Sunday, 27 June 2010

Writing and Football

This morning, Sunday 27th June 2010, an air of tension hangs in the air, like Christmas, but with the sizzling sun baking the green fields and rolling hillsides of the British Isles, instead of the cold and frost. Today, Britain is breathless, waiting, hopeful, heady, hung-over, hungry for success, patriotic, for once palpitatingly in unison, and all because of a ball. A small, round object kicked between the feet of acrobats, slithering, sliding, bouncing, cavorted along the grass to that beckoning siren, called goal. Guarded by a single knight, this holy space is reserved on the one hand for the ultimate, exquisite joy, and on the other, absolute, intense, unbearable disappointment. And what better description could I give to the hour before writing, when words in the playing fields of the mind are winged, orbiting, chaotic, elusive, insistent, lifted into the esoteric by an unconscious that somehow, miraculously, herds them all into the goal mouth of the WIP. How desperate we writers are to score a winning paragraph or chapter, to illuminate the dark spaces that will burst with life from the stands in recognition of our success. My husband asked me why I’m so keen on the football. I couldn’t really think of one answer, and there wasn’t time for many, not with the preparations for this afternoon. But as I’m writing this, I think I can relate more than ever to this small tribe of warriors who represent our country. I’ve come a long way and I’ve got the scars to prove the tussles. Yet still I’m doing it - writing, that is. When I hear a kind word from a reader, just one, I feel I’m remembering what I knew before I was born, in the life before this one started. Purpose, fulfillment, joy. I wonder if our team feel the same, as they stride out onto the pitch, with all the greats accompanying them. Like Stanley Mathews, Tom Finney, Bobby Moore and another less well-known West Ham player, my dad, Bill Skeels. Good luck to you lads, may the Immortal Source be with you and let’s write another chapter, a triumphant one, for Britain.

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