Woe (times are changing)

March 10, 2009

I’m in a deep, dark, emo funk. It’s bad. It’s a blend of recession blues, personal dissatisfaction and general disgust for humanity.

The recession may see me joining the ranks of the boomerang generation I fought so hard to avoid (oh who am I kidding? I sat pretty and was glad of my lucky escape) and moving back to my parents house. This would only be tolerable if I could keep my job and work online.

I am personally dissatisfied with my person. The blues have been killing the delicate orchid of my motivation and every act is becoming a chore. If left to my own devices, with no watchers or responsibilities, I am certain I would be living in a pile of fetid blankets, reading book after book, eating from a can and refusing to shower so I didn’t have to go outside.

This is actually a pretty good mentality for me to start my novel redrafting. A little drop of self-loathing is good for my creative process; stops me getting too distracted.

General disgust for humanity is not something I like to feel but it’s almost always there. There always seems to be something: like the latest reports on the insanely high level of domestic violence, or overhearing people talk about the criteria they simply must have for their second car. Or their beach holiday (hmm, Mauritius or Dubai?).  And that thing about the Brazilian girl (age 9) who really shouldn’t have had an abortion (of twins) because now God won’t love her.

Anyway…

I went to see Watchmen at the weekend. My favourite part was the opening montage, soundtracked by “the Times, They are a-Changing” where they all started so young and happy and full of pride, optimism and self-belief and gradually got torn apart. Despite having read the comic and knowing all their fates I still had a tear in my eye when I saw Silhouette and her girlfriend murdered. That montage was a high-calorie viewing experience in itself.

Sometimes I look at people and think they’re hurting. It’s not true though; they’re just waiting for someone to talk to.

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Times they are up heaving

August 26, 2008

Changes have been happening. Housefolk Femme has gone, leaving babycat with a hole in her heart. I have moved my things into my partner’s room, so that after two years of squatting it is finally my room too. We took a bus ride to the end of the line and saw the border of Worcestershire. I saw an old friend and finally realised that our differences didn’t mean my inferiority.

It’s been intense. More than the run-of-the-mill bank holiday. And now I’m flat broke.

I do worry about money. Old Friend was telling us her mother likes her boyfriend because in ten years he’s set to be earning half a million. To me that is an inconceivable amount of money. After tax that’s still more than my yearly salary per month. I’ll just have to convince myself that my lifestyle is romantic and that I’m a starving artist. The only way to justify this of course is to apply myself to my art so look out for more extracts in the coming weeks and you’ll know I’m making good on it.

I could just make peace with being poor. In fact I don’t mind my lack of money most of the time, I probably just need to manage what I’ve got more effectively (damn jargon word). But in saying these things I’m letting myself off the hook for not writing. And I must write, otherwise I’m wasting everything I’ve achieved so far and using it simply to coast, and while you can coast at work you shouldn’t coast through life.


Bog stomping and other wholesome activites

August 18, 2008

Bog stomping is what happens when you go for a nature walk in the hills of south Wales during a severe weather warning and decide that the path just isn’t challenging enough. Stomping through waist high grass dotted with super spongy moss pillows under all of which is not so much the ground as eight inch deep running water is rather fun. It reminded me that although nature can make me fall on my ass it also provides a cushion for me to land on.

We also passed through an eerie rotting pine forest, proper wicked witch territory with the only light coming from the path. I could imagine making a horror film there, or playing goth dares. At one point we had  to climb down over some fallen trunks and any branch or tree near it would come away in your hand, too dead to support any weight.

I am inspired to find what natural spots I may be able to get the bus to.

I was also inspired by the many retellings of the baccanalia orgy to have some rather awesome sex when I got home. I think the line that clinched it for me was “Just remember, it’s not about the sex” so I took some time and did it properly. I almost cried it was that good.

I was also inspired to write another short story, after reviewing part of a certain soon-to-be-Dr’s novel. Damn him for showing me up by acting to achieve the things I only dream of. I am amazed by his plotting abilities; he must have been developing and sustaining his story for around 50,000 words now. This is something I find incredibly difficult and I envy him for it. My new short story, like the one I wrote last week, is under 500 words. Here is an extract for you:

“I fell into the indoor market and plummeted between stalls. People were walking at me from every aisle and turning. I had to dance around them all; I was so far inside myself they couldn’t see me. I didn’t want them to see me. I felt dizzy and sick. They didn’t want to see someone like that.”


So much pub food

July 21, 2008

but not much walking, so physical health levels down while mental health levels raised by not having to do anything strenuous. I think we covered all the holiday staples: we visited a seaside town, a local attraction, a wildlife, and a historical building. We also had many kinds of cakes to the point where my partner got sick of them and started refusing dessert. He and I also came across a slight problem with second-hand bookshops and I have now shored up my to-be-read avalanche-waiting-to-happen with even more fine quality reading materials. The best part was seeing the joy in the old shop-owner’s face when we made our purchases and feeling like we’d bought his lunch that day. The worst part was when I decided I was eighty but conveniently without arthritis and should take up quilting. Soon I shall be queen of all that is twee. We narrowly avoided going to the cat pottery as that may have tipped me over the edge.

Does anyone know the link between Hornby/Steam trains and gollywogs? No this isn’t an off-colour joke and I don’t actually know the answer. All I can say is that when we went for a ride on the tiny steam train all the stations stocked many sizes and styles of gollies. No one seemed bothered either. My mum even suggested I get a little one to clip on my handbag. It was at this point I realised that there are no black or ethnic minority people in the British countryside. That’s a lie, I saw a black man in a UV jacket the day after the steam train incident, but noticing these things made me feel weird and out of place and I’m white and British. I feel uncomfortable in areas where there are only white people because it feels like there is some kind of unspoken exclusion being practiced and it makes me suspicious of the local population. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always lived in cities that it feels a lot more normal to me to have a mix of people around.

I think if I voiced that opinion to the Daily Fail (or half the papers around) I would be labelled the hapless victim of the evils of multiculturalism. But that can’t be right because most non-white people I see day to day are British, just as British as I am and part of the same culture as me. I saw a news report yesterday that there is a possibilty of creating a regulation that would prevent potential parents adopting children of a different race to themselves because the child might lose their culture, but if the child was born here chances are it would have been raised in British culture anyway. They will have plenty of time to research their biological heritage when they are older, besides which they are hardly likely to get any better cultural impressions from being stuck in a care home. This double standard is simply a way of ensuring that white children get a better chance of being adopted while leaving ethnic minority children without family support that could help them get a better education or ease the transition to adulthood.