Thursday 12 July 2012

New Blog Up And Running

Dear all of you, I couldn't wait for the new website to be ready, and have created the new blog.  The first posting is up and I hope you will all have a look and follow me there.  It will be great fun and I look forward to seeing you all there.  Thank you!  Much love to you all.

Thursday 28 June 2012

I am creeping back to this blog hoping that you will not notice how long I have been gone.  But the blink of an eye, I hope you will say. Yes, I say, and now I have news for you and want to make an announcement.

I am soon to have a new website.  This website will be for all the work that I do, it will include the A Graceful Death work and the Soul Midwife work.  From this new website I will write a new blog which will combine the other blog - A Graceful Death - that I write, with this one, making a new and utterly shiny new all singing all dancing blog.  It will include the talks, the events, the workshops that I do, for A Graceful Death and the Soul Midwife work. It will include the other work I do, for example I have just finished illustrating a book on the life of Jesus, due to be published next month (July).  This illustration work is utterly different from the AGD work, but just as exciting.  I am about to begin a portrait for a friend, of her son.  It will be a celebration of a young man and his music. It will give you sneak previews of the paintings that I am doing, it will tell you of the books and films that in my heart, I want to write, make, do.  I will write in this new blog which you will be able to access from my new website when it is up and running, all of the exciting things that stagger in and out of my life, and of all the people that inspire me .  Like, for instance, my dear friend and novelist Oliva Fane, who came yesterday in a bright blue skirt and rainbow socks, and told me amongst other things, of her thought crimes.  They were pretty juicy.  She then practiced her speech on me for a literary festival she was going to speak at next month to promote her new book, and I offered to be her minion on the spot - I have to see how this speech goes down, Olivia has very few boundaries and quite right too.  She is extraordinary.

And of all the people I wish to forget, like the furious old man, who bumped into me yesterday in Bognor High Street in order to complain that I was on my phone in a public place.  I think he spotted me a good while off, and made a beeline for me knowing that as I was on my phone, I was unlikely to move or to notice him.  So he could shuffle towards me with menace, all the injustices in his life focused on mobile phones and their users.  In this case, me.  He launched himself at me at 0.5 miles an hour and yelled "It's only a phone!" and carried on with the momentum he had built up into the shop next to me.  I expect he tried to make it look like he wanted to do that.  Horrid old man I thought and decided to check all my emails then and there to show him who was boss.

I am very excited about the new website, and very excited that you all may follow me from there.  Bear with me, I will post a link as soon as possible and all will begin again.  Thank you, all of you, for reading this.  See you soon.  Antonia

Tuesday 17 January 2012

"How Are You?" "Fine Thank You." "Liar."

I didn't really say this, nor did anyone else.  I do wonder though, when asked how I am, whether I should tell the truth.  Often the truth is that I don't know.  How am I?  I don't really know.  I need to think about it.

How are you then?  Really, how are you?  Can you reply easily and say the usual Fine; do you hint that you aren't feeling so good by saying Well.... Could be better; do you laugh and say How long have you got, or do you say That question can be answered on so many levels, and I need time to think.  Give me your number and I will get back to you.  Depending on the person who asked you how you were, any one of the above may be appropriate.  Do you ask the person who asked you back? And how, you say, are you?  Or do you think, That was a greeting, not intended to be answered, and so having been greeted, I will now tootle along.  What a relief that I didn't have to tell them how I really am, and what a relief for them that they didn't have to listen. And thank goodness that I didn't have to ask them how they were. Phew! Or perhaps you do ask them back - How are you - you say but fidget and shuffle a bit while asking to send the message Don't tell me, say Fine!  Just say Fine...

Well.  This business of asking each other how we are, at least here in the UK, is about protocol, not expecting nor encouraging an answer beyond Fine!  And how are You?  It is quite a shock when you meet someone who wants more, who wants to know, really, are you fine?  How fine?  Define fine. Tell me.  If you don't know the person well, or at all, then it feels like taking your clothes off to say Oh to hell with it all.  I hate my dog and my husband snores.  I feel fat and wrinkly and I want to eat frosties and custard all day.  So you fight the urge to tell your kind enquirer the truth, and take a bit more time to check them out.  It is only after much subtle assessment over a period of time, that we trust our enquirer enough to tell them, at their insistence, how we really are. 

There are those who will never divulge how they feel.  They come towards you with a cloud hanging over their head, their feet dragging and you can hear them sigh from half a street away.  How are you?  you say with sympathy.  Oh, fine! never better! comes the reply, wiping away a tear with the edge of a frayed sleeve.  This is a person who can react in two ways when you tilt your head a little to the side and say with raised eyebrows and a concerned look in your eye, Oh??  Reaction one is a gathering of stature, a throwing back of the shoulders and a furious stare.  I am, says the stare, in control and happy as Larry.  I dare you to think otherwise.  Ha! they say loudly, Bit nippy for the time of year for the daffodils, and amble off leaving you to wonder if that was a cryptic message that would make everything clear for you if only you could work it out.  Reaction two is a heaving sob and an Oh! The sky is falling in and I lost my job and now my cat has ingrowing toenails Ooooh! and you are in doubt as to how they really are.  Sometimes you know that someone has had a spot of bad luck and when you ask them how they are and they say Fine!  Ha ha ha, that is when I want to say Liar. 

Of course, if you are truly interested in how people are, you have to have time to spare.  If they tell you, because you asked and expect a proper reply, then you have to stand there and listen.  It could take hours, but since you made it clear that you need to know the truth, you have to see it through.  And if, exhausted, at the end of it all, they ask And how are you?  it may be your turn to tell them exactly how you are and keep them listening for a further few hours.  It would be insensitive to leave them panting and empty after having told you absolutely exactly how they are, warts and all, to say to their enquiry Mustn't grumble, lovely time of year for ducks, and go home.  Unless of course, they habitually tell everyone that asks and have a reputation as a bit of a drone, in which case it is probably the safest thing to do. 

I am someone who generally likes to know the truth.  How are you?  when I am in good form means No nonsense from you, I expect a proper answer.  Stand up straight, look me in the eye, and leave nothing out.  And when I am not in good form, and am tired and weighed down by the world and all its doings, How are you? asked in a weak little voice means Keep it short and ask me how I am quick.  And then tell me I am wonderful.  When asked, I will always tell you how I am.  I may tailor it a bit if I think you are unable to take it (How are you?  Generally fine but got a bit of a funny tummy)  but if you are able to take it (How are you?  Got dysentry and need the loooooo).  But I do understand that most of us do not need this level of analysis when we are generally greeting each other in the street.  Most of us don't really have the time and energy (or interest) in what is really going on with those who we meet and chat to during the day.  Except me.  I want to know.  I am not to be fobbed off with Fine, when I ask you, I will want to say And?  if we meet and I ask you how you are and you say Fine.  I will probably take you warmly by the lapels if you do that, and say with passion You Lie!  There has to be more!