Welcome! You have found the home of 'Being Me', Fran Hill's blog. If you like what you read, you will enjoy my funny teacher-memoir 'Miss, What Does Incomprehensible Mean?' My next book - a funny-poignant novel about sibling rivalry in a foster care situation - is out in April 2023 with Legend Press and is called 'Cuckoo in the Nest'. My website is at www.franhill.co.uk. Come and visit for more Fran info!
Reasons why Fran is anti-Santa at the moment
I posted a 'letter to Santa' on a writers' blog today and the readers there seem to have enjoyed it. So I thought I'd inflict it on you, too. Followers who've been around for a while will know of my long history of communications with Santa. This is yet another addition to the saga.
I'll get straight to the point. No good going through all that peace and goodwill to all men stuff when what I really want to do is make a complaint.
Do you remember last year I asked you for a publishing contract? No, don’t pretend. You can’t possibly have forgotten, because I wrote a long, long plea, with all the reasons why I deserve one, in green highlighter pen and letters an inch high. The man at the Post Office wasn’t happy that I’d tried to shoehorn forty-seven pages into a ‘large letter’ envelope and in the end we had to parcel them all up in a Jiffy bag the size of a North American prairie. I hope your elves managed to carry it in and didn’t get back trouble like they did the year I sent you that list of George–Clooney-and-Johnny-Depp-related Christmas gifts I wanted. The Clooney tea towel you eventually delivered wasn't even on the list, by the way. A poor show.
A helpful juxtaposition of lion to Jiffy bag to demonstrate just how big the parcel was
And what did I get last year in response to my letter asking for a publishing contract? A box of strawberry creams - I don't even like soft centres - and a new ironing board cover.
I'd also enclosed with the publishing-contract request letter a cheque for £100 which wasn’t a bribe, as you insinuated in your pointed reply. Do you realise that the world’s children would grieve to know you could be so sarcastic? No, it was a charitable donation so that you could provide some deprived children with better toys. Little Tommy next door to me, for example, is one of seven and his family has little to spare. One year, you sent him a second-hand scooter and a jigsaw with three pieces missing. It’s for children like Tommy I sent you the donation and it hurt to have you misinterpret my motivations. I weep for children like him.
If you’re looking for ideas, though, I’d suggest for Tommy something to keep him quiet. He yells through the wall and I can’t concentrate on my Sudoku. Perhaps a gag? Or a few pounds of Thornton’s toffee, the kind you have to break up with a hammer.
So, back to the publishing contract. I’m 53 now, Santa, and I can’t think of one year when you’ve sent me exactly what I asked for. You tried to point out that in 1981 I got the Build-Your-Own-Greek-God-of-a-Husband kit I requested but, to be fair, as soon as I’d built it, I realised that a cardboard cut-out of a Greek god doesn’t show off the six-pack the way a proper statue does. Fortunately in 1982 I married my husband and although he’s a bit short on Greek god features, at least he’s in 3D. And can load a dishwasher.
As I was saying: the publishing contract. Santa, I just can’t see why you’re finding this so hard. All it needs is a phone call from Penguin saying, ‘I’ve just read your blog post. You are the next Victoria Wood. Have you written a novel? Yes? Let me give you a twenty thousand pound advance.’
I’m beginning to think my infant children were right when I made them sit on your lap in the grotto at John Lewis and they screamed like banshees at the sight of you. I’m feeling some of that same disillusionment myself.
Yours very unhappily unpublished,
Fran I’ll-be-writing-again-if-I’m-not-satisfied Hill
My try-to-get-fitter walk in the fields today was a silent one. I usually listen to the radio through earphones but have lost one of the soft earbuds and nothing spoils a walk more than having hard plastic nudging up against your fragile tympanic membrane. The BBC's 'Woman's Hour' is a brilliant programme but loyalty has limits. It was disconcerting, walking in silence. Listening to radio distracts from the disturbing reality that my legs are propelling me in forward motion because, if I think too hard about this, I frighten myself. Today, while walking, I had to listen to my own thoughts. And now I've listened to my own thoughts, I remember why I like radio better. The inside of my head is like a wastepaper basket. Be grateful that I only offer you a brief excerpt. Oh, look, that bird is - / Where did I put that mark scheme. I'll need it for - / My shoes are getting muddier./ Maybe mash with the fish tonight / really muddy / The trees are definitely more
It's Saturday evening as I write. This time last week my body still comprised one-fifth woman and four-fifths pudding. I was so stiff with starch that I couldn't bend at the waist to take off my socks at bedtime. I felt as though all my internal organs had been re-upholstered. Despite all this, non, je ne regrette rien. I had gone with two friends to The Pudding Club. It was their 60th birthday treat to me and - well - what an experience! I'm aiming to go again on my 70th, 80th, 90th and 100th or should I ever tire of life as it could do what Dignitas does but with added custard. Have you heard of the Pudding Club? It was started by people who felt that the traditional British pudding should be saved from extinction and celebrated. Because of this, the evening is full of ceremony and ritual as guests make their way through seven puddings, all paraded in regally, applauded and cheered. Seven puddings? Yes, you heard correctly. Puddings are in the news. There's a
I'm writing a short story called 'Heat'. I haven't finished it yet because I can't decide how it ends but it's about a couple in conflict and begins, 'They say domestic wrangles are usually about sex or money but whoever they are has overlooked thermostats.' The story features two people who marry and move in with each other, never having shared a house with a partner before. They are about to find out that there are 'three of them in this marriage': the woman, the man, and a little white dial fixed to the kitchen wall. It's categorically not based on personal experience the story of my whole life. It's summer now, though, which is a welcome break from the thermostat friction between me and my spouse. Instead, we replace it with light-hearted talk bitter confrontations about whether drawing all the curtains in the house, locking every window tight and sitting as silent and still as death in the eerie darkness really does keep you