Friday, 28 October 2011

Why me and exercise don't mix...

This morning a couple of my neighbours asked me if I wanted to go hiking with them.  Apparently it's what one of them does every year on her birthday!  Personally, I can think of more appropriate activities by way of celebrating - activities that involve a few glasses of wine, a cake and maybe a few pressies...

So obviously I said a polite no to their invitation - although even if I didn't have work to do, it's fair to say I still wouldn't have been chomping at the bit to join them.

You see me and exercise don't really mix. 

But it was only when I received an email from another friend of mine that I realised I'm probably not the only one with an aversion to all things strenuous - an email that described my stint at gym membership to a tee!:


Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, I purchased a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!

Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around.

This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.
Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other shit too.
Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes.

He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny bitch to find me.

Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine-- which I sank.
I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobics instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.

Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun-- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!"

Sunday, 16 October 2011

People are strange...

I think you'll all agree that we all have our foibles, things that we do that make us the individuals we are.  Take me, for example.  It's a little known fact that I have to rock myself to sleep at night.  An activity my mother had always hoped I'd grow out of - a hope my other half is still clinging to to this day.  Of course, I'm pleased to say that my particular foible is confined to the privacy of my own bedroom and compared to many of the goings on in many another sleeping quarter, it is actually pretty boring.  But it's the little quirks like these that make us all the more interesting.  And for a fiction writer like myself who loves to play with character, such peculiarities can actually be quite fascinating.

Even more so, when people are more than happy to broadcast their idiosyncrasies - people like my next door neighbour.

Now she's a lovely lady; a woman who happily goes about her business, chatting to anyone and everyone she meets, her little dog constantly in tow.  Completely unassuming in every way...  So imagine my surprise when after a couple of glasses of wine she began telling me about her day down at the beach - the beach directly overlooked by a well used viewing point, I have to say.  Of course, this is a viewing point that I can only assume she forgot was there;  I mean, why else would she have proceeded to strip naked, frolick on the surrounding rocks, then dive into the surrounding ocean, all the while telling herself she was a mermaid?

Not that she really compared herself to a humanoid fish, I should admit - I just added that bit for effect. 

But then again, that's my point.  As writers it's important to make all our characters interesting.  And by telling you my otherwise completely sane neighbour spent her afternoon not just nude, but imitating a naked mermaid, she became far more interesting to read about.   

Sunday, 9 October 2011

When Chocolate's Not Enough

With three women sharing this year's Nobel Peace Prize for their part in fighting for women's rights, I thought I'd share my very first piece of published writing with you - and very apt it seems, too.

It's a poem I wrote for the anthology 'When Chocolate's not Enough' (2001) edited by Heather Killingray and although it now feels a little naive, not only does its message still resonate with many women today, it's the very piece of writing that gave me the confidence to finally follow my dream of becoming a full time, professional writer.

So here goes...

A poem by Suzie Tullett 

Where does it say that little girls have to wear dresses
And produce sickly smiles?
Why can’t girls play in the mud and climb trees?
I don’t understand, because I know I could if you’d let me
I can’t believe you’re telling me off for telling you what I think
I am able to think, you know 

Where does it say that young girls have to be slim and follow the latest fashion?
Be in love with the latest heart throb?
I don’t understand why I can’t play football instead of netball
Because I know I could if you’d let me
I can’t believe you’re telling me off for wearing boots instead of shoes
And why shouldn’t girls have their hair cut short?
I am an individual you know 

Where does it say that wives have to be quiet?
And look after their husband, want children and then stay at home?
I don’t understand why I can’t have money, friends or have any life at all
Because I know I could if you’d let me
I can’t believe you’re telling me off for wanting a job
It is only part time
I am ambitious, you know 

Where does it say that mothers have to breast feed
Enjoy the responsibility and deny their sexuality?
I don’t understand why I can’t have time to myself to do the simplest of things
Because I know I could if you’d let me.
I can’t believe your telling me off for not washing your sports kit and making dinner on time
I am human you know 

Where does it say that Grandmothers have to bake cakes
Knit jumpers and blue rinse their hair?
I don’t understand why being old means you can’t join in,
Have fun, have sex
Because I know I could if you’d let me
I can’t believe you’re telling me off for wanting to live
I am alive you know