Category Archives: My Fake Memoir

Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 9, The Graveyard Chapter

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To read the gripping first chapter of my “memoir” please go here:https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/memoir-of-a-teacher-a-red-hot-tip-for-nanowrimo/

The knife had a handle of heavily worn, cheap, black plastic, and a blade, that although promised to never dull was in fact smooshing tomatoes rather than cutting them. If someone tried to slice you with it, you might not even know you had been cut… because you probably wouldn’t have been. So much for TV advertising guarantees.

The knife had made a mess of almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet with squished vegetable matter.

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the woman who held it had traipsed in, and wofts of nighttime pollution slithered and twined through the house, through the open door, leaving an unctuous layer over every surface.

The woman Robin paused on the verandah. With her left hand she pulled out a baby wipe from her nappy bag, and with it she wiped off the knife and her plastic gloved, right hand, which had been holding it; then she tossed the baby wipe into a scented nappy bin. The venture was almost over. She had left the lasagne in the oven, the cupcakes cooling on the bench, a fruity punch in the fridge. That only left the salad. A delicious ricotta,  peppered leaves, olives, srmi dried tomatoes and artichoke ensemble. Just one more decision to be made, to add crispy bacon or not.

She flexed her fingers. They were blistered from attempting to use the knife for fine cutting. The woman Robin was, above all things, a gracious hostess, or so she told herself, and she would not allow herself to hit the wine until the salad was finished.

Her hair was red and her eyes were blue and she wore clear plastic gloves of the cheapest price.

“Muuuuuuuum.” One of her three kids, or possibly, two, or all three, was crying. The  toddler’s room was right near the kitchen. The woman Robin walked to her daughter’s room, her feet loud and heavy. She pushed open the door, and she walked in. Her slippers were a dusty grey and looked like little dust pufts on the carpet, you could see the filth of infrequently vacuumed carpet reflected in them.

She could make out the shape of a child in the bed, head and limbs and torso.

The bed was big and inviting for a woman who had barely slept since her first child was born. Robin leaned over, raised her right hand, the one holding her glass of wine that she had promised herself once the salad was done . . .

…and then she lowered her hand. No this would have to wait. The salad wasn’t done yet. The shape in the crib was a teddy bear. There was no child.

A giggle could be heard coming from the cupboard. One day her daughter would learn how to play hide and seek properly.

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Based on the amazing Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book.” He is a genius,  and I recommend anything of his. Read an excerpt of the real thing here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/books/chapters/chapter-graveyard-book.html?_r=0

Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 8, Robin Interrupted

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This chapter from my Memoir of Appropriation I do with special love as Girl Interrupted was a running joke between a dear friend I met whilst in the psychiatric hospital, I refer to her as Cat in my real memoir. Cat, I’ve got a chicken carcass with your name on it… with a side of potatoes,  broccoli and carrots.

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People ask, How did you get in there? What they really want to know is if they are likely to end up in there as well. I can’t answer the real question. All I can tell them is… “Oh you know me, I do so like my dramatics.”

And it is easy to retreat into the blanket fort in your head. There are so many methods of avoidance: the smile and nod, the talking really fast so others cannot get in, the hide in your room, the good old sit and rock; the strategies of the insane, the criminal, the crippled, the dying, perhaps of the dead as well. These are methods of coping with the real world whilst we can’t see it clearly.

My ex workmate Hotlips came in swiftly and totally, during my two years teaching with her. She was at a staff dinner, downing gin like it was going out of style, when a tidal wave of blackness broke over her head. The entire world was nothing but distorted noise – for a few minutes. She knew she had gone completely mad. She looked around the restaurant to see if it had happened to everyone, but all the other people were engrossed in their own drug of choice. For me it was also gin, for another heart attack causing food by the truck load and for another shameless self promotion. She rushed out, because the darkness within her was too much when combined with grog.

And then what happened? I asked her.

A lot of shaking and vomiting, she said.

But most people breakdown gradually, with a series of events that gradually erode away their soul and drive them into self loathing. In this state all normal interactions become a battle ground of paranoia and double talk. Nothing is real yet nothing is imagined. It’s all relative.

These are facts you find out later, though.

Another odd feature of the mad mind is that although it is virtually unfathomable by the “well adjusted” mind you can easily see the normal world going on around you. Sometimes the life you came from looks huge and menacing, quivering like a vast pile of jelly; at other times it is miniaturized and alluring, aspin and shining in its orbit. Either way, it can’t be discounted.

Every window on Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco.

“You look tired,” said the doctor.

No shit, I’ve got newborn twins and a two year old, all who have been sick and I’m just out of hospital with fucking Pancreatitis.

“You can’t keep yourself from shaking,” he went on.

When I’d woken that morning – I’d thought I could do it, get through one more day, taking care of the kids on my own whilst being so desperately ill. But then the shaking started and the boys bronchiolitis got worse and the tears would not stop. I felt broken.

“You expect a lot from yourself,” the doctor said.

I nodded. But the main problem was that everyone else expected a lot from me. They expected me to take care of a two year old and 8 weeks premature twins without so much as four hours of babysitting or help of any kind so that I could actually sleep. He was going to keep talking about it until I agreed with him, so I nodded.

“Does your husband know how you feel?” he asked.

I nodded to this too. He didn’t,  still doesn’t.

‘Trouble with the husband?” It wasn’t a question, actually he was already nodding for me. “Expecting too much from yourself,” he repeated. He popped out from behind his desk and lunged toward me. He was a taut fat man, tight-bellied and dark.

“You need a rest,” he announced.

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Read the real excerpt here and then, for the love of sanity, buy the book and the movie! Yes both!! https://www.bookbrowse.com/excerpts/index.cfm/book_number/241/page_number/1/girl-interrupted#excerpt

As always if you’re a lady and a bit crae crae you are welcome to join my group

https://facebook.com/groups/563402577109194

Memoir of a Teacher: The Principal

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All schools, all principals, that have held and hold rule over teachers and student are either run by the senior executive or by principals. Principals are generally decided via nepotism, in which their ability to kiss the right arse has been long established; or they are new and are fluent in buzz words, and again, kissing arse. The new are either entirely new from some other school or they’ve slimed their way up the ranks at the existing school. Such schools thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a tyrannical principal, or to live in wild chaos as the existing principal merely flatuleted about the place and routinely forgot to do their fly up; and are acquired either by the plotting of the new principal and their cronies or else by the fortuitous retirement of the aging principal.

CONCERNING PRINCIPALS that have wormed there way up through the school.  I will keep to the order indicated above, and discuss how such such schools are to be ruled and preserved. I say at once there are fewer difficulties in holding entrenched schools, and those long accustomed to the existing establishment, than new ones; for it is sufficient only not to transgress the customs of his predecessor, and to deal vaguely with circumstances as they arise, for a deputy raised to principal of average abilities to maintain himself in his existing school, unless he be deprived of it by some extraordinary and excessive force; and if he should be so deprived of it, whenever anything sinister happens to the usurper, he will regain it. For the promoted deputy has less cause and less necessity to offend; hence it happens that he will be more tolerated; and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be accepting of his short comings; better the devil you know.

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Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 7, Robin in the Rye

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Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 7, Robin in the Rye

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IF YOU REALLY WANT TO HEAR about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I sprung forth from my mother’s loins, and what my craptastic childhood was like, and what my parents did before being hampered by children, and all that Old Testament begat kind of stuff… but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, I’m trying to suppress it as best I can and in the second place, my parents would flip their shit if I told anything unflattering about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They’ve mellowed a lot but they’re still touchy as hell. Besides, I’m not going to tell you my whole goddam life story or anything. I’ll just tell you about this teacher stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to go into therapy. I mean that’s all I told Chimpy about, and he’s my brother and all. He’s out in Backofnowhere. That is too far from this awesome place, and so he never visits. We do chat on the phone though. He just got a new cowboy hat, he says it makes people think he’s crazy. They’re right. We’re all crazy. It’s kind of like our family motto or something. He owns a business these days. So that pretty much sums him up, cowboy hat, business.

Where I want to start telling is the day I left Newcastle.  Newcastle is both the seat belt wearing and chlamydia capital of New South Wales. You probably heard of it. You’ve probably seen the Newcastle Knights, anyway. They’re a Rugby League team… I prefer Union.  But when people think of Newcastle all they seem to think of is drinking,  football and chlamydia. As if we’re all STD ridden bogans. Well I’ve never had any kind of STD (unless pregnancy counts, hi kids Mummy loves you) and the only football I’ve ever played is soccer.

Anyway, it was the Saturday of the football game with some other team. Look I told you, I don’t care for league. The game with was supposed to be a very big deal around Newcastle.  So either we were on a winning streak or on a losing one. It was the last game of the year maybe? Anyway, you were supposed to commit suicide or something if the Knights didn’t win. I remember around three o’clock that afternoon I was sitting on my arse watching television,  I could have watched the whole game from there, but again, I DON’T LIKE LEAGUE.

… … … and I’m spent.

This excerpt which went exactly nowhere was based on J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” I happen to love this novel and the style used so I highly recommend you read the real thing.

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Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 6, The Odyssey

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If you haven’t read chapters 1-5 of my #nanowrimo inspired memoir of appropriation then this will make no sense… if you have read them… this will still make no sense. Please enjoy. (Chapter 1 is here https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/memoir-of-a-teacher-a-red-hot-tip-for-nanowrimo/ )

Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious heroine who travelled far and wide after she had drunk her way through the town of Newcastle. Many cities did she visit, and many were the suburbs with whose manners and customs she was acquainted; moreover she suffered much by car while trying to save her own life and flee from the demons of her home town; but do what she might she could not save her shattered psyche from every sling and arrow, for she was subjected to people of sheer folly and selfishness; so their actions haunted her dreams and prevented her from reaching peace. Tell me, too,about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.

So now all who escaped boganism in the Del of Novacastroa had got safely out to various cities across the globe except Robin, and she, though she was longing to start a quiet life with husband and children, was detained by the German Buddhist, who had got her into the Mountains of Blue and wanted to consume her mind. But as months went by, there came a time when her cousins settled that she deserved much, much, much better; even then, however, when she was among her own people, her troubles were not yet over; nevertheless her cousins had begun to pity her and had come up with array of suitors of a variety of ages but largely unsuitable as life partners. But unfortunately our fair heroine did not realise this and so dated on.

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… this really was a silly idea to attempt to appropriate into a memoir of my life… I apologise. I clearly should have delved into a little Tacitus. However,  I still recommend you read Homer’s Odyssey.  Very flowing so a surprisingly easy read.

Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 5, A Tale of Two Cities

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Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 5, A Tale of Two Cities

Chapter FIVE of my epic “memoir” of “appropriation” inspired by my friend undertaking NaNoWriMo. Read the first  highly original chapter here https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/memoir-of-a-teacher-a-red-hot-tip-for-nanowrimo/

The Period

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It was the best of cakes,
it was the worst of cakes,
it was the age of no carbs,
it was the age of excess,
it was the epoch of knowledge,
it was the epoch of the Web for not just porn and cats,
it was the season of health,
it was the season of sedentary life styles,
it was the spring of improvement
it was the winter of vices,
we had everything before us,
we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going directly somewhere warmer, where all our friends would be…

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In short, the period was so far like the present period, that it was in fact the present period. There was a horse faced queen on the throne of England; there was no monarch occupying the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal that the governments were happy to keep the status quo and slowly watch the gap between rich and poor; and the educated and uneducated,  grow. It was the year of Our Lord two thousand and fourteen.  Spiritual revelations were conceded to the conceited at that favoured period, as at this. As religion and philosophy was considered to be an awful lot of wank and something for drunkards to pontificate over, not something that actually impacted on one’s life. Mrs. Riedstra had recently attained her five-and-thirtieth blessed birthday, on which day nothing prophetic or interesting happened at all. It would seem that the world at larged cared not for her passing of time. Even the Cock-lane ghost couldn’t give a shit and so it’s tapping little hands remained silent.  People had given up communicating in verse and instead relied on emoticons, memes with laughing cats and merps. France, being that little bit different,  tried to cling onto verse but only in French. They of course were a little dour but then again a study had been performed to show they had the bitter gene and the Dutch had the happy,  so their desire to stay with past dialogue and not engage with current trends could only be expected.  Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as no longer sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. But. despite these advances there were still,  the wary, the hungry, the disenfranchised and the university politician. And so all was not all as smooth and happy as the throne and the not throne thought it to be.  It was the time of the underdog,  the unsung hero, the different and the just plain weird. Thus did the year two thousand and fourteen conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures–the creatures of this chronicle among the rest–along the roads that lay before them.

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This chapter from my memoir from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I urge to read the real thing.

For the first chapter of my “memoir” of “appropriation” go to https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/memoir-of-a-teacher-a-red-hot-tip-for-nanowrimo/

Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 4, The Zoloft Diaries

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Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 4, The Zoloft Diaries

My psychiatrist waits in Consultation Room 2.

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To get there, you have to walk up the hallway from your room, past the medication booth, then past the reception desk and then through the consultation room door. Safety screens cover all the windows so that all us inmates of the Mother and Baby Unit don’t gnaw our way out. You can’t have the motherly insane escaping. We might start fucking nagging someone or something.

I had never been here before. But I had heard of Zoloft before. Heck, this aint my first depression rodeo, I know zoloft. It was 2014 and zoloft was commonly prescribed for breastfeeding mums. I wasn’t to be one of the first to take zoloft, and I sure as shit won’t be the last. Let’s hope I don’t need to be on it for the next ten years. Fuck it, I’m going to try colonic lavage to fix my mood. I’m desperate.

My psychiatrist is a busy man. At least I assume he must be because he’s never around. Not that I can understand a word he says when he is around because he’s so freaking quiet. I need ear zoloft just to deal with him. He is handsome enough, I wouldn’t have shagged him back in my wild days but he’s not bad to look at I guess. He has a shining bald head and glasses so round you could use them for geometry. My mathematical knowledge is pretty poor so let’s just pretend I’m referring to the right area.

“Mwahflamammubble,” he said to me the morning we met. He gestured to a deep seat, and I sat as I assumed that was what he had said by his gesture but honestly he spoke so softly that I haven’t a fucking clue what he said. There was a silence between us then. A kind of awkward silence as I became increasingly paranoid that the mumbles were actually a question I failed to answer.

And that day was the beginning, the bare beginnings of a story very little like the popular zoloft myths–a wonder drug here, a drug that triggers violence there. No. For me the story of zoloft lies not between these poles but entirely outside of them. It is in the land of the bland and banal really. It just kind of takes the edge off, doesn’t cause hideous nightmares but also doesn’t make my whole world shiny and new. Should have gotten myself some seroquel whilst I was in there. In fact from time to time, when the panic rides me so hard I’m ready to peel my own skin off, I still regret turning down seroquel. But hey, a little bit of heart stopping anxiety for no reason is good for the soul, right?

I’ll leave my “appropriation” there because the original gets a little too scientific about prozac and I just can’t put my arty mind through that so close to bed time… fuck it, let’s be honest, the twins have croup and my little girl has gastro so I’m freaking exhausted and want to go to bed now. Yes it’s only 9:15pm but I’m really fucking tired.

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This chapter of my “memoir” was appropriated from The Prozac Diary by Lauren Slater.  Read the real thing here: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/slater-prozac.html

To read the gripping first chapter of my “memoir” please go here: https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/memoir-of-a-teacher-a-red-hot-tip-for-nanowrimo/

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As always if you’re a lady and a bit crae crae you are welcome to join my group
https://facebook.com/groups/563402577109194