Struggle, Escape, and Marilyn

Somehow the entire evening has vanished from beneath me. I’m not quite sure how that happens.

I won’t lie. I’m struggling at the moment.

It used to be so easy – this writing lark. And then it wasn’t any more. It hasn’t been for a while. The words are not coming easily. I know they will return – they always do – but at the moment each sentence seems somewhat reluctant.

Perhaps it has something to do with not leaving the house, or seeing anybody outside of my direct family for days on end. Seeing co-workers through the computer screen isn’t the same.

I need to engineer some sort of escape.

I’m always being told I should arrange to go out for lunch with friends now and again – or to go for a walk. Perhaps I’ll do that tomorrow – go for a walk. Nowhere in particular – just make sure I stay out of the house for an hour.

How do you walk aimlessly without looking like a weirdo though? Perhaps only the person walking on their own thinks about that – the rest of the world have somewhere to be – they’re not worrying about who you are or where you’re going – you’re in their way.

While not working, washing up, putting things away, or whatever else, I’ve been wondering about starting running again. Doing SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Running is free, and will help combat the ridiculous sedentary life I’ve found myself living for the last few years. If I can get out to running 5K in pretty short order, I can start doing “Park Run” on a weekend.

A good friend refuses to run with me because she thinks of me as being much better at it than her. Ahem. Who’s been sitting on his arse for the last three years? I can’t remember being this unfit.

If you see a breathless post-run update in the morning, you’ll know that hell has indeed frozen over.


It’s getting late. Time to go read a book, and fall asleep with it propped on my chest. I’m good at that – it’s a skill.

I bought the book “Blonde” the other day – about Marilyn Monroe. It’s a fictional dramatisation of various parts of her life – it was turned into a movie starring Anna de Armis last year. I think I’ve written about Marilyn before – I became interested while doing a project at college when I was young and impressionable. She got inside my head – or rather other people’s accounts of her got inside my head.

As Elton sang – I sometimes wish I could have known her.

History has a funny way of untangling lies. Marilyn’s death created more conspiracy theories than the landing of little grey men at Roswell. One story in particular has stayed with me since I first read about it all those years ago;

Marilyn was fired from her final movie. At the time, 20th Century Fox claimed she was on drugs, drunk, or flat-out impossible to work with. The movie was “canned” – in the true sense. The existing footage was put into storage, and lost. For decades.

And then one day – in the early 1980s – somebody found a collection of film cannisters in a storage facility in the back-lot of Fox, and the following turned up:

There was nothing wrong with her. 8 hours of footage were found – including scene after scene that remind us what the world lost. The famous swimming pool scene was found in it’s entirity – arguably the first nude scene in a major Hollywood movie.

The true back story – that unraveled slowly – involved 20th Century Fox almost going broke. Cleopatra had gone massively over budget. Almost all other productions had been cancelled. Somethings Got To Give was one of the few projects green-lighted – a “Hail Mary” to save the studio.

And would you look at that.

After not finding anything to write about for days, Marilyn walks from the shadows and turns the tap on.

After buying the book last week, I walked towards the bus station with my daughter, and pointed at a huge advertising hoarding on the side of a building – a painted image of Marilyn laughing. We both smiled.


Norma Jean and the Butterfly Effect

This year I’m taking part in “Bloganuary” – a series of writing prompts published throughout the month by Mindy Postoff. Today’s writing prompt is “If you could, what year would you time travel to, and why?”

I imagine we have to ignore the conservation of mass law if we’re going to consider time-travel as a valid possibility? Have you ever thought about it? If you go back in time, you are potentially there in parallel with yourself – so the mass of atoms you comprise of just got multiplied – how did that happen? It’s not you plus the version of you from the future, because the version of you from the future IS you.

I suppose we’re also going to ignore the butterfly effect – the combinatorial explosion that happens in response to even the tiniest things we might do to affect the past while there. I remember reading a wonderful book called “Golden Apples of the Sun” by Ray Bradbury years ago – that gave rise to the term “Butterfly Effect”. A man goes on a time travel journey into the distant past  and is warned to stay on the path, lest the future be altered. Quite how they built the path is another thing, but of course he strays from the path and steps on a butterfly. When he returns to the present, the first thing he notices is some of the letters of the alphabet are now reversed on signs.


I guess we’re going to pick something that happened in popular culture, and go into the past to watch it happen. Something significant. That turns us into Sam Beckett in a strange sort of way, doesn’t it.

Let’s go with the first person that springs to mind – the first celebrity I wish I could have met. It’s got to be Marilyn Monroe. I’m not quite sure when I would have liked to meet her though – before she was famous, during her fame, or towards the end?

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to be at the scene of a significant event unfolding, with full knowledge of what was about to happen, and to redirect history in the most subtle of ways. Perhaps to be wandering on the beach on the same night Marilyn took photos with George Barris – to make friends, go for a coffee, and just be there at the same time everybody else was trying to take a piece of her. To support her. To look over our shoulder at the future with a raised eyebrow, and say “not this time”.