NOUS 4 - The Misunderstanding Issue

Page 1

for

modern

mindculture

nous

and

empathic

magazine

thinking

four

THE MISUNDERSTANDING ISSUE perception of language, society and identity

autumn 2014

team

trident

press




Editorial & Art Direction

Illustration

Juliet Davis (MUTO) cargocollective.com/julietdavis Stéphanie Vivier stephanievivier.org

Joe Whitmore jwhitmoo.com Lulu Heal luluheal.co.uk Melanie Wheeler melaniewheeler.co.uk Serrah Russell serrahrussell.com Sian Morrell sianmorrell.tumblr.com

Translation

Photography

Amelia Rosey

Jean-Baptiste Sinniger jeanbaptistesinniger.tumblr.com Joshua Lutz joshualutz.com Laura Pannack laurapannack.com Marina Richter mranai.tumblr.com Océane Tur cargocollective.com/hometur Stéphanie Vivier stephanievivier.org Thomas Albdorf thomasalbdorf.com Will Sharp willsharpphotography.tumblr.com

Lisa Lorenz Assistant Editor

Transcription George Odysseos Proofreading Lucy Dixon George Odysseos Words Adam Dixon saatchiart.com - Adam Dixon Amelia Rosey Angus Stewart about.me/angoos David Hartley davidhartleywriter.blogspot.com Delyth Telford Elizabeth Spavento allriseseattle.org Emily Godden auditchaos.blogspot.co.uk Holly Magill hollyannegetspoetic.wordpress.com Jake Duff James Bell Jessica Loveday jessicaloveday.wix.com/ jessicaloveday Jessickah Walsh jessickahwalshgarner. wordpress.com J. W. Poltergeist John Read discursiveoftunbridgewells. blogspot.co.uk Rosemary Birkholz 100wordstory.org Sonny Barker organicrobotix.blogspot.co.uk Sophie Kerleaux sophiekerleaux.tumblr.com Stephanie Vivier stephanievivier.org

Listen Le Vasco Les Indiens The Smiths These Things Take Time POST Monument for a Lost Cause Levin Goes Lightly Dizzy Height Second Shepherds Everyday Locean Room Kristin Oppenheim She Was Long Gone Charles Pennequin Les Petits Mots Gherasim Luca Passionnément Read The Misunderstanding Albert Camus Hesitating Beauty Joshua Lutz The Divided Self Ronald David Laing Notes From the Underground Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Leçons d’Introduction à la Théorie de la Médiation Jean Gagnepain La Baie Vitrée Sebastien Brebel Watch Festen (1998) Thomas Vinterberg Valerie a týden divu (1970) Jaromil Jires Woyzeck (1979) Werner Herzog Black Sun (2005) Gary Tarn Glossolalie (2005) Erik Bullot Night on Earth (1991) Jim Jarmusch Paper Steinweis 80g/m² Cyclus 200g/m² Marc the Printers marctheprinters.co.uk Typefaces Arek Khajag Apelian debakir.com Elena Adam Gorton adamgorton.co.uk Mangal Raghunath Joshi Contact & Info The Misunderstanding Issue is supported by La bourse á ID. crij-bretagne.com It is accompanied by As We Are Away mini-festival in November 2014. asweareaway.com

© The publisher, authors, and

contributors reserve their rights in regards to copyright of their work. No part may be reproduced or copied without the written consent of the publisher. Danke. Edition

of 500


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

AND IN THE DARKENED UNDERPASS I THOUGHT OH GOD MY CHANCE HAS COME AT LAST BUT THEN A STRANGE FEAR GRIPPED ME AND I JUST COULD NOT ASK

s.

p.

morrissey

THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT


6

7

Cover

6

Laura Pannack

Impressum

Inner Cover

Chapter Division

Joe Whitmore

Océane Tur

ONE LANGUAGE communication, and

15

24

Tu Mens Tu

Congee

M`Entends

Rosemary Birkholz

Stéphanie Vivier 26

codices

16

Out of Sync

Of Course

Delyth Telford

Holly Magill

Melanie Wheeler

Lulu Heal 28 18

Invader Guilt

Scrambled

David Hartley

Adam Dixon Elizabeth Spavento

32

Serrah Russell

Le Chien Sophie Kerleaux Will Sharp

CONTENT


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO RELATIONSHIP interaction, society, and

expectation

43

60

The First Waves

Hesitating Beauty

of Nothing

Joshua Lutz

Sonny Barker 74 45

20 Years On

Twentyfour

Prof. John Read

Jake Duff

Sian Morrell

Marina Richter 83 54

How You Fell Apart

Home is Where

Angus Stewart

the Art is

Thomas Albdorf

Jessica Loveday

THREE IDENTITY reflection,

projection, and

97

118

Amateur

Death of a Clown

Photographer

Jessickah Walsh

James Bell St茅phanie Vivier

122 Pigeon

struggle

102

Amelia Rosey

Suicide and Honor

Jean-Baptiste

J. W. Poltergeist

Sinniger

110

130

The Untitled

9781844672714

Laura Pannack

Emily Godden


8

EDITORIAL

9


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

EDITORIAL


10

11


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

communication,

and

codices


12

13


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

ONE LANGUAGE

tu

me

mens of

tu

m’entends

course

scrambled congee

out

of

invader le

sync

guilt

chien


14

15


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

tu mens tu mens tu m’ entends tu mens tu mens tant tu me mens tu me manques tu me manques tu mens ce tu mens ce tu m’ encenses tu mens ce tu m’ ense tu m’ ensevelis tu m’ encenses tu mens ce tu mens seul tu m’ esseules tu m’ as ce tu m’ as seulée tu m’ as seul tu m’ as tant tu es tu m’ as tant tu m’ attends dis tu m’ attendris tu m’ attends tu m’ entends tu m’ en tires tu me mentir tu me tu m’ en tires tu m’ attires tu m’ as ti tu m’ as tue tu m’ attends tu me mens tu m’ en tu m’ enlèves tu m’ en ré tu m’ en rêves tu m’ en rê tu m’ en re tu m’ en relèves tu me ré tu me réellement mens tu me réellement manques tu me mens que tu me manques tu mens ce tu mens ce tu m’ encenses tu mens ce tu mens ce tu m’ ensevelis tu m’ ensevelis tu m’ ensevelis

ONE — LANGUAGE TU MENS TU M ENTENDS STEPHANIE VIVIER


16

17


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

OF COURSE words

holly

illustration

magill lulu

heal

It sloshes into our coffee chat: she’s worried about her Auntie, who’s always had »nervous trouble.« I don’t mind disclosing: sometimes a comfort when a friend »gets it.« I’m matter-of-fact across our lattes. No big deal. Just a thing. She’s not at all surprised I’ve had depression. »It’s ’cause you’re disabled, right.« A statement: obvious to her logic, perfect sense. Would be terrible to be like this. Stuck that way.

Gentle pity foams, along with, unsaid: »Ah. I’m safe.«

ONE — LANGUAGE OF COURSE


18

19

1

Adam Dixon is an 18 year old fine artist.

He finds that friends, family and teacher have

The idea of art as language and a form of

often had to act as »translator« for him, his art

translation is particularly important to him due

work reflects the frustration of having his ideas

to his acute dyslexia.

»lost in translation« through other people and the raw act of communication that art can be.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

SCRAMBLED words

adam

illustration

dixon

and

serrah

»since a young age ive had dislyxea

elizabeth

russell

spavento

I could and still cant tell you this

and ive never had a vice of my own that

exsactly and this is where my love

was inderpendert and what was tell the

of art comes in.no, wait ... love?

stoy of whats happeninh in my head. no not love more addiction to art I ive often been taken in to a roon at

need it.its not an expresstion of me or

school or college and sat down the userwell

my feeling or sroundings it an picture

»are you ok?« and »do you need any

documeant of what im thinking ether in

help in anything« now youd think

that one moment or for months at a time.«

as I habe dislexya that good isnt it?

threr trying to help but this is it!its not what I needed help with was attaully know how to say im good and this is what im thinking and feeling for me how I feel inside has always been very hard to ether to understand or control.

ONE — LANGUAGE SCRAMBLED ADAM


20

21

2

Stealte-bsead atirst Serrah Russell

At the pepar’s egde, the astirt

creeats wkros taht are at ocne

pclaes an igame of waht araepps to

mevdititae and epvixlose, miniamsilt

be sppule, sihny bclak lethear cut to

in tiher cotmopison but exvpiasne

fit the arc of the whtie fribac nxet

in nrairtave. The cgollaes boedrr

to it. Merorrid in the reefltiocn of

on the booliigcal — tehy rceenrefe

the lethear’s die, the guzae wreilnks

the bdoy’s dtpeh by aentctincuag

lkie the piinke sdie of a clseod fsit.

texrtuses taht are peeeircvd as samutilouslney framiilar and fgieron.

Entrance feruteas hmaun hiar bchinrag uwarpd wlihe a breruld

Both are, for elxapme, decipts whtie guzae bnillowig out asniagt a bcalk baroukcgnd; a dphaniaous mebranme, a gsoht.

iagme of tpreetos asaignt a caler sky rtses bolew its gamosser sdrants.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Txet taht rdeas I tried it myself

Tihs seenntimt is rforeinced in

pkees tgrouhh form the ohter sdie of

Too Close to Close in wcihh sonw

the tnecranslut peapr in rsevere lkie

cginling to the indise of a wdoinw

bule-heud vneis tghoruh wram sikn.

pnae ourebscs the pclae wrehe one egde edns and athenor bsniegs, lkie

Oehtr coaellgs emsaizphe the astirt’s

figtiprens on the bcak of a hnad.

abiitly to vusalliy cturape the ssene of tcouh. The swhados and stbule

Serrah Russell maretss cgollae wtih an

coolr cgenahs in Break and It Could

etlesffors sstiophicaiton and dcaciley,

Be So Good cteare new borrdes wthiin

caertnig a bdoy of wrok taht is as

the wkors taht ftiouncn as a pnoit of

mcuh saturigne as it is cpororeal. ∞

ehcxange, rdlesegars of whheter the barieounds mroe cllseoy reblseme a mbraneme or a ciahn lnik fnece. all collages by Serrah Russell 1 Both Are 2 Too Close to Close 3 Break After looking at Serrah’s work I was struck by

first and the last letter of a word stay in the right

how much I felt it in my body. Reading Adam’s

place. I translated what I wrote into this kind of

writing again, I started to think about the

nonsense structure. I tried to achieve a kind work

body, how we process things both cognitively

that like Serrah’s and Alex’s was simultaneously

and visually. In the end, I was fascinated with

clear and obscured, that required a closer look, a

this idea that the world appears in reverse and

slowing of time.

that we have to assemble these reflections into something »coherent.« Coherence, though is

My intention is not by any means to mock or in

partly subjective, at least in the case of dyslexia.

any way disparage those with learning or reading

That got me thinking about typoglycemia,

disabilities. It is moreover a tool to create a better

essentially every word is misspelled yet the reader

understanding, and if my attempt at metaphor

can still form a coherent sentence because the

fails in this regard, I sincerely apologize.

ONE — LANGUAGE SCRAMBLED ELIZABETH


22

3

23


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

ONE — LANGUAGE SCRAMBLED


24

25

CONGEE words

rosemary

birkholz

My sister is living in Shanghai

She’s the subject of fascination

on a temporary work visa.

among her male co-workers.

We text when she’s having her

Today she found a huge cockroach

coffee and a bowl of congee and

and slipped it under her neighbor’s

I’m getting ready for bed.

door because he is loud and she doesn’t have the vocabulary to

She’s staying in a 40thfloor studio apartment.

She eats dumplings for lunch and dinner. She ordered a custom-made coat in red, but she may need it altered because of all the dumplings.

tell him to quiet down. ∞


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

One hundred seems perfect. It’s the basis of percentages, the perfect test score, the boiling point of water (Celsius), purity. Pythagoreans considered 100 as divine because it is the square (10 x 10) of the divine decad (10), whatever the fuck that means. Even a Scrabble set has 100 tiles. And yet 100 is a fragment. It’s an arbitrary marker, like the “First 100 Days” of a president’s term— merely a promise of what’s to come, or a whiff of what has passed. The whole is a part and the part is a whole. The 100word format forces the writer to question each word, to reckon with Flaubert’s mot juste in a way that even most flash fiction doesn’t. At the same time the brevity of the form allows the writer “to keep a story free from explanation,” as Walter Benjamin wrote. For life doesn’t lend itself so easily to our elucidations. “Incoherence is preferable to a distorting order,” said Roland Barthes. None of us will ever know the whole story in other words. We can only collect a bag full of shards that each seem perfect.

100wordstory.org

ONE — LANGUAGE CONGEE


26

27

OUT OF SYNC words

delyth

illustration

telford

melanie

wheeler

We’re speaking fluently In different languages We make a form of sense But can make no sense of each other

A sliver of beauty Between the lines That can’t be reached

Out of luck Out of joint

Forlornly floating In separate states A lack Of bridging the gap

Out of sync.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

ONE — LANGUAGE OUT OF SYNC


28

29

INVADER GUILT words

david

hartley

I turn the radio off, more in an

Our vague plan of minimal

effort to silence the last opinionated

action lies buried beneath days of

few than to conserve battery life.

shuffling around and surviving,

You don’t argue the return to

days of the subject remaining

quiet; this thinned civilisation

unbroached and unconcluded.

has long lost its warmth and the philosophising and redemption may

We have food and supplies for

sound pretty but it leaves the apocalyptic heart cold. But it is not a silence I return us to; the sounds

now; perhaps we can

YOU TAKE A DEEP BREATH

of the distant liquid

sit it out for a while yet, await the coming of a better plan. Have I interpreted the smile correctly? Have I ever?

creaks filter back in. Our confused invaders continue their confused invasion. You smile at me.

And yet far beneath that smile swells your belly where propagation lies, and I think again of our angry flush of


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

What would an alien species make out of the way we are living? What are we really made of, what makes us what we are — human, humane? An sci-fi end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario, about times we feel invaded — in various ways.

human spirit that brought about the defiance, and I wonder again if that is

We begin to tuck in when the sounds

a baby pushing against your rags or

outside change; the liquid creak is

a statement. You lay a hand on it, on

suddenly closer and we dare not even

him or her. The smile does not falter.

chew for long, burning seconds.

I am left to myself for a while as I

And yet. And yet, and yet, and

cook potatoes for us and dig out another sachet of gravy. To my shame my thoughts stay with the sex, with the gropes and the nudges

yet. We do have some

I TAKE A DEEP BREATH

and the vodka shots.

conclusions of sorts. They are not seeking the last remaining humans, they are not trying to exterminate life - they have

not exploded anything for weeks, so With my part in the nonsense

told. You take a deep breath, I take a

compared to yours. There are not

deep breath. We breathe the same air

enough potatoes left to apologise with.

and in it our resolve is transmitted.

ONE — LANGUAGE INVADER GUILT


30

31

WHEN SOMETHING CRUMBLES THEY WHINE

This is as good a time as any. Together

Armed only with their

we lift away rug-door and bow out

inspection fibres, softly, slowly,

to the balcony. There are two of them

they creep, scuttle, and scramble

in the courtyard below, inspecting

up, over, and all around us.

every brick, every wire and lump. They caress for hours and we resist Each touch is cautious; when

squirming under the tickles. They

something crumbles they whine and

spend an age measuring your bump,

try to push the bits back together.

returning to it each time the rebellious

Your hand slips into mine and

unborn kicks or fidgets. I watch each

grips. More defiance, more blind

grope from the edge of my sight,

defiance. I purse my lips and whistle.

hands running cold with sweat. They inspect that too; catching drips, letting

Creak, squeak, clatter, snap; they wheel on us and we stand firm -

them fall from tendril to tendril. And then they begin to put it all

representatives of a fragile race at the

together, some sort of interpretation

weary end of its tether. I watch closely.

taking place in whichever of these

It is almost immediate now; flails

spheres counts as their heads.

retract, whip-limbs recoil, eyes turn from scanner red to a muted blue.

Gently, they open your lips and feed you my sweat drops.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

With one fibre tip, they trace a drop

They sheathed their tendrils

as it travels down your oesophagus and

too, silenced their guns,

into your belly. The baby kicks, on cue.

muted their screams.

They repeat the experiment a few times until you too are visibly perspiring.

And then; nothing. No mothership. No mass enslavement. Just one race of

The baby calms down. They decide

creatures staring at the other. And now

something then, it seems, and retreat.

these desperate reconstructions, these

We watch them go and slip back inside

gentle experiments, trying, we assume,

when they are far enough away.

to understand us - trying, perhaps, to find the best way to apologise.

Tired we attempt sleep but struggle to get comfy while we know they

You keep saying how lucky you

are still nearby. So we talk it out,

feel, both hands cascading across the

philosophise, try to get inside the mind

swell I put inside you. I keep saying

of a regretful invader. We question

sorry, but I’m not quite sure for what.

what they decided, what use they think we have of sweat, what they

Throughout the night they build

must make of your belly compared to

and build and build and we are

mine. We talk through the narrative;

surprised to drift off to the sound of

a wrecked planet re-wrecked,

it. In the morning, we creep out.

their perceptions shifted when we succumbed to defeat, when we stopped the shooting and the shouting.

A proud new Starbucks stands in the courtyard and they are gone. ∞

ONE — LANGUAGE INVADER GUILT


32

33


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

ONE — LANGUAGE LE CHIEN


34

35

LE CHIEN words

sophie

photography

Il était 16h, en rentrant de la mer je me suis arrêtée.

kerleaux

will

sharp

A l’arrière d’une automobile noire, se trouvant à mes côtés, un chien me regarde, la langue

Sur la route à double voie il y a de

pendante. Un filet de bave s’apprête

nombreuses voitures. Nous roulons

à tomber sur la banquette en cuir,

lentement, presque à l’arrêt.

mais je ne sais pas quand.

Les couleurs et les formes se

Ma fenêtre passager est entre-

succèdent. Elles m’évoquent des

ouverte, laissant juste passer une légère

pièces d’un jeu de construction

brise qui agite un vieux mouchoir

en cours de montage.

oublié à l’arrière de mon véhicule.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Un morceau de gaufre s’échappe d’un sac négligemment posé sur le siège.

J’allume la radio, une émission vient de commencer. Les animateurs parlent d’un compositeur russe

J’aime les gaufres parce que c’est bon

décédé en 1915, Alexandre Scriabine. Il

mais aussi pour leur allure. Elles sont

aurait inventé un clavier associant

rectangulaires, pas très épaisses, mais

notes et couleurs, comme si pour

elles sont alvéolées ce qui leur

chaque son nous pouvions percevoir

donne une matérialité sculpturale,

une teinte unique ou même un

presque architecturale. Érigées,

geste, peut-être aussi une forme.

elles ressemblent à des façades d’immeuble où chaque cavité deviendrait une fenêtre.

Les voitures redémarrent, le chien a perdu son filet de bave. ∞

Chaque carré ouvrirait sur un espace intime.

It was 4pm. Returning from the sea I was waylaid. There are many cars on the double carriageway — we are driving slowly, almost stopping. Colours and shapes follow on from one another. They remind me of jigsaw pieces being put into place. From the back of a black car, lined up against mine, a dog is watching me, tongue hanging out. A drool of saliva prepares itself to fall to the leather of the seat, but I do not know when. My passenger window is half open, letting in a light breeze that disturbs an old tissue, forgotten at the back of my car. A crumb of waffle escapes from a bag dumped on the seat.

I like waffles because they taste good but also for their appearance. They are rectangular and not very thick but they are honeycombed, which gives them a sculptural physique, almost architectural. Placed upright, they resemble the front of a building in which each cavity represents a window. Each square could open up onto a private space. I turn on the radio. A program has just started. The hosts are talking about a Russian composer who died in 1915, Alexander Scriabine. Apparently he invented a keyboard that could associate notes with colour, so that for each sound you could perceive a unique shade of something, or perhaps a gesture, or maybe even a shape. The cars are starting again, the dog has lost its string of spit. ∞

ONE — LANGUAGE LE CHIEN THE DOG


36

37


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

ONE — LANGUAGE THE DOG


38

39


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

and

society,

expectation


40

41


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO RELATIONSHIP

the

first

home

is

waves

where

hesitating twenty

how

of

twentyfour

you

the

nothing art

beauty

years

fell

on

apart

is


42

TWO — RELATIONSHIP THE FIRST WAVES OF NOTHING SONNY BARKER

43


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

the second installment circumstances might have swept towards him shrieking vacuous perplexity illustrations penetrating his imagination not caring about the lunatic behind the secret gushing down fogging the lens he would come to them murmuring from the darkness the lunatic thought his own distress effective sideways would have pulled perhaps car crashes responders assumed he had no idea the whole time the instant he fell back punctuating the escalating cacophony with his right hand what happened was you needed assistance momentarily from the centre opposite hung the unconscious girl anything the guy wished might touch delicately another lifetime came out reluctantly approaching away from the autumn bright red brick building of orange red fire very carefully he murmured the first waves of nothing to say this to the remaining four visciousness he had already seen outstretched with no surprise shattered her scream twitching himself the direction of the librarian cellular communication had never seemed so far those wrecked and eerily deserted muscles went dashing rapidly back and forth he began to get the idea in what he was seeing on the right old facedown good feeling left in a rush under the circumstances a validation on a moment particularly reassured the blood stained door it seemed that he was right as if that were all it would take to keep them from the chaos on the street he felt at home with a combination of fear and prurient distaste outside the girl in white dress looked almost forgotten to pull free crazy talk ceased for a moment it ripped against the door unhinged screaming she could tell them that much everyone did these days it seemed asking questions mutely just long enough as certain a parting shot as if to underline this point shattered frames once held glass it also seemed that was important but there was something even more important than that theme music was forbidden partly because minor inconveniences forgotten thought exploded responsibility gnawing anything enough to consider putting you out on the street of surly instruction


44

45


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTYFOUR


46

47

TWENTYFOUR Memories can dominate our words jake

to a parallel universe. Realisation can hit

in the distant past.

hard, can wake you up or make you fall.

duff

Misconceptions can

photography marina

Miscommunication, or silence can build up

present even though rooted

richter

Is this what schizophrenia could feel like?

haunt us for a long time.

Weeks passed by and there was still green in the leaves, though

A story about loss and illusion.

where voices seemed to mumble against the background radiation.

the last of the summer was surely sinking to its knees.

We hadn’t spoken in weeks and I thought that was simply that.

A ringing disturbed me; I answered wordlessly to a voice, impossibly small,

The next day she was here with

almost defeated. She made a few

me, pity and tea and long stretches

sounds; they seemed to echo against

of silence without contact. The

the walls – eroding into them like

walls seemed to flinch at her in the

gentle waves over decades. I managed

darkness of my bedroom, windowless

a sound in response and felt the inertia

and gasping it swallowed us both

of past events begin to reverse – slowly

in feigned sleep. I looked closely at

at first but with each coy and wakeful

my bed sheets. They seemed almost

word it went backwards faster and

to whiten in her presence as if a

faster like magnetic tape, settling

cleansing light beamed about her.

not into static but a new normal


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

We awoke perhaps an hour and

I followed suit, though the

twenty minutes later and went into the

water was far too murky for

living room; we returned that night

even the slightest reflection.

to a bed that seemed never to have

Eye contact a crack in the

been slept in; fully made and smelling

atmosphere, a blast of sun; I held a

faintly of fabric softener. Though at

hand up, almost to touch her hair.

first this troubled me, I soon crashed

I thought twice. These things belong

contentedly into a deep, dreamless

in movies, where we learned. They’ve

sleep. Both of us fully clothed, back

taught us nothing less than who

to back, and not quite touching.

we’re not but who we wish we were. I touched her hair anyway, though I

The next morning, Mina took my

saw on her face the briefest stirring

hand and led me outside. The whirring sound of wind in leaves was strangely machinelike. The traffic nearby, usually

of something like

EYE CONTACT A CRACK IN THE ATHMOSPHERE

roaring, was today

discomfort. She held a camera to her eye and took a picture; of what I wasn’t sure.

faint, though the smell of exhaust fumes was almost too much.

Then of me, then of her, then of us both; I tried my best to smile

I tried to keep my eyes on the

but seemed like an onlooker, an

ground, I couldn’t stop looking up

audience member. I imagined a

at her; perfect skin and the blackest

cathode ray and a pane of glass

hair, her lips a natural deep rouge

between us; she seemed at times to

in an effortless smile. She peered

flicker in and out. At certain angles

into the water and flicked her

she seemed to disappear entirely.

hair to one side, then the other.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTYFOUR


48

49


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

She asked if I felt better. I thought

She too pulled her camera from

I’d told her that I did but not a minute

the strap around her neck and took

went by before she asked again the

a picture. She looked at the ground

same question, slightly louder. We

and then to her side, smiling.

walked along a canal, not hand in hand; I walked a few feet in front and watched the water reflect the trees overhead.

The sound of the

WALKING NOT HAND IN HAND

I stopped and turned

children laughing grew louder as we approached them, still poking their sticks into the water – some

suddenly without knowing quite

of them scrambling on the ground

why, her hand outstretched - I took

for larger, sturdier sticks.

it. Mina told me she had missed walking with me. I smiled and turned

It was unclear what they were

away, uninterested, looking across

poking at, though a flash of

the water at some children poking at

something like cloth would glide

something in the water with a stick.

lazily and tantalizingly into view.

The canal seemed to shimmer a

I hadn’t eaten properly in weeks

little too much. The grass along the

and though the beautiful weather,

path was a green so vivid it seemed

exercise and clean air felt purifying, I

unnatural. We stopped to let a man

had no appetite. Short of breath I sat

take a picture of the sky, which to

on a bench and watched a canal boat

me didn’t shine quite as blue as it

negotiate a lock. The children up ahead

should on such a beautiful day; it

had given up their sticks and watched

seemed as though there was a very

the canal boat rise with the water,

thin layer of gauze stretched across

fascinated. The sun shone against their

it, robbing the sky of its gloss.

messy hair, missing teeth and t-shirts.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTYFOUR


50

They stood in silence as behind them

51

Before long I was handed a branch,

the water seemed untroubled and I

thicker and sturdier than the others.

closed my eyes against the sun in rest.

I stood back and pushed it toward

We remained a short while. She leaned

the bottom, angling it left and right

her head against my shoulder and

until I struck something. The water

played with my hair. The canal boat passed by, its wake had left the water still slightly unsettled; we stopped where the children had before and tried to see what they had seen

got thicker and thicker

THIS WAS SOMETHING BETTER LEFT TO RISE OF ITS OWN ACCORD

past the dirty waters.

towards the bottom of the canal and I struggled to even move the branch until finally something gave way. A cloud of sediment rose, further obscuring the

shape which remained teasingly It was several minutes until the

hard to define; Mina’s grip on my

waters were sufficiently calm that we

shoulder vanished and I became

could see something. Our curiosity

aware that as the sediment began

piqued. Mina handed me a stick –

to dissipate it felt more and more

half seriously, half-jokingly. I took

that this was something better

it and leaned over as far as I could,

left to rise of its own accord.

giving the shadow a good hard jab. Nothing.

The sun now shone on this stretch of the canal the brightest and inches

The children from before were

below the surface I thought I saw

walking past and gathered around

fingers wave as though in greeting in

us, offering encouragement and

the gentle to and fro of the water.

handing me bigger sticks.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTYFOUR


52

I thought I saw a face turn in

53

were the unquestioned following of

the silt, catching sunlight like an

directions. I looked around for the

eclipse. In the light, I thought I saw

flash of a lens reflecting the sun,

the curved lens of an eye glint for a

a stray cable running through the

moment in the water and disappear.

grass but nothing. I looked down at my hands, at the wrinkled knuckle

Though the children had seen

and the odd bulge of a vein here and

nothing, I told them to go. I said

there. I flexed my fingers and looked

nothing to Mina for fear of sounding

up at Mina; head still tilted back, I

dramatic. I was sure though that

wondered if I could break her neck.

I saw an eye, perhaps even a tip of a nose. Her words seemed to warp

The stray thought startled me

and crackle in my head like an old

but I entertained it a little longer. I

recording and all I could do was look

imagined the revulsion I would feel,

at her, a silhouette in the bright light

the guilt and fear of repercussion.

of the sun; behind her a curtain of privet shook restless in the wind.

She looked up at me and waved. I stammered a response and went into

Back home we sat in the garden. Mina asked for wine and it seemed like a good idea — something wholesome.

the kitchen to fetch

I FINALLY STEPPED OUTSIDE

Once again I was struck by the

a bottle and a couple of glasses. I took the moment by myself to breathe deeply.

I picked up a knife and examined

feeling we were being observed, that

it, my reflection in the stainless steel

somehow the way she leaned her

looked so pale and thin I almost

head back without expression and

dropped it. Finally I stepped outside,

the way I held my hand over my eyes,

smiling and apologizing for the glasses.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Were her teeth always that white, I wondered; the natural scent of her neck so intense? That night in bed I kissed her, or rather I tried to. A subtle turn of her head as I made to lean in was all it took and this morning I found myself alone, though I was so sure I hadn’t slept and never heard her leave. Last night’s glasses I found sparkling clean in the cupboard; the garden seemed wild and overgrown where it appeared so neat yesterday as we sat in the sun. The chairs leant cobwebbed and unclean against the wall. ∞

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTYFOUR


54

55

HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS with

jessica

interview

loveday

nous

magazine

We met Arts For Health practitioner Jessica Loveday to learn more about her new community project. Her work seeks to help people affected by mental illness. You can listen to the full interview online via the website of our sister project As We Are Away mini-festival. Jessica will facilitate one of her Home Is Where the Art Is workshops, open to the public, as part of the festival. www.asweareaway.com

What’s the name of your project? Home Is Where The Art Is It’s got a very comforting sound to it. What do you want people to know about your project? How did it all begin? The main issue really is to create awareness. It was mainly inspired by my volunteering work for Venture Arts where I facilitated workshops for adults. From there I started looking into well-being. I became really aware that art helps me personally with certain things I was going through.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

I wasn’t really aware until I started reading books on Arts for Health. There

An MA would be more academic, distancing you from the topic.

is a lot of art projects in Manchester that provide a lot of support for mental

I think, if anything, it would

health. But I found that many people

probably hinder a career like this if

can’t actually access those facilities or

you move too far to the academic side.

services. They are too anxious to leave

For me volunteering is the only way I

their home or join a group setting.

will get this experience. Researching

Home Is Where The Art Is is made

in the comfort of university, and not

to help give access to those people.

actually experiencing anything in the real world, is not for me.

Do you have an art education background? I took Print Making at University.

FOR ME VOLUNTEERING IS THE BETTER WAY

But not in education itself?

Is it because it’s a really personal relationship with direct contact that you maintain?

Yeah, being able to observe the way other people facilitate and

Not in delivery but I’ve been

seeing how they do it — trial and

volunteering now for a year and a half,

error — using aspects of what

and observing people, facilitating

works for them, and then applying

workshops. I have had a couple of

it in my own way of facilitating.

freelance jobs where I’ve gone into schools so I was beginning to spread out and support facilitation.

How do you get in touch with anxious people who need your help?

I was thinking of doing an MA at one point, but I decided that for me

The problem is: no-one sees them.

volunteering is so much more valuable.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS


56

I thought of the times when I was

57

There’s another woman who likes

anxious and wouldn’t even get out

being creative in her spare time, but

of bed, given that my experience of

hasn’t had any formal education.

anxiety was really, really mild. I just try to imagine what it would be like if it was impacting my everyday

You work with all kinds of people that have all got an interest in the arts somewhere.

life. If you suffer severely you might not leave the house for days and days.

What does the first contact look like?

I partnered up with St. Luke’s Art Project and we drew up a referral form for people. It was sent out to their mental health partner organizations. A lot of people come along to St. Luke’s because art

It’s normally a key,

A LOT OF PEOPLE COME ONCE AND NEVER RETURN

compels them, but they

or support worker that fills in the form and returns it to Saint Luke’s via email. I then contact the key worker and arrange a meeting with the

don’t return. We want to reach those

potential participant with the key

who have an interest in joining the

worker present. That’s where we’ll

groups – they have got the motivation

discuss different techniques they can

to do it, but they haven’t got the

explore. I think it would be scary to

confidence yet. I’ve just managed to get

just launch straight into the project.

in touch with such a person. Now, he’s

It’s nice to meet people informally

going to be involved with my project.

and make sure they want to take part.

This, hopefully, will give him the

They might not want to work with

confidence to go to the group sessions

you, but they do have the option.

St. Luke’s provide independently. Is every workshop tailored to the person? It works like a stepping stone to get on board.

After the initial meeting with the key worker there will be another

Yeah. He’s very advanced in doing art, which he studied at university.

meeting. I call it »Getting To Know You«, which will just be a few


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

ice-breaker activities and talking about themes they want to explore

They identify that nothing on the table is painted, but still artwork.

during the six-week project. From then on it will be personalized, I write a

The second ice-breaker is collage.

brief they can work towards knowing

Magazines and newspaper cuttings

what they want to find out and try.

are spread out. One woman made a collage which moved like a story,

How do the ice-breaker activities look like?

telling her life. She really opened up to us and told us all about it. Mine and Laura’s were not personal at

A lot of people who don’t do art from an art background assume that art is solely painting. I want to break

all. It was completely aesthetic. In the end we move on to talking about themes and techniques.

that down because it can scare people when they think they have to paint a masterpiece. The first ice-breaker

How many sessions do you offer after the ice-breakers?

for example involves old postcard. None of them are painted. I avoid

There will be six weekly sessions,

it as much as possible to show that

but I’m quite flexible. If they need

art can be absolutely anything. We

an extra one I would do that, to

spread the postcards out. There will

get the product done. In the end

be three of us there, the participant,

there will be an exhibition.

Laura my project partner, and myself.

I tell the participants to work

Each picks one favourit, and one

towards one final piece, but also

we don’t feel anything about.

that the work they’ve produced in the process can be equally good.

Then we discuss how the

I don’t want them to worry too

card is made, what it’s actually

much about producing a beautiful

of, just to break down that

piece of artwork, and making

assumption that art is painting.

them aware of the importance and value of the process.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS


58

And all sessions will be at people’s homes?

59

When will the project’s final exhibition be launched?

Yes, or sometimes supported housing. I’ve got a group of women

In January or February time at St.

on Monday, who live in supported

Luke’s Art Project. The exhibition will

housing. In the beginning, only one

be open for about a week. During that

woman got in touch, but then a couple

time we will invite all participants

of the others who live with her were

to come to St. Luke’s for the final

interested in taking part. We decided

workshop. Hopefully, they will identify

to hold group sessions instead.

with the space and feel comfortable to start coming on their own.

Your project is funded by Arts Council England, would you be able to run

Have experienced any problems so far?

it without the financial support? Yesterday’s session with the group We were going to with or without

of women was cancelled because

the ACE funding. I raised about

a couple of them were not really

700 pounds for materials, e.g.

feeling up for it. You have to be

frames for the exhibition. Apart

flexible when it comes to mental

from that, we need funding for the

health. If you push someone they

wages. We’ve got a professional

will not want to get involved. It is

photographer to document the

fine to just postpone sessions.

artwork and the vernissage. Then all will be published as a documentary book. Each participant

How are you juggling your project and other responsibilities?

will have images of their own work and everybody else’s who’s involved. This

I only work evenings so that’ fine.

is possible thanks to the Arts Council.

I’ve cut down to two days a week or

A curator will be involved as well

two evenings a week. As soon as I can

encouraging everyone to help as much

afford it I’ll cut down to one day only.

as they feel comfortable with. Like that they will have the opportunity to work directly with the curator.

So this is basically your full time job?


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Yes. I’ve quit my voluntary jobs as well for now. But I’m hoping to go back

It is always so much work as well to apply for funding, isn’t it?

to them after my project is finished. Yeah, but hopefully if we can Is there no way of St. Luke’s or

show some really good results

someone else of employing you to

for this project then maybe the

provide your service continuosly, or do

Council will fund it again.

they simply not get enough funds? How will the workshop look like you provide for As We Are

No, I don’t think they get enough funding for it. What are your plans for the future after the exhibition in 2015? In the future I will

IT ALL DEPENDS ON FUNDING WITHOUT IT WOULD BE A STRUGGLE

Away mini-festival? I will do something similar to »Getting To Know You« with the different ice-breakers, and a task about joining things without

apply for more money,

using glue, and create

employ more artists,

little sculptures.

get more participants involved. It all depends on funding unfortunately. It would have been a struggle without it.

Thank you for meeting us and good luck with Home Is Where The Art Is!

I would have had to work more at my other job which I think would have impacted the project.

See you at As We Are Away in November!

You would have carried all the costs yourself, the material, facilitation, exhibition …That’s a lot.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS


60

61

HESITATING BEAUTY

by

joshua

lutz

Holding on so tightly to what I believed was sanity yet consumed by fear of depression and schizophrenia prevented me from being fully present to her reality. She slowly slipped away from the aggressive paranoia of my youth to an almost calming sense of delusion.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HESITATING BEAUTY


62

63

As a young boy, I watched her search for the right numbered pattern on license plates and at night unscrewing the phones to look for recording devices. It was fun to think that we were more important than everyone else, that we were on a mission. That excitement was displaced with tremendous anger, but mostly fear, as thoughts that I too could end up like her began to take form. These debilitating emotions eventually dissolved into empathy and compassion opening to her reality without the fear of losing myself. Looking back on the family archive for clues and understanding, my role in shaping that story began to collide with the memory of how it exists and a desire to change it. Falling deeper into the psychosis I imagined a time when the past, present and future collided; a place where the weight of that memory is heavier than reality.


NOUS MAGAZINE ¡ MISUNDERSTANDING

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell off bumped her head. Mamma called the doctor and the doctor said Mamma called the doctor and the doctor said Mamma called the doctor Mamma said the doctor said Mamma said the doctor said Mamma said she wants to die. Mamma called the doctor and said she wants to die. Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell off bumped her head.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HESITATING BEAUTY


64

65

Right after you were born your mother believed she had fallen in love with someone else. She wanted to leave not just me, but all of us. I only met him once and he was sitting on her bed when I came to visit. You could tell right away that he was a patient, all thorzined up. She acted as if they were a couple and introduced me as her friend from college. The things that happened after, everything she talked about, essentially everything the rest of her life became about all started at that moment in time. He did write that song about her, or at least it seems he did. Beyond that I think she made the whole thing up in one her psychotic episodes, and it just stuck around forever like all her talking trees and misplaced rocks. But after she left you guys, who really knows what happened? My guess is not even she did.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HESITATING BEAUTY


balancing

joshua

hesitating

rock

lutz

beauty


devil,

joshua

hesitating

lutz

beauty

devil


school

bus

joshua

hesitating

lutz

beauty


collapsing

joshua

hesitating

wall

lutz

beauty


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Sweetheart,

I can’t write too much because I feel scared, but the things that I see no longer make sense. Faceless figures, rocks growing like trees. I can’t even remember what these tears are for, but I look at my children and I know they are not who you say they are. Please visit me.

Yours forever, Hesitating Beauty

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HESITATING BEAUTY


70

71

Trust me when I tell you this. All of these people here are not who they say they are. You need to know that when you’re not here it all changes.

They don’t treat me the way you do, and if it’s all the same to you I’ll just assume we’ll leave the next time you come. They are not giving me much choice and if you don’t show soon they won‘t believe.

Come soon.

Yours Forever, Hesitating Beauty


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HESITATING BEAUTY


72

73


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Hesitating Beauty was first published by Schilt Publishing in 2012

»Around our yard I’ll nail a fence so high That the boys with peeping eyes cannot see that angel face Of my hesitating beauty.« Woody Guthrie

p.61 Whitestone Bridge · p.65 Balancing Rock

p.66 Devil, Devil · p.67 School Bus · p.68 Collapsing Wall

p.71 Emergency · p.72 The Coming Insurrection

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HESITATING BEAUTY


74

75

Sometimes it takes distance and time to realise that things can change, improve even. Prof. John Read₁ is a fighter

for open-mindedness in diagnosis. Here is his resumee and outlook on the develpement of research on schizophrenia. A reminder to look at the flipsides.

20 YEARS ON

words

prof.

illustration

john

sian

read

morrell

It’s good to be back in the UK after twenty years in New Zealand — well, apart from the weather, the political, economic and spiritual state of England, and the endless phone calls to India to get someone from up the road to install a phone.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

As regards mental health research,

It rarely seems to occur to them to ask

the difference I notice most is how far

a vital (and some might say obvious)

people’s thinking has moved on from

question: »what might have happened

the old, simplistic, »blame-the-brain-

to make the groups different?«

for- everything-and-medicate« idea. I would not for a Two papers I’ve published since returning will both, I hope, contribute to this on-going development.

BLAME THE BRAIN FOR EVERYTHING AND MEDICATE

moment dispute that such researchers are well-intentioned folk. They may have a deep knowledge of

The first was published with

neurology and access to some very

colleagues from Scandinavia, and the

fancy technology. However, they often

USA in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry₂

don’t seem to grasp the simple fact

with the snappy title »The Traumagenic

that a primary function of the brain

Neurodevelopmental Model of Psychosis

is to respond to the environment.

Revisited« it reports on 125 papers that support a model we first put

One of the findings underpinning

forward in 2001 outlining how

our model is that there are some

psychosis can be related to trauma.

striking similarities between the brains of traumatised young

This model is a challenge to those I

children and those of people

call »contextless brain researchers«:

diagnosed with schizophrenia.

people who when they find a

Perhaps the most important is in

difference in the brains of two groups

the way that the nervous systems

of people, assume that they have

(the »HPA axis₃«, to be precise) of

found the cause of the difference.

the two groups respond to stress.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTY YEARS ON


76

We’ve been told for decades

77

sometimes disguise what is

that the reason that people who

still fundamentally a biological

experience »psychosis« are sensitive

explanation of our experiences.

to stress is genetic. It now seems

We’re told that stress can play

that for many people the cause of

a role, but only in people who

such heightened sensitivity may

already have a supposed genetic

lie elsewhere: in early trauma.

predisposition. Life events, evenserious and traumatic ones, are relegated

This goes to the heart of whether the much touted »bio-psycho-social model« and its alter ego the »stress-

to the role of »triggers« of an underlying genetic time bomb. Bio-genetics enthusiasts claim

vulnerability model« really do what

that the »vulnerability« part of

it says on the tin, and offer a genuine

the equation must be genetic.

integration of nature and nurture. This conveniently ignores the fact I argue in my book Models of

that the inventors of the model,

Madness that these terms can

Joseph Zubin and Bonnie Spring₄, stated

1) Prof. John Read: Professor of Clinical Psychology

3) HPA-axis: Complex direct influences and feedback

in the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology,

interactions among three endocrine glands: the

Health and Society. Formerly a clinical psychologist

hypothalamus, a pea-shaped structure below the

at the University of Auckland. His research interests

hypothalamus, and the small conical organs on top

include: attitudes towards »mental illness«,

of the kidneys. The interactions among these organs

psycho-social causes of psychosis, and the role of the

constitute the axis, controlling reactions to stress and

pharmaceutical industry in psychology.

regulates many processes, such as mood and emotions, sexuality, and energy storage and expenditure.

2) The Journal of Neuropsychiatry: The official journal of The American Neuropsychiatric

4) Joseph Zubin and Bonnie Spring: Inventors of

Association. It is dedicated to developing effective

the Diathesis-Stress Model, a psychological theory

diagnosis and treatment for patients with

that attempts to explain behavior as a predispositional

neuropsychiatric disorders. The journal publishes

vulnerability together with stress from life experiences.

articles addressing subjects such as Alzheimer’s disease,

The term diathesis derives from the Greek term for

traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy,

disposition, or vulnerability, and it can take the form of

and seizure disorders, and is devoted to reporting

genetic, psychological, biological, or situational factors.

discoveries in clinical neuroscience that are relevant to understanding the brain-based disorders of patients.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

in their seminal 1977 paper that the

How times have changed — and how

vulnerability can be acquired from

quickly.

early life events. As Michael Caine used to say, »Not a lot of people know that«.

I now hear people saying »What’s all the fuss about? We always

This all reminds me that a few years back Robin Murray, Professor of Research at London’s Institute of Psychiatry, announced from a Canadian conference stage that »The schizophrenia

A COLONIAL WAR IS USUALLY QUICK TO ANNOUNCE THE END OF HOSTILITIES

wars ended in the

knew that - nothing controversial there«. Some of the most scathing critics of our first few papers are now happily putting their names on papers confirming the relationship.

1970s«. I couldn’t help raising my hand and pointing out that the

I was moaning about the »hypocrisy«

occupying force in a colonial war is

of all this to my colleague Richard

usually quick to announce the end

Bentall recently and he replied »John,

of hostilities, and that the war would

John, - you’ve won and you’re still

not be over until the occupying forces

bitching!«

withdrew to the appropriate boundary. The »victory« had never felt It is remarkable then that the

so real as when I heard some

relationship between trauma and

wonderful news from New Zealand

psychosis — heresy just 15 years ago

towards the end of last year.

— is now one of the strongest and most consistent findings in our field.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTY YEARS ON


78

An abuse survivor had twice been

79

us believe that their products are

denied financial aid in relation to

targeted, specific »treatments« for

subsequent mental health problems

identified brain problems. My second

because two »experts« — employed by

recent paper reported an online survey

the agency responsible for making such payments — had stated that there is no evidence that child abuse can cause psychosis. However, in the final appeal a psychiatrist summarised the substantial literature

of 1,829 people taking

IT SEEMS THAT BOTH PROFESSIONALS AND PUBLIC ARE INCREASINGLY EXPORING ALTERNATIVES

antidepressants. It revealed some astonishing levels of psychological and interpersonal adverse effects. For example, 60% of people reported

which attests otherwise.

feeling emotionally

The judge upheld the

numb, 42% said that

appeal and I’ll admit I took some

the drugs reduced positive as well

naughty pleasure in the NZ’s national

as negative emotions, and 39% felt

Sunday newspaper quoting me as

that they cared less about others

saying that the first two psychiatrists,

whilst on the drug. Other effects

»either knew nothing about the many

are already well documented but

studies documenting the relationship

we were surprised at their sheer

between child abuse and psychosis or

frequency: 62% reported sexual

were trying to mislead the judge«.

difficulties (rising to 72% for men), and 39% reported feeling suicidal,

Another area where research is

rising to 55% in 18-25 year olds.

challenging the simplistic medical model type thinking in mental

Withdrawal effects, often

health is that of interventions.

dismissed as rare or imagined

More and more studies are giving the lie to the pharmaceutical company propaganda which would have

— were reported by 55%


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Those who had been more depressed

Only a minority of professionals

when the drugs were first prescribed

seem intent on continuing to ignore

were no more likely than others to

experience and push the idea

experience these effects, suggesting

that mental health problems are

that they were drug-related rather than

essentially problems with our brains.

symptoms of the depression itself. And those people are getting Although biologically-rooted explanations of distress and

older by the minute. Things have changed unbelievably in 20 years.

pharmaceutical treatments are still prevalent, it seems that both

Hopefully, if we all keep pushing,

professionals and the public are

in whatever way our circumstances

increasingly exploring alternatives.

allow, our mental health services will finally become evidence-

All over the world — with the sole

based, effective and humane. ∞

exception of the USA — surveys reveal that the public, including service users and carers, tends to take the commonsense view that mental health problems are related much more closely to the events and circumstances of our lives than to biological factors such as genetics or brain chemicals.

This piece is reproduced from »Discursive of Tunbridge Wells - views and commentary on psychology, mental health and other stuff’« hosted by the Salomons Centre for Applied

When it comes to help the public also strongly prefer psychological

Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University.

and social approaches over drugs,

discursiveoftunbridgewells

electroshock therapy or hospitals.

.blogspot.co.uk

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTY YEARS ON


80

81


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO — RELATIONSHIP TWENTY YEARS ON


82

83


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOW YOU FELL APART


84

85

HOW YOU FELL APART words

angus

photography

stewart

thomas

albdorf

A small history of catatonic indulgence, poetic reversal, and basic misunderstanding.

Your breakdown began, pretty much,

The whoosh of the booster and

when you were four years old. This is

the big black NASA logo printed on

very unfair, of course, but don’t blame

the side are the quick, harmonious

me. I didn’t write down the story of

chord that follow on from that one

your life — you did. It’s your invention,

long, low and quiet opening note:

I’m afraid, your own sorry little

you, trolley, wheels, mother. Air

serenade to yourself, and it usually

conditioning in the background.

begins with your small, felt-trousered bottom sat on the hard plastic seat

All put together, it sounds a little

that the supermarket people built to

sad. She wheeled you round into

hold you safely between your mother

the drinks aisle and grabbed three

and her Saturday morning shopping.

bottles of white wine that no-one was supposed to know anything

The trolley wheels are squeaking.

about. But you knew, of course.

As mum glides past the hundred-

She was whistling and you always

thousand tins of tomato soup, you

paid more attention when she was

are thinking about red rocket ships.

whistling. You poked your head up.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

You tried to mimic the high

You found her at the beach, sat down

notes but you could only produce

on the flats and huddling an empty

ugly little raspberries: phhft, phhft,

green bottle, singing herself to sleep.

phfffttt. Mum laughed at that, quite

You reckon raw instinct led you there

hard. You still remember how angry

that night, or maybe the voice of god,

that laughter made you feel.

because this wasn’t somewhere you’d been before, even during daytime

You told your big strong dad about those three bottles of wine that night. The village priest was there on a chance visit — distributing hymn sheets — and

when the world’s hidden

NOONE WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT

you told him, too. They both wanted to hear a lot

places are more familiar to the human eye. Mum was almost gone by the time you found her, but she found the wits to ask what you were doing,

and that was ironic, because you were

about Mum and her habits. You

just about to ask her the very same

didn’t think of it as ratting her out.

question. She was in no state to answer

You thought of it as sharing. Even

of course, but that’s okay — you

then you knew that priests loved

wouldn’t have understood the things

to share in other people’s secrets.

she wanted to tell you that night. You two spent about five more

You confronted Mum before your

minutes together on the sand, telling

Dad could. You always had a nose

each other bedtime stories, before your

for her. You’ve always been in tune.

Dad arrived in his big red car with the beams turned on so that they shone over the dune like alien searchlights.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOW YOU FELL APART


86

87


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

This is the bookmarked page in your head where you think your

The outside was limbo for you.

family fell apart. You think your parents just fizzled out after that

School was a place where you

night. They gave up on everything

dreamed about sex. Laughter

after that, that’s how it was to you.

frightened you. Friends and nights out didn’t exist.

In your head, all the confusion that came after lasted about four years.

This was the middle-eight of your

But really you have it wrong– the

breakdown. The forgettable glue

dust- if you want to call it that-

that joined Part A to Part B.

settled in just over twelve months. When one day ended and the next It’s funny how time stretches and

began, you didn’t take any memories

contracts depending on the music

with you. In the waking world,

in your head. I call this part the end

there was no real space outside your

of the first movement. Your family

pretend space. Nothing important

held together, at the basic level ,

happened to you. You existed, and

and you lived inside a blurry bubble

survived. On your dull face your

until you found alcohol. We won’t

were: fine, okay, alright. In your red

dispute that: everything before

heart, you were grim and silent. In

alcohol was quiet and unsociable.

your grey mind, you were waiting.

The house became a grey tinderbox.

The best word from science

Dad thought you were on Mum’s side.

would be: dormant. The best word

Mum thought you were on Dad’s side.

in music would be: mezzopiano.

They both wanted to love you, but

It progressed when a boy called

you shut them both out for politics’

Michael led you away. He stole you

sake. You were all afraid, really.

from home in a shopping trolley.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOW YOU FELL APART


88

It doesn’t even matter where you

89

ring out in front of you. A violinist or

met, but it wasn’t school. You learned

a dapper singer would have been a nice

to drink with Michael and sometimes

accompaniment , all things considered.

you got high, too. You liked the same music too, which was a plus. The alcohol gave you direction and

Then you figured: what’s the difference if I make a little part of

the love was fuel. Everything was

him a part of me and a little part of

exploding and you were happy, for

me a part of him? What’s in a ring?

a while. A Hollywood film would end here. A pop song would vanish

So it happened: you swapped

from the charts just about now. After you got jobs Michael wanted

impossible promises

THE BEST WORD FROM MUSIC MEZZOPIANO

marriage and you didn’t

in a church. It’s a shame that that’s the way it went. I did say this story was unfair. I did point

have a decent counter-argument.

out that you wrote it, even if at

Michael had made you feel like you

the time you didn’t have a handle

since you first sat down on a bed

on what you were making.

together. He was your epicentre. The

Writing is not the same as

sad thing — and this was your big

understanding. Most things

realisation when the proposal came —

just happen, like sing-song.

was that you, the real you, had been buried in the sand of home long ago.

Your wedding was quiet. As it happened, all you could think about

The pale mezzopiano you of school

was the past. Everybody else was

was a dissolved ghost. The wandering

focused on the future. The whole thing

you of tarmac limbo was lost

went on inside a dull, hymnal cloud.

somewhere in the streets, friendless. Michael’s you felt like the only

The cracks in you showed

version of you still standing, standing

when Michael started to

there dumbstruck in the cheap

hate you, and vice versa.

restaurant where he pulled the gold


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

You had all sorts of weaknesses and

He leaves you there, bleeding. All

habits he despised. For your part, you

you could think about as the blood

found him unclean, petty, and vile.

and wine mixed together were felt

You thought the hate growing in you made you strong. It had a

trousers, and the feel of hard plastic. Phffft, goes your ruined

burning heat to it that reminded you

mouth. Shattered teeth roll

of real life and authentic feeling.

across the sticky floor.

Kind of like reliving childhood. Michael’s hate was less interesting:

Your parents and the police come,

he just thought you were using all the

and the former — ironically — try

drugs, but really you were flushing

their best to piece you back together.

them down the toilet, because deep

You kick and fight all the way home.

down you loved him, even if the

People mistake you for a demon.

music shared between you was gone.

Someone gave that insight to a reporter, and it made the headlines:

One day it all came to a sorry, ridiculous head and you phoned the police on one another. Because you

»Demon Junkie Lovers Terrorise Aisle 16.«

were high on pills you fled out the door together, and you ended up on the supermarket floor, screaming. That’s where you had your last

A sad truth indeed. The last movement. That’s how you fell apart. That’s

argument. It wasn’t very rational– I’m

how you made it back to me, my

sure you remember that much. The

sweet, sweet child. I’m letting

memories kick in again where Michael

go now. The rest of this story is

slugs you with the hardest words

yours to tell, and the tune — if you

he can think of and you crash down

want it — is yours to whistle. ∞

into the shelves of the wine aisle.

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOW YOU FELL APART


90

91


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

TWO — RELATIONSHIP HOW YOU FELL APART


92

93


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

reflection, and

projection,

struggle


94

95


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE IDENTITY

amateur

suicide

photographer and

honor

untitled

death

of

a

pigeon

clown

nineseveneightoneeightfour

foursixseventwosevenonefour


96

97


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE — IDENTITY AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER


98

99

AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER words

james

pierced brainwaves

photography

bell

stĂŠphanie

vivier

Flowers emerged in dark and still bloomed to dust. This pen and paper battle means nothing, when despite yr bst effrts you’re still locked in by the grid and to extinguish them disseminating flames, I must distinguish the self-controlled and self-imposed lest I rose one day to find us sunless, roadless, with pixelated visions of nutrition.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

And I love that I hate and hate that I love and when I ask for help it’s a plea to the only Man I know as he crawls spiderlike through his iPhone, blue illumination on his mask and claw then rises spreadwinged and flaming. Ra, Benu, Benu, deliver us from Sybaris, but, will you leave us a little something on the side?

pierced brainwaves

but i hate crowded beaches

THREE — IDENTITY AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER


100

101


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE — IDENTITY AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER


102

103

SUICIDE AND HONOR words

j.

w.

poltergeist

Suicide is probably one of the most difficult

own lives everyday will not help us learn

issue to address regarding mental illness,

and possibly understand this hyper-final

depression, but also society. Nontheless,

act. The following essay looks at suicide with

hushing up the fact that people take their

a mythological and cultural slant.

The history of ritual suicides in

Much like the Sati-rites of India,

the name of honor or devotion is

Japan has a tradition of ritual suicides

deep and diverse, yet usually tied to

practiced by wives of samurai

an ideal notion of virtuous duty.

that would commit jigaki to avoid capture, rape and death after their

The ego abdigates in favor of

husbands’ bearing of dishonor.

communal responsibility. One’s own honor is upheld or restored only by the denouement of taking one’s life.

These rituals were either performed voluntarily or followed capital punishment.

Japan has a long past of honor suicides for reasons such as to

The tale of The Forty-seven Ronin

avoid capture when faced with

and Shiva and Sati are similar in

defeat, compensating for wrong-

their treatment of the subjects of

doings, but also includes partriotic

selfabandonment for the honor

acts like those of the banzai

of someone other than oneself.

charges and kamikaze attacks.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

The ronin dauntlessly gave their

They act for a cause that is much

lives to avenge their master Takuni no

bigger than their selves, common to

Kami. They are fully aware that their

Eastern convictions of communal

revenge will result in their own death

ideology. The ronin act out of

through harakiri. Sati sets herself on fire to uphold her husband’s honor, who has suffered no harm other than humiliation

obligation, whereas Sati out of her own

THE EGO ABDIGATES IN FAVOR OF COMMUNAL RESPONSIBILITY

free willl. The rites are still quite alike in their themes of morals and loyalty. The story of

through her father. While the ronin

Sati and Shiva is the origin to the

primarily act out of revenge and Sati

later, more or less obligatory, hindi

out of dignity, they both face their

suicide-rites that are comparable

destiny entirely in faithful allegiance.

to those of the samurai.

The revenge of the Forty-seven Ronin took place

This true story was popularized in Japanese

in Japan at the start of the 18th century. It is

culture as emblematic of the loyalty, sacrifice,

probably the best example of the samurai code

persistence, and honor that people should preserve

of honor, bushidō, and the country’s »national

in their daily lives.

legend.« The popularity of the tale grew during the The story tells of a group of samurai who were

Meiji era of Japanese history, in which Japan

left leaderless — becoming ronin — after their

underwent rapid modernization, and the legend

daimyo — feudal lord — Asano Naganori was

became entrenched within discourses of national

compelled to commit seppuku, ritual suicide, for

heritage and identity.

assaulting the court official Kōzuke no suke. The ronin avenged their master’s honor by killing Kira, after waiting and planning for a year. In turn, the ronin were themselves obliged to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder.

THREE — IDENTITY SUICIDE AND HONOR


104

The wives lack their own identity, much like the ronin did. There was no

105

Their existence post mortem is of higher concern than their current one.

right for them to aspire a life without their husbands and their duty was

In Western society, we tend to have

to join them on the other side of life

a quite different view on devotion,

to complete their journey together.

honor and most of all, suicide. The western knight may risk his life for

The ronin, arguably having much

the woman he loves, but his actions

more to lose in their deprivation

ultimately serve his own interest

of their still existent, unharmed

over those of his object of worship.

families dependent on their survival, doubtlessly committed to their

Desire is the motivating force, rather

duties rather than personal interests. They would live and breathe their obligations through life and

than loyalty.

THE SELF IS MORE PRONOUNCED AS A SENSE FOR COLLECTIVE

death and spend every thought on their devotion.

The idea of ego or self is more pronounced and dominates a sense for collective. Other than for

blood-relations, self-sacrifice is rare and even if it does occur - it is often

Part of this can be explained through

the kind of sacrifice that is necessary

their beliefs in an afterlife, their bodies

to protect someone else from harm,

on earth serving as shells for their

not a mere principle of pride.

spirits and therefor being somewhat disposable. Life in dishonor would

Is honor for one’s own morals

be torture and ultimately lead to

nulled in Western, maybe even

their eternal doom whereas suicide

Eastern society today?

will lead to their enshrinement.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

It’s easy to condemn the beliefs

Arguably the most »popular«

of the ronin or the Hindi wives of

deaths in literature are those of

ages past. They could be seen as

Romeo and Juliet, refusing a life that

unnecessary losses of life, avoidable

no longer has hope of being shared.

ruin for their families and cruel in their way of execution. The abversion

To the public eye, why do some

we feel towards suicide surely stems

reasons justify suicide and some

from ancient religious notions about

don’t? The above mentioned example

the afterlife according to the bible.

can easily be passed off as a ficitonal — therefor obsolete — exaggeration,

Self-slaughter, here, is a deadly sin

but it can hardly be denied that the

resulting in eternal damnation. But

deaths of Syliva Plath, Virginia Woolf,

even atheists today lack sympathetic understanding for those who choose to take their own lifes.

SHOULD WE RE EVALUATE OUR IDEAS OF HONOR AND VIRTUE

Ernest Hemingway, Vincent van Gogh or Kurt Cobain are any less romantized than those of Romeo and Juliet, inspiring

Surely the religious originins of this point of view can only

generations of teen-angst ridden adolescents to this day.

be blamed to some extent. It is almost absurd to take into account how our society glamorizes celebrity suicide while it remains

Can we only accept suicides superficially, from a safe distance then? Or should we re-evaluate our ideas

completely unaccepting towards

of honor, virtue and responsibility.

that of the average citizen.

This is by no means to say that suicidal tendencies should be supported, promoted or taken lightly.

THREE — IDENTITY SUICIDE AND HONOR


106

Yet it is ironic that society of this day

107

It’s curious that while we live in a

and age advocates individuality rather

world with honor killings — that seize

than social integration quite vividly

to be self-inflicted — and at the same

and still won’t accept an individual’s

time file lawsuits over the legality of

most dramatic act of self-expression

medically assisted suicides. The cases

while claiming control over their

of honor suicides in Turkey for example

lives in the form of ending them. In

do still reach alarming numbers while

the face of things beyond his or her

they have very little to do with morals

control, he or she chooses to take

and community, but are solely linked

ultimate power. Over the one thing

to the selfishness of cruel indiviuals

that is initially out of our hands.

who commit homocides led by twisted ideas of values. With their longlasting history in suicide rituals, it’s not suprising that Japan still suffers from the highest suiciderates worldwide.

Sati ( »true«) refers to a funeral ritual within

attested to have been practiced in a number of

some Asian communities in which a recently

localities in Southeast Asia, such as at Indonesia.

widowed woman immolates herself, typically on the husband’s funeral pyre.

500–600 instances of Sati are believed to occur per year in certain regions. The practice was

Mention of the practice can be dated back to

outlawed by the British Raj in 1829 within their

4th century BC. While evidence of practice only

own territories in India followed up by laws in

appears from the 5th - 9th centuries AD. Its

the same directions by the authorities in the

practice is considered to have been originated

princely states of India in the ensuing decades,

within the warrior aristocracy on the Indian

with a general ban for the whole of India issued

subcontinent, gradually gaining in popularity

by Queen Victoria in 1861. In Nepal, Sati was not

from the 10th century AD to other groups and

banned until 1920.

becoming generally sanctioned/recommended by the doctrines around the 12th century AD.

The Indian Sati Prevention Act from 1987 was further criminalizing any type of aiding,

With the military expansions outside of the Indian subcontinent, the practice has been

abetting, and even the glorifying of sati practice.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

Even in the tale of the Forty-seven

Perhaps it is our selfishness

Ronin, the »villain« character of

towards other’s actions that has

Kotsuke no Suke refuses to commit

increased even more so than the

harakiri and stands in stark contrasts

selfishness towards ourselves.

with the suicidal bravery of the ronin, his evil becomes further disparaged

Baudelaire’s suicide note read »I am

by his dishonor. Suicides or honor

going to kill myself because I cannot

killing occuring based on false ideas

continue to live, because I cannot bear

of pride or are driven by the pressure

the weariness of falling asleep and

of society are anything but honorable

waking up.« The longing for eternal

and the measures taken to prevent

sleep is known to many, but usually

them are insufficient and need our

flares up and diminishes. A kind of

desperate attention. Medically assisted

irrevocable nihilism is often based on

suicides on the other hand are much

clinical depression or other mental

more debated and still suffer from

disorders, but not all deeply negative

public scrutiny, along with those

consciousness is a diagnosis.

made by conscious individuals that are convinced of finding peace in death or any form of afterlife.

Hamlet, arguably regarded as the quintessential melancholic ponders: »to die, perchance to dream«

Schopenhauer said »There is nothing

in Act II’s infamous To be or not to be

in the world to which every man has a

monologue. »What we see when awake

more unassailable right than to his own

is death what we see asleep is sleep«

life and person.« While our sense of »self« is increasing, likely at its height

— Heraclitus of Epheus.

at least in Western culture, why is it not »allowed« to end your life?

Like Baudelaire the authors and protagonists above yearn for a dream-like state.

THREE — IDENTITY SUICIDE AND HONOR


108

A relief from the agony of waking

109

The Irish philosopher and psychiatrist

life. It’s brutally honest but also

Maurice O’Connor Drury advocated a

undeniably honorable in its own right.

»revolutionary non-objectifying, non-

Descartes’ dream argument is »the

judgemental and anti-reductive mode of

postulation that the act of dreaming

therapeutic analysis. Ethical therapeutics

provides preliminary evidence that the

should acknowledge the subjective

senses we trust to distinguish reality

difference and irreducible thisness

from illusion should not be fully trusted,

of the »patient’« perhaps ultimately

and therefore any state that is dependent

»un-understandable«, the person,he

on our senses should at the very least be

termed an »individual« enigma.

carefully examined and rigorously tested to determine whether it is in fact reality.«

»The truth is that human beings are not meant to study each

That being said, there seems to be no justifiable arguments on the debate of whether or

INDIVIDUAL SUBJECTS THAT EVOLVE ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN LAWS

not suicide is right or wrong. This

other as objects of scientific scrutiny , but to see each other as individual subject that evolves according

to its own laws.«

thought does exclude preventable suicides of indeed curable illnesses.

If we truly want to decrease suicide

Rather than frowning upon

rates, maybe we should start accepting

melancholy, hopelessness and death

them rather than judging them. The

wishes, we should except them

posthumous blame we discard on

as part of human cognition.

»victims« is all the more reason for them to seek escape. We have come to

To come back to Descartes, »Sum

live in a society where insightfulness,

moribundus« should not be regarded

introversion, melancholy and

as the opposite, but part of »Cogito

nihilistic contemplation are terrible

ergo sum«. The awareness of death

character flaws in a prevailing

part of, death a choice within life.

culture of aggressive optimism.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

People who barely know one or

The attempt to morally argue

were born without the privileges of

against suicide unavoidibly

empathy council with »It’s going to

resolves to dogmatism.

be okay« chasms that most likely

The observer precludes an

drive the desolate closer to the edge

understanding of suicide by viewing

rather than pulling him back.

it as a problem rather than solution.

»No mockery in this world ever sounds

An act of selfishness and dishonor.

to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice

Judging whether life is or is

mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be

not worth living amounts to

planted in mould, and tilled with manure.

answering the intrinsic questions of philosophy, which can only be

Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on

achieved through personal reverie. It is tragic in its essence of being a loss in some way or another, mostly to

certain of its summer mornings, feels

those close to oneself. As much as any

dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom

death, it brings with it a large amount

and golden fruitage of Paradise.«

of mourning and pain. This is easily

— Charlotte Brontë, Villette

confused to being a tragedy to the person that chooses self-destruction.

In Conclusion, while we are

The truth is, none of us know what

convinced to be admidst a belief

is awaiting and thereby none of us

system that favors individual

are authorized to pass judgement on

thinking and conceptions of ego,

anyone’s estimation of honor, dishonor

there is profuse evidence that

and the duration of their carnal

this is not quite so. Subjective

life. To some ... having something

experiences and views become

to die for is as much a blessing as

objectified. Decisions depersonalized,

having something to live for. ∞

denunciated and even condemned.

THREE — IDENTITY SUICIDE AND HONOR


110

111


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE — IDENTITY LAURA PANNACK UNTITLED


112

113


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE — IDENTITY LAURA PANNACK UNTITLED


114

115


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE — IDENTITY LAURA PANNACK UNTITLED


116

117


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE — IDENTITY LAURA PANNACK UNTITLED


118

119

DEATH OF A CLOWN words

jessickah

walsh

This second essay on suicide was created

actor Robin Williams hung himself as a

following the prominent death of a celebrity

result of his mental illness. This blog-post

hyped by international media. On 11th

looks at the issue of perception of the public,

August 2014 popular comedian, and US-

medication, and stigma.

We may never know what hides behind the smiles of those we love

To end the continuing battle that rages inside of you?

and admire. Everyone has their own battle raging inside of them and only they know how to conquer it.

Robin Williams died today. It is thought that he died of suicide by asphyxiation after a

Suicide is rarely viewed in a

long battle with depression.

favourable light in the western world. Our dysfunctional relationship with death is to thank for that.

Quite understandably the internet poured with sadness at the hearing of his passing, many, posting links to

But what if, in all your authority

mental health support sites citing such

on your own mental health,

inspiring thoughts as »there is a better

death is the only viable means

way« or »suicide is not the only way«.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

But what if in some cases, it is the only way? What if suicide, for him,

procrastination, I myself have been able to think at my clearest.

was a valid and worthwhile end to the incomprehensible suffering of being asphyxiated with depression?

Why then do we question the logic of a person in the throngs of a suicidal ideation?

It is not until we are at our darkest that we are fully

ASPHYXIATED WITH DEPRESSION

aware of what we are capable of.

Depression, no matter how much of a relationship you

may have had with it yourself, is so dynamic and unique that it is

Standing on the brink of sanity,

impossible to sympathise with, at

reason, rationale, life or death,

best, a hint of empathy is possible

where there is little room for

to another persons plight.

THREE — IDENTITY DEATH OF A CLOWN


120

The value that is placed on human life means that we strive to move

121

ideations will plan and »test« their plans before carrying them out.

the suicidal manic depressive away from the cliff edge and toward

Some call it »attention« or

a person centred counsellor or a

»needs seeking« behaviour,

prescription giving psychiatrist.

»a cry for help« of sorts.

Much in a similar way that we would pump a cancer riddled patient

It is a comfort to some who are left

full of medication rather than

behind to see suicides as a tragic

help them end their suffering.

accident or a cry for help that went wrong. It provides some solace to them

It is argued that unlike some

to riddle themselves with the guilt

cancers, depression is »curable«, »treatable«, or »manageable« and therefore it would be deemed »unethical« to allow a person to end their life

of not intervening

DEPRESSION A TERMINAL CANCER OF MENTAL HELTH

as a means of safe passage from its throws.

quickly enough. It will always be their fault that their loved one died. Perhaps, to others,

they breathe a sigh of relief that the suffering has come to an end. Much

But is this a myth? Is depression a terminal cancer of mental health?

like the relatives and carers of those with »locked in syndrome« (where sufferers are paralysed and locked within

What is fascinating to me regarding

their physical form) relatives of those

the death of Robin Williams is that,

with depression become carers, and can

in his mid 60’s, his suicide could

empathise in that they lost their loved

have come at any point in time.

ones some time ago when they became »locked inside their own minds«.

How many attempts or plans had he made previously? It is a known fact that sufferers of suicidal

Suicide can be a sweet release for some, on both sides.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

At 63, we can see the many »alternatives« that Robin Williams

What if the depression becomes inoperable? What then?

may have tried to »medicate« his condition; his well documented

For those »survivors« who continue

drugs and alcohol use, and from the

to manage their condition with

escalation of its use, failed stints in

»ups and downs«, »good and bad

rehab and ultimately his untimely

days«, »darkness and light« they

death from suicide, we can argue,

are the privileged few, those who

perhaps, for him, suicide was the

have, in this moment, found the

best medicine to cure his condition.

correct medication to enable them to function daily and to live in a

It is as unreasonable to state that

healthy relationship with their mind.

»I survived depression, therefore suicide is a choice« as it is to say »I survived

Suicide isn’t about »who copes

being raped and never needed to cut my

better« or »who’s more depressed«

wrists« or »I dined at the same restaurant

or »who got the right help«.

as you and never got food poisoning«. Suicide is a viable and real option We are each unique in our ability to

to cure a condition of the mind.

cope and manage our mental health, moreover, our mental health state can not be replicated in another person.

It requires discussion, awareness raising and non-judgement, as much as the many other options

There are a number of variables which dictate whether a sexual

for treatment that are available and so successful for some. ∞

abuse survivor copes with a certain set of behaviours, similarly, living with depression, a survivor will be naturally predisposed to certain coping mechanisms and behaviours. What if all these fail?

THREE — IDENTITY DEATH OF A CLOWN


122

123


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

PIGEON

words

amelia

photography

rosey

jean-baptiste

I

sinniger

at about say five past, you and me could swap places for the day.

Through the bars of his window

I’ll take all you have to offer by

dawn light came through. William

way of body and then you can take

was sat on his bed watching a

everything there is of mine.«

pigeon on the sill. It was grey and bluish with yellow round the eyes.

The words had come out a bit rushed,

It seemed content, clucking a little

and the pigeon blinked his eyes for

and shrugging. It took a few steps

a while, but then after a pause, it

forwards and pecked the air.

nodded. It thought that would be nice.

William watched for a moment, then

»Ok great!« said William. »You’ll

decided to propose a deal. He cleared

enjoy it I think, being human. All

his throat and the pigeon looked

you’ve known is living like a bird

round. »Hello, hi. Sorry« he said.

so I imagine moving like we do

»So it’s twenty to seven in the

could be fun. Imagine chewing!

morning, and I was thinking that

THREE — IDENTITY PIGEON


124

125


NOUS MAGAZINE 路 MISUNDERSTANDING


126

Or bending down or reaching up or lying flat on a bed or the floor.« The pigeon cooed gently and

127

You can eat the food if you like, you might be hungry.« William looked around the room

blinked. »And of course,« William

to see if there was anything he’d

admitted, »naturally I’m curious

missed. A mirror he couldn’t quite

too, to know how it is to eat worms

see himself in reflected back to the

and fly. That’s why we should

side of the bed he wasn’t on, and

swap, to share what we have.«

reminded him to straighten his pillow.

As if to demonstrate William lifted

»Ah yes and at three it’s exercise

his arms into the air by his side and

time, so you’ll meet the other humans.

flexed the muscles. The pigeon shuffled

It’s good to stretch your legs in the

his ring clawed feet and rearranged

yard. Someone will come and take

some feathers. The dawn was getting brighter. William lay back down on his mattress and put his

you out to it, and then

WE WILL SWAP UNTIL TOMORROW

hands behind his head.

you’ll need to line up against the wall and when someone says William, you say Yes. Then you can talk to

the others if you like, some of them »I guess there are some things you need to know, to make sure no

are Ok. To tell you the truth though, I don’t really find it worth the while.«

one guesses what we’ve done. Just everyday things. Like at half

»I suppose it can get dull«, William

past for example, someone is going to

replied to the pigeon’s querying

knock on the door and push some food

gaze, »but if it’s only for a day then

through the flap. You must say Thank

I’m sure you’ll love it. We’ll just

You loud enough for them to hear, or if

swap ‘til tomorrow and I’ve got some

you don’t feel up to that you could just

books so you can see what its like

knock back. Once or twice, it doesn’t

to read, and some bits of paper so

really matter, and then they’ll move on.

you could have a go at writing.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

That mirror is good for looking at

To show William what it would be

too, I’ve put some pictures around

like the pigeon flapped open his wings

it — just old tears of newspaper and a

and momentarily lifted altogether his

postcard from a friend I used to have.«

yellowed feet and their greyish claws.

The pigeon was still listening, head tilted, but now William was smiling and looking up at the ceiling. »Sleeping is nice as well. You can

William turned back to look and laughed. »Haha yeah! You’re excited too!« Over on the clock, whose scratched

do that when it goes dark at ten -

face never seemed too far from view,

that’s when the lights turn off. It’ll be

the second hand, longer and more

strange for you to lie down won’t it!

obviously functioning was making its way upwards towards the twelve where

I think I heard once that pigeons

the short hand stood, alert and serious.

sleep in trees, but on the branches not in nests. Don’t tell me anyway, I’ll find

»But one more thing before it’s

out for myself. I’m tempted to ask you

time,« William tightened his mouth

how flying feels but I won’t, I doubt its

slightly and looked embarrassed,

something you can really describe.

»Sometimes, not often though, I

If you asked me how sitting down

might press those little stones down

feels or what its like to comb my hair

there on the floor to my skin, scrape

I’m not sure I could answer truthfully.

along the sharper edges of things.

I’m definitely excited though,

Or I might stare up at that

to see the trees beneath me

light bulb. But its no good

and get higher in the sky.«

really. I wouldn’t bother.

I AM TEMPTED TO ASK YOU HOW FLYING FEELS

THREE — IDENTITY PIGEON


128

Maybe look at the light for a few minutes or longer. You can sort of feel your eyes burning. But not for too long.

129

In a pecking motion he took short breaths and tilted his head to one side. Then he turned it down to look at his hands. Comparing them to the rest of

You only disappear for a minute and then you’re just back again.

the room which wasn’t living, these living hands glowed with being alive. Firstly he studied the palms, lined

But anyway,« brighter now, »don’t worry about that, the main things

and worn. Curling the fingers slowly the nails and knuckles appeared.

are the other things I was talking

The nails looked useful and so

about. Walking around the yard

did the knuckles. Small scars were

and eating food and things.«

littered on the skin like waves of surf that hit the sand. The pigeon was

The pigeon tilted his head to one

aware of the air that moved out of

side, spent a bit of time pecking

the way to let the fingers curl, and

dust on the windowsill, then

the air that moved back into the

looked at William with little beady

spaces where the fingers had been.

eyes and nodded and cooed. The second hand slid passed twelve and time got slower.

Nothing was ever empty, it thought. Everything was always being filled back up.

II The pigeon regretted the swap, and As William, the pigeon; sat on the

wished it hadn’t been so eagerly led.

bed and looked around. He saw the

He thought about how it was to beat

walls on his left and right and the one

his wings and glide through air, and

in front of him. On the table in the

how when out in the world he wasn’t

corner by the door was a small stack

the only living thing in the sky.

of paperback books and a clock. Without looking he curled the fingers The mirror and pictures made

into fists and held them tightly. Until

the walls seem bigger somehow,

the muscles in his arms began to ache.

more empty and more white.


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

THREE — IDENTITY PIGEON


130

words

emily

131

godden

9781844672714 Perhaps you find yourself being summed up, Place is a term I often use- it leaves you hope. You always end up in a certain place no further, We were in what might be called a moment – These are not things that happen as unconscious Dreamed up thinking; thought transparent The outcome that everyone thinks they know, Begins to become incoherent – negative. Its standard practice, a tenable positionA therapy, a drug: but never a cure. Not only is it not new, it is the main entrance. Articulated with the everyday discourse


NOUS MAGAZINE · MISUNDERSTANDING

It’s revealing one way of dealing, we are Entering the great performance, a higher Mythology - a theoretical facilitation and Mental automatism they could not see. Hallucination inaugurates the dimension of truth Manufactured articulations correlate the symptom Where you can say anything, even the truth. Everything is a continuation of everything else, You know the nonsense they’ve come up with; It’s the beginning of the biological dream -

It means reason encourages us to go on sleeping.

THREE — IDENTITY 9781844672714




THESE THINGS TAKE TIME

www.nous-magazine.de

from Louder than Bombs by the Smiths


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.