Sympathy for the Devil

It’s almost time for me to set up my charity page for Time to Talk Day. For the last few years I’ve used my own experiences with mental health as the means by which participation is presented, but this year we’ll be doing something different. In my role as a poet, there’s new ways to put the point across that you’re not alone, and that many more people than you realise understand the issues at play.

This year, therefore, Thursday will involve a great deal of music and verse.

I’m going to take you on an audio-visual journey of what its like to be Inside My Head.

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I’ll be firming up the last of the details for this early next week, but you can expect to see at least some of the following:

  • Observations on how anxiety can still control existence, and what I do to deal with it
  • The fact I’ve decided to return to therapy in my 50’s
  • Music that helps keep me happy, focused and even affects the means by which my brain can help body become stronger
  • Micropoetry and Haiku on the feelings and experiences ‘Inside My Head’

Basically, the whole of next week for me will built around mental health, what its like to deal with the issues and how you can find help and support should you need it most. This will culminate on Friday with my poetry performance, a major step forward for efforts to be less anxious and more outgoing and confident. In tandem with this, I’ve become a Time to Change Champion this week, and will in future be looking to interact with my local community as well as continuing online to raise awareness of mental health issues.

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Helping other people ought to be the default setting for everybody, but so often these days its just easier to ignore the issues, especially if you have problems of your own. My issues have become an important, almost vital part of the writing process, and bearing this in mind it is probably the right moment to open myself up to a little more scrutiny than has previously been the case.

I’d like to promote more honesty, and make it clear all this isn’t done as a means of generating revenues or trying to encourage a following. That’s now what any of this should be about. Helping each other feel happier, confident and stronger in our daily lives matters more than anything else. If there’s the means by which this can be achieved though words? You absolutely bet I’m gonna be all over it.

I’ll see you bright and early on Monday morning.

Rain

Today is the first of four general history posts. I could begin with some words on my love of Madge (up until 1992 when it all went a bit introverted, with a brief Ray of Light back in 1998) or perhaps it would be better focusing on an interest in Japanese culture this video gives a nod to. However, reason why this song starts our sequence has everything to do with the piece of writing it inspired and nothing at all to do with anything else.

This happens an awful lot in my life, and if there’s to be a proper history of what got me to this point, then music must be acknowledged for its part within that process.

It is 1983. I’m part of the ABC Fan club, and get invited to be an extra in Mantrap, a film that involves the band and that woman who starred in the video for Poison Arrow. A love of cinema and TV had secured me a place at college reading Media Studies and English, and to be an extra in what was basically a glorified music video was, let’s be honest, the pinnacle of a New Romantic lifestyle. However, it was music that mattered most of all.

That entire period of my life had been peppered with odd musical experiences: growing up with heavy metal, AoR, folk, jazz, big bands and comedy records. If I’m honest it was the comedy which had the most lasting affect, but everything else fell together into a massive, varied backdrop to my existence. Music ties itself to old boyfriends, significant milestones, even the worst parts of my life. For everything, there was a soundtrack, recalled in far greater detail than anything else.

This song, for instance, played in a car on the way to a wedding. I don’t remember who it was getting hitched, or why I was in the car with the person for whom this song is now forever associated, but they are and it still is. The smell of the rapeseed outside the car, the car itself (Blue Peugeot 205 with a Lemming graphic on the back) and the fact that someone independently confirmed I could sing. Literally everything else is lost to time.

If you claim to know me, you will grasp the significance of music in my life. Lyrics are remembered long after names and places have been forgotten. How that shapes my writing is a complex and often amazing process, which we’ll talk about further down the line. For now, understand and appreciate the significance all forms of the craft have in my life, from Classical to Thrash Metal and back again.

Music is almost as much a part of me as blood and bones.

Electric Dreams

It had been a bit of a struggle to come up with a theme for June’s content, until an idea for the Twitter short story presented itself…

This week’s been a lot about how Online deals with reality and vice versa, and with a cracking idea now in the planning stage, it was time to start making the graphics and planning a way forward…

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I’ll sort out the #Narrating2018 and #Soundtracking2018 titles in the next few days, but I severely doubt there’ll be any struggle coming up with suitable subject matters. The Internet’s a big place, after all. It’s also full of some QUITE RIDICULOUS STUFF.

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The problem I forsee, at least is planning, is finding enough stuff other people haven’t shared about a bazillion times in the first place…

Wondrous Stories

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This site is still not nearly as ‘done’ as I would like, and as a result, for the next few days, lots of stuff’s gonna get poked and prodded. That will include adding pages for the two new ideas I decided to throw into the mix at the 11th hour on New Year’s Eve, and are already looking like the best ones I’ve had for quite some time. Both are completely autonomous too: they rely on a regular scheduled post, and the ability to organise myself once a week for the next fifty-one.

#Narrating2018 is the more esoteric of the two ideas: taking random memories from my past and recalling them in the present, then using that inspiration as a basis for more content and reflection. This month, that means colour documentaries from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, uploaded by a disparate bunch of individuals to You Tube for posterity. It is memory preservation without the often annoying subtext/soundtrack that modern YT content creators think is funny or relevant. I like my past untainted, so it can be judged objectively.

Then there’s the #indy31 which forms a larger part of #Soundtracking2018: a year’s worth of music that matters to me, on a month by month basis. I’ll be sorting out my You Tube channel next week in anticipation of actual usage, where these songs can go as fully formed playlists, plus some written accompaniment as context. It is all very simple: other people have done the work, I’m just curating the results. It is one of my skills, which should be used to the fullest potential possible.

Soundtracking 2018

All these things are a part of my life I live with a passion, but have never really taken the time to share with other people. It seems sometimes like too much effort to do so, when in reality the only real problem is being willing to share. In a world where so many people have lost the basic ability to both accommodate others and embrace their differences, it is high time I left my prejudices at the door and celebrated things just for what they are and not what others tell me to believe. More importantly however, my own, often dangerous inability to think outside the box I live in has the capacity to serve as a real hindrance. If I can show willing to step outside my comfort zones, then maybe this will encourage others to follow suit.

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The proof of all this will, undoubtedly be in the consumption. Time to shut up talking a good game, and start playing it.