By Graham Morgan
“Well the chapter ‘Doorstep Sales Man’ in my book START, describes that fairly well and, slightly to my regret, concludes that I am pretty ordinary.
I am however, a great fan of the ordinary and the extraordinary in the ordinary.
We have so many stories to tell in all our lives and I am privileged in my day job to meet so many people and hear so many different stories.
I work for Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland and am always touring the country meeting people: mainly people with experience of mental illness, but also people with learning disabilities and autism and other conditions and what I hear and witness could fill many books.
I am also part of the team reviewing our mental health legislation.
Meeting people who, like me, have experienced compulsory treatment is humbling and makes me wish so much that we can come to helpful conclusions with the review.
Dreams for the Future
I would love one day to be able to just write for a living but that might be just a bit too inward looking.
Lacking a wide imagination, I tend to write about myself and what I think and feel and see around me.
Mainly I talk of my experience of schizophrenia, but also I talk of my friends and family and the natural world.
At the moment I am slightly obsessed by the call of the oyster catchers and the curlews on my daily walk by the Clyde with Dash the Dog.
START took me five years to complete, a story not heard often; that of being treated against your will for many, many years and yet at the same time, thinking that treatment might keep you alive.
But also a story of love, and the wonder of a new relationship when I has abandoned any hope that might happen again.
I am currently working on another book or maybe two books; the sequel to START.
Life with Wendy and her young children, the beginning of a new life with the myriad different beginnings that involves but also ending.
The end of her Dad’s life and also my Dad’s life.
I am trying to work out the book’s shape and what I am trying to tell people, nothing new; that death is a very ordinary event as it comes to all of us and et at the same time is extraordinary, that even when life feels filled with tragedy you still put the wash on, cook the meals, put the bins out.
And that is who I am really, another of those extraordinary ordinary people.
Who I Am
Neither writer, nor worker, but Wendy’s boyfriend, the one who says very little but grins all the time when he is in the company of her friends.
The one who gets told off for constantly trying to plan the next meal and the next food shop.
The wee one Charlotte loves to cuddle up to and admire because she too wants to be a writer when she grows up and the one her twin James likes to tease with that wicked sense of humour he has.
The one who has lived through some terrible times and now, in late middle age, has a new life that fills him with wonder which he wants to tell people about.
The one who posts all the time on Twitter and Facebook about those curlews and the crows, the rain showers and the smell of the shore when the tide goes out.
The one, who whenever he is alone, says into the silence of the house that he wants to die and yet nowadays dares to hope that one day he will forget to say or think that and instead will really believe that life is all about this wonderful living stuff we do.”
Graham Morgan has an MBE for services to mental health and is the author of START (by Fledgling Press) a memoir of compulsory treatment, love and the natural world. (Available from Amazon and Waterstones) He can be found at @GrahamM23694298 on Twitter and at Graham Moran – author; on Facebook or at the Scottish Book Trust Live Literature database.