Narcissism, Jealousy, and Cruelty

This is a post of concern. Lately my life seems to be about the darker elements of people. Narcissism, jealousy, and cruelty are playing out around me, yet not to me directly. Still I am dealing with it second-hand as friends and family look to me for support, or I find myself offering support to those being subjected.

Today I reached a threshold. A point where it all seemed too much. Overwhelming. I had to break from it in some measure for the sake of my sanity, yet the feelings of dread are hard to shake.

It seems to me we live in an age where these darker elements are prevalent, even glorified. When leaders can represent the crueller natures of humanity and be considered representative of a nation. Where envy and jealousy seem to be the main form of interaction with each other. Where having your opinion heard and accept carries more weight than hearing and weighing each other’s opinion. Where strength is seen in who speaks loudest, not who has the most compelling argument.

I despair over the barbarism we display toward each other, the reckless lack of regard, when people have a stronger preference for the crushing of others over the nurturing of friendships. It’s enough to make one contemplate to point of living in such a time, a thought I admit that has passed fleetingly through my mind this day.

I fear for the future of my child. This is not a world I want for her.


Warlocks Warning

I had a dream of late, of a man who came to the village of my people. He appeared quiet, reserved, and shy. Within his possession was a silver pipe of which many proclaimed he would play the most angelic of music, and win the hearts of many a woman, and the regard of many men. A pipe he called his tongue.

I had not the fortune to see such a man. I first learned of him when someone from our village told me of his wonder, the lovely music, and his promises. She then disappeared yet no-one seemed overly concerned, except for me. One by one, the women of the village became to disappear, and still those that remained seemed unaware or flippant in their absence, until one returned. The first to disappear.

Battered, bruised, and broken. The light in their eyes taken. They spoke of betrayal and disgust, and of no one in particular. All were tainted in her eyes. All were party. Except me. To me she spoke freely of a man of selfish desires, and words that were like chains. Of the envy she had felt when she knew of others under his sway, and of the uncertainty in her heart. A woman of spirit and strength brought low, now shamed by her own. Yet when he returned to her and played his tune, she followed as she had before.

It would soon be my misfortune to meet this man, the man with the silver tongue. At a gathering of villagers, our paths did cross. At the meeting of our eyes, my bones did go cold. His presence made my skin crawl, yet I rationally considered my reaction foolhardy and presumptuous. I instead mingled with my fellow villagers, and an ever watchful eye.

I soon came to realise that he had become wary of me also. From then on, he would make efforts to avoid my presence, yet his presence I could still feel, ever watchful. It did come to my ears that he believed I did not care for him. Such a quick decision to make upon a first meeting, as I still did not know him enough to make such a call.

And then I heard him play, yet what I heard were not the notes of angels, but the clinking of chains, the sharpening of knives, and I saw the gleam in his eye, and the smirk barely hidden behind the pipe, and I knew, with a feeling of being hit in the guts, here was a warlock. An oathbreaker and deciever. With a gift to beguile those around him, leading them to his will, his power.

Yet no-one would heed my warning, besotted as they were with him. I was turned upon by my own, ordered to leave. I pleaded with words that fell lifeless to the dirt, and still he played, the man with the silver tongue. Leading the people I loved to his will, and his fancy.

There is where my dream ends. The story is far from complete yet that is often how dreams are, fractured and unresolved.

The Black Dog of Waiting


There’s been a clear dark cloud above my head of late. Plenty of people have noticed and asked if I’m OK which is good of them. It’s not like the days of yore when I would hide in oblivious awareness of my own circumstance, letting the worry consume me. I am OK, just a little frustrated.

I have the potential of a great opportunity to change my life in a dramatic and exciting way, but the decision is in the hands of others. Executives meet and discuss future directions while a handful of us wait in varying degrees of anxiety, frustration, or denial.

To say it has challenged by motto of worrying about what you can control and less about what you can’t has been sorely tested is an understatement. If I am offered this opportunity, then the power to gain even more control in my life will be granted. I get to choose almost without impunity, exactly where my life my lead for the next 12 or more months. The implications are enticing…

But it all hinges on being granted a voluntary severance.

Many of my colleagues have already left into the blue yonder of short-term financial freedom, but a handful of us are still waiting. It hangs on our positions and whether they have critical significance, because in a severance, you have to abolish the position as well as retire the employee. So they need to ensure that they aren’t going to effect ongoing services before making the call. I can understand that. I can appreciate it… logically.

Oh but what I could do with nearly a year and a half (after tax) worth of pay, and the freedom to choose how each of those days plays out. My imagination has been working, and a plan has been formulated. I know how the next 12 months would play out, in a rough way, and I WANT it to happen…

Yet I can’t get my expectations up else I’ll be deeply disappointed if it doesn’t happen.

I’m already rather done with where I am and have been looking for a chance to move, but opportunities to move AND change have been hard to find and make. Couple this with fact that I still need to ensure that my daughter is cared for, and while I abhor financial dependency, I have to work within the system for now, so making a big change while maintaining a living is a challenge.

So right now, I am followed by the Black Dog of Waiting. That’s the one that over time gets bigger and more stubborn, unwilling to walk and thus dragging along behind you. You get more sluggish, tired, and distracted. It’s a disturbingly familiar feeling but still very much at arms length.

I’m OK. It’s just big plans don’t suffer waiting very well .

Been a while

It has been a very long time between posts.
The lull between the storms.
It has been a very quite time between moats.
Them nefarious forms.

Today I was given reason to re-read some of my prose posted elsewhere on this site, and it raised a few tears as I recalled the times I struggled with emotional issues and life in general, and reflected on how far I have come.

Yet I was struck by something both curious and telling… how I was so stimulated to write little nonsense poetry and stories back then, yet have little motivation now. That is not to confuse enthusiasm with motivation however, as I still have enthusiasm, but the NEED to write is no subdued.

In a sad way, it seems that my writing may have been motivated by my emotional instability of those days, and that now that I have found a balance within, I am not as pressured to express my feelings. They have a constant and manageable level of activity. While my clarity is clearer, I no longer NEED to get these things out of my system.

In some sense, the emotionally tormented version of myself was more actively creative than the managed and whole version. As the peace has settled around my shoulders, I have become the young boy not wanting to leave the warmth of the blanket to go to school.

Yet, I am not convinced that the tormented me was more creative. I still have these ideas and images in my mind. As a more self-confident human, I express these openly in life as opposed to channeling it all into words on a page. I have become the Trivia Host who gives more than he gets, and has a fan club because of it. I have become the voice that people stop to listen to, even though my speaking is not dependent on having an audience. I have become the ear that hears openly, and is regularly used by people I barely know, yet respect immensely.

I have been expressing myself in so many new ways that I no longer NEED to express through writing, but I still want to…

The problem I feel rests in the association, that writing has always been used as my valve to depression. The release mechanism when times were dark, challenging, and changing. I need to re-engage with my written creative mindset with a new agenda, and new direction. See it for something more.

I hope to spark a new flame with an old friend.

When Actors Approach You

audition.jpgOn occasion, I have been approached by people I have never had anything to do with, who seem to think I may have a higher level of involvement then perhaps I actually do, or are possibly a little inexperienced in the way things actually work. The most common request I get from complete strangers who have an interest in acting is that I let them know of anything that might be appropriate for them to do.

“Please keep me in mind if anything comes you think I might be suited for.”

Ummm…. Right. I’m not sure exactly what one is meant to do with that, so if anyone asks me this question, I usually try to explain to them why this won’t really help them at all, such as I’m not involved in the casting of every show, nor am able to comment on their behalf when I don’t know who they are, etc… What usually happens is that they either completely miss my point and persist with their request, or they get a little trollish and become insulting.


To anyone reading this who may have done this, and possibly still not understand why this is odd, let me try to explain in detail.

  • I’m an Actor and must audition just like anyone else. I am not a casting consultant, or a casting agent. I do not have the representatives or directors of various theatrical productions/companies on speed dial. If I want to do a show, I must audition like everyone else, which means that I’m not in a position to recommend anyone for anything.
    “Hi. While I’m here auditioning for your show, I just wanted to let you know about this person who approached me out of the blue and said they are interested in doing theatre. Waddya think?”
  • If I’m directing, you will apply just like anyone else. I am someone who believes very strongly in fairness and transparency. This means that if I’m asking for people to audition, then that means everyone auditions. I appreciate it when other directors hold similar values, so why would I recommend someone else for a role in a show I may have nothing to do with?
    “Hey, I see you’re auditioning for a musical. There’s person I don’t really know too well asking me to put them up for show. Waddya think?”
  • I Don’t Know You. There have been occasions, after having been cast into a show, that the audition process was not able to fill all the roles. In those instances, sometimes that actors are asked to recommend anyone they know, who are then interviewed also. Now before I am going to recommend you to anyone, I can promise you one question that the director will be asking me; “Are they any good?” How am I to answer that question when I don’t know you? Answer: I can’t, so I won’t be recommending someone I don’t know.

I think point 3 is the most important. Even if I was in a position to make recommendations to casting directors, why would I suggest someone I can’t even comment on? I mean this is a reality check here. It’s simply not going to happen, and it’s not being nasty or self-righteous, it’s simple logic. If I am going to recommend anyone, I’m going to suggest someone I think can do the role, and it is not about looks in the slightest. It’s about talent.

And don’t take that as permission for you to submit show reels, or CVs, etc. Please refer to the first two points before you even contemplate this idea.

If you are interested in doing acting, at any level, then just like me you will need to put in the hard work to find the auditions on your own. I’ll happily point you in the direction of places in the internet where local auditions are posted, and I’ll even advise you on local theatre companies that may be most convenient to you, but it is your job to find the shows you want to do, you think you can do, and then apply, audition, and cross your fingers, just like me.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, if any actor was to try this approach with a professional casting consultant, and I mean in the manner I have outlined above, a simple query to keep an eye out for roles, I can promise you that you won’t even get the reply that I would give you. Most likely your request will end up in the electronic trashcan. Worst case, your name will be added to a watch list which may then be distributed to other consultancy services, which would then make it very difficult for you. Trust me this happens.

Becoming an actor is not a case of finding the right connections. That helps certainly, but no-one is going to work harder for you initially than you. Until you have a reason for others to be interested in you, no-one will be keeping an eye out for you.

The Coward Hole

Photo by Linda Hewell

This is probably not what you are expected based upon the title. I am talking about the hole left behind after playing Otto in Noel Coward’s Design for Living earlier this month. The hole left by Coward and his play.

It was an amazing experience. Possibly my most favourite production to have worked on to date, and for many various reasons, so let’s get the vain ones out of the way first…

It was one of, if not the best performance I have given on-stage so far. It wasn’t flawless, but there were many moments where I was able to save myself, and others, and keep the show moving. It was the joy of playing a character who pushed my personal boundaries further than they have been pushed before, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I also think I looked pretty damn good with my shorter than usual hair, and it has made me admit something that many others have been telling me for a long time; I look younger and better with shorter hair… bring on the hair-dresser.

Photo by Linda Hewell

Aside from the person satisfaction and ego boost, there was the sense of professionalism and talent with my co-stars. What an awesome bunch. Everyone took their roles seriously, even the smaller one-scene-only appearances, making for some wonderful moments of dialogue.

Then there was the extra effort required of the lead who basically was the back-bone of the whole show with her massive performance, including dramatic highs and lows, amorous moments with three different men, including me (that would have been a unique challenge I’m sure) and she made it so easy for me at least. What a delight to work with someone so incredibly talented and professional.

Photo by Linda Hewell

And then there was my co-star, playing the other male interest in the triangular love affair at the centre of the play. That he was willing to perform opposite me, a heterosexual male, feigning a loving affection, culminating in a crowd pleasing snog at the end is testament to his open mindedness and skill as an actor.

This production has left a lasting impression on me, stronger than I have ever felt before. I am extremely fortunate that the director spoke to me after a night of Closer, asking me to audition for this fine show. I admired Noel Coward before, but now, there is an artistic love affair brewing with the writings of this legend.

I am mentally preparing for the next role I hope to play…

Photo by Linda Hewell


article-2321088-19ac04bb000005dc-710_634x417Life, it goes in circles as I try to catch it. Its face is happy yet violently angry too. It temps me with a coyish beckoning and as I come close, it bites and screams pushing me away and the chase starts again.

Why do I chase such a two faced thing you ask. It is mystifying and unusual that I must know more, besides there’s a tendril that joins us. We are one and two.

Life is confusing, playing games with my mind. Just when I feel I have control, it yanks the cord and lets me know exactly where I stand, which
I don’t, for I have fallen and then struggle to rise but life is off and rounding another corner.


Yet I wonder. Each time I have come that close, it’s been closer and closer. The aggression has been less and less. The pain has been softer.

Some may say that I am a sucker for punishment, but if I did not try, would I ever succeed? And if I fail once, does that mean I’m wrong?

So I’m a stubborn fool, but then I wouldn’t get anywhere if I wasn’t. I’ll
keep being tempted by life, and keep being thrown back ’cause one day she’ll give in.

Won’t she?

Written by Jeffrey Watkins 1995

List Me Four

I was clearly in a very strange place when writing this piece.

Walking down the steps to the ground floor, of my single level caravan, I folded my arms to greet the old day. I hurriedly pulled off my shoes that I had worn all my life and yanked the cat’s tail that tickled my nose. Once I placed my cap upon my shoulder, I then felt ready to venture out into the house.

The first thing that I found, was an old CD from an unreleased band. I placed it on the player (that also played vinyl by the way) and let it roll. It didn’t go all that far of course, due to the fact that anything that rolled gathered no stone, and anyone should know that no Stone means no ‘’.

I felt something hitting my leg and bent in an attempt to remove the Jones who had laid camp there over night as their present place of worship was being converted into a multi-single drive-way that basically led up the garden path. This movement made me quite dizzy so I stood up to gain my composition. While the world slowly steadied itself, I heard the distant sound of yelling near my ear. Overcome with a sudden desire to feel another’s face under my hand, I turned and saw a reflection of myself that smiled before running away.

I felt quite lonely as I watched myself disappear into the distance of the glass. All of a centimetre away and it was still to far. Too far a barrier for me to cross.

Ignoring the transparent image of the mirror, I decided to switch on the box which as usual did nothing. You see I have this box. I keep it in the corner of the room. It never really does anything, but I wanted one when I heard everyone else had them. Every now and then, I switch it on so as I too can ‘watch-the-box’. Yet I can’t see the great attraction.

As things always go, I quickly bore of ‘watching-the-box’ and ventured inside to see the world.

The sun shone brightly and my shadow flickered back and forth. This was because two very large African Bears were playing volley-ball with the sun. It was a very noisy game marked by loud bellows of pain each time one bear hit the sun.

Hmmmmm…… I think I went out the wrong door. I should really avoid the children’s fantasy during the funny season. It’s not really a very safe place. Yet I see the day drawing to a close. The coloured crayons themselves are near used, which can only mean that the colour is about to f de. Soon th d y w ll b n th ng b t bl ck.  n  by  n  th  c l rs f d , ‘t ll th  nly th ng l ft s ……………………………….

Written by Jeffrey Watkins 1995


the_screamMultitudes of malingering mountain maggots!

My mind is in the fogs of haze, the pits of confusion striding bravely though walls of solid snow not knowing but caring where it goes. Wearing naked cloth upon his clothed brow to soak the beads of pearl that pour from around his eyes. I see the fires of resistance and yet he does not. He strides further on oblivious to them all.

And still I am here doing God knows what.

These feelings I have inside my chest are too powerful to ignore,
yet that is what I have done, I have thrown to the core,
And now they rush at me with all the speed and fury imaginable,
This time they will not be all that easy to handle.

My mind it rebels, puts its foot in the door.
The conflict puts pressure on my heart and more.
My mind, it fights within itself, two states.
They are no longer the closest of mates.

Oh my God the pain!
My head … it pounds. Throbs.
Words .. Hard to write … errors.
I can’t think!>>……


Written by Jeffrey Watkins 1995

I wrote some weird shit back in the nineties, and I didn’t need drugs?


Sim Warren | Men & Owls In The Forest

Sim Warren | Men & Owls In The Forest

Passing friends march together on different planes at different times. Their footsteps echo through murky fog that muffles and drags sound screaming through its own pomposity. They know each other well yet have not met and no matter how far they walk, they never will.

Passing friends march together to different beats on different drums. That one there, on the left-hand side. See the regimented stride and solid chin. The other prances boldly with a smile that infects, yet each footstep in time with the other.

Passing friends march together on different paths with different thoughts. They shout across the chasm that binds them together, and both agree that the other is mad and continue in their own way.

Passing friends march together, always in a mind of their own.

Written by Jeffrey Watkins 1995