ImagiNation: Letter From the Island

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Dear Mum,


It isn’t something I thought I’d do much by hand ever again, but power’s short and they like to restrict it to key areas and key times. It’s handwriting or it’s one of the awful mechanical typewriters the military had put aside still for some reason. So I’ll write. Even though it’s as illegible as the handwriting of a drunken doctor and there’s no spelling or grammar check.

They’ve moved me, with some others, down to Ventnor. I’m not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse. From the south of the Island you, at least, can’t see the strange colours and shapes over the mainland or hear the distant noises the oddities are making. From this side we’re looking the other way, to France and potential freedom. Not that the international flotilla is going to let any of us out into the world in case we’re ‘contagious’.

This place used to be a hotel, ‘The Admiral’ apparently. Little more than a jumped-up B&B back in the day and now the only person not calling it a barracks is the old dear who nominally owns the place.

I’m off my meds and under observation. They stop me wanting to hurt or kill myself but they blunt my mind, my insight and that’s what they need when they send me ashore. They need me to be able to think and to imagine. Funny that I’m recording these thoughts, writing, when it’s the thing that’s both preserved me and condemned me to these sorties at the same time.

My therapist used to tell me to visualise my problems so that I could attack them. That doesn’t work out so well on the mainland as it turns out. If you visualise your mental issues as a big black dog you soon find yourself being stalked and hunted by a genuine barghest and since it’s part of you… well, let’s just say things didn’t go so well last trip.

I found out something though. You can bring back fragments of things from the other side of the water. Bits and pieces of dreamstuff that don’t contaminate, but which continue to work, somehow. Science doesn’t work to understand them, but my pet theory is that physical laws have broken down on the mainland. It works fine everywhere else, just not on England’s green and pleasant land.

That’s how I’ve come to have a jar of rocking-horse shit on my desk.

Going back over tomorrow. This time they’ll want something ‘useful’ but I still think a laugh is a useful thing to have.

Gives you hope.