Pehaps it’s a little dramatic? The title has a certain rythmic measure. In truth I’m not but I can feel the bonds loosen a little, it’s a feeling I get every now and then, when my comfort zone is challenged. To some extent I’m quite used to it, it’s a constant theme from which I keep wrestling back some control, my being settles back in to its hole.
I am an introverted extrovert, or a person who has developed a mask I wear when I’m out and about that gives some a vision of being in control, calm, confident. But within I’m still that 17 year old who couldn’t crack the barrier, who broke out in sweat worrying about speaking to strangers.
Of course some success breads confidence and part I of me knows I’ve achieved some things my 17 year old me wouldn’t believe. Not massive things, no world records or multi-million pound businesses, but forging my way in the world and doing my job well and being a good father.
But it’s always there, ready to jump out. Sometimes the mask is hard to keep on.
I was watching a fairly low budget horror film yesterday in my last night before renewing my exile (currently Doncaster where I hold sway over a cheery group of trainers during the day and by night relax in the heavenly Angel Cottage). The premise was interesting if not exactly new: a group of friends (amazingly 30 somethings playing, yes, 30 somethings, bucking the trend for screen teenagers with crows feet and flecks of grey in thinning hair), on a holiday in the middle of the wilderness disappearing one by one. It held my attention for a while.
I looked at my blog and noticed that I too seemed to be vanishing, piece by piece, year by year. This is my 7th year in residence in the land of blogs, a fantasy plethora of lands and domains where the thoughts, ideas and creative splurge of many can be thrust out kicking and screaming to be feasted upon by the many, the few or none.
I enjoy the process but year by year my creativity and the creations can clearly be seen to be diminishing. I’ve been lost in a routine of work, rest, work, life’s mundane crawl swallowing me piece by piece and didn’t take the time to let myself breath, creatively speaking.
I also note that I’ve been here before, trying to get my fire going again amidst a shower of promises which I don’t manage to fulfil. So this time I’m going to hope rather than make a bold statement, lower my own expectations and try to build up my online self. I may well spout words lacking of wisdom or full of beauty, I may fill the cyberness with literary waste or rare hidden gems. But please if I fall into the void again throw me a rope and I’ll try my best to climb back up.
I walked with naked fear along the line, never too far from the edge but just close enough to smell the lingering breath, the bitter sweet, the sugar and acid bite. But I couldn’t look. Even though the urge wrapped around my soul, ate into my mind, begged and pleaded for me to move a little closer, to sneak a peak, I resisted. Why?
My eyes. Forced so tightly shut my face ached, hurt, trembled. Hot and cold in turn, a soft but decayed breeze, almost damp, fetid irritating against my cheek. I held my breath, inched with painstaking brevity. Why?
Seconds crawled by, so slow, so went the minutes the hours the days the years. Always the pull to vere away and let the danger take me. Always the effort to keep momentum, to force my way ahead into the distance. Why?
Nothing can twist your heart and mess with your mind more, nothing can slice through your soul with more ease like a hot knife through butter. Chills tingle down the spine, goose bumps pop with a shivering touch, a face from whenever and more.
Does your memory scare you, does it pick those perfect moments to whisper a name or flash a thought that sinks your heart? Do you find a revery in solitude but sob at the loss of something you can’t quite touch?
As you sift through your life, events build, time gathers more than dust. The bitter with the sweet, the warmth with the chill, the ecstacy with the depths of despair. Your time here is mixed and melted and ground and salted with tears.
You are alone in a vast seething crowd, you are a speck on the beach, a single mind in a sea of thought. But even when calm, even when the softness of love holds you close, then is the time. Beware the ghosts.
My current role has me sat in a crumbling prefab building with archaic air conditioning recycling the germs of the incumbents. It’s not too bad and in many ways far better than being sat in the car park, though I could do without some of the witty banter that floats around unceasingly from the bitter lips of some seasoned contractors.
There is an ever constant negativity, a barating of unseen colleagues with a twisting sarcastic flavoured barb and a wry chuckle. Many days I think I’m Bill Murray locked in the same day…
I just caught myself there; in lambasting these poor overpaid people I fell into the same trap, about to throw myself head long into a torrent of clever put-downs. In many ways is the only thing that separates me from them my lack of verbal dexterity?
On reflection I much prefer my own space though let me add I do have some good company in the office so it is not all bad. Amidst the cacophony there is a small island of sanity, but the tide is coming in fast.
I’ve been writing in this little piece of literary heaven for five years now but the last two have been whilst in exile. My adopted town of Stoke-on-Trent didn’t provide me with a job and a salary so I set forth into the foreign fields of Lancashire and the surrounding lands, to work my time first in the Wigan health culture and then in the water meadows of Warrington.
I’m still here, with a night time base in the glass land of St Helens, sharing a local religious leader’s old home with some fellow (but rather more rowdy) travellers.
Gentle readers I really should write more, as my evenings just seem to drip away like water through cracks in the pavement. And so a pledge: I promise to write at least once a week, to build up once more my connection with you and to work ever more solidly at my return to the land of pottery.
Once more I find myself (I often lose myself as well and in fact it’s quite easy to do but luckily I have family who know where to find me and a quick slap across the face with a cold flannel usually does the trick) apologising for my absence.
I was last active on here in the depths of winter – which this year proved to be quite mild compared to previous arctic periods (I didn’t even get the chance for a spot of snowman making mores the pity).
Since my last entry I have been jettisoned from the big ship NHS and currently find myself ‘resting’. Not that I’ve been too restful and can now happily report that since my redundancy date of 3rd April I have applied for 150 vacancies of various kinds, had four interviews and gained 0 employment. It is now 3 months since I last worked and though I could get to enjoy the relative freedom I do need to find a job soon (unless I find a suitcase full of cash or that lottery win finally comes in).
I still get up each day at 6:30, get my youngest ready for school and log on ready for another exciting day of searching. I do get a little annoyed at relative lack of responses; I think out of the 150 I’ve only had communications from about 6% of them.
What else can I report? Well I am getting a little tired of Jeremy Kyle and if I see another house auction I’ll probably implode. On the other hand the garden is looking a lot better than it would have if I’d been working; I even had chance with my good wife to build a new Meccano hut which was a challenge (I still have all my fingers but did gain a couple of scars).
I now hereby promise I will return soon to the good old blog, possibly before Christmas.
I thank you for your patience.