Ruby Tuesday

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The first post that exists on this blog is from March 2015, but it’s a lie.

I blogged for a very long time out of a sense of misguided obligation. I know this now looking back on what I’ve done and how it panned out: as if you had to sometimes just say something to allow the World to know you existed. Talking into a larger space than your head is important, but not nearly as significant as what you then decide to say. Looking back on the posts that vanished I know this place was a foundation for what I am now becoming; a fully-fledged writer, who is not afraid to be what they are any more. I was scared for a VERY long time, and although I do still have the moments where I want to run away and hide in a corner, I understand that never helps anyone in the end.

The mundane is what you build your foundations upon.

The first real post on this blog happened back in 2011. There are images which exist from back then that undoubtedly associate with a time period where many things were indeed genuinely scary: on most days there remains absolutely no idea how I survived. In fact, looking back on those entries, it is very much like reading someone else’s words. That person no longer exists, for good or bad.

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I watch people summarily delete large portions of their existence digitally on a quite regular basis: a woman of my acquaintance who’s training to be a therapist, the artist trying to standardise her social media feeds, and the list goes on. I wonder if it would be a good idea to do that, then realise that if I do pretty much the only reliable timeline of my life up to this point would summarily vanish.

Maybe once I’ve gone through some counselling, that outlook might change, I dunno. It’s becoming increasingly important to acknowledge that there are major issues with memory and recall: not because there’s anything sinister or age-related in the mix. What’s at play is a lot more complicated, and I suspect will have something to do with a depth of guilt and anxiety that lay undisclosed for so long.

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Lots of things are becoming apparent as this year goes on which before had not really been disturbed for some time. Let’s be honest, an awful lot of the past doesn’t spark joy, which makes it easy to thank and then dismiss. I know a lot of people might find that approach to de-cluttering a little difficult to swallow, but it absolutely works for me. That’s why I’ve stopped listening to 6Music Breakfast today and switched to something that isn’t constantly pushing me to be worthy. Sometimes, you need to dictate your own pace.

Over the weekend it became apparent that lots of people don’t grasp subtlety. If you’re not full-throatedly 100% behind representation, you are an idiot was the message I was sent, in no uncertain terms. I’ve always advocated the best person for any job. You know, the one best qualified or most capable. It means that non-gay actors can play gay roles because, you know, they’re ACTORS and that’s their job. Women can have male heroes and that’s okay, because choice exists. Not everybody is well-defined.

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It is becoming increasingly obvious that I’m the one who’s been in the dark: emerging from this mental brain-fog provides an increasing number of revelations, mostly over the behaviour of others who clearly mean well, but are more desperate for some kind of large-scale validation. The more I listen to some commentators, the more apparent it becomes they’ve been standing stark naked for some time, whilst I’ve only just clocked them.

What matters most going forward is honesty. Do you say it because you think that’s the right thing, or because of who you know is watching? Is this all a stream of consciousness or are you an actor, with a very cleverly devised plan to use current indignation to grow your fanbase? Increasingly I’m really not bothered about people who are more concerned with saying what is perceived as the right thing rather than simply speaking their mind, for good or bad.

As the fog lifts, honesty is what suddenly matters most of all.

Building the Perfect Beast

DAY 14: The end of 2018 deserves to be pushed out with a bang.

Blogging used to be a largely unassuming, cottage industry, but in 2019 it will become a bigger business than has ever been the case. The key, of course, is getting people to talk about your product with an air of genuine interest, and then that being used to further promote brands that rely on the word of mouth such endeavours create. Except, of course, there are those of us who don’t give a flying fuck about such associations.

What matters most, in the end, is truth. Kermode’s scathing deconstruction of why 3D is such utter creative bobbins might have (allegedly) ruffled industry feathers but it highlights both integrity and intelligence that ought to matter far more to those of us pursuing a balanced view of the World around us. Except, of course, more and more that’s not nearly as important as putting food on the table.

It’s that moment you dread when the much loved small streamer looks uncomfortable doing ads for the company that decided they’re capable of making sensible people buy their product. It’s the break in favourite podcast where hosts all talk about the sponsored service in their ‘style,’ desperately attempting to make you interested. It is the depressing, inescapable creep of corporate takeover that now consumes (almost) everything online.

Sponsorship isn’t necessary or required, of course. Except, inevitably, if a company believes your work is the best place to sell their wares, who in their right mind will turn down a lucrative placement deal? It’s one of those Moral Dilemmas that is easy to pronounce as a no-brainer right up until the moment someone hands you a contract. Honestly, will you be the one to say ‘nope’ when the amount offered really will change your life? Does it even have to be money? Is being approached enough to alter your outlook?

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It will, ultimately, all depend on your notion of Success. I turned down a couple of offers during my time as a small-time gaming blogger, one of which was a) impressive and b) would have actually made me money. The more it’s thought about, the greater is my satisfaction that, at least in this corner of the Internet, there are quite enough other people lining their pockets in this fashion. Yes, it’s cash, but not required for my individual notion of success.

This year there’s thought to approach a number of Mental health charities to freely publicise their efforts, after which there’ll be a push for people to give ME money to pass onto them. Blogging has never been about doing words as a business, always as hobby:  over a decade plus that mindset has never really changed. I don’t resent or object to those who are doing just this, and don’t envy them either. It’s hard enough to write regardless, without the shadow of a corporate contract hovering in the background.

If you can be honest regardless, that’s a good place to start.