I’m not sure how much of this is due to lockdown, or how much is down to some of the lesser-known and definitely rarely-admitted-to problems with Parkinson’s (I don’t really like the word symptom) such as apathy, depression and the relentless fucking grind of simply existing with this disease that seems to delight in pissing you off (and to which I know, eventually, I will succumb). I don’t know whether it’s a problem exacerbated by the sheer volume of ‘look at me aren’t I wonderful’ posts on social media (says he, trying not to choke on the irony), and the obsession with the ‘all you need to do is persevere’ sort of nonsense positivity currently swamping the world (odd how if you broadcast how you’re depressed everyone applauds but if you dare to speak out against the relentless positivity promulgated on social media you immediately become anathema), but I have been struggling with feelings of inadequacy recently. To put it mildly. I’ve been wondering what the point is, what it is I’ve been doing for the last decade and what it’s all about (Alfie). I’ve been wondering what is next for me. Apart from the decline into illness and late middle age that from this viewpoint appears to be increasingly vertiginous, that is.
So, I thought I’d do an audit. Try to work out what I have actually been doing all this time. This is my written word output:
Novels – three (one published)
Non-fiction books – two (two published)
Children’s books – one
Plays – one
Radio plays – one
Radio scripts – two
Short stories – twenty-two
Academic articles published – three (one forthcoming)
Regular column pieces published – twenty
Press articles published – five
Other articles published – two
Features published – one
Reviews published – lots
Featured pieces on websites etc – several
I’ve also appeared on the Radio talking about Parkinson’s a few times (Radio Sussex, Radio 5Live, Test Match Special and Radio Parkinson’s), and appeared in couple of newspaper pieces. I’ve raised around £10,000 for Parkinson’s Research, taught a bunch of people that Francis Bacon was far more interesting than they thought (or possibly confirmed their pre-conceived ideas or maybe even totally put them off), demonstrated that it’s possible to bat both right and left-handed, taken a few quite nice photographs of pelicans and probably some other stuff.
I think I made some people smile (and some people cry) too.
So why, why the fuck do I feel so fucking useless (asking for a friend)?