Handwriting Day – Left Handedness, Dyslexia and Poetry

It’s Handwriting Day and what better way to celebrate than with a good ol’ fashioned digital text blog? Ok, a good ol’ fashioned text blog including a picture sampling my handwriting.

I’ve included a picture of my notebook with the first draft of my poem “Words”. I still love to write with a pen and paper, most of my poems take form that way and I keep a collection of them all in a separate book, written as neatly as possible, for prosperity sake. There’s no denying the free-flowing creative nature of writing when brain connects with paper via pen. I always have a notepad next to me at work to jot down ideas, and sketch out thoughts. It’s so accessible and liberating that, no matter how digital I am, I’ll never want to do away with a pen and paper for notes and inspiration.Photo 23-01-2015 18 23 39

Now whilst I do love writing “the old fashioned way”, it isn’t without its problems. Number 1, I’m left-handed – smudge city. Number 2, I’m dyslexic – no automatic spell checkers. Number 3, I’m dyslexic and left handed – it’s just a crazy mix of awkwardness – I’ll write with my hand looking all crooked, or slant the paper 90 degrees – it’s weird, it’s how I write, but it looks weird. Oh and I write cards backwards because of it “xxx Drew From Love Birthday Happy You To”. It has been said that the size and obscured nature of my handwriting is a crafty trick I subconsciously employed in order to hide my dyslexia at school – can’t mark my spelling as wrong if you can’t quite figure out what I’m actually writing huh can you teacher? Pa-chow, 1-Nil to Drew’s dyslexic brain. Unfortunately, eligible handwriting is super important for exams, 1-1 Drew’s dyslexic brain vs the world.  This lead to me, at the age of approx 15, to having to alter my handwriting completely (I used to write cursive) in order to give myself a better chance at being understood. 2-1 to Drew’s dyslexic brain. So actually, what you see in the picture is my handwriting v2. Personally, I love it. Sometimes however, if I’m taking notes in a hurry – returning to them a few days later takes more deciphering than the breaking the enigma. I could have been a doctor.

Photo 23-01-2015 18 26 12

You can find “Words” in my latest collection of poems, life: everything, anything, something and nothing (a collection of poems) available in both kindle and paperback formats through Amazon.

My Fictional Fulfillment of the Icebucket Challenge

We all know about it – the ice bucket challenge raising money and awareness for sufferers of motor neuron disease.

If you’re in the US you can donate here with ALS.

UK readers can donate here through MNDA and here through Just Giving.

You don’t have to donate of course, even if you take the time to just learn a little bit about the disease this whole process is worthwhile. Awareness and education can change the world.

Charity should never be about pressure. It should be about compassion.

I got nominated for the challenge.

I’m not doing it physically. I did it fictionally.

***

“Wait, so let me get this right … you get nominated – look how I’m using air quotations here as I say that word – nominated. By your friends – again, please note the air quotations – to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and give money to charity? Or you forgo the ice bucket, get labelled a wimp, and give more money to charity than you would have to give if you dumped a bucket of water of your head? Oh and you get to nominate your friends [the air quotations are back] to suffer the same ritual humiliation? Right…

And you are encouraged to film all of this, upload it to the internet and have everyone like, comment, retweet and favourite it?

And this is for charity?

So that makes it ok?

Ok cool.

So how about I nominate you for a kick in the balls and you give me money. Or you just give me more money and your balls are safe? How about that?”

***

And such was Drew’s initial reaction to the news of the now fabled ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’. He assumed the fad would pass soon enough and went about with his life.

The fad didn’t pass, Hashtags and trends appear everywhere. It went, as they say, viral. Millions of pounds/dollars/currency of choice were raised for charity. It was a good thing. Right?

***

“Ok, so ALS? What’s that? To the Googles!

Ah Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis! One of the 5 classifications of Motor Neuron Disease. Why did no one mention this? Man it’s a terrible thing to be affected by – either yourself or loved ones, and yeah it’s not one of the ‘Glamour’ diseases that get all the press coverage and funding. Just one whereby people suffer, emotionally, physically and financially, all because finding a cure for their disease, or even improving their quality of life, isn’t deemed ‘financially viable’. Wow well then, I sure am glad people aren’t as sensitive as me and think that goading and peer pressure is a great way to raise money and awareness.

What do you mean it’s not raising awareness? What do you mean people are just dumping buckets of water on their head and not mentioning the charities involved? Well at least we can rely on celebrit…ah some of them aren’t mentioning it either? Some of them are worth more than the amount of money the ‘campaign’ could ever hope to raise? And we think that some may only be doing it for self promotion? Wow well I guess I’m glad that at least they don’t test drugs on animals…

Balls. They do? Apparently? And people are speaking out against this now?

And now they’re speaking out against people doing the challenge?

And now they’re speaking out against other charities jumping onto the bandwagon?

And now they’re speaking out against speaking out?

Everyone has an opinion!

I have opinion. So everyone must.”

***

And such were Drew’s continued thoughts and observations as the crazy phenomenon dropped the ‘z’, doubled up and went full on ‘cray cray’ – as they say. Though at least some of the videos were amusing, especially the ice bucket fails – who knew it could be so hard to do something so simple?

He donated – Benedict Cumberbatch and Anthony Carbajal showing the world how to do an ice bucket challenge video with class, humour and humility.

At least he hadn’t been nominated.

He got nominated.

He got nominated again.

He’s probably getting nominated right now.

Why hasn’t he done it yet?

***

“I was against it from the start. I’m against it now. Goading and peer pressure for charity does not a pleasurable experience make. Then again, I have to acknowledge that I have at least acknowledged that this is all happening right? Lest I face the constant badgering of ‘do it do it do it’.”

***

Drew bought a bucket, a large 28 litre flexibucket – he wanted to do it in style. £5.

Drew realises that full, this bucket would be too heavy and being flexible will probably crush him and kill him – so he bought another bucket, a nice standard industrial bucket. £3.

Drew bought a bag of ice cubes since he doesn’t have any in his freezer. £2.

Before Drew has even done the challenge, he spent £10.

He donated to charity. Total spend £13. Oh no wait, he had already donated before the nomination. £18.

***

And such was Drew’s preparation. With bucket, ice and – thankfully free – water, he proceeded to his shared garden (once he was sure his neighbors were out). He had contemplated much more theatrical ways in which to fulfil his challenge but discounted them all due to time, effort and money – this is only for charity after all.

With the bucket full and icey. The HD camera on the phone rolling, held by his glamorous assistant, Drew began.

***

“So ok yeah here we are. I’m Drew Spencer and this is my ice bucket challenge. First of all I’d like to thank [redacted] and [redacted] for the nominations. In turn I would like to nominate [redacted], [redacted], [redacted] and [redacted] – you have 24 hours to get it done! Anyway erm. Well erm here we go…”

***

Such was Drew’s intro. Standing in a chilly overcast wee Glaswegian shared garden, he bent down, and picked up the bucket – lifting not with the knees, but the back. In one swift motion he dumped the ice water over his head. In his mind, it happened in slow motion.

***

“ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH! WHAT THE! IT IS SO COLD! WHY THE HELL WOULD ANYONE WANT TO DO THIS? Oh crap, I forgot to mention the charity in my intro. Balls. Do I say something afterwards? No I’m going to be too cold, I am running into my shower like a little bitch after this. Man, am I going to get a cold from this? I hope not. I’ve lost money in this venture, I don’t want to have to miss work or spend the next few days sniffling and sneezing. Urgh that would be the worst. Seriously, why didn’t I just say no? Why not just ignore all the nominations. Quietly just go about my life. Not talk to anyone about it. Not complain about it. Not judge it. Not even watch other people do it. Goddamn peer pressure. I hope everyone’s happy. Here I am, on a miserable summers day in Glasgow. It is still summer right? I saw sun yesterday. I think it was sun. Oh there’s some sun behind the cloud there. At least it’s not raining I guess. Wait, if it was raining I could just stand in the rain for charity. It’s the same thing. And free! Damn I wish it was raining. I should have worn a coat. I’m glad I went with this Star Wars t-shirt, black – no chance of sneaky transparent nipples. No not transparent nipples, transparent shirt showing off the nips. No one wants to see them. Or do they? Would I help raise more money if people saw my torso? Or would that make it a sex thing? And seriously, has time slowed down? How big is this bucket? The water just keeps on coming. And goddamn these ice cubes hurt. Oh man, and after this I’m going to have to edit the video, add titles with donation details and upload it to Facebook and Twitter. Is my youtube account even set up? I can’t remember. What’s the password? I think I linked it to my gmail. I don’t know. I’m hungry. I think I’ll have bacon after this. Yeah, bacon would be good. Crap I don’t have bacon. I have to go to the shop and get some. Mmm bacon. Oh wait. Bacon! Animals! Animal testing. Double balls. Does this mean I now support animal testing? No I’m doing this for charity. Wait am I doing this for my own self publicity? No I’m doing this for charity, I’m not even famous. Who am I doing this for?”

***

And so, in a mere instant, it was done. Drew, drenched,instinctively bounced around to try and warm up.

Then he saw.

***

“Wait. Are you? Oh God. You’re holding the phone vertically. Great! Now I have to do it again!

Actually, forget it. I’m not doing it again and I’m not uploading a vertical video onto the internet. I’m going to tell everyone I wimped out.”

***

He donated for a 3rd time. Took a screenshot. Uploaded it to the social medias. Got 2 likes, a Retweet and a favorite.

£28.

A Funny Thing Happened…

I have a little tale to tell to share. It all begins on a sunny Tuesday – the 18th June.

 

On this day in history, I was due to see “The Boss” – Bruce Springsteen – himself, at Hampden Park. This, in itself, is an exciting prospect. And yet I woke up – inexplicably – with the Bon Jovi tune “Living on a Prayer” blazing in my head. This continued on and off for the rest of the day – peppered with Status Quo “Rocking All Over the World.” Fast forward through the day to the Central Station where I’m recounting this thrilling story to my friend Emma – with whom I am attending the Springsteen gig. I tell it in an amusing manner – obviously – to ease the pain of the hellova massive queue. Fast forward again and we’re arriving at Hampden, only to be handed some junk by a promotion lady who’s just trying to get by and do her job. Many people have already discarded this “junk” on the roads around Hampden. But upon looking down at our “useless” bounty – what do we see? But Bon Jovi! Say what!? We chuckle at how this band, that has found its way into my brain ALL DAY, now ends up in my hand – in the form of a scratch card. We consider attacking the scratch cards with a coin as soon as possible, but excitement levels are at an all time high so we stow our cards and enjoy the gig.

 

The Boss…was amazing. Legend of the game. Three and a half hours of sheer musical joy.

 

We’ll do another handy flash forward to the next day. As I’m getting ready for work, returning my standard pocket contents back to…my pockets, I spy my Bon Jovi scratch card. And a scratch card, as we know, has to be scratched. Match 3 symbols – win – standard. I take a 10 pence piece to the beast, scratching away. 1 symbol. 2 symbols. Oh it’s going to be “one of those” – the teasing type of scratch card that makes you think you’re going to win then…HOLY WHAT NOW!? 3 Matching symbols! Seriously? No way!? I quickly reveal the prize box – A Pair of Free Tickets! What…the…

 

But my story doesn’t end there – for there was another scratch card – a scratch card owned by a now (as we kids say) “totes-jelly” girl – albeit one in a strong position of demanding I take her because she took me to Springsteen. So this girl did what anyone would do in this situation – IMMEDIATELY DO THE SAME THING.

 

Readers…she won.

 

That’s right – 4 free tickets to see Bon Jovi. Somehow my brain knew. Or it was a super-massive coincidence. Or this will all end up being some massive con. Or we’ll be massively disappointed when they make up some lame excuse like “all the free tickets for that event have been claimed.” Either way, as a story – I liked it.

 

***

 

Oh and as I now know, what I didn’t know then – it’s not a con! Tickets confirmed! Bon Jovi here we come!

Locked In – A Short Story

The other day I had an idea. That night, the idea came to fruition as I knocked up this short story. Now, here it is for your reading enjoyment. I do hope you like it. Warning – the following story contains adult sweary words from the outset. The first word is ‘fuck’. If this offends you, then I have already offended you by saying ‘fuck’ in this introduction – so you may as well keep reading.

 

Locked In

 

Fuck! Ow! Jesus fuck that’s really…

 

Woah that’s bright. Oh man. The blinds are closed, why is the light so fuckin’ bright?

 

Shit fuck me. Ow! Jesus! Why does my whole body hurt? Everything, I can feel everything. Burning, aching. What happened to me? Where am I? I think this is our room…Clara! Where’s Clara?

 

Oh, wow, moving is even worse. Really. What happened to me? I’ve never felt like this before. Sure I’ve broken a few bones and been in a few fights, but this is a whole new level.

 

And what’s that smell?

 

God. I want to throw up. I can feel it in the back of my throat. That need to just wretch. But nothing. Man I’m hungry. When did I last eat? And my mouth, it feels so dry…but I’m not thirsty. This isn’t right.

 

My body feels as though it’s moving independently of me. I vaguely know I want to move and it just does it. Suppose I should be grateful I can move at all feeling like this – even if it is slowly. It’s like I’m drunk or something. Am I drunk? Sure have that kind of ‘out of body’ feeling. As though I don’t quite know what it’s gonna do, just let it do it’s think as I stagger along.

 

Where’s Clara?

 

Did I just hit something? Why didn’t that hurt? I mean everything hurts. But I didn’t feel that. Come to think of it…I feel nothing. Nothing outside me. It’s like the worse kind of pins and needles. Everything is so dull. I know that’s carpet beneath my feet, even if I can’t quite see it yet thanks to all this light. But I can’t feel it’s comforting coarseness. That ‘home’ feeling when you slip off your shoes and socks after long days work. Nothing.

 

This isn’t right.

 

And what’s that smell? It, it smells…delicious. Wow now that’s more like it. I need to find it. Whatever it is. It smells so good.

 

Man I’m hungry.

 

Whoops.

 

Wow, did I just bang my shoulder against the doorframe? I think it was the doorframe. I’ve lived here long enough, made enough midnight trips to the bathroom – in the middle of the night, in complete darkness – to know where the door is. And again I felt nothing, just the movement sending me off balance. What’s wrong with me? Sure wish I was drunk. Or hungover. Anything but this.

 

At least I’m getting used to the pain.

 

Fuck. Ow! No. Maybe not.

 

What’s that noise? Is it me? Is that me groaning? Shit I barely noticed. My ears are ringing too, can barely pick out anything else. Just the odd noise here and there. It’s hard to tell exactly where here and there is though. Man, maybe I shouldn’t be up? Maybe I should just wait for Clara? Where is Clara? But that smell…

 

Ha. Ok now I can see a bit more. And I can just about see how badly I’m walking. Wow. If someone could see me now – they’d think I was so freakin’ drunk. I’m surprised I can stand. Shuffling along, bouncing off things. Maybe they put me on some medication after the fight…oh wow…the fight…did that happen? I think…I think it did. Again, one of those drunk things. You know something did happen, you feel something happened, but you can’t for the life of you remember what. I have a hazy recollection of fists flying…blood…screams…damn. What happened? Where’s Clara?

 

Mmmm that smell…I think it’s coming from downstai…

 

***

 

Did I just fall down the stairs? I mean, I’m on the floor and that looks like the stairs up there…yeah it is. Ha. Holy crap! No way! I just fell down the freakin stairs and didn’t feel a thing. Or break anything. Did I break something? Fuck if I know! My body is in so much pain, I guess it’s overriding any new pain.

 

What’s that? I think I heard something. Shit, what was that? And that smell…it’s almost overpowering now. I need it!

 

There’s something there.

 

Moving ahead of me.

 

Just. It…it…it looks like…

 

Clara! Oh my god! Clara it’s you! Man I’ve never been so happy to see…wait…why aren’t I speaking? Clara? Clara! SAY SOMETHING DAMNIT. JUST SAY HER NAME! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?

 

And why is she just standing there? Why doesn’t she help me up? It’s not as if this is easy Clara. You could just give me a hand. Hold me.

 

Why aren’t you helping me?

 

Why are you just standing there?

 

Why aren’t you talk…wait…you are.

 

Why can’t I hear you?

 

Why can’t I understand you?

 

What are you saying?

 

I’m coming closer. I’m coming to you Clara.

 

Oh wow…that smell…it’s coming from you. Clara…why do you smell so good? Mmm I need to be closer. My body knows it too. Wow, that’s the fastest I’ve moved so far. Standing up was a doddle. Maybe I was just groggy? I’m coming to you Clara. We don’t need to speak. I just need to hold you and see your…your face. There it is, I can see it now. So beautiful. I love that your hair is a mess, you always look so cute like that. But…but why don’t I think you look cute? I’m just staring at you, I’m not looking at you. I know it’s you. I know you’re there. But nothing, I feel nothing. No. This can’t be right. You’re Clara. I love you. I love that face. Every line. Every freckle. Every flaw. I’ve been so close to it all these years and never grown tired…why now. What’s wrong with me? And that smell…oh yes that smell. I’m so hungry!

 

Why are you backing away Clara? Why don’t you come to me. It’s me. Jake. I’m here. Your husband. Come here. Come to me. What’s wrong?

 

That look on your face. I feel I should recognise what it means. But nothing. WHY AM I FEELING NOTHING?

 

Fuck…that smell. I need it.

 

Shit. Clara. You fell. Are you ok? Here let me take your han…

 

Oh god. WHAT THE FUCK? I just bit her hand! Jesus Jake. What the fuck? Oh god it tastes so good. Oh god what’s wrong with me? Jake no! Stop it! What the fuck are you doing? Stop biting her. SHE’S YOUR WIFE.

 

THE SMELL.

 

THE TASTE.

 

I know she’s struggling. My weight is pinning her down. I know she’s hitting me. I feel nothing. I can’t stop. I want to stop. My body won’t let me. It tastes so good. Clawing at her. Biting her. I know it’s you darling. I could imagine the horror. If I knew what horror was anymore. I feel nothing. I don’t want to do this. I love you. I can’t help myself. Oh god the taste! The taste! I’m so hungry.

 

I need this.

 

***

 

I don’t know when she stops moving. I don’t care. I don’t know how long I’m there, over her body, consuming everything. I don’t care.

 

I know what sorry is. But I don’t feel it. I know I’d want to say it. But I can’t What remains of you…isn’t you. You weren’t ever you. You were the smell. The taste. Oh the taste…the smell.

 

…I’m hungry.

 

That smell. It’s back. It’s near. It’s outside.

 

I need to get outside.

 

***

 

I don’t even look back. I just stagger to my feet, covered in your blood. Slowly making my way to the door, fumbling at the handle. The pain, that smell, the hunger, it’s all I think about….

 

***

 

Shit…how do you open a door again?

 

Suit Up – An Email to the Office

The office in which I work has a casual dress code. As such, a day was formed last year – a day in which we take a little bit of pride in our appearance. Where other offices have a “Casual Friday” we now have a “Suit Up Friday.”

Now Suit Up Fridays are a very special occasion, we don’t just have them all the time. In fact, we have only had 2 so far. To motivate the office for the 3rd, I sent out this email, an email in the style of everyones Suit-er Hero – Barney Stinson. Enjoy…

Image

Bros – please – indulge me, a history lesson for you all. And yes ladies, I’m talking to you too. As Article 22 of the ‘Bro Code’ states – ‘There is no law that prohibits a woman from being a Bro.’

Way back in antiquity, human kind was striving forward. It had created fire, the wheel, the printing press. Yet even surrounded by such innovation, the human race went about its daily life with an perpetual feeling of emptiness. Something didn’t quite sit right on the shoulders of our ancestors. In fact, something was missing from those olden-time shoulders.

That was until one night, when a young Barthor J Stinson, a tailor’s apprentice from Luxembourg, had a vision. Whether or not the vision was brought about through the copious amount of whiskey he’d had the night before, or, as he claimed, the angels themselves came to him, singing unto him the secrets of the universe, is a matter or contention and not a discussion that has any place in this history lesson. All that matters is the vision he had – a 3-piece vision of a future where human-kind stood proud and tall, and with one voice, looked down on their gods and said – “I AM MAN.”

The fruition of that vision was but a nights work away.

The night following, when the master tailor had to his bed taken, Barthor crept back down to the workshop and, taking his masters finest threads, went to work. When the gloomy morning dawned, Barthor completed his masterpiece and eagerly slipped it on. As he did, the sun broke through the clouds, bursting into the workshop, illuminating Barthor much as it had illuminated Adam on that very first day in the garden of Eden. This was the real 2nd coming, the greatest coming of mankind…

…that day, my friends, was June 1st 1212…

(Side-note: June 1st 1212 was also the day the words “bro,” “dude” and “awesome” came into being)

Knowing his stuck up master would seek repercussions for his ‘theft’ – in the form of lashings no doubt – Barthor knew his time had come to move on. (Incidentally, had his master been one of those Amazonian-esque women he often saw on the Southside of the river after dark, Barthor might have stayed to face his ‘punishment.’) Leaving his life’s savings in the workshop, Barthor ‘borrowed without knowledge’ a pair of his masters finest leather shoes (for his master was a skilled cobbler too) and tied a length of silk around his neck. Opening the door of the workshop, the birds broke off from their morning chorus, the whole world turned and gasped in awe, the darkness inside them all lifted, the thing that they longed for had been found – the suit was born…

Bros of all kinds, this is why, on June 1st 2000 and 12, 800 years on from that glorious day, we must all get on down with suiting up. Am I right?

I’m right.

I thank you for your time and I hope you all look forward to your ‘necks’ lesson…the history of the tie. Which is why, for your homework assignment, NOVELTY TIES – there will be a show and tell. Due Friday 1st June 2012.

Custodians – a poem of remembrance

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about Remembrance Sunday and the symbol of the Poppy. All I know is why I wear one and why I remember. I also know that there were a great deal of people at Cenotaphs around the country today paying their respects for the fallen. As such, I wrote this, to explain why I feel it is important that we never never never forget.

Custodians

We remember – not to glorify war
Nor grand statement make
We remember because they died
And in doing so – we lived

With each passing silent moment
We remember their future untold
Sacrificing that which is most precious
For the freedom that we hold

No one wishes for war – that damned futile necessity
That shadowed valley we fear
But yea, though we still must walk it
So dark it no longer appears

A beacon lit in our darkest hour sweeps across history
Guiding us where not to tread
Searching for a safer path
Futility realised, wars necessity – dead

And so we remember – not to glorify war
We remember because it’s right
Remembrance isn’t about politics or fashion
We remember as custodians of their light

44

Today saw a historic moment as President Barack Obama became the first President of the United States to address both houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall. He is a man, to me, who is not only wonderful orator but a worldwide symbol of hope. As he spoke, the occasion reminded me of a poem I wrote when he became the President and the hope that election inspired across the World.

44

45 years
A dream
45 years
A hope

With truths held self evident
The dream cut
Through the valley of injustice
Slowly
But with strength
With fortitude
The dream shone on

Then 44

Breaking through the nightmare
The dream shone on
Words spoken
Such beautiful poetry
Of harsh realities
Bitter truths
With them
The dream shone on

45 comes 44
The dream lives on
Closer to reality

With colour-blind vision
The dream evolves
The work continues
Judged not by his skin
Truth and change
Through content of character

45 comes 44
The dream lives on
New dreams have begun

If you like my writing, be sure to check out my first published collection of poems Love: unrequited, unrealised, unconditional and lost – available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.