Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Change one word.

Change one move.

Change all the people. At gymnastics my favourite coach has left to China and my other favourite coach has left to coach at a new club and the other gymnast who has helped me learn the rings has gone to medical school overseas. Disaster! My entire team of reliable males each Weds has disappeared to far points of the globe.

A new fella is helping me on the rings and he’s pretty radical. He did something tonight called a dislocation that I do not ever intend to do this side of 100. Plus he showed me some pretty violent swinging that was verging on crucifixion shaped and again I dunno if I’ll be hitting that tube stop anytime soon. I am quite jealous of his chin up move and am certainly going to pursue it. But how? The small matter of Posh Spice sized arms up against gravity and pretty ripped up hands need overthrowing.

Change one move.

Another coach tonight gave me a wonderful tip on my back handspring. I trained sooo long ago as a teenager, in the dinosaur era where they taught a sit and fall technique to the commence the move but that has now gone out with the bats. He said pike the legs and fall or just do it straight legged. Plus he said stick your chest up and back which is pretty easy to remember since it pokes out. What a difference. No more collapses. Well a couple. All my power from my legs was being lost by sitting too low, now instead it sends me back and longer. Yeah!!

All the way home I thought of how these tiny adjustments change so much, just as in prose a word in and out of a sentence can have this effect. I don’t have such a good editor’s eye. (Sound is v important to me though) I tend just to see thorns and blackberry bushes. I continue however to see the physical body and it’s movements as structure or I import from the physical body. Even now I can hear the snap of feet to the floor and thump of the arms and the final thump of the feet in a tumbling sequence. I hear a sentence in it. The last novel that I wrote the shape was formulated watching Judith Copithorne walk about delivering phrases at a poetry reading. She was not reading a poem like all the other poets were, she was offering words. Literally and physically.