Living in uncertainty is the experience I have of life.
I am Sat Purusha, although I used to be Graham Phoenix. I am British. It’s important to me to clarify what that means. I was born in England to Scottish parents with Irish ancestry. There’s even some Welsh in there somewhere.
I remember a defining moment from my childhood. It helped to shape my relationship with my father and mother.
“That’s the end of the announcements, children. I’m sure you’ll all be happy to hear that it’s now time to go home! Quiet now! I said quiet! Before you go could I just ask Graham Phoenix to stay behind till everyone’s gone? Quiet! You can all go now.”
From mountainside picnics to curbside views of conflict to getting to know the girl of his dreams---cars have always shaped my memories.
This faded photograph is from 1958 and is of a memorable family holiday in France. Taking pride of place is my father’s favorite car, the Ford Zephyr Mark II. This was a UK produced car of distinction, it was in production from 1956 to 1962. My mum and dad are in the picture wearing sporty hats with me, in the middle, and one of my brothers.
I remembers the 60’s and 70’s, my years of rebellion, and how they ended up in the power of marriage, parenthood and ordinary life.
I left school in 1966 and I am now 66 years old. This seems to me a great reason to celebrate my decade of freedom that started that year, nearly 50 years ago. It was the year The Beach Boys released the album ‘Pet Sounds’, The Doors released their eponymous album and John Lennon met Yoko Ono leading to the end of live concerts by The Beatles and their break-up. The Vietnam War was causing chaos, almost revolution, in America, but it didn’t really enter my consciousness.
Men keep going because their wife, children, colleagues expect them to. They keep going because of the shame of giving up.
I lay under the duvet cover screaming, screaming out loud. I could feel the break coming. I felt helpless and hopeless and I did not know what to do, I did not know how to deal with my wife, with my life. I was lost; as a husband, as a man, as Graham. I knew something was wrong, something more than the clash of brute force and stubbornness, something more than titan struggle that had been going on downstairs. I was so lost I could not even work out what was wrong, I just wanted the world to go away.
At the beginning of 2011 I said to myself, "I am now a writer". The easy part was over. I now set about finding my writing voice. I had to understand how to use my experience and learning.
I entered the third third of my life and started my third career. I have previously been a theatre lighting designer and an architectural lighting designer. These are both creative professions, so I thought it would be easy to become a writer.
The United States Declaration of Independence says, "... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and Happiness." But how is that happiness achieved?
Recently I created an online course for men called ‘How To Love A Woman’. The course has had some success but not as much as I expected. In talking to a number of men it seems that the name and the concept did not push their buttons. I have been seeking a focus for the course that men can and will relate to. This needs to have strength to it and it needs to connect with how men achieve love and intimacy with women. In there lies power for men.