Friday, 8 July 2011

Confess me, brother - a welcome guest blog

At last - another guest blog from brother Ron, a wry entertaining peek at life through his much fresher perspective. He said he'd thought of fictionalising it to submit it to Rammenas but, since it's an account of actual events, he decided instead to bring it to this virtual confessional and repent. (Actually, I rather like the idea of offering this as a Sacrament of Penance so if any of you feel like confessing something, feel free to get in touch with Brother Bill.) Anyway, this is what Ron wrote:

There was something about the detail in his answer phone message that made me prick up my ears:

            “….my name is Eric Hill. It’s now five past eleven on Tuesday the 26th of July. I’d like to speak with you, if you’d like to give me a call. It’s my business number. Leave a good time to get back to you if I’m not around. My number is 0473….”

Perfectly innocuous of course, except when it’s filtered through an over-fertile imagination. I often wish I’d never met that phrase, “what if?” – the stock in trade of you writers. In this case I needed to consider, “What if he’s a local businessman with a legitimate and un-threatening proposal which would be to our mutual benefit?” The obvious course was to call him, have an adult conversation and find out, but no: simple I may be but I don’t always do simple things.

It was the lack of context and the fact that his message wasn’t aimed specifically at either me, or my wife, that was unsettling. I reasoned it was a pretty fair bet that if a businessman was ringing me at home he didn’t want to talk about how my tomatoes were coming on and leapt immediately to the conclusion that he was after something, probably my money. Instead of ringing him, I Googled him.

Given the fatal fork I had taken on my imaginative road, I was not surprised to discover he was a property developer. Not quite enough evidence to take back to the lively debates my wife and I were now having about judgement and tolerance but, a start. Information on the web presented him as successful, involved in several prestigious local developments, mainly residential. Residential… He was involved in fund-raising for a number of local and national charities (clearly a cover for his nefarious dealings on the property market).

I then made my final mistake by clicking on a link that took me to a forum which had two people exchanging views about my developer.

“Quite a few mysterious fires over the years…..Eric Hill owned one place…just when he was having cash flow problems…..”

This was even worse than I had imagined. The man was a villain, and he was going to set fire to my broad beans and build a residential development in my garden. Thus armed, I returned to my wife with my, “I told you” file bulging. To her credit she was unimpressed but agreed not to ring him and to let him make the next move. And the very language I’m using here hints at the paranoid state of mind into which I’d sunk.

I’m just so grateful that I was not there when he did make his next move, which was to call and ask my wife if she was still involved in life-coaching and could she help his niece confront a problem. I’m almost worried about the lack of relish with which my wife relayed this to me. The worst she said was, “That’ll teach you….”

But I’m not sure it will. Although I changed the property developer’s name, I will tell you the name of the ebay seller I’ve just bought a golf trolley from: Mr Bones. And once again the creative cogs whirr: Billy Bones, the first pirate we meet in Treasure Island, a distant relative in Basildon….

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  1. And I get into trouble for over analysing everything... and for letting my over active imagination run away with me. Glad to see I'm not alone, Ron. But why aren't you writing novels? Or maybe you do.

  2. I'm even worse Ron. When I see that someone I don't know called me, I google the number, to find out who it is. A few days ago the phone rang, the display showed a number I didn't recognise, so I said to my fiancé: 'I don't know who this is, so I don't want to pick up the phone.' So, he did, and it turned out to be a totally innocent man from the gas company who wanted to make an appointment for important repair work.
    What I'm trying to explain here is this: if you are a writer, this is normal behaviour. If you are not, you should be worried. It's your choice. Rammenas is open to submissions. Publishers are waiting for you.

  3. Rosemary, writing has become something like Francis Thompson's Hound of Heaven, pursuing me while I flee from it. I get a buzz from it when I do it but, evidently, not enough of a buzz to send me back to my desk regularly. I therefore have little extended work, except for a piece of fiction which I'm using to answer your question if I'm ever asked. Nagging, in one form or another, might actually see it finished in the end although I suspect that will only create room in my head for something grander and more demanding, so I'll have to run even faster to avoid his slavering jaws (the hound, not Bill). Anneke, those three simple words, "It's your choice", have a very strong impact and a close connection with the words of Rosemary and Bill.