EX/WHI :: Part Twenty-One

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Chris feels her lie deep in his gut; there’s more to her ‘conversation’ with the aliens than Ami feels comfortable letting on. He could ask, but this is not the time. Dishonesty’s not a sleight, rather used to assuage his fear over performance anxiety, with reasons he knows are both fair and accurate. There’s a damn good reason he’s not been on a date in over a year. Those blue pills his doctor prescribed might fix the mechanics, but did nothing for his head.

It makes perfect sense to abduct one male and female. It’s why Noah shoved two of everything in the Ark, Bible’s writers leaving rest to the imagination of their readers. If this is an exercise in testing all their abilities… he knows now that’s not something his partner is willing to indulge in, not without far more than just a single evening out under their belts. That alone makes Chris feel more comfortable than has been true since their arrival.

Excusing herself to go to the unisex bathroom he used before they started dinner, Chambers sits alone, staring at a battered Rolex that reads just before 11pm. It’s Bishop’s idea that they keep themselves tied to London time as it exists on their wrists; the more normality that can be self-imposed the better. Whatever else might be happening around them plus within a fledgling shared consciousness, comfort and belief mattered above all else.

He’d thought briefly about asking to share a camp-bed, mostly because he was shit scared and needed reassurance, then considered the messages that might send her which are all kinds of wrong. Right now, he cannot revert to archetype. Strength alone is easy, when you don’t get all the chemical stuff as distraction. She’d made the point over dinner: if you wanted to truly test a species for suitability, there’s gonna be a point where loyalty to each other would be addressed.

It’s also hard to escape jealousy; she’d been shown consequences of failure in her mind and he hadn’t. His experiences of the aliens is far less detailed or interactive: it shouldn’t bother him, but worryingly does. His conscious initially struggled to even grasp the enormity of their situation, yet something is altering. Fear should never allow emotional responses to dictate experience, and yet it has, every time. Personal failure, parenting, relationships, decision-making…

Your importance is about to become apparent.


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Intro

It’s almost time to begin a COMPLETELY NEW DECADE. Blimey.

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Everything’s in place to go too, more or less. Some poetry will be submitted tonight, possibly some other bits and bobs towards the end of the week. There are two calendars up on the wall, with ACTUAL COLOUR CODING to keep up with what is submitted. Honestly, the last time organisation at this level existed, it was college. NO EXCUSES this year, everybody. Everything gets improved.

Last year, the ‘target’ of publication was hit, but only once. Bearing this in mind, 2020 is when I produce my own pamphlets for the first time. It’s when there’s an effort to make money and not lose it, building body of work that isn’t just digital. I’ll be looking for feedback in January, and am considering a return to Patreon as means by which to try and finance this effort at entry level.

Everything on that side is still in a state of flux.

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On Wednesday we’ll sound the 31 Days of Exercise klaxon for RED January, and instead of filling your Instagram feeds with Haiku for the month you’ll get 31 days of my sweaty body instead. This means lots of time to sort February’s Love Poetry out (had to be done) and an opportunity to get out more to do photography. I had so much fun in June doing that, for Places of Poetry, that it needs to be repeated.

Let’s hope the weather allows this to happen without incident.

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ALSO MORE POETRY AS ART IN 2020. I know, this is not reinventing the wheel, and other people are better connected to complete these tasks, but if there is not the means for expression, humanity has been lost. It all counts towards that vital Body of Work

2020 will, whatever happens, be all about the output.

All Time High

On Wednesday this week, my productivity effectively nosedived. I could try and put it down to the ongoing saga of my dental health, or just a midweek slump. Neither of those would be either right or fair. The reason everything came to a shuddering halt was because, after a considerable break, there’s a new James Bond (007) movie coming, due in April of next year. Bond is my Kryptonite. I was, therefore, blindsided.

If you have been here long enough, you’ll know that hidden on this site are two full-length Bond fanfics. They are, like it or not, the only forms of fiction I’ve ever finished. That’s been a thorn in my side for some time which is why I’m so keen not only to finish my NaNo (more on that in the next blog) but to prove to myself that the ability exists to move myself forward from this point.

However, this week is a salutary reminder that a part of me is still stuck in 2012 where all this began. The trailer above is indeed enough to get me quite excited, but is the warning that was needed that my future is never going to be using someone else’s characters to get work noticed. If there is ever to be evolution, I have to leave this franchise alone.

There will be a response to it, but not now.

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There is reason to be proud with myself however, knowing what happened, and that it would be easy to just disappear back to the Old Ways [TM] without fear… because those fanfics were immensely enjoyable, wish fulfilment that is still hard to beat. Except, however, my new work is similarly important, and significant, and deserves effort to complete. It’s just been a hard week for making that happen.

This is where the dentistry and being swayed by other things comes in, and why once I’ve written these blogs and done all my back end work, Sunday this week will be novel time, as well as finishing my Christmas Poetry. It deserves more attention and love, and my brain needs to finally let go of a past that is, like it or not, actively preventing me from moving forward with a new existence.

Let’s see if I’m adult enough to dismiss this particular demon without assistance.

You Can Fly

I am part of the first generation of digital natives: in my teens, computing stopped being something that happened on campuses or in massive rooms with punch cards. The personal computer defined my teens: ever since the world has embraced both good and bad in technology. Social media has become both those worlds, and more beside: right now, anything goes. Somewhere, as I type, someone will be decrying it as an evil that is destroying free thinking whilst restricting constructive discussion.

Except I know differently. For me, a particular brand of social media has quite literally altered my existence. No, it’s not hyperbole, sorry, but genuine praise for a platform some people will tell you is both a waste of time and energy. Without it, my life would be considerably less interesting, entertaining and enlightening. I’ve met what are now my closest friends via the medium of Tweeting.

Without it, I’d be considerably less of a person.

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Over the last couple of years I’ve written poetry to thank those people online for being awesome. This year, the process moves on a stage further. From a woman who couldn’t see the point of this platform when other people adopted it, I am now almost evangelical about the benefit of free speech. How can I say this with a block list that now reaches into three figures…? Not everybody will be your friend in life.

Expecting everybody to like you is a waste of everybody’s time.

Starting Monday, December 2nd on my personal account (@MoveablePress) I’ll be tweeting my thanks to the people who have changed the World for me in 2019. It has been genuinely tough this year to pick the list, but were it not for every one of these individuals, this year would not have been as transformative as it undoubtedly has. I’ll use this post as a repository for the tweet-threads when they’re done.

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I’m not a great fan of buying useless Christmas gifts: this year all close family will be receiving cards detailing how a lump sum donated to Oxfam will be used to fund charity projects worldwide. Altered Paths allows me to thank and give, all at once, is eco-friendly and comes with no wrapping paper to feel bad about recycling. It ticks all the boxes too: don’t just take, remember that giving is what matters most of all.

Thank you to these people who have helped me evolve and grow in 2019:

December 2nd -25th’s Twitter links will go here

 

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Intro

It’s December on Sunday. Probably time to get organised, then.

What to Expect in December

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Yes, there will be GIFs, don’t worry, all of that is in hand. It’s taken a while to work out the scheduling, as is inevitably the case in these situations, but we are now READY. There will be content in December on the @InternetofWords Twitter account as follows:

9am: The December Short Story is STARDUST. There’s no snow, just rain, a Diner in the middle of forever and a fry cook called Joseph. That’s all you get for now…

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1pm: It’s Christmas haiku / Seasoned accompaniment / With added pictures.

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5pm: And then, yes, IT’S HAPPENING.

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THE GIFT OF GIF-MAS IS COMING PEOPLE PREPARE YOURSELVES (and maybe wrap it better.)

#Narrating2019 will be along at its scheduled spot of 9.30pm 😀

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That seems like a decent amount of content to elicit some festive cheer, WHAT SAY YOU?

Change

I don’t believe anybody who tells you there’s nothing they could do to improve what they are. I also find it increasingly difficult to aspire to anybody’s else’s level of what constitutes competent. Each of us is so different, it seems utterly ridiculous to want to be like anybody else, and yet that’s what happens. Dress like your idol, use their skincare routine, borrow their working practices for a better lifestyle… nope.

When writing, especially, I’m beginning to realise the folly in trying to sound like anybody else except yourself. Sure, it is easy to imitate a style, or a fashion, but these things are so fleeting and often fickle. How do I get better as a writer, regardless of the genre being practiced, without compromising the essence of what I am? Being ‘better’ is clearly the intention, but how does it happen?

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The internet is overflowing with guides, authors happy to offer their ‘advice’ whenever possible. Reading these, it becomes apparent that there are perilously few real answers to be found once one moves past ‘spell check, write to the word count, don’t waffle.’ It is as much a game of persistence as anything else: if you can’t hack being rejected, your career won’t last long. The rarity of hitting your target first try is just that.

For me, therefore, the process of self-improvement was at first daunting, until the sheer repetition of writing every single day began to expose flaws I’d not previously grasped. My sentence structure needed work, there were too many personal pronouns. Explaining how things went from A to B was consistently skipped or skimped on. Telling the story required a narrative pathway that often only existed in my head, not on the page.

Only by practice do we finally grasp what it is that is lacking within our work.

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Most importantly, however, it’s being hard on ourselves for not moving at a speed we consider ‘progress’ that can ruin so much achievement in the first place. If you know your rate of change is glacial, expecting to be an expert overnight really is an unrealistic ask. I’m in that camp,  only now understanding this journey’s being hamstrung by the past. Once that’s sorted properly, so much more should flow freely.

Therefore in December it’s time to see if freedom of expression can be wrought from some new materials. Processes are already being planned, and if I can look past what has previously managed to derail both confidence and ability… is anything possible? Could EVERYTHING be possible?

There’s only one way to find out.

Monster

Yup, I’m definitely gonna need more than a month.

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It’s not like this story is writing itself, anything but. At times it has been a tough job, slogging through the numbers: with the first crescendo of action about to happen, I reckon I’m probably about a third of the way in. However, there is an awful lot of exposition in here, most of it warranted. After we hit the end of this section, things can pick up a bit.

I reckon 100k is probably nearer the mark for completion.

There’s nothing stopping me going back and editing stuff out at a later date, of course: for now, the priority is to tell the story as it stands, and that’s proving surprisingly simple. I’m really, REALLY glad that time was taken to plan this in advance, because there are several points where if it hadn’t been, giving up and walking away would have been a really easy thing to do.

This time however, I have something to prove.

I am not getting any younger, as the hand will attest. The reason I started doing this challenge, so many years ago, was to write a novel. In all the times when the month was over and I looked at what had been produced, there was never really satisfaction with the end product. This time around, this is a piece of work to be already immensely proud of. Whatever may transpire, this will be pushed beyond a first draft.

Creating a monster will come with a new set of responsibilities, but until the story is done, size really will not matter. I’m already organising December’s content around this, so that there is no interruption to my writing processes. It is perhaps most satisfying all that this is a narrative not only to get lost in, but which also is throwing up some genuinely interesting new directions from the original pitch.

Speaking of which, I need to write a new summary to post on the NaNo website…