Beautiful Dreamer

That graphic means only one thing, and it’s TIME TO LOOK AHEAD. Lots to talk about, so let’s get started.

  • This Website Needs Reorganisation

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    If I’m sending potential mentors here, it time to get things sorted. At least two pages as of writing this have no content. I can reorganise some links to be more coherent. Mostly, it all needs a once over and the smell of fresh bread to be more enticing. Therefore, over the next couple of days, stuff will magically appear. Plus, I’ll be dragging out the essays that were written for the Book of the Month project…

  • ‘Quite a Few’ Short Stories in Planning

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    This feature has really taken off over the last few months, and it is consistently (along with the curated music lists) my top engagement with readers. As a result, we have a bit of a binge on, with content being planned a massive SIX MONTHS in advance. I think, on return from the break in September, we’ll stick a synopsis at the start of the Twitter feed before the story proper begins…

  • The August Poetry Recap

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    As I have mentioned previously, August is a ‘content lite’ month. However, Twitter will, every day at 2pm (@Internetofwords) and 6pm (@AlternativeChat) provide you with one of the best poems from the last six months, as a reminder that I’m still alive even if on hiatus, and that I’ve written a LOT of poetry since the start of this journey. Yeah, some of it is better than the rest, but HEY everybody has to begin somewhere…

  • Gumroad ‘Coming in October’

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    All things being equal, I’ll have Issue 1 of Arguto to sell at some point in the future. It will give you a tangible piece of literary output, with content not available anywhere else, including pictures and, guaranteed: one short story, one haiku plus a micropoetry sequence. It’s going to Gumroad, as will be some other exclusive items you can buy to help support my journey. Watch this Space.

  • Instagram is Back (well, sort of)

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    No, I’m not Facebook’s bitch, but if IoW is gonna fly, I am gonna need to sacrifice a piece of the soul to the Commercial Gods. This is particularly true now they do video. When the new stuff is ready to go, I’ll let you know, but it will be art/poetry based… and there’s already planning…

  • Supporting My Journey

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This is your scheduled reminder that I’ll take Paypal payments and you can buy me a cuppa on Ko-Fi. If you’d like to donate, click here.


Summertime

I hate to be the one who points this out, but June is now only eleven days away. This means there needs to be far more training to ride bikes in public than is currently the case, and there is now the commencement of quite serious planning for the #Soundtracking2018 and #Narrating2018 content on the YouTubes. Music’s easy, in that glorious honeymoon period where all songs with Summer in their title are fair game for playlist inclusion. However, that’s not our subject matter for the short story or additional content.

It is time to delve into the utterly bizarre shiz that lives a stone’s throw away from conventional memes and top informative content.

#GITM

My daughter loves her dank memes, and it was her who made this playlist possible. Some of the stuff she watches is truly bizarre, and once you hit those rabbit holes it can become very hard to get away without losing hours of life. When they say all human life is online, they’re not kidding… and the truly surreal nature of some of it is… well, just that.

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I’m really enjoying the preparation for next month’s content.

I hope there’s something within it to both educate and inform.

Wondrous Stories

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This site is still not nearly as ‘done’ as I would like, and as a result, for the next few days, lots of stuff’s gonna get poked and prodded. That will include adding pages for the two new ideas I decided to throw into the mix at the 11th hour on New Year’s Eve, and are already looking like the best ones I’ve had for quite some time. Both are completely autonomous too: they rely on a regular scheduled post, and the ability to organise myself once a week for the next fifty-one.

#Narrating2018 is the more esoteric of the two ideas: taking random memories from my past and recalling them in the present, then using that inspiration as a basis for more content and reflection. This month, that means colour documentaries from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, uploaded by a disparate bunch of individuals to You Tube for posterity. It is memory preservation without the often annoying subtext/soundtrack that modern YT content creators think is funny or relevant. I like my past untainted, so it can be judged objectively.

Then there’s the #indy31 which forms a larger part of #Soundtracking2018: a year’s worth of music that matters to me, on a month by month basis. I’ll be sorting out my You Tube channel next week in anticipation of actual usage, where these songs can go as fully formed playlists, plus some written accompaniment as context. It is all very simple: other people have done the work, I’m just curating the results. It is one of my skills, which should be used to the fullest potential possible.

Soundtracking 2018

All these things are a part of my life I live with a passion, but have never really taken the time to share with other people. It seems sometimes like too much effort to do so, when in reality the only real problem is being willing to share. In a world where so many people have lost the basic ability to both accommodate others and embrace their differences, it is high time I left my prejudices at the door and celebrated things just for what they are and not what others tell me to believe. More importantly however, my own, often dangerous inability to think outside the box I live in has the capacity to serve as a real hindrance. If I can show willing to step outside my comfort zones, then maybe this will encourage others to follow suit.

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The proof of all this will, undoubtedly be in the consumption. Time to shut up talking a good game, and start playing it.

Communication Breakdown

Origins

Those of you paying attention will know that yesterday was my 51st Birthday. These events are often odd affairs: I can remember my 40th as one of the darkest periods of my life, whilst a decade on I was in Paris, with my family and staying in the fanciest Hotel I’d ever experienced. As human beings, we tend to put a lot of emphasis on these celebrations, and it is only this year that I’ve begun to understand why that is. Those revelations will undoubtedly serve as personal blogging fodder for several days: for now, I wanted to spend some time explaining how a very particular group of people have influenced my journey to this point.

You see, without exception, it is those who take time to be critical whom I respect the most.

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Being positive is, for a writer, often the coward’s way out. I can remember moments when asked to critique other people’s works, I’ve struggled to find anything positive to say. In those cases, the compliment sandwich becomes a difficult meal to make. You know how this works: two positives that act as the bread to a filling where you get to lay bare all the bad stuff. Except sometimes, there is only filling. As a society, we are now pushed to be positive for a lot of very good, noble and totally correct reasons. There are extremely sound foundations for encouraging this behaviour… except when your sandwich is sans filling…

It is a balancing act I’ve always found hard to maintain because I was made a blunt instrument. I’ve had to learn to communicate a balance, and over the years on my three blogs you can, if you take the time, watch this evolution take place. There will be days when I continue to say ‘fuck you’ to various sections of the establishment, and that remains the case because there is the realisation that these people just don’t listen regardless. If your idea of criticism is the passive-aggressive format that at least one of my stalkers took in an attempt to try and make me feel guilty for ostracising him? I can see the difference now. That ploy’s not going to work anymore.

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With everybody else, I can find a working relationship. Language differences do not matter: I can Google translate now if required (and I do when the need is there) and honestly if the willing exists on both sides, everybody wins. The best criticism I get, consistently, is that which simply holds a mirror up to my own failings without fear. It happens far more than most might realise too: the exchanges via Social media, realisations that are highlighted by (often) the most unexpected of people. The number of individuals who still DM me when typos turn up in posts is a true joy and is never going to get old. It isn’t pedantry, but a physical manifestation of care, and I will forever remain grateful.

Being online is becoming less dangerous with each passing day as a result. Those who are annoyed enough to block me from their lives have done their job in teaching the lessons around how sometimes, however hard you try, people will just hate what you are regardless. Occasionally those blocks, however, are for sanity, and the understanding that someone isn’t listening to anyone but themselves. For the people who really matter you just mute and allow them the chance to vent, because they give you that respect in your space to do the exact same thing. Having taken all my Twitter mutes off this morning after a period where I just needed to breathe (metaphorically speaking) there a readiness to engage again.

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Writing isn’t just an exercise in self-satisfaction, despite what some authors might say to the contrary. It is as much about being able to grasp and accept the critical responses of others as it is being able to do the same to them. I am happy to be edited, which was once not the case but only to a point. If I feel someone’s suggesting the removal of a point I feel is crucial to an argument or a narrative, it will stay intact. If someone sees the World in a differing way to me that is absolutely fine (and I can respect this) but not at the expense of my own view or indeed feelings on the matter. If it is obvious someone is not prepared to compromise… then you walk on. With too much else to do, some fights are simply not worth your time.

However, I listen to all the criticism I get. Good and bad, positive and negative, I have found the means to assimilate it all. That is something I know many people just can’t do, but for me, it has become as much of the process as the writing itself. I have been forged in the heat of decades of pitched Internet abuse, attacked by trolls and fools as well as finding some of the best and most brilliant friends a girl could ever ask for in her journey to enlightenment. Sometimes, you take it all because there’s the understanding that on some days, you get nothing at all.

This is what I have become, and it is glorious.

#ThinkTober Week Three

Week Three of the Haiku project ended up as something of an experiment in different canvases. Some worked, others didn’t, but overall I learnt a great deal about organising myself more effectively. Needless to say, all of this is useful information to take going forward in the weeks to come.

One of the most significant changes will be that if I use myself as a canvas, I’ll need to get somebody else to take the pictures. This picture is a bit more blurry than I would like: had I been better organised, a far more professional picture could have been taken. Also, fountain pen ink is by far the best thing I’ve found to write onto my skin. This won’t be the last time that happens, I’ll wager.

Welcome to the green space outside my house: one of the trees here fell down a few years ago and crushed my car. This one, however, appears to be made of sturdier stuff and became my backdrop: I did think about writing on the bark, but am pretty certain that would qualify as vandalism. Card and BluTack had to do instead.

In the interests of full disclosure: this spider was not killed in order to make the Haiku happen. I found a long-dead spider corpse (with an already detached leg) to play a stunt squashed arachnid. I still need to put this unit together, now I come to think of it… ^^

I need to make more use of custom card cutouts in the Christmas set of Haiku I’m planning. Hobby shops probably will be able to provide me with some festive shapes, and I’m smart enough to be able to design some of my own. There’s also the opportunity to print out my words and then place them against plainer backgrounds, which is an approach I’ve not utilised…

This, of all the Haiku I’ve done, is my absolute favourite of all. It required me to have to write a poem only using the Scrabble letters and then finding a way to place them on the board where particular letters had to be duplicated. Okay, that’s not exactly how a game would work either, but you can’t have everything.

Yes, I texted this one in because I was short for time.

I think it works regardless 😀

… and that is Week Three done. That leaves me another 10 days worth of Haiku to complete, which I’ll post as one complete post after the Project is finished. Many thanks for sticking with me thus far, and I look forward to seeing you for the last part of the journey.

Secret Messages

Origins

Before I leave the 1990’s behind for good, there is one story that is worth repeating. It’s not well known, and is the basis for a love affair with computing and the Internet which has failed to diminish over the last twenty years. It began on the back of unabashed fandom obsession for a TV show many people will never have heard of, but which is an important part of UK genre history. The year is 1995, and the TV show was BUGS.

This show was notable because it was created with input by Brian Clemens who was responsible for creating both The Avengers and The Professionals. It was, despite the now highly dated nature of the title sequence, pretty decent fare, and I have a fanfic written (almost complete) that covered my favourite period of the show. However, that was not all I was responsible for during that time period. For a brief and glorious two year period, I was Webmistress of the Official Website.

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Bureau Two was my baby: the Wayback Machine has copies of the site still archived from 20 years ago, when I was responsible for upkeep and was being paid by the production company to do so. This was the first time an external website was linked to the BBC’s own architecture, making it pretty much unique, and I was immensely proud of the achievement. The date on this capture’s apposite too: six days before the debut of the show’s Season 4, which was cancelled as a result of the Omagh Bomb on the 15th, as the opening episode contained an explosion. The series never really recovered after that, and was quietly cancelled, after which I signed over intellectual property rights and handed the data to the production company for upkeep.

This was my first experience of ‘professional’ writing too, and I was pretty proud of it. I liaised with the production company, had an editor to sign off all the work, and did it all off my own back. It made me realise I was capable of better things than simply the job I was beginning to hate, and gave me a vital lifeline away from my normal routine. Personal circumstances however transpired to push me away from pursuing this full-time, and becoming pregnant pretty much put the brakes on everything that involved dealing with other people. However, it allowed my fiction to finally get a look in. With confidence in web design, I started a West Wing ‘Fansite’ whilst waiting for my son’s birth in 2000, and succumbed to the rapidly emerging online Cult of Fan Fiction.

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We spoke about this last week, and you can read all the sordid details I’m prepared to admit there. On reflection, these were important times: using other people’s characters as a means to find my own voice has a fair deal of merit. I never made any money from them, nor would I wish to, but the lessons learnt concerning narrative structure really matter. More significantly, 2000 was when I began my first novel, which I pulled out this week after an absence of several months and again began to tinker with.

This time, however, it is going to be finished before the end of the year is out.

GSME #16 :: Fix You

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As it transpires, I’m still not done with Social media faffing, and as this landscape is becoming increasingly significant in my understanding of the Internet generally, Tuesday will now be the day I return to this subject matter when warranted. For starters, it appears that Twitter’s analytics finally got fixed, and my effort to regenerate all corners of the social media presence is bearing fruit:

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I made an important connection late last week, and with that on top of now using Twitter polls to generate engagement and discussion, I’m getting some really interesting feedback from my existing audience. By inviting new people to think more about WHY they play games, or act as they do on Social media, I hope that some of them may have a interest in the Internet of Words project, based on my ability to demonstrate logical thinking and a decent attitude in my ‘personal’ account. I should probably state for the record it is never my intention to exploit anybody except myself. I don’t invent drama to generate clicks, I’m not here to upset people and create controversy. More often than not, that happens without me needing to do anything at all.

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The plan this last week has been simple: get people talking. Using monetary means to drive interest has not worked, buying follows and retweets doesn’t make people read my stuff. That means the next logical step is to ask people what does make them want to engage, and the Twitter polls are proving incredibly fruitful in that regard. However, that means having a good question to begin with, and being prepared to discuss the results without applying a bias to the outcome. This I can do well, it is one of my strengths, and two years worth of objective reporting on Warcraft suddenly stands me in good stead to do so.

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However, I’d be a big fat liar if I didn’t look at my monthly Contest tweets and know this is why I’m continuing to make progress. People love free shit and this remains the best money I spend each month. There’s no point trying to deny that this method does give results, but this then 100% relies on me keeping that audience. It is not like buying followers: every person is a living, breathing, unique entity that requires me to engage them. My biggest issue since after my operation has been to do that. Now I have some traction and ideas to throw into the mix? I can work on increasing my 149 engagements. That’s nothing by the way, a pinprick when stuck net to the average viral tweet. I’m not about to become a Global superstar any time soon, and thank fuck for that.

Where I am right now and how things are going is suiting me just fine.