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I am still in doppleganger land. I feel I’ve been here before. Or never. I may have even titled a post this before. Or not.

My head is pounding. One of the questions I have about life today is why I leave it until I need king codeine before I take something. Another is why can’t I just do what I want to do. Only. Nothing else.

Don’t answer either of them because I know all the answers. It’s a real bugger, being more introspective than is really good for you/me.


This is much better.

Yesterday was E’s birthday. 12 years old. Have I mentioned that I remember crying on my twelfth birthday, because I would never be 11 again? I did. I remember walking up to the bus stop, standing there waiting, watching the yellow and black thing round the corner, the particular hollow roar of it. And the rubberised deep brown steps to get up. Sniffing all the while, and actually answering someone’s question: why are you crying? And actually telling that someone. If I weren’t already somewhere near the ‘weird’ end of the spectrum in deepest darkest southwestern Virginia, I’m guessing that with that answer I went there.

Answering questions are sometimes not in our best interests.

However. Yesterday E did not cry. He celebrated in his quiet way, despite a heavy cold. He smiled, he appreciated the food his father cooked for him (baked salmon on leeks and capers, baked potato, roast carrots, no stovetop yet!) and the twelve rather skewed candles I’d pressed through the chocolate shell of his cake. He blew all the candles out at once, but had forgotten to make a wish. Later, he blew the table candles out, wish made.

He’s making a fine 12 year old. Handsome, talented, funny, thoughtful — and as precious as the day he was born. More, really.

I’m allowed to say that, even if he reads this and is mortified. So there!




From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning


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Who am I?

A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.