Marooned – Louise Mary Stokes
"The way she looked, the way she spoke to me.
Those things she said, the threats, the put-downs, the vicious, snide
tone of her voice, grinding me down, day after day, after day, until I
became a shadow, a hollwed out shell, unable to think or function..."
From In The Cold Light Of Day
MAROONED is as author LOUISE MARY STOKES describes it, “a journey through bullying using poetry as the guide.” Just one look at Louise’s CV tells a story of a formidable woman, who has achieved intellectually and professionally, and more recently as a writer and performer. How can a woman like that be bullied? Well, bullies are everywhere and the bullies described in Marooned operated in the NHS, beloved by the British public. The NHS came into being in the context that health care being the sole preserve of the wealthy could not continue. But the NHS is changing. There was a sketch in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life in 1983 in which the patient was an afterthought. It was satire, and not meant to be the blueprint for future health care. In these days of targets one begins to wonder. To this we can add the welter of paper protocols in the name of Quality Assurance that in fact assure that quality doesn’t enter into it as the context of service to patients is stripped from the equation. It takes a certain type of person to manage this. Today’s NHS is constipated with functionaries, the frankly not very good who can’t or don’t do context, only paper protocol. In this environment another type of person flourishes alongside the functionary, a type of person whose skills are valued when hitting targets is the prime aim… the psychopath. Not the knife wielding maniacs depicted by Hitchcock and Hopkins but the bog standard person without a conscience who operates by distorting reality, draining their victims of their humanity like vampires. Another of their skills is superficial charm, wolves in sheep’s clothing who take people in and avoid detection. That is how even formidable people can be bullied.
MAROONED charts a course through that process. It isn’t about the bullies as such. While it is important that the existence of bullies in our public services is broadcast, MAROONED is above all the compelling story of one woman’s survival.
American psychologist Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door has written, “living well is the best form of revenge.” Bullies do not like people who are truly alive and beyond their power. In writing MAROONED, Louise Stokes has shown them that she is now living well.