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Stories and Seeds


I’m not writing recently. (Well. I’m writing a blipfoto journal every day, but usually that’s pretty crap.) My anxiety and self-deprecation/punishment/what you will put their foot (feet?) down on the time taken to be creative. It’s not on to spend a long time doing things in your head or at a computer that generate no obvious signs of physical production. You can’t eat words and stories. Apparently. Or something like that. I’m not entirely sure of the reasons: all I know is the other day I said “I’ve forgotten how to write” but I’m quite sure that’s not exactly true. I’m just not allowing myself to write. Or rather: some part of my persona is not allowing me to write. Anyway, that’s enough colons.

My thoughts and stories and flashes of inspiration are like seeds on a frozen, stoney ground in winter. They might be goers. They might be interesting. They may have potential. Given a chance they may flourish, but in these conditions they don’t stand a chance.

Instead I am gardening. I’m not currently seeing anything worth celebrating and – as a self-hating, forehead slapping, perfectionist – I’m not impressed with my progress, but at least some of it can, and will, be eaten. 

I hope. 
(The jury’s out on how much of it the 8-year-old will eat. The slugs will probably eat more)


Gardening is like writing:

 If it goes well, your heart lurches with satisfaction as you sit sipping tea, enjoying the beautiful new thing as it takes on a life of its own.


If it goes badly, you lie awake at night calling yourself a twat for wasting the day and then you wait for tomorrow so you can put it right or start again.


Both give you backache and solitude, and require patience, staying power and biscuits.


(I took that photo a year ago. I knew I’d find a use for it some day) 

You should have turned

I can’t think

of anything good to say about you at all, Margaret.

When I was little I hated your hair and your clothes and your haughty voice.
Your smile was false and unkind – like a sneer. Like mockery.
I thought you had a horrid face, a pointy nose, and cheekbones like a man.
You carried really nasty handbags: clunky, thunky, clicky, stand-up-on-their-own handbags.
They were like weapons. CLICK. BANG.

That harsh, hard sound of your name: MarGarreTT ThaTCHer bit at the air like the snappy clasps on the jaws of your terrifying handbags. SNAP!

I didn’t like the way you made my parents cry when I was nine years old.
You won an election and that meant that things were going to be bad. My parents were truly sad and sorry.

When you spoke on the telly I thought you sounded as if you thought you were better than everyone else. You talked down to people.
I don’t think anyone should do that.

When you said: “We have become a grandmother” my mother laughed at the telly and said, “The woman’s finally lost it – she thinks she’s the queen!”

You were no sort of a role model to me or for me.
Nothing about you was anything I wanted for myself.
You made people think that for a woman to be influential she had to change and become tough and mean and aggressive. To get your respect you worked on a voice, an image: a presence to dominate. You weren’t even real.

As I grew up I found out that you were in favour of corporal punishment, of selling off council houses, of taking milk away from children, of buying nuclear missiles, of the privatisation of our national systems; you didn’t think the state should look after people, and – worst of all you thought being stubborn about all of these things was a virtue.

No one could tell you you were wrong. Even when you were very, very wrong.

To be so bold and blinkered and steadfast about so many mean things and so many wrong things; to have fought and controlled and never given in doesn’t make me remember you with respect: I remember you as someone who had made up their mind years ago and couldn’t think anymore, who was too weak and too closed to take in new ideas and new information.

You couldn’t listen.
You couldn’t see.
You couldn’t be made to care.
You were not strong.
You were not a good role model.

You were not passionate and inspiring! You were unreasonable and you were unfair, and I’m only sorry that you never learnt to be a better human being and to see what damage you caused then and now – to society and to women.

I hate the weird harmful mess of ideas you’ve left in people’s heads.

There’s nothing I liked about you at all.

Why should our society pay to hold an expensive funeral for you when there’s “no such thing as society”, remember?

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