Love What You Do

I’ve learnt a lot in the past year. Most of that’s come in the form of just how much time things take to work out the way you want them. Therefore, planning early and often has become the watch phrase. It means I’ve cheekily skipped last week’s episodic fiction to ensure the next part of the story is told properly, and in the way it needs to be. Most of you won’t notice the changes happening, of course, but for me they are life savers.

That means February’s mostly planned. Paper Hearts is gonna be my Instagram project: bit of poetry, some photography, nothing too fancy. Some days, just gonna be words. I like the idea of not being totally focussed on imagery this time. However, there has to be a LOT of work on the other parts of my equation, and now there’s no immediate timescale around certain projects, this can all be achieved in a far less stressful environment.

February also has some things to look forward to on top of the scheduled.

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It’s Time to Talk day on February 6th (effectively two weeks from now) and there will be many words in my various places online during that period. I’ve also booked a creative writing workshop for the following week, so there’s something more to talk about than my own projects. Plus, there is the aborted from this month Video Content that will finally see the light of day.

Also, we get a SUPER BONUS FREE DAY on the 29th that isn’t normally there at all and it would be a foolish woman who did not plan something special for that. So I will, except as of right now I am not entirely certain what this thing will be. It’s going to be clever and massive and may actually involve tea (both beverage and mealtime) now I come to think of it and OH YES THAT’S A BRILLIANT IDEA…

Better go write this down whilst I remember it…

Things to Make and Do

Promising myself I’d try video for the first time this year as a delivery medium for poetry was, on reflection, a bit of an ask. Production techniques aren’t frightening, however: I learnt how to storyboard at college, made films and have edited across various media. The programmes may have changed a bit in thirty years but honestly, most of the effort comes in ideas and content, not in the bits that pull processes together.

Having the idea is where it all starts and end, and we have one now.

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An old poem could have been recycled, something that’s already been written, but to be honest I wanted summat new and to start from scratch. That poem’s now in the final stages of polish, storyboarding has begun and assuming that by Sunday everything falls into some kind of workable order, next week is all about filming and faffing. I think there’ll be some ‘live’ work too…

Then, like it or not, I just have to put in the hours

I know how this works, what I’m looking for and where it needs to go. I get how Fair Use works. Let’s see if we can put the two together and make something interesting.

I’ll see you here next week for an update.

The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret

Earlier this month, the third Twitter account I run was ‘rebranded.’

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That centre graphic need re-positioning…

When it was apparent that this blog would end up being my business front, there was a brief but important moment of concern. As an artist, in the broadest sense of the world, there needs to be a third place. I have Home (personal blog and Twitter) and now Work (IoW ‘branding’) where the vast majority of output that is fiddled with lives quite happily. However, as is becoming increasingly apparent, there needs to be something else which allows bizarre and unexpected stuff space to exist.

In community building, the third place is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the workplace (“second place”). Examples of third places would be environments such as churches, cafes, clubs, public libraries, or parks. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.

Wikipedia states the significance of third places, citing spaces that are communal as being vital to the means by which individuals develop a sense of self. Spending a great deal of time in virtual third spaces myself, it made sense to give the more esoteric parts of my existence the ability to breathe outside of the conventional, and not just leave them on hard drives or a ‘To Do’ list. Ultimately, I’d like to make real copies of some and maybe sell them for cash. I hear that’s how business works.

Already Grown

This is the place where the suppressed artist within me will retreat next year, when it’s too scary to either do it to an audience or while people are watching. I’ll also use it for experimental faffing, wibbling, and an inordinate amount of other gubbins. These are parts of the subconscious that don’t receive nearly enough airtime. All that will change in 2019, for to ensure the soul of myself is suitably assuaged, that’s what needs to happen.

Everybody needs a place they can truly be themselves, after all.

Welcome to the Cheap Seats

Those of you paying attention will notice that the website looks a bit different to the way it did on Wednesday. I’m quite pleased not only with the layout, but that it also allows room for expansion and addition going forward. Now, it is time to fill it with suitable content.

The Posts

#Blogmas is planned and (as I’ll be out tomorrow at the first of two Christmas dinners in the next two weeks) the first post will appear by the wonder of scheduling sometime tomorrow (probably about 5-ish as that’s a good time to maximise traffic.) All the other bits of my December plan are well into production, which includes a vital couple of hours editing a novel so it is complete and to my satisfaction.

I can do this all leading up to Christmas, right?

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A large majority of content can be knocked off beforehand, which means Sunday will be a bit hectic, but it will be worthwhile for the free time that will then be produced. After that? Just gotta remember to sleep and not scoff all my Advent Calendar Chocolates at once, that’s eminently doable. There’s even the possibility of some unscheduled poetry seeing the light of day: there’s a couple of pieces from rejected submissions earlier in the year that can be spruced up and shoved out again for a second try…

From Me To You 2018

Oh, and that reminds me, I have one more placeholder to stick on Twitter before I start writing my personal blog… the first dozen haiku are written. Now it is time to pick the backgrounds and get started with artwork…

Down Among the Dead Men

I’ve taken the opportunity, in the last week, to streamline just about everything I do online. If the plan is working there will be no discernible change to the landscape that is immediately apparent, and in this regard things appear to be moving quite well. Next month’s planning’s already in an advanced state, and we will be pursuing the project that was going to happen in October with a few tweaks.

Symphony

In simple terms, that means the following:

  • Daily Haiku on Twitter is replaced by 30 Haiku with an overarching, cohesive theme (Symphony). The entire project will then be archived in a new area on the website.
  • Daily Micropoetry continues as normal on Twitter.
  • #Narrating2018 and #Soundtracking2018 will both run in tandem with the Symphony theme: more details are coming next week
  • November’s Short Story (Piper) is not part of this project, and also continues as normal

Also, EX/WHI will be back up to date starting on Friday and will run in tandem with my NaNoWriMo updates, which will be taking over from all other content until November’s done. There’s then going to be a soft relaunch of the Internet of Words with new graphics and sections for December 1st.

Following so far? Good stuff.

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This is becoming both enjoyable and exciting again, and not like a job, which was the entire point of the Project to begin with. This is a place where my creativity dictates progress, and not the other way around. Allowing that to grow and expand’s been a tough ask across the last few months, but Symphony as reawakened the creative synapses, plus having taken a break from mass-producing submissions has been a great help. There’s still four more poems that need to be completed in last-pass editing polish Hell right now, but that’s not a problem.

I’m all over the faffing, and it is GOOD.

Strange Days

I completed the first of two bike events yesterday: 56 miles as a warm-up to 45 might seem a bit excessive, but having never done endurance before a lot of lessons were learnt. Also, the county in which I live’s reputation as being a little bit hipster, a little bit posh but an awful lot of self-obsessed, selfish idiocy remains 100% unopposed. Yesterday’s random poke was just that, and it would be easy to just dismiss it as such, except there’s anger at the fact this kind of behaviour isn’t going away, and is becoming increasingly ‘normal.’

I know I’m supposed to do no harm, but some days it is really a tough ask.

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I’m gonna work hard to get the £500 total donation to Mind for Sunday’s ride covered, and after that I’m wondering how to start making a tangible difference when there are days I have trouble with motivation. The obvious answer is to do something creative, because then the timetable is mine to dictate and cope with. I have a month to think up something suitable, and the idea situation would be to ask people to donate to a mental health charity as a result.

This is something that doesn’t go away, and I need to keep raising money. Not because I might one day need it, or because this is somehow a worthy cause to make my own self look decent and fair. This should just be something people do without thinking, like reading a newspaper or buying a burger. Giving people money to be able to help those in pain express how they feel, when they’re struggling, to find the means by which they can explain what is wrong and how that needs to be treated is an absolutely massive issue.

Some days, I can’t even explain what is wrong, and writing is what I do as a living.

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The trick, I suppose, is to just keep plugging away and to ignore the haters, which is how my life online has taken place since the start.

The Universal

The Internet, depending on who you believe, is either the Best or Worst place on Earth. You can find instructions on how to make almost anything, the history of the Planet, what words mean in hundreds of languages. It is teeming with brilliance and productivity, or is a cesspool of anger, resentment and danger. How you view online existence will undoubtedly be tempered by experiences within the Real World. It’s no less dangerous, and can be manipulated in the same ways that transpire everywhere else.

So, why do so many people feel they’re above consequence and can exist anonymously without recrimination?

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Our Twitter short story this month deals with such an individual, whose existence in fiction is very simple to realise, based on the evidence that surrounds me every day. When I’ve personally been attacked online, it’s taken about thirty minutes to track and trace the individuals responsible. If you don’t disable location services from your phone, for instance, anonymity is the biggest joke going. Many people will argue that the future isn’t anonymous anyway: everybody needs to know who you are.

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Read the BBC Article here

That article is well worth your time, but doesn’t consider one of the main reasons why being a dick online is the new ‘knocking on your neighbours’ door and running away:’ who’s going to chase after you and demand an arrest for harassment?  Everybody’s Internet use works on the concept that being anonymous allows a certain freedom, which was for some time almost sacrosanct. At least, it was until that Facebook thing happened: then, people began to realise just how fucking cavalier they’d been with their personal information whilst under the impression a ‘fun online quiz’ wasn’t a subtle means to intellectually profile:

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Except if you’d been here since the 1990’s and paid attention you’d know just how dangerous this place can be when you allow anyone to use it without there being some kind of consequence attached. As a parent, I now know only too well just how damaging unsupervised access can be, and how clamping down on said access has similarly disastrous outcomes. You are damned at either end of the spectrum, and just removing yourself from a platform is no indicator you’ll be safe or in control. There is no real answer to remaining out of the loop: however, if you’re still stupid enough to think you’re smart enough to have it all your own way? Think again.

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Having dealt with some fairly devious behaviour in the last few months, it is clear that nothing is beyond some individuals in an attempt to manipulate and control others. Perhaps it is time to stop hoping that people will simply be decent or there’s some supernatural force available to save us all, and just start thinking more about our actions.

The Internet, after all, is not going anywhere.