Friday, 25 July 2014

Sorry to do this again (and a new extract!)

 I had an appointment with the community mental health team today, and it left me incredibly drained.

 Combined with not having much sleep last night, I've just been too exhausted to write.

 I'll make it up to you guys by having an extra post on Sunday, but for now here's an extract from a short story I wrote for a competition a while ago.

 I'm thinking of maybe putting it through a few more edits and self publishing it sometime.

Two Thousand Lenses

 I have a thousand pairs of glasses.

 For some women, it’s shoes, but for me it’s glasses.

 They say that shoes never let you down. Unlike all the other clothes you’ll ever buy, shoes will fit you and make you feel good. No matter how fat or thin you are, or ill, or spotty or whatever it is that makes you secretly hate yourself, your shoes will always be there. As long as you have feet, shoes will be your faithful companions.

 Glasses let you down.

 They have to; they’re constructions of glass, plastic and metal. You are made of flesh and they mock you with their timelessness, their perfection. Your eyesight gets worse but they stay the same: flawless crystallised sand.

 I like that, even though my body and eyes age and fail, they don’t. The things that I’ve seen in my life, I saw through them, and their timelessness is reassuring. Even if my memories start to falter, the images they saw are true. The help me to remember all the things that are important to me; the things that made me gasp in awe, the things that made me scream in pain, the things that made me smile wider than I ever thought possible, and the things that made me cry. Looking through the eyes that saw those things helps me remember them.

 You may think it’s childish, and it is, I started keeping my glasses after the first time I needed to get a new prescription.

 My first pair of glasses were horrible and terribly unstylish NHS glasses. The only advantage they had was that they were free.

 Of course, I didn’t really know that when I was seven, but it quickly felt like everyone else did. Fewer people had glasses back then, you see, and children can be so cruel.

 I’d like to say I was too tough to let the little blighters get to me, but I wasn’t. When you’re that age you just want everyone to like you. I think it’s worse for people like me, us creative types; our need for approval borders on desperate. I wasn’t that creative when I was small, so I just kept quiet and miserable.

 Within a few years, the septennial tradition came around again and I was treated to a trip to the cinema. Mum had seen it with her mother when she was a little girl, and she wanted to carry on the tradition with me.

 By the septennial tradition, I mean the re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the cinema. I don’t know if they do it anymore, and I’m also not sure whether that in itself is a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, it is a wonderful film, but on the other hand, it’s possibly the most terrifying thing that a small girl can see at the cinema.

 You get to be a bit blasé about the world when you’re seven, especially when the other children take against you, so I wasn’t exactly excited for it. We’d never really been movie people before that point.

 My opinion of it all changed drastically in just eighty minutes.

 People always concentrate too much on how Disney portrays its princesses, but it was actually how it portrayed villainy that caught my imagination, even if I was too young to really appreciate that at seven. Too young, maybe, or too scared to understand what I loved about it.

 I was unimpressed to begin with, but those dark scenes caught my imagination. The part where Snow White runs into the forest at the behest of the Huntsman terrified me the staring eyes, the clinging fingers... this teenage girl running scared from a woman who wanted her heart. Then after that, the Evil Queen’s transformation scene consumed my young imagination, even if I didn’t realise it.

 I felt inspired, and for the first time, I wanted to write.

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