It's been 20 years of the Big Issue.
So when I was trying to pick a short story to publish this week, it had to be Bus Station.
It's a story that comes from a writing prompt:
Taken from a Writer's Cafe writing prompt...
Character: Mack Till
Setting: Bus station
I chose not to use the name in the story, and up until writing this "Behind The Keyboard" I had forgotten that the character had a name. Which is somewhat relevant...
I can't claim it's my best story, or favourite. But it is the one I had the biggest problems writing.
It was difficult because I was empathising with Mack. I had to, in order to write the next line.
But then I re-read it, and found that it didn't have impact. It was a little dull. So I went for first-person instead.
I sit at the bus station, hovering at the border of unconsciousness. I'm so hungry, so tired. I can't afford to pass out though - I'll miss my chance.
Hopefully these cramps will pass.
I grip the ticket a little tighter, trying to pull myself together by focusing on it, until there's nothing else in the world but my ticket at the end of a dark tunnel.
My ticket out of here.
Pain from the cramps again.
I look up at the clock. Two hours until the bus leaves.
Bristol. That's where I'm going.
I don't know anyone in Bristol. I've never been there before. I'm not even sure where Bristol is.
But I'm tired of stinking, tired of begging, tired of losing hours to an ever-decreasing high, tired of being ignored and trodden on.
Bristol is my clean break.
Since Monday, I've felt bombarded by news media about this anniversary.
This has left me feeling somewhat less sombre and respectful, and more annoyed.
It was a terrible disaster, and I have much sympathy for the many people who lost loved ones in it.
But for me, on the other side of the Atlantic, it feels more like a boundary. A point in time which people use not only as a common reference, but some use as a reason for their own purposes.
It was used to pass ever more draconian regulation "to deal with terrorism", which has then instead been used for entirely different purposes.
Open For Business As Usual...
(Click on the photo to see it on Flickr if you can't make out the text. Then book an optician's appointment.)
This is what I love about London. You can't make this kind of stuff up.
For the next couple of days, you can probably see this by going to Moorgate - it's by the Circle/District/Hammersmith & City lines entrance.
Aw, who am I kidding. It's a closing down sale in London. You'll be able to see it for at least the next three months, maybe six... ;-)
It's been a year since I put up any photos online. So I wanted to put up one taken at around the time I stopped.
I took this one at Bridgend, in Wales. I'd just checked into the hotel for a wedding, and had an hour or so to kill - so I stepped out with my camera.
The hotel was by a business park, so there was this rather well kept little bit of landscape there.
The hotel was also by a motorway, and not much else. So I opted to make the most of this landscape!
After a few hour's travel, wandering over a little grass with a camera did me a world of good. I was ready to face the world again...