Allergic reactions

Blogging is a strange thing to do. With an idea, or more usually an irritation, comes vast quantities of literary histamine, which builds up until the fingers erupt in pustules of words, rancid and stinking as they drip onto the virtual page.

I ought to be out in the sun, topping up my vitamin D levels, balancing my life, inhaling the essence of spring which even the wood pigeons have smelt. Instead, I sit inside, with a sore shoulder, a veritable Job-lot of other aches and pains, and I bludgeon my way through the difficult first chapter of my new work. It is a short story, or possibly a novella, or perhaps even a full-length novel. I simply don’t know. I’m going to let it make up its own mind.

It’s a very strange feeling, writing with only the loosest of plans from which to draw. I simply do not know what the second chapter will bring, though I suspect it already does. My job, it seems, is to simply allow it to be.

As a musician, I was known for my technical ability. To me, it was about headroom and freedom. It was about knowing that when I started to play, I could pretty much let myself go, as it was unlikely that my technique would break down in any serious sense. There might be the odd glitch, but when you hear a player (by which I mean a virtuoso) play something ‘not quite so’ you should be thankful. Assuming they’re neither drunk nor bored, you’re hearing them in the act of reaching for something. They may fail to grasp it, but they have the imagination and the chutzpah to go for it. They are like the sportsman who goes for something special, not because they want to show off, but because they see an opening. In short, we’re all going, but we might as well go trying than retiring. Reach for something.

This, I hasten to add, is not from the same stable as ‘impossible is nothing’, or ‘fight, the unwinnable fight’. People cite these as evidencing the indominability of the human spirit. They are, however, indications of utter stupidity. Impossible is impossible. If you can do it, someone was lying to you. The unwinnable fight is unwinnable. You either run, or find a way of turning it into a winnable one.

So. I write a ‘thing’. I don’t really know what’s happening in it, though as a sort-of science fiction thing I have had to create an entire world-view. This is quite difficult. You can trust me on this one …

So, I have to trust myself, trust in my technique, trust that it will turn these feelings that I have surrounding my characters into the prose I want. I have to have faith in myself.

Now, that’s a difficult thing to do, when my body’s rebelling against the very things which make it worthwhile, and make it what it is. Trusting my brain to come up with the goods when it can’t produce enough of the chemical that allows my brain and body to act in concert. The left hand that controls the cricket bat, the ‘e’s’, the fork, the coffee mug … that left hand is flawed. And yet I write a books with sinister overtones.

Perhaps that’s where my dopamine goes – into my prose.

Well, they do say that when one door shuts, another opens. It’s bollocks, of course, but sometimes, just sometimes, these platitudes have a basis in the real world.

The gift of choice

One of the things that happens when a nasty, incurable, unsuspected disease pop up its ugly little head is that you become super-sensitive. It’s a little like the syndrome which makes you look at the ads for the car you just bought so that you might convince yourself that you were right, after all.

With something like parkinson’s, there is a movement from the point of diagnosis. The symptoms from which you suffered suddenly become directed, comprehendable, permanent. No longer are they funny little things that just kinda happened, maybe because you were just getting old, maybe because you drank too much on Thursday, maybe because you did something too much, like playing the guitar too much, and just fucked your hand.

What happens is that suddenly it’s a thing. It’s a fucking thing that’s doing things to you. It’s a thing. An actual thing.

It’s not that it sits there, stroking its white cat as it explains how it’s going to make you suffer as it switches off your life support systems one-by-one … ‘sooon you will type with only one hand, Doctorr Langman, yes indeed. That word’s a bugger, eh?’ No. Sadly. It would be so much easier if it were … a real active thing that you could fuck right up, hurling hubris right up its miserable ass.

What happened, however, is that a little part of my brain fucked up. ‘We are delighted to inform you of the results of your DAT scan.’ Delighted? Wankers …

So, impaired dopamine uptake, download, whatever.

Anyway, I have an actual thing, so anytime I hear of anyone else sharing my thing, I am all ears. I don’t search it out, but it comes to me. Sometimes the things which find me out are interesting, while some things are anything but.

I stumbled into a website today, whose author ‘believes in the body’s natural ability to heal itself.’ and he has a PhD. So he has some authority, right?

Yes, the body is s self-healing organism, though as yet it has failed to work out how to re-grow limbs, how to recover from having major organs removed … how to regenerate the basal ganglia. Bugger.

But what really interested me was that the ‘about me’ section mentioned the author’s PhD, but not what it was in. Obviously a medic, right? Or possibly Human Relations and resource Management.

I had to do some work to find that out.

The fact is, the author is wilfully misrepresenting.

The disease wilfully misrepresents. It misrepresents you. It makes you something that you’re not, that you weren’t. There’s a sort of obsession, a mutually supporting way of life. You suffer from it, it allows you to broadcast it to the world. To tell everyone.

I know I’m doing it now …

But we enter into a relationship with our (you see, I was about to write that insidious word, ‘condition’) disease. It becomes part of us. It’s a parasitic relationship, and yet a saprophytic one simultaneously. It becomes part of our very identity.

And it does so by right royally fucking us up.

The very definition of an abusive relationship. One which one simply cannot leave. And so one which one must embrace. Because what does not kill us makes us stronger. And we all know that there are two ways to survive in a dangerous situation. The first is to escape, run. If one cannot run, one must embrace the attacker, because otherwise they get room to swing.

PD, no matter what that PhD says, cannot be outrun. If you try to keep your distance, you have no control. You must embrace it. That way you might just be able to exercise some sort of control. Some.

But the fight is one you will lose. You may just be able to decide when, however. Under what conditions. With what outcome.

It’s counter-intuitive, perhaps, but when someone or something imposes themselves on you, they bless you with the gift of choice. The evil genius gives with one hand as they take with the other. They are the bastards who give you life.