Hotel California

It’s 6.30 am, and I’m awake with cramp in my left leg and insane urge to pee. Having drunk and emptied my bladder, I sneak back into bed, only to be met with the following:

“You’ll never guess what happened last night,” says my husband, and I’m already imagining what new horror 2021 has presented. Was there an explosion somewhere, or some huge disaster that has taken more lives?

“They finally took his Twitter account away.”

I find myself wondering how the World ended up in the mess it has, and then remember that most people consider success as being rich and powerful. The reality of this stupidity is pretty much impossible to ignore, whatever future you decide to pursue: for instance, as a writer it is drummed into you from childhood that to become successful, there had to be a book deal. Publication matters above everything else. Last year, I self-published my first chapbook, and the thrall of other people’s success was summarily exploded.

Twenty copies currently have been sold, and I know every single person who bought one. My joy, every time someone else hands over money to read it will never, ever diminish. If this were all there was, if tomorrow I ceased to exist, this would be the happiest I’ve ever been. It will never be a bestseller. Graham Norton will never interview me on a chat show. That’s not the reason this journey’s being undertaken. I’ve seen famous writers, and what they do with their fame. I’m frankly embarrassed and depressed at what other writers consider a good use of their power. That is never happening in my world.

Validation is yours to dictate and nobody else’s to own.

It’s incredibly liberating, only having myself to compete with. For decades, all those moments when impressing others probably destroyed my own chances of personal development… there’s no point hand-wringing any more. The future is what matters, ensuring less stress to hamstring creativity, resulting in constantly improving output. Doing exercise every day has been a massive boost too, being physically tired used to completely wreck any ability to move forward. Now, rest comes in different ways. Lots of stuff has been redefined for the better.

If you read back though this blog, that evolution has been a long time coming. Some people would delete that ‘expired’ content and somehow mystically pretend that things were always this great. I will never, EVER be most people. All that I am, good and bad, is here for the world to see, progression from There to Here, with all points in-between, testament to a now fundamental belief that life is only worth living if you are true to yourself. That means admitting the mistakes, embracing the shortcomings and in my case, on a semi-regular basis, setting everything on fire before planting new ideas within my own ashes.

Never again will there be a pretence of living life under someone else’s auspice.

Things will be submitted this weekend, because the only way confidence is ever built is by being rejected. However, this year it’s not about being upset or frustrated when I fail. Instead, the lessons will be learnt. All this good work will be used, in one way or another, and nothing will ever go to waste. As body becomes leaner, mind is sharpened. I take with me the story of a woman who found my blog by accident whilst waiting with her mother for cancer treatment. She read every post I’d written, then sent an email as thanks for such an honest, uncompromising read.

Every piece of criticism is read and digested. Every compliment, filed away and remembered. You don’t get better by ignoring others.

You only improve with quiet, continuous effort.

My Very Best

Four days in, and I’ll stop counting them at some point. Probably that will happen somewhere into the twenties, because then stuff will have become habit, and we’ll be past the novelty. Today however those furrows are still being ploughed. I need to fit two hours of exercise into the day, which will happen after this, and then the rest of Monday is given over to planning and setting in stone the rest of the month. I hope, by the end of business, to have created a large wodge of ‘content’ thus freeing me up to do more stuff that will make me money going forward.

That’s really what needs to happen a lot more in general.

Once upon a time, numbers on social media were a ‘thing’ for me. Ironically, all the engagement metrics that really matter have always stayed green. People are the problem, which isn’t really a surprise at all, considering the current climate. I could have just muted all the ones who hated trans people and ignored all those who were literally in it for themselves but really, truthfully, nope. The last straw undoubtedly was the person who accused me of a better than average vocabulary and that I wasn’t being supportive enough. There’s only so much a girl can do, and if doing as you asked isn’t enough… well, we’re probably done.

This week, therefore, we will mostly be keeping our head down and doing the miles. This lifestyle renaissance isn’t going to happen without some work, after all…

Black Hole Sun

An hour after finish, it must be said I am in a better state than yesterday. However, fact remains it is oddly surreal how people with no mental health issues are taught to deal with those who have. Also, having been ‘trained’ a fair bit across the Pandemic, it is becoming increasingly apparent who the Good Guys are. My trainer’s fucking heroic.

Starting Monday, time for a brand refresh.

Waves

It was blustery as fuck, but the skies warmed my heart, even it the wind was enough to take my breath away. Came back with a handful of flotsam, and a river-worn piece of glass I’m tempted to set as a pendant. There’s going to be a lot of time spent here in the months that follow. A plan is already in place, going forward, to make this part of the landscape into a part of my existence.

Video is also locked into the outlook, as of this morning. There needs to be a bit of organising next: everything is still far too nebulous to be healthy. Next up in the ‘General Scheme of Things’ is taking video at the Estuary, but I’ll probably want a tripod and camera for that. Yeah, honestly I require some kind of proper direction and as it’s already Tuesday lunchtime and this is the first blog of the day?

Extract the digit.

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Once upon a time, I was horrendously inflexible as a writer. The ideas would supersede everything, including good sense, and in those days a great deal of spontaneity and honestly was lost. However, in the last few years, relaxing away from the rigid forms that a past would often forcefully impose as being right has begun to bear quite fragrant and juicy fruits.

Someone I respect a great deal has also pointed out in the last week that I can commit myself to too much too quickly, and often end up spreading myself quite thin, a sentiment that was echoed by my family after the poetry meltdown in late June. As a result of all of these disparate factors, this week has steered me into a new form of discipline.

Welcome to a game plan that understands that less is more.

The format for the Patreon, which was started without really knowing where I was heading, only that I needed to be online and offering content during Lockdown, has now established itself. A poem a week, a piece of long form fiction and some flash fiction. A LANzine and two newsletters per month. All of this can (and is being) organized far enough in advance to not overwhelm.

There are extra bits, which will sit in the IoW Website, but can easily be slipped into the schedule. It also keeps space free for other ventures: everything placed in a sensible, thoughtful manner. Some stuff won’t happen, and quietly other things will be removed from view, making this whole journey as stress free as possible.

I’m really happy with the way things are working out.

Today I have two grown up Zoom meetings: both will be significant steps forward in real life attempts to become a creative. I hope one day to pick up Patrons from outside the Internet I consider my home, and to do that the content will not be enough. There has to be more depth and breadth to my output. Patreon, like it or not, is only a smaller part of a larger whole.

Being my own boss however is the best feeling in the World.

Two Months Off

Okay, it was only two days, but at this point I should probably share some stuff with the Internet.

That wasn’t ‘just some poems’ that were written over the last few weeks. The process has rearranged just about everything in my head. Same furniture, carpets and curtains, different positions. There’s light in places, dust-covered for decades. Certain pieces of furniture have turned out to be close to collapse. Others have never seen use.

Welcome to the world where ability to communicate has, for the entirety of adulthood, been held back at crucial moments by anxiety, inertia and naΓ―vety. It’s a potent combination, and knowing that for at least some of that time I’ve just existed without any actual memory of how that took place is… well, a bit frightening.

Arriving here, therefore, remains a bit of a surprise.

Suddenly, writing a blog has become really useful, because I can now go back and read about things that have literally been forgotten about. That’s going to be incredibly useful going forward. Pictures help too, and we can go back to about 2012 with a measure of confidence. Before that, however, BOY are there holes. Massive gaping ones.

I’d sort of grasped that this was a problem for a while, but the reality of it is only now beginning to register. I was on autopilot for years. I’d let other people control my entire existence. Nothing of real worth actually took place. There’s no idea of if this is how it works for anybody else either: do the rest of you just do as other people do without worrying about the long-term consequences? Do you even KNOW?

I told my husband earlier this week I felt as if something was very seriously wrong in my head, and that’s where I am right now, except wrong is the incorrect descriptor. I’m still not sure what it is, but this isn’t bad. If wrong is the means by which you become aware that normal processes have altered, I’d be better off using the word different.

Problem solving is taking place in far more sensible fashions. Approaching conflict is far more considered. Dealing with it has become a transformative process. I am still putting together all the verbal tools required to correctly address some issues. Certain things can’t be spoken about and won’t, not until other events take place. They are out of my hands.

Most importantly, I am singing. I haven’t been able to sing for a while.

This is better.

Civilisation

I wrote a list yesterday, of things that had to be done before there was permission to slack, and by 4pm, it was done. No, it wasn’t EVERYTHING, and last night I didn’t do two things that were on the list but which I never got to. Instead, it was a much loved game that got played, though through half a dozen restarts I could not generate a map that was decent enough to save and keep. Last night was learning the ins and outs of a title I’ve owned since launch but never really got to grips with. All that’s now staring to change.

I’m a painfully slow learner.

Sid Meier's Civilization  Beyond Earth Screenshot 2019.01.14 - 13.29.23.80.png

I’ll be writing more about this on my gaming blog, once the current deadline piece is sorted, but the backlog of titles I possess is significant and needs addressing. There’s also a ton of ‘classic’ games that deserve my time and effort, but relaxation is often shoved to the bottom of the To Do list. Last night, what was needed was time to just faff about, in between sorting out washing and doing chores. Once upon a time, Warcraft would have been the backdrop. Now, building my own civilisation is far more attractive.

Yes, I am moving forward.

Why Worry

This is earliest I’ve been up on a Sunday for a while.

Kirk-youre-a-dumbass

Yesterday was in turn interesting and painful. However, the progress made is undeniable, or else I’d not be up now and here (though a lot of that has to do with one small glass of extremely potent blended spirits.) I’ll go buy some beer in the week, which is far less likely to present fever dreams if something is required to act as relaxant after a tough day.

BOY was it good though…

I’ve missed one day’s training on the bike this week, and so will do two and a bit hours today (probably in two lumps) to make up to five. However, that’s not the only significant piece of progress. I took my iPad to the Gym on Friday, and have organised Zwift’s new running tracks to help me overcome my issues with doing that in the Blaze class…

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It might not seem like much, but being able to run without fear’s been at issue for a while. Once upon a time I could do 1k in eight and a bit minutes. That’s largely unsustainable in a HIIT class and so I’m working on slower and steadier to begin with. We’ll aim for 10 minutes uninterrupted at about 7 kph and after that? Anything is a bonus.

Now, it is time for a cuppa and to plan the upcoming week.

Last Dance

I am between exercises (done Gym, about to do Bike) but am supposed to stop and have some protein first, like a good girl should after exercise. Brain is also full of thoughts: mostly they rotate around how I look at the world and conversely how it will view my physical form. Somewhere between the start of the Summer and now it became academic what body shape changes to. All that matters now is strength. Compliments, although flattering, are also largely redundant.

A lot of this is wrapped around mental changes made to accommodate a shift in direction.

baitersgonnabait

Starting next week, a lot of rejection will be coming my way.Β Even with my most optimistic face on there is NO WAY all those awards and mentorships that were applied for are likely to end up in my lap. That was never the real plan anyway: it is just a process of application after application until something sticks, and it would be a truly foolish woman who confidently believes she’ll be good enough after a year of work to hit the target first time. Time to NOT become a harbinger of fraudulent indignation: no hand wringing or lamentation on Social media, I promise.

There’s enough Drama to begin with online: the last thing that is needed right now is people feeling sorry for me. That’s not how this works.Β Genuine disappointment should, on reflection, never really happen. Yes, this stuff matters, but when you pin your hopes on stuff that becomes frankly unattainable by the majority? The potential to mentally unhinge oneself is quite real. That’s why exercise has become the real, achievable goal to focus on: keep working hard, and stuff does happen. As body and brain alter, so does understanding.

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Writing is more fun and satisfying now than it has been at any point in 40 years. I can see mistakes and correct them, know when to write, understand what’s bloated and emaciated in terms of descriptive background. All of this has flowed from the same process with body and exercise: this works those muscles, but after a while the same repetitions aren’t as effective, so it is time to mix things up. That’s why as of tomorrow you might not see any obvious changes but behind the scenes? A LOT has altered.

Everything is ready to go. Let’s do this, people.

Return to Sender

This week, things return to normal, despite the fact school does not start until a week on Thursday. I need to be back on the creation trail after time away, and there is a lot to do on that front which is already in the planning. More importantly, there will be a slew of poetry rejections next month, and that work will need to be assessed and used in a constructive fashion.

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More importantly, there are lots of projects that need to stop being dreams and become reality as we move into the Autumn.

BRB, re-organising my life.