Deluded?

What if I’m deluded?

How do I know whether I’m a sane person with great talent or a complete basket case and hopelessly deluded? I used to laugh at those poor people on X-factor in the early days who thought they were the best singers ever and then they’d do the strangest, weirdest, sometimes scary things. After a few years I stopped laughing because I suddenly realised they were being exploited and I wondered what happened to them after the world had laughed in their face. Were they deluded enough to carry-on in their happy place or did reality crash down on them?

I’ve written a book. It may well be a book of utter, entire shizen! But I love it! So, am I gifted or deluded? How will I ever know?

I’ll let you into a little secret – sometimes I used to wonder if the world was real and my life was real or if I was just the object of an elaborate hoax and everyone around me were actors. Then I watched a film called “The Truman Show”. At first I thought, that’s great, this means my life is real, because someone else, a film writer no less, has had a similar thought to me. It must be normal to feel this way. I’m fine and everything is real. Then I thought – NO! What if everyone watching my reality show is absolutely killing themselves laughing that the writers have dropped me the biggest hint ever that I’m just an unwitting star of a show and I STILL haven’t worked it out!

Still, I can’t complain: they haven’t killed me off yet, they gave me a hot husband and hopefully my contract won’t run out for another 50 years. Here’s hoping they write a fantastic book deal into the plot …

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Twitter – where the grown-ups hang out!

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Shh! I’m not really a grown-up!

If Facebook is a gossip magazine, Instagram is an art gallery and Twitter is a business and political convention for grown-ups only. That’s how I see them anyway! This causes me a problem: you see I’m not really a grown-up. Yes, I have been alive for 48 years, but I haven’t actually grown up. Sometimes I’ll be walking along the street and I’ll see my son’s friends with their parents and I’ll think – ooh look, grown-ups. I have never, ever, looked in the mirror and thought – ooh, I’m a grown up. I have the same wrinkles around my eyes and silver streaks in my hair as grown-ups. My middle is spreading which I believe is another sign and has nothing to do with chocolate! But I’m just not a grown-up. I don’t think like one and I don’t act like one. When my son said he was going to have a few beers at his friend’s house to celebrate the end of exams, I launched into an attempt at a grown-up speech warning him of the dangers of excess alcohol and he cut me off saying, “don’t worry mum – I’m not like you!”

I’ve been on Facebook for some time now. I understand how it works, and I enjoy it. But … I’m trying to get my novel published and the advice is to get yourself out there on as many social media platforms as possible. Bear in mind my target market is Middle-Grade and the Middle-Grade students at school informed me that Facebook is “only for old people in their 30s and 40s”!!! So off I trotted to the virtual world of Twitter disguised as a grown-up and started following authors, publishers and literary agents. Very mature. I also followed a few immature comedians but I think some grown-ups do that too and I’m sure nobody will notice anyway! And then I had to tweet something! What could I tweet? My mind went blank which is weird because I don’t normally get writers’ block when I’m writing my stories. I can sit down and let the thoughts pour out of my head, down through my fingers and onto the keyboard. But that’s just it. My stories are for Middle-Graders – not for grown-ups. After a few poor attempts which disappeared into the ether unseen and unheeded by the world’s millions, I decided to retweet important sounding messages from grown-ups and respond on other people’s tweets. It’s working really well. Real authors are replying to me as though I am one of them and all grown-up and stuff!

So guys and gals! I’m just putting it out there – if you tweet me I will definitely respond because I am ridiculously excited about this new persona I have created. Just please don’t “out” me. Rachel Coverdale is a very grown-up girl! 😊

An Open Letter to Toyah Wilcox

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Dear Toyah,

The 80s shaped me. I became a rebel without a cause and my poor parents didn’t know what to do with me! I sang your songs at them, dyed my hair a myriad of colours mixed and matched the most outlandish clothes, cast off any preconceptions about who I was and who I should be and had the time of my life. I should blame you for me dropping my A levels before I’d barely started them and for drinking, smoking, riding motorbikes and generally behaving like a punk. I do blame you. I thank you! You see I had to get it wrong before I could get it right. I had to find out who I was before I could be comfortable with myself.

Now you’re in trouble with me again. You are touring and misbehaving – not toeing the line. You are perfectly capable of selling out large arenas, yet you insist on playing some absolute dives enabling people like me to go your gigs. You are putting enjoyment before money! Your fans before your wealth! You really don’t fit in well to the “rich and famous” brigade do you! Screaming along to a gig at Middlesbrough rekindled the rebel in me.

Then, to completely tip me over the edge, I attended the Film Premiere of “The Unfortunate Woman” at The Forum in Darlington, and there you were, giving the most inspirational talk to the audience about the next PIMM film and the part you are playing in it. You stood on the stage and reminisced about banging on a film producer’s door, demanding that he give you the part you’d auditioned for in “Quadrophenia” and I thought YES! Never mind me sitting back all lady like and demure, hoping that someone will publish my book, hoping that I can reduce my hours at work to spend more time doing what I love, wishing that I could set up my own business. I’m not giving people choices anymore. I might be an ageing hippy, but inside me, there’s still a feisty punk. Punk Never Dies! So I’m off to bang on some doors! If I get into trouble for being a nuisance or too demanding, I blame you! Thank you 🙂

Yours sincerely,

Rachel HippyPunk Coverdale

Why We Should All Want Our Little Girls To Grow Up To Be A Princess

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Once upon a time, little girls were told to look pretty and act demure as their purpose in life was to gain “happily every after” by marrying a rich, handsome prince and their only contribution to society was to bring forth fat little heirs.

Well that was then and this is now. Judging by the latest two princesses to join the Royal Family, a princess is a strong, intelligent, independent woman.

I watched in genuine awe as Meghan Markle wore her freckles like a badge of honour. No hiding differences for her. Her freckles are part of her, and in my opinion are part of her attractiveness, but I didn’t get the feeling she was showing them for their beauty. She was showing them because why shouldn’t she?

Meghan is mixed race. She says this sometimes caused difficulty gaining acting roles as she was often too white to play a black person and too black to play a white person. Did she whinge and complain? Stamp her feet and demand? No! She simply persevered, made sure her acting skills were the best and gained roles based on her skill set. She is resilient and will not allow knock-backs to knock her back. She is proud of both her races, just like she’s proud of her freckles. Just like she’s proud of her success.

Let’s just take a moment to look at our Pretty Princess’ personal achievements before she ever even met her Prince Charming:

  • It is now well known that as a small child, she stood up against sexism in an advert which she felt was wrong. There are so many people who complain to each other, or on Facebook, but how many actually do something constructive about it? Meghan did. This shows her proactive nature and strong moral code.

 

  • Meghan Markle has a degree which proves not only a level of intelligence but is also evidence of independent study, resilience and determination.

 

  • She also set up her own business – an online lifestyle magazine which was hugely successful – so she’s an entrepreneur too!

 

  • Meghan Markle is recognised as a philanthropist and has been heavily involved in charity work for many years proving she is compassionate and caring.

 

So to sum up, if you would like your little girl to follow in the latest princess’ footsteps, she’ll need to do a little more than smile sweetly in a pretty dress. She’ll need to be studious, determined, resourceful, independent, kind, moral, generous, entrepreneurial and have many other good, strong, characteristics.

And what about her modern Prince Charming? The fairy-tale prince of days gone by was looking for a young girl who would be grateful for his attention and do anything for him – including wait in a tower for 100 years. Somehow, I don’t think our modern little princesses mentioned above are going to entertain that idea. The modern Prince Charming is someone who gives as he receives. He is the hero who not only irons his own shirts, but irons everything else in the ironing basket too. He cooks and cleans without expecting a grateful “thank you” because he knows he lives there too. He cares for the kids on a sharing rota with his princess. In fact, he has all the qualities, mentioned above for the princess. Mr Charming and Mrs Princess are no longer a helpless damsel and a saviour. They are two halves of a dynamite couple who support each other.

I’m looking forward to the day my daughter meets her Prince Charming – and she’s strong enough to know it’s the modern version she wants to meet 😊

Boy Racer

Capri

Hi, I was once you and now I’m me.

I hear you before I see you, revving your engine, squealing your tyres, racing up the road just an inch off the car in front. I stand there shaking my head at you, disgusted at your speed and  disregard for the rules of the road.

I once commented on our local town Facebook page, something along the lines of “Who are these idiots tearing around the estate – they’re going to cause an accident”. Someone replied, possibly one of your friends “Weren’t you ever young once?” I’m sure it was supposed to be a rhetorical question and designed to wind me up further than I’d already wound myself, but the question took me by surprise.

Yes! Yes, I was young once. Yes, I did tear around in a car revving my engine, squealing my tyres, racing up the road just an inch off my friend in front. I’d forgotten! I’d forgotten what it was like to be young and full of energy and fun and life and vigour. When the slightest thing would excite me and set my adrenaline running. When I was an adrenaline junky and speed was my drug (mph not chemicals).

These days boy racers are in hot hatches, in my day we were in Capris, Cortinas and Escorts. But only the cars have changed. I remember feeling invincible. I remember feeling fully alert – far more alert than the old fuddy-duddies shaking their heads at us as we raced past. We used to reason that we were safer on the roads than the old folk because our reactions were faster and at the speed we were going we had to be fully aware of our surroundings.

We survived. Some of us. Through luck not brilliant driving. Nobody’s ever as good as they think they are. But we were young, we were arrogant and we were fairly skilled and very lucky.

As I’m older, I probably have lost some of my spark, but it’s not old age that’s worn it away: it’s experience. The experience of knowing a child who was accidentally killed by a “boy racer”. Having a relative killed on his motorbike. Seeing too many reports on the news. Being a parent and feeling the empathy with bereaved parents. You are a brilliant driver I’m sure, but sometimes other people make mistakes and your speed does not make allowances for this.

So, to the young man in the little blue car with smoked windows. I’m not going to shake my head or my metaphorical fist at you anymore. I’m going to understand how you feel, but I’m going to make a suggestion. The way you feel right now, so alive, so full of life, so excited at just being. So brim full of joy that you can’t help but race. Let me tell you that all this will be taken from you in a flash if you make just one mistake that ends a child’s life.

But … you DON’T have to stop racing. The racing adrenaline is inside you. Don’t fight it embrace it: Save your money, save the money you normally spend on fuel and tyres and fines and get yourself to a race circuit. Who knows, if you’re good enough maybe you could make a career out of it, or if not a career, certainly a hobby for life. You’ll meet so many other like-minded people, that instead of people wanting you to go slower, they’ll be cheering you on to go faster. Instead of a police fine, you’ll win prizes. Go for it. If you want it you can get it. Tell me when you get there – I’ll be cheering you on and wishing someone had told me to do this when I was your age. I’m excited for you.

Happy racing. Safe racing 😊 x

A retired “boy” racer.