You know how it is…

Or maybe you don’t (know how it is, I mean). I have voices in my head. That’s right and it explains my theory of sanity being merely a form of controlled insanity – or if it doesn’t actually explain it, it certainly is in conformity with it. Anyway…these voices (or is it the same one?) often decides to engage me in conversation at three in the morning when I have drifted to consciousness and I am wondering if I really need to get up to have a pee (the answer is always ‘yes’) and then the voice suggests to me that that sentence that I wrote six months ago could contain an error – or that sentence I wrote just yesterday. Who needs editors when you have critical voices in the head? As it happens it was a sentence I wrote just yesterday in this blog. That sentence that was wrong was this one: “blahblahblah brought me face to face with Aritha van Herk and her book The Pig Pen.” But her book wasn’t called The Pig Pen as I clearly remembered. It was called The Tent Peg. How do Pig Pens get transmogrified into Tent Pegs – the answer (the only answer I can come up with) is that both are short and have clear sexual whatsits (under-tones, overtones, in-between-tones). Tent pegs are like other pegs and as the Vietnamese poet Ho Xuan Hu’ong so aptly said in her poem about the games of springtime: “When you take the peg out, it leaves behind an empty hole” – well, of course she didn’t exactly say that – she glossed that thought in her own language. [You will find this and other of her poems glossed by me into English in my book The Alphabet of Vietnam  But what about pig pens? A lady of my acquaintance and I (note the order: Not: “Me and this lady I know…) were playing that marvellous game “Bullshit”. One person asks a question and the other person answers with a true story or a lie. What follows is a rigorous interrogation and at the end of it a decision has to be made. Is the story true or false? In this case the lady in question said that she had had an affair with a big Fijian (affair is probably not quite the right word) and that they had wallowed with each other in a pig pen. I said ‘bullshit’ and she admitted it was a lie (but I think we both knew she was telling the truth!) – so Tent pegs and Pig Pens? What’s the difference?

About Jonathan Chamberlain

I am a novelist and creative writer attacking all genres indiscriminately - Dreams of Gold (humour) - Alphabet of Vietnam (literary suspense) - Whitebait & Tofu (noir suspense) - Wordjazz for Stevie (memoir) - King Hui (biography) - Chinese Gods (cultural analysis) - The Cancer Survivor's Bible (self-help) My literary blog is In Praise of Older Books see My Fighting Cancer website is My cancer information archive is at
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