The places inside the places that we go

The places inside the places that we go

It was time and there was nothing that could be done to hang time and never let it get past any further. There was no way to go back and start the experience all over again, or, demand a do over. I could not do any more or any less than what has been done. I take a deep breath and start taking down all my beautoiful desk flare that got me so many compliments throughout the ten weeks as a hot desk fellow at The Wheeler Centre.

While I am slowly peeling off the blue tack and creating one big roll of the stuff, I remember being 13 and getting fitted for the back brace that I would need to wear after the surgery. The memory bursts into my whole self, not just the memory and heart. It makes me feel the familiar but distant pain all up my metal spine. I would not have Frida Kahlo to look to for strengt and kinship until many years later. Then I had supportive family and lots of well meaning people praying.  Here is an interesting consideration. Prayers dont really help anyone except the people doing the praying.I would have preferred magazine subscriptions to Dolly and Girlfriend. I feel the cold metal plates that they lay me on as they tighten and twist and create a thing that my parents will help strap me into every morning for three months.  I want to go back in time and tell that terrified and very lonely little girl that she is going to do great. I want to go to her and say, ”you do not need to be grateful for all this shit. You do not need to thank god. Keep reading and keep writing.”

As I collect all the illustrations by Gemma Flack and put them into a neat flat pile. I think of him. The first person who ever really made out like my writing was better than just something to keep secret. I let him read a poem. I sent it to him in an email. It was torture waiting. When my phone buzzed at 2am, I opened the message and it simply said, ”Regarding your words: Intimidating.” Of course down the line he would break my heart so bad and I would loose all trust in anything he had said in the past, in the present and anything in the future.  I would be so hurt and sad and in love that I would refuse to believe that anything kind or good he had said about my writing ability, was simply as insincere and untrue as the way he handles my feelings. I would tell him this is if the thought of doing so did not make my heart hurt and my eyes water.  Also i have enough pride to take credit for my own achievements. He may have said some nice things years ago. But, I did the work.  I did it without him.

On Monday night after doing my reading at The Moat with all the other Hot Deskers that were finishing up their time with me.  I had decided to read an excerpt of my project that i had written all fresh that very day. But, my eyes, as usual let me down. The lighting was bad and as i could not see what i had written properly, my timing was off. Nobody seemed to notice and i was told that  the packed audience had sat up straighter and at attention, in order to hear my story.   I had written about one of the times I had pretended to be more sexually experienced than I actually was. When I had pretended this in conversation with one of my younger teen age sisters.  I had to rush after hearing them all, in order to get to The Athenaeum Theatre to see the truly incomparable Margaret Cho.

It is difficult to truly articulate how wonderful the experience of seeing a comedian of her calibre, is. This is not some middle of the road person ( white guy) talking about how hard it is to survive in a world basically built for them to succeed. This is a woman who has experienced so much stuff and can filter it through a brilliantly comediac and critical lense. She makes you glad to be alive and more importantly: she makes you understand that the world may not be built for you to succeed but, it is a point of political and social rebellion, to laugh and point a light on the very things that want to destroy us. There are also wonderful impersonations of her mother and aunts. How she imitates her mother’s response to a 11 year old Margaret saying she wants to be a comedian.

”Perhaps it better if you die.”  See? not so good simply reading it on the page, you have to see her face and hear the voice.  Margaret Cho does not shy away from  discussing her sexual assault as a child. She does not poke fun at victims. She describes actually seeing her uncle at an awards thing where she won an award  and hugging him. She whispers in his ear, ”You know what you did and you will burn in hell for it.” Then she let him get a selfie with her. These people count on the silence of thier victims and if they have nowhere to hide they will lose power.  Cho does this in a room full of people. A room full of people who may be a survivor of sexual assault or know someone they love who is. There is power in this and it cannot be denied.  Cho describes how her mother has told her that when this man dies they will cremate him and she can be the one to flip the switch. Other topics included: eating pussy, farting, loosing so many chances to sleep with Prince, cutting all her hair off and  ”not wanting to be fucked anymore”, leaving an abusive relationship after many years.  ”People are always like why did you stay?? Why?” At this she shrugs her shoulders and says, ”I don’t know! We had Coachella Tickets.”  I found myself studying how she built up a joke and used repetition and self deprecation. I studied how she was able to talk about herself and make it seem like she was talking with you  as a friend who was just a bit sick and tired of all the crap. She did not ever punch down on anybody she punched up and it made you want to punch up also. In everything you do. When it was all over and it seemed over too soon, everyone left with  laughter residue all over their happy faces.

The next morning I have to be up early for my nephrology specialist. There is an overweight man in the nephrology outpatients waiting room that is loud and annoying. He came on the wrong day and expects everyone to hurry up and sort out his mistake. He wants to be seen today and will not take no for an answer. I hate him as I read my book and try to ignore his repeated attempts at getting my name.   It is with a sinking heart that I find him at waiting or refusing to wait his turn at Pathology. It is during my regular blood test that I pay for drinking two cocktails the night before. My blood does not flow properly and i end up getting pricked three times. It is also a day when i get a urin sample container when i have an empty bladder. I have to drink four cups of water as I read and wait for my bladder to get full.  As I do so the overweight man is complaining that he wants to use the toilet cubicle that is across from all the blood test areas. ”They are taking too long.” He complains loudly. He is standing in the narrow walkway that the nurses need to get through with other patients.  ”Can you please wait out in the waiting area.” A pathology nurse asks nicely. I feel the familiar feeling in my bladder and before it gets a chance to become a busting to pee sensation, I get up and go to the public toilets that are only a few steps from pathology out patients.  I return to pathology holding the sample in its plastic pocket with a sense of triumph that is met with polite gratitude.

Things that have resulted from some of my writing written during my hot desk. My ex boyfriend deciding to write me a very long message  in response to something I wrote about him on his birthday. Yes I know that was probably silly but I never really thought he read anything on my blog. The problem was an age old one when it comes from writing from life and that is that I am not writing to anybody, I am writing about them. There is no invitation for reply. This is especially true if the response actually makes you want to go back and write something far more bitter and angry. When i did not respond to his message ( i did not know how I was flummoxed). He deleted and blocked me from his Facebook. That is alright, it was not all that interesting and was about to become full of baby photos anyways.  It is not really helpful to be told years later that he was bragging to his friends how easy it was to lie to me about quitting weed. If he thought I was going to pat him on the back and absolve him, he was obviously very let down.  

JUL 23RD, 11:09pm

hey jess. I just came across the letter you wrote about my birthday(s) and felt it was time I said (wrote) some things. this is all off the cusp so will by no means be as well written or poetic as what you write but it will be honest. firstly I am sorry. I was not a good boyfriend to you a lot of the time… possibly most of the time. at the time I did not even realise how much of a stupid cunt I was but believe me I have thought about it many times since and feel so embarrassed. the weed smoking… it’s not even so much that I smoked weed behind your back, that was always going to happen, I was an addict and still am, yep still smoking weed on the daily, but for me to rub it in your face after I had already broken your heart is what I hate myself for. why did I do this? I dunno… maybe it was because I could… saw you as an easy target? knew if it hurt you it meant u still loved me and I had the upper hand? stupid huh. I guess I hid the weed from you because at that time I didn’t want to lose you but couldn’t stop. it was in no way intended to make a fool of you… though if I am continuing with the honesty I felt pretty awesome being able to get away with it so easily and was not quiet about this to other people. stupid stupid stupid! there are things you have mentioned I do not remember but do not deny such as the ” she is not depressed” comment. again what a stupid cunt I was. I found your depression tough as I always wanted you to be the way I wanted you to be instead of just supporting and loving you like I should have. I don’t know if it was something we ever spoke about but my mother was manic depressive and ended up taking her life because of this so for me to not understand and to essentially discount what you were going through makes me -you guessed it- a stupid cunt. I did love you jess. and even now I get the occasional ping of heartache and miss you. not because I still love you but because we had so many great times together. I can no longer listen to bloc party as all I can think about is you spinning during the chorus to banquet at that club with 3 levels. I miss those times a lot. you really changed me as a person jess. you made me come out of my shell a lot and go out and meet people and actually do things instead of just staying home and smoking bongs. so many fun times. you introduced me to Music that i would have never thought to listen to and could have possibly gone the rest of my days without ever knowing The Pixies or The Shins or Bloc Party. i remeber staying at your parents farm one time and listening to doolittle for the fmirst time on your ipod over and over again… and now Alice… the truth… I did not cheat on you with Alice… not physically anyway. but a lot of the reason I left you was Alice… when I met her I knew she was the one and there was no other option but to leave you for her. and it was the best decision I ever made. I promise I am not saying this to hurt you but I need to be honest for both of us. we wanted very different things near the end. I never wanted to go to the UK. I wanted to settle down… and to expect you to do this was wrong of me.. it isn’t who you are. you and Alice are alike in a lot of ways… sometimes I look at our bookshelf with her massive amounts of literature and it makes me think of you. beat writers, paluniak, welsh… I am so proud of you jess. for so many reasons. you are achieving your dreams in the face of so much adversity and I wish I could be half the person you are… and I don’t mean 2 foot 5… was that fiona apple I saw comment on one of your books? when I saw that you got your kidney transplant (your dad’s the man by the way) I wanted to contact you then… I couldn’t… it would feel disrespectful to Alice and I would have felt guilty even though I’m sure she would understand. but I’m so glad you got fixed. it made me smile just like wig wam. I’m sure you know I just had a baby… well Alice did…. 2 day old Otis after Otis Redding. right now Alice is in a chair breast feeding while I hope she doesn’t ask why I’m typing away so frantically.  that mister seems like a keeper… Yeah I stalk your Facebook occasionally 😀 so there it is… I’m sure there is so much more I could say but I won’t… last thing I want you to know is that you are my only exception girlfriend that still has a place in my heart and likely always will. your special jess and I want to see you keep chasing your dreams… and I would like our next published book to be For Joshua Tiny Pockets…. will keep in touch ya damn feminist.
a couple more things…. exception girlfriend was sposed to be ex-girlfriend. our next published book was sposed to be your next published book… and… What’s this secret? I’m sure if you tell me it’ll hit me but my stoner brain don’t remember.


I guess it was the mention of his bad stoner memory that flicked some dark and spiteful monster within me. Why is it that I am able to remember all these hurtful and painful things, while they simply shed it all like a snake skin and slither simply and seamlessly into another life?  Memory thy name is bull shit.  Oh I will not simply remind him of what he has forgotten. He can read the book and find out after paying some cold hard cash. I feel the twinge of regret. Should I have responded? Should i have simply said that it was all ok? I mean it is. I am a writer now and i never had time to write when with him.  I had so many mean and clever things to say in response to his response. It was better to stay silent. I guess silence was actually more deafening to him than anything I could have written back. Silence made him hear his own inner monologue far louder and it may have shouted that he was too little too late. I did know about his mother. He told me everything. I am not sure why i only focused on the things that could be filtered through a negative lens. At least he did not deny what he could not remember. He believed me and understood that i would not make things up. At least i know that he did love me. That is really the only thing that matters. At least it was not all in my head, a mirage of feeling. It is alright that he deleted me. I think I would prefer he remembered me the way he described: twirling around to the chorus of ‘Banquet’ by Bloc Party.


Once my desk no longer looks like the bedroom wall of a teenage girl that is much cooler than I was, I place them all in a plastic pocket   that I got given at the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert.  The books and notebooks get placed in a tote bag.  The desk now looks bare, a blank slate. I wonder if the next person will decorate it with such detail and precision.

Things I have to look forward to after my Wheeler Centre HOT DESK FELLOWSHIP



YAS KWEEN: Girls on Screen