bookworkThe bookshop in my town in for sale.

It’s been there for twenty years, since I was a kid, and I’ve bought and sold so many books there over the years. When I had no money for new books, I would sell them back some of my old books and use the money there and then usually. Back then I read book after book after book, without pause. I loved that bookshop.

When I was a teenager I wanted a bookshop of my own.

I actually made out floor plans of where I would live and how where everything would go in the shop and in the flat I would live in above it. I would paint the building purple. I’ve always loved purple.

So I kinda want to buy the bookshop.

It’s a pipe-dream.

For a few reasons. I don’t have the money for starters and I doubt I could get a loan. I would need money for the lease and for a few other things and I’m struggling to pay the bills here. I work twenty hours a week, and I actually really struggle with that some weeks. The full day I do on Wednesdays is a killer sometimes, I was ill today (sore throat and cold) and it was a nightmare. By three in the afternoon I was pretty much working on sugar and tea. I could go to bed now and it’s not even ten pm. I could’ve gone to bed when I got home for work and it’s been so long since I’ve needed an afternoon nap.

If I ran a shop, I would have to be there everyday. I would need to be. All day. Working. Trying to keep a shop above the water in a tough economy in a town that’s actually been quieter than normal this winter (it’s a tourist town, but this is even quieter than usual). It’s a risk. My job is relatively solid even if the hours aren’t enough.

I don’t know much about running a business. I’ve worked in retail, done some financials for shops, but I don’t know nearly enough to run a shop.

Part of me thinks I could do it. Part of me wants to so badly I actually made an appointment to see it tomorrow and asked to see the books for the last year or so.

I would hate to see it close, would hate to see this opportunity pass me by but goddam I will have to. Pipe dreams and all. I feel like I’m just torturing myself a little, because the depression isn’t enough on itself that I need add to it.

I will probably cancel this viewing tomorrow and spend the day sleeping off this lurgy and spend some time with my wife.


A single shade of grey.

A single shade of grey.

Everything is grey and I’m tired.

I’m not sure what’s started it: December, the weather, general malaise, missing my meds for a single day, messing up my patch for a day (different days) but the grey started before that. I’m tired. I didn’t sleep properly for a few days but now, now I am sleeping and now I’m tired.

The grey means I’m just not excited or interested in anything. Everything is grey and uninteresting and all I want to do is watch endless repeats of shows I’ve seen before and play Oblivion on the xbox. I don’t want to work, I don’t want to write. I want to sleep and sleep and sleep in the grey.

Christmas is coming and I’m hardly interesting. A little more than last week now some of my wife’s presents have come and I did some wrapping. I like buying people presents and wrapping them up and knowing they will enjoy the things I’ve gotten them. That has helped but not much, and I hate it because my wife loves Christmas and I want her to enjoy it but I am ambivalent at the best of times about the holiday.

Pancake Day, that’s the holiday for me.

I’m tired.

Did I mention that? I have stuff to do. A piece to write for The Cult Den and fanfiction to write and stuff to learn for my HCA course for work. Things. But I’ve clocked over 50 hours on Oblivion and watched the first seven seasons of Mock the Week. It’s good background noise.

I need background noise.

I need sleep.

I need to feel better.

Not Quite 20/20

I see perfection
she’s sees everything with
a rim of darkness
around the edges that
pull in tighter as the day goes on longer.
She pulls me closer
to see me clearer
and everything fogs
but I still see perfection.

I’m lost without her,
she’s fine without me.

Eventually there’ll be nothing
between us and the daylight
she’ll take all she can get
guided through what’s left.
I just hope it’s enough
to get around the darkness
that already claims so much of her light.


Time is not quite what I expected as usual.

It drags
– over skin like paper –
soft but with an edge
too fine.
Crumple it together to pass it by faster
and pull it apart to enjoy it longer,
though, I’ve had bad days last for years
so neither helps –
there’s not messing with reality
only the fine threads of perception.

It rushes
– over skin like paper –
edges that dig in too hard
slip beneath the surface for seconds
barely notice if not for the bleeding.
I’ve had good days last moments
reality does not bend or break
you can only curl up your perception
spiral it in or out.



Pictured: Not where I work.

Pictured: Not where I work.

I started a new job a little while ago, part time, with some overtime. I haven’t spoke about it much because, I just haven’t. Also I am aware of the rules of talking about your work online and just the common sense that entails, but I figure this doesn’t ‘bring the company into disrepute’ (it’s in the handbook). Plus I like my job. And the company.

I work for an pharmacy, just as a sales assistant but I’m training to be a Health Care Assistant too. We’re an important part of the community and one that is both underused and overused, if that makes sense. I’ve never worked in that sort of business before. Shops certainly, but nothing like a pharmacy. And despite my inadequacies (the inexperience and the problems I have with social interaction) I find myself very suited to this job.

I like helping people for starters. There is something deeply satisfying in knowing you’ve helped someone even just managed to buy their soap when they can’t bend to reach the shelf, or chose a gift for their granddaughter or find the right shampoo. Little things right? I like that I’ve helped people find something to help them too, with their aches and pains and coughs and cold. And other little things like sorting out their prescription dates and so on. I like that, people leave happy, I am happy. The world turns a little easier for another minute.

I also find that I am perfect for the kind of work because I am hard to embarrass. I don’t do embarrassment. I do anxiety and have self esteem problems but mostly, embarrassment passes me by. I grew up with a man who still sings ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ when he’s on the bus. Seriously, it stops being embarrassing around 13. I’m 32, he’s still doing it. More often than not he’s sober. I also don’t care. Okay, that’s the wrong way to put it. I do care, I care that someone is suffering, and I want to help (see above), but at the same time I don’t care about what’s wrong, just that something is wrong. I don’t care what’s wrong with you, I’m not embarrassed by what you are buying, strange, friend or family, I don’t care if you have a cold remedy or condoms. I don’t care if you’re buying suppositories or  soap, toothpaste or tampons. I don’t care if you’re buying lube and a cucumber (the pharmacy only stocks one of those items). I don’t care, if you’re ill, that sucks, and I will happily find you something to help, but I’m not embarrassed and you shouldn’t be either.

People get sick, people have periods, people have sex. People have colds, coldsores and cystitis. Hopefully not all at once but some people have crappy immune systems too (we have vitamins for that).

I do understand why people get embarrassed certainly, but I don’t see why people should, given the amount of products we sell for bladder infections and bladder weakness and haemorrhoids and diarrhoea and constipation and god knows what else can go wrong. Human beings are badly put together, how we survived this long really is a testimony to our minds because holy hell our bodies are rubbish. Period pain and sensitive bits on the outside of the body and no matter what you believe in God or evolution, either way, we were not well done. Like we needed another hour in the genetic oven before we were taken out and set free. Seriously.

Sorry, I got a bit off point there.

Do you know what I’m thinking when you buy stuff off me? Well, mostly I’m trying to figure out which button to hit on the till, because they’re colour coordinated and I for some reason I find this distracting rather than helpful. I’m also wondering if I should offer you our own brand in said product, hoping to hell that you don’t care that I’m not making eye contact (most days I’m not) and trying to say all the numbers right because I tend to say them in the wrong order. More so if I’m tired.

Sometimes I’m thinking about lunch. Or making targets. Or if the damn voucher is going to work today. Or that I’ll add the item you just bought to my list of things to get down from the stock room on my next run upstairs.

It’s both not personal and personal this job. I don’t read your prescriptions (even when I do on the odd occasion I need too – I don’t understand what I’m reading), I understand the Data Protection Act really, really well and I’m not a gossip. I listen but I don’t talk. I find this to be the most useful. Know everything, say nothing. Trust me on that.

I don’t get embarrassed. Don’t be embarrassed. Once you’ve worked there as long as some people I’ve worked with that (at least two of my colleagues have worked in the pharmacy for thirty years) it becomes routine, normal.

So, other than my inadequacies with people and that I’m still learning about all the medicines we sell (getting there though) and my laziness of course, I am really suited for this job. I like some of the customers, I see people I know and have gotten to know more. My nephew always comes in on Fridays after school (and Saturdays sometimes if I’m working) and refuses to let me kiss him and cons me out of a quid with his winning personality. I know one elderly lady is very happy with me because I helped her sort out her prescription dates and I know another is happy with me because I walk around the shop for her grabbing her things when she can’t. I like that. Some days I feel worthless. Some days I go to work exhausted already and work my ass off cause, well, I do what I’m told and I want to work and I need the job and the extra hours and I actually hate standing around (or on occasion, sitting around).

This is actually my first job in a long while – years – I’m finding it good and bad for varying reasons I will talk about another day. For now I need to go to bed cause I have another full day tomorrow and well, I think I’m getting a sore throat.

Good thing I work in a pharmacy isn’t it?


Dysmenorrhoea is the fancy word for enduring several years worth of period pain in one epic fail of a day. I don’t suffer from it often, in fact, before today it hadn’t been that bad for a few years. Today I had to spend half an hour lying on the floor of the hallway at work, eyes closed and rocking back and forth because I could stand up. Or actually keep my eyes open. I threw up my tea and went dizzy and faint and actually, most of my menstrual pain has been better over the past year. Manageable on just paracetamol and not a mad desperate cocktail of co-codomol and ibuprofen and chocolate.

Oh and rocking back and forth.

I was pretty sure I was going to pass out at work, or throw up on the tills. The pain was shocking but not just the worst of it. I’m lucky I was only in work for the afternoon and not all. I’m hoping tomorrow won’t be as bad because I’m exhausted from this afternoon.

It’s happened once before, the complete and total collapse of my body. A few years ago, before I met my wife, when I had spent an entire day in pain and throwing up. The fact that it had lasted all day meant that I had to have the doctor come out to see me. He gave me an injection of painkillers and anti-nausea tablets in my backside. About an hour after that I ate a lot of food and fell to sleep on the sofa at about seven in the evening.

The only pain I can think is comparable to this, that I’ve felt, is the time I had a liver biopsy when I was hospital and that was two excruciating stabs of sudden pain that was gone again afterwards. The dysmenorra is looooooooong, never ending. The biopsy was quick.

It’s one of those things though that, even as a writer I don’t think I could adequately explain just how bad this afternoon was. Except maybe bad, bad, bad. I remember taking a lot of solpadeine as a kid, a lot of days when I couldn’t stand up straight. I’ve spent a lot of days wrapped in blankets walking around bent over and cradling a bin.

A lot of time rocking back and forth, but then, that’s not quite exclusive to the pain.


"Weeping Willow BBG" by Jeffrey O. Gustafson

“Weeping Willow BBG” by Jeffrey O. Gustafson

I am haunted
by weeping willows
with branches hanging
and I see their faces on the leaves.
I see their faces in my sleep.
Eyes dead to the world
and long lost to me.
I see their faces as they hang.


I am haunted.
We live with loss
carry it with us from place to place
from person to person
hoping they’ll understand
the faces that follow us through
lost and hiding in leaves and love.
How I see their faces as they hang.


My Mother Said She Might Vote UKIP

UKIP2So, there’s a lot going on in my life, and a lot going on in the world and as a human being it’s hard to concentrate on one thing and impossible to take on everything. In my life it’s a little easier, right now I work and I sleep and I do whatever my wife tells me. I suffer from anxiety and fight my depression and try and drink a lot of water (I’ve been getting a lot of headaches recently).

What I did want to tackle is UKIP. And Britain First. And well, actually, everything. My nephew is being bullied and feminism is becoming a dirty word and I have serious trouble making eye-contact with customers at work but there’s not much I can do about all the things, all at once. I’m seeing the faces of my dead friends in videos games and dreaming about the friends I miss at night and dammit society should not be breaking down in front of my eyes.

My mother said she was going to vote UKIP.

I think it’s the worst thing she’s said to me since I was 19.

And it’s because she reads The Daily Mail. Which may be the worst thing my mother has done since she married my dad. And granted, if that the worst of it in forty years then she’s a pretty good mum but after a while reading it for the gardening section doesn’t quite cut it any more. Not when she thinks we should leave the EU and that immigration is our biggest problem and to top it off – UKIP should be the ones to deal with it.

I love you mum, but really?

When we spoke about it, I realised she hadn’t thought it through because while immigration is an important issue in any country, and so is the Europe and the economy, that’s not the be all and end all of UKIP. Plus their ideas about immigration don’t quite line up with reality.

But that doesn’t matter to people because they’re not even thinking about the reality of a UKIP run country. They’re being regarded as some sort of saviour of the British people, the English people. They’re gaining support from the British working class because they want to take the country back from a bunch of people who don’t actually have without realising one very important thing:

UKIP don’t care about the working class person. White, black, or Asian, they don’t care.

They care about people like themselves, just like most politicians. White, male, rich, straight, Christian. Those are the people they are, those are the people they care about. Those will be the people they will care about if they get into power. Everyone else will suffer. I will suffer. My mother will suffer. Every working class person who votes for them would suffer under a UKIP government.

It has nothing to do with immigration and nothing to do with the EU and nothing to do with politics but a lot to do with people in power looking after themselves like they always have done. Whatever they say now is not what will happen. It’s never what will happen, and people are deluded to think if any party will look after them and the country it will be UKIP. I always feel like voting is more about who will do the least worst job not who do will do the best job.

UKIP are a right wing party. people like me and my mum do not do well under right wing politics. We lose our rights, we lose our equality, we lose out ability to live any sort of semi-comfortable life. We’re both struggling enough to support ourselves, and this isn’t something that won’t get easier under UKIP. I lose my rights as a woman, a disabled person, a queer person.

So does my mum.

So does most of my family.

So does your daughter, your sister, you.

So does most of the country.

Under right wing politics we suffer and I’m not saying lefties have it all right either, but at least that side of thinking takes into account more than the rich straight able bodied white man. The tories are a right wing party, on a scale of extremism it goes Britain First >BNP > UKIP >Tory. The conservatives are the party of the rich white man and we got the bedroom tax. UKIP is made up of people whose politics are too right wing for the conservatives. Too right wing for the party that gave us Margaret Thatcher.

It won’t be all doom and gloom under UKIP like part of me thinks. The day after they got in power if that ever happened I’m not gonna automatically lose my DLA and my wife and a fucking leg but if you really think that it’s going to be any better than the government we have now, then there is no help for you.

It scares me though, the sensible people who think they are the answer. Think UKIP are going to save the country with tough immigration and leaving the EU when that’s not even the problem. It scares me that my own mother would think that.

It also makes me wonder if she’s either on too much medication or not enough, but that’s for another day.

Don’t vote UKIP, don’t share Britain First posts, don’t assume the media is telling you the whole story. Don’t assume anyone is telling you the whole story.

Including me.

OctPoWriMo – Day Thirty-One – String

String yourself together
see how well you hold up
against reality.
Might be long enough to matter.


Final Day of OctPoWriMo

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four
Day Twenty-Five
Day Twenty-Six
Day Twenty-Seven
Day Twenty-Eight
Day Twenty-Nine
Day Thirty

OctPoWriMo – Day Thirty – Collapse

I watched a star collapse
and the world disintegrate
into dust, atoms washing over the universe
the sky breaking up into time.

What’s left is just heart
holding onto the last bits of life
stars that circle into the infinity
pulling us apart forever.

We don’t really see it
but we certainly feel,
torn and tumbling to the end of existence.
where only the emptiness will remember us.


OctPoWriMo – Day 30