Thursday, 24 June 2010

Badges of Shame and Other Summer Madness – With or Without Bars, Though?

Yesterday was a bit of a lost day at this end, I'm afraid - but that has been too often the case recently. First of all there were personal problems at home, necessitating going out quite early on and not having the space to boot up the machine even for a glance at my emails - it would all have caused too many more problems! Then I had to scoot up to Enfield to help my mother with something... Then finally I sat down at the Enfield Costa-packet coffee house - from where I can ordinarily get a good fast WiFi connnection - only to find that I couldn't log on. Next I went to the nearest pub, The George in Enfield Town, which, I happen know, has a free WiFi setup - but it was full of football supporters waiting for the England v someone-or-other match. So I cycled back down to Woodgreen, to the Wetherspoons there, as I know that branch is not showing the matches. It quickly became apparent that their WiFi was down and I couldn't get a signal from the local library WiFi box while sitting at a table outside either, as I usually can (probably because there was a huge mobile unit lorry (truck) thing parked directly outside it, blocking the signal path. Next I wandered down to the Turnpike Lane wetherspoons branch where they were showing the match but where I also knew I could sit outside away from the row. So I got a beer, as you do; I got a seat - great - I even found I was getting a good WiFi signal - even better! But before I could even begin to log on, let alone get anything done, a guy who knows me and who sometimes chats to me sat down and...well, chatted to me. ...And chatted and chatted and chatted... Beers were bought and downed, the sun fell low in the sky...well, I'm sure you get the picture. Then it was morning and I found myself back home, with not a single word or idea or thought to show for it.

It's a difficult thing to deal with and I am trying not too beat myself up about it. If I am working and get a lot done - as is often the case on a bender - then I can justify it in some way in my mind. But if all I am doing is sitting getting drunk? It's just that everything and everybody seemed to be conspiring against me. As it is there are constant rows over the time I spend writing, both with the other half and my mother, both of whom keep coming up with things that need doing, the argument being that I am not working so I must have plenty of time. Writing a book is not seen as 'work'. I should have lied and said I'd found a modestly-paid 9 till 5 job some place and then gone out every morning as if off to work. Sounds crazy but I have heard of folks doing exactly that!

Right, enough of my babbling sorrows! I have managed to do a fair bit of writing over the last week or so, despite these and similar tribulations and think a complete first draft of the new book should be about completed in three weeks. Meanwhile my arty collaborator in the 'States continues to throw up new ideas and to explore new directions and of course I have a contribution or two to make (I hope). Actually I am looking forward to starting work on designing the new cover soon - one of my favorite bits of all this - and in preparation I have today be putting together some ideas for how the badge might look on the regulation hospital-issue patient uniforms in the institutional discipline scenes depicted. Actually most of the illustration work has thus far focused on the institutional discipline aspect but ideas have simultaneously been emerging as regards the domestic discipline scenarios - and there are plenty of those - so some effort will, I expect, soon be expended in that direction. Meanwhile here are two variations of the uniform badge I have come up with, this version being intended for patient 30, quite obviously, who those of you who have read the first two volumes will recognize instantly as a young lady who is never far from the controlling, grasping hands of her guardian - even if safely behind the locked doors of a secure institution. By the way; the textual appearance is deliberate and supposed to make it look as if painstakingly embroidered on fabric.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the badge is a bit busy. I wrote a story where the mental patients had the word INSANE written on the front and back of their uniforms.

The stark "CONVICT" label is, like a brand, more impressive than having a lot of least in my opinion. :-)

summertime75 said...

Perhaps the badge had its origins in the recent football fiasco.

I agree that the badge shouldn't be to fussy but the idea of including the institution name and the person's individual number is a good idea.