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Nick Lewis

Nick Lewis is an author, poet and artist. He was diagnosed with MS some 30 years ago. What follows is a serial collection of stories based on incidents in his life during that time. He has tried to regard the disease as part of himself - just as if he had an enormous nose or as if he had fathered an awkward child. In other words it's an existential approach, along the lines of the American writer Richard Ford in The Lay of the Land: "Some force in my life was bringing me hard up against what felt like myself - an end to perpetual becoming.” Replying to people who asked in wonder "How do you do it in this uncharted time of life?", his protagonist Frank Bascombe said: "This is how in the shit I am! My life is this way”. Generally speaking however, over this period Nick describes the adventurous and enjoyable course of his nuanced life.

Posts by Nick Lewis

abstract watercolour suggesting a storm across a landscape

A message from me, Nelly

Hi all This is a message from Nelly and Neville. We are sister and brother and we are more or less identical twins: but this is a message from me, Nelly. Thing is, I'm not sure I should write about us as kith and kin; we're not people: we are neurons. ...

watercolour of the backs of a couple sat on a bench facing the sea

The Outing

Algie and Doreen were in fine, nattering form: "We're hoping the rain holds off" Algie told me. Like me, they had arrived early. Sitting beside my wheelchair space at the front of the coach, Doreen, a plump woman with frizzy salt-and-pepper hair, unpacked her bag, handed Algie his copy of ...

Watercolour painting of a cat sitting underneatha chair in the garden

It has escaped my mind

Some time ago I made an Advance Directive; what some people call a Living Will. It read: "If I am unable to recognise my family, then I no longer wish to live." The next phrase seems to me now to be on the grim side. "I wish to be transported ...

Abstract image witha series of red and blue and yellow marks

Could you just…?

I had been looking forward to it -- with trepidation. I had caught myself feeling aroused at the thought. How would she react? Already, while she was giving me a shower, she must have noticed me getting physically aroused whenever she got near with the water jet. "Now's the time," I ...

close-up watercolour portrait of eyes and nose of a male face

Jonathan Luyden Montgomery

Mind you, he's a decent sort. Ex-Merchant Navy and NUM shop steward - house work learned at sea and many a behind-the-scenes tale of miners' struggles. I liked the stories. They coincided with my experience years ago, vainly trying to build a revolutionary party in South Yorkshire and selling Trotskyist ...

Watercolour image of a sunset over water

Good morning

Richard burst through the door from the changing area into the cafe. He was dressed in long swimming shorts with a sunflower motif, and nothing else. This was no surprise, given that we were at the pool for the weekly session of the Oxford Water Rats, and we were waiting ...

watercolour painting of boats on a river with a shelter in the foreground

Just wait!

I had followed my usual routine. Rosie, my personal assistant, hauled off the duvet and replaced it with a towel (this replacement was to "preserve your modesty ducky" despite my assurance that she had most likely seen it all before) and then shunted up my boxer shorts and trousers. Fully dressed, ...

Watercolour painting of a sea front from the sands looking back at a promenade of houses

Hospitalisation

We booked late for our annual holiday in Southwold, in September, and so we missed our usual house above the beach. The new one wasn't bad, but it brought the rain and broke the spell that the town seemed to cast over our July breaks. Mother went home early, possibly ...

Watercolour painting of a white flower

Lottie

Well into my job publishing a newsletter for the Greater London Association of Disabled People, a volunteer, Lottie came into the office. It turned out that, like me she had MS; she seemed to share my level of mobility. She was a pretty young Afro-Caribbean woman – always ready with ...

pastel drawing of a church seen thorugh a window

Underground incident

My wife Tio who worked at the time for the International Red Cross, decided to take a spell working at their Geneva HQ. I devised a plan to consolidate my three days per week at GLAD into three weeks in Brixton and one week in Geneva so that I could ...

Watercolour painting of a landscape

The Chase

While I could still use sticks to walk a few paces, I used to nip up to the chemists on the High Street and park in a dedicated bay while I was in the shop.  When I got there one time, there was an obvious imposter in the bay. I ...

Life drawing in pastels

Trouble with a Parking Attendant

I had carefully parked my car, a smallish blue People Carrier, as near as I could to the framing shop on a Brixton sidestreet. Painted next to the pavement was a worn single yellow line. "No matter" I thought, "my  Orange Badge entitles me to leave the car here: I ...

South London swimming

Streatham, which is where I swam at that time, had a superb pool – or at least you could see it had once been superb, with a spectators’ balcony and a stage at one end: imagine swimming to an orchestral performance of Die Moldau! Well, I could imagine. The bath’s management ...

Watercolour painting of the sea

Stretching myself too far

Tio and I used to enjoy accompanying my mother on holidays to Southwold - a time-warped resort on the Suffolk coast. It is distinguished by an absence of noisy slot-machine arcades and the presence of plenty of antique shops. We found a cottage right on the front. Mother used to ...

Watercolour painting of a statue

Take that!

There were some very positive moments at London Disability News. A man with MS, John Jevvons, called me and asked me to report on the way he was being treated by his local authority in South London.  He got around his flat in Walworth using a walker that looked very ...

Pastel of the face of the author / artist Nick Lewis

Finding a job in journalism

As a new father, I began to put my lifestyle decision, to look for a job, in train. Blithely, I thought that, although I hadn't got a conventional journalistic career path, people might be interested in me simply because I did not have a traditional trajectory towards the job. At that ...

Pastel of a cherub loosely drawn in bright colours

Becoming a father

Conception had not been easy for us. I had fathered two children with my previous wife, but to be on the safe side took some fertility tests. Hurray! Disability seemed not to have harmed my fertility. But there was a role reversal . Somehow Tio kept having miscarriages. But hurray ...

Abstract painting of an acacia fern - set against a swirl of pinks yellows and blues

A Journey With My Self: Moving in South London

The fatigue I had first noticed when I was away became more obvious once we had moved to Harborough Road. I could neither stand nor walk for long, even using a stick. The physio told me to contact the wheelchair service. As with all gleaming new toys, the wheelchair, when ...

Abstract painting in strong reds and greens of flowers and a bush

A Journey With My Self: Jogging yourself out of it

Those days I spent most of my time voluntarily editing a left wing magazine, and proof reading and copy editing for various publishers to provide some kind of income. (It was the early 1980s, Ken Livingstone was running the Greater London Council, and like many of my friends, I felt ...

Painting of a red flower

A Journey With My Self: Telling my friends

Mike, one of my South London left-wing friends, invited me round for dinner at his Clapham residence. A few of our other political pals were round there too. Mike and his wife Sheila liked to do things properly. The food and wine were sumptuous, Sheila gave us a few bars on ...

Watercolour painting of two people sitting on a bench looking out at the sea

A Journey With My Self: Telling my family

Nick Lewis is an author, poet and artist. He was diagnosed with MS some 30 years ago. What follows is a serial collection of stories based on incidents in his life during that time. Not yet being obviously disabled by the MS I imagined that I wouldn't have to tell all ...

watercolour painting of a pot plant on a veranda

A Journey With My Self: Flight

Nick Lewis is an author, poet and artist. He was diagnosed with MS some 30 years ago. What follows is a serial collection of stories based on incidents in his life during that time. It was summer 1988. My wife Tio, an international aid worker for the Red Cross, had been ...

self-portrait of the artist/ authors face using expressive strokes of the paintbrush and bold colours

Short story: Nick Lewis: ‘Travels With My Self’

In 2015, Nick Lewis was Highly Commended for Poetry by the Creative Future Literary Awards - a national literary competition aimed at talented marginalised writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance. Based in Oxfordshire, Nick was a journalist (Socialist Society, Interlink) in the early ...