Watching the Wheels

Monday, quite honestly, about a THOUSAND YEARS AGO.

This week has been everything I said it would be. Stuff is done, more stuff is submitted, and I have a proper plan of action for next week already taking form. There’s extra Patreon work at the weekend (two extra videos for the end of the month) but I am planning to get a LOT done tonight and tomorrow. The lie-in is beginning to look particularly attractive tomorrow morning too. Been a long week of RL stress, on top of everything else. The poetry however has been fucking glorious.

In fact, this is the gift that keeps on giving.

I have a lot to read going forward. I also have a plan about how I do it. Both of these things are connected, and it will be glorious. Then there are plans to play with poetry in other forms. On that front, I need to go look at some stuff on the Internet…

Play the Game

Some days, you just KNOW something is a good idea. Others take weeks of thought and deliberation, but this was not one of them. Newsletters are a big deal right now, and I need to be making a couple of others on Mailchimp after I’m done here. This one, however, is for the Gamers, of which I remain one and really, truthfully, I should be doing something about. So, people can sub here if they want it. I’m giving it a month, and we’ll see where we are.


Yesterday, I prepped myself for the next Patreon project, which is making use of many, MANY words, currently gathering dust. My epic poem is ready to submit, it just needs a polish plus a few corrections, and after THAT it is just about picking a few poems for one-off prizes and a novel to go to another award. Everything else is exercise and fiction, and I could not be happier.

I’ve wanted to go back to fiction for a while, if truth be told, because the poetry is great and everything, but it is in fiction that my heart resides with most fondness. This is a period of healing and self-care too, and what matters most as a result is allowing myself the opportunity to reflect on what has been learnt. There is a lot of Real Life stuff coming up too, which needs to be provisioned for. This gives me ample opportunity to do everything and keep it all fresh.

More news as we get there.

Wondrous Stories

Feedback is the best thing in the world. Even the bad stuff is good, you know. It means someone is reading your work. That’s the key, it’s why word of mouth on The Socials is so important. When you get trolled, and we all do, it’s still a good thing because, like it or not, you have distracted someone enough from their own lives to come and interact with yours and THIS is the Elixir of Life. You don’t need gold-plated toilets and armed militia at your disposal. All that shit the Ex_President pulled, deep down, was because he never got enough love as a kid.

Don’t @ me either. You either get it, or you don’t.

The great thing about the unprompted comment above however is the choices that have now been validated as a result of it. 2021 was all about making things easier to do. That means that the first few months of short stories are interconnected and, if I go this as a positive sign in January? It’s time to build on momentum and NOT BLOW IT. The key there, of course, is those three words. I have a sensible, compelling human storyline, Twitter Polls and some online elements to weave into the mix. Hopefully, it’ll get more people interested…

All you can do is your best, when all is said and done. This, fortunately for me right now, is just that.

Making your Mind Up

I wrote a NaNoWriMo Novel in November, after nine years of false starts. Yesterday, I had a Zoom call with a friend who’s read it, and she’s urged me to enter it for a first novel contest whose deadline is this week. To be honest, there would not previously have been the confidence to do so. However, that call’s galvanised me into action and a week that was already quite busy has now become full-on as a result. Normally, adding onto an already packed diary would bother me, but now? It’s a challenge.

All of this becomes a stress test of ability.

Over the weekend I also finally finished two poetry submissions, and submitted something else that, again, I’d have never possessed the confidence to do previously. Thinking about what has changed between here and last year, very little actually has in terms of capability. However, belief is different, mostly I suspect because if it’s possible to do 500km in eight days, the strength is within to make these things happen when it matters. So, what is there to lose by pushing the extra mile.

I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

Having finally departed Instagram, this time for good, it still feels like the correct decision. After what happened in the US last week, and the undoubted contribution Facebook has made to general disinformation, there needs to be something done as principle. Therefore, I’ll be using Ko-Fi for pictures and art going forward, because it’s under my terms alone. Algorithms can do one: honestly, if it’s good enough in the end, where it happens won’t matter.

This is my future, and that’s all that matters.

Everything Connected

Rejection email arrived at 2.30 pm yesterday, exactly as it was promised, which is undoubtedly an improvement on a large number of previous submissions I’ve made. There’s stuff in my Submittable account from two years ago that organisations have failed to even answer or remove. It’s an exercise in torture that is made worse by the realisation you’re not quite there enough to be relevant or noticeable.

On the plus side, I can cycle through the stages of grief quite effectively:

  • Shock and denial (I don’t believe it, it’s happened again, how many times etc)
  • Guilt, added pain (did I polish enough, were my answers not smart or memorable)
  • The anger ‘dialogue’ (this isn’t fair, I deserved that, why won’t someone notice me)
  • Depression (fuck this I’m going running/weightlifting/walking)
  • Realisation (this is how life works, stop judging yourself by others’ benchmarks)
  • Reconstruction (tomorrow, we work harder and will LEARN FROM THIS)
  • Hope/acceptance (what a brilliant sunrise, gonna be a good day to progress)

all happen in increasingly shorter amounts each time one of these submissions that matters takes place… which let’s face facts is EVERY SINGLE ONE.

If I didn’t feel everything, this would be a lot easier.

allthefingers

Today therefore we are exploring other avenues in terms of exposure and interest. They may come off, they may not. The key is to not close yourself off to alternatives and at least walk down every avenue once that potentially opens to you. You’ll know which ones are right over time anyway, it’s part of the ‘trust your gut’ portion of this exercise. It also helps having a good working knowledge of the environment you find yourself in.

In this respect I’m ahead of the game. Sure, being live and immediate really helps, but it is also about the business of building a presence and reinforcing that over time. Most people scrabble to do this after they hit the target and get recognition: I’m already here. All this stuff is created and is slowly being added to, a useful resource and testament to how slow and steady holds its own benefit.

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There are two more submissions today, they’ll be my best work again. Whether I’m successful or not is out of my hands. That’s someone else’s decision to make and ultimately mine to accept: with each one a part of me is lost. It is replaced with an acceptance that this is the path I choose willingly to tread, and as such all that can be done is to hope that eventually, one day, we hit a target first time.

Island of Lost Souls

As you read this, I hope to be standing on an island, taking pictures. That is the plan, at least, as it is Day One of Photography for the poetry project. This was always going to be the mentally busy one too, and it is certainly working out that way. Keep an eye on the Instagram feed for pictures, of which there will be several as the week goes on. I’m hoping for decent weather: if the BBC website is to be believed, that’s not a problem.

thisweeksweather

However, having the running order sorted now, everything feels a fair bit more organised.

It’s roughly four locations a day that need covering, and they’re lumped together in geographically-sensible groups, so there shouldn’t be too much travel time. I’ve already scoped out all my locations and have some pictures of them all, this is just me taking pictures of the things picked to be part of the final collages. Needless to say, quite a bit of work has gone into all this.

boosh

All things being equal, I’ll be back here LIVE on Tuesday, as all those locations are gonna be covered after I’ve done counselling…

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,Β 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.Β 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?

Bleeding Heart

It WAS Number 5, as it happens. This morning the preventative measures taken before and after to minimise any dizziness or oddness seem to have worked: lots of carbs and energy, tons of water. Today will be quiet, but with gentle exercise at some point. No skimping on meals, lots of effort on being sensible. Plus, I have stuff to write.

I’ll need to add four more to the rejected sequence to pull it up to the number required for entry, but that’s no big deal, plus everything gets a secondary polish. I’ve also begun writing a new set of poems for a separate submission. Those I hope to have done and dusted by Friday. Thus far, things are looking good.

I don’t have time to get sad or upset over failure any more. Life is too short, and eventually there will be progress. Until then, time to keep writing.

Saturday

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I know, instinctively, that the days of not pushing myself are over. The moments when I’d rather just curl up with a duvet and a good book, especially after a poor night’s sleep, are over (at least for now.) Lying awake at 3am this morning, in the midst of a hot flush that was so fierce my skin felt as if it were melting, I remembered the mindfulness practices I am learning and reduced panic to an inhale, exhale, focus on the breath. Amazingly, it worked. There is always this rueful disbelief when something I’ve been taught turns out to not only be helpful, but a revelation.

This week has been a lot of that.

Journeys are not simply getting to your destination: more often than not is the stops along the way that define the final trip. Today, that means sitting in a clubhouse built as Legacy content for the 2012 Olympic Games: a place that is buzzing with life and enthusiasm, where a continuing commitment to sport has become the true significance of events from five years ago. Watching women warm up outside the window, a really decent men’s hockey game on Pitch One below, is the reminder that life happens in ways I forget.

The TV above me is the reminder of a constant backdrop of concerning and often disturbing World news: Brexit, Iran’s missile testing, an escalation of world tensions that then put my existence against an even larger backdrop. Once upon a time all I would have cared about was the stuff that directly affected me. Now I realise that, with 50 years on the clock, the time for such selfishness must be over. The moment has come to try and find ways to give back beyond my personal bubble. How I do that is still very much in flux.

There are starting points, however: the Patreon this week, when I focused on personal development, got more interest than at any point in three months, and I’ve learnt an important lesson in combining academic and individual experience. I’m writing something this weekend to help a friend hopefully resolve a personal issue successfully, grateful I can utilize a skill for good. Then, I am giving back to my husband, which to my shame I should have done a long time ago. He is the kindest and most forgiving of men in that regard, and I am very grateful that there is still the opportunity to do so.

Once upon a time, a Saturday alone would have been my desire, but I’ve spent far too much time alone already. Destiny remains mine to dictate only to a point, and the understanding now that I willfully, for so many years, wouldn’t push myself out of that bubble… it is like looking at someone I no longer know or understand. Most importantly, at 3am this morning, came the final understanding that introspection makes for great poetry, wonderful fuel for fiction, but crap content when I write a blog. The days of blaming myself for things out of my control may finally be coming to an end.

Sometimes I am told I care too much about things that do not matter, in the wider scheme of the planet. When this happened before, my reaction would always be the same: well, it matters to ME and that is all that is really important. Only now do I grasp the truth, that only by stepping back from emotion and truly thinking about WHY things happen can you ever expect to improve as a person. Only after having children has there been the ability to put self aside and truly learn how basic emotional reactions matter, and that you have a direct control over consequence.

Only by being able to accept what is wrong with me have I been able to change.

I’ve officially had enough of introspection. The best work I do however is with that quality at my core and not the periphery. The trick now is to put aside the stuff that doesn’t matter to focus on the people and things who do. Next week is the most important week of my new ‘career,’ where my own actions will effectively make or break a potential stream of revenue. If I’m going to succeed in this venture, I cannot afford to allow myself to lose belief I am able to do so. Sometimes, you instinctively know when you’ve fucked up, and then there are moments when you simply have to trust your gut that this is the right path.

I am on the right path. This is the way forward.

This is the Day

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Once this is written, I’ll be off to the Gym, for my first ‘serious’ hit at exercise since the Operation.

When I say ‘serious’ I am well aware I cannot go back to the level of exercise I was doing before. However, what can take place is a restart with glutes and obliques, strengthening my core muscles, and see how push ups and planks will work. I can also go back to the Octane machine for a lovely gentle all-over body warm up. My Trainer has details of what can and cannot be done, and on Monday I fully expect to be given stuff to keep me occupied. What can happen in the intervening period is lots of walking, and an emphasis on making sure moving is prioritised over inactivity.

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Most importantly of all, my thirst for writing fiction has resurfaced. I have a plan to completely re-write the start of my main WIP, based on some ideas that have surfaced since the Operation. I also have a 2000 word short story to complete for the upcoming Internet of Words project, which will be kicking into high gear this weekend. There’s probably a series of posts on my mental state post-operation as well, because I’m only now beginning to grasp just how much better I feel psychologically as a result of the gallbladder removal.

adeledances

Let’s start the way I mean to go on. Every day from now on starts with the Personal Post. If you want to know what’s going on in my head? Here’s where to find it. Every so often, I’ll post a nugget of personal background too.

Let’s make this place earn its keep, shall we?