Henry Shires: Writing Wrongs

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It’s a bittersweet experience when you get your own ‘column’, like losing your virginity or finding out that they are making a sequel to Will Ferrell’s Anchorman, the reality never lives up to the decades of fevered expectation.

The word ‘column’ is so… inflated; “Look at me, look what a huge column I have. Well 700 words anyway”, and surely ‘column’ is not even hipster vocabulary and should have gone out with “Hold the presses” and any metaphor relating to ink’s relatively poor capacity to solidify instantaneously.

I become more disheartened when reading SKN’s Writers Guide’s Style section, which suggests that you “focus on the subject of the article rather than yourself”, because my column, like the life from which it is drawn, has nothing in the subject line (well apart from “writing wrongs”, I guess).

So I was going to concentrate on my two recent and not-as-yet-and-not-likely-to-be-any-time-soon-trademarked pro refugee (and anti-Kevin Rudd, though obviously not to say pro Tony Abbott) slogans:

“We are ALL refugees” and “my parents came here by boat, didn’t yours? Unless you are under forty in which case they almost certainly came by aeroplane like everyone else”.

But I figure a better woman, or even man, could better articulate the arguments as to how utterly ludicrous, not to say Hitlerian (I said not to say Hitlerian!), it is to simply dismiss/condemn to death/a miserable life all boat refugees. Hey the only media I read on any regular basis (apart from SKN of course) is the TV Week, or as I believe they still call it in the UK: the Radiophonic Times.

Because you see, I am a Poet. I hate that word, but after years of fighting it I have given in and had the leather patches sewn onto the elbows of my corduroy jacket, and I am certainly not going to call myself a Spoken Word Artist, or as is believe they are called for short, Swats – as in a cross between Swots and a word which the SKN Writers Guide: Use of Language is very clear on the importance of not using!

And not just because I was ‘A’ winner of the Poetry Idol Competition 2011 – just like Pop Idol except without anyone seeing it. But also because I have an archetypal poet’s mentality: the attention span of a gnat with ADHD (never sure what the ‘H’ stands for, I think it may be ham), the tenancy to languish in the bath with a variety of hypochondriacal ailments and a life threatening love of wine and cheese (and my own favourite, cheese wine).

But in the end the ‘wrong’ I am going to concentrate on this month is a very different one.

The other day I farted in the bedroom while my wife was in the lounge (nothing out of the ordinary there). I know that I am over 50 because I remember acutely that at that age my father started to develop the ass trumpetings of a wounded bull elephant, so prodigious that he had to rush to the lavatory like a superhero in transition on waking in order to muffle at least some of the decibels and downright inhumanness of the sound.

Anyway, when I farted the other day, the sound, for the first time ever in my experience and I hope the last, was like nothing other than the moaning of a damned spirit. So odd a sound that my wife at no time even suspected a bottom burp but asked me, concerned, whether I was ok, thinking instead that I had let out some incredibly depressed exhalation.

I am not sure what I find so troubling about this otherwise apparently trivial manifestation of bowel gas. Is it the fact that I have become my father? A wonderful but deeply flatulent man significantly too enamoured of the sound of his own voice if not, thankfully, also of the sound of his own arse, or that my wife and I now habitually break wind in front of each other? Familiarity apparently breeding constipation rather than contempt.

Even if I can potentially from now on at least blame these gaseous exchanges on supernatural phenomena.

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