Getting ready for chemo has meant chucking out 90% of the contents of the flat, as if any family were ever known for hoarding, mine is the one. I am marrying into another, much more morganised family and am doing the decent thing. I have found every piece of paper I have ever lost (apart from the really important ones like the Deeds to the House and my PhD proposal.) A few pieces of paper I am pleased about finding is a short story I wrote in 1988. When I split up from my ex-boyfriend, and was being bullied at work, and had an arson attack from an idiot, I understandably got a bit depressed and anxious (about three years ago). Mum, did the decent thing as Mothers do, and got out some things to cheer me up. In my case, being the genius I was and am, it was my old school work. Being the proud, sentimental type, she had kept my pre-GCSE English language work. It did the trick and I was quite surprised as to how entertaining some of these short stories and what-not were.
ANYWAY, one of the stories, which I am hoping to publish on this blog, entitled 'Zero Hour' was particularly errm, weird. A playwright friend of ours (N) who Phil has referred to a lot on his blog made fun of writing in the future in her play which we went to see a couple of months ago. There is a scene when the main character (a writer) in N's play makes fun of another character for setting his story in the future. Based on my experience, perhaps what he really needs is a strong brandy.
To make a short story quite long, what I'm trying to get at is is that this story ('Zero Hour') which I wrote in May 1988, and which I set in 2008, had quite a number of what most psycho-therapists would call 'Coincidences'. Everyone else would be reaching for their particular alcoholic tipple, or if you've ever been to the Haven Breast Cancer place, a broccoli juice.
The first major coincidence was that the main character was called 'Louise Powell'. By pure chance, the person dealing with my bullying case when I re-read the story for the first time 15 years later, in January 2004 was 'Louise Powell'. A very common name, according to my therapist who also knew someone by that name. For this reason the story stayed in my mind as you can imagine for the next few weeks.
The second, more tragic coincidence is that the one of the main plot lines also actually happened, in that one of the characters dies. I did reach for the brandy and was most upset about this. In the story, the main character Louise, tries to save a character M, and tries to contact him 'in the future' to save his life. She succeeds in the story, but in real life the person who very much coincidentally resembles this character died, I think in June 2004. It is though, just rather an unpleasant coincidence.
The third coincidence is nicer. The whole story is called as I say 'Zero Hour' counting down to a particular date. The date mentioned is '19th May 2007' which is now of course our wedding day!
There are some other little details which are quite cutish, looking back. My predictions of 'tele-tact' which is a contact lens TV, 'so popular that the tutors do spot checks at school'. Not that I know, but sounds a bit like the mobile phone phenomenon. Back to the Future was probably 90% of the inspiration for this story and there's a not so subtle reference to this in the first paragraph - our heroine watching 'Teen Wolf'. And then there's the predictions I made in developments in food retail marketing; families shopping at the older 'complex.' even though it's less efficient. Sounds a bit like me doing my bit for the British Olympic Queuing bid at Stoke Newington Farmers Market every Saturday.