There are generally not many things that my father-in-law says that I agree with; and although he seems to have an inappropriate catch-phrase for almost every occasion there’s also not many that I would repeat in polite company. This however is one that I particularly like, and one that I occasionally use:
“If you make a fuck-up of it, make a feature out of it.”
He’s a hairy arsed builder who I imagine has made a few hairy-arsed fuck-ups in his time. I can picture the proud homeowners pointing out to their friends the quirky individualities of their new house, unaware that some of those original, unique features probably started life as monumental fuck-ups when the house was built many years ago. A lot of swearing and pointing at upside-down plans, and a considerable amount of effort was probably put in to turn them into the delightful features they are today.
Anyway, I like the phrase, it demonstrates to me a positive, constructive image, and one I find myself thinking about with regards this blog. Indeed I seem to have made quite a fuck-up of it lately; perhaps I should try and turn that into a feature…
So what is going wrong? Why am I struggling to put metaphorical pen to metaphorical paper. I’ve kind of lost my direction, I think. I seem to have misplaced the reason for starting this journey, forgetting what was driving me to write. Has the “creative writing” buzz left me? Perhaps? The heady days of the Greek Islands, Retsina, Feta and sea breezes seem a lifetime ago.
Perhaps I am too settled? Perhaps I need some upheaval, some pain, and some angst? Perhaps the lack of alcohol in my system, as I carry out my annual dry January, is playing havoc with my synapses? Perhaps I just need a good old fashioned hangover?
Or perhaps I need to just stop being overawed by the bigger picture? Perhaps I need to lift up some rocks and ignore the golden palaces? Perhaps I need to look at my feet instead of the sky? Perhaps I should be concentrating on snap shots, Polaroid moments, rather than the on-going “movie without a screen?” Perhaps by fretting over this ‘bigger picture’ I am actually missing some of the important details in front of me?
As one of my old bosses used to say to me on an almost weekly basis:
“Communication is the key to success or failure, and in this instance Mr Lonsdale you have failed.”
Perhaps I have, and perhaps he was right (he usually was) and perhaps I need to stop making excuses and work out how I can make a quirky feature window out of this gaping hole of a fuck up…
So perhaps I should try to communicate, to try to describe, to fill in the gaps of my fuck-up, perhaps paint some of the frozen images that are trapped in my frozen mind, perhaps I should try to make a feature out of them…
Quietly sitting cross-legged on the cool tiled floor, watching the sun rise behind the giant golden bell-shaped pagoda on New Year’s Day. The black sky suddenly changing into infinite shades of blue as a kind family silently share their sweet coconut rice and fat bananas with me.
Lines of multi-coloured umbrellas, discretely and evenly spaced along the shore, carefully positioned to provide some privacy to young couples as they ‘admire the sunset’ by the lake, their bare feet, toes entwined, only just visible in the fading light.
The tiny old woman squatting on a low stool, a huge toothless grin splitting her face from ear to ear, cigar drooping from her lip, elbows resting on her knees, thick grey smoke enveloping her brightly coloured skirt.
A hundred white porcelain Buddha’s, sitting patiently in rows in a show-room, all serenely, motionlessly staring straight forward, eyes half closed, frozen in contemplative prayer, all apart from the one sat three from the back, two in from the left, the one breaking ranks with the cheeky grin having a sneaky look up at the sky.
A fountain of bright red betal spit being expertly jettisoned out of a taxi window, missing me by inches, and then splashing onto the kerb in slow motion, painting a Rorschach butterfly on the pavement.
A group of maroon cloaked young monks hanging around on a dark street corner, shaved heads bowed, sharing a crafty cigarette.
A narrow dirty, dusty colourless lane brought to life by hundreds of baskets filled with thousands of brilliant orange, shiny tangerines, almost glowing as they reflect the last light of the day.
A stunningly beautiful girl leaping effortlessly from the crowded bus as it almost slows to a stop, thick diesel fumes providing the dry ice around her ankles, as her long dark hair is whipped up by the turbulence of movement, for just one second, a scene from a muted music video.
Drinking tea the colour of fake tan by the side of the road, tea so sweet that it makes your teeth hurt, whilst watching intimate picnics between parents and their small children as they eat their lunch together as a family, on the floor, each either side of the iron railings surrounding a school.
A flock of birds, hundreds of thousands strong, evacuating their temples on their nightly pilgrimage over the city; so many that they form a thick and undulating black snake across the sky, so low that you can feel and hear the movement of each wing above your head.
Perhaps this’ll do the trick? Perhaps this will free my mind? Perhaps?
Happy New Year…