I was very fortunate recently in being featured on Radio Kent. Not only were some stories from Locked Unlocked broadcast but Leo was kind enough to grant me an interview in which I could spout bipolar nonsense about the writing.
It went very well. In a later edition, the writing was quite substantially edited. I wouldn’t be as precious to say butchered but there was a whiff of steak knives. The material was too edgy perhaps.
I wrote an understanding email to the presenter and said it was a privilege to be featured at all. Then I wrote a later email with a bit more truth attached. I also attached a further story from the collection about a vandal and his outrageous behaviour.
“ I explained that I wanted to give a voice to those without voice. Not an endorsement. Just a human right. . .]
The right of utterance – to scream and shout at the world that pains. A right to be heard by someone. I explained that bipolar people seek out boundaries. They are sensitive to borders and fringes. They dare to step beyond them.
It’s with that in mind that I started to think about my irresponsible behaviour today. It might be criminal but I think more likely thoughtless and disappointing. I had some bread in my fridge way past its best – food for birds. My ex wife had trained me not to let such things go to waste. I had time before work so I wandered off to the tea gardens with the loaf. Avoiding the dog walkers and the lovely lady doing stretches, I took apart the loaf and scattered on the grass. With the remainder I went to the beach and shared with the gulls. No harm in that?
No harm really except it might attract gulls and pigeons. It might attract vermin. It might spread disease. At a time of plague we shouldn’t be taking risks. Why hadn’t I just taken the bread to the bin? More than that, sadly. I knew exactly what I was doing. My family and I had watched a furry body run back on forth in the gardens. I’d seen it days before. I was knowingly feeding the mummy rodent, nourishing the babies and ushering in the plague. I accept bipolar. Was I mad?
“ Not only do we Mentals push back at boundaries, we listen to our instincts, to our feelings, to the vibrations in the air. . .]
I went to the park and thought before throwing. How did it feel? How did I feel? Did it feel like wanton transgression? Like urinating in the soup? No. It felt right. It felt reasonable. It felt connected. Some readers might know that the origins of Bubonic plague are being questioned. Looks like it might not have been the rat at all. I was just feeding a sweet little mammal like the dormouse or the squirrel. Time to park your prejudice perhaps?
Which started me thinking of another issue which screams at me to be contentious but has just been lapped up by the mainstream. The Covid care plan. The masks, the sprays, the distancing, the lost smiles, the worried children, the forgotten weddings and the disgraceful ‘leadership’. Many may powerfully push me to the wall. It’s not contentious because we are being led by the science. The same science which crucified the Black Rat and now wants to call in VAR? Science is as much a faith as those who believe in God.
As it happens, my writing, my experiences and my relationships have brought me to think on that God. So when I stand in my mask with my hands sprayed and my fellow man at arm’s length how do I feel? Do I feel safer? Do I feel at ease? Or do I feel a little uncomfortable? Have I killed the plague or defeated the plague?
Or have I let the plague in? A plague in which we fear our neighbours, our children, our work mates and our judgement. If there is a God, what would he say? What leadership would he give?
I hear the rat in the garden squeak. He tells it simply. Trust your feelings. Trust your heart. Do you want to lead yourself into salvation? Or be lead by donkeys into oblivion?