where Allister Web had injected oblivion into his bloodstream, Nate could so easily have felt lost, but he wasn’t. He wanted to know what was playing in the theatre, he wanted to visit a cocktail bar and meet a smiling stranger, to leave the room.

In the warm glow of New York’s nocturnal lights, Nate came to the realisation that all the days, even the bad ones, had been special occasions, and that his father had it right all along.

By Vivien Lin
2016

A winning entry of the Stratford upon Avon Literary Festival Poetry and Short Story Competition 2016.

(Entry was included in winning anthology, however was not awarded the category prize.)

http://www.stratfordliteraryfestival.co.uk/article/creative-writing-competition-2016

POEM OF THE DAY: MORNING – FRANK O’HARA

Morning

I’ve got to tell you
how I love you always
I think of it on grey
mornings with death

in my mouth the tea
is never hot enough
then and the cigarette
dry the maroon robe

chills me I need you
and look out the window
at the noiseless snow

At night on the dock
the buses glow like
clouds and I am lonely
thinking of flutes

I miss you always
when I go to the beach
the sand is wet with
tears that seem mine

although I never weep
and hold you in my
heart with a very real
humor you’d be proud of

the parking lot is
crowded and I stand
rattling my keys the car
is empty as a bicycle

what are you doing now
where did you eat your
lunch and were there
lots of anchovies it

is difficult to think
of you without me in
the sentence you depress
me when you are alone

Last night the stars
were numerous and today
snow is their calling
card I’ll not be cordial

there is nothing that
distracts me music is
only a crossword puzzle
do you know how it is

when you are the only
passenger if there is a
place further from me
I beg you do not go

POEM OF THE DAY: WALT WHITMAN- O’ Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills; 10
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths-for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Walt Whitman

POEM OF THE DAY: E.E CUMMINGS- You Are Tired (I Think)

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart

While the moon comes out of the sea

 

e.e cummings .

RAILWAY CITIES – short story by VL

This train is bound for London, an uninspiring, soulless city, where the sun drags itself along the crumbling pavement in a top hat and gloves. What people are is where they are. I must be London through and through. My lungs are infiltrated with smog. I am circling, forever circling, myself.

‘Why don’t you leave, then?’ Douglas had asked me some time ago now.

I can’t remember what I replied with, but it must have been good because he shut up right away. I’m a magnificent deflector; I guess I have London to thank for that. In case you’re wondering, old Doug’s shovelling earth and herding sheep now, not because he got demoted or anything, but because he left when he wanted to. His stupid corporate mugs are still in our apartment, taking up space where mine should be.

I come up out of the ground just as a lady passes by, she is forty, fifty, maybe? It gets hard to tell after thirty-five and most people will lie if you ask them. Anyway, she looks like a splendid story, with enough creases and ironed out edges to be a long and meaty one too, but the swarming horde smuggles her away before I catch up with her. I would have treated her real nice too, been a proper gentleman and taken her back to a time when scotch was classy and dancing was friendly, nothing more.

The steakhouse I passed two minutes ago is coming up again, and the rain washed awning is gone this time around. What could it take to get it back? Would a twenty do the job, sir? Fifty? I’m a vegetarian, but even an old steakhouse deserves to stay dry, don’t you think?

Things are always disappearing in this city, purses, cheques, people, and no one seems to know or care where they go, they just become sucked into this invisible vortex. If I wasn’t currently occupied with this terrific job, I would do it, I really would. I would stick on a deer-stalker and find a Watson to help me and hunt down the lost pieces of London.

There was a man who used to scowl at me from the coffee house doorway, and I’d kill to have him back too. Which is quite ironic, don’t you think? My morning latte and muffin would have done the job. There was no need for homicide back then. We’re suckers for making life harder for ourselves, we really are.

This train is bound for Paris, where my sixteen-year-old heart lies. My silhouette has faded into the seat of this carriage, but people stopped noticing years ago. Let me tell you something about Paris. Doug would have hated it, hated it with all his muddy heart.

But to me, Paris was the dream, the city of the Great Manifesto, with its eternal firefly lights and the scent of decency, on its glitter dusted pavements one could never truly die. I was going to speak French like a real Frenchman and live in an apartment near the Champs Elysees with a coffee machine. I had plans to marry a Marie or Jaquez with a bob.

Paris was flames and dancers and evening walks on the promenade, a dream for shallow hearts.

This train is bound for Italy. I’m sat here on the cold metal bench on the platform, gulping down scalding coffee from a cup that feels like sawdust, and trying to stay awake. I was saving Italy for when I got tired, tired of swirling crowds and hotdogs, for when I was old and travelled and smiling.

I would find some faded little diner and know the owner by his first name. I’d tell locals about the time I ran a circus in Brazil and the phantom girl who kissed me at the New York cocktail bar I liked at twenty-two. I would eat olives, garlic and sun-dried vegetables until I was a hundred-and-two then die in a striped deck chair, drenched in sun and ready for the moon.

This train feels as if it’s been delayed for light years. You must remind me to file a complaint.

 

RAILWAY CITIES BY VIVIEN LIN

QUOTES OF THE DAY – SYLVIA PLATH EDITION

‘What did my hands do before they held you?’

– SYLVIA PLATH

‘And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.’

– SYLVIA PLATH

‘Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.’

– SYLVIA PLATH

‘Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.’

– SYLVIA PLATH

‘I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.’

– SYLVIA PLATH

‘I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.’

– SYLVIA PLATH

‘Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.’

– SYLVIA PLATH

‘How frail the human heart must be – a mirrored pool of thought.’

– SYLVIA PLATH

QUOTE OF THE DAY: ERNEST HEMINGWAY

‘All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.’

– ERNEST HEMINGWAY

THOUGHTS FROM A TRAIN

9:46AM

For a Quiet Carriage there is a surprising numbered of yobs behind me, chattering and screeching away like a family of chimps. From what I can gather, the guy behind me (we shall call him Gareth) is a budding actor who is on his way to an audition in London. His clarion voice is now informing me that, not only had he played a dingo, but he has also been offered a position at the company of a successful business person, which he feels ‘positive, positive, positive’ about. Unfortunately, it seems that he is prohibited to give away any details about his shiny new job.

Here are 3 things I can safely tell you about Gareth:

  1. He lives alone and has great conversations with himself.
  2. He talks to strangers on trains.
  3. He is a grade A bullshitter.

Anyway, nevermind him, let’s discuss the free Wi-Fi on this train that doesn’t actually work – actually, that’s boring and you didn’t come here for boring, so I’ll tell you all about train stations instead.

I’m joking, don’t worry.

Here’s a couple in front of me now (we shall call them Cameron and Susan – Sameron) and they just shared a croissant, which was cute while it lasted, but now they’re both staring at the empty wrapper with their hands on their knees- apparently catatonic. I have a feeling that this is their first date and Cameron’s mum didn’t coach him past the croissant.

10:18AM

Gareth is still talking. It seems that he has found a buddy to talk football with (we shall call him Ron,) Ron’s currently raving about Aston Villa and Gareth is listing doughnut preferences. The telecom just advertised the tuck shop in carriage A – I think Sameron should invest in a family sized bag of Doritos, I’m having serious concerns about their lack of movement.

10:27AM

I’ve just moved places and now have a spiffing football commentary being fed into my left ear. Ron has found a new friend, who swears an awful lot (we shall call him Bucky.) Bucky’s Adidas trainers have crept dangerously close to my leg.

I think he knows I’m writing about him.

10:36AM

There’s a woman at my 11 o’clock who is drinking (what I assume is coffee, but since I can’t see it, it could be straight vodka for all I know) from a cup with a moustached man on it. I shall tell her telepathically how cool it is.

Bucky’s just complained about how idiotic some football fans can be and how much he hates flat lemonade. Now he’s opened two large cans of larger at the same time to prove his point.

Fun fact: Bucky is afraid of tunnels.

Ron’s just announced his phobia of flying and that he shits himself every time and doesn’t leave his seat.

I hope he wears a nappy.

11:00AM

Sameron update: still catatonic.

Apparently, the thing I’ve nudged with my foot for the entire journey is Ron’s right foot.

Fun fact: according to Bucky, he is okay with the Tube, as he is only scared when he goes through dark tunnels at ‘top speed.’

An old man has moved to the seat on my left (let’s call him Roger) with a can of Stella Artois on his table. I originally thought he was doing origami but, as it turns out, he’s hand rolling an impressive collected of cigarettes.

Origami is healthier, kids.

11:05AM

I’ve discovered that the secret to walking down a turbulent train is to step very rapidly and latch onto heads with a claw like grip.

Fun fact: Ron buys his jeans from the women’s section of Topshop.

Gareth has quieted down, I think he found something to eat. Susan has resorted to eating chunks of her Aloe Vera lip balm and Roger is still rolling cigarettes – maybe he’s entering a competition.

11:30AM

The train has arrived at London Euston and Gareth just left.

I shall miss him.

Bucky’s real name turns out to be Ross, but he’ll always be Bucky to me. He complained noisily about his flat larger and left too.

Fun fact: if you listen closely, you’ll discover that everybody is slightly nuts.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE FART OF: ?/09/07

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
September something 2007.

I doubt you remember, but this happened to be a rather significant day for me, ’twas the day I started 3rd grade at a new school, with new peers and new teachers. All of them yet untouched by my existence. I was determined to blown them away with my rosy character and make a lasting impression on their lives.

My seven-year-old self had been both anxious and silently elated all morning, whilst you were still nestled in my intestines, seemingly dormant.

During assembly, the headmistress launched into a spiel about leaves in the spring and I felt you poke at my innards, demanding my attention. Silently, I commanded you to sit and wait nicely like a polite fart, but you jabbed at me rebelliously and sneered at my reaction.

In hindsight, I must admit that you put up quite a fight, I lasted all of two minutes before you came shooting out of me like a party popper, shedding your misunderstood cheer all around where I was seated.

I wonder if you saw the way a circle immediately formed around me, how the other kids pulled exaggerated faces of disgust and pinched their noses, as if I were a field of potently smelling manure, and the way the teachers sniggered inconspicuously under their hands, coughing to cover it up.
You evoked quite a reaction you.

Not only did you publicly humiliate me- no, that I could have forgiven in time- but your carelessness resulted in my telling of a lie.

‘It was her!’ I jerked an accusing finger towards the poor girl to my right, she gasped indignantly and shook her head.

‘It was!’ I screeched ‘it wasn’t me, it was her!’  

The girl in front of me whipped around and sneered.

‘Don’t be stupid,‘ she said ‘Jasmine doesn’t fart, you liar.’ 

And I’ll stop there, as I don’t feel like recounting the next ten minutes where I sat in my circle of shame and waited for ‘LOSER’ to come out of the label printer.

Now, I didn’t write this letter to blame you for anything, I think you’re fully aware of what you did. I also realise that the I owe you an apology. I should not have been ashamed to admit that I was responsible for you and I am sorry for how I made you feel.

You must be sick of being disapproved of every time you show yourself, sick of being the punch line to an innumerable amount of jokes.

Ever since the very first recorded joke in 1900 BC:

“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”

You have been degraded and laughed at by small children and adults alike.
It’s a hard life.
I’d like you to know that you have nothing to be ashamed of.

You are just as important as any other bodily function. You are a unique blend of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon and Methane and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
You are important and at least one human knows that.

Your friend,

Viv

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Bye for now, I’ll see you in the next blog post

Viv 😉

THANKS FOR HAVING ME, I’LL SEE YOU AT THE HEARING

I’m awfully sorry about your quiche matted carpet and Uncle Jim’s bruised belly and I know I probably should have waited for her to blow out the candles before eating. Please accept my heartfelt condolences about Bubbles too, he had a good run – are you sure I can’t help you extract him from the radiator?

On a big standard day, my social incompetence and I manage to co-exist swimmingly. Dinner parties, however, are a whole new kettle of fish. They provide the ultimate platform for public humiliation, larger and more well lit than Times Square on New Years Eve.

My very first experience of a dinner party was really more of a tea party. I was around 8 years old and had been invited to a house belonging to a friend of the vicar, along with some other kids from Sunday school, for sandwiches and squash.

So there I was, seated on the floor with a cup of strong blackcurrant squash, sipping from my cup as if it were a hi ball of bourbon and I a jaded war veteran, wise and windswept. The squash was far more concentrated than my mum ever allowed for me to drink and a deep, royal purple.

After setting my cup down, I engaged in the re-telling of old war stories with the ex-marine to my right and showed him my medals. Feeling rather parched from all my tale telling, I reached for my hi ball to find that it’d emptied its entire purple contents across the thick ivory carpet.

As I goggled at the bruise that had bloomed, the cup rolled a few inches to the right, mocking me.

‘Too busy to pay attention to me, huh? Look where that got you, jaded veteran my ass. ‘

Like any other normal person, I leapt up and apologised to the host for my clumsy mistake.

Is what I should have done. 

Instead, I backhanded the sneering cup under the sofa and shifted myself over the squash drenched carpet. Now if I could just sit there until the house became derelict, I would be fine. 

‘They’re going to report you to the police,’ The cup hissed from underneath the sofa ‘or even worse, call your mother.’

I continued to press my buttocks into the stain and felt the dampness begin to soak into my jeans and pass through my skin. I wondered what Ribena would do to me if it entered my bloodstream.

‘How about you tell them that you’ve acquired an illness that results in you spontaneously pissing purple, berry scented fluid?’  The cup suggested. After a few moments of careful consideration, I hissed back:

‘That’s stupid, they’d get worried and check with my mother. Now shut up and be a cup.’ 

A few Emerils later, people began to ascend from their seats and file out of the room. Utterly mortified, I remained where I was, buttcheeks clenching in fear and my face contorted with horror. To our superviser, I must have looked severely constipated, as she urgently attempted to usher me out.

I have to tie my laces, you go first,’ in my nervous state, my voice came out as a strained whisper and I barely noticed her glance at my Velcro straps before she left, clearly convinced that the child at her feet was seconds away from producing a pair of incense sticks to perform a demonic ritual with.

With the place now blissfully empty, my purple ass leapt up and slipped out of the house gleefully scot free.

I realise now, of course, what an asshole move that was and if the host of that tea party is reading this – I’m sorry and hit me up if you want to press charges.

But as you can see, dinner parties and I didn’t exactly get off on the right foot and our relationship was only destined to worsen.

In my opinion, the most dreadful type of dinner party is where the food is laid out buffet style and you get to serve yourself on a paper plate. Before you get the wrong impression, let me just mention now that I would usually be thrilled at the prospect of unlimited shrimp toast, but with so many watchful stares following you around whilst you pile your plate with a socially unacceptable amount of food and infinite opportunities for catastrophe, shrimp toast begins to look less appealing.

I mean, one minute I could be sprinkling my salmon with pepper and the next, have the host SCREAMING what the hell I was doing to her grandma. 

Don’t even get me started on the paper plates, flimsy flimsy things that bend all which ways whilst you attempt to pile obscene amounts of food onto it. You end up having to perform some sort of frenzied waltz, tripping over a pair of Crocs and nearly splitting your head open on Uncle Jim’s beer belly, to get to your seat.

Once seated, you discover that it is near impossible to spear anything with your fork without the plate sinking into the crevice between your knees. A few bites later and it ends up looking like you’re trying to engulf your meal with your thighs.

And finally, I doubt I have to alert you to the fact that you’re spending an ENTIRE night in someone else’s house, filled with THEIR PRIZED POSSESIONS, children and idiotic goldfish that leaps behind the radiator when you tap the glass.

So by the time they kick you out onto the front porch with a pending restraining order, not only have you used their deceased relative as seasoning, but also made their little brats cry, ruined their upholstery, and slaughtered their dear pet.

You should have just stayed in with pizza and Netflix.

Comment below any stories you have of eventful dinner parties and please Like, Follow and Share if you enjoyed this post.

EMAIL ME with any questions or queries.
Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the next blog post.

Viv 😉

THE CREATION OF SOMETHING

Hello there and welcome to my very first blog post, may this be the commencement of a long string of entertaining, if not slightly useless, articles that will garnish you day like that unnecessary sliver of orange that clings to your margarita glass- pretty, bright and good for your health.
So I don’t know about you, but the summer vacation bears a certain amount of expectation for self-improvement for me, and with that comes stress- barrels of it. Waking up each morning is like having a gallon of cold milk forced up your nostrils. The prospect of filling a blissful day of Nothing with Something Productive seems like an impossible task. The robustness of my self-motivation resembles that of an egg shell- if I’m peckish, it’ll most likely crack and end up amongst tea leaves and mouldy lemons.

I am currently one week into my seven week stretch of Nothing and so far, I have consumed thrice my body weight in cereal and read two chapters of The Great Gatsby, thus realising that Buchanan is pronounced boo-can-un and not buck-a-nun, which sounds suspiciously like a wild party game.

This afternoon, after polishing off my third helping of Country Crisp, my eggs felt reasonably un cracked  and I finally felt the deep rumble of inspiration that lead me to this post – on the other hand it may have been indigestion. Either way, I was doing Something, I was creating Something, and it felt good.

So to my fellow noodles, do not despair, these event-less times of dangerous Nothing call for creative measures. If you feel your eggs cracking, create the most supreme sandwich the world will never see and share a full bellied laugh with the closest person to your right, take up the glockenspiel, dress the neighbour’s cat, do anything and have it be enough.