Narrative – Exercise 3.3 – Sequence

A Hermits Journey

A Hermits Journey

I do not live alone, I live with myself. This is a position of strength, although it may appear to be an isolated existence.

A Hermits Journey

My mental health difficulties can lead to very morbid thoughts, but somehow I manage to walk that path in between life and death. I find there is as much joy to be found in darkness as there is in light. That’s not the way it used to be, so I think a positive attitude comes with experience and age.

A Hermits Journey

People are important to me. Through my studies I have developed an online community, and I have some very close and wonderful friends that I have known for years. However I chose not to meet with people very often, I prefer to have a physical distance, and enjoy the freedom of not having to be with people.

A Hermits Journey

If I spend too much time around people I feel overwhelmed and oppressed. It’s not that people are oppressive, its hard to explain. I find that being with people is quite heavy and tiring. It’s hard for me to just let go and move with current of life when I am in the company of others.

A Hermits Journey

Its much easier to blend into the background and be invisible.

A Hermits Journey

Spirituality, in my mind, is not about a church or belief system. Nature and space provide me with a connection and nourishment, as of course do birds. For me, feeling connected, that I have a place and purpose is important, and photography has given me that in bucket loads. I am grateful for my camera, and grateful to be studying photography.

A Hermits Journey

Gratitude is something that is so important to me. It is possible to feel grateful for so many small things, and in this photo its the colour and texture of the wood, and how they are strengthened and exaggerated by the snowy background. One of the many things that I found to be grateful for on my walk. Gratitude is a spiritual practice. At the end of each day I write five things down in my daily gratitude journal. Positivity has to be cultured.

A Hermits Journey

One of the down sides to living the life of a hermit is that there is a wee bit too much time for thinking. I find it is easy to slip into either negative thinking or dwelling on the past.

A Hermits Journey

Too much self-reflection can leave me feeling trapped, brittle and easy to break.

A Hermits Journey

During those times I have to dig deep and find my inner strengths and push myself forward. Colour and beauty is to be found within those inner resources that I use to move onwards and upward.

A Hermits Journey

Once I have pushed myself back up to the top of the hill, and re-discovered the joy of being, I can take a rest at my post. I lean upon this post with my camera in one hand and binoculars in the other. There are so many different bird species to be found in this small patch of bracken, bramble and trees. Peace and beauty flutter around me.

A Hermits Journey

In the journey through life people come and go. Maybe in passing, for however long that maybe, we will sit on these benches together and connect. But whether I sit with you, or someone else, I will never be alone because I will always be with myself.



I am so grateful that I have used the opportunity provided in exercise 3.3 to explore different themes in relation to photography as a sequence. The photos for A Hermits Journey were taken during a walk from Whitby Abbey, down into the town, along the river Esk into Ruswarp, and then back into Whitby, ending with a walk along the West Cliffs.

The walk took me five hours, and I took many photos along the way. Although I will publish others in my gallery, I narrowed my selection for this narrative down to twelve photos which I could use to express a little of who I am. These photos are sequential in relation to the walk that I took, and I have tried to use my words in a manner that flows throughout.

If viewed by anyone who hasn’t walked the route I enjoy, then the photos without text would be seen as a series rather than as a sequence. The writing brings the photos together as a sequence, and provide a way for me to communicate and express myself. This is directive in its manner and probably doesn’t leave the viewer asking questions, although some may be able to relate to different aspects. I don’t believe that this has any abstract or conceptual slant to it, and fits very neatly into a genre of narrative photography.

Critique and feedback are always welcome on my blog.

I Can’t Breathe – (Co-dependancy)

This is a short poem that I wrote about 20 years ago (I’m excluding the other person’s name) .

You take my bed

You take my mind

But one day xxxxxxx

You will find

The real me

Because its there

And then you’ll realise

I don’t care.

I cant breathe



Thank god for therapy, and learning how to practice emotional integrity!

Waiting to Die

Death becomes him

Death is me

This waking death of misery.

Please come death

Please swallow me

End this life and swallow me.


The usual reminder:- I am OK. In fact I’m very good right now. Writing is recovery.

If You Knew What Makes Me Cry

I’m a man you know, and all men feel


We laugh it off and blame the beer

“No, really mate, I’m fine”

You would wet your pants with laughter

If you knew what makes me cry.

It’s not the twilight sunset

Nor that twinkle in your eye.


On the terraces, win, lose or draw

“Fuck off ref” I shout

It’s not that I’m a heartless …t,

But these feelings must come out.

You would wet your pants with laughter

If you knew what makes me cry.

It’s not the twilight  sunset

Nor that twinkle in your eye.


My missus is amazing,

Shes gorgeous through and through.

My throat went dry, my heart near stopped,

when she whispered ” Yes I do”

You would wet your pants with laughter

If you knew what makes me cry.

It’s not the twilight sunset

Nor that twinkle in your eye.


My princess buggers off,

To the girls each Sunday night.

I’m sure she goes on purpose,

So my tears stay out of sight.

You would wet your pants with laughter

If you knew what makes me cry.

It’s not the twilight sunset

Nor that twinkle in your eye.


How kind she is to let my tears,

Flow freely through my beard.

I’m really quite emotional

But I find crying weird.

You would wet your pants with laughter

If you knew what makes me cry.

It’s not the twilight sunset

Nor that twinkle in your eye.





Anxiety and butterflies danced in my belly first

And was followed shortly by intense longing, yearning, and…


There you were, holding hands

Walking just a few paces in front.

I shouted your name and…

You never turned or showed any recognition, such as a missed step or a tension in your shoulders.

For a few seconds I knew you were still here, that you

Had not gone away to “a better place”

Such a FUCKING crass sentence. I hate it. I HATE THOSE WORDS.

There is no better place than being with you. Walking through a scorched and barren desert would be bliss if we walked it together.

What emotions or clear thoughts can I have, when there is the emptiness of your shape that I fill and will not let go of.

I will not let go of you. Never.

Who Am I? Who Are You? Society, Change, The Pain Of Ownership, The Journey From Me To We, Who Are We.

The beginning of my personal enquiry seems a little strange, but my thoughts were in response to a discussion on another blog.

Who Are We?

I agree. One positive change is beginning to happen with children being taught mindfulness in schools. It’s already creating communication, acceptance, tolerance, and the ability to look within. I like the idea of the shamanic talking stick. You can only speak when you have the stick. You hold the stick and state whatever you need to discuss and then pass the stick over. The person who is now holding the stick then has to say “this is what I heard you say…..and I think you mean this….” The stick gets passed back and you  respond to the other person. You agree with what tbe person heard and then explain what the second person didn’t hear or understand. This process is re6peated until you have been heard. The second person then holds the stick and they can then discuss whats bothering them, and repeat the process. Honest dialogue, honest speak, honest watching and honest listening. Honest listening is really hearing what has been said without mentally preparing to add your perspective, and without planning a response.  Honest watching is discussed by CE HALL in her essay Woman: The Mystery Decoded.

The bigger picture

I’m going to get political now – with the big P (government) the issue is that they can’t and don’t look at the big picture. They tackle single issues, crime, housing, tobacco, gambling, mental health, teen pregnancy etc. They do this because their aim is to get re-elected. They seek power not change.If they tackle the big picture and see that there is something wrong with the whole system, then they have to work from the ground up. Why does the UK have so much debt, a higher proportion of people in prison than other European countries. The biggest ratio of teenage pregnancies, food banks, an increase in betting shops; etc etc. To tackle the big picture is a long term process, and no government will dare to undertake this because the change is a slow and will take many years. This brings the risk of not being elected again. With governments of any kind – labour; conservative, Republican, Democrat. They are all the same. They all seek power and re-election rather than creating a cohesive and open society.
The small p is the politics of individuals and ownership. This is MY house, MY football team, MY religion, MY wife. My country. When we focus on me and ownership we create a polemic system where I am right and you are wrong. Suffering comes from ownership. It’s painful to defend a position that we find security in, so we then become defensive on the inside and create violence on the outside, and not necessarily physical violence.

Change can only come from individuals who enquire about who they are, and who others are. We let go of MY and understand WE. We look into our shame about who we are. We enter into our shadow and face it, and realise that shame is a myth, a social construct to create systemic control and obedience. When we see this we are free, we forgive ourselves and see that others act from shame, we understand their behaviour. Just because we understand their behaviour does not mean that we accept it. We set boundaries.  We can now see the bigger picture of WE. Shame is not personal, it is universal. We let go of the personal shame. No longer driven by our shadow, we are free to choose how we want to live. Free to set our boundaries, we now have choice because we are living from the bigger picture. This personal enquiry is happening with individuals around the world. If this change continues to develop, then change will happen from the grass roots upwards; and not from governments.

The realisation is I’m not who I think I am. The definitions and labels that I have received from myself and others, my defensive, restrictive belief system; my memories, my goals. These have all been possessive and restrictive. I thought I had choice, but when I started to explore these belief systems I realise how false and limiting they are. I am not my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, memories, ideologies, I am not my circumstances, I am not my personality (it’s just a restrictive perception).If am able to observe these things with an open mind, I realise that I cannot be what I observe. Everything that I think I am is impermanent. Even the cells in my body and the neurons in my brain change and die. There is a part of me, a “self” that has witnessed everything. It’s always been there. Here’s an analogy to explain this. I am the white board. You write on me and I remain as the white board. You rub out the writing and write something else, I remain as the white board . Another analogy. I am a tv screen. A documentary is played on the TV. I remain as the screen. You turn the TV off and the screen remains. You play a film. A tragic romance comes on. There is love and friendship and hope and dreams. The main character dies and there is grief, guilt and anger. All of these events and ideas happen on the screen. But they are not the screen. The screen is “self” who I am.

What remains needs meditation, contemplation, writing a journal, examining our beliefs and reactions. We question who or what am I beyond awareness. We realise that we are all “self” we are all the neutral observer. There is no separation from me and you. There is no MY.

The journey to discovery, to seeking the truth about who I am is a courageous path. To let go of false security and belief systems, to stand in presence, in this moment, with nothing to cling hold of, no false comfort blanket; We remain aware. The aware observer is following the warriors journey.

I now live with the knowledge that “we are”. Everything is ours. I am now free to share what is ours, rather than cling to what is mine. I have started “pay it forward friday” I go to the bakery and buy a pie. I pay with a  5 Pound note and ask the cashier to use the change to pay for whoever she serves next. I give 2 pound to a woman who sells the big issue, and 2 pound to a charity. It reaffirms that it’s our money, our connection; our pain and struggles, our hopes. “We are”. I am seeking the answer to who we really are beyond the veil of deception.

I am one of those people who have started to seek truth because of a crisis, because of the pain of breaking my boundaries, of doing “wrong”. The collapse of personal identity, the shame, the fear and grief, cracked my identity and personality wide open. Many people begin to seek answers to who they really are because of a total breakdown of the personality. There are more that seek because instinctively they feel that something is missing. Change is happening. We may not see the results in the near future, but as more people realise they are not who they think they are, more change begins.

The question remains – who am I?


Hall, CE; 2017; Women: The Mystery Decoded; Online at (accessed on 30th September 2017)

Aos Si – The Fairie (Coming to Get You!)

At this time of year when

The night is drawing in,

The leaves they start to fall,

And my work can begin.

Cold and dampness penetrate,

Into muscle and bone,

I’m searching, watching out for you,

Will I find you alone?

Do you hear that rustling?

Or that suspicious crack?

It’s only the courageous,

Who stop and dare look back.

Hill of Tara, Hill of Tara

Samhain’s nearly here.

Spirits rise to claim your life,

At the end of the Pagan year.

Aos Si the Fairie

Are waiting to surprise,

And take you to the underworld,

Unless you’re in disguise.

You may trick the Aos Si

With mumming and fine song

But I am death! I’m winter!

If you think you’ll live – you’re wrong!

Winter is the season

That’s the hardest one to cheat.

It’s time to rest your shrivelled soul

And lay it at my feet.


Man With a Blade -(Trigger Warning)

Hell have no fury like a man with a blade

Cutting out emotions that you’ve made.

Physical beatings assault and rape,

That’s what it was, now my minds in a state.

To end my life would be so much fun

But I can’t get my hands on a weapon like a gun

So I’m gonna have a go to put a pause in this pain

With a blade in my hand I’m gonna blood drain.


If any of the issues in this poem affect you support is available in a great many countries and online.

afspnational (twitter)



P.S. My poetry can be quite intense. I am OK.  Writing is recovery

P.S. My poetry can be intense. I AM OK. Writing is recovery.

I am aware that people do get worried about the starkness of my writing. It’s drawn from a variety of experiences. Some my own, and some of others. Please let me reassure you that I am really OK. I write from the heart and the words come as they will. I feel the need to write this disclaimer because this poem is disturbing. Please please seek help if you are struggling.


Fragile As An Eggshell

My mind, my mind

Emotions intense

My thoughts they torture me

Emotions  so intense

Your more important

Than me.

Obsessive thoughts

Of what you think

Of what you think of me.

The more I think

Of what you think

It takes a piece of me.

A piece of me

Is taken

Each time I think of you.

When I say you

It’s not just one

It’s every one I see

I think you all hate me

And I don’t think of me.

A crack appears

My mind is broken

My fragile mind

My fragile self is gone

Myself I cannot find.

I’m fragile


An eggshell


The yoke had gone

The egg white has disappeared

The space inside is fear

I live inside the eggshell

Please don’t come to near.

Please don’t

Please don’t

Just leave me alone

Fragile mind

Fragile thoughts

Fragile feelings

Fragile self

Fragile self esteem


P.S. My poetry can be quite intense. I am OK.  Writing is recovery

I’m Reaching Out Tonight (Think Back from the Edge)

The river is so cold and wet

I am sinking out of sight

Dark cold water fills my lungs

I’ve killed myself tonight.


Floating down the swollen river

The stars they shine so bright

My coat is heavy, weighs me down

Could it be tonight?


Upon the bridge I’m looking down

My head is numb and light

No one’s around, so I step off

Maybe it’s tonight?


I close the door behind me

The snow is crisp and white

I have a plan, I’ll see it through

Please God, please tonight?


My dearest friends and family

My last wishes I here write

It’s not your fault, but I must go

I’m sorry, but it’s tonight.


My thoughts and feelings hurt me so

Nothing left to fight

I have to end this living hell

I believe it is tonight.


Depression is too deep, too dark

The tunnel has no light

I’ve laid in bed another week

Stuff, it’s tonight


I’ll dial that helpline number

Though I’m scared and full of fright

                                                                       “Hello Samaritans”

“I’m desperate can you help me?”

I reached out tonight.


Make the call, You’re worth it!

Suicide Hotlines

In 2016 there were 6188 suicides in The UK and Republic of Ireland. Suicide is a serious issue. If you are feeling suicidal help is available.

UK and Republic of Ireland The Samaritans on 116123 or email you can find other resources on u can cope

In the USA Nation Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

In Canada 403 327 7905

In Australia Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

In India The Samaritans +91-22-2307-3451

In Israel  Eran 1201

Twitter 800273TALK

Please add suicide hotline numbers from your country in the comments and I will add them above.


P.S. My poetry can be quite intense. I am OK.  Writing is recovery.