Archives for identity

IGNORING GRAVITY #18

Diana’s clothes hung in the wardrobe organised by colour. Rose took the turquoise Liberty-print floral blouse off its hanger, sniffed deeply. It smelled faintly of moth balls. She was surprised at the sudden swell of tears in her eyes. Lily patted her on the back. Rose admired her mother’s strong conviction about what colours suited her and wished she had that discipline: nothing red, brown or orange was given rail space. Three old-fashioned hat boxes balanced on top of a heavy brown suitcase; how typical of their mother to use hat boxes. Lily held up a pale pink sandal with a chunky crepe sole. “I hate throwing them out. Mum liked them so and there’s nothing wrong with them. Perhaps we should keep them.” “Why? They’re awful and they don’t fit us.” Comfortable was the first adjective that came to Rose’s mind, the pink was salmon. “I know,” replied Lily, “but still.” Her hand wavered for an instant, then she put the pink sandals beside her. “They’re Mum’s.” They continued sorting in silence. Rose watched a silent tear slide down Lily’s cheek and wondered why she wasn’t crying too. Getting upset won’t bring Mum back, she thought. I can help Dad
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #17

Rose At Sunday lunch, Rose had to try hard not to think about her mother. Not when she sat at the table next to her mother’s empty chair, not when Lily grilled only three lamb chops not four, nor when she add a sprig of rosemary to the roasting potatoes as her mother had always done. After their mother died, Lily suggested they cook a proper Sunday lunch every week for their Dad so it wouldn’t matter if he ate fish and chips the other six days.  And so that’s what they did. “Right, if we’re going to sort out Mum’s cupboards we’d better make a start.” Rose had been dreading this, invading her mother’s privacy. She hated the idea of anyone searching through her own things. “Come on,” she said to Lily. They were searching the kitchen cupboards for bin bags when their Dad John popped his head around the door. “Just popping to the allotment. I promised Ron I’d help paint his shed. It’s a messy job and it’ll dry nicely on a fine afternoon like this. You’ll get on quicker without me here. Here you are Pumpkin.” He pushed a piece of paper towards Rose. “This is
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #16

Lily Lily planned to wake before William on Saturday morning, stroke him gently till his eyes opened in that crinkly way she loved, then make love to him the way he liked best but which she hated. She hated it because she couldn’t see his face. But afterwards, when he was relaxed and loving her for her unselfishness, she would introduce the subject of babies. Instead, she awoke to the sound of William swearing in the en-suite because brown water was coming out of the taps and he couldn’t have a shower before setting off for the rugby game. The alarm clock hadn’t gone off and somehow it was her fault. It wasn’t a good start. Following him into the kitchen, she hovered as he stood in front of the fridge. He turned round and bumped straight into her. “Jesus, Lily. Don’t creep up on me.” “I’m not.” She flicked the switch of the kettle and danced around him to the mug tree. “Want one darling? And some toast?” She kept her voice light, determined not to let his grumpiness drag her down. She loved him dearly but he was a bear in the morning. She sank into the rocking
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #15

Rose didn’t know the disciplinary routine, had never been in trouble, and was mortified at Sam’s assumption that she had been. How exactly would Sam phrase her insult on the disciplinary form? ‘She used foul language and questioned my ability to satisfy my wife.’  ‘She challenged my authority and ridiculed me in front of my entire editorial team.’ ‘She insulted my capability as a man.’  ‘She said… penis.’ But I didn’t, she almost said aloud. No, she’d just have to wait to read the form to find out. And that’s when she realised this would be on her personnel file forever. Inappropriate language. Insulting her manager. Things you shouldn’t do, things Rose never imagined she would do. People who didn’t know her might read this and think this was the type of person she was, they might make judgements based on these accusations. She felt ashamed and yes, frightened, frightened she might lose her job. No matter how foul Sam was, no matter how much she was tempted to, she must never insult him again. Even if it meant lying to his face. “What are you still standing here for? Get out.” Rose got out. “And case studies, Rosemary,” Sam shouted
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #14

“Ms Haldane. My office. Now.” Sam didn’t look at her. Frank shrugged at her sympathetically as everyone else trailed behind Sam out of the meeting room. Rose hesitated, alone amongst a sea of scattered chairs, paper snowballs and abandoned coffee cups. She glanced towards the ceiling and was thankful her mother was not around to hear her language. She would have been appalled, then she would have asked Rose why she was still working at the Herald if she hated it so much. On the way back to her desk she heard raised voices in Sam’s office. May was face-to-face with him, looking down from her superior height, he was shuffling backwards as if he dare not turn his back. You’d have thought it was May’s office, not his. When he spun around he saw Rose standing outside the door, his face was blazing as if doused in shiraz. “Rosie, I said now and I meant now. Get your arse in here.” Rose put her hands in her pockets, dug her nails into her palms, and walked towards him, trying not to gag on the stench of stale cigarette smoke from his misshapen green tweed jacket. She passed May on
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #13

Next morning the door to the empty downstairs flat was propped open by a pile of packing cases which listed severely to the right. A bicycle was propped against the wall with a child seat on the back, beside it a toy fire engine with three wheels. As Rose squeezed past the handlebars there was a loud bang from inside the flat of ceramic hitting laminated floor, followed by a child’s cry. Well at least he wouldn’t listen to Iron Maiden at 2am. * At 9am the Herald’s features team gathered in Ivy, the fifth floor meeting room with the blue and yellow swimming pool Hockney print ‘A Bigger Splash’. Rose usually passed the time in Sam’s meetings by considering Hockney’s fascination with water. Her usual policy in editorial meetings was to keep quiet until spoken to, but today was the day she was going to be noticed. Having done the Maddox interview, she wanted to do more and needed a pay rise to afford a bigger flat. Avoiding Sam was not going to achieve that so, to raised eyebrows from the rest of the team, she suggested three feature ideas. Sam, tapping his pen on the desk as if
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #12

“Just my stuff. Some magazines and a jumper, the red one you used to wear, the one you shrunk in the wash, remember? You know, the one that makes your tits look like melons.” Rose crossed her arms across her chest. Rose crossed her arms across her chest. She hated that James could still get to her like this. I do not like him, I do not like him, she chanted to herself. “You can keep the jumper, if you like, as long as I can watch you take it off.” He reached out and brushed his fingers along her arm. The hairs on her arm stood to attention. She took a step back. “Don’t touch me.” “You always liked it…” “Well I don’t now.” She walked straight to the hall cupboard and took out the cardboard box in which she had crammed his stuff. An insidious creep of his possessions had threatened to take over her flat. It was as if he’d decided to move into her place CD by CD, tube of toothpaste by bottle of shampoo, but Rose had quickly wised up to this tactic having tried it herself years previously on a boyfriend she thought she
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #11

Rose bought the first-floor one bed flat in Monument Road, Wimbledon, just along the road from the All-England Tennis Club, when she got her first byline. Ten years later she still lived a happy solo existence. It was a million miles from Lily and William’s four-bedroom house [one bedroom for them and one for each planned child], fifty foot garden [ready for a tree house] and attic [big enough for a train set]. Lily’s neighbours were authors, doctors and lawyers. Rose’s neighbours were Australians in flip-flops and Reggie the Big Issue seller who she suspected lived in the alleyway between the tube station and the fish and chip shop. In the beginning, both mortgage and flat had been unknown quantities, huge and intimidating. Now the square footage of the flat had shrunk out of proportion to her increasing possessions. She longed for a spare bedroom, allocated parking, a back door with a cat-flap for Brad and a garden for him to patrol. The flat downstairs was silent. The previous tenant had been a hard rock fan with a very good quality sound system. She breathed-in the quiet. In her tiny hallway, the red eye of her answerphone blinked. Four messages:
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #10

Rose It took her all afternoon to test various eyecare products and write 1000 words on “Eye strain and how to avoid it’. Thankfully Sam accepted it without demur. Another Sixer. She longed to be at home, cheese on toast, Brad, perhaps a glass of wine. “Isn’t anyone here?” The voice sounded weary. Rose peered around her computer screen and looked straight at May Magdalene, the Herald’s managing editor, and definitely someone to be avoided if you wanted to get away before midnight. May was revolving on the spot as she looked around the sea of empty desks. Rose ducked and immediately felt nine years old again, attempting to avoid the attention of Duckie the maths teacher – Mr Duckworth, who did look rather like a duck – when he wanted an answer to 1,783 ÷ 21. “Ah, Rose, I suppose the rest have sneaked off early. Well,” May looked down at Rose, “you’ll do. Read these, will you.” Rose sat up straight, clenching her lips together to trap the “No!” that crunched between her tongue and her teeth. Damn, the new series of The Killing started tonight. She reached with one hand for the pile of page proofs which
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #9

Lily Lily put the jars of marmalade and Marmite back in the fridge, then swallowed her daily folic acid and zinc tablets with the last mouthful of lemon and ginger tea, rinsed the mug and set it to drain. It was her favourite mug, bone china with the Japanese kanji for ‘peace’ picked out in chains of daisies, lupins, bluebells and buttercups. Not as traditional Japanese as peonies or chrysanthemums, but she loved it all the same. William gave it to her soon after they met. The only way she knew what the kanji meant was because it was explained on the price ticket which William had forgotten to remove. Wasn’t fate wonderful? They’d sat next to each other on the first night of ‘An Introduction to Japanese’ at the local adult education college. By the time Lily dropped her mug in the kitchen sink and chipped it, she’d decided Japanese wasn’t for her. The only reason she continued going to class was William. She’d originally enrolled because she’d seen Lost in Translation. William’s motivation for enrolment, he announced during student introductions at the first class, was promotion at work. William, tall and earnest, his neck a little turkey-like in
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #8

“Rosie love. Fertility. 800 words. I want it straight after you’ve finished that eye strain feature.” Sam dropped a briefing paper on her desk on top of her half-eaten banana. Rose, who believed children should be served lightly grilled with a green salad, did not feel fertility was her natural territory. “Please Sam, can’t someone else write it? Someone who…” “No.” “…likes children.” “No.” “Someone who can empathise…” “No.” ”… with their pain at being childless.” “You’re a journalist Rosa, aren’t you? Your job is to empathise when necessary, and disassociate yourself when necessary. Get your arse in gear, be an instant expert.” He prodded a sticky finger at the briefing paper. “Male fertility. There’s a new report that says infertility is more the bloke’s problem than the woman’s now.” Rose shut her mouth, unable to object to writing a story about male fertility. “… lead is a problem so plumbers and painters need to be careful. Generally the theme is that as the biological clock ticks, sperm motility drops.” Frank, the features writer who sat at the next desk, winked at her over the top of the dividing screen. “…then a list of the obvious, you know, boxers versus
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #7

Rose Until she started her training as a journalist, Rose Haldane hadn’t realized that one of the key skills required was the ability to bullshit. If you knew nothing about your subject matter, you could do it, or wing it. Hopeless at bullshitting and equally terrified of writing about something and getting it wrong, Rose had faced each new assignment as if preparing to appear on Dragon’s Den. Consequently she bunjee-jumped off a crane tied to the mayor of Littlethorpe to publicise Public Safety in Kent Week, then wrote about whiplash while wearing a neck collar for a week. For two weeks she lived entirely on maple syrup and water, then illustrated the finished feature with before and after photos demonstrating the reduction in size of her bottom. This feature attracted quite a few letters to the editor, and one blind date which had been disastrous. She learned to take her research seriously. Many years later she joined the London Herald as health reporter. The Herald was a national newspaper, she worked in a skyscraper at Canary Wharf, not a grey warehouse on a shabby industrial estate in the flat, grey world of North Kent. But she felt stuck. Since
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #6

Nick He stood with his nose pressed to the window, his breath misting the glass, watching her disappear. “Can you sign these?” Amanda’s words made him jump. She had entered his office silently and was standing close behind him. Too close. Sometimes he suspected her of creeping. He took the folder and signed the documents with the speed of someone who has signed millions of papers. He waited until the door closed, then went to the window again. She’d gone. What was it about her that drew him to her? She was a journalist, a type he avoided on principle, but… there was a vulnerability beneath the efficiency which attracted him. And her eyes, blue almost… aquamarine. A knock at the door and he jumped again, startled from his reverie by a line of people filing into his office. The finance team. Within moments he was absorbed in packaging costs, and forgot all about Rose Haldane. © Sandra Danby …in IGNORING GRAVITY #7: how Rose is still striving to write a feature worth 10/10. This is the 6th instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel:
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #5

This is the 5th instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu. But the phone rang and he excused himself to answer the call. Rose glanced at her watch. Jim the photographer was due in five minutes. “I’m sorry that was a call I had to take. Shall we continue?” Maddox was playing with a black fountain pen and studying her legs. She tugged her skirt down towards her knees then sat up straight with her knees pressed together, and wished her mother could have seen her polite posture. Maddox didn’t hurry his appraisal of her legs, and when his eyes rose to meet hers they showed no embarrassment at being caught out. Damn him. To her dismay, Rose felt her cheeks flush with blood. She wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed or angry. It’s just a bodily reaction beyond my conscious control. That was how her father had explained it to her when she was five and blushed every five minutes. ‘The blood vessels in your skin get bigger to let the hot blood reach the surface of your skin
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #4

This is the 4th instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu. He turned in his chair. “Look at them,” he pointed at the people sitting at desks in the open plan area on the other side of the grey glass partition. “They made it happen, not me, they…” While he talked, Rose noticed his hands. Lightly golden, with long fingers as if stretched by piano octaves. She found herself wondering how it would feel to be touched by those hands, and was horrified to realise she hadn’t heard a word of what he’d just said. She nodded and stared down at her pad, her face hot. “… believe in this company. They took the opportunities and built the profit to the point where I could pitch it to the banks. The banks are only interested in cash flow and the bottom line, they want their repayments. The bank doesn’t care if I make face creams or screwdrivers.” “So, now you can enjoy running your company.” Her eyes were still fixed on her notes. Wrong again, Rose. Journalism rule
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #3

This is the 3rd instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu. When he didn’t answer, she looked up. He was staring at her as her university professor had while waiting for her to answer a question about which he knew she didn’t know. “You know, being in control of your own destiny? Making your own history?” Shut up Rose. Journalism rule number one: don’t put words into his mouth. “Destiny?” He leant back in the swivel chair. “That’s an interesting word.” Boy is he confident. Arrogant. She hated arrogant men. “I wouldn’t say I’m in charge, the bank is. I just have a new boss.” His voice was strong, as if he was answering the questions he expected to be asked. Every now and then he glanced down at a paper in the folder he’d laid open on the coffee table. A briefing paper supplied by his PR, she guessed, a list of predictable questions and answers. His smile just about reached the edges of his mouth but fell short of his eyes. Politeness guarantees boring copy. Journalism
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #2

This is the 2nd instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu. Nick Nick Maddox, managing director of Biocare Beauty, was sitting at his desk thinking about face cream. In particular, the failure of bottling machinery at the Scottish factory which manufactured his best-selling Natura-Refresha Night Flower serum. Should he shift production to Devon? Or cross his fingers that the machine would be fixed in time to fulfil his export order to France next week? At that thought he leant back in his chair and allowed himself a small smile of achievement. Me, exporting face creams to France. It’s like selling an English striker to a Brazilian football club. Having made the decision to trust the Scots, his mind shifted to the press interview with a financial journalist which was due to start… he glanced at his watch… five minutes ago. He sighed. It was the last in a schedule of PR interviews about his management buyout of the company. This was his least favourite part of the job, talking City talk with business journalists wearing expensive suits with
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #1

This is the first instalment of my novel ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about Rose Haldane, identity detective. 1968 There was a sharp slap followed by a cry, the sound of an animal echoed in my ears and my soul and my empty womb and didn’t fade. “4lb 3oz. Girl. Write it in the Statement Book then take it away.” * 40 years later Rose Someone took her by the arm, forcing her to sit down. Breath warmed her cheek. She was ice all over. She could see nothing, nothing except one word written in the diary. Adopt. Suddenly pain, starting at her cheek and spreading through her head. Again, and again. Each slap beat that word deeper into her unconsciousness. Adopt. Rose Haldane fell off the edge of the world. * Three days earlier, her life had taken a turn for the better. It was 10am on Thursday morning and Rose was sitting on a sofa the size of a generous double bed. Black, low, leather, polished steel feet, it was positioned on one side of a glass coffee table bigger than her kitchen. Opposite was a black leather swivel chair that screamed ‘executive.’ She sat gingerly on the sofa, lowering her
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… in the graveyard

“Just as the church clocked struck seven, Rose was walking through a wooden gate and along a grass path fringed by weeds and wild flowers, past gravestones, past rambling brambles and ivy. Some graves were neatly kept, grass clipped, headstones scrubbed. She stopped for a moment beside the graves of her mother and grandfather, laying shoulder to shoulder in the early morning sunshine.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… sisterly love

DIANA’S SISTER, KATE INGRAM “Oh Rose, look at this.” Lily held a photograph of their mother and Aunt Kate. The sisters stood side by side at a barbecue. Rose recognised the style of dress her mother was wearing from the contents of the wardrobe now: a round-neck, knee-length pale-coloured shift. Rose would have laid bets that it was lilac. Kate’s long wavy dark hair was plaited with beads and she wore a paisley crinkly skirt with tiny bells sewn along the hem. Rose could almost hear them ringing.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
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Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.