This is Serious!

Last night, before going to bed I pulled out all the notebooks I brought with me. I had a quick glance through at some of my older ideas for 9 to 5 Spaceman (which has since become Hermes 925), Charlie (a story about a little girl with a monstrous pet killer), and even my old Warhammer 40k notes. I decided that I would begin working through them today and seeing what my be useful for my current stories.

At about 4am I woke up from a dream about a spacecraft that flies within a protective force-field. I remember thinking I could make it a sci-fi retelling of Peter-Pan, and the ship would be pan-galactic. I woke up realising several things. That the force field I was thinking of was similar to the Geller fields that keep the massive space vessels in the Warhammer 40,000 universe safe from the warp, that it was also similar to the shields in Star Trek, and that I’m not working on my fiction enough.

I stopped writing for Don’t Hate the Geek because I was spending all my writing time writing for them, and leaving myself no time to work on my own ideas. Now I’ve only myself to blame. So I’m going to try a new resolution. It’s not enough for me to just write everyday. Especially since this website will be my only source of income for the time being. I need to work on my stories every day too. With that in mind I’m setting myself a challenge, and I hope you, my friends, family and followers, will hold me too it.

I am going to work on my stories every day. You’ll still get a daily blog article too, but you should also see a new entry for Hermes 925 or City of Gate: Chronicles, or even a new story everyday. If you don’t see one, pester me to write one!

This new resolution may have something to do with the talented craft of Nine Finger Jo I saw at the Pontgarreg Festival yesterday. Her papercraft wall art and greeting cards were amazing. I’ve dabbled in papercraft myself and I know how tricky it is to get the fine detail and precision that her work demands.

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This was my favourite piece of wall art by Nine Finger Jo. The red is a separate piece of card that floats above the background.

I had a great talk with her husband Jerry, who had a wide variety of styles and themes on display for sale at the festival, including Celtic designs, Star Wars, Dr Who, Harry Potter, 70’s retro sci-fi rockets and some sports stuff too. I was a little embarrassed that I had so comparatively little to show for my own craft. Check out Nine Finger Jo on Facebook and Etsy. Jerry tells me they’ll ship to the US too.

I also met Ros Price-Jones who makes jewellery and paintings. She had some very pretty pieces, but she’s trying to cut back on the jewellery and focus on the art. It’s a shame that I don’t see any examples of her painting on the website so you can see them for yourself. I didn’t think to take pictures. She doesn’t ship to the US though, so if you like something she makes, let me know. I’ll order it for you and send it to you. 🙂

On my way to the Pontgarreg Festival I took some pictures of the village. I added a few of these to my Instagram page, but I found the ability to upload only one picture at a time tedious and annoying. So here’s a pic-dump including all the shots that didn’t make it to Instagram.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. After all, this is only my second day of my fresh start in the UK. My body hasn’t even gotten over the jetlag yet. I’m impatient to start my new life, to be able to help out both my family here in the UK, and my friends still struggling to get by in the US. I received a reminder that the utility bill for the apartment I just moved out of is due soon. I should probably just have Jitters, my former roommate, switch it into his own name. This was supposed to be a clean break, leaving the US behind and moving back to the UK, but he’s already doing so much for me by looking after Scotty. I feel guilty asking him to do this too.

Whatever the reason, my success as a writer is not optional, it’s mandatory. I need to do everything in my power to ensure my success. Writing one article per day and neglecting my stories, telling myself “I’ve done my writing for the day” isn’t going to cut it. I’m not going to get published that way. I’m not even going to get sponsorship that way. This is my only job now. I need to show my commitment to it. How will anyone else take it seriously, unless I do?

Today I will go through my old notes. Plan articles for some of the better ideas. Make myself write some more Hermes 925. I may even look into some of the Google business tools if there’s time.

As usual, your comments and questions are appreciated.

Or Falling Back?

It seems I have a lot more to say about this ‘moving back to England’ thing. The not-so-internal debate continues. I’m taking a personal day from work so that I can write through this a little more. That may seem counter-productive when I’m trying to make enough money to keep my head above water, but trust me, you don’t want me on the phones today. If I decide in the heat of the moment ‘Fuck this, I’m moving back to England!’ I might say something unpleasant to one of the many lying, cowardly ‘victims’ I have to speak to on a daily basis. The bouts of crying don’t help either.

If I move back to England, I’d have to say goodbye to Scotty. My friend and familiar. My cat. He’s a fat orange lump and I love him. I’d also miss my friends, as I’ve mentioned in “Making Progress“. It deserves a repeat though, because I made some great friends here. They are some of the best people I’ve ever met. I know I’ll make new friends, and be reunited with old ones, but it would still break my heart to leave the ones I have here.

I’d also have to sacrifice Mountain Dew. The last time I tried British Mountain Dew it tasted…wrong. I’m not even sure if they still have it. I’d also have to deprive myself of so many different foods I can only get here. Top of the list is seafood. You’d think an island nation like Great Britain would have terrific seafood, but it doesn’t. The shrimp are tiny, and even so called ‘king prawn’ are just medium shrimp in the States. Not to mention mussels, calamari and lobster available even in budget grocery stores.

On the other hand, I’d have proper Fish and Chips. I’d have British Chinese food including Char-Sui pork, Spare ribs and Prawn Crackers. Indian food I can get here is good, but not the same. I could have real pies! Not just the fruity ones they have here in America, but meat & potato pies, steak & kidney pies, Cornish pasties and egg custard tarts! Does Marks & Spencer still have sushi? Oh and Irn Bru! Newcastle Brown Ale in the proper bottle! Cheese & Onion Crisp! One of my friends also reminded me that British chocolate is far better, and the Curly-Wurly is the best thing ever! Maybe if I can find the Polish Dew recommended by this YouTuber I’ll be okay.

I’d also be home, with my family. My Clan. My blood. I could spend more time with my nieces and start fulfilling my proper duties as Uncle. I could be there for my Grandparents whenever they need me. Writing still, or taking a walk around Dalton, when they don’t. I’d still be focused on the goal. More money coming in would mean the whole family could live more comfortably, especially if I become world-renowned. Saying ‘famous’ seems childish somehow. I will bring my family glory. Do I really need to be away from them to do that?

It’s not that I doubt myself. I know that I can live through whatever doesn’t kill me. I also know that death is not something that can be avoided, and it’s best to make a good life for yourself while you can. Everything you do gives you more experience, and if you choose to learn from it, you can use these real-life experience points to make yourself stronger, smarter, more skillful or more eloquent. I also know that if a particular monster is too difficult for you to defeat, you may have to come back to it later when you’ve reached a higher level, or when you’ve figured it out. I’ve always considered a ‘learn through doing’ kind of person, however I think I might need to watch the demonstration again for this ‘adulting’ thing. To be honest I’m also the ‘keep trying until your luck holds out’ kind of guy too, but maybe I need to learn from past mistakes instead of repeating them.

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This is what I could be going back to.

I can do it though. I can pay bills and do my taxes, I can work for table scraps at a job I tolerate because I made friends there. I can do the dishes and laundry, and I can even put stuff away. I’d much rather write, or stimulate my imagination by reading, playing a videogame with a great plot or watching a great movie. That is one of the reasons I don’t want to move back though. In the past I’ve shown a tendency to allow myself to rely on my parents for everything I don’t want to do.

I probably won’t be living with my parents, but I worry that this self-centred obsession with stories may lead to me either taking my grandparents for granted, allowing them to cook and clean for me while I resent their disturbing my personal time. I don’t really believe I’d act like a spoiled teenager, but I might go too far the other way, feeling guilty about Grandma doing the dishes and Grandad weeding while I’m just writing. So guilty that I end up spending too much time worrying over them, and simultaneously making them feel useless, restless and bored, and taking time away from my work.

I’m clearly overthinking this, I’m just trying to find a clear winner. Both the US and the UK have their pros and cons list. They’re about equal. However, regardless of how logical I try to be about this, the fact is I miss my family. I also miss sensible seasons with a disappointing summer and winter. The weather here in the American midwest is ridiculous! A friend of mine I carpool with told me the weather was equivalent to 100 ºF yesterday when you included all the modifiers. This area has been dubbed ‘the tropical midwest’ by some. The winters are almost literally the polar opposite, and it seems to last for at least 8 months. I hate it. I think it was yesterday’s heat that may have re-triggered this debate.

I want to go home. I realise this might be a passing feeling. Perhaps I’ll feel better tomorrow, but right now I want my cuddles. I have enjoyed my time in America, but maybe it’s time to admit that it was a mistake. I bit off more than I can chew, at least for now. When I’m back on my feet, and can afford to come back without crippling myself, maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll buy an old stately home in the UK, and pay for all my friends to come live with me if they want! 🙂

Why should I continue to thrash, trying to swim, when I could just stand up? Why am I insisting on doing this the hard way, when an easier option is available? Oh yeah. Because I decided that I can’t go home until I’m a success, I can’t just abandon this quest, and I have friends here, which have always been harder to acquire and keep than I’d like to admit! If I continue to write though, the quest isn’t over. My true friends would still be my friends no matter where I go. Just like my true friends in England stayed in touch. Facebook is awesome.

What do you think?

 

Blog of Indefinite Purpose

When I write an article, yap about my life right now, run through a story idea, or review a friend’s new 3D printed thingy, mobile app or cake, this page is where I’ll post it! I’m going to try and come up with a system of tags that will allow you to see just the review posts, or just the new story ideas, or just posts in which I mention the Masquerade podcast.

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I might also post some literary challenges here. Stuff I’ve never tried before, like rhyming triplets, or a story that has to include a secret message, or includes people or places or things suggested by you guys.

I’d also happily post any artwork, music, stories or videos you’d like me to share, if it’s your own work, or it’s really awesome.

What would you like to see me try to write?