"Scattered thoughts wade through a heavy cloud of coughs, half-finished sentences and well-meaning jabs at someone's confidence. The confusion is strong with this one, they seem to say, watching from opposite, on the bench. She gets up, as if to leave, because this is frankly too much. Instead, the mouth opens. "Why are you all looking at me?" comes the hoarse inquiry, a shaky utterance, barely audible.
"Why are you all looking at me? Answer me" she repeats, this time looking one of them directly in the eye. The target, a wiry-looking man in his thirties, is hesitant. "Is this not where the play is? We were told to come in here for the show".
She's known there was something she has been forgetting. Days have melted into each other of late, and now the day is upon her, the audience is here, and she hadn't even noticed.
And what an audience! Fifteen people, is it really worth doing the performance now? Does she even remember all the moves and all the lines? What is it called again? It's all swimming around somewhere in uncertainty, until she turns around and spots the costume on the chair next to the one she's been sitting on. The simple white blouse and the tracksuit bottoms. It's all coming back. She sighs, and starts to undress."
Swimming Days, the long and rambling story of a highly intelligent and busy performer with a knack for drifting in and out of reality (includes a colouring-in section towards the end of the book, before the finale).
"When you go out and realise, two minutes down the road from your house, that you have not only forgotten your keys in your flat and thus locked yourself out, but have also left the hair straighteners plugged in, switched on and resting on your most flammable pair of colourful polyester trousers, the back pocket of which contains your smartphone and your bank card, as well as instructions regarding the donation of your organs after your death - this of all times is when you should honour the mantra that we live by and c a l m d o w n."
"You know the moment. The moment when someone has come up to you in a bar, insulted you, your partner, everything you stand for, and, by extension, your mum, and now this lad is standing opposite you, squaring up, sleeves rolled up and getting ready to punch you right in your pretty face whilst wearing a shit-eating grin on his own horrible arse-face, and then he opens his big hate-filled mouth and tells you to CALM DOWN? Well, conversely to what you might think, that is exactly what you should do in that situation."
The Little Book of Calm Down, recently reviewed by amazon user hotcakes15 as being "literally the worst self-help book I have ever read whilst on the bog".
"I wish I could fold up my life and stick it in a tiny little envelope and put that in a tiny little drawer in a miniature bureau made for a dollhouse out of wood and glue. Don't tell the dolls where my tiny folded up life is kept. They will only take it out and look at it and it will make me feel embarrassed about what I've been doing these past forty years. I wasn't even alive for some of them.
until next time