“I am Scrunch Foldington, and I would describe myself as a failed writer, failed musician, and failure at life in general. I’m older than I wanted to be, or ever thought I would be, and yet far less than I had hoped…”
And that dreary screed was how I started writing this page of self-description, until I caught myself, and remembered who I am. That voice right there is not me. That voice is what mental illness sounds like. At times it talks through me like I am some sort of damp, gangly puppet. If you have ever experienced something similar, you may be familiar with this state of mind.
That voice emerged when I was very young, and as I grew older, I allowed it to take over completely. In my twenties I embarked on an odyssey of self-destruction. Not exciting and wacky like in the movies, it was mostly boring, repetitive and shameful. I’ve never crossed a bridge that I couldn’t set on fire. I thought I knew who I was, and while I didn’t like it, I didn’t care enough about it to change direction. I never knew who was in the driver’s seat.
I woke up at the wheel as I ran head-first into my thirties. I was surprised that I didn’t recognise myself anymore. I decided at last to attempt to make some changes in my life, and reengaging with my creative side was the first step. Therapy was the other first step, and if you’re at all like me, I cannot emphasis how important it is to seek, and more importantly, to accept help. I wouldn’t be here without it.
The writing I present to you on this site represents part of a strategy to rebuild a part of myself that I had previously allowed to wither into near extinction. Life demands more than just paying rent and burning serotonin. Of course, repair and self-care is much more difficult than self-destruction, and the most challenging battles are the ones we wage with and within ourselves.
The name Scrunch Foldington is a joke, and not a very funny one at that. It emerged from the idea that if I were writing in a previous century, my work would have likely ended up in a discarded pulp paperback lying in someone’s out-house, and the hardest question one would have to ask themselves after reading a poem of mine, would be whether to scrunch the page, or to fold it carefully… You can guess what happens next. Particularly cultured readers may also notice an oblique reference to a certain cartoon alien, so it’s not even very original. But we’re all beggars and thieves, right?
Self-deprecation was always my best self-defense. After all, if I publish my work under a silly joke name, then I won’t have to feel like I’m taking it so fucking seriously… But after writing this blog for a few years now, I think it’s starting to wear thin. Call me Tom if you prefer, I don’t mind either way.
The sense of community and camaraderie among the writers I have encountered on this platform has been a galvanizing experience. When I am myself, I seek out the words and thoughts of others as a form of reinforcement and encouragement. If I’m following you, it’s because your work is inspiring me to continue the struggle we all engage in, to create something real and to grow beyond ourselves. And if you’re reading mine, somehow that both elevates me and humbles me at the same time.
Well, that was a bigger serving of waffle than I had intended. I might have said too much, only to reveal too little. Either way, allow me to leave you with some appropriate words from one of my favourite writers, Hunter S. Thompson.
“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”