Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to put my thoughts in order. My book ‘Nothing Important Happened Today’ is starting to sell. My second novel ‘England’s Mean And Unpleasant Land’ is at the publishers and my third ‘God Save Us From The USA’ is well on its way.
Then this idea for a book about my dad wormed its way into my consciousness and my happiness has severely diminished. There is a direct correlation between the increase in my bad mood and the time I spend writing about my recollections of his behaviour.
In a way, I’m lucky, he only tried to strangle me once. I can’t remember the number of times he was screaming in my face apoplectic with rage over some small thing.
He occasionally talks with pride about an incident where a friend of his came up to him and said ‘Those two kids of yours are the best behaved kids I have ever seen”.
There’s a reason. I can’t speak for my brother but I was so terrified of dad’s rage I daren’t put a foot wrong.
And it wasn’t just my screw-ups I was afraid of. His road rage seemed to erupt every time we were in the car. Someone would cut him off and he was out the car rolling up his shirt sleeves shouting ready to beat the crap out of everyone. He was, and remains, such an angry man.
When I met my friends’ fathers I was surprised by how tolerant they were. How easily they didn’t fly into a rage when something went skew-whiff.
Or were they just like my dad who was all sweetness and light when his friends were around but a complete arsehole when they weren’t?
Writing all this down is probably good therapy for me, but at the moment it’s a fucking nightmare. It explains a lot about my behaviour and probably more about my lack of feeling today for the man who terrified me.
One good thing that has come of this is, I now recognise the ‘bullies’. I see my father’s face in every one. And I make sure they don’t get away with doing it to other people.