The fairies have moved in. In fact you could almost say they’ve taken over.
There haven’t been any sightings, as far as I know, but the evidence is clear. If you pay attention at ankle level, you’ll quickly find that they’ve installed doors all over town. Nobody noticed the building work – I suppose that, except for cats, small dogs and very small humans, we were all too focused above the shoulders to notice.
The papers, and even the telly I think, say that one family is responsible, and that they’ve been working in plain sight. But I don’t believe it. Two small children and two busy parents just wouldn’t have the manpower. No, there must be hordes of them, working overnight. Gateposts, tree stumps, postboxes, park benches and walls, all claimed as tiny living quarters.
I wonder why they’ve come?
I had a normal-sized life, albeit with a tendency to uncomfortable swellings, until recently. In the months after my memoir was published, though, it became tiny.
There’s only five-foot-one of me, so I’ve never taken up much space. Tiny is my natural state, and as I was past middle age with no notable features, I was perfectly placed to reduce this life to near-invisibility. In producing a book, I had written it large – or in 12-point Times New Roman at least – and ventured way beyond my comfort zone. It was exhilarating and I loved it, but playing it tiny felt much more me.
But life won’t be played like that, and comfort zones won’t contain it. The tiny life whispers increasingly, incessantly, that it too, deserves to be written. So here I am, at the keyboard, ready to begin again.
Today I am thinking about….blogging.
To be honest, as I embarked on this venture, I was mostly terrified.
To put out content at least once a week, trust it to be good enough, commit to crafting something, even this short, every seven days, seems like madness.
But I know that it will be good for me. That my writing should develop, and improve. That I might get valuable feedback to inform future work. That a place online for people to see what I’ve got, what I do, is necessary in these changed days. That I might stop using ‘that’ so much.
I need to trust the online community like I trust my own, to #benice. Soon, my debut novel will be available for anyone to read. It’s time to let my voice sing out a little. Breathe. Join in.
Cigarettes and Stars
When I’m smoking in the garden, I often look at the night sky. I draw on my cigarette and I gaze at the stars.
Smoking and stargazing give me so much pleasure, separately or together. The stars seem small, but of course, they’re not. The cigarette is relaxing and the stars make me dwell for a few minutes on their eternal beauty.
In those few moments, the ordinariness of life is suspended and I am left with thoughts of the distant past and the distant future. It’s a comforting, spiritual feeling.
I’d like to know more about the life of stars: how, where and when to find them, without becoming an astronomer, but I don’t suppose I ever will.
So I will content myself in the night garden with a cigarette and the wonder of it all.
Stella has a “tinylife”. Being the competitive older sister, mine is huge.
In 15 years, I’ve lived in Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Denmark. Huge cultural differences: the giant challenge of uprooting and restarting. Each time, appreciating tiny acts… the stranger’s offer of help, the smile on the street.
My spread of friends is huge: they circle the globe and I have ambitious plans to visit. For now, I simply share their Facebook lives, enjoying the tiny Like which says “we are on different continents now but I still care about you”.
Summers typically involve a huge UK trip: we search out tinyness, relishing the glorious sameness of family homes and traditions.
Every year offers huge challenges, tiny triumphs. Every day is spent hoping to make a huge difference through tiny actions.
My “huge” versus Stella’s “tiny”? Not so different after all.
Today I have been thinking about…screaming.
There are days when a scream is necessary. A good, bloodcurdling, frighten-yourself-with-the-noise coming from your mouth scream.
It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.
Maybe your day, or week, or tinylife, has been too much. Everyone wants a piece of you, has already taken a piece of you – you are just a floating mouth, a pair of hands, ragged wisps, toiling for everyone else.
maybe you had a day, or week, when one email replaced your already wonderful tinylife with another, even more amazing tinylife.
In those first days all you could hear was people telling you the news, like an echo in a cave; you couldn’t believe them. But then one night you were driving out somewhere and you just had to pull over into a layby and scream. Maybe.