Friday, 13 July 2012

Grit and Diamonds

It's been a while since we blogged, we've been so wrapped up in anthologies, performances, exhibitions, and our own private writing projects. This July we were a small group. Sometimes, as the group's founder, I worry whether it is still working, whether that old magic is there. And then we start to write, and all is well; I feel, as ever, thankful for that special kind of chemistry when creative people get into a room together and start to riff. . .

This time we did two lots of free-writing. The first, inspired by the theme of the next cafe evening at the women's centre – “jam night” (August 13th), a low-key evening where we can share music, spoken word, and art in a friendly environment. We gave ourselves 15 minutes to write from the source word “jam”. There were some fascinating results which we'll share in due course. I found myself in a vaguely Dadaist stream-of-consciousness word tumble. The joy of this group is to let myself go, uncensored and uninhibited by thoughts of markets, publishing, editing or “appropriateness”. This is the place to be free; that's why we call it free-writing.

We still had a little time left. We cast our eyes around the library we were writing in, and Nicki found the perfect source for the next free-write. A book entitled “Grit and diamonds” we didn't have long to write, about 7 minutes as I recall, but here, unedited, is what we came up with:

Grit and Diamonds


No-one ever says
"Grit is a girl's best friend".
Perhaps because all that determination
gets a girl nowhere in the end.

(Except up to her elbows in muck.)

Grit in the hoover, grit in the bath.
Grit spilling out of the fire to the hearth.
Grit in her teeth, clamping her jaws.
Grit all over her newly-washed flaws.

Yet, I'll go with the grit –
it's grounded and generous:
welcome everywhere
those diamonds don't fit.

Grit and Diamonds


the birds awaken
as does the sun
my eyes open
the day has begun
I drag myself
to kitchen sink
what to make for breakfast
I begin to think
the Lord and Master
awaits his feed
the work's to be done
the house is now clean
then I am free
I wash the grime
and grit from my hands
I leave the house
I go to the fields
I lie and look
at the stars
they are my diamonds
my precious jewels
I put my hands to the skies
my diamond rings sparkle on my fingers
then the clouds
take my diamonds
and to bed I must go
for tomorrow
I must cook and clean
then wait for my diamonds

Grit and Diamonds


You arrive every night at the same time, on the same arm, each time a different dress. You shine, you glitter, your smile bigger and brighter than a reclining quarter moon, your neck dripping with diamonds.

Each night when I turn and spot that smile, I shiver inside. I feel both attracted and repelled. From the corner of the room, behind the bar, I stay stunned momentarily, then look down upon my rough attire, my suit that by comparison seems to have risen from the dirt, and know that my heart is wasted hoping that you might notice me tonight, that I might rise from the grit below.

Grit and Diamonds


They’re under there somewhere;
that's my script.
My whole life looking
for diamonds under grit.

But oh what sparkles
when I see their light!
Oh what 75 carat brilliance!
And what joy at the sight!

They elude me, but
they’re there, I know
they’re there, waiting,
glinting, ready to show . . .

Ready to glow, to warm
me with their cold fire;
the scratches and dirt and choking worth it -
I have all that I desire.

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