Beware tonight’s SUPERMOON!

A supermoon changed my life.

I have a vivid memory of when I was little, probably around seven years old, watching The Great Escape on TV on a Sunday teatime when my mother vomited in her lap. She retched and retched, wet eyes bulging, the remains of the pork dinner consumed earlier resting in her pinny.

She threw the butty she’d been eating to the floor and hurried away, clutching her dripping pinny and spitting and gagging as she went. My two brothers and I were truly terrified, as Dad ran after her.

moon6

It turned out my older sister was to blame.

The butty was egg and cress, made by Isabel’s loving hands, a butty meant for me but she got the plates mixed up. Isabel enjoyed the fact that nothing made her squeamish, and so did her three not-so-brave brothers when it came to spiders in the bathtub, Isabel always on-hand with a scrunched up wad of loo roll. She liked the big harvesters best because `they make a pop when you squidge them`.

`This cress is a bit crunchy,` Mum had said on the first bite.

`And it tastes a bit off . . . acidy,` she said as she chewed the second.

When something got stuck between her teeth, and she picked out a hairy spider’s leg with the nail of her pinky – that’s about when the puking started.

`It was meant for Johnny,` Isabel wailed half an hour later as Dad stood before her with the remains of the butty opened to reveal at least ten dead harvester spiders squashed among the egg and cress.

That was when I too was sick – on the living room carpet – one big whoosh and splatter. My brothers followed suit and poor Mum was off somewhere scrubbing her mouth out with Fairy Liquid.

Mum later learned that the moon that day had been a supermoon and that’s where the blame was placed for Isabel’s antics. Though she did get three whacks of the belt across her backside and was never allowed to make tea again.

That was fifty years ago.

Since then I have developed a certain routine when it comes to spiders. I check everything. I check under my pillow and inside the sheets before getting into bed. I look down the tubes of loo rolls and kitchen rolls just in case. I lift the toilet seat before sitting. I tap out my shoes before putting them on. And, of course, I always study the contents of a sandwich before eating it.

For fifty years.

The total time I’ve spent checking for arachnids probably adds up to at least a whole week, and it was time well spent. I once found a spider under my pillow. It was only 3mm in diameter, but still, the smaller the easier to fit in my ear.

I also found a termite in a loo roll once, about thirty years ago, so all in all the week of my life dedicated to checking for spiders has been well worth it. At least until this morning.

Why did I never ever, in all this time, think to check my toothbrush? When something stuck in my teeth I knew it would be a bristle. Right? Wrong. I tried to spit it away and it came loose on the third spit. One solitary spider leg lay among my spittle in the sink. I could see the fine hairs. I gagged, looked at the toothbrush and saw another two legs poking from the frothed-up bristles. I carefully rinsed the froth away and saw the rest of the spider tucked in among the bristles. I could even see some of its eyes. Then a leg moved. I dropped the brush into the basin and immediately hurled on top of it.

Images of my mother scrubbing her mouth out with Fairy Liquid came flooding back as I retched and retched. It has taken me three hours to stop shaking enough to be able to write this down. I know I will not brush my teeth again for at least a fortnight, and my NEW brush will be in a sealed bag and will be examined carefully before each use.

Of course, none of this is true (well, maybe some of it but I’m not saying which bits), it was in fact an exercise in moon control.

A few weeks ago I blogged about the pull of the full moon, about how it effects our ocean’s tides and perhaps, with us being made up of at least 75% water, even our inner tides could be at risk of being pulled out of sync.

But pulled enough to be changed into a wolf? Or to commit some act of lunacy?

Or for the creative muse to gain exciting new spidery legs?

Today, not only is our moon full, but it is a SUPERMOON.

A supermoon occurs when our moon is closest to us as it makes its orbit. It appears bigger in the sky by around 16% and it shines some 30% brighter.

Some procrastinators blame supermoons for natural disasters.

Riotous behaviour, unrest, and psychopathic tendencies also manifest as a result of the supermoon’s glaring effect.

Sheer lunacy?

There is no proof either way, but you can have fun with writerly experiments.

Today, drink three pints of water extra to your usual intake, a tidal gift to the moon, a teasing bait to come and fiddle with your inner tides. Once the day grows dark and the supermoon is all bright and shiny, remove all your clothes in a rough and snarly fashion and walk on all fours around the garden, noting any unusual wolfy feelings, and ask the moon to spark your writerly muse.

Let me know how you get on.

Also let me know if you check for spiders, or if you’ve ever put something in your mouth that should never have been put there.

Happy howling!

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Writing

 

Three months ago, my horror-story-of-mass-proportions work in progress, 25000 words in, came to an abrupt stop. The yuletide rush had begun, my busiest editing time of the year, and from then until now, my entire writing time would be devoted to editing novels ready for Christmas release. My WIP was still there though, in my head, simmering and

cheers!

cheers!

bubbling and spewing the occasional golden geyser as I edited from genre to genre, ticking the boxes of commercial convention. My WIP was cooking, I realised, slow-cooking, and perhaps trying to change into something different. Sometimes, instead of golden geysers the sly old muse would throw up doubt, questions, opinions from another level. This is the story you always wanted to write, right? Then change the voice, alter the style, don’t do commercial, do YOU! Don’t hold back, tell it like it is. And so on. And on, and on. And now I’m feeling different about my WIP. Not that the 25000 words down are crap, no, not that at all… just that there’s a different way… a way that might just actually make the story I always wanted to write, my mark, into an unforgettable story of literary greatness.

But then again I’m not at all convinced I can pull that off. Can I compare someone’s sparking nerves as being like `forks in a microwave`, Mr Mitchell? Can I? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because my day job sees me reading commercial fiction in every genre and the conventions are sticking within me like neural guideposts, or maybe it’s because I haven’t got the balls/skill to really nail that elusive jump in voice from commercial storytelling to minimalistic yet mind-blowing wordsmithery. I don’t know. But what I do know is that the enforced three-month hiatus has done wonders for the WIP, has brought a few real gems from the simmering pot, and in the new year when I can once again devote one day per week to it, my story will be better than before. Whether I’ll have the balls to shove cutlery in the pinger, I don’t know, but I’ll have fun trying.

So, this year’s writing tip is take a step back, a break, allow your words to cook while you do/write something different and the resulting gems and metamorphosis might surprise you.

May your Christmas be fun and your new writing prosperous.

Up yer bum!

Johnny.

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Tiz Moi …

http://suzancollins.wordpress.com/guest-blog-john-hudspith/moi