Your Head On The Block

 

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Maya Angelou

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”

 

It’s only been a couple of days, but the need to write something new has been growing and growing. Perhaps the signs have been there for a while now and I had not noticed them. I was trying to write twice a day as a way of getting my skills into some sort of shape that would be worthy of calling myself a writer. First thing in the morning, I wrote silly stuff whilst in the evening I would try to write something more serious. It seemed to be working. But the more I wrote the deeper my addiction went.

It wasn’t writing that was my addiction. My desperate need for views and likes drew me to the computer again and again, staring at the screen, trying to make the numbers click over, trying to work out why nobody was reading my stuff; my very special stuff. I was dependent on acknowledgement and appreciation and that was when I knew that it had to end.

I reached the point of thinking about what would appeal to those who read my work and then I produced a post that was meaningless. It was about serial killers and cults, inspired by a programme I had seen on TV. In truth, it had nothing to say. It was a vacuum of nonsense. Even nonsense would have made more sense. And I posted it.

 

“I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don’t want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”

George Orwell

So, I posted some less-than-nonsense just to post it. I wanted to scare out the views, to add to my figures, to make me feel a little better about this venture that had started to appear to be fruitless. When I got big views, I felt good. When I didn’t….well?

 

Really, the writer doesn’t want success… He knows he has a short span of life, that the day will come when he must pass through the wall of oblivion, and he wants to leave a scratch on that wall — Kilroy was here — that somebody a hundred or a thousand years later will see.

William Faulkner

When I write a novel I’m writing about my own life; I’m writing a biography almost, always. And to make it look like a novel I either have a murder or a death at the end.

Beryl Bainbridge

 

As I have said before, the blog business was there to help me through a desperate time. It did so. Unfortunately after being saved from my breakdown, I lost the essential reasoning behind blogging. Do people climb mountains to reap the rewards of amateur reviewers of the feat or do they do it just because they do it?

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From this day forward, backward, or sideways (in any direction), I shall write in order to write.

If you like it, that will be good.

 

I won’t lose my head about it either way…

 

Mike

 

So Far, So Good…Please Check It Out.

Pushy?

Read After Burnout

This is just me pestering y’all for a little peak into my book.

You can get a sample for free. 

If you enjoy it I would really appreciate that you share or write a review.

Photo on 19-06-2018 at 15.58

on 18 June 2018
I came across this author via the blogging world and I was so impressed with his writing that I decided to buy his book and I’m really happy that I did! It is the story of a teacher, his family and his struggles with anxiety and depression but don’t let that put you off – parts of it are laugh out loud funny. He has a wonderfully self-deprecating way of writing that is amusing…

View original post 150 more words

On Your Bike!

General cycling

I was out on my bike this morning intending just to enjoy a little summer sunshine. As I was cycling along that breath of wellbeing suffused my soul. Cycling is simple, just turn the pedals and enjoy the countryside.

I had been doing moderately well as I climbed hills and dashed down dales. This was what cycling was invented for, getting back to ones youth and enjoying the exceedingly simple pleasures of life. Not wishing to put a dampner on things, I decided not to consult my Strava. Although an excellent tool for checking ones output, it can instil a little too much internal competition and turn a good ride into a painful one. Nevertheless, when I came to a particularly challenging climb I put the hammer down significantly more than I had done for some time.

The results were good.

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The little yellow medals there are personal bests. How very, very sad for me to worry about that set of insignificant achievements.

This form of exercise has played a major part in my recovery from burnout. I recommend it. 

 

Where You Are Born

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It’s called an accident of birth. That’s not quite right. The accident comes from where you happen to be born and what family you are born into. It stopped being an accident a long time ago.

Last week I spent some time at a school not so far away from the ‘challenging’ academy I had spent six months at.  Although the academy has an official Ofsted rating of ‘Good’, it is anything but a good and easy ride for its teachers. Indeed, it’s quite a rocky road through each day.

The staff who work (successfully) at challenging schools have their coping mechanisms.

They know how to settle a group in a manner that doesn’t place undue stress on the students or themselves. Worksheets are good and they are printed to order in a way to provide endless differentiation. A Powerpoint is also useful because it allows for a decent amount of copying from the board (much better than chalk and talk). On the whole, a settled class is a good class. My attempts at engaging students often fell flat as I tried to get them up and out of their seats in order to participate in collaborative activities.

They didn’t like to move. They didn’t want to deviate from the norm.

In my finite wisdom I have decided that I am not right for institutions of that ilk. The way I like to teach draws reactions of dread from a number of students and other teachers. I want a talking class that works together and gets involved. Worksheets are for making small fires with. Powerpoints are for making monotonous presentations with.

The new wants to enable social mobility. That means moving up from the lower strata of society towards the higher stratas. In truth, it also should mean moving downwards as well. It doesn’t.

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Even in relatively modest income bands there is a distinct difference between those accidentally born on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ and those that are not. There are boundaries in the geography of towns and cities and those boundaries play a definite role in the way in which our children get educated, and move on in life. The school that I worked at last week was as far away from the academy as one could get within a few short miles.

It was a ‘leafy’ school. The fecundity of nature (I love fecund) was everywhere on the day that I passed through it gates. Grass, trees, the buzz of bees, and relaxed freedoms were everywhere. The teachers mooched on their way to lessons whilst the students dawdled purposely and without the obligatory intimidations. In the classroom things progress in much the same manner with the ever-vigilant eyes of the eagle being replaced with a relaxed wander, a polite reminder, and a word of encouragement.

The students (most of them) seem to come to school in order to learn rather than to escape wayward home-lives. Here, they have come to do what is generally the accepted purpose for schooling. And they tend to do it without too much fuss. There are those children whose parents have managed to relocate themselves. These are the ‘more aspirational students’, I was told by one teacher. They know where they have come from and they want to move on, social-mobility in action.They are like the children of refugees who have escaped war zones, persecution and poverty.

It just seems that their journey to a better world is paradoxically more difficult that moving across continents.  

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Accidents of birth ought not to become tragedies.

 

 

So Far, So Good…Please Check It Out.

This is just me pestering y’all for a little peak into my book.

You can get a sample for free. 

If you enjoy it I would really appreciate that you share or write a review.

Photo on 19-06-2018 at 15.58

 

 

on 18 June 2018
I came across this author via the blogging world and I was so impressed with his writing that I decided to buy his book and I’m really happy that I did! It is the story of a teacher, his family and his struggles with anxiety and depression but don’t let that put you off – parts of it are laugh out loud funny. He has a wonderfully self-deprecating way of writing that is amusing and endearing but, at the same time, you can feel the pain behind his words. The story is told as though he were recounting it to you over a couple of beers which means that it is easy to read but also that it is deeply personal.Mike is brutally honest in the telling of his tale and I found that it resonated with me on many, many levels because he says things that many of us just think. So there you have it, if you want to read about the ups and downs in the life of a teacher with a slight Jesus complex (his words) please pick up this book, it’s a really great read!

 

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on 18 June 2018
Captivating and enthralling, desperate and endearing, humorous and funny!

How Things Continue…

Still Going…

Read After Burnout

images-749I know that me wife responds well to tea in the morning. We have become like clockwork twins, our mechanisations are truly in sync. So, I climb the stairs to the bedroom and see her recumbent form stretching out across both sides of the bed, as if attempting to hand on to her ground. It is an act of defiance – I defy thee morning! But morning has arrived and so have I with the elixir of morning life.

There are times not to talk. These are those moments when silence most certainly is the best option. I sensed the mood she would be in so I said nada, zip, zero; beyond, “Morning.” A similar reply crept from under the duvet.

“How long can I go on with not sleeping?”

It was a question not meant to be answered, but I answered it anyway.

“It depends.”

“How long can anybody…

View original post 332 more words

How Things Continue…

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I know that me wife responds well to tea in the morning. We have become like clockwork twins, our mechanisations are truly in sync. So, I climb the stairs to the bedroom and see her recumbent form stretching out across both sides of the bed, as if attempting to hand on to her ground. It is an act of defiance – I defy thee morning! But morning has arrived and so have I with the elixir of morning life.

There are times not to talk. These are those moments when silence most certainly is the best option. I sensed the mood she would be in so I said nada, zip, zero; beyond, “Morning.” A similar reply crept from under the duvet.

“How long can I go on with not sleeping?”

It was a question not meant to be answered, but I answered it anyway.

“It depends.”

“How long can anybody go without sleeping before they crack up?”

“I don’t really know. How long did I manage?”

There was a film made that used to be a staple for Christmas Day. It was one of those special treats from the BBC or ITV to their viewers.  Such films included: Lawrence of Arabia, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Italian Job.  The film I am thinking of is A Bridge Too Far.

For any one not in the know, A Bridge Too Far is about the Allied Forces attempts to stop the retreating Germans from blowing up important bridges as they fled back to their Motherland. The destruction of the bridges would cause the Allies to stop their rapid advance.

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And as the advance was halted, the Germans ould take time to set up little ambushes, using machine-gun, mortar, and sniper-fire. This is what I was worried about when my responses appeared to start building bridges. In this conversation, I was both fleeing the Wermacht and simultaneously avoiding the restoration of bridges which could leave me seriously exposed and over-extended.

My wife is sometimes a sniper. machine-guns and mortars are not her thing. She sets traps, uses bait, and then waits.

“Giles Brandreth.”

What unholy thing was being born here?

“Giles Brandreth, what?”

“I read an article by him in The Eye, yesterday. You had already gone to bed.”

That was the first of her shots that flew past my ear.

“He must have suffered from depression at one point because he was writing about it.”

She then summarised the article written by this upper-middle-class fuckwit.

His subject was that people had to stop thinking about themselves so much if they wanted to live long and happy lives.

He used the Queen and Prince Philip (our hard-pressed Royalty) to illustrate his argument. Prince Philip had a really bad life when he was young, but now he is in his nineties because he only thought about others; not himself.

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What a wonderful fellow.