Fame

That’s my poem IN THE SUNDAY FUCKING TELEGRAPH, that is. I’d assumed, when they did the interview, that all that mattered was the serious stuff. I’d fully expected anything contentious to be edited out (as it appears was the case with the other poet they spoke to) and to have my mental health shout out left in was, it has to be said, quite satisfying.

For a poem I don’t really like that much, this is already FAR more traction than could have been reasonably expected. This morning, something else I’m not that particularly enamoured with either has unexpectedly picked up a consent form request. At some point however it might be useful to get some payment somewhere, because this stuff doesn’t feed anybody.

The attention however is, it must be said, worth the effort.

It’s odd, how certain things move on their own. My concern about diversifying too much is still niggling, but as I’ve already got video ready to roll with imagery for a poem this week after trying to do this since March, it is apparent that that wasn’t the real issue. Once the work’s attacked, it gets done. The real issue is planning effectively to get to that stage.

Looking back on previous disasters, planning was always the weak link. It would support me when creativity flagged, and would propel me forward when things got emotionally fraught. Now it’s shit hot, and happens before ANYTHING else takes place, the difference to just about everything is not only noticeable but reassuring. Why did it take me so long?

Well that’s a stupid question, you didn’t believe you could do it.

Belief is undoubtedly the key. Knowing there is nothing to prove at this stage also helps enormously… what, I’m gonna fail at this by the time I’m 30? I should be sitting at home drinking wine and watching daytime TV at my age: no woman 50 is any kop for anything, unless you’re a Hollywood actress with a skincare contract and an expensive wardrobe. Fuck all your preconceptions, and screw anyone who thinks they get to tell me I’m wasting my time.

Trust me, I did pull a shirt over my head and run around the room when that poem got chosen for publication, and every time I succeed it will be celebrated with a similar level of joyous enthusiasm because honestly, truthfully, I never expected to get here at all. It was all just possibility. Now I am here, you’ll have to extract my existence from cold, dead hands before I’ll be prepared to give it up.

Welcome to the New Routine.

Here’s the Thing

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It’s odd, looking at official guidance, and deciding you don’t need it.Β Except, of course, August’s hospital visit is still fresh in the memory. I do need it. Having spent the last three years pushing myself to be social and out of the stay at home mentality, this is a bit of a blow. The only overriding positive thought is that I’m not alone, even though that may not feel like the case right now.

The hairdressers phoned to ask me if I’d like next week’s hair appointment brought forward, because they have no idea if they’ll be open or not then, and if I wanted an indicator of the level of fear/uncertainty prevalent in the world right now, then here it is.Β The other key barometer will be my Gym: if it closes, and the chatter seems to suggest it is a possibility, that’s a line in the sand I really thought would never happen.

Talking of which…

I don’t need stuff like this, but having it happen is an indicator of where we are now heading. As time goes on it will be important to impose not only routine, but a sense of proportion, which right now is actually pretty tough going. It will undoubtedly get easier, especially if I can find enough stuff with which to distract myself with in the days that follow. I have a massive To Do List.

We will get through this.

Enough is Enough

This week has not been kind. I slept without my Fitbit last night because sometimes, you don’t wanna know. A 9.30 PT should, I hope, kick-start a day of solid exercise, followed by some good personal advancement. That’s all I can do: say it, do it, hope it works. Nothing else is in my hands, just my own progression. Do I learn the most important lesson of all, finally? Can mental blocks that continue to hamper be overcome?

Yes, they are.

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The greatest advantage of owning devices that track my health is not the data companies sell to other people an ability to clearly signpost progress. Now I’m in a position of strength, quite far down the road to wellness, those numbers become the glue that stick me together. I’ve noted previously that it was writing before that served that purpose: now the lifesaver’s become a profession, except, of course, there’s still an awful lot to learn.

The metric for writing success are woeful, absolutely dreadful. If I were using that as a means to stay mentally strong right now, it would have failed miserably. Fortunately, having found a new means by which progress can be bench-marked without it destroying my sanctity, there’s now breathing space to allow other stuff an opportunity to be approached and attacked with the same enthusiasm.

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I can’t stop time, nor would I want to. With exercise, I can reverse it however: adding sympathetic care returns a measure of flexibility and strength to both body and mind. This week’s writing revelations have been just that: massive insights into the way brain operates, how to stop demons attacking my work. In fact, embracing them this week presented work capable of reopening part of my brain that’s been closed since the 1990’s.

Going through this post now, carefully re-reading and editing as I go, is a new phenomena too. Before the obsession would be to just finish, get it done, not stop and think. Care has emerged in everything. It’s not like it didn’t exist before, far from it. What mattered back then was making the point. Now, considering why, how and even if I should come before a single word is written. This feels a better order to work in.

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Once upon a time there might also have been a desire to ramp up the drama. Nope, that’s not ever happening ever again. Other people can do that, there’s more important business to concern myself with than making the stupid stuff more apparent. For now, that means finishing up here, smashing that bonus Saturday PT of Win before letting Saturday sort itself out.

These are the best kind of days.

The Great Escape

There’s a certain level of guilt that exists when you blow off an entire day of potential progress to cock about in your PJ’s, but yesterday, honestly, it had to be done. After an early PT I came back home and just ground to an utter standstill, so much so that there was a sneaky nap taken for the first time in what is probably six months. Suitably re-energised, the last thing wanted was to go back to work. So, after about three hours of trying to spawn a two player Civilization: Beyond Earth map that left me a continent away from my opponent, I went for a Supremacy victory, and got it.

This then made me realise that there’s a compelling argument for never letting the zealots and the mad people organise space flight, because if they’re then going to combine themselves with the indigenous wildlife, go back to Earth and wipe out the human population in the name of evolution, it’s all a bit shit, really. As I built unit on Military unit and sent them back to Earth under the auspices of ’emancipation’ there was, I have to admit, a feeling of increased discomfort.

That’s the mark of a good game: makes you think, challenges your choices.

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This week there is a LOT to be done, because it’s February on Friday, and therefore backlogs should be organised and then dismissed. Actually, with a clear run at it, the rest of what needs doing can (and will be) sorted. After that? Still got two submissions to finish for the week, should probably practice reading my own poem a few times, am gonna work on editing two rejected works and then creating a .PDF Pamphlet to start raising funds for travelling.

It’s all go around here.

Point of View

DAY 12:Β Huel for breakfast, followed by an early session of PT. If you wonder what all of that looks like together, in a vastly more accurate visual than Fitbit can produce… there’s an app for that now.

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Amazingly, you can see the rest between sets here.Β The blue at each end is my walk to and from the Gym, which I purposefully pushed to be more aerobically efficient. There might have been some scoffing over this app, especially as the company has been fiddling with heart rate zones on a customer by customer basis. However, this undoubted level of accuracy is hard to ignore. I have a new favourite toy.

Maybe it wasn’t a waste of cash after all.


What you think is a great idea late in the day can become somewhat more panicky and ill-advised in daylight. HOWEVER, all the poems are together, in one place, all formatted correctly and now just require an edit. Oh, that sentence is so simple to write and yet so horribly complex to complete.Β No, it’ll be fine. There’s no need to build my part up, everything is doable. There’s also half a mind to shove a short story into the mix too. However, there’s a real and rather pressing secondary deadline looming that has had little or nothing done for it and which now needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency.

I do love to run fast and loose with my content.


History will remember that to reinvent oneself, there needs to be a kick-ass soundtrack. When you sing songs about battle, there is a reason: to celebrate victory, but be mindful of just how close you are to defeat. For every person who won it all, there is the loser, second place, the also-rans. For me, inspiration exists every day: self penned, fantasy created in my head that drives everything forward. You can be whatever you want to be, as long as you believe it enough.

One day I’ll explain the true significance of this piece of music. For now, this is the soundtrack, walkout music to the boxing ring.

Everybody needs a theme tune.

Beautiful Noise

DAY 3:Β This is new. Sure, all the thoughts are a mess again this morning but my basic functions are WAY more alive and capable. I was out sitting in the car waiting for my daughter feeling far less stressed than would normally be the case on a school day. There was enough cognisance to write a School Run tweet this morning, and that’s not happened since Half Term. I am, undoubtedly sharper than I was on Sunday. Is is the lack of sugar, the Huel, or both?

This is daughter’s last day, and Dad is taking a bunch of them from School to a friend’s house for the afternoon. That allows me to do a proper hard Gym session followed by a massage, and to not stress about driving anywhere in the process. It also gives me extra time for editing and organisation, something that’s going to be used for an audit of what gets done in a normal day, and how that can become far more efficient.

No, I will not spend the extra time playing video games.

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Gonna aim to Huel after I’ve exercised, using a protein bar as temporary distraction between Gym and massage. I have the day’s scheduled content all set and ready to go. Tomorrow, we’ll be doing a bit of a special two blog crossover THING between here and the Writing place, because the 20th is the day when… nope, can’t tell you yet.

Not long to wait now.

Love What You Do

This is one of many lines in the sand, drawn because I’m absolutely fed up of growth being used as a means to make money, and not betterment as a person. I have no desire to share my posts and improve likes by sticking a hashtag on the end. However, I’ve included one that will get me picked up when posting this by a particular group of people for a very good reason. This is a cautionary warning to those I began to follow using said hashtag because, rather naively, there was an assumption people would form relationships based on mutual interest and not simply for self-promotion.

At 52, there’s still an awful lot left to learn.

What matters far more than the number of people who follow each without thinking are those who do and then realise that looking to themselves for answers is a better use of time and effort. It is the complete antithesis of growth in a material sense, because to truly grasp the lessons required to survive as a person needs introspection, not a legion of similar followers. The single-minded pursuit of wealth and success is not the answer, and whilst such a small proportion of the worlds’ population holds the most money, it never will be. Praying at the Church of ConsumerismΒ is driving the planet towards self-destruction.

This is not what I want to be a part of, and it’s not the future ascribed to.

optout

If success is measured by volume, then follower numbers need to keep dropping. I’d rather sit in a virtual room with those who care and listen, and those who can help me improve than ever be associated with bling and noise. If I am going to make any cash from this endeavour (and at some point, not gonna lie, that remains an ambition) it will be from actual material output: my words, my pictures, that’s it. Their carbon footprints will be small, and I’ll know exactly how they were generated.

Therefore this needs stating: at some point in the next 12 months,Β you willΒ be asked if you wish to buy stuff I make and do.Β However much I may malign consumerism, these websites cost a fixed amount each year to maintain. It would be lovely to earn a modest living as a freelancer. I’m not after massive success and adulation either. Nothing is further from my mind at this point. What matters is to be successful on my terms, confident in my space, whilst producing things that make me happy. It’s not a pipe dream either, other people can and still do this. My issue, such as it remains, is redefining a career path in my fifties.

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Those who support and nurture me are known and loved. These people provide a foundation moving forward. The next stage, undoubtedly, is the push towards making total strangers sit up and listen. There are shoots, first flush of new growth, and that’s my plan moving forward. Build a name for myself using honestly, humour and pictures.

Yup, that will mean video. It will happen, trust me, and probably before Christmas.