Rachel Kendall

Wet dreams!

I was expecting greatness last night: flashes of light sizzling down the pane, torrential torrents, bass notes rumbling across an iron ore sky. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I was expecting a couple of thunder claps and a fizzle of lightening as per a usual British thunderstorm. But we didn’t even get that. We got rain though. It rained so much it dripped into my subconscious and entered my dreams…

It wasn’t my usual ‘dream-house’, the one I visit so often in my sleep, the one with such potential for both creative space and corner decay. This was somewhere else entirely and I’d come home to find it water-logged. The first thing I noticed was the sponginess of the carpet around the book case and the electrical wiring. Then I realised water was pouring from a pipe which was normally outside but for some reason had wormed its way in. My books were ruined. The water was rising over my shoes. Then I noticed the mouse. Half a white mouse, to be exact. The top half of a white mouse hollowed out and filled with water. Then the wolf, licking herself in a more feline than lupine manner, before her cubs joined her and they ran off into the night. It was dark outside by now. There was something else, too. Another animal but I don’t remember now what it was. I rang the landlord. He had more important things to do and said it wasn’t an emergency. I woke up to my daughter crying because she’d had a nightmare. It happens the cat had been jumping around on the noisy floorboards in her bedroom trying to catch a larger-than-I-like-in-my-house spider. The spider which ran into my bedroom after my zombienambulist staggering scared the cat. Daughter came into my bed after that and was soon snoring but I lay awake, too aware of the spider flexing its knuckled muscle.

The other house, the usual dream house, is always water-logged too. Rotting floor boards and blackened walls but only in one corner. Most of the house is beautiful, light, large. But this one corner… I know if I stand there the floor will collapse because the boards are so rotten. I wonder if this means something?

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grinder

I have finally acquiesced and started wearing a mouth guard at night. Bloody horrible thing. I tried before with a lower jaw one and hated it. But I’m grinding too much and before I end up with bloody stubs I had to say ok, ok, I’ll try one on my top teeth. Nasty thing. It’s bad enough that the tablets I’m on make me gurn like a pro that I grind at night too. Anyway, I’m stick of feeling my fillings disintegrating, tasting their shiny worn-down surfaces. I’m a bit obsessed with mouths anyway. I mean, the eating, talking, spewing, masticating, expectorating, kissing… so much good and bad from the maw. So much easier, sometimes, is the writing than the talking.

I gave blood yesterday. I must admit I was a trifle nervous because last time I gave blood I fainted, two hours later, on the bus. I’ve been giving blood for around 20 years, with breaks for tattoos, piercings, pregnancy, breast-feeding etc and I have never had a problem. I don’t know what mix of elements caused the fainting but I was concerned that it would happen again, in a public place. The horror. Anyway, all was fine, and I shall continue to give blood until they tell me to stop, or until I actually getting around to having that new tattoo. It’s something very important to me after the number of times my mother has had transfusions for accidents and illnesses throughout her life. It’s great when you get that text to say your blood has been transported to such and such a hospital. You feel like you might actually be able to make a difference.

heat, birds, birds, birds

Sleeping with the window open is a new phenomena for me. I wouldn’t normally dare to even let a toe slip out from beneath the duvet, let alone practically invite a masked intruder into my bedroom in the dead of night (maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong?). But this heat (at the time of writing, the glass is half-full and most of that is rain water, but at the time of thinking up this post, the heat was filling the glass, the room, the house…) has me atop the covers, window open, naked as the day I was born and too zonked to care.

The birds, though. The dawn bloody chorus. How loud are they? Sparrows they mostly are with their shrill, impetuous chirping like the yapping of small dogs. It’s annoying like cutlery scraping on crockery, or glass beads rubbed together in the palms of sweaty hands.

Still, at least I have a dawn chorus to wake up to, a window to keep open, bed covers to lie on top of. Thinking right now of Grenfell Tower and how those who didn’t lose their lives or their loved ones lost their homes, their possessions (only things, but with emotional value), their sanctity and the pleasure in sleeping in one’s own sacred space.

Representations of horror

I’m writing a proposal at the moment for a book about my favourite horror film House of 1000 Corpses, so I’ve been doing some film-watching research on the effects of exploitation/splatterpunk/hard-gore horror (I think I just made up a new genre there!!). I wonder if my neighbours can hear the screams, the sound of broken bodies and terrified teens. Obviously I only watch these things when daughter isn’t here, when she’s at her dad’s or, sometimes, when she’s at school. The neighbours don’t necessarily know that, though!

Vi has a interesting relationship with scary films. Those kids films that are much scarier than the ones I watched at 8. Paranorman, Coraline, Monster House, Frankenweenie etc. She is really scared of the dark and always has been, yet takes an anxiety-fuelled delight in ghosts, ghouls, witches, monsters etc. Like me, she loves the horror tropes but can do without the scares. This is what House of 1000 Corpses is like for me. It’s a fun-filled mash-up of monsters, without spilling over into terror territory.

The film takes its cue from the plethora of 1970s American horror so these are the films I’ve been watching. The usual suspects – Texas Chainsaw, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left etc. But I’ve also strayed into (ex)banned territory, with Cannibal Holocaust being last night’s fodder and I Spit on Your Grave next on my list. Yes, CH was able to provoke a reaction from me. It probably had its intended effect. But actually I was quite impressed. I was expecting a narrative-free shindig around as much gore as possible but I think it had quite a lot to say on the trauma of war, the Cambodia and Vietnam spoils with its torture, rape and murder of civilians by US troops etc. In fact, the most horrific elements were in the animal killings. The slaying of the turtle and monkey are truly awful and I think this lies simply in the fact that the animals were actually killed. One can find a way to emotionally cope with representations of evil, of torture etc, but when you know it’s real it’s almost too much to bear. But the film itself I consider to be a very clever social commentary on the so-called civilised society and it’s torture of those who are different to us.

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As an aside, I would like to point out that my daughter has absolutely no way of seeing these films, or the DVD cases (most are electronic anyway) and will never have access to my account on-line. Nothing visible in this house is horror-related. All that stuff is stashed away, hidden from view like body parts in the basement freezer.

Reflection

Being in Manchester on Saturday was a sobering experience. I wouldn’t normally go into town alone at the weekend – too busy, too chaotic. I sometimes take Vi though. As annoying as I find it, she loves the buzzing atmosphere, the religious fervour of the bible-reading folk, the buskers including bonkers Manc legends The Piccadilly Rats…

 
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This Saturday was different though. It was really hot and I almost didn’t trek in on the stuffy 192 bus, wade through the swathes of shoppers, past the kids playing in the fountain. But a thunderstorm had been forecast later in the afternoon and I wanted to see the flowers before they were flattened by the elements.

It was busy, as usual, but different too, because of the armed police dotted around. It was noisy and bright and sweltering, but when I got to St. Anne’s Square the atmosphere changed. Armed police on every corner, with their toy-like guns and big smiles. Press tents and vans and recordings taking place. People queuing to lay flowers in the square for those killed and injured by the suicide bomber on Monday.

The scent of those floral tributes was overwhelming. As soon as I leaned over the barrier to take a photo I was hit by the perfume. The beauty of the torture garden, the living memory of children, teens, adults who aren’t going home. By the time I left the sky had begun to darken and the wind had started to bat the balloons around. The first few drops of rain fell as I got on the bus. And then stopped. The thunderstorm didn’t come after all. A shame; the day called for thunder, for noisy, bright, rain-splattered weather instead of more of the same stagnant heat.

Bio

I totally need to update my bio on this blog. Aside from being old news (not that much has happened since then but hey) that whole 3rd person shit riles me a little now. Anyway, I’ll do it later. I have important business to attend to first: coffee.

Lethal Weapons

I’ve forgotten how to write. Suddenly. Spontaneously. I swear it used to just bleed out of me, breathe out. I used to belt it out in operatic high coo coos. When I say suddenly I mean the words, of course, the suddenness of words. The ability, well, that’s been dribbling out of me over the last 8 years. Since the bairn and my head became full of worry over her and she’s worth every moment but sometimes I wonder, how did Anne Sexton do it? Oh, she didn’t. How about Plath? Same. Blyton? She was a tyrant to her own, right? How about that Harry Potter woman? She blurted in a bedsit when baby was sleeping. Sleeping? I don’t recall my baby ever sleeping. At least, that’s how it felt at the time. Still, I should have no excuse, now that she’s 8 and she spends part of her week at her dad’s. Still, though, again. Suddenly, still, it’s quiet and I still find I can’t compose myself. I started studying again just so that I would have some discipline but struggle to write a 6k word essay on a couple of Lars von Trier films. How do I expect to get back into the novel? No, not the one I started in 2005 in Prague. The other one, the one I’ve been mentally writing since the toddler years.

Oh, the TV is on and my peripheral vision has just singled out such a tiny, skinny woman on… what is this shit? Oh, Lethal Weapon. I shall go and turn it off and tune out. Before I do though, I am, right now, so proud to be a Mancunian. The way strangers have rallied and spoken out and pulled through and offered support. It’s the great Manchester 10k run on Sunday. Runners will be wearing a yellow ribbon to respect those affected by Monday’s attack. This is the glue. Everything else is unimportant.