Broken Dreams

I have misread a vital submission guideline. I am 1000 words too long on a short story, and the world’s worst editor. I would like to crawl into a hole and die right now, but amazingly brain is not letting me do so. Instead, thought is being given to making this work. If there were ever proof needed that life has changed between January and now, this is probably it. No, you can’t give up. Find a way to make it work.

However, some stuff has been done right today. There was a ton of good shit in the Gym. I have loads of ideas for October. It’s certainly not world-ending if nothing goes out but it should not be a huge ask to trim 4000 to 3000 words: the question is whether that improves the story or not. In this case, honestly, cutting out some flab is not going to harm the narrative that much.

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Mostly I am annoyed with myself. Let’s be honest here, it’s a dumb thing to do. 

Be less dumb in the future, doofus.

These Foolish Things

There’s nothing I can do about the people others follow. Occasionally however, that stuff ends up in my Social media feeds. If I like you, then that means by extension I respect your interests, particularly if they don’t intersect with mine. That’s how being a grown-up works. There are months however when I am reminded that I was once part of several groups of people who I did everything possible to try and integrate into, but with a better understanding both of them and circumstances it was just never going to work. 

Today I find myself asking why it’s taken me this long to realise.

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Someone in another group from which I was quietly ejected a few years ago accused me of being a ‘pointless troublemaker’ and this point is something that’s been thought about at length. If it were genuinely true, others believe I look at groups of people and decide who it is possible to wind up the wrong way… honestly this is never how it works. I am the person who is always looking for worthwhile connection. ALWAYS.

Except subtlety and diplomacy have never been strong points. That’s a spade, you’re a creep, that’s not the only way you can play... honesty is the problem. When someone interviewed me for a podcast and said with sincerity ‘my aim is to be friends with everyone’ they were living a lie, and I began to feel slightly creeped out. In fact, on many occasions, it was podcast appearances that helped me grasp a truth that only now makes sense.

So many people are too caught up in their own lives to ever be a part of yours.

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This is the point when it’s important to accept my own share of blame: I have responsibility here. You could have made better choices. Not everybody is going to give themselves as freely as you do. Wanting to do things with people who aren’t comfortable and confident with you should have been the hint you took, on several occasions, but you kept trying. If someone else is offended with what you do, that’s their problem.

Just because you really like someone doesn’t mean they will like you.

I will not resort to manipulation of circumstances. It’s easy to finally get the hint when someone just stops communicating. Lives are going on, all the time around you, and just because others [mutuals] are involved does not mean you need to be, or have to. However, when stuff is offered in good faith and summarily ignored… yup, you have the right to be aggrieved. That’s when you get to write the blog.

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Except, there’s no point. Maybe it’s because the last time I directly used my blog as an instrument, someone else decided I was trying to use them to forward my career. That was the straw that finally broke my back, pushing me away from these people for good: two years on it is undoubtedly the best career move I ever made. That’s quite ironic, on reflection.

When I handed in my notice to the website I wrote for, there was genuine surprise that I’d have something better to do. Only now does it register that this was the wider problem all along. If there’s an assumption wanting to better yourself somewhere else is a surprise, the lack of perception this suggests should start ringing warning bells. There is ALWAYS more to do: nobody is perfect, everyone has something to learn, however big a fish they may perceive themselves to be.

Too many people think there’s nothing they ever need to do to improve.

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I keep thinking that one day I ought to just burn all the bridges and name names, all of them, because the town in which all these people continue to work in is never one I’d ever, EVER want to visit ever again. That however would indeed be the petty and vindictive action of a woman who would love to see the world burn. This is never who I’ve been, because you were wrong to assume I was the enemy. You still are.

Because I got out, learning lessons in blood and tears, there is no point in making anyone look like the fucking imbeciles many still remain. Be warned, however, one day someone else is more than likely to do just that, and when it happens, you will only have yourselves to blame. Understanding I was part of the problem is what lead me to counselling. I can’t turn back the clock, neither would I want to.

One day, reckoning comes for everybody. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Look Away

I have a confession to make: this is me, more and more, as it becomes apparent there is too much to do and not enough time. Instead of watching a movie that looks interesting I’ll instead go to Wikipedia and read the synopsis. Twitter’s ‘recommended reading’ section is becoming increasingly useful to be au fait with the leading outrage du jour and honestly I don’t need to know eight seasons of TV show minutiae when with a few well-picked memes, everything becomes clear.

Am I being unfair to myself? No, I don’t think so.

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Being relevant has always been a hard ask, and when your friends group has such a vast and diverse set of interests, it can often leave you reeling. It’s unlikely I’d ever get involved in a deep and serious genre lore-related conversation ever again: I’ve seen what happens when you do that online, and increasingly it doesn’t end well. Discussion these days is less about speculation and more around ‘I’m right, you’re wrong so bugger off.’

Knowing about this stuff allows you to be able to spot spoilers when you see them and help others steer clear. It helps knowing what’s being talked about to keep your work current and relevant. Being a Jill of Most Stories and Expert in a Few has always been the way I’ve operated, allowing the wisest possible range of subjects to be available for discussion. You could call it a good self-defence mechanism too, which I suppose it is.

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I’ve learnt the lesson about ‘pretending I know more when I don’t’ too, enough times to ensure there’s no preemptive wading into discussions where I’ll look like a twat. Life currently is as much wrapped around knowing when to keep quiet as it is when to stick up a hand. Watching a good fight is always preferable to being in one. With social media becoming more and more like a spectator sport, is this really something I should be doing?

With so many people convinced their opinion is all that matters, it’s becoming a tougher gig with each passing day…