Daniel’s history of Ireland

Updated: 15th July 2018

If you want to know where you’ve been in your life – the journey you’ve been on – it helps to write it down.  If you want to know how to construct a map of the world, to guide you through your life, then study the lives of others – especially the literary sources of semi-autobiographical novels!

~~~

The life of Daniel O’Beeve: In three volumes

Daniel O’Beeve and the Wee History of His Part of Old Ireland

 Book 1 of 3

A semi-autobiographical journey through a bit of the universe

By Jim Byrne

Published by The CreateSpace Platform, in association with the Institute for E-CENT Publications: Hebden Bridge. 2018

 ~~~

Description of this book:

This book is primarily about Daniel O’Beeve; a little Earthling of no particular consequence.  But his journey is psychologically illuminating.  (Daniel was born in Ireland, but his most ancient ancestor was a little black African woman on the plains of the Serengeti!)

However, the first thing I have to do is to introduce somebody other than Daniel O’Beeve.  This might seem odd, but everything about me and my life is decidedly odd – and Daniel’s is even odder.  And the character I must introduce is a little, blue, furry alien…

For more, see below.

~~~

Contextual clue from Daniel O’Beeve

‘It took a long time to construct a new language – a personal language – and a language of the heart (in order to make sense of my life, and to write this story).  I got lots of insights into “language construction” from novels, by authors like Joseph Heller, Ursula Le Guin, Graham Green, Ken Kesey, Kurt Vonnegut, and many, many more.  One thing I learned from Ursula Le Guin was this:

“The (graphic) artist deals in what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.”

‘I learned more sociology and social psychology from Ursula Le Guin’s “science fiction” than I ever did from my academic studies’.

‘And in this book, I use a thousand interacting word-mirrors to capture the light of truth, in a network of reflections and shadows’.

~~~

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

Copyright details (and information about preexisting versions or elements of this book)

Front cover 2Published in 2018, by the Institute for E-CENT Publications; in cooperation with the CreateSpace Publishing Platform

Copyright © 2018 by Jim Byrne.  All rights reserved by the author.

If you have previously read ‘Metal Dog – Long road home’, or ‘Obedience and Revolt’, you should not buy this book, as the content will overlap the two mentioned books.  Otherwise, go ahead and get it (when it becomes available, very soon!)

ISBN-13: 978-1722816827

~~~

Cover image of young O'Beeve

“Our parents have a powerful effect upon the mental and emotional shape we assume in life.  But we are more deeply marked by the parents we thought we had!”

Micky J. Moran, A Very Peculiar Tragedy, (from the Foreword).

~~~

Disclaimer

The characters in this story bear no relation to any person living or dead.  And no institution identified in this story is drawn wholly or purely from reality. This story is a ‘personal mythology’ constructed by the author from fragments of interpretive memory, recalled family stories, a handful of family photos, and inferences about where he must have originated in order to account for the journey he has been on throughout his lived experience. Plus some communications from at least one muse, regarding the strange lives of Professor Nuveen Valises and his psychological team members.

~~~

Full cover 3

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Contents List

Foreword _______________________________________________ vii
1. The journey begins… And a legend of old Ireland _______________ 1
2. From Bangkok to Oxford ________________________________ 15
3. My dramatic birth, and the origin of the research project _______ 31
4. My own, unique Ireland _________________________________ 47
5. Fragments of insight into forms of childhood _________________ 73
6. Joining the revolution ___________________________________ 91
7. Childhood is a nightmare, especially in school _______________ 111
8. Leaving home, and moving on ___________________________ 135
9. Making love in Blackpool _______________________________ 159
10. The sorrows of Professor Valises… _______________________ 181
Endnotes _____________________________________________ 183

~~~

Foreword

By Jim Byrne

Setting the scene

“The psychology of personality cannot grasp the limitless nature of large-brained, fleshy beings (like homo pulvexis, pove ligarto, and cabasis ovinus; and now, additionally, homo sapiens!”.

Silga Valises, Klimmantz Philosopher, planet Wampak 17F, in the year 3608 (Intergalactic Calendar of Zarf)

~~~

“The Book of Aghtuf describes the arrival of Wider Psychology on planet Earth as a present from Professor Valises to Daniel O’Beeve”.

Seamus McGoppaleen, Irish Sun Times editorial, July 1989

~~~

This book is primarily about Daniel O’Beeve; a little Earthling of no particular consequence.

However, the first thing I have to do is to introduce somebody other than Daniel O’Beeve.  This might seem odd, but everything about me and my life is decidedly odd – and Daniel’s is even odder.

Now, of course, some discerning reader will, at this point, object:

“Hang on there, Jim!  You are Daniel O’Beeve!”

No! This is not true. I reject this interpretation. This is just a rumour; a misunderstanding.  I am the channel through which Daniel O’Beeve speaks to the world.  There are, of course, many parallels between my life and his, but he is a bigger person than I ever was!  Also braver!  More thoughtful, and creative.

I channel him!  I drape his communications in some details derived from reflections upon my own life.  In that sense it could be said to mirror some aspects of my personal mythology, my autobiography.  But, without the communications from Daniel, this story would not exist.  He is more than half the story – and the more important half at that!

Furthermore, I also know something about another character in this story, and he is insisting upon being introduced first.  That character is Nuveen Valises.  And if you read this story, I feel sure you will agree that, without Nuveen Valises, this story would never have been worth telling!

~~~

Nuveen Valises was a child of love!  He knew that from his earliest conscious experiences, burned into his warm and happy memories of lying in his father’s arms, outside Silga’s glass pod, on the edge of the luminous village of Lam.  Silga was the most devoted father in the village (even though fathers from the Klimmantz race are famed for their love of their offspring); and he smiled constantly at his child’s little blue, furry face.  He took his child to Suskeen, the equally devoted mother, for feeding, at intervals of approximately three saskas (which is roughly equivalent to two Earth hours).

Of course, neither parent knew anything about planet Earth, which was not on the intergalactic map of the universe at that time.

By the time he reached an age where he could leave his father’s pod, Nuveen was well prepared for his studies at the most prestigious school of psychology on planet Wampak 17F.

Silga and Suskeen missed him enormously, because their multi-valves hearts were so full of love for their son.  But they were consoled by the fact that they felt he was destined for great things.  They had been told by his tutors that he would make a great contribution to the Federation’s knowledge – and knowledge is power.

Little did they know that their little blue, furry offspring would discover planet Earth (with some assistance!); create the theory of elfa badalla (and search for evidence, in the life of Daniel O’Beeve, for the existence of this potent ectoplasm); and bring the Irish people to the attention of the whole of the universe which is organized within the Intergalactic Federation.

By an accident of history, Professor Nuveen Valises would discover the little, unwanted Earthling, Daniel O’Beeve, and stake the tail end of his long and promising career on a detailed study of Earth psychology, by studying the life of Daniel.

Before planet Earth was discovered, did it exist?  According to Erwin Schrödinger, it both existed and did not exist.  But this makes no sense whatsoever.  For the people of Crumble-Baan, where Daniel was born, it undoubtedly did exist.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

 Extract from Chapter 1: 

THE LIFE OF DANIEL O’BEEVE

1. The journey begins… And a legend of old Ireland

Strictly speaking, I should begin this book with these words: My name is Daniel O’Beeve, and this book represents the story of half of my life.  Or, this book represents the first half of the first half of my life.

That would accord this text a certain kind of credibility as a straight-forward autobiography.

But this is not a straightforward autobiography.  It is, instead, a semiauto-biographical novel; and so it requires a different kind of beginning.  Like this:

The mystery really began with the arrival of the email – if you can call it an email.  I’d been working hard all day, and right into the evening.  I was trying to write up a dream sequence – or was it a daydream sequence? – involving some strange men in a strange landscape.

At last, in total exhaustion, I switched off the computer and began to ‘palm’ my eyes.  I kept my eyes open, and cupped my hands over them – fingers close together – so I could stare into total darkness.  That was a blessed relief.  My eyes were tired and sore.

Suddenly there was a bright flash, which shone through my hands: revealing my black bones, surrounded by pink muscle and flesh.  I was so startled that my hands fell away my eyes.  And there, on the computer screen, was a strange email.  The text was like flickering, blue gas flames; and the background was a kind of mucky cream smog.  Despite the poor contrast between them, I could easily read the message, which said:

From the scratchpad of Professor Nuveen Valises, Head of Research Team, Planet 3EX771.  valises@IFspaceship29.fed

Dateline: 3619 APV

Daniel: You have completed your mission admirably; and so, I thought, had I.  However, I now realize that if you do not write the story of how you did it, my mission will also have failed.  So I must strongly request that you get down to writing up where you have been, and what you have experienced, so we can both rest easy knowing we have completed our historic missions.

What follows is a single sentence summary of the abstract of my report to the Intergalactic Federation:

+We-an hipotiste Daniel’s mirt skurpt anstrazhan toll Daniel valay rasoltav ohum rurlattah ugg gir andluttay im oan positatay oneroot cun higga uppanparon oan dazt vurlt dit zoon moedhuur haast lowershowal-zan wur mit gut wan sexoullarm ditch ihram Faltaar.+

Oh, sorry.  I should have realized… I will have to translate that for you.  When you get down to writing your story, I will send you a full transcript of my report, translated into English. That may help you to fill in some of the blanks.

Good luck!

Nuveen Valises

~~~

The problem with this message, of course, was that the computer was switched off!

~~~

So I switched it back on and was relieved to find that the piece I had been working on was still intact.  This is what it said:

I don’t know if this was a dream, proper, or a daydream.  But I could see the two drab men walking around the mounds of ash and rubbish.  There were three mounds.  The men always walked alone. Sometimes one would walk a figure of eight around the two rubbish mounds on the left; while the other man walked round and round the mound on the right.  Then they would change over.  Every so often they would, inevitably, meet, at the front of the site, in my field of vision. Then they would speak briefly to each other in monotone voices.  They had no news for each other: good or bad.  They bemoaned the nature of existence!

Away to the left, the director of the piece sat all alone on a three-legged stool.  He had a face like a crumpled page of newsprint.  He seemed happy, or satisfied, with the general depressive tone of the scene.

Between me and the mounds of rubbish stood a little boy in short trousers with tousled hair and a short sleeved shirt.  His feet were bare.  He scratched his head constantly.  After a while he spoke to the little white goat, who stood quietly beside him.

“What is the significance of this grim routine?” asked the curious boy.

The goat, of course, made no reply.

“Why has the director made the scene so barren?” he persisted.  “And how has this illusion been perpetrated?”

From the right of the scene, a very tall, dark woman, with long black hair, tied back with a black ribbon, stepped into the frame.

“He has taken away the work that would bind them to sanity!” she tells the curious boy.

“Ah!” said the boy.  “Loss of meaning!”

“Yes”, said the tall woman.  “Meaning and structure, both! But not just the meaning that is derived from work; but also the purpose that is derived from family relationships”. 

“Yes”, said the boy.  “I see.  No partners.  No children!”

“And how could the audience understand what these men are up to unless the director includes something about their childhood?” asks the tall woman, rhetorically.

“Their childhood is that important?” asked the boy.

“Their childhood defines who they are!” said the tall woman.

~~~

Where do these ideas come from? I am plagued by random thoughts and strange visitations!

~~~

Sometimes, when I’m dreaming, I become aware that the feeling of my feet walking along a solid surface is a reality, and that I am walking through a concrete reality and a dreamscape at the same time.  And sometimes, when I am wide awake, and walking through a perfectly normal scene, I realize that I am also progressing through a dream sequence in my mind.

~~~

Professor Valises wants me to write the story of my life; and the tall woman wants me to be aware that my childhood defines who I am.  Who am I to disappoint them?

~~~

…End of extract.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extract from Chapter 2:

2. From Bangkok to Oxford

“The Brothers of Christ produced ten generations of boys and men who could neither think nor feel.  They were crippled leftovers from the failed feudal revolt against British capitalism”.

Micky J. Moran, A Very Peculiar Tragedy

~~~

  1. A waking nightmare…

The beeping alarm dragged me out of a strange black and silver landscape of caves and hills, in which I was haunted by memories of something I’d lost.  I was frantically searching for something precious.  But I could not begin to find it until I knew what it was.  And I could not remember what it had been.

Beep, beep, beep…..

I awake; slam the beeping alarm off; and swing my legs out of bed.  It hasn’t rained for weeks, and the temperature, in the run-up to ‘Christmas’ is above eighty-five degrees by lunchtime.  It’s already over seventy degrees, and it’s barely seven o’clock in the morning.  Yellow light streams in through the windows of my three-room apartment.

Although it was almost Christmas ‘back home’ (wherever that was: the UK? or Ireland?) there seemed to be endless Chinese celebrations going on all over Bangkok.  We were still in the year of the Horse; and the year of the Goat would not begin until early February 1979. I’d consulted a traditional Chinese healer in Bangkok, and he’d told me that the year of the Goat would be a major turning point in my life.  He said my world would crack and fall asunder; only to be rebuilt in a better form.  And the symbol for the moment of change would be the arrival of the Goat.  I can’t wait!

At the moment it’s Chinese Thanksgiving, which is the Thais’ winter solstice celebration, involving ancestor worship at its core, but lots of eating of spicy foods seemed to be the main evidence that the celebrations are in full flow.

  1. Minor health problems…

I look down at the red hives on my legs and arms.  Fucking bedbugs.  I cross the bedroom and pick up the big black Bakelite phone, tap the internal call button repeatedly, and speak to the apartment block manager, telling him the new mattress is no better than the previous one – ‘I’m still covered in bedbug bites’ – and ask that he get me a new mattress by the end of today. (At this point, I knew nothing of the possibility of stress-induced allergic reactions!)

Then I open the fridge and look in.  Nothing appeals to me, so I remove by tee-shirt and put on a pair of swimming trunks and flip-flops; cross to the entrance hall; and out onto the patio, where I am struck by the glaring sun and the roar of the traffic from Tunun Praddipat, a couple of hundred yards away. I turn right and walk down to the swimming pool.

There are already two Thai families – two mothers and fathers and four children – and the fat American from apartment number four – in the shallow end of the pool, chatting amiably.  I walk to the deep end, where the blinding yellow sparkles of sunlight bounce off the rippled surface of the pale blue chlorinated water.  I climb down the steps, and, clinging to the ladder rail, float out on my back.  This is one way to cool down; one way to wake up; and one way to try to soothe my burning hives.  I can’t swim, but I have learned how to float on my back.

My head is thumping, as usual, and my neck and shoulders are cold and stiff.

It’s a lot cooler at the moment than it was in June, when I arrived in this exotic city, with plans to make a reputation and perhaps a small fortune at the same time.  I was trading on my creative ability to suggest timely economic and technological innovations for rural development. …

…End of extract 1.

Extract 2:

… (I have moved to the restaurant in the basement of the Dorchester Hotel, on Tunun Pardipat):

I sat at my usual table near the door and looked at the menu.  It contained no concessions to the English language, apart from the Romanization of the Thai words.  I had learned to stick to the Khao phat, for breakfast and lunch: which in most good restaurants contained fried rice topped with nam pla phrik (which is chillies in fish sauce).  The other ingredients tended to vary, but often included lime or lemon, cucumber or coconut, and, more often than not, spring onions.  (Nobody in Bangkok ate or supplied bacon and eggs; or toast and marmalade.  And it was almost impossible to get good quality coffee, since iced tea [‘cha yen’] was the drink of choice in that city.  Such cultural deprivation!)

My Khao phat arrived, with a strong smell of lemon grass and ginger; along with a big jug of freshly brewed, strong iced tea – like masala tea with coconut milk, crushed ice and tons of sugar.  I got stuck into the rice, with a fork in my right hand, while pouring the iced tea with my left.  The tea, when well made, in reputable establishments, was almost as strong as coffee, and I slurped a couple of mouthfuls back, in an effort to wake myself up fully. But the cognitive boost was less than half that of a good American coffee.

  1. Juliet arrives…

The cha yen was not all for me, as Juliet was due to arrive soon.  She normally had black coffee in the morning, at home, (and on Mondays, Wednesdays and some Fridays, I joined her there for coffee and toast). But today she was due to meet me here at 8.15, so we could prepare for our meeting at 9.00am at the Department of Public Works.  The iced tea was a poor compensation for the lack of her preferred home-percolated American coffee.

I heard her three-inch stilettos hit the marble floor in the entrance hall above, and checked my watch.  Bang on time.

I heard her march steadily down the stairs: click, clack, click.  I was filled with sadness and gladness, in a mixture acidic enough to burn right through my heart.

She was dressed in a tight, black, Thai silk suit: jacket and pencil line skirt, with a long slit up the right thigh.  Her long, blond hair was tied back in a big gold hair slide; and she was wearing her big, red-framed specs.  She was dressed to kill for a crucial business meeting.

She looked around the restaurant, saw no expats were present, apart from me, and kissed me on the lips. She whispered “Sugar lips!” as she pulled away.  Sitting down, she pushed her cup towards me for some cha yen, while pulling some documents from her briefcase.

Placing the papers on the table in front of her, she stared at me, examining my eyes.  “Morning, honey?” she said, interrogatively, looking at me questioningly.  She could see that I was still low; hung over; depressed and deflated.

Fishing in her bag she found the little silver box of speed pills (ephedrine and caffeine), and pulled two out for me.

…End of second extract.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

3. My dramatic birth, and the origin of the research project

“Life is difficult for all human beings – but it is particularly difficult for children.  Children are born without a road-map of the world, and they have to construct their own from the clues they pick up from their parents.  Some parents make it almost impossible for their children to reach a reasonable understanding of the nature of the world”.

Mickey J. Moran, A Very Peculiar Tragedy. (Page 8).

~~~

  1. Nothing to be cheerful about…

Several miles inland from the coastal road that runs up the eastern seaboard of the Irish Free State, two deep, wooded valleys cut across each other at right angles, forming crossroads at the confluence of two rivers.  Cattle drovers from the surrounding countryside have been passing through here for hundreds of years – two days before the cattle market in Dubh Linn (or Black Pool) – or, later, Dub’lin – on a weekly basis.  Hence the existence of the hotel and four public houses in a community of less than one thousand people.

The people of Crumble are a dour lot.  ‘Nothing to be cheerful about round here!’ is a common sentiment.  The local farms are small, subsistence affairs, of about three to five acres each; on the periphery of a huge estate that is still owned by English landlords.  And it’s hard to eke out a living.  …

…End of extract 1.

~~~

Extract 2:

  1. One night…

But right now, night has fallen on this warm day in July, 1946, and the streets are in total darkness.  The moon is obscured by clouds.  The four streetlamps, which burn oil, are unlit – one in the middle of each of the small streets.   They are unlit by tradition; a tradition which began at the request of the British government, because the German bombers could use the lights in Ireland to locate themselves over England, between 1941 and 1944. ‘You’d have to be very close to see four street lamps in Crumble’, was the local response when it was announced that the government had agreed with the British that we would follow a blackout, after the bombing of North Strand in Dublin, three years earlier, which local republican rumours claimed had been the result of Dubliners leaving their lights on to help the bombers.  But now, two years after the end of the war in Europe, the lights were still out, because the local parish council had very little money to pay for oil, and this was one way of cutting costs.

So the streets and the surrounding buildings are in total darkness; as they have been for the past five years.

Apart from the pubs, the hotel, two churches and a farm shop, the streets are lined with small, two-storey houses which are whitewashed, with green or yellow or black or white front doors.

In the Haymakers’ Inn, which is the main Catholic pub used by small farmers, the small bar room is full.  Six grey men in dark and dusty farm clothes and flat caps are sitting along the poorly illuminated wooden bar, mainly with leather-patched elbows on the bar, small briar pipes in mouths, puffing black shag smoke into the yellowed ceiling.  Another dozen or so are sitting glumly around the little round tables. …

…End of extract 2.

~~~

Extract 3:

  1. A difficult birth…

Inside the Flynn’s farmhouse all was not well.  Neeve, the twenty year old daughter, had come home to her mother’s place to give birth to her second child.  The girls who slept in the big bedroom to the right of the front door had been sent to stay with various aunties, and Neeve had the room to herself.  Birth was a secret process, and the less the children knew about it the better!  Neeve had arrived the day before she was due to give birth, and lounged around, waiting.  She was not expecting to be detained for very long, because her first child, Caitlin, had ‘slipped out like an oiled pea’ after thirty minutes of labour.

She arrived before lunchtime yesterday, and her waters finally broke during breakfast today; and she was hurried off to the side room by the midwife in attendance.  But now, tonight, she has been in labour for sixteen hours – and she is in a state of exhaustion and despair. The midwife, Mrs Meehan, had to send for Old Nurse Sweeny, because she was at her wits end.  She had tried everything she knew to get this girl to deliver her second baby, but nothing worked.  Although she ordered her to push, to shove, to breathe, to squat on the bed and bear down, nothing worked.  And now the girl had become hysterical, thinking this unbearable pain could never be dislodged from her unmentionable parts.

The girl’s mother, Old Mrs Flynn – as distinct from the younger Mrs Flynns who were married to her older boys – was agitated, as she went from room to room trying to distract herself from the screams and curses of her daughter.

Several of Neeve’s older brothers and sisters, along with a couple of aunts, sat around the big room to the left of the front door, waiting for the event to be over, so they could get on with their lives.  All the younger children were upstairs, under orders to go to sleep – but how could they with such a racket going on downstairs?

Nurse Sweeny had prepared a concoction of herbs, and forced the girl to drink it.  This was followed by wild evacuations of the bowels, for which no advanced planning had been made, and then by much urination, but the head of the baby remained intractably, if visibly, lodged in the poor girl’s dilated uterus.

Old Nurse Sweeny went to the next room and talked to Old Mrs Flynn, and tried to persuade her that a doctor would have to be called, as they had exhausted all their know-how, and were at their wit’s end.  It looked like Neeve and the baby might die, if a doctor was not called urgently.

But Old Mrs Flynn shook her head and pushed the nurse away, insisting, regrettably, that she definitely could not, under any circumstance, afford to pay a doctor.

End of Extract 3.

~~~

(The baby in this story is, of course me: Daniel O’Beeve!  And his dramatic birth is yet to happen!)

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extract from Chapter 4:

4. My own, unique Ireland

  1. The personal history of a two-year-old…

“’We hate children!’ That seems to be the message that many parents, and many teachers, here in Ireland, send out to the world every day.  They hit them, shout at them, restrict them unnecessarily; restrain them; denigrate them; hurt them, physically and psychologically.  And a minority of parents and teachers will even sexually abuse the children in their care! They send them to schools which exist to turn them into wage-slaves.  They subject the whole culture to continuing forms of oppression, and the children are thrown into that rotten culture!”

Micky J. Moran, A Very Peculiar Tragedy…

~~~

The Ireland about which I write is not the ‘real Ireland’.  Nor is it an ‘unreal Ireland’.  It is the personal-Ireland that I experienced as a feeling being, having been thrown (by fate; by nature) into a particularly dysfunctional family, which happened to live in Ireland. Nowhere do I imply that any of the members of this family were ever anything but non-conscious actors in a play that was shaped by thousands of years of largely unknown history!

This is how the nightmare began:

When I first began to write, I was seeking nobility and elevation – charm and sophistication.  I wanted to ape those social models we are told to ape!  I didn’t know that as a grown man I would sit and write about the dark, pungent, orange piss in the white enamelled piss pot.

The piss had built up overnight from Daddy’s and Mammy’s visits to the pot, which always stood on the bedroom landing. They used this pot to save themselves a journey to the outside toilet, at the end of the back yard.

It’s now seven months since I fell down the steps, and I’ve been increasingly left on my own, or in the dangerous care of my sister, who is just three and a half years old.

I am just two years old – today! – and as my ‘celebration’, I am totally preoccupied with scooping this interesting, smelly, yellow-orange liquid up from the piss pot with a discarded Potters Asthma Remedy tin; and drinking it down hungrily.

Then, out of the blue, Mammy’s big, flat hand strikes me across the back of the head, causing me to topple forwards and kick the piss pot down the stairs, splashing its contents everywhere. I follow, toppling after it, down the long, dark staircase.

I land hard on the rounded bottom of the upturned pot, knocking the wind out of myself. My hand-knitted romper suit is now covered in piss. It’ not likely to be a happy birthday.

As I lie across the piss pot, I think I glimpse the little blue bear in a dark corner of the living room, by the front porch. He had originally been part of me (I think!), but now he’s totally outside of me, and so distant I can no longer feel him.

He lies prostrated on the floor, shrouded in dark shadow. As I focus in on him, I see the big pink foot descend upon him, and squeeze him into the lino-covered floor. I hate that foot, which has tormented me for so long. 

I know how painful it is to be stood upon in that way. As I watch, the big pink foot moves upwards again, about the height of the window sill, and stamps hard on the blue bear’s body. The effect is, strangely, to wind me even more. But I have no further thoughts or feelings about his plight. I have serious problems of my own.

~~~

My mother, Neeve, who at that time I knew only as Mammy, rushes down the stairs after me, screaming something like: ‘Don’t be dead! Don’t be dead!’ She’s in a state of panic because, as I learned years later, she lives in dread of coming to the attention of the ‘authorities’ for neglect or abuse, which would have shamed her. She picks me up roughly, examines my limbs and head for signs of injury, decides I was uninjured, then smacks me several times on the legs and the arse, to ‘teach me a lesson’. I am decidedly unclear what the lesson is. Don’t get caught drinking piss? Don’t drink piss? Or perhaps just this: Don’t be curious?

One of the daily lessons drummed into me and my older sister was this: Curiosity killed the cat! (I think it was at this point that my ‘curious self’ went underground, and became a seeker in a strange dreamland!)

Mammy’s major injunctions are: Wake up! Get up! Shut up! Stand up! Stand still! Behave yourself! Stop that! Stand up straight! Do as you’re told! Eat this! Don’t be so bold! (Meaning: don’t misbehave). Stand up! Sit down! Don’t look at me with the white of your eyes! (Which meant, I think, look downwards to indicate submission). And: Go to sleep!

Her way of enforcing her will, to ensure total obedience to her every command, is the use of her big, flat hand: her slapping machine.

~~~

The little blue bear flinched in the corner by the front porch. He groans. The big pink foot has him pinned to the ground. There were only two kinds of beings in the gate lodge: the hurters and those they hurt.  The only way to avoid the hurters is to become invisible.

~~~

…End of extract.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extract from Chapter 5:

5. Fragments of insight into forms of childhood

“Human beings exist inside of stories.  Every element of those stories is based upon an interpretation.  And any story that can be written can also be rewritten – with some effort”. (Page 14).

Paddy-Brennan-ji, The Roots of all Suffering.

~~~

All stories are fictions; but some fictions are truer than others.  And some are as true as anything can be!

~~~

  1. Irish and Non-Irish childhood…

For years, when I was a younger man, I assumed the imperial powers – the Romans, the Norsemen, the Norman-English, the modern Americans and post-1945 Soviets – exported their sadists to run their empires, and that their own children were unaffected by their brutality.  However, recently (in the run-up to Christmas 2014), while reading Helen Macdonald’s autobiographical story – H is for Hawk – which includes an account of Mr T.H. White’s attempt to train a goshawk, I realized nobody escapes the sadism of imperial power.

T.H. White was born in India at the time of the British Raj.  His father was an English Chief Commissioner of Justice, in Bombay (now Mumbai).  His mother had married his father because her parents were sick of supporting her, and the marriage did not work out well.  Macdonald takes up the story like this:

When T.H. White was a little boy, from babyhood onwards, his mother and father hated each other, engaging in vicious arguments and physical fights.  They both beat him as a child.  Indeed, as an example of their violent natures, he describes one fight that was relayed to him by servants, of the time when he was lying in his little cot, and his mother and father were rolling on the ground, fighting for control of a pistol with which the dominant party planned to shoot their partner, then the baby, and then to commit suicide.  His experience was that his childhood was far from being a safe time or space. (Page 37).

Mr White turned out to be a sadistic homosexual, perhaps not surprisingly when you add years of floggings in boarding schools to his mad parents’ aggressive, anxiety-inducing behaviour.

At least I was not that badly damaged by my rotten experiences.

~~~

Sheldon Kopp, a modern American author, in his book about Buddhism – titled, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road… – maintains that ‘childhood is a nightmare’.  All childhood; everywhere!

And let us not forget that Stephen Dedalus revealed something about his relationship with his Irish Catholic mother, when he was sent to board at the Jesuit School at Clongowes, in County Kildare, at about the age of ten years.  What he revealed suggest that some Irish mothers might have been capable of feelings of love for their sons; especially his comment about longing to be home where he could lay his head on his mother’s lap, and be comforted by her. (Portrait of the Artist…)

So he misses the physical closeness and intimacy he must have had at some point with his Irish Catholic mother, before she, and his father, agreed to send him away from home, to live in a miserable boarding school. And when his parents dropped him off at the school, she rolled up her veil to her nose, and kissed Stephen; and he noticed that her eyes and nose were red, which meant she was going to cry.  Which probably meant she loved him; even if she was sending him away!

We also learn that a boy called Wells asked Stephen if he kisses his mother before going to bed.  Stephen admits that he does.  And thus he falls into a major embarrassment, for there is nothing more likely to be denied, or ridiculed, in a boys’ boarding school, than the validity of mother-love and its reciprocation.

It may be that many children grow up in a living hell, while some may escape with an ordinary purgatory.  But very few are likely to experience a heavenly time – except perhaps in intermittent moments that come and go – because of the problems of coming into being; submitting to external discipline; and learning to be a social animal – absorbing a culture and its many rules.  And if you are having to do that in a context in which your parents are under a lot of stress, and carrying their own psychological wounds, is it any wonder people get mashed up in childhood?

My bonding with my mother was disrupted; and this had a knock-on effect upon the possibilities for individuating and separating from her.

Even Theo Decker’s life – in Donna Tartt’s Goldfinch – descended into hell, as his mother was killed in a terrorist explosion in the Museum of Modern Art on that fateful day, as they headed for an unhappy meeting with his school authorities; and he ends up living like a drug-addicted wild child, with his drunken, gambling, absent, feckless, father in Las Vegas; but especially with his wild friend, Boris Pavlikovsky.

…End of extract.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extract from Chapter 6:

6. Joining the revolution

“The Native American Cherokee people had the concept of a war going on inside each human being.  That war is between two wolves: the good wolf and the bad wolf.  And the wolf that wins the war is the one that is fed the most!”

                E-CENT Paper No.25[i]

~~~

  1. Preamble…

We live in a world of good and evil; and our task is to try to increase the good and to eliminate the evil – for our own sake; for the sake of our loved ones; and for the sake of consistency, logic and morality.  We mainly do this by teaching ourselves to operate from our virtuous inclinations, and to resist our evil temptations. But when evil acts are perpetrated against children, when they are very young, the chances are high that they will re-enact those experiences in the world later on, when they are grown up.

So it’s important to try to remember whether we had a good moral education, or a childhood that promotes evil.

The hardest thing in the world is to try to remember your own childhood.  It’s almost impossible to do it at all.  It is painful, painstaking and perplexing.  But it is precisely this unremembered personal history that drives the direction of your life, from the basement of your mind. And it is only by remembering it, reconstructing it, that you can escape from its thrall.

It is very hard to remember our childhood.  Every so often we may achieve a breakthrough – an insight – a sense of the truth of a body memory – a physical sensation, relived.  Like the following memories that I have unearthed:

Time for me (as a child) moves at a snail’s pace.

It almost stands still, so I feel trapped in this very unpleasant present moment.

There is no sense of the possibility, and certainly not the probability, of escaping into the future; of becoming a grownup who can direct his own life – far from the cruel control of those who cause my pain. I feel like my feet are stuck in the deep swamp of the present moment; that no future moments exist at all. 

So, life for me (as a child) seems hopeless – frozen in time – depressing – and full of despair! Full of the evil of oppression; of enforced obedience to my oppressors; with no possibility of revolt against my enslavement.

~~~

According to Micky J. Moran, who originally woke me up to the importance of writing my autobiography, we have to explore our life’s journey.  He writes:

“If we do not develop clarity about where we’ve been in the course of our lives, then we cannot benefit from the journey, and all our suffering will have been for nothing!”

Where I have been is in a family in which a broken man and a badly damaged woman manufactured a set of children who were mere husks – shells – empty bodies – soulless beings!  Beings who would never be citizens of anywhere.  Beings without rights.  Beings without hope.

~~~

The sun beat down brutally upon the back of the little white goat, as he was hauled along the desert road by the thuggish members of the Sortray de Manga, the bodyguards and storm troopers of the Saravey priesthood.

It had been written in the Book of Silus, that a Little White Goat would come from the east and walk innocently among the people.  That he would prove to be an affront to the Saravey priesthood, by drawing attention to their corruption; and so they would sacrifice him on the altar of the God, Namti.  And lo, it came to pass that the goat was captured, and hauled southwards towards the killing fields. 

And as the priests directed the sacrificial procession through the hamlets that led from the oasis at Choko Jahir to the killing fields, a growing crowd followed behind, to cheer on the enactment of this famous prophesy.

And right at the back of the crowd, a timid sheep joined the curious throng.  He did not seem to be committed to the journey, but simply following along mindlessly.  He seemed dejected and detached from the rest of the procession, like an unwilling leaf that has been caught up in a powerful eddy in a fast flowing river.

His life was lived sheepishly; cravenly. He was a passive coward.

~~~

  1. The frying pan and the fire…

It is often said that, if you want to know the kind of relationships a person will build in later life, then you should take a close look at the relationships that exist in their family of origin.

That, of course, is easier said than done.  Can we be sure you know what ‘a relationship’ is?  How many of us would recognize a healthy relationship if it came up and bit us?

Home is where we start from, according to D.W. Winnicott.  In the end it’s the pain that leads us home.  Follow the pain back to its source and you’ll find a rich reward.

Home is where we learn to feel secure or insecure, integrated or scattered.  Delighted or demented.

You cannot leave home (properly) by leaving home (physically), because you carry the scars and boons of home in your very heart.  Your family of origin either helps you to build a pot of gold in your viscera; a sense of strength and joy and okay-ness; or a pot of corrosive acid, which eats through everything positive that comes within your orbit, and leaves you with negativity, loss and absence.

…End of extract.

[i] Byrne, J. (2011-2013) E-CENT Paper No.25: The Innate Good and Bad Aspects of all Human Beings (the Good and Bad Wolf states).  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extract from Chapter 7:

7. Childhood is a nightmare, especially in school

When the human mind is divided against itself, a kind of madness results”.

Noel O’Leary, The Split Mind

~~~

  1. A little accident at school…

For a good deal of my life, I felt half-mad, deranged, out of touch with reality.  I sensed that there was something crazy about me, and I could not see that this sense of my own craziness came out of the fact that I had grown up in a crazy culture which presented itself as being normal.  A culture in which I was branded from birth as undeserving of a decent living; branded as a bad boy by my parents from very early on; and branded as a horrible outsider by my school peers from day one of my schooling.

Some of my apparent craziness was a result of the fact that I was at odds with my culture; that I did not fit in; did not belong. I rejected my ‘self’ (my ‘culchie’ identity) because it was not ‘respectable’ – meaning not ‘Dublin-born’ – and not affluent.

So I was split between the ‘real me’ and the ‘pretend me’.

But I was also at odds with my nature, because I was systematically trained not to pay attention to my own needs, my own appetites, and my own inner urgings.  I was trained to obey, and not to think!

Additionally, beneath that, there was a sense of a mystery, just beyond the reach of my mind.  Something horrible that would account for much of my madness, if only I could get hold of it.

~~~

In my fifth year of life, after Christmas, school activities changed. We began to learn singing and dancing. We were taken to the band room, in a side street behind the school. A teacher played the piano, and we were shown how to do a traditional Irish dance called Miss McLeod’s Reel[i]. I tried to follow the movements as much as I could, but, given that Owen did not allow music in our house – (apart from Tricky’s occasional operas) – because it was linked to the work of the Devil, I had no sense of rhythm.

On my second day of attempting to learn this reel, I noticed that I needed to do a number two. I knew I was supposed to put my hand up and say, “An will cad agum dull amock marshay de halle” – which I think means, “Do I have permission to go to the toilet?”, though it could have meant almost anything in that general area of requests. It could, for example, have meant ‘I have to go out’, or ‘I need a shit’. I wasn’t sure. This lack of certainty was one reason that dissuaded me from uttering those words. Neeve didn’t allow me and Caitlin to say piss or shit. We had to say ‘number one’ or ‘number two’. Furthermore, I also knew that teachers hated it when children made this kind of request – “An will cad agum…?” They often said ‘No’, adding ‘Sig shees!’ which means ‘Sit down!’  And further adding this: “Doon da veal!”  Which I believe literally means “Shut your mouth!”  Often delivered like the modern American injunction to ‘shut your goddamned mouth!’

I didn’t want to provoke an angry response, so I kept on dancing up and down: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (moves to the left), followed by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (moves to the right). All the while the shit was forcing itself out of my tightly clamped anus into my short trousers and, being soft and runny, dribbling down my right leg, into and outside of my hand knitted sock, then into my right sandal and onto the dance floor.

The smell began to impinge on my fellow dancers, who had to avoid the soiled areas of the dance floor, and some sounds began to be made, until the teacher twigged what had happened. The dancing was brought to a halt and we were marched back to school. I had to sit at my desk, next to another boy, but he was excused and allowed to move to another seat because of the smell. Then I had to stand in the school playground during lunchtime, then sit at my desk, then stand in the school playground for afternoon break, then sit at my desk again, then walk to the school gate to meet Neeve with shit caked on my right leg, and filling my pants, and stuck to my arse, and with a now deeply ingrained sense of shame.

Neeve, who was horrified at being publicly humiliated by her son, put me on the side of the pram, rushed me home and washed the shit off. She was disgusted with me. (For many years thereafter, when things weren’t going well, I could somehow still smell that shit on my leg. It seemed an indelible stain.)

~~~

The little blue bear walks round the living room, hugging the walls to avoid being seen. He covers his face with both hands, to hide his embarrassment. He would rather be stamped on by the big pink foot than be looked down upon.

~~~

…End of extract.

[i] Available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/ watch? v= NGcnvwGLyqA

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extracts from Chapter 8:

Extract 1:

8. Leaving home, and moving on

“Spend a little time every day processing your past experiences; let them come up in meditation; let them manifest in your imagination; and then let them go.  Spend a little more time every day opening your heart to the present moment; to nature’s gift; to the feel of the air passing in through your nostrils.  Let go of all future ambitions.  In this way, you can digest the past; let go of the future; and live gloriously in this eternal present moment!” (Page 21).

Paddy-Brennan-ji, The Roots of All Suffering.

~~~

  1. Stories of leaving home (2) …

By contrast with Don Quixote, when Stephen Dedalus left home, in the closing years of the nineteenth century (in James Joyce’s classic novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), he was just twenty years old, going on fifty.  He, by apparent contrast with Don Quixote, (which hid the similarity), had some high minded goals which expressed an extreme romantic idealism.  At the time he was love-sick, because the girl he loved was involved with his friend, Cranley; and Stephen would not stay and fight for her.  In deciding to go, he created this mission for himself: to discover “…the mode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom”. (Page 207, Portrait of the Artist).

His perceived lack of freedom was a result of the controlling ideologies of Irish nationalism and the Irish Catholic Church, which were intertwined. He had struggled to be a celibate Catholic youth, and failed.  He felt called to leave Ireland – the call of ‘white arms’ (loving female?), and ‘tall black ships’ (adventure?).  But his ultimate goal was extremely ambitious: “…to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race”.

My own view, which will be explored later, is that the conscience of the Irish race was not ‘uncreated’, but rather cruelly distorted by a set of historical tragedies. And when the English oppressor would finally be driven out, in the early 1920’s, it would be replaced by, first, a civil war, and then a new, home-grown form of oppression and exploitation, in which the Catholic Church would play a leading role right up to the 1960’s, when British influence and indirect economic control would return, in the guise of the 1964 Free Trade Agreement – which would give the Irish people the right to read salacious British Sunday newspapers, and to engage in ‘free love’ (to the soundtrack of the Beatles and ‘Alfie’) – as if sex-love had been manufactured in London (with the help of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones), and issued by the Queen of England on Maundy Thursday, free at the point of use!

~~~

  1. At a loose end in Blackpool…

It would be years before I realized just how much I was carrying the wounds of childhood at the core of my self-identity:

“A child who is the victim of parental abuse will normally take something of the evil of the abuser into him/her-self, thereby developing a damaged personal identity. The sense of normalized victimhood becomes a part of the person’s adult identity, and leaves them open to renewed abuse by others”.

Paddy-Brennan-ji, The Roots of all Suffering…

~~~

I carried my wounds to England, and back to Ireland.  Then to Blackpool, with the corrupt Tandy in tow.  And now it was the weekend, and I was out and about in Blackpool.  It had been exceptionally cold – around two to three degrees Celsius all week.  Officially, it was the coldest March since 1962.  It was now a very wet Saturday evening in the middle of March 1969, to be precise – and the temperature had dropped below freezing – and I was out wandering along the prom, pushing through the freezing rain.  It was not yet six o’clock, but it was already dark and the street lights were on.  (The tourist illuminations, however, had been switched off all winter).  The evening meal had been served at four, by Mrs Mallard, because it was a Saturday – and her family wanted some time off; and I was already feeling hungry again.  So I decided to go for a walk down the prom, past the Tower Ballroom, with the intention of rewarding myself with fish and chips on the way home.

…End of extract 1.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extract 2:

At last I reached the end of the prom and turned back.  The back of my trouser legs were sticking in ice-cold patches to the backs of my legs, and rain was running into and out of my ears, and down the back of my neck.  My beard and collar-length hair were sodden.  The wind howled around me as I pushed into it, and headed back to the only fish and chip shop that was still open on the prom at this time of year.

I went inside, blinking the rain out of my eyes, and immediately recognized the leopard-skin coat and black fishnet tights on the raven-haired customer in front of me at the counter.  She lived in the house next to the one in which I was lodging.  I’d seen her come and go a few times as I sat at the table in the bay window, eating my breakfast or my evening meal.

She had the appearance of an actress or model.  Tall, elegant, heavily made-up, and she walked with a wiggle, in extremely high, black, patent leather stiletto heels.  As I stood behind her on the queue, she ordered cod and chips.  Then I ordered the same.  She turned to look at me and said, “Horrible weather!”

I agreed.

Her fish and chips were wrapped within seconds; she paid; and she headed for the door.

My fish and chips were wrapped next, and I followed suit.

~~~

  1. Some enchanted evening…

She was still standing in the doorway, trying to get her umbrella up.

As I stepped past her into the rain, she got her umbrella erected, and called after me, “Want a lift?”

I turned back and looked blankly at her.

“Under my umbrella?” she explained.  “You live next door to me, I think?”

“That’s right”, I said, running back to get under her umbrella.  There was a strong smell of expensive perfume under there, which I liked.

“Let’s go”, she said, and we stepped out into the rain and headed for Beaufort Avenue; sidestepping puddles of rain on the wide pavement.

It took a good five minutes of brisk walking to get there, and we somehow managed to fill the time talking about the weather: how bad it was; how relative it was; when it had been better; when it had been worse; my name and her name; where we both came from in Ireland; and the lack of recreational activities in Blackpool at this time of year.

When we got to my destination, the big boarding house on the street corner, she suddenly said, “Want to come to my flat and eat our meals together?”

I was delighted, and said ‘yes’; and so we walked on to the next building and climbed the steps to the front door of her building.

She was at least five years older than me, very sophisticated, and so this would just be a social get together, so I could be very relaxed about it.  And it would be a lot nicer than going back to my room and finding Tandy there, giving me the creeps! I’d have to sit on the bed on which he would be lying, and eat my fish and chips with my back towards him; trying to ignore him.

She unlocked the door of her first-floor flat and invited me in.  She dropped her wrapped fish and chips on her kitchen table, and indicated for me to do the same.  We took off our wet coats.  She produced two large towels to dry our hair and faces and hands.  She then produced two dinner plates, plus knives and forks; and we served out our own meals.

We sat at her kitchen table and ate our food.  It was very easy to be with her; to talk to her; to listen to her.  It was so nice to be in real contact with another human being.  The cold wet trousers clinging to my legs were so far in the background I might have been wearing silk pyjamas!

~~~

  1. My coming of age…

Two hours later we were still watching television together; and then I found my face close to hers, so I kissed her.  She responded…

…End of Extract 2.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

9. Making love in Blackpool

“This idea of innate goodness and badness is reminiscent of the Christian concept of ‘original sin’ (or the innate tendency towards evil) as distinct from ‘the state of grace’ (which, it was said, we could achieve, with the help of God).  However, the E-CENT theory does not rely upon God or the Devil, but rather on innate tendencies towards pro- and anti-social behaviours on the part of the normal human child.  Sigmund Freud had a similar distinction – the distinction between the Life urge (or Eros) and the Death urge (or Thanatos), which he believed were fundamental drivers of human behaviour.”

E-CENT Paper No.25

~~~

  1. Stories of leaving home (3)…

Between Don Quixote’s chivalry and Stephen Daedalus’s mock-hero posturing, there is a vast range of reasons for leaving home, and, since mine does not reside at either extreme, it must be somewhere in the middle.  But what was it?

The image that comes to mind is one of an uncomfortable mole, half blind and half asleep, who feels increasing discomfort with his burrow.  And so he finds it in himself to shuffle away to a new spot where perhaps a more comfortable burrow might be found.  I do not think it was any clearer, or nobler, or more energetic than that; and certainly lacked any of the (declared) nobility of Stephen Daedalus’s motivation.  Nor was it as ridiculous or laughable or insane as Don Quixote’s.

But given that I was half-asleep at the time, perhaps I knew nothing of my true motives for weighing anchor, and taking to the Irish Sea on a cattle boat, in the warm summer of 1964.

~~~

  1. Involved with Belinda

And now it was the early spring of 1969, and I was living in Blackpool…

It was wonderful having a relationship with Belinda – though I did not think of it as ‘a relationship’ at that time.  I did not think of it as anything.  I only had feelings: emotions.  Like happiness; joy; ecstasy!  (Doubt and fear, and worse, would come later).

Every morning I left her bed, went back to my own place, next door, got cleaned up, had breakfast in the dining room (often before Tandy could join me!), and went to work.

Every evening, after my main meal, I left my boarding house and went to see Belinda, and we spent the evening watching TV, smoking cigarettes, talking, having supper, going to bed, making love.  The making love bit was the briefest, but most enjoyable bit of the evening for me.

Then, after about six weeks, Belinda told me she had been transferred from day shift to evening shift at the hotel bar where she worked.  I was very upset.  She said I could have a key, and I could come around and watch TV until she got home, and then we could have supper and go to bed.

Now my evenings were very lonely.  I would sit in Belinda’s flat all evening and wonder what she was doing in work; who she was serving; and what she said to them.

Some evenings, I got so jealous that I walked down the prom and stood opposite her hotel.  I could see in through the windows of the bar, but I could not see very much of what was going on.  I was afraid to go in, just in case she was angry with me for checking up on her.  But my mood was black, and I was very unhappy.

~~~

“This is a very bad sign”, said Professor Valises.

“Because he’s so jealous?” asked the kolonel.

“No”, said the professor. “Because he senses that the end is nigh.”

“How can you say that?” asked Dr Kala.  “How can you know the end is nigh?”

“Because Belinda works evenings to get away from Daniel”, answered the blue professor.  “She’s already bored with the relationship. That’s what my experience of studying human psychology tells me”.

“But surely Daniel would notice if she was bored; and do something about it,” says Dr Kala

“I don’t think we’re talking about the same ‘Daniel’ here”, smiles the professor.  “Daniel is passive and largely non-conscious.  He has no idea what is happening.  He is having insecure feelings because his situation IS insecure!  But he does not know how to process the feelings, or to track them back to any thoughts he might have about the relationship.”

“But what can be done?” asks the kolonel.

“There is nothing to do,” said the professor, “but to watch this tragedy unfold!”

~~~

  1. My life begins to unravel…

One Saturday morning, at the dental manufacturing company, the air-compressor broke down, and failed to work properly, and my team was sent home early, because you cannot test pneumatic drills in the absence of compressed air.

I took the bus back into Blackpool, intending to surprise Belinda.  But it was me who was surprised.  I got off the bus on the prom and walked back to Beaufort Avenue.  As I turned into the street, I saw an Australian friend of Tandy’s – called Karl – coming down the steps of Belinda’s building.  When he saw me he smiled awkwardly, looked away, and crossed the street.

I went up the steps and let myself in to the building; up the stairs and opened the flat door.  Belinda was lying on the sofa.  When she saw me she swung her feet onto the floor.

“What are you doing here so early?” she asked, looking flustered.

“I was sent home early”, I said.  “But what was Karl doing here?”

“Oh, he was looking for Tandy, and couldn’t remember his address.  So he called here, and we talked for a while.  Then he left to see if Tandy was in the Blue Light bar”.

I was sulking; feeling very bad, in my guts and my heart.  I was suspicious, and it spoiled the atmosphere between us.

~~~

“You see?” says the professor.  “Daniel has no words to express his feelings.  He’s just like his father, Owen.  He feels bad, but he says nothing.  He thinks nothing.  He’s a feeling machine with no map of the territory in which he is stuck”.

“But he could learn to think; couldn’t he?” asks the kolonel.

“He could”, said the professor. “But probably not in time to save this particular relationship”.

~~~

A few days later, Belinda told me that a very rich man at the Royal Hotel, where she worked, had offered her a hundred pounds to go away with him for the weekend.  I was appalled.  I was speechless.

She felt the chill from me, and said: “I told him ‘no’, of course”.

And that was the end of that.

I feel sick in my stomach, increasingly so. …

…End of extract.

~~~

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

Extract from Chapter 10:

10. The sorrows of Professor Valises…

Nuveen Valises is pensively staring at the komputa skreen.  He is watching Daniel, who is sitting on a coach, heading from his military induction base (which was soft and cosy) to his ‘square-bashing’ base (which he does not yet know will be like a living hell), as part of his foundation training with the Combined Services Development Unit (CSDU).

Professor Valises is unhappy, because he knows something of the brutality of Earth-based military training.  And he knows more than anybody else about the vulnerable state of Daniel’s body-mind.

“I wish I’d had a son like Daniel”, he says, out loud, even though his two colleagues are, as so often, sleeping at their desks.  (One of the downsides of working unrealistically long shifts!)

“If I’d had a son like Daniel”, he continues, “I’d have nurtured him the way my father nurtured me.  I would not allow him to expose himself to the kinds of dangers he encounters on a daily basis.  I would have warned him to avoid military service in particular!”

Still staring at the image of Daniel, being carried along in his military coach, the little blue professor falls silent.  If he had had tear ducts, he would have been shedding copious tears of sorrow at this stage.

Kolonel Mitta Balaga, waking up from his snooze, notices the red patches around the team leader’s three eyes. …

…End of extracts.

You can order this paperback book from Amazon outlets all over the world:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Flycrates -worldwide Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy Amazon India Amazon France
Amazon Spain From Singapore Amazon Japan

~~~

 

 

 

Advertisements