21st August 2019
This time two years ago I was still coming to terms with a recent two-month non-voluntary stay in a locked psychiatric ward. If my instincts and shift in beliefs are not a sign of another bout of insanity, which I don’t believe they are, I’m very gradually learning what I need to learn about how to write readable works of non-fiction disguised as fiction.
Relative to virtually all the writers and speakers that reach out and grab my attention these days, I’m woefully educated, badly read. And through the eyes of people I know, especially the scores of people who I ceased to know after my descent into insanity became apparent in late 2016, it is absolute ‘pie in the sky’ at this time for me to publicly proclaim that I am a writer in the early moments of learning his craft.
I’m 42, bit of a late starter.
After losing my mindless office job just over two weeks ago, in seemingly no time at all I become a night worker in a very large local supermarket. It may seem laughable for me to write that I am excited at the prospect of having just become a shelf-stacker who works 10pm to 7am at least five nights a week, but I don’t care –
I am excited at the prospect of being shelf-stacker who works 10pm to 7am at least five nights a week.
In the weeks leading up to becoming officially insane just after St. Stephens Day in 2016, I had my ‘born again’ moment, or rather faith had been conceived, the birth has not occurred quite yet.
Because of a series of awfully selfish choices in previous years, one of the main symptoms that I believe led to being certified crazy was a very long period of lack of sleep, or insomnia as the experts call it. I also believe that if my lifestyle had been much healthier, that my mind-blowing experiences would have been more manageable and would have come in the form of dreams of some kind. Because I rarely slept long enough to dream in the conventional way, I believe it was necessary for me to experience what I needed to experience with my bleary eyes wide open.
When I was at my most insane, I got into the habit of sending emails, that mostly didn’t make much sense, to a hated English Sunday newspaper columnist.
When in the psych-ward it was hard to fend off the adverse effects of the cocktail of drugs given to me each evening, but with help from the more ‘spiritual’ nurses and Bible-loving fellow inmates, and most importantly the daily visits by the woman I love with all my heart and mind, the seemingly darkest of times of my life became manageable. I had a number of books given to me while on the inside, and really could not concentrate long enough to read more than two or three paragraphs without getting one hell of a psychological headache. I experimented with different methods of soaking in knowledge and information, and found that if I copied out the words whilst reading them, I was able to soak in the enlightening words. The process sometimes made me imagine I was the type-writing author of the book, sitting at an antique writer’s bureau, warmed by a coal fire, a generous glass of well-earned malt whisky. Often gazing through a cold thinly glazed window, witnessing wild Atlantic winter storms in my mid-eye’s version of a remote Cornish Village.
I would spend a few hours each night, fighting the nightly sedatives. And felt the urge to send what I’d copied, in my mind, as the beginnings of an apology for the craziness I unwittingly shared whilst at my craziest.
By January last year, I was working again. I had successfully ceased taking the drug cocktails about nine or ten months previous to that. And just over two weeks ago I was made redundant, due to no particular fault of my own.. The business was ‘restructuring’ etc.
It took virtually no time at all to get another job, maybe not anybody’s idea of a dream job for sure. But it feels right. And I have a strange but confident feeling that Night work will help me spend 2 hours each morning in the local public libraries (two more hours per day than I could manage working 9-5) , go for long walks before going to bed etc, and the quality of various private life matters will improve a lot, for myself, but most importantly for the beautiful lady and the wonder dog who privately matter the most to me, whose love has never wavered through all the crazy, occasionally disturbing times.
In November last year, after a formal apology had been accepted, I mainly chained myself to the desk on lunchtimes at work, and copied out chapters of an array of mainly forgotten books.
This process of reading and writing has affected me profoundly. I mean, it seems just by instinct (or maybe with divine guidance of some kind, who knows?) I’m on some sort of intense course of self-learning that seems to be in the pursuance of truth, and trying to learn how to ask wise questions on a regular basis in the form of poetry and prose.
It seems strange to me that I’m writing these words, strangely right. I am sorry if what seems right to me is unhinged, worrying, crazy to you. .
September 2nd 2019
I have started reading The Chronicles of Narnia in recent nights on my breaks at work. I am thoroughly enjoying The Magician’s Nephew, and believe that my fear of childishness is becoming a thing of the past.