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By Anoushka Beazley, Nov 14 2016 09:32AM

I struggled to write a blog post last week. The political reality of the world dominated my fiction. This last election was not in my country but it is my world and I found myself more upset than when I woke up to find 'the British people' had voted to leave the EU. I eventually excused that vote as an unfortunate fuck up. This second vote, Trump as President, feels in the words of the man himself, as a movement, by definition a movement comprised of many more fuck ups to come. I have three children. I don't smoke weed anymore - though considering the way the election turned out I totally understand the decision to legalise marijuana. I have no choice but to get up early in the morning and face the day. The girls have just finished a project on the Suffragettes. They learned how hard women fought to have the vote but there is man sitting in the white house who has spoken of overturning Roe v Wade. It feels like we're going back in time. My Sri Lankan parents came over on a boat in the fifties. They worked hard, good law-abiding people. The world is more culturally empathic and richer for historical global migration but now the President-elect is talking of building a wall. It feels like we're going back in time.

I don't know what to say to my children but say something I must as 52% of voters in Britain chose to leave the European Union and 60+ million Americans voted for a bigoted/racist/sexist reality TV celebrity to become President. Clearly people are unhappy with the establishment - we get it - but change at any cost could do more to fuck up this world than ignoring climate change, another inspired idea by the President-elect. I don't want to hate, I don't want to be scared and I'm trying really hard not to judge but I worry when people cast reactionary votes because their lives have been affected to a point where now they hate, they are scared and they judge. As a writer I write general fiction. I wrote #thegoodenoughmother. Donald Trump is not a good enough president.

I am a fiction writer. I write general fiction created from the world around us and it is the main category, the mothership, the place where all the other strands of fiction descend from.

I need dystopian fiction to remain a sub-genre.

By Anoushka Beazley, Oct 23 2016 10:42PM

Antenatal Class - This Way.

Nietzsche knew it. Called it the philosophy of life - the need to belong, essential to humans and animals. Humanity is co-dependency. Who are we without each other? Book club, squash club, PTA: groups of people who share something and through being together, live a little better. Nothing wrong with that.

'There should be name tags on everybody's seat,' the facilitator said. 'I'm sorry, can I help you?' She seemed confused. I stood in the doorway. Everyone turned to look at me. I blinked away my sadness and smiled. 'Name?'

'Umm...Federika..Neech. I'm here for the class,' I said. All through school my parents would tell me, 'join a club, it'll be good for you.' Being part of something gives us meaning. We have someone to bear witness to what we do.

'Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I was positive we only had ten coming tonight.' She scurried to find me a chair.

I needed the toilet. At the break I used the downstairs loo to be away from the others. I also needed a cubicle that locked.

Considering the nourishment that a group of like-minded individuals can bring, it is an odd quirk that we come into this world alone - desperately trying to fill a hole. And yet which are the groups we choose?

I re-positioned the cushion under my blouse. A session was about to start in one of the other rooms. The facilitator stood hopefully in the doorway, waiting. One empty seat.

Miscarriage support meeting - This Way.

By Anoushka Beazley, Oct 18 2016 09:36PM

First day back at work. I could almost smell the sweet scent of formaldehyde. Spring was the funeral parlour's busiest season. I felt so useful explaining to the grieving all the ways they could say goodbye to their loved ones. Religion dictated fire or earth depending on which God people selected, but there was so much more to it than that; so many incidentals and variations and I took my job most seriously. Mr Grimsby was very insistent that I be the person who expound the various procedures to the customers. He commented on my 'sensitivity' and often remarked to the staff the importance of being knowledgeable on a subject. No sense in being a 'Jack of all trades and master of none,' he'd say, winking at me.

'I'm off to work now mother.' She said nothing.

I knew an awful lot about death.

I took mother's rollers out of her hair while she read the morning paper. Like mother like daughter. She took the world so seriously sometimes I'd come home from work and she'd still be sat there, engrossed.

Yes, work gave me a huge sense of pride. There was nothing morbid about helping people. And mother agreed. She's an atheist. Loved life not God which is why when she died, choked on a ball of homemade stuffing, I didn't tell anyone. I just cleaned her up with a soft flannel, a touch of balm and put on her favourite dress.

By Anoushka Beazley, Oct 10 2016 08:51PM

I have three kids. The jury's out on the youngest. She probably thinks Peppa Pig is running for President of the United States (I apologise to the RSPCA for a remark which may be construed as cruelty to pigs). The other two are in school. First week back and the eldest is annoyed that she was not voted class president. My nutritious banana snack only served to add insult to injury. I asked the other one if she also ran and, with hunched shoulders and a furrowed brow, she vehemently shook her head. She said she didn't want to because as class president you needed to go to the headmaster's office which is scary. I asked why it is scary, knowing full well why you shouldn't go into the woods at night. She said, because it feels like a punishment. But M is an exemplary student and has never even been summoned to the headmaster's office. I felt a twinge. I know most fear is irrational but does it have to start this young? I am at that moment inspired by my childhood girl-crush Winona Ryder in Stranger Things, Netflix original binge-watched over days. I tell M we are going to do an experiment, me and her. We're going to see if we can turn the feeling upside down. I told her I think we can and I want her to go to school tomorrow and tell her teacher that she would like to run for class president. That she should tell everybody she would like them to vote for her. I said all campaigning presidents need to give a little speech. She said 'I will try and make the toilets cleaner, I'll be with you every day and make sure there is no injustice.' I thought about how much cleaner politics seemed already. We made leaflets. It was the day before the vote, and her birthday, and I asked her how she was feeling. She seemed taller. She smiled, a radiant smile, and said she felt more confident and wasn't so scared of going to the headmaster's office anymore. I asked if she knew why she might be more confident. She gave me a smug look and said, 'maybe because I'm eight tomorrow.' When I picked her up from school the next day she told me that she didn't get it. I asked if she was okay. She said she was sad because she had been excited and really wanted it. Never had I been so happy to see a child unhappy. The feeling had turned upside down which is a pretty nifty trick to learn as a kid, and keep with you as an adult/wonderful woman.

By Anoushka Beazley, Oct 3 2016 09:48PM

Last week friends came to dinner to celebrate #thegoodenoughmother getting into Waterstones Piccadilly (they cooked, I hosted - it's the way forward). Mid preparation I suggested I leave my kitchen so that one lovely couple could finish their arguement freely; I moved the knives and they jumped at the offer. They were trying to fix something that felt broken, it's what we do. And this can be hard, painful, impossible as people are flawed and often incapable of seeing the same problem in the same way. Our differences make us extraordinary and sometimes incompatible. I teeter out into the garden in my high heels, that I can walk in perfectly well unless I need to leave my house, enjoying a cheeky cigarette and a satisfying whisky in the balmy September air. I stop at the patio windows into our living room. The lights are so warm and inviting they are from someone else's house. I look at my children dressed in pyjamas, playing with their doll's house, safe, happy, loved. So often I am in my life I never look at it from the outside and I'm struck by how different it appears. Through this window I am given a different perspective. I am given a rare opportunity to bear witness to my own existence and I see it is possible to live one way but see another. We are at best a mass of walking contradictions trying to make sense of our families, our relationships, our emotions, ourselves. Windows provide the admission of air and light, a chance to see what we couldn't before, and windows into our own life are definitely worth looking into. I watch the girls playing, I am unseen and they are blissful in their own garden of childhood. When I return to the kitchen the couple are closer, more at ease with each other; what seemed broken has now been fixed. I am similarly experiencing an unexpected feeling of connection - to my own life. Infamous writer Anais Nin, patron saint of female erotica, experienced therapy with Carl Jung, a man who practised a life dedicated to searching for the therapeutic perspective says this, 'We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.'

Notes from a Writers Handbook

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