The Choice To Live

Last night Facebook was blowing up with posts about the death of Chester Bennington. For those that somehow happen to have no-one in their Facebook feed that listens to Linkin Park, Chester was the singer (not the rapper). He was found dead having committed suicide. If talking about suicide and depression make you uncomfortable, you may not want to keep reading. Consider that your content/trigger warning.

Almost no-one sees it coming when a celebrity, a loved one, or a pet kills themselves. Yes I said pets. When I was a child my pet goldfish, Freddy, jumped out of his bowl. It may have been just coincidence that he landed under the heater, but there’s no way to know. I’m sure my dog Teaser would’ve chosen to end it if she could. She was suffering from leukemia and we didn’t even know until after her second ear-infection surgery was refusing to heal.

My cockatiel D’mingo flew into a mirror while I was on holiday in Edinburgh. This angry little bird never really settled in. I have no idea what the little guy had been through. We looked after him as best we could ever since he showed up on our doorstep. When we went on holiday months later, it may have been longer, and left him with a friend after getting his wings clipped. Who knows what he was thinking when he freaked out and flew into the mirror so fast it killed him. Maybe he thought it was an open window and was just trying to escape, or come back to us. He must have been pretty desperate to be able to do it despite having his flight feathers removed.

Depression sucks. On bad days it physically hurts. Not like a wound or a bruise, but an all over numbing prickle from your scalp to your toes. It’s not just feeling sad. This pain doesn’t make much sense. Especially when I was a teenager. I didn’t really know why I felt that way. I would hurt myself to mask the pain with a physical injury I understood.

Accompanying the pain are the thoughts. All the reasons that life is pointless, the behaviours and personality traits that you’ve judged to be defects. The physical flaws. External reasons too, like the job that leaves you too tired to write, the relationship that fails to satisfy the gaping hole in your chest, or the house that’s slowly falling apart and you can’t afford to fix.

Sometimes exercises like the Tim Ferris’ fear-setting (described in the video below) can help, but it’s a recurring battle. Involving yourself in projects and goals can help keep you going. Keep you occupied and distracted from the dread that comes creeping back. I’ve used several strategies like Tim’s to keep going, and I’m always looking for more Ted Talks and books to help me learn more, and to try and use my own depression to drive me.

We make a choice to keep going, hoping that tomorrow will be better. Most of the time it is. You feel better and get on with life. In my case I try to use these better days to get a little closer to my goals. I know that becoming a ‘successful author’ won’t put me in a blissful state of perpetual happiness, but at least I’ll have achieved something. I’ll still have to fight the thoughts when they come. The absolute certainty that, not only will I not be happy but there’ll be all new challenges to face. All of which will fade to nothing once I’m dead.

I hold on to the hope that it will be worth it, that my actions and decisions will make the lives of others a little better. Prove to friends who are losing the battle with depression and anxiety that it’s possible to make your mark and be someone worth remembering. Even that is a futile exercise. Da Vinci, Shakespeare and Mozart are remembered, but no-one knows who they really were. There’s no-one alive today that remembers the sound of their laughter, or what they liked to eat.

Some of use choose to end it. To stop fighting and let the pain win. I understand the urge. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do, depression is only a few steps behind. Reminding you that, no matter how good things are going right now, your old wounds aren’t healing, and it will only take the slightest bump to set them bleeding again. It’s tempting to blame these wounds on other people, but they’ve always been there. It’s just existence. The solution seems obvious. Stop existing, stop the pain.

Chester’s lyrics helped many of us feel less alone. Like we weren’t alone. Like someone else felt and understood the pain of living. Loneliness is a big trigger for many of us, so we search desperately for people like us that will hear us and understand. Friends, romantic partners, family, fans, or even pets. Your tribe.  The people that are supposed to hold you up when your down. Most of the time, when you think you’ve found them, they have their own problems. You end up having to be the strong one for them, and sometimes they’re too broken to reciprocate, or you feel it would be selfish to even ask them for help.

I don’t have answers. Just more questions, and the one very tempting solution. The one that we tell ourselves is a cowards way out. A selfish act. It’s true that other people will be upset, and even offended, by your death. We’re taught that life is precious, and yet there is life everywhere, continuing despite us. What so special about one person?

Morbid curiosity and responsibility is keeping me going. Everything I experience gives me something to write about. Thought I may find that everything I write ends up being about depression. I’ve already noticed that my stories often feature death and disappointment.

Most of the songs I’ve picked for this article are Linkin Park’s earlier material, but these two here are from their latest album. Despite the change in style the theme Chester is singing about remains consistent, which tells me he was still fighting the depression that had plagued him his entire career. He had a family, he had success and fame, and in the end it didn’t even matter. However, he left a mark on the world before he left. I will to.

I’ll feel better tomorrow. As long as there’s a future there’s hope. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I can make my life better as long as I’m alive. Today it sounds hollow, but tomorrow, who knows? Maybe one day I’ll have had enough for now, I have a series of books to help make. Obligations to fulfil. People to meet and fall in love with. A life to live. It had better be worth it.

Afterword: This is not a cry for help. If anything it’s a battle-cry. A call to arms. An honest confession of how I’m feeling (today) so that others like me don’t feel so alone. I don’t need to talk, I just did. If you need to talk though, go for it, maybe others like us will hear you and feel like they have somewhere they belong.

I’ll miss you Chester, but I heard you, and I understand.

Advertisements

Making Friends

I’ve been rediscovering the practical networking applications of Twitter. For a long time, I’ve been avoiding it because I get sucked in. I’ll browse through the newest tweets, scrolling through the nonsense to try and find something worth reading, knowing that there might be gold if I just keep looking. The entire time I can see the new Tweets counters going up. Brand new tweets vying for my attention.

I keep scrolling until the temptation of the new overcomes my need to thoroughly check the old ones, then start back at the top. I hate myself a little for giving up my search but begin scrolling through the new tweets hoping that it was worth it. Sometimes I find something worth sharing or writing an article about, but most of the time I’m just scrolling, searching, until the new tweets call me once more.

I know I need to clean up my feed a bit and unfollow the accounts that I skip over, but while I’m doing that I might miss something that would make the hunt worth it. When I originally opened the account I was trying to jump on the ‘social media marketing guru’ bandwagon. It seemed like my employer at the time, as well as most other businesses, were under-utilising and misusing social media. I thought I could make an impression at the company by devising an effective strategy.

Not only did my suggestions fall on deaf ears, but my attempts to use my own ‘expertise’ to market my home business (a now defunct tarot-reading service) fell flat. It didn’t help that the more I networked within the company, the less I liked the people I was working with. I read countless books on networking, negotiating, social media, self-motivation, leadership and entrepreneurship to try and make it happen, but the entire process made me feel dishonest.

I kept it up as long as I could stomach it though because I wanted to make more money, repair the roof on my house, and perhaps prove to my (now ex-)wife that I wasn’t actually worthless. I also really liked the idea or writing my own book on the subject. It occurred to me even then that I didn’t actually need to be successful in order to write a convincing book. In fact writing a book on the subject may have made my advice seem more legitimate.

I had to give up trying because she didn’t like being away from home so much, and then the marriage broke down anyway. Which was very frustrating. However, it got me writing. Not about ways to manipulate people into buying stuff they didn’t want, but about magical worlds generated by a powerful network of computers to keep the human population blinkered and pacified.

This time as I dive back into Twitter I’m doing so to share my true passion, and learn from others that have walked the same path before me. Some of these new friends I’m making are fellow authors, but I’m also making some great connections with musicians and gamers. I wanted to share some of these connections with you.

In addition to the tweets and video posted above, I also wanted to introduce you Duality. I actually met Michelle via Facebook, but it still counts because I say so! That and it’s still a connection I’ve made as part of my efforts to network and build contacts in the writing community. Give Duality a read. You won’t regret it.

Follow Kevin, Angela, Darren and myself, and dramatically improve your Twitter feed. If you’re reading this via email or WordPress reader and don’t see the video and links, go to the actual webpage (https://antonymcopeland.me/2017/01/24/making-friends) and while you’re at it, browse around and read some Hermes925!

Hermes925 isn’t finished yet, but you can read the story so far. If you want to help me get it finished, revised and published please choose one of the paid subscription offers below. You’ll be guaranteeing yourself a free copy of the finished book, as well as some additional perks, if you do.

primary-sml_btn  preferred-sml_btn  premium-sml_btn posh-sml_btn preposterous-sml_btn

 

 

Have a great day 🙂

Our Disturbing Adventures

I just got back from a great couple of days in Manchester. Laura, my girlfriend, took me to see Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, and In Flames perform at the M.E.N. Arena. I was anxious about spending potentially two whole days away from my keyboard, but it was an amazing show, and I’m very glad I did it.

“But Tony, you’re always talking about how you need money. How can you possibly afford to go to a concert?” I can’t. Laura bought the tickets, and even bought more games for us while we in town. Speaking of which I’d like to make a quick shout-out to the staff at Travelling Man in Manchester. We had a good chat about games and comics, and I invited them to check out this website, and the Games and Geekery page, so we could chat some more. You guys were awesome, keep up the good work. (Hint: we bought Exploding Kittens and talked about Amalgam comics)

When I do get more patrons though, I do intend to spend some of my income on shows like this, as well as more games to play and review for Games and Geekery. It occurs to me that there are a few ways I could go about actively seeking patronage. Besides just repeatedly begging on the website of course. I feel like if all I ever write about is needing money, I’m going to start losing followers, so I need a new strategy.

20170116_201319_hdr.jpg
We were right up front! I could see David Draiman’s pores!

The idea that appeals to me the most is also the most daunting. It involves networking like crazy, talking to people, who know people, who know people that are already successful. If these people like Hermes925, or City Of Gate even, perhaps I can convince them to sponsor me. It appeals to me because I may end up getting to know some of my personal heroes, like Neil Gaiman, David Draiman of Disturbed, or Robert Downey Jr. Dream big, right?

My other thought is to approach businesses and offer to include subtle, and not so subtle, references to their products or services in exchange for corporate sponsorship. I’d even stitch a brand patch to the inside of my leather coat if they wanted me too. They could keep my rock’n’roll skeleton company! I often wear my coat open and the patches would flash as I walk. Not sure if I could still be taken seriously as a writer with integrity if I have Mountain Dew, Xbox and Tesla patches inside my coat, and even less if I end up being sponsored my brands I wouldn’t otherwise endorse.

20170117_163700.jpg
I stitched this guy inside my coat

Part of the reason I’ve become concerned about sponsorship is out of guilt. I’d like to be able to treat my girlfriend as well as she treats me. It doesn’t help that I was also contacted by one of my clients, the one I’m ghostwriting a dark fantasy novel for. He’s putting the project on hold. He’s looking for a day job to pay the bills, and I’d like to avoid the same fate.  It also means that the money we might have made from selling the book is deferred indefinitely. This is very frustrating.

However, I’ve also been contacted about writing for an anthology that will accompany a role-playing game sourcebook. They’re looking for 5,000 – 10,000 words centered on a person living in a futuristic city. The stories, by various authors, all have to feel like they exist in the same sci-fi universe. I’m very excited about this. If my contribution is accepted, I’d make up $600, which is about £484.54, and that’s if I write exactly 10,000 words.

I’m excited about being involved in this project, but I’m hoping it leads to other opportunities. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working on Hermes925, Games and Geekery and editing for my other clients, and trying to find people that know people.

Have a great day! 🙂

Please show your appreciation for my work by subscribing:

primary-sml_btn  preferred-sml_btn  premium-sml_btn posh-sml_btn preposterous-sml_btn

 

Games and Geekery

Most of you already know about the Games and Geekery facebook page. Up until recently it had just been a share dump for everything I liked online that could be loosely categorised as being related to either games or geekery. This started when I was still married. My wife wanted me to stop sharing everything on my timeline, so I created separate pages for everything I liked. That way I could still share these articles with like minded friends, without having to piss her off. 🙂

Games and Geekery has recently received a slight change of direction. Not only will I continue to share anything that I think will be of interest to fellow gamers and geeks, but it will also host original content written by either me or my friend William. William dabbles in music and video editing too, so his involvement should bring some interesting elements to the new website.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m having another friend look over this website and make it a little easier to navigate. Her name’s Jade, and she’s officially been invited to join this blog as an administrator. I don’t expect her to write any articles, though if she wants to she could join the Games and Geekery team. However I know she’s going to make the site look awesome!

Here’s the new Games and Geekery website welcome page. Take a look and see what you think. If you like it, subscribe to the blog. I’d also appreciate it very much if you’d like and share your favourite articles, regardless of who wrote them :P. If you like the website so much that you’d like to be a part of it, then send me an article to show me how awesome you’d be as an official Games and Geekery contributor.

At the moment I’m using old articles I wrote back when I was contributing for Don’t Hate the Geek as filler, but I’ve already written 3 original articles since, including the welcome page, a commentary on highway zombies, and a piece about X-Men: Apocalypse. William has a fan theory about Batman he’s going to share with us soon. I can’t wait!

This website will now be dedicated to my writing and personal experiences. Anything related to Games and Geekery will be hosted on the new website instead. Enjoy!

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

 

The Search Continues

I dislike looking for a job. So far only one of the positions I’ve applied for has gotten back to me. I have an interview for that job in 3 days, and in the meantime I’m going to keep looking. I have discovered a few opportunities I didn’t know existed on the way. Including some that I knew logically existed, but had no idea you could apply for so easily.

My favourite of which is being a pet-sitter! I found a website called Pawshake that lets you register as a pet-sitter and set your own rates. I already created a profile! Click here to check it out. It would be great to spend a few hours looking after someone’s pet. Dogs would need to be taken for walks and fussed, but cats, birds and lizards don’t need much attention. Once their needs have been taken care of, I could still research articles and write! We’ll see if it gets anywhere, or if I earn enough to get by.

If you expand your search from jobs sites to classified ad sites, you can stumble upon a surprising number of opportunities available in the adult entertainment industry. Sadly, or perhaps luckily, these careers only seem to be available to women. I don’t think I would do well in adult industry, even if there were jobs available for men. I think my on-screen presence would be unimpressive.

giphy.gif

 

I’ve just applied for a Social Media marketing apprenticeship. I have no idea if I’ll get it, but it may be my best chance of learning more about how to increase traffic to this website, and get paid for while I’m at it. Any job that helps me reach my long-term goals instead of just sucking time away from them is a win-win.

If you happen to need a content writer and you’re willing to pay let me know. I love learning about new products and services, and my experience in sales, customer service and negotiation will be invaluable. Just as my talent for creative storytelling proved very useful in customer service, sales, bar work and debt collection! People love a good story.

I hope I find something soon. I’m down to £75. I’m very lucky that my grandparents don’t charge me rent and like to feed me. Theoretically I could live without a job indefinitely, providing I don’t want to buy anything or go anywhere I can’t reach by walking.

burning money.gif

If I have money though, I can afford to invest in some marketing for the website, save up for self-publishing, and get back into games, movies and books so that I have something to write about besides myself! Not to mention go for a drink with my friends occasionally. The books I’ve read on abundance and the law of attraction suggest visualising money coming into your life, acting as if the money will come. We’ll see.

Do you know what I’d really like to do? Hire some guest writers. Paying artists and musicians for original artwork and music for the site would be good too. It would also be nice to pay friend who’s working on improving the site a little for her effort too. Do you think I should setup a GoFundMe.com page?

In the meantime, if you’d like to help donate to improving the page please go to www.paypal.me/AntonyMCopeland. Right now I still don’t have a bank account (nothing to put in it), so all I’ll be doing with the money is sending it on to contributors or saving it for self-publishing my book when it’s done. Not one penny of it will be spent on chocolate or beer. Currently my Paypal balance still stands at zero.

Before I forget, here’s the latest installment of Hermes925: 11/27 What goes up..

I’d better get back to jobhunting. Have a great day 🙂

 

 

Wherefore Art Thou

I was going to write this article much earlier, but then found I wasn’t in the mood. However, I am laying in bed too hot, too restless and oddly too tired to sleep,  with ideas for this article still rattling around in my brain.  I’ll write, until I finally feel like sleeping. I might even get the whole thing done. (I didn’t, I added links and images the next morning).

art-gallery-art-painting-566-6

As you may have noticed, the blog articles have grown a little infrequent lately. If been putting the focus on writing the story instead. The goal after all, is to become a published author of Sci Fi and fantasy, and I’m not going to get there if all I write is my blog. I need to do what I set out to do, and don’t let myself get in my own way.

3D_Fantasy_Places_HD_0040

If you haven’t been following my progress, please drag your mouse to the Hermes925 tab at top of the page and select each journal entry. As you can see Jaime has had (or will have, since it’s set in the future) his heart broken, his world view turned on it’s head and found a new obsession to take his mind off it all.

unchrated-4-concept-art

It’s been a little difficult some days being strict enough with myself to write more. It helps that I already have planned out what I want to happen, but I often don’t know exactly what Jaime’s going to say until I start writing. He tends to rush through his thoughts, without disruptive descriptive details.

Space.Art_.Wallpaper.1920x1080_061

I want to see how it works. Let the reader fill in the blanks, and maybe find some awesome art to each entry. For now I’ve been able to pull somewhat applicable images from the Internet, but I would love to receive artwork from readers and fans illustrating the world I created. Perhaps a picture of Mr. Waddle, or your impression of what it would be like to see the world through the N•Viron, an image of the Hermes spacecraft, or a painting of Jaime stepping through the portal doorway.

tsw_art_10

Of course if you’d rather draw dragons and mages, perhaps The City of Gate is more your cup of tea. It doesn’t have to be specifically made for my work either. Any art you’d like to show off could be included in a blog post as an image and a link back to your own website or Etsy page. I already do something similar for blog articles I like.

Aviation_art_at_the_Museum_of_Flight_(6194343564)

I’m not making any money yet, so I don’t have any to give, yet. When my book is successful, and I use your illustrations, then we’ll both get some money. In the meantime I’m happy to showcase any artist trying to put themselves out there. I’m even happy to help out musicians and fellow writers spread the word. If we want people to find us, without having to compromise, we need to show tham what we can do, and help each other out.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbaron501%2Fvideos%2F10209513551335101%2F&show_text=0&width=560

I had a thoughts about YouTube too. Would anyone like to see me read each of the Hermes925 entries out loud? I’m sure it would be rather dull just watching me read though, but I could edit the video to include a montage of images, and perhaps background music. I could use this as another way show off some of the artwork and music sent in.

angel

I’m hoping that the YouTube channel  (once I have some content people like) and affiliate marketing will help keep me afloat while I get Hermes925 finished and published. If you want to help by offering your talents, advice or money please do! Comments are always welcome, as are donations via PayPal. Any art, music or writing you like me to share can be sent to AntonyM.Copeland@gmail.com

I hope you like the art I found online. Have a great day.