Can’t Wait To Collaborate

Just under a year ago, I included one of my friend Grace’s documentaries in a blog post (“What Gives You The Right?”) that discussed the plight of the homeless. As she had been too busy to contribute a post to Third Time Enabled, I thought that the video would both ensure she was well-represented and raise further awareness of a very important issue. In her latest project, and as part of her degree course, Grace is once again utilising the power of the documentary in exploring another one of life’s most pressing problems; loneliness. More specifically, she will be looking at loneliness from the perspective of someone who finds themselves immersed in city life, surrounded by people but still very much alone. This is the feeling I have been asked to capture in some spoken-word poetry, which Grace intends to include in her film.

When she asked me to write the piece, I was certain about two things – firstly that I couldn’t accept the offer quickly enough, and secondly that I could not underwhelm her with whatever I created. With this latter point in mind, out came my notebook, and I very tentatively began to craft some opening lines. Poetry is something I haven’t turned my hand to in quite some time, so as I did this I was well aware that it wasn’t going to be something that was complete in ten minutes. Even getting to two verses took at least a couple of days. Now, however, I have something that increasingly resembles a finished poem, and this morning I decided I was confident enough to show what I had to some of my future Winchester course-mates in our Facebook group chat. Just as I’d always expected, we’ve been getting on like a house on fire, and I feel blessed to have found such a supportive group of like-minded people to share my works in progress with. If any of the “Creative Winch Buddies” are reading this, I want you to know exactly how awesome you all are, and how lucky I consider myself to have met you. I can’t wait for us to be introduced in person come September!

True to their supportive nature, the group seemed to like what I’d presented to them, and their feedback was exactly what I needed to put many of my worries about the poem aside, at least for the time being. I have a first half down on paper – I can focus on any further alterations to that when I have a second. That’s likely to be a much bigger hurdle, but one I will relish not just for the creativity involved, but also for the opportunity to show the end product to the group and Grace herself – surely two of the most appreciative audiences a writer could wish for.

Mason

What Gives You The Right?

While waiting for the bus home after work recently, I found myself talking to an old lady who was also in the queue. We made small talk about various things – where I live, her previous career, my disability – and it passed the time quite nicely until the bus pulled up to our stand. At that point, we were discussing employment, since I will be leaving my current job in June, and specifically what my next one could be and where I could be doing it. It was then that the lady, who had seemed pleasant enough, made an admission that immediately brought her down in my estimations.

“I know this probably doesn’t sound very sympathetic,” she began, arousing my suspicions of what was to come, “but I’ve never felt very sorry for homeless people.”

I felt the smile instantly fade from my face and I had to work hard to suppress my disgust. “If you’re working in your wheelchair, why can’t they?” she added. It astounded me that someone of this lady’s age and life experience could be quite so ignorant. Granted, I’ve never been through any of the hardships that a homeless person has, but I know – and often make a habit of pointing out – that it’s very hard for anyone to get a job, no matter who you are, and the longer you wait the more disheartening it can be. In addition to this, you should never judge a book by its cover. We don’t know the reasons why people are homeless, and every case is different, so what gives anyone the right to judge them? I think many people need to do their best to remember some things that are quickly being forgotten in this day and age; namely that we are all human beings, that the differences between us should be embraced and celebrated, and that we should resist and reject anybody or anything that uses them to try dividing us.

As I may have previously written, I gave some money to a homeless man I encountered on my way to work late last year, and my ability to do that and subsequently provide him with a cup of coffee gave me a simple but significant boost. I give a smile and a “hello” to anyone I see sleeping rough, because that’s what you’d do to anyone else in the street, so why would I deny them that basic courtesy? I’m treating them with the same respect as I would anyone else, because they’re not aliens or people to be looked down upon. They’re people who might just have lost their way a bit, and if they have, we should help them to find their way back to normality – or at least show our support.

Anyone who doesn’t, like that lady I was talking to at the bus station, will simply not dignify a response from me – as Dad has recently pointed out, if I don’t agree with something but don’t feel it is necessary to start an argument, I’ll simply disengage and glaze over until the other person realises their daft attempts to get through to me have been fruitless. I have to say, it’s worked wonders so far!

Can I ask a simple favour before I go? Just give Grace’s short documentary Living Native a watch below. You won’t regret it. Thanking you muchly!

Mason