The Test

I had forgotten how good the poems were that I submitted for this Zine. However, that pales into insignificance when placed beside being in the same publication of someone’s work who I totally adore. That’s the moment you can never plan. They are precious.

This is significant progress.

Keep on Moving

We are in ‘evolve or perish’ mode right now, which requires an almost daily reinvention of the game plan. I’m also four weeks out from a 30-mile bike ride on closed roads and nowhere near the capacity to complete it. Therefore, we need some training and a bit of practice, plus some better snacking options than currently exist in the house. Balancing all this is the notion that doing the same as everyone else is a waste of my time.

Therefore, today, it is time to start building some new empires. They won’t be huge, and might take a fair bit of time to establish, but the concepts are solid. I am also doing a new, Tuesday cycling class for a few weeks to try and make it look like I am making an actual effort with the cardio. It’s with an instructor who covered my normal Thursday class last week and ended up killing me. I was very pleased at this turn of events, so it is time to see how things operate in her natural habitat :D

There’s been a lot of struggles over the last year to get my wok/writing balance right. I think we might be getting there now. Certainly the changes to my body would suggest that progress is happening. The next step is to try and normalize the sleep pattern, lay off the biscuits and really make some inroads into finding some kind of style that does not involve living in exercise gear, however comfortable that might end up being…

The End

The last time I was here, it was February. I cannot count the ways life has changed since them, but the majority of those moments have played out on a platform that’s now owned by a bloke who I do not think is fit to own it. As a result, it’s probably time to make some changes.

We’d better get this place working properly again, for starters…

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.

planttotheface

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?