I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...

Once in a Lifetime

Then I ask myself, "How did I get here?"

Where to begin. So much of my past seems to belong to someone else. I've written elsewhere about memory and how the word contains a lie, or at least an untruth. MEmory. Most of my memories are actually YOUmories. My mum tells me stories about when I was little but I can't rememeber them really. Amd yet I recount them to my own children as my stories, my memories. I don't remember stripping naked and running into the sea at Morecombe; I was only 4. I don't remember being chased by a tortoise at London zoo. I don't even remember if it was London zoo. But these have become my memories.

So when I try to explain the beginning of the story I am about to tell, it is difficult.

When I finished at Art college I had nowhere to go. No University had offered me a place (and there is another story). I worked as a painter and decorator. I was an odd-job man. I papered rooms, painted walls and built stuff. Someone once paid me to put up a child's swing because they couldn't understand the instructions. I enjoyed it then. It helped Deb and I - yes, even back then I was with Deb - to travel. We went to France for 6 weeks, Greece for a month.

But it wasn't wholly satisfying and I was always on the lookout for something else.

I saw an ad for a job at a school for students with moderate learning difficulties. My mum was a teacher and she always predicted I would go that way. She persuaded me to apply. I did and I got the job. I spent 7 fantastic years there. I worked on the residential side teaching everything from football to climbing, drama to lifeskills. It was very varied. But it was dead end. I decided to go to University to study English with the intention of becoming a teacher based on my experiences at this school. I got a first class degree and became a teacher before moving away.

I am now back and I am painting and decorating. And on Monday, almost ten years since I first worked there, I have an interview to teach at the very same school. So, I have to ask myself, "How did I get here?"

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