Wednesday, 15 September 2010

September’s guest- Gareth Rees

Conversational; rolling like a river, beautiful english writing.

'What would I say to the press if I reached a hundred years? I’d say I was good at climbing the rope-ladder up the side of the ship of earthly hope and also good at stamping on the fingers of the person coming up behind me!'

Gareth Rees' has appeared in The Guardian, Contemporary Review, Yoga Monthly and a book of hitch-hiking tales, along with publishing numerous shorts. He was once given a sizeable advance by Virgin for a book he helped write - the true account of a Japanese POW camp; but the book was never published due to political sensitivity between Virgin and a Japanese business associate. A one time employee of MI6, the relationship ended whilst on a visit to Israel after Gareth failed to report accurate information on military movements and instead apprised them of flowers in the desert, with Gareth’s employment soon terminated. He went on to teach english at a Libyan oil field but left after a year. Back in the UK Gareth continues to write. Bare Bones are pleased to introduce his recent work taken from blogspot- Read 'Rees'.

A Case of Delinquent Perfectionism

A soldier came back from an ambush, a situation where he killed or was killed. This soldier had come back so it was he who’d done the killing, quite a lot of killing actually. In the course of de-briefing, a psychologist asked, ‘Would you say you suffer at all from delinquent perfectionism?’ The soldier didn’t record his response. Maybe the question stunned him more than his recent experience on the battlefield.
I once passed wilderness time in a shop where the equivalent of an oasis was reached when I sold a Welsh dresser. The owner of the shop, a misanthrope who lived in a dream-world of the rural arts and crafts movement, art deco and art nouveau, and who despised what he called the plastic society of the present day, used to patrol the streets at night checking the contents of skips. An old cupboard was a good find so long as it was pine-wood beneath the peeling paint.
The piece was surreptitiously lifted and spirited back to base in a pick-up where Dr. Crippen would dunk it, along with the tax inspector, in an acid bath to get rid of the paint. The next stage was to do the reasonably easy carpentry job of making the shelves to affix on top of the cupboard. Finally, came the tender administration of bees wax and, and then an ‘antique’ Welsh dresser was ready for a good price for those with good taste and money.
One day, a potential customer entered the chilly shop premises and spent a long time examining one of these Welsh dressers. My blood defied the cold of the ill-heated shop by going hot with the thought of the juicy ten per cent commission. But the woman didn’t buy. She’d found a flaw. Well, of course there was a flaw, I thought. The base of the dresser was old.
The woman went away but she kept returning to the shop when again she would carefully examine the Welsh dressers on show. And yet again, she would find a flaw and would go away looking frustrated and sad as indeed was I, having not made the sale.
At first, I thought the woman was a person of great discernment, a perfectionist. But in the end, I began to see, not a perfectionist, but the very the opposite. Consciously, she was seeking perfection but subconsciously, and actually, she was seeking fault. She could not, would not, accept the invitation to sit at the table of life. She preferred to dither, to procrastinate and the perverse logic of her depression led her to think her lot was like a cosy bed from which she was loath to rise. Maybe the poor woman was a delinquent perfectionist. Or maybe she was simply disappointed by a shoddy finish, the hallmark of a depressed and sulking worker.

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