Friday, December 2, 2016

Cats in Christmas trees

Cool and creepy: the wonder of Facebook

There is so much about social media that pisses me off that I often don’t know where to start.

I don’t even do Twitter. I’m not likely to start doing Twitter because of all the negative things I hear about it, the way it has gone sour, the way people attack each other. The Steven Galloway debacle is a case in point. Margaret Atwood casually swiped at a huge sector of the literary community, calling us frail maidens on fainting couches, claiming that firing Galloway because of his chronic sexual abuse of students was a “witch hunt” and “McCarthyism”.

Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet.

It gets worse, but it’s morning and I can barely get my brain around what I want/need to say. I’ve always had problems with people cadging sympathy on Facebook: “oh well, I guess it doesn’t matter that I'll have a migraine when I pick up my Giller Award tonight”, “Sick this week, don’t know how I’ll make my five-week holiday in Greece”, etc. There follows a chorus of sympathy, dozens of comments: “Oh, Diddums, just take care of yourself and I am SURE you’ll be in those Greek isles running around in your bikini before you know it.”

And then there is the “PLEASE, everyone. I am nearly at the 5000 Facebook friends limit and need to pick those last few precious spots myself, so don’t try to friend me! You will only be disappointed. I am so, so sorry, I know it's a hardship for you. But these last few names are absolutely crucial for the promotion of my next novel and might get me a spot on Ellen.”

Yesterday I saw “why do we only get to see posts from, say, fifty of our friends among the thousands we have?” As if it would be possible to see posts from 3500 people a day.

Such problems!

I know there are other things, but the one that is bugging me most right now is “I’m taking a break from social media, guys”. I see this one over, and over, and over again, and NOT ONCE has the person actually taken a “break” of more than two days. Recently it was a woman harmed by the Steven Galloway affair – bruised by a former friend who lit into her for thinking Galloway might actually have done some harm.

I can see this, can see being hurt. I’ve been hurt over and over and over again on social media, and in life. But what she said next, “I’m stepping back from social media for the rest of the year,” was remarkable, because somehow reality changed and the months of November and December collapsed down into two days, which is how long it was before she went back to posting on Facebook every day. But these posts may not even have counted: if she only posts three or four times a day, and the posts aren’t too long, is she somehow, mysteriously, still “taking a break”? Or was it all due to that Greek chorus of voices begging her to come back? Anyway, I am cynical enough now that I kept an eye on that situation, and it went exactly the way I predicted.

Am I in a sour mood? I don’t know. In a December mood, I guess. I’ve had worse. Lots worse. But this is the time of year one’s psyche adds it all up, and - BAM. I wonder what it has all amounted to.

I don’t know why I do Facebook anyway, except to put time in. It’s grey and wet out there, lousy even for taking a walk, and I am “behind” on Christmas preparations which I do not want to make.

I have people in my life, yes, precious and few, and given my family history it’s a good thing I’m not being treated like a punching bag every day. It was unlikely I would ever help co-create something this amazing (though there are those who’ve claimed it just dropped into my lap, undeserved). In truth, I would not change anything about it, or them. But they are growing up, growing away from me steadily. I am no good at loss.

Call it reality. I can’t take a break from life (then come back to it in two days!). It just keeps lumbering along. Already, atrocious things (I won't say what, but you already know) are seemingly normal. We have to do this, I guess, to stand it, to keep trying to enjoy our lives. I enjoy what I can; I honestly do, but they are all such small things.

Facebook reminds me that I will never achieve the big things I dreamed about for so long, though others did, and do. They endlessly shimmy around in their bikinis, Giller Prize in hand, to remind me of it.  Holidays. Awards. New babies. New friends. Exotic recipes that always turn out. And never a family fight. Never an alcoholic in the family. The smooth shiny facet is always kept turned towards your “friends” - but who knows what is on the other side.

Must be kind of exhausting, when you think about it.

BLOGGER'S NOTE. While thoroughly disgusted, and wondering whether I had already posted the Abbie poem and not wanting to look it up (but no one reads this anyway, so who cares), I stumbled upon something remarkable.

I cut this image out of the TV guide, the paper one I mean, back when it still existed. This was probably around 1990:

And I kept it, not knowing the provenance of the picture at all. I couldn't find anything about it, though it haunted me. It was in an ad for some sort of Billy Graham-like religious crusade. I put it in a book somewhere, not able to throw it out but not knowing what to do with it, and that was all, until it emerged again 15 or so years later, and I scanned it.

And then.

I found this, just now, just this minute! This. Is. The. Same. Puppet. It popped out at me on Google images while I searched for disaffected, desolate illustrations for this post.

Years, and years, and YEARS later, this anonymous, strange, unknown thing is now called "Cool Creepy Marionette". That is ALL I can find about this exquisite work of art. On site after site after site, the same image, replicated. 

It HAS to be the same! Even the eyes, even the mask, even the position of the hand - it's all the same. But why can't I find out anything about this except "cool creepy marionette"?

It's because the internet no longer cares about the provenance of anything. It's some sort of ultimate global Communism, everything held in common, nothing owned, least of all works of art that someone actually made - carved - imbued with a soul.

All I know is, this marionette, which looks fairly new, isn't new. In fact, I don't know how old it is.  It means something. Maybe if I keep digging, and digging, and digging, I'll find out - but I don't think so.

I don't know how to feel about this. In part, it filled me with amazement and joy - here he is again! Rediscovered: our puppet of sorrow. But then I wondered where he came from. Another lost boy? And does anybody besides me really care about it?

Happy and well and corsetted to the limit

The Saga of Abbie 

Who Is Happy And Well And Corsetted To The Limit 
by Anonymous

1 In my hourglass corset I'm laced every day,
My little wasp waist is shrinking away.
The stays squeeze me inwards so small and so nice,
In a pattern of lacing that grips like a vice.

2 When I was a child I could never understand

Why the shape of my mother was stately and grand,

But early one morning I once chanced to see
How Dad laced her corsets as tight as could be.

3 Dad said to Mama, "You're not tightened yet",
And he pulled till his forehead was glistening with sweat,
While Mother said gaspingly, "Close them you must",
While breathing so fast in her trembling bust.

4 At last Dad succeeded, the laces were tied,
An Ma was so slender, I ran to her side,
My eyes big with wonder, my mouth wide agape
As I longingly gazed at her beautiful shape.

5 "O, Mother, O Mother", I gasped out of plea,
"O when can I have a wasp waist for me?
A real lady's corset, all lace-trimmed and blue.
I so want to be beautiful, just like you".

6 Mother smiled as she held smelling salts to her nose,
Then she said "Ask your Daddy", and pulled on her hose,
But Daddy demurred, "We need more time to think",
But Mum whispered, "Let her", and tipped him a wink.

7 That night Mother said as we sat round the fire,
"Is a nice waspy waist what you really desire?"
"O yes, Mummy, yes. Do let it be soon".
But suddenly Mummy fell down in a swoon.


8 Up jumped my Daddy and went to the drawer
And took out the scissors (I'm sure that he swore)
To cut Mummy's laces. She feebly gasped,
"No, don't cut the lace", as her waistline she clasped.

9 It did not take long for my Mum to recover,
While Dad fussed around like an overwrought lover.
He said, "Listen, Abbie, now I'm warning you
That's what tight-lacing will usually do".

10 I replied, "So I faint, but I truly don't care,
I want a wasp waist like my Mummy, so there.
O, please Mummy do try dear Dad to persuade,
To let me be corsetted. Please get one made".

11 Daddy hummed and he hawd, "So that's what you say,
You're just like your Mother; she gets her own way.
If that is the garment you're dying to wear,
Tomorrow we'll go to the corsetière".

12 My anticipation was loaded with bliss,
I rewarded them both with a hug and a kiss.
That night in my bed as in slumber I curled,
I dreamt I'd the tiniest waist in the world.

13 We went the next day to the corsetières.
And inside the shop she displayed all her wares.
So graceful the shapes of the corsets and stays,
I stood there enchanted, my eyes all a-glaze.

14 She measured me up, she measured me down,
She looked through her pince-nez, her brow in a frown.
"A wasp waisted corset? We have just the thing
To make you a lady with a waist like a ring".

15 They took me upstairs, I was in such haste,
The corset was clasped round my tender young waist.
"Now come to the mirror and see with your eyes
Your waist whittled down to its tiniest size".

16 I looked in the mirror, my heart was so full,
And then on the laces I started to pull.
I wanted the tightness, so comfy to savour;
My parents had done me the loveliest favour.

17 "Do you think you can manage to lace in yourself?"
Asked Mother. In answer I grinned like an elf.
"I love the sensation", I tugged hard with zest
Till my arms ached again and I took a short rest.

18 "How do you feel?" asked the corsetière,
"It's a lovely sensation", I had to declare.
"I want to be smaller, with bosom up thrust,
And the smaller the waist the larger the bust".

19 Then mother said, "Let me start pulling you in".
"Your arms are not strong enough for you to win".
So taking the laces she started to tug;
Oh, the sheer joy of that beautiful hug.

20 "Please pull. O please pull my little waist in,
I want to be tiny, delightfully thin".
I felt the desire to endure like a saint,
But I fell to the floor in a rapturous faint.

21 I opened my eyes, and I smiled with delight.
There, I'd had my first faint in my corset so tight.
I rose to my feet and I asked, "Where's my corset?"
Mother said, "It is here, but this time don't force it".

22 "Please Mummy replace it and wrap it round me,
A wasp-waisted lady I'm dying to be.
I'm no longer a child, I'm a woman, so there,
And when I get home please put up my hair".

23 Once more in my corset, the corsetière
Pulled slowly the laces with consummate care.
"I'll not close the corset this time", she averred,
"We don't want a faint like the last", she observed.

24 Gently she pulled the laces along,
My waist became small in the corset so strong.
The stays, readjusted less tight than before,
Were fastened, but open an inch or more.

25 Across at the mirror I gazed with awe;
I stared, and could hardly believe what I saw.
My waist was a stem, a beautiful figure,
My chest looked and felt extended and bigger.

26 I saw my breast heave I was breathing so fast,
But I had an hour-glass waistline at last;
And later as Mum and I walked down the street,
We were conscious of pride in our figures so neat.

27 Then back at home the day was to face,
With a corset so tight that I could not unlace.
At lunchtime I ate up as much as the rest,
And felt that my dinner was stuck in my chest.

28 "Don't worry", said Mum at the end of the meal,
"It's only a transient discomfort you feel;
It will all pass with patience and rest,
And in time you will tackle your eating with zest".

29 I patiently got trough the rest of the day;
My corsets felt tighter, but I felt so gay,
And upwards and downwards I savoured the touch
Of the tapering body I wanted so much.

30 My waist is reduced to an eighteen inch span,
A sight for the eyes of susceptible Man.
Be it never so tight I'll endure the squeeze,
For a lady must ever appear at her ease.

31 One lovely night I went out to a dance.
My favourite swain I sought to entrance.
A corset that measured half an inch less
I wore with patience under my dress.

32 Then David my boy-friend said, as he went past,
"Our Abbie's a grown up young lady at last",
And in the first dance, he held my hand tight,
And asked "How many dances can you spare tonight?"

33 In no time at all my dance card was filled.
This night was my night, and how I was thrilled;
And as we whirled round in the gaslight so shady
I was no more a child but a regular lady.

34 My little wasp waist felt as solid as wood,
I bravely endured it as much as I could.
The joy and excitement helped me to forget it,
A wasp waist is mine, I'll never regret it.

35 And as we went round in a lighthearted whirl,
David said softly, "You beautiful Girl".
I gently responded without any haste
And daringly guided his hand round my waist.

36 And then on the lawn outside the dance floor
He placed his two hands round my waistline once more.
We kissed and we kissed, and he held me so tight,
I very near fainted with tightness that night.

37 My next tiny corset reduced by an inch
To sixteen and a half, a regular pinch.
I'm wearing the corset, awake or asleep,
My hour-glass stem I'm determined to keep.

38 Now that I'm tight in my corsets all day,
I sometimes feel consciousness fading away.
The pain and discomfort deny me my peace,
But nothing will urge me my stays to release.

39 It's my firm intention with might and main
A sixteen inch corset my size to attain.
Said Mum, "It will cost you devotion and tears
If you want a waist measure the same as your years".

40 The new corset came and was opened in haste,
A garment in elegant beauty and taste.
A sixteen inch corset with lace white and blue
To make my desire to be smaller come true.

41 "Please, Mummy, come help me the corset to try".
"You'd better ask Daddy, he's stronger than I".
So up in the bedroom, the corset was placed
Around my slim body prepared to be laced.

42 As Daddy pulled only gently at first
I felt that my up swelling bosom would burst.
The tightening in was an exquisite thrill
As I put all my trust in his strength and my will.

43 Daddy tugged on the lace until he perspired,
And the corset was closed as I had desired.
Across to the mirror I tottered to see
My new shape reflected; oh could that be me?

44 Hips flared into curves so majestic and sweet,
My chest was so large I could not see my feet.
My waist was a sensuous curve of blue,
A tight little thread that united the two.

45 As I went to the door, I knew I was pale,
But I entered the room like a ship in full sail,
My chest, as I walked swayed from side to side
And Mummy and Daddy surveyed me with pride.

46 That night in my bed, so determined was I
To sleep in my corset I wanted to try;
But try as I might, I started to weep,
For the merciless corset would not let me sleep.

47 By midnight I just couldn't stand any more,
And I tiptoed downstairs past Mum's and Dad's door,
And there on the sideboard, because it was handy,
I took a large drop of Napoleon brandy.

48 The tot was so strong, so I staggered to bed,
I fell on the mattress and lay down my head;
But sleep was denied and just would not come,
And by four in the morning my tummy was numb.

49 To breakfast I went all tired and teary,
My wasp waist had left me weepy and weary.
Said Mother, "In time you'll not feel the pinch.
Come up and I'll let it out just half an inch".

50 The pain and discomfort transcended belief,
I was grateful to Mum for providing relief.
But I was resolved that come what may,
My stays would be closed by the end of the day.

51 To hold and keep your waist small and indented
Expansion by night must be firmly prevented.
Your corsets by night will your figure be moulding,
A seductive wasp waist is an asset worth holding.

52 When I took off my stays a new pleasure I found,
Without their support I tottered around;
My uncorsetted waist was fragile and frail,
My top half would give way like a tree in a gale.

53 On opposite walls two mirrors I've placed,
So I can admire the back of my waist.
Minus my stays, of support I'm bereft,
And in rapturous pleasure I sway right and left.

54 I see in my mirror my outstanding chest,
While my heart is a-fluttering inside my breast.
A sigh of content comes up to my lips
As my burgeoning breast overhangs my hips.

55 My sixteen inch waist I now carry with ease,
My waist has adapted itself to the squeeze.
I thought I was down to my limit in size,
But the Man of My Heart thought otherwise.

56 Now Raymond my husband you must understand
Loves to caress my waist with his hand.
He said, "Now your waist is down to this size,
A waist like your neck would bedazzle my eyes".

57 'Twas the voice of the charmer, and I as his wife
Will go to extreme for the man in my life.
To be much smaller my waist must be pressed;
I'll make him so happy, I'll give of my best.

58 A corset of half an inch smaller was brought,
A body of fifteen and a half inches taut.
That evening my husband requested to lace,
And into his hands the new corset I place.

59 "Just let me relax for a moment", I said,
You can lace me in tight as I lay on the bed".
My spouse took the laces all set to begin,
And slowly but firmly he pulled my waist in.

60 He tugged at the cords till I asked him to rest,
To close the new corset would be a big test.
With only one inch left apart to defeat,
I arose with his help, and I swayed on my feet.

61 I found if I went on my hands and my knees
He could pull in my waist with more expertise;
The flesh fell away and my body felt lightened
As Raymond pulled hard and the corset was tightened.

62 He pulled and he tugged till the corset's constraint
Became far too much, and I felt a fresh faint.
With Raymond I desired no quarrel or friction,
But my waist was protesting against its restriction.

63 A last final heave and Raymond was able
To tie up the laces as taut as a cable.
He tenderly helped me to stand on my feet,
As he clasped me around his fingers could meet.

64 I hugged him and kissed him in mounting passion
My slenderness made me exult in my fashion.
Connubial bliss we have found every time,
Is enhanced by a corset, and truly sublime.

65 "I'll never remove my corset", I said,
"Until it has moulded my waist to a thread;
It shall squeeze me and train me, that's my resolution,
I'll take it off only for regular ablution".

66 Raymond's delight and encouragement worked.
From lacing my corsets my man never shirked;
And several weeks later without any haste
Another proud inch was removed from my waist.

67 At fourteen and a half my waist was my pride,
The pain and discomfort I took in my stride.
Though I sometimes have fainted because of the pinch
I'll not ease the lacing, not even an inch.

68 My hips and my bust were a sight to be seen,
My waist was a tiny tight tube in between;
Whenever I ventured alone in the street
I felt pride in the sound of following feet.

69 My husband, enraptured, was bursting with pride
At the way people stared when we walked side by side,
And often young ladies bedizened in style,
Asked, "How do you stand it and still keep a smile?"

70 If Ray wanted something, he put on the charm;
His speech became like silver while stroking my arm,
He murmured such love, so caressing his voice,
"Please, please lace in smaller", he gave me no choice.

71 I tried to demur, even put up defiance,
My smooth-tongued charmer induced my compliance.
I had to admit as he gave me a hug,
Tight-lacing had captured me, just like a drug.

72 He gave me the corset so tiny to don,
A fourteen inch body, Could I get it on?
As he pulled came Desire, to be smaller yet.
I will be fourteen inches without a regret.

73 The corset went in with a pitiless grip,
I said, "Hold the laces, don't let them slip".
Ray answered, "I'll close it by hook or by crook.
Ah, I've done it. Now go to the mirror and look".

74 "Hold me up. Raymond, darling, my knees feel so weak",
He did so, I leaned with my head to his cheek.
My waist was compressed in its captive confinement
In superlative style and rounded refinement.

75 My mirror I love, for to see myself there
With a waist like a wasp is an ecstasy rare.
There I can admire my middle so frail,
My breathing so rapid, my features so pale.

76 He held me so tight as he stood by my side,
He knew that my knees were about to subside.
My small strangled waist could be crushed in no more,
I felt my knees give and I sank to the floor.

77 A few moments later I roused with a sneeze,
For Ray had pushed my head down to my knees.
His murmuring words were of love and of praise,
But all I could say was, "Don't loosen my stays".

78 "Are you sure you can stand it", asked he.
I answered, "That only depends upon me.
I am quite determined the tightness to bear,
And I'll sleep trough the night in my corset, I swear".

79 I slowly awoke as the dawn came to creep,
And below my wasp waist my hips were asleep.
As Ray pressed my tummy with finger and thumb,
I had lost all feeling, my muscles were numb.

80 There are many sensations tight-lacing bestows,
There's a feeling of weakness from hips down to toes.
When walking your chest sways from side to side
And your waist gives way weakly if you take a big stride.

81 These lovely sensations when felt in good measure
Will give the tight-lacer a world full of pleasure.
All men will admire your delicate sway,
The envy of women will make you feel gay.

82 In spite of the pain and discomfort I felt,
I wished that my flesh could be ordered to melt.
Now Raymond has said that he'd love me to wear,
A thirteen inch corset like Madame Polaire.

83 He showed me Polaire in a corset of lace,
With an hour-glass form of perfection and grace.
"That's only a picture, it may be quite true,
But I'll have a REAL thirteen inch waist for you".

84 I wanted so much my wasp waist to maintain,
But could I endure being smaller again.
The drug of desire to be tinier still,
Has conquered my body and strengthened my will.

85 The promise of gaining a torso so trim,
To be really admired in my figure so slim
Was almost too much, I chafed at delay;
But the thirteen inch corset arrived the next day.

86 The corset was lovely, I just had to smile,
I held the stay up to admire it awhile.
"Don't let us hurry", I ventured to say,
"Enjoyment is better for a little delay".

87 Though Ray was impatient, "All right", he agreed,
"To see you laced in is a pleasure indeed.
Whilst I don't mind a little suspense,
My desire for your lovely wasp waist is intense".

88 With arms around each other we stood tightly clasped,
I could feel my heart thumping; "Please lace me", I gasped,
With a movement of joy and in trembling haste
He fitted the corset around my waist.

89 "Please place it on loosely at first", I began,
"My shape in the mirror I'd like to scan,
My fifty four inches of bust to admire,
I think my new corset can lift it up higher".

90 "I'm waiting no longer", at last he declared,
"I'm lacing you in, or will you be scared?"
I smiled at him fondly and said, "Let's begin",
And in tense excitement he was lacing me in.

91 He pulled on the laces quite gently at first,
Then tighter, still tighter, I was ready to burst.
The hold of the corset was gripping at length
As firmly he pulled with all his strength.

92 My waist in its corset was much tighter now,
I wanted it closed no matter how.
My tight little waist was protesting amain
As Raymond continued to tug once again.

93 "Don't stop, please go on," Ray responded with vigour,
While I held my breath and endured the rigor.
As Ray on the laces his finger did press,
I heard him ejaculate one word, "Success".

94 The corset was closed, I was smaller still,
My thirteen inch waist was martyring thrill.
Swaying I went to the mirror to see
My waist microscopic; oh could that be me?

95 I clasped my hands round it as tight as I could,
My waist felt as hard as a column of wood.
My fingers and thumbs almost touched front and back.
How fragile it looked, but I felt on the rack.

96 I walked up and down with unsteady stride,
Ray holding my arm as he paced by my side
My waist was protesting, I swayed like a tree,
Enjoying the weakness that came over me.

97 Ray gave me some brandy, I took it in sips.
I rested my hands of the shelf of my hips.
The cone of my bust emerged like a flower,
I could gaze at my figure for hour after hour.

98 My thirteen inch waist by now is the norm,
My waist has surrendered, I keep it in form.
My body's resistance to corsets has gone.
No more do I tight-lace, I put corsets on.

99 The envy of women, the praise from the men
Would urge me to tight-lace all over again.
So if you desire to be praised for your taste,
Wear an unyielding corset and sport a WASP WAIST.

100 My upper part sways with each step as I stride,
My burgeoning bosom I carry with pride.
The ground I can only see eight feet ahead
In my six-inch heel shoes as I daintily tread.

101 The span of my waist is a minuscule measure,
A wee link my husband adores like a treasure.
I love my wasp waist, I'm the happiest wife,
With a waist like a stem I will wear all my life.