In Review 2013

Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II)

Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II)

It was always my intention to release my latest fiction offering before the end of 2013, and though the first ambitious self-set dates for this passed by, this aim is now all but achieved. The second in the Savage Short Loves series is currently in production (at what once would have been the printer’s, but what now manifests itself as the inner workings of KDP). Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II) is almost ready, so this post serves to draw attention to this. Details of how to access the book will be made available once (all being well) the digital fruits of my love are blessed at KDP.

The other purpose of this post is to take stock of the writing year. Recent posts have shown the difficulties for my family in the past few weeks, but words are never far away. It was always my intention to dedicate this latest book to my father, ever since we came to realise the scale of the failing of his health. It is apt then that the processes of writing, reviewing, editing, production have come together at this time.

Is there ever a year in which a writer writes all that he or she sets out to? That said, the first two Savage Short Loves books have been released in 2013, and that is reason to be pleased. The final volume in the series should have a more realistic target publication date. To that end, I tell myself: no later than the end of 2014.

When we write, if we write for the possibility of publication, we must also write for ourselves. So I count these private writings as achievements too. Though there have not been as many as of previous years (for a variety of reasons), there have been some to keep me ticking over. Some are scribbled in notebooks, some straight to the screen; some are scraps or lines of poetry; some are the daily notes that grease and crease the creativity. We need our private words as much as we need our public words to be read.

Then there are the ghost formations of works that will be written, but not this year. These are the novellas and novels that sit and wait. Even words that have yet to be written, if formed in abstract shapes, if felt, left to stew, are our writerly achievements; though if they reach this stage and then fail to manifest, we may think in some way otherwise. Included here in possibilities are the various collaborations that have been mooted to me. Of these there are two exciting ideas in the offing: one, the possibility of writing loved/seen arrangements of beauty and subtlety (this is the way I think it at this stage); the other, more of a formation of a journal of depth and delicacy. Maybe neither will happen, but they both exist in the present in the liminal space of ‘maybe’.

In the scholarly field, there have been invites for collaborative writing and working. It is to this aspect of my writing practice that I also intend to focus more attention in 2014. It’s high time that I set about more papers to compliment and advance my thinking and writing (such as the ‘other’ blog) in the field of children’s play. There has already been much written here, and there continues to be plenty of scope for more. I’m fortunate to have contact with a circle of respected writer/peers in this field, and their honest appraisal of this writing will be invaluable.

In the world of fiction in 2013, I’ve also been blessed in having the support of people like Kirsty Fox at her Bees Make Honey Co-operative. Kirsty’s taken on some of my books for sale and, by the looks of things, is making great strides in promotion of independent artists of various flavours. I’m keen to get a local designer to create the cover of a future book (he said he would, and I’ll hold him to it). Sometimes local, crafted, loved, shines through. Online in 2013, amongst many, I would like to pay special thanks to the continued writerly support of people such as Sonam C. Gyamtsho (who is editor, reviewer, nagger, friend in a far land, all of these), Ty Roper, Exiled Prospero, and Val Cameron.

So, onwards and onwards. Words are love. Keep writing.


Of One December Day Unready

The fog hangs damp on this early December morning as we prepare to accompany my father’s final journey. The hearse is already here and I’m not ready: shoes, suit jacket, card for the flowers. I’m not sure we’re ever ready. Outside, as the black-suited driver and his fellow pall-bearer wait patiently, car door open, I pause on the pavement just to see: here is my father’s coffin; they’re arranging flowers and cards inside. There’s a heavy element of the unreal about all this: all those times and now this time.

We’re quiet in our various private thoughts as we slowly drive along the local roads. Then there are tears and realisations. Along the way, cars slow or stop on the opposite side of the road as we pass. Soon we’re heading north out of town. The fields are frosted over still, despite the lateness of the morning. The sun is a hazy possibility struggling behind the thickness of the cotton wool day: greyed over us. Slow motion folds over me as we enter the long, winding driveway to the crematorium. Here is the garden of remembrance, a pond for meditation, stones and flowers and ribbons on tiny trees. Where is everyone we know? The suited woman alights from the hearse in front and walks ahead. This symbolism of our modernity enwraps me. Slowly, slowly the rest of the family members and friends, those we know, trickle from the room where they’ve been waiting.

Here we are. The slow flow takes me. I take one of my mother’s hands and we walk behind my father’s raised coffin. I have been to funerals before but some particular ceremonies are impossible to fully assimilate: in the moment, after in the writing, and on. Is it this symbolic and ceremonial to define us, above even language? There are some beautiful words said, but there are beautiful words also felt, and beautiful sadness, without language itself, infusing this.

Dad catches us out, unawares, with words he asked Mum to promise she’d let us know. I will always hold these, just as I hope he heard my words to him, in that hospital room, and took them with him, some nights later, that night which already seems misplaced from reality. There is a gap in the calendar: it will be the yearly unreal in which to fall.

Words and symbolism and the felt-though-unspoken are breathless depths. When the curtain closes on my father’s coffin, despite assurances that it’ll remain intact whilst we’re all there in the chapel, I’m not ready. Maybe I’ll be ready, one day, when I least expect it.

After the quiet condolences of friends and family in the courtyard, and as we drive away, the fog lifts: the sun bleeds out over the white-frosted early afternoon fields, this early December day of continuing innocent unreadiness.

After Loss: Beyond the Start of Words

Where is there to go after loss? I always knew that words might, somehow, come for me. There has been such tremendous loss, such as we have never truly known: my father’s passing has left us, variously, heavy of spirit, dull of comprehension, yet relieved that all that he feared has now slipped thankfully away. Words fell away from me during days in which nothing was real, in which there was the surreal yellowness hung upon the world. Still we inhabit a gap where, for one at least, every so often when I think of him, quietly, I’m not sure where I am.

Time has always been a theme. Now this is compounded further. I always knew I would write in sad surreal times such as these: when they finally came. Yet, I didn’t know how words would slow to a trickle, condense to truths and memories, rarefied and as yet unformed. Words did not fully go: they flew in shapes and far above, in ways I had no ways of firmly catching. We sat for hours with him: we said love and we cried. We waited because he wasn’t ready. There were times when there were just wordlessnesses. Time folds in myriad ways.

So, in my vigil, our vigil, his fighting, written words were rare, as in pure, like oxygen. What unfolds beneath, in such time-focused days, though? When I opened my notebook to the possibility of memories, one day, travelling north when all those around me didn’t know such delicate trauma sat amongst them, when nothing else mattered to me, the sketches of my past tumbled end over end. These were the start of words. This I knew.

Perhaps we should take great care with words in such rice-paper days as these. The temptation is to grieve with great abandon, with the melodrama of unique experience. What we feel here and now, what I feel here and now, some days on, some days deeper in, is what half the world has felt, will feel, some day. The other half will be the grieved for. How the world can cope in such continuous flux, I wonder at. Yet we have the love of one another, the empathy of strangers, the company of words.

This is just beyond the start of words. My father once said, ‘Son, work with your brain not with your hands.’ This I repeat again and again, in written words and thought. It is a mantra for now. Though I need my fingers for words, I don’t build (except the construction of thought); though I pause with the press of my palms, I find them soft because I write. I find me soft because I write. There is a certain malleability to this point just beyond the start of words. Anything can be, if the words can be welcomed in.

So, after loss, where there is to go is further in. This is not a state of despair or an inability to move; this is a state of grace, of love unappreciated, of time. It may be time I have no understanding of, like the particular yellowness of the moon, one night, or like some metallic light beneath the imminence of a storm, but it is time nonetheless. It is a moment stretched in which the themes to have endured are folding over on one another: time, love, beauty, sadness.

Words can help. This I have always known.

From the In Between

Between worlds, Avia came. Somehow, she slipped in. I have been thinking of the place she inhabits for some time now. Months have passed me by. There is a city sketch, a complex weave, and she is one part of this. There are others somewhere in the cloth, but they have yet to show. I put my head down thinking of time and space and place and what it all could be, here, there; I was woken suddenly, later in the broken light. Avia whispered her name.

The morning before, it was someone else to have infiltrated that space: that breach between the comfortable density and the alertness of the possibility of being hunted. There, some man I didn’t know, someone who assumed a minor greatness of the written world, took a book of mine. With disregard for what that book had seen, for who had touched it, loved it, for the words of delicate love traced inside the cover, the man pushed flat the spine and etched his own inscription there. It woke me suddenly: I couldn’t recover the book as it was before him — untouched since love, tarnished now and forever on.

This gap, this in between, has long since been an attractor of the conscious realm. This is not without its irony: such conscious agitation of the mind about the space between worlds where conscious agitation cannot be. The more we think of it, perhaps, the farther we push it away. Yet, nevertheless, here I am in contemplation of the shape of the shapeless, the breadth and depth of the amorphous, the texture of the inside of something I cannot ever reach, here, now, as I can write or as I can think it.

There are gaps in between sleep states, within and in between woken meditations, in between our woken autotelic states. There are gaps within the automatic functions that we fall through. Within all these, we may find the slight embodiment of words or ideas we laboured through; the deeply buried reaction that we never knew to be there, to conspire to catch us off-guard; the sensation on the skin, half-remembered, half-conjured; the name of someone sought amongst a city, half-formed, half-lit.

I drive, I wash, I stand and watch the day. There is a soporific softness to the urgency of the road, the stacking restlessness of the diary, the gathering darknesses of othernesses that could be done; they’re all attended to by the robot core — ticking, processing, clanking quietly deep down beneath. I drive, I wash, I stand and watch the day. I fall between the cracks of worlds.

This, at least, is how this thinking, writing, conscious agitation of the mind presumes it. I can’t tell for sure because I’m not there, for sure, between the cracks, in the gaps, between worlds. I know I surface with words, though sometimes slight; with reactions I didn’t know were there; with sensations whose memories still play upon the skin; with the names and hints of those entrenched in some half-lit, half-formed city.

Avia stretches out her arms, as I think her now. She’s already receded far and deep down. The shadows of this some place I have been thinking of swallow her, for now. She’s fey on the temple, on the pillow, perhaps. One man broke a book: he defiled the tracings of words and love there. He is the blemish of some underworld of this some other world. Both are in between, somewhere I can’t see for sure here: so I think.

City: Partial Study in Self and Mass

Cities are a fascination. They have mass to write about. They have their own gravities. There’s too much and everything all around and I can’t fix my place and space within it all. Cities are endless. They spiral in and fall on top of themselves. It is the swill, the vortex, the conflagration of air. Where do all these people come from? Where do all these people go? Perhaps they exist just in these spaces as I pass them by.

Cities are greasy great hubs of flesh and stone, metal, mesh and the technology of the times. They feed on chemical electrical interaction, on digital densities of us. They suck us dry. We can’t help but move. It is the urban jet stream to manipulate us on and round and through the open doors and moistened tunnels, along the garish lightways. Nothing stops because nothing can. There is centrifugal force that spins us in and deeper down, somehow.

Cities have a filthy grace. They have love the shape of pride of place, but coloured by fingers stained with secrets, stroking stringiness into hair. Cities whisper with a flavoured breath: all the fancy trinkets you need are yours here. Everything shines, but only now because you let it shine. Cities wrap you in their wings. You let your whole be overwhelmed by sound and light and heat because there is nothing else you can do here. Cities breathe around you. You breathe them in.

Cities are deeper than you can ever know. Whispers weigh and forces pull at edges, and the spin a city’s in and the stream that twists and stretches round in invisible convolutions, the everything this is, spirals in depths above, below, through and in between. It’s all a blur, it’s all a stir. It has every speed at once. Even the rows of buses, waiting, are waiting in the swill of time and darkness; even the slightest gaps between the metal tubes of trains are laden with the squeezing of the air; even the masonry presses insistencies on the glass and steel of structures close and closer by. Everything has weight and mass.

Cities are galaxies of infinite gravities pulling inwards, outwards, downwards, mindwards, timewards. Even the sounds exert their presences on all around: an ambulance screeches in a long-pained wail around the Escher-engraved scratched streets; trains lumber in sudden imposition on iron girders up above; there is an endless drain of metal blood around the channels of the tarmac floors of arteries and veins. The city sucks at the balancing ear with its sudden exclamations and with its constant siren songs in streams and streams.

Cities are a fascination. An aeroplane hangs in the air, and I watch it as I trundle into the mausoleum of the station. The aeroplane just hangs, and gravity is arranged in other ways. I am disgorged and swallowed. There is weight and mass here; there is too much and everything. I let it all fall over me: it’s all I can do. The urban jet stream picks me up and takes me on and on. I am fed upon, pressed deeper down and in. There is a blur, and even the stillnesses appear to move. They aren’t stillnesses at all. I am breathed upon and I allow the city to tug at my balance and my sleeve.

Cities are deeper still than I have words for here.

One Week’s Words Washes Up on the Shore of Now

Rain falls in a vast sweep and the lightning is a sheet across the night sky. This is an enormity in the flash of the now.

Here, this now, is the calm between storms. Words tumble down and down to reach the bottom of the week: liquid amalgamations in the long thin tube, where a yard of ale might also run. Here is a puddle deepening. I think: when Phoebe offers me that smile, the one that’s lush in empathy, there’s a touch of sadness in her eyes. This is a moment of now. Night washes away.

Here we are in some stillness. Words spread out like sodden leaves. I am woken with a memory of someone I almost forgot; yes, ‘What a dream I had, pressed in organdy, clothed in crinoline of smoky burgundy; softer than the rain’*; except you were smoother still than this. Memory and dream conspire and we can often forget where we are. I am woken, deeply down in time still, coming up, coming up for air. Time washes round me.

Here is some me: once, one twenty years gone by, here he still is. He’s a ghost naïve. Words swill in pictures and sense arrangements, as ‘then’ merges with the ‘now’. Strangely in the city of my greener self, all the monuments and the toothpaste streets, his city, spread around me. There are ghosts in every crack and on every corner, where the air still circulates in endless orbits, where the light is sepia sluiced. Ghosts wash along the pavements and the roads.

Here is an always me: the children sit on the doorstep next to me. We consider the clouds. There are moments of perfection which words can’t always catch. Words try to settle on this now; yet all is too rare, as in light, yet just so. This form of rarity cycles over and around. The children know, the children feel the moment, and they have the wisdom of quietness in it all. Clouds, which have some such words somehow, wash over us.

Here is some love I have known for what could be always: be present, my dearest friend. So, I see the shifting colours of the tree in the sun to shade: white-blonde lime to dark black-green in an instant; the frosted spray of pines, perhaps; the presence, coming forwards in front of the urban world, of trees. Words fall in: I write in my mind’s eye. The now is fragile and yet remarkable. Everything is succinct. Everything is clear. The world-moment washes in.

Here is one now: this is the calm between storms. Words are present, washing over, now.
* (lyric: Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel)

A Sharpness of Words Abroad

Often, following a step abroad, it is precisely the usualities we sought to escape that embrace us with the greatest warmth: the customs, routines, rituals and the slightest nuances of all that surrounds us, and which we’ve known from the earliest of ages without ever seeming to have been taught them, have their innate beauties returned to us. Words, of course, are a seminal factor in all of this. They press on us, in our homelands, in speech we hear on public transport (and which we pay little attention to), fizzing from television screens, in conversations we willingly engage in, on street signs, posturing from adverts, on the roads themselves, in newspapers and magazines and books: all of this and more. I have come home from stepping abroad and I feel embraced.

Out there, out on the European continental mainland, something of my own words coalesced though. (I write it like this because the island-nationer that I am can feel protective of his curious idiosyncrasy, as the mainlanders often see him and his kin as). Out there, the words in public transport hubs, fizzing from television screens, in intensely concentrated-upon conversations in foreign tongues, on street signs and their roads, in adverts and newspapers, magazines and books, all conspired to a point verging on being overwhelming. I can hold the odd and short foreign language conversation, understand a little more of what I’m merely passive to, read some articles in newspapers, depending on their length and depth, unconsciously recognise the gist of some information blurted out at airports, but it leaves a writer feeling somewhat disconnected. Where can he go then but into the texture of the words he knows?

I choose to go abroad to see the people who I know, to experience the irregularity of my sudden place in the world, to be someplace else, to escape and to return. I know this, and so retreating to my island home can never be a permanent fixture. Yet, my island home finds me sometimes, when I leave it. When stepping abroad, this time, this writer disconnected found that something of his home words coalesced. As a means of finishing a book, I now find, stepping outside one’s own words and customs, routines and rituals can have a cauterising effect. I had six stories to write to complete the first draft of my latest offering. I took with me the outline of where I’d reached, folded into the back of my notebook, and I hoped I’d find the words. They found me.

Immersed within the need to consider ideas, gaps within the words, rhythm, flow, the feel of the moments and the whole, I came home with all six of these. They nursed me, out there, when I was overwhelmed by the immensity of the continental mainland and all its ways. They came following, a few days after my departure, caught up with me and settled onto my fingers.

Writing on paper, with a biro, in a foreign land and surrounded by a blur of otherworldliness (albeit an otherworldliness I’ve visited many times before), this time, served as a kind of sterilising of words which came to be. At school, many years ago, I was advised, I remember, never to be concerned about crossing out words and replacing them. This isn’t to say that those words crossed out are wrong, as such: this is to say, now, that there is a richness of words to consider. Writing, out there, I found that the continual re-reading, crossing out, adding, replacing and re-instating of words had a cathartic effect. The result is something I’m pleased with on several levels: the process, the product as it currently is in the clean version transcribed to the file on the screen, the product in all its glorious additions and removals in the paper pages of my notebook. In the latter, the original thought still shines through, beneath the lines, and this only adds to the palimpsest of the whole. On the screen, in the final book, this can’t ever be seen.

On returning home, island me, after stepping abroad this time, I headed straight to the newsagent to buy a paper. I’d missed a while of the real world whilst immersed in other realms, and of course I needed to catch up, but any words in my own language, other than those I’d spoken, conversed in, or written myself, were what I needed most. Then the customs, routines, rituals and the like of my own world flooded in and I felt embraced. My notebook sits on my desk: it is, I feel, loved the more for the punctured precision of its newest words, sharpened by a brief significance of stepping abroad.

A Crafting of Some Appreciation

The bookshop called me in. I didn’t intend to go in there: it just insisted. I would have preferred it if the sudden inclination had taken me when I was upstream (that is, uptown), where the little side-alley independent place is, but the inclination took me as I walked past the big plate-glass windows of the brand name. It was a bookshop though, at least. I had no thought in my head about looking for anyone on the shelves in particular. New books have an almost irresistible feel to them though (almost: I did resist because the prices were so exorbitant). New books have a crispness, a quality that suggests that anyone who just walks in off the street is the first person ever to have opened that book in all its life.

I was drawn like a magnet, and before my conscious self had had time to know it, to Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (which I know I need to read). Its first line drew me in: ‘Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.’ This is one of those books I know I should already have read but haven’t. I’m already a friend to the words of Márquez, and sometimes we can stand in bookshops for long periods of time trying to justify spending exorbitant amounts of money on crisp new books we know we should have read. I will read it, but later. Writers like Márquez know this is fine because he knows he already has me on his side.

Writers unlike Márquez rely on other friends. So it is I can say I’m truly privileged for the support of people like Kirsty at Bees Make Honey Creative Community, in this case on several counts: (i) for her continued support of my work; (ii) for agreeing to take on copies of Disintegration and Other Stories at the Memories of the Future event in Nottingham this October; (iii) for agreeing to take in a non-Nottingham southerner’s work (that’ll be me!). By way of reciprocal support, if you’re in the area, I trust you can get there (see links above for details).

This support for the independent, the small amongst the megalithic corporates (even though we too are sometimes obliged to make use of the latter to get words out there), the craftspeople of the world, as I see it, is very much appreciated. Of course, in the modern world we know there’s a place for those monsters of industry (we can, perhaps, all be consumers of convenience, and we can like it), but knowing that there are groups of people out there who are focused on the minutiae of it all is inspiring and heartening.

So, in coming back to my own reading, I walk into a corporate-branded bookshop and I find I need Márquez, but I find he can wait. There are still plenty of crisp newnesses to discover in other, yet to be known places first.

The Reading Vows

There are times when reading is absolutely necessary. There are times, here, when there is a great need just to read. It comes in cycles, I find: it tracks me for a while, behind me like a shadow; I don’t know it’s there. Then, quietly, it insists itself on the days of my life. In days like these I have every need to read widely. What can cause this? Do I not have enough words of my own to sift and assemble? It’s not this. I don’t know what it is. It’s a desire that can’t be pinned. It passes, though I also don’t know why this is; it passes, but when it’s here it’s like a thirst.

Yet there is just so much matter out there in the ‘worlds’ we live in (paper worlds and digital virtual places). It can be overwhelming trying to locate the matter that needs the reading. I don’t know what I’m looking for, exactly, when I do look. I do know that when I find something that suggests it has a certain flavour to it, I must read it. I also know, however, that there is just so much wading to be done. Quadrillions of words in trillions of aggregations, perhaps, conspire to show repeated weaknesses. There is slurry, and maybe we’ve all contributed a little to this, alas.

There are gems amongst this though. Perhaps the knowledge that these do exist, must exist, maintains the will for the hunt. ‘Writing is a safari . . . it means going out there and spotting, nabbing and bringing home to the cage of the page the most marvellous living stuff of the world.’ Who was it who wrote this (which I left unattributed in my Germany-period notebook)? It doesn’t matter here for now. If writing is a safari, so too is the preparation for reading.

Finding is one thing, but giving oneself over to the find is quite another. I take a book by the hand and I know, before I open its cover, that I am about to commit to it. To have and to hold, to love and to finish . . . When I hold a paper book I can sense it: I can see and feel its weight and the potential time within it. I will read its covers and its author’s notes, its preface or its preamble: I will go straight to the last page — not to find out anything ahead of time, cheating — but to commit the page number to memory. I take extra care not to see the words there. This carving of the last number in me is not a way of trying to weigh myself down; rather, it’s a vow in the making (till death do us part, which I see to be page 210 . . .)

Taking an e-book by the hand is not so easy. It hides its secrets well and I sometimes find the e-book difficult. Let me see your pages whole, I think when I try to find it within the ink that isn’t ink at all, within the thin depths of the small plastic slab in my palm. I don’t care for the number limits of the chapters; I want to feel the weight of this whole book in time. Yet, even here, there are gems to be found: this I know; this I think.

This phase of the present need to read isn’t over yet. I still haven’t found, this time, what I’m looking for — exactly; though I have found moments in some stories, stories in themselves that linger, possible books to re-read, possible authors to try from new. There is slurry, and there are gems, and there is commitment called for.

Of Precision and Depth Associations

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.

Gustave Flaubert

In love, as in gluttony, pleasure is a matter of the utmost precision.

Italo Calvino
What is it that this is? That is, of words, these constructions that we like to contrive: what is it that this here is? I have been looking, this day; I am looking for depth association. Each word we lay down should have clarity, could be significant, must be crisp. It is this; or rather, this is what it is at this moment.

This isn’t just about a quality of content in the writing. We may read others’ words and find them stimulating, though sometimes — admittedly — we can also find them repulsive and all degrees between. There’s more within. In some ways, that which is sought is ineffable, or untouchable: it can’t reach the sense world. I’ve written about the feel of words before (this is the closest I can describe it); there are other layers though. This depth association is how I render it this day.

Try to write with clarity, so here it is: the smallest elemental seeds of lines are built into the shortest of stories, which in turn are part of a greater whole, which link into other stories in other segments of the wider collection, and all is connected across time, characters, places, memories, literary references or themes. It is this depth association I am, currently, trying to see in words I read and write. How does what you write connect with your other offerings? How can what I write connect across the sphere of my output? There must be honest attempts at precision.

There must be motifs and geographies, objects and actions, and other nuances, that link across time and page or screen. There must be the slightest repetition or just the insinuation of reference: it must be like light; or, there must be flavours steeped in; or, it is — as I’ve long suspected — the gap between the church bells that resonates with the most clarity. Words can be sharp and delicate, both, but such that after-tastes linger; after-images can press against the redness of the closed eyes; all of these: metaphors can marinate in the whole.

Be clear and precise: what is it that this is? This is a need for precision in the writing and in the reading; rhythm and grace; that which could melt. These are the ideals that gather, though these are the ideals that frustrate. The writer of pulp will earn his sluice of gravy money, sink it and think nothing more, no doubt; the writer who strives for the violinist’s chords may just be sunk by his own endeavours. In the end, perhaps the art of precision is an act of love: there may be depth associations and crispnesses but only those of similar malady might see.