Not being a saint.

Once more…

Read After Burnout

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I am studying The Kite Runner with A Level students and am finding it intellectually rewarding. I had read this novel a number of years ago and enjoyed it. In essence, it was a biblical narrative that dealt with sin and redemption. For one with a Jesus complex, this was manna from heaven. I remember reading it, enjoying it, but not alloting it any great status on the pantheon of significant writing.

I have since changed my judgement.

It is not, however, the redemption of Amir (the protagonist) which concerns me, but my own.

Let’s keep this clear right from the off that I have not committed any sin, unless pride and blindness can be counted. My fall from grace was determined by my traumatic burnout, the wildfire that burnt quickly and ravenously in order to wipe the previous landscape from my world. As with all wildfires, the charred earth…

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Not being a saint.

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I am studying The Kite Runner with A Level students and am finding it intellectually rewarding. I had read this novel a number of years ago and enjoyed it. In essence, it was a biblical narrative that dealt with sin and redemption. For one with a Jesus complex, this was manna from heaven. I remember reading it, enjoying it, but not alloting it any great status on the pantheon of significant writing.

I have since changed my judgement.

It is not, however, the redemption of Amir (the protagonist) which concerns me, but my own.

Let’s keep this clear right from the off that I have not committed any sin, unless pride and blindness can be counted. My fall from grace was determined by my traumatic burnout, the wildfire that burnt quickly and ravenously in order to wipe the previous landscape from my world. As with all wildfires, the charred earth has begun to recover, regrow, repopulate. To an extent, I have been reborn but without the need to wear nappies or scream when I cannot articulate my needs. I have gone through purgation, purification and renovation.

It was biblical on a very personal level.

The drugs hazed me. I had visions (ish) and I made my vows to live a very different life. Along with rediscovering myself, I realised that the act of teaching was possibly a dangerous pastime. The system made for uncaring leaders and casually cruel students whose crimes of self-centred sadism could drive the Holy Ghost towards the Holy Spirit. Into this, I floated, forgiving one and all for their misguided intentions. I was a wet flannel of a man who understood and forgave. What a tosser!

In many ways the recovery from a breakdown can imitate the biblical structure of many a redemptive narrative:

Paradise.      Sin.      Suffering.    Redemption.     Rebirth.

Oh praise be me as I have been delivered from the kingdom of the damned. But, in being delivered, do I owe a debt of gratitude that can only be repaid through sainly empathy and even more divine acceptance?

The further away from the breakdown I get the more and more I find myself taking on some of my old habits of thought. I have a sometimes cruel wit which I share only with those nearest me. I find that it tickles my Lucifer Bone and makes the whole business of not being overly nice much more bearable. Indeed, the whole business of not having to have saintly understanding and empathy frees me to be that thing that I thought I had previously lost, myself.

So here I stand in the remains of a previous life, looking out to whatever is coming my way. I have no permanent work, no security, no faith that would tell me that everything will work itself out in the end. But I have suffered and survived.

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Not many saints get to say that.

 

Me, the Viking.

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The sixties was a time of discovery in British education. I didn’t know that because I was one of the lucky ones to be schooled through it. We had teachers who were new to the profession, teachers who had grown up through the war and grown some more in the fifties and then into sixties. They had seen the world change. And it had been for the better.

History had always been my favourite subject, well that and art. Art had been about creating, represtenting and shaping what I saw whilst history had been…well, it had been about the same stuff.

I was always aware of how important history was to our village. We had an ancient church there and a line of descent that demanded an annual recreation by The Sealed Knot Society. This was the civil war remembrance group who dressed up and fought out the Battle of Thornhill, a decisive play between the roundheads and the cavaliers.

I shouldn’t have been, but I was always a secret cavalier. They seemed romantic in comparision to the workaday Cromwelliams. Cromwell was about not singing, not having your hair cut on Sunday,  wearing black clothing. Perhaps that was why I never took to Goths during the eighties.  Anyway, I loved history.

One memory stood out amongst many other significant ones. It was the time that our teacher measured the circumferences of our heads to determine whether we were of Anglo-Saxon or of Viking descent. Post war meant that Anglo-Saxon was, ironically, the most patriotic as it was seen to be more aligned to the natural English bloodline; we still had maps with pink on them to show the extent of the empire.

As it turned out, in a massively Anglo-Saxon head measuring school, that was Church of England in denomination, I was a big headed Viking. Raider, reaper and raper, I ought to have hung my big scandinavian head in shame, but I didn’t.

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Evans, Evanson I was and that I have remained.

Just Another Fryday

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Out of the frying pan and into the weekend. 

I have always thought that the working week has been organised by somebody who doesn’t read the label; Fragile, This way up!

So, after a reasonably long working week, we get two days off to celebrate, relax, commiserate and fret.

Weekends are the product of the need to work and the need to show thanks and obedience to God and our other masters. We give thanks for not having been dragged off for lunch by a Dire Wolf or not having succumbed to a deadly dose of Black Death. Nose, arms, ears, feet, toes and our pleasure bits are still in order so let’s make hay. The problem is that the hay is just as much an illusion as the expanse of weekend that lies before us. Two bloody days! Forty-eight hours! Such a tiny amount of time to rebalance our bodies and minds.

But the fact that I am not in charge of an unruly tribe of early teens (unruly in the terms of a viking raiding party) means that I am not as incapacitated as I would have been. Kids now call me Mike. They thank me for lessons. They say nice words to my face. I may have died and entered some surreal world of educational derangement but it’s alright by me and long may it last.

Little bastard-devil on my shoulder is now up on tip-toes and whispering in my ear.

Like dandruff, I have metaphorically dusted him off.

On Hard Nipples And Followers

Please be upstanding…

Read After Burnout

Photo on 22-06-2018 at 07.02

It struck me yesterday (on my way to the forum), not a hard nipple but an idea. Or should I say the beginnings of an idea which was not really an idea but a thought. The thought was, would it be the right thing to do to have somebody with hardened nipples follow me on WordPress?

This question, taken over a number of decades during which I have trodden this earth, would have probably had two, possibly more answers. A younger me, let’s say three decades ago, would probably have embraced the idea. Indeed, I have little to stop me wondering if that younger self would have used the incident of the hard nipples to extend towards the readers (and listeners) a thesis upon which the very act of having hard nipples follow one is an act of liberation and defiance. I was young, ideological, and was Lawrence (esque).

Today’s…

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The Piper 6

He would have them…

Read After Burnout

images-667Liam could not remember when he had last slept.

Maybe it had been years as he could not recall ever having slipped from the paltry reality of the world of waking. What he did know was that when others chose to close their eyes, he wandered.

Everything had taken place as he had been told. He had a place of his own that had been provided with a computer that had been thoughtfully linked to the Internet. They had provided it as a means of allowing him to catch up with his schoolwork. His situation was specialand he needed to be reintegrated into both school and society. He was a boy with a certain amount of intelligence who had been forced down the paths of illiteracy and innumeracy like so many others. His reading age was estimated to be between the ages of eight and ten but the computer…

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Cats Have It

The last week, thinking about tragedy, I have had chance to sit back and look at myself. The Wheel of Fortune has turned almost fully and I am back where it all began; teaching in further education.

As my coffee cools enough for me to drink it, the cat rubs herself against my shins. She is not giving affection, only reminding me that she needs some food. Cats have it. They do not strive. They do not overthink. They do not reflect on past failures. In their mind, there’s always another meal, another mouse.

She is wandering the kitchen now, waiting for me to serve breakfast.

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Cats have it, Willy Loman.