My response is not ‘normal’

I’ve come across pieces of writing by Enrique Enriquez a fair few times and mostly, I’m never quite sure exactly what it is that I’m looking at… poetry? prose? poser? puzzle? pattern? pretty picture?

But I often get a feel sense of them and will exclaim a single word… funny! warm! clever! odd! obviously!

And mostly I’m convinced that I don’t understand them though occasionally I am completely convinced that I do, though in both cases, I’d be hard pressed to explain exactly why…

So… I generally view them as something to be enjoyed in the present… without too much thought… or care…

And I roll around that famous quote, that everyone seems to have heard but no-one seems to know who said…

“I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like”

And I will  while away some time and smile and shrug and go …yeah… this… I LIKE 🙂

Or occasionally… I sit there and think… well… there seems to be a lot of thought and underlying structure gone into what you are seeing on this page… maybe you should take some time to look further…

And that always ends badly! As thinking is not my forte! And my brain is squiggly and hard to contain at the best of times and easily spirals off into mental fractals of utter rowlocks…

So usually… it doesn’t get much past… Enrique Enriquez… I like that name! Enrique Enriquez…

and then my brain has slung on a sombrero and is running like Speedy Gonzalez going…

"¡Ándele! ¡Ándele! ¡ Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Enrique! ¡Enriquez! !Yeehaw!"

DAMN!!! Not going to work that out today…

Though yesterday, I came across [elate lit] and one particular line caught my attention…

num b is not broken

And it struck me as hilariously funny… and on an average day, I maybe would have just left it at that…

But yesterday…

I was stuck in a car being driven by someone else and I’m not a good passenger at the best of times…

I was in the mood for a welcome distraction…

So I picked up my phone and looked at it again and thought –  So WHY? Why is that funny? So… there’s the play and the pun of the visual gag and that it makes me want to shout out panto style… Oh! yes it is! and I bounced that to and forth with oh yes it is! oh no it isn’t! A few times, until another little thought crept in and said:

num b … B disconnected… but is that broken?

And suddenly I was back to a bit over 10 years ago, when I was sat with a health visitor in my house following the birth of my fourth – She asked me:

How did the funeral go?

Yeah… it went… apparently…

Apparently? Did you not go?



I didn’t feel the need…

And then she started asking me a whole host of questions about other things that had been going on and I was pretty evasive in response, as to be frank – they were none of her bloody business! and the only reason we were having this conversation was because one of the unexpected benefits of childbirth is that it throws you into a system where complete strangers start monitoring and observing your mental health, constantly searching for red flags to pop up so they can refer you to another complete stranger…

She said to me… you are coming across as pretty numb…

I said – What do you mean?

You are not displaying a normal response.

Normal response? Why? What should I be doing?

Well… it’s more what you are not doing that bothers me… you don’t appear to be very upset.

I stared at her for a very long time then said -so you’re telling me that YOU would be much happier if I was much more visibly upset?

She said – Karen… You’ve had a series of major events, which for most people, one would be enough but you have had a string of them and you are not seeking help. It is time you considered medication.


Yes… just as a short term strategy until you can cope…

I said – I have a strategy! It works just fine… I get up and I put the washing machine on and I sit on the floor and stare into the centre of the drum as it turns and I say – F*ck you life! There is still one thing that I can decide! I decide to keep things turning…

I sit there each day and ask myself :

What is the one thing that I can make happen today?

What one thing will make me happy in some small way?

She said… yes… exactly Karen, that’s NOT normal… Why won’t you just take some meds?

I said – Why? Why? Because just about everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong! But look! Look at what I still have… I am surrounded by new life… and you want to drug me to numb me to that also?

It would only be temporary, just to give you a break.

OK… so I take your tablets and what? All the mess goes away? All the problems disappear?

Well… no… but you’ll feel more able to cope…

I said -There’s only one person on this earth that I trust and know who has the strength to pull me through all this and that is me and that ain’t gonna happen if you drug me and try to fix me…

So that is an emphatic NO then? Well I sort of understand but you need to be seen to be doing something positive in a more conventional sense or the questions will continue. Can you think of a way to demonstrate that you are taking care of yourself?

So… I resisted the urge to say… well… the very fact that I argue the toss with you and refuse to be railroaded…. But instead I said…yeah… how about… I leave the house once a week and go to a yoga class? Will that keep you off my back?

So… either that was sufficient or she tired of my continual arguing…

But I liked yoga and I went in a disciplined fashion for 8 years and continue on and off in my own little way to this day… and somewhere along the route I came across this poem…

On Joy and Sorrow by Kahlil Gibran

And I wonder… When did it became so socially unacceptable to go through things in your own way?

What happened?

And today, I think… no…

num b is not broken

It’s just a misdiagnosis made by people who like life to fit into neat little tick boxes…

If I want to go my way, then I shall go my way…

and reflect upon the star…

XVII The Star (c) Jordan Hoggard 2010
XVII The Star
(c) Jordan Hoggard 2010

Ha!!!  And now I am laughing as my mind casts back to the last line of  [elate lit]

[elate lit = etteilla = alliette]

Hey! Maybe I AM a bright spark after all 😀


19 thoughts on “My response is not ‘normal’

  1. The only way forward is for the house to keep moving. I love this piece thank you. I have lived through my times like this by helping things revolve and by enjoying the life that remains.

    In the spirit of play I also want to say;
    The magician is at home in his house
    Only when it revolves in the air
    No he is not caught like a mouse
    Unless he sits still saying “Unfair”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone grieves differently. And, everyone grieves differently each time. Meds? Pfft, on them making one able to cope better. Maybe meds make things TOO copacetic for people so they get railroaded as you didn’t Go You!

    And, on Enrique’s work. It always strikes me that Andre Breton and the French Surrealists are back at it, and that’s a good thing for evolving language and getting into the connective tissues of it… in not a normal way… which is the best way.

    Go You!


    1. I can’t deny, it was a bit of sh*t time 😀 but sh*t happens! 😀 and gardeners pay good money for that stuff, to sling it onto roses…
      I’ll google oracle your words on Enrique’s work… and see where it takes me…


      1. You’re welcome! Yes, a bit of a sh*t time, and on the other hand you simply had a lot of life going on and you weren’t coping with it. You were dealing with it. 🙂


  3. A-Effin-Men! What’s up with the meds, and the incessant “oh,I need meds”? They are not a pause button. They dilute the Se;f before any progress or real discernment can start. I’m full-on with you on this post. The “Oh Pobrasito, oh little one, I don’t want you to suffer.” Shaking head at the pathetic tenor of pity. I’ll turn to reel out a fave quote of mine that addresses the incessant “oh, but you should if you want us to stop bothering you about t.” Heck, one tablet, one OHHH SHINY, and then POOF the angler fish comes out and GULP. Nope. I’ll step back to the quote I was going to express.

    Someone once expressed to Voltaire, “Life is hard!” I LOVE this next part! Voltaire chortled back, “compared to WHAT?”

    Gotta live it, as it is.There are many better meds than numbness. A good Carmenere or Malbec goes a long way, or heck, a BIG glass of water. There are many better…

    Num b is experiencing disconnection, though not brokenness. Distended. Overextended. Stretched to strain, though not broken. Enrique’s is a visual language, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your Speedy Gonzalez, etc blurbs. Thanks for the hoot. Thanks for defiance. I laugh. Someone once called me an iconoclast. I just started howling laughing. “What gives, Jordan? That wasn’t;t funny. That was an insult.” I smiled, “No it wasn’t. It was a great point wonderfully well stated, except for one little thing.” OH THEY GOT INTERESTED. Shaking head at ego-angler-fish baiting. Like catching a bird with bread, a stick, a string, and a box. “What is it? What one little thing?” “What one little thing? You’re just flat wrong. To be an iconoclast, I would have had to care about the rules in the 1st place.”

    Thanks for this post from chewing on the wonderfully enigmatic Enrique Enriques who has a fluid fluency with the art of language. He has some gristle, though I often find more filet mignonette, just strewn about as I cipher across the scavenger hunt of his deceptive simplicity. Then again, ambiguous isn’t always vague, and reasons are often wholly unreasonable. That’s why I like this post. You FELT into Num b. The other ways to relate to “Num b is not broken.” May just be ancillary. Dammit. Did I just add punctuation to his quote? Sacrilege! 🙂


    1. I guess pills are easily pedalled to professional cynics but not so easily swallowed by Prophetionals.
      Life is hard compared to what?
      Butter left in the sun?
      Life is easy compared to matrix algebra… And I managed to crack that fucker. Though don’t ask me to do it now. I nuked that section of my brain out of existence after uni Prof excitedly set pages of the bloody things and told us the last one contained a secret message. Once solved, you applied the code breaker of A=1…Z=26 and out popped the words

      Seriously? That’s all there is at the end of this? And I had to get it right to get the pay off?!

      Nah life is much easier, you can mess up, get it wrong, maybe accidentally get it right now and then but any whichway it’s more enjoyable and time better spent than wresting complex numbers. Lol I wonder if Douglas Adams had a maths Prof like mine and that’s where the 42 joke came from…


  4. Ok, I’ll now gold pan what I expressed above to what I wrote in “Tender’s Wisdom” in 2013:

    “A life continually baked golden and repeatedly kneaded and risen by decades under fire.”

    That is experience. That, LIVING this life, is what I value above all.

    That doesn’t require meds. It requires good boundaries to to protect he Four Corners and cornerstone foundation one’s life. It also requires that FEAR is a construction zone on the highway. Fear is simply a messenger to your living and active awareness. There’s no reason that fear should be kidnapped by anxiety to become afraid.

    Heck, FEAR to me? Feeling Energized And Ready. If I’m already there, I am. I may duck, though no crawling under the alleged rock of meds. I wanna feel life, not watch it like a movie while I smile the narcotic of hope. Faith in presence? Well, now that’s another thing.

    “Life is hard!”
    Humph. “Compared to what?” 🙂


  5. Num b may also be eroding, or dissolving like a pill, may be indicating “less numb” as the numb lost its ‘b’ and is now less or smaller. Is ‘b’ a serpent skin to shed not missed, chaff blown off rom wheat in the wind,

    Or was Num b an oops of an accidental space? All I can say is the fact that we’re talking about it, no matter what we say or get or don’t, “Num b” is doing the job of art through language moving people.

    Liked by 1 person

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