Next weekend I am doing two things that I have looked forward to for a long time. Firstly, I am taking my son on to his first football match. Then I am attending a new writer’s group in the centre of Liverpool. I will be taking some of my own writing as well.
The first one, taking my child to Turf Moor. This has always been a dream of mine since we discovered the gender of our child. Of course, if we would have had a girl then I would have been the same. So really, it has been a dream of mine ever since my wife found out she was pregnant. Actually, that was at two in the morning. Right, it has been a dream of mine for a while.
As far as anyone can be bothered checking it is about five generations of my family have gone to watch Burnley at Turf Moor. The club has been on the same ground for over a hundred years, if not a little more. This is something that people who do not get football generally misunderstand. The club is bigger than the fans but it is nothing without them. Especially a small club as Burnley. A lot of the best memories from my childhood revolve around Burnley FC. My uncle taking me to Wembley with my brothers and my late Aunt. Going onto home games each weekend was a massive part of my childhood. The routine of walking to the ground, wearing the same scarf and buying a programme became almost ritualistic. Here I can see elements of my autism, I wanted to keep things as similar as I could. Though I didn’t recognise this as such. It was the same with away games, I would travel with a friend from school or whomever would come with me. Had to have a programme and wear the same scarf.
The sense of belonging to a small group, the sense of identity that comes along from being a supporter made me feel that I belonged. In a world where I have never really felt part of any group here I did. I would attend games on my own and this never bothered me. Once I was on the match it was fine but travelling to did make me feel friendless. That, I can now see was my perception of the world rather than the world itself.
There is also something pathetically masculine about taking your son on to the football. I hope that he enjoys it and I hope it fires a lifelong love of the game. If it doesn’t then that is ok.
The other thing that I am worried about is this writer’s group next week. I emailed over my “work” and then the normal period of worrying starts. Is my writing any good? Is it too esoteric? Should I stop writing? Does it have any value or any truth to it? Poetry should be about truth. Even in the most fantastic story or out there idea there should be an element of truth. The reader should recognise the main idea and think, in Philip Larkin’s words, yes, I have thought that but never been able to write it down.
My struggles with understanding people’s actions in person may cross into my writing but I don’t think it does. I guess I need the feedback to see this. I am not too worried about meeting new people which can be hard for some neurodiverse people. Mainly because it is essentially what I do for work.