The Numbers

Yesterday, I completed a task that it has literally taken me 15 years to address.

done

My writing folder has been a mess since somewhere in 2002, and I could never face the horror of delving into it, mostly because of a number of very, very personal files that I’d written, then forgotten the names of. That meant reading anything I wasn’t sure about became a bit of a trauma, but yesterday I took a deep breath and went for it. This, I realise, is the complete body of work I’ve attempted in fiction since that time, only one part of which has ever been completed. Well, starting this month, that is going to change.

boosh.gif

Most of the titles above are not complete or are simply outlines, but a fair few are significant works in progress. Once I take a day to go through them all and work out what I think is most doable, there’ll be an effort made to bring one to completion. Right now, I realise, I don’t have the tools available to finish the work I was doing with my November NaNoWriMo piece, and I’d probably be better off trying to complete something at this point with the story already completely plotted. That gives me a few options for editing starting next week, as I want to spend at least an hour a day doing just that as a way to effectively get my groove back.

The plan is to not beat myself up over what hasn’t been done, and to focus now on what I can do well to move this fiction journey forward.

guywithaplan

The trick now is to not let my enthusiasm and impetus falter. I’m going to plan as well as I can, and not give up until I’ve finished at least one novel length work. As relaxation and a counter? I’m going to go back through the Bonds and pick up the spellings and typos I’ve noticed on subsequent re-reads. That’s the plan, and the Writing Site will reflect this going forward. For now, however, I’m going to see if my body can sustain a Gym trip, followed by a quick zoom to the local Shopping Multiplex for the youngest, where I’m going to take my passport and finally visit the Bank of the department store where I had a credit card that’s just been paid off, and cancel the account once and for all.

This week, after all, is all about concrete progress.

Beautiful

I didn’t write anything yesterday. I was too busy. History will remember it as the day modern women pointed out that yes, cross us at your peril. It was the day where #alternativefacts from the White House made everybody, including the Press, realise that we are most definitely NOT in Kansas any more.

However, we got through it.

There’s far worse to come, of that I am certain. However, at least we now know what to expect.

This is no longer a game. We’re not here to be clever or be covered in glory. It is time to up your game, check your privilege at the door and get down into the fucking filth with everybody else. Your hero status is revoked. You cannot use the past as your CV. Only now, in the moment, will the true saviours of the Planet be forged. The press, who have been fucking shambolic up to this point, will now hopefully understand what they have to deal with. Your fantasies of a ‘West Wing’ style press room are over. The only way you win now is by standing up and being prepared to be shot. I wonder how many people will stick on the flak jackets and wade in.

For the satirists, of course, it’s Christmas and New year rolled into one.

However, when you read past the protest and indignation, there’s an awful lot to do.

Hundreds of thousands of people peacefully protest. There are four arrests (if I believe what I read.) Nobody wears riot gear. Nobody breaks a Starbucks windows. No Nazis are punched. In fact, across the world, millions of women who were personally incensed by the President’s opinions, angry that this man got to be in charge, offended they are considered as merely ‘property’… I assume that the collapse of the social order means all these women should have all stayed at home and done laundry or something. The responses on that tweet vary from right to left with an almost predictable regularity and I’m almost tempted to follow this Sheriff ‘person’ as I suspect it might be a useful counterpoint to what I’m seeing in the majority.

If you think yesterday was the collapse of the social order? That’s hardly the most auspicious of starts to a Presidency, is it?

The biggest single issue I see is truth. If you believe everything Government tells you without doing some basic searching? This is going to be a very blinkered 4 years. Fortunately people are already preparing for this eventuality. It is time to listen to everyone, not just the people you thought you trusted. It’s not just the US doing this either, it transpires my PM may have known more than she let on an abortive Trident launch before a vital Commons vote. The Orange Man is not simply our enemy. The fact Mrs May’s rushing to meet him and trying to make it look like she’s going to be strong for womenkind? Oh shut up Teresa, nobody believes you. All flies are attracted to shit, you can’t avoid it, it’s where your eggs are laid. This woman does not represent my interests anyway, but that’s a Blog Post for another day.

Right now, the satirists are your friends. These are the people who grasp more truth than you are ever likely to hear or see. It is their job to keep up to date with facts so they can destroy the lies and make you laugh as you cry. Listen to these people. Check the truth, at every possible opportunity.

These will be dark days ahead, but together we will overcome them all.

Every Kind of People

It is decided: #50Kin50Days restarts tomorrow. Where I can I will walk to and from the Gym, and it was only today that I noticed that the bridge across the main road I used to enjoy climbing up and down has vanished (they’re digging up the road around the junction and presumably needed the space for construction.) I’m now wondering if it will be back or not, but I have until late February to wait. Today is the most Wintery day we’ve had so far: grey, dark and a persistent drizzle that makes everything wet and slippery. No matter, I did both ways and a 2k jog/run before an hour of weights. I should be back to Cardio next week too, which is great, meaning it’s been only three weeks to get myself back to fitness, which is undoubtedly some kind of personal record.

header77

This week is mental, what with it being the one before my fundraising 12 hours on Saturday and last posting days and Xmas generally. I should get everything done, I hope. I’ve got a far better chance to do that if I stop writing here and start actually doing stuff so…

ofwego.gif

Social Media Curation after Brexit and Trump

Before we Begin: Let the record state I voted to remain in the EU and would not have voted for either of the major Presidential nominations in the US of A. I am, like it or not, an Independent. Mainstream politics gives me nothing at all, on most days, and I won’t lie to you from the get-go. I can respect those who have a strong leaning to either left or right, if they will respect me in turn. With that out of the way?

shitsonfireyo


Your social media is a mess right now.
Don’t try and pretend it’s not. I gave up Facebook a long time ago, for reasons that would probably fill several Blog posts, but I’d not do without Twitter in these days of political uncertainty and mass hysteria. It’s a vital writing tool and barometer for what’s happening in the Real World (TM) and as a result, it occurs to me I need a new curation policy. So, here’s where I’m going in the weeks ahead.

ONE:
Follow more People

Hang on, what did you say?

garbage_chan

This is NOT the moment when you denounce anyone who didn’t vote the way you did. It is also absolutely not the time to remove everyone from your friends list who’s ‘having a moment’ This is when you remember that others are different to you and deal with grief/anger/disbelief/orange better/worse than you depending on a bazillion factors you won’t ever truly grasp. What you really need to be doing is finding voices right now that help, not switching people off.

I am assuming that if you’ve managed to remain on Twitter to begin with, you’re coping okay. Lots of people I know who aren’t close to dealing have vanished from social media completely and you know what? I really don’t blame a single one of them. Post Brexit (which is where all this began for me) it was a struggle, even when my feed wasn’t particularly full of people discussing the issues. Broadcast news was just too painful to consume. The sensible people who know how they react to stress will be doing just that. Reacting for others is chucking out all the dead wood and redefining parameters. All these approaches are equally valid.

ziegler

However, what this is the absolute best time for is finding new people to listen to. If you wish to fill your feed with people who only say what you want to hear, who am I to dispute this choice, but this is the moment where I state that I’ve always believed that the best way to learn is through conflict [*] and that means listening to voices that advocate different viewpoints, but aren’t attacking you. What you need right now aren’t just independent thinkers either: just because someone shares an outlook that isn’t yours, doesn’t mean you’ll not learn anything from them. What I’m finding useful right now is the stuff third parties are throwing into my timeline, what other followers are reading themselves and considering useful or helpful to pass on. Curation means just that, reading and understanding the relevance of your source material.

So, maybe this is the moment to follow some people who you’d not normally read but are making you think, because right now what we need is more thought and less throwing shit at each other.

TWO:
Make Sensible Judgements

Cant-Handle-The-Science-Reaction-Gif.gif

The automatic first reaction in this immediate response is required world of ours is, for a lot of you right now, quite attractive, because if you can’t cope, just cut conflict out. I know how upsetting it can be, for instance, to watch someone do the RL equivalent of give you the finger and then vanish after you posted what you thought was a pretty good gag that helped you cope and at the same time helped others deal with the issues. I care about a lot of people on my feed a lot more than I suspect they even realise, because diversity is what keeps this planet spinning (gravity and science notwithstanding) and I’ve already done this. The parallels between the weeks post-Brexit and the US Elections made me feel last night as if I’d ended up in ‘Groundhog Day’ When the safety pin posts started popping up?

had-enough-gif

The point here is simple. There are tools to make choices on Twitter: this may not be the moment just to reach for the block, but it could well be the time to go Private. If you want to just rant and not care, a lock is great but please bear in mind that it might not have the effect you wanted. To the person I force unfollowed because of just this? I love you’re passionate about your politics, but I’m sorry, I am not. As we no longer have a meaningful discussion about anything, and you don’t really interact with me at all any more? I don’t think this will be a terrible loss for either of us. If you’re not prepared to share yourself publicly at a time when I feel that’s more important than anything else? It is time for us to go our separate ways.

That brings us nicely to the other side of this particular coin.

THREE:
Pick your Platform

catopenbox.gif

I would have left Twitter a very long time ago if I’d not found Tweetdeck. This will be familiar to Mac users as a stand alone programme (and there is a PC version) but I run mine in a browser and have done for quite some time. The ‘official’ software provided on both web and phone are optimised to sell you shit and take liberties with the way you consume content, in the hope it will make the company money. Sorry, Twitter, but not ever gonna happen, and so I curate with software at entry. That means Tweetdeck (and ColorDeck) in Chrome (DON’T JUDGE ME) and Tweetbot on my Fruitphone/Tablet because I’d rather pay money for someone to remove ads than allow people to throw them at me.

Both these platforms allow me to mute on multiple levels, and this has become important in the way I deal with both noise and aggravation. It’s akin to having a time out, the Naughty Step or Boarding School to discipline your kids with, and knowing the appropriate use for them all. I can mute someone as a precursor to deciding whether I unfollow or not, or simply mute them and walk away. For the trolls and the violent the block exists, though I will admit that I took all of my blocks off a month or so ago. Tweetdeck allows muting on both keywords and users, so this then allows me to filter specific noise until I’m able to cope… so yes, you could just filter out Trump or Brexit and leave everything else as it was.

derogatory

A block now for me is the equivalent of turning my back, and putting fingers in my ears. I don’t want to hear you. If I just have a mute operating there’s a good chance I’m still listening, I just cut out the top level treble because it’s making my ears ring, but for some people I feel that spending the rest of my life mad with them for just being what they are isn’t really doing anybody any favours, including myself. So now, I practice Safe Blocks to stop me going insane, contracting stupid and ending up with unwanted friendships where I know that it’s more about them than it will ever be me. That means that the software I use matters almost as much as the words that get written.

FOUR
Make It Count

fuckingtight.gif

All the tools in the world are pretty much pointless if you don’t learn how to use them. However, and this is more important, you gotta grasp how much it matters to even bother. I can poach an egg, but to create a beautiful and delicious Eggs Benedict takes practice, skill and application, and all of those things ultimately matter because any idiot can poach an egg. If you are determined to not accept the World as a vast, diverse and often frightening place? That’s an issue no amount of consumption of facts with whatever bias will ever solve, and places the responsibility squarely in your lap. Not your parents, or your Pastor or even your spouse… but YOU.

I’ve watched the people in my timeline who’ve quite rightly posted retweets from people who are now beginning to wake up to the fact that there may be colour lines, or political leanings, but if you’re angry and start lashing out that’s wrong, whatever side you support. Yes, anger is a part of the grief process, but if you’re choosing to do that on social media? You’re using this platform to make a point, with an audience. Don’t get surprised if people don’t react the way you expect or hope as a result, because this isn’t about you, and ultimately if you’re projecting anger on Twitter right now, you’re absolutely making it just about yourself.

feelings.gif

If you need help to deal with things, find people that you know care, and ask them.

FIVE
Let it Go

there-it-goes-the-last-fuck-i-give

I know it hurts that you lost. Trust me, I absolutely know how devastating it is to watch a bunch of liars and con artists win a vote [**] They didn’t however do this, people did. The vote was won by people who aren’t you. That’s the biggest thing to grasp in all of this, that however much you hate everybody else and the people who seem to have ruined your world? Those people were there yesterday. They existed before the vote happened. Most importantly of all, they’d been around YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, but you only just grasped they’ll be running your Country.

Social media curation will never prepare you for the horror of grasping your own mortal existence. I’m afraid for that, you are on your own. However, what it does afford you is the opportunity to shape the world around you in a manner so you can adequately cope with what is thrown at you and for that I cannot make this last point enough. All the curation in the World is utterly pointless if you don’t learn. Don’t carry around anger and hate. Love is really very important right now, for so many reasons, and especially if you are a parent. Teach the next generation well. Never use the Boarding School option, because after that you’ve got nowhere else to go.

Right now, everybody needs to learn more tolerance and understanding.

BOTH SIDES, not just theirs.


Mostly, in all of this chaos, try and find yourself a place of peace, at least once a day. I have exercise, you could read a book or listen to music. Effectively the World is exactly the same as it was last Saturday, except we all drive ourselves a little closer to death in more painful and pointless ways. Take a moment, and just remember the good amongst the bad.

Me, I’ll be off for a cuppa before I head for the Gym <3


[*] Other learning methods are available. Please choose carefully.
[**] Other outlooks are available, yet not nearly as derogatory for humorous purposes.

 

What I Am

It seems odd, after so many years on the planet, to not have a real sense of what I am. Except, if I’m honest, that’s not true. I know EXACTLY what I do best. The problem is, knowing myself then becomes a problem.

wordoftheday

In my youth, my speciality was causing trouble. I wasn’t a setting fires or starting fights kind of girl, I did it with words, plus ‘versions’ of the truth. It took a few years to realise that this was a surefire way to end up friendless, and so it mostly doesn’t happen any more… who am I kidding. I know what words can do, and on many occasions in the recent past I’ve wielded them to do just that. The problem with truth is that those who love to wield it often can’t cope when it’s used against them. I love the truth. It’s inescapable and brilliant and often just the best way to show up stupid people for what they are. The caveat however at this point onwards is that nobody gets hurt. You don’t trample on individuals to get what you want. You only fire back if attacked first, and only if the result’s worthwhile. This is never about showing people that you’re smart and they’re dumb. That’s never the point of anything. That arrogance starts wars and divides the Internet and other people can just dig those holes alone.

imfuckingbrilliant

Except, to succeed in the modern world, at some point to have to believe your own hype or it doesn’t work. Nobody else will believe in you first thing in the morning or last thing at night. However great your support network might be, being able to function alone, independently and with confidence will be one of the best lessons I ever teach my kids. All those seemingly hollow affirmations I often hear from American friends aren’t, I’m the one who can’t grasp their sincerity. This is a real issue with being a Brit: I’m constantly being told I’m not good enough. In this current climate of fear and xenophobia, it’s all the more difficult to maintain a decent sense of self. Being ‘different’ is scary enough, without having to then worry you’ll one day be on a  list of ‘people with mental issues’ and when the Government I didn’t vote for have excluded everyone else they think are undesirable, I’ll be next. Because it won’t just be non-natives after a while: then it will be those without an acceptable sexual orientation, or faith. That’s the problem with making lists: it isn’t just the ‘bad’ people you end up identifying, but everyone who doesn’t fit the profile.

bollocks2.jpg

That’s why deciding to ban people from forums or withholding their comments on posts is a path to ruin, because removing the undesirables makes you no better than the people who claim to be ‘protecting’ your rights. It is one step away from total control. That’s just wrong and bad, and if someone like me sees someone trying to isolate others because they’re female, or because they won’t pay them the attention they demand? You become the very thing that you seek to destroy. It’s that whole Yin and Yang thing the Chinese love to wave around as evidence the Universe demands all things in balance. That’s bollocks too, all the Universe does is generate chaos and Dark Matter. Don’t get me started on that, but the fact remains that if I’m the kind of person who will call people out for being twats, I’m as much a problem as the twats to themselves if you happen to be looking from their side of the fence.

fuckoffbadge

I scare people because I won’t be intimidated any more. I am difficult and awkward because I know my own mind. I am confrontational because I see people talk when they think nobody is listening, and then use this as a basis to stimulate debate. I am actually none of those things in reality, until it suits me to bring them out to use. In essence, I’m just a collection of random thoughts and ideas, just like anyone else, I simply choose to do that process of exploration and understanding partially in public. It’s hardly a diary, more a series of thoughts and connections. However, and this is crucial, what this now does is form a foundation on which I can work towards being a better person. Because I am no longer afraid to share feelings? They have no power over me. 

arsecakes

I am, in essence, a series of cleverly constructed photo backdrops. Only if you take the time to put everything together does this whole make sense. However, when you do that does not give you the full picture. Yes, I may be honest, but even that version of the truth is edited and censored. Then what matters most is whether the person reading can grasp this truth, or simply sees what they want. If I really craved success I’d be posting superficial crap and wearing lots of v neck t-shirts that accentuated breasts and cleavage, because like it or not that sells. If my avatar was my picture and not a logo? I’d probably have twice the Twitter followers I currently possess. The fact I’ll never do either?

That’s probably the most important aspect of me to take from this whole blog post.

Fear

Sometimes I find myself wondering what possesses people to fixate on others. Then I remember I know, that I’ve not only been there but stalked in my youth. It takes a particular kind of intelligence to understand and grasp the capacity to be stupidly obsessive to the point that you’ll actually cause yourself physical harm and justify it as acceptable if it means you get the person you want. So, when someone tries to play the psychology card on me, it’s pretty much a lost cause. Except it happens, every damn day, and I’m still surprised that people can be this stupid. To want to manipulate others to the point you can’t even see how dumb you’re being? To genuinely think you’ve got the ability to bend someone else to your will at a distance? That takes a special variety of delusional.

It does make me think however that maybe a late life degree in psychology would be a really interesting diversion.

you-tried-swim

/golfclap

The trick, of course, is to blend your desire with a clever use of observation. It’s roughly akin to all those ‘how to be a hit with the opposite sex’ guides that ultimately appear in both women’s and men’s magazines, for those without the basic understanding of interaction with their sexual preference of choice. I sent my target of desire various gifts, all carefully chosen to appeal to their own particular interests, but nothing will ever actually make an impression if you are not in the least attractive to the person concerned. You may think they are the centre of YOUR Universe, but the truth is very often that they’ll not even realise affection or desire exists. That should be the wakeup call, of course, but often it takes something desperate to alert your psyche to the damage being wrought. When I look back I think the physical damage for me was that moment, but it took until a long time afterwards (and with help) to grasp that ultimately I was the problem. Then there’s the understanding that if you did this before, it could happen again. That gives you the ability to keep yourself in check, but more importantly pushes for a long term understanding of circumstance to teach you never to start that cycle again.

When you understand that your own naivety is the issue, an awful lot of other stuff makes sense.

way-harsh-tai.gif

The attention card is what all the cool kids play on the Internet: look at me, I’m big and clever, see how much noise I can make. The more subtle abusers turn this around, and ask their targets whether they are actually worthwhile or useful. It still remains however entry level psychology, and won’t stop anyone with understanding of the technique in their tracks from doing anything. Once you are aware of the basic stupidity in someone’s actions, it becomes remarkably easy to wrench all power from them. Ironically, it also give people like me brilliant material for building villains in fiction. Frankly this stuff is so ridiculous you couldn’t make it up, and when you read it there’s your classic Bond bad guy: desperate to be the centre of everybody’s Universe, bitter yet respectful of his nemesis, looking for the ultimate line to throw back as 007 thwarts his evil schemes. I have read and been told that absolutely the best research you can ever do is by perming your own life story as reference. Looking at it now, I’ve got an awful lot of potential for fiction in the future.

That’s how you pull the positive from your negatives.

nastytaste

There’s an old adage that states that if people are attacking you, you must be doing something right. Mostly, what this should tell you is that your own actions have caused a consequence, and that it is probably a good idea to look at yourself first before automatically assuming that the person with the rock had no reason to throw it. Once you’ve done that and can be comfortable that your actions are acceptable? Then, off you go. The best piece of advice I was ever given in this regard, and I think it remains sound, is that you either shut all the bad out or have the strength of character to let it all in. For some people, the former is essential. It’s the equivalent of never reading a bad review as an artist: you just carry on regardless, and dismiss all criticism the same way. As a writer, I actually get a lot from criticism now I’ve learnt how to deal with it objectively. That’s certainly not the way for many people to go. Iron constitution and buns of steel are a prerequisite.

However, once you can do it, it becomes almost sadistically enjoyable.

All Together Now

There are a lot of feelings this morning. Some of them are directed at a section of the British Press who appear to believe that their version of reality is somehow more correct than the one the rest of humanity ascribes to. Ironically this deliberate re-writing of actual events is something many people choose to undertake, mostly when they are unable to reconcile their fears with the facts presented. I explained it to my 11 year old this morning using another girl as the example: she tells people to ‘stop exaggerating’ as a defence mechanism. Ask her to look at her behaviour? ‘Stop exaggerating.’ Complain she refused to listen? ‘Stop exaggerating.’ 

It’s a playground method of ignoring the bigger problem. That’s you, that is.

entitlement.png

You won’t ever live a proper life if all you do is persistently dodge the truth. Ironically now I watch companies exploiting this potential in exactly the same way: they’ll tell you to be healthy or encourage you to save the planet, whilst behind your back they’re cheating on the emissions tests and pretending they’re worthy. The reality of reality is often a complex combination of factors that even the smartest people have trouble grasping, so instead even they decide to fixate on one. Mostly, that’s where I’ve decided to stop today. I know what’s going on, I can see the stupidity and hypocrisy in so many others, and to assuage their inability to deal with what they don’t understand? You’re the problem. Yup, you who decided to stand up and challenge the assumptions made. You who spoke their mind freely and without fear.

Let’s use you as an example and show everybody else how fucking stupid you are.

EATADICK

I can see right through you. It doesn’t matter, however, because in the end you’re the one who loses anyway, because if you’re not out living your life as if each day were your last? If you’re not pushing and trying hard to be better? If you’re not attempting to build a better existence for EVERYBODY and not just yourself? YOU LOSE, every damn time. The thing is, you don’t realise, and the longer you continue to delude yourself that somehow your way’s the right one? That’s one more day  I don’t care. How is it that I can be like this, some people ask me. You tell people to think and be considerate and look at all the possibilities, yet when met with this kind of argument you resort to insults? Are you not simply becoming the very thing you point out as wrong?

Okay, very simply, just once and so you understand.

shootingguns.gif

There comes a point in your life where, if you’re lucky, you see the whole World at once. It might be at the birth of a child, or the loss of a loved one, or in a moment when you finally understand that your life, such as it is, has a start point, and an end, and that’s your lot. Once you allow brain to fully embrace your own mortality, an awful lot changes for good. Then, you’re on a timer. You have no idea when you stop, and because of that every single moment becomes as important as every other moment, regardless of whatever else the world throws at you. When that happens, the petty is irrelevant. Your stupid issues are just that, and there becomes a need to ensure that everything, whatever it is, at least makes you feel happy. Being nice to someone when they are quite obviously lying through their teeth, or attempting to hijack you for an agenda, or simply ignoring you because you’re not relevant? Screw it. Screw you. If you’re the one who is rude to begin with? I’ll simply reflect back the shit you threw, every fucking time.

I’m not the problem.
You started this.

Deliberate, viscous anger without motive is what sections of the Internet has become famous for. I am not one of those people. You started this fight, not me. You attacked my position, because I don’t agree with YOU. So, the next time you want to make me out as the villain, go right ahead, and if you wonder why I don’t give a fuck? Well, there you go. Now you know, and I’ll be over here, not allowing you the pleasure of the passive aggressive high ground. Because no fucker gets that any more. I still get upset, but each time the potency lessens, because I simply become stronger with the knowledge that if you’re trying to attack me, I’m doing this right.

You never get to win, and I don’t care who’s right over you stupid, irrelevant Internet slapfest. I have better things to do, and so should you.