Honesty

This week’s going by quite fast, but the progression within is more than acceptable. I can now do dips at the Gym (and will be going back to practice those later) and my upper body strength is… well, coming along nicely. I tweaked a bicep after Monday, but everything appears to be fine today. It’s gonna be some running and some lifting, therefore, followed by balancing and core work. There’s also gonna be cycling tonight, because London to Southend is not very far away.

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After that, there is a PHENOMENAL amount of poetry to be written, and short stories to be planned, and a lot of thought over how I schedule stuff during August. Most of that will happen next week, on reflection, but for now there’s a calm over content which is quite reassuring. Yes, there was also an annoying (but predictable) fuck-up yesterday, because it wouldn’t be an application process without me making a mess of something.ย Hopefully, I’ve now got that part of the journey better covered.

I’m also grumpy. It’s not a bad feeling, in fact it is in places funny, but to share it would make more people unhappy than it would allow me to feel better.ย The key between Old Me and New Me is that instead of just saying what’s on my mind and ignoring the consequences, there’s the desire to just let it go, without the need to make my point. Yeah, it’s a bit hard to cope with right now, but tea and distraction will make everything better.

This energy can then be directed elsewhere.

This is the Day

There are days like today once in a while. They start with conflict, which should always avoidable, but this is the day when you’ve had enough. Everybody’s opinion is fact, nobody is listening and, for the sake of a quiet life, some people don’t want anything to do with it.ย As one person rails against the indignity and stupidity of Thing One, others are getting upset over pixels. Thing Two’s gone from bad to worse and really, the World outside you blurs into this unpleasant, white noise.

Then, suddenly, comes clarity.

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Once upon a time, I wanted to change everything around me, and then I woke up. Some things are largely intractable, and however much you scream and shout, and however much you think you might have altered trajectories, its all a lie. The only thing you will ever reliably change is yourself, if you are able. After that, it is a complex series of negotiations and love songs to make any worthwhile headway. However, as has been singularly proven in the last few years, you can make larger change happen if a) enough people feel the same way and b) you’re prepared to sacrifice a part of your soul to make the point.

I have slivers of soul in lots of projects right now, and hope they can all at least continue the successful journey I’m making. However, there is increasing realisation that not everything can be saved.ย Maybe, it is time to cut losses and accept that… perhaps by writing that down and publishing the post, it has already begun. My future is already moving on a path I had not anticipated, but which is largely unavoidable. It makes me sad, desperately so as it happens, but this is not something I can change. That’s the key to all of this, the understanding of when to stand and fight, and when to walk away.

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There is also a very real grasp, for the first time in a while, that I am different in the way things are thought through or assessed, that there are other issues at play which clearly don’t affect a lot of other people. Although there’s no issue with this disparity, it does make life a bit harder. I don’t want to upset the people that are truly cared about, and if that means I have to change the way I deal with them, then I’ll happily do so.

Perhaps if I show that willing, others might do the same for me.

Begin Again

Yesterday was a revelation for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I stuck a ton of clear air between me and my future. If all this is going to work, there needs to be an acceptance not simply of responsibility but focus. Sunday was supposed to be a bike training day, but instead there’s understanding I’m already capable of the physical goals that are being presented. I can do the rides being asked of me, without a problem, but the writing and planning goals that are important need work.

Sunday was when everything changed for the better.

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There’s still tons to do, but now I’m not stressed or worried about running out of time. I have plenty of hours left, if they’re used properly, and I don’t allow the bad things to consume everything else. It’s the same mantra I repeat every few months, but this time there’s a tangible difference.

I like this feeling.

Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

Last night’s dream was good enough for the Twitters:

It also marks the first time I’ve been able to keep the dream running in my mind whilst aware and at least semi conscious and return to it for a conclusion.ย I take this as a really good sign that the brainmeats are functioning at optimum capacity, and although I may have trouble stringing sentences together without at least three cups of tea, the subconscious is sorted.

ON WITH THE DAY.

Open Eye Signal

BOY did I need that lie in.

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Next week is last five days of School runs, which is already being looked forward to with an enthusiasm that has not previously experienced. I’m not knackered per se, and suspect I’ll still be working at the same levels during the Summer Holidays, but there won’t be the same set of peculiar stresses at play. What it does mean is the opportunity to go take photographs during the day, and to do much needed organisation and back end faffing that won’t get done otherwise.

For now, however, it’s time to put my England shirt on and go to the Gym.

Third or fourth, it doesn’t matter. I’m very proud of the National side. They’re my team again.

You May Be Right

What if everything you’ve ever done has been leading to this point?

A lot of time is spent contemplating our navels, like it or not. Imagination and role play as children allow vital opportunities to escape beyond the confines of self and stare forward to the future, with all the myriad of possibilities it presents. However, telling kids they’ll have it all sussed out by the time they reach eighteen and need to plan for a career is the biggest joke in the history of mankind (apart from the whole ‘everybody is equal’ thing, obviously ^^) Sometimes, it takes a bit longer to arrive at your chosen destination.

For some of us, a lot longer is needed to allow reality to finally register as significant.

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My favourite metaphor right now when trying to explain to people how I’m coping mentally with everything comes from the cartoon my kids loved as toddlers, and still enjoy now. There’s an episode of Spongebob Squartepants where he’s forced to help his frenemy Squidward Tentacles convince his snobby friend he owns an expensive restaurant. The titular sponge is forced to throw out of his head all the stuff that won’t help him focus on fine dining and breathing,ย and inside his sponge brain hundreds of tiny Spongebobs run around in anxiety and terror, shredding files full of memories of anything that’s not relevant to the task in hand.

For a long time, that was how it felt for me: ignore the bad stuff, don’t worry about the expectations of others and simply focus on what matters, which right now is cycling and writing… except, of course, this kind of approach is fatally flawed. Then you have nowhere else to send the stress, because all the other places it could have been siphoned off too are ignored. This weekend needs to be one where I don’t fixate on what could go wrong, and do my best to mentally relax, whilst simultaneously keeping up the training. I think there’s a Velo Park trip possible on Sunday too, which (if true) I’m already looking forward to.

It’s not going away, I can’t bottle and not do this. I have sponsors and a charity that is relying on to get the job done. The eternal questions of the Universe will have to wait, but they’ll help find the right mental balance going forward.

Time to get serious.

Polythene Pam

There’s an increasing trend amongst the writers I follow on Social media: people turn up and use the immediacy of the platform to deliver negative reviews, and it’s not going down well.ย This is not how books work, after all: a writer tells a story, and you accept it.ย By purchasing their book, you are entering into a social contract with the author. This exchange is a willing acceptance of their ability to alter your reality with an opportunity to be convinced it works. If it doesn’t,ย put the book down and move on. You don’t pick up a pitchfork, light a torch and then tell the writer how they should have written it, because that is not how art criticism works.

Except there’s an increasing number of people who need to attack the source material with everything they own, because it’s how they can make themselves briefly famous.

The subjectivity of enjoyment is, well… a very personal thing. I LOVE this Bond movie, but this person knew full well that if they sat and picked it to pieces, someone would be interested. If enough aggrieved individuals share the notion their favourite franchise has been ravaged? We get the whole Star Wars groupwank that appears to not want to go away, with EVERYBODY and their idiot brother deciding they know better than the people who made the movie.

No, this isn’t film criticism when you start verbally abusing stars or threatening directors. That is vandalism and verbal assault. There is no way to justify any of it, and yet by dissecting these theories ourselves, by discussing them in our own spaces, we simply keep chucking twigs on the fire. As long as something is around to burn, the conflagration never goes out, which seems to be a point many well-meaning people simply overlook in the clamour of being noticed. Your attention seeking, however passive, is still that.

There’s been a bit of a hoo-hah on Social media this week after an American decided to wade into a cave in Thailand with his own solution to a problem that was, at that point, pretty much under control.ย Many have suggested that this was a bit of an attention-seeking move on the philanthropist’s part, after a period of bad publicity… but undoubtedly, this man thought he was helping.ย The guys who are telling Disney to remake The Last Jedi are exactly the same, like it or not. Their view of the Universe is different (see yesterday) and it’s a place where people like me aren’t welcome.

That’s not the only reason why I’ve finally lost the plot with a lot of genre content.

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My daughter is a massive Steven Universe fan: this show should be the default state of ALL genre content going forward: nothing is wrong, everything is potentially feasible, and anything can be written without fear it might offend someone. The message of love, and why it matters, may not be very palatable to those who feel stories must use conflict differently to be satisfying, but it proves that you don’t need negativity to either create interest or drive narratives forward. The biggest issue, in all of this, is quite simple. Some people are more worthy than others.ย 

Except, of course, they’re not.

That’s not how art criticism works. That’s not how movies work. It’s not how Social media or journalism should work either, but the people in charge seem a bit reticent to change what makes the most money: right now if you’re not being contentious, you’re not doing it right.ย Except this is the absolute best way to make people like me decide that you know what? Life is too short for your bollocks, this repeated wanking over sacred cows you feel have now been destroyed by intervention, when the reality is far more simplistic. This stuff was never meant to be bled dry. It was a product of its era, and can happily be left there. It should be consumed, before moving on.

The best art stems from conflict. The conflicts that matter most are those with relevance to the largest sections of society. The last time I looked,ย approximately, 107 boys are born for every 100 girls. I think it is high time that life reflected a far more balanced outlook than is currently the case.

This really isn’t too much to ask.