Getting Better

Remember I said this place used to be the daily practice and now it isn’t? Well here I am, three days after my last post. I had a poetry ‘gig’ yesterday that went very well indeed, which will turn into a regular occurrence. A virtual ‘open mic’ is exactly what reality demands at present, and it has homed down my ideas for the next poetry video.

If I’m honest, the mental fallout from this project was considerable.

It’s the first time I’ve got universal praise for my work from family, and has opened up a room in my head I knew was there, but was previously very firmly locked. It allows a very different strand of creativity to emerge that was previously untouched for decades. Most importantly of all, however, this grants me unlimited potential.

Therefore, the upside to all of this far outweighs the negatives. Yes, it will take a while to adjust, as it always do, but I already know how this will operate. Now all that needs to be done is the adjustment process, which is what today begins to organise. I already have huge plans. To do that means, yes you’ve guessed it, rearranging the furniture.

Here’s where we begin.

Reasons to be Cheerful, Part Three.

I’m out tomorrow. Normally I’d be trying to find excuses not to go but this time… well, I’m not gonna spoil the surprise, because there could be a bazillion decent pictures in this and my phone camera’s been screaming for a proper outing plus a robust workout. So, instead of stressing over meal or outfit, I’ll pick smart casual from the wardrobe and go as a photographer.

Sometimes, you have to find enjoyment in a manner that’s not immediately apparent.

I’ll not get a chance to blog tomorrow. Everything will have been scheduled. I’ll see you on Sunday.

Relax

Ah, yes.

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Never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s kip, people. I feel like a completely new person. I’m going to cycle early today, so that means directly after writing this the shorts will go on. I may even go do the Gym later, WHO KNOWS.

Also, LOTS of pictures, all the stuff on the camera. It is glorious out.

Time to get my indoor stuff out of the way early :D

The World is Not Enough

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Between you and me, I am not a great fan of competition. However, it is undoubtedly true that having goals and objectives makes the process of putting in the miles (whether literal or metaphorical) easier to achieve. It is the reason why a daily list of Things to Do is now written without a thought with the second cuppa of the day. In the exercise department, self-motivation is key. Pushing each day to obtain what can often seem like nominal targets does have a benefit: those thirty-six tiny push-ups achieved yesterday will be a little bit stronger once completed today.

Last night, my Functional Threshold Power went up by a massive eight points. It wasn’t through a scheduled test, simply doing the Richmond World Cycling Championship course on Zwift as if I was trying to win it. What is now apparent is that setting goals matter far more than they ever did, because by these yardsticks does the true ability of an individual emerge. It’s why I’ve signed up for all those challenges: sure, some of them dangle free shit like juicy, fresh carrots… the realistic chances of winning any of it is slim to none. That’s not why we’re taking part.

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This effort, plus the fact there was no car to use yesterday in the rainiest day remembered for some time, also pushed the step count up in the range that’s not been seen for many, many months. I miss walking, and that needs to be fixed as the weather improves.

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The Fitbit won’t normally record my steps as miles, and so this is not a strictly accurate representation of effort (18 miles ridden plus about 6 miles walked yesterday would be closer to the truth.) Asking my Fitbit to record the activity as cycling will work if bike moves, but is largely redundant when static, so the thing is shoved in my cycling shorts (at leg level) to record movement that way. As a heart monitor is worn it’s easy to equate an accurate calorie count regardless.

However, if truth be told, the camera and I need to be outside, by the Estuary and in the woods and at the old buildings that are crying out to be photographed. That’s the plan for May, and with an improvement in general organisation, all these things should now be doable.

That’s the plan anyway.

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I promise there will not be too much going on about The New Project this week, but as it all kicks off tomorrow, this seems like the correct moment to explain just how fucking important Arguto is. This is the means by which anything is possible and acceptable as a writer. Sure, there could be an extension of self in any one of the three existing places that are provisioned for writing, but all of them come with a measure of immovable baggage. This place is new, fresh: the most pristine of clean slates. Here can be written the part of me that’s been hidden for decades.

This is where I will finally be free.

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I expect the first steps to be tentative and cautious, but already ideas are germinating that will, in time, become brilliant blooms. Laying down a month of ambient vibes across the other platforms is a means by which brain relaxes into the grooves, and begins to run a better course. The plan, long-term, is to use a number of pre-planned projects as a basis for experience-based writing. This will begin with the ten days in August put aside for the road trip to Rome, ambition finally realised after several decades.

After that, there are plans to use London as a springboard but to also explore the place that is called home. Potentially there’s an infinite supply of source material at my disposal, what is required is the planning and organisation to pull everything together. Crucially, there will be physical evidence of all of this as a paper-based version of the online narrative is produced initially for free, but in time with the possibility of charging people to cover printing fees.

There, I said it.

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I’m grateful to those already preparing to make this journey because it is reassuring to know you are not alone. Rest assured, its already a roaring success without a word being written.

Freedom gives a sense of confidence I’ve never found anywhere else in my life.

The Chain

Suddenly, photography has become very important.

It really helps that the weather is glorious: body’s being forced into daily exercise as part of the rehab process on my left arm, which means walking to and from the Physio/Gym. Forcing mind to consider what is around me isn’t a stretch, but it is a challenge. With the good weather, Spring is the easy, default thing to get grabbed by, especially as the process of bloom and growth is often overlooked. I’m only using my shitty iPhone camera too, nothing fancy, but what is possible by doing so is impressive. When one stops thinking about equipment and focus is shifted to composition alone?

Freedom becomes a basis to simply relax into imagery.

Today’s the first time I won’t have any drugs in my system for several weeks: additional painkillers are finally surplus to requirement. I’m not gonna lie, this has been an unpleasant and often frightening period, and all I’d like now is the return to something approximating ‘normal.’ It has also been quite enlightening in terms of the people who matter or, in some cases, I thought did but perhaps don’t. Again, if I get hung up on details, life isn’t nearly as enjoyable or fulfilling.

This is the moment to simply keep moving forward.

There will be a lot more visual to my Twitter feed going forward. I’ll be organising myself to use imagery a lot more robustly. That means going out to new places and finding things to take pictures of.

Plans are already being made.

Not a Job

 

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My daughter, it transpires, is not a fan of Feminism, and instead thinks we should have Everyone-ism as a concept. Everybody’s equal, regardless of sex, race and ability, and you take care of those who can’t whilst encouraging those who are capable to do more. Women shouldn’t need a day to highlight their existence. That should happen every day, regardless of circumstance. She’s absolutely right, of course. Men are not my enemy. Stupid people are, greedy people, plus those who try and lie and cheat their way into things that should not be theirs. Those who destroy the environment and start wars, who profit from exploitation and vulnerability. If the majority of those individuals end up being men, it is hardly fair to then accuse everyone in the gender base of the same crimes, and yet many women do, because in their own way they are as blinkered as the opposite sex they target.

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Days like today often end in a fight for precisely this reason: stupidity wins. Nobody thinks, everybody reacts and out come all the toys from collective prams. Throwing words like ‘victim’ and ‘shaming’ at those who do not seem to understand is not the answer either, because sometimes the truth is not easily identified as right and wrong. As we discussed yesterday, people invest a lot of personal relevance into social media, and when I start talking in generalities many people won’t and can’t see it is just that. There are those who will relate all instances of abuse to their own personal situation, regardless of detail. Victims will seek out other victims for reassurance, and sometimes this isn’t helpful, especially as individual incidents can vary wildly from person to person. However, on the flip side, I understand how important it is make people talk and reach outward instead of in, and this is where life becomes incredibly tricky to balance.

Reality and truth are what is really needed, and it can be really difficult in a virtual environment to reliably separate these from fictions of all varieties.

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I’ve mentioned before that my mental health ‘credentials’ have been doubted by people in the past, that some will naturally assume that a certain kind of woman will ‘play’ the victim card for her own nefarious ends. I’ve lost a significant number of female followers over the years for refusing to compromise on how I feel, for being what I am, good and bad, in public. In fact, I know full well certain people consider me ‘dangerous’ as a result. I was reminded yesterday of one person who made efforts to try to make me remove other people from my own Followers list because she deemed them unsuitable as mutual friends…  and then I laugh, because it isn’t just my own sex controlling and manipulating, quite the opposite, and we go back to the assertion that it isn’t gender that’s the problem, but bad people that are.

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The reason we get a National Pie Week is for manufacturers to sell more pies. The reason why we have an International Women’s Day is to remind the planet that gender equality is still not a basic human right and should be, alongside education and healthcare and food and water… and that’s before we get to torture, slavery, subjugation and all the other shit bad people do to the half of our society who act as carriers of the next generation. Without women? No men, or Humanity, but that means that if women don’t want to have children they’re not broken, or if they choose to challenge male authority they’re a radical. THEY’RE JUST DIFFERENT. This is your daily reminder that people (those sheep over there) are afraid of things they do not understand. This is the one day a year where I get to explain this, and stand a better than average chance someone might be listening.

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Conversely this is also the day that certain wags decide to ask for an International Men’s Day, complain that women have too much of a say to begin with, and that their lovely fragile male egos are all bruised and damaged as a result. Seriously, we understand the impingement of your masculinity only too well, you tell us about it every fucking day. This is what it’s like to have to live your life: nothing is easy, we all have to work for what we want, get over yourselves already. If everybody was just equal, none of this would be a problem, and our entire society would function with considerably more love and respect from the ground upwards. As that isn’t the case, today is still Wednesday, and if you just want to carry on as if the World is not burning around you? A hastag and a blog post won’t matter anyway.

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For me, however, today was the day when I realised that I don’t want to be considered a feminist any more. I don’t care about ascribing to a movement that pushes for equality but won’t allow women to do what they wish with their bodies. The choice is not anyone else’s to make but your own. If you can’t grasp that, you’re the one doing it wrong, and I want no part of your stupid, pointless rantings. You’re no better than the people you’re arguing against, frankly, and I am done with your stupid.

I’d just like a series of days where everybody learns to get along.

Ready To Go

And so 2017 begins. I’m too old to be phased by this shit any more, and I sure as fuck know that making any sweeping promises on Day One is just asking for trouble when the month goes to double figures. Therefore, let us begin with the small and attainable goals, right here on the table.

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HEALTH

I could be out there in the rain, suffering for my art, but I don’t need that today. What is more important at this point is laying the foundations for the real, hard work moving forward. This requires me therefore to ignore all sugar, processed or otherwise, for at least a 14 day period so my body remembers what it’s like to burn fat again and not derive all its energy from tea and sweeties. Tomorrow I have a meeting with my PT who will ask me if I want to go full-on hard bastard in losing the last of my weight, to which I am going to say yes. I’ve been running pretty much every other day since Christmas, and most days before, so this form of exercise no longer frightens or intimidates, and my chest is back to pre-infection levels. That means we’re going for it. I will need the cast iron will out, and to not give up because I’m tired and it’s hard. YES I CAN DO THIS.

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WORDS

Tomorrow I’ll send a sample of my words to a grown up who’s never met me and only knows me via Twitter, and we’ll see if I can begin a professional relationship with an Editor. The novel is now back in writing mode, with editing on the side. I’ve set myself a realistic timeframe to write a long-form essay, and I’m actively pursuing writing jobs. That means I have a CV now. Yeah, I’ve never owned one before, but that changed yesterday, and once husband takes a look at the last few edits, I’m going to start submitting job applications. Sadly, because I am not J.K Rowling, my writing career will not pay for itself on current subsistence levels: summat has to change. So, I prove I’m capable of getting work, and I can maybe afford a luxury or two going forward. I’d dearly love a new PC, for instance, and that’s not happening any time soon. The only way I make progress is with sacrifice, and if that means less free time, so be it.

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FOOD

Here’s a heading I’d not have considered could get use at the start of last year. Sure, I’ve cooked some things for myself before, but if you told me last month I’d be enjoying making my own breakfast the night before, I would have laughed at you. In good news this is not about to transform into a foodie blog overnight, because I know how my bread is buttered (^^) and nope, this is not my future. It is however, a necessary part of the journey where I can see what goes into my body because I put it there. I suspect there will be pictures, therefore, of what I do and how it arrives at the state I serve it in. I don’t make any pretensions at being Mary Berry either. There will not be brilliant cake or superb meals from scratch. I’m reading everybody else’s crib notes whenever possible. However there are already the beginnings of a desire to experiment, and that’s no bad thing.

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PICTURES

I got a new Sony Digital camera for Christmas. I asked for it with one desire in mind, to walk around with the lovely retro case my husband bought and show people that is what I’m doing. I’m taking pictures. I want to document the world around me better. One of the things I’ve done with the Mac Mini I use for mail and music is set my pictures from last year up as inspiration, to make me realise I don’t take a bad snap. I should use them as motivation and that is certainly the plan going forward in January. There’s a ton of stuff from New York I’ve been staring at and been stimulated by already. This will never be a bad thing.

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PERSONAL

Gonna try and post every day on Instagram, here and on the Warcraft blog. The writing one will get love too, but only when I’m finished with the workload. I might serialise summat again. There’ll be more non-fiction words there too. I’m getting more confident with personal pictures, and have changed my Instagram profile to reflect this. I love working in B&W. Need to smile more. Gotta be more confident in my ability to be capable. DEFINITELY need to run more and have a better waist. So much to do, and always so little time.


Better get on, then.

Look Away

One of the most important things that ever happened to me as an impressionable 20-summat was a book that I was told to read as part of my University degree. I never realised that it was also a TV show in the 1970’s:

John Berger pretty much redefined a generation’s view of themselves and everything else with Ways of Seeing. If you have never read it I cannot urge you enough to go and do so, because what this book does is redefine a basic tenet: ‘the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.’ It is a very significant point to make, now and always, that when presented with an image, it is not a truth. It can be defined in so many different ways, depending on the context in which you present it. I have a brilliant example of this: it’s my Giant Blue Cock:

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Yes, it’s a sculpture, but in my Twitter feed it is male genitalia that I couldn’t put there but people know exist in my head, my world view and therefore they accept the interpretation of that ‘image’ into theirs. It’s like pictures of Spotted Dick and Richard Nixon, you get the joke. It is the acceptance of your audience of how visual association works. That means by definition that if you present a certain set of images in a particular fashion, you’re making a point.

I have a perfect example of this right here.

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This came from Rosie O’Donnell’s Twitter account. This is, I assume, a Democratic, Hillary Clinton supporting woman’s conscious decision, based on a very depressing point that wants to be made, and the disbelief in my head when I saw this was considerable, as it comes from someone who should really grasp the power of image when misused… and that’s what this is. I could google Mr Trump’s wife and find many, many pictures of her looking as all those other First Ladies do, but then what was would be the point of that Tweet to begin with? Mrs Trump was a nude model before she married her husband: isn’t the USA supposed to be the place where it doesn’t matter about your past, you can still be a success? I can only assume that this was posted to make a point, that somehow posing nude in ‘public’ makes you less worthy than other women, and certainly not worthy enough to be the First Lady.

This is, like it or not, the reality of my existence. It’s not just the images either: I doubt this article on the potential horrors that climate change could be bringing wouldn’t have ended up in my feed were Trump not now President-elect. If your job is to sell advertising and not educate people, how can you really tell what’s truth or what’s well-placed scaremongering? How do you make a distinction, when even the people you know will put their particular spin on your world view?

Everybody colours the World in their own way to survive. You gravitate towards people who you feel safe with and can trust. You view ‘the enemy’ with revulsion and terror, but if you were on the other side of the fence…? That’s exactly what you’d still be doing. My mate Vitt just took me at my word when I asked: here’s five First Ladies, all together, without a prejudicial bias. That’s just what they are. If you have no desire to make a point, and all you want is to help, does it really matter one iota which side of the fence you happen to be on? Nope, you just help each other. If all you’re here to do is be angry and cause trouble?

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However much you hate the Orange Man right now, for whatever reason, the fact remains he is only one part of a far more complex set of variables, a lot of which you really can do something about. Sitting there and throwing shit at those who won because you think this will make you feel better? Well, it might, but if you choose to do that in public, it is likely to do you far more harm than good. I’ve lost respect for someone today who I thought would know better, and am grateful to someone else for being a decent person. Your experience of life may vary, but one thing remains: we are all the same. Deep down, our basic DNA structures mean that, like it or not, everybody is human.

How you choose to demonstrate that is, of course, entirely up to you.

History

Once upon a time, I used to be a graphic designer.

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I wasn’t great, but I knew what I liked and I was SUPERB at copying other layouts and designs. I used to design t-shirts too, and one of the bags that will be going out to the Charity Shop this week is full of my efforts. None of them are relevant or important now, but at the time my world revolved around this form of ‘art’ and I realised recently I miss it. Therefore, I’ve been poking around the Internets for graphics programmes to tinker with.

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Right now, I am pounding the hell out of canva.com for no other reason that someone else does all the hard work and I just shamelessly lift the results. Yeah, I know how not big or clever this is, but half the problem I possess right now is the time to do all the heavy lifting. This site puts everything in the right place and I just fuck about with it, and frankly that suits me absolutely fine. I have all the pictures needed to make these things unique and special, and it will add a much needed breath of fresh air to my sites. This also gives me the advantage of looking as if I’m paying someone to do all this shit for me.

That’s the bonus that keeps on giving.

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It also means that while I’m struggling with diet changes and the remains of yesterday’s headache, I can do something productive to boot.