Sometimes I disappear.
I disappear in plain sight for all to see, but..I’m not there
It’s hard to explain, and I’m not sure I want to. I’m not sure I can.
Some days meld into others and the person who I tolerate at best turns into a demon who I detest. To be trapped inside a demon. Not to have a demon trapped inside me.
Why don’t you answer me? Why don’t you call? Why do you ignore the ones who love you? I don’t. It does. It takes over for a while. Sometimes longer than others. I prefer it when my hero takes over of course. But that is a rush, a blast, an explosion, and nothing can stop me. That is for another day. Now, the demon rules and all I can do is wait.
I have been quiet again. This is not always such a bad thing. This time my creative absence was caused by an opportunity to teach in the classroom for the last 16 months. Teaching drama in a deprived primary school has been one of the most enlightening, life-affirming experiences I can remember. It is very sadly about to come to an end. I know that politics can put people off, but quite frankly I do not care anymore. I appear to have lost at least one social media “friend” as a result of it, but, that is their problem and not mine. The Arts is incredibly important, but I am witnessing and hearing more and more that it is disappearing from Schools. My School will no longer have Music and Drama Provision next year. Whilst I am personally upset by this, I am far more upset on behalf of the kids who will not be able to travel that particular path anymore. They can’t simply sign up to their local Theatre Group or pay for music lessons. Their families can barely afford to feed them. I see teacher’s feeding their pupils, I see teachers providing their own stationery for the kids to use. We are the 6th richest country in the world, and yet we are sending kids to school without feeding them, to learn in schools that cannot afford paper. This is an extreme example, but what will our society be like if we continue with this? I am trying to find a way to continue this provision, but I am only one tiny voice. I can list all the endless and proven benefits of the arts. These are too obvious for most people I know. I will be told by those who are apparently sensible and compassionate, that austerity was, and remains a necessity. I will be told that we need to live within our means. All of this will be told to me by people who really just don’t get it. I can argue that the arts economy in this country is worth £8.5billion, (5% of our GDP), but that is almost to miss the point. Even if it didn’t contribute such huge financial benefit, I would be just as angry. Without creativity, we are nothing. We are just animals. Our creativity is what separates us, inspires us, informs us and educates us. Science is one of the most creative subjects around, but without the acceptance that to think creatively is vital, we will lose so much. I will never accept that we need to cut back on Arts provision because financial markets failed. I especially won’t accept it when it is dressed up in a political lie. Brexit will damage the arts as well. We all know it, but no-one wants to say that it is important. Well, I do. I have seen drama unlock beauty, creativity anger and so many other things. Children unable to communicate in other ways, using the subject to exorcise their demons, and cry for help. It’s fine though. Lots of good art comes from Poverty. I actually heard that argument recently. It is as pathetic an argument as I have ever heard. Of course people in poverty rise above situations and thrive. This is never a reason to plunge them further into poverty. Many of my friends seem to be under the impression that it will all be ok. They send their kids to nice schools that have the facilities. They are being taken away though, be warned. Another school that I have worked in is losing it’s drama provision and facilities. Another one will be stopping music completely. This is not austerity, it is ideological, and criminal in its shortsightedness. We really have to fight this with every single ounce of energy.
Written in a haze of Whiskey and regret, so forgive any errors, typos or cliches……..Today I find myself saying a distant, remote goodbye to someone. My feelings are distinctly mixed. Sadness, Grief, anger, frustration, love, loss and a numb confusion. How should one feel? Particularly when the someone in question has been such a significant part of my life and so many others. I simply do not know. I do not wish to be callous or heartless, but I did my mourning for him at someone else’s funeral, so my loss has happened over and over since then. I feel bad for feeling anything, and terrible for feeling nothing. I just hope that those that cherished him are OK, as I know only too well that love, and that side to him, and I hope that this was the over-riding side that they knew. Today will pan out like any other day, but I feel sad that a part that has been missing for so long, will now always be missing.
RIP Dad x
I thought it might be time to update the blog in case anyone feared for my life (I’m actually not sure anyone else reads it, so I’m perhaps just checking my own existence for my own benefit).
Today, I started to put pen to paper (Or finger to keyboard) on my first proper grown-up novel. It has no name as yet, so I shall call it “Polly” (That’s an in-joke that is intended just for me). I had the idea for it whilst walking my two idiot dogs. It has been fermenting in my brain box ever since, and is now ready to explode onto my virtual fan base. Writing is not easy, pleasurable or advisable. However, it seems to work for me, so I shall stick with it. I am full to the brim with advice that I have garnered from a multitude of sources, most of which I am ignoring and just going for it. I am approximately 1/85th of the way to actually writing it, but about four books in as far as plotting is concerned.
In other news, I now have a teaching job. This is a source of much joy to me, and I hope I may continue this for some time. I shall also be doing some of that there acting business again this Autumn, so I am currently reminding myself that I have lines to learn on a regular basis.
A new play called “Die 13” is pretty much written. Editing needs to happen on some other things before they are published, and there might be a compendium of plays so far published soon.
Oh yes. I’m now 50. How the hell did that happen without any consultation? Bloody Tory government.
I reached the grand old age of 49 yesterday, and had a quiet, but pleasant day with my lovelies. This time next year, I found myself saying, I will be moaning about reaching fifty. Well on receiving some sad news this morning, I think I might revise that prediction. I am not going to moan about another day on this crazy old earth. I shall treasure the little moments, like hand feeding our rat with passionfruit cheesecake (She is on her last legs bless her). I will enjoy the ups and downs of life, and try to celebrate everything…I may have a long time left, It may only be brief, but I shall try my best to cherish it all with the wide eyed enthusiasm of the young lad I used to play Football and Cricket with on those endless summer days of my youth…RIP John x
I am doing the final edit on my first book. I am enjoying it this much
I sat in my usual reverie watching Question time last night. Running an unhealthy temperature, due to my life threatening cold, I found myself becoming more than usually irritated by people. Whilst I never mind a differing viewpoint, the social media world now seems filled with people intent on bombarding you with their opinions rather than making an intelligent and nuanced argument. I base this particularly on the world of Social Media, of which I have become increasingly tired. It struck me that, the irritation, is not because of the differing viewpoints, it is the endless retweeting of others that agree with you, in some weird political popularity contest. So, I decided that I would give up reading it. To leave Facebook, Twitter etc might seem heavy handed, but then at least I will have a calm mind. Then it hit me. I don’t need to do that. If someone is annoying….just delete them. Politically, that will be easy on Twitter. Just stop reading the tweets of those that annoy you by unfollowing. I tried to get a balanced view, but it is not worth it. Facebook however is a little different. Lately, I have witnessed the passive aggressive ramblings of someone who clearly needs to get some help. I say this not in a nasty way, but a sympathetic way, with a side salad of annoyance as it has been going on for so long. I am also aware that this post is, in itself, veering towards the passive aggressive, as I will not name anyone involved. That would be rude and unnecessary. So I shall simply block, unfollow and stop reading. I hope to report back in a much more positive frame of mind.
Festive and New Year fog lifted, our protagonist finds himself tapping away at keyboards in a supreme effort to write more than he has written before. This year, this has meant finishing a play, editing a play, planning some more, and writing a long, and I mean long, email of complaint, vitriol and anger on behalf of someone who deserves so very much more than she has been given. The keyboard avenger will do for a title until another one springs to mind.
Social media can be a wonderful and positive thing, but at the moment, I am contemplating severely limiting my participation. There are people from my past on there, that whilst I have chosen not to be on contact, are still there, and still lurk in my memory banks. One in particular, who haunts my waking hours far too much, and if I am to be completely honest, bothers me too much. I am, in moments of weakness drawn to checking facebook accounts, and seeing if anyone has died. When they have not, it leaves me cold, and almost disappointed. I am ashamed to admit that, but admit it I do. Photographs of recent times that I have not shared, haunt me as much as distant memories that were real once, but waver so much that I cannot be sure. On top of this, another wayward soul, who I consigned to my own scrapheap has phoned several times, withholding their number, and in an oddly familiar way, states “Wrong number”. Like a fish and a maggot, I feel the urge, but just manage to hold back. How long will this last though….Will that moment of weakness come over the Christmas period, where I give in and communicate? I truly hope I am not in that position. Why should one day be different to another? Strength can be taken and given away.
I have read an awful lot lately about the multitude of websites that ask for contributors, but do not pay. This is creating a lot of anger, and I can entirely understand why. As someone who has been paid to write, and paid for his writings, I am totally in agreement that you should not do things for nothing, as it cheapens your art, craft or whatever else you choose to call it. To do something for no pay however, is not the same as doing something for nothing. Try to be creative! If an organisation asks me to do something and then explains their lack of budget, do they have a premises that I can use for a workshop for example. Maybe someone cant pay you to write on their site, but can they advertise your site in return? Can they do a feature on you? I have done a lot of work for no pay, but very rarely has it been for nothing, and there is a huge difference. It may surprise you to hear that in pretty much every case, it’s been worth it.