Sunday, 30 March 2014

Nose Problems

My nose is rubbish.

It bleeds like a plague of Egypt, chokes off my breathing if I ever dare lie on my back, and once brought a premature end to guaranteed sex.

My nose is rubbish.

This is why Voldemort got rid of his.

It used to bleed so profusely that it would fill a cereal bowl to the brim (with the cereal still in it), an unsavoury alternative to milk. The blood clots that would squeeze themselves out were like engorged ticks. In hot weather my face was like a game of Buckaroo; the slightest touch or sudden movement would set it off. My sister quickly picked up on this and took gleeful advantage: on a coach to France, in church, in the two-hour line for a rollercoaster, prompting tourists to wrench my head in whatever direction they believed would stem the tide.

When it became too much I was taken to a doctor. He donned inch-thick safety goggles and murmured ruminatively as he gingerly inserted an apothecary’s-worth of creams and ointments into my nostrils.

Actual picture.

It worked, a little. These days my nose has a weekly menstruation cycle, with daily spotting to remind me of its potential for devastation. More of a problem now is the tides of snot it produces if I dare step outside, and how it bungs up like a Russian road blockade whenever I lie down. The nasal spray I use to alleviate the issue insists it not be used for more than 4 weeks straight. I’ve been squirting it up there for 14 years.

What's the worst that can happen?

My nose’s most nefarious crime was its jealous destruction of a promising relationship. I had stayed the night with a girl I was seeing, too tired after a late cinema trip to attempt anything too vigorous that evening. There would be plenty of time in the morning.

When I woke up I felt instantly that tendrils of illness had claimed me overnight. My head was pounding, my chest felt heavy, and my nose had battened down the hatches. But because I am an irresistible specimen of the male species she was not to be deterred.

Who could resist someone who looks this good in the morning?

The problem was that, with my nose having closed its borders, kissing made it terribly hard to breathe. I had to pause every few seconds to take a lungful of air, giving the impression that I possessed the stamina of an asthmatic discus thrower.

‘Give me a second,’ I said, rolling away and plucking a tissue from the bedside table.

I blew my nose as hard as I could. It spewed gouts of thick orange slime like viscous Fanta. It was to be the only ejaculation I achieved that morning.

I arranged the tissue into a hobo’s bindle of luminous sputum and flung it at the bin. It missed, and fell open on the carpet.

I ignored the look of disgust on her face and tried to resume where we had left off. As I leaned in towards her I took a breath, and my nose made a noise like a micro-pig caught in a lawnmower. She caught me by the shoulders and pushed me forcibly away.

‘I’ve just remembered I need to meet someone,’ she said, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed.

It was almost certainly a lie. But soon afterwards she met another guy.

My nose is rubbish.

Sunday, 23 March 2014


I was recently introduced to the Portuguese word saudade (I am reliably informed that the ‘de’ at the end is pronounced more like ‘je’). It doesn’t have a direct translation in English. To butcher the elegant translation given to me (and to pilfer from Wikipedia), saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or melancholic longing for things or people that have been loved and lost.

Although the word is new to me, it’s a feeling with which I am intimately familiar. I am a slave to melancholic nostalgia.

I miss going to my Grandma’s house. I would spend an entire summer kicking an air floater football against the garage, smashing Hot Wheels cars against each other on Grandma’s footrest (which she unfortunately called her ‘poof’), accidentally mashing orange silly putty into the carpet, eating Special K for breakfast every morning. I miss creeping out of bed to sit on the landing in the dark and listen to the TV downstairs, sneaking into Grandma’s room with its lurid pink carpet. Those summers were so solitary, but I was so content.

I miss falling hopelessly in love with women who didn’t reciprocate, the intensity of that pain and longing. I miss gripping my phone and begging it to ring, reading more in every text message than was ever present, thinking of her as soon as I woke up every morning. I miss being the kind of person who would get up at 5am just to walk with her to catch her bus, pretending that I had been awake anyway. I miss writing poorly conceived love poetry.

I miss the sense of possibility.

I miss my friends. I long for the time before they moved off around the country, around the world, got married, had kids. I hate that I am becoming less important in their lives. I miss playing Guitar Hero before it was cool, meeting for impromptu evening walks, competing at ping pong in a cramped garage, writing 15-minute songs about Arnold Schwarzenegger, putting our pictures on Hot or Not (my highest ever average was a 5.5/10). It feels like they have left me behind.

Saudade is beautiful, but it is also painful and irrational. I know that I can’t have that time again. It has slipped through my fingers like grains of sand.

For all my best attempts to foster new memories in the present, it feels like my life has fatally stalled. Nostalgia rules me because now feels so much worse than then. In those memories there is joy, and hurt, and curiosity. These days I am empty; an ambulatory chalice for things past.

I miss hope. I miss excitement. I miss love. Saudade is a lifeline to all of those feelings of which I used to have in abundance, and have since lost.

Saudade is a bitch.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

My First Story

I've just stumbled upon one of the first stories I ever wrote. It had escaped being thrown away by sliding down the side of a bookshelf. I must have been 9-10 years old when I wrote it and, given that I now call myself a professional writer, I think it's interesting to share it. I shall reproduce it in its entirety below - all spelling, grammatical, and formatting oddities are very much [sic].

By David Owen

Hello, I am a BOFF JOB called Robert and I am a nerd. One day I was walking down the road when a dog with the black plague jumped out of a dustbin and bit me on the bottom. " You binraider " I screamed but the dog had jumped in a pile of horse manure so I couldn't put it in a paper shredder. I walked back home but I went mental and killed my parents with my sock that has not been washed for 2 years. My bum throbbed so I licked it. I ran to the Hospital and jumped on a dead body and threw it out of the bed. It landed in a paper shredder. The next second shredds of skin were flying everywhere. A few went down my throat and I swallowed them. My bum was so swollen that my pants and trousers ripped so everyone could see my private parts. I screamed several swear words then ran into the toilets and wrapped myself in toilet paper. I had a heart attack 6 times but each time it only lasted 2 seconds. I killed a nurse every day and put them in a paper shredder. I played bouncing the Nurses head with the ceiling until I died. When I died everybody screamed " YES ". They screamed so loud that the hospital collasped. 


This is not the first story that I ever wrote - I distinctly remember writing about a band of vigilante hamsters that battled a sunglasses-wearing carrot. But this story, if I remember correctly, marked the beginning of my writing with serious intent. From here I continued to write nonsense and continue to do so today.

I must have shown this to my mum, and it's testament to her as a parent that she likely didn't bat an eyelid. It's a clear attempt by a 9 year old to be as risque as his pre-pubescent mind can manage. Perhaps most worrying is that my sense of humour has hardly matured.

I wonder what my 9 year old self would say if I told him that I was soon to be a published author with a book about SERIOUS ISSUES. He would probably call me a boff job and a nerd.

He would be right.