I’ve been keeping my act together for 66 years. Writing helps me realise that keeping your act together is not the best way to create a meaningful life.
First published on Medium John Walter 📣Jan 1 · 3 min read
From the Author’s archive. John Walter — back row centre.
I was born and brought up in the seaside town of Bude, Cornwall Uk. In the picture above, (back row centre) I am 10 yrs old. The girl to the right on the row below me is the one I kissed as she climbed down from a table. She didn’t say a word. She gave me that questioning look and left me in the classroom to finish the flower arranging duty on my own.
The girl (centre front) sat on the desk in front of me for a while. I enjoyed secretly inserting a pencil into her ponytail then waiting for the right moment to twist it. I met her again 30 years later, and the conversation was so easy. I think she has forgiven me.
At this time, I wrote plays and tried to get my friends to act them out. The girls were not interested in my pirate stories, and the boys couldn’t be bothered to learn the lines.
I was rushed into hospital to have my appendix removed, and an uncle bought me a Biggles book by W.E johns. This is my first memory of being completely absorbed by reading. For two weeks, I was alone in a hospital bed eagerly awaiting the woman with the Library trolley that appeared most days.
Learning to keep my act together
After the age of 10, my world shifted, I seemed to split myself in two. Johnny-boy devoured books of all sorts, wrote poetry and songs, drew fantastic designs, invented brilliant machines, and learnt how to kiss.
Big John went off in a different direction. He learnt to sit still in class and keep his act together. He made it look as though he was absorbed in the dreary Grammar School lessons when he provided cover for Johnny-boy to drift off into imaginary worlds. He learnt how to suppress his emotions with alcohol. He worried that something was wrong with him, and one day everyone would find out.
Big John and Johnny-boy have been looking out for each other ever since.I have mostly kept my act together and managed to make a living and allow my creativity and imagination to surface under controlled circumstances.
There have been some excruciating times when Big John has felt he has had to take more control to hold it all together. Johnny-boy has retreated to his bedroom and occasionally peaks around the door to see if the coast is clear for him to come out again.
The coast is clear
Definition of the coast is clear
— used to mean that someone can go somewhere or do something without being caught or seen because no one is in the area ‘OK, the coast is clear — you can come out now!’
The coast is clear, and it always has been. I am 66 years old, and it is only now that I fully hear this message. I can write anything I want. I can play any music I enjoy. I can share my thoughts, hopes and dreams in any way I see fit.
Johnny-boy and Big John have not fallen out. Both make me who I am. At last, we are beginning to work as a team. If I encounter a creative blockage, I know that Johnny-boy has retreated to his bedroom. I shout ‘OK, the coast is clear — you can come out now!’ If I spend days in a creative flow and forget to eat, wash or speak to anyone, I ask for Big John’s help.
I have been writing for Medium for just over a year. I have published 31 stories. Here is a selection
My Top Story
Losing a Child to SuicideGrief is my wake up call.medium.com
My Favourite Story
The Fear Of FreedomHow to recognise it and choose to move on.medium.com
The Story I’d Like Everyone to Read
Walk like a child Discover the freedom you have always had.medium.com
Do you speak to any online zoom groups about grief.
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Hi Ron. No But would be happy to. I am volunteering as a bereavement counsellor currently – seems to be going ok and useful to people.
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I thought that we can better acquaint with each other here. It is indeed a great pleasure to peruse many of your posts, not to mention that many of them are well-written and very personal.
Most of my written works (in the form of academic research) and also musical compositions are still unpublished. I probably already have enough materials to last me another 20 to 30 years of self-publishing.
You are very welcome to savour my multidisciplinary outputs, which include but not limited to music, poems, essays, art, graphics, illustrations and animations as featured on my blog. In addition, please turn on your finest speakers or headphones, as some posts and pages will be playing music to you automatically. A lot of the music presented is my own musical compositions.
It is preferrable to use a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my blog, which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.
Furthermore, since my intricate blog contains advanced styling and multimedia components plus dynamic animations, it is advisable to avoid viewing the contents of my blog using the WordPress Reader, which cannot show many of the advanced features and animations in my posts and pages. It is best to read the posts and pages directly in my blog so that you will be able to savour and relish all of the refined and glorious details plus animations. Please enjoy! I look forward to reading your thoughts and feedback there.
My blog contains not just text and images but also bespoke stylings and dynamic animations — images and stories that are animated on their own. These are not videos but actual animations. You will realize very soon that my blog is unlike any other that you have ever visited.
For example, in my post entitled “🎴 If My Name Were Moon Tonight… 🌛🌝🎑🈷 with Clair de Lune 🌕“, you get the chance to watch my dynamic animation produced in high resolution (1920 x 1280) synchronized perfectly to Debussy’s Clair de Lune. The effects are going to be great on the large screen of your desktop or laptop. Moreover, you should be able to see that the entire post from top to bottom is full of eye-catching animations. However, if you view the post inside the WordPress Reader and not directly from my blog, you will see none of the animations and bespoke stylings, and there will be a great deal of missing contents. The difference is literally one between day and night.
This animation-intensive post is the result of my dramatic attempt to bring the Full Moon alive, so to speak, in the form of Music Animation with Dynamic Visualization presented in high definition and imbued with a scintillating full moon surrounded by eye-catching astronomical phenomena and stellar activities!
Moreover, the post contains twelve poetic stanzas constituting my rhyming poem entitled “If My Name Were Moon Tonight…“. You are certainly welcome to comment on my poem and even translate them into Chinese.
There is also the opportunity to savour my own rendition of “Clair de Lune” recorded on the organ.
The direct link to the post is:
May you find 2022 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking and blogging whatever topics that appeal to your intellectual exploration, artistic output, creative flair and poetic vision!
Take care and prosper!