Everything Now

WiP Day

Sometimes, I get bogged down in the sheer enormity of stuff I’d like to do. It is not just writing fiction, but poetry and blogging… and that list could really go on. That’s where I’ve come to rely on better organisation and the acceptance that sometimes, there has to be a means to say no. When you’re full of enthusiasm and desire, it can be very easily diluted if you allow multiple objectives to sway your planning. That used to be a major issue for me in the past and led to some fairly angry confrontations. Not anymore. If I have learnt anything in the last 10 months it is that if I want to get anything done, there has to be a plan.

NaNoWriMo 2017

It is why NaNoWriMo matters so much more this year than any other that has preceded it. I have ever had the confidence of my own convictions to take a story and try and sell it after the fact, it’s just been about the writing and nothing else. This year, that has changed. There’s a desire to take the best idea I have and make something concrete and saleable with it. I feel I can sell myself too, and that’s probably the biggest difference between last year and now. There was not the self-belief that now exists. More significantly, there’s an ability to discuss these emotions and plans without feeling they are in some way irrelevant or pointless.

I have to believe I am capable of all these things, or there is no way to succeed.

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That means competing in Contests, even if every fibre of my being screams against it. My entry for the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition is ready for a final pass and then will be sent off. I have no illusions as to success, but that is not the point. The key here is to have the confidence to enter in the first place. These are good pieces of work, my best work, and they are being produced in order to show myself that this is possible, that I can be a success. Winning is not the aim. I can quote countless authors whose work was initially rejected, whose success never happened until after death. The here and now is only part of the picture.

My writing is strong and only gets stronger via practice, repetition. Working hard, every day matters far more in my mind to build a brain able to better describe what I see, use the right words to translate what matters to me onto the screen and page.

The words matter more than anything I have ever done. [*]


[*] Kids, marriage and certain relationships excluded.

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

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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.