Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Nothing new to report

London bus

With nothing new on the Bryan Hemming blog to report this week, I can report I have just posted the second novel I ever wrote on another site. Nobody ever published it. Ah!

At the End of Tobago Street has been posted pretty much as it was when I finished it a over couple of decades ago. Warts and all. I make no claims or excuses for it. But I might start to make a few edits if anyone shows some interest.

No parent in the world wants to admit their child is schizophrenic. Not only do they feel directly responsible, but they also feel it somehow reflects on them.

The middle classes feel particularly sensitive, almost as though it points towards a defective gene in the family line. Probably, as a result of inbreeding or somesuch nonsense. But schizophrenia can affect any family from any race or class at any time,

Not only do middle class parents in particular find it impossible to admit it to their neighbours and friends, but they can’t admit it to their offspring’s friends, their teachers or even their immediate relatives. Too often they retreat into a world of complete denial, not even admitting what they suspect to be true to themselves.

The mother of Howard Devlin, one of the two main characters in At the End of Tobago Street is such a person. Not only will she not admit there is something drastically wrong with her son to herself, but she can’t bring herself to admit it to Howard’s girlfriend, Gail when the pair fall in love. Even a failed suicide attempt does not persuade her to admit the truth. Her reluctance to face reality puts both young students in mortal danger.

At the End of Tobago Street is not a condemnation or judgement of schizophrenia, and nor was it my intention to create fear of schizophrenics,who only in extremely rare circumstances pose any danger to anyone, apart from themselves. But having been threatened by a schizophrenic wielding a knife it would be irresponsible for me to claim they never pose any threat at all. But the novel is not primarily about schizophrenia. In its essence it is a love story.

I had quite a lot of schizophrenic friends and acquaintances in the early 1970′s and became very familiar with the residents of the R D Laing residence situated in Portland Road, London at the time. When I was only twenty-one my eldest sister had a schizophrenic boyfriend for a short time, while we sharing a flat. She wasn’t aware of it and neither was I. His family, who were, failed to help or inform us. Neither of us knew how to deal with the situation properly, and the authorities just left us to our own devices.

Being in my early 20′s and knowing almost nothing about the condition, I had to learn quickly. The first thing I learned is that there is virtually no help fpr schizophrenics, and the  families and friends, who have to deal with them during their times of extreme crisis. At the End of Tobago Street  is very loosely based on a few of my experiences of the time. But it can no way be read as an account of real events.

So clear out your diary for this weekend, buy a couple of jumbo size boxes of Kleenex, settle down on the sofa, and click on the title below to begin reading:

At the End of Tobago Street

by Bryan Hemming

7 comments on “Nothing new to report

  1. Bryan Hemming
    June 17, 2013

    I don’t know how I did it either. Must be one of those weird coincidences I keep going on about.


  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes
    June 17, 2013

    “Warts an[ all.” !! hee hee – funny, that.

    This one sounds interesting indeed, Bryan – you know I LOVE your writing.

    Would love to hear about how you were threatened, and how you dealt with it. My sister, a schizophrenic, put a knife into her own heart, then called the ambulance. They were stunned. Next I saw her, she was sitting up in hospital, cheerful, enjoying the nurses’ attention!

    Hey! I see The James Diary on the right hand side! CLEVER!! Don’t actually know how you did that, but I love you for it! 🙂


  3. Bryan Hemming
    June 15, 2013

    You have a very valid point, and I may decide to do it that way.

    But the thought of going through the whole thing again chapter by chapter – even just copying, sitcking and posting while ignoring the words – fills me with dread.

    The reason I posted it is simply because I couldn’t stand thinking about it idling away in my computer, doing nothing, after so much hard work had been put into it.

    Thanks for the input, and I’ll be mulling it over, especially if nobody reads it, leaving me in exactly the the same position as had I not posted it.

    Life is just one dreary set of problems after another.


  4. Sam Flowers
    June 15, 2013

    I wonder if you should consider also publishing each chapter as a separate post?

    Not saying most readers of blogs have short-attention spans – okay I am!

    Also it would allow chapter by chapter feedback.


    • Bryan Hemming
      June 15, 2013

      Always willing to listen to well-intentioned and sensible advice, I have done as you suggested, Sam.

      But as chapter 1 is a bit on the short side, I have posted two chapters to start off with, in a sort of ‘two for the price of one’ offer. Always seens to work at the supermarket.

      The novel in its entirity – just in case there is anyone who desperately needs to get through the lot in one mammoth session,to see what happens at the end – has been posted on a page.

      So far, It seems nobody wants to read much of it at all. Oh, how we writers start with such high hopes of seeing our names up in lights after a couple of posts. What blind and hopeless fools, we are! But at least we have enough imagination to think it.

      Thanks a lot for a piece of good advice.


      • Sam Flowers
        June 17, 2013

        I do think fiction is not ideal content for search engines to discover. Non-fiction at least may be discovered because the searcher is interested in the subject of your writing and then perhaps becomes interested in you the writer too…

        On the other hand if you can get a reader hooked then they are more likely to stick with a fiction blog than a non-fiction blog.

        I have put your story on my reading list!


    • Bryan Hemming
      June 17, 2013

      Getting search engines to find fiction on the net is a bit like trying a readed to find facts in The Sun. I realise I´m on a bit of a hiding to nothing here, and too many people see even WordPress as another sort of Facebook.

      But, to give it iits due, I do think WordPress is really tryng for something different and believe they can attract peole who have attetntion spans longer than gnats.

      Very happy to hear you put At the end of Tobago Street on your reading list, and I hope I´ll be able to do soething more with my worlk one dayl. Thanks, Sam.


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This entry was posted on June 14, 2013 by in Articles, Literary reviews, Novels and tagged .

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