Steve’s Tales – Introduction
‘TAKING THE TABLETS’
Clearing out a filing cabinet drawer of Human Social Functioning (HSF) material with a view to pruning it still further from previous attempts several years before – and in order to make way for photographic material which I wanted to itemise in a neater form – I came across a whole bundle of correspondence with John Griswold.
John was only a name to me from the early 1970’s as someone who operated in Seattle and was not taken much notice of in later years by the Canadian practitioners. But he was better known and respected by Leon Fulcher, another man from the US West Coast, who in the 1970’s and early 80’s was based in Stirling University where he taught Social Work.
Coming across this bundle which began in 1991 with a letter inviting John to speak at the 1992 HSF conference and ended in 1998 with a copy of his funeral service I was unable to tackle it. To prune it would take some time, to find a proper place for it problematic (too large for a letter folder that I put much else of HSF correspondence into). I had left it – as if my way – on top of the open cabinet drawer awaiting its fate. Now holding it in my hand again it suddenly comes to me. I must write an HSF autobiography. That is, I must write about my life and HSF. Was this the reluctance I had always felt when pruning this sort of material? That I needed to preserve it and keep it close in order to have proper records of those 40 years and more?
John Griswold would be delighted were that so. Somewhere, somehow, personal records as mine of our journeys with HSF need to be written. And then it also came to me that it was this same Leon Fulcher who had recently asked me if I would take part in a book he was considering with Gale Burford (an HSF practitioner in Newfoundland recently retired who lived) under the heading of “My journey with Eugene Heimler” (the founder of the HSF movement). I had accepted that invitation and awaited further confirmation of its going ahead. But so far nothing had been forthcoming. It seemed rather as years and years before when various people said they must write a manual of HSF but nobody did. So I wrote one myself.
I’d already had something of a problem of how I would write in HSF the overall autobiography I had returned to in recent months. It was such a big chunk of my life but how much delve into and explain? In part I had a solution since I planned another volume devoted entirely to the world of work. But that too would be overwhelmingly HSF, as would much of yet another volume on academic life.
It deserved something in its own right – a personalised account rather as Leon and Gale envisaged, but focused not so much on Heimler as the movement of HSF that he initiated.
Who then is it for? Well, as with all my writing firstly it is for myself. It is a necessity to put things in order and make sense of my life. It’s the way I do that. Underneath everything else I am a writer. Secondly it is for those – however many or few – who have come to HSF one way or another through the years and who hopefully will continue to do so.
It is of the time of HSF and its pioneers. It is not a proper historical record of HSF – I cannot put myself to that sort of discipline. Rather it is the flesh and blood sweat and tears joys and sorrows that have accompanied it as seen through one man’s eyes who went through most of it and shaped some of it.
Well, that’s how I see it sitting here in my upstairs den where I spent most of my waking life, late one Friday afternoon at the end of a somewhat bitty week dealing with this that and even some other; with a glass of wine by my side (that cat by the other side having just walked out the room) before I join Pam downstairs and enjoy her cooking.
Let’s now see what transpires to write itself upon these pages.
Steve Regis28th March 2014 copyright: please acknowledge source if using any content. Steve Regis