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Monday, 30 March 2020

It's all blinking cancelled.




The lead up.  Before.

Well, everything is cancelled.  My house and garden has become my world, and all plans for life and work outside my garden gate, deleted.  It is the same for all of us, we have all been put under a polite but firm house arrest for the foreseeable future and our calendars wiped clean.  Stay there! Says not only our government, but the whole world.  Stay there, and save lives.  Possibly even your own. 

At the beginning, there was the fuss and excitement of hunkering down and barricading ourselves in.  I will only talk about my own hunkering, because I have not seen anyone else's.  Before the iron fist of Covid 19 Pandemic Containment quite rightly crashed onto the tables of our lives (oh yes), I had been ill and self isolating with suspected symptoms of the virus.  Seven days ran into fourteen because my son is staying here, and I thought that may be the end of my sanity.  Fourteen days locked in my home with my son, pull the other one!  Can't go near anyone, anyone at all.  To begin with, I felt so poorly that it was no matter if I isolated or not, and staying in bed away from all pressures from the world - as I knew it then - was such a relief.  On about day five I thought, I could get used to this, I am feeling so rotten.  But day six saw me feeling better and having a small insight into what isolation meant.  No, I couldn't see my little grandchildren.  I couldn't pop out to see friends.  Actually, I couldn't go to the shop and, more, I couldn't even take the parcel from the post man.  By day seven, I knew I had another seven days to go, and I began to  resent it.  How simple it all seems now, how naive! 

Frolicking on the Downs
Oh how I frolicked on the South Downs once I was out of quarantine.  Then suddenly, everyone was painted in woad, shaking their spears at each other and ram raiding Sainsbury's.  We had been told that we were probably going into lockdown, and it sounded bad.  People climbed over the bodies of unsuccessful shoppers, snatching the last tray of pizzas from their dying hands, in order to fill their cars, vans and lorries with things that would see them through the Apocalypse which, if the government was right, was going to start about now.   All life was threatened, the very air tainted, each person an enemy and so, the things that were to get us through this new end of the world, if we had been lucky enough to prevent anyone else getting anything so that we could carry off eighty times more than we needed, were mainly loo roll, beer, pasta, rice, oats, eggs, frozen foods, tea and biscuits.  

At this point I was still frolicking on the Downs.  I missed it all, only realising I could have very restricted suppers when I did go into a supermarket, and then all supermarkets, to try and buy something for my household to eat.  They were all stripped bare.

Not how supermarkets actually are.  
No matter.  Leaving aside the anger and madness that grip people when they are truly frightened, we all survived here, and any of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook stories, knows that nobody lost even an ounce of weight, no one starved, and the worst that happened for me was that I did not get any chocolate one afternoon when I really needed some.  There was food already in my house, and I have a delivery of fruit and vegetables every week.  As the news of the social isolating, the social distancing, was updated, I could not quite grasp how I would be affected - and for how long.  In these early days ( all of a week and a half ago)  all my exhibition plans, my Macmillan sponsored hike, my clients, all my stuff  felt suddenly unsafe.  How could they all be cancelled?  And yet, they all were.  One by one, everything that I do and have planned to do, was stopped, cancelled, postponed and removed.  Within a week, my whole year had been dissolved.  No work, no physical contacts, no big opening for the Addicts And Those Who Love Them exhibition.  No One Woman Show in Southampton.  No A Graceful Death exhibition for the Dead Good Day festival.  No supporting my clients. No tea with friends, no picking up my fat little baby grandchildren and kissing their fluffy heads.  No training for a sponsored twenty six mile hike for Macmillan.  No hike.  I have been made redundant, put out to pasture, told to stop, go indoors, and stay there till further notice. Blimey.

When the lock down came, there were six people living in my home.  It meant that we were eased into the feelings of isolation more gradually.  Eileen had to be repatriated from Ghana with only twenty four hours notice, leaving everything there, and so she came to here for a week of isolation before returning to London.  She works for the government, and so has to be in London where she is now, until she goes back to Africa.  My son Costya was here briefly too, and has gone back to his place in London and so my home is down to four.  Me, Dimitri, and my lodgers in the Annex, Mark and Kate.  It is this set up now that will continue until further notice.  


And now - During

I define myself by what I do with and for people.  I am always talking about it.  I find ways to connect with the people who come my way, and I like to feel connected, I like to have a narrative so that I know who I am.  Painting and writing are solitary but beautifully balanced by seeing my clients, going to meetings, seeing friends and kissing the grand babies.  Chatting with my daughter over tea, being able to go anywhere I wanted with not a thought about it.  

My exhibition has been postponed, and the wind taken out of my sails.  I don't feel like painting any more.  I don't feel like achieving.   I was going to perform a one woman show in Southampton and show the A Graceful Death exhibition, at the Dead Good Festival run by my friends Deb and Chris.  Can't do that now, can't even see Deb and Chris on their fancy boat.  My client went into hospital and I couldn't help.  My father is lying in his bed in his nursing home, and I cannot go there to see him.  What must he think, in his sleepy, lovely old Alzheimer mind?  Where are we all?  

This is not a competition.  We all feel this way.  We are only at the beginning and we must find
Dims soon
resources to get through.  I am finding the reality of this lock down hard to comprehend and even that, the fact that I do not understand all the implications in one go, even that is not normal for me, and makes me feel I am not in control.  And I am not in control, not really, of this bigger picture.  Everything that has given me purpose is now removed.  All the things that I can say I do, and that I am, have evaporated.  Small things that are fairly insignificant, take on more meaning.  I will not get my hair cut.  My son won't get his hair cut.  Oh no!  We will look like cave people!  Unless I cut our hair and that could be worse.  And, I am sixty this year.  That birthday will drift by in the Summer, and I will dance here alone with Dims, who won't want to do that at all,
Me soon
and life will drift on.  Of course we may have less lock down then, but that disturbs this sad lonely narrative.  There feels nothing to work for, right now.  I am very weary, and some of that is still recovery from the virus, some of it is the getting used to no pressure, and some of it is the growing acceptance that there is no longer a need for me to rush about, no one to see, no plans to make, no idea of the future and no point in even thinking about it.  I am not ill, not depressed, not defeated, just slowly adjusting to a new way of living, and finding it hard, sad and exhausting to let all my plans and hopes for this year go - which was to have been brilliant, by the way.  Just saying.  


But - some insights -

I am still here.  That is a good start.  And I did get some chocolate.
  1. I have time.  I have time!  I do not have to be in a hurry, and it does not matter.  If I am not in a hurry, I do not die, and nothing collapses into a heap.  Once I let go of the feeling that all my time is accountable, I can enjoy sitting and watching the birds.  I can enjoy saying to myself, do I really need to wash the lemon tree today?  If I don't do it today, can I do it another day? And if I don't do it, does it matter? This is an experience of time that I have forgotten about.  I am becoming less willing to make my time into work.  I am enjoying sitting in the garden in the morning and feeling the cold air on my face while I have my tea. 
  2. My clients, my friends and all the people who were to see the exhibitions, do not need me.  Oh no!  But they do not need me.  They are all managing fine without me, and I am realising that though I understand that I am not indispensable, a teeny part of me hoped that perhaps I am.  Just a bit.  It would make me feel so good.  However, not being indispensable means I am freer than I thought, and if everyone is fine without me, I have less responsibility, less to think about and more time.
  3. There is something deeper in all of this.  I am not in control.  I could never have seen this coming.  Everything is changed and my certainties gone.  I do not know where this is going, or how it will end.  I may die.  I may not.  But I have had to relinquish everything, and come back to myself, with whom I will be spending a lot of time.  If I do not have the comfort of taking my identity from what I do, who I say I am, how I project myself, then who am I?  What or who is left?  And yet I am still here, not hungry, not forgotten, still able to write and paint should I want to, still a grandmother, still healthy and still comfortable.  None of my friends have used the lock down to tell me they never liked me anyway.  With this free time, this looking beyond the identity the outside world gives me, this feeling vulnerable and free floating, without the proof that I am, perhaps, an artist only because I put on an exhibition and everyone agrees that I am, perhaps there is a space for something a little more profound.  There is time not to think, but to feel, to respond to small things - plants growing, the sun through the window, the comfort of a chair with a cushion that had become so familiar it was invisible - there is time to be thankful.  Perhaps it is fine that we do not understand what is happening, that we are not in control, that we feel we have lost so much.  Perhaps, that is just the way things are right now, and if we can't do anything about it, if we have done all we can and cannot do any more, perhaps it is time to let go, focus on the right now, and ask ourselves what lovely thing can we do for ourselves in the next five minutes, and just do that.  
  4. Reading and YouTube this is a quick one.  I seem to have forgotten how to read.  I watch YouTube instead.  I am trying to sit down and focus on a book.  It feels like a waste of time - what does that say about my concept of time? I could spend more time than is possible watching FBI Files on YouTube and think nothing of it.  Time to get a grip.
Sometimes, once or twice, I have had the stirrings of a feeling that I do not know if I am allowed in this pandemic and lock down.  It is joy, and if I let it stay, it makes me smile and feel love.  In the beginning, I thought I should not have it.  But quickly, I thought, joy had never hurt anyone.  Joy is a gift and comes like light, when we need it. Of course it must stay.  Joy is a gift of the spirit and is quite simple.  Not having joy is bleak, and that does no good to anyone.  I hope you find yours and you welcome it too, though it may be only fleeting. Even fleeting is good. 

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Once I was very, very upset, and walked into a chapel somewhere in the countryside.  I stood by the altar rail, crying, when I felt a hand on my arm.  A very old man was standing next to me, watching me with gentle eyes.  "You know," he said, "all things are taken care of." He gave me a small booklet and walked away.  The booklet was Thirteen Visionary Poems. Here is one of the poems. He was an angel.

Breathe the air of silence,
fill my lungs with quiet,
open up to the pain:
the ache and soreness
of silence

In such quiet, 
the spirit speaks:
my heart is quiet, 
the clutter of constant distraction
is gone.

Sitting in silence,
there is no escape:
I sit before
I know not what,
and wonder. 






Monday, 16 March 2020

Advised, kicking and screaming, to stay at home and self isolate for a week.


Bognor High Street
I have been advised to stay at home and self isolate. 

The Realisation

WTF was my first reaction.  It felt like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.  I was not actually dying so it felt drastic.  I was however, feeling quite poorly and part of me thought Oh good, I can go to bed and that will be very nice.  It had taken a few days to decide to ask for advice, because I had not got the symptoms that I thought I should have.  These are -

  • A fever
  • A cough
  • Difficulty breathing. 

I had the following

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

And so, I thought, nothing to do with me, mate.  Feeling ill in the past had never been a reason to stop doing anything.  There was always so much to do, and I could find pockets of time to rest.  I was hardly ever actually ill, just a bit unwell from time to time.   And as ever, I had a busy week ahead so crack on, I thought, crack on.

I have a client who is medically vulnerable.  This morning, Monday, I was to take this dear client to hospital for major surgery and to provide support and kindness.  I am very fond of this person and felt I was the only one who could provide this service, and yet, and yet, this person is frightened of the Corona virus and knows they are likely to die from it.  They have only one functioning lung, amongst other things.  

It isn't all about me after all
If I turn up early on Monday morning full of good intent, and pass on something that could be fatal as part of the package, how does that work?  In fact, not just this Corona virus but any virus will harm my client.  But as there is so much official information out there, and as this is a new evolving virus, there is no excuse for winging it and hoping it will all go away.  If I am infected, I hold a great deal of responsibility for other people.  It was because of this that I began to research more possible symptoms of the virus.  My symptoms now included a tight chest, a slight dry cough and aches and pains in my limbs. Here is what I read from the World Health Organisation website -

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.


I read on the NHS website that if we suspect the virus, we must stay at home for seven days and self isolate. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/)  Calling 111 is only if we are struggling, and 999 if we are really struggling.  I also read that most of  us,  80% of us, will recover without treatment and one in six will need real hospital help.  Many of us will not even know we have it.  And I read that non pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) applies to the treatment of Corona virus.  

The Dilemma of the individual

It boils down to this.  
  • I feel fine.  I have always carried on regardless, I am not ill enough to stop
  • Self isolation is inconvenient.  It is really going to mess up my week.
  • Who will believe me if I stay at home for a week?  Everyone will think I am a hypochondriac.
  • How real is this? Am I imagining it?
  • This virus will not harm me, I am healthy
  • My neighbour is elderly and it will harm her
  • My client is vulnerable and already frightened about surviving this virus.  It will harm them. 
  • I cannot tell who is vulnerable or not in the streets of Bognor.  If I am carrying the Corona virus, I cannot tell who will be in danger.  I cannot take the risk.
So it is not about me at all.  

It is not about my inconvenience, nor my health, nor my reputation suffering by cancelling things and not about me looking like a moaning minnie. 

It took me a few days to begin to cancel my plans for the next week.  I could not let go of how much was at stake for me, if I cancelled my Loss Conversations, my meetings and most of all, taking my client to hospital as I had promised. Much of the problem was embarrassment at looking like I was pretending to be ill.  I don't look ill, I was out and about a few days before my announcement, I could still walk then and no one could say that goodness, Antonia really needs to go and lie down and let go of that saintly suffering.  No one could go home and say, Antonia is hanging on by a thread, she needs a week of isolation.  

And so, after looking at the official websites and advice, and after speaking to medical friends and family, I made the announcement that I was self isolating, that I thought I had the Corona virus and that sorry, all next week is cancelled.  Phoning and messaging people I had been in contact with was not pleasant, but had to be done.  I had even hugged someone the day before my announcement, which in hindsight was a very silly thing to do.  We have been asked not to.  Am I above the official advice?  No.  I was not taking it seriously.  Now I needed to call this person and tell her.  The fact that most of us will get through this virus is not the point here, the real point is that I was not acting responsibly for the whole community.  She was really nice about it, though understandably worried. 

And now -

I am thinking about all that has happened.  I have had many messages asking if I had had a test, how did I know it was the virus, and what are the symptoms.  The underlying theme seems to be, what shall we do if we get it, and how will we know?  
Get a grip and self isolate.

The bigger picture seems to be one of fear of apocalypse.  The lack of control we have over this threat has made us take it very personally indeed and watch each other for signs that the other is being wilfully dangerous.  It has made many of us sink into tribal lizard brain survival mode where we see to our own needs over the bodies of everyone else.  You know what I mean.  It has made some of us suspicious and frightened, resentful and self righteous.  Some see conspiracy theories and make a point of ignoring all the advice and guidelines.  Some see everyone else as a potential threat and are angry and aggressive.  Most though, take the Corona virus seriously and follow official advice, but many are unsure of the details of it.  

Here is what I am thinking now as I sit in a blanket at home in isolation, on the laptop.  I do not feel well, but I do not feel my end is nigh. 

The virus needs to be taken seriously.  Take it seriously.  But do not panic.  The facts are that most of us will get through this with very little consequence.  We may feel ill, we may not. Some do not have any symptoms,  some just carry it.  People like me, who have not been tested, and who show all the relevant symptoms, will just have a bit of something or other and get over it.  And while we are not self isolating, we will continue to wash our hands and remember to sneeze in our elbows. 

The difficult bit is the isolation.  I am not used to sitting at home and giving in to an illness that does not incapacitate me.  I can easily get out there and go shopping, have a meeting, be a part of the community.  But this virus is different.  It is not about me, it is about all those people who cannot fight it like most of us can.  I am not isolated for my own good, but for the good of my client, who was taken to hospital by my colleague and friend.  Not me.  And for the benefit of my elderly neighbours, and for all the other people who have to care for others and cannot take time off like I can.  My isolation gives me time to think, to rest, to ponder and to answer questions about what is happening to me in this global pandemic. 

There are millions of me, sitting at home not too well and self isolating.  Millions of me will recover and life will continue.  There are some, not me, possibly not you, who will suffer badly from pneumonia and breathing problems.  The hospitals are preparing as best they can for that.  Some of us will die from this, like my client who will likely die if they get it.  Like my father, who will die if he gets it.  Like my other clients who are in lock down for their lives. 

Finally 

Here is what I did -  
  1. Eventually I paid attention to my symptoms.
  2. I weighed up what I wanted with what would be good for my clients.
  3. I read and researched the official websites and the links they provided.  My symptoms were likely to be Corona, and I was not nearly unwell enough to call 111 or 999.  
  4. I followed the NHS question and answer links and was told to self isolate.  I spoke to family and friends who are medics.  Their advice was always the same.  Get a grip and self isolate. 
  5. After feeling very put upon and extremely annoyed, I understood the bigger picture and realised that it was not about me at all
  6. I self isolated, cancelled everything, arranged for my clients to have other people to help.
  7. Now I feel poorly, virtuous and a bit silly.
  8. But my eyes are opened to how much responsibility we have for each other.  Just by self isolating, I am doing something for my local and global community.  
When I come out of this, I hope I am immune (I don't know yet).  Then I can get back out there, not spreading, not ill, full of the joys of Spring. Then I will be useful for the people who have to be careful, and I can go where other angels fear to tread.  (Sort of.)

 
Not how it actually is. 

Monday, 2 March 2020

Addiction isn't a fucking disease, it's an illness. (Ian.)

Ian - from the Addicts And Those Who Love Them exhibition
Ian

Ian told me this, when I was asking what words to use on his portrait for the Addicts And Those Who Love Them exhibition.  He should know.  He was drinking and taking anything by the age of fifteen.  He said, I did my geographicals then.  He left Scotland to escape the madness but was sent back as fifteen was too young.  He waited until he was sixteen, and then left Scotland again.  He called it his geographicals; he did not settle anywhere, and went from place to place.  I packed all my troubles with me in my suitcase, he said, and took them everywhere I went.  Borstal couldn't hold him, no one could touch him, and for a while, boxing helped with his anger.  Nothing worked, no examples while growing up, and no connections with anyone.

Now, over thirty years later Ian mentors other drinkers and users who want to stay sober and clean, from his peer led relapse prevention CIC called Arun Exact, in Littlehampton.  He gives back day after day after day.  He has a degree, and has come out of the addictions he lived with for those thirty years.  Learning to give is the most important part of recovery, said Ian.  There are three stages -
  1. Victim - blaming the past, blaming others 
  2. Survival - in the lifeboat.  Looking to see who is in the other lifeboats 
  3. Warrior - I got back, I got out, how to help others, and look at who is in your survival boat with you.  
My story

I am not addicted to substances, to alcohol, to anything.  There is a reason for this exhibition that I am creating.  It is all in the title, Addicts And Those Who Love Them.  The idea is that behind most addicts is at least one person who is traumatised by loving them. My son has suffered addictions and over the years we have reached such depths of despair and darkness that I do not know how we survived.  And then we have overcome so much, and been in places of relative peace and hope, with gratitude and connection.  We go up and down, up and down, up and down following the path between these two extremes, sometimes thinking that this is it, we are safe.  Other times I feel foolish for believing that this thing can ever be overcome. I think, I should know better, after every high there is a low, and nothing is permanent.  I cannot be complacent.

But what of the addict?  I have seen the smallest, tiniest bit of addiction and I have seen how mad it all is.  What of these addicts, these awful people that steal, lie, cheat and sell their souls and yours for a hit?  These dirty, violent, dis-inhibited, leeches on our society? We need protection from them, we need them taken away, we need them to understand how disgraceful and anti social they are, and most of all, we are not going to help them because it is all their own fault.  

I followed my son as he staggered in the streets between hits.  I saw how people looked at him, and how they avoided him.  I watched him try to get help from doctors and clinics and chemists, from hospitals and from other addicts and I saw how just the sight of him made people shut down, make excuses, send him away and tell him that unless he behaved they would not deal with him.  They tried to make deals with him - if you are free of your substance, we will make you an appointment.  They tried to punish him - if you don't make your appointment, we will keep your medication from you.  I understand how addicts must look to them, the people who are not addicted, but I began to question whether the absurd protocols followed by those around addiction had been created by people who had no idea of and no interest in how it actually felt.  It did not matter if it worked or not, they just wanted the addicts to go away. They did not give a damn. 

following my son on the streets from the
Addicts And Those Who Love Them exhibition

 I watched, helpless, observing, because I did not know what to do or what were the rules.  It felt as if all of it was wrong. The addicts, the people who were there to help them, the rules, the expectations, the madness and the horrible pain of addiction itself.  The thing is, I knew this person who was demanding help, medication, attention.  I knew who this person was, and I had held him as a baby, looked after him as a little boy, and had even named him.  This was not a stranger, some addict that needed a lesson in what was acceptable behaviour, and what was not.  I knew this was not the way to treat him, that they were all missing the point, that he was out of control and normal interactions could not, would not work.  He was chemically dependant, and that was that.  It angered me to see the disgust on the faces of those around my son when he was at his worst though I understood why.  They did not see a person, he was not worth any respect and was someone to avoid.  I understood that, I saw how he appeared to them but I also knew that he was suffering, and suffering so badly that he would do anything to stop it.  How could anyone know how much he was suffering?  It was that appalling, brain curdling, soul destroying mind body spirit agony of needing a fix of the thing that was killing him and in that state, you cannot reason with him, give him choices, options, appointments, you cannot punish him. You have to understand that this is way beyond our control.  We can walk away in disgust, but the struggle to stay alive with an addiction, is worse than anything we can know.

In the painting Mother, the Mother says of her son "He's handsome, funny, clever, a bit off."  Later,
Mother from the Addicts And Those Who Love Them exhibition
she says, "I wish it would be over.  It's torture for everyone.  Best to say goodbye for ever." That is born of  real despair.  Another mother said of her son that she needed to save him, to follow him everywhere, he was helpless and vulnerable.  He had been addicted for years and it had taken a catastrophic toll on him.  He was in prison again and she was a wreck, nothing could touch her panic and fear for him - and nothing she did or said made any difference to him or anyone else over all the years of his drug use.  She will die along with him, one day, of a broken mind, body and soul and he will die of the same, with added drugs.  This happens.  We who love addicts can lose our minds if we are not careful.

What is to be done

I do not know.  

I am creating this exhibition to express something of this difficulty.  I am painting portraits of both addicts and those who love addicts and writing something of their situation onto the paintings.  Each is painted as a divine being, with a halo, or angel wings, or light around them.  I am looking for the holy in each of them.  I am conflicted, I love an addict, and I cannot cope with him either.  I long for healing, recovery but I am irrelevant in my addict's life.  Of course I am.  We are all irrelevant in an addict's life, that is the way it is.  But this exhibition is about not giving up, about asking us to look, and asking us to see beyond the madness. 

Our political and societal lack of will to deal with addiction will not make it go away.  People do recover.  But people do not recover too, they die and die badly.  Many addicts have mental health issues and self medicate.  How is this to be dealt with?  I do not know.  But it will not go away just because we are disgusted by them.  

Help is out there.  For those with money, there is expensive private rehab.  The road to recovery is long and hard with many relapses and false starts.  Only those with plenty of money can afford to keep going back into private rehab which can be around £20,000 for a single three month programme. There are charities and organisations that help. Alcoholics Anonymous with the twelve step programme is the best known.  Created in the late 1930s to help with alcohol dependency, it works with all types of addiction.  The first of the twelve steps tells us that we are powerless over our addictions and over our addicts.  Those involved with addicts worry that they have caused this addiction somehow, and to hear that they are powerless over it, is a relief.  We did not cause the addiction, but if we are not careful we become stuck in a toxic, abusive co dependent relationship - an excessive emotional, physical and psychological reliance on a dysfunctional relationship.  But we are also encouraged to detach with love, which is the opposite to co dependency.  We stop entering into the crazy with our addict. To detach with love is to remember that we are not the addiction, we are not responsible, we do not have to collude with the addict and we can still love.  

Finally 

This is what I do now.  If I am asked in the street for money, I give it.  I do not care what it is used for, I have seen how bad not taking a drink or a drug is when withdrawing.  Keeping someone alive for just a bit longer is OK by me, even if it is the pattern of many years.  There is always hope.  And if there is no hope, then whatever happens to me, will not be as bad as that person's life right now.  So I give.

I ask the person's name and look at them.  No one looked at my son, so I look at everyone who asks for money.  On a London underground train, a dishevelled and dirty young man got on, and as they do when the train started, announced to the carriage that he needed money for a hostel.  He was young, his filthy long hair was blond, and he was shaking.  I called him over and asked his name.  Steven, he said.  I gave him money, and blessed him, and he left.  He did not need a hostel, he needed drugs.  Steven was the first person I gave money to in this way, and it did not matter whether he saw me with his sad crazy eyes or not, it did not matter if he noticed the blessing or not, it did not matter if he was grateful or not, it mattered that someone saw him, and treated him as a person.  It is because of Steven that I always respond to requests for money.  Steven could have been my son in those bad days when people looked the other way. 

Addicts and Those Who Love Them

Lou - from the Addicts And Those Who Love Them exhibition
The exhibition opens in Brighton on Saturday 2 May at the Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton as part of the Brighton Fringe. Open from 11 am to 4pm.  

It is showing on the Sunday 3 May and the following weekend Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May, 11am to 4pm.  Entrance free. You are all most welcome.

The work will continue and I will show with new paintings and words as much as I can over the year.  This is ongoing. 

In order to produce this exhibition, I am asking for donations.  All my work is free, and I do not charge for any part of the exhibition.  Please consider helping with the costs, every bit helps.  Donate as much as you can, every fiver, every donation, goes towards making this exhibition, creating the work, meeting and working with addicts and those who love them.  Many thanks indeed, I am grateful.  Please go to my Go Fund Me page here -
https://www.gofundme.com/f/addicts-and-those-who-love-them



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