Wednesday, 10 September 2014
The man within the man without
"One has to be careful one does not create some sort of witch-hunt situation where the focus is detracted from the overarching issues by merit of scrutinising the unique temporary transgressions of the individual," was more or less what I said to Wayne tonight as I cut greaseproof paper.
Indeed, distractions are the most self-serving of things in their propensity to stunt individual growth and self-improvement.
Tim and I improved our section this weekend. From looking at an empty walk-in on Saturday morning to observing a fully-stocked section on Sunday night feels good, gooood.
We have a sort of unspoken agreement, Tim and I:
I will take care of service peppered with the light prep I can manage to do in between, while he smashes the prep in the meantime giving me that consistent lift in service which shoulders the pain of the relentless battle.
Bacon sandwiches all round.
But the man within may not be the man you read on the surface.
While I muddle through my work with a confident air, I am racked with self-doubt, nerves and an unholy gift to imagine the worst.
While I serve shrimps, I may be focused on the fact that my father is slowly dying, dwelling on his dementia and lack of mobility. While I plate scallops I could be in full flow of an imaginary car-accident involving my children. And while cooking duck, I may well be on a rise, a brae, outside the army barracks, in 1985, with a girl called... while my mother struggles to breathe.
No, the man within, is not the man you see, but the man you feel standing next to you, the man you feel standing next to you - that is me.
Thoreau wrote that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and I can think of no-one else I'd rather read the thoughts of.
"How the fuck did I get through today, after yesterday just happened?"- Craig Guthrie, The Mushroom Papers.
"Just as I had made my today secure with safe yesterdays, I see tomorrow coming, with its pale glass star called Hope, it shatters on impact and falls like splinters of cruel rain..."
- Spike Milligan. Spike reading Hope
"Nous existons là où d'autres ne peuvent pas exister" is definitely the title of my next book which will never see a print run.
"We exist where others cannot exist" of course refers bluntly to lovers, artists and also to hospitality workers.
But why, why you ask, will it never see a print run?
Well, I'll tell you why.
Because when I write, I have no boss. No superior. No head chef, no manager. No-one to adhere to and no-one to tell me what to do.
I'd like to think that that Liberty is conveyed through an overwhelming "Fuck-off, Fuck-you" undercurrent to all my work - a freedom in reaction to the stifling, totalitarian society that we've suddenly morphed into - and so I continue to write for Art and not for Commerce.
Which is why I am what one might call me "an unpredictable commercial liability."
I am on the long list for Erbacce's prestigious Poetry Prize this year. Erbacce Shortlist 2014 - I am fifth on the list over five thousand entrants and it's not in alphabetical order. Over 60 per cent from women, most from the USA.
I'm a man, I'm not from America - but I may also be the man, you never know - the man within the man without.
Like I said to Wayne, let's be careful we don't start some sort of witch-hunt or something, otherwise, any one of us could be next on the list to be hunted. Let's support each other through the hard times.
The man within is the complex twitching multicolored soul with a past, whereas the man without is that shallow, empty, polished surface, he is your problem, he is our enemy, the man without compassion.