Shut Up

Let me tell you a story, this sunny Monday, of how words can set you free.

In an attempt to try and kickstart my writing career, I took a course at the local Community College. It remains a very Victorian building on the outside, but vastly modern within, and is exactly how you’d imagine Community College from TV shows.Β It was, that first time (two courses were taken) new life in the mornings after kids went to School, and made me feel like, FINALLY, I’d escaped the confines of my own personally-imposed prison. For context, this was (I think) 2011. It seems like a lifetime ago, which with the changes that have now been wrought is not far from the truth.

My teacher was a revelation. He ran (and possibly still does) a comic book appreciation website… yup, it’s still there. I’ll probably follow him once I’ve written this and see if he returns the gesture, but I digress. He was the person who made me realise that my reality, the one that had been self-imposed and created in the panic of Post Natal Depression wasn’t anywhere near the truth of my potential. He was the person, when I read a piece of work with a swear word in it to the group, remarked at how much I clearly relished saying something that wouldn’t normally be uttered in public.

On reflection, this man’s actions began a significant moment in my renaissance.

The restrictions others attempt to place upon you, in their attempts to mould existence in their own image, have been an issue since that bloke on the mountain with his tablets of lore.Β Ironically, that guidance is still being used as truth in a modern would which bears no resemblance to the one that book was created for as rules. It doesn’t stop those who want to make their points with fire and brimstone, so I wonder why people like this get so bothered that women won’t be happy, submissive partners. Fuck that for a game of soldiers, why not just let people do as they wish?

We all know why that doesn’t happen.

cakehole

If you want something enough, you work for it. My creative writing teacher, whether it was intentional or not, provided me with some vital fuel for a fire that would not previously burn, but thanks to him, now does.Β When I look back at those weeks where there was purpose in my actions, that it felt good to be surrounded by individuals whoΒ  had at least one thing in common. That’s what’s missed the most in this journey, that there’s still a desire to hang out with those who enjoy words as much as I do. Perhaps it is time I sorted that out.

Maybe this can be that beginning.


[PS: He did follow me back. Cheers Carl, this blog’s for you <3]

New Day Dawning

Instead of winding down proceedings ahead of my month off in August, there’s a plan afoot, starting today, to organise content to run in my absence.Β There’ll be a day next week when I schedule a month’s worth of poetry for the Twitter feed (hence the arrival of daily updates via social media, for which I need to make MOAR GRAPHICS) but after that it would be keep the place occupied and operational. Therefore, let it be known that the following will be taking place here during August:

ExWhy_small

I’m currently writing this in breaks between poetry and exercise, and am three weeks ahead. The plan is to stack up enough ‘episodes’ to carry through my holiday and into September. Therefore, this will continue to be published whilst I’m away on Fridays.

Mondays and Wednesdays will have a series of interconnected poems, scheduled in advance, under the banner of SIMPLE. This will be to allow me to spend the time during August to organise my Fanzine over at arguto.net without allowing this site to go quiet.

Simple.png

Everything will change in September, including the real possibility of a site redesign to accommodate the increasing amount of content. For now, enjoy this month’s content as it arrives, starting tomorrow πŸ˜€

Promenade

newtype1
‘Why do you write?’

Sometimes, it is compulsion: a injustice observed, moment recalled or future imagined. Often the urge strikes at an inopportune moment. It’s why a notepad and pencil have more significance than transcribing into the Cloud or dictating into an iPhone. Whilst fingers can grasp an implement, the default is always a pencil, making it easier to correct mistakes. There are many in those initial moments. Then there’s my keyboard, copy of an old style typewriter, to remind of the days that was the only option when creating formal work.

newtype4
‘What do you write about?’

Everything is up for debate, nothing beyond the remit. Once upon a time, for about thirty years, poetry was evil and impossible to fathom, but with patience and thought that fear is now overcome. I dealt with learning difficulties and social dysfunction via blogging, granting a freedom of expression that remains a constant joy to manipulate. It’s also a source of amusement to observe the interpretations of what gets written. Those loved the most in that regard grasp that writing, like most forms of expression, is supposed to offer at least some level of ambiguity unless you’re told otherwise…

newtype2
‘What does writing mean to you?’

Words are my salvation, and my Kryptonite.Β To be able to express myself is the greatest joy and freedom that has ever been granted in my half a century on the Planet. This is not about a massive follower count or critical acclaim, because neither of those will ever grant the same joy as a well-written story or the blog post that truly expresses my feelings. When those words fail me, inability to express what ails or distracts, it is as if I’ve been struck down. The incapability to write, once destroyed, brings relief that cannot ever be appreciated enough.

newtype5

‘What is your favourite writing form?’

Blogging (literally) saved my life when all other effective forms of communication had failed, so to admit a soft spot for just being able to write ‘today I woke up and felt happy’ probably ranks quite highly. However, the storytelling aspects of the craft are where the real satisfaction increasingly lies. There’s been an extension of that into photography too in the last couple of years, and that media degree in my twenties might yet have some actual use going forward.

newtype3

‘What advice would you get to start people writing?’

Routine and practice, as is the case in most pursuits, will garner real returns. However, for some people the ability to do this daily can end up stifling creativity, so the better path inevitably includesΒ finding a routine that suits your lifestyle. Write everything down. Planning in advance will help, especially if you’re writing a massive fantasy epic from scratch. The best advice of all however is be you, especially in blogging. An audience will invest in your life far more readily than you will realise, and the more that is given… that’s up to you. All of this, ultimately, is in your hands.

Find Time

The Internet has changed my life.

It has been a long, often painful progress, but since 1992 (when our first dial up modem was purchased) a phenomenal amount of crucial, life changing events have taken place online. Many of those moments had the air of fiction about them, on reflection. Visiting a number of pen-pals I’d written to, who were all really annoyed there was a boyfriend in tow.Β Finding other people who shared my love of genre TV, and then making a fatal mistake in judgement… and the list goes on. However, there is one overridingly significant result from all these years online, and it has nothing to do with anybody else.

This is the place which gave me space to learn, at my own pace.

amy.gif

This is where the truth about my body and how pleasure could be derived from it finally made sense.Β Reading articles about editing, writing and technique, over and again, finally began to stick. The fiction read was not nearly as important as news and opinion, in the end, because the path to storytelling was grounded in current affairs. The people met in Azeroth, via LiveJournal and Facebook, both which were ultimately ignored for Twitter, opened my mind, and were a reminder that people can be mean, cold and arrogant regardless of the environment.

However, eventually, the right people were found.

chinstroke.gif

The significant of positivity in this journey cannot be underestimated. Those who would hug me when I asked, and listen when needed. The faceless, anonymous nature of individuals wouldn’t matter after a while, because you would get to know those who mattered over time. Then, there would be the need to adjust behaviour to match the moods of others, or the situations that would arise online, and from this came the vital confidence to believe a strength existed to change other things too: fitness, general health, what was worn and how those in the Real World could be less intimidating as a result.

Without the Internet’s ‘fiction’, many facts in my life would never have been exposed as truth.

nobox

Most importantly of all, the innermost workings of my mind would never have been exposed to critique or examination without the Internet as a backdrop. It has been the longest time to find the pieces and construct the puzzle in my head, but finally there is the understanding of what it is I am and what is being looked at. That has been the hardest journey of all, but looking backwards to where everything started, the path is now very easy to retrace. That says to me that everything that brings life to this point is intrinsically right. Both good and bad have their part to play. It has become an exercise in grasping everything, them making sense of those pieces as and when it is possible to do so.

Smile_and_Wave.gif

Sometimes, it is an act. There are moments when self-defence takes over and I’m just making what seem to be the right noises. Most of the time however, there is method and confidence, where before it did not exist. As each new piece is fished from subconscious and placed in the puzzle, those moments are less and less frequent. This is a place that is where I want to be, and remain.

This is the place I truly call home.

Go

This Summer, I am going to push myself into entering a number of awards and trying to get my peculiar talent-set noticed on a wider stage. Despite what some might think, this isn’t about building a massive multi-media empire. That’s the easy part: what is harder for me is the recognition that a fifty-summat writer can be considered as a neophyte, and that there is so much to learn as yet undiscovered.

Therefore, these things matter, and I’ll be pushing to produce/showcase my best work for inclusion to the following:


Penguin Write Now (Novel) (second attempt!) :: Entries close July 9th.

Poetry School (Mentoring)Β :: Entries close July 22nd

The Woman’s Poet Prize (Mentoring) :: Entries close July 23rd

Aesthetica Magazine (Poetry and Short Story) :: Entries close August 31st

The Poetry Society :: Entries close October 31st


Undoubtedly there are more, but for now this is my limit in terms of ability and real life.

Let’s be honest here, I’m a realist after all. Knowing how many people, with considerably more ability and experience enter these things, being realistic as to my chances is as important as presenting the best output possible. There’ll be no spamming of timelines or incessant banging on about how excited it is waiting for the outcomes. If my work is good enough, then someone will eventually take notice.

That’s the mindset that keeps the whole process moving forward to begin with.

Why

To kick-start my Internet Month, it seemed like a good idea to start asking questions of the place in which we all live. I’ll be honest, it has begun better than could possibly have been expected.

Reading my feed today, someone made the comment that generalising about the bad in people seems to have become a fairly predictable means of guaranteeing retweets and follows, and I think he’s spot on. Outrage generally appears to be the order of the day for some, and responding to that fallout a predictable (and often just as pointless) upshot for many others. After one person’s made the point for you, there is no need to keep recycling moral indignation, yet that is exactly what happens. Looking for an antidote to this, I’ve decided for the next month to let the impetus out of my hands, trusting those around me to interact.

Then we see how many of that number are willing to have a discussion.

This message (and follow) today was as good a validation of the process that I could possibly have wished for. Sometimes, it isn’t simply about spewing random facts or ideas into the ether in the vain hope someone will be interested. What matters more is to find out what it is that motivates people away from the reasons they use Twitter in the first place, and to remind others that it is just as important to take part as to stand on the sidelines and watch.

Now all that has to happen is for me to provide the questions which will stimulate healthy debate and not start fights …

Welcome to the Working Week

I like setting myself ridiculous challenges, and it has been a while since one’s been put on the table. With the Novel [TM] moving happily towards first draft, complete to my satisfaction (and it is, will be working on it over the weekend) it is time to push the creativity in other ways. Both of my Bond fictions were initially written in episodic format, and with the short stories now beginning to flower in their own space on Twitter… I think it is time to see if this site could support a weekly, longer-form project.

Hence, we present Fridays as the day I’ll be attempting to bring you EX/WHI.

spacetravellers.gif

Right now, all you need to know is this story involves ALIENS.Β There is, of course, far more to it than that: the basic plot is blocked and roughly written, but as this will be very much a live WiP I have no idea where it is going to go.Β Also, and this is crucial, there is no beta reader.Β I’m not getting anyone to check this or see if it makes sense, it is just happening, from brain to screen, on a weekly basis. Therefore, if you spot a typo or there’s a glaring WTF moment, feel more than free to tell me in the comments πŸ˜€

This is an exercise in patience for you guys and ability/dedication for me. I love this idea enough not to get bored and wander off. It’s not just a bog standard science fiction story, either, and I promise that you’ll get your money’s worth. The only way to see if this works, of course, is to just start writing the damn thing and see where it goes… so after this gets posted, Prologue to the story will appear.

I’d love to have you along for this latest part of my journey πŸ˜€