Archive for June, 2012


I am gearing up to head down to London.

Somehow this action always brings a sense of dread and worry. London is mostly an unkind, hustling and bustling place. I have a strange fear of it.
But then I also have a strange fear of Glasgow.
In fact, let’s face facts, I simply have an absurd fear of almost everywhere there are far too many human beings.

But I only really go to the big smoke to see my family. And family is something that unnerves me on the best of days.
All families are a mixture of complicated relationships, people meshed together through strands of DNA, perhaps a surname, and sometimes very little else. I wonder how many of us would choose the families we have, if it was as simple as choosing our friends and acquaintances?

My family, like most, is complicated. Extremely complicated. Half of the time I’m not entirely certain who is speaking to who. Some of the time people aren’t speaking to me. The last few years of dealing with our mother’s dementia have further split and fractured some remnants of familial relations. Being a few hundred miles away didn’t help but whilst I did all I felt I could, sometimes it was made clear that perhaps I should’ve moved back to London, a move that would involve giving up all sense of the adult life I had finally built up for myself in Glasgow revolving around my partner, my home, my job (yes, it’s not the best, but it pays my way), my social life, my routines and interests.

Of course, if circumstances had been different, then moving to London would’ve been an option. But they weren’t.

Sometimes I wonder if my choices will be held against me for an eternity.
Sometimes I wonder if my views and opinions even come into consideration. I was the baby of the family. The thirty year old baby of the family, who wonders if anyone had notice him turning from a five-year old into an living, breathing adult with all the traps that come with it.

So I spent today, perhaps in pre-London anxiety, battling with my low mood. I struggled to smile, to enjoy interacting with others, to enjoy being by myself. Depression is like that, you feel restless regardless of where you are, what you do, who you’re with. That’s because it’s not those factors that count, it’s you, you are the constant. It’s very much a one-sided fight with your mirror-image. It’s the switching contrast that gets me, one day I can be perfectly bubbly and productive and then the next, lethargic, low, and every smile is most certainly forced (and disappears the instant the intended recipient isn’t looking).

I can take solace that tomorrow I might wake up and feel OK. It’s always hard to see that in the midst of the fog. You drive through and through for miles and wonder if every road is shrouded and from that you can only assume that you’re going to drive off a bridge without even realising. Then you wake up and suddenly you forget where you’d even been, you see the sunlight and the glass is crystal clear. Once again you are alive.

Tomorrow, I hope the fog clears.

But I’m looking forward to seeing my parents/family. I’m planning on meeting a pen pal for the first time, (from the days of real pens, paper, stamps and envelopes, but more recently Facebook, it is good for somethings!) who I’ve known for well over 10 years. And we’re planning on that first meeting being a 7 miles country walk in the Chilterns! Surreal and exciting.

Apologies for such a self-indulgent post, but I do find it somewhat therapeutic.

“Always first draw fresh breath after outbursts of vanity and complacency.”
Franz Kafka

*Inhales*

Shane

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Lost in action…

For the last few years or so, it would seem I had forgotten that I had a blog for my scribblings, over on Blogger…
Well, now I’m here on WordPress, and it seems nice. No tedious Google Account logging in. So after being lost in action how do I get up to blog speed?

Since I last blogged, real life, as usual, came in and changed the landscape all around.

My depression worsened. I ended up on anti-depressants for a year (something I had avoided for a very, very long time), going up two waist sizes as a result (though vigorously denied as a side-effect by my GP). It was honestly nothing to do with my newly found penchant for coffee shops and cakes.
Whilst halfway through two weeks holiday from work, I got news that my mum was in hospital, which eventually lead to long, hard road to a diagnosis of dementia. I spent time off work travelling to London to give my sisters time off from looking after her in her home. Combined with her borderline personality disorder and depression, the situation became unworkable for everyone involved, but it took two years for us to all realise that the then care plan was not working for us, but most importantly, for her. She is now in a care home. During this whole period my dad was informed of serious health problems as well. My family and myself wondered just how much could be piled on us in such a short space of time.

It has been a tough, emotionally fraught, stressful couple of years. But I did keep writing. And miraculously I stayed away from the anti-depressants, perhaps at the time anyone else would say I needed them most.

Poetry had started to become more of a rarity after churning out multiple completed pieces on a daily basis. I began my novel. The one that had been swirling in my head every night when I went to bed for the previous 8 years or so.

Nearing 400 handwritten, double sided A5 pages later, I stopped, unhappy with the farce the storyline was becoming and realising that I was never going to transcribe that many handwritten pages into Microsoft Word within my lifetime. Searching for the existence of credible, non-erotic gay-fiction, I stumbled across a book whose blurb sounded quite familiar. I bought a well worn copy of “Now and Then” by William Corlett and realised, “He’s done it already, and by gosh it’s perfect.” (I recommend it highly, it is certainly a novel that people of all sexualities enjoyed. The writing is simply put, beautiful.)
I took my novel idea back ten years (the original story was going to have to touch on past events through flashbacks), bought a second-hand laptop on eBay and began again, knowing that I could never better the book I had just read. The blue, Tesco, ring bound A5 notepads have of course been kept for further usage… Perhaps.

I had joined the Glasgow Writers Group online years, many years ago, but nervously (a had a panic attack of minor sorts when I reached the venue, turning away and coming back half an hour later!) went along to my first meeting recently. I planned on going regularly, but shifts have sometimes got in the way, and work-induced migraine/headaches have impeded me as well. But alas, ‘there is always next time’. Whilst working on the novel, which has a tentative title of “Edge Of A Lens”, I completed my first reasonably lengthed short story. I had never completed anything beyond poems, and vignette-like fiction that was never more than a few lines long. I never thought I could complete a story so it was a huge personal boost. I passed it on to one soul, Stevie McEwan, my long-time musical cohort and far-better-read-than-me friend, who gave me his opinion and I was buoyed further by the fact that he had enjoyed it. I will hopefully submit it to the writers group for critique, but that is a very scary thought as there are some people who seem to really know what they are talking about. I’m a rookie in this, I’ve only read two whole books of fiction in my adult life! I have so much to learn…

I once heard a saying that everyone has one novel in them. It would seem that this one novel is going to take a lifetime to pour forth from me. One day, one day.

Until then I will do my best to post my vignettes here, digging out any worthwhile past moments and some newly penned (or should that be typed now that I’ve gone to the laptop crowd?) scribblings… Are they technically scribblings when there’s no scrawling pen marks and margin line doodles involved?

Signing off from a mindset of anti-corporatism, strange dreams about Courtney Love and crabs, and sad from the recent death of one of my musical ‘heroes’,
Shane