Friday 26 February 2016

The Debonkerfication of Angelina

Seeking mind and body wellbeing to combat mid-life crisis and make me write more. Part 1 – Starting the process.

My notebook
Yesterday I made an appointment with AC, a hypnotherapist in London who uses a combination of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and Meditation in his therapy. I’m not writing his name here right now because what if the appointment turns out to be totally shit? I don’t want to badmouth someone who has worked for decades and cured many people both on and off TV just because I might be the possessor of the one marshy bog that is impenetrable (or the one broken teapot that happens to be chipped in the wrong place).

I was given AC’s phone number some years ago. I don’t know exactly how many years ago but I could find out by going and looking at the publication date of a signed paperback copy of Umbrella that I never finished which sits on my bookshelf. I went to Bookslam all alone because I was terribly lonely having at some time prior finished with a significant person and felt that I should carpe life and do things that I want to do by myself and learn to enjoy them alone. My mum had been in and out of hospital, I had signed up to do an online writing group thingy (I am a serial online writing group thingy non-practising member) and in the hope of taking it seriously I had adopted the temporary habit of taking a notebook with me wherever I went. I bought it from TK Maxx and it has a cat and dog dressed as the Blues Brothers on the front.  In this notebook I had written notes, phrases that had come to me at odd times including one written a few days before the Bookslam thing while waiting for my mum to be seen in casualty in the middle of the night, inspired by my surroundings: “A figure like a lumpen bolster cushion tied in the middle with a piece of string”.

So I went to Bookslam and listened to some authors including the great statue that is Will Self read passages from various books they had written. One of his included some reference to “a bolster of a woman” or something like that. I took this as a sign of my latent creative genius. I used the very same random metaphor that a literary great had used! (Yes, I realise that confusing coincidence for achievement is very sad.)

I am very short. I queued at the bar amongst chatting, laughing people to buy a drink and this made my smallness and aloneness very large; it made me sigh and blink back actual tears and then shout silently “Do not fucking cry in public you stupid cow!!” I sat on a high stool next to this guy who was also alone (though probably not the same type of alone as me) and in the break between authors we struck up a conversation. He was also a writer, of screenplays. He worked in a phone shop during the day and when he wasn’t working, was writing. He told me lots more about himself but I don’t remember it all. He asked me about myself and I told him about Sing and Sign, about the time I was on Richard and Judy and they sent me to see those agents that liked me but I got sidetracked by divorce and therefore that I’m a non-writing writer, apart from Mummy on the Edge in Families Magazine that I had, even then, been writing for lots of years. He insisted that I already had the bones of a book within this blog and that I should just stick it on amazon as is. I told him maybe that’s cheating and also my problem is I’m terrifically lazy when it comes to doing anything for myself.  And then, along with some recommendations for books he had read on writing which I wrote down in my notebook (and have NEVER looked up), he also gave me the phone number of a hypnotist he had seen who helped him a great deal.

I know what you are thinking. But well actually, I’ve never been to a hypnotist before and I never believed it would work for me. But the thought of someone flicking a switch (I KNOW it’s not really like that) in my head to fix me, remove all confusion and mental paralysis and make me sit down and achieve something for myself has ensured that the memory of the existence of this phone number in this notebook has remained in the sink drainer of my brain, not following most all the other details of the evening down the plughole, even after years that number more than one multiple of 2. And by the way this chap and I did not exchange numbers or last names, we just had a really deep conversation about writing and that gave this meeting that was mere happenstance, the quality of something greater, possibly even a turning point in life. Of course it wasn’t. But hell, it yet might be. Ask me after Tuesday.

The books he recommended in case you are interested in writing and can’t read my crappy handwriting:
Story is Promise – Deep Characterisation
How to write a million
How to write a screenplay in 21 days by Vicky King

Posts I will be writing next (not necessarily in this order):

More about why I’m doing this
More about hypnotherapy
“DEE AH ESS SEE O” (No, not really)
Love Your Belly Workshop
Mother Daughter Yoga
2 day Body Calm Workshop in May with bloke off the telly
Sensitive Skin (the TV show)
Real Housewives (I might as well include this as I’m bound to end up writing about it at some point.)

About The Debonkerfication of Angelina

I’m writing this for me but do please join me if you want to, for if you do, it means that I might be reaching someone who also exists on my small, yellow planet, populated by weirdos like me, who might also, like me, be in need of some mental salvation and who may actually find it vicariously through my own windy path. And, in that way, it may serve to justify this self-indulgent hike though the marshy bog that is my forty-something year old psyche and turn the journey into some sort of beneficent, self-sacrificing travail. In this way, the attempt to fix the broken teapot might not feel so colossally pointless.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Midi-Me gets Virtual and her mother gets a job.

Mummy on the edge Jan Feb 2016

It is the beginning of another new year and I have been getting creative with my use of the hairdryer, which I utilize in the warming of my bed before and while I am in it.

This is most definitely environmentally UNfriendly. Admittedly, I occasionally ponder a post-apocalyptic world where Midi-Me’s children’s children are hiding out in caves dimly lit by straw fires, crushing their tiny, six-legged, protein-packed dinners with de-powered tablets, foraged after a dangerous round trip in an acid-storm to the defunct-i-mountain, cursing their useless, selfish great-grandmother who deigned it necessary to blow-dry her bed.

However, this method of toastification of the self before bedtime is highly effective (and also very dangerous and not to be recommended).

Despite all that, I do care about the environment. Which is why I gave Midi-Me a gift made of cardboard for Christmas. Recyclable, innit. Mr Angelina came home with this flat-pack cardboard contraption which he had bought for himself off the interweb because he is tech-knowlegical (see what I did there).  Midi me - with her flat-pack-building expertise perfected during quality time with her dad at his furniture store in Vancouver - helped Mr Angelina put it together, while I sat on the sofa recovering from a bug under a blanket (without the hairdryer), entirely uninterested in what was being constructed.

When I saw what it was and how it worked once they had managed to put it together, I was very impressed. And also a bit scared because I feel sometimes I have been plonked about 50 years into the future. The Google have invented Cardboard ( which promises to make virtual reality an experience available now to everyone using a headset made of cardboard that you can make or buy. The headset is basically a viewer that holds your smartphone or ipod on to which you can download free apps that can take you to different places in the country and indeed the world. You hold the headset to your face (or strap it on if it comes with a strap) and by moving your head and/ or spinning around, can achieve a 360 degree view of “wherever” you happen to “be” at that moment. You cannot move “forward” or “backward” but it is still pretty cool.

There was much collective “oohing” and “ahhing” from Midi Me and Mr Angelina and some giggling from her, too.

“I’m in Paris! I’m in Tokyo! I’m in Venice! I’m in space! I’m in a kaleidoscope!! Wow!!!” It works on streetview in some areas but thankfully Midi-Me could not locate our house as it doesn’t go as far as Bushey. 

I start January with a renewed appreciation for schools and the people that work in them. From November to December last year that was me, as I took a job as a teaching assistant for half a term in the reception class of a lovely little private school.

Midi-Me was happy; she likes telling me about her day and hearing about mine and when I was running Sing and Sign, she always looked forward to my detailed play by play. She’s not that interested in the plotlines of Real Housewives so it’s always a more gratifying exchange if I’ve been working. Also, since birth she has been used to hearing her mother speak in clipped tones in the morning and watching her mother run around the house looking for shoes and keys in a blind panic; that’s her happy place.

However, (you knew that word was coming, didn’t you…) it seems I am not the patient angel that my name would seem to suggest and years of running my own business teaching 3 hours a day and staying up late to do paperwork with only a glass of wine and Sky Player for company has spoiled me. I underestimated my body, brain and ears’ capacity for constant noise and talking and listening and overestimated my interest in the mediation of about a hundred truly life-unchangingly insignificant playground spats a day.

So, this January, can we all take a minute to think about the blessed teachers that teach our children and the assistants that assist them and the playground adults that listen to our children’s problems with each other and the lunch supervisors that keep peace in the lunch hall without the use of a full-size tambourine every 2 minutes to avoid shouting. Yeah, that was me. With the tambourine.

More at and and twitter @appleina.