Here We Go…

Today marks not only the first full day of my life in Kidwelly, but also the first day of my renewed commitment to writing every day. There won’t be a video with this article, since my headset is still at my Grandparents house, packed and ready to be brought here on the next trip.

For those that don’t know, I’ve moved to Kidwelly in south Wales. My parents live here, along with my sister and her daughters. I’m hoping that the happiness I feel being with my family again will help me counter the recent spike in my anxiety levels. The fact that Kidwelly is a much smaller, and by all accounts much friendlier, town should help also. I don’t have to be worried about my safety leaving the house, and I certainly don’t need to worry about running into anyone that used to pick on me in school.

Its a little silly that a 37 year old man should still feel nervous about bullies, but I do. It might even be that the reason I’ve been feeling so anxious lately is due to a denial of my true nature. I was always shy as a child, but I should be confident and assertive to get anywhere in life. I’ve been pretty good at convincing others that I’m outgoing, including myself, but recent events have forced me to recognise that deep down I’m still the same shy kid I always was.

I’m still determined to be a successful writer, I’m just going to have to do it as I am. I don’t seem to be able to fake it anymore, at least not without being aware that it’s fake. I can feel my inner self pouting at the very thought of it. This is very frustrating since I still need to work at a day-job of some kind. I have a job lined up working as bar/restaurant staff. Exactly the kind of job that requires you to be outgoing.

I’m honestly dreading it. I’m hoping one of the call-centre jobs I applied for offers me a position before I have to start at the bar. It’s not an ideal job. It’s a caravan park. It’s about a 20 minute walk from town, on country roads. No pavement. No streetlights. I’ll be coming home in the dark, and for at least two months of the year, it’ll only be part-time.

I know I should “suck it up, buttercup” and get on with it like a grown up. ‘We don’t always get what we want’, ‘at least it’s a job’, etc. I don’t wanna! I sound like a whiny entitled brat, but I’m not sure that it’s such a bad thing to want to work in a jib that suits your personality. In fact, most of the management books I’ve read suggest finding employees with compatible personality traits. I’m not doing myself or the business any favours by putting on an act.

A business relationship is like any other. If you’re dishonest, you’ll be found out, and the relationship will be over. On the other hand, maybe I should just go for it. It might be one of those ‘it was fun while it lasted’ sort of relationships. I can drop it when something better comes along. However, those kind of relationships (particularly when they’re the romantic kind, but also the working kind) always leave me feeling like a shitty human being.

I’d much rather not have to go into the job pretending I’m something I’m not. That includes having to pretend I want the job. I applied at the caravan park because I thought it was in the town of Kidwelly. It really isn’t. I also wanted the supervisor job, so I’d be making use of my education, experience and training, but they offered me team-member instead. There was also no cellphone service there when they had their recruitment day. It would be nice to be able to call my Dad or Sister for a ride home if the weather is bad, or it there’s an emergency.

Maybe I’m just getting new job jitters. Maybe it’ll all work out. Perhaps I’ll make a new friend working there that’s willing and able to drive me to work. Perhaps I’ll get fitter and the walk won’t leave me feeling like a wheezing old man stinking of sweat. There’s an elliptical exercise machine in the room I’m staying in. If I use that each morning it should help.

Perhaps I’ll make enough money on the side from writing that I’ll be able to save up and cover the short-fall during the off-season. That way I’ll be able to afford to rent the flat I’ve been looking at. I might also find a better job, or be writing full-time. Who knows? I know there’s no point in worrying about things that may never be an issue, but expecting everything will go well seems naive, and a setup for failure.

I suppose I could try to not expect anything, good or bad, and just take it as it comes and roll with the punches. That way I can avoid the “I knew it!” moment, or the sense of impending doom while I wait for something to go wrong. If anyone knows how I can teach myself this trick, I’d be happy to hear it!

I’ve been writing this article a few lines at a time for most of the day now. My plan is to write a new article every Saturday, post the next part of ‘The City of Gate’ (a forum-style RPG on Facebook) on Sunday, work on a short story submission on Monday, then on Tuesday I work on ‘The Haunted Story’, the writing guide on Wednesday, ‘Hermes925’ on Thursday, and ‘Leveling Up’ on Friday. Technically it’s now Sunday since it’s a quarter after midnight, so I’d better wrap this up!

I have to do at least an hour’s writing each day, and I’m using ‘The Book Factory’ and my family to help hold me to it. Even if I’m exhausted from work. 1 hour. I’ve spent more than an hour on this, but I have been writing only a few lines at a time throughout the day. In fact, I’ll finish this in the morning. I’m tired. 🙂


Awake again. My family go to church. My Dad’s the Vicar (Priest), so he has to. Mum runs the Sunday school (or ‘Messy Church’ as they call it). Today they’re building a temple out of cardboard boxes. Mum asked me yesterday to come along and help. I really don’t want to, but how do I say no? I feel bad even typing this knowing that she’s probably going to read this. She always reads my articles.

I think it’s mostly because I’m still figuring things out. For a long time I thought being shy was a bad thing and I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to be proactive and bold instead. However, I still tend to ignore things I don’t like instead of doing anything about it. I let myself be swept along instead of fighting the current. I worry that if I go along with this I’ll never achieve anything, and that I’ll be okay with never achieving anything.

It would make life a lot easier I suppose. To stop trying so hard and just go along for the ride. I may not ever become the successful writer I want to be, but at least I would avoid the struggle, and the pressure of success. Instead of facing and overcoming my fear of failure, and my fear of success (if I actually become successful then people will come to expect things of me, an I may not be able to sustain it), I could just accept my meek, shy, and wimpy self, and let life/God/whatever take over.

It feels like giving up. If I go to church, I might find myself becoming attracted to the lifestyle Christianity offers. I might decide that being a sheep is far easier than trying to be a wolf. Live a quiet life, don’t make any waves, and go to Heaven, remembered only by a handful of people with kind, generic, words.

 

Sadly, it’s sort of appealing. I worry thought that there will always be a part of me that knows I took the easier path. That I gave up. Would I still become I writer if I get involved with the church? I know that if I get involved I’ll feel like a hypocrite. Unless I allow myself to believe in God again (I used to when I was a kid), and ignore everything that caused me to turn away from Christianity in the first place.

I’m not sure I can do it. Pretend to be Christian, allow people to assume I’m Christian, or publicly convert to Christianity because it would be easier. All of the options seem bad. I do wonder though if my belief that organised religion is a form of mind control to keep the population from competing with the ambitious is still valid now that I know that my shyness is not something I can get away from. It’s either genetic, or so deeply ingrained that I haven’t successfully overcome it.

I noticed I didn’t say ‘can’t’, which I find reassuring. It implies I still believe it’s possible. There’s also a possibility that none of this will be an issue. I’ll go help out with messy church and feel no obligation at all to be Christian or help indoctrinate the kids. I’ll meet some nice people, and begin to make some connections in the community.

I may even find more people interested in my writing, preferably interested enough to ask me ‘How’s the writing going?’ or ‘When’s the next part of Hermes925 out?’ every time they see me. However, I’ve learned not to put too much faith in people. It invariably leads to disappointment. I probably need to lower my standards. Learn to be more accepting of people as they are, instead of expecting them to live up to their potential. This includes myself.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I wasn’t a success. Perhaps living a normal, mundane life surrounded by nice people is okay. I really hope they’re nice.

This article has been a lot more unguarded than usual. We’ll see what sort of feedback I get.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

Around And Round We GO

For those of you that managed to catch the previous post before I deleted it, I’m feeling much better now. I had hit a low patch which may have been triggered by this self-help book I’m currently trying to write.

Thankfully work was really busy yesterday making me feel both useful and keeping my mind too busy to dwell on the miserable thoughts I’d been having. I’m not sure how much of my scribblings during this slump in my normally positive and ambitious mood will actually make it to the final version of the book, but I think it was a useful exercise to explore and observe the depths of my depression for a day or too.

I have actually been diagnosed with depression, and anxiety, one doctor suggested I may have hypomanic depression. In which case the times I’ve felt the presence of faeries or other spirits (such as the monster on top the wardrobe) may be just sensory hallucinations, a symptom of my disorder. This is a concept I’ve been battling for some time.

I’d love to continue to believe in majic/magic/magick. It’s comforting to think that you could alter the world around you by willpower alone, or with the aid of Gods, Goddesses, faeries, ancestors or the raw power of the universe. Some belief systems would even blame the negative thoughts on daemons, devils, trickster spirits, ghosts or other malicious entities.

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If these entities, both good and bad, are just illusions produced by mental illness, then the voices are my own. My true self trying to help me make sense of the the world. So instead of trying to ignore these thoughts, perhaps I should listen and discover what it is they’re trying to teach me? What I’m trying to teach me.

I’ve come to the conclusion, for now, that I did make it all up. I know I have an active imagination. The things I once imagined were true seemed true based on what I thought I knew at the time. It no doubt helped me cope. I’m sure I will think about this more in future, and I may even end up coming back to the idea that there is magic in the world after all, and I was just temporarily jaded and delusioned.

I had hoped to spend the last two days I had off getting a lot more writing done, and take advantage of the cold I’d been suffering from. Instead I found myself wallowing in self pity and thoughts of futility. I even considered giving up on writing. What would be the point? Well, the point is, because I can and I like it. It doesn’t matter if I never sell a single book. It doesn’t even matter if I’m madly successful and die rich. Either way I’m going to die.

graveyard

What does matter is that I’m alive. I may as well enjoy it, and I enjoy writing. I also enjoy company, and working, and time to myself, and finding time for all of it will no doubt continue to be a struggle. That’s okay. I can accept that. It’s all part of the experience, and there’s no need to be so hard on myself.

Would anyone like to see the binned article? Bear in mind I was feeling very low, almost suicidal, when I wrote it. It’s been pointed out to me that sometimes it’s helpful to see that someone else is going through emotions similar to your own.

I know it’s a pain to comment on the blog, but signing up is worth it. You’ll be able to comment on all of my articles and blogs, as well as the blogs of other WordPress users. You could even create your own blog if you wanted to. 🙂 You can also comment on Facebook or Twitter of course, where I’ll be sharing links to this article. I’m going to make sure my contact info is up to date also if you prefer to text me.

I’m not going to sign off with the “Have a great day :)” that I used to do. It’s sort of condescending, and if you’re not having a great day it’s like a kick in the shins.

Choose your own adventure 😉

Mischief and Magic

When I asked my niece Imogen what I should write about today she didn’t get a chance to tell me before my Dad piped up “Faeries!” She did give me some very sensible suggestions afterward, but I decided to go with my Dad’s suggestion. I love that the Reverend Trevor Copeland not only accepts that I believe in the Fae, but also actively encourages me to share my thoughts on the subject.

Just in case you think I may be crazy, let me give you a little background. I don’t expect to change your mind, but perhaps it’ll help you understand why I think faeries are real.

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I grew up in a haunted house. My parents got a good deal on it because the previous owner was a medium. By that I mean she was able to summon and communicate with the spirits of the dead. She told my parents (and presumably any other prospective buyers) “You may get the occasional visitor, but don’t worry they won’t do you any harm”. If I was the real estate agent, I would’ve hated her for that!

My parents were young and sceptical, so they bought the place. It was right across the road from the local school, next door to a general store, and just around the corner from my grandparents. A good deal. After we moved out, my Dad confessed to feeling a cold spot at the top of the stairs, right next to mine and my sister’s bedroom. He just told me now that it would sometimes smell of kippers (smoked herring).

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On the other side of that wall was a wardrobe. For my US readers, that’s a piece of furniture that functions as a closet, a cupboard with a clothes-rail in it. Anyway, this wardrobe stood in the corner of the room with games and toys stacked on top of it. Even with the door open ajar (my sister was afraid of the dark), there was a deep dark shadow above it.

Sometimes I would lay in bed staring into that shadow, and see red eyes, black fur, and a smile full of sharp teeth. I called it ‘the monster on top of the wardrobe’. Dad tells me that I told him about it (I have no memory of this), and that he offered to chase it away. I told him (he says) “No Daddy, It keeps the others away.” As I grew up I didn’t see him around as much. He showed up again when I was much older, after I began to look into paganism and witchcraft.

MOTOTW

There were other strange things too, that I just took for granted. My older cousins had given us a tote-full of Lego. It was awesome. I could never find the piece I was looking for, so I learned quickly to pretend I was looking for something else. I held the image of the decoy lego brick in my mind clearly as I hunted, until I’d found all the bits I was really looking for.

Long after we moved out of that house, things would go missing, and I’d be the only one able to find them. By pretending it didn’t matter that I found it or not, or seeming to be looking for something else, I can get a ‘feel’ for where the missing item really is. I still do that now. It doesn’t always work, but I have other tricks up my sleeve.

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Monica and I were staying in a youth hostel in London once. As we were packing to leave, we couldn’t find her watch anywhere. We both heard the faeries giggle. I left a pile of coins on the window sill as an offering (we weren’t going to be able to use them in America anyway) and trusted that it would show up. When we got back to the states and opened her backpack, there was her watch, sitting on top of everything else she’d stuffed in there.

Going back a little in time, to a family holiday (vacation) on the Isle of Man. This little speck of land between England and Northern Ireland is a fascinating place. According to legend, it’s the home of the Celtic sea god Mannanen. He kept the Island protected from Roman invaders by hiding it in a blanket of fog, but allowed Vikings to land and interact with the Manx Celts peacefully.

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The Isle of Man also has a faery bridge. As you cross it you’re supposed to say ‘hello’ to the faeries and wave. If you don’t then bad things happen to you. The locals will tell you about a coach bus full of tourists ignoring the tour guides advice, which then crashed on the other side of the bridge.

Then there’s the time I was exploring the woods in Williamson Park in Lancaster, UK. I found an area where the trees looked twisted and unhealthy. I could feel their pain. There was one tree in the middle of them that seemed to call to me, so I approached it and reverently laid my palm on it. I got the clear impression that a glade god, a green man, an aspect of the Celtic god Cernunnos, passed through me. He expressed gratitude for being released and vowed to restore the glade, and I saw/felt the faeries of his kingdom swarm from the tree also, bringing life and joy with them. That same group of trees looked, and felt, much better the next time I passed through.

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I’m not sure I could prove their existence to anyone else. I’ve learned to accept that they’re around through personal experience. Perhaps, if you’re open to it they’ll make themselves known to you too. I do know this though. There’s a lot more of them here on the UK than there are in the US. The faeries I met there were weak, sickly, hurting. Desperate for any belief they could get. Do me a favour and believe in them anyway. Save the American faeries. Leave them coins, milk and bread. Dedicate a little corner of your house or garden to them. Listen for their giggles when your stuff goes missing, and smile.

Do you believe in faeries too? Do you have any stories of personal encounters, or know someone who does? Get in touch! 🙂

 

Daemonic Aspirations

For those that are easily disturbed by talk of demons and hell, fear not, this was simply a mental exercise.

My friend Bumble and I record a podcast called The Masquerade with Bumble and the Brit. It’s very silly and nerdy, and I love it. The subject of religion came up. As you may recall I love discussing religion, especially the expanded mythos. For example, the Christian religion has some interesting ideas about Angels and Demons that don’t originate from the modern Bible. In fact the image of hell has gained more inspiration from Dante’s Inferno, Paradise Lost, and underworld legends from older systems of belief.

Regardless of the origins of Hell, the majority of Christians believe that sinners and unbelievers will go there after they die. That may very well include me, if what a street evangelist in Lancaster, England told me is true. She was quite certain that, no matter what I had done, God would welcome me back with open arms. That is unless I had blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. That, she said, was an unforgivable sin.

I'm Doomed
So I’m doomed.

I have done so, years before the woman in Lancaster gave me a look of heartbroken disappointment, and walked away. I had been a devout little Christian boy my whole life, I was in the Choir, and then an Altar boy after I was confirmed (Anglican Church, not Catholic). I had never really needed God for anything though. There were always parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and teachers there to help me out and make me feel protected and loved. Even the police were trusted adults that made me feel safe. It’s a shame that I assumed this was God’s love I was feeling, because those people who were there for me deserve far more respect and appreciation than I ever gave them. This article may upset a few of them since many of them are still believers, despite my disclaimers.

When I was about 15, and my Sister was 13, my parents went through a rough patch. They separated. It was an odd separation. Grandma Copeland, my Dad’s Mother, was already living next door so that we could keep an eye on her. My Dad moved into her guest bedroom, right next door. What happened afterwards was an adorable reconciliation, and my parents got back together. During this time though, my Sister and I were there for them. Being a somewhat typical fifteen year-old, my emotions were in flux, and felt very sorry for myself that I had no-one to turn to about them. Even the teachers seemed too busy to deal with me. I felt lonely, unloved. All very dramatic. I asked for a sign from God that I was not alone, and felt nothing, heard nothing. So I told the whole damned Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to go fuck themselves.

My Dad is a wonderful Man, but he made a rather dramatic change in his life also. He had been an Atheist. One of the cited reasons for the separation, was that Mum felt that Dad didn’t respect her Christian faith. He had begun going to an Alpha course at the Church I had once attended, to learn more about Jesus. It was during one of these meetings that my Dad saw an Angel. A brilliant living light, the rays stretched like wings. It seemed frustratingly unfair. After the rough patch had ended, every discussion I had with my Father about the old stories, the old beliefs, became an attempt to save my soul.

My Dad, of course, thinks the Lancaster lady was wrong. That I’m guaranteed a spot in heaven, whether I like it or not, because I’ve been confirmed. This, ironically, made me more determined not to follow a God that would resort to such trickery to secure souls! Condemned to Heaven, because I was naive. He can absolutely go Fuck Hisselves. Why would I want to go to Heaven if I have no choice? I’d rather go to Hell on general principle! So this brings us to what I was originally intending to discuss.

heaven

Again. Mental exercise. None of this is to be taken seriously. If we are going to Hell, it’s a choice we make in life. It seems to me that, if you’ve made that choice, that you don’t want to get there and find that you are to be tortured for eternity by demons. It’s accepted by most that the Demons are comprised not just of fallen Angels and entities spawned from the dark void, but also some of the cruelest souls from history. Monsters that were once man.

Wouldn’t you rather be a torturer than among the tortured? If you happen to like the idea of being tortured, your torture may, in fact, to be a torturer instead! Regardless, it’s better to be able to choose, than be a slave to the whims of others. It was suggested, during the podcast, that this could be the basis for a lucrative new religion! 🙂 Like minded sinners can hang out, compare stories of their misadventures, teach classes about certain sinful activities, basically does everything he can to prove ourselves the most worthy of daemonhood.

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The churchgoers would be encouraged to help keep the church going, the recommended tithe being 10% of their income, on autopay. Attempts to gain power and influence, and summon daemonic patrons, through majical means or otherwise, will be actively encouraged. Church money would be readily available to anyone who needs it, on the understanding that the Church is entitled to maintain enough cash in the coffers to keep the place going, the founders well paid, and to be able to pay for other unexpected fees. Chances are that, as the Church gains notoriety certain religious and political groups would have to be paid off. Bribes and lawsuits aren’t going to be cheap! 3:)

Funnily enough, the conversation began because Bumble was suggesting I wear a white shirt with a black collar and call myself a Tsierp! That’s ‘ts’ as in ‘tsunami’. This is because my Dad is now a Priest, a Vicar technically, with a black shirt and white collar. I can’t imagine myself in white, but I could totally rock my Dad’s look! I’d give it my own twist of course, but it would be predominantly black. Perhaps it would become a popular practice among our church-goers to wear white dog-collars, chokers, or ties, against a black shirt to identify each other. If you want to add some color, you could go with a Cardinal’s red, or Bishop’s purple.

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If people do begin doing this though, I shall assume of course that they are in on the joke and don’t actually take any of this seriously. I shall also only accept any money sent to me as a show of support for my writing career, and not a tithe toward the Church. After all, I’m just a fiction writer. All of this is just imaginative speculation. What power could I possibly have to ensure daemonhood or curse you to eternal slavery and torture?

Seriously though. This could be a great sub-premise for a story! Thanks Bumble!

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