My voice(s)

Beat The Dust invited submissions for their latest literary experiment. They asked for pieces of 500 words or less, taking as the start point an end line you thought good.

I took my line from Jenni Fagan’s excellent novel The Panopticon and wrote “Again”.

It struck me how the voice I used was at once my own voice, and not my voice. It’s how I speak, sometimes. It’s not how I speak usually. It is my voice. It’s in my head. It feels comfortable, natural. It’s not how my mum sounds, but my dad and brothers do. When I go home, back to where I was raised, that voice, a blending of Essex and East London, a sweary shorthand, feels very usual. Now it’s published, and I read it back, I feel awkward in case someone thinks it’s a patronising kind of mimicry. If you meet me now I probably won’t sound like that. If we have a few drinks in the pub I may well do. (I won’t ever say “nothink” though, I hate that erroneous “k”). My dad is originally from Ireland. He speaks with a British Essex accent but if he meets up with his family his Irish accent reappears. When I was young it sounded like another language. It’s interesting, is it a fake accent or is it his voice?

Seeing as how it’s a piece of fiction anyway it shouldn’t make any odds. But it does, to me. Hence this post.

I really appreciate the work Melissa Mann does with BTD. I like how she invites us to play and stretch and keep on pushing our words. It’s an interesting journal. Oh, and I LOVED choosing my five fave intros. There would be a different five today probably.

Not really a best of the year with salt

This is not really one of those end of year best lists as it relies solely upon my rubbish ability to recall what I have watched, read, listened to and thought for a whole year. So, instead I’ll call it a “thing” – tada:

Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn and Child is my most memorable read of 2012. My review is here and I love that despite reading it in August I am still thinking about it in January.

Honourable mentions to Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma which fair fizzes off the page, and Jenni Fagan’s superb The Panopticon (review here).

2012 began with me adoring Nicki Minaj. She seemed poised to be the smartest, coolest rapper/singer/hip-hopper in the universe. But then… that didn’t happen.

I don’t know what I did before Spotify, making my own playlists makes me so damn happy. I surprised myself by listening to my “Beans. Cheese. Toast.” playlist far more than “Hip Hop Happiness” or “Goodness”. Turns out you can’t beat damn fine pop. I did really like Mark Lanegan’s “Blues Funeral” – it sounded proper. And I rediscovered my love of Pearl Jam.

Telly was Elementary, The Mentalist, Chicago Fire, Home and Away and Neighbours (always) and my absolute fave – Sons of Anarchy. Edit – Oh, and Homeland of course. I am ever so slightly obsessed  with how awesome Clare Dane’s nose is.

I took these snaps on New Years Day when I went for a walk on Littlehampton Beach – it was a day bright with possibility and made me feel entirely content. I wish you all a wonderful 2013.

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