Fear of Failure

Fear is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome when you want to do something. You may disagree, but it’s true, whether it’s conscious or subconscious. (It took me a few minutes to come up with that opening line for fear or getting it wrong).

As I sat here this morning, wanting to write and finding myself constantly distracted I came back to this idea. Every time we try to do something hard, or challenging, we as humans often try and find something else to do in its stead. Take for example, this very blog post. I really should be writing my novel, but instead I thought I would share my infinite wisdom with you, whether you like it or not.

We often don’t attempt things because we are scared of failing at them. Throughout our education, we’re warned off by failure, rather than encouraged by success. As such, there seems to be a general consensus that “If you don’t try, you can’t fail.” Which does seem somewhat backward, but it’s definitely out there. I often don’t blog because I’m scared that people might disagree with what I have to say, or probably more accurately, that no one will read it. Low blog stats or the most depressing thing for a writer. (Okay, maybe not the most depressing! But it still sucks.)

I don’t suffer from writer’s block, I suffer from fear. When I sit down to write, what stops me isn’t not knowing what to write (though my brain often tries to convince me that’s true.) I always outline my stories and know where they are going. It’s to do with the fact that I’m worried that it will be crap.

This all reminds me of a panel I went to at a convention, entitled “Fear and Writing” (Or something along those lines). It was hosted by Emma Newman (@emapocalyptic), who I believe was a teacher. One sentence she said then has stuck with me ever since: “Give yourself permission to write shit.” Which is probably one of the most important pieces of advice a writer can receive.

It’s okay to write crap, you can improve it. You can’t improve what isn’t there, no matter how awesome it might be in your head.

There are two types of writers “pantsers” (see: flying by the seat of your pants) or outliners. Both work fine if you can convince yourself to write and just write, then come back and edit it later, polishing it until it is as good as it deserves to be.

I do know of writers who “close edit” while they write, which is fine. It works for them, and they have learnt how to work that way in what I can only assume is a pretty exhausting and time consuming manner.

However if you find yourself sitting in front of a blank screen, convinced that you don’t know where the story goes. “Give yourself permission to write shit”. I dare say once you’ve got that first draft it will be better than you expected. Besides, you can always get out that red pen and start turning it into the masterpiece you envisaged.

I’ll leave you with an analogy. I always like to use sculpture as a defining point of art: A sculptor can chip away at stone and make a fantastic piece of art, but he can’t sculpt if he doesn’t have any stone.

Now I really should get back to writing that novel, huh?

Thanks for reading!

Taking the Scenic Route

It’s mad that this is my first blog post of 2014, but then the year has started off massively busy. My New Year’s resolution was to write every day, which so far I have managed, even if only a few words, or I have done some editing. This worked out pretty well until I realised that I had a week to paint an army for a tournament in Nottingham next weekend. Life is about challenges right?

That’s kind of what this blog is about. I haven’t done any proper writing in the last few days because I’ve been knee deep in paint. I also felt that I needed to type up the writing we did in class this week as, once again, I didn’t feel like reading it out in class. (Turns out someone wrote a similar story to me, but did it better – such is life!) It’s also, partly, what the title is about; taking the scenic route to finishing my tasks for this week.

This week we had the external examiner, Carol Clewlow (I had to research that spelling!) who is a novelist in her own right, come in and talk to us. At first it seemed as if she would just talk us through the assignment, but that was only a brief introduction. What followed from that was a very interesting workshop about editing and scenes. We discussed the importance of bridging scenes – just getting a character where they need to be without boring the reader – and crucial scenes – where the detail is included – and their differences. Carol also talked about how it was quite often a shame that a scene was used as a bridging scene when it had the potential for some much more.

I just realised I’ve been typing this in silence without music. Sometimes when you get in the flow that just happens, other times I need music to help me concentrate. If you’re a writer, what do you write to? I tend to favour soundtracks as I find I often end up following lyrics if I listen to anything else. They also help me imagine the drama. I think today’s choice is Game of Thrones season 2, though it’s now making me want to watch it.

Carol gave us a bridging scene:

We left home at 6.30. Not long after turning on to the motorway we hit an accident with a long tailback. A wrecked car was still on its roof as we passed. Despite this we managed to reach dover by late afternoon and by evening we were in France.

We discussed that this scene has so much potential for detail which could add to the story. So, Carol gave us a task, turn this scene into a crucial scene. What follows is what I wrote in that task and also a later edit where she asked us to find that one part that needed more. Rather than splitting it in to two of what is essentially the same thing, I give you the finished version (I may also have cheated and added more as I typed it up – oops!):

We left home at 6.30 in a hurry to put everything into the car. The car screeched as the wheels spun off the driveway under the heavy way and we were away. Not long after hitting the motorway we hit an accident with a long tailback. It wasn’t uncommon given the circumstances. Everyone was in a rush to get away and rushing made people careless. A wrecked car was still on its roof as we passed, glass smashed across the carriageway. The poor people were still trapped inside the crumpled mess of the vehicle. The incessant cacophony of beeping horns wasn’t helping and there was no sign of the emergency services. They had enough to do right now. they would have a job getting through this crowd in time. The victims weren’t worth worrying about. No one could help them now, it was every man for himself.

Despite the crush we still managed to travel the 60 miles from Bromley to Dover by late afternoon. It’s amazing that even in an emergency most Brits wouldn’t drive on the hard shoulder. Its against the rules! But who needed rules now? The port got pretty desperate and fights were breaking out everywhere as we snuck our small car onto the ferry. By evening we were in France, a bit of money changing hands could get you anywhere. The badge didn’t hurt, but showing that around everywhere would raise too many questions. It’s a shame the ferry wasn’t going further, but I didn’t have that much money.

The crossing went relatively calmly, once people were onboard the hysteria had died down.

Driving down the ramp into the yellow ramps lights of Calais, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought about those trapped at home. Poor old Britain. For now though, we were safe.

Some of the group decided to completely change the original scene we were given, but I saw this more of an editing exercise. So what you can see here is a typical example of how I might edit. I’ll take a piece I have written and see if I can embellish the sentences that are already there. Sometimes I may need to take out a superfluous word and others I may need to alter the tense slightly, but as the scene we were given was already quite tight I didn’t feel any need to.

My scene could probably be edited further, but then isn’t that true of everything?

On another note, as anyone noticed that no one really talks on Facebook anymore? All that appears on my news feed is people sharing links to videos and various surveys that tell you which character from that poor remake of  that dodgy sci-fi film you are most like. What happened to people typing and having conversations, you know, social networking? Maybe it’s just my Facebook, but I was curious if anyone else had noticed a similar trend?

On that perfectly 1000 word count note, I shall leave you.

Once again, thanks for reading and any suggestions, comments or thoughts are welcome.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Blog

Greetings my dear fellow! It has been an age since we have been on an adventure together! Now I should warn you now, there may be some talk in the form of *Spoilers* in this prosaic discussion of the new Hobbit film. Though how you can really spoil a film based on a book published in the 1930’s is another discussion all together!

I should also point out, before I start, that I did actually enjoy the film. It was in all a well produced film that was pretty epic. There were just a few decisions in the process that I didn’t understand. I will be going back to see it again, and see if I fall in love with it like I did the Fellowship, but at the moment I’m not 100% convinced.

The first thing I don’t understand is how some of the people I know can be so sycophantic about it. Yes it’s a great film, I really liked it, but it’s not perfect. I’m probably going to get lynched by a few people for saying this, but they could have done better. The Hobbit was the first book I read as a child and I adore it, I was a little disappointed with a few things they did that changed the feel of it for me. It okay to like something without going all out to ignore some glaring mistakes and bad decisions. You don’t need to tell me how awesome it is, I know; it’s incredible that this film has even been made, it’s something I’ve waited for for years. But I don’t want to just blindly use superlatives to talk about it, let’s discuss it. Sometimes it seems that just because it’s Tolkien, Peter Jackson, Games Workshop, ADB, etc. (I could co on) that it has to be awesome, there is simply no room for alternative.

(Here be spoilers!)

One of the main things that frustrated me a little bit was the opening. Sufficed to say I think I was fairly underwhelmed by the whole beginning portion of the film and was starting to get worried. (It’s okay the rest more than made up for it!) In the Lord of the Rings, we open with a perfectly epic narration to the history of Middle-Earth explaining why Sauron was bad and what had happened, while still leaving enough room for the imagination. All voiced by Cate Blanchett who has a perfectly suited, haunting voice. In “The Hobbit” they tried the same thing again, this time showing what happened to Erebor and basically giving up all the information about what the company were going to go and do, save Erebor! In the book, you are placed in Bilbo Baggins’ point of view, having no idea why these Dwarves were turning up on your doorstep, but enjoying the confused ride as more slithers of information popped out. In the film, you are then left with all the dialogue of this part of the book chucked all together which actually detracts from the epicness of the opening sequence. It also leaves Bilbo as a bit of a supporting character, stood in the background, rather then the lead which he later becomes. It would have been far better to have choice flashbacks like in the book, revealing secrets and depth as we go. (Now I know that you have to change bits in books for screenplays, but this is one time where the original would have actually been better for a more engrossing film!) This is also done as a rather obvious nod to The Lord of The Rings, as Bilbo is recounting the story to Frodo (set just before his birthday party), which leads me to my next point.

Why tie in the films so blatantly to the Lord of The Rings films, then change bits of filming which make those films now seem ‘wrong’? For example, in the Lord of the Rings, there is a flash back to when Bilbo finds the ring. In that film he is crawling in the dirt and discovers the ring, dusts it off and says ‘What’s this? a ring!’. In the Hobbit, the ring falls out of Gollum’s pocket, lands perfectly on a stone. Shortly later Bilbo walks past, picks it up and quietly puts it in his pocket without a thought. It just seems like an odd thing to chance, now the continuity of four films is called in to question. There are a few other examples like this that I don’t need to go in to, such as the mountain trolls being turned to stone in completely different poses to how Frodo and the Fellowship find them in LOTR.

The main thing that bugged me was that Gandalf did not give Bilbo a shove out of the door! He even mentions that he did in the Fellowship of the Ring! Why was there need to change that?! It has such a small effect on the overall story, but is such a quaint part of Tolkien’s mythology. A shame…

Though it must be said, apart from these things, the casting was brilliant. Martin Freeman plays a perfect Bilbo Baggins and I can’t think of anyone better suited to the role. The Dwarves were all perfectly cast, Thorin dark and brooding and the rest giving the needed comic relief. Howard Shore also produces another great soundtrack, that I am currently sat listening to while I write this.

One final criticism that I must voice is this. 48fps must be avoided at all costs! It seems these days that film directors are constantly seeking the next gimmick rather than focussing on great story telling. 3D has taken over, and it can be used quite well in parts, but 48fps is simply awful and must be stopped. The main problem is that it makes everything look like a documentary (which is in fact where Peter Jackson saw the technology being used and decided to use it for the Hobbit). It completely ruins the cinematic experience and gives too much away. Rather than being sucked in to the screen with previous formats and being immersed in the story, you are instead left feeling like you are watching behind the scenes footage. It also gives far too much away. Okay, the wide angle scenery shots are fantastic. But once example of this technology failing the film is the fight of the giants. When there are wide angle shots of the giants fighting it is very difficult to see what is actually going on, despite the individual detail being brilliant. Then when it zooms in to the Dwarves stood on a giants leg, you can clearly see the difference from the CGI; the shot now clearly looks like the Dwarves are on a set. Simply put it is too real, cinema isn’t about reality, it’s about escaping it and therefore certain detail needs to be hidden from the eye.

Well that’s my thoughts on the film. As I say, I will be going to see it again (probably a few times to be honest). But I will most definitely be seeing it in 24fps and possibly in 2D as well.

Thanks for reading, and I hope I haven’t ruined the film for anyone!

I Return

Well I guess it’s time I wrote one of these things again. It’s been quite a while since my last blog once again. But I have excuses a plenty! I’ve only just really finished moving house. Monday was the last day on the tenancy of my old flat. Those of you who have moved house will know that it’s not just about moving stuff from one place to another, which is incredibly tiring I might add, it’s also having to sort everything out from utilities to changing addresses with every service you subscribe to. I’m still living out of a few boxes and bags… All in all it’s pretty time consuming and I only finished sorting the most part yesterday. I’ve also got a problem where some quite expensive tickets were dispatched to my old address and the property managers are being as unhelpful as possible at getting back. Trust me there will be more on them in a future blog!

It has also been a busy period at work. The demand has been phenomenal and we have a record number of new students. As great as this is, it made the first week of the new course pretty intensive for everyone. There is still a lot of work to be done but it’s starting to ease off and relax slightly now we are getting in to the swing of things. It didn’t help that towards the end of the week I started to pick up what I can only describe as freshers flu.

Over the weekend I was busy away in London crewing a convention called the Entertainment Media Show. I’ve been to plenty of conventions as a paying attendee, but I have never crewed before so a few months ago I decided that I should give this weekend a go a my first event crewing. I didn’t realise at the time that it would fall right in the middle of this busy work and moving home period, otherwise I might have left it until the start of next year. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the best time to start and I could barely talk to anyone over the weekend due to losing my voice to the flu. So apologies to anyone I spoke to, I’m not normally quite that quiet/rude! That said, I did have a really good time.

I was musing in the week before the event that so many people seem so self-absorbed, so caught up in their own lives. I was even going to write a blog about it but didn’t get time. I constantly found myself getting out of the way of other people without so much as a thank you, especially it seemed, when carrying heavy things. Why should I move out of the way if I’m the one carrying something heavy? Anyway, I didn’t want to go in to that now. What I was going to say was that it was so nice and refreshing to crew at an event and see that for the most part everyone else crewing was very conscientious of what was going on. They seemed to want to help the attendees and make sure everything ran logically and smoothly while making sure everyone, including the other crew, enjoyed themselves.

So I had a really good time. The Saturday was hard work in parts, bag checking for Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Red Dwarf and Mike Tyson photo queues. But it was great fun really, being close to these guests and even getting to chat to them was excellent. Also working with and getting to know some of the other crew was great, it’s always good to make new friends and I hope to make many more. So in short I will definitely be applying to crew again. I’m not someone who goes round and gets loads of autographs and photos and obsesses about guests. So it’s much nicer for me to do something active and be a part of it. These shows are always a nice environment to be in (although the boxing fans pushed it at times! I won’t go in to details, but sheesh, considering it was a family show, some of that language was fairly inappropriate!) so I will be back.

Thankfully I have this weekend free, the first in what seems ages. It will give me time to sort out the flat and do some writing.

On that note, I don’t know if I have mentioned it before but in a few weeks I have the opportunity to chat with an editor from the Black Library about one of my stories. This is obviously a great opportunity and I’m almost finished on a short story, but for previously mentioned reasons I haven’t done any writing in a couple of weeks. I will be from now on spending as much spare time as possible on finishing the draft of this story. I’ve got till the start of November so it should give me enough time to draft and hopefully edit. Wish me luck… Once again I will be calling on my test readers for their feelings on the work. If you feel like getting involved, feel free to comment or message me!

Once again thanks for reading and hopefully it won’t be so long before my next blog.

Mike

The Horror Goes South

So, I’m getting pretty good at this getting up earlier thing. I’m going to need to be once my day job’s working hours move an hour earlier and I may have to teach at the ungodly hour of 9.30 am (I don’t actually mind, it will be good for me). However I chose to shift my sleeping pattern around in order to do some writing in the mornings and then have more time in the day. I think I have successfully worked my transition in to a ‘morning person’, before now I was more of a ‘those-few-hours-in-the-middle-of-the-day-I-feel-like-doing-something…person’.

But I need to do some more writing. I’ve been pretty lax this week as I’ve had some other things on. I also haven’t written a blog since last week as far as I can remember. However that one at least was a story rather than my random ramblings. I’ve actually been busy sorting out my move. Yesterday I handed in the notice on my current flat, which is both exciting and scary. Exciting because I am now moving out of this flat which has caused me so many sleepless nights and moving somewhere new. Scary because the new place hasn’t actually gone through yet so unless it goes through by the time my notice runs out I may end up homeless.

So, what am I working on? Well, Games Day UK is coming up pretty soon, which I’m immensely looking forward to. Although my wallet is already silently weeping to itself in the corner. It doesn’t know what’s hit it yet! I do love Games Day, a place where like minded individuals all come together to have a day of pure geekyness about something they love. You will probably see me there running between various stands trying to catch as much new stuff as possible and take in all the atmosphere. Got to get to the Black Library, Forgeworld and I will also be checking out Fantasy Flight Games. I’m hoping to get hold of a copy of their new 40K game, Relic. I did have a few years out of going to Games Day and I really did miss it. I went again for the first time a few years ago and fell straight in to it without missing a beat. Though I don’t spend nearly as much money as I did when I was a kid. My poor parents!

Anyway I am digressing. The reason I mentioned Games Day is because, as the Black Library will be there, they have started to take submissions on the day. I am currently wondering whether to take something I have already written or begin work on a new 1000 word story to take with me specifically on the day. Any suggestions as to this will be greatly appreciated. If you really like something I’ve already written and think it’s worth submitting let me know.

I’ve also been given an opportunity of possibly having something published on Amazon. On a forum I peruse they are compiling a horror anthology and I have had my name listed as part of it. I already have a story idea; A Lovecraftian horror set on the Island of Portland in Dorset. That’s all you’re getting out of me for now. I just have to write the thing…I’ve not really written any horror before (except for Tyranid infested space ships) so I’m a little bit scared by it. I’ve done the leg work, I’ve written a plot outline, I just need to research the writing style and get to work on it. I will try and do that this week, look out for updates and wish me luck.

On Twitter the last few days I seem to have had a lot of authors follow me. I’m slightly perplexed, do they like my work? Is my writing starting to have some form of impact? If so, that’s really great, wow. Or maybe they have just seen that I have called myself an ‘aspiring-writer’ and have decided to see what I come up with. That’s also great. Perhaps they can offer me some advice? If you’re reading this, please send some twitter-esque tips my way!

Right, I really must get on with my day and some writing. This blog, amongst cooking breakfast and tidying some of the flat, has taken me the best part of an hour to finish. Ooops.

 

More stories soon, hopefully. Thanks for reading.

 

Ideas & Mathew Street

So I had another incident with the vending machine. This time of a completely different design. While I was having my morning issue with the vending machine not dispensing my crisps properly I glanced to the ever-shiny chocolate section. There I saw a Twirl and thought, oh that will be nice after lunch. If I’m still hungry afterwards I’ll come back and get one. Imagine my disappointment when returning to the vending machine after a rather unfulfilled lunch that there were no longer any Twirls left in the machine. Now, I’m assuming there must have only been one left and one of the three students that came in to work that day had decided on the very same thing that I had. The kitkat I had was just not the same.

Today’s blog is as usual in two parts. Firstly I want to have a little talk about where I get my story ideas from and what drives me to write. Secondly about something that is happening in the city I live in at the moment.

Now something that really interests me is where do writers get their ideas from? When ever I come across a blog or article by a professional author this is something I seek out. Now with the plan of trying to recreate these ways to my own benefit but more of an interest in what drives them and if I have a similar way. I know of only one author at the moment that gets his ideas the same way I do.

Most of my ideas tend to come to me in the evenings. Which I suppose in a way is not unusual. I tend to be quite introspective in the evenings, usually in bed where I think about everything and the world. I like to come up with scenarios on how I would solve something or change things so this is usually where ideas drop in to my head. Which can be quite annoying as I’m already in bed. If I’m still fairly awake I’ll try to get up and at the very least make a few bullet points in my notepad. On the other hand, if I’m nodding off I’ll try and force my mind in to remembering it by constantly going over it until I fall asleep. Which can make for some pretty odd dreams! Then in the morning I’ll think about it on the way to work. Usually with a clearer mind where I can actually work out the idea properly. I also tent to do a lot more reading in the evenings which I guess puts me in the story/scenario frame of mind.

Last night I finally came up with that idea for a Dark Angel story that I mentioned in a previous blog. I was actually sat on the toilet before bed and I thought…’what would it be like to be inducted in to the Deathwing?’ and there you go I had a story idea which I had to go and write down. Don’t worry, I cleaned my hands first!

The other major time I come up with ideas is on the train. This is also the way the author I mentioned (Dan Abnett) gets a lot of his ideas. I travel a lot between here and my home town of London as well as Weymouth where my parents live, so I spend a lot of time on the train. (Alas, I don’t drive but I love train travel anyway – I suggest driving would not have the same effect or be as safe ideas wise!) I used to try and read on the train but always got distracted. Now, instead, when I get on the train I put my notepad and pen out in front of me and spend the journey watching the world go by, day-dreaming. Often in these day dreams I come up with ideas and jot them down. Interestingly this is actually where I write more scenes and dialogues. In bed it tends to be the outlines and on the train the actual content. I wonder if any one else finds a similar phenomenon?

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on generating ideas as I’m interested to hear how other people do it.

Now on to Mathew Street Festival, a festival that happens every year on bank holiday weekend here in Liverpool. Now outside of this wordy text-box I am actually a keen advocate of live music. I teach sound engineering and I play in not one but two live bands. I honestly think festivals are a good thing, they bring music to people and supposedly help the economy. I also love events; being a Londoner I love to see people out and about, doing. But I can’t help but feel a certain disdain for Mathew Street.

The amount of pure scum that come from all over the North West for Mathew Street is astounding. It actually makes me sad for the future of the human race. Where all these ‘people’ come from I really don’t know. If Ofsted want to see the pure abject failure of the education system in this country then I can do nothing more than suggest that they come to Liverpool on bank holiday weekend.

When walking to the train station last night for my weekly pub quiz, minding my own business (I even had earphones in). Two tracksuit-clad, fosters-can wielding, young guys deliberately crossed over  a busy road in order to tell me that I had, I quote ‘a fat fanny’. Now I’m not sure if they were commenting on the size of my backside or were just so drunk that they were sorely mistaken as to my sexuality. To be perfectly honest, compared to a lot of the other people ‘attending’ the festival these two ‘lads’ were relatively restrained. I’ve heard stories of young women (12-13 years) using profanity I would not even use and mouthing off about how much the ‘needed a fag’. This couple with the fact that these people bring small children in the the environment sickens me and makes me sad. I currently live right in the city centre so last night I could see a lot of this first hand from my living room window. Now I like a drink like the next person, but it looked like some sadistic scene from a film where everyone had lost their senses. It’s what I imagine the fall of the Roman Empire to be like, but with not nearly as much class.

It’s not about the music, as far as I can tell it never has been. Sadly a lot of music festivals are going this way now-a-days. I have been to festivals and met people there that have not seen a single band and spent most of their time with their beloved MDMA. The fact that the local council relax the street drinking laws just means that teenagers grab a couple of crates of Fosters and head in to the centre to become as close to paralytic as possible. What the council should do to encourage a nicer environment, short of sterilising them would be to not allow people to bring their own alcohol in. In stead, encourage local pubs and venues to make their drinks cost effective and issue special mathew street cups or something similar that people may walk around in. They could also introduce the token system that some festivals have to make sure that ID is necessary.

Well that’s my brief thoughts on the Mathew Street festival piss-up. I’m sure you guys have some thoughts on it too.

As ever I will be interested to read your comments and thank you for reading.

Vending Banter

So yesterdays post wasn’t quite as popular as the day before. Fine, I will try and write off the top of my head and see what I come up with again. Nah, not really. I wasn’t planning to do a blog today as I’m in work, but it’s a fairly quiet morning so I thought I would spend a few minutes writing.

My first question is, why are vending machines so rubbish? I mean why, they’re basic machinery. They should be able to fulfil their task with relative ease. So why is it whenever I want something, they just refuse to vend? Do they hate me? I come in to work this morning, admittedly very tired and so I thought I would get myself a pick up. The first machine gets my crisps stuck before they even come off the ring. So I’m left lifting the front of the machine in order to encourage them to fall. I’m fully aware that this could kill me, but those crisps or so tantalisingly close! What a way to go…The second machine then decides, ‘oh, I’m going to make a load of noise and pretend to dispense this guy’s Pepsi. But then I’ll just go back to slip and enjoy his lovely shiny £1 coin’. Bastard, that coin was mine! So what do I do? Oh yes, I feed it another pound because, damn it, I really need that Pepsi! Amateur mistake I hear you say. I know, that’s what I was thinking too. But low and behold, it worked! I got not only one Pepsi, but when that fell out it came with the one I originally paid for. Excellent, now I have a spare for lunch. Okay, vending machines aren’t that bad, but why don’t they work properly…

My second point is just a little mention of Jerry Nelson, the puppeteer famous for The Count and Gobo Fraggle. Now I love the Count, and if you find me drunk at a party you will often find me saying ‘ah, ah, ah’ when someone mentions a number. So I’d just like to say this is yet more sad news for the entertainment community and count in peace sir, we will miss you.

Speaking of drunk, I was at a gig last night. Why do I feel so out of place at gigs when I’m not playing? I don’t think I know what to do with myself unless I’m running around trying to sort out equipment. So I just stand there looking awkward sipping my drink with increasing frequency. I also have the post-drink guilts today. Mainly because I’m a bit of a lightweight, and when I have a drink I come out of my shelf a bit. They day afterwards I always think ‘did I really say that? That was a bit rude, I hope they didn’t mind’ and so on. I don’t try and be a rude person, and alcohol doesn’t turn me in to one of those people. I just join in the banter more, but I often wonder if that’s how banter works or if I’ve somehow missed the point and just offend people instead.

Yesterday going through my notepad I discovered a kind of children’s story I had started writing. The thought actually made me smile. It came from an idea I had when I was sat on a train and said to myself ‘I want to live inside a book…’ From that I thought, well what would happen if someone got stuck in a story and what would happen to them? It’s probably been done before, but I thought that line of thought lend itself to a children’s story and the kind of odd characters you could come across from page to page. Maybe one day I will actually write it. It has a starting point but that’s about it.

Games Workshop today have released the advance orders for their new 40k boxed set, which I have to say looks amazing. I’ve always been a fan of the Dark Angels, they were the first army I ever collected and I love the look of them. The background story is also something that drew my to them. It’s so, for want of a better word, dark. Despite what they are based on (look up the poem Dark Angel by Lionel Johnson if you have never read it, you’re in for a shock!) But interestingly in all my scribblings I have never once written a story even containing a Dark Angels character. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I could do them justice. I don’t know. But their story is so dark and shrouded in mystery that I would have to be absolutely sure I had the right story for them. I’m sure at some point I will write a Dark Angels character. One day.

I will try and have a finished story up for you guys to read soon. I’m sure you’re pretty sick of my musings. But once again thanks for reading. I appreciate any comments or if you want to chat about anything I’ve talked about feel free to say hi! Cheers.

Dreams of Denial

Greetings. I have so much stuff to sort out and do today, so I’m writing a blog. Yeah that’s right, priorities. I like to think of procrastination as an art form. Gently nurtured to the point of being too late, then you get on with things and put the things you really want to do aside for a while. But I warned you, don’t call me lazy!

First off, I would like to apologise for yesterdays blog. It was, by my own admission, a.bit.shit. It’ll teach me to plan what I’m going to write a bit more, which as an aspiring writer is probably a good thing. Although that said, it did quickly become my most read blog ever. Seriously, do you guys hate Thursday’s that much? So maybe I should write more ‘shit’? Well here goes…! (Lets see if we can beat yesterdays views!)

One of the things I need to do today is set up a calendar. I’ve got lots of events coming up that I really can’t remember the dates for and I need to easily be able to see what’s happening to avoid clashes. I really have an awful memory when it comes to these things. Secondly I need to carry on sorting my flat and throwing away the crap I no longer need. If I’m moving soon I want to move in to the new place with only what I actually want in there.

But then, I’ve just discovered a link to play Command & Conquer: Red Alert for free online. Bye bye precious time, it was nice having you…

As today’s title suggests the blog is actually about dreams. The title just came to me, don’t expect any further explanation, your brain may explode. Now I’m going to try not to get too ranty again, but dreams are pretty weird. Does anyone know a good way to interpret them or anyone that does? Are there any good resources out there? Google search has left me even more confused than I was before.

You see I want to know more about dreams and the subconscious. I want to understand some dreams that I’ve had over the last say, 6 months and some dreams that I’ve been told about that relate to me. But I don’t really know where to start. Dreams are pretty weird, right? The main one I’ve always had is being chased by zombies. I’m always running away, trying to find my loved ones so we can escape. The zombies always catch up to the point of almost killing us, then I get away again. Now I’m not amazingly bothered by this dream, I think it’s quite broad and it happens say once a month. I did have one amazingly vivid version of it no so long ago, that when I woke up in the middle of the night I looked through the blind to see what was going on outside. To me, that’s pretty funny now.

As a teenager I always had a recurring dream that I would walk in to a room and everyone would either turn their backs on my or just hate me. It happened one day at school and I’m not ashamed to say I ran from there balling my eyes out and went home. It turned out my friends were just playing a prank on me. I’ve always feared being hated by people and being alone.

But over the last few months there have been some more vivid dreams. Ones where people where there and then when I wake up I feel a great sense of loss. As well as some other personal stuff that will remain private until I can interpret it! It’s one thing talking about dreams, but then putting them on a public blog…I don’t think so!

I find it odd that dreams are so vivid sometimes. It leads me to think that maybe there is some kind of ethereal connection between our subconsciousnesses. Can we share dreams? Or at least can we communicate our thoughts and feelings to someone else through our dreams and theirs. I guess it’s something we will never know. To be fair it’s an odd thought, but it can be a good thing and a bad thing. I like the idea that I could potentially share thoughts with people that I am no longer in touch with, but also at the time it could be incredibly invasive. Inception style. I don’t want anyone going in to my dreams and planting ideas. There is enough going on in my subconscious as it is!

I keep spelling subconscious wrong and it’s irritating me! Anyway, a blog does not a writer make and I have plenty to do. Do I use ‘anyway’ too much…?

Anyway thanks for reading and as always I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Good People

I was thinking this morning; I need to write a blog today, but I have nothing profound to talk about. Today is one of my days off, or at least mornings off and as part of my writing efforts I am trying to write a blog every one of these days off. This is why I’ve been missing since, Saturday I think it was (awesome gig by the way, my zombie Starfleet Ensign uniform looked…well, alright I suppose) because every day since then I have been working in the morning and by the time I’m finished or have the afternoon off, I really have not energy to sit here and write. I know, I know, I’m going to have to work on that if I want to become a writer and write regularly. But at the moment I’m building up gradually. If I can write one of these every morning that I have spare, then eventually that will become norm and I will be able to build everything else on these foundations.

So here I am, without anything interesting to say (I know what you’re thinking keep reading, it get’s better!) wondering what the hell I am going to write a blog about, then someone says this:

“Why is it always good people that bad things happen to?”

And this got me thinking. It’s something I’ve heard thrown around a few times recently, and something I’ve been thinking myself while feeling deeply sorry for myself. Why is it always the good people that bad things happen to? You go through life trying your hardest to be fair and understanding and treat people well. I was brought up to ‘treat people how you expect to be treated’. Then something will come along and really kick you in the teeth and make you think ‘why do I bother?’ and ‘maybe I should just give up, be horrible like everyone else and then maybe things won’t happen to me as much’.

Sure, I’m not saying I’m perfect. Nobody is. We all make mistakes, especially when we’re kids or teenagers because we don’t really understand how the world works yet. But I like to think I’m a pretty decent and nice person always willing to help others. I’m very lucky in many ways, don’t get me wrong. But I also suffer from something called ME, which during my teenage years made life pretty difficult. I was essentially bed ridden and couldn’t do a lot of things teenagers normally do. Which as I was very sporty and active beforehand was pretty devastating. I don’t talk about it much, because it’s one of those illnesses that people don’t really understand and I don’t like people to think I’m milking it for one reason or another. I try and get on with my life. The only time I do bring it out is when people call me lazy. This is one thing I am most definitely not, and I can take a joke, but I absolutely loathe being called lazy, because I would like to do everything that’s possibly with my time on this planet, but I simply cannot and it irks me. I’ve also been through some shit over the last year that I will not and cannot talk about.

I went slightly off topic there, please excuse my rant. Why does bad stuff happen to good people? Is it because when bad stuff happens we realise that most of us are essentially good people? Or is it the people that we go day to day thinking, they’re a good person. Then BAM something bad happens to them. Is there something more to it? Are the fates just cruel bastards? Sometimes I think they are. There definitely seems to be some correlation. The really good people seem to get all the shit in life, excuse my French, and those that just breeze through doing whatever the hell they like seem to get by scot free. It’s not fair I tell you! And I’ve had enough!

Still, as I said the other day. It’s difficult, but you can’t let things in life effect how you are as a person, unless it’s for the better. Oh, it’s so damn difficult…

Also, why do serious illnesses seem to happen to really intelligent people (not including myself here…I am incredibly simple at times…). Why do they always seem to be the ones that lose it? Is it because their brains are so powerful that eventually they overload and just explode? I was absolutely devastated when I heard that Sir Terry Pratchett had Alzheimer’s. He is an incredible man, complete genius and also one of the small list of authors that really made me love reading and stories. I couldn’t imagine a world where he was not exploring the Discworld universe and making us all laugh. He deserves better in life than to have his memories slowly fade away. I hope, as sad as it is, for his sake that it doesn’t come to that.

Also glad to I could recommend his work to people before he sadly stops producing more so that they have a chance to experience it too while he is still with us.

Well I think that’s enough profoundness for one day. Albeit it slightly ranty, I hope you have found it interesting.

I’m not sure if I will be posting samples of my stories any more. I think that I would like to have something finished before I show it to you guys, just in case it turns out that I wasn’t happy with what I had written in the end. Once it’s up it’s up and I can’t get rid of it, it’s been said, it’s happened, there it is. So I will be more careful.

In other news the 20th was H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday. So I started work on a Lovecraftian story that I have been planning for ages. It’s set on the Isle of the Dead, otherwise known as Portland Island in Dorset. There is a reason for this setting, but I’ll keep you guessing for now. More on that soon.

Once again, thanks for reading.

Musicings

Today’s blog is about music in a way. D’ya like the title? Well I thought it was clever!

When I write I’ll listen to music. It’s much more conducive to work than say, putting on the telly or even the radio. Both of those are pretty distracting. (I still have Facebook open – why I could not tell you – an evil distraction in itself) but rather than say, stick an album of my favourite band on and attempt to write, I’ll listen to a soundtrack instead. I find the problem with putting a band on is that you get stuck in the music or the lyrics. If I’m trying to write a 40k piece while singing along to some Clapton, it doesn’t quite work. I also end up doing that horrible thing where you end up writing down what people say. Regular texters will know what I mean!

Soundtracks on the other hand are great. In essence they are designed not to detract from the film or series so make excellent background music. They can also instil a feeling of epicness, which is great when you’re writing. You can really get in the mood and feel every gunshot and explosion. My most recent soundtrack(s) of choice are from the Chris Nolan Batman films. I really love Hans Zimmer’s work and it really gets me in the mood for writing. I also love the films, but that’s a story for another day!

Today I put on the soundtrack from the film Moon, on recommendation from not one but two friends. Sitting here listening to it has made me think, wow, what a film! I can’t wait to watch it again (I have it in my pile of Blu-rays that need watching…) This soundtrack really puts you in the zone, just from listening to how the music is crafted you can really feel the suspense and intrigue, the feeling of not really being sure what is happening. For those of you who haven’t watched the film, I thoroughly recommend it. It’s pretty much classic science fiction, but that isn’t a bad thing, there are some nods to and a feel of 2001 in some parts. The story is about a guy who is working on a lunar facility, waiting to finish his 3 year (I think that’s right?) shift, so that he can go home and see his family. Although, not everything is how it seems and a series of accidents starts to unravel a horrible truth. If you like suspense and intrigue then go watch this film now! Plus the soundtrack is worth listening to in it’s own right.

Oh, on another music related note. A friend of mine linked me to ‘Meco – Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk‘ on Youtube. Please, for your sake go and check it out. It’s amazing, that’s all I need to say…

It is also a music related blog because my band (Lazarus Syndrome www.lazarus-syndrome.com) are playing a gig tonight. All the way in Southport and we’re not on till 11 so I’m going to need a lot more coffee between now and then! If you’re in the area come check us out at the Fox and Goose. If not, then go find us on Facebook and give us a like!

Right, I’m off to do some proper writing! Including rewriting some rather boring Music Business lectures that I’ve been meaning to do for, hmmm maybe a year?

Then listen to the Football! Woo, yeah it’s back. Come on you Gunners!

Ahem, excuse me…thanks for reading!