Tragedy

I didn’t write here yesterday. I need to explain why.

There is a lot of work that needs doing: physically, mentally, intellectually. Normally this would be a nightmare, but that would be the old me talking. The new me has a plan, timelines and precise objectives. It knows what is priority, and how long that will take. It also appreciates that to move forward; intractability is not an option.

Therefore, slowly but surely, the work is being done. We will get fourteen bits of exercise complete in the first seven days of June, just not as evenly as would have been liked, but that can be better organized next week. It means my major poetry project will be first drafted at the end of the day, to be edited next week. It also ensures that everything else, on the list, is written and completed when it is needed.

After that, there are consequences to deal with. This poetry’s disturbed a lot of silt at the bottom of the memory tank: we’ll need to look at what exactly has been unearthed, in time. There are other parts of my life that are quietly poking me, pointing out that they need to be addressed too. There’s still far too much sugar to be healthy.

However, if this is doable for the rest of the month and (all willing) any major disasters can be avoided? Wow, I wanna live like this more. Work gets done, I am happy with it and (crucially) there is creativity of the like I have not previously experienced. This is like writing the poems last year only 100 times more awesome. I am doing the best work possible, and that’s not even close to being hyperbole.

Next up, therefore, I’m launching a proper YouTube Channel, because apparently video is the future, or summat. I dunno, kids today with your Instagram lifestyles… which reminds me, that’s gotta be restarted at some point…

So much to do, always no time.

Shipbuilding

For all of you that were really hoping you could avoid politics in 2020, NEWSFLASH it never, ever left. You pretended (often vainly) to look the other way and hope you could just keep using Twitter to publicise your gaming stream, or post your screenshots. Of course, this is still utterly valid as a means of promoting yourself, but that’s part of the problem.

You are pretending that nothing is wrong, that you can just carry on as normal, which IS THE PROBLEM. I appreciate you have hopes, dreams, aspirations and desires, but if those are more important than accepting and acknowledging you are involved in all this shit, then you’re being selfish. There, I said it. What are you doing to change the way you think?

Visual metaphors are damning. It makes it quite easy to see who isn’t coping right now. Those who have to tell me that they’re doing something in case it wasn’t clear. I know your mental health’s not good right now. I know you think nobody cares. I not only understand this but accept that as part of a wider narrative.

It’s why so many of you have gone quiet. Tweeting counts as a visual metaphor too. I get that. Someone will undoubtedly turn up and remind us all to stop being so serious and lighten up, and they will in part be correct, but maybe they too will have missed the larger point at play here. We are in a period of SIGNIFICANT societal change.

That means, quite possibly, that your playtime is over for now.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. The choices made in the next four weeks will alter the next six months, and yet many people only seem to care about their own needs, NOW, and this is what has to change with speed… because, if it doesn’t, there is the potential for tens of thousands of people to die, and a Second Wave of COVID 19 to rise.

If all you care about is buying stuff, you are part of the problem. If all you care about is getting sport back, you are part of the problem. If all you care about are your own superficial desires, YOU ARE PART OF THE FUCKING PROBLEM and it is probably the moment to grasp that life and death are more important than entitlement and superiority.

Except, of course, you won’t, and never will.

You Will Fill My Head

I didn’t blog yesterday. It was not the therapy required. Yesterday I watched a country fight and kill its own citizens, before sending two of them into space. This is a strange old set of circumstances we find ourselves within. How I deal with this, plus the ongoing pandemic, has been the subject of much thought.

How do you show support when you are the problem? It is a subject a lot of us will be considering at length in the weeks that follow. Those who don’t give a fuck are already using hashtags such as #AllLivesMatter. I was one of those people, once upon a time, who did not understand just how much of an insult that really is.

All of us come to these revelations at our own pace. You need to be willing to look past your own personal circumstances and towards a better, more realistic viewpoint. Amazingly, as your horizons broaden, it is amazing to look back and grasp just how fucking bigoted the world is that you’ve left behind. There are rules too. They really do matter.

As #7 in this list is not to allow your ego to dictate the direction of this change, I’m not going to say anything more except that we all have different paths which can be trodden for renaissance. Everybody brings a unique skill set to this particular party. The key, of course, is not to let your own aspiration overtake the significance of this moment.

There will be those who believe this is their platform to fame. That much is already obvious, and although I appreciate the sentiment behind this, America’s obsession with wealth has already caused a schism that may now be impossible to heal. Commercialism has destroyed everything, yet without it there’d not be Americans in space.

There is a phenomenal amount of shit that needs fixing in the World. By far the best place to begin that process is with yourself. We can all be better, I don’t care who you are. Nobody is perfect. All of us can make a difference.

Begin the process of improvement with yourself before you dare believe you’re worthy of doing so to anyone else.

Pull Up to the Bumper

EXERCISE POST
[you were warned]

The last few days really have not gone as I had hoped they would. There’s quite a strong temptation right now to just say ‘fuck it’ to everything and go play Animal Crossing until my brain turns to mush, but we have moved forward from those days. Therefore, there has to be a plan. What that means practically, in the short term, is not exercising today.

If I have learnt anything in all of this chaos, it is listening to my own flesh on days when everything is falling apart. On other days I would have pushed myself under the auspice of being determined, brave, solid. Today, I drink a lot, we address what’s been dropped over the last two days and tomorrow, we start again because today, suddenly, is not about pretending this is coping. It isn’t. This is repair work, and it is sorely needed.


Therefore, the plan going forward is as follows:

  • Better planning of rest days and cheat days
  • Set an exercise goal for June, then stick to it
  • Stop beating myself up that progress isn’t happening, when there’s no real progress goal set in the first place
  • Finally, grasp my own limitations, and stop judging myself over them as a result

…and with that, let’s get started.

Adult Education

Seeing someone say stuff like this in print will, undoubtedly be considered by many as ridiculous: it’s imagery, anybody can inhabit a character’s mindset. Except… this is something I’ve wondered about for a while. Imagery is important to me, and although it could be conceivable to argue that as a writer I have the ability to write as a person whose ethnicity I don’t understand…

More and more, this is not about the action, but appropriation. It is borrowing without permission. That is undoubtedly where a lot of GIF creation lies: as a means to express yourself, via the medium of someone else’s reaction. If you apply logic, it does stand up to scrutiny, but that’s not the key here. That’s empathy.

If you look through my blog, you will see a lot of GIFs used not as promotion, but simple reaction. I’ve certainly never used any of them as an active means of promoting myself, and often (when it comes to personalities such as Ru Paul, Idris Elba or Beyonce) you aren’t just using their image as a reaction, it’s a nod to your appreciation as them as a person.

Knowing when that moves from being empathic into appropriation territory is going to be a tough ask for many white people. Yes, I can type that sentence with absolute confidence, because we all know that person who does That Dumb Thing and never really considers the consequences. You only get naïvety as an excuse in the modern world… probably once now, if at all.

If you’re on the Internet, you’re interacting in public. Twitter might be trying to create a forum environment, and the illusion that you can say what you want without redress with their new Conversation feature, but the truth is this place never forgets. It is vicious and feral and has very good reason to be both of those things if you don’t respect the people using it.

The bigots, racists, and idiots who use this kind of article as sport won’t ever listen. That isn’t what articles like this are about. They’re meant to make the sensible and rational amongst us stop, think and change the way we do things, and if that rolls out to wider audiences and unexpected places, so much the better.

You can mark this point as the one where I won’t use certain GIFs any more, because I respect and understand the point being made here. I’ve spent time this morning deleting certain ones out as a result of reading Lauren’s article, and followed her on Twitter to be further educated.

Sometimes, you are part of the problem, whether you like it or not.

Funny Girl

I had pudding last night, for the first time in probably a couple of months. Occasionally, over the Lockdown, I’ve sneaked a mini Bread and Butter Pudding in between meals. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy that experience…


I also spent most of yesterday doing the exact opposite of what I’d originally planned for Friday. I wrote a poem which, once it’s sat and gathered dust for a bit, will be one of the three I submit for the National Poetry Contest I will Never Win [*] and That’s Okay. Normally when I do these it is in the white-hot anger of having not won the previous year. Not this time.

This time, it is something else I am angry about. I doubt this will make one iota of difference to progression, but what it does make for is a poem with real bite, distinct from its predecessors and, amazingly, with distinct style too. All in all, it adds up to a comfortable new high water mark for the journey. It will make editing poetry this morning a lot easier.

I give this Poem

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Saturday’s Agenda

If all this gets done today, I can have Sunday off, and that’s all that really matters to me right now…

Sarah, speaking earlier

I’m sorry, I’m having WAY too much fun with all this faffing about: at some point, undoubtedly, we’ll end up going back to boring five line paragraphs, but the temptation to play with all of this for comedy porpoises remains quite strong. In all seriousness however, there are se7en things on my To Do List.

Six are pretty heavy duty, and if I can get traction on them all, and at least four completely finished, I’ll take today as a towering triumph. One is probably impossible today, because it depends on someone else. However, if I can buckle down and get all this sorted, it gives me the free time I need next week to write poetry collections, and right now that matters quite a bit.

Maybe I could ask WordPress to work out a Strava embed for this new system…


[*] Not with that attitude you won’t…

Here’s the Thing

Undeniable Truth #286

(in a long series of ‘Things that Frustrate Me about Publishing’)

I absolutely HATE learning that I’ve not been shortlisted for The Thing, or indeed I’ve not made it past the first stage by getting the email that tells me who has won The Thing. When I am in charge, there will be communication at every stage of the process. I will attempt to provide coherent feedback. Mostly, it will all be far better organised.

Seriously, how hard can it be?

In other news, I played with the WordPress features yesterday and yes, this will be useful, once I can get my head around the process. Blogging every day will help with this, of course. We learn by doing, not complaining it got too hard. Therefore, there will be a great deal of doing and very little of the other stuff, because nobody has time for that.

I wanna use three images here as an example of what it is now possible to achieve going forward with the website: what you can’t see is that this allows me to make my pretty simplistic layout into something hugely sophisticated and smart. It will also fix an issue I have on various webpages that have previously needed to rely on grids for their construction.

It doesn’t look like much, but the consequences of this really are significant.

This Feature is Great

I promise I will learn to use it responsibly.

There will be an actual post tomorrow as well, not just me faffing about.