A Writer’s lover…

Listening to Neil Gaiman on Tim Ferriss’s podcast “The Interview I’ve waited for…” was quite a joy. My favourite over used adjective word came to mind, it was “inspiring” but no that was not the word to use here. There was a sanguinity to his tone of voice, something decadent about the way he spoke, his reverence for notebooks and fountain pens; and esteemed love and sadness for his friend, the late Sir Terry Pratchett.

To be honest I didn’t know what to expect from this interview and for the first fifteen minutes I was thinking, really…we’re going to listen to Neil Gaiman talk about the materials he writes on and pens he writes with (long). But as the adoration of using these tools to craft one’s art went on I realised that I share the same love for notebooks and passion for writing. I do enjoy typing but there’s nothing like a pen in your hand and writing on paper, gliding the words on the page, the continuity of thoughts.
I worried that my love of stationary was a fetish and I had an unhealthy obsession with pens but what I have discovered is that they are my lovers, and I am just a lover who requires the tools to play with. I know what you’re thinking but I am talking about the  form and process of writing.
Journalling, story-telling, screenplays, poetry – I love words. My vocabulary may not be the landscape of the seven wonders of the world or overwhelm you with colours and shades of the Sistine chapel but I’m sure there is a place for me as there is for you. I guess I feel “normal” and less “abnormal” to be a lover of writing, is it a form that is dying out?

When my partner gave me ‘Neverwhere’ for my birthday, I remember reading a few pages, found myself bored and put it down. It didn’t interest me. I came back to it a year later and couldn’t stop reading, what had changed in a year? I’m not sure, sometimes I’m not ready to read certain books which is why I buy them and shelve them for years. I might read them one day, my aim is to read the ones that I have on the shelf and in storage (gulp).

I love London and reading a book that weaves inside and outside of London streets that I know captured me, I could relate. Whilst working for an old Livery Hall that dates back to the 15th Century, even more stories were animated in my head.
(SPOILER ALERT) I remember leaving the bus just as I finished ‘Neverwhere’ and looked up. I was astonished as there in front of me, I caught a glimpse of ‘The Marquis de Carabas’. I was grappling for my mobile phone lost in my bag as the bus stopped at St Pauls to take a photo, and I thought there it is, London Below has come up to visit London Above. I was so excited I tweeted @Neilhimself

 

I became even more of a believer in fantasy, wonder and possibility. I thought of my “inner child”  not the psychologically damaged one but the “innocence of youth”. It had taken me back to Edgar Allen Poe, Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. Dark stories that I read in my childhood, stories of truth with characters not so beautiful and perfect but those that questioned thyself and others. I grew up with horror and  thriller influences (poor me). I look forward to ‘Good Omens’.

I loved Neil Gaiman’s honesty in what friendship was for him and the loss of a loved one. The beautiful memories of past conversations, accents, admiration, devotion, hearty laughter and an emptiness of being when they are gone. Death reminds us of moments we’d almost forgotten, a period when we experienced happier times. A soulmate of another kind.

Have a listen.

For a moment

For a moment intuition kicked in, the reality I will never be a part

of your blood, life or family

for a moment I’m not a part

of your life, your circle, your photos

for this moment I do not exist

I am, I was and still a memory, a shell of existence

for a moment I’m empty, tired, numb, fucked off

for a moment, my soul is crying, dying fighting the truth, the lie,

the made up scene in my head

for a moment my world shattered, crumbled, died or

did I face the undeniable inconsolable truth

the truth thats always been there, my fears

that ensnare, that encapsulate

that slaughter, that stabs the heart of me

me, who am I in the picture, no one, this picture

of family that stands, no one, that’s happy, that exists without me

me, who is me. No one, nothing of importance. Noted, that’s me.

 

Mia’s Fears

Coach asked me today why I was holding back, what is it I feared?

“Losing. It’s simple I don’t wanna lose. Why would  I train this hard and for so long if all I’m gonna do is lose”.  Stupid question, he must’ve seen the thoughts cross my face cos then he said  “Mia, don’t be afraid of your potential”. In my head I was thinking “what the fuck” and he must have read that too because I didn’t have a chance to reply.

“Just think about it”. And we were back into training.

So, I’m thinking about it. Why am I holding back? I know I can be the best so what’s up with me? Then…all these memories came flooding into my head, moments from my life where I had failed. Failed to speak up for myself, failed to help or step in, failed to be a fighter, failed to make my brother proud and that was it.

Everything went in slow motion, and I’m crying. Stupid uncontrollable crying in the street, and I’m searching every pocket to find a tissue, a used one even and then I use my sleeve. Come on Mia you’re 27 and you’re crying over stupidness. Fuck this shit, the only person you have to make proud is yourself, now get it together and fight. Fight to win.

Daddy dearest…

There are some days where as a stubborn person in life means you do not learn anything but your own opinions and hear the sound of your own voice. Then there are times where you realise how much you learn from listening to yourself and the experiences you’ve had. But no matter how hard I try to keep an open mind about my own experiences and my Dads, the generational gap cannot change his way of thinking; it can merely bend it to a degree. But that degree is not a win on my part that he came round to my perspective on any thoughts I put across. It merely meant that in a second he heard what I said and will choose to keep it, ponder on it or has already forgotten it.
What have I learned in this process is that my POV is mine alone and attempting to alter, change, offer a wider perspective to my Dad is not lost, not wasted and certainly not a defeat of me trying to change his/ the world; but that at least I connected with him. At least we laughed and at least we shared that time together. We talked a lot about “destiny” and “what if” moments, the last part of the conversation was “what if I won the lottery tomorrow, that would be my destiny” and I argued this was a “what if moment rather than destiny, and was based on statistical facts that you would not win”. Ultimately, there are odds that the outcome could go one way or the other but in the end who cares whose right and whose wrong.
“What if” I had the opportunity to live life again and make different choices. I wouldn’t choose to do this moment any differently as I know these moments will be far and few between.

I love you Dad

Upstart – Mia’s sprint

My time of the morning, cool crisp wind in my face. No fucker bothering me or pushing me to challenge myself.  A few familiar faces pass, we do what we always do, jog by without acknowledgement. Sunday, my day, my time. Church day, their time. He’s praying for me,  gotta push my brother outta my head. Mia – this is your time!

Tune – “you better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it…”

I wanna try some MMA, soon. The fight will be over soon. “Mia, focus. This isn’t just any fight, this is a fight that could change your career, take you to another level”. Do I care? Really, do I? Course, I wanna win…come on Mia no complaining. “You’re lucky, you’re good”. So, what I know I’m good. Don’t get arrogant, why fucking not! I’m not saying I’m the best, but I know I can be.

Fucking doooog, can’t you see I’m running. Why stop here, you fucking little shit! “Sorry”, I wanna kick your ass right now and your fucking stupid little yappy gremlin. Ahhh my knee. Breathe, its fucking hurting, not another injury. “Fucking dog, put it on a leash on next time”. My opponent is staring at me with those disapproving but up for the challenge eyes, my pride already on the floor, walk away Mia, walk away…aaaaaahrrrrhhhhhhh!

Maria thanks the Eminem ‘Lose yourself’ lyrics. Great track to work out to!

Upstart

‘Upstart’ is the name of my short film, it’s about a female boxer who lives in the shadow of her brother’s success as a former boxer. Mia is seeking to find who she is and where she fits in the world.

Who am I? Well, I am Maria Thomas. I’m an Actress, Producer, Writer and a lot more like most people. I have so much passion about life, learning new things, discovering new places, listening to new people even the ones that annoy you. You can find my Producer page on Facebook, under Maria Thomas and I will shortly begin a page on ‘Upstart’.

‘Upstart’ is written, co-produced, co-directed and starring me. If you going to do a first project, you may as well do it all.

How did this idea come about? I did a play about a girl called ‘Cutter’, which is also the title of the piece by Sean Burn. Cutter begins the play at the age of 8 and by the end is 18yrs. During the play she confronts bullying, racism, self-harm, loss of her Mother and then during the play the loss of her Grand Father. The piece is about a journey of self discovery and independence which is why I was drawn to writing a short film with similar themes.

This is the adult version and finally deciding on the lead character’s name Mia, I am about to blog about her journey week to week, maybe more but in character. So this is where Maria ends and Mia’s journey begins.

Today is jus one of those days, it’s naggin me, this pain in my fucking hand. Fucking injuries jus won’t go away. I wanna go home, I just want to say “fuck off, I’m done” but I know his gonna gimme that look. Arhhh….just don’t look at me like that, I don’t need a guilt trip, I don’t need the talk, I need a f…king night off. He doesn’t have to stay every night…but he does, perfecting his techniques, his moves, waiting for his moment, not mine.  I don’t wanna be a fucking puppet…

“4 jabs, come on, stop thinking. Bam Bam Bam Bam. 8 jabs, Bam…”

I’m so fucking tired and it shows. I see his disappointment, he would not have given up, he would not have shown weakness. I muster whatever energy I have, “again, come on again”, I say and I see his fired energy ignited. Sometimes…I hate you brother.

It’s a start into the mind of Mia and the back story to the film. Thank you for reading and maybe follow the journey in future.

Half full, half empty

Hand on heart, no words escape my lips,

the truth of a past I cannot relive.

Moments lost, memories gained

an injustice to the memories unnamed.

Where are you now? Who, what, how

did I get here, I know not this time

this place, this home, my space.

Cloudy, unrecognisable since you’ve left

the hole in my heart is still bereft.

 

 

 

 

In the grand scheme of things…

Well, the last 12 months has been an eye opener of familial life, career, bullying, patterns of life, responsibilities and all the past memories or experiences I have gone through and still go through.

There are some memories I cannot wipe away but manage them on a day to day, month to month basis. Some memories like tonight, where I look at the clock at 12:20am and remember on this New Year’s Eve like every other for the last six years; you are no longer in my life. I cannot celebrate another year with you, go shopping with you, tell you about all the exciting moments in my life or share the partner in my life with you. We are no longer a family unit because the glue that held us together is no longer there.

We may have argued, hurt one another, spoken harsh words but isn’t that what everyone goes through, isn’t that normal? All those memories where I rebelled against your beliefs and wisdom of experience. When I thought I was right and you were wrong, when everything you had been through in life was for our/my benefit, but I couldn’t see through that as a child as a teenager and sometimes as an adult.

I remember many things like your red lipstick, your smile, your infectious laughter. I remember the brightly coloured clothes you wore. I remember you always wore skirts and dresses and dressed well even going shopping. I remember your colourful head scarfs and your Harrods bag that you took with you to work. The tea I would make for you in your flask, the cakes you bought home at 4pm from work as you loved afternoon tea. The family get-togethers at Christmas for afternoon tea at Harrods, it became traditional in our house. Chicken Biriyani, my favourite meal. The birthday parties and the mean cocktail punches everyone got drunk on. The people whose lives you touched and whom loved you dearly. You had a big, generous heart where you gave without a thought to yourself and you welcomed everyone in. I hope this is where my qualities come from, a part of you.

In the grand scheme of things, I suddenly realised “why am I sweating the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff?”. Why have I not lived life to full capacity and how did I become so constrained with how I navigated it. I vowed to myself, I would live each moment with fun, love and an open heart! If situations hurt or pained me then this journey of life is where I need to grow, develop, evolve and I will never stop any of those things. In the grand scheme of things, I’m alive and have every moment to create and be happy in and only I can choose that for my path. So, onwards to the next chapter of life and wherever you are, I love you Mum. You will always be in my heart and soul.

A Moment’s Meeting

A little epiphany from my night out yesterday with a few amusing moments to share with you. This isn’t a rant but a mere reflection of my emotions and thoughts from reading the media coverage on Sarah Bland and how angry and disappointed I felt. Sometimes, we don’t reflect on our own experiences in the moment, during the day or week and we, like others disconnect with the world and people around us.

So last night, I didn‘t expect that the guy who pushed in front of me to get to the bar would be the same guy I would form a connection with and converse to at different moments throughout the evening. But who would also change my perspective and underlying emotions from my day. (I know where you think this going, but it’s not). He did apologise profusely for pushing in front of me.

Our first conversation (almost word for word) begins with Marmad, (that’s his name) asking me to show him around town as he is over from Azerbaijan. I said “I don’t think my boyfriend would approve” his reply was “Well, I didn’t ask you out, I just asked you to show me around. There’s nothing in that”. I said “Ok, well if your girlfriend came home and said “I met this guy at this boat party tonight and he asked me to show him around town. Would you be cool with this?”. He thinks about it for a moment, asks a few other questions which I politely reply to. He then apologises (again) for the earlier scenario, and this time I apologise for my own behaviour and tell him I was carrying this anger with me today; and that I wasn’t really angry with him. I was carrying my attitude and emotions and had directed them at him. We then said our goodbyes and I thought that was it.

Throughout the night our paths crossed, being on a boat with little space, we talked a little more, discovered a little more about the other and he bought my friends and I a round of drinks. Neither one of us drunk or tipsy, I was on water.

Then at the end of the night he found me sat on my own and he came over to talk to me. He put on a sarcastic (but not negative) tone “Is your boyfriend texting you, asking questions…” I laughed and said “no questions but we have been texting”. He then said the following that took me by surprise. “Out of all the girls I’ve talked to tonight, you’re different to all of them”. I was a little confused and he assumed I knew what he meant. I replied in an amusing “laugh it off” way “because when we met I told you off for pushing in front of me at the bar”, he didn’t quite get my humour, and said in a which I can only describe as a genuine, no bull shit tone “No you’re different. You must feel it, there’s something different about you”. Something in his tone of voice caught me off guard (it must be because it was an unexpected compliment) and I cannot find the words to describe that moment, but I knew what he meant. Not in a “you’re so special’ kind of way but almost spiritual context and I was so surprised that all I could say was “thank you”.

He then referred to our earlier conversation where I had switched scenarios, and said if his girlfriend came back and told him she’d met a guy on a boat who wanted her to take him round, he would disapprove because he knows what guys are like and admitted that he was one of those guys (Honesty, I like it).

“But”, I said “If we didn’t have the exchange at the bar, then we would never have met or talked. And that’s what I love about life, the moments when paths cross and you meet someone for that brief moment, and that’s all it was meant to be” he said “I like that, your boyfriend is very lucky” and then we said our goodbyes for the final time.

Why did this small interaction stay with me, because on the surface it just looked like a guy trying to chat up a girl. It became nothing about ego, even if it started off that way for both of us, given the setting; and for me I was carrying angry emotions. With my own prejudice and ego, I felt this man was disrespecting me by pushing in front of me, a person of colour and I’m a woman; he had no awareness or manners. When I mentioned it loudly to him and the bar lady, he was embarrassed and apologised, the bar lady was embarrassed, my niece was mediating the peace for once. This was my intention, however, I walked away feeling a little foolish that I had made a meal of it whilst he was sincerely apologising repeatedly.

And because I have been taught it is socially “unacceptable” not to form an orderly queue, when he pushed in front, I over reacted, I could feel I was about to explode and proud that I had pointed it out (as often we bubble inside about wrong doings and never say anything or we offload to our friends). I made him feel small to the point of him repeatedly apologising and where he offered to buy drinks as a goodwill gesture and that wasn’t my intention.

At the point where we had both offered forgiveness, we found a friendship forming, we learned something new about each other, like he worked on an oil rig, or I told him about my boyfriend. I felt nothing but friendship, openness and honesty in our moments with no egos being bruised when we walked away. We had both learned something about ourselves. I then realised that this is what I hope for in humanity, the moment to recognise our own prejudices, to allow our egos to step aside, to forgive and be humble enough to openly admit when we are in the wrong and then to form friendships. Some of the most beautiful moments in life are moments so brief that when it does happen, we learn and remember to do it differently next time. We won’t always get it right with our thoughts, actions and words but we can certainly give it a good go and not beat ourselves up for getting it wrong.

We need to stop missing those beautiful moments that slip us by, let’s “be” in the present moment and let go of the egos that hold us back from being open-hearted, open-minded and forming beautiful friendships, because when we do we are open to amazing possibilities and moments.

This felt like a short film and maybe one day it will be.