Little Things

I spent the weekend doing exactly what it was I said I’d do: no actual work, and certainly no blogging. A day of rest on Saturday meant Sunday was the most productive day I’ve had probably since early May. Looking back on the past, and what can be salvaged from it has uncovered a couple of utter gems, two of which I’ll submit tomorrow to the most prestigious contest going for poetry right now. I confidently predict neither will win, but I’ll feel wonderful about what’s been presented.

The last few times this particular contest has been prepared for it’s been… well, it’s felt like a Herculean trial. More importantly, so much need and desire to win was subconsciously wrapped up in the production process that, at the end, there was little joy in the work. I intend to go back and pull out those pieces and repurpose them in a group this week, if anything can be salvaged from them at all. That’s also a revelation from recent times: it’s okay to throw things away.

Not everything can be saved.

The reality of watching the revolving door of successful people come in and out of my Twitter feed used to be quite difficult. Now there is a sanguine acceptance that not everybody is the same as me, and not everyone is getting as much out of the platform as I am. That’s the big takeaway over the last few months: you can see the people who have bloomed, and who’ll have ’emerging during lockdown in 2020 as a driving force in [insert profession here] on social media’ inserted into their bios when the time comes.

For me, I suppose, it’s all still falling into place. There’s an optimism in both body and brain now which, I realise, has not existed since my teens. I never really grew up properly, that’s the key to all of this, that process is taking place for a second time and honestly, truthfully, I’m quite happy to ignore the fact that many notably traumatic experiences have been quietly thrown in a skip where established detritus is already burning furiously.

I am so very grateful to my husband and kids for putting up with all this shit for so long.

With my objective hat on, so much of that time wasn’t nearly as bad as history now recalls, the key is to separate the bad experiences from the good and then make sure only the bad ones are torched. It helps having photographic memories of those to use as a means of re-establishing reality: so many things never got photographed, for exactly that reason. There are also some pictures where I know, full well, I was acting to camera.

Managing expectations is an important part of any creative’s output: what can people expect from your work? What will become your signature styles and approaches? For me, the virtual world is so deeply ingrained into everything that to try and separate it from what I am has become impossible. Therefore, I’m going to stop trying, and focus instead on how my life is being changed and altered by its influence, so much for the better.

Knowing where you came from is essential in charting a path to any new destination.

Give a Little Bit

The #SixFanfics project is going very well, with the last two decades of content scheduled to go to the polls tomorrow. I’ve had a massively productive day and caught up on a ton of outstanding stuff, and now it’s time to start contemplating where to be placing my attention going into the second half of the year. In an attempt to pick up more Patrons, I have again listened to feedback over appropriate stretch goals.

It’s been coming for a while, but today dawned the understanding I need a website to sell stuff on before I can start selling stuff. An account on Gumroad’s sat gathering dust for some months, and it is high time to start getting it ready for use. I’ll be programming time in June (can’t believe I just typed that) to start organising the levels of content we’ll need to accommodate a virtual poetry collection, plus physical output.

I’ve produced a number of unique commissions this year, for special occasions (a christening and two weddings, if I’m being honest) plus I made all my Christmas gifts this year as one-off, special poems for all my mates. This is a revenue stream that needs more promotion than is currently the case. Therefore, over the summer, there will be plenty of opportunity to make this all a reality.

WSE New

I had something rejected this week that was, in my mind, probably the best piece of poetry I’ve ever written. It was the final straw that has made brain grasp that if I want success, waiting for other people to notice me is not enough any more. It is time to make the noise and push buttons and generally become what I have always been afraid of: a better person. This me is more productive, more proactive and more capable of changing the world around me.

This me is about to make everything better.

Love’s Great Adventure

Today’s been all about getting dragged, kicking and screaming, outside your comfort zones. I have pulled some Patreon work because, after due consideration, it wasn’t good enough. I’ve been writing experimental poetry all afternoon and it’s making me feel really uncomfortable. Oh yes, and then I laid my life bare in quite an unexpected fashion via Social media…

I’d not anticipated how hard this would be until the weekend, when part of my general discomfort was around just how much of my past would be hauled up for general inspection. As it happens, there’s a lot to be said for these choices being made as the right ones, when it would have been an awful lot easier to pick from some generic, obvious alternatives. This way, I will be challenged.

These first two polls are now up and running, and the results will be known in 48 hours. I’ll throw them about a bit later today and tomorrow too, just to see if I can garner a decent range of responses. After all, you never know who might pick these up and ping them into the Void for me… and it means that the results will end up as a genuine surprise. I’m not checking the polls until they’re done.

Once I know the results, I’ll fill in my graphic, and then we can get on with the business of writing. The plan is to have all six drabbles up in their own separate area by the end of the month: if this is successful, we’ll repeat the process with some new things later in the year. As always, it’s about working out whether your content is interesting enough to attract new people not only to your work, but also to potentially stick around as an audience…

Beautiful Noise

I’m still having trouble with a corrupted text file from last week, which is why at some point (probably tomorrow) you’ll see the rest of the Dr Who Fanfic appear on the site. Whilst I was sorting out these bits of my past, I’ve been enjoying an project doing the rounds: #SixFanarts, where Twitter Artists are using their own interests in fandom to draw classic characters from the places that have influenced their existences.

It occured to me this would be a great thing to do with fanfiction, and as it’s been a while since I flexed my creative muscles in that direction, it’s high time that changed. Therefore, for May, we’ll be making some interesting decisions using Twitter Polls, hashtags and graphics packages. I have plenty of shows that mattered a great deal to me growing up. Time to give the past an appropriate moment in the sun.

#sixfanfics_subjects

It’s simple, really: I’ll be posting some threads, starting next week, on both my ‘work’ and ‘personal’ Twitter, asking people to suggest either a) a TV show b) a game or c) a film from the six particular decades listed that I can use as basis for a drabble. This does also remind me that I’ve been alive during seven decades, which is not something to dwell upon, but it does grant a massive scope for potential.

I’ve had a number of conversations in the last few weeks that have highlighted stuff I’d forgotten about in TV terms, especially from the 1970’s, so it seems like a good idea to open discussion a bit to see if there’s anything else that has been lost to the mists of time. After all the votes get collated, I’ll present you with the goods. Can’t say fairer than that. It also gives me summat useful to concentrate on other than poetry.

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Let’s see where this new adventure takes us, shall we?

The Stolen Earth

I promised you last week that there would be history arriving: here it is.

It’s March 2008 and I’m a bit nervous. The appointment of Catherine Tate as David Tennant’s new companion in the TARDIS, after the departure of first Billie Piper and then Freema Agyeman, was controversial. Not for me, however. The chemistry between the two was obvious, and not in the manner that had been created previously. Donna Noble was a good old-fashioned companion.

Her season in the TARDIS was more than I could ever possibly have hoped for.

Doc&Donna

I’ve been a WHO fan since Patrick Troughton in the late 1960’s. The reboot was, it has to be said, all I could really have wanted in my life when it reappeared, and since then there have been periods in which I have drifted in and out of love with the path the new show has taken. Peter Capaldi left me cold. The last season, with Jodie Whittaker, is undoubtedly some of the most fun I’ve had since the Doctor and Donna.

However, only one pairing ever got fanfic written about them, and it still remains, stuck on my hard drive after over a decade. There’s three parts to this, and they will require you to have a working knowledge of that 2008 season…

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Season Four is available to watch, right now, on Amazon Prime, so if you happen to have some free time, or indeed own the DVDs as I do *cough* you’ll need to have watched up to the end of Forest of the Dead to be at the correct narrative point. Strange Days was originally posted on LiveJournal (yes kids, I was there) after the end of that two part episode. It introduces a plot device that will be seen again in Wednesday’s vignette.

Enjoy something I first shared with a small part of the Internet over twelve years ago.

strange days

Read Strange Days Here


2020 Week 15 Poetry: Ray

It’s been another week of lockdown complete, with poetry becoming easier to tap into. That’s an encouraging sign, considering that I’ll be dipping my toes back into competitive submissions after Patreon work’s done. The biggest single issue, of finding a cohesive and credible voice, seems to have been properly put to rest. There was no a proper comprehension of how I should sound when presenting poetry until quite recently.

Being taught is one thing, as I have discovered in exercise, but grasping the reality of that teaching is another thing entirely. Comprehension is the bridge that has always been lacking. How do I move from here to there without losing the essence of what I am? How is it possible to combine subject matter with the right level of objective emotion? It is happening now, of that I am confident.

The next step, undoubtedly, is to put these new skills to work.


Ray

Nature’s affirmations, cautious life emergent;
darkness is shrinking, sunlight’s warmth singing.

Anger released, exhaled; everything goes, nothing retained,
cleansing rains: vital pulse, regained.

Cool skin, thawed heart: blue backdrop, green shoots:
framed palette perfect, backdrop painted.

Grow strong, daylight’s confirmation: turn, upward destination,
larger space not trapped below.

Confidence reborn, harvest ready; life takes time,
relax, allow world to match pace, good grace.

Back to Life

Now the excitement of NEW CONTENT has died down, and there’s an undoubted sense of being better organised, it is time to look at finishing off a ton of stuff that’s been left hanging or simply not completed. That includes the EX/WHI restart, a ton of back end archiving and deciding what of my various pieces of historical fanfic get the nod for publication. After that? Well, that’s a very good question.

Next week is when I begin May planning, which seemed reasonably impossible back in March which is now officially about a decade ago in perceived brain time. Tomorrow I have a photography project to finish for Patreon, which will be archived here and you’ll be able to see at the beginning of next month. I’ve decided to do these every four weeks, as long as it is practical for me to take pictures.

I’m looking forward to the day I can plan trips to places further than a walk away.

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I’ve produced some unexpected results from what had been originally planned as a fairly static project: it appears that Precarious Epithet is the gift that may well end up giving far more than just the content that composes it. It has also been an interesting test run for the possibility that, should I pull together enough patrons, that the production of the LANzine could end up being bi-weekly.

If that does happen, it will undoubtedly me useful to be able to disseminate older issues to a wider audience, with Patreon becoming the test bed for this original content. That dream, however, is some way away, but there’s already confidence that I can keep the wheels of production whirling for the foreseeable future. We can also diversify too, into photography-only projects and poetry with multimedia accompaniment…

Suddenly, there are a lot of options that were no previously available to me. It is going to take a while to get my head around all of those, but not only will it happen, but you can guarantee potential is about to be grasped with both hands.

The future remains mine to embrace and improve.

You Oughta Know

Everything’s now in place: the monthly newsletter has gone out and I’ll be spending this weekend putting the finishing touches to FREE CONTENT, available to view or download here next week. It’s the precursor to my Patreon only stuff, which is one of the main reasons I started up this whole thing in the first place. It’s the culmination of a project that initially began over two years ago. Time really has flown since then.

Once it was decided to shift a lot of the output to a subscription model, I was very conscious it would leave nothing here as ‘new’ and that’s why, starting on the 6th, we’re gonna go back in time. Weekly poetry and Daily Instagram are still happening, but here we’ll be digging into half a century of life, 40 of which has been inextricably linked to computers, for some pieces of historical context as to how life ended up here.

April 1st

This will overlap slightly with sub content for reasons that should be fairly obvious: however, if you are interested in the really juicy, personal stuff… It makes sense to not throw all the dirty laundry out in the open. That means I’ve dug out a complete short story typed on an ancient Amstrad computer, my first attempts at poetry, and all manner of fanfic-related goodness as upcoming content.

It’s a really useful insight into how my mind has changed over the decades, what could be possible going forward with existing ideas… and is a part of my life that needs to be embraced. We all start somewhere, in whatever journeys we decide to undertake. This is an intrinsic part of what we become as writers. I think more of us should share what that means and not just hold onto it for potential, commercial gain.

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There’s a lot of my life that’s been lived online. Maybe it’s time to own up to more.

Negotiations and Love Songs

Really, this shouldn’t be being written, I should be getting ready to go away for some much-needed time off, except this week’s thrown up a lot of moments where my plans going forward have altered in both scope and significance. As a result, there is something that needs to be said before I go away: belief in yourself is, undoubtedly a part of the deal with ambition that never gets talked about enough.

I mentioned on Wednesday that I had an evening class/workshop that was being looked forward to, and it transpires that there was a lot more to the evening than I had initially envisioned. It was so successful, in fact, that if the organisation answers my email because I can’t find a link on their website,  a monthly amount  will be thrown down to go do more interesting things on Wednesday evenings in the future.

proudthumbsup

You have to be careful when people are being paid to be nice to you, of course, that their affirmations and responses can be somewhat tainted by the fact that if they’re honest with you, that might not be the answer that you want to hear. Wednesday night, undoubtedly, can be seen in two distinct lights. It was in parts an enormous ego boost. In other parts it was a testament to how far I’ve come as a person.

Somewhere in the middle was a set of writing exercises, the opportunity to just think about writing and not worry about chores or demands from others. That was perhaps the most important thing of all, at the end of the day. Whatever else may emerge from the experience, I held my own with a group of people whose only experience of me was that session. I didn’t fuck anything up. That’s a massive bonus.

The truth of the evening’s success therefore can be distilled from these parts.

NICEjazz

It is a foolish woman who does not learn from everything that is thrown at her. Sometimes, undoubtedly, that takes some time to either register or absorb, but in the end being critical of your own actions is one of the most important life skills that can ever be learnt. Better is the state we all should be striving for regardless of whatever anybody else says needs to be done. Being successful does not mean you can be selfish.

The arrogance I see from those who clearly feel that success has granted them some kind of absolution from improvement is the most difficult part of a life online. How I’m choosing to deal with that is twofold: life the best life possible, whilst simultaneously maintaining healthy levels of cynicism and realism. It all works fine if internal balance is maintained, and that’s the plan moving forward.

Any true path to enlightenment, let’s face facts, is never going to be an easy one.

School’s Out

Here’s a thing. I’m off to what I suppose should be referred to as an Evening Class tonight, and am rather excited at the prospect.

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I wish there were more money to be able to do stuff like this with greater frequency, but it’s just not practical, when a London-based course could cost the equivalent of the monthly food budget. I’m already saving as it is for Mslexicon this year, and that means making some harsh decisions in the next couple of weeks as how everything is funded. I’m already making all the savings possible to let this happen.

However, there is an ulterior motive to doing a couple of hours on the High Street tonight: this venue has an open mic in two weeks, which will be a perfect opportunity in which to take some problematic poetry with me for performance later in the year. It also gives me a focus for the two days writing time I’ve booked at the local Arts Collective next month, as part of the county’s Book Festival.

It allows an opportunity to extend experience to other places.

sdr_HDRB

All of these venues are on my doorstep, so travel costs are minimal: the two day ‘hot desk’ opportunity is free as well, so I would have been very remiss to have not taken that one up. More importantly than that, of course, the capacity for networking exceeds all other benefits: if you want to be know, you do unfortunately have to put yourself about, and until I gain Banksy levels of notoriety, that’s a given.

It’s the part of this job description I’ve always struggled with, with social anxiety always there as a reminder that you’re never as prepared as you think is enough. However, each time something like this happens, undoubtedly things get easier. That whole thing about practice isn’t just restricted to exercise, after all. Doing something every day has considerable benefit in both brain and body.

freeyourmind

I have a t-shirt for the evening all picked. I will take something pre-written as a starting point to improve. I’ve packed business cards and favourite pencils. All that needs to happen now is to get through the rest of the day unscathed and this will be the first of a number of small rewards, to myself, for distinctive progress made. After all, even the most hardened of professionals benefits from some quality ‘them’ time.

I’ll report on the evening Friday, via a blog.