• Craig Malpass

In a sea of stories, men are drowning...

In a sea of stories, men are drowning.

Treading water, we gulp bitter mouthfuls of a storm tumbling tales of what we should be. In open water, the swell overwhelms. No strength to search for the shore, no ground beneath our feet, our bodies and our minds know we can thrash no more.

Our heads disappear below the surface.

This time we may be lucky, we find ourselves washed ashore. With just enough life, we stand up taller than our hearts feel able. As if the world is watching. Yet the sand beneath our toes is soon washed away as tales of the ocean, the sea of stories, calls us once more only to drown us again. Maybe this time for good.

Or maybe this time we don’t stand. If a crawl is all that can be mustered, we turn away from the big blue drink. We hear a whisper over our shoulder and look back at the land. We begin to hear the story that has been calling us for some time.

We look toward home. Solid ground.

With childlike glee, we feel the earth beneath us. A friend welcoming us home. Ear to the ground, we listen. We are reminded of where we came from. The story of us. Away from the sea of others’ stories we explore the complex, ever-changing landscape of our mainland.

We peer into caves we had forgotten. Yet we know it’s time to venture into darkness. To hear those shadows lurking, taunting, shaming and face them anyway. Dragging them from the only home they’ve known, we throw them out into the light. Tired from the tussle, the earth still holds us.

No thrashing. Peace.

We catch a breath. Our heads now lift with ease.We will not disappear like that again.

Venturing back, we view the sea from high above now. We know its pull, but we have the solid ground of home. We may venture in again, but we know how to navigate the storm. We venture in to help brothers losing strength, knowing their struggle. We bring them to shore and show them this land. Show them where they came from.

What a pleasure it will be to be on dry land with you, brothers. We will wait for each other outside those caves of shadows and we will smile at the sea. Together again.


We are stories. Everything we do is influenced by our life conditions, right up to the present moment.

This doesn’t mean we don’t have agency – that all of our choices are decided for us – but these stories impact the way we think, feel and behave in the world. If we don’t see those stories, we do lose our ability to choose.

We each have our vices; things we believe we consume or practice too much and want to cut down or out of our lives, from things that cloud the mind, sweeten the tooth or affect the way we love and are loved.

And yet it’s so easy to reach for a screen. A pocket-sized pathway to distraction. How often is that answer to our discomfort, on reflection, a frivolous waste of time? A quick check on Facebook becomes two hours - just before bed, brain fried, unable to sleep. The way we use other people’s stories - a new vice to own.

All of these things we believe make us feel good. Give us pleasure. At least that’s the aim - though it never seems to last.

We always return to the same stories. The same habits. We keep doing the same thing until we lose heart. And yet we chose to do them.

If we are to regain our ability to feel in control of our decisions, then we need to know why we make such choices.

We need to know our own story.


For me, there is no bigger story that needs fearless questioning than the state of masculinity in the world.

The world is run by men. An immature Patriarchy oppresses men. It’s tempting to play down this argument in relation to the suffering of women, but a continual battle of the sexes gets in the way of true progress. Feminism will never reach its full potential if the masculine isn’t understood, for that is what is raging out of control. I would argue most aggression towards the feminist movement is down to a frustration in this lack of understanding. Of immature masculinity spitting out its dummy as it fails to get what it wants.

Power. Uncontested growth. The right to become our culture’s story of ‘success’. The power of storytelling has ravaged our physical and emotional world, and now we need men. We need brave men to step forward. To show up. Without shame, but remorse that we have been complicit in this story and, for the sake of our loved ones as much as our own, we’re not going to be part of this shit anymore. We’re going to be part of something so much better. Something beautiful.

This isn’t about gender exclusivity, as each of us is both masculine and feminine in a constant, soulful dance. But by cultural consensus men are the heirs of the masculine and so it falls to men to understand their place in the world, and we need help from feminine heiress to hold and witness this stepping forward.

How can that be done if our struggle remains silent?Now, we need to start telling a new story.So let’s tell some stories.Here’s one of mine – but I need your help to tell it…

See how you can help at:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1364063045/the-spider-glass/

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