Asking

It’s an ‘Ask’. It’s what you write so that someone says ‘Yes.’

Proposals I’ve written in my dance heritage job sometimes don’t have a strong enough ask, or clear enough. They don’t help someone see why they should care, never mind give money or other kinds of support. It’s a skill to figure out what sort of Ask leads to getting what you need. I’ve been improving. Sometimes the swell of support has even breached its banks and I flip like fish unrivered until I get my regain my bearings.

What inspires a bound from No to Yes?

This week gone I’ve had to think of different ways to ask for a work trip abroad, to write a job description and, most difficult of all, I’ve had to think of a way to ask an agent whose client list I adore, ‘Will you read my work? Will you please?’

I went to the 2016 Curtis Brown and Conville and Walsh Discovery Day at Foyles, first page of Outrigger curled in my bag and a 30 second pitch memorised. Amelie* and I had the same time slot. We met first for lunch to calm ourselves down. We talked about work, about career moves, about trying to live in London when you’re not an oligarch. Becalmed we went to Foyles. Too calm. We were convinced that we were early when in fact we were about to be late, oops.

Foyles is a beautiful bookstore. We queued in its well dazzled by books. I was holding it together. Then I was shown to my agent, turns out she is my dream agent, ahhahaha yikes. And she asks me to pitch my book and my memory slips away, and I somehow reel it back and I am floundering but she likes my page and she says, ‘Send it to me.’

I can’t ask for more than this.

 

*(superstar writer you’ll read a lot about one day)

 

October: Layers

We turned the heating on. We don’t want our energy bills to go up, but it’s cold. All week we have been yawning or awake too early. The clocks have gone back, re-gifting the hour that we gave for springtime. I was excited that I could walk home in twilight. London’s autumn evening light was rose. The buildings looked like deep sea creatures lighting up in the dusk. But the hour we’ve gained makes me walk home in darkness. London is now jewels in the dark. I have to wait until after the winter solstice to see the underwater creatures of London’s tall buildings again. Continue reading

April: Night Bus

There’s a night bus couple sitting behind you. A man and a woman, at least judging by their voices, both archetypes of man tone and woman tone.

You can’t help but hear their conversation. They’re not keeping their voices down. What they’re saying doesn’t interest you until the man’s voice says, ‘Why are you always like this?’
Continue reading

February: Sighting

I saw you from the top deck of the 243. I was with Marianne. We were going to see a film. I don’t remember which one. This is what I remember: seeing you. In fact I see you a lot in crowds, coming towards me along an underground platform, turning into a supermarket aisle. But this time it was really You and not just a shadow in a stranger’s face. I am used to the mirage of you.

Louise Brooks

Continue reading

June: Lady into [Urban] Fox

It wasn’t long afterwards that I began to think of myself as apart from other people. I no longer felt part of the mass ebb and flow. I became, perhaps a little too, aware of my own uncontrolled jostling in eddies of circumstance.

Physical signs quickly followed. The first was probably the sharpening of my back teeth. I ran my tongue along them and drew my own blood. The taste of it was exotic and quickening. I cut my tongue a few more times, just lightly. Blood drained down my throat.

Continue reading