New Shoes

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.

Things We Lost in the Fire

Yes, I’m still here 😀

There is, unsurprisingly, a PHENOMENAL amount to catch up on. For those of you who don’t read the front page, husband and son were diagnosed as Covid positive at the start of December. Both were phenomenally careful and did everything they should have done when outside, but with a son in his early 20’s at college and a husband making regular trips into London on business, it shouldn’t really be a surprise they came into contact with infection. As of right now I’ve been tested twice, and been negative both times. It still could happen, and we weren’t taking any chances… and now that possibility is significantly reduced.

Over Christmas the original domain linked with this site before IoW came into being has lapsed, and as a result a large portion of old links require an update. It’s on the To Do list with a lot of cleaning up, which will happen quietly and without fuss in the next few weeks. The missing short stories will also be added, plus a number of other things retired and removed with the minimum of fuss. In their place, I’ll be highlighting content that’s been produced elsewhere, placing a greater focus on my exercise and mental health issues, and how the two are now pretty much inextricably linked.

I’m looking forward to the new direction we’ll take as a result.

A lot of my working process has altered during the break, with a far greater emphasis on Patreon as the way forward. It seems the right moment to start taking this stuff seriously, and with the very real possibility we’ll be in lockdown in the UK until March? I suddenly have a lot more free time than was previously anticipated. There’s some experimental things on the table, and I’m already playing about with ideas, which you’ll see being developed as time goes on.

There’s also the return of the Short Story to Twitter, plus going forward I’ll be working on photography and poetry mini-projects on this platform. Right now however my attention’s focussed on hitting some January submission deadlines and preparing other, quite major works for later in the year. There’s a lot potentially to do, and right now nothing is off the table. I have a lot of back catalogue from last year just asking to be freshened and reenergised, after all…

Give it a few weeks, and it’ll be like I never left…

Idioteque

Monday seems a long time ago, it has to be said. The weather has not helped in making things easier: my optimal operating temperature is somewhere in the low 70’s (about 19-20 degrees Centigrade) and frankly, anything above that my lungs are not best pleased. Therefore, large portions of this week have been physically a challenge negotiating… but I have. It’s helped to shove all my exercise in early: this morning I managed a new dead lift personal best.

It’s a totally inspiring means to begin a day. It also puts into perspective, if it really needed to be highlighted, that all the work that was done in lockdown to keep fit and maintain my equilibrium has now produced not simply progress, but real potential for new opportunity. This journey is no longer about doing enough, after all. I want to exceed expectations, and start really turning back my body clock using exercise. The same is true with the writing. When I practice every day, things get better.

It is time to look at the results thus far, to find means to work past those expectations too.

Today, we’ve begun the process of introducing two new strands of content to Patreon for September. It’ll all be finished by the end of August, plus this weekend a ton of new things will (quietly) appear on the website here. The architecture is already in place, I just need to do some technical wizardry to make it happen, between a couple of bike rides and quite possibly some more writing.

There’s a lot more too, some mental health projects in progress that I can’t talk about yet (including some art) plus everything that we’ve previously discussed. There will be some fairly serious organization on that front starting next week, but once we have the Patreon LANzine ticked off for the month, everything becomes significantly less stressful to complete. Final pass on that will be Monday morning.

Keep an eye on the website this weekend, and watch the magic emerge before your eyes…

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.

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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.

Airbag

Everything for next month is gonna get done quite late, far more than I’d really like. Of all the things that ought to be fixed in the business of organisation, it is this pre-planning which could really do with the most attention. However, over five weeks the entire process has improved enormously. One of the benefits of exercise every day has undoubtedly been a massive uptick in overall productivity.

That means that in February we’re gonna give Instagram another poke in terms of trying to build an audience. I have no idea whether it will work or not, but my basic understanding of hashtags should give a bit of a head start. It also helps possessing some neophyte design skills, which should stand me in good stead. I’ve already drawn a line over last month’s content… so, let’s see where it all goes.

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I get the whole thing about identity and cohesion, so ‘building a brand’ should not be impossible, if there’s content. My biggest problem right now is ensuring that happens without anything else suffering as a result. That means there are now three planners up on the wall to my right: not just writing, but exercise too. There’s a blog post coming up about what I’ve learnt this month about aiming for realistic goals.

An awful lot has changed since the end of December. For the first time in many years, pretty much all of it is positive. Sure, there are still fairly substantive diversions that take place: in order to avoid finishing this blog, for instance, I’ve managed to tick off two highly important subsidiary tasks from the ‘Do When You get a Chance’ List. It’s amazing what I’ll throw in my path when it comes to avoiding the obvious.

In the end, however, far more than was previously the case, shit does now get done.

Sky High

We have reached the ‘Something has to Give’ portion of this month and sadly, it’s the most labour-intensive part of a larger equation that’s going to suffer. I’ve submitted to SIX different things so far this month, and with Red October January being labour intensive PLUS the Mental health Champion Training I’m not gonna lie, there’s really not been time for anything else. 

That includes self-care and family time as well, and as a result something really needs to give. Therefore, the video’s being put back to the end of February, the 28th to be precise, which will now allow me to tackle the backlog building so the website does not fall any further behind. It also gives me Sunday off this week which I intend to use doing as little as possible with a 5k run inserted somewhere.

Also, that header’s redundant. The poem I was going to use has changed.

A World of Colour

The new work is to tie in with video content I’ve already partially researched, and therefore this gives me more time to create summat that I have previous knowledge of. Don’t worry, the original poem will have its day in the sun, just not yet. It’s also given me a bit of space to work on what has ended up as a very submissions heavy month. These do tend to take quite a bit out of me, as I’m now discovering.

When everything was tentatively planned in December the actual workload was not really that clear: now it is, this gives me sufficient time and space to look past what’s happening now and plan ahead. I want a short story or two written as well going forward, as these are looking like an increasingly useful way of setting myself up a revenue stream. At some point, if I want progress, there has to be cash coming in.

The good news is that I’m getting a long weekend mid-February at the same Resort Parc (TM) where summer holiday turned into hospital stay. Let’s hope for everybody concerned there’s no repeat of that, and that I can spend a few days not worrying about anything except relaxing and enjoying myself. Once that’s done, it’ll be time to start working out the content for March, then we’re three months into the year…

Blimey, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun.

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…

This Is The Day

Tuesday, June 19th will be remembered for many years to come. Not a hugely remarkable day, all told, but one that redefines what I am. The details are recorded elsewhere for posterity: I’d expected to want to talk more about the consequences of the diagnosis but, as it transpires, there’s no real desire to do so. I stuck three letters in my main Twitter bio and left it at that.

A label is not required to be properly defined to the World, simply myself.

There’s too much work to be done out here in the fields first. I’ll let the rest of the World point out their differences and fight amongst themselves. The true renaissance will, I suspect come from altering individual human experiences: once you can be confident in what you are, then positivist will grow in the fertile ground that confidence provides. The future will not be defined by those who stood up and demanded individual attention, but by those who worked tirelessly, often without widespread recognition, to make the World around them a better place for everybody and not just themselves.

It is important to understand what matters in your own existence as a starting point. For me, the diagnosis is largely irrelevant, as I’ve had decades to adjust and cope with how my mind works. Tuesday, June 19th was for everybody else in that regard. What gets taken from that day in a personal capacity is the liberation of expectation and an increase of understanding from others. Without the worry that others won’t accommodate or understand my social restrictions, there’s plenty of space to just get on with the jobs in hand.

I’d like to welcome you to the beginning of what is already shaping up to be a significant Cultural Renaissance.

Time to Change

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December marks six months since my Patreon began. Since then I’ve learnt a great deal about not only myself, but what I’d like to do with this project (and the online space) going forward. Therefore, starting next week, a lot of stuff is going to change. I want permanent archives for all the various articles I’ve produced, and space to expand that process into new and exciting areas. However, I am only one woman, and all this web design work’s gotta be done by somebody.

Therefore, starting next week I’ll be rearranging pretty much everything to make it easier to access. I’ll be adding new features to the site, bringing some projects out of mothballs, and saying goodbye to others, in anticipation of a new, streamlined experience that will go fully live in January 2018. At this point, the only things unlikely to change are my logos: everything else is up for debate. This will give me space to store everything in a sensible fashion (I hope) and make me future-proof at least until the end of the year.

seeyouinthefuture

The plan is to get better organised, write more stuff that I really enjoy and cut back on what I don’t, which will be mirrored and augmented by my Patreon relaunch. They say reinvention is key in order to keep things fresh and exciting, right? Well, here we are, getting all excited again as to what is possible in the time available… not just essays, but fiction, with a more creative use of social media. Could this mean video and audio? I couldn’t possibly comment, but you may want to watch this space for developments. #JustSaying 😀