What’s In A Year…? Mike My Day.


I have just received a reprimand for the choice of Christmas gift I made for my wife. I have always been a last minute shopper which is shorthand for saying that I don’t tend to put much thought into the whole business. Indeed, I think that I have moved into that area of my life in which I give very little thought to anything that appears to demand it.

I spent much of the last two years thinking. Correction, I have spent my entire life ‘thinking’ and over-thinking. And now I intend to stop.

“To Be or not to Be, that is the question.” But a question demands forethought and consequently afterthought. Thinking just wastes the time in between.

What almost got me thinking this morning was the stuff I was going to write about on this blog. Readafterburnout.com has become my raison d’etre. It is a blog that has captured my life, saved my life, conserved my dwindling rations of sanity, and given me that strangest of things, Hope.

Previous years had dished out hope only for it to be collected in after a few mouthfuls. The year when I published The Piper, I thought that hope had finally arrived and would fulfil my desire. Unfortunately, Doctor Hope was the background antagonist who lobotomised the young and troubled minds that fell into his care. Ironically, it was the same one who came knocking at my door and the very same one who whisked away the welcome mat.

Hope was so brutal with its rejection of me that I chose to reject hope. It was like an acrimonious separation in which both partners continue sharing the same house because they had nowhere else to go. And one was not quite the sum of its parts without the other.

Tis the time of year for a detox. 

Actually, last year was my detox year. I pulled myself away from everything that I believed had conspired to keep me down. I had been drowning for such a long time and had never thought to shed my various garments in order to lend me a better chance of survival. I thought the things were keeping me up, but they were dragging me down.

When Hope decided to sleep in a different room, Anxiety moved in. Anxiety was edgy and cutting. There were only comforting cuddles when it was planning a major take-down of my defences. Anxiety kept me awake most nights with its noisy whispers. And Anxiety made sure that I placed a lock (outside lock) on Hope’s door and turned the key. Anxiety was avaricious as well as alarming.

I spent the year doing and writing. I was only thinking when I was writing and when I was doing, I was recovering and enjoying. Uncoupled from purposeful activities, thinking turns back in on itself and attacks the very root of its being. Thinking is a bus whose destination is Terminus. It travels in a wide arc, ignores the world it passes through, threatens to stop to let you disembark then moves on. Before you know it, you are back to the beginning again.


Last year, I got off that bus and decided to walk. I travelled far and wide (well, some) and did things that I thought I would never do. I worked in Spain (again), I worked with the troubled young (never again), and I started to write (again and again and again…). And some of you have been reading my stuff. For that, I am grateful. Writing needs readers. It’s the difference between thoughts and action. Writing has a purpose and the purpose of mine was to make me better.

Recently, I have been writing online fiction. It’s a strange process of idea, first paragraph, first characters, possible end, reassessing what I think I want to do, and then taking different turns to get there. It’s not a bus that travels in a circle and it does let me get off for a stroll and a little sight-seeing. The results are Clinging on For Christmas and Silent Night.

And I like both of them. And I hope you do as well.

There was that little four-letter word again, HOPE. And it casts a big shadow. In that shadow, there is space to shelter from the harsh critique of a life rebuilding itself. I hope you continue to read some of my thoughts and stories and I will endeavour to read yours.

It’s strange this blogging sphere, it affords one the room to think.

Happy New Blogs!



Oh, the Christmas gift was Fifty Shades Darker.



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