I am already thinking ahead to what happens after End of the Fear. Some people might suggest finishing summat before starting summat else, but I am not them. My mind, on any given day, has the capacity to generate all manner of new and potentially interesting content. The problem, to this point, has been how all of that is filtered and then disseminated. Not any more.
June’s a bit of a line in the sand: a couple of major publications begin their Awards cycles, whilst others come to an end. I expect a lot of poetic material to become effectively recyclable at that point: first dribs and drabs are beginning to arrive. Some work is already written specifically for entry, what needs to take place once poetry project’s done is a sensible, organised re-arrangement of everything that I have, and where it could be relevant.
Planning ahead has granted vital wriggle room for the longer-form works, and I fully intend to finally put time aside to make at least one novel-length work worthy of submission. I’ve made a choice, and based on my development in literary skills, hope it is possible to create summat that’s saleable but still retains the essential essence of what I am. That’s the biggest issue I’ve had since this all began.
I appreciate that my ‘voice’ still needs a phenomenal amount of work: the poem I won a contest with back in December was, in essence, an ‘ape’ of an original work. My ability to parody has always been pretty solid, but I’m as yet to find success with my own voice. It’s not really existed until now, if truth be told. Sure, the stuff that has come before has a resonance in me, but freeing mind via counselling really is altering both pitch and tone.
However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say how much fun it is learning new stuff pretty much every day, that my mind is a completely different place than it was at the start of the year. That’s never going to rewarded by a magazine, or acknowledged with a cash prize. I get to keep all the credit, and long may that feeling continue. These are days of miracles and wonder, and I am loving every single one.
The Mind essay’s already gone, by the way. Two passes, a husband edit and BOOM, away it has been sent, to the people I don’t really need to read it any more, but hey. It has proved its worth not simply as the mental equivalent of a bowl of Bran Flakes, but as the physical manifestation of a rule I’d conveniently forgotten in the midst of my unhappy week: write what you know.
However hard I try, right now, an intellectual short story doesn’t exist within me.
Therefore, speculative fiction is my future, and this story won’t go the original place I thought it would. This is now going to end up somewhere else. A new story will take its place for the original, which isn’t speculative, but autobiographical, and that is how we beat this block.
I’ve already written the first piece, slightly ahead of my schedule, and it is sitting here ready for a visual (and not a screen) edit. The other piece is, I suppose about a quarter done, and should not take long to complete going forward. If I am smart, that could be double the planned number of stories for next week, which considering as of Monday there was effectively nothing…
Crucially, if I count my Mind entry as legitimate, that makes three short stories in March.
This year is important for me, not just for getting work out into the world. It is high time an attempt was made to expand the remit beyond words, beginning to explain more about myself. I’m not just a writer, after all, but an advocate for better mental health awareness. I enjoy playing computer games, and love music. All of these things are intrinsically part of my being. You don’t just separate one thing from another.
Therefore, starting with Time to Talk Day on February 7th (a day before my Poetry Society gig ARGH NOT READY) there’s gonna be a bit of time and effort placed in how music makes my mental health issues more manageable, and some sharing by the medium of Spotify (see above) of the pieces that matter most to me. This generic playlist’s the starting point, but in the time leading up to February 7th I’ll have a ton more pieces to share.
It’s part of a commitment to share, and by doing so (hopefully) help others feel more confident to ask for help.
The second leap in the dark today is a little more esoteric: a mutual on my Social medias is hosting this conference in April, and I feel there’s stuff I could contribute. It’s a step forward from the Poetry Society ‘gig’ and is a bit public speaking, a bit graphical nous and an awful lot of confidence. It has been good for me just to enter a submission, so if rejected the good work is already done. There’s a part of me that wants to do the entire eight minute presentation in verse.
If we are lucky enough to get considered, I’ll bring it up in conversation 😀
This is all part of the recovery process, back from lowest point to a series of high points. Life is, after all, the sum total of experiences and for me, that means trying to do things differently.
Today has definitely moved that plan further forward.