Adventures in Haiku [THREE]

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There was a temptation this week, as was the case last time around, to simply post my produced Haiku and poetry for the week and crawl away into a hole, sucking my thumb. When I began my journey with the Patreon, I singularly failed to grasp the complexity of task presented. This isn’t hard physical work, but takes a significant mental toll. I have nothing but admiration for those who are lucky enough to consider themselves ‘professional’ poets because finding rhymes, or appropriate structures without repetition, hesitation or deviation can often be a really big ask.

This week’s Haiku sequence wasn’t written in one sitting: I was often desperately re-writing or drafting better versions of each part minutes before my 5pm deadline, to see if this ‘seat of the pants’ approach is workable. Some weeks I can, others need me to do it all beforehand (next week’s pairings are a case in point.) Here, and in the case of the Micropoetry I’ll publish tomorrow, I believe you can’t see I was drafting on the fly. If you read this as a whole and can tell I was in five differing places for each segment, please let me know.

Needless to say, this is a brilliant prompt, and I cannot thank Rob enough for his generosity in continuing to provide them.


Two Sides : Five Haiku

 

Two sides of the coin:
Stand straddling this space,
Facing each other

Holding all the cards:
High stakes never an issue,
Always food to eat.

I understand why
Taking away these comforts
Will smack of control.

Your privilege, just
that, when detached: unfair to
shift a fortune.

Look beyond this greed:
Embrace love, help those with less,
True equality.


 

Beautiful Noise

asides

Welcome to what is now scheduled as a daily post on this site, in addition to the Patreon content being presented by the Internet of Words. For the last couple of months, every morning (or in bursts of creativity that are subsequently scheduled) I’ve been writing a daily haiku. Poetry has never been my strong point in all the years I’ve been crafting with words. However, as the weeks have passed, I find my brain beginning to think in a 5/7/5 manner as I wake. It is akin to remembering how to hold dumbbells for a certain exercise, or what my body has to recall when running so there is no additional stress on knees or back. Poetic muscle memory has become a thing of joy.

However, in the scheme of cerebral haiku I’m very much still swimming in the shallow end. Ideally two images/concepts should be separated by a kireji (“cutting word”) which also serves to join your disparate concepts together. Occasionally I’ve come close but it there needs to be more thought (and possibly caffeine) to make those neophyte efforts more acceptable. There should be more haiku when I’m awake, which means as of right now I’m going to try and write a week’s worth of content on a Sunday and then schedule it appropriately.

I’ve also started making a distinct effort to match appropriate GIF-age with both the daily haiku and the micropoetry, and starting on Monday if you’re following me on the IoW Twitter feed, you can suggest a GIF that will be used as inspiration for the following week’s offerings. In effect, you’ll be providing the pictures, and I’ll come up with the words, and this whole thing becomes a truly group effort. This has already proven quite productive based on the previous week’s output.

This is, however, only the beginning. I’ll be introducing the weekly ‘features’ starting next week, which is also when there’ll be a webpage established for all the Twitter poems, both from morning and evening. As they’re published in Tweet format I’ll be using that platform’s Moments feature to present them in an easily digestible form. I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I am writing.

Book of the Month

It is my intention, before the Internet of Words Patreon launches on June 15th, to give potential backers an opportunity to understand exactly what it is they will be throwing their money at. As a result, it is time to start explaining how this whole shebang is going to work.

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Each month, the Internet of Words will be using a work of published fiction or non fiction as the basis of a month’s worth of created and completely original content. This will include essays, humorous asides and at least one original piece of short-form fiction. On the official Twitter feed, all haiku and micro-poetry will be based on the subject matter of the book being ‘studied’, which means for the month of July our theme will be Pictures and Perception. I’ve chosen a seminal tome to kick off our endeavour, a piece of non-fiction that asks a lot of the reader. We’ve already mentioned the BBC TV show from the 1970’s which was based on this (and which will be referenced at certain points during the month.) Our opening inspiration is Ways of Seeing by John Berger.

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Click here to order this book on Amazon

I’ll be announcing the next month’s book in advance to allow Patreons and others to get a copy and read it (if they choose) so they can take a more active part in discussions. This also gives me a chance to plan the meat of the month’s output. Then, when we hit the first of the month, you can expect to see content presented, based around a number of the following umbrella topic headings:

War of the Words

The Internet began life as a text-based medium. Words are what matters more than anything else: for intent, to communicate and as education. Using our novel as a springboard, we’ll attempt to understand not simply the text in context to the subject matter, but its wider significance in the communication-rich world we now inhabit.

Books will be chosen which, in my opinion, straddle the worlds of traditional and modern, that embrace the concepts the Internet excels at and conversely fails to achieve.

Communications Breakdown

It is easy, without understanding extensive context, to make wild assumptions about everything and anything. In the modern world, therefore, understanding is probably more significant that initial knowledge. The IoW will attempt to give context to the novel, its historical significance and the circumstances in which it came to be written.

This will also include, where appropriate, documentary materials appertaining to a specific period of interest to the particular book being ‘studied.’

Alternative Internet

Anyone who has fallen down an Internet rabbit hole will know just how a subject matter can inspire people into amazing and often mind-boggling feats of self-discovery. In this strand, we’ll attempt to show what an understanding of the book’s wider themes can do to illuminate individuals’ own interpretation of the subject matter.

This strand might get a bit weird, I’m warning you now. Be prepared to be shocked, amazed and quite possibly challenged.

The Word is Not Enough

Any novel can be interpreted individually in potentially an infinite number of ways. An author will undoubtedly be amazed at what others see in their words, and often these are not enough when attempting to combine an individual experience with the written words presented to them.

We’ll consider how words are misinterpreted, how changes in societal attitudes can alter the words themselves, and that definition sometimes isn’t everything.

Fictional Narrative

I’ll be using the book as a springboard each month for both micro poetry and haiku via the @InternetofWords Twitter feed, but at the same time it will become the subject of short fiction, including 500 words micro-stories, and a 2000 word short story that covers one of the major themes of our monthly text.

There may be more or less, depending on how my real life goes. This is very much a ‘work in progress’ that will be reconsidered on a monthly basis.


So, there you have it. This is the initial concept going forward, and will be constantly reassessed, month by month, to ensure that all Patreons are getting value for money. By becoming a supporter, you’ll also be asked to help decide future novels for consideration, potential subjects for fiction and to take part in discussions that will happen exclusively for Patreon subscribers.

To say I’m excited is an understatement. I can’t wait to share with you what is in store for July, and I hope I’ll see you bright and early on July 1st as part of the Internet of Words ‘collective’ to begin discussing Berger’s work.

Still Alive

What, we made it through Week One unscathed?

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I realised as we zoomed through the first seven days of 2017 that this blog is the poor relation of my three virtual spaces and that really ought to change, considering how (potentially) important it could end up being. I spend a bit of time in another virtual space whittering about the World and my health, and the gaming blog covers my affair with that MMO, but there is often no desire to explain my thoughts on writing generally. I still maintain this is the cheapest and best therapy I’ve ever experienced. Pushing yourself into uncomfortable situations and making difficult choices is never something you want to do for pleasure. However, at least where I’m sitting currently, that process of forcing mental issues via words is having surprising additional benefits.

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I’m a terrible writer. Words get repeated all the time. I fixate on certain adjectives. My grammar is often atrocious and I could typo for my country. Fortunately I have word processors and spell correction plus a lovely husband who’ll read stuff and a support network of friends with encouragement and support. These help fill the gap between inspiration and final result. Everything else is then a case of pushing myself and believing I’m capable enough, and some days I think I get by. It’s always a bonus when somebody reads something and comments positively, however I’d rather have someone be critical of what they’ve seen, any day of the week. Not being able to take criticism is an issue I watch play out every day in my virtual life, and the results are often not pretty.

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I am by no means perfect, and undoubtedly am always too hard on myself. I’m ridiculously formal too, and maybe if I stopped being a tight-assed Brit and did more about the relaxation stuff, my writing would further benefit. As it transpires, if I just get on with shit and don’t find ways to avoid it, relaxation happens by default. Also, and this one’s a bigger surprise, when pushing myself to interact with people, I don’t implode. That old adage about attracting more flies with honey than vinegar is often spot on, but it’s only going to work if you genuinely believe your own hype, and that’s always been the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome. It is a thin line to tread between being comfortable and creating that illusion. I know that the exercise has played a major part in this transformation. Last night, sitting in bed relaxing with a new playlist? I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror I never use and it was 20 years ago. I’ll take the body from that time, and leave the selfish and negative mind that inhabited well alone. This is really the best it has ever been.

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The Bond fiction last year has a lot to do with the writing confidence. You can find it at the top of the page, or you can start by clicking here. It’s not perfect, and I know it will unsettle many a purist’s sensibilities inside the canon, but I really don’t care. Someone else’s characters finally gave me the confidence that I could create my own and make them totally believable, and that the Universe they exist in would be as acceptable as the real one. Now, all I want to do is write and talk about how much this outlook has changed my life, because it has, but only in conjunction with a lot of other things, and that includes pushing myself to do the mundane above the enjoyable on certain days. Therefore, I need to go do chores for a while before I do a session of cardio at the Gym.

Routines really matter in progress.

All I Want for Christmas is You

My husband phoned me this morning, and the conversation went as follows:

– What do you want for Christmas?

Cuddles

– You have a standing order for cuddles. This is not helpful. Really, what do you want for Christmas?

– … Cuddles?

Honestly, this year there is nothing I really want. Except maybe this chair but it costs £2000 + and I’m not that dumb.

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Then I thought about it. I’d like the Novel done (which I’m working on so you know, it’s going to happen.) I’d love a publishing deal. After that, honestly, there is nothing I want. I don’t crave anything. This is not about aggressive consumerism and never was. I’m remarkably simple to please. Treat me with respect, make me tea now and again and offer some cake and honestly, we’re utterly good. The Man with the Bag can skip me and go give someone else the cheer.

This is a roundabout way of me telling you guys that come the New Year I’m hoping to be a lot more active with general posting, and that the whole process of writing is still going on despite a daily word count update. I have a ton of stuff I’d like to discuss involving process too, quite apart from the other things I’ve promised myself to write. I just gotta get it all organised and out there and that’s always been half the battle.

If I’m quiet, you can guarantee at this point it’s because I’m working.

DEFAULT :: Part Forty-Five

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SIX


Life has become a series of random moments with transportation as the constant: Bond likes to imagine them set to music, as if this were some sweeping drama in which he is simply an extra and never the lead. Today that means Ride of the Valkyries as this RAF Merlin helicopter skirts a still sleeping Thai coastline, heading to a hastily-rescheduled debriefing on HMS Ocean. Felix looks decidedly queasy opposite, holding far too tightly to the support straps, while 007 is the undisputed owner of controlled yet dismissive languor. He hates flying with a passion, mostly because in 90% of cases he’s not the one behind the stick. If he pushes the point and can sit up front, it becomes a tolerable distraction. The desire to do so has slowly begun to rise, as that allows total control and no-one else in the equation. Next time, he’ll pull rank and do just that.

Things get considerably more bearable when he spies Moneypenny in McQueen on the deck of the carrier, Charlie LaCroix’s nondescript khaki shorts plus Hawaiian shirt amazingly not an utter fashion disaster. Bond is smiling despite himself, as realisation dawns there’s pleasure seeing them both, that this means after refuelling and meetings there’ll be conversation and catchup on the way to their final rendezvous. Travelling with both will be good for everyone.

Stepping out of the Merlin, Moneypenny salutes as is correct, because he outranks her. It’s become something of a standing joke between them, and Bond can’t help but grin as formal becomes a hug that’s been sorely missed.

‘At ease, Moneypenny and who told Charlie that shirt was a good idea?’

‘I did. I bought it for him because he could do with expanding his horizons. He’s not the only one.’

Eve stares at Bond with a look he’s fairly certain isn’t genuine contempt, sudden wish there was something other than the uniform to fall back on in such situations.

‘Don’t let women dress you, 009, it’ll undoubtedly end in tears.’

‘You’re better attired than anyone I know, 007, I think maybe you’re setting the standard too high for the rest of us.’

Charlie’s handshake gets more confident with each meeting and Bond’s watching Felix reacquainting himself with solid ground and 003, more pleasure at both than he’d expect from an ex CIA operative. These people were far more emotional and distinct than 007 had ever realised: had it always been this way? At what point had this job stopped being simply a means to an end? Perhaps they weren’t the problem: maybe he’d never taken the time to notice their frailties before. When he thinks about how pale and tense Ronni had seemed even over a camera the night before…

‘James?’

Eve is staring, head tipped, and this is the moment to share specifically edited news of his conversation over the uplink with the group.

‘I spoke to Veronica last night.’

At the use of her name Charlie is immediately alert: Bond understands that he’ll be quizzed by various people on what took place. It is effortless to remove emotion from the situation, but her fragility bothers him, even in the heat of early morning. Waking alone never used to be an issue, but now there’s a preferable alternative, that ought to be the default.

‘How’s 004 doing?’

‘Not well. She’s struggling mentally, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about her welfare. Now we know where Christian is heading, I’m going to suggest to London they let her and Q come home.’

‘I’ll happily second that, we really need them both back with us, assuming the plan now is to go for Spectre’s throat. Oh, and for the record? You’re really lucky to have Ronni here to save your ass. I promised her I’d tell you that and I have, and now I need more caffeine to get through Tanner’s debrief than I suspect this boat’s currently carrying.’

Taking the luggage without a word, Leiter’s already steering LaCroix away, smile reminding that payment remains due for standing ‘guard’ the night before. The noise of the Carrier’s only brief distraction: Eve takes his hand, pulling 007 away from activity plus the previous evening’s concerns, back to their moment.

‘She’s going to be fine, and we’ll all support the move to push for her return. You said it yourself, she’s stronger than all of us. Ronni will cope, and be back before you know it.’

‘I never really considered the consequences of this life before until it got taken out of my hands. I hate not being able to help her.’

‘But you do, without even realising. Without you, she’s just not complete. That’s why this relationship works so well.’

Bond wants to ask at what point his life became public property, but already knows the answer. What is required now is free time and privacy, and neither will be forthcoming in the immediate future. However he is an expert at patience, and will wait, doing his utmost to get Ronni in from the field as soon as is conceivably possible.


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OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:

Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.

DEFAULT :: Part Forty

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Dinner is finished, and without doubt the best thing Ronni has tasted for a very long time. Warm flatbread with wild garlic and goat’s cheese that Q seemed to have produced from nowhere was followed by a rich and deep Pasta and Game Stew she knows was augmented by a bottle of red wine. Then, presented in bowls made of leaves, unbelievably, was chocolate mousse, and Ronni’s not even going to ask how Andrew pulled that off under their present circumstances. It can remain the culmination of an amazing afternoon, reminder that the man sitting cross legged opposite her on a broken flagstone floor is so much more than a brilliant Civil Service employee.

They sit together in the ruins of this house, late afternoon sun shafting through the rafters, conversation temporarily lost as they’d eaten dessert with Marco Bulgari’s pilfered spoons. No longer two colleagues, this friendship makes both stronger, and that alone makes the remainder of their endeavour more than worthwhile. Except now she knows what he’s thinking, mostly because Ronni refused to vocalise the concern for herself, and had shut him down before the main course had been served. Andrew’s not done with his analysis yet, that much is abundantly apparent.

‘Bond’s regard for you has always been impeccable. Nobody else gets treated quite the same way.’

‘I’m not in love with him, despite what you might think. Using that word in either of our worlds can never be entertained: I’ve seen what happens to him when you introduce commitment to an equation.’

‘And yet, I’d argue that’s what he ultimately craves. You are his barometer, touchstone and when both London and his fiancée appeared to desert him, genuine salvation.’

‘James doesn’t need somebody else to provide any notion of worth. That’s his job. He has to stop and think, eventually, understand that the only way existence ever changes is if he breaks the cycle. He can sleep with whoever he likes, live commitment free ’til he dies, but eventually when it all ends, and it will, the choice is his alone. If he is the job as you say, then that’s a constant since the first day you gave him the number. That is his wife, mistress, and love nobody will ever replace. I crave him, I won’t lie. That support is addictive and when fuelled by him there’s nothing I can’t do. However, without it I can be better, stronger and ultimately free. If the same is true for James, the best thing I’ll ever do is keep him at arm’s length.’

‘Is that the absolute truth?’

‘I’d like a chance to do this properly for a decade, maybe more if my health allows. Assuming we survive this and he finally retires? I could make the difference you told me the Service needed, take what Bond has given me and create something better than this 50 year old standard that the establishment insist stays foremost for everybody. But you know better, and so do I.’

‘You didn’t answer the question, Ronni.’

‘He’s my missing piece. Nobody will ever come close to being what he is to me. I’ll make him wait, insist ways are at least reconsidered. I’d want him to cook like this, but I’d never tie him down or impose choices. In the end, he has to be the one who decides we are in love, and I doubt he’ll ever be able to use that word successfully ever again. Because… you made him too well. His M was the mother craved so badly, still listened to even when she died. I may be the latest constant, but I can’t be Madeline, or Vesper. They’re not me. He has to take me as I am.’

‘You don’t need a man to be complete.’

She can’t respond instantly this time, leaning back against the cooling stone wall. Is Q right? Is that the reason she is what this has now become?

‘I sometimes sit and wonder what would have happened if Scott hadn’t died, what direction my life would have taken. I realise now, I’d never have come this far, I’d be married having never considered my dream as a child: it would have been just that and nothing more. Without love as distraction, so much would have been lost, and I realise that perhaps this is the biggest sacrifice a 00 ever makes in their career. Happiness comes from the relationship with the number. That’s how this works best. For those of us with emotional deficits, there has to be somewhere to make up for the shortfall.’

‘I think Bond could really benefit from hearing that from you. I doubt Gregory imparting that information at this stage would be either useful or productive. Coming from you however, it might effectively register. Would you be prepared to try?’

‘I assumed Bond’s assassination was to show Spectre that 007’s really dead.’

‘That’s not an entirely accurate summation.’

‘Okay, so you have lied to me. Where is he now, exactly?’

‘Bangkok. He and Felix have been removing Spectre’s influence across the far east with customary thoroughness, assisted by Mr Beam’s recently decrypted guide to who’s who in in the villain hierarchy.’

‘I bet Leiter is having the time of his life right now.’

‘He’s liaising between London and Langley as M pretty much refuses to trust anyone else until I can finally decrypt the CIA/FBI joint NOC list. I’m 90% done, if you’ll take the first watch tonight that will be in Washington’s hands before the morning, and once that happens Spectre’s position becomes more than precarious. In fact, with the events of the last seven days?’

‘We get to own the high ground, because I’m betting you know where Christian is?’

‘LaCroix and Moneypenny’s effectiveness as a unit has been a revelation. You were absolutely right, granting them both 00 status was a master stroke. They’ve tracked him to Paris and are currently working with the authorities not only to secure their intelligence services integrity, but to remove any remains of his corruption. Give them another week and at their success rate, we’ll have the enemy in full retreat.’

‘We’ve made a difference?’

‘Me not being locatable thanks to your efforts, and Spectre unable to stop me working in the field means that Venice has been the turning point. Enemy agents have been voluntarily handing themselves into the authorities since it became apparent that we had their measure. London’s been employing some fairly sophisticated counter-intelligence techniques too, as well as the good old fashioned divide and conquer and since we died? Over half of the activity we knew about with a link to the criminal organisation’s been either stalled, thwarted or summarily removed.’


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OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:

Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.

Charge

I did promise myself I’d spend more time sticking stuff here, and as we’re halfway through September, I haven’t forgotten. My biggest problem right now is time, and managing it effectively so that everything gets done in something approximating a realistic order. However, I’m finding that if I shove all the exercise into the start of the day? So much more productivity is being fostered as time goes on. All I have to do now is build up enough stamina to stay awake past 9pm and I’m golden.

However, that’s not why I’m here today.

I’d like to talk to you about ducts.

I’m in the process of writing Letters to My Heroes in the next couple of months, and in the list that was compiled one notable name was omitted: Terry Gilliam. I’m not quite old enough to remember Python on TV the first time around, and it was via Ripping Yarns that I first got to understand Michael Palin’s brilliance. I find the other members of the team funny, the movies clever, but there was never a real connection. That is until Gilliam produced Brazil in 1995: a hugely relevant piece of dystopian science fiction, and probably one of the most seminal influences on my journey to becoming a writer. So significant was this movie that I produced my own tribute that was subsequently entered for a BBC Radio Drama contest: if memory serves it was called ‘Wandsworth’ and I am utterly sure it was unmitigatedly awful. What this did do however was open a fairly closed mind to the understanding that ‘the future’ owed an enormous amount to what had come before, and that ‘the past’ often wasn’t the great and glorious place many of my elders made it out to be.

If I’m going to produce an accurate personal history of my influences and beginnings, I can’t escape the last ten minutes of the film, however hard I try. I know there’s probably no problem spoiling plot this long after release, but I can’t in good conscience give the ending away, even after all this time, because this was the first time I grasped how seductive cinema can be at spinning disbelief, if you allow the pictures into your subconscious. I can still remember the walk back to Liverpool Street, across bridges that no longer exist: the sense of utter desolation I felt at having happiness snatched from my mind. If that were possible with pictures, could the same be true with words? I owe Gilliam a great debt of thanks for that movie and so many others, and returning to New York in the summer bought another moment where he guided development back into my head.

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The Fisher King embraces a lot of spots deep inside that I was, for a long time, uncomfortable talking about. Mental illness has always been a touchy subject to address, but with the benefit of time and awareness I understand now that the movie helped more with understanding the intractable nature of action and consequence. With two of my favourite actors in the lead roles, this was also the movie that finally tipped me totally in love with New York, after Ghostbusters. Discovering a key location by accident therefore whilst wandering NY in the rain could almost be prophetic, were my mind feeling that way inclined. It reminded that history is a part of process, and even if you are uncomfortable embracing parts of your past, it should not preclude the moments with real influence, especially as I learn to become a better writer.

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One day, when finances will support, I’m having this neon sign made and hung in my office. As I neither possess funds or indeed have a space to hang it, the dream remains just that, but without this film I wouldn’t be here, and my imagination would not have evolved nearly as fertile. For that alone, Gilliam gets a nod on the Heroes List.

I hope one day I might meet him and tell him this in person.

The End

I’ve been reorganising my online life since the end of April, and this is the last place to get the ‘proper’ treatment. That’s mostly because it gets the least use, but that will all change starting tomorrow, when I go full out on pulling all the disparate strands of the online life to order. The main logo’s not gonna stay like that, it is simply a placeholder, but as were not interested here in pictures as much as words? The header will change to reflect the current ‘Project du Jour’ and everything else will make sense in time.

For now, all my imagery’s going to be permed from the places that inspire me, and will be black and white because I’m on that tip at the moment with Instagram. Bear with me, I’m trying to establish an identity here 😛

Needless to say, full relaunch is tomorrow. SEE YOU THERE.

Writing as Therapy :: Beginnings

This is Not A Love Song

I’ve been trying to write with competence since my teens, and a lot of my issues have centred around an inability to listen to criticism. Once my daughter was born and I had my issues with PND, it became apparent that obstinance and arrogance were not going to help me get better. I would have to open myself to the notion of change, like it or not. Not for myself, but for the kids I was expected to bring up not being narrow minded as I’d become. The first step towards the change was diary writing, or in my case Live Journal. LJ was the beginning of a journey that eventually granted me sufficient confidence to begin blogging, and from that I finally pushed myself into what became and abortive Open University course, beginning with Creative Writing.

I realised very quickly that formal study was not the answer I was looking for, and even a study group at the local Adult Education College made the process too rigid. However, what these two things managed to combine to do was crack my creative brain open, pushing me into the realisation that daily repetition actually improved my mood and ability. The revelation, at least for me, was when I was able to combine this routine with my desire to get fit, once and for all, after two children. It began simply enough: I’d walk around the block to drop my daughter off to school. One day, I just kept walking. I made a playlist on my phone to listen to, and used this to help me work on a piece of fiction (which became Duet, as it happens, you can read that here.)

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I’ll talk more about my visualisation process in a separate post, but for now all that matters from this was that writing drove my feet, and eventually I would miss the longer walks when I couldn’t take them. As soon as this happened, I knew I’d made some progress. The understanding that the daily writing routine could produce physical as well as mental well-being was something of an epiphany, I must be honest. Most of this however hinged on the knowledge that I am lazy, I will easily allow myself to be distracted, and both of these together can be potentially catastrophic. Understanding how everything links together in my brain has helped a lot towards releasing the clamps on parts of my life that were before almost dangerously restricted.

Relaxation is still a problem, but undoubtedly the process of problem solving in my fiction alleviates the issues. Except, of course, when I find myself presenting a writing problem that has psychological connotations. For instance in Default I’ve written a section around the mental torture of my female protagonist. To do this I undertook research that I found actually quite unpleasant, and have come to the conclusion that people who think that psychological warfare is either fair or right are deeply disturbed individuals. Needless to say the section was written, but with a level of objectivity given to Ronni Flemmings that she didn’t previously posses as a character. My understanding of the situation gave her new strength to cope.

Reach for the Stars

However, undoubtedly at the core of all this understanding came the real belief I’d failed myself when my daughter was born, that I wasn’t good enough to be her mother. That quote in the header is particularly apposite: a series of circumstances prior to her birth (and to a significant extent the birth of my son) made me cut ties with just about everyone I knew at the time, simply because I needed to start with a clean slate moving forward. I have one friend that remain constant from my LJ days, and one from before. That’s it: everyone else is gone, and when (inevitably) someone attempts the Facebook/Twitter friending process, they are quietly and positively ignored. I have no desire to go back to the past, nor to ever live there again. I look now only forward, and with good reason.

I am responsible for all of my failings and shortcomings. Although I’d love to say circumstance and other people are to blame? It’s so really not the case I’d be foolish to attempt to suggest otherwise. I was the selfish, arrogant and thoughtless individual pretty much from start to finish. When I accepted all these things it became a great deal easier to move everything forward, with the understanding that building from scratch has its drawbacks. If I met certain people again I’d happily apologise for my behaviour, but I wouldn’t want to be friends with pretty much all of them. I made all the wrong choices in pretty much every single department, based on a fatally flawed outlook. Now that’s fixed? I still make the wrong choices, but it doesn’t matter nearly as much because I’m able to say I really cared to begin with.

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In my journey to explain how writing is therapy, it’s important to grasp that the words can’t be used to lie. There’s no point in trying to sugar coat your perceptions of the past. I was a bitch for a very long time, and I hurt an awful lot of people, often unintentionally. However, there were times when that wasn’t the case and I knew exactly what I was doing, and because of that fact alone, I have a lot of sympathy for anyone who struggles to find themselves a voice of sanity on difficult days. You’ll never be perfect. You’ll never not fuck shit up. That’s life; make it a small part as much as possible. For all the other times in between, it’s a constant balancing act, and no-one is perfect.

If you can find a way to express your frustration as you live? So much the better.