dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


I texted Taz yesterday and placed a bet she couldn’t write a brief piece of homeless fiction before this morning. The following exhibit I received all throughout that very same hour in 3 longer-than-thou chunks of heavy capital letter text replies (or ‘shouting letters', as caps are often called). She claimed she was bored in work on the 2-10 shift and decided to write it on her new cell, sending it to me as she went along. Knowing Taz for as long as I have, I’m no longer surprised by amazing things like that. Nice one, sweet thing!

Shirley sat there brooding over the request from her editor, Henry Seamus, who needed a piece about life on the streets in his inbox by 8am sharp. He had dedicated Shirley to this especially because of her less-than-rosy past.

“Don’t be afraid to dress it up,” he had said over the phone. “The key phrase in the literary world at the moment is auto-fiction, which is…[blah-blah-blah]”

Shirley knew what auto-fiction was. It was a mix of truth and make-believe. If anything, she would need to tone things down. Her upbringing (although she liked to think that she was dragged up, not brought up) involved foster care homes, boarding schools, and more run-ins with the law than Rambo had run-ins with bushes. Still, a simple dash of education, and a job, thanks to inspiration from a very special relative, had fulfilled her vocation; she now had a regular column in a major cultural magazine, with her picture at the top of it, three days a week. People were interested in what she had to say.

Should she * some text missing * draw on the deep stuff, the dysfunctional family stuff, from her infant years? Like watching her mother and father physically fight in the high street? Why could she still recall that as if it were yesterday?

Or should she skip that and start from the junior school years, when she run out of the headmaster's office before he could crack the whip then threw stones at his office window from the roadside?

How about her starvation attempt on the social services holiday, when she refused to eat or drink because they made her wear the same silly clothes as all the other kids on the coach trip to Jersey?

What did any of this have to do with being homeless anyway? Did the rebel in her have a say in her ending up on the streets? Was that stubborn streak really a homeless gene?

{Nobody just ends up homeless. They bring it on themselves one way or another. Some of the
* some text missing * m even enjoy it. It’s a life choice. They make enough from begging to get tanked on whiskey}

Who had said all that? Shirley didn’t remember, but she had heard such sentiments many times over. Looking inwards, she had thought her life had been over at one point. Desperate and destitute, paperless and prostitute, she had considered herself washed up. She had really believed that. In her mid twenties.

Homelessness was just a wheel in the cog of many more complexities, she thought, involving self-esteem, status, and other heady socio-psychological paradoxical dichotomies. Ha! Maybe she could put that line of nonsense in the article! She hardly understood what it meant, if it meant anything at all.

One thing she did know was that homelessness was much more than the absence of a roof above your head. Homelessness also qualified as an umbrella term for a general breakdown of life in a myriad of idiosyncratic effects.

Right. Time to begin. She loved the * some text missing * se big words. They were a big help in winging this job in the first place!

Shirley opened an Microsoft Office document and wrote Homelessness Is…at the top of the page, Trebuchet MS font, size 12, underlined, in bold.

The flickering cursor flashed along the screen, left to right, leaving lines of her history behind it, all not very dressed up.

Sender: Taz
Message centre:


Click on the link and scroll down a bit for interview with Taz on her story 'Moon Rabbit'.http://piebald77.blogspot.com/2010/02/ste-ghost-interview.html


Thoughts for the Day
1.What is the difference between cottage pie and shepherds pie?

2. Why is strawberry ice cream so rare, when the shelves are rife with raspberry ripple, honeycomb caramel and diabetic vanilla? Yes, DIABETIC VANILLA.

3.How half-baked must a man be to think sterilized milk was called paralysed milk? I would never drink anything paralysed!

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