A Rake’s Progress in One or Two Easy Stages Part Two

I was inside a huge bubble that writhed and undulated gently. It was very light and bright. So beautiful. But the amazing thing was that, although it had the appearance of a soft and shimmering inside of a clam shell; a liquid bubble like the nacre of a clam shell’s inside, it was in a colour I had never seen before. It wasn’t a hot colour like an orange or a red or a brown, but somewhere nearer an iridescent blue… but not a blue. It felt so completely safe as if a colour and a texture could be safe. I was floating. Inside a shimmering sphere.

Then the pain of someone trying to scrape and push something up the inside of my nostril. Someone was poking a thick rubber tube up my right nostril and down the back of my throat. I could taste the rubber tube, I could even tell by its taste that it was a dark pink rubber tube… and it was hurting.

I struggled, and the more I struggled the more vague became the bubble that I was wrapped in.

Then the shouting and the slapping.

Someone was shouting my name and slapping me. Shouting my name.

Then a huge wave of sleep smothered me. I struggled briefly to the surface. The wave crashed down on me, filling my ears and nostrils with water and sand. Blackness and quiet.


Why the First Person Plural?

Why is it at that people in the caring professions insist on speaking in the first person plural?

“How are we feeling today?”

I didn’t feel like answering.

“Now what have we been up to? Hmm?”

I felt like saying, “Well you’ve been poking me and shouting at me and sticking things up my nose, but I’ve been lying here with a dreadful headache. Go away.”

I felt like saying all that, but instead I said, “I need to go to the lavatory.”

The nurse pointed to a door opposite my bed. I got up unsteadily. I felt so sick. I opened the door. There was no lock on the inside. I don’t like anybody looking at me when I am in the lavatory, but I felt so rough. I just started to pee into the bowl. Looking up, beside the cistern, there was a small window. It was open.

When I had finished and had come out, I got back into bed.

“There’s an open window in there,” I said, “Anybody could jump out if they wanted to. What floor are we on?”

The nurse looked at me with a fake smile, her head to the side like a disapproving grandmother.

“We’ve been a silly boy, haven’t we?”


A man in rubber soled shoes squeaked his way to my bed; motioned the nurse to draw the curtains around the bed and then sat in the chair beside me. I assumed that he was a doctor. The nurse hovered for a minute or two and then walked away.

“So what’s all this about, then?”

I made an attempt at humour that fell very flat.

“Sewerage pipe,” I said.

He took half a breath, let it out very slowly, and then wrote something in a white foolscap pad he had been carrying. He had the pad balanced on his knee.

“Hmm!”

I looked at him. He looked at me, and said nothing. I could feel tears of anger burning the back of my eyes.

“The window’s open in the lavatory. Someone could jump out.”

He looked up briefly and wrote something in his pad.

He asked me one or two questions: age, address, education. I answered him briefly and with no elaboration.

He wrote carefully in his pad.

“Well, well, well,” he said.

I turned away from him. I didn’t want him to see me as I felt the tears starting in my eyes once more. I could hear him breathing slowly. There was the silky sound of a pencil traveling over white foolscap paper. Then the sound of a page being turned over. Write, write, write. I think I went to sleep again.

When I woke up the ward was quiet. It was night.


Royal Perth Hospital

During the next couple of days my mother came to see me and sat quietly by my bed. She didn’t speak, but just sat beside me with my hand in hers. She looked pale and very tired. I could tell she had been crying a good deal. She came several times.

On the second day, my father and his wife came to see me. They were both dressed beautifully, as usual, but only stayed for about twenty minutes, as they were going on to a restaurant.

Just as they were leaving, Marie bent over to kiss me and I could smell the expensive scent she wore.

“Silly boy!” she said.

My father looked at me with his head slightly to the side:

“Don’t do this again, please. You really upset Marie and me.”

And they left. The nurse was very impressed, and asked me who they were


The next day I was discharged, but not before I had another visit from the doctor with the squeaky shoes and the white foolscap notepad.

“I think we need to meet again,” he said, “Schizophrenia.”

He held out his hand to shake mine. As I took it in mine, he added, “I’ll send you a letter. Yes.”

On the way home from the Hospital, I sat in the back seat of the taxi that had been ordered for me. The driver whistled “Here Comes Summer” all the way home. I felt the repetition of that song so depressing. I just wanted to tell him to shut up, but I sat quietly and tried to ignore him.


I arrived at the flat to find it quiet and empty. My mother hadn’t been informed that I was coming home so early and was still at work.

It was at that point that it all rushed to the surface, and I sat, looking at my clenched fists, and I cried.

Regardless, and you will laugh at the irony of this very short tale, I received a letter about three weeks later. The letter was from a Doctor whose name I didn’t recognise, but I assumed to be the doctor with the squeaky shoes and the foolscap pad.

I was required to attend the Mental Asylum (That’s correct, they used that term) at Swanbourne.

The letter explained that I had an appointment with a doctor, and his colleagues, who were going to finish assessing me. The assessment having commenced when I was taken into the Royal Perth Hospital after the incident of the fifteen white tablets.

The word “Schizophrenia” was used a couple of times in the letter, but also the term “your condition” was used several more times. Apparently, the plan was to admit me, or not, depending on his evaluation.

A date had been arranged for me to attend Swanbourne Mental Asylum.


The day of the appointment started bright, sunny and blisteringly hot. I travelled to Swanbourne by a bus which seemed to take hours.

I was wearing a pair of black, skin tight trousers, a white shirt, and a narrow black tie. The bus wasn’t crowded, and I managed to sit out of the sun, but somehow the black trousers seemed to attract the heat. As we travelled, I gazed out at a parched succession of suburban houses, peppermint trees, karri and vacant lots with dry and overgrown brush in the afternoon glare. Even the trees looked pissed off.

When the bus arrived at Swanbourne Hospital, the driver called out that we had arrived. I walked to the front, taking care not to hang onto the leather straps. I have never liked the idea of holding on to leather straps on buses. I felt I would be touching something had been held onto by too many people.

I descended the three steep steps of the bus, into a dusty street; very close to a set of large iron gates. A man on the other side of the gates asked my business, and then let me in. He looked at me in a very casual manner and told me to pass through.

Then I walked up the long drive to the front doors of a large Colonial building, shaded on one side by a massive jarrah tree. Its grey-green leaves hanging listlessly in the baking sun.

Walking, walking, walking.

During that long walk I saw what was my first experience of people with mental illness severe enough to be incarcerated.

There is a walk, a stride. A way of marching along that I have only seen when viewing the mentally disturbed. So many people walking, walking, walking. Purposeful. Their hands not swinging, but straight down by their sides. It was sad and disturbing in a way that imprinted itself on my mind, and there it remains, ever since that day. Ever since.


When I entered the building, I asked a man standing at the foot of a flight of stairs if he could direct me to the room printed on my information letter. He looked carefully at the letter, and pointed down a long corridor. I was about to thank him, when he put his finger to his lips, and smiled conspiratorially. Then he walked away, with a long loping stride, his head bent almost to his chest.

Eventually I found another person; a woman in a white nurse’s uniform, and asked her. She took me to a door leading off the corridor, opened the door, and ushered me in.

I was shown into a large room. I sat in an armchair on one side of the room and on the other, at a large desk… a huge desk, sat three people. One of them, a man, sitting in the middle, was the doctor who was examining me. Doctor White-Foolscap-Pad. He asked my name, and certain details, birth date, address, my place of education, and mentioned my reason for being there. These details, I could remember quite clearly, and could recount them to him without a fault. He sat looking at me with his fountain pen held in both hands, held just by the tips of his fingers. He held the pen parallel to his mouth, and just below it. His elbows on the table.




Nobody spoke. The three behind the large desk gazed at me and said nothing.

I gazed at them and said nothing.



The beautiful flute-like call of a magpie floated in through the window. The heat seemed to be pushing down physically on the building; crushing it. The smell of dust was in my nostrils, like the smell of stale pepper.

The doctor in the centre referred to his notes. He put down his fountain pen and picked up a pencil.

One of the other two people, a lady, coughed gently.

The Doctor tapped his teeth with the pencil.

I felt that there was the smell of stale pepper in my nostrils, like the smell of acrid dust.

Silence for at least a minute – maybe more – maybe more.


“And how are we feeling now?” he asked me.

“I’m better” I said.


The magpie’s call once more. Clear and sweet as running water.

The lady coughed again. Gently.

“Sorry” she said, and I noticed that she rocked forwards gently. Almost imperceptibly rocking forwards and backwards.


The doctor put his pen down, carefully, on the table. He gathered his papers together. He closed the file. He looked to his right. He looked to his left. All three stood.

“You may go,” he said.

Case dismissed.

I was OK.


I left and went home. And that was the sum total of my dance with Schizophrenia.

No tests, no questions.

Nothing.

“I’m better.”

And they took my word for it.


Weeks later, my mother was helping me to tidy my room. She picked up a book. I sheet from a notebook fluttered out and landed at her feet. She bent and retrieved it.

A few words were written on it in pencil:

‘Don’t blame me. Blame the system’

“Is this important?” she asked, holding it over the mouth of the rubbish basket.

“It’s not important,” I said.


More by this Author


Comments 72 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Well, I am glad that you made it through that. I cannot figure out where they got that diagnoses. Schizophrenics don't act like that at all. I have a neighbor who is and she gets strange when she goes off her meds. They give her shots now because she won't take the pills. Please do try to behave, you old coot.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you for being my first reader, Becky. i hope you liked it and I also hope you managed to read the first part.

You must have Old Coot Story Radar installed. You always seem to ferret me out very early in the piece.

Don;t worry, my friend, I promise to start behaving when I grow up.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Not radar, I am stalking you. lol! I did like it, I did forget to mention that. I am so sorry, my mind was on other things and I had to work to read this,


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Isn't that scary, that your life kind of hung in the balance there, as it were. Imagine if Dr White-Foolscap-Pad had said something else, had thought he'd seen something else in you. Sometimes I wonder whether it's the doctors who are the crazy ones.

That opening paragraph, by the way? That's a stunning and beautiful description. This piece was very different from the first part - I felt right there with you in this one (though I did in the first part, but even more so in this one), and I could feel that anger that you were describing very forcibly, it was almost tangible. I think we've all felt that suffocating feeling. What's the point in saying how you really feel when the person who's asking has no real desire to understand? They're just ticking boxes, earning their pay with as little effort as possible.

Sharing this one, because you are brilliant :)

Linda.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Great! Stalk away. Becky. I love being stalked.

Mwah!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Linda, you have really looked into my soul. Suffocating is the word. And anger.

But a word I am revelling in, and I don;t claim to have any modesty here... "brilliant".

Thank you so very much, Linda.

And I hope you are over you flu business. Take care,

Ian

x


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Don't worry, my dear old coot. You are not going to lose me. I will always be there.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

By the way, I am not bragging, but did you see that little number in the corner of my picture? I am amazed!


nemanjaboskov profile image

nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

This has definitely been the best true story I have read in a very long time... I loved every word you wrote, it was really an experience to read something so well-written.

I am glad your little dance with Schizophrenia was over so easily, and I am glad you LIVED through such an awful experience...

You will probably be seeing more of my comments on your hubs :)

Nemanja


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Hello Ian,

I think many of us have had a time in our lives that we could have walked in similar situations. Being able to relate to pain and unrest. Possibly diagnosed... Labels are so easy to slap on someone and then walk away, planting doubts and fears. Why would we trust any doctor with our feelings. What if someone was just having a really bad time? Anyway...you became a brillant teacher! Many diagnosed with these things now lead productive lives ..Years ago...they just were so unaware and thankfully know more now..I would hope. This was brillant and drew us into your world. I stand amazed at the details in which you can remember. Truely a gifted mind.

Love,

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Becky, I just saw it. Congratulations. You have worked hard to get that, and I am proud to know you.

That's what I like about Hub Pages. The good work gets recognised.

I went up to a 98 once, and kept it for at least fifteen minutes!!!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you Nemanja. That was a great comment, and I truly do look forward to seeing you again... and again.

By the way, I used to teach in a London primary School and during that time. I had a little Serbian boy who came straight from Jugoslavia into the school without a word of English.

Everybody in the school, teachers included,called him "Na-man-jar" with the emphasis on the middle syllable. Poor little kid, nobody seemed to care. I made a point of finding out how to pronounce his name and as you know, the accent is on the first syllable.

I even let him name one of my dog's pups when she had them and I brought them into school at four weeks. He decided to call the pup. "Zoki" and from then on that little dog became "Zoran the Magnificent" or "Zoki".

I also wrote a story specifically for Nemanja to encourage him to read and speak in English. It was called. ‘And then, of course, there was Zoki…’

One of the best things I have ever written, but I am afraid it is too precious for me to post on Hub Pages (Yet).


nemanjaboskov profile image

nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

Wow, this is a very big coincidence :)

First of all, I have to thank you for this little story, and I have to say that you are definitely the only Hubber who can pronounce my name in the way it should be pronounced. I wrote a little something about my name on my profile, you might find it interesting.

Now, to the coincidence part... My father's name is Zoran :)

Again, thank you for making me smile and for being the only one to know how to pronounce my name correctly - that is really rare!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Sunnie. I know that is not all words, because I have worked with you and you with me, in the past. and we know how stories grow and drag us along. Rea search within ourselves and outside makes every single word important, or it isn't even worth writing.

Thank you for your constant support and also your friendship. It has been so encouraging and fulfilling.

Ian

x


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

I am glad you know me well enough to know I do speak from my heart..So blessed to have your friendship too. Hugs!

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Nemanja, that is an amazing coincidence, But that is what jokes and stories are all about.

Yes, I have read your profile, and I know how frustrating it must be. But remember, these things are born of ignorance, and not malice.


nemanjaboskov profile image

nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

Of course I know it happens from ignorance, and I never had a problem with it. During my college days, I had a wonderful professor from the States who had married a woman from Serbia and came to live here. He could also pronounce my name correctly, and he spoke Serbian better than many of the students in my class :)

So, stories and anecdotes are great, and I am glad I heard one from you tonight. Also, I am glad I have made a new friend here on HP :)

Thanks!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, friend. I like the sound of that.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Dear Ian, I detest the use of 1st person plural, it is so condescending.

The bus ride: "even the trees looked pissed off".

The heat.

"Dr. White-Foolscap-Pad".

And finally the piece de resistance:

"The beautiful flute-like call of a magpie floated in through the window".

Please excuse spelling errors. I am away from my thesaurus.

Ian you are a gift. You have a gift. I cannot thank you enough for sharing. I am stunned by your artistry.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Snakeslane, you have managed to find one of the parts that I love most: "The beautiful flute-like call of a magpie floated in through the window".

I think you understand my mind and where it is going, almost as well as I do.

And when I read your last paragraph, hot tears sprang to my eyes. I love writing, as you know, but when I get comments like that, it really touches my soul.

Thank you so very, very much.

Ian


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

We writers do our work from our own hearts in isolation. It is only in the hours after we push that 'publish' button that we truly know if it has reached another. I understand your momentary consternation, but now Mr. Lawns it is time to celebrate!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I see you are receiving the well deserved praise for a story spun from the finest thread. And if a man is going to fail at something, you failed at the exact momment in time that allowed us this story to be told.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

An elegant and articulate comment, straight from the pen of Mr Mike... Thank you. You comments are art forms in themselves.

And thank you for your constant support, dear friend


Mark Ewbie profile image

Mark Ewbie 4 years ago from Euroland

I read part one yesterday. Twice. And I thought I need to sit on this, to have time to think about it, and to read part two.

Trouble is Twilight that I can't find the right words, the clever words, the expressive words that your piece, indeed your writing deserves.

I don't read much, I comment less, I don't 'do' poetry but I have a soul somewhere deep inside me.

And your writing touches it.

Thank you my friend. You are special.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Mark, when I saw that you had read it, my first words were a very articulate, "Wow!"

Thank you so much for popping over, I feel honoured and flattered and pleased and delighted and all those other nice words which end in "ed".

Wow! again, and I really mean it.

Great writer that you are, it's like bleedin' Royalty steppin' in, Innit.


Mark Ewbie profile image

Mark Ewbie 4 years ago from Euroland

Ah stop it. Take the compliment dammit. I am not a great reader, too busy, too up myself. But I know that when I read one, or two of your pages they will be quality, heartfelt, funny, thought provoking, interesting - and well worth a read.

Always worth a visit.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

I read part 1 last night and now this part 2 this morning. Many of us have been down that road and know of the grey emptiness and it takes a good while to find a way back through that fog, as if you are living but are outside of that life.

I am touched by how honest you are and your incredible memory. I love they way you describe being inside a bubble, I imagine it is much the same as first waking after surgery, but I could not have described it the way you have. Brilliantly done.

Hearing the magpie singing to me indicated that although you felt despair you could still appreciate beauty and it broke into your thoughts.

I enjoyed reading your story, captivated from start to end. I did find it sad that your note (your last statement to the world) was found to be insignificant.

The bonus is that you are here to write your story. That I am most happy about.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

What a lovely, compassionate and heartfelt comment, Rosemay. And you who have been so low until recently, had time and patience to read my scribbling and make such a worthwhile comment.

And your last paragraph; how reassuring and positive that was.

Thank you.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Hello beloved ... wondered where you had got to.

I must say I admire your courage in writing these two pieces. Très brave, mon brave!

I have had a few close shaves with the arbiters of mental health myself and have invariably found them barking mad; far more cracked than you or I will ever be.

Your writing, as usual, is sublime ... voted up for literary merit. x


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Angie. I agree with you about psychiatrists and all of those other wackos (a technical medical term).

And thanks so much for the "sublime". I will put it on my overmantle and casually point it out to the odd visitor.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

I have those sorts of visitors too, TL ... odd.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Yes, Ian, my dear. Whatever your reply to that question, of course it actually was and is supremely important. Your gentle spirit prevented you from sharing it with your dear mother though.

So important now to have written it - and so beautifully, too. The words, the thoughts and emotions, the pictures and the song which was so out-of-sync with that moment. wow. I so felt your anguish having to listen to it at that moment.

You know I admire this visceral work and will preserve it and its comments thread. It and you deserve all the comments, too, - the praise & perceptive uderstanding.

Earlier today I opened The Turner Classic Movie channel and was pleased with the lineup: first, I watched the original 1945 version of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" which I had seen when it first came out and I was 13. It left an indelible impression on me. Dorian recited this from Omar Kihayyam:

“I sent my soul through the invisible,?some letter of that afterlife to spell;?and by and by my soul returned to me,?and answered, "I myself am Heav'n and Hell"”

It sent shivers up and down my body once again.

Then I watched the 1944 version of "Gaslight" in which her plotting husband meticulously abused her psychologically,setting her up to accept that she was going mad, in order to have her committed and allow him to take the treasures she had inherited from her famous operatic aunt after her aunt's murder. The convoluted plot grows more and more bizarre, but it related a bit to my own story, except that I didn't buy into the plotted madness. I needn't to have, if the plot had succeeded. Thankfully, it didn't.

But it vividly illustrates how relatively simple it can be to pull off such a horrendous feat to result in psychological incarceration for the victim, while the perpetrator walks free and wins sympathy and all the spoils after his or her crime. It seems that the most innocent souls can be the most vulnerable to such plots.

My empathy is boundless with your experience, dear Ian & that each of us has victoriously survived and surpassed those experiences is not only commendable but they now provide reality on which to share with and help others to understand and to apply our truths as they are able to do.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Hello Mr. Lawns, I'm getting worried that you've not been back to answer these lovely comments, hope you are busy writing? Looking forward to more from your painterly pen. Regards, snakeslane


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

My dearest Nellieanna, what a monumentally perceptive and wonderful comment on my sorry and the background.

I also like The Rubayat, It was my father's favourite poem, and he would quote many verses with feeling and understanding when we were along together.

No wonder I have a love of the English Language, with two such wonderful mentors.

My head spins, and I am going up to bed to sleep for a bit... a lot more.

Hugs,

Ian


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Snakeslane, my dear friend, thank you for the visit. Dear Sunnie has been in touch, I feel, and explained that I have been "under the knife" but now, definitely, I'm on the mend.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I thought you were due for that about now. Do you have some help? I wish I could be there to help you, dear friend. I know how it is to have surgery. Be careful on those stairs. Did the help you with a lift? HAH


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Hi Ian, hi Becky, sorry wrote a comment on wrong hub, darn!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi Becky. There is a bit of confusion here. Just before I went in for surgery (that morning, in fact) i received a letter from the surgeon which had also been sent to my G.P. In it he states that facilties have been set up for my return to allow for my mobility.

The hospital were quite ready to discharge me on the following day, but luckily (?), slight complications meant I stayed in for three extra days.

Old Coot survived!


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Hello Ian, I see you are up and about, nice to see you, hope you are well. Happy Valentines Day!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

And Happy valentines day to you, my good friend. I hope that the pain you have been experiencing has abated just a little. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

I went out in the cat today for the first time for a look at the outside world, and feel so much better for it.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Hi Sweetheart, I see the old coot survived. Happy Valentines Day. Glad that you are doing better and home now. A little fresh air was probably just what you needed. Don't be overdoing it now. Take it a little easy for a week or so. We would not want you to have more complications.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks Becky. I will take care, I assure you. We Old Coots (Yes, there are others) must take care of ourselves... especially when we have such good friends as you and Snakeslane and several other wonderful people.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Hi Mr Lawns, and Mrs Becky, lovely warm Spring day here, so nice, except now with sunlight streaming in can really see the dust and cat fur, oh noooo.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I wish I could see some sun. Haven't seen it in a week. It just rains and snows and is overcast all the time here. I want to go back to the desert, where the sun shines and makes me feel happier.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Hey Becky, you want hot, go to gg.zaino latest hub.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I remember the dust and the dust bunnies blowing across the tiled floor when I had dogs. A bit of dog hair never hurt anyone, and I sure miss them. (The dogs, not the dust bunnies)

They were well behaved dogs... floor rather than furniture, but always up to break the rules if a cuddle seemed in the offering.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

We're so lucky here. There are few days when the sun doesn't shine. I think I already said that my bedroom is south facing and so it's full of sunshine all morning, even if there's only a little bit of sun around.

"Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam,

And the skies are not cloudy all day Tra la la!!"

(That's for you, Becky)


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Cute Ian, did you happen to catch where the buffalo roam? Northern states, where it is cold. And mid-west where it is cold and windy. I want to go west. The buffalo did not roam there very often. Only when the herd got lost. I want desert Southwest. Arizona or Texas preferred.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

So that was my geography lesson for today.

Did I mention that the Buffalo had Yankee accents and that they were on a school outing when their Greyhound Bus broke down and that they liked it so much they decided to stay.

There is a little enclave in south western Texas where the citizenry are large, shaggy and speak a form of English that has had lexicographers puzzled for years.

Not only that, but the deer and the antelope liked it a lot, also, and being good at business, started up local stores and poolrooms, and even did a bit in the "Ethnic Crafts" side of things.

They employed the buffalo, who are noted for being able to work in delicate fabrics and beading and have exquisite taste in colour and form.

A happy little community.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

HAHAHAHA!!! Now there is my old coot. Silly again. I am sitting here grinning at your silliness.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Glad I made you smile, Becky. I am coming out of a rather long tunnel, and am beginning to be my old, silly self.


d.william profile image

d.william 4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Well written and provocative tale. I look forward to reading more of your stuff.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Dear Ian:

It is hard to comment on this article. It brought too many memories of my own incarceration and a battle with a suicide.

"Even the trees looked pissed off." I am used to seeing the same things in too many different lights and it is precisely that. When I am depressed, even the trees...

And the depressing and waking-up effect of seeing people who are REALLY affected with mental illness when there are no questions and no doubts.

You are right - "ever since". It is not the scene to be forgotten. EVER.

I was hospitalized a few times only when high and only one time because I was suicidal. That "suicidal" hospitalization lasted a day - and I was worse in a hospital and I begged, begged to let me out promising to never attempt...

I knew all too well what happens to people who attempt... and, yes, you were lucky on many counts.

Our system, locks those who attempt for THREE WEEKS and then they are requested to go through one month of mandatory program FULL-TIME...

So, it is either you have to be serious and succeed or don't even try...

I will be honest, I did not understand what drove you into trying taking sleeping pills, but I can trust you that you did not feel that optimistic about life...

I go through these moments often enough, but by now there is a decision that "I HAVE NO RIGHT TO DO IT". It is sort of an anchor... When I get too low, I don't question it, I just hang on to it.

And in the hospital... you know, there are horrible sights a plenty, but for some reason

I remember a woman that I have never seen,

but she kept screaming the whole night. I realized that she was given all they could give her (the medication) and mostly likely she was tied to her bed, yet she kept screaming and screaming and screaming...

I thought...

"My case is very mild. I don't belong here. Let me out."

So, you and I are luckier than others. I wish now "we feel better" though. Feel free to interpret we as "I" or as "we".

Honestly, I am emotionally dead and I am out-waiting this hell. Again. I have not danced for two months.

Even the trees... even the tress...


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Please dance again, my dear friend.

I seem to remember, so many months ago, telling you in a letter to you that I thought the beauty and the severity the classical restriction of the tango would suit you so well.

I seem to remember, but do you?

I knew you would be able to understand this story better than most. There is no rhyme, no reason, no accumulation of events... the suicide does just that when the time appears to be ripe.

You have your dance, your writing. your Daniel... you owe it to them.

I have the horror that reminds me that someone finds the body of the suicide or the almost breathing corpse of the attempted suicide, and that person, no matter who it is, never could, or would, or need be subjected to that.

We must all llearn to say, as I did, "I'm better now."


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Ian:

1) The dance. I love tango unconditionally with one condition - I need a good partner. I don't have one. Jay is in Montreal and he comes to Toronto every three to four months and as I said to him "Every time you come and leave, you leave me with a big gaping hole in my heart." Tango is not about my heart, but as I tend to feel so deeply I despise the shallow connections of dancing. There is some dissonance...

And my sad face... which I cannot make into a "smiley, happy and vacant" (the best combination) makes me an unlikely dancing partner anywhere - Salsa or Tango.

I will come back - I have made a decision on that - just to stay afloat. I am drowning.

The depths... the depths... are rarely welcome.

"He suffocated in his own intelligence." It is lonely to say the least. And I am left alone again. Completely alone.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

2) I am flattered that you said "I will be able to understand it better..."

I agree with your opinion that to understand certain things you have to experience them. Maybe it is the reason I am no longer interested in reading fiction as much as I did before. I realize how much authors "create" and interpret. I am longing for the real thing...

Even with tango ... Let me assure you that even I, having experience in dancing, thought that tango would feel differently. But, not, it took me by surprise.

So, what people that had never to deal with mental illness in others or themselves can UNDERSTAND?

The horror in my family comes from generation to generation. Apparently, it comes from my paternal grandfather and the stories of his "behaviour" are not very appealing.

But it was the end that took the prize of "The Horror of Horrors". My grandmother did away with him and then she hanged herself and it would be much better if somebody else would have found the bodies, but it was the older brother of my father. His hair went gray overnight...

He was bipolar, too, but he was less fortunate, he had it in a more severe form and he managed better or worse and he lost control only when his wife (being an invalid for quite some time, but still, she was an anchor) died, ...

When he lost control over his condition that was not diagnosed ... but then diagnosed as ... surprise, surprise... schizophrenia... he had to live in a home/asylum (whatever the name), he was "treated" from what he did not have and became a vegetable. I know that shortly before his death (or maybe that very day) he called my father and pleaded him to come and my father did not. I don't know the reason. Maybe he could not take it anymore... maybe he did not take it seriously...

That was the time (my uncle's illness, his death, his funeral) when I became afraid that I might have the same. It was too close in the family. That was my WORST FEAR just like in "1984".

One of those stories when the Worst Fears comes true. And, of course, my WORST FEAR is - what if Daniel has it. It is a nightmare and the only way to handle it is to experience yourself, ups and downs, admit it and work with those who are trying to help. I am not taking for granted that he will listen to me. I am trying to tell him NOW that he should observe my moods more closely and realize when it is "illness" and remember that ...

The realization, the pain...

And where will I find the man who will be cool and collected to help me, who will not be freaked out, who...

Well, Ian, I understand. I understand when you say you are lucky. Yes, indeed, you are. And we are all lucky to have you as a friend, as a writer, as YOU.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

A lovely and horrific answer; all in one.

I thank you for your friendship, Svetlana, your intelligence, your compassion and your empathy.

Your tales of your grandfather and grandmother and of your uncle are so distressing, but in relation to Daniel, please remember that there is that awful apparition known as the "self fulfilling prophesy".

I know that I am lucky, and we ride the same horse. Let the horse have his head, and he will take us to wherever he wishes, but keep a gentle hand on the bridle, and you will be able to guide him into pleasant territory. If pleasant territory is what you particularly require.

Sorry if this is very analogous, but I have been writing all evening and although the story I am writing should, perhaps, have been in prose, it insists on coming out in some sort of poetic form. I even have to stop it taking on a metre (meter?) because it seems to like dancing along although I want the halts and pauses of real conversation, and description.

Of course I will show it to you one day, because, as you will remember, I want you to write something about it, if, and when, it is published.

I sometimes forget why I wrote it and why it has carried me along for so long. But unlike the horse I mentioned earlier, I have no fear that it will be taking me somewhere I do not wish to go. It has fluidity and life… a life of its own, and the characters are as dear to me as people I know and talk to on a regular basis.

But getting back to the horse that you and I ride, let me say now that I know that I have not suffered as much as you with depression and bi-polar illness, only having put my feet into the most shallow edges of it, but I know that when I write, I write so, so much better when I have been depressed and come out of it, than many people who fiddle around on the edge of writing and think that they can write.

You know you can write, and so do I. We know our capabilities and our strengths, and we also know that, as we write for ourselves, and the “reading public” comes second… or even third, that out writing has integrity.

I don’t give a bugger what the rest of the world thinks of my writing… or then again, I care a hell of a lot, and as a result, I write and wait, terror stricken that someone will say I am boring or untalented, or I will just withhold my work from the public gaze, and keep it to myself, or share it with a very few people. You know some of them already. You are one of the lucky (or unlucky) few.

Ramble! Ramble! Ramble!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

A running score:

617 words today, making a total of 38,095 words altogether.

And it has taken months!

Ha ha ha!


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Ian, writing is writing (how very deep of me!), but it is true, I know that you care about the opinions of your readers and it is understandable, yet, you should go more in the other direction "I don't give a bugger..."

in order to please others, your horse will take you off course... If your story comes out in poetic form, then it should come out this way.

I agree, that characters become very dear to the author, you write with your flesh and soul... If someone writes without a soul, then he is more like a writing monkey... Sorry, I may not be fair to monkeys... Maybe monkeys have a lot to tell, too.

So, if someone thinks that you are not this or that... Personally (how else can it be? impersonally?) I don't like Leo Tolstoy. Does it mean he was talentless? No. I just don't like him.

Just enjoy your writing, you do write for a reason. I sound so clever giving advice, but I question myself - so, what have I done? I was writing for a year... Maybe I should have done something else. Maybe my writing was all important. Maybe it was not. But it was a stage.

Now? What now?

I really don't know. I am waiting for the depression to lift of to live again.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Ian, this piece I found today and it sounds so irresistible.

I don't know if you can open it, I will give you link and the lyrics

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aDmKoW11hQ&feature...

=================================

Why you look so

and do not you trust me

your deepest thoughts?

If you know I

I knew you understand

at all times.

I do not want to hide

or doubt or resentment,

they can undo

our love.

Why you look so

making me suffer,

and punish my soul?

Between your love and my love

must be the truth,

we can no longer play

our souls with them.

Between your love and my love

there are things to think,

and a promise to God

it is impossible to forget.

And you can heal you,

heal such wounds,

saving my life

with only love me more.

Life has taught me

to be like me,

sustained and comprehensive.

So I know that at last

we will understand,

I ask if you're like.

Come to my juntito

and talks like you know

of things you want to hide.

Why you look so

making me suffer,

and punish my soul?

=================================


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

You will survive, my friend

But I laughed when i read your comment about being unfair to monkeys. Earlier, I was looking at a picture of a monkey that someone had posted as part of a hub. That monkey looked as if he had a lot going on in his mind. (Or maybe he was just going over what he had to buy the next time at the Supermarket) Then again, maybe he just needed to sort it out before he wrote about it.

monkeys can be very secretive, you know.

Good night. I am going to bed.

x


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Good night Ian. Sleep good, dear old coot.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi, Becky, my dear friend.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Hi Ian, where are you? I came by to see you and your not here. I think it is about time that we both write something new. Any ideas for me? I am brain dead.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I haven't written anything except my story, 'The Potter' for ages and ages.

My chum here says you should write about 'My Mother' (your mother, obviously).

I am going to send you a lovely video of a song I think you will find very moving.

x


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Oops! The above was for my friend Becky.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I appreciate the idea but that one won't work. I am still fighting w3ith the grieving process.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Sorry if I opened wounds, Becky.

And Oh Dear, I am also sorry that I sent that video to you, because my mother died in 1976 and I am still unable to watch it without beating myself up about all the things I should have, could have, done.

Sorry,

Ian

x


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

That's okay my old coot. I haven't had time to watch the video yet and apparently, I should not.My mom died 7 years ago, but I am still reminded of it frequently because my sister won't get the estate settled. I am going to have to take it to court. The house isn't even for sale yet. It lost about half of its value during the housing bust so the money I would have gotten is about half.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago

Hi Ian, As I read part I and II, I keep thinking what a special person you are. Not only for all the amazing things you have written, but for being able to tell this particular story the way you tell it. I admire you greatly and am very glad you made it so that you could share your story. You are an interesting, complicated, and deep person, who I admire very much. Take care of yourself, you are very special.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Dearest Becky, I am so sorry that I didn’t even see this until this evening (22nd April, 2012). I apologise for not replying.

Forgive me. You must think me a rude old bugger, and completely callous and insensitive.

Ian

x


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

TKI, thank you for the uplifting comment. It was really a therapeutic exercise, and I think that it did me a lot of good.

It is lovely to hear such kind words from you, and I know, from reading your hubs that you mean what you say,

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Ian

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