Friday 12 August 2011

Ask me anything.

It doesn’t take a super sleuth to work out that my lack of activity on the blog front might have something to do with what I talked about in this post. But while half of me feels continually guilty about it (and gets unnecessarily snippy when someone asks where the next post is coming from), the other half has, I’ve got to admit, been loving the freelance life. Yes, I’ve rather suddenly gone from part-time to full-time work (and then some); yes, I’ve missed the camaraderie that comes with working in an office; and yes, I’ve been working so much that I’ve had next to no time to write for myself instead of others, but the satisfaction of being genuinely useful again – not to mention the superhero-like feeling that comes from people thanking you for your work – has been more than worth it.

But, alas, Alright Tit (as well as other rather more secret writing projects) has suffered, and I do feel bad about it. I checked my blog stats this week (something I never usually do – I leave the numbers to my Amazon Sales Rank Monitor, aka Dad) and was surprised to find that, despite the dwindling frequency of my posts, you appear to have stuck with me. It’s a wonder you have but, by ’eck, I’m not half grateful for it.

You’d think, then, that I’d reward your loyalty with another noteworthy gush-fest like my last post but a) I fear I can’t follow the lead set by Tito, b) it’s been another busy work-week and c) I’m a git like that. There are things I need to blog about (and spend time thinking about before I do – Mum’s recent reconstruction op, for one) but, in the deficit of time to do it, I’m copping out with this: a list of questions of an ask-me-anything nature, as provided by you on Twitter and Facebook, and as narrowed down to 10 by my mate Jonze (who, if you haven’t already, you can find here). And, since I rather forced that task upon him, he’s added a question of his own too.

Here goes, then…

Do you believe in God? Why/why not?
Katelyn0303, via Twitter  
Nothing like starting on an easy question, eh? Alas, I’m afraid I do have an easy answer: no. I hasten to add that that’s not a conclusion I’ve come to in the wake of The Bullshit, shaking my fist at a higher being for sneaking a tumour in my tit, but rather one I’ve always believed, for as long as I can remember. I’m wary of putting this in print, actually, because I know that many people who read my stuff are big believers in God – I’m thinking of one in particular who I’d be especially upset to disappoint – but hey, that’s just where I’m at. I simply happen to believe that there’s nothing that can’t be explained by science.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Mauvedeity, via Twitter  
Perhaps it was following the egg?

What did you think when you realised that the Whole Internet™ has thought about your pubes at least once?
Mauvedeity, via Twitter 
Ah. That would be ‘what do I think right now?’, then, given that until this moment it’s not something I’d ever considered. But, er, I dunno. I mean, I’ve often drifted off mid-conversation and – in light of how much I’ve written about them – wondered whether (or, indeed, what) the person I’m speaking to has thought about my boobs. I mean, let’s be honest here: I do it. If someone else has blogged about their norks or their toilet habits or their post-childbirth stitches, I’ve certainly thought about them; who hasn’t? But as for my pubes…? Eesh, I suppose I’d missed them out of the equation. In truth, though, I’m really not that arsed. I guess anyone blogging about their ladybits must therefore be rather unembarrassed about that kind of stuff. But also there’s the reality that anyone who’s thought about my pubes has kind of wasted their time. Sorry to disappoint, like, but they’re actually very uninteresting pubes.

You are only allowed to own ONE Beatles album. Which one would you choose?
MJones_74, via Twitter  
You are a BRUTAL man, Mark Jones. That’s like choosing a favourite child. But, contrary to your Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band prediction, I would have to go with Abbey Road. And yes, I appreciate that subjects me to a lifetime of zero A Day In The Life and excess Octopus’s Garden, but stick with me for a moment. The reasons, I think, are threefold. (Eh up, here she goes… bet you’re regretting that question now, eh?) Firstly because it’s the album that P and I fell in love to. [barf] Prior to meeting my Scouser, I’d never actually owned a hard copy of Abbey Road, shamelessly borrowing it from people or listening to it on a crappy cassette recording. And so, very early on in our relationship, he bought me my own copy on CD: a gift he’ll never be able to top; it’s the best thing anyone’s ever given me. Secondly, because I’m a geek. I love it because it’s the last album (started, if not released) by The Beatles, and it feels like it. I love it because it’s very much a George Martin album (and, okay, because I’m more Paul than John). I love it because of the iconic cover (the front of which is framed in our spare room; the back of which is framed above our loo) and the ‘Paul is dead’ urban legend that goes with it, and I love it because it spawned George’s first A-side. But thirdly – and most importantly – it’d be the Beatles album I chose above any other because of the sheer majesty of the Side Two Medley. That piece of music, beginning with You Never Give Me Your Money and ending with The End, is the single greatest thing I’ve ever heard. (And it speaks volumes that I’ve already spent twice as long writing about this as I did the God question.) As far as my ears are concerned, it’s a masterpiece in music-making, my enjoyment of which will never fail to manifest itself physically (you could set your clock by my goosebumps on 0.29 of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window). Into all of which, of course, is the record I would like played at my funeral: The End. It’s just fucking fantastic: Ringo’s only drum solo (I love the ‘here you go, lad, have your go’ nature of it); the sequence of two-bar Paul/George/John riffing calling-cards; that glorious ending lyric, ‘And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make’… what a way to go.
Sermon over.

If you were given £1,000 tomorrow to spend on something frivolous what would you spend it on?
MummyBarrow, via Twitter  
A Smeg fridge/freezer. Yeah, baby. For now, though, our crappy plasticky one – albeit covered in family pictures and a poem about Grandmas and a signed photo of Dave Grohl and magnetic words turned into sentences by our friends (my favourite of which is ‘let her touch my magic animal’) – will have to do.

If you could create one law what would it be and why?
Applescrapples, via Twitter  
I would decree that every home in the UK must own a copy of The C-Word by Lisa Lynch, because then I might be able to afford the Smeg fridge/freezer.

Are you gonna do Alright Tit 2? (Pleeeeeease do another book! I'm 31 and your book got me through my treatment, and for that I thank you so much!)
Emma Williams, via Facebook
I would also decree that Emma Williams be the one to enforce the above law. (Thank you, Emma; bloody good on you for seeing it through. Treatment, that is, not the book. Although many would say that’d earn you a pat on the back too.) But yes, I do plan to write another book. In fact more than just ‘plan’; I’m already writing it. It’s not, alas, a sequel (largely because no bugger would buy it) but it is inspired by stuff I’ve experienced, albeit in a fictional form. Whether it ever sees the light of day, however, is another question, given the reason I’m writing this post in the first place…

Ok, I've got a goodie. Assuming Pete was TOTALLY fine with it, would you choose to snog Dave Grohl or spend a weekend away with Take That (no kissing guaranteed but if you worked some charm who knows what might happen?)
Katharine Busby, via Facebook (This is my mate Busby, by the way – the one from the book who bought me a funny ginger wig and helped conceive the idea of my Super Sweet 30th.)
A few years ago I might have gone for the Take That option, but since I stood relatively close to them at the Wembley gig and realised how teeny tiny my teenage crush Gary Barlow is, I’m going to have to stick with The Grohl on height grounds. Which, of course, I’d be doing anyway given that if I were spending a weekend with Take That, Robbie Williams would probably be there and I simply. cannot. abide. him and his stupid, self-important, smug-faced twattery. Ugh, I’m not even on a weekend away with him and he’s already annoying me. But anyway, you might have claimed him for your secret husband too, but Dave Grohl belongs to ME, beeyatch, and he can play drums on my bum any time he chooses. All that said, he’s no Peter Lynch. (Good save, Lis.)

Your book, which for the record is one of the best I have ever read, includes copy written retrospectively as a response to the blog posts within the chapters. How did you find writing that? What was it like to revisit those posts and write the outcomes and responses? (If it's not too cheeky either, I would ask your advice for people wanting to write a book based on their blogs. I am one of them and wouldn't know where to start!)
Dee Montague, via Facebook
You guys know I’m paying people to say this stuff, right? But, in answer to the question, it was as much of a catharsis as writing the blog had been. Obviously it forced me to deal with some stuff I’d tucked away in a ‘never to be opened’ box – asking my folks and Jamie about their reactions upon hearing my diagnosis, for example – but, in the long run, I think all of that did me – and, I hope, the book – good. As for where to start with turning your blog into a book, I suspect you’ve kind of answered your own question: don’t just blithely reproduce what’s on the blog; challenge yourself to revisit in-the-moment emotions and turn them into narrative that works in book format. All of that’s stuff my agent advised me to do, of course, so I suppose the best piece of advice is to get yourself one if you haven’t already! (Also, Dee, I should point out that Jonze said you should have been disqualified from the selection process on the basis of two questions in one, but he liked them so much he’s gone completely against his beliefs and chosen them anyway, the big flaky shyster.)

How are you dealing with the fear of recurrence?
Lisa Pressley, via Facebook
Ooh, you’ve caught me on a bit of a funny day for this one. My immediate reaction is to answer with ‘not especially well’ but, in truth, it doesn’t really matter because you’ve got no choice but to suck it up. What that means in practice, however, is living as normally as I’m able as much as I’m able, but occasionally falling prey to rather frightening terrors about what might be secretly going on in my body, or what might yet go on in my body. And, as I explained after rather suddenly getting a bit cancer-panicked and teary during a leg-wax (of all things) this morning, those moments of terror aren’t the kind of things you can schedule. If I’m sitting down and having a good think about the realities of cancer recurrence, I can pretty much reason with it: much as I might like to be, I’m not in control, and so all I can do is just keep myself as well as is possible and enjoy my life as much as I can, and if such a time comes as, well, it’s my time, then so be it. I’m not half as reasoned, however, in the unscheduled moments – which is why, occasionally, I wake up in a panic attack or unexpectedly cry at the wheel of the car or find myself struggling to catch my breath when I’m hanging out the washing: what if I’ve got cancer now and don’t know about it?; what if it comes back in another part of my body?; does that pain or twinge or ache mean something signigficant?; should I get it checked out?; what if I don’t want to get it checked out?; what if I’m so happy with my life as it now is that I’d rather remain in blissful ignorance?; but is that responsible for the people who love me?… and on it goes. As for the short answer, I think it’s this: coping with the fear of recurrence is the same as coping with anything else when it comes to The Bullshit: there is no ‘how’; you just cope.

And, finally, to Jonze’s killer question:
Thanks to a very clever iPhone app, you get to send one tweet, and only one, to yourself on May 1 2008. What does it say?
Everything is going to be all right. Just watch out for wet marble floors, eh? x


Freda said...

Your honesty and humour do you credit, Lisa, glad to hear that you are getting on with another book. I'm sure the big fridge will come soon. Every Blessing

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa

I don't tell you often enough how much I get from your blog - I invariably read your posts and promise myself to comment later and...well, you know how it goes (I always RT though...)

I love your blog for so many reasons: I could probably write a whole blog post on it actually, but people may find that a bit weird, possibly 'stalkerish'. But here are a few of the big reasons: you are first and foremost an excellent writer (and I hope you don't mind but as someone who needs to polish her grammar I kind of use you as my blogging guru); you are wonderfully honest, funny and interesting all wrapped up with a big bow of loveliness; and with out a doubt you are an inspiration on how to come out of the other side of a nasty, unplanned, diversion.

It's great to see you doing so well. Thank you sweetheart for being my blogging guru!


lilianavonk said...

I agree with and wish to second pretty much everything the reinventiontour said *points upward* but I loved the perfect ending here especially. Years ago I was asked what I would say to my teenage self, and it was, "You'll be okay, just watch out for that first kiss!" (It was a doozy; here I expected moonlight & roses & instead I got his tongue lolloping halfway down my throat. Decided this meant I was destined to become a lesbian nun.)

And you're absolutely right about how you've got to just live your life and not be in fear of a recurrence. My 87-year-old dad has been having some issues in the plumbing department, and when I asked why he hasn't told his urologist about it, he said that if there's anything seriously wrong, they probably will want to put him in the hospital, and at this point in his life, he doesn't want to waste any time sitting around in a hospital bed.

I couldn't argue with that.

(PS: Right on with the not-believing-in-God business. The people that you didn't want to disappoint need to respect your beliefs as much as you respect theirs!) ♥