I want to make this short because the more time I spend on this the less time I have free to spend on actual productive writing.
I like to write stories. I constantly think up new stories, make notes, do research. But I really struggle to maintain the momentum. I feel like the surfer who is waiting for the perfect wave, sitting on his board, feeling the stir of the water, watching the level ride. Every time I can feel, you know, this is the one. I’m going to ride this one out. I’m going to get on my feet and give it my best shot. And each time it climbs up, and I chicken out, I don’t rise to the challenge, I let it wash past me and the level fall again.
There are a few reasons. Firstly I get distracted, by other waves. I start thinking I could devote my energies to chasing after another cool looking wave and then another, and so I spend a lot of time paddling around in circles. Secondly, although I love the idea of riding the wave, catching the momentum, the wind in my hair, I doubt my own abilities. I know I am not a surfer. I know that I’ll need to stand up and fall off a few times before I gain the canny instincts to ride a wave out to the shoreline, but I’m terrified of making an idiot of myself. And thirdly, I guess with the dawn of social media, in particularly Twitter, I’m now painfully aware how many other surfers there are out there that are ‘professional’, that I shouldn’t even be taking people’s time up to talk to them about it when I’m really just a pretender, makes me embarrassed to even be seen presuming I’ll be able to surf with the best of them.
I’ve had a few kicks up the arse recently, that are making me think there’s another wave coming, and I’m hoping I can hone the discipline to stand on my own two feet, and aim for shore… John Niven, in this week’s ShortList magazine, says “The idea that everybody has a novel in them… if you’ve only got a novel in you, I’m not interested”, reminding me of all the half-finished stories I’ve got floating in limbo, some barely committed to digital media, some just lingering on note books or as ideas in my head, that I could be telling… but perhaps more importantly he says “If you’re writing a novel and you don’t have a bit of apprehension – because you’re treading in some fairly huge footsteps – then you’re an idiot. I ran from writing.” I’ve been running from writing for a long time. And that doesn’t even fit with my surfing analogy.
I know I’ve got to discipline myself, and not worry so much about what everyone else thinks, so I’ll likely cut down on the social media for a bit (or, at least, tone it the fuck down). Let this post serve as a note to others, but mostly as a reminder to myself.
Hi. My name is Simon. I write stories. I write shitty little analogies. And, hopefully, one day I’ll write something you enjoy reading.
Incidentally, some of my writings can be found here: http://psibreaker.tumblr.com/post/61009399446
Ho boy, this game sounds fun!
Quinns: Rum! Guns! Thievery and corruption! Broadsides and boarding actions, executed by daring captains, their magnificent ships reeking of fragrant spices and tobacco. A glittering sea, taken to foul moods and murderous storms. Sharks! MONEY!
Ain’t no backdrop like the 18th century Caribbean. If only there was a board game set amongst all this.
Here’s a little Blog about music. It may be complete bollocks. These are musings rather than anything, as I’m no authority on music, aside from listening to a lot of it, and a broad variety. I’m including tunes with the bare minimum of lyrics as songs for the purposes of this musing, as the lines blur all over the place.
I work as a freelancer, sitting at a computer. Some places have radios playing, or else have someone ‘in charge’ of the music. Some allow you to come in and stick on a pair or earphones or headphones so you can shut yourself off from ‘distractions’ and get the work done (though, arguably, music can be a distraction). The place I’m currently working at has both, so when someone with bad taste is playing DJ I’m able to escape to my own little world of more acceptable music.
As I wandered from the work place to the bank at lunch time, my headphones still on, two things occurred to me:
1. Songs were once something that were the focus of people’s attention. People would gather to see musicians perform. And whilst they still do that, more often than not, it’s just background noise.
2. Songs are, effectively, stories, with a singer (or several) inviting you to imagine a scenario unfolding. The quality of story varies, as does the quality of the storyteller but, for the most part, singers are relating a story or idea, sometimes reduced to the idea of a mantra in songs with few (or no) lyrics. And yet we give these stories only a few minutes of airplay before we move on to another story, often with no real connection between the stories.
Now, I’m not saying that we should all sit down and intellectually interact with songs, because that’s daft. But it does answer a personal question to me, as to why there are some types of music and song that I love, some that I enjoyome I just hate. I tend to like lyrics that genuinely embrace the idea of telling stories, such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but then I like those that employ larger than life ‘characters’ like rock music. I like a certain style of swagger, when there’s a story to go with it, but I hate bragging for the sake of bragging, the rappers and RnB artists who’ve got little to do except shout their own praises (the ‘blowing your own horn’ trait that most of us are warned away from as kids). In particular I’m adverse to love songs and lost love songs that lack any depth - if these were genuine stories, or poetic outpourings of the heart, they’d be ripped to pieces by the critics. But in many cases, because we have much of celebrity life style shoved in our face, enough to see the lives and fuck-ups of these storytellers outside their stories, you can lose a lot of faith in your storytellers.
If I was able to disassociate myself from my emotions I might, for example, be able to disassociate the singer from the song, to appreciate the song for it’s artistic merit regardless of the non-artistic merits of the artist. And I’d love to be able to do that, but I can’t.
The other type of song I like, almost paradoxically, is that with few or no lyrics. If there’s a good repetitive lyric, or tune, or beat, the song becomes in many ways a mantra. Whilst, potentially, there are a lot of songs that are anthems rather than stories, they still appeal to the intellectual side of the brain. Those with the hypnotic rhythmic nature of a mantra, words repeated so often that it’s less the words and more the sound, or just the repetition of music, appeal to the more instinctive side. These are stories, in a sense, but rather than being stories of the memory thery’re stories of the moment.
Part of the reason I’ve found myself enjoying an increasingly diverse range of music over the years is because I’ve for a long time equated musics as being representative of particular emotions. I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions throughout my life, so I can tap into the requisite ones to enjoy a particular type of musical ‘story’ (although I’m adverse to listening to the more extreme types of metal or darkly weird ambient, particularly in public, as I’m not keen in prompting suicidal tendencies in other people). I may find it hard to slip into some styles of music as I’ve not come from the right background (Lady Gaga’s weird character makes more sense to me than Rihanna’s relatively normal character), but I love listening to things from all sorts of sources.
To circle back to the beginning though, I find myself amazed that the human brain is able to take these often very emotional ‘stories’, mix about 15 of them up in an hour, and be able to jump between them. I suppose we’ve been conditioned nowadays to recognise these as small ‘worlds’ that we temporarily dip into, states of mind we temporarily exist in, before we withdraw and step into another. And I suppose that, much as anyone needs to have someone or something else as a sounding board for their own believes and ideas, music might as well be that someone or something.
For as much as music in the background can be just noise, or a distraction, when you sit up and pay attention sometimes those little stories that often go ignored can really spark up some great ideas.
Then again, I may just be talking bollocks. This has been my Blog. Goodnight.
#doctorwho #darkdoctor I saw this in WHSmiths at the weekend. There’s a great article (with great pictures) of some audio stories that Paul McGann has worked on which look at darker Eighth Doctor, presumably in the build up to the great Time War against the dales, prior to him getting resurrected as Christopher Ecclestone.
It’s a first time I’ve actually been excited about a series of audio books (as opposed to intrigued, as I have about stories that covered rarely encountered but well-loved bad-guys like the Mara).
Think there’s a boxed set of stories called ‘Dark Eyes’ or something like that.
Someone please tell me what this is.. I’m hyper ventilating.
#FF @cluedont – I know absolutely nothing about cluedont aside from the constant drip drip drip of funny tweets (mostly bad puns and plays on words). I like that sort of thing. If it’s any other sort of drip drip drip, stay clear.
#FF @twistedlilkitty – entertaining single tweets and doodles. Really, some great one/two liner observations, or details of exchanges with other people, and her doodles are pretty cool too. She claims to not be a professional comedian but she’s funnier on Twitter than many that are. Very much recommended.
#FF @brainmage – of all the members of comedy troupe The Beta Males I follow, this guy is the most active on Twitter. He’s also got a blog which offers such things as lifestyle tips and Judge Dredd fiction (sort of), but if you don’t like straying off the beaten Twitter path you’ll find he’s very funny on his Twitter feed alone.
#FF @mcneilpamphilon – a sketch comedy double act that do the double act thing very well (I went to see them last night, for the last performance of their Edinburgh show… in Hammersmith). Veer from comedy into drama, and nice guys off-stage too to chat with. Apparently going to take a year off from performing this year, to save the time and money that usually goes into preparing for an Edinburgh show, but I hear they have other plans in the pipeline, so good luck to them. Can also be found individually as @stevemcneil and @sampamphilon so go follow them there. Theres. Turn that into Bonjella and rub it on your gums.
#FF @comedynerd – my other half, innit? We get married in 2015, with any luck, so if you start following her now you’ll be suitably happy for us both when the big day comes. I think she’s funnier than me, and usually on Twitter more often, and she follows and RTs a shitload of comedian too, so that’s a reason to follow right there.
#FF @knightyjr – someone I’ve known for close to ten years, who is currently doing a lot of ‘extra’ work, having played many roles in the past, mostly as a zombie. He gets more screen time than me in Cockneys versus Zombies. Not that I’m bitter (*sob!*) Still, his heart and soul is in comedy, as he’s done comedy podcasts, and I’ve sat and talked comedy ideas with him, and he’s basically one sarcastic son of a bitch. In a loveable way.
#FF @rufous – another old time friend, this guy comes across as cynical and grumpy, but is spot on with his observations. He used to write poetry about going to the toilet (‘pooetry’), but I don’t see so much of that nowadays. Possibly that’s something to do with fatherhood. A very entertaining fellow.