One of my favourite ever sayings comes from one of the smartest dumb blondes I wish I knew….Dolly Parton….’ Honey I aint dumb and I aint blonde’. I love her. I love all her fake, sparkling brilliance. She’s the tin foil to my magpie and ever since I was a little girl I’ve been spinning across the carpet to every homespun hillbilly ditty she ever wrote. She was the reason my mother was able to plough through the ironing pile every Sunday afternoon, while I deftly lifted one vinyl after another onto the record player to transport us both to the Tennessee mountains.
I had no idea what a Tennessee mountain was. No idea who this bitch Jolene was either, but I knew if I ever met her I would smack her chops till her teeth rattled for hurting my Dolly so much. I sang with a hearty deep south twang while my mum nodded righteously along, as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a kid from the North East of England to be sharing the sentiments of an American country singer. Thing was it didn’t matter that I didn’t know, because there was one thing I did know…Dolly was singing straight me. I believed every word she sang, about her childhood, her family, her lovers, her heartbreak and her joy. The words were saturated with emotion, because she sang from right between those humongous bazookas…where sat a heart of gold.
As you know, I recently made the mad decision to join the twitter community. Hurrah! I thought! And I joined in with gusto, then I slowed a little and got befuddled a little and eventually a few days ago I came to a grinding halt. Exhausted with my new font of knowledge I had to have a little lie down in a darkened room. Welshbear brought tea, but to no avail. He even blew my diet by offering me a lovely choccie biscuit …and although that was seen off faster than a finger in a piranha tank, I still couldn’t lift my mood.
Thing was, by scrolling through this buffet of tweety trivia one very loud conclusion thumped me on the head. Doh! I know nothing. I know nothing about politics or fashion or music ..the cold finger of fear inserted itself into my spinal column and shoved its way up….fuck a duck! I knew nothing about writing. There they were, lovely authors with lovely books…promoting and marketing and speaking about all manner of stuff I knew nothing about! I could never do any of that stuff. These people are writing about such clever, important things. Oh shit thought I….I am officially a dumb fucking blonde!
Being a Capricorn (Saturn’s child) I am allowed to sulk. The stars say so….so I did. And I decided that nothing I ever wrote would be interesting or clever enough for others to read…. and I defaulted to my music collection…where I always go in times of trouble to wallow peacefully without actually having to have a tantrum…which these days is far too tiring.
There she was my lovely Dolly. Waiting to sooth me with her high- pitched warbling of tales of woe. And while I lay on my bed, with the laundry basket full of heavy towels shoved against the door so the kids couldn’t get in, a little text pinged onto my phone…
‘ I’ve just been to the marina, cant believe how much its changed’.
It was an old friend of mine, talking about our childhood and the times we spent on my Father’s boat and suddenly, a whole novel spilled out onto the duvet … and that was when the penny dropped. Don’t try and be clever when you write….It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world are doing …..be like Dolly…write what you know and write from the heart…and trust yourself because you aint dumb and you aint blonde.