Today I’m finally opening up the COMPLETELY FREE Newsletter Content area to those of you sensible enough to subscribe to the free, monthly mail-out. It contains stuff that will go live on site starting the 21st, so in this regard you’re getting bone fide exclusive gubbins five days ahead of everybody else, but not as exclusively as my Patreon subs, who knew all about this yesterday. The future, as is becoming increasingly apparent, hinges around marketing.
It is, like it or now, now up to me to make my own living through at least some of my output. All writers have their side-hustles, and it is only those very privileged few who’ll see people starting bidding wars for their work. For everybody else, the reality is a lot of hard graft and often several jobs to make ends meet. I’m faced therefore with hard choices when it comes to work and what now gets prioritised. I’m pretty much fully booked until the second week of October.
That means starting to be very organised about how the work/life balance pans out.
The monthly newsletter is a continuing success story, and I feel it is really important to keep providing content for it, away from everything else that is produced. It is working well as I’ve reduced output here to two posts a week. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to maintain this, the Patreon AND my personal site too, which means during our scheduled downtime in December some thought is going to be given to how those sites operate going into 2021 and beyond.
This is also the moment I urge you, if you’ve not already, to sub to the Newsletter. A lot is potentially going to happen at once going forward and I’d hate for you to miss out on the important details. As a promise to my Newsletter faithful, they will get the details well ahead of here. The only guaranteed way of hearing them live, literally as they happen however remains becoming a Patron. You can click here to do that too.
I’m having some quite serious issues with not only publishing my work via social media, but getting that social media to inform me what is being seen. It could almost be considered part of a larger malaise where blogs generally are only of interest if you’re selling something, won a Thing or are posting cute pictures of animals. Obtaining and holding people’s interest is a tough ask right now. It makes me wonder where I should be going next.
Those thoughts have filled my head this week, and we have a plan for the exercise and personal parts of my life, but not yet for the professional. Things that were expected to happen this week haven’t and so there’s been a decision to put off making any more changes to that side of things until I’ve cleared my backlog of work, which will happen by the end of next week. After that, reassessment happens.
It’ll be quiet here until then, with a lot of background gubbins going on regardless.
I have finished my impromptu project: I need to talk about why it needed to be written now.
You see, NOW is when I do my best work. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it is beginning to become apparent that if I want to have an immediacy and vitality to what is being produced, miring myself down in self-doubt is what is ruining a lot of current output. It stops sounding like me, because There’s this obsession that to be successful, I ought to sound like other people. Confidence is the biggest single issue here, to be able to produce quality amongst quantity.
I’m also not the kind of person who can wander around for months and just wait for the right things to emerge. Patience isn’t an obstacle to progress either: this has become like learning to be a better cyclist or a more competent weightlifter. A daily practice is required, constant testing of spaces around me to see if they are more or less capable of supporting progression. I’ve spent a quite painful couple of months mired in emotion. This collection marks the transition from that space, into a new one.
There’s still a bit of emotional baggage to drop, it must be said, but without doubt there is more optimism for this group of poems than has ever existed before. To capitalise on that means a focussed effort towards change, growth and expansion. It also demanded a rearrangement of my priorities without the world collapsing as a result, and (mostly) that has taken place. I’m a bit behind, but nowhere near as far behind as when this last happened.
Everything is slowly becoming clear. That’s the end result in all of this: having a sense of evolution in a manner that allows further writing to develop without the need for everything to fracture. I’ll be editing this at leisure, and then we’ll send it to the place that inspired its creation.
This is a VERY good day as a result.
This week’s been a bit unexpectedly brutal. You’ll be seeing this on a Saturday but it’s sitting in Thursday’s blog spot, for reasons that are all over social media. I assume that people read here and follow me, and therefore do my best not to repeat the same stuff. Therefore, if you wanna go catch up, this blog is not for you. Here is where it is admitted, to the room, there is a new poetry collection in progress. I dunno where it will go, or whether it will even see the light of day.
The key here is that it is demanding to be written.
So, why is there a picture of a tasty chocolate bar here? This simple confection has been the subject of a very vocal, extremely entertaining family ‘dispute’ for a couple of weeks now. It was the first time, in some time, I’d felt comfortable enough to really contribute to anything frivolous. Amazingly, the Penguin became a metaphor: you can be yourself, even if there are consequences. It is okay to be different, if you can accommodate other people whilst doing so.
Then, a publication I enjoy launched their pamphlet contest and I found myself thinking of reasons why I couldn’t enter. I’d be never good enough for them, there are other things in contest, you don’t need to do anything else… and there were reasons piling up to not try something new. My brain was already placing obstacles in my way, to produce something of the standard required.
I’m not going to be that person any more.
The rules, therefore, are simple: no miring myself in chaos. No stressing about it. Write when you feel like it, don’t get lost in the work. If it makes you overly emotional, walk away. The task here is a realistic interpretation of where you exist as a human being. If all that can be achieved, I’m doing pretty well. So far, I’m halfway through. Once this is written, I’ll probably do some more. Undoubtedly, as I do, a Penguin will be involved.
Being kind to myself is part of the new rule set.
This story was first serialised in 31 daily parts during August 2020 via the @MoveablePress and @InternetofWords Twitter feeds [9am and 5pm GMT respectively.] It is now reproduced in a complete form, a number of small edits and corrections made to improve narrative flow and maintain correct continuity.
It also forms the basis of a larger, flash fiction (250 words) based narrative under the umbrella title of ‘The Nexus Bar and Grill’ which is available to read and enjoy for $15 a month (plus a ton of other content) on my Patreon.
Prophet Red Amis, adjunct of Chan, First of the Ears of Foundation, now grasps a place in the Universe.
During day three in the asteroid belt, between too much alcohol and far too little sleep, for the first time more than just their thoughts can be heard in the womxn’s brain. Amis isn’t sure at first, wonders perhaps this could be more interference on the container’s comlink: it wouldn’t be the first time since they left Moon orbit, except that’s crew commands, machine chatter. This is music, unlike anything they’ve heard; sad, yet achingly beautiful.
Within the flowing progressions, without doubt, are words: sudden panic sets in, need to write communication down before it’s forgotten. The basic Container Plus cabin deal is BBS: bed, bathroom, screen. It is a good thing all Firsts are taught Lateral Thinking during training. The Prophet wouldn’t be here in the first place had they not exhibited exemplary skills during their final year of Psychic Attunement. With no idea of how much more might yet be revealed, or what revelations subsequently could emerge, this impromptu space must be used with care.
Looking down to their right index finger, a spot of blood appears on command.
Let First Words be drawn; Mind will record, message from history that contains everything.
‘their Past reminds
no action fixed
take Present tense
Future is ours
all in good time…’
There are rules here, just like anywhere else. Be respectful and polite; no Swipe no Drink, Jukebox Ver. 3.5 is all we have. Please stop asking ‘why not a karaoke upgrade?’ The United Space Agencies never considered catering or entertainment as priorities and probably never will. This ship is not a luxury liner, it’s a scheduled transport, so expecting waiter service or me to come bring breakfast to your cabin ain’t happening. Once this trip took seven months, now it’s six weeks, because two thirds of this bucket is matter engines, and we’re just screwed on the front.
You can do Earth to Mars in 42 days on the Mankind’s Optimism, so why would anybody want to live in a converted container for that long? They do though, without fail. Sixteen fools shoved into cargo space. I’d never wanna be that close to the engines. That’s why I sleep in here. Between freezer and grill’s been home now for almost a decade: not gonna lie, it’s the best job ever. Pay’s going straight into Mineral Bonds: four trips from now I get to retire, for good. I’m going back to the Moon, home to the dark side. There’s a poetry in that I appreciate.
Not the Sith, Syd Barrett: quintessentially English singer, songwriter, musician who co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965. I was born exactly 100 years after the band was formed, in the place they made musically their own. I know he left them before that album was made… Don’t start with me about music trivia, because not only will I own your ass, but set fire to it before ejecting the ashes into space. Welcome to the Nexus Bar and Grill: I am your host, sous chef, fry cook and the only guy on board who knows all the porn channel access codes.
NOBODY is having sex on this bucket, of that you can be absolutely assured: everybody has personal VR however, so this is the currency that really matters. Except today, maybe there is more to consume these 46 claustrophobic minds than just trivia quizzes and personal pleasure… Today is different. Can’t tell you why, no means to describe it: start with the best night’s sleep I’ve had for dunno how long, maybe since a bed on a planet and not this hammock in space. Everything seems… brighter, cleaner. That’s actually a thing, especially here – I’m late.
05:45 ship time: technically I gotta open for business in fifteen, except nobody’s awake until at least 08:00. Except, today there he sits, surly, outside the glass, staring at a space where I’ll stand to start warming up the grills. It’s only an illusion, but still. He’s creepy.
Today, he can sit: I’m gonna watch him for a change.
This is an odd man, undoubtedly, and I’d wager he’s gaining particular pleasure trying to unsettle me. In all my years as an OffWorld Process Server this has to be the most convoluted subpoena process I’ve ever instigated. It’s also fair to say my client is one of the most obnoxiously horrendous individuals I have ever met. What motivates me, right now, is the effectively free round trip to and from the Red Planet, plus a pay cheque that will cancel every outstanding debt I’ve accrued in 35 years.
He believes I’m male, they all do, because no womxn would be stupid enough to do this. You’d think in this day and age people would grasp that there’s more to humanity’s continuing future than dicks and holes, but nope, evolution still has quite a long way to go in that regard. As I sit here, waiting to alter this cook’s future forever, not for the first time does it all feel like a massive waste. When I’m debt free, what then? There’s no plan, never has been. I am, and remain, without a purpose. The thread of motivation is close to breaking for good.
If I were a religious person, would this be easier?
Any perfect storm, when it arrives, is never expected. Universal chaos sees to that, part of the game plan only when you grasp enough of the rules to see beyond your own personal gravity. Humanity’s problem is perception. All these separate, disparate existences, waiting for some undefinable cosmic magic to weave around them, drawing consequences to results, potentials from outcomes. A long time ago a human being speculated how such threads in cosmic chaos might be predicted, and was right, but…
…only to the point where mankind was somehow the most important factor to consider. That’s where Isaac Asimov was wrong. If Humanity were the only intelligent life that existed in the Universe, his theories might have held more credence. They are not alone, just as yet unaware. Those who understand that time’s linear nature is the most dangerous restriction ever placed in a human mind, also grasp that assuming you are the most morally superior intelligence because there’s never been anything else as comparison will undoubtedly present consequences.
When the arrogant look back on their First Contact experience, in centuries to come, history will, as it always does, conveniently forget their contribution. Those of us able to look both back and forward grasp the significance of painting a bigger picture, with broader strokes. Except if Humanity is ever truly to evolve past its inescapable ego, it is a moment for those individual’s outlooks to be presented, challenged and summarily reinvented. Our job here is simple: provide the tools, step back, and see if the semi ape-descendants can bring the goods.
It’s all we’ve ever done since the dawn of this Universe.
Let’s just not talk about how we broke the last one and had to start again, okay?
Prophet Red Amis, adjunct of Chan, First of the Ears of Foundation, regains consciousness and takes a moment to grasp what happened.
This ship is no longer moving. Rapid deceleration normally indicates engine failure, yet if that were true there’d be alarms, compartments sealing automatically, panic. None of these currently exist. The Prophet is aware everyone else is unconscious except two unaffected minds. A male cook, plus the asexual courier remain unaware of what is transpiring around them. Nothing in their worlds has altered, not one iota, yet the Prophet understands, only too well, absolutely everything else has. Then there is that third presence, directly outside their cabin.
As old as the Universe, and that which had come before, ancient energy regards Red Amis with increasing interest. This arrival, overheard by accident, significance of moment already grasped; suddenly removed from linear time, womxn resisted command sent to everyone else to sleep.
You are aware of my energy, not afraid of its origin
“You are a prophecy I have grasped since childhood.”
Red Amis speaks to the space where before was nothing and now exists… motion, fractal expansion, molecules that hold no human form yet are undoubtedly human in origin… before blissfully for a second, two entities become the same, one space for the same atoms, seamlessly overlapping before suddenly, the presence has vanished.
Then, all the womxn can do is laugh, because the answer to everything was only ever going to be another question.
For exactly seven minutes and twelve seconds on September 21st, 2099, the container vessel NSS Utopia Planitia appeared to vanish before reappearing on Martian radar. Automated reporting put this down to a system glitch.
History would remember it with slightly more significance.
Sometime in the next few months, for absolute certain, there will be stuff to buy on this website. It’s been coming for quite some time, but like everything else it has required a rearrangement of priorities. It takes on average about a month to readjust to such changes. This is probably the third shift in circumstance I’ve worked through since the start of the year. All in all, things are going remarkably well considering.
The sale of ‘stuff’ will fall into three distinct categories: written work, artwork, and merchandise. Two of those things should come as no surprise to some of you, but the third one might. Artwork is a new avenue for me. The inaugural piece will be something my daughter has produced (and which we will be splitting the profits) but I expect to start experimenting with my own graphic pieces as time goes on.
As for merchandise… well, this is going to be another way to help support me if you don’t want to go down the Patreon route. We’ll talk about that more next month. Needless to say, I’m all over this, just not really in a position to say any more until the remainder of this month’s workload is complete, which will be happening tomorrow. I’m quite proud of the progress however, this is a new direction, with a lot of satisfaction attached.
Watch this Space.
Welcome to our new normal: two posts a week, making better use of both time and resources available with smart use of time and space. Mostly right now it’s time that’s being optimised, but later this week the surrounding space will be getting an upgrade. It’s 90% cosmetic, but will prepare the ground for both video and audio production improvements. I planned to do this far earlier in the year… but we all know what happened then.
What’s the plan? Well, right now we’re starting small. Five minutes a week on the blogs, probably 10-15 minutes a month on Wobbly Adjective, which a Patreon-only reward. Once that’s notionally organised better, I’ll start making videos for poetry. After THAT, we might try mucking about a bit but honestly, that’s quite a long way down the line. I realised quite soon after confidently predicting that all things were possible back in May that, realistically, that’s not really true.
I’m happy to admit that to the room now and move forward.
Right now, I’m playing with visuals a lot more than I’d first thought would be the case at the start of the year. I’m never going to make it as a traditional artist, but there’s potential in graphic design. That part of my soul’s been active for many decades. Maybe this is the moment to stop pissing about as much as I do and make something worthwhile. There’re some avenues that are available to pursue. Let’s see what happens.
I don’t also have a September game plan for Instagram either. Perhaps full on imagery is the way.
That might be a plan…
This afternoon, I’ll be working on a project that is my contribution to a far larger whole: part of a set of interviews for a World Mental Health Day extravaganza being put together for the 10th of October. I already have one interview done, and that’s in the process of being edited. Once the rest of the preparation is complete I look forward to seeing the final, finished product play out. This is part of my push to be more interactive as a Mental health Champion, and to find a use for my unique skill set within the organization.
I also have a poem that I’d like to read, with a very particular video accompaniment. There is a bit of spare time left over with everything else being organised in order to record this, and the plan going forward is to present all of this to be used in the day as the organizers see fit. As the entirety of the event will be playing out virtually, producing all this feels really rather satisfying.
During the day I’ll share my videos with you, and the processes that went into making them. I’ll also have some poetry to share, and maybe some other stuff too. It will entirely depend on the timeline for other things. I’ve left enough space between now and the start of October to get everything edited to my satisfaction, with (hopefully) a level of professionalism. It’s a big step forward to me, and I hope everyone enjoys what it is I’ve produced.
More news as we get closer to the day.
Hopefully, by the end of today, I’ll have all the pieces of Patreon content in place to be accessed by those kind enough to be paying me for Premium Content. This also includes the free (but password protected) content for Newsletter subscribers: I’d hoped to have it done by the 15th, but as we have discussed previously, I’m still struggling with the notion of timescales. Once this is all fixed, I will be turning my mind to the idea of further monetising this site.
Since Patreon began, the amount of original content here has effectively reduced to just blogs. I do not intend to go back and lock off any older work to monetise, but admit that some of it is now not representative of the current direction. Therefore, starting next month, we’ll be rationalising everything and deciding what stays and goes. To give you an insight of where that will take the site long term, here are some of my early thoughts.
- Short stories continue unabated: I have used this month’s story as a lead into new Patreon content, and that story will be saved and advertised as an encouragement for people to sign-up. Starting in September we’ll go back to stand alones, with a plan in 2021 to produce a full set of twelve stories across the year. These are so popular that I’ll just keep running them until people stop reading them. No charge, just stories.
- Publishing news: I currently have two poems due in anthologies for publication before the end of the year. You’ll see news here before anywhere else. That’s the point of having a public presence, after all. I’ll also use the Newsletter to keep you up to date with events as they happen. What is likely to happen is that starting in September posting frequency here will move to twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Short Stories will always publish on the first of the month regardless.
- Episodic Fiction: I have promised myself we’ll have EX/WHI restarted this year. We can do that quite easily, and so starting in October, it will appear on Thursdays. Once it’s done I’ll provide a complete .PDF as Premium Content. I already have a new story in the works as a follow on, but that will be completely tied to my subscription model. I’d expect to see that appearing sometime in Q1 of 2021.
This is a slow and thoughtful rationalization of everything that I produce. I hope you’ll join me as things alter, and we enter this new phase of my professional career as a writer, because that is what this is, a genuine progression of content and output.