I was *supposed* to be doing something this week. It was something I was REALLY looking forward to. However, it has been cancelled.
It is always tough when plans change at short notice. Everything was organized, and I’d spent a fair bit of time managing the week so that the maximum amount of time could be spent working. In the absence of this now, the decision has been made to use the time I’d booked constructively doing other things. That means a combination of poetry, catching up on my backlog, and planning projects for the future. It would be foolish not to make the most of the situation I find myself in with the spaces already created.
Inevitably, not everything works out the way you would hope in life. The measure of my progress as an adult is now how such situations are dealt with. It will cause issues, as these things undoubtedly do, but intend to do my utmost to keep those things to a minimum. Let this be a way of moving forward in all things, and making positive changes to the whole of my creative practice.
If all else fails, I can eat crisps and play video games instead 😛
I have lived a remarkable amount of my life online, in one form or another… since the late 1990’s, if truth be told. Over twenty years of watching technology evolve, and intelligence devolving along with it… because for all the science and enlightenment and useful, helpful discourse, there’s absolute bollocks as a counter. Stupidity is everywhere. Even the smartest people are not immune to their moments of dumb.
This post, for instance, will be liked but not commented on. I can’t tell whether it’s been read as a result, or if the contents will be digested by anyone. Only when someone takes the time to do that is it obvious. A ‘like’ is no longer an accurate representation of whether someone is listening. For a lot of people, it has become a Pavlovian response. A conditioned click keeps you happy you’re doing enough as a ‘friend’ but doesn’t require any extra effort. Except, of course, that’s not what really being friends with someone is about.
In the next week, I will be writing poetry about how we are conditioned now to only do enough, how ‘do what you can’ is the right, white response to everything that might be in the slightest bit problematic… except it isn’t. The planet is dying, and you’re NOT doing nearly enough, and frankly it’s embarrassing. I’ll also be moving myself towards a more active, responsive stance in the things that can be controlled in my life. It is time to stand for something and not fall for everything.
It’s been a Week. The two Open Mics were more successful than I could possibly have imagined. From one, a recommendation from a hero to submit. From the other? I’m pretty certain it earned me the chance to spend 15 minutes on the Big Kid’s Table…
In Full Disclosure News, I made the poster, because it might be a while before anyone else puts my face on anything, and you take the chances whenever they arise. Questions need to be asked next week as to a) how long I do in fact get to read, b) whether its in the first half or second and c) if graphics can be used. I think the last one is the least important right now, but am seriously thinking about the possibility of presentation. Maybe that happens when it’s just me doing both halves…
I’ll be talking more about this in the weeks leading up to the event, but needless to say, a LOT of publicity is going to happen. It is the least I can do as thanks for the opportunity. Having never read for longer than five minutes before?
The last seven days have been a bit of a watershed, when all is said and done. A lot of time and effort has been put into planning what happens this year that’s not already scheduled, submitted or required. It would be fair to say that enjoyment has been missing in various portions of my life of late, mostly because there was an overriding sense that I was getting nowhere. That is patently not the case, of course, but sometimes there needs to be more reminders than you alone are capable of providing.
Life is so brief and fleeting that it is really important to live every moment as well as it is possible to do inside your means. Next week, I have two Open Mic spots and countless opportunities to make something from nothing, if there is the desire to do so. I want to achieve all I can, and want to have fun whilst doing so. It is possible to do both. What it requires from you as an adult is the ability to step outside the normality of existence to make the changes needed. I’m ready and willing to do this.
Next week will be when we start a new chapter in my life.
Back in March 2020, just before the first lockdown hit, something happened that, it must be said, made me realize that whatever other people might try and attest, Twitter will never be anything other than one of the best things that ever happened to me. The story I am about to recount was first told on my personal blog, but is being repeated here again because, finally, I’ve begun to write the poem whose title is the same as this blog post. It’ll hopefully be done this month and then, I will share it with everyone.
Meanwhile… I feel some time travelling coming on…
Imagine, if you will, it is 1977.
I am 11 years old. I hear a song on the radio for the first time that immediately captures my attention: Ariel. It’s by a bloke called Dean Friedman: an American singer-songwriter, for whom that is, at the time, his only ‘major’ US hit. However, this is not about success, but quirkiness catching both my ear and that of a Radio One DJ I listen to obsessively: Noel Edmunds. Thanks to him, I am compelled to seek out Friedman’s second album ‘Well, Well’ Said the Rocking Chair and shortly afterwards I become obsessed with one particular track.
I still carry that same song with me, to this day.
It remains the quintessentially perfect piece of narrative storytelling: a breakup song to end all breakup songs, but not obsessing on what’s been lost, but how to pull yourself together after the fact. It’s uplifting and smart and has the most killer saxophone solo in the middle, but what keeps it fresh in my head after forty years are these four lines of poetry which, let’s be honest, have never been bettered:
Take a look at the place you call your home you’re reflected in all the things you own and the seeds of reason you have sown they’re a measure of a part of you that’s already grown…
Not gonna lie: for a good few years I literally carried those lyrics around with me too, wound tight inside a tea ball locket. I am happy to reveal that to you, dear readers, because I know we’re at that stage in our relationship now. It’s remains on a playlist that gets listened to weekly, and has been stuck into numerous other best of compilations over the years. When I inserted it into an online one back in March 2020 which was posted on Twitter, things started getting funky…
I can still remember the complete, abject disbelief when I first saw this on screen. Not only had the man whose song I’d made into a mantra for moving forward liked the fact I’d highlighted the song in my playlist, HE WAS NOW FOLLOWING ME. How was this possible, exactly? I didn’t @ him, he wasn’t directly mentioned in dispatches, but here he was, and remains. Dean’s still working online and playing gigs and has new songs out as I type this. You might move away from the people who influence you, but those people remain a constant regardless. In all the chaos we’ve now collectively experienced, it’s good to know Mr F remains one of the good guys.
I promised I’d write ‘Dean Friedman is Following Me of Twitter’ nearly a year ago, and the draft is still there, waiting for the right moment… and here I am, starting 2022 on a high. It seems the right moment to pay back a debt, too, so time and effort will be taken to ensure the final result is the right, fair and correct summation both of the story and his connection back to an 11 old girl who knew that, some day in their future, words would matter like nothing else ever could.
It’s taken a while, but I think I’m ready to do my pre-teen self proper justice.
I’m beginning the slow process of returning myself to full ‘working’ capability this week, which means if you are subbed to the Newsletter that accompanies this website, you’ll be getting a message in your Inbox tomorrow offering you FREE STUFF. For now, however, the last seven days have been about forward motion, plus setting up new processes for our restart in September.
I don’t allow myself nearly enough time to dream any more, and being the kind of person who can rationalize failure before there’s even a chance for success is a pretty decent means by which all joy can be sucked from situations. However, with my work turning up on a Podcast this weekend, it does feel a lot like I’m making clear, unassailable progress. Even I’d struggle to make this anything more than a win, so this then begs the question of what to do next.
There’s been a piece this week that’s pushed mind and body out of the comfort zone as a result: it’s part prose poetry, part pure poem, and covers a part of my life I don’t really talk about very much, mostly because I’ve never really thought about it that much. Doing so this week therefore has been an exercise in using my newly-found objectivity to rationalize what was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. As it transpires, that also makes for quite interesting reading.
It also allows me to think about a return to Podcasting, which I’ve really rather missed. Let’s see if I can persuade enough people next month that I’m worth both the time and the support…
I’m supposed to be having a couple of weeks off, but instead there is a compulsion to write here for the first time in a while. The reasons are complex, and will be discussed in other places as time goes on, but for now, this is the moment to start laying foundations down for new ventures. As that happens, it is also the moment to consider how far I have come.
For the last thirty-nine weeks, I’ve captured myself on video explaining my plans going forward, and this undoubtedly has contributed to an ability to rationalize beyond what was there to begin with. The fortieth video will launch on a new platform, having finally removed myself from Patreon. Ironically, it was their own fault it happened. I was given the opportunity to join a marketing course, which showed me how to sell the ‘brand’ better.
This is not a brand, and never will be. I am a perennial work in progress, and trying to promote that on a platform which only sees fulfilment and cash as success really was doomed to failure. As a transactional person at heart, there needs to be a balance between what is truth and what is the line that won’t be crossed. It was therefore inevitable the relationship would end after it was obvious the company’s values and mine did not align.
I was sent a brand survey last week that was the last straw, and I made my displeasure known. Also, I didn’t sign up to win the $100 gift card because the exchange rate is woeful, part of a far bigger issue.
This week I’m going out with the youngest, will be taking photos everywhere, and hope to get some back end work fixed in an environment which is considerably more conducive than it was. Mostly, I need to be organized better, which is the perennial demon to appease. At least now that’s grasped, there are other things to talk about.
#Instaverse will be back in September, but so will occasional posting here too on personal issues.
There are lots of things I’d like to do in 2021. This is where I let you lot in on what they are.
The Ko-Fi exercise is going REALLY well, so much so that I’m expanding out to other places too. I have a Tumblr account now, where my experimental stuff is gonna appear, and having linked my Pinterest account to here in the last week, I’ll be pinning my poetry there too. It’s another place where exposure can happen, and all those things are Good [TM] going forward.
Next up, we have audio: there’s gonna be a selection of audio files to play with next week, and part of me is already wondering if there’s an easy way to make an image map for all of these (so that’s been shoved on the To Do List) and that faffing alone might well have been better served happening a bit earlier in my planning. However, there’s still a week left before Time to Talk Day, so it’s not a total loss. If it works, we’ll play with other things in a similar vein.
Finally, photography will be making a return in February. For most of this month when I’ve gone outside it’s to either exercise or do essential stuffs, which is really how this should be working anyway, so my subjects need to be integrated into exercise practically. There are plans afoot, and again we’ll start working on those next week. Everything is under control.
Yes, we’re only two weeks into the year, despite the last one feeling like it was at least a month long. I’ve allowed the original domain tied to this site to lapse, and finally we’re feeling as if this project might be getting somewhere. The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice new prominence to both Pinterest and Ko-Fi on the front page: there is more than one way to sell yourself online in 2021. Most importantly, I have left Instagram for good, and could not be happier.
The final straw was WhatsApp’s decision to force me into a user agreement which effectively shares my data with their parent company, and (if I were in the US) would allow Facebook to sell it to anybody who paid enough. I’ve had a lot of conversations over privacy in the last few weeks, and the events in the US have been the galvanising factor in making me decide to move away for good. I really don’t care about convenience, but need to maintain control of who holds my information.
This video was, believe it or not, from 2014, which feels the equivalent of Shakespeare popping up live from the Globe trying to give a cohesive argument for why his plays should remain relevant in the modern world. You either ascribe to the idea of privacy and freedom or, it appears, you don’t. There is no middle answer, because the moment you sit there you’ve transformed into a commodity. Your data, like it or not, becomes all anyone ever wants from you. Opinions are invalid, and change pretty much impossible… which is where most people are now.
It’s too much fuss to change. Except, if you’ll let your freedom be so easily taken, what happens when people come for all the other stuff?
This blog’s remained largely apolitical since it was relaunched. However, that’s never what I’ve been, and as injustice becomes increasingly apparent, I have little desire to pretend it isn’t happening. That’s other people’s jobs and not mine. As part of my personal education policy going forward, a lot more questions are about to be asked not only of the World, but of those people who decide that you don’t talk about ‘that stuff’ in their social media.
That’s a sure-fire way of not being prepared for when the Revolution hits.
I have, this week, made a change in the way things happen during my work day. This will, hopefully, improve overall productivity going forward. It’s going to take about a month to see if this is indeed successful or not. For now, therefore, it is just about doing the job and seeing how the result at the end of it stack up against what’s normal output previously. Three days in, the results are surprisingly good.
There’s also been quite a bit of time on Zoom calls in the last couple of weeks. There are a remarkable number of free things available to take part in, and it is well worth taking the time to investigate what is available for your writing speciality. As a result of this there is going to be a bit of old manuscript editing going in between the downtime between NaNoWriMo writing sessions. That work’s my most successful previous novel, as it happens…
Change will take place when all of these things can be successfully combined, and then maintained. My first issue is normally about a week to ten days after instigating the initial course correction, so see me this time next week to work out if all of this is having the desired effect on life or not. The initial signs are optimistic, though, especially in areas not related to writing.