From Self Harming to Imagination Agent

Wake up out of pills and smell the coffee. 

“Oh, when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof

And your shoes get so hot you wish your tired feet were fire proof

Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, yeah

On a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be…”

Yes folks, it’s Bruce Willis and the Drifters, from way back in 1987.

Thanks for that guest appearance Bruce, and welcome.

I am an imagination agent. What does that mean? Well my dears, in the desire for me to be independent financially I am creating a series of fortunate events that will showcase my gift, and dish out to the masses (insert however many people you think that amounts to here) what I have learned on my journey from suicidal, self-harming mess of man of yore, to super wonderful, cherished, gorgeous and modest man of now.

Once upon a time, pre-Covid, I was an actor. I would muster up the courage to trust that the lines are in my head and I could say them aloud, in order, with a million eyes watching me. I did this because I liked the fear; I also did this to prove a point to my Ego which had done such a great job of holding me back for all the previous years. I revelled in telling my Ego that I could do all the shit it was reminding me that I couldn’t, and that I was good at doing all the shit it was telling me I was shit at. Ah, the Ego, that voice inside who warns you not to risk anything but stay indoors and don’t touch anything electrical; especially in the bath. Why not stay in bed, it would say, and then an image would emerge in my mind of a warm and comfortable bed, with a book, perhaps an old James Stewart movie and I would sink into that spell as a wave of tiredness swept over my shell. 

But then I would say NO! Nice try little ego, you can hit me with that crap but then what? Spend the rest of the afternoon reminding me how lazy I am, and how I will never earn enough money or amount to anything. You tricked me, you tricky fool. I’m not gonna fall for that no more, see? 

These were regular internal conversations, dating back quite a while and kept mostly private for fear of being locked up for having voices in my head. 

And I did have voices in my head. I had one for suicide; one for self-harm; one for getting dressed; one for denial; one for lack of confidence; one for mania, oh so many. I would give them distinct personalities and if anyone could have turned the volume up it would have been like listening to some 40’s radio comedy show, but with more venom. 

So one day I figured I’d use those voices to do something I’ve always wanted to do but ol’ man confidence never allowed: I went on stage and performed in the lead role of a play. Something amazing happened; I thought I was actually quite good. 

I mean not Oscar good, not Hollywood good or West End/Broadway good. Just good, and knowing I was good but not good-good gave me the impetus to learn. As I learned from other actors I became better-good, and then pretty-good. I now sit on the pedestal of ‘hey-not-bad’. 

That was one trick I learned to fool my Ego when the chips were down as I was sitting on the edge of oblivion wondering if they served Merlot down there. You see, when those voices reminded me how crap I was, I could now refer to my back catalogue of work and say ‘hey man, I was great in Journey’s End. Did you see me deliver Jimmy Porter, or were you sticking your head up your ass’!  Good tools for reminding the Ego that I am actually considered in certain circles to be:

Look Back In Anger, me and Steve Hemsley appearing at The Oast Theatre, 2011


Now I don’t recommend that you get your butt on stage to prove those voices wrong, oh no, I would not recommend an actor’s life to my worst enemy. But I would recommend that you consider taking a risk with the talent that you have. We all have something that we are good at, for years mine was sitting alone in my bedroom, but that phase passed when I had to talk to people. We are all unique with something unique to offer to this world. You have a gift, and perhaps it is that voice in your head, your Ego, your Fear, which is preventing you from doing that. 

Since the day I left school I realised all of the things that I couldn’t do. I had some wonderful teachers who I remember very fondly, and they worked against the system; but the system appeared designed to remind me that dreams are nothing but something a child has. I need to work, preferably in a shop or factory, and perhaps one day I could become a manager and then the 


School prepared me for mediocrity. That was 80’s schooling, I’m sure now it’s all about being an Influencer. I knew all of the things that I couldn’t do. What were my dreams? Simple really, I wanted to make stories and turn them into films or scripts or plays or things that people would enjoy. I wanted to take the magic of Spielberg/Lucas/Coppola/Dante and bring it into my world. I had so many stories in my head and I wanted to share them. So I toddled off to the career’s adviser at school, and explained my passion, and asked the path to get there.

I was told that I would never get there. 

I’d love to go back to that particular teacher and show him the films, television and theatre shows I have worked on. I’d love to show him the plays I have written that have been performed; I’d love to share with him my Amazon shop of my books. 

We are all human, and being human means we are wrong. Perhaps he was not imaginative enough to see, perhaps he had no idea what I was talking about. I would just like you to take away from this today this one message: YOU CAN DO WHATEVER IT IS YOU DREAM OF DOING.

Yeah it’ll take work; yeah it’ll hurt and you’ll have some hits. But don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, because what they are really saying is that they can’t…and they won’t.

I am an IMAGINATION AGENT. I trust that our imaginations are the answer to our anxieties, our fears, our doubts and our problems. I also trust in the human race. 

Stay Fresh. 

Now at Amazon. Click on the links below or head to the Welcome page above

Published by zacthrav

writer - performer and general lover...that doesn't mean I love generals...of movies and pop culture. Tackling Mental Health using my super powers.

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