These are difficult times for me at present, as I attempt to increase my exercise workload and get confident enough to do a 50 mile cycling event in June. It’s not that far away, especially with the weather outside reminding me of the first time I went to the Eroica event in Derbyshire. That was horizontal rain and a muddy, horrible weekend. Last year was sunshine and riding in a 1950’s dress and skirt… I’m not sure what 2018 will bring but if I want to beat the 25 miles I managed then, I need to be more fit than I am now.
This needs a fundamental reorganisation of mental and physical capacity, and I am struggling. This poem is a reminder that I have an awful learning curve, but it will happen in the end…
It begins very small
A scintilla of hope:
Growing quietly, within
Letting consciousness cope.
Take one step at a time
Don’t get hung up on style,
And the goal that you seek
Will be yours, in a while.
Learning methods, new skills
To consider and grasp:
Obsessing on details,
Instructions, far too fast.
Instead, take a moment,
An objective retreat:
Plan out the way forward
Mark this task to complete.
This journey won’t break you
But might challenge your soul:
Allow body some space,
Finally become whole.
Ironically, the project has already seen the light of day here but was never finished: mostly because it was never a complete work to begin with. I was foolish and thought it could be written as it was published, and that ended up destroying all love of the project at the time. However, a couple of things have transpired in the last two weeks to make me reassess and accept that this was a) a pretty good idea and b) is utterly worth the effort in resurrecting.
That original ‘publication’ was almost two years ago, according to my saved files, and a lot has changed between then and now, including my ability to effectively edit. I should redesign the front cover book image as a matter of priority, and there’s other stuff to be tweaked… but it’s still a decent story, has come cracking action sequences (which I’ll be able to write with far more confidence due to the Bondfic) plus a satisfying conclusion. All in all, there is cautious optimism this is going to happen.
– Second WiP needs more dialogue. – It is surprisingly robust for 79 pages then spontaneously implodes upon itself. – IT IS EMINENTLY SALVAGEABLE 😀 pic.twitter.com/dkKKTsgesa
Let’s be honest here, it’s just a place where I retweet blog posts and my two Instagram feeds. I’ve tried interactions but honestly my heart is not in it. I also have a personal page but it is never used and I frankly refuse to acknowledge the procession of ‘friends suggestions’ I’m given. I can tell you exactly when my love affair with the platform ended. In the same 48 hour period, my dad and a woman I’d taken steps to distance myself from in the past both asked to follow me in quick succession. There’s a reason you put life in your own hands and don’t hand it to algorithms. After that, Facebook was always going to be an afterthought.
Honestly, I have no regrets at all.
Now I’m told that all that Fake News in the US has wrought some mindful change in the platform… except people I trust are saying this is hollow. You can now make adverts for lost pets or to poll your community on what is the best picture from your family photo-shoot… but you’ll be asked to pay for them. There’s no way this platform can sustain itself as free without advertising somewhere, and it has to happen as a result, because there’s only so many ways your finite data resources can be sold. Mostly, any notion of change is irrelevant when it lies to its own users in order to get attention. I am consistently told I have far more notifications than is actually the case. An algorithm offering a new friend ‘suggestion’ is not a notification I asked for or wanted.
If I didn’t think there might be some redeemable part of this company, I would have deleted my presence a long time ago. As it happens, we may well be about to reach that point.
As I approach the point where social interaction matters less and less if accompanied by any kind of deception, it is easier to simply uncouple from the drama. Not everybody has to be your friend. Just because other people follow you does not mean it is a requirement to either reciprocate or feel an urge to become overtly social. I have decided that if there is no real meaning in my relationships, it won’t matter how many followers appear after my name. Most people only turn up for two things anyway: offering free shit is always a great guarantee of grasping that passing interest, or having a notion of genuine skill. If I get good enough via writing to garner a large following, they will get my sense of humour and how I react to shit like this, OR ELSE THEY’D NOT HAVE FOLLOWED ME TO BEGIN WITH.
Social media is never truly yours to dictate until a certain level of ‘fame’ is reached.
If I believe what I’m told, every time I use the f-word in a Tweet half the platform’s automatically censored from seeing I exist anyway. It doesn’t matter what I say, it is all being sanitised before the World can get indignant about it. The fact my follower count is in the negative this month for the first time in a while is nothing to do with people leaving in droves. I’m setting my own rules, and once they’re organised, we’ll see about turning those numbers around.
I’m not afraid of being alone. The bigger concern remains being genuine and true to what I believe. Once that’s consistent, we’ll work on everything else.
We are into Week Three of my drawing/comic strip adventures, with ACTUAL Progress breaking out. However, apart from the poetry this month, there has been no actual work on fiction work since the middle of December. I’m using a short story to properly debut the ‘serialised Twitter content’ that was pre-written a while ago. I need new material, and have the deadline of the end of the month to edit my NaNoWriMo novel. Should I be worried therefore that the only idea in my head right now is of no use to me whatsoever?
I know full well why brain is pushing for a sequel to my two Bond fanfics. This is the wish fulfilment that keeps me sane and happy, and did for long periods when Real Life did not go as planned. The problem is, of course, that fanfic doesn’t pay bills. It won’t get me noticed as a serious writer. Fortunately for me I think I’ve found the means to bypass the problems and get back on track, and that is what is happening this week. The central conceit that would have been used as plot in the fic is, on reflection, far too good to be wasted on someone else’s characters. I’ll be inventing my own plot therefore to go with the idea, and once that’s done it is time to leave the world of other people’s stories behind and finally produce my own.
The J Word will be serving a useful function in that regard in the months to come, I hope.
I’m hoping, sometime later in the year, to tell a story using the Comic Strip. To do that I need a) the right narrative and b) to be able to provide the elements required. That’s also the plan for Christmas gifts in 2018, to draw Infographics for everybody I know. With that long term objective in mind I cannot afford to let anything slide, especially the storytelling elements of my process. It means that it is time to get my brain out of mothballs and start pushing fiction to the forefront.
As with everything, I’ll keep you updated on progression as we go.
After six months of Patreon curation, I’ve begun to grasp that themes are really very useful for focussing the mind. Whether it be a Book of the Month or simply a strand of associative subjects, planning in advance is utterly essential not simply for cohesion. With February marking nine years of Warcraft blogging, I decided to take the easy route for inspiration this time around. This isn’t about romance, however. I’ll leave the hearts and flowers to others, my Month of Lurve is all about the stuff nobody talks about during daylight hours but still counts.
Next month’s short story (serialised on Twitter and then reproduced here in complete form) is a cautionary tale based in an ‘alternative’ England where it is men who are considered as both fairer and weaker sex. Ignoring both tradition and dress codes in a show of rebellion, two lovers decide to build a better future for themselves in the most public manner possible… plus there’ll be the regular weekly selection of Micropoetry and Haiku on a number of subjects relevant to relationships in the 21st Century. I also have some other ideas, and if time permits there may be some erotic fiction on offer.
Well, we all know that’s how this works after dinner and a movie, right?
With video and music streams to complement all this, I’m already rather excited about February’s schedule. What this announcement does is confirm that I’ll be working on the longer form of next month’s content starting today, thus maintaining a constant stream of TOP QUALITY GUBBINS from month to month. If this all works out I’ll also make time for the personal projects I wish to complete, and (hopefully) encourage more people to throw cash at me. I’m not gonna lie, this is the long term aim of all the hard work, and hopefully consistency will end up as its own reward.
I started writing this on Twelfth Night with a horrible virus thing in throat and ears which has finally slowed to the occasional cough and a bit of a runny nose. This I attribute to a lot of exercise and eating like a horse, but it is just as likely that diminished pile of drugs to my left had an influence. Either way, this seemed a great idea for a week’s worth of Haiku, and it seems to have done the trick.
I’m well again, and you get a week’s work of mini-masterpieces in one hit.
There’s no escaping
Temperature rising: not love,
At the Pharmacy,
Feeling awful: grab the things
Help you feel better.
Go to bed early,
Try not to stress: relaxing
Hot lemon, honey.
Convincing your brain
Tomorrow will be better:
Just relax tonight.
I hate being ill:
Feeling poorly: sick and me
Never get along.
At the end of last year, I quietly announced via Social media that 2018 was the year I’d learn how to draw. I suspect that a number of people will have seen the intent and expected this was happening because of a desire to produce art for people in exchange for cash. That has, and never will be the point. The only reason I’m here, lets be honest, is for me.
I’m looking for various means of expression this year, and Inktober awoke in me the understanding that art is not just a full torso shot, or a lovely picture of a dog. It is the means by which I am finally able to take the mess of feelings and emotions inside my brain and makes sense of them in an environment that is non-threatening and helpful. I picked a comic strip format, it is now apparent, not because it needed to be filled with my slowly evolving sketches. I already know that the process of even basic visualisation is having definite and positive effects. So what if I’m beginning with boxes and easily createable metaphors I’m comfortable using? It is still drawing.
Admitting any problem, after all, is the first step to solving it.
I’m also REALLY conscious of stepping on other people’s artistic toes. This is not an attempt to try and ride coattails or steal other people’s thunder. I don’t admit to being an expert at anything except my own feelings (and even that is stretching the definition at present.) What this daily process allows me to do is make sense of a part of my mind I’ve simply been too frightened to address… and already this is having a positive affect not simply on workload, but the means by which I can become happy. There’s a desire of course to help other people out and try and make thinking more attractive on a wider stage… but the comics need to remain mine. Just for me. It’s satisfying if someone else can associate with them, or compliment me on them but honestly, that’s not whey they’re here. This is not a Twitter account set up just to cash in on the concept. I’m not here to make a story and ask you to back it.
I’m here to learn to live with myself.
I made a graphic so when I upload all the art to Flickr at the end of each month I have a space to store it all, and can archive it here. After that, I can look back on the first real and tangible effort to deal with my mental fitness for several years and know this should have happens a LONG time ago.