Writing from Jan 2002

Reeth problems

It didn’t look too bad from the outside, just needed a lick of paint
here and there.  The owners lived next door and the key was hanging
from their door knocker.  The musty damp smell hit you as soon as the
front door swung back.  I quickly surveyed the rooms, and decided I
wasn’t going to unpack; I wasn’t staying.  Brown tacky kitchen lino,
black patches on murky peeling wallpaper.  Cobwebs.  We cooked lasagne
that first night and I had to winkle out flakes of burnt black stuff
that had come off the inside of the oven.  Quick visit to the pottery
for incense sticks, which cheered up the smell if not our spirits.
The bathroom was disgusting, there was no other word.  Andrew was the
only one to try a bath, he has some sort of immunity, but even he
described the place as depressing.  The bedrooms were the best, but
small.  I actually slept well.  The following morning, I was up and
scouting round for properties, and there were a few.  Before phoning,
we went to tourist information,
‘This is a little embarrassing, but we’re in a property and we can’t
stay, its not good enough.  Have you anything?’
‘Yes, a lady gave us her number yesterday.  Something about a
cancellation.  Let’s see if its still available?’  She got on the
Please god.
‘Yes, you take the call now.’  Sheila picked up the phone.
‘Its free, good, thanks.’  The lady in question was obviously
describing the property, but Sheila wasn’t listening.  More calls to
and from the owner and the caretaker and we were away.  Well, we
packed first, in double quick time.  The owners of the Reeth propery
were late risers and then they were immediately out in the car, maybe
to church, as it was Sunday.  I bought a card, and Sheila wrote that
we couldn’t stay, it just wasn’t what we were used to.  Would the £50
deposit cover the electricity?
We were unpacked and having a cup of tea by 12 o’clock, in the lounge
of a perfectly acceptable, and in certain aspects, luxurious cottage
on the main road at Gunnerside.
Andrew went across to the pub and told the barmaid all about our adventures.
‘Oh, Whessoe.  Mm, the Davy’s.  Yes I know them.’

5-minute pieces.

A broken promise.

It seems a long time since I last sat at the computer for a piece of
creative writing.  So many things crowd into my life.  I wonder what
the reasons are?  A psychoanalyst would have a whale of  time looking
at my early lives.  Yet really all it amounts to is not being true to
myself.  There is always a conflict between what I want to do and what
I should do. Which ever way I turn there is inevitably a broken

A wish.

He wished for solitude , yet all he got was grief.  The grief of
hassle with those who could not appreciate his talents.  He wished he
did not drink and yet thet helped the pain of having to put up with so
much.  In particular the idiots who demanded so much of him.  A wish
to spend some time alone, camping, walking, anything but relating.
His job, his “vocation”, took so much, drained him.  So much suffering
and so much that nothing could be done about.  A drugs and alcohol
counsellor was  a taxing and rewarding job, but oh he wished for some

A party.

“A party is a good thing,” said the local policeman.
“Oh, how come?” A polite enquiry from the local magistrate.
“Keeps them off the streets.”
“Keeps who off the streets?”
“Them that shouldn’t be there.”
The magistrate grimaced.  “This is a little obscure officer. Could you
be more explicit?”
“Time was when I needn’t have been.  Need to cover your tracks these days.”
“Come, come officer, what is going on?”
“Well those idiots that stood on street corners last week are having a
party.  One minute they’re creating and carrying on, next minute all’s
quiet.”  The officer needed to be come clean, but how could he?.  What
could he say?  It was only a week since the general election and there
stood Tony Blair in the dock.

Something that’s been stolen.

It was a beautiful piece.  Hand-painted, intricate, a pains-taking
thing.  He’d seen them in the backs of small shops beavering away,
often into the night.  Didn’t they sleep?  And they didn’t charge much
for it.  Cost a fortune in our country. Not that he would know of
course.  Never bought anything in his life.
This was somehow different.  There were people involved somewhere.
Poor people.  He had not felt a lot at the time, much as he never did
at home.  Now the theft was no longer a detached act of reprisal,
fund-raising for the cause.  It was also violation of a

A child.

Dancing, laughing, full of fun.  In the garden, the bedroom and the
schoolroom.  Always the the child.  Scowling, crying, hurt .  On the
playing field, in the wars.  Great to be with.  How we enjoyed our
times together.  Here he comes again, silver hair, stoop and wrinkles.

A secret.

Well its out now.  Close shave I must say.  I had nearly got away with
it.  Never quite sure why I just didn’t let it all out.  Something
about how people would react I suppose.  Nothing to do with them
really.  Still I always was a little on the sensitive side.  What was
all the fuss about?  Its a relief.  I can settle down now.  Get on
with things.  Its not a secret any more.

Got to get going

I’ve got to the stage now when I can call the writing a novella.  I
want to do a longer and complete piece, but not spend such a long time
that its wasted effort.  This is training, but it could be very
worthwhile, and I’m reading about writing.  The one thing I still
don’t do consistently is the notebook – I simply keep forgetting.
Its over 10000 words and is really a stem or a framework of dialogue,
maybe its a script as well.  Its a series of conversations that
gradually disclose/expose a mystery, and solve it.  It started life
probably as a love story, loosely based on the life and times of my
grandparents who would have been courting at the end of the nineteenth
century.  The setting is industrial northern town, over a period of
three to six months.  I couldn’t decide on point of view, so wrote a
while omnisciently, and then from nobody.  This is where the dialogue
alone comes in.  It then became about plot because a tale began to
happen in my head and the theme changed.  The love story became a side
issue.  The plot is now somewhat convoluted and I’ve got a bit stuck.
I watched a very taut thriller on TV last night which makes my writing
seem insipid this morning.  So the plot has to be ironed out and
consistent, a decision made on point of view, make sure the things are
mostly right for the time – electric light, motor cars etc, and then
rewrite as if it were a novel, putting dialogue into context of time,
place, smell etc. thinking about character of the protagonists.
I must say its a bit different from the lonely author toiling away in
a garrett, wonderfully creative.  Its very much a technical problem
solving exercise – a design issue as one of the books suggests.
Things do happen, I do surprise myself when writing, memories pure
imagination humour, and I enjoy problem solving.  In a way I was
relieved to read that since I wasn’t getting very far with anything.
I’m not familiar with the practice.  Even then what happens.  You have
a competed piece – where then, hence asking for information about
writing MA.  Its been a successful route for me before, setting
targets, making sure things get done.
So the plot needs ironing out.  I can’t write more because I’m not
sure where it would fit.
A boy/young man is suddenly plunged into a new situation.  He
gradually discovers the background to the new situation – it is a set
of problems which are simmering gently and his appearance has the
consequence of bringing them to the boil.  A series of changes occurs,
a mystery is solved.  Boy becomes young man, people he meets evolve.
DP is recruited from a newly industrial Cumbrian town to play for a
W. Riding team.  Rugby was amateur before 1895.  Paying for lost time
at work and poaching (not transfers) were outlawed.  It still went on
– Huddersfield were suspended for poaching.  He is not industrial
though a talented player.  He is a farm labourer, in crushing poverty,
tied to a landlord with his father.  Mother died in childbirth, two
older sisters away in Manchester in service.  Father is a depressive,
DP is impressive athlete (is he wrestler as well – new thought for
story) and footballer, but not experienced in women for example –
hardly knows any.  His reality is being a labourer, tied by lack of
surplus cash, there is enough to feed and second hand clothe them, and
the guilt of being a mouth to feed and responsible in some way for his
mother’s death – these are dim things, on the edge of awareness fed by
father’s depression and lack of insight (Billy Elliot).  They frame
themselves and take shape through relationships in his new
environment.  Only by comparing with urban wealth and poverty does he
come to see himself.  Everyone is an economic slave to someone else?
Everyone is burdoned by something – the burdens sometimes are created,
they don’t exist naturally.  He becomes a seeker, tries things,
learns.  This is both an identity thing and a tangible physical thing
– he solves a mystery.
JA is the local Mr. fixit.  He tries to please everybody and has a
permanent bad temper or is on the edge of it.  He is an ex-player,
from the working class as opposed to ex-public school.  Organised
games were largely the province of ex-public schoolboys, who then
tried to keep the game alive, forming old boys teams, creating teams
around local  schools and churches.  Everybody theoretically got the
chance to play, but there were barriers of money class and so on.  JA
through his association with Lord B is a middle management figure –
doesn’t set the direction, but gets things done.  He hires and fires
at the coal company where he organises the work rosta.  He wheels and
deals at the rugby club.  One particular event is haunting him still.
GE is a goods yard railway worker, helping get the right wagons in
the right order – is he the fireman on the shunting tanker or was it a
special job – research.  He is a Barnsley lad and marries a girl from
Skelmanthorpe, how I don’t know.  Needs to be like this so she doesn’t
know his family background too well – its all a bit murky, the reader
will just have to buy it, its all in the past anyway.  GE becomes
clumsy, and has an accident in the quite dangerous work.  Its not a
particularly serious accident, but it accelerates his clumsiness.
Lord B is the boss (he wasn’t Lord B then, simply Mr. B) and draughts
in JA from Dersford to sort it out.  There is a militant element
locally trying to have a go at Mr. B and GE is the issue they need.
NE is involved and it appears that GE has been beating her.  The
outcome is that GE is spirited off ? claimed to be dead bit far
fetched – or more likely went into a home or bin.  JA fixes all this,
gets the militants off Mr. B’s back, NE moves to Dersford to start
again, handsomely compensated by Mr. B.  End of story.  JA still
carries the burden.  Once NE settled, he moves out of the scene, until
one day some years later he has to let go one of Dersford’s players AW
– not good enough to get broken time pay – who happens to be NE’s
neighbour.  They meet again and a relationship flourishes.  AW might
bear a grudge.
TE arrives on the scene as soon as NE gets settled in.  Baby, how?
was she pregnant no, was she looking after it for someone.  Brought up
as NE and GE’s.  It was before AW’s time, what is the memory of other
neighbours, does JA know – I don’t know the answers, but TE is there
and a mystery – those around in the story assume he is NE’s boy.  NE
and TE live in a terrace like others, but well looked after, well
furnished with luxuries for those days.  NE is a non working mum with
no obvious means of support.  The story is she is a widow and on
husband’s pension – pays for the rent, and the rest.  Truth is she was
set up to start with by the coal company but the regular money is too
small to allow to live as she does.  Mr. B got off with something but
apart from a small amount is not paying out a regular fortune.  Noone
knows this, but does JA come to realise it when they see each other
again?  He knows any money is not coming from him and Lord B.  Is it
the Barnsley family helping out?  Does he ask, is he bothered, does he
simply make assumptions?
TE is raised as an only child.  Only NE knows who he really is or
does she?  She’s never been pregnant, but allows everyone to assume TE
is naturally hers.  What has she told JA? don’t know does it matter?
TE is well clothed and fed living comfortably with his mum.  There is
enough money for him to go to the local private church school and
there he gets in with the stable lad at the vicarage and enjoys, gets
good with horses.  Otherwise he is spoilt.  Everything has come too
easy for him.  He is also a bit sickly pale weak physically, smoker.
Doesn’t put himself out, lazy except with the horses.  NE indulges
him.  Schooling comes easily reading writing maths bookkeeping, walks
into job as office boy and stable hand down at the sidings, working
for JA and Lord B.  Is this still part of the pension plan many people
might assume?  AW is good source of rumour ?LA and MC too.  Through
which DP discovers the picture of where he has come to.  Actually
nothing to do with pension plan – TE walks it, could do something
better if he tried.  MC sees this and also her way out of the yards
see later – but she’s catholic (my granny was too) and romantic
problems with Irish mum and dad we never see them, too many characters
as it is.  TE has secret desire to be a rugby star – they are his
heroes, he watches Dersford every week, even watches them train.  DP
is the stimulus – TE joins local junior works team who are always
Other characters – main other is MC.  So DP TE are two main
protagonists.  Then NE JA MC.  Bit parts to get story going LA-DP has
relationship.AW-next door neighbour gossip Lord B-local bigwig with
clout AB-bigwigs son JF-trainer and organiser of local team RevT-local
rigid vicar re rugby, is he real benefactor? how much of the real
story comes out?  Who is TE?

Settings/scenes that are repeated
NE’s kitchen – period terrace kitchen, but well appointed.  DP’s delight.
first breakfast
second breakfast whem JA appears unannounced
JF NE waiting for them a third time, news about their commitment (DP
has confronted JA whilst a bit drunk, has this shifted something.
But why are they wearing black?)
DP NE who is TE

The horse and cart – DP TE relationship gradually has more self
disclosure.  Reader learns of their backgrounds.  Comparison.
Industrial landscape, mill, ? gas works, terraces.  Autumn in
How many times is it needed?  Its a prop ? Symbol don’t know – TE
good with horses, better than with people.  Does the horse die?

Changing rooms at the club – DP begins to learn he is still a bought
man.  AB helpful.  Sparse atmosphere, short words bare description,
tough world of rugby men.  Comparison with rural farming world of
Cumbria.  Has DP simply exchanged one for the other?  PPTed by injury
at the pub.  How many times?

On the touch line for Whitestone Rovers – 2-3 times with JF.  DP gets
info about Barnsley and the GE connection.  Begins to worry about TE’s
father, why has he only recently died when supposed to be dead for 15
or more years?  Did he die from a shaking disease that could have been
passed on to TE?
Deepening relationship DP TE through rugby.  TE worldly wise cynic
who tries to relieve DP’s burden of guilt (also see horse and cart).
DP supports TE’s rugby career, shares his innocent views on life.  DP
learns.  TE is touched.

The Boilermakers Arms – a place to horse around.  Get the fever pitch
of support for Dersford.  DP is hero.  All the local and national news
discussed here.  What’s going to happen they wonder and what has
happened they discuss.  AW is the device here to gossip about JA NE.
How many times?

Others –     walking out with LA
manor gardens
the yards
outside the mill
the club bar
going to Leeds, solicitors
the vicarage

Plot action and consequences
PD comes to live work and play in Dersford.  JA recruits him, sets
him up in coal sidings and digs with NE.

TE has to come out of the office and work on the coal wagon.
TE PD strike up relationship, grow together
PD TE go to Boilermakers
PD realises he’s a hero
PD meets AW
AW tells PD thinks JA/NE seeing each other
does this explain JA’s recent behaviour                     (turning up
unexpectedly, calling her Nora, NE dishevelled)
PD meets LA and MC
MC gives one view of life and                                             marriage

PD and LA compare notes, gossip  LA gives another view of
life and marriage
TE plays junior rugby
PD meets JF
Gives PD newspaper cutting
PD needs MC to read.                                            They learn that GE only died
recently                     Tells him of E family history PD keeps to self

Dersford suspended by Yorkshire committee for poaching.
Return to work.

I never thought I would have been grateful for going back to work.
Not that I thought that at the time.  Its a way of earning money,
supplementing the pension, which is adequate enough, but yesterday I
heard it was about the same as a train driver, and they’re going to
get a pay rise.  Working for a few extras means I pay extra tax which
is a bummer.
But getting back to work, as a clinical assistant in rheumatology –
bottom of the pile.  Every so often I get a great leap forward,
something clicks, an advance in confidence or something.  Its as a
result of the rest, the time off over Christmas, which is all its good
for.  I manage three days or so, and meeting or contacting people I
haven’t met for a while is meaningful, but overall I would say its an
empty period.
Its not that I miss some overarching principle that guides my life,
like God; I try to stay away from strong belief, it seems to get many
into a lot of trouble.  But I get out of some personal anchors which
keep me sane, for example exercise and writing.  Its about discipline
and why am I writing.
I still haven’t convinced myself that part of me, if not all, is a
writer.  Most of the things I do are left unfinished.  Originally it
was sloth, and losing interest.  In my mind I had worked out something
and diaries and journals kept a record.  Then it was about recording
some personal history, before it got forgotten.  Its only important to
me however, and at the writers’ circle it was obvious that that the
leader didn’t think I had a commercial product.  He gave us (Ron) a
lot of information on writing which only now I’m realising is so
valuable – reading and writing as a writer.  Since starting English,
I’ve had to read and analyse the worthy end of the business and I’ve
enjoyed that enormously, and the two hourly evening seminars for
mature part-timers.  And the academic study of narrative – how to tell
stories.  But something else has come through.  The deskilling of
writing.  The dissection of writing into its component parts has put
my confidence next door.  I can’t write because I’m not doing it
So there must be some connection between the two sides of my life,
and that doesn’t include the family which I make a mess of when I’m
personally unsure.  That simplifies things a little as I tend to do
too much – but there is the choir, exercise of some form, what about
golf? and friends.  Lob it all into the third catagory of
In rheumatology I have toughed it out in clinics, the traditional way
of learning, with some away days.  Books don’t help a great deal and
the bosses have very little time for training.  Yet I am at some sort
of competence, with people and with their ailments.  Sticking to it,
doing it, but how do I get feedback?  Very few complaints, thankfully.
No praise – though I haven’t been sacked.  The staff at Pontefract
don’t think a lot of me, because I am aloof, deliberately.  I’ve
enough to keep going without getting embroiled in their politics.
Something inside me has given me the feedback.  What is it?  It may be
a delusion, but I know far more what I am doing now, and feel it, and
presumably that will come across in patient interactions.
So for writing its about toughing it out at the keyboard, trying to
read, and trying to find some people who I respect to help me out, but
its toughing it out regularly that is the important first step.  Just
like today.  And keep a notebook.  But the persistence in
rheumatology, where does it come from?  Its an earner, its a job
within which I feel valued, the relationships, such as they are.  I
don’t go ‘the extra mile’ any more, because the departmental and
management agendas are too fragmented I perceive, there is no central
stem of leadership to follow and I am certainly not setting myself up
as that.  But yet I keep going and trying for a new job as well.
Three regular sessions per week.  It has purpose, some competence, an
outcome (a satisfied doctor more now, hopefully the same with
patients).  I get out of bed in the morning to do it.  And I’ve done
it without a lot of support.  And there have been low spots.
Purpose, competence, outcomes, support and somehow I feel good about
something.  I used to write about myself, clearly myself, not stuff
that was made up.  Its a bit like an academic essay – say something
about personal beliefs but in a way that convinces people its
objective and based on neutral evidence.  Its about being personal but
in novel, attractive, humorous ways.  Think of the tutor’s needs and
the purpose of passing an assignment.  Who do I write for – try my
wife and Eric, what about Chris?  What about writer’s circles,
competitions, get the journals, find out what is going on.  Keep
writing something, like this morning.  Get a first draft out when I’m
at my most creative, strangely enough, first thing in the morning.
Also after a walk, let myself go with a drink, listening to relaxing
music.  Try things out –  need to know what I’m trying out; a genre, a
voice, a perspective.  Yet this feels like techniques that come in
with revision – are they?  Is it like building something up from
basics – an idea, a series of scenes, a plot, dialogue, description,
which perspective, how intrusive can I be?
What are some early steps?
Write regularly everyday about something.
What are the projects I want to work on?
Journal, MA? local writing circle? What about weekends away?
Collect my paperwork together.

Early morning write

So I woke early this morning, with no specific aim in mind
writing-wise.  The only things that have happened have been the
computer melt-down as a result of upgrading the operating system and
my scrooge-like attitude to meaningless times of the year.  Its been
one of those rare times when I’ve actually benefited from going back
to work.
‘Have you got any work to do?’
‘No, why?’
‘You don’t usually get up unless you’ve got work to do.’
I made her a cup of tea, and she has now gone back to sleep.
So writing is not work.  Its not something you get out of bed for.
Mind you what are the things we get out of bed for?  Its got to be
important, or something is on your mind or there is frank sleep
problems.  Do we need our eight hours?  Certainly if I have poor sleep
I’m hopeless, but it has little relationship to length of sleep.
Sleep is the nearest we get to tapping the unconscious is it?  Is
there an unconscious?  There’s something we don’t understand, but
Freud’s made a nuisance of himself as well as giving us useful models.
What’s real for me – solipsism cannot be disproven (Bertrand Russell:
“I’m surprised more people don’t believe in it”  or something like
that) – is I can get up one morning with the answer to a problem.  I
do dream, but rarely record them.  When I did – the time I went to
psychotherapy – the dreams seemed to be relevant, but was I simply
making them fit.  A good one was the snake dream – can I find the
paperwork, I doubt it.  And when I sleep badly I know about it –
usually disturbed sleep, being woken by the dog, a surprise
phone-call, too much booze, a cough or other illness.
We were surprised by the police this week at 3 am.  Did we have a
Ford Escort? No.  Where was our other car?  We only have one.  Someone
was in the shit.  Sheila had got into a state.  We associate such
visits with deaths or disappearances and misdemeanours.  Though back
in 1979 we had that one about a small baby needing parents.  We both
got up and made tea that night.
What are the consequences of these events and actions?
Bad sleep for me leads to crabbiness, ‘bear with a sore head day’.  I
tend not to do anything that needs a great deal of thought, energy or
originality.  So I would be absent even if I were there.  There is
also a risk of mistakes, but I’ve never knowingly made one for this
reason – my behaviour is more about not doing anything than doing
things wrong.  This could have creative possibilities – a real event
with consequences.
A dream that came up with understanding or a solution could have
possibilities too.  The snake dream was roughly as follows.  I go up a
staircase to a second storey room.  The furniture is from Swainbanks
(a famous seconds place in Liverpool, burnt down in the Toxteth
riots).  There’s an old moth-eaten snake that gets put under the
floorboards and covered with carpet.  The next time I go, I peak under
the carpet – why?  Why does the lonely traveller stop at a deserted
farmhouse and then go down into the cellar?  beats me.  Out pops this
brilliantly coloured younger, slimier, livelier snake which promptly
disappears up onto the roof and down a drainpipe.  The therapist said
something about the unconscious and new developments or some such –
her name was Gabriel.  Pronounced as the french do, rather than in the
angel.  She was elected president of her college or whatever they
have, whilst I was attending.  A tad frumpish, very serious, and I
hadn’t a clue how she was working.  It was somewhere to go for a
break, particularly when I was paranoid, but its difficult to see
where else it helped.  So the consequences.  Feeling better about
something – a good patch.  Do something rash on the basis of the dream
interpretation.  Get life generally upside down as a result of mental

So sleeping badly leads to being absent.
Dreams interpretations – are they the right ones?  Does misguided
action follow?
Sleep can lead to understanding, solutions – again does misguided
action follow?
Mental instability has wealth of possibilities – paranoia – doesn’t
mean they aren’t talking about you.  All sorts of consequences.
Changes in lifestyle, life turning points etc.

What ifs?  (1)  Sleeping badly – as a result of a phone-call, nothing
call, wrong number even better, or mysterious and puts phone down
(we’ve had a few of those) don’t go to the gym, miss seeing someone
there important.  Go somewhere else and do something different.
Changes course of something – suddenly.  External manifestation of
inner something.
(2)  Wrong interpretation – leads to sustained committed and wrong
course of action.  Everyone else sees it but the dreamer.

So having written this, where does it lead me?  What of all the
material in the writing file?

I’m sure I have fibromyalgia or something like that.  Dhobie’s itch
as well, overweight, unfit and drink too much.  Its a sorry state for
a part-timer who outwardly has no great problems.  I am asking too
much of myself, even now.  And the situation at home is not a relaxing
one, things need doing and I’m not especially good at doing them.  And
when we go away, depending where and who with, I’m more tired than
when I left.  Stupid things upset the plan, there is always something.
The grand strategy, such as it is, gets lost.  I don’t keep to it, and
neither do I do the other things, so effectively nothing is getting
The grand plan is – reading, writing, rambling and real world
research.  The last one has gone, a victim of several things, which
are not important to list here.  I’m getting through reading short
stories at the moment, but I need to make the odd note now to see how
they were written and then have a go myself.  The writing is three to
four days a week.  Mondays and Tuesdays can be a problem going to
work.  The exercise is there.  Why is it too much?  I relax getting
the album together – if and when, its not a pressing objective.
I feel better already.  I guess its the weekends, Mondays and
Tuesdays that are  too fraught.  What is happening to the things that
have been written.  Revision into what?
I would like – a novella, historical, background setting of 1895 say
twelve months, a love story, catholic and protestant parents, rugby,
imagined from here, and through memories of childhood.  Shouldn’t be
difficult.  Sub-theme is what is evidence, truth.
A travelogue, but internal, middle-age, stories, humour.
So what is stopping me?  Time talent motivation fear of failure, yet
another phase that is decaying.  The support is not there really.  Its
not coming from college now either, just another school room with
Is there a plot device here?  Always busy on the outside, prevents
him from thinking about long-term aims.  Fear of failure – deep seated
secrets, he is only dimly aware of – source of information,
revelation.  Action consequences are there with the theme, do it.
Andrew’s story only he is not aware relationship with parents, mistake
right at the beginning.  Children’s homes, truth kept from him to 21.

And another thing.  I don’t think revision is a word processor thing,
initially anyway.  Its a work it out with a pencil and paper
thing.    What about all the ideas in the scribble file?

I’ve come to three things today.
  I’ll have to stop at college.  Monday mornings are a dreadful time
to get motivated for english.  The lecture rooms are dire.  The format
is little more than sixth form.  I can’t make any other time because
of work.  The prospect of being assessed by examination fills me with
horror.  I’ve put in an application for the MA at Manchester, but
whilst hopeful, realistically it will be sought after.
This means another route to writing, one with a lot of
self-motivation.  Local groups, magazines, entering competitions, the
open college are all possible.  We shall see, but I must get the money
out of the direct debit for Huddersfield.
How do I feel about it?  Ok, its not a failure or anything.  It got
me going.  It got me to a place where Ron was trying for 3-4 years
  Attending out-patient clinics as pg education has been successful.
Just two sessions and there’s been more knowledge and confidence.
  An idea for a short story.  Its for a competition – 1939-45
15/10/02.  Based on what my father’s experiences might have been.  It
was never discussed with him, but came out in one of my psychotherapy
sessions.  I thought it could be a book if I ever finish the one I’m
A man returns from the war.  He’s a corporal.  Men under him, do
things for him, do as they are told by him.  He’s been out there 4
years.  Its not battles that he experiences; he’s a support soldier in
reserve.  He has a relatively easy time.  He develops a set of
expectations about returning home.  He already has a child who is ?how
old on return.  These expectations are . . .
There is a big difference between the expectations and reality and
there are consequences, short term . . . and long term . . .
His motivation is revenge, getting back, making up for lost time,
jealousy, envy
He desires money but resents those who have it.  He himself has no
qualifications, no entry into a well-paid occupation, he rises
modestly in a local firm on the basis of being there.  He gets back at
the world through his children.  They will succeed where he failed.


An unexpected guest arrived for the weekend.  Just rang up one night.
I was due to go to Llandudno with the choir, and Sheila was owed a
quiet catching up.  We put our arrangements off.  The result was very
pleasant.  We went to the rugby club, something I don’t do usually,
mostly because I have no friends there now.
It does give an idea for a plot line however, sudden and long term.
The reason he came is the short term – an illness in a relative of his
wife.  In other words, she was visiting in N. Yorkshire and so he came
to us, and he could also have seen his father in Barnsley had he not
been away fishing.  The long term thing is that he has no profound
relationship with his in-laws such that he goes visiting as well.  If
it were me for a contrast, it would be most unlikely that I would
suddenly decide to go to Edinburgh rather than visit my sick
And the consequences were that I went somewhere I don’t usually and
allsorts of unexpected things could have happened.
These are technicalities.  Do they destroy or hamper a creative
process?  People work in different ways.  I am a learner.  I’m still
not sure what I am doing.  Its press on and see.  I read the reviews
in the weekend papers – how have they got on so well?