Inspirational speakers, spiritual people and religious types encourage us to ‘just turn up’. ‘If you have faith in God’, they would say, ‘He will run towards you’. For years I have believed these statements. Turned up. So I do again today, in my writing and in the extra round of thigh shaking squats I performed whilst quietly muttering swear-words in this mornings Zumba class.
My recent pre-occupation with..actually let me digress for a moment if you will…the word preoccupation is bothering me..pre means before, so it means before I was occupied with? Have I used a word all my life to now find I didn’t acutally know what it meant?(not the first time)…..I Googled it. I never knew it the meant the thoughts that take up all your time and space. What about if my fingers are connected too? An action connected to it with calories burned? I guess I have been occupied with cooking. The net effect being raw and parched hands, a perpetually unkempt kitchen, and scribblings of measurements written on used envelopes because I cannot take my attention away for a minute to walk 4.5 steps to my orange recipe notebook which is sitting in my living room…lounge..what are people calling it these days? My freezer is full of gingerbread men and other comestible test cases. Onion bread which is so good I’ve taken to eating it with everything…even orange jam. At dinner I’m planning breakfast and at breakfast I am planning lunch. My dinners are often now cold when I finally get around to eating them. It takes time to get the angle right or to find a coloured plate I’ve not used before to ‘dress’ the food shoot. My little camera has sticky marks near the lens from hummus and a macro shot too close to my subject.
My evenings…….if not spent posting my dinners for all to see, or sitting on the interweb browsing stores to find black salt or measuring cups in the shape of Russian dolls……… are spent sitting in my one and only chair, cushion on lap, laptop on cushion, and Twittering or Tweeting, or whatever it is called. This is all boosted and encouraged by the top-trump high score of 251 visits to my food blog in one day. ONE day. Now to some this may be a paltry number but to me it was my Julia Childs, my Martha Stewart or Jamie Oliver moment. Actual people, who I’d never met, from the far-flung corners of the globe..Japan, Poland, Russia and the Americas…were acutally interested in my black bean burger recipe or the cakes I had scoffed in venues around London. I’d hit the big time! I know, I probably am not up there with Oprah, Cheryl Cole or the Dali Lama but, for me, I suddenly felt like I had a purpose. Conversely, when I pull up the statistics page for my memoir ramblings (those you are reading right now), here I see that the most searched for words or term is ‘corrugated’ and ‘cardboard’. It seems that my trip to that scientific/art museum in San Fransisco was not in vain. I imagine some dog food manufacturer is using my photo of brown concertinaed cardboard to demonstrate the thickness of board that he needs to pack and ship his tinned products, to some online packaging distributor who is not lucky or prepared enough to have a picture of his wares. Do you think that God intended me for this gratifying destiny when he batted away all those other hopeful sperm and allowed ME to boogie victoriously in the patiently waiting egg?….??
I have been doing other things too.
The BBC, have kindly been picking my name out of a dusty top hat to sit in the audience of all manner of things lately ,AND it’s all been delightfully free. All I have to do is clutch my ticket and stand in a queue outside Broadcasting House for an hour or so and then, once inside, sit back, enjoy, and add to the laughter can. I’ve seen an Elvis impersonator, with an IQ of three figures, answer questions about velocity and explain to the audience the workings of a jet engine, laughed myself hoarse as well-known comedians tell jokes about rude, posh ladies on trains and gently heckle a pubescent boy in the front row. I managed to (briefly) retain very important political and scientific information delivered by a NASA scientist and a well-known Professor (who is cute (married!), supremely clued up about the Large Hadron Collider AND who once famously sang in a pop band, ‘things can only get better’), about space exploration and the use of a moon landing to ‘boost morale’ among weary subjects of our earthly realm.
Since I last posted I’ve clocked up approximately 42 walking miles whilst mentally drawing up outlines of novels I could write, only to then discard them as I settle back into my comfort zone of writing shopping lists and inventing new ways with hummus in the glorious movie theatre of my mind. All this, whilst I try not to be terribly English and count on my fingers the number of days it has been since the sun was acting the extrovert and I didn’t have a mouthful of wind-blown hair and to be forced to feel my way carefully along the street (because the rest of my hair is sticking to my eyeballs and making it a challenge to navigate my way).
I wonder where this is all headed…this age of online blogs about Jennifer’s legendary Pavlova, The Objectives of Baseball and the Line Score, or photos of churches in rural Uganda. It’s all happening so quickly….this Big Bang of the world-wide web and technology exploding out from its core…and I am caught up in it, feeling like it is all so terribly important and that at last I’ve found my voice. And then I sit there and think, in the absence of anything else to do, what I berk I am to be sucked in more swiftly than a gluten-free crumb into a hungry Dyson vacuum cleaner. But, I confess, I am addicted. Addicted to the idea that my writing might actually mean something, that, maybe, if I keep on practising…keep digging, my shovel will hit a box of priceless treasure.
This week, two quite different characters have made me sit up and think. One is Lady Gaga..I know not the most obvious choice but I saw her in an interview for the first time and she’s actually quite real and has a kindly heart (and blue hair). The other (this is not in order of importance) is a guy called Nick who is an inspiration. His website…take a look. http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/ INCREDIBLE!
I was going to add a third…the dancing little biddy dog…but you’ve probably already seen it!
Seriously, who or what has influenced you this week?