A very different piece, this, to the extent I’ve used a different font for the .pdf. Think of it as my very own way of removing the “M” from between my forename and surname.*
Having checked the dates I created some very, very old files, it turns out this is only the second time this century that I’ve attempted to write fiction in something approximating my own voice. This brings with it a whole new set of challenges and anxieties, foremost of which is the fear that the narrator may be mistaken for me. And why not? We sound rather a lot alike, after all.
Suffice to say, he’s not. More importantly, however, he’s NOT a role model either. If you’re experiencing some of the same difficulties he is, information on drug, alcohol and mental health services from the NHS can be found here, here and here, and the UK number for the Samaritans is 116 123, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are people who will listen, and can help, and it can get better. I promise.
Thanks to Eleanor Harffey, Holly Parsons, Becky Beynon-Lewis, Mel Ciavucco and Esme Betamax for the feedback (even – perhaps especially – the bits I decided not to use); Es in particular is owed a very special thank you for “bellend”.
Thanks also to Anthony Smith, for allowing me to use more of his experiences at work than may be strictly prudent, and Peter Gibbs and Nathan Richards, for workshopping some of the dialogue with me.
If you’d like to hear a recording of me reading an abridged version of this story, Talking Tales now have a YouTube Channel, here – the video is the one for the event on 20th February 2016.
* I will genuinely buy a drink for the first person who gets that. Except you, Dave.