Novel, excerpt 2…

It has been a tough week- there are lots of conflict and tensions in my day job at the moment. Part of this is to do with change, and the instability and stress it introduces into the lives of groups of people involved (myself included, despite being the instigator of this change.) Some of is has been about long established tribalism that can sometimes dominate health systems; one group of staff takes a negative view of another group and this is refreshed and reinforced by selective critical observation to the point where it becomes self perpetuating.

There has been another tension too, which is never far away in mental health circles, to do with how we understand the nature of the very thing we are trying to assist people with and how this understanding should shape the methods and practices that we employ. Tribalism is part of this understanding as well- traditionally perspectives are divided along two main lines; those who favour a biological deterministic model, and those who favour a social/psychological model. The reality of course, as outlined in my previous post, is that BOTH have to be part of our thinking, but more recently we have arguably been dominated by the former (biological) model. The whole point of establishing multi-disciplinary teams was to ensure that the different perspectives brought by different training, professional backgrounds and training might be able to work together. Let us not pretend this is always easy however.

Anyway, at the end of a long hard week wading through this kind of thing, I am left, beached like a whale on the soft shores of the weekend, waking early with it all in my head. And as with many similar challenges, I feel the need to write, to connect the whirling internal thoughts to some words. To allow them to shape me as I shape them. To be deliberate and as honest as I can about the emotion, the hopes and failings, the tiredness and the determination to keep on, keep on.

So may your weekend be full of good things. Here is a little more of the novel- the prologue…Winter sunset, the Clyde



Night fell like revelation. He sucked at it like a brown bottle in a paper bag.

Each emerging star was speaking. Quite what language they were using was less clear however.

But it was all so beautiful.

So beautiful that it slowly lifted him from the grassy knoll he was perched upon and floated him upwards, out into the indigo air, laced as it was with slow tendrils of wood smoke from down below.  The last cry of an oystercatcher echoed out over the estuary far below him as it combed out the town beyond into long lines of light.

He blinked back an unforced tear as he drank in the fast-disappearing day slipping below the distant mountains. A whole vault of holy sky opened wide above him, shaming the Sistine ceiling for gaudy imitation.

Transcendence, they what they call this the man whispered as he reached down to take hold of a can of strong lager.

I am bloody Shamen minus the bloody happy-chants.

Who needs all that religious shite? Just give me a Scottish loch at dusk and a six cans of export…

He cackled, then caught himself short.

It occurred to him anew that there are some people whom, despite all sorts of provocation and excuse just never got to go crazy.

They would never feel the glorious loosening of the suffocating blanket of convention and social obligation.

They never know what it is like to simply let go.

What terrible lives they must lead.

He cackled again, then made a spontaneous noise that sounded like the barking of a dog.

Madness is marvellous.

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