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Talking the Taboo

Talking the Taboo

What we say.
It goes well with those shoes.

What we want to say but don’t.
Are you going out in that?

What we say.
You’ll be fine.

What we want to say but don’t.
You know how you’re dying? What does that feel like?

What she said.
Tonight? Well that would be very nice.

What she could have said but didn’t.
Tonight? No I don’t want to come out with you tonight, or any other night. I don’t like you. Your trousers are too short, you smell and you make horrible snorting noises in your cubicle.

What her son said.
I’m off out. See you.

What her son didn’t say.
I’m off out. I’ve taken a twenty pound note out of your purse. I’ll forget all about it later. You’ll notice but you’ll be too embarrassed to ask for it back. See you.

What a brother said.
Stand right there. This’ll be a great shot.

What a brother didn’t say.
This’ll be a great shot. I’ll tell everybody it was supposed to be a shot of the Arc de Triomphe but your arse so completely blots out the whole width of the thing, you can’t even tell we’re in Paris.

What a pushover said.
It was a bit pricey but … you’d never know the car had ever been in an accident.

What she should have said but didn’t.
Remember when you did it, you offered to pay for the damage?

What we say.
Don’t worry about it.

What we should say but don’t.
I’m glad you say you’re sorry. I don’t think you are. You were entirely to blame. And next time you ask, I’ll say no.

What the cowboy says.
I might be able to get one at cost price.

What he could say but doesn’t.
I’ve got one of these in my van but I’ll sell it to you cost price because it’s already been paid for by another customer who doesn’t know it was surplus to requirements so I’m pocketing 200% clear profit. OK? Great.

What the second opinion cowboy says
Sssssss. Oh dear dear dear dear dear.

What he could say but doesn’t.
This twenty minute plumbing job could spin out to about three weeks if I … Tell you what I can do for you. I’ll go away just now but I’ll leave my bucket here. I’ll come back on Tuesday … no … Thursday with a long story about a flooded kitchen or something and then I’ll charge you … let’s not be too greedy … eight … all right, I’ll do you for a grand by the end of the job which I could do right now for about a fiver and this washer I’ve got in my pocket. OK? Great.

What we always say.
Isn’t she lovely!

What we could say but never do!
What a plug ugly baby!

What she and we all said.
We will all miss him. He was a wonderful, generous man.

What’s being said now.
Now that the old pervert is dead, and there’s enough of us speaking up that we might at last be believed, we’re disgusted that because we were just expendable little girls, we could never speak up before. But you watch! The minds and the bravery of little girls.


What I said.
“Read this guy’s book about his amazing, inspirational, humbling achievements and never believe you’re beaten because this proves the tenacity, bravery and integrity of the human spirit.  This man is a true hero.”

What I’m saying now.


Thoughts in the Shower

Thoughts in the Shower

I’m talking about when ‘it’ all seems so suddenly clear.

Like in the shower. Why?

Is it because when we turn on the water we’re earthed, zap, straight to the core, and with the flow of water comes a flow of … what? Energy? Straight to the head. Ideas tumbling out of a somnolent fog into the front of the conscious brain and into articulate thought? Or is that bollocks? Whatever it is that makes these things happen, it’s worth keeping a pad of waterproof paper and a pen hanging from a hook. Ideas form, like holograms, glimpsed images of the whole finished thing, the arc of a story, the dramatic implications for the scope of a play, a conviction that there’s a poem or a song to be teased out of the chunk of an unhewn idea that leapt with the shampoo into the imagination. This morning, did I write it down? Can I remember it now? I can remember that I thought I would remember; ‘it’ was so clear. Do I have a pad of waterproof paper or a water resistant noticeboard in the shower? Would I be writing this if I did? Have I identified a gap in the market? Will I make millions from this idea? Nope.

And I don’t have anything to do with these people who thought of this before I did:

Intentional Success

Intentional Success

Kate – not her real name – was a fully qualified Primary School teacher. She loved the work. She was confident in the classroom but now, after having taken a break to have children, the time had come to think about returning to her career.

But it was the interview process that was standing in her way.

Troubled by nervousness and anxiety in a job interview situation, Kate went to pieces, she said, and couldn’t express herself. Could a coaching programme help identify and vanquish her blocks?

Kate made excellent progress. By the second coaching session, she was feeling better, more positive and had applied for three jobs. And, she said, she’d worked out a plan. But that, as it turned out, was the nub of the whole problem and one that I’ve since identified as pretty universal.

It was her body language that gave her away as she proudly laid out her plans, sitting up straight in her chair and demonstrating what a wise child she really was. “If I don’t get any of these jobs, I’ll apply for a classroom assistant job and if I don’t get that, I’ll work as a volunteer.” It reminded me of a friend of mine who used to apply for jobs she didn’t want because, she said, it would give her good experience doing the interviews, but who got upset when she didn’t get any of the jobs she’d applied for. Kate had a solid negative plan.

She was well prepared to cope with failure and rejection by having a consolation plan in place. Her mind was on plan B and even Plan C. Plan A, the one in which she succeeded in getting all three jobs and then had to decide which one to take, wasn’t on her agenda.

We discussed what was wrong with Plan A. In all truth, she said, she thought it was surely a more shrewd outlook to plan for the worst?

Applying for jobs is the same as applying yourself to anything you decide to do. But if you’re going through the motions, if you’re hoping for success but secretly expecting failure, if you’re telling yourself it’s a waste of time, please think again. Reconsider. Make sure it’s what you want and then apply, making sure to do everything necessary to get it. If it doesn’t work out, apply yourself again, and again, and again. Intention is not time limited unless you set that limit yourself.

I’ll leave you with this thought: If you apply for three jobs, what’s wrong with applying for all three jobs with the intention of getting them, all of them?

CODA: We advertised a job recently and received within three days over eighty applications. It was clear most of the applicants had expected not to get an interview, their applications were so perfunctory or the covering letters so badly written. What a different and more arduous prospect it would have been had all the applications we received been from people who intended success.