Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Made up doctor

I sit in the main corridor of a television station waiting for interview.
I will talk about my new book Dublin Folk Tales.
We are three guests. Two female and a male.
We get made-up one at a time, this I resolve not to tell anyone, though I am told by make-up that it is to take glare from my skin in the studio lights.
But she does something to my lips that reminds me too much of the taxidermist's dark arts.
I look in the huge mirror but can see no difference.
I wonder what the camera will see.
Back in the corridor a programme worker calls me doctor.
I am a storyteller, I explain, not a doctor; but if she has issues I will listen to them and tell her a story on that very issue. It might help.
She declines and is nice, I would have liked to tell her a story; but the woman doctor appears and they vanish into a studio.
Then I am on and my lips with the make-up move and I forget about it until I am driving home and remember that I am a male driver travelling along alone with make-up on.
I hope nobody sees me.
Storytelling here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Did He Say?

The man on the bus says he will not speak to the caller on his mobile phone.
Then, there is silence from him while the caller asks him why not?
He says you hung up on me, last time. This is not acceptable behaviour.
The conversation ends with no more words and we all agree with the victory for civility and the consequent quietness on our journey.
Later he speaks again, to someone else who has called him on his silent phone.
English is not his first language and he is precise in what he says.
He explains to a new caller that he will not speak to the first person; even though it is a business call.
He says she is foolish and she should not put herself above another person.
He had helped her, he said, by giving her food, and a place to stay which was all she wanted of him, and sex, he adds, using the word but once; but she should not have hung up the phone on him.
The second caller is thanked politely by him for their nice call and manner and the conversation ends.
Leaving everyone else wishing for once that this call had gone on a little longer.
Storytelling here

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Heal Thyself

It is very easy to create a false impression.
My doctor tells there is nothing wrong with me when I walk in to see him.
Of course he is right, this time.
But the last time I saw him he told me I should have died the winter before of a virulent winter chest cold.
I thought you were going to die, it's nice to see you, he says. I lost four men of your age from this practice, with the very same thing you had.
Why didn't you tell me that then? I ask, after I sit down.
Would it have made any difference? You would have continued working in spite of me.
This is why I stick with him. He only worries about lunch.
I need a health check for insurance purposes. He runs through the details and enquires if there are many patients in his waiting room?
I say not a lot, so he says: stay and we'll chat.
He takes a flask and a pile of sandwiches from his desk, where he keeps the prescription blanks.
I tell him some stories, he tells me some more, we laugh, and I leave when he sweeps the crumbs up.
His waiting room is full now with anxious people with coughs.
Lots of people have been asking me ever since if I am terminally ill.
Aren't we all?
Storytelling here

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blue Paper

I ask the shop assistant if they stock blue paper.
She says they are a stationer's not a hardware store.
I repeat the word blue louder this time and add that it's a colour, so she understands my predicament.
Most printing paper is never ending white so the odd sheet of another colour serves as a marker.
I need to make sure that when a writing client flicks through the finished pages he pauses at the correct places.
Blue, I say again.
She asks if I did not see the display of blue typing paper at the shop doorway when I came in, fool that I am she says without speaking.
I hasten to the front door from the bowels of the shop where they sell coloured card, but no paper unless it is white.
I see mountains of reams of blue-wrapped paper that turns out to be white inside.
I look for her, but she has faded into the stationery.
She has taken refuge in the magazine section where products come in all sorts of unbelievable colours.
I resolve to travel to the next town on the morrow in search of blue paper, blue.
Such are the ways that a writer goes quietly mad.
Storytelling here