Making Progress

I spent all day yesterday applying for jobs. Including a couple from the newspaper. I even decided to put in a claim for jobseeker’s allowance. Today I woke to an email asking me to come in for an interview. Not one of the ones I’d applied for days ago, but one from yesterday’s newspaper! Shortly after I also got an appointment scheduled for my Jobseeker’s claim.

A quick explanation for my American audience. In England we have a government funded benefit, called Jobseeker’s Allowance, available to those actively looking for work, but unable to find a job. In some cases it’s abused by people looking to get money to do nothing, but for many it’s a life-saver.

In order to be able to claim this money there are several hoops to jump through, including an online application and and face-to-face interview. I’m told by a friend who just came off it that you also need to show proof that you’re spending 30+ hours per week looking for work.

Personally I’d rather find a job than spend 30+ hours a week trying to find a job. Especially since I only really looking for part-time work to give me some pocket money. I’m very lucky to have a roof over my head thanks to my parents and grandparents, and food in my belly. Grandma actually let me help today too. I cooked the rice!

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These people are awesome!

Someday I might need to pay for the gas, electricity and internet myself, but not right now. For as long as my Grandparents are still around, I don’t have much to worry about. If anything goes wrong though, I have no fallback position. Unless I have a job, or at least jobseeker’s allowance. It would be nice to help out, have a little fun money, and save some up too.

I’m excited about my interview on Friday. It’s for a ‘Front of House’ position at a local pub and restaurant called ‘The Brown Cow Inn‘. It’s a family favourite, and it’s only 11 minutes walk from where I live with my Grandparents. I’m probably going to clean off my black nail varnish (nail polish) and keep the guyliner off. It would make things simpler to actually have a job, so I don’t want to scare them off.

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It would be very nice to work here

I also need to make time today for creative writing. Hence why I’m writing this post, to try and transition myself out of jobhunting mode and back into writing mode. It helps that I’ve started doing mid-week updates for City of Gate to try and quicken the pace. So I wrote that already. I’d like to get another article written for Games and Geekery if I can too, though I haven’t decided what yet.

Watch this space. I may end up coming back to tell you about my new story idea instead. It’s about vampires!

Have a great day! 🙂

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New Beginnings

If you can’t see the video, or can’t play it right now, I’m just showing of my very pretty (for now) room in my Grandparents house in Dalton-in-Furness. We just arrived today, and I’m very excited about this next step in my life. This will include more writing, find a part-time job to help keep on top of things, and meeting new and interesting people that I can get interested in my website and my book.

To that end I also have the new business cards. They arrived the same day I did. They look awesome. If you take objection to the fact it says author, that’s okay. I still consider myself an author, a writer and a wordsmith. I would include poet, but I don’t particularly enjoy writing poetry. Regardless, I self-identify as an author and I will not be bullied into changing it just because I don’t fit certain people’s narrow definition. 😛 Here’s the card, it’s double sided:

I have a little desk that folds out. I have it set up right now, but I can put it away when I’m not using it so that it doesn’t take up space. It was still in boxes when I got here. The first thing I did, before I’d unpacked even, was to build my desk. I like it very much. Being able to fold it down out of the way should encourage me to put away my notes when I’m done with them instead of leaving them strewn across the desk.

You also get to see me reflected in the mirror. Don’t be too alarmed. I’m going to keep this article short as Grandad should be coming back with Fish & Chips soon, and after dinner I need to get myself ready. I’ve been told there’s a band playing at The Derby (a pub in Barrow) tonight, and I intend to be there. With my new business cards.

I look forward to comments, but bear in mind I’m entitled to a difference of opinion. If you want to change my mind, may I suggest a reasonable discussion between equals. Shoving your opinion down my throat and insisting I change is precisely the wrong way to go about it. 🙂

Have a great day.

Adopt, Adapt and Improve.

I got a step closer to getting myself all set up for living and working as a full-time writer in the UK. I applied for a bank account. I still have some money left in my US bank account and I’d like to be able to hold on to it, since that will be my only source of money until I have an income. I had considered just spending it all quickly before it goes towards bills, or just pulling it all out from an ATM, but I’d rather like to keep my Netflix and Hulu accounts going. Plus I need a bank account to set up my UK Paypal account. I need a UK Paypal account because it will make affiliate marketing for my blog easier.

I had considered just using my US Paypal account for this, but that would require also maintaining the American checking account that’s paired with it, and probably paying some American taxes too. Since I’m not living there anymore, I’d rather not. Having a UK bank will also make receiving wages easier too. Though generating an income may be a little more complicated than I’d hoped.

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My Grandparents in the Lake District

The plan was to move in with my Grandparents as their live-in care assistant.My Grandparents are very fit and active despite being in their 90’s, so I wasn’t anticipating much difficulty. However, my Grandma says she too healthy to need assistance, and refuses to tell the doctor she needs help. I’m still going to live there, rent free, and they’ll make sure I’m fed too. However, it looks like I’ll need at least a part-time job for pocket money.

This alters my plans somewhat. I had been hoping to work more or less full-time as a writer, while also being available if Grandma or Grandad needed my help. Whenever I need to get out of the house, I could make time with local friends and family. Grandma seems to think that having a part-time job will get me out of the house and meeting people more, which is true, but it will cut into my writing time or my friends time.

I’m hoping that, once I’m there, I can convince her. I accept that they are both remarkably well for her age, this could change quickly. However, I’m thinking the approach I’ll have to take will be to agree with her that she doesn’t need anyone, but I  need her to do this for me. Tell her that people tend to assume that someone of their age does need help, and as a result it should be relatively easy to convince the doctor and anyone else that they do, in fact, need care. Essentially I’ll be asking her to lie, for my sake, which will allow her to continue to believe she doesn’t really need help, she’s just saying she does for my benefit.

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The Pub nearest my Grandparent’s house.

If not, then I’ll just have to see about picking up some hours at the local pub, or one of the shops in town, just to give me some walking around money. I will, of course, also be seriously researching affiliate marketing, and other methods of monetising this blog. As well as working on short stories and other paid writing opportunities. Despite my Grandma’s concern that I need to get out more, I fear I won’t have time for my friends. Perhaps if she sees this for herself, she’ll relent. Maybe.

If you happen to be an employer in Dalton-in-Furness, I have experience in call centres, retail and bars. Ideally I would like to work in an environment that doesn’t mind that I wear nail polish and eyeliner, and a lot of black clothing. In fact, ideally I’d like to attract the attention of a ‘patron of the arts’ and get paid just for doing what I love to do, write. I understand that such a person would want some degree of creative input, and I like to bounce my ideas off people anyway.20160802_192051.jpg

I must warn you though, if you are a wealthy individual that thinks I’ll be your sugar-baby, I come with baggage and strange beliefs. I’m not saying it’s impossible, especially if you’re an attractive lady, but perhaps you should carefully check the warning labels first! Of course, many talented artists and writers have their own quirks. Perhaps, having already sponsored other creative souls, you are well aware of this.

Speaking of writing, I need to get working on the scene from Hermes925 I mentioned yesterday. I’m think I’m going to re-draft my outline too, to help me see the story’s new shape. If you’re interested in seeing the new outline once it’s written, you can either comment here on my blog, go to my contact page, email me or use Facebook to tell me so. I’d be more than happy to hear your ideas regarding my stories, or even suggestions for new articles.

You can also use the contact methods listed above if you’re interested in buying ad space on my website, or publishing guest articles, or offering me a job 🙂

Remember to follow if you haven’t already, click links for articles from others bloggers and myself, and have a great day.

The Road to Recovery

I’m a recovering stoner. I would wake and bake, go to work high, go home high and go to sleep high. I smoked up the last of my weed on my last day in the US. That was the 20th of July. Today is the 6th of August. I really miss it. I don’t quite feel right without it, but I don’t like feeling this way. My family are being great, I feel happier, more whole, like my broken heart is healing just being with them. Their support has been invaluable.

I got into the habit while I was still with my ex. She smoked to help with the neurological pain and depression. I smoked it too because it made me feel more confident, and slow my brain down. She didn’t like me smoking though. When we broke up, I started smoking weed more frequently to help me cope. With the loneliness. With the heartache. With the overwhelming sense of failure.

It’s quite possible that part of the reason I’m feeling particularly needful of it today is because she contacted me last night. She needed my new address. We’ve been broken up for two years, and I’m not even in the same country anymore. It still stirs up old shit though every time she sends me an e-mail. Last night’s facebook message felt worse, presumably because it’s a real-time conversation, and therefore lacks the psychological buffer of e-mail. There’s no real difference of course.

Perhaps the timing of her message and the rising frequency of the disturbing dreams, the tightness in my chest, and the desire to get high is just coincidence. All I really know is that I don’t want to feel like this.

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This wasn’t supposed to be a selfie. I couldn’t get the camera to flip.

I also feel a little pathetic. As far as drugs go, weed is pretty wimpy. It’s not chemically addictive. I’m grateful I’ve never gotten hooked on anything harder to quit, like cocaine or cigarettes! I know herion is particularly bad, it never sounded fun, especially when you factor in my needle phobia. Weed is a plant, natural, harmless and fun. It makes you giggle! It helps you take life less seriously.

Why am I feeling so anxious without it? Part of me thinks maybe this is just me. I used to have disturbing and dramatic dreams when I was younger. I would often feel shy or anxious at social gatherings and whenever I was asked to do something I wasn’t good at. Maybe this is just who I am, and I just have to get used to it. Overcome my anxiety the hard way, by working through the hesitation and getting it done. Like an adult.

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There are sheep in that field. I was trying to frame them in the foliage.

I don’t hesitate when I’m high. Doing new stuff I’ve never tried before is fun. I’m not worried about embarrassing myself or doing it wrong. Getting good at something takes practice. I know this, without having to give myself a pep talk. I can talk to a complete stranger without an ounce of shyness, and start a conversation with them.

I want to be able to do that without having to be dependent on a drug. I don’t want pills either. They’re worse. Even as I’m writing this, I know that I’d feel a lot better if I could just smoke a bowl. I also know though, or at least hope, that if I can just ignore the craving I’ll come out the other side. I’ll have recovered.

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You have to find gaps in the hedgerow to glimpse the surrounding countryside.

The walk helped a little. I wanted to record video to go along with the article and I didn’t want to talk about it within earshot of my little nieces. I love those little girls, and they’re way too young to hear this self-indulgent crap. I’m aware of how self-centred I’m being right now. I don’t want to be.

So I went for a walk. I happened to notice there was a Pokestop on the edge of the village, so I used that as my excuse to get out. It’s a beautiful day, and I figured I could find a nice quiet spot to sit and record my thoughts. I ran out of Pokeballs again and missed out on catching a Voltorb. I found the Pokestop though, and sure enough discovered it was a quiet little spot to sit by a stream, a creek, and record.

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The second pokestop. Capel Y Annibynwyr. Where my service went out.

I was able to activate the pokestop a second time before I headed for another one I saw not far from where I was. The second one was at a chapel, and I lost data connection right as I got to it. I ended up wandering down a private road to Wig farm, got my signal back, and found a shortcut through an open field on the way back that kept me in signal range. I hit that pokestop, and even got to hit the one by the creek again on the way back home.

It occurred to me as I was almost home to check on the eggs I had collected in Pokemon GO! and see if any of them were close to hatching. It was only then that I learned that you have to actually select one and put them in the incubator for your walking to count toward hatching them. Dammit. I’ll just have to walk again tomorrow, and hope I don’t burn through my data too quick. I still haven’t made any income from my writing yet. Selling my stuff for airfare doesn’t count!

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Wasn’t sure if it was a public footpath, ended up at Wig Farm.

That might be a good thing right now. If I can’t afford to buy more data, I can’t buy weed either. I wanted to quit even when I was living in the US. My dependence on it bothered me. My moving here, where I have no contacts that can hook me up, I might actually have a chance to be done with it. I can really get better without being tempted.  The tough part will be continuing to stay away from it when I move to Dalton. I have people there. Well not there exactly, but in Barrow. So friends from up north, if you’re reading this. Don’t let me fall off the wagon. Please.

Are you going through something similar? Have you already gotten through it? I want to hear from you. Follow my blog if you haven’t already, and my YouTube channel.

Have a great day. Here’s a pic dump:

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Summoning a Short Story

I was going to try and get a short story written today. At least get one started, but my brain is not cooperating. In America I could put a familiar movie on in the background, pick up a pen, and start writing. Today I found myself watching the movie instead. It was Avengers. A great movie, but one I’ve seen countless times before. When I did get writing it wasn’t particularly helpful.

A US periodical called ‘Fantasy & Science Fiction‘ offers 7-12 cents per word up to 25,000 words. So I used up half a page just figuring out how many pages I would have to fill in my notebook to get to 25,000 words. They want the document printed, so I would have to type it up and print it. That shouldn’t be too hard since my parents have their own printer, but these thought processes don’t actually get the story written.

Even now I’m thinking that I should research UK magazines and find out how many words they want, and how much they pay. I’d be very frustrated if I spent time and effort writing a story, only to find it’s too long, or that there aren’t any magazines that are looking for that genre. I’d like to write The Lord Highwayman, but I’m not sure it’ll sell, being historical fiction. I’ve also thought about writing the barfight scene from Hermes925. It’s in the draft I only have in my notebooks right now. I’m not sure it still fits in the new version of the story I’m mapping out, or even if it has to.

Does anyone know of a UK website similar too ‘Freedom with Writing‘? It’s a website I currently subscribe to that tells you about paid writing opportunities. Or does anyone know where I could start looking for writing work in the UK? Which magazines take submissions and which ones pay?

I should just write something first, then I could send out samples right away to whomever I think might publish it. I can worry about editing the length and content later based on their feedback. If it doesn’t get accepted, I’ll just add it to the archive. I can always dust it off later if I find a niche for it. That’s what I set it up for.

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I’m I just hesitating because I don’t want to be rejected? Maybe. I just need to suck it up. In the states, when I felt like this, I had access to a herbal solution that would calm me down and return my thoughts to the imaginative and creative, instead of the practical. Even if I were to acquire some I’m not going to smoke it in the vicarage. I just need to get writing and let the story out, and hope that I get caught up in the flow enough to keep my concerns from distracting me from my goal.

So having got this all off my chest, I’m now going to attempt to write something. I’m sure you’ll end up seeing some, or all, of it in a future article. Please follow, if you don’t already, so you don’t miss it, and have a great day.

PS. The video took so long to upload I did get a quick draft of the barfight written up, taking into account the new direction of Hermes 925. Click here to read it!

 

Kidwelly Castle

A trip to Kidwelly

Today my family and I went to check out the town that they’ll be moving to at the end of August. Kidwelly. That’s actually the English word for it, in Welsh it’s Cydweli. I took lots of pictures on the way, and while we were there. Some of my favourites will be posted on Instagram, but the full pic-dump is right here!

My plan is still to move to Dalton-in-Furness to help take care of my Grandparents and to be near my old friends and my old stomping ground. That won’t be happening until mid-september though, and there’s lots to sort out until then. Including being able to prove that I’m staying here so that I’m eligible for employment, getting a copy of my National Insurance card, actually getting the in-home care position arranged and secured, etc. In the meantime, I’m going to help Mum, Dad, Gill (my Sister), and girls Bethany & Imogen, to get set up in their new home.

I rode with my Sister and the Girls. The country roads are tiny, particularly around the village of Pontgarreg where they currently live. It’s a good job I trust Gillian completely or I might have been absolutely terrified. I tried to take video of the speed at which my sister confidently navigates these narrow lanes, but then we got stuck behind a tractor.

The first thing we did was visit Parc Y Bocs, a farm shop with a café and an amazing playground. The girls had a great time, and went for the the pirate-ship themed treehouse first.

After we were done playing, we went to the café. I had the salmon and broccoli quiche, which was yummy. The girls had the cheeseburgers, and I got to try some of Imogen’s. That too was delicious. The kind of delicious that starts at your mouth and spreads comfort and joy through your entire body. I took a picture of the specials board because I thought some of my more immature American friends would find one of the items amusing. Can you guess which one?

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It’s a Welsh-style pork meatball.

After that we had a quick glance at the Ysgol Y Castell, or Castle School, which will be the girl’s new school once they start the new school year. We couldn’t actually get close because of the security fence around the grounds. It seems appropriate that it be heavily fortified, but the real reason is because you can see Kidwelly Castle from there.

It’s not far from there to the Priory Church of Saint Mary. This is one of 3 churches that my Dad, as Priest in Charge of Cidweli and Llandyfaelog, will have purview over. This is the reason why they’re moving. The Reverend Trevor Copeland‘s promotion. It’s a beautiful old church. Here’s some pics of the interior.

Then we walked through the town and what passes for a town centre on our way to Kidwelly Castle. There were some great shots of St Mary’s and the Castle on the way.

Then we got to explore Castle Kidwelly for a bit. I’m looking forward to exploring more of it once they live here.

We walked back through town, had some disappointing ice-cream, and drove to the new Vicarage. Two and a half storeys. It’s only 2 from the front, but the pavement curls around on a slope to reveal 3 storeys from the back. Sure enough, once we get inside, there’s a downstairs with just 2 rooms in it. One of which will be Dad’s office, where he talks with visiting parishioners and church officials. The other will be the guest bedroom where I’ll be staying until I move to Dalton, or whenever I show up. 🙂 It has an en-suite bathroom!

After the grown-ups finished discussing what still needed fixing and measured up the rooms we made our way back from Kidwelly to Pontgarreg. We played I-spy on the way so I didn’t take as many pics. Here’s what I got though.

It was a fun day. Kidwelly is a nice little town. There are buses which will make it much easier for me to get around if Dad or my Sister are unable to drive me. Not that it should be an issue for long.

I’m going to get more writing done tomorrow. I’m thinking it’ll be Hermes’ turn for an update. I’ve been requested to write an article detailing my dating misadventures since I broke up with Monica. I may actually oblige them. Subscribe so you don’t miss it, and don’t forget to share my articles!

Have a great day/ night. I certainly did!

 

Fourth Day in Wales

I actually have no idea what I’m going to write about. That’s why I don’t have a better title.

It feels like I spent most of yesterday copying and updating notes. I still have more to go through. I managed to get a new page added under the City of Gate: Chronicles tab, about the characters Al and Simonides. Unlike some of the other Chronicles I’ve posted here, these characters were originally devised by friends who were playing The City of Gate with me. The things that the dwarf and the half-orc do were choices that the players actually made in the game.

If you like the fantasy world of City of Gate, you can keep up with new entries by following this blog and the dedicated Facebook page, or actively participate in the story by joining in the game on Facebook. Pick a link.

You may have noticed that I tend to include links in all my posts. I do this partly to try and increase traffic to my own pages, but also to show appreciation to those that have followed me. I also link back to pages, stories and articles I like, or to provide a deeper explanation of something I mention in passing. If you would like me to include a link in a future post to your own blog, project, product, service or charity, just contact me.

I was also considering an update for the page header. I mentioned this on Facebook. Here’s a few of the pictures that I’m considering using for the backdrop of my logo, now that I’m no longer living in the US. I’d love to hear your opinion.

There’s something oppressive in the atmosphere today. Everyone’s feeling it. Even the kids are feeling unusually tired. Are you feeling it too? It could be just local air pressure I suppose. Either way, I’m not looking forward to working on my stories today. Looking at the pile of notes, some of which I haven’t read through yet, makes me want to play a video game or sleep instead!

On the other hand, I’m wondering if some of the stories I don’t remember, like ‘Mr Johns‘, are hidden somewhere in the books and loose papers I have yet to look through. I may do more reading today, and work on Hermes tomorrow. I’ve already found an older version in which the protagonist is an engineer by trade, hired by one of his repeat clients to work on Hermes as maintenance crew, instead of janitorial. It was called ‘the Far-reach project’ in this version, and Psi-mon wasn’t just another janitor with a knack for programming, he was hired as a software engineer. I may try incorporating these ideas back into the narrative. There was no N•Viron in the older version, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.

If I can regain my focus, and shake this odd fuggy feeling, I may even be able to get started today. I’m tempted to do what I already did for this article. Sit down, start typing, and see where it gets me. Sometimes it’s good to go back over old articles and notes, to remind yourself what you set out to accomplish in the first place. Then setting out in the right direction even though you’re not certain where it will lead. We’ll see.

Have a great day everyone! I look forward to reading your comments.