Illness - chronic illness in particular - is dishonest. It lulls one into a false sense of security, keeping out of sight; days, weeks, months, even, of wellness, good health, energy. You know. Life. Then, when everything is tickety-boo, it breaks out the metaphysical lock picks and saunters back into your body as though it had never left, waving cheerily and dumping six months' worth of empty duty-free bottles and the accompanying hangover into the metabolic system.
My kith are a mix of miraculous souls, who do see me in all my frailties; who look past my well-worn posit of rebel angel – the one who fell first, and hardest. They are on the side of heaven themselves, and know how to deal with the darkness within my weak little bones. They are a mismatched band, and striding at their head is one of the most patient men on the face of the planet, who truly must have just a smidgen of archangel dust on him somewhere to put up with my devil-spawned ways. They are willing to try again and again to get past the concrete barriers I slam up when things get hard.
Yes, the feeling will pass. Control will return. What worries me is this.
Because some of the spindrift sensation has come from anger at being taken advantage of myself, and more so at someone I care for being hurt, I am concerned that, much like the title of the second of the Salterton books, I will spend time, once controlled, planning and acting in a leaven of malice and wickedness, rather than, as Corinthians tell us we should, with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
“That Kate”, I would be overjoyed for people to say, when the grey matter has turned to its inevitable mush of Weetbix and blank spaces, and I can no longer look at a word of the day and know it is a word; “she had a speaking voice like a whistling kettle, and a body which was, let’s face it, her own worst enemy – but her writing – well, it was beginning to have a somewhat sonorous depth to it, don’t you agree?”
I’ll flip my fins together, and nod, and possibly do a backflip or two. Then I’ll swim away, and relish the freedom of the sea.
My father is the definition of a pair of suspenders. Useful, often forgotten about, comfortable and practical. Old-fashioned, but stylish and suitable for all occasions.
And, like me, if he saw that word of the day, he would have said “what the bloody hell is that?” – and then found a use for it. Because that’s what we do, he and I. Find a practical solution to the seemingly insurmountable.
Hmmmm. Yes. Placate. Well, it may have my name in the word, but it isn’t ever going to be confused with my personality. Alterkate is far more appropriate there. Nor am I likely to win or gain any goodwill through conciliation. If this was the (mythical) Old West, with a pianny tinkling away in the background of the saloon, a moustachioed barkeep throwing whiskies down the length of the bar, guess who would be the one responsible for the utterance from our hero “them’s fighting words, ma’am”, bringing the place to a standstill, and causing several ladies of dubious quality to gasp in anticipated horror?
But it’s a little more than ‘art for art’s sake’, I think, where my love of those works, and those who are highly literate in any form, lies.
It’s the knowledge of what lies under the final layer of gesso, the finished manuscript, the developed photograph, the last crotchets and quavers inked into a concerto’s sheet music.
The noun of skylark, meanwhile, has been lurking around the nation of shopkeepers since Oliver Cromwell decided ‘roundhead’ was an inspiring name for blokes who didn’t think much of long curly wigs and lots of lace, and decided to show jolly old England what could only be called his own version of skylarking.
Wednesday. I saw my spine in an x-ray. It looked like a virga, a shoot, a rod, a stick. But the rod was somehow chipped away at, as with a stone saint’s extremities after faithful pilgrims have taken one too many liberties visiting his or her shrine. As a result, the virga was less than pristine, and many virgules, in nibblingly fierce commas and slashes of pain, tension, and stress, were typeset into my vertebrae.
It's about stripping my thoughts on something fairly specific down to the bone, but with no knowledge beforehand of what the topic will lead off from - and in this instance, stripping off some clothes as well. Every week, Google smashes a new Word of the Week into my inbox. Beforehand - no idea what it will be. But somehow I need to make it relate to life as it is for someone with an incurable illness, or two. Maybe three. (That would be me). It will probably not just be about me, because yawn, however I will be a big part of it. This is because my word of a lifetime is EGOTISTICAL (a.k.a. WRITER).