This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

> > Richard Downes

More About Writing

Image - writing1_1.jpg

I’m desperate to find my way into the new blog set up of DAO but can’t find my login. This will give me time to think, to consider what it is that I might have to say. For in truth there is nothing there that’s long enough to be a blog entry and one day the login key may appear and I will still be left vacant, with nothing left to say. I am aware of a theme that has been building, found in the simple, long term rush of writing. I have learned something old afresh. It is not solitary. It never was. I was never the boho type sitting lone and suffering in a garret, in a house, in a town, dark and full of blackness. It was never thus for me. There was always someone there. Granddad pinning stories to the shit house door. Mom and Dad receiving letters from Kingswood and Corley, schools hidden in the country. A chance to juxtapose red, and green and gold and brown in front of classmates whilst playing with autumn imagery. Arty endeavours, shared with friends and smoke and brandy, the scrabble board giving out the next word to use or draw whilst some of us consider sex. Always someone there. An enabler, an encourager, an appreciator, a grateful soul. A college chum, a co-op member, a competing writer, a scourge, a jealous type, a lover, a loser, a winner and a fighter. All gathered before the sheet. Expectant. Agog at its magic to fill itself with word. And the thing that hangs there, most brightly, takes our interest, holds us there forever in the ether of the phrase or sentence…. The thing….. Can only be described as happiness. And happiness broke through again last night when you said I was your friend. I had done something for you and now it must be returned. When all I thought I’d ever done was write those things that came simply and truly from the heart and if this were to be a gift it would always be a gift given freely - with joy. Just something I could do. I never even thought it was done for you and here you are now saying thank you, I see a drawing on the wall. It was done with pastels. Unreal colours. Inviting landscape. I stand on the road, heading for the mountains, wind blowing in my hair. Like I and it always did. Thrilled by escape. Imagination. I take a ride. I take my time. The fields roll by. Lazy hills. High grass. Brighter than summertime. The room is full of your odour. The scent you use. I leave you there. Goodbye. I leave at last with, only… words on the page I started out with. Turning it over. It is there again. Another page. Blank. Waiting to be fulfilled. And so it will be.

Posted by Rich Downes, 28 February 2013

Last modified by Rich Downes, 28 February 2013

Finding My Words Everywhere

Just the other day I was doing some browsing on the net, looking for a disabled artist someone else had told me about. I didn’t have her name. I had some connections, some concepts, some sites to visit. I was on one of the latter, just scrolling as the sun came through the window of the carriage I travelled in, when suddenly there I was looking back at me. A mirror, reflecting my lovely visage. I was shocked. Horrified. It was like I’d caught an eel at the riverbank. A whole review stolen; hook, line and sinker. I had sent a link to Bass (it was about them after all) but, I’d written it for Anchovy, and now here it was again on Carp. I felt mortally wounded. As far as I know Bass, hadn’t asked Anchovy. Maybe they were a bigger fish. They’d just gone and given it to Carp who were probably a size or two up on Bass as well. And I guess ultimately, once the shock had subsided, I love Anchovy, Bass and Carp equally.

Later…. catching up on unread emails. The one’s I hadn’t been in a hurry to read but the ones that may contain some useful information that may or may not be worth reading when I followed a link and blow me down. There I was again. Only this time, more gloriously. Someone….. an arts company had read a review I had written about them and had taken a chunk – the biggest phrase that ever carried my name. I didn’t mind. I felt happy. They hadn’t taken everything. Only a few bits that they felt would be good for them. It was a blessing.

I’d previously had little snippets taken. A phrase like ‘this truly is the Dogfish Eel’ which I’d recognise as being uniquely mine regardless of whether it had carried my name and I’d felt honoured. Someone loved that little bit and felt they could use it to promote themselves. Let it be.

It was just the act of taking the whole wang dang doodle that had got to me. Still does. Because in truth I had written this a whole lot better, whilst on that train, with Aubergine, Broccoli, and Cabbage being a lot tastier than Anchovy, Bass and Carp, a lot more succinct and in touch with the feelings of the time, when we went through a tunnel and all that steam just disappeared into internet space. Teach me to write online and not in word.

Posted by Rich Downes, 21 February 2013

Last modified by Rich Downes, 21 February 2013