the story of O + O

Posted: August 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

I was just peeling off my latex thighs boots when the call came. Breathy and a bit desperate, like an asthmatic choirboy.

owenjones

holding back the tears

“Is that you, O? Can you ring back tomorrow? I’m tired.”

“But I need attention!” I could hear the tears in his voice. Boring.

“Don’t we all, O? Don’t we all?”

“Pul–lease. I’ve been crying for hours. Weeks.”

“Yeah, I know. I read your 23 blog posts. and the thousand and three tweets. What is it this time?” I should have just put the phone down. I’m soft as shit, me.

“I just — you know — want –” he broke off, sobbing.

Contrary to popular belief, a dominatrix’s life is not an easy one. “What do you want, O?”

“Just — talk to me.”

“O, I’m really tired. I’ve just got off work. The Normal Experience. You know how that knackers me.”owensmith

“Please.”

“I don’t get what you get out of it, O.” I could feel my willpower waning. Ego depletion, they call it.

“I just want to feel — noticed.”

“Yeah yeah, O. I can spare you one phone call.”

“Thank you, thank you. I’m not worthy.”

I took a deep sighing breath, and began. “You’re not worthy, you little Blairite toe-rag. You worthless little turncoat. Spineless piece of shit…

Sara Grant on setting writing goals. I wll post my own tonight. Basically the Year of Finishing Things

Book Bound Retreat

By Sara Grant

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Many folks are on holiday. Schedules are forgotten. The alarm clock is never set. I meet up with friends and family. I go to the cinema or sit quietly and read. I always find time to write too. That week feels like a no-man’s land between the past year and the year to come.

It’s also the week my husband and I write our goals. We review our success from the last twelve months and set a course for the next. I always imagine when Big Ben chimes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve that the slate wipes clean, and I start afresh leaving bad habits and bad memories behind.

I believe in setting yearly goals that feed into where I want to be in five- and ten-years. There’s something powerful about imagining and…

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I think everyone who has felt anxiety or depression, or who knows and loves someone who has — which is pretty much everyone in the world, did you but know, should read this.

talkingthisandthat

Dear Friend,

I was not always this way.

I did not always hide away from the general public for months or weeks at a time. Once I was quite confident. I occasionally felt happy. I had a full time job and I could face customers with no concern. I would chat to people over the phone, make an effort to see friends, be interested in daily life. I could cope with negativity. Overcome it, even. I wouldn’t let anything bring me down because I had something inside me that made me keep going out there, into the world, facing it all.

But sometimes, Friend, things happen. Sometimes just one thing. Sometimes many things. The courage to face these things is strong at first, at least stronger than now. But depending on luck, or coincidence, or fate, or opportunity, eventually the voice of that courage for some people is quieter. Weaker…

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Stella Duffy says it for me

Not Writing But Blogging

I want more than a parade.
I want every person who isn’t out all 364 other days to be out – and happily, easily so.
I want to remember the hugely brave pioneers who made it possible for us to be out at all.
I want it to be better and easier and happier for everyone to be out.
I want every straight mate who had a gay fling to come out about it.
I want not to need to be out at all. Ever. In the same way straight people never need to come out.
I want people to assume my friend is my wife and not need to say it every bloody time.
I want all my friends with children to be able dream that their kids might be any sexuality or none.
I want it to be about history and hope as well as partying and playing.

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JK Rowling celebrated world Book Day by writing a new book. Lucky her1 I spent it trying to get writers more famous than me to sign this author statement.

Save Lambeth Libraries

Libraries change lives. They are magical portals to worlds of wonder, replete with possibility, especially for poor, working class, black and ethnic minority people, they offer a hope of rising above the limiting circumstances of our birth. For the shy, isolated and excluded child, they offer companionship and a chance to rehearse bravery, for poor, working class, black and ethnic minority people the chance to meet their full potential. Libraries are more than a material resource; they are the commitment of our community to its future. They express a faith in the power of shared imagination. Lambeth Council, one of the poorest boroughs in the country, is stopping funding to half of the borough’s libraries. Two will be immediately sold off to cash in on the rising property prices locally. Others they hope will be taken over by fantasy big society community groups, or replaced by bookshelves in pubs. Threatening…

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My Phuket List

Posted: October 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is my talk for Newcastle Sunday Assembly where I talk about my Phukety list, brains and neuroplasticity Woo!

My friend @LawrencePatrice nudged me during the seminar by Children’s Laureate @malorieblackman: “First non-white face I’ve seen on a panel.”

Fair point. I had seen one other, but I’d been to the full three days of #lbf14, dozens of seminars, averaging 4 speakers per panel. That’s not a pretty statistic. Of course, there were black faces to be seen. Picking up our dirty coffee cups, cleaning our toilets, but they were silent, largely invisible. What is going on? This is 2014.

Race is a visible marker of class. Where there are no black people, generally the white people will not be working class. Certainly that’s the case here. Publishing is an overwhelmingly upper middle class profession. Patrice’s comment crystalised a feeling I’d had all week, that new-kid outsider sensibility that makes me want to write for Young Adults: I don’t belong here, this is not my place.

How can it be, in the centre of a great world city, in a global industry which is seeking new markets, that our home-grown non-white and working class talent is invisible? The industry is so keen to get at the expanding Asian market, but it won’t put a black face on a book cover, unless it’s an ‘issue’ book.

There were so many union jacks in evidence, it could have been a BNP convention (apart from the literacy barrier). But it’s a fake heritage Britishness that is being sold, completely unlike the reality that surrounds us. And it’s getting worse. Publishing is a costly, and thus risk-averse enterprise. If industry wisdom dictates that black faces on covers damage sales, then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And recession and shrinking print book sales act as a multiplier, making the risks more fearful and conservatism the norm.

Then there’s the dirty secret of unpaid labour. Publishing is a desirable industry so there are always people who will be prepared to work for nothing — as interns, or producing free content in their own time, like book bloggers and Tubers. But that is not an option for working class people, however talented. How do you afford massively over-inflated London rents, without a hand-up from Mummy and Dadddy? How do you find the time to follow your passion for free, when you have to work to eat?

But I have hope. Malorie mentioned her inspiration, Toni Morrison, saying: “If you can’t find the book that features people like you, then you have to write it.” She went on to write dozens of books, and now she is, deservedly, the Children’s Laureate, and is devoting herself to encouraging young people to read and write their stories, about people like themselves.

Traditional publishing is entrenched, feeling itself under threat from the digital revolution. That same revolution has demolished the barriers to entry. It’s never been easier to publish. And those neglected audiences will find the writers who speak for them. Apparently, on Wattpad, the self-publishing platform used by millions of young people, the fastest growing category is Muslim romance. When I logged on there, out of four featured covers, one is of a beautiful black girl. Obviously doesn’t put off their readers. White publishing, this is why you’re shrinking. If you won’t provide it, they’ll get it elsewhere