'Junkyard' began in October 2017 and continues until September 2018. This is an opportunity to experiment with different voices and styles, and to explore a wide range of writing techniques in my journey as a writer. The Junkyard is the license I give myself to write at a whim and without caution on any topic, freeing creativity. It responds to the idea that there's always a moment in the day worthy of penned action, something that can take us by surprise or to be discovered. 

The material gathered over the course of the junkyard will be compiled (into a format yet to be decided) to provide an account of the learning on the project. While it is anticipated that some of the material gathered in the spirit of spontaneity will evoke untapped creativity for future work and projects in the years ahead, it is hoped that the experimental freestyle project will suprise both writer and reader. 

Voice

You are looking at me. Seeing me. I feel my being rise to meet you. It stirs out of a daze and something inside connects me to the outside world, like a switch, it is suddenly on. You speak to me and listen to my reply, taking on board what I am saying and responding. I feel heard, it is a restful and restorative feeling. The light burns even more brightly. The sensation is unusual, because most often people look through me as they do to others. Instead of my words, they take in my clothes and judge, my age, my glasses, my shirt and it's possible style worthiness or any accessory that I happen to be wearing in that moment. But you are seeing me and the self-consciousness to fill the space between us evaporates, in it's stead connection, freedom and the license to be who I am beyond judgement. I have stopped jumping through the usual hoops set before me to reach acceptance, the baseline measure to test myself against. Instead I am still and at peace, being and breathing as if it were the most natural thing. 

Voice

You must have sought me in the end in the way I sought you always. The thought might be comforting if it wasn't so pointless. You must have wondered where I was as your days ebbed, final Sundays come and gone without sight of me. As the drip that kept you alive was swapped out, one for another. Just as I had sought you each day in all the different ways a child does and then teenager and adult until the notion that you might ever accept me was prised out of my consciousness, as you winced at the thought that we might have something in common or have any connection in anyway. I wonder if you'd noticed when my sense of self fought back and passed the point of caring, and the opportunity to connect with each other expired and the roles reversed. 

Voice

The day evolves. People go to work, drink coffee, sleep in and start again. Many wake with their personalised hangovers from days, weeks and years ago. Some ponder the unsettled feeling, others force it down or rant it out, while most carry on without connection or recognition. The symptoms, fresh or residual, amount to the same disquiet feelings. Today I wake with the hangover. Something happened yesterday that is sending emotional sediments to the surface as my body metabolises the uncomfortable feelings. The exact guilty cocktail is unknowable and as the intoxicating effects start to wear off, I start to wonder how many days it will take to strip it down, name it, and confront the issue, or not. For now, the fresh side effects pulsate in ignorance, as I realise we don't understand our feelings in a given moment, instead we are at their mercy like animals to their instincts and environment.

Character

A regular Thursday, I guess. Nothing untoward. Nothing except I'm feeling under the weather and everything feels slower, duller and muffled. Jazz plays in the background but it seems off key. I feel like a balloon that has been part deflated, lacking poise, which is not helped by the persistent drizzle outside. I look around me. A woman in her early thirties catches my eye. She is standing across the road at the bus stop, either waiting on the bus or sheltering from the rain. She is on the phone in heated conversation. The working of her jaw suggest an animation that is too vigorous to be without issue. She paces up and down, stopping at regular intervals as though in protest to what the other person is saying though its hard to accept she's listening. She turns into the traffic and raises her right foot, placing it firmly against the bus shelter wall, moving it backwards and forwards in a tapping movement. Her hand rests on her hip, which she occasionally raises to gesticulate the importance of her argument.
Two people join her at the bus shelter; a boy and girl dressed in their school uniforms. They lean into each other uncomfortably. The girl is playing with her phone, avoiding contact as he looks on, unsure what to do next. The older woman moves forward to create space between the couple and her conversation. She seems irritated at their arrival and looks in their direction conveying disdain or perhaps casting a warning of what's to come. They carry on oblivious, untouched by her life disappointments. A bus approaches but neither party make any move to board. It passes by but as I look up again to check the scene, the older woman is gone and has been replaced, at a guess, by a mother and son. The son looks out, turning at regular intervals to see if the bus is coming while the mother fixates at some spot ahead of her. A second bus arrives, stops and they all board, each disappearing into their own private worlds, clearing the set.

Character

In the adjoining room a picture of my father with my brother sits on a small coffee table. The photograph captures my father well. He peers out, exhibiting a mix of emotions: pride (always where his sons are concerned), discomfort at being close to another human being, and restlessness. He will be glad when the moment is over and he can go back to his cage, safe from the threat of human contact. I look closely at the image. I discern a stiffening of his body inwards, towards himself and away from the possibility of touch. On the rare occasion he reaches out, it is towards my mother who is most familiar to him. And even then his movements are mechanical and awkward and serve some purpose. Estranged and disconnected from the people closest to him, he focuses upon himself, 'Is his hair alright? Should he comb it?' He looks directly at the camera and endeavours to smile appropriately for the photo, not too much so that it's ridiculous or so little that it becomes a grimace. The photograph taken - they separate each to their own space, like so many of us fearful of any degree of emotional closeness.

Voice

You had to grow up in such places not to feel the void where life should have been; the poisonous mix of conflict and religion that suppressed life, if it didn't manage to crush it entirely. Bible groups and fellowships that forced dutiful commands, stiflling the joy you might have found in the freedom to laugh out loud or shout in anger and be human. Twisted interpretations that choked and made people petty and measured, bitter, tight and disapproving; converts to their own reckoning and version of righteousness. For anyone on the outside, such places were impossible to unravel; completely foreign and removed from the warmth and comfort of humanness. It was like stumbling upon the aftermath of a battlefield and suppressing the urge to shake the untenanted bodies into life.

Description

Behind me the din of the cafe plays on; the never ending clinking of cups, scraping of plates, and the obligatory hum of conversation and staff instructions. I try hard to block it out, but the ordinariness belches into the courtyard where I sit. Ill-timed Italian opera adds to the mix, drowning out the sounds of nature that become audible in the interstices as one serenade ends and the next begins. This garish percussion shatters the beauty and simplicity waiting to be noticed.
I look around. In front of me sits a tree sculpture; a hand, a foot and multiple faces peer out from the wood, exhibiting a sequence of emotions and prompting narrative, history and intrigue. Each individual exhibit showcases the enterprise that moulded this piece into story. At it's feet a fern grows; vibrant and fresh, contrasting the weathered wood. Now and then people walk out into this space and attempt to pause, but pass quickly by. In the middle of the microscopic courtyard, a giant-sized board game juts out brashly. It's bold colours slap me back to the present, where I can evade reflection. Who knows what I might find percolating on the increasingly impermeable surface? The music stops and draws my attention to the water lapping nearby. I sit and drink the rewards of giving into an unscripted moment, given so much of what we experience is already lived before we sit to the table of any event.