That wasn’t her real name, of course, but she espoused a philosophy with which I find myself frequently at odds.
This philosophy began and ended with ownership of a pencil rubber — because, yes, I’m long enough in the tooth to have written most of my early words in pencil, despite having sucked every last HB to death in search of my daily Lead fix.
Here are the top four things you can realistically do with a pencil rubber at the age of seven:
1) Throw it at someone.
2) Eat it.
3) Lose it.
4) USE IT.
StupidHeadTwatFace was far too well-behaved and sensible to entertain even the thought of options 1-3, but when asked, “please may I borrow your rubber?” would ALWAYS reply:
No. You’ll wear it out.
She was right, of course.
By definition, using a pencil rubber to rub out pencil marks will inevitably lead to its demise, in the same way that wiping your arse on loo roll gifts you roll of cardboard after roll of cardboard.
Rubbing out is what rubbers are FOR!
And, waitaminute Mrs StupidHeadTwatFace — you’re not going to use it for the ONE purpose its very existence depends upon?
This is conservativism gone crazy.
I have no problem with sparing the Green Belt from bulldozers or ancient statues of weird-looking Persians from ISIS vandals, but I draw the line at cretintellectualism for its own sake.
So, there: rant about Mrs Bloody StupidHeadTwatFace and her rubber OVER.
Problem is, we can be like this with ideas sometimes.
I’ve got this great idea, but I’d better not run with it now because it’ll be wasted, so I’ma gonna save it up for something really special, really big.
This is not to say that notebooks of ideas are bad and evil things.
Ideas can present themselves at any moment — up to and including when you’re wiping your arse — and there’s no excuse for not getting them down as they flit, because, seconds later, they’ll have flut.
And herein lyeth le clef.
All thoughts are super fleeting, and they morph out of control on a daily basis.
That’s why returning to an abandoned story or novel is always difficult.
The words make sense, the plot makes sense, and everything may be grammatically perfect, but the thoughtpool from which the words and images were dredged (and which lent itself to all the other activities of the day, like a harlot) will have changed.
People are different, the world is different, you are different, and even your oldest of chestnuts must bow to your present day juggling wherewithal.
So, yes, the words make sense — but, equally, they kinda don’t.
It’s in this way that “saving up” can be counterproductive.
Who “saves up” a newly laid egg beyond its 'phew by' date?
Talking of eggs, I’m minded now to inflict a Swiftian twist on my observations, sidestepping gingerly like some Strictly Come Dancing cricketer-cum-Nuryev to slap the memory of Mrs Bloody Fucking StupidHeadTwatFace one more time.
Like Walt Whitman’s His & Hers underwear drawer, the thoughtpool of the moment contains multitudes.
Like the teats of the mile high goat that famously romped around the open roads close to Whitman’s crossdressing cottage, the thoughtpool of the moment can never be drained by humankind.
Throw every idea at the problem immediately in front of you, and you will not, like Mrs Bloody Fucking Bloody StupidHeadTwatFace’s rubber, be propelled towards any kind of demise scenario or sucked forever dry of squirting capability.
Tomorrow, a new day will spring from its own irrepressible a priori.
(I know that isn’t a sentence, but I’m on a roll here — and it’s no cardboard one.)
Changes will happen because they just will — subtle shifts in perspective and matter that permit new synthesis and prompt the tossing of rotten eggs into the bin.
It’s the reason why the world was once leotard-free — and then one day, all of a sudden, there were leotards.
Maybe soon we’ll even have leotard-destroying zappo guns.
Life is weird like that.
Point is — whatever pencil marks you’re making now, and whatever the thoughts behind each deft stroke of the tip, throw everything you’ve got at whatever you’re working on.
The pencil may be gone by tomorrow, along with the rubber, the keyboard, and more tins of fruit than you should really stick in that Mississippi Meerschaum of yours — but the thoughtpool will fill to the brim once again.
Because it just will.
Whether reading aloud, sounding a barabaric yawp, or stripping to his chiffon frillies, this icon of American verse was always the ladies' favourite.