It’s all about the Yellow Lion


Today’s been one of those days. I even put it in my facebook status, ‘is having one of those days,’ causing Federay to automatically jump in. Her virtual reality loyalty as strong as ever, she asked me if it was a good thing. I answered, ‘it is indeed. Very good,’ leading to Jill jumping in, too, giving the entire thing one of those renowned facebook thumbs ups. I absolutely love them, as a record will have you know. It’s amazing how they just make words become superfluous.

‘Is having one of those days’.
It’s that simple.

I realize the ambiguity, though, and for those unenlightened, I’ll try and explain it as simply as I can.

More than anything, defining ‘one of those days’ can be boiled down to this one simple thing that I for some reason can’t explain as anything other than me having one of those rare moments of clarity. You know, one of those moments when you’re on your grandma’s old bike that she gave to you, riding it through the city, rain coming down in torrents, and just the right song for that sort of scene playing on your iPod, preferably on repeat to not snap you out of it. That happened to me today, a moment of clarity, and whenever it does these days, I find myself thinking I can’t believe how it’s all just panning out just the way I wanted it. I’m talking about the NAW here, obviously, and the fact that I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Most days I take that thought for granted (I blame it on the whole UK life being sort of everyday life now), but that just makes it all the more sweeter when my mind suddenly stops and processes everything that’s happened to me in the last year or so: the e-mail while I was at work, that completely inexplicable feeling I had when reading it, me taking a five minute break to call my mum to say ‘Mum. I’m going to Birmingham this summer’, Diana driving me to Billund Airport, checking in, walking through security, sitting down in the waiting area thinking no one here knows how seriously mindblowing this is, getting on the plane, crossing the sea, landing in Birmingham International, having that old woman exchange my five pound note for coins because she knew (unlike me) that the busses don’t give change, that forty-something minute bus ride from the airport into town, getting off on Moor Street Ringway and walking to the hostel thinking I’d better tell Mum I grabbed that cab that she told me I had to take when getting to town at this late an hour, knocking on the hostel door about thirty minutes after they actually closed down for the night, checking in there, getting my key, dropping my bags on the floor, looking around in the (that night) empty room thinking ‘I’m fucking here’. Getting up the next morning and deciding to walk to Perry Barr, just, you know, to figure out how to get there and back again, and besides, it didn’t look too far on Google maps (boy, did I learn(!)), standing in front of that building, Baker building, allowing myself to have one of those moments where you just stand there, looking, trying to grasp the intensity of it all, thinking you might have got it until you meet up the next day, and Jackie Gay asks you the question ‘what’s your voice’ as the very first one. It was a horrible first day at the Qualifying Module, one that might actually qualify as the worst day of my life so far (not the day per se, more the way I felt), with me just sitting there, all stupefied and Danish, thinking the only thing they must be thinking was ‘what? Did she really get an A+ in oral English?’ because I was that inarticulate. I don’t think I’ve ever been that grateful when leaving a building before. Got back to the hostel and the wireless Internet, went online and added something along the lines of ‘died a slow death today’ to that oh-so-official facebook status before going to bed. And then it was Tuesday.

It’s funny how when I’m told something negative, I can remember it word for word whereas when the critique is good, I hardly recall the words at all, only the feeling I felt at the time of their verbalisation. I think it’s fair to say that if Monday was a slow death, Tuesday was a quick revival. I had my individual tutorial with Richard that day and I only ever recall him using the words ‘distinguished voice’ in a sentence. The rest of those fifteen minutes are lost on me, a mystery (with the exception of the ‘I’m from a big town of 50.000 people, haha’ joke), but I do remember the wow feeling – that really, really cool wow feeling.

Surviving the QM week, getting back to Denmark, catching a bit of a writing block on the way, spending the first eight days of my eleven writing days not being able to put anything down on the page, spending one day recovering and two days doing the actual writing, handing the huge envelope in at the post office and taking my receipt, just looking at it, 27-something DKKR for a 107 gram UK delivery, thinking ‘it’s officially out of my hands now’. Getting that acceptance letter six or so days later right before an eleven hour shift at work, glowing all the way throughout that shift because I got the ‘yes’ that left me the most wickedly cool and chilled person in the world that day.

That was late August. I moved four weeks after and now it’s been another eight months. Eight months of words and chords and drinks and kisses and music and theatre and films and bus rides, train rides, car rides, and nights at Lickey Hills with the guitar, singing and playing as the city sleeps beneath our feet – eight months of filming and photographing, eternalizing the things I can no longer keep up with. Eight months of BCU, of the NAW, of the people there. There’s too much to keep track off by now and it all sort of disappears into a big, vast blur until something triggers it again. Today a bicycle ride in the rain with Broken Social Scene’s Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl on the iPod did the trick, turning today into one of those days. And it was a good one – a particularly fine one. One of those days that makes me understand just how much it’s all about the writing, how it can’t really be about anything else. How I wouldn’t want it to.

The rain’s still coming down and the sky is bright. I ought to go to bed.



2 Responses to “It’s all about the Yellow Lion”

  1. 1 federay

    Wonderful. Perfect.
    Exactly – it’s all about the writing. What else is there?
    That’s what Grandma’s bikes are for.

    … a beautiful description of the vague, chronic and private inspiration a writer lives with. A bit of ambition. A bit of affirmation. A bit of that unsayable sense of rightness. It’s difficult to admit it’s a calling – but it is – you have put it so beautifully.
    So beautifully.

    (And, darls, I do believe this counts as ‘literary non-fiction’.)

    Fed x

  2. Oh my, literary non-fiction? That wasn’t my intention.

    Must. Delete. ;p

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