Friday, 7 November 2014

More Inspiration from tha Youtube Film - And a Scene I Ask our Imagination to Fill In

Left:  My interpretation of what MIGHT be going on - or what WOULD be going on if it came from the plot of one of my earlier books, such as the INSTITUTIONALISED series.  Click to enlarge.

Incidently, the term ‘harassment therapy’ is NOT something made up by yours truly but does actually exist in reality, or has done in the recent past. Google it and see.

But now I'd like you to call on you to do a little work yourselves.  I want to call on you to imagine a change of scene. It is perhaps sometime later in the day. I'd like you to imagine a girl in her late teens who has done nothing wrong but has found herself incarcerated in an East European psychiatric institute (for now it is better you don't know how or why). She is in a straitjacket. She has just been frogmarched into the institution psychologist's 'consultation room' between two female orderlies, stout middle-aged women in white button-through dresses with leather-belted waists and hats that look like something a chef or cook might wear and more at home in a kitchen or butcher's shop.

The room is bare, stark, and decked out like a police interview room, right down to the two-way mirror lining the top half of one of the whitewashed walls and the the twin-deck cassette recorder arranged to one side of the grey-white Formica-topped table she has been seated in front of. Four large, old-fashioned CCTV cameras stare down accusingly from high up in the corners, each with a red light blinking on and off, presumably recording her every move.

Before retreating outside, one of the women unbuckles her belt and slips it out from around her waist, doubling in it over and leaving the supple, broad, brown leather belt folded on the tabletop alongside the thin rattan cane which was already there. The girl is left alone to stew in her own juices seated on a high-backed hard wooden chair whose seat is somewhat too short, from front to back, to fully accommodate her full bottom. The girl's back is to the door and she faces the deep, comfortable, black leather chair on the other side of the desk on which eventually the 'therapist' will sit once she arrives, sinking back and kicking of her heels, as is her habit. Beyond that is the high-mounted rectangle of thick glass blocks which constitutes the window, deeply inset behind a barrier of thick wire mesh and with the shadowy outline of the bars on its exterior showing through as the only reminder of the outside world.

The silence is near-complete, to the point of feeling almost like pressure on the ears, liking wadding pressing against her eardrums. It is broken only by a slow metronome-like tick, like an old wall clock or a grandfather clock some way off in the distance. It is the only thing that provides any notion of the passage of time – that, and the growing saddle-sore numbness in her behind on account of the hard chair and its seat which is slightly domed towards its centre, increasing the discomfort. But she knows from experience not to fidget, not to look around herself, at her surroundings, but to face forward sitting ramrod straight – there is no way of knowing who is watching through that two-way mirror or is seated before what she imagines to be a bank of television security monitors some place...  It eats away at her nerves, eats away at her from inside.

(Right - I couldn't find a picture of a girl in a starightjacket receiving a thrashing with a belt)

She knows when the woman finally comes in she will do so quietly. She may not even hear the door open and close, might only become aware of her presence through the rustle of her clothing, the whisper of her stockings or tights and the soft click of her heels on the lino. But she resists the temptation to peer back over her shoulder, fights back the growing tension in her stomach, tries not to look at the implements of chastisement sitting on the table top in front of her... and slowly but surely, as the worry lines etched across her young brow deepen and the tension mounts, she begins to break herself down, psychologically eating away at herself from the inside. Only when the tears have begun to flow in earnest does she become aware of movement behind her back, then of the woman bustling past, taking her seat, arranging the clipboard she carries and slapping the heavy file down on the table with a heart-stopping dull thud, kicking off her heels under the table.

The therapist wears a white coat and is the only one in the institution who can speak or understand English. She is also the only one who knows the girl's true identity, how she came to be there and – importantly – the reason she is being held; and even the girl herself doesn't fully understand that!

The therapist is combative from the start. Among other things the girl is being accused of promiscuity or promiscuous behaviour and of compulsive masturbation and is being interrogated as much as interviewed. She is being aggressively questioned on all manner of embarrassingly personal things. Sexual history, sex acts with boy friends, masturbatory habits, her most secret fantasies – and her every response is it greeted with the same cynical and derogatory attitude. She has been interviewed in this way many, many times before. Each time copious notes have been taken, her replies recorded and a bulging fat file is continuously refereed to, cross-checked to validate her candidness and truthfulness. Of course the poor harassed thing is as reluctant to take part as she is resentful of her continued incarceration. And so she quickly finds herself being made to lie across the therapist's desk.

The crotch strap of her straitjacket is tugged up out the way - yanked tight between her fulsome bottom cheeks - and like that she is thrashed with the folded leather belt the orderly has so thoughtfully provided, long and hard. She has been positioned facing a mirror propped up against the wall and has to keep her eyes open, watching herself in reflection being strapped. After each strike and before the next the therapist holds out the belt in front of her for her to kiss – she must bring her lips softly to the leather, smile, glance up at the reflection of the therapist in the mirror, make full eye contact and thank her nicely. She is not restrained but rather is obliged to keep in position of her own volition - to do otherwise, to shift position or jump to her feet, is to invite a repeat of the entire punishment from the start...  And an additional going-over with the cane as well!


Vlad said...

I've been remiss with my commenting. The German film is pleasant surprise that shows your work is not as far out as you thought. Harassment therapy is definitely one of psychology's bad ideas, unless you are doing Institutionalized style anti-therapy, and I think harassment therapy does show up in one of your books. I hope you are making progress with the new book and will consider publishing the other book about home based treatment in some form as well. You could probably package it as a series of vignettes with a bit of "glue" rather than a full story.

Toyntanen said...

Thanks for that, Vlad. I can't overemphasise the importance of feedback in helping drive the creative process and keep the enthusiasm going - especially at this time of the year as the days shorten and the old mood starts to nosedive as winter begins to blow in. There have been so very few comments posted recently for some reason, which has been disappointing, so it's nice to know there are folks still out there.

The thing is, Vlad; with one or two exceptions and exaggerations, pretty much all the events portrayed in the INSTITUTIONALISED series (including the central premise behind the series itself)are based on, and inspired by, fact. I deliberately set out to work that way because I myself had been seeking greater plausibility in corporal punishment-orientated literature.

I'm still hard at work on the new book. It incorporates many fresh ideas and approaches the premise behind the heroine becoming subject to control, discipline and punishment in an entirely different way. The problem I am presently having is deciding how to open the first instalment of a work I hope to publish in ongoing short-ish (and cheap) instalments. At the moment I have about five competing candidates for the opening chapter! In addition I am still working with Roger Benson modifying and augmenting some of his artwork and (far too slowly for my liking at present) am attempting to rebuild The Original Institute website from the ground up (the new version at present exists only off-line on my home computer) as well as occasionally revisiting the comic book project I had running with Angela Fox back in 2013 when inspiration strikes (I haven’t given up on that one).

Of all these projects only the new book promises to provide any kind of income in the short term and so – as money more and more begins to run out – I really should be concentrating on finishing off that, or at least getting the first instalment out, but creativity has little respect for such rude practical considerations as finance. I can only write when there is something in my head to write about - and if all this artwork stuff stimulates inspiration (and I include the captions and stuff I have done for my Tumblr account in this), then so be it.