Love this writer. Same autobiographer as before, but different book.
i. 'She couldn’t quite reach the corners of the glass and was stretching on tiptoe across the dressing-table when Geoffrey put his arm round her shoulders. It wasn’t an accident; he was breathing too hard. She was about to shrug him away when she thought of Meredith.. Rehearsing with Geoffrey would make it easier when the time came for Meredith to claim her. Penetration, from she had gathered from library books, was inescapably painful unless one had played a lot of tennis or ridden stallions, and she hadn’t done either…
She began to stroke Geoffrey’s harsh hair. It was a womanly gesture witnessed often enough on the screen at the cinema. She supposed it was maternal rather than sensual; it was what women did for babies, to make them feel secure and stop their heads from wobbling. Squirming, she left off cradling Geoffrey’s head and bought her hand down to separate her stomach from his.
Something with the texture of an orange, peeled and sticky, bumped against her wrist. She couldn’t suppress crying out her distaste, any more than she could help envying Geoffrey his lack of inhibition. On occasions, when visiting the doctor for some minor ailment, she had even felt it immodest to stick out her tongue. She didn’t dare look down in case she glimpsed that object bobbing against her overall.
It’s no use, she thought. I’ll have to practise on someone else. It would be fearful enough to be up against something as dreadful as that belonging to a beloved, let alone attached to a person one despised.'
ii. 'There was something wrong with her hair; she had too much forehead and her neck wasn't long enough. When she wasn't concentrating her eyebrows shot up and her mouth fell open. But then, when she willed her face to remain immobile, her mind stopped working. When she had first met Meredith she had noticed how he controlled the muscles of his cheeks, even though his eyes showed curiosity. She suspected it was education and breeding that enabled him to keep his face and his feelings separate. Bunny, who plainly came from the same sort of background as herself, hadn't mastered the trick. Under pressure, .. he grimaced like a gargoyle.'
Feet going up, beer going down; time for a classic (one of the greats)
because tomorrow is another day.
Like I said
I’m still in awe of the last book I read (re previous blog). Well, she did win a prize for it.
At the end of the day, I’m just a sucker for eloquence and good spelling. When I think about it, this is what got me into English Literature in the first place.
You can say so much more with a wide...thingy (and yes, I've done some socio-linguistics at some point)
Check out the rest of my great website about working-class women's writing
Thanks for looking!
My latest contemporary autobiographer…
A fictionalized autobiography in which there are remnants of truth, I surmise. Full of lovely, descriptive writing. And it’s a bit weird, too (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
‘Freda’s eyes stayed open. A grey insect, sensitively quivering, dawdled on the slope of her thumb. Brenda knelt on the ground and touched the curled edges of hair turning brass-coloured in the rain. She couldn’t understand why Freda’s face, normally so pale and luminous, now burned with eternal anger, mottled and pitted with irregular patches of brown as if the leaves had stencilled rusty shadows on her cheeks. Only the nose was right, moulded in wax, the nostrils etched with pink. Where are you, she thought, where have you gone? She peered at her, trying to see what was different. It was as if somebody had disconnected the current, switched off the light…she’d gone out. Oh, she did feel sad then. Lonely. The terrible pious curve of her hands on the purple jumper – never again to jiggle her bosoms in the dark..’ (ie: Freda’s dead).
phew, goodness me! What an extremely tiring day, dear reader. I fear I do not have the energy to press the letters upon my computer keyboard.
Coming up: I do English Literature in evening class, and never look back. And, it looks like the bit in my autobiographical narrative where I go off to university is going to coincide with me starting the Creative Writing course in real time. Good timing eh...full circle, kinda Bildungsromanish...fodder for thought...this time I m writing the script (or am I?)
I remember buying my first computer. It was a Packard Bell with an Intel Celeron processor. I got it from PC World. The sales assistant told me that Celeron processors were the best, and the way forward. This meant nothing to me. I’m not technological. (I bought a mobile phone (fairly recently) and missed several calls because I didn’t know how to answer it. I had to do an internet search to find out. You have to ‘swipe’ the green phone icon – obviously.) I could have been technological; the opportunity was there, but it didn’t work out that way. By today’s standards, my first computer was big. The monitor resembled an old fashioned black and white TV. It stood on the square shaped processor case, into which you plugged the keyboard. The whole thing was huge and took up half a desk space. I had to buy a proper computer desk to put it on (well, I didn’t have to, but where else was I going to put it?) To get connected to the internet, there was a dial-up modem,, which plugged into your phone socket. At the time there were only a few service providers available. I signed up with AOL; it cost about £15.00 per month. I frequently had problems with my modem connection, and had to call up the AOL technician for advice. This was a lengthy process, and meant that I was usually on the phone for ages while the technician talked me step-by step into remedying the problem on my computer. This wasn't entirely unpleasant to be fair; some of the technicians were American, and quite charming. I went with AOL because I was a beginner, and they offered everything in one package: search engine, email, games and chat rooms etc.. I spent many a happy hour playing Slingo, and getting to know strangers from overseas. It was so exciting discovering the World Wide Web. Nowadays, people grow up with the internet, and take it for granted. We’ve also become more aware of it's darker side. The police are inundated with complaints from victims of cyber abuse, harassment, bullying, swindling and God knows what else. However, the advantages of the internet far outweigh it’s seedier drawbacks. It continues to be a great resource; a virtual place to disseminate ideas and opinions (in this land of free speech) and to connect with people from all walks of life.
Personal computers are a relatively recent phenomenon, aren’t they. Even my mum has one. Whenever I’m in need of a good laugh, I go round my mum’s to watch her try to do something on her netbook. She has unlimited wifi in her home; whereas mine cuts off around 15GB. Towards the end of the month I invariably run out of data (despite, in addition, utilizing the public library’s free resources), so mum sees more of me than usual. I could just park outside, but that would be rude. I told her that I was writing my autobiography, and tried to glean some information from her about my childhood and family history. I was specifically interested in anything she knew about the miners’ strike, thinking it must have had some impact, ours being a mining family and all. But she doesn’t remember much about it really, just that she had to make do with £9.00 a week housekeeping money, and found it hard to make ends meet. We weren’t a political family. I know family members voted Labour, but that was just because they always had – Labour stood for the working-class: the Tories were the enemy. Anyway, mum was too busy trying to feed two kids, and cope with my dad, to give a damn about politics. So there aren’t any romanticized stories of communist affiliations, trade union activism or even picketing at the pit. Like I said previously, I didn’t find out about communism until the ‘mouse’ suit incident in ‘A’ level psychology – I wasn’t lying. Because I’m writing my autobiography, mum thinks she’s going to find out about ‘my secret life’, as she calls it - you know the one that all offspring have when their parents aren’t looking. Well, it doesn’t quite work like that mum.
I started this section talking about computers because I first returned to education to do a computer course. It was at Coalville Technical College. It was around the time that computers were taking off big-time. Major advancements in programming and software – the revolutionary Microsoft Windows operating system, and the advent of the wondrous World Wide Web - made computing enjoyable and accessible to the general population. Computers were the future and I wanted a piece of the action. I went on a number of different courses from ‘How to build your own website’ to ‘How to build your own computer’. I also somehow ended up doing a BTEC qualification in Computer Studies, for a while. They seemed to be throwing funding at people, and I took the opportunity while it was there. However, I never finished the latter two courses. I endured the BTEC course for a couple of months. I largely blame my fall from grace on the teacher. I’m sure that teaching computer programming is difficult at the best of times; there is the problematic of how to make it interesting and enjoyable to a large class of students with differentiated abilities, but this particular teacher put me right off.
I’ve just started reading another contemporary working-class woman’s autobiography. (Oddly enough, I don’t particularly enjoy reading; it’s quite painful at times – depending on the book. But how the hell else are you gonna find out about stuff, and books just open up other worlds and possibilities.)
There seems to be common themes emerging in these working-class autobiographies of disadvantaged, poverty-stricken home backgrounds and dysfunctional families…
‘Monday night was bath night, because Monday was wash day. All the dirty washing went into Gran’s copper in the scullery; clouds of steam escaped every time she lifted the lid. The sodden clothes went through the mangle, then on to the lines in the back yard. In wet weather they had to be dried in the house, and that Robert Francis could not abide. He would wolf down his cold meat and bubble and squeak and escape to the flea-pit on the corner. He wasn’t keen on he pictures but where else? When the wash was done, the hot grey water was baled out of the copper and lugged up two flights of stairs, bucket by bucket. The bathroom was splendid, with double doors, a wide window bordered with stain glass, a bath with claw feet – but no plumbing. My grandfather liked the bathroom; he reared his canaries there…
…Caroline Emily brought me up as her own, though she was no longer young and there was still talk of a foundling hospital from time to time. Nobody saw much of the flighty one who had brought her trouble home. Aunt Carrie was good to me.’
In other news…
I love ‘The Waltons’. I’ve just (re) discovered them on early morning telly, and I’m finding it hard to drag myself away, which is rather inconvenient (I used to watch them when I was a young ‘un.) This is bad scheduling, in my opinion: who the hell watches ‘The Waltons’ at 8 am? (apart from me, but then I’m weird, as we’ve deduced). They should put it on in the evening, when there’s crap all else on.
John-Boy is writing his memoirs, and each episode is framed around this. As the older him, John-Boy narrates a short piece at the beginning of the programme, and then again at the end. In this respect, it's not a million miles away from my research interests So, I've found a good reason to keep watching. Deal. : D
….Doris Day; The Waltons…I’m not cool am I? …Fuck cool.
'oh...whip-crack-away, whip-crack away, whip-crack away!'
BTW FYI:. the person whose autobiography I was referring to in my last but one blog is Cilla Black:
To cut a long story short: