“It’s so good to be home where I can potter around, make healthy meals and listen to the radio. I have it on as a soundtrack to my cooking. Like the classic Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch where they dance to the striptease tune, I move around to the music. Taking a side step and sliding my other foot, Tango like, to join my first, before opening the cupboard door. Reaching for a pan and twisting to the hob and placing it deliberately on the beat. My every move is a dance, connected through the fabric of space, to the rhythm of the Universe. Even when the radio is switched off, I still feel the pulsing of life taking me as its partner.”
Here’s the final instalment of the reading of My Beautiful Psychosis planned for the Kingsbridge Inn event which was cancelled. This is actually the first chapter I wrote of the book. But then I realised it needed a bit of background to the insomnia hence chapter 1 and chapter 2. What do you think? Is this a better place to start from?
This is the next chapter that I was hoping to read at the cancelled event in November. The narrative voice is changing. The plot moves on a little and I set up the first fall to/from Grace. It points towards Cannabis as being the original culprit in the whodunit of my so-called Psychosis. Cannabis skunk is so much stronger and more psychoactive than ‘normal’ weed. This is where a lot of readers may get stuck and imagine that the rest is all because of this. Maybe it is…maybe there’s more to come…
My questions is – is this a better place to start the book from? Is Chapter 1 necessary? Please let me know your view as it will help me construct the book so that it works best for you – dear reader! Let me know your thoughts…
So here’s the next instalment that I was hoping to read at the Kingsbridge Inn on 7th November. Again it’s another query about whether it’s a good place to start the book from. You might feel it’s not relevant and just titillating but I can assure you there is good reason to start from here which will be exposed later in the book. Opinions please on this blog or Facebook comment very welcome. And again I’m feeling very vulnerable to share this because it’s of a sexual nature but a smaller audience now is great help for a wider audience later. If you started reading from here, given the book’s title, what would you think? Irrelevant? Teasing? Get to the point! Remember there’s mostly a readership related to mental health interests…
So I was thinking about how my book reading at the Kingsbridge Inn had to be cancelled (thanks Toni for handling that). Then I thought – hey I’ll video it for you all to see online instead. And bonus – I won’t have the extreme nerves I’d expect from doing it in the flesh.
Elizabeth Diamond, the woman who’s helping me with my book, doesn’t think this section should be included. I’m not sure how I’ll resolve it…but here it is…to give you a flavour. It’s VERY different from the rest of the book because the voice is not the me that appears later in my life/book. Elizabeth thought that laying it out like this at the beginning will put off half the readers who are not spiritual in their beliefs. I’ll leave that up to the publisher. Maybe she’s right. Draw more people in…on the psychosis theme and then BAM they get hit with the bigness of it all.
What do you think?
Please be gentle because it is excruciating for me to watch and sharing is probably the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever do.
Here’s another extract with reference to a piece of music in. This time a classical number. Another one for the Booktrack soundtrack to my ebook.
“We’ve booked tickets to see a string quartet performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which isn’t the kind of thing either of us would normally go to. But it’s so cultured in Venice that a classical concert feels compulsory so the poster stood out. It’s one we both know. Who doesn’t?
“It’s a fairly small space and the audience is sitting at the same level as the musicians. As the music begins, I try to picture a spring landscape so that I can connect with what Vivaldi was trying to portray. But it’s no use; I’m distracted, searching for the advert I’m only half remembering. Maybe it’s an airline company. Marco Polo Business Class with Cathay Pacific? Definitely something trying to get across a sense of class. I lure myself away from this thought by deliberately imagining a fawn frolicking in a woodland. But that doesn’t work either. It’s usurped by an image of a bunch of people dancing around a Baroque Ballroom in 18th Century grey wigs and too much white face powder. Then faint memories of another commercial steal my attention away again. How am I supposed to enjoy this? The music has so many associations my ears are too biased to hear it properly.
“I decide to stop trying so hard and instead I focus on the musicians’ bows moving in unison: two violins, a viola and a cello. I watch their fingers moving quickly across the strings and let out a sigh as I relax in my seat.
“Around each player is a purple glow, the same colour auras I saw in the hospital years ago. When I tense up they disappear but when I relax they appear again. I deliberately tighten up and let go a few more times to test this theory. I can definitely only see them when I’m in a relaxed state. They can’t possibly be hallucinations.”
Another musical extract that hasn’t been through the critique process for you this week.
“Back home I feel great. I put on a Nitin Sawhney album and stand in the middle of the room listening to the evocative sounds of the Indian instruments. A weird banjo like thing slides into a bluesy guitar. Then a male voice hums alongside a contemporary beat. A high female vocal in Hindi joins in, followed by a distant New York rapper.
“What do we do in these crazy times? I grab my synthetic white feather duster with a plastic handle and dance. A soulful woman’s voice takes the lead.
“Down by the river, Life flowing deeper, Tide growing stronger, No, you can’t hold can’t hold the river. The Hindi singer repeats her refrain between each verse bringing the sound of India into my living room. I stand with my feet wide apart and my hips pulse to the beat. There’s a strange pull in my lower belly, like a trickling stream made of air. The river is flowing through me.
“Inside my head I can hear it talking to me, Like the river to the ocean, I can feel it growing in me, And all day, all night, in the rhythm of the city, From the dusk to the dawn I can feel it flowing through me. I raise my right arm up to reach the cobwebbed corner above the stereo with the candyfloss like duster. A silky, liquid, golden, river of light flows from the handle to just below my belly button, where it is anchored. As I move the duster upwards, the ribbon grows longer to follow it. The gold is shimmering multi coloured, reflecting pink, purple and orange light like oil does on water. It looks like Computer Generated Imagery in a movie. I move my hand back towards me. Graceful folds take up the slack of the excess ribbon. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. They are perfectly spaced, sized and curved, the way a silken ribbon would curl and bounce.
“Down by the river, Life flowing deeper, Tide growing stronger, No, you can’t hold can’t hold the river. I dance on through to the kitchenclearing away the cobwebs. My body feels light and agile, a magical ribbon dancer.
“A jolt of fear rushes through me. What if I’m hallucinating? And the ribbon is gone.”
Are you ready for some strong cheese? I’m nervous about sharing this excerpt because it hasn’t been through the critique process of Elizabeth Diamond. But it’s another extract with a musical mention so here goes:
“It’s a two-day bus ride from Auckland to Wanaka. I’m tired from rushing around jetlagged, sending off CVs to all the TV production companies in the capital. I’ve got myself a mobile and not expecting any calls for work immediately and I can’t get out of the city fast enough. It’s good to finally stop and let the world pass by through the window rather than having to go out and get it.
“I’m traveling alone, a trip I planned before Oli and I got together. He looked hurt when I first mentioned it. But he’s seven years younger than I so I’m not taking the relationship that seriously. It’s the last year I qualify for a work visa now that I’m thirty and there’s nothing stopping him from joining me.
“Headphones on, I tune into a local radio station. Apart from the accent, there’s little to differentiate it from any other commercial stations back in the UK. Most of the songs are the same with the same over the top adverts. But it’s the soundtrack to my journey and I’m enjoying it in spite of myself. I watch the landscape change from an urban sprawl of tropical palm tree lined avenues to lush green hills and volcanic peaks.
“Na na na na na. Na na na na na. Ronan Keating catches me off guard with a jingly boyband beat, making my bus ride feel like a music video.
“Hey baby you really got my tail in a spin. Cut to a close up in my head of the bus wheel spinning.
“Hey baby I don’t even know where to begin. But baby I got one thing I want you to know. Wherever you go tell me ‘cause I’m gonna go. Cut to an image of Oli walking down a wide, open highway singing to camera.
“We found love, so don’t hide it. Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it. I need you, so stop hiding. Our love is a mystery girl, let’s get beside it. The lyrics tug at my heart. I’ve come half way around the world to hear the UK’s No 1 tell me that I’ve found love. And I am hiding. My throat tightens up.
“Can’t you feel my heart? Don’t fight it fight it fight it. I wipe away the tears from my wet cheek and reach for the photo of Oli in my purse.”
Last week I discovered Booktrack which is an App that allows you to have an audio track in your ebook, bringing the world of the story alive as you read. This technology is perfect to get across the inner workings of the psyche in My Beautiful Psychosis. I can feel a crowd funding campaign coming on!
In the meantime I’m sharing some extracts that would create the musical track to my story. Number two on the playlist: The Lighthouse Family – ‘Lifted.’
“Dad drives sedately through the urban sprawl of Greater Manchester. After three weeks in hospital, my parents have pulled some strings and I’m discharged. I lean my head against the window and feel the rhythm of the flow of the traffic in tune with the music on the car stereo.
“When it all gets dark again, the whole thing falls apart I guess, it doesn’t really matter ‘bout the rain, ‘cause we’ll get through it anyway. The Lighthouse Family serenade me. We’ll get up and start again, ’cause we could be lifted.
‘Gifted more like,’ Dad jokes referring to all the get-well presents I’ve received. But I do feel lifted for a moment, lifted by the music, the perfect soundtrack to my journey back into the world.”