Jack A Rabbit

Jack A Rabbit

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. My name Jack Rabbit – well obviously its not, this name is a mask I wear, it allows me to be honest in a way I’m too nervous to be with my real name. I’m a man in my 30’s from the post-industrial city of Coventry in the United(ish) Kingdom. If you’re not from Coventry or have not been there, then on the surface it’s much like any other British city. It’s a grey concrete skyline with all the familiar brands on the hight street and empty shop’s as well. You might not know the street names or the geography but never the less it has that old home town feel to it. And yet – having lived here all my life it feels like a strange place to me. I can’t speak for anyone else who lives here but for me the city feels like it has a split personality, or maybe it’s a city that just doesn’t know what kind of place it is. We live in the ruins of industry, the coal was dug here and the cars rumbled of the construction line. Now there’s no coal, and not many cars built here. It’s a city lousy with history, there are roman ruins and medieval houses but most of the history has been torn down and pathed over to make way for concrete and coffee shops. This is a city decimated in the war by the Nazi Blitzkrieg, so much so that the word Coventrate means to utterly destroy. And yet, the city rose from the Ashes of war with just a few scars remaining. It’s a city were middle class and the working class often sit uneasily on top of each other. A city where I once sat in a posh bar and listened to the table of 8 next to me have a 20 minuet conversation about how it’s so hard to find good shitake mushrooms. It’s also the city where I, a man of Irish, British, and Nordic decent, once got threatened with a kicking for being Asian. (I had a pony tail back then and I think it must have confused the chap). ​ This strange city has been the backdrop of much of my life. I was born here in the 80’s on the outskirts of the city to a mum who was a cleaner and a dad so working class he claimed to have invented the pie sandwich. I was a little shy kid, profoundly dyslexic in a time when a lot of people (teachers included) didn’t believe that dyslexia was a real thing. Of course, in the beginning we didn’t know that I was dyslexic, all we knew was that I couldn’t write or read and that the teachers at my primary school were stopping short of saying that I couldn’t do it because I was stupid. Luckily for me, my old deer wouldn’t take that as an answer. She told me I was always bright and chatty and I had a good memory. in fact she told me that she didn't know I couldn't read because I used to memorise the books that were read to me at school and then quote them from memory. Knowing that, she started to look for what was behind my learning difficulties. She fought all the way through my time at primary school to get me an official SEN statement and recognised as dyslexic. She even managed to take me over to Rugby on Saturdays for extra reading lessons form a school that specialised in dealing with Dyslexia. I don’t know how she managed this as despite the fact that my little old dad was working her fingers to the bone and my mum had her cleaning job they found it difficult to make the ends meet back then. I don’t know how she managed but I will always be grateful. ​ Coventry Skyline - small_0.jpg My SEN statement didn’t come through till my last year at primary school and by then I was just waiting to get to secondary school to make a fresh start. Things there were a little better but not much, I was in an underfunded school where all the attention was swallowed by the disruptive kids, and I – as I tend to do from time to time – disappeared into the background. I always worked hard and got A grades for effort but my grades for attainment were a lot lower. ​ The thing that stays with me from school is telling my carriers teacher (who was also my English teacher) that I wanted to go to university, study English and be a writer. His response was to laugh at me and tell me I was being “unrealistic”, and that I should probably go and study catering or something like that. I’m sad to admit that, having such little faith in myself during that time of my life, I went and did what I was told. From the age 16 to 20 I studied catering and restaurant management. It was a time in my life when I felt lost and empty. I saw this road stretching out in front of me and I didn’t like it, not one bit. When I was 21 I had a midlife crisis about 30 years ahead of schedule. I quit my course and spent a good long while trying to find my way. A few things I learned during this time are I can’t play guitar, or drums, but I’m fairly good photographer. Just before my 22nd birthday I plucked up the courage and joined a creative writing group. I want tell you about how scared I was … I stepped into this room full of legitimate adults and felt like a joker, a time waster, like I didn’t belong. Luckily it was a nice group of people who made me feel welcome. And over 13 years in their company I honed my skills and learnt my trade. I still had a problem. I was writing now, often short stories, but I’d get into the habit of coming up with an idea for a novel, starting to write it and then giving up half way when I lost confidence in myself. I still didn’t really believe in myself, not deep down. Deep down I was holding on to all the negative comments from the teachers. Moreover, there were girlfriends who actively talked me out of trying to follow my dreams. one or two told me I was wasting my time and that I needed to think about a carrier. And, also I remember telling friends about my big ideas and watching the bored look wash over their faces. There had been to many drunken nights out where I’d ramble on about my genius idea, but nothing ever came of it and I think I lost credibility in their eyes. ​ Two things happened that changed this dynamic. The first was that I had a affair with a lover who was genuinely interested in my ambitions. We had a lot in common, we liked a lot of the same music, films, tv shows and books. To a degree of course this is all pretty standard but what wasn’t standard for me was the way she used to say ‘yes, yes you can’. I remember for my birthday she bought me a journal and in the front she wrote me a message. It read ‘Write us a story.’ In my opinion the relationship ended before it’s time, but it didn’t end with us hating each other. Sometimes it just isn’t enough, sometimes you both have too much baggage and life gets in the way. We parted ways the_broad_gleaning_web.jpg but what stayed with me was the felling that I could if I tried, if I didn’t give up on myself I’d get there. I sulked for a while, and then I did what she asked me to, I did what she wrote in the page of the journal she bought me. I wrote us a story, I called it the Broad Gleaming and the first draft took me 47 days start to finish. ​ The second thing happened half way through writing the first draft of The Broad Gleaming. During that time a member of my family was diagnosed with Cancer. We're a pretty stoic bunch and not many people outside of our circle know about it. This member of my family made the choice to to tell everyone because she didn't want people feeling sorry for them or the false concern and niceness that comes from people who wouldn't be in touch under normal circumstances. It happened just before Christmas and it was a terrible time. Over the holidays we were in this nowhere place where we didn’t know the outlook and there was no treatment plan, all we had was that word Cancer. Not knowing how bad it was I was struck with the fear of losing someone important, which again I think is probably normal. I feared I’d lose that person before I could finish the book and moreover make something of myself. Over the years my family have invested so much time in me, they has never given up on me and I wanted to repay them for that. I wanted to prove them right. ​ My family member is doing well, fighting the cancer and outlook is good. This person doesn’t like people to make a fuss of them and we just get on with it. Every so often they have a bad day but more or less the only time we think about the illness is during the check up’s (which only happen ever 2 months, because they are doing that well now). During 2018 I wrote my novella ‘The Broad Gleaming’ and followed it up with a full novel ‘The Girlfriend experience’. So far this year (2019) I’ve completed a second draft of ‘The Broad Gleaming’ extending it and making it a full length novel, and I’ve started work on my 3rd ‘The Karaoke Glow’. 56196570_433790427165575_772820983854242 I think normally when authors write an “About me section” its far more concise and comes to something of a conclusion. This doesn’t, this is long and rambling and it’s only half the story. So far I’ve had glowing compliments from those who have read The Broad Gleaming, but it has not been published yet and that will be the slog, getting published it harder than anything else and largely I think it comes down to a stroke of luck. What I take away from this rambling story of me is that I’m not afraid anymore. I write chiefly for my own enjoyment and I’m having a lot of fun. It thrills me to watch the twists and turns of my stories unfold in front of me. Now days it’s not lovers telling me no, friends looking board, teachers telling me to be realistic… now days agents are politely passing on my work. And that’s ok, I don’t mind … every writer worth his salt has had rejections. I think the rule of thumb is if you're offered a publishing deal on a silver platter it's some sort of gimmick or reality star tell all autobiography noises. I don't mind rejection, I've already come so far, I know I’ll get there in the end. With love and faith Jack Rabbit
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