53 and Imploding – Chapter 1

This is a book I wrote 15 years ago. It is an antinovel. There is no story – just a stream of consciousness. I called it ‘now writing’.

I am a watcher. I spend a lot of my time watching the people around me going about their life and looking for some signs of intelligence, understanding, planning; even a few hints of consciousness might be a novelty. I can make no sense of it. I can see no sense in it. The more I study them, all caught up in their tiny lives, the more they appear like termites in a huge termitarium, building ever more grand mounds, rushing around doing important things earnestly, importantly, frivolously, while a forest fire rushes towards them. I look around at the different mounds and see that they really believe each one will last forever. I look back across a huge flat plain of history littered with mounds that did not last forever. We live in the outer atmosphere of the sun.

I am the watcher. I don’t expect much. Some purpose would be nice, perhaps an aim or two, something to work towards, some greater purpose than self-aggrandisement. After all there’s enough to get your teeth into. We could set about proving Jesus wrong by eradicating poverty. We could make a fool out of Malthus by solving the population problem. We could save all those hundreds of thousands of species destined to die. We could end pollution, solve the energy crisis, transport dilemma, end all wars or simply protect the erosion of our environment. Oh, there’s no end to the possibility and scope that we are presented with. On the face of it we are, of course, doing precisely that. Pompous politicians set out plans to tackle this problem and that, seven-year plans, ten year plans. But I am the watcher. I see the money being siphoned off, the pockets being lined; I see the extravagant life styles as those that purport to be solving the problems set themselves up; I watch the political juggling as they build and protect their power base and defend themselves. One set of politics against another – intrigue – manipulation -dirty tricks – undermining – power struggles – wealth – opulence. Amidst it all the purpose is lost and the problems mount up. Nothing is solved. We act like termites building bigger piles, seizing thrones and gaining followings.  In amongst the amassing and gaining the problems go on and we continue to prove fucking Jesus right.

I am fifty-three. I am comfortable and secure. Perhaps that is the problem? I’ve got something to loose. I can see those seconds ticking. I can see them. The ones that have ticked and the ones to be ticked – they have conspired to trap me here.

          How the fuck can you be happy?

          Even as you read this millions are starving, getting ill and dying. The numbers of humans are soaring, forests are being chopped down, and animals are being tortured and killed.

          How can you be happy when people are being blown apart in wars? When stupid money grabbing corporations are deliberately sewing landmines to blow peoples’ legs off?

          How can you be happy when the air is full of carbon dioxide, sulphurous oxides and nitrous oxides; while ozone is being destroyed by CFCs? When water is contaminated by sewage, mercury and radioactive isotopes; our food is full of pesticides and herbicides and the land is eroding and saturated with a cocktail of harmful chemicals? When species are being eradicated faster than at any time in history?

          How can you be happy when inequality creates such extremes? When history is littered with the horrors of the rich and powerful? When all life is hollow and the rich and powerful pull the strings and all they want is more power and wealth and they don’t give a fuck for you, the seas, forests or wild-life?

          How can you be happy when religions all claim they are the only way, there is but one God or many Gods and they will fight to the death to prove it and convert you.

          How can you be happy when every single thing you see and hear is lying propaganda? – When you are being manipulated as a consumer, a member of a target group, a potential voter, a potential problem. Know your place and shop.

How can you be happy when each new panacea for the world’s problems is a system run by leaders with vested interests who cannot be trusted?

How can you be happy when the aim of dominant males is to dominate even if that means annihilating everything as long as they end up top dog. Better to be undisputed leader of the last ten rather that a leader of a billion among many leaders of billions or even one other leader.

          How can you be happy when your life is all about owning a third DVD player, another TV and a swish car and feel shit because your phone is the wrong colour, shape or size? When you are obsessed with the label on your clothes, your body shape and muscle definition?

          How can you be happy when the world is being covered in concrete, corporations buy off politicians, MacDonalds has a branch on the Amazon and music is a product?

          How can art be a commodity?

          How can you be happy when nobody cares about the 600 Mountain Gorillas so that a rich millionaire can pay a fortune to get hunters to kill three precious gorillas in order to capture a baby so he can have it for a pet?

          How can you be happy when a moronic footballers salary is hundreds of thousands a week, stupid selfish, greedy Rock Stars, actors and actresses earn millions and babies lie bloated for want of a bowl of rice? A millionaire buys a trip on a spaceship.

          How can you be happy when you’re sitting there gloating, smug, arrogant, superior and pampered, thinking that your wealth, power, beliefs, abilities, intelligence, make you superior. Don’t you realise that you’re a rich, wealthy, arrogant, empty fool whose whole life is built on greed and is utterly, destructively hollow. You are no better or worse than the green slime on my pond, except the green slime performs a worthwhile function. You selfishly exist to make your stupid self feel important. Are you cultured? – Knowledgeable and superior? Pah!

          How can you be happy living in this pointless little existence?

          How can you be happy putting you £2 sop into Oxfam when government policy necessitates the starving of millions for the good of the economy? When the G7 could eradicate poverty and inequality if they wanted but it might mean you can only afford three tellies and one car.

          How can you be happy with so many little nations all spending their wealth on defence and obsequious religion instead of solving problems, limiting population and living in peace and harmony with each other and the environment?

          You can create and not destroy you know? You can be part of the solution.

          How can you be happy when it could all be so different? When we could limit our numbers, clean up our act, leave enough natural environment for the rest of life and build societies more tolerant and equal? When we could look around us, appreciate the simple things and be sensitive, pleasant, helpful beings leading creative lives, harnessing science and technology for the good of all life and protecting our delicate planet. You could look in wonder, paint, dance, sing, write and do a million things.

          We could have a future as well as a past.

          Does death scare you?

          The universe is so big that your ego doesn’t even have the significance of a speck of dust; your intelligence is laughable; your Leah jet can’t get you there and your wealth can’t buy a single star. Your beliefs won’t gain you a second more and your possessions will decay.

          The only good thing is that one day all traces of us will cease to exist and your place in the history of the universe will be as if you had never breathed.

          All we have to play with is the present. We can build futures. We can stop suffering. We can care. Surely that is a worthwhile aim?

I hear the ticking. Each tap on this keyboard could have been spent differently. I continue to tap until something more important comes along. I would like to see what that might be.

I would like to be happy. I continue to send reports from the termitarium. These are the sermons on the mound.


Opher 26.5.02   8.5.02  2.7.02


          The first rule is that whatever starts off in idealism usually ends up bogged down in practicality.

That is the way it is planned.



          All those friends, all weaving their strands into that tapestry, changing and going their own ways. We have shared many seconds, many values and much fun. It would be so fine to go back and be there again. These memories are so flawed.

Events seen from different perspectives can seem incredibly different. Taken together could they possibly reveal a greater view of those seconds of reality? Would anything alter your own subjective experience? I hope not!




The first thing you have to understand is that there are no rules.

You just read that. It did not cause you to drop to the floor in horror.

It should do.

There are no rules.

Apart from the physical laws of nature that permeate the whole of this universe there are no rules. You can make them up. There is no morality. There are no rights and wrongs. There is no evil. There is no good.

We made them up.

There are no rules.

You can live your life exactly how you want. There was no God handing down a structure or a blueprint on how to live your life. We made all that up.

There is no ultimate reason why you shouldn’t fuck your children and then eat them. There are no reasons not to be cruel.

You can kidnap your neighbour, tie her up with sellotape, put her in a box with a pipe coming out of her mouth and bury her in a few hundred tons of concrete. Then you can pour water and soup down the tube and keep her alive. You can piss down the tube. You can keep doing this until she drowns in her own excreta. You can slowly fry your annoying neighbours son over glowing charcoal until he is completely cooked.

Don’t think these things haven’t been done.

There are some people who have realised that there are no rules and felt the need to do these things.

That’s why we had to make rules.

I’m quite in favour of most of the rules. They limit the things that the evil fuckers can do. You see, I use the word evil. We invented that to describe the vicious cruelty of a percentage of humanity. We imagined it as a cosmic battle between good and evil. It is not. It is merely life. It is a fundamental feature of humanity. We enjoy violence, pain and are excited by blood and death. We adore cruelty. Of course, most of us have blotted this out because we have been taught that these things are wrong. Only evil fuckers do these things. We are good. We believe in the rules. We do not want to be seen as evil fuckers and we do not even want to see ourselves as evil fuckers. The evil fuckers do these things. They have penetrated the restrictions and given vent to the feelings inside. They enjoy the power of being evil fuckers. They like the fear they engender. They get a buzz out of cruelty.

Bear baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, bull fighting, gladiatorial fights and stoning to death are all cruel activities carried out by evil fuckers in the past or evil barbaric fuckers in uncivilised countries. Except these evil fuckers are or were considered ordinary people by everyone and themselves.

There are no rules.

We make it up as we go.

We probably need the rules because deep down in our genes we are all evil fuckers.



Some people are artists with words, creating pictures and stories out of static neuronal sparks. They structure and craft their words to tell tales and plug into that primitive need of all humans. But I am no artist. I have tried that and failed. I admire their skills. I enjoy the stories they weave. But to me they are sanitised. No matter how intricate or complete they cannot capture the real textures of life; they cannot even capture a brief moment in its entirety. A novel is a distillation; at best a selection of highlights. I am no storyteller, wordsmith or creator of tales. My words are not crafted, not honed; they escape on the run. I let them free.

I am no writer.

So what is this I am doing? Can you imagine me sitting here? It is eleven in the evening. Outside it is dark and raining. It is pleasantly warm. I am sitting at my desk, a burnt out old 53-year-old small fat guy with longish thinning hair and a threadbare ambition. I have standing in the community. I am a deputy headmaster at the third oldest school in the country. Some would envy me this position. I spit on it. It keeps me warm, well fed, and comfortable. It pays for the wine, the music and the car. It has enabled me to raise and care for my family. It takes time from my pointless writing. It is a noose around my neck strangling the vitality out of my ageing synapses. I am suffocating in this shit. It is true that it affords contact with some extraordinary young minds, as well as a larger number of less extraordinary young minds, but it is none the less a role I go through; a set of challenges I have to rise to. It eats away at my nerves and erodes my mental health. It robs me of time, ease, friendship and thought. It buys that with money and comfort. This is addictive but probably not a good trade. Who can say? It depends on what your purpose for living is. It depends on your ethics and morality. Ha!

Can you picture me yet? I am sitting here at six minutes past eleven in front of a computer screen typing in microsoft word. This is page five of Chapter one. I have two sheets of A4 paper in front of me. One is covered in my own indecipherable scrawl in red ink on both sides. The other has black scrawl on two thirds of one side. They are the only clues I have as to where the next pages will take me; that and some weird idea that I want to explore the reality of life and delve into what is really important. You see – I do not lie when I say I have no plan or structure. Life has no plan or structure. We impose that on it with hindsight and the absurd need for order. Why should it? I do not believe in destiny. I do not believe in God or some equally absurd after-life. I believe in haphazard circumstance.

You wondered why my writing is unreadable? Why should it be anything else? What gives you the right to even expect that you should enjoy it? Is my function to entertain you? Fuck you! Go and read Harry Potter if you want a tale.

This tale is real. It is no tale. It is happening now.

I have already told you that this is no mere story, no crafted tale. You will find no neatly crafted words that have been carefully pawed over, annotated and rescripted. It is going no place I am not or have not been. You will find no neat beginning, intertwining middle, or end that neatly pulls the threads together and offers a satisfying conclusion.

What bollocks. Why should it? Why do so many things seem to be compartmentalised like that? The human mind is constructed to piece things together neatly in packages, structure, classify, relate and conclude. I am a fucking scientist for Fuck’s sake! I am good at that! I should have no problem with it.

I was born. I lived a brief while. I chose to spend thousands of hours in front of screens like this or type writers. I scribble down thoughts that come to me in the night, in the midst of driving places, in lessons. I am compelled. I die. I leave behind the eddies of my life. I leave my children and possessions. They, my possessions, will be distributed, discarded and destroyed. The children will go their own way. Life goes on.

That is oh so neat. But it is merely the way our minds supply order to events that are continuous. Speed it up until we are like the bacteria undergoing fission on a slide. Each one of us is inconsequential.

I am a one finger typist. This is relatively slow work.

It is now twenty five past eleven. My son Henry will ring in a moment to be picked up from the pub where he is working. My son Barnaby came in fifteen minutes ago most probably from seeing his girlfriend. My wife is probably asleep on the sofa in the front room.

I had an hour-long soak in the bath and consumed a half bar of toblerone, a coffee and a chocolate milk drink. I now feel a little like a piss, nothing that can’t wait. There’s a slight pressure in my bladder. These days that happens quite frequently. My flow is weak and my bladder rarely completely empties. I go often and trickle rather than spurt. I don’t so much go for a piss as much as a splatter. I will go soon.

You can already discern from the way I meander that life is not very organised. There is nothing neat about me. Around me, on my desk, are stacks of unsorted CDs. And junk. I type in the midst of this chaos. The dog sleeps behind me. Life is not like some well-constructed tale. I do not see things clearly. I do not understand too well. I see life as convoluted spaghetti of intermingled lines. Each strand a life. Each has two ends but they are so intertwined that this is not obvious or important. And the sauce is a corruption of greed, avarice and cruelty but worst of all indifference. No. This is no novel. This, if anything, is an anti-novel.

It is now twenty-one minutes to twelve. Henry has not rung but I have heard Liz cough. She has not yet woken up sufficiently to get to bed. Tomorrow I have an unpleasant duty to do at work. I have to discipline someone and take a cherished role away from them. They deserve it. But even so this is eating away at me. I feel the tension of it at the back of my mind even as I write. I would like to call in sick and run away from this. I know I cannot do that.

Liz has now risen to come through to go to bed. I am only halfway thought the first side of the red notes.

In past generations, gathered

Henry has just rung and I have to go and pick him up. He is working at a pub a few miles away. I will be gone fifteen minutes.

around camp fires, our ancestors

It is twelve o two.

passed on their tales and metaphors while we listened in awe and ran our own pictures in our heads. They embellished life with gods and power and sought to understand the weather, seasons, heavens and life. They failed miserably but they did shed a little light and make it all seem so feasible and interesting. We all loved it. The mystery. The wonder. The answers. It made everything so neat and tidy. It was structured, salutary, educational, practical and made sense of the awesome chaos of the universe in which we tenuously teeter. It made us feel protected and secure.

But this is an anti-novel. I offer you no comfy solutions or havens, no eternal life or nurturing gods. If you find yourself tied to the rails the express train will certainly decapitate you. This is reality. I write of a heap of tangled spaghetti that inevitably twists, knots and breaks. I slide along the slimy entrails of life, real life. I have not had a piss yet. Henry is cooking pasta. He has come in while I type and complained that there is no fucking food in the house. Have I got any goodies? I have two kit-kat chunkies hidden in my drawer but I keep quiet. He is now cooking pasta. He is coughing and clattering in the kitchen even as I write that he is coughing and clattering. He is making a coffee. I wonder if he will make me one? I call out ‘Yes please’. He grumbles. But I think he is making me one.

This is a heap of life served up with a mess of sauce. Fuck knows what is in the sauce. Everything is in the sauce. This is no delicacy served up by a chef, arranged on a plate with a garnish of fresh parsley and a twirl of rich sauce. This is no result of following a recipe. This is a mess of whatever comes to hand.

Henry brings me a coffee. He asks if I have any dope. I have not. The dope has been smoked long ago.

I am making no sense of this. It is twelve twenty and I am getting tired. I am also approaching the end of the first page of red scribble. The scribble that I wrote yesterday morning when I arrived at work. I concieved it at about 8.00 to 8.30 as I drove in to work. Unfortunately I forgot most of what I had mused over before I came to write it down. It seemed interesting to me at the time, interesting enough for me to write out here. I am sure that the stuff I forgot was even better but none f us will ever know. Us. See – I am presupposing an audience. After twenty eight books and no sign of a spark of interest I still imagine someone actually reading this. I am both the recorder and the audience. Even my wife gave up on me years ago. She would not deign to even glance at a single sentence. This is some stupid hobby, an indulgence, a pointless exercise I go through. She does not even bother to question it any more. There is no logic to it. I am satisfied. Strangely, knowing that nobody would ever bother to read this, gives me a freedom. I do not have to worry about the effects of my words. Are they clear? Do they convey? Will they change anything? Do I create empathy? Who gives a fuck! I can write what I fucking like!

Henry comes in to show me his pasta. It is not spaghetti. It is pasta shells. He has heated up a sauce from a bottle and covered it all in cheese threads from a packet. It looks a little artificial. Wouldn’t that have been something if he had cooked spaghetti? That would have been neat!

A real writer, a craftsman, an artist, most probably works faster than me. I am limited by my speed of one finger typing. But then I find that I can go pretty much as fast as my brain works. We get along.

Perhaps there is no sense to it or order in anything. The order of our everyday life is a superficial structure we impose over the chaos. I seek to only sip the spice of the sauce as I slowly suck a single strand into my mouth. It is so rich that it addles the palate. I wonder what my work colleagues would make of this? With their scabby little existences, lusting after each other, living in their squalid small lives and narrow horizons as I peer out at them through these slots into the universe. They see a funny little fat man. I smile. I whistle. I talk. I teach. I manage. I feel my incompetence. I do them an injustice. Perhaps the piquancy of their sauce is every bit as rich as the flavour I am sucking out of life; perhaps their heads are as full of spaghetti as mine; probably I see as little of the icebergs of their existence as they see of me. I have little wish to share it with them. I save that for friends. I am not sure what constitutes a friend.

Henry has gone to bed with his pasta. I no longer need to piss. I am tired. I should stop and go to bed. Liz is asleep. I have to be up tomorrow. I will be dead. Fuck tomorrow. My coffee has cooled and is drinkable. Henry makes crap coffee. I don’t know why. He makes it the same as me. I am holding a gulp in my mouth. It is warm. I move my tongue through it. I taste it at the back of my mouth. I swallow a little. If I move my tongue through it it feels warm. It is cooling. I swallow it.

This is an anti-story. It will confuse and exasperate as I slither from one thought and experience through this mess of juice.

I have no interest in the neat little lives, the tales of the city. I want to describe the things between. I want to dwell on the mundane; the chaos of real life; to interlope along unplanned meandering intercies.

These are the things left out. You can intersect your story into these. I want to explain the agony of passing a turd through an anal ring torn and fissured. This is not pleasant. I would like to explain this because it is real, not because it is a device to insert into a story to add tension or provide an interlude. I want to describe what it is like to piss through an infected cock or dance in a thunderstorm.

I will not do that because these are not things happening at present. I could conjure them up from memory or even imagine them. Ho hum. But I won’t

There are no neat packages or journeys, no preordained order, no purpose. Not that you believe me. You are searching for structure and imagining it to exist where there is none.

You will not find it. You may think you have found it. You may think I am subconsciously supplying that structure. Maybe I am!

But taste the sauce!

It is nine minutes to one. I have finished my coffee. I am going to bed. I will piss, wash, undress and lie down next to my wife. I will inevitably find myself thinking of that nasty business I will have to do tomorrow. It will make me feel sick. Then I will think about this and go to sleep.

I have finished down to the bottom of the second red page of scrawl. I am not sure how this went. I will read it soon. Ha, I found this fun. The computer is humming! I am weary. The whole house is quiet. I just read it back. It is one ten. I feel OK. Ho hum ho.

I just turned the TV off, put the milk away, let the dog out, flushed the loo, had a piss, flushed the loo again, turned six lights off, shut two doors, fed the cat, let the dog back in. It is one fifteen. I am going to bed.



I am a watcher, a commentator, and a wanker in the winds of time. I am an idealist and a dreamer. I am the ultimate optimist and the perennial pessimist. I write to change the world and I write even though I believe nobody will ever read anything I’ve ever written.

When I die they will make a huge funeral pyre out of my books. They will burn me with my own words. I write so that my flaming voice will roar me higher into the heavens in one last spectacular display of ineffectual verbosity – one final impotent gesture of defiance.

I am a watcher.

If only I believed that there was a part of me able to see that last dramatic gesture. But I don’t.

I am standing on this mound surveying the plains. The forest fire is sweeping down. I see the scurrying. I see the entourages. I see the luxurious penthouse suites. My funeral pyre ain’t gonna create much of a fire-break. What the fuck!

Semaphore messages across enemy lines.

If you could see me now I am smiling.

None of it really matters. If not this fire then the next or the four billionth. What does it matter? Eternity looks over my shoulder and is smiling with me. She likes what I am writing. She knows it ranks among the very, very best. There is none better.

I am happy that there is none better.

All these symbols I am arranging. No other mind could do it the same. The conveying of meaning, the portraying of scene, the characterisation, the pace, the setting. There is none better. This is as good as it gets. My words are right up there with the very best. Roll over Shakespeare your time has gone.

I smile.

Eternity smiles with me. It is a condescending little smile. I detect a little compassion in it. It is a little arrogant perhaps, a little superiority. I am being patronised.

In a billion years time my words will still be among the best but, just as today, no better than the worst. But at least fucking Jesus will have been proved wrong – the poor will not still be with us!



I have to stop this now. Liz has come in. She is increasingly irritated with me taking time for this writing. I should be doing something. There are rooms to tidy, birthday presents to buy and send, and work to be done. She resents me spending time on this. She regards this as a pointless pile of egotism.

She is usually right.

I should be scurrying through the mounds. I have a pile of work awaiting my attention but no desire to tackle it. We are off to China next week. I will be viewing walls, temples, terracotta armies, squares, and sailing up the Yangste. I have taken my first anti-malarial tablet today. We decided against the Japanese Encephalitis jabs and the Hepatitis B. The nurse explained to me that you catch Hepatitis B the same way as AIDS inferring I would be OK if I didn’t shag any Chinese babes while I was over there. I assured her that I didn’t think that particular jab would be necessary.

I ache. My joints are seizing up, my waist expanding and my hair receding. Perhaps Chinese babes are impressed with these characteristics. After all they are signs of success. I have achieved this vast age, am obviously fat and have wealth enough to travel. I am a biological success. They would covert my genes or their offspring.

Can’t see them falling over each other.

I will eat Chinese delicacies, drink slightly different alcoholic beverages, meet up with old friends, talk and reminisce, watch the sights, takes a million photos and come home.

So what is this all about?

I am sitting here in front of this screen. I have tidied my desk and put my heaps of CDs away. I counted them. I have about 3000.

Rich phoned and wanted Nick’s number but I didn’t have it. It is raining, grey and dreary with no prospects for improvement. Cars are passing along outside. Henry is at work in an architect’s office. He has a future designing mounds. My dog sleeps at my feet. I have a hangover from drinking too much beer and wine last night. I am still tempted to roll a joint.

I haven’t quite stopped yet. Liz stomped past. I want a piss. I have nothing to report. Life goes by.

I am a trifle bored.



Fuck it. I decided to go on. I am enjoying myself. Liz can go fuck herself and take her stomping elsewhere. After all, tidying can wait. You can never get a mound too tidy. This could have fucking repercussions later.

I am compelled to write. Sometimes it flows as if I am connected to something and it is just using me as a conduit. Idea follows idea. I am not saying that they are brilliant. It is all the same junk. It is just that it gets in a groove and those connections spark.

I have decisions to make. I am making this up as I go along but the ideas are beginning to gel. I have a lot of anecdotes and ideas that have come together. The rest of the book. You see I am conceiving this as a book. I can already visualise it sitting on the shelf with crappy photocopied cover, spirally bound along with all the other ‘books’ I have produced. More clutter, junk and dust gatherers. I conceive chapters. I have already placed this in a period of time. I have selected characters. They are real people – my friends and acquaintances. Real places, real anecdotes. The time sequence is a little jumbled up. The problem is the names. Should I stick with them or change them? Some of what I am going to describe might not be considered flattering or accurate. It can’t be accurate. I am describing a poorly remembered event. I am embellishing without even being aware that I am. In trying to be accurate I am bound to misrepresent. I am already working out how simplify by amalgamating things. The chronology is hopelessly jumbled. Should I use their real names?

I have just taken two annadin extra for my hangover that is getting worse. I have made a coffee and have a plate of bread and humous. I have no hope that the headache will ease in the foreseeable future. These sort of headaches rarely do. I should be fine after tea.

Liz is tidying her room next door. My sister arrives tomorrow evening with my mother. There is much to be done in preparation. I should be helping. I am writing.

The Humous is delicate and tangy. The dog waits patiently for a tit-bit.

We are products of our culture and our upbringing. We are taught, no – trained, to believe and do what we do. Even our rebelling is programmed.

Religion is hot-wired into our very cortex’s. When we pray and worship chemicals are released that alter our brains, our states of being. We are biologically programmed to worship. That’s very worrying!

I’ve just returned from New Grange, near Dublin, I’ve seen the Mexican Pyramids, the cathedrals, temples and henges. Is nothing sacred? Is nothing more holy than a fix? Is there nothing behind that enormous expenditure of energy involved in the construction of such monumental edifices?  The universe seems such a cold and empty place.

There are things I believe in.

I believe in fairness.

I believe in love, laughter, awe, wonder, friendship, fun, respect, empathy, craziness, sex, help, friendliness, highs, contentment, change, responsibility, tolerance, kindness, happiness.

I believe that if we were able to build a mound based on these sorts of things it would be a truly happy fulfilled mound.

It’s just a list but it’s what I build my life on. I don’t have to think about it, plan it out, or strive towards it; it comes natural. I don’t have to form a sect, join a sect or follow anybody, believe in the divine or the mystical – just stand back and look around me.

I am the watcher.

I used to believe in spirituality but that’s been replaced by a sense of wonder and mystery. I try not to hold it against anyone but I don’t want it shoved down my throat or imposed on anyone. If you believe it then accept that it’s a personal thing – write it in a book, talk to anyone who enquires but shut the fuck up when you’re on my doorstep, in my schools or running my mound! Keep your fucking endorphin rushes for your own junky heaven leave me to my own dope!

I don’t believe in violence or retribution even though I feel them strongly enough. I often want to kill people and nobody has killed one of mine! I can’t imagine. I am infuriated constantly by cruelty and selfish greed. I am infuriated. WHY WHY WHY!!!! There has to be a better way. Hurting doesn’t make you happy. But it seems to for a lot of people. We love pain!

I hate religion. Probably equal with nationalism as the joint most evil inventions of mankind. Sure it would be nice to have a purpose. But a special, personal relationship with God – the chosen ones, the true believers, the spawn of the deities – come the fuck on! Hasn’t history, littered with dead religions, chosen ones fallen by the wayside, decapitated god, taught us anything.

Makes me fucking laugh when I hear the twats talking about the mighty Allah giving them victory, God wills it, and all that shit. You don’t hear them asking why God hates them when someone else bombs the fuck out of them and they lose.


I love friends, conflicts and argument but I feel the need to be alone.

I’m 53 and have discovered that age brings some perspective but not necessarily any greater clarity.

Every second ticks. Every step is closer to the final step.

It is all one way. You cannot even go back in your mind because the memories have changed. Each time you look at one it’s another tick or two, another step, a new experience. Each artefact from the past is present only in the present. The past no longer exists.

I am creating this present from the past. It is all new. It is novel.

I have eaten the humous without giving the dog any. I have drunk the coffee. The headache has receded into a dull ache over my left eye. I just coughed.

It is time to tidy and prepare for tomorrow. I have a mound to tidy and fairness to live up to.



12 thoughts on “53 and Imploding – Chapter 1

  1. This is amazing! I used to love novels but these days I enjoy stuff like this more. I don’t know why but it’s just more interesting I guess because it’s more real.

  2. I find it depressing! This chapter has done an amazing job selecting a great number of negative aspects to life in our era, but it isn’t balanced. It seems to negate any goodness in the world. If you and I are just watchers, we are part of the problem, not the solution.

    1. This was a strange time for me John – I think I was coming to terms with my limitations and felt that life was already behind me. Ahead was a slippery slope downwards. It was a state of mind. Hence the title. All the dreams and aspirations seemed to be evaporating. I was recording a lot of mental processes. I was imploding and recording the implosion. I was in danger of falling short of my own expectations with the realisation that time was running out.

      1. I understand – I’ve felt that too. I try to make the dreams and aspirations of my youth inspire me as I enter my senior years – so I won’t give up. I know full well those dreams will not be realized, but I’ll go down swinging.

  3. Hey Opher,

    Your antinovel is an absolute pleasure to read: the stream of unfolding consciousness deliriously delightful as it dashes and babbles twists and turns else slips and slides weaving threads and tangents together in a fascinating fabric of thought. I could sit in mindful consideration of this piece for many an hour or else be inspired to self-reflect through ‘now writing’. I imagine maintaining detachment from elements of control whilst remaining equally attached to the writing process was a joy 🙂

    Regards John Fioravanti’s comment: it brought to mind a Longfellow poem, one I thought I’d share, hoping that was okay with you…

    A Psalm Of Life ~ By ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~

    What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist

    Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream! –
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
    And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
    Is our destined end or way;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
    Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
    And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
    Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
    In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
    Be a hero in the strife!

    Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
    Let the dead Past bury its dead!
    Act, — act in the living Present!
    Heart within, and God o’erhead!

    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.

    Enjoy your week dude 🙂



      1. My pleasure. Thank you…a great piece of writing. Rock on brother! 🙂

        Longfellow is a favourite of mine…we’ve shared quiet moments once or twice before.

        Have you read much of Russell Hoban’s writing? Amaryllis Day and Night or Fremder are recommendations I enjoyed.

        30 mins into the new week already. How the concept of linear time flies. Yes indeed, let’s chink glasses and raise a toast, ‘Here’s to the dreaming muse in us all! May she always amuse her muse by musing our musings.’

        Namaste 🙂


  4. My mum could never be happy when she knew other people weren’t, bless her! The Watcher reminds me a bit of Montaigne, using himself as the touchstone and refusing to accept received wisdom.

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