DEAD AS A DODO
as I stare at this bloody laptop screen with that idiotic jumping paper
clip icon constantly staring at me I cant help but think: Have
I passed it?
I dont even know what the phrase means, but at this very moment,
that is how my brain feels: Dead as a Dodo. Ever since the
first moment that I ventured into the world of pseudo-journalism, via
a loopy course at Falmouth College of Arts called Professional Writing,
Ive been an ardent contributor of Hackwriters, off and on for over
a year. Its mad editor, one known as Sam North, part time script
writer, part time author and all time babble connoisseur, opened my eyes
and my mind to the unfathomable depths of this incredible, exiting, heart-braking
and hostile subject. As course tutor he drove most of us students mad.
Must meet deadlines! he would say. Avoid subjective
and hostile reporting! Your first line must capture the reader!
he would add. God, I miss those Monday morning sessions when your weekend
thousand words had to be presented for scrutiny. Its as if the next
edition depended on your ability to mastermind the leading punch line.
I suppose most of you havent a clue as to what Im talking
about. Youre right. Ive finally flipped. I havent even
finished what I started.
If you check under Travel youll find a summary of a
Mediterranean cruise I went on sometime in April (I think). I thoroughly
enjoyed every moment of the trip and was keen to share it with you, dear
Internet navigators as a weekly ongoing literary event. I began in full
force describing every possible anecdote I witnessed or encountered. The
ships details, the people I met, the food I ate, the ports of call,
and my wifes moans and yet suddenly, my brain stopped functioning.
The ship sailed away and I became suspended in a vacuum of blank thought.
The key word in the title is geriatric, because that is what
I feel Ive become at this moment in time; a geriatric writer about
to enter into the unknown world of has been thinkers. Even as I stare
at this bloody laptop screen with that idiotic jumping paper clip icon
constantly staring at me I cant help but think: Have I passed
No dear reader, this is not a death wish note, nor is it a literary last
will and testament. Its what I would describe as a pause
in the life of a writer! A sort of midlife reflection or better still,
a grey matter oil and filter change preparing for the spark to ignite
my approach to the next theme on my writing agenda. Do you know why I
feel like this? Take a good look around you and try to assimilate what
you see and read. Ill tell you.
worlds gone mad! In Asia. Whilst a world football championship
is taking place on the one hand, a small international war (Afghanistan)
is hopefully coming to an end giving way to yet another that is
brewing in the wings (India/Pakistan). Millions are frolicking in
city streets or public bars over the success of their home team
or crying in their vodkas over a defeat, whilst others are loading
up their modern muskets ready to change the course of humanity.
Some countries are chasing shadows seeking out evil terrorists (USA and
Europe) whilst others are merrily blasting away at poor families desperate
for water and a loaf of bread (Israel vs Palestine). Other humans are
dying down south of Aids or famine (Africa) watching helplessly at their
northern brothers (Europes youth) enjoying the Life of Riley
smoking pot and jiving to the latest metal rock musical junk. Their politicians,
in general, are more intent in looking through their telescopes at NASAs
space station. And what about economics?
Where do you start? Argentina? IMF? Third world debt? Unemployment statistics?
Rich against poor? What about multinationals and the stock markets? Shareholder
value, stakeholders, CEO feuds! Does any of it make any sense any more?
Buy some technology stock today, swap it for futures in a
weeks time and you may make a fortune or end up under a cardboard
box in the Bronx. Will we all live to ripe old ages and receive our pension
dollop every month, or will we succumb to euthanasia when the money runs
out? How about energy, especially oil? Now that is a good one! Some one
said that sooner or later its going to run out. When? Ten, fifty
or in a hundred years time? Nuclear power, thats the answer.
By Jove, just imagine it. Well all be driving around with a nuclear
bomb under the bonnet. Hold on! Ive left out the environment. You
know, Kyoto and all that jazz!
Forests, rivers and seas, wild life and let us not to forget the ozone.
Theyre all in danger of being forgotten about until it is too late!
Greenpeace and other non-governmental organisations are all preaching
to the converted and being listened to by no one. Even the poor fish have
nowhere to hide. They are literally being eaten alive as they splash onto
the decks of the Spanish Armada. Doomsday ahead? James, you may ask, have
you flipped and are you just writing about world holocaust for holocausts
sake? Can you see me shaking? No Im not shaking! Im thumping
at the keyboard as hard as I can to see if anything can be changed. Wait,
wait, I see something!
There they come. Jesus and Allah, hand in hand walking towards me! Theyve
finally stopped before me. Theyre speaking in unison. James.
Youre our man. We need you to stop the madness. But
what can I do, dear prophets? I am a simple mortal. You know, seventy
percent water! I cry. Suddenly I blink. I wipe my eyes and stare
once more at this wretched screen. The paper clip is frozen. Sam!
Are you there? Do you read me? For the next episode of Geriatric
© James Skinner. 2002.
Cheer up James. Don't you recall a year ago you actually wrote an article
on the coming nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Just remember no
one loves a prophet. Ed:
about that Cruise
GERIATRIC CRUISE Part Two &
MANY AMERICANS; FROM BOTH ENDS...
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