My Books: Conquering the fear of being thought pushy…


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/conquer/

It hit me, seeing the word ‘conquer’, that there is a huge barrier between me and getting my books out – and it is this I need to conquer: the fear of being thought big-headed, arrogant, repetitive, unfeminine, untalented and delusional; the fear of pushing myself forward, of being brash and insensitive.  I cannot conquer the world of literature if I am not able to conquer my own dark and foetid fears, to break free from the restrictions, originally germinated in others, which I enforce upon myself.

If I cannot conquer my terror of being read and disapproved of, read and disliked, read and scorned, how can I hope to persuade anyone else to read my words?

I wrote the words below, 70% conquered by this thought: ‘No one will want to read about my books…’

But, in a genuine attempt at vaulting this barrier, I am sending my post out again with the prompt attached. Doing this brings profound anxiety, but I will not be held back by my own fears and inhibitions any longer. I will conquer this!

This is me – and this person lies behind all of the novels, blogs and diaries I have written. Some writers are distinct from their creations. I am not of their number!

Each one of my books represents a part of my personality, or a facet of my wide-ranging interests; each book is a key to my character’s bureau. This is, I am sure, true of every author (whether published or not) and I am not claiming anything new or revolutionary in penning these words – just that such a conceit has only just occurred to me.

I have always had a flourishing inner bawd – since well before I knew what such a concept, such a word, meant – and was one of those, no-doubt-tiresome, little girls who could be relied upon to pass on the most vulgar limericks to her primary school classmates. The humour inherent in sexuality and sexual congress (heehee!) was obvious to me well before I surrendered (with no reluctance) my maidenhood. I am, in many ways, unreconstructed, rude, vulgar and, to some, downright offensive. So, ‘Come Laughing!‘ was, in many ways, inevitable – a series of thoughts and feelings just waiting for me to be old enough to write down; just waiting, I should perhaps say, for me to pass through the ‘giving a shit what people think’ phase and out the other side!

I have always had a ripe, robust, ribald, raucous – and, some would say, inappropriate! – sense of humour, and was able to see the funny side of secondary school teaching very quickly. I could have written a far more serious novel than ‘LLB’ had I chosen to do so because there is much about the education system that infuriates, upsets and worries me. But, while my reactions are, I think, very clear to read, albeit subliminally or as a kind of buzzing sub-text, I have chosen to wrap them up in a light-hearted and colourful literary duvet cover!

Since childhood, I have loved, and studied to degree level, literature: Poetry, prose, plays – all grist to my mill. And, as someone who did History A’level, and had an abiding interest in history anyway, the lives and times of my favourite authors absorbed and intrigued me. My fascination with the Bloomsbury Group – and particularly the splendid Stephen sisters, Vanessa and Virginia (who became Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf when married) – started when I was at university and I read most of the books then available about their lives. I identified especially strongly with Woolf (whom many people said I resembled as a young woman) – and it was, perhaps, unsurprising, that my first full-length novel, ‘Riding at the Gates of Sixty’, should have been a re-telling of parts of her story through the eyes of Vanessa, Virginia herself and her husband, Leonard Woolf. By a sublime irony, given that we were both born in January, I am now almost exactly the age VW was when she killed herself (on March 28th 1941) – and am, indeed, myself now riding at the gates of sixty!

Another part of me is an enduring love of landscape, of seasons, of the tides and times of the Moon – and this has come out in most of my novels as a backdrop. But, in ‘The Lyre of Logres’, I pay homage not just to the physical landscape, but also to its mystical counterpart, the ancient land of Logres. This book, which consists of many short stories, also draws upon my life as part of the Pagan community (for want of a better word).

The Pagan link is made much more specific in my fifth book ‘My Esoteric Journey Volume 1′, in that I discuss much more openly the journey I have taken, from training in the Craft Tradition with Paddy Slade, through my association with SOL and ritual magic and on to my links with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.

My output has been eclectic, to say the least, and this has had both positive and negative results. On the one hand, I am difficult to categorise because I do not stick to the one genre; on the other, there is a versatility and freshness about my work (though I say so myself) which is, I think, appealing – and, for all that I do not adhere to any one tradition, I think I have an easily recognisable style, an Alienora way of writing!

As some of you will be aware, I have five copies of each book being shipped over from the US – and am hoping to find a home for some of them in the local area.

Have a look, if you haven’t already:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alienora-Taylor/e/B00QGUIHFI/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Patronising: The Nuances of Condescension


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/nuance/

I can’t stand being patronised. It makes me bloody angry, brings out my inner mere-wife and brings me as close to homicidal aggression as I am ever likely to get. And yet those who are experts in this demonic art deal in subtle shades, in whisper-behind-the-fan Courtly suggestion; their currency is nuance. You cannot pin the buggers down because there is a greasy layer of ambivalence, of deliberate double meaning; because they are able to dig a deep and effective trap which, when you fall into it, shows you up as a paranoid, ungrateful, nasty swine!

Patronising another is analogous to praising with faint damn, as you might say. The honeyed artifice of the apparent compliment hides the painful sabre-tooth of venomous disdain – and yet such is the web of nuance, the clever rhetoric, the shark-like smiles and all the rest of the tricks of this most diabolic of trades that one’s instinctive anger, affront and hurt gets lost in speciousness and surface glister.

The nuances involved in this game are like the famous Welsh portrait of two women, or the equally infamous Magic Eye phenomenon: Not everyone can see the image, or images; they are open to misinterpretation and the wobbly nature of so-called subjective reality allows a great wedge of doubt to jam the visual certainty. Double, even treble and quadruple, thinking becomes the norm – with the patronised one, suspecting a velvet-smooth insult in the lavish praise, becoming terrified that failure to truly get the flattery indicates a wasteland of a spirit, rampant ingratitude or neurosis so developed that immediate psychiatric assistance should be sought.

Nuances, like butterflies, do not survive for long – and this is why they are so hard to pin down, unpick – prove. This is why it is so easy for those who patronise others on a regular basis to get away with it, to claim innocence, to turn the hidden condescension into more overt humiliation.

I do not like being looked down upon, considered to be inferior, subtly sneered at. But it does make me laugh – in a bitter and cynical way – when life’s most obdurate patronisers are apparently unable to see how obvious they are, actually, being because, utterly englamoured by their own nefarious nuancing, they forget to allow for the intelligence and perception of those they are so intent upon despising.

Chaotic Catalyst


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/chaotic/

Life is random and chaotic. Trouble is, we humans are trained to think in religious text imagery, or fairy tale metaphor. A Patriarchal God smites the evil. Believers convert the Heathens. Everything lives happily ever after. The baddies get shoved into their own ovens. Life is alphabetical, in numerical order. Time is organised into hours, days (each, of a value up to seven, with their own personal names!), weeks, months and years (with a new numerical code for each passing one!).

We believe in order – and live in chaos.

Our sense of right versus wrong tells us that the good shall prevail and the bad be punished. Faced with Donald Trump, we mutter and shriek for a while and then cosy up to him ingratiatingly, while putting the blame for this spectacular Own Goal on those who opted not to vote. How do our minds cope in a world where one of our earliest tenets of belief – that Baddies are punished – is so spectacularly overturned?

In our complacency and arrogance, in our rigid mind-sets and Grimms expectations, we think belief and stories can hold off chaos? How bloody stupid!

We need to feel that we are in control – of a living, breathing planet! Of creatures who are not put upon this earth for our convenience! Of weather systems so far in advance of us in terms of power that we are beyond foolish to think we can influence them!

And yet still we insist, in our tiny little minds and mean little lives, that we can fight and tame chaos; that our order (so false, so anal!) can make us safe against a chaotic world!

Chaos is a catalyst – often a much-needed shake-up of the dreary status quo. It exists for a purpose – and that purpose is not control by upright apes! Chaos is Geburah energy. It is the necessary breaking down of forms, of limitations, of that which is static and life-denying.

Chaos destroys. But it also revitalises. It forces humans to think outside the box, to let go of their childhood fairy tale comforters, their reliance upon a Paternal Deity, their willingness to allow religion or story to think for them.

Chaos blasts away the known.

It is a force no human can escape.

Fools know that which wise men seek to deny!

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Percolate: Oh, yeah! For all Coffee Addicts out there!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/percolate/

Ooh, Coffee-Babe!

Percolate me hard, Crushed Beans of Wickedness!

Umm! Your high roast vibes have dripped and seeped and oozed through my body, Espresso-Man, causing me to ascend ceiling-wards in an adrenaline froth of zinging nerves and shaking extremities.

Your level six (out of five) strength upon my frail form has caused a flush of caffeine to paint my face and neck and chest the colour of raspberry ice-cream, and my breath to judder in palpitations’ tremors.

The gasping noise, the croaking and groaning, the sizzling and clanking, as you gear up for the onslaught upon my taste buds first thing in the morning, is the epitome of sensual frustration: Waiting for the slow drops of fluid to emerge from your vessel’s narrow nozzle; the rich fragrance of forbidden lands assaulting my nasal passages; the addict’s trembling clear in my hands – as you keep me in suspense for minutes, hours, weeks, or so it seems. Maddens me, all of it, and keeps me hooked!

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You hold me in thrall, Java Lava! I ache for my twice-daily fix! Get the shakes and the blurred vision when some gremlin in your works stops the blessed overflow of enticing heat and taste and – Oh, My Percolator, that something extra which defies all known ingredients and pushes you into the realm of the gods and their nectar!

Percolate me slowly, if you must, Babe! Torment me with your olfactory sneer, your dark brown sexy voice and your imagined tingle upon my taste buds!

Ummmm: Coffee!

Filthy! Disgusting! Vile!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/filthy/

‘Filthy’ is ‘dirty’ with eighteen-lacer DM boots, rats depending from ear-lobes and attitude you could start a war with. It carries on where shy little ‘dirty’ finishes and slinks, embarrassed and shamed, into the woodwork.

Dirty is amenable to hoover and duster and a little light elbow grease. Filthy requires industrial cleaning equipment – or a Surface to Air Missile, depending upon the depth of accretions and level of Porton Down type biological/chemical weapons which follow in extreme filth‘s wake.

Filthy is Fungus the Bogeyman, Drear! It is wonderfully awful, my Darkling!

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Dirty, according to the Sin-Fanatics amongst us, is Vanilla Sex.

Filthy is the whole world of kinkiness and degradation and Sado-Masochistic acts involving cucumbers, whips, dungeons (and, in all probability, dragons), Nazi insignia, porcupines (for the Filth Addict who is beyond the Pale), chains and an entire set of medical/veterinary implements.

‘Filthy dirty’ – as hissed out by prim Chapel-goers – is filth so heinous that even the most stubborn of hoarders, even the Marquis de Sade, would have baulked at its vile implications.

Filthy-dirty is bodily wastes extruded in open air; it is necrophilia and bestiality and bed bugs a foot long. It is carpets which undulate with life, and bite the unwary. It is privies which cause light-headedness and, ultimately, brain damage; it is placentas left, wrapped inadequately in newspaper, in the wire incinerator tray after a home birth; it is wiping one’s arse on a goose/sibling/passing cleric.

Filthy, my little pockets of purulent pus (as Fungus would, no doubt, croon lovingly to Mildew during those moments of bogeyperson passion), is all those acts and states which are so utterly disgusting and taboo in civilised society that a spree of serial killing is a mere scattering of crumbs on the table in comparison.

Filthy is – compelling! Programmes on the television dealing with its human manifestations are avidly watched. We are fascinated by filth! We love to hate it. We condemn it – and yet we peer from behind lacy net curtains in order to watch it more closely.

When I grow up, I want to BE that unashamedly filthy character, Fungus the Bogeyman! Imagine the relief of living like a pig wallowing in shit and being allowed to enjoy it; being, indeed, ostracised for cleanliness and chided for slipping into mere dirtiness!

Bliss!

Now: Pass the manure bucket, and stand clear!

Hating the Opposite Sex: Fishing for Converts


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fish/

Human beings, especially those riddled with hatred and insecurity and self-righteousness, have this crazy desire to fish for converts in every body of water. This becomes especially dangerous when their fishing rods are built with misogny or misandry. Catching a fish and preparing it with your own anger and poison does not a genuine feast make!

I freeze when I hear someone say, ‘I hate men!’ or, ‘All women are bitches!’

Why? What’s the point? What an unintelligent and narrow decision! Just because one man (or woman) was a shit (or shittess) doesn’t mean you need to tar them all with the same (toilet) brush, does it?

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It has always really annoyed me when misandrists have tried to recruit me to their ranks. This tendency has increased since I went public on here with aspects of my divorce and its aftermath. Man-hating women are drawn to my posts like sharks to a swimmer’s slight wound, and some of them make it abundantly clear that I should be one of them.

People are people, for heaven’s sake – and I choose my friends on that basis rather than on their gender per se.

It is, actually, far healthier, if you think about it, to have both male and female friends when going through life’s traumas. They have very different, but equally valuable, perspectives on, in my case, marital breakdown; even more importantly, though, friends of the opposite sex reassure you that not all apples in that gender’s basket are rotten. They show, by example, the good, kind, loving and supportive side of their sex – and we all need that hope held out for us when we are immersed in the devastation that is divorce.

It is true that some scars will take longer to heal than others – and that, as a result, certain interactions with the opposite sex will be off the agenda for an indeterminate length of time – but eschewing half of the human race because of the behaviour of one member is as short-sighted as it is stupid.

We can rail against the Patriarchal Society we live in, or historical male dominance, without having to turn our backs upon the human beings we like (who happen to have been born boys!) and who are our close friends.

We are all composed of a complex mix of male and female characteristics – and, if we loathe all of one gender, we are also hating that side of ourselves.

No, I love my female friends and my male ones, equally if differently, and have no desire to join the ranks of the haters!

So, if you are fishing for another member of the Gender Hatred Squad, do not come anywhere near my lake. Pike lie deep, grow to enormous size, taste revolting and are vicious when any attempt is made with line and hook.

Deception starts with lofty self-delusion!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lofty/

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Lofty: Elevated in character and spirit. Such a cornerstone of life, isn’t it? This need to be lofty in comparison with all the lower beings, those who do not possess the marvellous traits we are so sure we have in abundance; those whose spirits are dull and weak.

And this is the False Garden of Eden: The Paradise of Deception.

Our honesty – especially if it is coruscating and honed to the sharpness of an axe – becomes, in a way I have never understood, as sign of moral superiority and of bone-deep truth about our own characters. Thus, we cannot lose. Thus, we maintain our lofty status whichever way we turn.

Secretly convinced of our own wisdom, courage and self-awareness, we heap pity and scorn upon those whom we see as unenlightened, lower in perception, plain thick. From our great (and greatly exaggerated!) height, our inner loftiness, we condescend, we patronise, we look into others’ eyes and souls, lives and struggles, and find them wanting…

…and what is it they are wanting, nine times out of ten?

Let me tell you! You see, loftiness knows it is right. So the lesser beings want, jolly well need actually, to shape up and follow the path WE lofty beings are on. If only the poor misguided saps listened to our advice, and lived their lives the way we do, they would, or might, eventually be elevated to (minor) loftiness as well.

Seldom, however, do we lofty ones look ourselves squarely in the mirror – turn that critical faculty inwards: Too busy criticising everyone else to have the time, don’t you know? Too busy rubbing our hands together in lofty glee as we view the self-imposed misery of all life’s losers (because, to lofties, everything is self-imposed – in others, that is) and snicker through our long list of how we would have made a far better job of their pathetic lives than they have.

‘If only…’ we think sanctimoniously, ‘So and so could see what he/she is doing! If only he or she could see that following MY path IS the only answer!’

There is a famous saying about walking a mile in another’s shoes, isn’t there? Brilliant, I call it…

But Lofties don’t go a bundle on that idea: The shoes under advisement are clearly inferior and, had the suffering cretin bought Lofty-standard footwear, such a daft venture would be unnecessary. Besides, it’s not about empathy; it’s about the footsore one getting a bloody grip, bucking up his or her ideas, facing the truth, learning the lesson – and, really, if they can’t see that, they’re not worth bothering with and can sodding well walk another hundred miles in their crap shoes!

But, Dear Lofties (and we all have an Inner Lofty, which is why I use the first person plural for much of this!), do you ever stop to think? Do you ever wrench your critical eyes from the speck in another’s eye and examine your own seeing orbs in the mirror of uncomfortable truth? Does it ever occur to you that your loftiness is a delaying tactic, a form of denial? That, as long as you can confront the inner horrors in another, you can safely allow your own to pile up until they ooze out through all pores?

Exorcists without any training, you should not be let loose upon society until you have searched your own characters and spirits rigorously. You do not have the skills to call out demons or psychoanalyse or convert others – and, in your blithe and lofty blindness, you can do more harm than good when you invade another’s psyche in order to avoid your own!

Lofties often find themselves in crisis after a while, because, no matter how hard they slam the inner door, their own weaknesses and fears and demons and Achilles Heels eventually come tumbling out – and then there is a reckoning.

The best teaching is done through example – and through ‘educare’ in the true sense: To bring something out. Too many Lofties are neurotically concerned with cramming as much as they can in – as if all non-lofties were nothing but empty vessels awaiting the priceless gift of Loftinisation! – and then grading their ‘pupils’ depending on how successfully they have aped the Lofty Life!

Truth starts with the honesty we bring to our own characters and lives, thoughts and emotions. If we cannot face our own inner darkness, our twisted motivations, our Lofty moments, we are not in any position to tell others to do so!