We Are Defective

I’m in Mcdonald’s, having a coffee. I’m sure this will be reported back to the plastic police as they apparently now have their colleagues – the Defective Detectives – watching me.
I was spooted in Wetherspoons last night, having a pint. that’s right: a pint; of cider. I’d had a coffee first. Us alcohol dependents who are waiting to go into detox – even whilst we’re in rehab and pre-detox – need to keep ourselves topped up. You could check that out but the useless law enforcers on my tail won’t bother and will instead just jump to conclusions and judge.
Perhaps the spies in the pub last night might have thought to approach me, face-to-face, but no: conclusions were arrived at and judgements made before they ran away to tell teacher; to tell those who have no better understanding than those they’re getting reports from. If they’d spoken to me, I could have offered facts and justification for my actions, as though I was acting illegally.
I am ill. These people just make me worse and impede my progress.
Get down from your self-righteous high horses, go away, stay away, or go learn then come back to apologise and be more helpful when you know what you’re talking about.
Again, I’d much rather be with my genuine friends on the road than many from the old life. When I get back, I’ll have fewer friends: good. As a chef, I hope to reduce further as I don’t want “friends” who act and treat me like the plastic police have.
I’m almost glad when people give up on me, as to give up is a sub-concious admission of not getting it.
(And breathe…)
For the benefit of followers, trackers, spies, police, detectives and other interested parties, I attended CRI today, as I do daily (I’m engaging, see?)
I acquired a new pair of gloves: leather ones; very warm and very tight-fitting: almost like a second skin (albeit bovine). I can roll and smoke cigarettes and I can write whilst wearing them. they also hide and protect my hands after the damage inflicted upon them by the molten wax incident (but of course I’m making that up aren’t I coppers?)
I’m reminded of one of my favourite novels: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, in which Curly wears a glove filled with moisturiser. I wouldn’t do so for the reasons he did though.
I saw Of Mice and Men at The young Vic Theatre in London, way back in 1985. It was a school trip with Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys with our English literature master, Mr Harmer. As well as Of Mice and Men, we read Romeo and Juliet and the Dragon Book of Verse for English literature. The Globe Theatre as is didn’t exist back then and it’s hard to stage a book of poetry, so we went to see Of Mice and Men. In the play, George Milton was played by Christopher Ryan (Mike from The Young Ones) and Lennie Small by Duncan Preston, of Victoria Wood fame.
Mr Harmer missed most of the performance as he spent most of the duration outside, smoking and chatting up female students from other schools (ours was all boys). The man was a legend, like so many of our old masters: God rest you Sir.
I plan to finish The Man in the Picture tonight. Most of the books I own are still with my ex-fiance in Sidcup or in storage. I have a few books at Gilbert Arse but most I borrow from the library. My current reading list:

  • The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst (library)
  • Wasted (Coming back from an addiction to starvation), by Marya Hornbacher (mine)
  • The Notebook (Can you ever escape your past?) by Nicholas Sparks (mine)

I’ve also got The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon on order with the library. It’s become a “must read” since we all made reading recommendations at CRI today in our creative writing group. Asperger’s Syndrome is a theme and that’s a subject close to my heart.
Also recommended were The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut and The Rosie Project, by Graeme C. Simpson. So they’re on the list too.
For my own part, I recommended anything by Paul Auster, specifically Mr. Vertigo and In the Country of Last Things. Our tutor (Pip) was familiar with Paul Auster, so I was in good company.
The writing group was really good: much more than I and others I know from CRI who attended were expecting. It wasn’t a patronising “How to write” thing: we were all aspiring writers; many in recovery. We were recognised as being perhaps at our lowest ebb and seizing an opportunity. This is what has prompted most of us to pursue this route: one we’ve chosen and which is supported by CRI. JK Rowling was broke before she wrote the Harry Potter books.
There were six of us in the group: enough to bounce off of whilst maintaining a degree of intimacy. As well as a shared love for our art, something I observed us all to have in common was an incredible level of intelligence; in a couple of cases at least, verging on madness. It has been said that there’s a fine line between genius and insanity.
As well as being addicts, a few in the group have served gaol sentences and one poor sod had a 500-page manuscript confiscated and destroyed whilst he was inside as it was considered “inappropriate”. It was an adult re-telling of a fairy tale (most of which have dark roots anyway). Surely better out in the open – on paper – than stuck in the guy’s head? In much the same way that top-shelf publications are better there than not to provide an outlet for those a certain way inclined.
That came out as we all made personal introductions to the group. Some stories were tragic, verging on shocking. But what’s said in the room, what you hear in the room and who you see in the room, stays in the room.
Among many things we plan to do as a group is a joint blog and I’ve been tasked with setting it up as I’m the resident blogger. I’ve also agreed to deliver a talk on blogging at our next meeting.
Then there’s an anthology of our work to be published. We’ll be linked into various groups and organisations: The Tonbridge Writing Circle, New Writing South (both host to published authors, agents, publishers and other useful contacts); illustrators too, for those in the group who wish to write for children. Lots of resources.
And The RSA (yup: Royal Society for the Arts): provided the content of our group and individual blogs is considered appropriate, The RSA will host us. CRI are serious and so are we; determined too.
There’s also access to sources of funding and there’s an away weekend / writers’ retreat planned.
We did do a few writing exercises, including a short stroll to Tonbridge Castle, during which we made notes and observations (and listened, smelt, tasted and touched things). These observations will form the basis of work we’re completing for our next meeting.
Another exercise was the Six Word Story.
I’ve written (and had published) short stories (around 1000 words) and “Flash fiction” (typically 500 words or less). The length of a story is dictated by a publication’s editorial guidelines. I read The Guardian and they publish “Twitter Fiction”: 140 characters or less. A short story in six words though?
The point is – as with all writing – show don’t tell. Paint a picture; write between the lines; suggest things without saying them. Make the reader think and fill in the gaps; let them finish the story. Plant the seeds.
One which grabbed me by the throat and the heart but not one of mine: 
For sale: baby clothes. Never worn. (Ernest Hemingway in fact, who started the whole thing.)
As the group of us walked around today, we did so slowly and in contemplation, while all around us rushed.
Better slow tortoise than blinkered hare.
And a few I came up with, based on observations:
Bleep, bleep, bleep: cross the road.
A hearse; a coffin. Small. White.
We’re all defective. Some admit it.

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