Strands of my Lover’s Hair


SKU e-book Category

165 in stock


By Matthew Woods


ISBN: 978-1-904697-77-0
Published: 2005
Pages: 61
Key Themes: obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), schizo-affective disorder, anxiety, hospitalization, fiction


A spiral tree is the mystical trigger for the two characters, father and son, to be catapulted into a romp throughout history. It deals with time travel, the sense of loss concealed within schizo-affective disorder and the obsessional themes of their lives. Out of the corner of your eye you just might glimpse your own story.

About the Author

Matthew Woods was born in 1970 in Chigwell Row, Essex. Matthew’s interest in literature began at Chigwell School through reading, theatre and being published in the school magazine. He went on to study academic English Literature and Poetry but dropped out due to the beginnings of schizo-affective disorder. During the next ten years Matthew’s time was spent between his family home, Victorian asylums and Frinton-On-Sea where most of his writing was done. He has been a founder member of Spanners, Clubhouse and the SAFE advocacy service in Epping Forest which provides recovery and reduces the stigma of mental health issues. Matthew met his partner Lorriane in Essex and they have a daughter called Constance, to whom ‘Strands of my Lover’s Hair’ is dedicated.

Book Extract

Ned had decided to live in this godforsaken Essex town because it had a 24hour, themed casino. It was the Mecca of Essex for anyone who was interested in gambling and this night, as the storm diminished; Ned was drawn to it, rising out of the forest, shrouded in mist. Blithely in the battle for cultural merit the Egyptian-themed casino was king. It was part of the view from the ivory tower that made him deal in what was not reality, in obsession.

It was an hour of pleasure, during which his thoughts freed him from misfortune but is there a less pleasing thing in the world than obsession? His present woes give the lie to his hopes; yet he looked to the future, which was not his, to indemnify him for these present sufferings. Pleasure was as fleeting as the fluttering of bank notes in the hands of the croupier who handed him his chips, setting upon his actions the weakness of his nature.

The gamblers nodded with a pull of the lifted hand, the voice of the croupier with vested comprehension. An inner materialization followed (that contemplation is for losers); a sweetness of surprise mixed with the heady contentment of a friend followed a win. Every bet placed entombed a shattered flower and there was a metaphor of indifference in love’s second fever- the moon quits the sky he does not love.

Where the fantasy was the seed the dream had gone but the casino was real, the crowdedness of the room subsided as space beckoned him, a gent bayed like a wolf, the male nature showed through, seedy, dividends to be gathered begetting forms of divisibility, insight and snooping like wax trapping a hair. Gambling was not reality but in the labyrinth of chance…Ned observed the way people moved, like wolves stalking.

The gents and their bitches feigned and swooned, lady grinning souls illuminated your existence a mere hair’s width. The gauntlet of eyes were concentrated on one table where an Italian had lady luck. Ned went straight up to the table, and, as he stood there, flung down a piece, which he held in his hand, without deliberation. Lady luck rolled it onto the black, though anyone but a new hand won “Make your game… The game is made… bets are closed” and with each eagerly fixing his eyes on the prophetic wheel, Ned was held there until the wax melted and he was free: “Even! Red wins.” The ivory touched the chip with a little click, as it swept it with the speed of an arrow into the heap before the bank.

….”Then speak of one who loves not wisely and not well…” The conversations continued around him, a bitch yawned as the candle sings, a slow softness followed as he found a corner and lit a cigarette gently as a breeze to trouble heaven. His emotions on what was really there, hinted like a sly smile on the face of a girl.

He almost took the role of a redeemer of any remorse found, his paranoia coming to the fore to sympathise with these gamblers. It is true that even though you lose 3000 if you win 300 you are hooked. He was on a losing end and so he took his winning smile and a flier and walked into the street with no reason won; like the gravity of a pamphlet’s rhetoric. He tramped through the disguarded pamphlets, stirring in the wind as though they were alive, and the trail led on like a wax heart pulling the hair of the labyrinth to the forest surround.


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