Is It Worth It?

Today is a ‘ponder your existence’ day.

I’ve formed a lot of personal relationships over the years with people who, it must be said, seem to have little or no interest in me. The associations have, for the most part, come about from moments of brief brilliance: a chance meeting in a game, or maybe a glorious exchange via Social media. After that moment, one of two things tends to happen. That person either a) gets bored and simply vanishes or b) has a massive, almost nuclear meltdown, flounces off and is never seen again.

I seem to fall in love with the hopeless cases.

For me, the Internet is a second home. This is sometimes a bit unhealthy (and, of late, I am attempting to curb my time on Twitter because there are no longer enough hours in the day to get everything done otherwise) and is historically cyclical. Once the weather gets better I’ll be outside anyway, but for now, we’re using Social media as a means to sell ourselves. However, not a day goes by when I watch someone who used to be active and enjoyable on the platform drift into the past without a goodbye.

It can get quite depressing if one allows this romantic association to consume the rational, sensible part of brain that gets how anonymity works. Now my real name is attached to my Twitter accounts, there’s no escaping the truth of what I am, but as I’m unlikely to have to worry about being employed in a massive multinational anytime soon, having my Boss turn up to read Tweets is not a major concern. Still, honesty does matter. Today I’ve been lied to and that hurts.


Having a long memory on the Internet is useful. Remembering who was the dick and the hero, understanding the people prepared to have a conversation when you need one, the person with the best GIFs… all these things add up to the perfection of a Decent Online Experience. Of course, none of this matters one iota to the person with their own agenda, who’s just here to get a quick fix of narcissistic joy. Like all things, your experience will vary. I’m here for the long term, however, so it matters a great deal that the environment is conducive for me to survive. Therefore, you unfollow the hacked accounts, you block the obvious robots, and life goes on regardless.

Today, however, I miss the good people who went away, the ones I can’t get to be there anymore, and my friends who no longer communicate.

I think I miss them most of all.

You Oughta Know :: Two

Yesterday, quite frankly, was one of the most important days I’ve had since this whole project began.


Progress on the Novel had stalled. Twelve days of minimal movement, if at all. The problem, such as it stood, was my insistence that plot needed to go a certain way because that’s been the plan since I began in 2001. Except I couldn’t write what was needed, the narrative complexity was simply too much for my poor brain to cope with. This week, at the Gym, I’ve been doing negative repetition: this is when you make muscles work in a manner which feels contrary to what would normally build strength but in fact quite the opposite.

It was this reverse approach that finally allowed me to break the writing deadlock.

In the end, all the sparkle and glamour was unnecessary. What was required was understanding that showing and telling are far more flexible constructs than first considered, and I could do both without compromising anything. I don’t need to be at this point in the narrative anymore, and it is time to move on, and the cupboard allows all that frippery to become pointless. One more short scene and finally I’m into a bit of narrative that will be fun to write. That was the big issue: this bit needed to happen, but I didn’t want to.

Without the push to do stuff I don’t like, none of this would be taking place.


What looked like an improbable finish date of March 15th is now seeming far more doable. It will still require editing, yes, but only the second half. Completion totally with a measure of editing by Easter is now the next goal. This is totally unchartered territory to boot, close to 80k words of original work. I’ve already got people lined up to read once I’m done, too, and there’s no real fear or anguish over that either. Amazingly, I’m looking forward to feedback, and I frankly won’t care if people don’t like it. Right now, the bigger goal is to get to the end.

What matters more to me now than popularity is the completion. Writing has not become a means to change the World just yet. However, in my own part of that whole, it is more significant than at any point in the last 51 years, and that’s just amazing.

A reckoning is fast approaching.

The Test

Tomorrow begins a project that has evolved significantly since being first planned. It will be ‘marketed’ on the Internet of Words Instagram feed, to see how using hashtags will affect reach, and whether it is possible to build an audience literally from scratch. It is a combination of art and poetry, which uses the fact that Wikipedia allows pictures to be shared from its database under a Creative Commons license.

It allows me to use Art History to inspire Haiku, and it is fabulous.

Stone Age Art

I’ve mapped out twenty-eight stops that cover most of the key tenets of Art History. With each one, there is a Haiku that will become, at the end of March, a journey from the Dawn of Mankind to the present day. I’m VERY pleased with the output thus far, and even more happy that I can now use Instagram and its various add-ons to create what is compelling and original content.

Haiku Page Day 2

However, what is most satisfying of all is the cohesive whole that these parts have made, quite a long way from the starting idea. This is not something I have the time to do every month, but it has undoubtedly inspired a lot of potential new directions for both poetry and imagery online. That’s what I’m here to do, after all. It is not solely about inspiring myself either, but (hopefully) making others think and enjoy what is being produced.

We’ll take a look at the end of March and see how successful (or otherwise) the project was.

Go with the Flow

So, I’m behind this week, but there’s a very good reason. The fates appear to have aligned on a great many areas of what could previously be described as problematic content. As a result, I’m two days into editing a NaNo novel from times past, and I have a couple of short stories that were nothing more than fumes a few days ago. Creativity, after a period where nothing existed, has returned with a vengeance. I know why this is, am not going to argue, but am conscious there also needs to be a thought to the future. That’s why we’re already looking forward to next month.

I have decided therefore that March is going to be a month of poetry.


As the weather is getting slightly kinder this will also push me out of comfort zones and the house in order to use the Outside World (TM) for inspiration. There’ll be more details on the nuts and bolts of the content once I’ve finalised everything next week, but I want to use places I find beautiful as inspiration for the majority of my workload. It will also mean quite literally blowing the dust off my camera and not relying on the mobile phone as a means of taking pictures.

I really am rather excited at the possibilities 😀


Beauty for me is quite a complicated equation. It is rarely physical (though there are exceptions) and often found in nature. I love history as an aesthetic concept: ancient Egypt, the Victorian period… which leeches into architecture and construction. There are so many possibilities for the month to look forward to, including my options for the #Narrating2018 and #Soundtracking 2018 strands of content. In fact, just writing this blog post has inspired more possibilities.

My aesthetics are a key part of what I am. I look forward to sharing them with you.

The Fix

Yesterday, after someone popped up on my  Twitter feed that I had blocked, I went on a bit of an impromptu exploration of my account. What I found made me stop and think about how Twitter has changed in the last few years, and that those of use using the platform for promotion purposes need to look quite closely at what it is we say and do.

The first major takeaway from this exercise was that, based on my profile and activity, the web-based version of the platform decided I was male. This is not on reflection as much of a surprise as it was yesterday and explains why so much of the advertising that drove me off using the Mac OS version of Twitter was targetted in the way it was. I’d never go back to using the web-based interface either because of the adverts, and it remains the #1 reason why I can’t ever take Twitter seriously (as is the case with Facebook.)

On further inspection, there’s a list of ‘interests’ generated on the web API which (presumably) are used to tailor the advertising I don’t look at.

The eight items that remain hidden (and unclickable) are something of an issue, but not nearly as much as the fact that there are things I’m associated with that I don’t understand:


Okay I get the majority of these (and woman’s pants/trousers are clearly an item of interest) but WTF is kaurie2 and WHY do I have THREE mentions of it? One assumes it’s a mistake or a programmers oversight… but, REALLY?


There is also the means by which you can ask Twitter exactly how it uses data in order to tailor content to you. In my case that is a 13 page .PDF file which includes all the commercial Twitter accounts the company feels I would have an interest in. Twitter ‘creates these audiences based on similarities between (your) account and the accounts included in tailored audiences’ and even by opting out of all the specific tools that sell to me, I cannot remove myself from being sold at. There’s a number of out and out spam accounts on this list, apart from a number of fairly obvious other high-profile names… and some not so obvious ones…


Yes really, I’m on her list, despite being a) not eligible to vote in the US and b) not being American. Twitter, your metrics need a SERIOUS overhaul… 


If these things matter to you and if you’re interested in how robots and algorithms already are arbitrarily labelling your future… maybe take some time today to see what companies Twitter has decided you need to be an audience for.


Occupy Your Mind

Next Thursday is Time to Change Day where, for 24 hours, I can happily remind people that having a mental health issue is no longer the stigma it once was. There are days when I feel this isn’t the case, however, especially on Social media: that advocating tolerance and understanding is sometimes a tough ask. When the rest of the World has grown up not worrying about thinking before it speaks, or understanding why some people feel differently, every single interaction can be a trial. Except… this week, something has happened. Perhaps it is my perception that has altered or just the fact I’m now more aware of what can happen if people don’t think before they affect others’ lives.

Now I have the confidence to stand up and say stuff needs to stop.

The Way Forward

I’m already seeing the effects of this in planning content. I’m beginning to grasp the confidence in the Gym to deal with the unexpected (like faceplanting into the floor when my arms gave out on a push-up and not dying of anxiety or embarrassment.) I’ll still have moments but talking about mental health has benefits far and away from your actual condition. That empowerment of your self-belief might look and sound like technobabble bollocks, but it really isn’t. Getting your shit sorted is not hard, though sometimes it will feel that way.

If you can find the right support network, things get a helluva lot easier.

It is not just a case of standing up for what you are and believe, however. Learning from others is a vital part of the process. It doesn’t have to be formal instruction either: the benefits of simply hanging out with like-minded individuals, watching at a distance and crucially saying nothing at all can all reap benefits for the open-minded. Change is not simply the process of alteration, but adaptation and acceptance. All of these things work together if you are prepared to put in the effort. I am in the most exciting place I have ever existed in terms of creativity, too. Today, I’ve made some significant changes to the two major fiction pieces I’m re-writing, alterations I’d not have been capable of making a year ago.

Knowing when to say No, and being prepared to change are opening creative avenues I did not think would be possible, and it is beyond brilliant.

Seconds Out

I made it through an entire week of content. I’m not sure whether I should celebrate or not, because this means I am now obliged to do the same for the next 51 weeks, and that might be a bit of a stretch… except the process of organising myself is already reaping unexpected rewards. Instead of feeling sorry for myself whilst unwell yesterday there was a bike ride and some really satisfying application of energy to improving the World around me. All that stuff about individuals being unable to change their circumstance is only true to a point.

The more sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that there’s now a page dedicated to my poetry (in graphic format) which started to appear on Twitter in the second half of 2017. I’m hoping to write at least a couple of these a month for 2018, and when they get an airing on Social media you can expect to see them archived here shortly afterwards. I hope at some point to shove all of these together in an e-book or some kind of more formal presentation format, but don’t hold your breath on that.

Traffic Jam Remix

After that, this week is about getting ahead on posting and making some clear air for editing and back-end work. That means you may not see me about as much on Social media but you can rest assured I’ll still be around, working hard. I am looking forward to sharing with you what is coming up for February too, which I’ll be revealing this time next week.

For now, it is on with the grind.