Last Train to Trancentral

My head is full of fluid, caused no doubt by pollen allergies, but also due to me inhaling the shower last night. I’m an idiot, when all is said and done; only I could do self-care that ends up doing more damage than good. Needless to say, because eldest has an exam today and I’m on taxi duty, there’s no PT. That would just be dumb.

However, there will be more poetry, which is going surprisingly well. Let’s be honest, there was never really any doubt it would be hard work. It’s a labour of love, and I have so much to write about the problem is working out what doesn’t get included. I am on course for my first draft completion, on schedule, and that alone is glorious.

Right, must get on.

Distant Past

The latest skin to be shed has not taken long at all. Sadly, sleep is still shot, but with this being half term it’s not the end of the world, and so we’ll bump along the bottom today in the hope Blaze will make me tired enough to just pass out unhindered later. A lot has been settled over working practices too: I’m comfortable with the decisions being made, they are the right ones and this is undoubted forward motion.


Today therefore is knocking off backlog, tomorrow setting up for June and then on Friday it’s the push to have everything poetry-based on the project finally in first draft form. That was always the plan when this started: fully written, with a two week editing window so that first poems can go up in mid-June. In that regard, I’m extremely pleased with my progress thus far.

The website side of things is also pretty much settled: I still have pictures to source but that won’t take long. Saturday looks like a great time to do part of that with sun forecast all day. Then I have a project to add to my artist’s statement and with a meeting scheduled next week with the local arts collective, maybe a step up to something more significant.


My written work’s coming to the end of a significant period of development. Although the rejections are piling up, an awful lot has been learnt in the last six months over what is and isn’t going to get me published. If that’s the goal, to see if at least one collection can make it to the printing stage, it’s easily sorted by self-publishing if all else fails.

I’d like to think however I am good enough to get past that point, that with what has been learnt so far there’s not only space for improvement but development too. There’s a massive raft of new prizes and opportunities that present themselves in June, and then in July I’m off to Leeds for a two day writing weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Whatever happens, this optimism is worth making the most of right now.

Go With the Flow

I’ve had two rejections in the last 24 hours, and they couldn’t be further apart in tone. One was the depressingly generic ‘sorry, you failed but don’t ask us why’ type and the other gave a depth of reasoning and insight that I’ve genuinely not seen happen anywhere else in the Industry. Needless to say, I know which people I’ll be submitting more work to in the future.


It helps, of course, that this is the first Wednesday for six weeks that I’ve woken up after a counselling session and felt like I genuinely got somewhere. All that hard work is mine, of course: the tools were handed over, and here I am, getting on with the job. That’s how this works going forward too, a process of learning and then practical application. This is all good. Amazingly so, as it happens.


As I emerge from my cave, blinking and startled, with sunshine warming a cold face… fuck I have a lot to catch up on. Seven weeks seems a very, VERY long time ago. There are projects that started their lives Back Then which now desperately need a redo. The poetry also could do with a rethink, all told, and that’s now what’s going to happen. Brakes on the bus for a day or two. Let’s do some ACTUAL THINKING.

Doing so with a totally relaxed brain will be a joy. The transformative power of ‘just doing stuff for yourself and nobody else’ should NEVER be underestimated…

Island of Lost Souls

As you read this, I hope to be standing on an island, taking pictures. That is the plan, at least, as it is Day One of Photography for the poetry project. This was always going to be the mentally busy one too, and it is certainly working out that way. Keep an eye on the Instagram feed for pictures, of which there will be several as the week goes on. I’m hoping for decent weather: if the BBC website is to be believed, that’s not a problem.


However, having the running order sorted now, everything feels a fair bit more organised.

It’s roughly four locations a day that need covering, and they’re lumped together in geographically-sensible groups, so there shouldn’t be too much travel time. I’ve already scoped out all my locations and have some pictures of them all, this is just me taking pictures of the things picked to be part of the final collages. Needless to say, quite a bit of work has gone into all this.


All things being equal, I’ll be back here LIVE on Tuesday, as all those locations are gonna be covered after I’ve done counselling…

Eat to the Beat

Day 2 of the Project, and I promise this is the last time I do that. Had to wait for a delivery but after that, it was down to the place which, according to various sources, is the happiest to live in the Country. It’s pretty cool, that I’ll grant you, but parking is an absolute nightmare. As a result, today was a walk there and back (not nearly as far as Tuesday) plus I get to go past a killer sammich shop on the way.

Yes, I have devolved this all back to an opportunity to eat well, what can I say.

Great pictures, poetry progress, and egg salad to die for.

Let’s get sorted on some of my backlog…

Cantaloupe Island

Hey there Sunday. I did the majority of the work for next week last week and had hoped that there’d be time to swap over my desk space today but honestly, it isn’t going to happen. For the next two weekends I’m a lone parent anyway: it’s possible I might be going to Birmingham for the second one, dunno, it will depend on various factors. Whatever does transpire going forward, there is a lot on, but I’m ready for it.

Let’s make the second cuppa and get started.


I’m working on a new novel. There is, of course, nothing at all wrong with the old ones, they just need editing but that’s not something I’m capable of doing right now. So, instead, it is time to make something new from scratch. That means a cover. This might be the best cover I’ve ever made, most relevant to content.


Needless to say, in the downtime between poetry in May, this gets chipped away at… it also has a playlist, which is always a good guarantee stuff will be successful. This one gets to be listened to in the car, at the Gym, when exercising, so brain can be stimulated as well as the other muscles. Let’s see how successful it is.


I have a submission to finish. It requires an artist’s resume. I bloody HATE talking about myself but it has now been proven that doing so produces results. Therefore, I’ll jerry-rig summat from that last successful submission (can’t talk too much about it yet, more as it happens) and see if we can hit the target again. This is tough work mentally, but knowing now it is successful, that people notice… that’s the key.

Just keep moving forward, doofus.


So, yesterday. Let’s talk about that for a minute.

I wrote a blog yesterday for the Other Place which was, it has to be said, a bit of a surprise. It comes on the back of picking up yet another failed writing project at the start of the weekend and trying (unsatisfactorily) to make something of it. Yet again came the familiar and damning grasp of terror around both brain and heart. You’re not good enough. Stop trying to fool yourself that you are.

Except fuck you Impostor Syndrome, seriously, just go get in the sea and stay there. These ideas are more than good enough, I’m just not mentally capable of the editing task right now. It is like wading through my past, laid out in print, being forced to relive the circumstances behind when these pieces were written, time and again. I am incapable of going back there and doing the work. It hurts too much.


Therefore, it might be an idea to take something totally new and fresh, from scratch, and just see how we can make something worthwhile emerge, using all the skills I’ve learnt in the last eighteen months. No massive plan, just taking an idea I’ve loved for decades, and putting my unique spin on it. Therefore, yesterday, Provocatrix was born. It’s pretty much at the ‘I’m writing this for you stage’ too, and there’s already an ending.

Key to the success of this narrative is that the key plot hinge has been knocking around for over a year, but my brain had ring-fenced it for another project that would have been totally and utterly wish fulfilment. That’s the key, I think: writing needs to be fun, something you enjoy, the ideas not a chore or a concept you think other people might find interesting. If you don’t have fun in the creation, boy does it show.


This isn’t a total about face for me but it is a shift in course. Accepting the shortcomings is normally not as easy (or satisfying) as this has initially turned out to be. Cautious optimism is most definitely the key to progress now but I have the three key protagonists sorted. Who they are and what they do is now their task to show me. I’m looking forward to seeing where we all go, how they react to the narrative’s challenges.

I’m genuinely excited for a long form project, and that’s not happened for some time.