Saturday, 6 November 2010

Five misfits in search of literary recognition

Annie was having a bad day, Rob was nursing a cold and Linda looked tired. At least I wasn't on-call this week (had I really suggested at the previous meeting that we dress up for our Christmas meal: Rob as a parasitic worm, Chris as Karl Marx and Linda as a budgerigar? Oh, what a strange delirium being on-call induces.)

This evening Chris was reading another extract from his magnus-opus-in-progress Karl Marx and Careful Driving. Snuggled in a nook of the Black Boy pub, we all listened intently as Chris shared a little of this dazzling fusion of political philosophy, travelogue and autobiography: "... Stem the flow of ideas and the effect upon society would be similar to the effect on the Volvo were I to lift my foot off the accelerator. Although for a while the wheels would drive the engine, the vehicle's momentum would eventually be overcome by resistance in the form of wind, gravity and the friction of the tyres on the road surface. In the absence of a supply of fuel to the combustion chambers, or of fresh ideas to the debating chambers, antithesis no longer confronts thesis to produce synthesis. Whether mechanical or political, revolutions cease and progress comes to an end..."

Karl Marx and Careful Driving draws on Chris's experience as a self-declared misfit French graduate who becomes a driver of 38 tonne trucks. Chris writes: "... Some of the animosity I encountered was almost certainly due to the perception that I was different... people with a degree in French didn't become lorry drivers; they became teachers, translators or civil servants ..." As a French graduate who became a mental health nurse, I'm saying nothing.