HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

I have already written about how great I think my book is under the ever-so comical title blowing my own trumpet.

I have even told you how all royalties will be going to Partners in Health, a fantastic charity bringing hope to the poorest places on Earth.

So when someone else writes praise for ‘the waiting room‘, I feel it my role to help promote that person’s opinions. All for a better cause.

The words were written after I submitted ‘the waiting room’ to the Self Published Book Awards, ran by Chapter One Promotions, where Wendy Kearns, the competition Judge, wrote:

the waiting room by Ricky Barrington.  A very cleverly written book and the storyline about ‘the waiting room’ is a truly brilliant idea for a book.  You are transported to and fro with the author who has the skill to really take you inside the story so you feel you know the characters and you can feel what they are feeling.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the emotional journey it took me on but sadly it was let down by it’s lack of editing.  

I am still looking for an agent to take up this book, plus the two manuscripts which sit unfinished on my laptop. Any offers?

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ALL ROYALTIES TO PARTNERS IN HEALTH

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Still looking for a Christmas gift? By buying R.S. Barrington’s The Waiting Room, you can give twice this Christmas! Here is why:

When I read anything written about or by, Dr Paul Farmer, I feel deeply moved and heavy of heart. Here is a man who has given his life to people who, without him, would have had no life. As often as I can, I spread the news of the fantastic work that Partners In Health (PIH) has achieved, and what they continue to do, in some of the poorest and remote places on Earth. 

I implore you to read up on what they have done and what they continue to do!! www.PIH.org

I am often asked how I came to know about PIH. When I answer that my favourite band has connections with Haiti, the country that PIH was conceived in, the conversation turns to Arcade Fire.

On their 2007 tour they donated $1.00, €1.00 or £1.00 of every ticket directly to the charity. Arcade Fire front duo, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, found out about PIH after reading Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, and later went on to compliment the Haitian proverb by using it as lyrics in Sprawl II, from their third album The Suburbs.

As a fan of both Arcade Fire and the work carried out by PIH, I continue in the same vein with all royalties from the sale of my book The Waiting Room going to the charity to help in their continued good work.

So this Christmas, Give Twice.

FREE FIRST CHAPTER OF ‘THE WAITING ROOM’

One year on from finishing The Waiting Room I am celebrating the anniversary by uploading the first chapter for free. I finished this book in the summer of last year but have been slack with promoting it as I have been busy with my second book, which isn’t any more finished than it was last summer, I have no excuses.

I hope you enjoy what you read here.

THE WAITING ROOM by r.s.barrington

It’s dark in the room. The curtains are thick to block out the council placed street light which    makes the night time day. I have asked for it to be moved countless times. Petitioned and written numerous letters. Apparently it is not an urgent matter and will be dealt with when there are sufficient funds. I have even broken the bulb which lights up my dreams. When we first moved into the house I threw stones at it from the bedroom window. The council were pretty savvy at fixing it the very next day. How urgent it must have been. Where do my taxes go I had asked? I had been sent a detailed letter from a certain Mrs. Downsvall accounting for my every penny that I pay into the council’s purse. My own purse paying out for thick curtains that tell me it’s night time.

The only light in the room creeps in from under the bedroom door, illuminating the washing basket at the end of the bed, it’s over flowing contents have started encroaching into the room. I never liked the basket with its woven wicker snake charming lid. I have learnt to not mention it. I can tickle it with my toes when I stretch out. When we make love it is often knocked over, it being a tale of innocence in the morning. I pick it up wondering if it was watching, listening. Looking shamefully away it holds its head low. No love making tonight.

I’m in bed. The brown duvet is thick and heavy, I need to be cold to sleep, and opening the window with these thick curtains doesn’t help. I’m not allowed a fan to cool myself down. I’m a grown adult. I hang one leg over the edge of the bed, the cool floorboards trick my brain into thinking I’m cold. My other leg searches the bed for a lesser hot space. I have to keep turning the pillow for the cool side.

I close my eyes and try to sleep.

I’m lying on my back after another argument with my wife Susan. She has gone off to see our youngest. Jessie has just turned two and has been screaming for ten minutes, and this was exactly what we had been talking about, loudly.

Why was it always Susan, Sue, Suse?

“Me not you Paul who tends to OUR children”?

I hadn’t always wanted children. Knowing how selfish and hurtful they can be I had always thought I would be a lonely grumpy old man, living alone in sheltered housing. Susan had wanted them. I made my point clear. Thomas was an accident. I would never tell him that. I have two children. Now I want them. I love them.

Susan had repeated her question, repeated her arguments attack line. “Me not you Paul who has to get up and deal with OUR screaming children.”

I couldn’t answer that question, not at this moment. “It’s always me. Admit it,” she had stated throwing her side of the heavy duvet over me. With a sigh she climbs out of bed.

I didn’t admit it. I didn’t have the energy. I just lied there.

This was all I needed. Tomorrow was ‘my day’ at the office. After all these months work and research I had only a twenty minute presentation to take to the shareholders at tomorrow’s meeting. And a lousy presentation at that, I hadn’t even had time to talk it over with my colleagues. It was all my own doing, or rather all my own undoing, as far as I could see.

I had not slept for three days and the one time I do join my wife in our marital bed, I have to get up and deal with a child.

As I got into bed I could tell Susan wasn’t asleep, she had said the night before.

“Paul come to bed, I can’t sleep when you are not there.” So now she pretends. Jessie has been crying all the time I was finishing up downstairs, whilst I used the bathroom, getting changed out of my sweat in-crusted suit. She had been crying this whole time, and I hadn’t heard it. I had been reading and re-reading the script in my head. What sense did it make? It doesn’t make sense to me now as I lie here, and now I have to explain myself to my wife.

My caring wife, Susan

“We are all behind you on this Paul,” many months ago now. All I want to do is sleep and get some rest before sweating all again tomorrow.

The bedroom door slams shut and heavy footprints cross the wooden floored landing to the children’s room.

Thomas, our oldest child could sleep through a bomb going off at his bedside. He doesn’t react to the tantrum Susan is playing out. I had tried to wake Thomas up one morning but he had taken so long to come round I started to panic. Gently slapping his face and pinching him, he woke up screaming and crying.

Now he sleeps soundly whilst Susan picks up Jessie and rocks her to sleep. Little Jessie has been having a bout of nightmares, she screams and shouts, using words she doesn’t even know, all without opening her beautiful green eyes. She waits for the cuddle to protect her, to reset her balance, and she’s away again, dancing with the fairies.

Maybe she screams for me. Maybe she can see my future. Maybe tomorrow she’ll sleep soundly through the night. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll be able to eat something solid and keep it down. Maybe I’ll be able to rock Jessie to sleep and read Thomas a story as he fades out from a day on earth. This is on my mind as I faintly hear Susan creep across our floor and climb into bed. She takes my leg in hers tightly, naked. I’m wearing a pair of boxer shorts. She reaches her arm across my chest.

“I’m sorry Paul.” Lips on my cheek. She sleeps on my shoulder. It’s uncomfortable but I leave it alone. I can’t sleep.

I think about my childhood.

It was never my father that tendered to us as children. My mother, as not having to get up early for work would deal with our screams. In today’s world women want equal rights, and with that equal responsibilities should too be shared. Equal opportunities and equal wages. Open the door, pay for the bill, and resign your seat to a lady. Equal rights when it suits them. I know I should be a better husband, father. But I can’t tonight, not tonight and not my father.

I never met Susan’s father. He had died when she had been young. Susan would tell me about what she could remember, of the thirteen years they had had together.

Story time at night, how his stories would make her too scared to sleep, of Easter egg hunts where he would hide the eggs in the garden but never in his prized flowerbeds, always in the long winter grass amongst the weeds and decaying leaves.

How he would tell her stories about planes flying up to America and down to Australia. To the point where Susan thought the world was in layers. It was an embarrassing school lesson that had taught her otherwise. She had hated her father for making her believe the myth he had bestowed upon her. She told it me through laughs of pain, through gritted teeth of guilt at being that selfish young girl. He had gifted Susan a light-up globe as an apology. She still believed the world was in layers and the teachers were wrong. It was always to remain their little secret.

She had told me how she believed every word he had said, and not wanting to believe the last ones. How the words didn’t settle on the ground, and if she was ever lonely those words would keep her happy through all of her life. All she had to do was look up and listen.

Her mother had never remarried, stating her trust in one true love. Bringing up Susan with this belief had made her weary of teen boys and student crushes.

When Susan fell for me, I was walking across the road in front of her. She tells me she knew I was the one. Apparently that’s how women work. That’s how Susan works. I soon learnt how impulsive she was. Susan’s mother had been driving as they stopped at a crossing. I had been with my two best friends John and Nick. I was twenty two then. Susan twenty. Her mother had pulled over and watched her daughter. Susan hadn’t even noticed the car stop. She turned to face her mother who just smiled and nodded

“Go on my love. I saw your face.” As Susan closed the door her mother had shouted after her: “Be careful!” more to herself than her only child.

That night had been the best night of my life, I didn’t sleep one wink, had my neighbours banging on the ceiling below at three in the morning. We ignored the banging front door of my tiny flat as me and Susan lay naked in a heap. It was all like a school boys dream. I met my future mother in-law two weeks later. Instantly making me feel at home she thrust a plate of biscuits into my hand and asked me to take the rubbish out.

Now I haven’t seen my friends for years. I found out that John was trying for kids with his wife I had never met. She was getting broody. Unlike me, John came from a strongly devoted family. Always looking out for each other and helping each other. I felt like a brother to him and his family acted like mine. Always buying me presents when his parents went on holiday. I have more happy memories of John’s mother than my own.

It wasn’t the same with Nick. His parents were divorced. He lived with his alcoholic dad. His younger siblings lived with their mother so the school playground was a way for them to have some sort of relationship.

They would share homemade cakes in the doorway of the music room. He didn’t care what the other boys thought of him. He would often get laughed at for hanging around with the junior kids. That was just another reason to bully him. His hair was too cool for school, his coat too retro, his attitude, his whole being too grown up for fighting, but still the other kids tried to wind him up.

Nick lost contact with his brother and sister shortly after leaving school. He fell out with his dad over who the beer belonged to in the fridge.

After moving out at the age of seventeen we would hang round his flat on the high street listen to music and get high. Nick always wanted to do something with music. He loved it. Lived for it, breathed it in every breath. He played bass. I wanted so much to play the guitar. I couldn’t and still can’t.

We would write immature love songs between us and pretend they weren’t about John’s sister Hannah. John getting upset in his over protected older brother role.

The last time I spoke to Nick he was buying his flat and working in a music shop, dating Hannah. A good few years, I wonder where he is tonight. His favourite pub was the rough and ready ‘Crown and Sixpence’. The landlady had a copy of his credit card behind the bar. That had always made us laugh.

I’m lying here now, unable to sleep again with all these thoughts flying round in my head. Feeling sad that I’ve neglected my mother, and for blaming her for everything. Tears swell my eyes, I’m angry with myself for allowing this thought to take over my mind.

I try to think of my own family, Thomas and Jessie my children, Susan my wife. My mind is racing, I’m hot and Susan is breathing gently against my chest. I’ve forgotten about the presentation. I’m thinking of Susan. Of our fights, how I never win.

Our most recent argument involved my faithfulness. As I didn’t have the energy to copulate with my wife, I must be having an affair. As I didn’t have the time to read my children stories at night, it was because I was sleeping around. I was late home, I was working all weekend, and I was not there when I was needed. I was automatically cheating.

When I confronted my wife with these accusations I had to ask ‘where was your proof?’ Quietly, calmly and to the point of being bored with the situation I would add sternly ‘I work in an office full of sweaty masculine macho meatheads, and the last time I checked I was not that way inclined’ which would usually work for the time being, an apologetic smile would cross her face. I had won the battle but the war raged on.

We had had the argument so many times I was beginning to think that I actually was having an affair. The latest women I’d apparently been with happened to be the mother at the end of the road.

I don’t know her name, I don’t know which end of the road she lives at and I’m not sure if I would have the ability to have an affair with someone who lives within shouting distance.

It turned out that Thomas had been to the accused ladies house to attend a birthday party and was asked ‘How is your father?’ Susan jumped to the conclusion that we’d been seeing each other. I got home that evening to be told I was sleeping on the sofa. I was too tired to argue.

It was from this moment on that I started to fantasise about actually having an affair. It wasn’t with anyone that we knew. My dreams bought me mystery women, an imaginary friend, my phantom lover.

Susan was very attractive. She was perfect. Beautifully proportionate in every way. Her long brown hair waved its way down her back, eyes that sparkled and sang. Some people’s features seem too disproportionate, their heads too small. Not Susan. Susan’s eyes were just the right distance apart, her legs just the right length, her bottom and thighs so delicately shaped they mesmerised those who looked at her. And her breasts, those two shapely rounded, firm, glowing antennas. She was perfect but very straight.

She fell for me. I had never the courage to approach a girl the way she had approached me. I was flattered and extremely embarrassed.

The only women I had been with prior to Susan I had met on drunken nights out. Chasing girls across dance floors forgetting their names and leaving early the following morning. Nick and John would be snickering with jealousy.

Susan was beautiful, still is beautiful.

My mystery women turned out to be everything Susan wasn’t. In my dreams she would turn up drunk. I never named her. I would be sleeping in my bed, in my marital bed. Susan would always be in the house, cooking or doing something that would keep her occupied. I was never in risk of being found out. Although in my dreams I would sometimes fantasise that Susan walked in on us. Something I found to be quite a turn on. I would get slapped awake and experience things that only inexperienced adolescent males dream of. I would often wake up wet, needing a shower. This only drove Susan to more conclusions that I was washing off the women from the night before.

I asked her ‘smell me before I get in the shower.’ She never did. And so I was in the clear for a week, or till the next time I work late, next time I have to go to work on a weekend, next time I take a phone call and walk out of the room, it all starts again. And my secret lover turns up to teach me something I hadn’t thought was humanly possible.

Susan is now asleep, playing the little spoon in what looks like, to an innocent bystander a perfect marital bed time.

I close my eyes.

I block out everything.

My mother is talking to me. Tears rolling down her face, I’m nine years old.

Something I don’t understand has happened.

I shrug it off and try to sleep.

Click here  to purchase your copy and feel free to comment. Thanks.

Cover Design by Becca Thorne Illustrator:  www.beccathorne.co.uk

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

As I continue my aging process and celebrate a birthday which pushes me into my very late 20’s/early 30’s, I have the opportunity to share with you a promotion and discount on all books bought through lulu.com.

This includes my first book ‘The Waiting Room

The first chapter is available here for free to read at your leisure.

The promotion is site wide so search for favourite titles on actual books and e-books, but it ends at midnight on 18th May so be quick.

Happy birthday one and all

“QUICK HALF?”

MEET MY BROTHER, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN AND ME!

Visiting my younger brother in Vancouver Canada after not seeing him for 16 months was an emotional time. I was happy to visit him after spending over a year there myself, and to communicate back to our two older brothers how young Russell was coping on the west coast of Canada.

Russell worked strange hours, working early mornings to finish mid afternoon, pipe laying all through the lower mainland.

Most afternoons I would be out and about, either visiting friends or sitting by the local lake putting the finishing touches to my first book ‘The Waiting Room.’

I would receive a call from my brother asking ‘Where are you?’ and ‘What are you up to?’ followed by a small pause before what has now become our catch phrase “Quick Half?” We would meet in the closest bar to both of our positions near Vancouver’s Commercial drive area.

One ‘Quick Half’ would turn into several complete ones and we would retire before doing it all over again the next day, my brother sluggishly to work and me to again sit by the lake and sleep off my headache.

After five weeks with my brother in Vancouver, I was setting off for another 5 week adventure across America to end in New York. On my parting evening we made a film to send to our older brothers back in the UK.

Letting them know we were both safe and happy, we sent the video to much admiration.

Click on ‘MEET MY BROTHER’…..at the top of the page, enjoy.

MY TIP ON HOW TO WRITE

It is well documented that if you want to write you need to read, read and read!!!

As much as this is a big help along the path to writing, it is far from the definitive source for all new writers. Reading a book that I really enjoy makes me want to keep reading, it does nothing to stimulate me into further action in my own writing. When I pick up a book that disinterests me I can instantly see the negatives in my own work and I can adapt that and think how I don’t want my manuscript to turn out.

The biggest tip I can offer is observation. Observe your surroundings, family, neighbours, events and the best for me is strangers. Family and friends become predictable over time. Strangers when studied for a brief moment can bring a smile to the face of your characters, can reveal things you had not thought about. Take notes on your fellow passengers on planes, trains and buses on your commute to work. Study your work colleges.

Remember, what you are reading has already been written. Observation is the key!
Reading does help in lots of ways in how to present characters, how to direct your own thoughts and can be an escape for writers block. Writing about an observation a day can help you grow your own characters storyline.

People have told me how much they enjoyed my book, but how do I manage to summon such emotion and characters in what I write. I’m not married and don’t have children, so how did the events in my book come to me. I can say that I have read a lot and enjoyed 90% of what I have read, but I believe that spending a few moments each day, observing people helps develop characters and when you have your characters they write the book for you.

I have a friend who read my book and came back to me very confused. He said that he hadn’t understood what at all was happening. I didn’t explain anything to him but asked how long it had taken him to read the book, he told me a few hours.

It is only 147 pages long so if you read fast you can probably achieve this in a few hours.

Click on the cover to purchase

But take some time during that process to observe what is happening. When you sit with a book and have time to read, it’s not a race, but if you feel it is and you’re the only participant, then you can’t lose.The first chapter of my book ‘The Waiting Room’ is available on this page should you want to satisfy the curiosity.It is available now through most online retailers. x