“Your mission Mr. Fresno should you choose to accept it… complete WordPress 20 day writing challenge. Starting today at day 1, with a timer of 15-30 minutes explain why you write!”
I write because…
It started when I was selected by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) to take up a Travelling Fellowship entitled “A fresh approach to homelessness, lessons from the United States.” The aim – to submit a report by the same name to the trust, then present it back home to parties of relevant interest.
Starting in New Orleans I created a blog to record my project visits and the information gathered, along with feedback and guidance I received from back home. I updated the blog daily and found I had a real passion for it, the feedback I received was very encouraging and supportive. I fell in love with writing. It was also very therapeutic and beneficial to what I was doing out in the States. It played a huge part in compiling my report, both in collecting data at the time and with refreshing my memory all those months later.
Things didn’t go according to plan when I hit California. I landed in a desert city by the name of Fresno and the dis-ease of my Alcoholism started to stir. Fresno is a bizarre place. No offence to anybody who thinks otherwise but it reminded me of the “Twilight Zone.” It all seemed very artificial in the area I took lodgings, outside of which lies the worlds crystal meth capital. Fellowship meetings were strange, the people nice enough but not quite real and I felt isolated – started going crazy again! The sun shone bright and hot, it mocked me constantly and I was developing a thirst.
I hot tailed it out of Fresno via the airport bar, it had been many a 24 hour period since I had had a drink and I went all guns blazing. Blackout happened real fast as the whisky and beer flowed rapidly. I have a brief recollection of been in the bar in Dallas and phoning an AA buddy back home. I came out of the blackout in Heathrow – shocked and full of dread at having to deal with people who had expected so much from me. My emotions and thought processes were screwed and I intended to fully retreat back into the bottle.
It was a long road back. I went sick from work, in and out of meetings, some days drunk and some days white knuckling abstinence. Fear of everything else falling down around me nagged endlessly.
Step 10 of “The Program” of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests – continuing to take personal inventory. As a means of keeping myself in check I briefly scribbled down what I coped with each day and what I felt was a struggle. It gave me focus, a plan and something to work towards. It helped massively and I found myself engrossed in my writing again. It is a meditation of differences. The purpose of meditation is to practice focusing and holding the attention on one thing – fundamentally the present moment. Whereas my writing was all pretty much past tense. However it took me into the same meditative zone and I could feel a resurrection taking place with my battered, drunken, hungover and shot to shit psyche.
This gave rise to my latest blog “Down and out in Fresno”. It has been hugely popular in my close network but also internationally, I have had views from all around the world and submitted a piece of writing to an addictions recovery website in Boise Ohio, it was featured in the Guest spot.
Doing… it is all in the doing! A course of action that brings a powerful, creative focus and healing. I enjoy every minute of it, from sitting down at the desk to posting it live and every pound on the keys in between. For most of the time I have no idea what is going to come out. I start with a general thought around something pertinent at that time, then just attack the keyboard and role with the flow…it feels powerful. I am alive, driven and focused.
It’s also a two way street and I gain a lot from reading. Most days I ride a metro train and pass the time with my kindle app. I always have a book on the go as Stephen King suggests in his book/resume “On Writing”. I love to read, its Ying and Yang, again for me it’s about the focus – that single mindedness that takes me out of self. I escape!
I’m going to enjoy this challenge – it aint work if you love what you do!
First draft nonstop 662 words in 28 minutes.
Edit took 30 minutes and finished with 787 words.