Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

Holidays are really useful things: quite apart from the fact I stop staring at the same screen day and night, they are a reminder that change should always be the default. Going somewhere new, eating differently, exploring and expanding horizons are all really decent ideas. Sure, some people consider time away as an excuse to eat as much as possible from the breakfast buffet, or a means by which they can do nothing with 100% justification. I work on holidays, and have before my kids were born. Just lying on a sun lounger with a book will only make me grumpy. There is, in memory, only one occasion where this was ever enjoyable, and it didn’t last for long.

So, before I throw myself into a National Park before rain destroys any chance of exercise, I find myself thinking about those for whom enjoyment seems to spring from becoming something they’re not. There are a number of people in my Social media circle for which imitation is their stock in trade: in fact, they’re not happy unless they’re pretending to be somebody else. I’ve never understood this desire to ‘borrow’ other people’s personalities, but in a Digital age we have already spoken about how a winning formula is often too good a concept to let slip. Yes, it can seem either creepy or sad, but one assumes that those people doing it may not consider it as either, simply a good way to capitalize on someone else’s perceived popularity.

A problem comes, of course, when the person being imitated doesn’t feel comfortable with attention. I’ve blocked several people for that very reason, after various flashpoints: subsequently these people have left Social media before changing their minds and returning. I don’t understand why this happens: build up a following, then panic because of attention, seemingly failing to grasp that if you put yourself about that’s exactly what happens with this platform. However, on the flip side there are those who, without this imitation, would simply cease to exist. Sometimes, you look at something and don’t put the pieces together: on other occasions the plagiarism is so glaringly obvious you wonder why nobody else has picked it up.

I will freely admit that mimicry is one of my strengths: looking at something and quite quickly work out not only how to copy it, but improve on the original. I did this for about a decade as a designer too: nothing was ever ripped off (because yes, I get how that works) but a number of knock offs of designs were created that I was quite proud of. Nobody ever got hugely rich, and no-one was hurt in the production of these imitations: the lesson is now learnt. Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should. I think that’s why I’ve become adept at spotting those who like to pretend they’re being clever when really it’s a reliance on finding those people others don’t follow and siphoning from them.

In the end however, people just want to be popular. However much you might try and admit this isn’t the case, the whole world wants to be loved at some point. Those who need this constant 24/7 reassurance however can make life difficult for others without even realising that is the case. You can be an adult about these things, or grasp that there are better things to do than worry about it. Whatever you decide as the answer, this is your scheduled reminder that the Internet never forgets, will make you suffer if you disown and/or lie, and doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. If it’s entertainment, then someone will be ready to change your innocent imitation into a full on Drama for their own amusement.

Before you start being someone else, consider why it is that you’re uncomfortable being yourself.

Day Two

I’ve spent today working and walking. The weather is, I suspect, typical of what will become the future: bright sunshine then sudden showers and often gale force winds. It makes for a bleak landscape in this part of the world, but some utterly beautiful photo opportunities.

I’m learning a lot about my writing skills every time a new piece of work is begun. In this case, my second short story has evolved into something quite different than what was initially expected: show, not tell is the idea, but when you’ve only got 2000 words to play with and a really technical idea, stuff has to give. Still, I am pleased with the basic concept, which is now ‘resting’ on my tablet. I’ll go back to it tomorrow, and see how things look.

Am going to try and do some exercise tomorrow. I’ve been exceptionally good on food consumption, even though I’m not logging stuff religiously. There was no lunch today as I was working, and I’ve found a new protein bar I really love by accident. The trick when there’s not a routine is to create one, and on that front things are going far better than expected. A lot of stuff will get done tomorrow as a result, and I’ll still have time to enjoy the day.

Day One

Trip down was one of the worst I can ever remember. Delays almost from the word go, stressful traffic generally… though this time around, the mood in the car was one of the most positive in memory. I know why this is, that I used to not travel well, but the last couple of years has softened the corners. It makes everything far less stressful when you’re not putting everybody on edge.

Learning you’re the problem is a life skill many people could do with grasping.


This morning was a trip out of town to the seasonal Agricultural Show, as Mr Alt’s brother has a stall there, selling his wares. I went to the same event two decades ago, so it will be interesting to see how much has changed. This town is remarkably untainted since the first time I visited: you can very obviously draw a line between old and new. I was also here as a child, because of the railway, which is unique as it no longer part of the main UK rail network but remains a vital transport resource regardless. We used steam power to travel this morning, which is a joy that I hope global warming won’t rob future generations of experiencing.

Mr Alt’s middle brother now owns the house he grew up in, with his mother living two doors down. One of my most vivid memories of being here over three decades is taking a bath one morning (no shower back then) with the window open and hearing a steam train whistling out of the station. On the most glorious of Summer days, it was a throwback to what I imagine it must have been like to live in the era where mail only ever came via post and the telephone in rural areas was still a novelty. My husband loves to tell the story how he didn’t have a telephone for many years growing up. I can’t imagine a world now without communication on that scale.


I’m a rubbish real life Hunter. We did archery today. The rest of the family could hit targets, all three burst balloons when placed for practice. I managed three arrows in the target, but that was it. When the zombie apocalypse happens, I’ll be the one doing the fixing and sorting shit out. Hitting things with arrows can be a job for competent people.

Summer Holiday

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Today I’m travelling South West. I’ve not done it for a while, and I have to admit that I’m looking forward to going back to a place with an immense number of fond memories over the last 30 years. I’m not going blind until next week either: various electronic devices are making the trip with me, though there will be moments where I switch off completely. There’s also half a plan to try running down the seafront whilst we’re there.

Right, I’ll be off to finish packing. See you when we get there.

Hope for the Future

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I didn’t get my mentorship. It wasn’t a surprise. In good news, they sent the e-mail nice and early, so I didn’t have to stress about it all day. Not that I would have, of course, because I already know how this is going to pan out.


What mattered more this morning was bettering my own standard.

I woke up at 7am with a mission.

I’d written an essay for today’s Internet of Words site that, frankly, I was less than enamoured with, far too similar in tone and outlook to the one produced a week before. I realise now that what works best in my four week format is a general essay on the book, and then a more detailed assessment of a portion of the subject matter, but seen through a wider lens. I have tried since the weekend to get a handle on what that view would encapsulate, and yesterday morning it came to me: time travel. So this morning I’ve taken a day’s worth of notes and a week’s worth of general research and produced something new pretty much from scratch. I’ve yet to do my re-read but honestly, I already know it is 1000% better than what I started with.

Today therefore is a resounding success, because I didn’t just stick with what was good. I created something better.


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Talking of creating something better… Bond 25 had better not be Diamonds are Forever or Die Another Day.

PLEASE DON’T FUCK THIS UP, SQUIRE.


Last night, the Real World crashed the party on Social media, and today lots of people will be REALLY cross. Be nice, and accommodate discussion. If your mental health won’t support remaining in public places, leaving’s perfectly fine. There’s plenty of us left to give the alt right, extremists and anyone else with stupidity running through their veins a run for their money. A smart person might even consider capitalising on current events.

I think I’d pay good money to see that happen.

Who’s Fooling Who

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It has been a while since I woke up feeling unwell. I can blame the weather 100% for this: we’re in the last thrashing throws of pollen and spores before Nature shuts down for the year, meaning I woke up wheezing at 5am and was grateful a new inhaler was bought last week. However, I would be lying if there wasn’t an admission that mentally a break would be great: there’s only two more days to wait. After that, it’s not long before the school cycle begins again, and I can return to some semblance of normality.

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I have much I want to do going forward, and now all of the various intentions are public it is a case of organising means by which this can all take place. There’s a new poetry contest to start considering an entry for, necessary preparation work required for NaNoWriMo coming up in November… and then National Poetry day in September. Mostly, life is now more planning to ensure a smooth transition from stage to stage than has ever existed before, and I really couldn’t be happier.

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Today therefore is an awful lot of Zen thinking, backed up with a shittonne of hard work. Hopefully, I’ll feel well enough by the afternoon to go to the Gym, and get some exercise in, and make this as close to a ‘normal’ day as possible.

Get Off

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I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I can now state I’m loving the mountain bike.

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The thing about exercise is that it is addictive, but not in a way I’d recognise from previous flirtations with obsession. Yesterday was a glorious Sunday afternoon, out on the 2012 Olympic Mountain-biking track built just down the road from us. There’s impressive views of the Estuary, some absolutely bonkers mental downward runs, and a sense that when this country bid on the Legacy Olympics ticket, they really meant to inspire future generations and not just line the pockets of the already rich. In fact yesterday reminded me of what a thoroughly amazing place this town is to live in.

Yesterday also made me realise that FUCK ME LOOK I HAVE TRICEPS. The sun-cream makes arms all shiny, I know, but seriously people… MUSCLES!11!1!!1 I can now hang comfortably for 20 seconds on the monkey bars, once I hit 30 then its time to start considering how pull ups fit into my exercise routine. Monday PT today is the last for a week, and I won’t be exercising in the Gym after Wednesday for at least a week. This means doing workouts where its just my body as resistance: squats, push ups and probably some running. The seafront where we’ll be staying is lovely and flat: I’m sure I could do something with that. In fact, I think it will be time to start exercising outside.

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Today’s liberating start will be part of a week where lots of stuff ends up, I suspect, a massive disappointment. I’m confident I’ll fail to get a Mentorship I applied for, that the poetry contest I entered will show me not as winner or indeed worthy of notable mention. However, unless I keep applying for this stuff, I’ll never move forward as a writer. Failure is a very important part of the writing process. It gives me incentive to move forward, keep trying, and not lose hope. All these things matter too. You just need a sense of proportion, and understanding that if the momentum remains forward, then that’s better than nothing.

You just need to keep moving, and never stop.