Avail of Tears

Scene 2 from Off Her Facebook! Illustrated by Jo Stroud

Scene 2 from Off Her Facebook! Illustrated by Jo Stroud

I should be in a writing mode but I’m procrastinating. I wanted to have Sparrow’s Share ready by spring but I gave myself a get-out clause and delayed it until June. Now I’m convincing myself it’ll be okay until September, after all, Gridluck was tweaked and twerked until August last year. It’s not a good habit. I’ve got to make the effort and bring the deadline forward but I prefer to make excuses.

It’s not that I don’t have the same enthusiasm for Sparrow’s Share. I do. In fact it will be a brilliant revelation drama as to what Kate Higgins is all about. I just feel so heavy right now. I don’t mean I’ve packed the pounds on although I could do with losing some. I mean heavy as in…laden? I feel like I’m wondering around in a chain-mail suit, hat an’ all! I’d make ‘light’ work if anyone wanted me to ‘sleep with the fishes’. I’m blaming the shingles (shut up about the shingles man!) and the two (prescribed) painkillers I took that one night for my pain, which seemed to do something to my seratonin levels.

The hag returns

The hag returns

I’m not sure whether I had stirrings anyway but what I do know is it leaves you feeling like a succubus is sitting on your chest slowly inhaling your soul! The visiting mythical hag did visit and I haven’t had a visit from her for just over a year.
People without knowledge of the succubus will just think I’ve lost all track of reality and am talking nonsense, those in the know will probably think the same!
So there you have it, I’ve just turned up in my own dream, everyone is staring and I realise too late that I’m not wearing my best suit…everything is in slow motion and I can’t leave!

Oops!

Oops!

Or was that real?

Still, at least Jo Stroud is working hard at the exciting graphic novel adaptation of Off Her Facebook! Thank goodness for those creative types.

Eeeeh! After putting all that down I’ve used up my writing energy allowance for another day!

Unless…. Coffee?

Dormant Heart

What is it with shingles and why it chooses when it does to rear it’s ugly head(s)?image

Forty -five years ago my system thought it had whooped it’s ass. I didn’t have a clue. All I knew was it hurt but I got sweets for being unwell!

So there I was, a sort of grown man, with the sometimes ‘magical thinking’ of a child. Trying to put my imagination to good use with stories, plays, poems and the like . On top of that,  two very important future related applications and interviews. All this finished nicely with a lot of people pleasing, something learnt or acquired as a child. A keeping the status quo skill, possibly learnt from my mam or dad or both!

Here I am now just coming out of feeling sorry for myself for the past two weeks and boring the arses off those around me, tolerant and patient as they all are, wondering why now? Have I lost the ability to keep well or physically fit or am I a secret emotional wreck? Do I even know? I imagine shingles lying dormant in a strange ethereal sac around the heart and perhaps, when the heart gets tired coping with the highs and lows of life’s little and big toils it just opens up and lets the Family Shingles in for a scoop!

Never mind the herpes virus and all it’s works. What about those childhood traumas that get put away, stored and ‘forgotten’. Some minor but others that have such an impact that they manifest into life affecting albatrosses or nooses waiting to be pulled taut. Traumas that now stop individuals from functioning with simple tasks, relationships, friendships? Traumas that cause victims to act out unhealthy behaviours in order to have some control over an area of their life? Drinking alcohol, taking medications and other chemicals, eating disorders, love and sex addictions or gambling. All of these a gamble anyway?image

I don’t have answers, only questions and dramas that may help others seek answers. Currently in pre-production is Sparrow’s Share which will now be premiered in December alongside Off Her Facebook! at Shaftesbury Arts Centre on 6th December 2014 almost a month after The Big ‘A’ Trilogy on 1st November at the same venue.

Its the story of Kate Higgins, Laura’s mum. Now seriously unwell and unable to share with any counsellors until she has explained to Tim, her son, why she is so unwell.image

This story allows an audience to think about and explore the problems of eating disorders, alcoholism, sex and love addiction and grief.

The graphic novel of Off Her Facebook! Written by Rob B Windsor and illustrated by Jo Stroud is being published at the same time. Look out for all of these and more.

Loss for Words

imageIn a cafe close by the cliffs of the Hampshire coast,  Glen was sat diagonally opposite me. He had the window seat. Sylvia, his wife was next to him and on my left was Helen a not-so-old-but-older-than-me, old friend and colleague from Trader’s Ward, Glen’s ward. We were his protégés I guess.

To me, he was my first inspirational teacher. I learnt so much from him. When I told him this he responded, his mannerisms unchanged, by clicking his teeth and half-tossing his head back as he looked out the window. “Really…” he said, not really taking in what I had revealed. It wasn’t that he was unconvinced. It was that he couldn’t process the words or place them to any specific memory. Sylvia said, defeated,that he had lost all that now.

His Alzheimer’s had progressed from a bit of a poor memory to severe memory loss with the condition of ‘sundowners’ thrown in. All part of the deal?

This was a man I hadn’t seen for about four years and hadn’t worked with for twenty-four years. Back then he was full of life, laughter, love and mischief. Even today he had a cheeky glint in his eye, sometimes at the wrong moment but mostly it was a look of loss and bewilderment, an emptiness behind his striking blue eyes. He was a charge nurse (and will always be) on a busy surgical ward in a cottage hospital. He ran it as a tight ship with no room for error. His ward was to be my last placement before I qualified as an enrolled nurse.

I, like so many ‘interns’ was terrified of meeting him. I got up extra early on my first morning, visited the canteen for a proper breakfast but couldn’t stomach it when I got there. How could someone be so terrifying in the caring profession? I entered the office, heart thumping through my chest and bouncing my fob watch, and introduced myself. “Good morning I’m Nupil Purse Wobert Rindsor” (how did that happen?) He looked at me from his desk as I stood like a fekkin’ eejit and replied, with a smile, “Good morning Mr Windsor”. He had let the air out of my ready-to-burst balloon…for now.

As my time on that ward was coming to an end so was my training and I needed to have somewhere to work. For me, after learning so much about gastrointestinal and genitourinary systems, wound care and surgery as well as forming friendly working relationships with his team, I wanted to work on his ward. He invited me into the Nursing Officer’s  (formerly a matron) office for a chat. This was my interview. He was honest and clear and told me that he didn’t like working with male nurses. He had a sense they could be arrogant and lazy. I was not like others that he had worked with (was that good or bad? I’ve always joked that I must be in touch with my feminine side) he wanted me to work for him if I would like to. Of course! It was truly an honour working with such a man that had humility yet the power to inspire and terrify.

He usually started a shift with a Cheshire cat grin and a song, slightly religious but sung in his irreligious way. He gave the patients a lift and the staff confidence. He got stuck into the work and shared the load. He took no nonsense and would be on the phone if there was any time wasting or excuses from other departments. If things were not performed properly or omissions occurred he made sure that didn’t happen again. People learned fast or didn’t stay.

I learnt so much from this man!

So much so that I stayed in a profession I only entered because my dad thought it would suit me. Glen was a mentor in the true sense of the word. He has shared his experience and knowledge to his ‘fledgelings’ and now we do the same.

So when Sylvia said “It’s all lost…” both Helen and I responded with “No it isn’t. He has given it to us to share.”

How many others has he inspired? Selfishly, I don’t care. What I do know is I now have much to give thanks to Glen for.

By the end of our visit, he vaguely thought he knew Helen’s face from somewhere but that was all.

I’m not giving up on this man or his wife. He didn’t. image

Chaos Theory!

Compassion……

Compassion

Compassion

….the feeling of empathy for others. The emotion that we feel in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.

Definitions are always a good start to any waffle aren’t they? At least the reader can then have some initial clarity.

I don’t want to go on or it’ll get boring for you but I might.

Recently I was in the company of a number of people who were unable to show compassion for an individual who wasn’t well. That person was chaotic and causing frustration to others in their company.
What struck me about this was that the group were, or are in a similar position for their families or friends as this lady was to them.

They had been living in chaos and those who love them the most were having to live with that. The very fact that they lacked compassion for this person brought to question that they had not yet addressed their own responsibility to their own disruptive illness and the affects it has on others. Something that is very important in their undertaking.
Acknowledging personal weaknesses is such an important stage in any growth or development of lives or life skills. We can then go on to look at how our behaviours affect others.

Bored yet?

EyeThis is merely a reflection.

Thinking of an adult becoming a parent for the first time. We can all have some knowledge, emotions are naturally there but when that lovely little bundle of joy enters our lives we are flipped into disarray, chaos. We have to accept our vulnerabilities, learn new skills and how to help develop our bundle as well as ourselves and hopefully continue learning and keeping our growing new human safe and well.

Starting a new job, learning new skills, making mistakes. This is a time of chaos. We have to accept  strengths and weaknesses, gain experience and develop work skills.

Is this the same as, maybe, someone in addiction who is trying to recover. Firstly, they have to accept they have an illness, that they have an addiction. Only, through the chaos and coming out the other side can they look at that disruptive state they were in, how they can get well and how they can take a responsibility for others. Are they capable of true compassion whilst in a chaotic state?

For the group I met, maybe that is why this individual was shown compassion only by a few and not the majority. Maybe only the few had addressed their period of chaos and how it was affecting others. Maybe they were the only ones able to…?

I know that the dramas I have written contain all the ingredients of troubled and addicted lives. These tools can help individuals to observe the disruption and conflicts addiction causes to those close to them.

Ask me about Off Her Facebook! Damaged Goods  Gridluck  and Sparrow’s Share or The Big A Trilogy  and look out for the Off Her Facebook! Graphic novel, brilliantly illustrated by the very talented artist Jo Stroud.

Fill Yer Boots!

imageHiya,

There’s plenty going on in Rob Windsor’s brain however distant he may look sometimes. While Jo Stroud is busy deciphering Off Her Facebook! and transferring it into the brilliant and exciting graphic novel due out at the end of the year, to coincide with another performance of the Big ‘A’ Trilogy,  he is working on play number 4, Sparrow’s Share, Kate’s song.

Breathe…

That is just too long a sentence to even remember how it began!

Sparrow’s Share fills the gap for the audience and storyteller alike, about what happens to Kate Higgins after Off Her Facebook! We discover that she isn’t quite the stoic, level headed mum and wife we thought she was. She had been using that as a mask to survive… until now.

Help yourself to anything that takes your fancy. Plays, graphic novel, bookings and cheese and biscuits.

I was reading about creative brains and it mentions daydreaming – all researched by scientists – about the value of it for creatives. Now all I need to do is convince those around me that I am busy even with the dilated miles away look!

Daydreaming or at least, pretending to...

Daydreaming or at least, pretending to…

Off Her Facebook! Forthcoming graphic novel

Page from OHF! graphic novelI am absolutely delighted to announce a collaboration with myself and the immensely talented graphic artist Jo Stroud. Together, we are producing a graphic novel of Off Her Facebook! a performance play I penned back in 2010.

The story follows a family in crisis as they try to cope with an alcoholic father. The graphic novel presents the entire story of eighteen-year-old Laura Higgins and observes her relationship with her dad, Ed. In glorious colour, it explores the enormous sense of conflict in the family as they find themselves affected by addiction. Each member of the family has a unique set of issues and Laura avoids facing the core problem by binge drinking herself. Relationships begin to crumble in the Higgins’ household when Laura’s dad is finally confronted by her mum about his alcohol problem.

Page from OHF! graphic novelThe drama allows the audience to explore issues of alcoholism and dangers that are associated with binge drinking, social networking and lack of personal safety awareness. It also explores the issue of communication and love within families and does everything through the medium of fabulously drawn images from Jo.

She’s a wonderfully dark artist and I think the content of Off Her Facebook! is a perfect partner to present the play via a unique medium.

For more details of Jo’s work, please visit JoStroud.co.uk.

The publication date will be announced on here in due course but is expected to be towards the back end of 2014.

If you’d like to see a review copy or indeed, if you’d like stock it, please contact Simon West at Magic Oxygen Publishers.

Ongoing news will be posted here as the date draws near!

Rob

The Big ‘A’ Trilogy

Theatre Review: The Big ‘A’ Trilogy by Robert Windsor

By Author Tracey West,
Trustee for NACOA
Patron of WAND

Poster for The Big 'A' Trilogy

I first met Robert Windsor a few years back at Clouds House, a residential treatment centre for addiction nestled in the verdant woods of Wiltshire. In my role as a Trustee of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, I’d been asked to watch a play he’d written called, ‘Off Her Facebook!‘.

Rob is a night nurse at Clouds, probably one of the country’s most famous addiction centres and it has had some pretty infamous temporary residents; Robbie Williams openly talks about  his time there, getting his life back on track. Continue reading