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We were at Tim's recording studios near Malvern. We were making an album, collectively. The whole thing was funded by a Lottery grant. I don't know whose idea it had been in the first place, but it was brilliant.

Those kids, so many of them hostile and cynical at the start, or pretending to be, refusing to let down their guard, we saw them blossom. Visibly.

Their faces changed. Their body language changed. I hope it did lasting good in their lives. It changed mine completely.

And I was only there by chance. Things can work out like that sometimes.

These were the words that started the ball rolling, that eventually brought me to this point, looking down at this place of my childhood, plucking up the courage to knock on a door, to see if I can rebuild the bridges I broke back then.

To see whether, even when you think you've burned all your boats, you can, just maybe, start anew. Look at those metaphors. Burning boats, building bridges. Logistical military terms essentially, and so commonplace we don't even think of them as metaphors. Shows how often people have to do drastic things. To save their sanity. To stay alive.

Ramshackle rainswept place between tides where time hangs pebbles I would go back to you I would welcome just those things I left behind. Other bits of the song are coming back now. Damp salt amorphousness.

Stonechats on fencing posts. There is something lavish, anarchic on the pooled shore, near the rotting groynes where they tethered the donkeys. That was a lie. There were never any donkeys on our beach.

Tim picked me up over one phrase. The bit that went: by the railway line barbed wire unravels Have you ever seen barbed wire unravelling? he asked me.

I had to admit I hadn't. It was me that was unravelling.

Trauma is the repeated reliving of shock. It distorts you, your memories, your whole self. It destroys who you are.

* The short story collection The Great Master of Ecstasy by Glenda Beagan is published by Seren, price pounds 7.99, available from > CONTINUES TOMORROW
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 5, 2011
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