Between 1989 and 1995 I went through a period of reflection during which I had quite heavy counselling; the past seemed to have caught up with me and I wasn’t in a good place. At the time I was well known in the press for my artwork and so my counsellor suggested I used my art skills to depict my feelings. Over a period of about a year I sketched at bedtime on bits of paper and the backs of envelopes and this collection is the result. ‘Private Journey’ became the first of three exhibitions I would stage, the second being ‘Journeyman’ and the last being ‘Journey’s End’ in 1995. I haven’t exhibited since. I deliberately haven’t given these sketches a clean up because I prefer them to remain in their raw, organic state.
Through my work over the years with vulnerable adults and children I have often encouraged people to use their creative skills as a way to address some of the pains they have experienced in life and have become a firm advocate of Creative Arts Therapy. As time goes by and I continue to develop my website I will, at some point, come round to uploading the other two exhibitions as (like Private Journey) they are a major part of my biography. Meanwhile if you would like to see this collection please click on either the link below or the one above x
A few new readers asked if I would republish my memoirs of life in a children’s home and through foster care. I had taken them off to do a sort of final edit but have put them back on line because of the recent interest. There are four chapters which detail the breakdown of my family, life in a children’s home and my subsequent move into foster care. They were difficult memoirs to write and there have been times when I’ve questioned why I wrote them. I think initially, as a displaced child, I had a great need to make some sort of sense of my life and put things in their proper place. Having worked in the social care profession for 25 years I now know how important life story work is and how healing it can be. I think I somehow had the idea too that my writings might be helpful to others brought up in similar situations and be a catalyst giving them courage to face their own demons, although I afterwards felt that to be patronising and arrogant.
These days it isn’t unusual to see dozens of books on sale written by people who have had dreadfully abusive childhoods and it’s very easy to become cynical or fed up with hearing people bleating on – and I can equate with that. Readers of this post (or those who read my memoirs) are very welcome to express whatever they feel about my writings; I’m a big boy now, far removed from the vulnerable little man in the photograph. I’m also incredibly strong mentally; probably due in part to having the balls to stare pain straight in the eye because if I’ve learned anything I know that’s what takes it’s power away.
ManBoy Geordie chapters 1 to 4 are here on my website and readers are very welcome to read and comment as they wish