Cruel to be Kind

Once upon a time, my life would have been put on hold on Wednesdays. Those days have (thankfully) passed, existence considerably better for the change. There was also a time where an obsessive need to attain goals would completely consume my brain: with reflection, it is more about understanding when to work, and that not doing so is probably more important. Body decided at about 10.15pm last night, today is a physical rest day: being able to snag an extra PT lesson tomorrow morning is perfect synergy required to get my head down this morning and work the grey matter instead.

List is written, washing is on, time to make the difference.

Learning from my kids is something that happens so many times during a day: it is not just your task to teach as an adult. There is an obligation to listen, learn and then suggest alternatives. Occasionally the intractable needs to be introduced but as has become apparent with my two, intelligence can make for a fine weapon against such restrictions. Then, it is up to you to clear middle ground. Not them, you, because the more that control is flaunted, the less likely it is that any outcome will be non-confrontational.

I’ve got very good at avoiding confrontation across the last few years, a skill not taught in my youth. Now, this and my limited parenting abilities are having unexpectedly amusing and satisfying uses. Control’s a funny thing, when all is said and done. Thinking that someone or something else is frightening or scary, when a lot of the fear never issues from the object of your concern. The amount of control you can wield is immense and really is capable of changing the World.

You just have to believe enough in the possibility.

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My paths are not once as clear as they were. Other things are appearing as important. As changes occur, and possibilities present, it is up to me to ensure that the journey forward isn’t just a single-minded steam towards one reward, if there other more important side-achievements to be had. All that gaming has finally found a use.

Who knew?

Up

Number of days since Chocolate = 0

If I eat chocolate pistachio cake with a Bestie in London on a Saturday, there is inevitably a way built in to negate those calories. In this case, it was doing all the stairs at Covent Garden tube station: 195 of them, equivalent to a 15 story building (as was periodically and gleefully announced via tannoy on the way up.) Yes, I had to stop (twice) because however fit I might get, there is always a problem with stairs when I’ve not had a warm up, and next time I’ll just go a lot slower. Because yes, I will do that in one hit next time.

It’s almost exactly as I imagined it would be, if truth be known. I picked up a contest flyer where (gasp!) there is no online entry component: I will have to USE THE POST for submissions \o/ More importantly there is a notice board, and the next time I come down to town there needs to be something made to advertise there. It MIGHT be worth doing a secondary recce to work out what space to use, or what is likely to make the most impression.

I take this as a challenge to my artistic creativity.

The Next Chapter Bar

Having had a much-needed conversation with a grown up yesterday about writing, I’ve come to realise there is no anger really about rejection. Where emotion springs from is how such rejections are communicated; so generic as to be insulting, yet with vague specifics that can allow individuals to tear themselves to shreds and never enter another contest again. Should it be the job of an individual to deal with criticism better, or an organisation to present criticism in a more helpful fashion?

I’ll write about this on the IoW tomorrow, but for now there is a sense that progression with your ‘voice’ isn’t just about flow or output, but a potential editor grasping how speech is such a hugely subjective thing. To sound like me is a particular process. To be coached on how to write is acceptable, but to a point, because there is undoubtedly a difference to my speech and the perception of it that comes from a brain that simply does not operate the same as other people’s.

This is a discussion that will run and run.

Timebomb Zone

Day 4:Β Wow, that’s a two hours I never want to repeat again. I’m utterly with Duncan Jones: kids are hard work. I know, they didn’t ask to be born and you were the one who make the choice [and therefore accept the responsibility], but BOY some days is it tough. Anxiety-producing, pain inflicting, nerve shreddingly tough. If the sun was out and the country hadn’t just imploded, it would be easier. Today therefore is penance, and I’m surprisingly okay with that.

The Next Chapter Bar

There’s a significant fork in the road up ahead. Watching my husband cycle last night, his level of fitness is a reminder that if things matter enough, you will find a way.Β I don’t eat badly, exercise more than has ever been the case before and slowly, so very slowly, improvement is coming. It is on days like today when I’m mentally wiped that those gains matter so much more. Pushing beyond comfort zones might not be the answer for some, but for me there are days when if I don’t, the consequences can be catastrophic.

I should have started this particular journey with more vigour about 20 years ago.

The Next Chapter Bar

Decided to enter a book contest with the manuscript that keeps getting rejected. It’s really good, deeply personal and largely autobiographical, and I know full well why nobody I’ve sent it to thus far has shown the slightest bit of interest. So, if it gets rejected AGAIN it doesn’t get rewritten a third time. It stays this way, and we look for specialist publishers to send it to, and if that fails I fucking publish it myself, because sometimes it isn’t about compromise. Sometimes, what matters most is the idea, as you wrote it, not how someone else wants you to tell the story.

Occasionally you don’t write in the hope someone else validates you. You need to validate yourself.

Forget Myself

DAY 1: Let’s start the clock again. I had an Orange Club yesterday but, in my defence, there was a VERY good reason.

I wish the Blood people did a daytime session at the local church. Doing it during the day’s been a lot less difficult to cope with. Maybe it is because you’re fuelling over a longer period and not shifting straight into eight hours of kip. Perhaps this is just easier as body gets fitter. I will have to do some push ups tomorrow and schedule a bike ride after New Year’s Day nosh at my parents. It’ll be four days since anything was lifted, and that will never do.

As 2019 begins, I’d like to remind you why we’re here:

The epiphanies just keep on coming, and they’re all being written down, so that blog posts may spring forth from them. Remarkable progress has been made in the last 48 hours and although it is not exactly where I wanted to be, we are damn close. Give it a good push tomorrow, and there’s clear air for writing, and starting my cookery aspirations. I haven’t told you about that yet…Β Why else do you think the Instagram account was reactivated?

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This is a GOOD SAMMICH

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WELL DUH.

Happy New Year. <3

Civilisation

I’ve waited since the beginning of November to spring this news. It was registered on a Tuesday, having just picked my daughter up after school, sent out (presumably) as the last e-mail of the day from The Poetry Society.

I know, you have no idea who they are.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909, and still maintain space at Covent Garden in London. You pay to be a member, as is the case with most of these organisations, which grants you access to a quarterly newsletter, and a bunch of other stuff. It is, in essence, like becoming a member of Equity as an actor: sure, you don’t NEED to hand over the cash, can still write with complete legitimacy without it. I entered the National Poetry Competition last year as a non member, before the acceptance that advantages of membership outweigh not having one.

It is, I suppose, acceptance that if you crave even the smallest measure of legitimacy there are rules and paths to that conclusion which don’t exist if you work alone. It is the difference between sending your manuscript to a publisher cold without any idea of how you make it more attractive, and doing your research. In the quarterly newsletter is a competition: you’re given a subject matter, and rough guidance on what the specified judge is looking for from the entries. Then, it is up to you to deliver the goods.

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If you go and look on my WiP page, you’ll find a link to the winning entry. I’ve signed a contract, which gives TPS rights to the verse, so they get to reproduce it and I will quite happily point at it for the foreseeable future, because by the action of winning there’s the chance to snag two further prizes. I am immensely proud and happy about this: they are genuine, true emotions that have never been experienced in this form before. Sure, stuff’s been produced before that I’m proud of but to be acknowledged like this? That’s always the most glorious of bonuses.

This is officially the happiest I have ever been.

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,Β 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.Β 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.Β 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.Β 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.Β  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.)Β 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.Β 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.