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. 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. 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.

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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. When I look back at those weeks where there was purpose in my actions, that it felt good to be surrounded by individuals who  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]

EX/WHI :: Part Five

Previous Part :: Next Part


Everything hurts, everywhere, and this is not good.

Moving from lying to sitting is an effort, but Chris is awake, desperately trying to piece together what happened to induce unconsciousness. He’s lying on the floor of the coffee shop, last piece of Apple Danish where it was dropped, before the entire World literally shifted around them –

Where’s Ami?

He’d felt heartbeat racing, body shuddering and watched as she passed out in his arms, shortly before he had done the same… except it hadn’t been via concussion or physical intervention. They’d been starved of oxygen, that he’s convinced of, but what happened before…? Staring at her prone, lifeless body, everything comes back in a rush, followed by an immediate need to check his partner’s alive. Her body should be in the recovery position at least: as hand reaches down an incredibly muscular leg comes up, forced into chest as body is launched into the air and back onto a table, which summarily disintegrates under both weight and impact.

I woke up and panicked, she’s awake thinking I was the enemy. One of us is not phased by what just happened: I need to get my shit together, because she really is very good.

‘Oh fuck I’m so, sorry, I assumed -’

‘I was a bad guy. It’s okay, at least there’s no worry you’re still incapacitated.’

‘I dunno about that, why does everything suddenly hurt so much?’

‘Well, that was my next question. You’re not alone.’

Picking himself up from the shattered wooden remains, Chris comes to help Ami to her feet. Physically she looks no different, but believable reality is not as concrete as it was when he woke up for the first time today. Turning to survey the damage they’ve just caused, air around them both moves, breeze that is anything but normal, somehow prompting the table to instantly and unnervingly reconstruct itself back to pre-impact state. Chris’ SIG is no longer in the holster either, giving nothing to point at this sorcery as reassurance, so staring will have to suffice as logic stops operating, giving brain the finger before leaving his body with disgust.

‘I have no weapon, and am officially out of my depth.’

‘Neither do I: on reflection, nothing from this point forward is likely to conform to our idea of normal. I’m happy to think for us both for a while, it’s okay.’

‘You go right ahead. I didn’t imagine the room upside down either, did I?’

‘Not if furniture’s putting itself back together, you didn’t, Mr Chambers. At least they stopped running the movie outside what I’m now thinking is probably a prison.’

There’s obvious daylight coming into the cafe, but Chambers isn’t looking out at London any more: instead an odd, white space radiates the illusion of… well, space. He needs to sit down where he stands right now, because all of this has just staggered beyond too much to cope with. Ami doesn’t stop him: instead she goes to the large, glass double doors and stares for a moment, before pulling keys to the car out of her pocket. Taking a step back, the bunch is thrown towards what used to be an exit but at the moment of impact they are flung back, over her head before landing near the toilets.

Suddenly, he’s very grateful somebody else has voluntarily offered to be a grown-up until he’s back in the game. Watching the walk back, picking up keys, standing and assessing: mentally thinking through their joint predicament is absolutely what Ami is doing, with a calmness which is immediately reassuring. Meeting his gaze without fear, there’s a decision made that is both logical and fair.

‘Yup, this is definitely a prison, and we need to know why.’



Previous Part
:: Next Part

In and Out

I’d love to know how Normal Brains work. By that, a couple of assumptions are made: there are people who do not go through the mental turmoil I seem to cope with on a semi regular basis, and there are people who just write and everything comes out fine. Yes, I know you do editing and you tweak and then you go get some advice from your friends and tweak some more but… Okay, let me try and explain the problem I have in words that make sense.

I’ve always been able to write, and if you look at my work across a period of years it is obvious where the light-bulb moments have taken place. Just as pianists must practice, or an athlete will run every day whilst in competition, keeping mental faculties sharp is a vital part of the evolutionary process. What didn’t happen was the discovery of my own internal ‘voice’ until very recently (and by that I mean the last five years.) Fiction before this point was variable at best, and I’d not written a poem since the late 1980’s.

It was time to go to the mattresses.

Fighting myself has been very productive since 2012: pushing away the perceived barriers of ability, logically dismissing shortcomings, learning from everywhere and anywhere. The oddest stuff has been inspiration, literally hundreds of hours reading other people’s advice, so that a workable path could be plotted between where I was and where ability needed to be. A fellow writer this week has lamented the time its taken her to edit her novel. I’ve been at MMXCI for over 18 years, only now close to something that could be considered worthwhile.

I have 007 to thank, of course, for the training wheels that were stuck on my two fanfics, easily removed and bolted onto my own work. Creating a work of fiction in a well-established, easily accessible Universe give an opportunity to work out what is needed for your own to work, and for me there were so many holes to be filled when pulling MMXCI back to the table. However, now comes the realisation why that is so important, as the narrative pretty much runs as parallel experience for how I managed to find my way from the lowest point in my life in 2005 until now.

I have inadvertently written an autobiographical novel.

What has happened in between 1999 and now, of course, is the continued and systematic learning and unlearning of the restrictions on my mental freedom. After all that time, I really am getting somewhere.

Art for Art’s Sake

It’s twenty-one days before my holiday begins: not that I’m counting days or anything, but last night the dates were put in the Work Diary, which has somehow made the entire experience a bit more real. The poetry deadlines are looming for the first couple of awards/contests that I feel are feasible to enter, and last night my work to show for this was woeful. As of typing this (12.07 p.m.) there’s FIVE pieces of work whose foundations I’m very proud of. There is, I think, a way forward.

It’s as if my brain finally turned up and got with the programme.

I edited some novel last night, and today I’ll prune and organise a portion of the scheduling backlog. Wednesday is the World Cup semi-final so as much as I can get done before 7pm will be great, and then a part of me is considering cycling to the entire thing in the shed, because then I have to focus on something other than worrying about whether we win or not. The week’s been planned out, but already today has come the need to throw that away and focus on the poems. Once upon a time, this would have ruined the rest of my week. Things are slowly becoming easier to deal with.

It might not seem like much to you but its a big deal to me.

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If I can keep this impetus up for the rest of the week, there should be space on Friday to begin planning for August’s scheduling…

Poetry Archive :: Stop

I fall in love almost every day.


Stop

That’s quite enough, stop
here, let me out: terminate
sad, pointless journey.

To expect support
without offering same: stop
pushing love away.

This is a paper
relationship: flimsiest
construction of lies.

Better start, grant
license for change: emerging
redefinition.

You can drop me here,
Qualify yourself: travel
alone, start afresh.


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. 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:

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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.

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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 😀

Poetry Archive :: All Change

We’re halfway through the year, and this is becoming less and less like wading through treacle. The haiku have always been easier (though occasionally I slip up on syllables) but making decent, fully-formed poems is still causing issues, before making sure the five verses combine to work as a cohesive whole. The learning process on these is often harder than the long-form poetry. Perfectionism is a harsh mistress.

The effort is becoming more and more worthwhile with each passing week.


All Change

Kind, the new mantra
Applied liberally: think
Consideration.

Care, in the moments
Where others falter: conscience
Bought to this debate.

It’s okay to leave,
If all else fails: walk away
Reconsider change.

From this chaos grows
Fresh impetus: defining
Your new way forward.

Congratulations,
It’s happening: transforming
This life, redefined.