Curmudgeon Avenue and an update

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I’ve been a bit absent recently, I’ve been wildly busy dancing with aliens and building underground tunnels ready for when the Earth’s surface turns to fire. Today I have a fever, so I’m taking a break from all of that to introduce to any of you who don’t subscribe to Samantha Henthorn’s blog, a chapter from her just released book, because I thought it was great. I love its energy and strangeness. For some reason I couldn’t get it to reblog, so I’m just going to post an extract with a link. Go and have a look at the whole chapter, plus the new one that’s just  gone up, they’re ace! Or just buy the book, go on! Note: any incoherence in this post is due to the fever, and not due to incompetence, for once.

Curmudgeon Avenue Chapter 10: ‘Todger’ wanted

Things were really not going well in Edith and Edna’s search for a todger. I mean a lodger. Wantha and Toonan were the first of a long line of unsuitable potentials. First, there was the woman Edna was convinced she had seen on the reality eviction programme. Then there was the man Edith thought had a liking to one of the mug-shots of local ‘wanteds’ from the local paper. Then there was the family with all their belongings squashed into checked launderette bags. It took all of Edna’s posh-voice-strength to explain that the room was for single occupancy only. ‘For goodness sake! Please stop unpacking your chattels!’ She had screamed.
Of course, Ricky Ricketts heard on Wantha’s grapevine that his mother had a room up for rent. He appeared in the vestibule of number one, Curmudgeon Avenue on a day where the sky looked like porridge. Skies, of course, do not really look like porridge. Unless we are talking about the sky on one of Edna’s pieces of art, a painting that she painstakingly continued with when she heard Ricky Ricketts’ voice.
‘I need you to transfer two hundred quid into my account, otherwise, I’m gonna be overdrawn. I can’t tell them it’s my mum’s fault can I?’
‘Right… I’ve told you, stop looking over my shoulder when I’m on the internet banking Richard!’ Edith’s shaky little voice was observed by Edna upstairs. She would not come down, she hated her nephew and scolded her sister for being so soft with him. She carried on painting her picture of lumpy sky in cheap acrylic (white paint is most likely to run out first, and Edith had Edna on a strict budget because of the roof don’t forget). Yes the sky painting would not be finished until Ricky had left, exiting with the roof fund transferred into his current account. It was too cold for naked self portrait painting, unless she put the heating on. But that would mean more expense, and more risk of bumping in to her horrible nephew downstairs. Edna continued painting. She opened the skylight out wide to take in inspiration of the outside world of Curmudgeon Avenue, Whitefield on this miserable Saturday. She observed two cars passing each other on the road below. Sliding around like the sausages in a tin of beans and sausages, gliding and almost colliding slowly. Slowly enough for the drivers of each car to glance recognition at one another before speeding off in opposite directions…

Continue reading here

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Samantha Henthorn copyright 2018.

Curmudgeon Avenue; The Harold and Edith Adventures’ will be released later this year.

Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob

I’ve been squirrelled away and not visited my blog in a while, so I completely missed this review of my book Riddled with Senses by the truly delightful Shameful Narcissist. It’s such a beautiful piece of writing and totally captures the spirit of the book, so I wanted to share.

The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: January 28, 2017
Date Started: March 19, 2017
Date Finished: May 14, 2017
Reading Duration: 56 days
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Magical Realism, LGBT

Pages: 248
Publication Date: January 22, 2017
Publisher: Dr. Cicero Books
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

A tale of love, drugs, cynicism and magic set in the late nineties. It is told from the perspective of two seventeen-year-old girls, Jitty and Hazel; in the style of magic realism, where the grime of real life can be morphed by the characters’ imaginations.

Jitty is a recluse who has created a world of magic to keep herself company. She secretly interferes in the life of the townspeople, including Hazel’s friend, Vurt. Hazel is a wild cynic on a course of self-destruction.

One stormy night their paths cross as the lightning flashes. Their brief…

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Look At This! It’s A Thing!

I am the shill, hear me roar!

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An orangutan unimpressed with my roar

So here again is a small excerpt from my book which got published, and you can even buy it right here. It’s all about magic, love, drugs and the pursuit of something, anything, beyond the humdrum. It’s about how imagination is a powerful force for both creation and destruction.

Vurt is raging now, preaching about the evils of cocaine, of billy, the evils of all drugs.

“It’s all just sloppy! Sloppy and messy. Look at yourselves choking and gacking and sweating.   Don’t you get it? There’s nothing cool about this. This is too easy, too obvious. Anybody can take cocaine!” His podgy face is patched with red and he is lurching about the kitchen in a frenzy of belief. I shimmy over to the breakfast counter, lick my finger and dip it into the powder sack. Cant makes his way over and is looking at me all cute-eyed and squirmy. I hold out my white-coated finger to him.

“Suck on it rich boy.”

He narrows his eyes, takes my hand in his and my finger into his mouth. His tongue is rough like a cat’s. He starts gagging, flailing around for something to take away the taste. I jive away across the kitchen. Vurt is still preaching, so I put my hands on his shoulders and dance in time to his words.

edging 2

Or if spending money seems a bit drastic, then there’s the easier way of getting more of my writing and hearing about my new project as it happens, by signing up here.  This is perfectly safe, and I won’t spam you with lots of emails, I’ll only write when I’m doing something interesting.

 

Gone Girl – A Tale of Abuse

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There’s been plenty written about Gone Girl, about whether it is feminist, anti-feminist, post-modern and so on, but I’ve not seen anyone talking about how it seemed to me – a story of domestic psychological abuse. The victim in the story is worn down, isolated and humiliated while the abuser is manipulative, controlling and demanding. However, this is not seen as a story of domestic violence because the victim is a man.

For anyone who hasn’t read it, the tale is of a woman who marries her ‘perfect’ man and then tries to change him. When he doesn’t change in the way that she wants, she slowly destroys him; then disappears and frames him for her murder. The book is about him trying to prove his innocence.

At first when they get together, Amy pretends to be someone she’s not  (the ‘cool girl’) and when her real personality comes out – uptight, bitchy, controlling – he doesn’t like it and she takes this as a rejection and betrayal, for which he must be punished. From Amy’s point of view, she is the wronged party (which is common with abusers), she doesn’t accept that she started the relationship with a lie. Everything he does is taken as a slight. She sets him tests that he can only fail, and then instead of discussing it with him, she acts hurt; putting the blame for a situation she created, onto him. He learns to be constantly wary of letting her down, but her moods are so unpredictable, he can’t avoid getting things wrong. She isolates him from the people he loves, she belittles him until he starts to doubt himself. She slowly and deliberately breaks him, so that he becomes emotionally numb and dependent on her as the only one who can make him feel. If the genders were reversed, there would be no doubt that this was a well-written tale of abuse.

What set me thinking about this again was seeing a friend a few days ago. This friend has been in an abusive relationship now for over a decade. His wife is like Amy, in that she has a need to be perfect and believes that she is and he is not, so he must change. She insults him in front of his friends, shoves and pokes him, and blackmails him (if you leave me you’ll never see the kids again). Some of his friends think she’s a bitch, but no one acknowledges that this is abuse. Crucially, he doesn’t recognise this as abuse, and is now so worn down believing himself to be deserving of her scorn, that he can’t walk away.*

I think we are reaching a point where it is acknowledged that domestic violence can include women being violent towards men, but psychological abuse towards men is never labelled as such,and is even made a joke of. If a relationship is manipulative and isolating, and involves the slow destruction of one person’s psyche, then it is abuse.

More disturbingly, women are often encouraged in society to change the man they love. Instead of pursuing their own ambitions, they are expected to live out their dreams through their male partner. I’d have hoped this would have changed now that women have careers and passions outside the home, but it still seems to be a normal part of society. Of course, we all want to change small things about the ones we love when flaws affect us: persuading your partner to be a little more careful with money or a bit tidier; but these should always be minor details in a relationship built on genuine love and respect for who the other person is. And it’s a two-way street, a discussion, not a demand. If you genuinely don’t think someone is good enough for you, if you don’t respect their hopes for the future, then don’t marry them. Trying to ‘change your man’ to fit your own ideal is abusive.

My friend’s wife recently said to him,

“You were always intended as a project. I married you because I thought I could make you into something great. You’ve failed me.” To her, this is completely reasonable. Sadly, he now sees it the same.

Until we recognise that women can be perpetrators of abuse and that that abuse does not have to include violence, there will be no chance of stopping it. If we want equality then we must recognise that men can be vulnerable and that a relationship is about mutual respect and acceptance of each other’s failings, as well as a celebration of our differences. I think Gone Girl highlighted this brilliantly, it seems a shame that no one picked up on it.

*I feel I need to explain, my friend is not a submissive or weak man, he has always been funny, confident and tough. To look at him you would never think him a victim. I’ve found this is often the case with abused women also, it seems that if you and everyone else believe you can’t be a victim, then you are more likely to become one. Perhaps because your abuser’s interpretation that they are the victim fits better with your belief that you are strong.