annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 210

Still pretty freaked out as soon as I emerge from whatever busybusy activity I've managed to distract myself with. Yesterday I did a painting class aimed at 6-9 year olds where we painted watermelons, based on the last work Frida Kahlo ever did. I'm more pleased with the result then with any other painting I've done, but I can't work out how to post pictures any more, either in wordpress or diaryland.

I also did my Friday writing workshop and came up with two Bella bits. For the first one we were given these eight words , 'I have promised myself, just one last time...' to carry on from, so I did. Bella is a fictional character I found in about 1997, and wrote a novel about when she was a teenager. I'm now using her in activities in writing groups, to see where it leads. In the last piece, she accepted an invitation to go next door and have a cup of tea. She's not used to socialising. Sheila is her key worker.

“I have promised myself, just one last time, to give it a go. To not assume she’s going to be mean or dull or stupid or bloody annoying or--“
“Yes, yes, no need to go into all that,” Sheila tried to interrupt the flow of Bella’s imagined failings in a new friend.
“Or selfish, or dishonest, or--"
“BELLA!” Sheila said, more firmly.
“This is not trying. Forget all that. Go with an open mind. See if you can stay for half an hour.”
“Half an hour? You’re having a laugh! Five minutes.”
“Five minutes isn’t even long enough to drink a cup of tea!”
“It is! I don’t mind it hot.”
“Half an hour’s too long,” she could feel the panic rising. “Ten minutes.”
“OK, fifteen. You will seriously try to stay at Naomi’s for fifteen minutes and drink a cup of tea.”

For the next activity, we all had to give the person to our left on the zoom screen a name to work with, a problem of some kind and a place. I was given my own name (he thinks he's funny), inarticulacy and Churchill Square, the shopping mall in the centre of Brighton. I think I was expected to write something else, but I did this. Bella lives in Brighton.

“You've got a lot of books.” Bella was quite pleased with this statement. It was true – Naomi’s front room was like a library – no need for paint as the walls were covered from floor to ceiling with bookshelves and more piles of books grew on the floor and the table. It was also not a question. She wasn’t asking about the books, she didn’t want an answer. She was just following Sheila’s instructions for dealing with her inarticulacy, to make a statement about the room – not rude, that was important. Sheila didn’t demand niceness – she’d been working with Bella for a while now – but she was against rudeness. So Bella felt pleased. Task one completed. And she must have been here five minutes already.
She wandered over to the window. They were at the top of the house and unlike Bella’s basement next door there was a view right over Brighton. She could even see the two breast-like domes of Churchill Square.
Naomi came in with a tray and an actual teapot in an actual tea-cosy, red and white stripes, knitted.
“Oh yes, I love reading. I always have. At the moment I’m reading the latest by Anna Notbob. I love it. It’s making me completely rethink my views on older women, on becoming an old woman.”
As she put the tray on the table she looked up and saw Bella’s face and the expression on it. She blushed furiously and to Bella’s mind, quite magnificently.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean, oh gosh, I don’t know what I didn’t mean…”
And Bella felt a big wash of unfamiliar kindness sweep through her.

I felt a sudden anxiety about whether Bella would turn into a bully in the face of Naomi's timidity. She might.

Today I went to see my pal J, about forty minutes away, and we mooched about in a real cold wind. The first one with a bite to it. Boo. Good to be with her but I felt sad when I left. She's best friends with her husband and they've made a lovely home together and while I find it easy to be happy for her - no one deserves it more than J - it's impossible not to be a bit envious. Very envious. I came home and couldn't bear it, so put my coat back on and went straight back out again. But I've been miserable and anxious and useless since I left J, truth be told. Though I did sign up for a six week writing course about memoir writing.

I watched Strictly, still doing compilations from past series, finishing with a tribute to Caroline Flack which was just so sad. Awful. She took her own life earlier this year. You couldn't tell what was going on for her at all - another Robin Williams - she seemed happy, delightful and much loved, but couldn't bear any more of the pain she felt. I just hope there is some peace for people somewhere.

11:18 p.m. - 10.10.20


previous - next

latest entry

about me





random entry

Day 215 - 15.10.20
Day 214 - 14.10.20
Day 213 - 13.10.20
Day 212 - 12.10.20
Day 211 - 11.10.20

other diaries:


Site Meter