Between the ages of 17 and 27 I wrote a lot. Short stories. Poems. Autofiction. I got rid of most of it. Hardly any of the poetry survives, which is no loss to humanity. I had kept some stories though. Some by accident. Some by design. I found them in a carrier bag full of scribbled notes, typed pages. Portentous pompous titles – deserving to be narrated by Jim Carter. The pieces spoke of teenage angst, early relationships and love, friendship, loss. Some touched on aspects of the trauma that would form the basis for my therapy two decades later. Lots were about conversations, about learning to trust, about learning to be open. None of it is particularly good, but the process of therapy has led me to go back through aspects of my life, to revisit the material. To look at who I was. To look at it in light of who I became.
I am aware this is not really of interest to anyone but me. Much of the recent writing on my therapy is like that. An attempt to try to piece together and understand what is going on, to articulate what is happening to me, to understand what happened and why I am who I am.
So amidst a lot of self indulgence, excuse some more self indulgence. Occasionally on here I’ll post some old stories. Bits and pieces I ended up keeping.
The first one is called Steve and the Hamsters. I wrote it in July 97. I’d been reading a lot of Jim Kelman’s short short stories across collections. I’m sorry.
Steve and the Hamsters
It’s one of those Saturday nights and me and Steve are walking back the usual route by the jewellers and the fruit shop. Steve’s pissed, leans into me as we walk, and he starts acting real funny as we pass the pet shop. He stops, throws his hands either side of the window and stares at the cages. I’m walking on when he shouts:
– Jim. Jim. There’s fucking hamsters.
I turns round and he’s just standing there staring at the cages. I looks at them and there’s nothing moving. Nothing.
And Steve whispers:
– Don’t you turn your backs on me, you bastards.
And I keeps walking as he breaks the glass.