A Ninja Plays Powerball
I’ve been way out of my comfort zone for the last couple of weeks. I’m trying to write a novel and plotting, sub-plotting, devilish denouements aren’t my usual style. But I’m intrigued by the process and fascinated by the way the book keeps turning into something quite different than I originally planned.
I think several things have come together to prompt this book. I’ve been feeling a bleak despair over the lack of ATU action. I’m not sure what it is going to take for people with learning disabilities to be seen as human and for their human rights to be respected. Loud, emotional campaigning doesn’t seem to work. I’ve got grave doubts that polite, partnership working campaign’s can fare any better. Solitary petition led campaigns appear to play right into the Powerfuls’ hands. I keep thinking back to the suggestion from a couple of years ago that what is needed is a troop of Ninjas.
At the same time, I’m still doing my family history and have been reading a lot about the mid 1800s. One thing I keep finding is that there were an awful lot of philanthropists at that time. We don’t tend to hear about them anymore. But a Ninja philanthropist would be a godsend to all those people trapped in ATUs.
The other thing that keeps coming up to drive the book is a dream I had last week. I’ve never had a dream like this one before. I am with a group of people in a museum browsing the display cabinets. I am not engaged. A giant screen is showing footage from the 1800s. I am not engaged. Then the film on the screen changes to a match at Southall Football Club in 1979 and I remember that I was at the game. I move closer to the screen and I suddenly realise that I can climb into the screen. I am inside and do a circuit of the pitch, arriving behind the goal just as we score. I come face to face with 20 year old me. We can see each other but there is an invisible barrier between us. My 20 year old self isn’t the slightest bit interested in me and the footage evaporates as I hear the words, “You can’t go back”.
27 year old Ben is approaching his second anniversary in an ATU. He went away for a week as his father arranged his mother’s funeral. The father has tried several campaign’s to get Ben home but nothing has worked. On his way home from visiting Ben, the father stops at a motorway service station. There is one other customer, who the father recognises as Ben’s childhood hero – Spartacus from the TV programme, Gladiators. After the series finished, Spartacus became a multi millionaire building gyms across the Mediterranean but for the last ten years has become a recluse. The father tells his story and Spartacus decides to don his famous lycra costume, one last time and help get Ben out of the ATU.
I think I’d like it to be like an old road movie and the relationship of two middle aged men as they learn that they can’t go back and try to work out their place in 2017.
I’d like to think they’ll succeed but if nothing else, I’ll make my therapist earn her corn as she entangles a dream turned into a novel.
From → Social Care