Yesterday

I’m only a day behind now. The emotional energy expended since Friday is still being recouped: a decision was made on Sunday night to rearrange short-term planning as a result. It is easy to forget/overlook just how physical a new experience can be, plus the trauma of getting used to a new place. The bag I packed to work with needs a serious rethink.

It will literally take me WEEKS however to unpack all the stuff that happened, but I know what my personal highlight was, and always will be. That would be an exchange after the Writing Hour on Sunday with someone whose name I didn’t get. It was one comment, β€œI really enjoyed your Open Mic performance.” I said that to a fair few people on Sunday myself. To have it happen unprompted?

We are moving forward.

Take Me I’m Yours

I am going away at the weekend, but the blogging will continue. However, there needs to be time when a break is scheduled: once the habits are established, but not before. An important part of my routine has slid this week and needs correcting. I know why.

It takes a long time for me to readjust to new ways of working. However, once I get there… and it became apparent yesterday that if I can shift past the first 20 minutes of ‘this is horrible, need to stop’ then a remarkable amount is indeed achievable.

This is a period of mental rearrangement. I have removed parts of the schedule that were not sparkling joy.  What is left now is to focus and move on.

You Wear It Well

This week has changed the game plan. A lot of that has to do with knowing I’m not happy with other people’s handling of mass participative events as someone with historic anxiety issues. Forget for a moment about all the other potential mental complications involved in next week’s Ride London, it’s all about knowing I’m uncomfortable in this situation on my own. Decisions need to be made best on previous experience and best principles.

Taking both of these things into consideration, everything is going to be better off for the next couple of weeks without that pressure. Part of the issue before has been the misguided conception that by entering something, I am then obliged to see it through to the end. This is no longer about commitment or expectation. We have entered the realms of what matters to me, finally, for the first time in many decades. I say this is not a priority now. There are more important things to do.

Let’s get on with it.

Airbag

This is the most significant thing I have done for myself in quite some time. It’s more important than my first book launch yesterday, and I do not state that lightly. Having the space not just to breathe but step back and consider things is crucial at this stage of my progression. There needs to be far more time thinking and far less worrying about what other people are doing. They are not me. I am a unique and important resource, and that’s not meant as new age bunkum.

I am currently in the middle of a TV show which is forcing some serious reconsideration of my mindset. I like being able to critically appraise what is being seen and read. It makes me realize the particular tools that will be required long term to do my personal ‘brand’ justice. No, I do not want to influence. I am here to disrupt, and long may the desire to do so continue. Too many people are sitting by idly doing nothing and watching their freedoms be eroded.

Change is a difficult time. I am permanently undergoing change. This suits me just fine.

Filthy/Gorgeous

Not nearly as angry today as I expected to be, but for large portions of the working portion of business it did feel as if I was being followed around by Tim Curry as IT with a rubber hammer, with which he would hit me on the head every ten minutes or so before cackling demonically. I couldn’t breathe properly when weightlifting, nearly fell flat on my face on the run back. Of course, nobody got hurt, and it was all just minor mental inconvenience… but the point remains. some days it’s the stress that divides good work from just work.

For those of you don’t know, I’ve been accepted by the local NHS mental health unit for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) as part of a longer journey to uncover what is going on in my head. The wait for this has been three weeks to be initially assessed and a week for the okay, and I’ve probably had four good night’s sleep that entire time. I have, effectively, been running on empty and am only now returning to what could be probably considered as normal. It’s also played havoc with eating habits. I need to fix a lot of stuff.

One of the things I’ve stopped doing is blogging, mostly because once a week I record twenty minutes of video blog for Patreon and, at least over the last few weeks, after that there’s been no extra mental space to accommodate anything else. Last week however I did a Zoom event, a Poetry Book launch and an Open Mic poetry/prose evening. It’s beginning to fit into place. The only problem, such as it is, remains getting other people to appreciate my poetry enough to publish it. However, as we come up on four years of doing this shit, there is undoubted progress. If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t be leaving the old life behind for good.

In a certain light, things appear to be going very well indeed.

Therefore, having tried to do a Newsletter and having had nobody really that encouraged to keep reading, I’m going back to what I know best. It helps that there is now a regular stream of actual life to report on too, that I’m pushing myself into things properly for the first time in probably six months. Let’s be honest, a lot of the time when there’s been no desire to share has coincided in when my mental health was sub-optimal. With a haircut (finally) and some genuine encouragement on my work, it is all just better.

Yes, I KNOW my own validation is all that matters, but sometimes it really helps when someone else turns up and reinforces that.

Fragment

Objectivity in crisis is a hard ask. It’s why you have to feel for all those people unable to move forward right now, and there are a fuck of a lot of them. How will you ever shift away from the permanent, almost omniscient panic that accompanies not knowing what might happen if you get sick? These are difficult times, and they require unusual bravery to navigate. What this really means is so subjective as to often defy any ability to quantify.

Right now, forward is about realistic aims, in sensible timeframes. When I sat down to try and plan the next year on Patreon, there was the immediate and inescapable understanding that being creative whilst the world is on fire is great, but other stuff matters more… like keeping healthy, and self-care, and most importantly finding time in chaos to allow it all to settle and make sense. That means that there needs to be more time for me, or else we’ll just repeat the same shit that happened last time and no-one learns anything.

In this case, rest has become preferable to change.

It’s odd how we perceive things differently to other people. It’s almost as if everybody is different, and that our interests often need work to remain aligned. Hugh uses three words here, none of which I’d have picked to describe the content, but all of which are both understandable and relevant in context. The amount of assumptive posturing that has taken place as a result of it is unsurprising too. You can make anything relevant to your cause, given enough intelligence and creativity.

I appreciate that other people also view social media in a vastly differing manner to me. This is a fact, not an opinion. Knowing this should mean that you grasp that sometimes, like it or not, you’re never going to get along. Heading these people off at the metaphorical pass has never been more important as it is now. However, crucially, it means that what you hear and see will remain more sanitised and less realistic a view of the true unmitigated horror of reality, and it is horrible. I’m not talking fascism and populism either.

Your biggest enemy is the one with nothing to lose.

What I am is so complicated and multi-faceted even I really don’t have a total handle on what it means. However, one thing that’s inescapable is the need now to survive, and to minimise damage whilst doing so. That means looking for the right people to help and support, and quietly realigning my priorities. That’s what most people try and do at the start of years. This has been going on since the middle of the last one.

Finally, we are beginning to see some real, actual progress.

Waves

It was blustery as fuck, but the skies warmed my heart, even it the wind was enough to take my breath away. Came back with a handful of flotsam, and a river-worn piece of glass I’m tempted to set as a pendant. There’s going to be a lot of time spent here in the months that follow. A plan is already in place, going forward, to make this part of the landscape into a part of my existence.

Video is also locked into the outlook, as of this morning. There needs to be a bit of organising next: everything is still far too nebulous to be healthy. Next up in the ‘General Scheme of Things’ is taking video at the Estuary, but I’ll probably want a tripod and camera for that. Yeah, honestly I require some kind of proper direction and as it’s already Tuesday lunchtime and this is the first blog of the day?

Extract the digit.

Look Up

Callouses are BACK on my hands, and I can wallow in the understanding, sitting here recovering, just how much I FUCKING LOVE WEIGHTLIFTING. Cycling can’t get close to the endorphin high, plus I can show off just how much work really was done during Lockdown (a lot, lets be honest). If there were money available, I’d find a way to build a weights bench into the house. Lifting is GREAT.

It isn’t about looking ‘a certain way’ either, this is just the means by which the whole of my body turns up and works together. It is a miracle cure for so much else too, not just because of the chemical processes at play. Also, I have REALLY missed my trainer, and realise with a somewhat heavy heart the only reason I was doing classes was for the interaction.

Exercise classes are now no longer what I want to be doing.

Yesterday gave me one important fictional realization too: this vanity project is gonna need a quite serious unpick and rewrite. That would previously have sent me scurrying away in fear but not now: it’s almost a requirement to do so, because the story’s evolving too. I have grown up stuff to do today but will be scheduling more time to attack this as the month goes on.

What was most stressful was the fact I could not easily write down what was needed when the moment came. The brain/page interface for fiction has altered, no doubt as a result of the acceptance of poetry as a workable alternative. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty tired after a week of hot weather and variable sleep, but I can guarantee I’ll sleep tonight. Heavy lifting will see to that.

Starting next week, many things must be rewritten…

So Here We Are

Whenever two or three people I know and follow, on Twitter, get together and have a conversation, Twitter actively attempts to involve me. Even on Tweetdeck, that interaction appears unavoidable. With my tech hat on there are clearly very good reasons why doing this is a good idea for the growth of the platform overall. Talking is, after all, the point.

However, it’s a lie, clear falsehood. It’s the equivalent of what used to happen in the playground at secondary school when someone wanted gossip to make them the centre of attention. I am well aware of the level of interaction at play on any given day, and these people would not, do not include me. It is an attempt to drive passive engagement, and I detest it.

It also drags me into issues I am often already trying to avoid.

This is, I will freely admit, the reason why some people I really like are at present muted. Mutes don’t stop the direct @ when someone talks to you with your username. Crucially it doesn’t remove likes or retweets being visible on Tweetdeck, at least initially. It allows me to acknowledge those who are my more enthusiastic supporters, who refuse to engage directly (for whatever reason).

However, of late, it means that certain discussions and arguments are unavoidable, however hard I attempt to curate. Part of this journey is realising I cannot fix everything, and I would be foolish to try, because the energy expended by doing so does and has deflected me from my path. Many people have commented on the downsides. I am going to take their advice too, because they care about me personally.

I know this not through here say, but through personal interaction.

It is apparent to most now how important virtual interactions are in modern life, and being able to place a measure of control on what takes place is as important as keeping your real life manageable. Watching other people make the same mistakes you have does make you want to wade in and point out the hypocrisy. It is not worth the effort.

Asking people if they need help is a better way forward. It requires far less assumptive reasoning: if someone says they are struggling, then that’s your cue. Again, it can’t (and won’t) help you save everybody. That remains the impossibility that it takes a lifetime to shake and will, if you are that person, wrack you with guilt when it becomes apparent you missed someone else’s cry for help.

All you will ever do is your best.

What bothers me the most right now are those people who depend on the Internet for their livelihood, who know what good can (and does) happen here yet continue to malign it because it gets them attention. We all know someone like this, and I watch people do this daily, in the hope it might illicit some sympathy. That’s not how this works. We see right through you.

By far the most successful people on Twitter are ignoring the fact they’re not being successful and just doing what needs to be done. When your creativity and enthusiasm shines through, amazing things happen. I’ve only just discovered this revelation, and it is still sometimes a bit hard to balance with everything else but the results are, it must be said, transformative.

Stop talking a rubbish game, and start changing your outlook.

Rip It Up

The Patreon’s been running for a month, and I already think it is time to rearrange a few things. One of the biggest issues last time this project was undertaken was not really thinking through what worked (and didn’t) as I went along, which ended up causing me stress in the long term. This is different, however: after a lot of effort, there are copious notes being made. I know what’s possible this time around.

Therefore today, after the scheduled content is prepared for delivery and I’ve thrown some abuse at my video editing programme (again) there will be discussion, with my Patrons, of a new set of ‘stretch’ goals. Going forward, I know already that at least one of my goals is unrealistic, looking at the amount of time it has taken to produce content in the first place.

Time to be sensible and not destroy this new momentum.

PE Vol 1 Issue 1_ Imaginer of Worlds (2)

I’ve ended up adding some stuff to the first ‘proper’ PE rather than taking anything away or sticking with a LANzine that felt ‘light’ on content. Every page has a purpose, which was the point of all this in the first place. Whether I can garner any new patrons on the back of it is yet to be seen, but I don’t feel it’s unrealistic to maybe pick up someone new this month as a result. The poof of the pudding, as they say…

That means I really shouldn’t be here at all, but with another hat on, in another virtual department of my burgeoning Digital Empire…