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Most of you will probably think I’m talking metaphorically here, and The Scary Guy is some spiritual thing I’m going through, a fear I have that I decided to confront,  I don’t know, writers’ block, therapy…But no, I’m not talking metaphorically. The Scary Guy is a real guy. I met him here in Hay-on-Wye. We were introduced by Anne, co-owner of Addyman Books, in the second week of my stay in Hay-on-Wye (at Tomatitos, the renowned Tapas Bar) and after having a general chat, Anne lent me his book and he gave me his card. As soon as I got home I checked his website as I was intrigued by the conversation and the work he had been telling us about. I was impressed by his ability to touch so many people and to make his message reach such wide variety of public, from school children to army personnel. It’s not easy to summarise briefly what he does (and as you see he puts it much better than me during the interview) but if I had to try and give you some idea before you go and explore his website and all the materials available, I’d say he talks to people about how to deal with prejudice, making sure that they understand that the best way to deal with the negative energy thrown at them is not to add their own negative energy. You cannot fight bad energy with more bad energy. The prejudice never is and should never become the problem of the victim of the prejudice. Scary uses his very personal style, his appearance, his personal experiences and his special way of connecting with people to deliver his message of love that appears incongruous at first sight. Defying conventions and challenging expectations is what the Scary Guy is about, and he’s tremendously successful at it.

The Scary Guy

The Scary Guy

We exchanged e-mails and he kindly offered to lend me a copy of the film made about him. I watched the film and I told him I’d like to talk about him in my blog but I was happy to share or post any materials he already had. He offered to do an interview instead. The more I read of the book and the more I thought about the movie the more I knew this would be an interesting conversation, even though I found it difficult to formulate specific questions. With just a few jotted down I went to meet Scary (and Cathryn Woodhall his wife, business partner, collaborator and as much a part of the project as he is). Scary and Cathryn live in a lovely cottage across a beautiful church (St Mary’s Church of England, recently refurbished and looking as good as new).

I must admit to not having much of an order set in my head and any jumping from item to item is up to me not Scary.

I told Scary I was reading the book written about him 7 Days and 7 Nights. An Official Biography of “The Scary Guy” by Mark David Hatwood. He noted that he has not written any books as reading and writing has never been one of his better skills and he learns in other ways. He told me that Cathryn is working on several books about him and what he does, because she’s “smart”. When we talked about the concept of smart he told me the considered himself rather than smart “different”. He talked about meeting young people and how they did not like to be considered “normal” and they didn’t like to be labelled normal. “Normal” has become a concept that does not work for much of the youth these days. He went on to expand and say that everybody is unique and it is improper to try and define somebody with a single word, as there are many variables that contribute to defining who we are: our behaviour, what we learn, how we learn, how we perceive things. Our minds are different and our bodies are different. He observed that there might be people who smoked all their lives and die of old age never having developed cancer, whilst somebody  else might die  young with fewer (on non) exposure. It is not only environmental; it is also down to one’s genes. We talked about research onto the possible effect of Nicotine in brain receptors, and how it is possible to find research stating the negatives of smoking but there are also studies looking at developing medication to act on Nicotine receptors positively. (Scary told me he smokes cigars only, maybe one a day when he is not on tour and he finds it relaxing and enjoys the ritual of it. It reminds him of the ‘old ways’ of human life, where men in the 50’s would go to the barber shop and share stories). Not that I’m encouraging smoking, I’m a doctor after all, although the comments are correct.

We discussed the nature of some of the current health and food research and how there is plenty of emphasis on the negative impact of a variety of things (sugar, fat, etc.). He told me he feels his Mother’s advice was the best, as she always advocated using common sense, and not have too much of one thing all the time to the exclusion of everything else, that the best is balance and not excess (as of course there are well known risks like diabetes, heart disease…from unhealthy diets), as the body needs variety. He showed me a box with chocolates and he told me it had been like that (full) for several weeks, and he might have two or three but would not eat them to excess.

I asked Scary who he looked up to. He told me his mother. He described her as a “closet genius”. Scary told me he didn’t find out how smart she was until she died. He told me he always felt she was different and they had a somewhat disconnected relationship with her when he was an adult. She was intelligent and humble, very private and quiet. She was also ahead of her time, in the way she thought about food, behaviour, religion…

Scary told me that he only discovered after she died that his mother had been interested in Astrology and had become an expert, that nobody knew and they found that she had done astrological charts on a lot of people. He felt he only discovered how his mother really was after her death and maybe he never really knew her before. His mother would never say anything negative about anybody. He noted that, ironically, he was now living just across a church (Church of England) and recalled how his mother would never make any negative comments about any religion. Scary’s mother was born and bred a Baptist. His mother took him and his brother (they were 6 and 5 years old) to the Baptist Church three or four times and never again. “She quit.” When he asked her years later why she had stopped going and taking them she told him that she did not like what they were telling her to do with her kids. He didn’t ask for an explanation at the time but in reflection he thought she referred to the way they did not encourage them to do things or to take responsibility for their behaviour.

St Mary's Church in Hay-on-Wye, still undergoing renovations

St Mary’s Church in Hay-on-Wye, still undergoing renovations

To illustrate his mother’s character Scary told me that when they would go out he would “egg her on”, encourage her to make fun at people or make comments about them (if they were fat, or looked peculiar…) but she would always tell him: “Stop it. Stop being crass.” He never managed to influence her to behave in such a negative way. He never had a chance to ask how she had come to be like that. Scary told me that his challenge was to see if he could do the same, to stop being negative about people. His mother died March 16th 1993, 21 years ago.

I asked him what he found most difficult when trying to change his behaviour. He told me he found quite difficult to stop judging people. He said he finds that kind of behaviour in others too all the time. As an example he told me he had walked into Hay’s chemist, where he knows the people working there quite well and there were two female customers at the counter talking and when they saw him they laugh out loud. Sarah, from the shop, didn’t laugh and said, quite loudly: “That wasn’t me. And it wasn’t any of the others who work here either.” Scary commented to the two female customers who had laughed, how of the 7 billion people in the world at least 6 billion would laugh at him, and the 6 billion who laugh would also be the ones to end up hiring him to get over their stuff! Scary observed that his comment might be initially lost on them!

Scary said that he used to be always quick to judge and make decisions and at the time he would have thought of himself as “good at categorising and stereotyping.” He would put people in neat boxes so he believed he would know how to deal with them and on many occasions he’d be wrong. Now he does not do that and he observed such behaviour might cloud people’s perception and interaction (putting as an example what he might have thought I’d be like based on the information he had about me).

Scary is a man with many tattoos as you will have noticed in his pictures and the story of how his tattoos came to being is well detailed in the book and movie. I wanted to ask him if there was a particular plan or an overall design he had been working towards at the time of his tattoos (although it did not seem that way, at least at the beginning). He told me he enjoys tattoos and that is one of the reasons why in the past he had 3 tattoo parlours, because he didn’t have space left for more tattoos so to carry on enjoying them he decided to tattoo other people. He told me there was no specific design he had worked towards, and he would decide in the moment, depending on what felt good at the time. He told me that due to his problems with reading and writing he did not learn by reading books, and he would mostly learn by observation in an experiential form. He would do whatever felt appropriate in real time at the moment, based on his perception. He gave me as an example a tattoo in his wrist; a barcode. He told me that a long time ago, as long as 20 or 30 years ago, he went to the supermarket and as he was queuing to pay he noted the woman at the till passing a tin over the glass register panel and as she did the register would speak: tin of bins so many cents. He was fascinated and asked her how it did that and she explained that the reader read the code and it could retrieve lots of information. He was fascinated by that idea and designed his bar code tatoo based on a Campbell Soup Tin, but he added the lettering ‘Generic Brand’ in reverse that he could only read if he looked it up to a mirror.

Scary and his LOVE tattoo

Scary and his LOVE tattoo

Scary talked about how fascinated he had been at the time with the possibilities of such a system of codifying information and how he could see microchips being used for all kinds of things, including on humans. This topic got us talking about government controls, IDs, etc. He told me he accepted that the government, any government, would have to have access to certain data and observed that due to the kind of work he did he had had to send his data to the FBI to check that he had no criminal records. He acknowledged the importance of background checks. He said that he is not pro control for control’s sake but there is also the fact that some people are criminal and psychopaths and can cause plenty of harm to others and so having background checks can at least minimise such instances. We briefly discussed the latest controversy about Facebook and their experiments controlling people’s moods and interactions and he observed that it goes to prove, as he believes, that people are mostly reactive to the environment.

Scary and I were talking for quite a while so we decided we’d bring you the interview in several parts. But, if you want to find out more about him, you don’t need to wait until the next installment here. I leave you links so you can explore by yourselves.

Scary’s Website:

www.thescaryguy.com

Join Scary on his Facebook Fan Page

(https://www.facebook.com/thescaryguyfanpage)

Scary’s Biography: 7 Days & 7 Nights

(http://thescaryguy.com/product/7-days-and-7-nights/)

Thank you very much for reading, thank you to Scary and Cathryn for their kindness, and help, and if you’ve enjoyed it,  you know what to do: like, share, comment, and of course CLICK!

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Hi all:

As you know usually I have a best author featured on my blog on Fridays. Unfortunately things didn’t work according to plan and the writer who was supposed to post today couldn’t make it. I hope she’ll come for a visit soon.

Instead I’ve decided to share with  you the beginning of a story I wrote some time ago that I’m revising. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with it, but could do with the opinions. If there’s interest I can always post a bit more of it in the future, and even consider publication…If not, it will go back to the drawer (or computer file to be more precise).

Here it is:

Family, Lust and Surveillance

The parcel was planted on my desk, brown and seemingly innocent. It had my name on it, my job denomination (Sub-Editor) and the office’s address. I picked it up, weighted it, shook it…It was too large for a CD. My heart started beating very fast, and my hands trembled. What I’d been fearing, had happened. Herman had finally got hold of me.

I jumped when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. It’s just…which one of these do you prefer?”

Matt, one of the graphic designers, had been working on the cover of the anthology we were getting ready.

“I…Which one do you prefer?”

“I’ve made them both. I don’t know.”

He looked at me. He was a short, funny looking guy, all head and eyes.

“Is that a CD?”

I was still holding the parcel in my right hand.

“No, a DVD.”

“Anything nice?”

“I think it’s a family recording I’ve been waiting for. Do you know if any of the viewing cabins are free?”

“I don’t think there’s anybody there at all this morning. Which one…?”

“Oh…the designs…I like them both. Ask Alan. Or choose yourself. We can always use the other design when we publish another anthology.”

OK. I hope you enjoy the movie.”

“I’m sure I will…”

He left and I added to myself “not”. I walked fast to one of the viewing cabins, the one on the further and more retired corner. I didn’t want to get interrupted or seen. I had to be completely sure. Once there, I opened the parcel. There was no note of any kind. Only a DVD. Blank cover. I switched the TV on and the DVD player. I watched the disc being swallowed by the machine. And after a few blank seconds, Herman appeared on screen. He looked thinner and paler than last time I had seen him, if that was possible. His hair was long, greasy, and he’d acquired some grey hairs. He looked tired but smiled, toothpaste-ad style.

“Hi, Pat. It’s been a long time since we last saw each other, hasn’t it? Over three years now. Of course, you’re the one seeing me though, I can’t see you. Not yet, anyhow. Or do you think I can?…It wasn’t in very good taste what you did to me. Pack your things and go when we were having such good fun. And send me an e-mail. So impersonal! ‘Don’t try to contact me. Leave me alone or…’ I’ve been wondering ‘or what?’ all these years. That’s not fair. I’ve been bored stiff all this time. Watching our last recording. Do you remember it? Here is a selection.”

The screen went blank for a minute and the next images were of a couple, naked in a narrow bed, having sex. Herman, the male in the tape, seemed to be performing for the camera, trying to make the action as visible as possible. Only when approaching the climax did he seem to lose the control and forget about the performance. The woman was hardly visible until the end, when Herman just laid down next to her, caressing her abdomen and kissing her nipples. Herman seemed to suddenly remember the camera and grabbing her face made her sit.

‘Smile at the camera.’

I looked at the blank screen. My image looking at myself from the gulf of three years made me blush and feel humiliated. But it hadn’t finished yet. Herman walked in front of the camera and sat down.

“I hope you enjoyed it. I did. You didn’t give me much of a chance to ask you, actually. But, I’ve been thinking of better angles for the camera. It would be more interesting if you were on top next time. I’ll phone you this morning. Just to discuss the details. Bye. I’m happy I’ve found you finally.”

I went back to my desk and sat down. I put the DVD on the top drawer, the one I could lock. The white phone looked harmless and pure. I could not think or do anything. I contemplated the possibility of leaving the office and going home. Maybe I should have emigrated. But I felt drained of all energy. I just waited for the phone to ring. And it did.

“Hi Pat. It’s Cal here. Are you busy tonight?”

“Tonight?…I don’t know. I’m waiting for a phone-call. I can’t tell you yet. What were you thinking of?”

“Intimate dinner, movie, sex…The usual.”

“I’ll give you a call when I know what I’m doing.”

“Are you all right? You sound a bit…strange.”

“I just feel a bit tired. I’ll be all right, Cal.”

“OK. Don’t forget to phone. You know I have many admirers cueing…”

“I’ll phone you later.”

“Pat…It was only a joke.”

“I know, darling, I know. Sorry, I’m just not myself today. Speak to you later. Thanks for phoning.”

Cal…he was such a sweet guy. How could I explain Herman to him? How could anybody explain Herman to anybody else? If he would just disappear…

The phone rang again. I let it ring a few times, until Tina, the girl in the contiguous office came in. Always fashionable clothes, impeccable make-up, carefully arranged hair…Heart of model.

“Oh, I thought you weren’t in. I was going to answer it…By the way, somebody phoned earlier. Herman…somebody or other. He said he’s your stepbrother. I didn’t know you had any family.”

“We haven’t talked to each other for a long time. I’ll tell you the story some other day.”

I picked up the phone and watched Tina leave.

“Hello. Pat McKenzie here.”

“Hi Pat. Herman Stenson here.”

I didn’t say anything. There wasn’t anything to say.

“How are you? Surprised?”

“Nothing you do surprises me, Herman.”

“You probably thought you had got away with it by now.”

“I didn’t think, I hoped and prayed. What do you want?”

“OK, forget about niceties, hey? It’s only me, it’s all in the family, I understand. What do you think I want?”

I didn’t answer. I wanted to put the phone down on him, but I knew that wouldn’t make any difference. I’d grown up with the bastard.

“I want you to come and see me, Pat. I’m living here too. I moved once I found your address. I’ll tell you where I live.”

“I don’t want to know.”

“I have a very nice place here.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Oh, come on, Pat, be fair now. Have I gone to all this bother to find you for nothing? You must come and see me. I must show you my new surveillance system, cameras…I can record anything now.”

“I don’t want to…”

“All right, I’m not going to carry on playing Mr. Nice Guy. If that’s the way you want it that’s the way it’ll be. You will come to see me or I’ll send a copy of our DVD to your boss and to your lovely Carl Tom…whatever.”

“Cal Tomlinson. What makes you think I’m bothered about that?”

“The sub-editor of a serious intellectual magazine, on educational matters, star of a porn movie. I’m not sure it quite goes with the job.”

“It isn’t a porn movie.”

“I know what it is, and you do too, but do you think anybody else knows? Nobody would understand that. And I’m sure Carl wouldn’t either.”

“Cal.”

“I couldn’t care less what his name is. Unless he wants to star in the movie…although…no, let’s keep it as it was.”

“WHY DON’T YOU SIMPLY FIND SOMEBODY ELSE TO…” I suddenly dropped my voice because I realised that probably Tina and half of the office where hearing me by now. “…fuck?”

“It’s a little bit more than that, love. Come to see me and we’ll talk about it.”

I wrote down his address automatically and put the phone down.

*******************************************************************

Let me know what you think.

And I have two announcements. Next week, to make up, I have two guest authors. On Tuesday my blog will be part of Travis Luedke’s blog tour. We’ll here about his new novel in the series ‘The Nightlife’. If you like hot and sexy vampires…I wouldn’t miss it. And on Friday, Dan O’Brien will talk to us offering his advice on how to get your work in a magazine (in his role as an editor) and his writing. Good week coming.

And the second announcement. My Young Adult novella, ‘Twin Evils?‘ is going to be free, for one day only, on Friday the 1st March. I’ll remind you, but be prepared. It’s only one day. I leave you links to previous blogs where I offered samples of Twin Evils also…for inspiration.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Olga

Twin Evils cover11

http://viewbook.at/B00BDRA9DM

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/brand-new-new-young-adult-novella-twin-evils-taster/

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/twin-evils-if-finally-here-young-adult-novella-siblings-paranormal-love-description-and-taster/

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