Sing Sing Sing

Sometime, the whole of your existence opens up, spring flower reaching upwards towards sunlight and promise of a new day.

Other times, everything is shit and you just want to die.

Welcome to the one where someone else’s enthusiasm finally kicked down a door in my brain before storming inside.


Julia and I have known each other for a few years now. She and I met thanks to a mutual love of that video game, which is a fairly good barometer of whether or not I’ll get on with you regardless. We had lunch a few weeks back, and sitting there it was genuinely satisfying to see her enthuse over my daily Short Story. You know the one, that gets told in 280 character bursts every day.

Short Stories are TOUGH. Doing them well is an art form even more shrouded in mystery and difficulty than poetry. However, I’m cracking that and therefore, by extension, short stories look like the next logical step forward. I’ve been bouncing an idea around in my head for the last week that, if this were a perfect Universe, I’d pitch as a Dr Who script. However, as this is as likely to happen as me being confirmed as the next Doctor, it is time to accept that maybe, that narrative could be used in another way.

Perhaps it is time to work towards a Short Story collection and mean it.

Hexa is Greek for six, obviously. I have a bunch of stories in various stages of Development Hell [TM] and thanks to this morning’s burst of light into a previously dark place, that’s four stories that are just asking to be finished. Having spent the last few days looking at the editing project I’ve scheduled for this month and, all things being equal, that should be finished by the end of next week. If that can happen, then I can write this.

It is an interesting challenge to see if I can complete. Six short stories.

I mean, really, how hard could it be?

Games Without Frontiers

I’m getting tired of this. It happens everywhere. People are lazy, and especially when online if you want attention, honestly doesn’t work. The way to get your Tweet noticed is to make it more controversial than it really is. As it happens, this article’s quite interesting: people are challenging convention. You don’t need to have all your limbs or look like an athlete to be a personal trainer. It doesn’t matter about your religion or your dress size. That’s far less dehumanising than leading with ‘fat people’ but hey, whoever was scheduling the weekend tweets for The Guardian’s clearly past caring.

This shit should matter, and it never does.

Last night, someone tweeted this into my timeline. Now it’s been deleted, I have to tell you that the person running the I L0VE the 80’s account clearly got a bit annoyed about last night’s Doctor Who (which was set during the partition of India in the 1940’s) and decided to make his own comment using a picture of Tom Baker. ‘His’ Doctor, he told us, would fight Cybermen and Daleks, and not social justice issues. The responses that followed were, it must be said, not unsurprising, and came from both sides of the current spectrum of reaction to a woman, doing a traditionally man’s job.

This however, wasn’t controversy. I genuinely believe this was anger in response to the alteration of an institution that’s remained staunchly male for over 50 years. This wasn’t in an attempt to generate interest for the account either, it was using a platform that has 196k followers to make a political statement.  I suspect the reactions that were garnered were enough to make him delete the tweet. They were certainly enough for him to block a number of respondees. It is perfectly acceptable to hold a differing opinion to others, but if you choose to share it? Yes, there will be consequences.

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Everybody posts stuff they regret, it is a symptom of modern life, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done the same. However, that doesn’t happen now (except for the occasional typo correction when I’m using a Tweet to start a Thread or as a daily entry to a Thread.) I will no longer get involved in arguments before there’s been at least one cup of tea consumed, and often I just won’t bother at all. Undoubtedly, the best lesson ever learnt in the last seven years is knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Both of these things yesterday were commented on, because this is the kind of shit nobody needs and is of no help long term.

Most of the problems in the World could be solved with better communication, and yet people still don’t think beyond the sensational or confrontational to make their points. It’s not hard to be smart.

Really, you don’t have to show the World how you feel all the time.

Think

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I wasn’t going to write until Monday, but as is often the case circumstances had other ideas.


For a long time, I’d been fairly desperate for reassurance: confirmation that what I said and did had some, any kind of relevance. This peaked about eighteen months ago when it was necessary to have a daily affirmation that yes, I mattered. Twitter was a great means by which that could be served and an obsession with followers and numbers became, at times, potentially self-destructive. I’ve always flirted a thin line with obsessive behaviour via the Internet. It’s the cheapest and easiest drug to become addicted to.

What broke this dependence was the actions of one person. They crossed a line which I’d drawn without realising, and recalled a time when I did some pretty stupid shit in order to feel as if I mattered. Over time, and with the unconditional love of tiny humans, emerged the true understanding of what I was and how that ought to translate to decent human behaviour. So, when that person was dumb, it was time to walk away. When they left Twitter, my assumptions over their actions was pretty much confirmed.

Except, they came back. On reflection, it shouldn’t have been a surprise, as they’d left several times before, and when I followed them back without being acknowledged, their actions continued to justify my feelings. Except, it transpires from having read third party conversations, I was the problem. That’s when it finally hit home. You cannot expect other people to do anything except look after themselves. The ones that really care don’t act like fucking morons. They’re not toxic. Leave those people alone. Stop gravitating towards people who hurt you.

Look for the good people and stick with them.

I unfollowed someone this week as I watched them thank people for birthday wishes, politely and dutifully scrolling through their list, except no, not me. I’ve had enough with the people who feel I’m a suppressed passive aggressive needy fucker, this is not about pointing and going ‘what about me?’ This is accepting this person wanted me in their Followers to keep up the numbers but now has me on mute. It’s really not hard to accept this most modern of rebuttals, but honestly I don’t want to be where people won’t respect and listen. So, we no longer follow each other.

If they notice and apologise, I’ll be fucking staggered.

There is no time left to fuck about with this stuff, there is a planet to save, and if your only contribution towards being better people is to do nothing or hope someone else deals with the difficult problems I do not need you in my life any more.

Lying Eyes

Day One of a new regime and it is as if I’m the only one paying attention. Even with pitiful amounts of sleep last night the enthusiasm to work and move forward is here in spades. The first page of the novel being entered for an October 1st deadline almost edited itself, but will require more thought and adjectival input than is currently available. What is needed now after pushing VERY hard at the Gym is tea and some planning for other projects.

Deciding not to write any poetry this week was exactly the right move.

I’ve also decided to go ‘cold’ into a NaNoWriMo project this year and not try and resurrect something already half written. Currently we’re in ‘four characters looking for a plot’ territory but the bones are there, and that is all that matters.

Leave that with me.

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The first page of this wrote itself too. I am quite excited.

Let’s see where we end up going…

Brimful of Asha

I suddenly have a phenomenal amount of stuff on. A couple of prizes have appeared out of left field, and both allow the opportunity to recycle existing work to enter. In fact, what’s occupying my mind currently is an old fiction work which can be re-purposed (possibly) for another prize in October. It is oddly satisfying to stare at something that was considered the pinnacle of your efforts only a few years previously with a new set of eyes, plus realisation that nothing is ever really perfect: you simply decide to stop fiddling with it.

I am also forever indebted to one person on Twitter who retweeted a small nugget of personal wisdom that has fundamentally altered my outlook on the months ahead. Pinning all your hopes on one project is a road to ruin. The reality is lots of things, all made with similar passion and commitment, before being summarily thrown into the World, in the vain hope one of them sticks. If they don’t, then there’s also a backup, because you need backups.

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I listen to all the shit that passes through my feed. A lot of it is digested over time, and occasionally you can make a real impression without even realising. It helps me pick the honestly from the bullshit too, because a lot of people let their guard down in certain conversations where it wouldn’t happen in others. I may fail occasionally to grasp intent because of the difference in perception filters, but text remains my medium of choice. Some of you people need to think far more than you do before you Tweet, but you don’t need to be told this. That’s part of the reason you’re here in the first place.

I know why I’m here, and that’s the path ahead. Time to start putting the miles in again.

12 Reasons Why

Yesterday, I decided it is time to stop being alone. It can be horribly isolating, this life we all live separately, only pulled together by those things shared and loved collectively. Therefore, it is time to ask questions of those around me, as reminder not only of the point, but how my outlook is interpreted by others. The Internet’s undoubtedly less pleasant in some places, Mike’s right with that, but that isn’t going to be what happens here. Sure, I’ll be putting the ranty pants on from time to time, and asking people why the fuck they did that to begin with, but it will not devolve to fisticuffs.

If you try and start a fight, I refuse to play with you any more.

There is also a vested interest here in so many people that are read and followed. I see others however trying to build brands and sell themselves, with people like me quite obviously making up the numbers. You could well be listening, but without interaction it is impossible to tell and over time it becomes a one-sided conversation. When there’s an effort to communicate, what do you take silence as being? So, from this point onward, it is time to be more selective with who I work with. It is a fair assumption that if someone get the right hump they’ve been unfollowed having made no effort to interact, I made the right call.

This is becoming increasingly important to help me understand how to best communicate virtually going forward.

This, ultimately, is why the blogs are here, and what the writing is about. Forward motion remains earnest creation in an effort to entertain and stimulate people’s own though processes. If that happens, then the individual chooses to leave because they’re not interested in these things? That is the inevitable consequence of my action and is totally acceptable. Having kids taught the vital next step in responsibility, insight I will eternally be grateful for.

Many people have declared me frustrating over the years: every time this happens, there’s a self-imposed shift in presentation, but never in attitude. This stuff is not presented to annoy or frustrate, only to promote thought. If those feelings occur, laying blame at my door is all well and good, but it remains your outlook that is offended. Only by truly embracing our own potential and understanding that to do so means giving part of ourselves away, do we truly become aware of ourselves.

There’s a realisation too this morning that some people will see these comments and assume this was asked as means to draw attention to myself. All I did was ask a question. That’s what will happen more and more as time goes on. How you choose to respond is out of my hands, and this should always be the way that happens. This is no longer about me, but all about you. What is offered here now is a means to start a discussion, to open your own mind to the possibilities.

It is time to make my stand here.

Sharp Dressed Man

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.