Juggling Julie – Dear Deer

Juggling Julie

Awake at six am, two minutes to breathe. Then it begins.

Up and into the kitchen, kettle on, bowls and spoons out, get cereal and juice ready. Shout the kids, quick shower, out, and now really cajole the kids down to eat.

Play a game – ‘Who can get dressed the quickest?’ – how much longer will they still fall for that?

Out the door, walk the kids to the school gates, remind one about P.E. and assure the other you’ll be there for the concert at lunchtime.

Run to bus, panic at traffic, get to work on time – just. Manager gives you a look. Please God, no call from the teacher today.

No lunch, but manic running around means you see the show (The definitive guide to parenting: ‘Show Up’). Back to work.

Boss being an insufferable bore, as usual, but today you must get those reports done, no avoiding that. Working hard all afternoon but still finish late. Hurried call again. 

Reports finally done (manager long gone) rush to sister’s flat to get the kids. Usual craven gratitude to a sister who says it is ‘a pleasure’ (and actually, means it) but this does not resolve your guilt and self-loathing for letting her, and your kids, down. Again.

Stop at shops to get stuff for your mum, kids complaining, stop at mums you have to take a tea, guilty you stayed so long, guilty you could not stay longer.

Tea for the kids, bath and bedtime, find the energy from somewhere to read a story, you all three love it, but it is exhausting and your head nods while you read. Guilt again. ‘Do the voices, mummy.’

Cinema at the weekend, and swimming too, if you forego your Friday night bottle of wine, a small price to see their joyful wet faces.

Julie has been juggling life since the man she thought she knew, and knew she loved, turned out to know he did not love her, and was not who she thought she knew, but a selfish, childish, cunt.

Today I wrote at thirty-three thousand feet, between 11:34  and 11:44. I was prompted by an idea here. My other writings here. All my prompted writing here, my tweets here, and my book here.


If you enjoyed this short writing, a whole load more are available in paperback, soon to be in a Kindle edition too.

Feb 25th – Juggling Julie

February 25th – Juggling Julie


Julie liked to juggle things. Ordinarily, this would not be a bad thing, but in this case, liked doesn’t really go far enough. With Julie it was a sort of compulsion. Julie had to juggle things. All things.

It started innocuously enough. Her uncle bought her a set of juggling balls for her tenth birthday and then, over the course of that birthday afternoon, taught her to juggle. Julie juggled from that point onwards. She got good.

Julie juggled through secondary school. At first it was entertaining: for her friends, her classmates, even her teachers. After all, who doesn’t like to see a bit of juggling. She saved up her pocket money and progressed from balls, to rings, and then , on her sixteenth birthday, to a set of fire clubs. She juggled for money in the street, worked out a little routine set to music, and made money from tourists happy to have their summer afternoons interrupted by a bit of street entertainment.

One Saturday, just before her A-levels, Julie took herself off to Covent Garden, and set herself up there. She didn’t come back.

Obviously this was a concern to her parents, who, although they had their daughter’s best interests at heart, thought it best for her to complete her education. I’m happy, she told them, I’m doing what I want to do. Ans so they agreed on a year out, allowing Julie to follow her juggling dreams, as long as she promised to come back and take her exams.

Julie moved to France.

She fell in lobe with a street magician called Fabien, grew her hair into dreadlocks, stopped wearing shoes. She did the summer fairs in Avignon, Marseille, Nimes. She juggled knives, fireballs, anything she could get her hands on, and she still got better. She didn’t come back to take her exams.

In Nice she was approached by a representative from Cirque du Soleil: they’d seen her work, liked her look, thought there might be a way they could fit her into the show. Julie said goodbye to Fabien, and moved to the USA.

It was with some pride that Julie’s parents, along with her uncle, were in prime seats in a fancy arena in Los Angeles, watching Julie open the show, juggling, spotlit while acrobats tumbled around her. They were open mouthed as they watched her juggle chainsaws from a trapeze, swinging high above the auditorium, bathed in applause.

All of which goes to show that sometimes, even if they’re as off-the-wall as juggling for a living, you just have to follow your dreams.

Like Julie.


Inspired by a prompt from here