Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Grass Stains

We are not amused. It’s August now and the sky is sulking like a petulant little bitch, her windy runt of a lapdog cocking its quivering leg and pissing down on poor Fanny and I as we are forced to abort yet another ruddy picnic and stagger back home through the mud and the filth to seek shelter by the three-bar fire and comfort in cocoa and gin. I swear on Fanny’s deep fat fryer that if I ever make it to heaven I will seek out St Swithin and punch him in the face.

When I was a whelp we had proper summers, endless ice-cream days of adventure. Fish bobbed and birds sang, bluebirds fastened our braces and lemonade tasted of lemons. And oh, the girls, the summer girls! All salt and skinned knees and little sunburnt snouts. That’s what I need, you know, to cure me of this malaise. I need a summer girl with feathers in her hair and frogs in her pockets to come and hold my parasol and put the Tabasco back in my Pimms.

And lo! What have we here? It’s Geo, who might be familiar to you from her comments on this very site. Not that her commenting here will make a difference to my review, you understand – if anything I will have to be particularly harsh to avoid accusations of favouritism. I do not believe in favourites. Just ask my Fanny.

Before we go any further, I must warn you that there is poetry ahead. Of course, whenever one attempts to inject a little poetry into proceedings one runs the risk of being called pretentious. Poetry can be dreadfully embarrassing. It is the kind of thing one keeps under one’s bed, along with the evidence and the books one reads with the hand. But we have known each other long enough not to have to rehash old material. You know my feelings on this. Poetry is bread and salt to me, the fodder and the savour, and I read it because it makes me better.

Geo is a poet, and by that I do not just mean that she writes poems – I mean she takes the world and boils it down to stock, serves it back up as a clean and elegant soup seasoned with her own special ingredients. She is delicious, and she nourishes me. Besides the poems she serves up delicate little parings of prose, juicy toothfuls that capture the fleeting moments of poetry and passion and the glory of the mundane. She has a trousseaux of treasured things, images, words and ideas that she takes out from time to time and holds up to the light and she, like Moomintroll, understands that sometimes gold looks better when seen through dirty water.

Of course, things are never perfect. I have a few minor quibbles that I feel I should raise. Some are of the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ variety – Geo is a little boy-crazy at times, but I suppose that goes along with the territory. I would probably be boy-crazy too, if I was young and beautiful and the sun was shining and Fanny was looking the other way. I would also like to never again have to read a recounted dream. ‘Tell a dream, lose a reader’, as someone who might have been Henry James once said. I skip over anything that begins ‘Last night I dreamt...’ unless it’s Daphne du Maurier. If you must recount a dream, just do it without telling me it was a dream.

There is a sense throughout Geo’s blog that she is sometimes doodling, that this is a sketchbook in which she records ideas for development later on. I would recommend that she keeps them in her pocket for a little bit longer and fingers them to a brighter sheen. Speaking of doodles, Geo has another blog where she keeps her artwork. Her pictures pleased me terribly and I would hang some of them on my walls. This would look lovely in the oubliette. I wish Geo did not separate her art and her words. I think her drawings would go very well accompanied by poems, vignettes, strange little stories. They each feed the other.

However, none of this really matters (well, some of it does), because what Geo does well, what she does far, far better than any other blogger I have reviewed here is hold up her world to me in the palms of her hands so I can have a right old sniff at every last bit. There may well be dissention in the ranks on this, but I think that when she is good, she is very bloody good.

I had a good hard think about the rating I would award Geo. Of course, there were things I would like to change, but is it fair to expect perfection where it is not intended? In the end, one has to follow one’s heart on these things (if one can find it), and I am a bit in love with Geo. If I were several decades younger I wouldn’t leave her alone. She makes me want to get more fresh air.

I fucking love you.


  1. Agreed. I may give her shit on here, but she wins.

  2. She would have gotten an IFLY from me as well. And she is young, so very young still.

    I love the idea of blending the words and pictures together Forcemeat, such a usable suggestion.

  3. She is just so...thoughtful, and not in a boring way.

    I love the dichotomy of all the things she is.

    I am very likely giving myself a huge undeserved compliment, but she reminds me a bit of me before time and age rounded my corners.

  4. It's quite a good blog. This is you being particularly harsh?

  5. I dip into her blog once in a while but when I do have to pretend like I am intelligent and shit and that takes work.

  6. Geo is as amazing as any cat I've ever known.

    I Fucking, Love Love Love her.

  7. I expect great things from Geo.

    "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

    Love Rebecca.

  8. I love Geo too. Her blog makes me want to write more often, and better too.

  9. She makes me feel impotent as a writer but also important for the very same reason.

  10. I think I need more wine to process this.

  11. More wine is almost always the answer, regardless of the question.

  12. Unless the question is "How much am I gonna puke tomorrow?"

  13. !!!!!

    I think my eyeballs just exploded.

    This is a really lovely review and not what I was expecting at all, especially since reading review after scathing review for close to two years. Forcemeat, you really are an unabashedly interesting character and aside, I am always pleased to hear tidbits of Fanny in the margins.

    Thank you for the suggestions on dreams and for the artwork. I have not connected the two because my blogspot is significantly more anonymous than the tumblr, but I will consider attaching more pictures to my blogger posts.

    Now, more wine!


Grow a pair.