Totally Mental II: One Weak, In Pain. Day One Monday

I’m sitting in the cafe at the Tate in Liverpool. Graham – a friend of friends – has shepherded me into the train, off the train, into another train, off the train and onto the metro. Off the metro, throu the streets and into the relative safety of a tea emporium.

I say tea. Graham’s is like a certain kind of dishwater strength that youknow means you need more washing up liquid to do that final pot. I,m glad I had the coffee.

Typos may abound. Anxiety means I’d rather get words out than get good words out, if you know what I mean.

I have the mask of masks. People I don’t know are smiling at me as I pass them, they think they must know me as my smile is so broad. It’s a grimace actually, one my face gets into when stress levels rocket.

I’m burbling to much to cover my confusion, to which Graham has been more than patient. I am quietly controlling my breathing, and functioning beyond capability, but you wouldn’t know it. Have a brainful of firecrackers on me.

Once I see the art, I’ll calm.
I need pictures.
I’m excited about seeing Twombly.

I’m still emotional from watching Fiddler on the Roof last night.
I’ll post this when wifi available.


17.40 hrs.
Due to a late connection, I am now on a train home from Wolverhampton on my own, as Graham has his deadline to keep.
I think he is far more worried about it than I am; such has been the wonder of the day, I am, for the first time in 12 years, enjoying a quiet train ride on my own.

As we stop at Albrighton – it’s the local all stops train – I am aware that I am being propelled homeward on a wave of art. The gentle nature of Monet and Turner, juxtaposed with the vibrancy of Twombley, was a wonderful shock wave of delight. Such things raise my creativity (and, to a not inconsiderable extent, spirituality) and give a larger area of peace in which to live. It’s seeing art by those who have gone against the grain and won through. It is electrifying.

On past experience – not necessarily an indicator of the future – this will last between 24 and 72 hours, and then recede. I am hopeful that this may be extended!

There have been small episodes where difficulties have presented themselves. Anxiety has never been far away, but panic strangely absent. This is a Good Day, and I have enjoyed it to the full.

The major difficulty – as it was always going to be – is negotiating my way back into an empty house in the dusk. This will present the usual fears, I presume. Nothing to do but go in and face them. I may have to phone my wife at work, but I will try not to do so.
The world is a more difficult place in the dark.
Dread haunts me like a bad smell.

But I will at last be able to send the updates. Wifi has been difficult today.
Be at peace.

18.30 hrs
Safe home.
I’ll be able to send this blogpost now

Okay, so it’s really tomorrow, while still being yesterday for my transatlantic chums, and I am treating it as today. If you think that’s confusing …

It’s 01.30 hrs.
I’m at home waiting for Belinda to wind down from another stressful day on the wards.

I’m very tired, but it has been a roller coaster of a day. It was a good day, and I did we’ll; but I am still reminded that the day should just have been, without me knowing whether it was good or not.
In my art – my real stuff, not the stuff I post, which, I shamefacedly admit is prettified for people to like – I am always regressing back to the inside of my mind. Taking things back to basics. Being aware.
I need not to do that in life, I know. My mind seems to want to analyse everything I do, like a narrative running in my head as I do it. And that,s not being, that’s following a plotline; a number of people I know have this story being played out in their heads. And it gets in the way if one has an imagination, as the story can adopt a life of its own, and go spinning off into different consequential fictions, which can be quite frightening. Some days – not today – multiple plot lines go off in different directions at once, causing chaos and stopping me functioning properly.

Probably not explained too well, given my tiredness – I blame my bicycling friend Graham, who, being fit therefrom, ran until my legs ached – and the lateness (earliness?) of the hour.
If you have any questions, just post them.
I’ll do my best to explain and answer.

Tomorrow. Ah. Tomorrow I need to do some art! I need to do what I do, and I need to post it for all to see.
That might be more illuminating than all my words. And may make you say:
My five year old could do that
And I won’t mind.

Goodnight, sleep well, and God bless.

R. x


2 comments on “Totally Mental II: One Weak, In Pain. Day One Monday

  1. Loving how you put your words together, Roger. Wow! I can feel the electricity which you described upon seeing these painters’ work–all the way across the Great Pond and the Great Plains to the beautiful Pacific Northwest where I live. Holding a candle for you to help dispel the dark. Blessings. xxx

  2. hello Roger, It’s me again, your transatantic whoops I mean your transatlantic chum. A few comments:

    1) please think about posting your art that you haven’t “prettified so that folks will like it.” For me art is often about moving me out of my comfort zone, making me feel something different, maybe new, maybe disturbing me, staying w/me for a while because I keep pondering it. But leaving me a bit different. IMO all art–whether it’s literature, music, drama is supposed to do this.

    2) as for the narrative in your head. It’s the Committee as Anne Lamott would say–and listening to radio station KFKD (K F*CKED) in our heads. I think you’d really take to Anne Lamott–she’s a Christian–a radical, liberal, social justice kind of Presbyterian who is a recovering alcoholic and drug user.
    She is so real–she has me crying and laughing in one sentence. I’ve seen her speak a few times. She’s on twitter @ANNELAMOTT
    She’s a novelist but I love her nonfiction fiction. Especially her 3 books on faith.

    have a look. If you cannot get ahold of any at your local library, Traveling Mercies, Plan B, Grace (Eventually); let me know and I’ll send you one to get started.

    I do not at all understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. ~ @annelamott

    Blessings. Pax Christi my friend. xxxd

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