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posted by [personal profile] tadorna at 06:26pm on 26/03/2016
I went to my Saturday morning writing workshop today, and our theme this week was the London Underground. This is what I wrote.

It would make more sense, probably, to come into the city from the east. But we always end up pointing north, like the needle on the compass. It's just what we do. Drive to Southgate, park there and take the Piccadilly line to King's Cross. We sit there in the light, dark, light, the rush and noise changing as we leave the June sunshine and go underground.

It's been a while since she was on a Tube train, she says. She says, I used to do this every day.

We look at the straight line that runs along the inside of the carriage; the list of stations. Arnos Grove. Bounds Green. Wood Green. Turnpike Lane.

She smiles and says, Years ago, your father and Adrian made up a song with all the names of the stations on the line, and they'd sing it all the way home.

She tries to remember the song, but she can't. It's been too long, and anyway, we find it's hard to imagine this now -- him making up songs, being silly.

If it weren't for the London Underground, perhaps I wouldn't exist. Although that's a simplification, like Harry Beck's map. It smooths out the kinks and complications of real life. My grandparents did not meet on a train. They met at a conference. And perhaps, anyway, the story itself is embroidered, only true in part. The things you learn at funerals...

The story goes that he proposed to her on the Circle Line, my grandfather who I never met, and they were both too happy to get off at their stop, so they had to go round again. It seems too perfect. The Circle Line. A gold ring.

We change at King's Cross, and I try to imagine it here, before the war, but I can't. Now is too present. It fills every corner.

Later we go on a tour down memory lane. Our old house, all strange and clean. My school. I remember being here when they told us about the King's Cross fire, and it makes me think of the school hall with its polished wood floor. Of descending down a staircase in a crowd, into an enclosed space.

Everything looks smaller now, and slightly shifted. Not quite right.

Sometimes, stations are closed and abandoned. Shut up with their memories in the dark. You can go on a tour, they'll take you down, say, Imagine what it was like here, when the trains still ran. The people and the clothes they wore, and the way they talked.

And when you come up again into the light, you'll be in different world.
There are 11 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] qwentoozla.livejournal.com at 05:14am on 27/03/2016
Trains into memory... what a lovely little piece. :)
posted by [identity profile] sheldrake.livejournal.com at 12:54pm on 27/03/2016
Thank you! :)
posted by [identity profile] birdgerhl.livejournal.com at 07:32pm on 27/03/2016
oh, i love the circle line memory! is that true? it's a killer, either way.
posted by [identity profile] sheldrake.livejournal.com at 07:36pm on 27/03/2016
It is true! Apparently. :) Thanks! x
posted by [identity profile] birdgerhl.livejournal.com at 07:38pm on 27/03/2016
posted by [identity profile] pere-chan.livejournal.com at 09:31pm on 27/03/2016
Mmmm, lovely!
posted by [identity profile] sheldrake.livejournal.com at 08:40pm on 29/03/2016
Thank youuuuuu! :D
coeur_de_noir: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] coeur_de_noir at 11:16pm on 27/03/2016
That circle line business is terribly romantic, got me right in the feels!
posted by [identity profile] sheldrake.livejournal.com at 08:40pm on 29/03/2016
It is rather, isn't it? :) Thanks!
posted by [identity profile] lebannen.livejournal.com at 10:56pm on 30/03/2016
I know a former Station Manager at King’s Cross. I met him working on a sailing ship. He’s a captain now, on another ship. I’ve been promoted.

Nearly eleven years ago I was on holiday on the ship where I later met him. He was at work, on a day when everything was suddenly not fun any more. He took leave after that, and a temporary contract somewhere sunny. I remember the date because of the Londoners on the ship with me. Hearing their concern for their friends was - and remains - the closest I’d been to terrorist activity.

Hello! That's apparently 100 words of making your writing theme all about me, sorry. The reasoning behind it goes something like 'you go to a writing workshop? ooh. that sounds both nicely sociable, and terrifying, because words. congratulations on sociability, I fail at it a lot. I wonder if I could do words?' And these are some of the words that came out.

I've been taking little green and yellow tablets for a while now, they seem to help take away some of the paralysing [fear/ohfucknopeoplemightlookatme] involved in doing [oh, pretty much anything]. Hooray. Yet you notice that I'm posting this in your journal not mine? Yeah, apparently I still can't get so far as to write where other people might see me.

Hi anyway. I hope you are well, I like your words, thank you for sharing them.
posted by [identity profile] sheldrake.livejournal.com at 11:48am on 02/04/2016
Helloooooo! :)

I love that you took the theme and responded to it - I wish lots of people would do that (although this is no longer a lots of people sort of place, I suppose...)

(I remember that day too, I was at work in my old job. We only had one computer that was connected to the internet because it was a bit of a weird place, and we all took turns using it to get make sure people we knew were ok. I was in the city maybe a week or so later? It felt strange. Friends i saw not long ago reminded me that the occasion was the launch of one of the HP books, but I didn't remember that. Strange how everything dissolves into mist in the mind).

The writing workshop IS both nicely sociable and terrifying, you are correct! :) Well, it was a bit at first. It's very nice really - relaxed and friendly, and no pressure either to write or read anything you don't want to. It was only terrifying because social anxiety, and, well, as you say. But I persevered and feel much more comfortable there now.

I'm glad your tablets are helping. It is basically an ongoing battle, and I empathise entirely. I'd love to see you on your own journal again, but if not then you're always very welcome here! :) Not that I get round to posting much these days either... The less you do it, the more difficult it is to start again. But we shall prevail! Are you anywhere else on the internet these days? I tend to spread myself into a number of internet corners, but many of them make me feel old. Which is fine, because I kind of am.

Yay thank you for commenting! :)


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