I’ve worked with adults with learning disabilities for around twenty years. I’m good at my job and, far more importantly, I enjoy it.
People have asked if I’ve ever used something of a service user in anything I’ve written – and the answer’s, perhaps surprisingly, yes.
A number of years ago, on the job, someone charged at me and I side-stepped easily, got him talking and de-escalated the situation as best I could.
I took the two or three seconds where I was being charged and turned that into a piece of fiction that managed to include gullibility, poverty and bullfights. that’s the only time I’ve done that.
Colleagues, on the other hand, are fair game. their eccentricities, behaviours and patterns of speech, I’ve had loads of mileage from!
A long lie until 07:30 and another two thousand words added to ‘dystopian’. I’m feeling pretty damn chuffed with myself at this – a plot knot that been hanging over the end of that scene resolved itself as I typed this morning.
I’d been worried about how someone and/or something would react to the situation I’d dreamed up, unsure whether my bullshit detector would go off like a car alarm.
I knew where the plot had to go next, but that transition lay in wait, brandishing a scimitar and daring me – in a comedy pirate voice – to fall back on cliché.