Point of View

DAY 12: 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. 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. 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.

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?

Forget You

Today, despite a distinct and obvious wish to tell the entire planet to fuck right off, I’m doing okay. A list was made of things that Need to be Done and as the day wore on, it did the job pretty well. The problem normally in situations such as these is the overriding and often debilitating need to just go and sleep for the entire time I don’t need to be a grown up. It doesn’t help I’m in a new level of fatigue not previously experienced as body is pushed hard to better things. It also doesn’t help that eating would be de rigeur as distraction, means to sway brain from wanting to think dark and dangerous thoughts. So, I have to work out a new method of deception, that is better than simply living in Social media from dawn to dusk. So far, the Bullet Journal and lots of distraction is doing the job.

My writing skills however have very much gone South for the Winter.

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Next week is Half Term, and there will be Novel work, plus getting the Websites to some better form of working order. I’d like to start Early Spring Cleaning after that, because LORD KNOWS this house could use it. After that, everything pretty much revolves around a willing mind. I’m hoping desperately that I get back the desire to write more than just blog posts, and as a push into this I’ve pulled out some old fanfic efforts to take a look at. Then, if all else fails, I can now celebrate that what used to take 50 minutes to complete on a treadmill is now finished in 40. That’s a mahoosive step forward. It is also a significant step up in calorie burning, but most importantly I’m finding recovery times going right down. I think the spoofing is almost complete.

However, undoubtedly the best thing of all about today will be the Nandos I’m about to be served via the wonders of take away. I love this job.

Story Time

Today, I decided to start a story. If you like what you read, maybe I’ll write more.

 

==

The divorce had been far less painful than she ever expected.

It’s six months since they were discovered, wrapped around each other like snakes in the space that used to be the centre of her Universe. Now Amy sleeps in the spare room on a small, single bed and doesn’t mind that she keeps bumping into boxes on the way to make breakfast. Jamie’s still up before her, constructing wraps in his own worryingly distinctive fashion on a grey, cold Tuesday that reeks of British Summer. His school uniform looks small, Amy notes, another thing to add to her list of things to do. He won’t make it to the end of term without trousers, but the blazer will survive.

Grace seems tiny in comparison to her brother now, even though only three years separate the two. Her dark hair is surprisingly well-tamed, and maybe all that nagging about brushing before bed has finally registered. Only now does Amy Fisher realise that both her children are staring, oddly confused in the cramped kitchen of the semi-detached.

‘Are you alright, mum?’

Jamie’s head tips, probably registering the tears that are falling unhindered as the realisation dawns that now, like it or not, she’s on her own.

‘Mummy, it’s okay. We still both love you very much. Don’t be sad.’

Then two sets of arms wrap around a shaking body everything just falls out, torrent of angry, bitter regret: failings she grasped in fifteen years of togetherness but never addressed. They all stand, warmly wrapped until the tears cease and she moves back, smiling at them both.

‘You’re both brilliant, thank you. I have no idea how I’d manage without you being helpful and understanding, and that’s the best thing I could ever ask for.’

It’s the first time she’s actually thanked them, Amy grasps, and the effect is both instant and gratifying. There’s a packet of tissues in her hand and shortly a cup of tea on the table as Grace makes her sit, providing her own breakfast with impressive speed. Then both of them are ready, standing with bags and coats, and it’s 8.15. Her part of this equation now is the car and delivery to the schools half a mile apart, because they’ve grown into vastly different people but maintain love without reproach.

Today is the day you don’t just forget the world changed, Amy decides without fear. It will be the time to finally clear the bedroom, make some space for yourself, and move on.

==

 

Where I Stood

The Bechdel Test, if you are not already aware of it, is quite significant for many women in popular culture. In its simplest form? Bechdel ‘asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.’ Here, it transpires, is one the simplest forms of judging gender equality, and it works. When creating your work of written/spoken art, whatever it might be, giving your characters something to do other than fret about the opposite sex isn’t just sensible, it is often essential if you can’t write women well to begin with. Because good stories, despite what Black Lace might tell you, aren’t just about sex. Writing as I am right now with someone else’s characters as inspiration, it occurs to me that the current crop of Bond women are actually quite tough. However, there aren’t ever two Bond girls ever in a room at the same time, and if there were? Well, DUH, all they’re gonna talk about is how great Bond was in bed before (presumably) having a cat fight with pillows in slow motion and soft focus.

Actually, that’s probably not far off the truth in the Universe anyway.

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It took half a century for Bond to kop off with a woman effectively his own age. Expecting the franchise to come up with empowering female storylines is not exactly high on the priority list, but it would be a lie to try and pretend there wasn’t at least some effort made in Spectre. Moneypenny’s got a guy in bed, for starters, when Bond phones in from Rome for intelligence, thought I’d have given Bond more marks for interrupting her on the job. There’s at least a concessionary nod here to a real world and actual lives outside of Whitehall. But when it’s all but brief and you feel like only lip service is being offered? That’s where I am, but I’m in something of a quandary right now, because my female protagonist’s having quite a hard time reconciling her professional and personal attachments to 007. Having relationships isn’t wrong or bad, without them the human race ceases to exist. However, when you find your character unable to separate the professional and the personal and increasingly not worrying about consequence?

Does it matter what truly motivates you to be what you are?

This song has become quite a significant part of my process as a result, mostly because of the following section of lyrics:

And I won’t be far from where you are if ever you should call
You meant more to me than anyone I ever loved at all
But you taught me how to trust myself and so I say to you
This is what I have to do

These four lines are at the crux of what I’m trying to explain: you can care deeply and emotionally about someone, yet not be with them. A person can understand that they’re in love with someone else and yet know that this is not what is required to either survive and progress. Popular culture pushes onto us the notion that relationships are only worthwhile if they come with a satisfactory and (presumably) long-term conclusion, but that’s not true at all. Sometimes, things have to fail so you can get better. More often than not, sacrifices need to be made in order to expedite the progression of your existence. Except, in the world of Bond, there is rarely (if ever) an exploration of this. Since Casino Royale there has, at the franchise’s core, been at least some attempt to address this shortfall, and when you see Bond locate Vesper Lynd’s interrogation tape from L’Americaine in Spectre? That story is at an end. This 007 finally closes that chapter of his life and moves on.

The fact this is never discussed further and simply implied makes me sad beyond words.

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So here I am, making sure that my heroine doesn’t simply grasp her feelings, but she actually understands and learns from them. It’s a tough ask to stretch it out over an extended narrative, but I have the flashpoints all mapped out. I’ve also very deliberately included as little Bond as I can conceivably get away with, because to make this work he can’t be the motivation in the frame. The problem with an all-encompassing ‘hero’ is that sometimes, you don’t want to know their story. Spectre tries and largely fails to give depth to a world that has never been about everybody, because that’s not how Fleming wrote 007. When the franchise reboots (and I am confident you’ll hear something by the end of the year on that front) I can only hope that maybe, just maybe, the success of all these ‘extended Universe’ outings in cinemas will make the Eon people consider that perhaps it is time to not just make Bond all there is to see. However, why I watch a Bond movie is a long way from what I’d consider to be the ‘target’ audience.

In the meantime? Wish fulfilment will have to do.