Thursday, October 27, 2016

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.....And Head!!

I am well aware that it has been a long time since I have done anything on this site, and am also aware that I may not be talking to an empty room. While I'd sooner have a few people read what I rattle on about here, this blog was always more about having a place to dump out the things in my head than having an audience fawning over my every word.

I recently ran across a website that delivers daily writing prompts, and I felt that it might be nice to start taking some of the ideas that those prompts spark and put them on virtual paper. This may not be a daily thing for me, but when the mood strikes, I will write something. The prompt for today is "SMOKE," and I have to say that the idea came very quickly for me.

That image that you see there is a lot what it feels like inside my head at times. I have, for over a decade now, suffered from anxiety and depression. I am often asked what it feels like, and have found it tough to explain. I have used fog as a metaphor in the past, but smoke works just as well, and may actually be more appropriate now that I think about it.

I tend to think of my head as my favorite space to go to for comfort. Great memories are kept there, and there always appear to be new images hanging on the walls, many of which give me ideas for things to write about. It's a place where I can be totally free, and where I feel as though I can come to no harm.

When I get into one of my rather nasty little funks, or I become anxious about some seemingly innocuous event that I have to attend, that room becomes a whole lot less hospitable. Things quickly become hazy, and breathing normally becomes a chore. My happy hidey-hole becomes filled with smoke, and it chokes me to the point where I just want to smash open a widow and scream for help. Now, if only I could find that window.

My wife is usually the one who finds here way into that room and gently opens the window for me, clearing the air and calming me down in one move. The time between these events has grown a little longer in recent years, and while I know they will probably never fully go away, I know that they will be manageable as long as I have someone by my side who sees the signs and knows how to clear the smoke from the room.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Too Fat To Dance

Every day is Groundhog Day in my world, just as long as I can avoid mirrors. I wake up every single day and believe that I am 25. In fairness to my mind, that was an age when I was young, spry, and could do the splits from a 4-foot dance floor drop. If I were to try that now you wold hear my knee cartilage pop like milk on Rice Krispies.

My knees being arthroscopically probed.
All of this doesn't mean that I don't try to give it plenty on the dance floor that is the space where my cat isn't stretched out on the living room carpet. I love music, I love to dance, but I can only embrace one of those hobbies without going into cardiac arrest. You guys decide which is which.

Tonight is a dance party night, but my knees and heart tell me to shut shit down and act my age. My head rules the roost in this kingdom, though, which make tomorrow a day sponsored by Ben-Gay.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taking It Too Far

It always starts the same way; I get a little nugget of an idea for a story, usually from something I dream, and then I start a dialogue inside my head. It usually all begins with a single character talking to no-one in particular, and it's when the replies start to come that the story begins to flesh out a little fuller.

This current idea started somewhat differently, in that it came from an article I read about the 3 am to 4 am hour being when the veil between our world and the next is at its very thinnest. I was intrigued by this, and started to imagine what it would feel like for someone to be tormented by unseen forces during that hour. What started as a very basic concept eventually turned into a story about crib death, relationships breaking apart, and a level of violence that went beyond anything I had ever written before. That I have written some brutally violent stuff gives you an idea of how bad it was.

I was a little concerned!

I'm not usually one to censor myself, but I was finding it difficult to get this story out, whilst also finding it unbearable to have in my head. It didn't help that the story format I was choosing was going to be in journal form, making the act of storytelling a little trickier. I started writing this thing, but was troubled. I decided it was time to tell the idea to my editor and harshest critic: my wife.

As I revealed the details of this little yard, I could see her become increasingly disturbed. I cannot remember the exact words she said, but it was something along the lines of..."isn't there any way to tone this down a little? It's horrible as is?" I thought of a few ways to perhaps lighten things up, but the emotional impact was instantly removed.

And so the word document, innocuously named "3AM" with the opening few hundred words sits in my desktop and taunts me every time I open my laptop. I want to delete it, but find that I cannot. The struggle is real, and I know that on some sleepless night, probably between 3 and 4 in the morning, that thing is going to call me out and make me finish this space!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Another Mother's Day

At this time last year, I wrote a Mother's Day post dedicated to my mum who has now not been with us for what seems like an eternity. The reality is that you simply cannot measure a loss of that magnitude in terms of days, weeks, months, or even years, as it is something that sticks to your soul and sucks a little bit of life out of your every time you think about it. That thinking about my mum is a daily event for me gives you a little indication of the impact it has had on this old heart of mine.

I don't like to speak for anyone else, but i imagine that my sister's have similar feelings, with days as special as today making that loss a little more painful than usual. I hope that my sisters are able to do the same thing as me in these situations, and that is to plug the holes in the heart with the love that you get from everyone else. When I think of my mum, I also tend to think of my Dad and my two great sisters, and that mends things a little. I then think of my wife and my kids, and that pain becomes lessened and my heart becomes a little more whole. It will never be fully mended, that I know, but it will be patched up enough by love to make it function as it should.

Perhaps the biggest coronary repair kit comes in the form of memories of my mum. Those are like a battery charger for the failing soul. Whenever I start to slip to a point where it feels as though there may be no coming back, I switch from the negative thoughts and think of the good ones. I am fortunate in that my mum was able to provide us all with so many, as that means the charging power will always remain on full.

Whether your mum is in the here and now or the hereafter makes no difference today or any other day. Tell her that you love her and reach out to her in any way that you can. For some it will be in the form of a happy hug, for others a silent prayer. For me, it will be in the raising of a wee glass of whisky with a toast to the woman that made the most positive impact in my life, and who will continue to do so until my name is called.

Love you mum!! Cheers!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Child Of The 80's

I have spent the last few days listening to my fully-loaded iPod and reminiscing about the magical days of the 80's.

Those were the day when I had hair, and when I looked down I could still see my feet. My music of choice back then was the New Wave sounds, where sythesizers bleeped and blooped out some of the greatest music ever created.

Whenever one of those tunes hits my stereo, I can't help but leap off the couch - ok, I get up gingerly to the accompaniment of cracking bones - and launch into some of my signature 80's dance moves. An example of said move can be seen in the video below:

Since it was well past time to get another lens up over at Squidoo, I decided to pause the tribute to bacon article that I was working on and deliver an 80's tribute piece. Please take a moment to click on over and read while I ice down my back and knees after listening to The Reflex by Duran Duran for the 4th consecutive time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Turn Me Into A Giant Squid

I should preface this piece by immediately letting you know that the title above is not an invitation to a Kickstarter campaign to have myself shipped off to the Island of Dr. Moreau. What I am actually doing is trying to gain a wee bit of a foothold over at Squidoo.

When you get noticed over there, you become what is known as a "Giant Squid." I constantly get people asking to see examples of my writing before they purchase, which is a smart move. The problem is that I have been bitten by that, with people essentially running off with work that was done for another client. With Squidoo, I can write cool little articles, or Lenses as they are referred to there, which I can then point people to as an example.

My goal is to create 52 lenses in the next few months. If that seems like a rather oddly specific number, it is because I want to tackle different subject starting with each letter of the alphabet, TWICE!!

Here is where I need your help. The first lens I created was about Airbrush Art, with the next one about to be devoted to all things BACON!! What I need are some suggestions for upcoming letters of the alphabet. Be as obscure as you like, as I am also using the whole Squidoo thing to try and challenge myself a little.

If you are nice enough to head on over and check out what I do, please go ahead and share, as that will launch me ever closer to giant squid status and the fame that it brings. Well, there is no real fame, but it will help improve my mood a little.

Thank you in advance!!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NaNo Update And Book Cover

We are now officially beyond the halfway point of National Novel Writing Month, and I have to confess that a little bit of panic has crept in. I have just crossed the halfway point - 25,000 words - of the expected total word count, but it came 4 days after it should have.

I always knew that not being able to get done on time, especially given my daily writing workload, but I was determined not to fail at the first time of asking. This made me assess what failure would actually mean in this specific scenario. Assuming I don't hit the magical 50,000 mark by the time the clock strikes Midnight on the last day of the month, will it means that the story will stop and be cast aside? No, it does not.

I have had this little tale bouncing around in my head for about 3 years, and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. If it means that I come out of that tunnel a few days behind schedule, then so be it. THIS THING IS GETTING FINISHED!!

I have even taken the step of having the cover designed, which was actually a very painless process, as well as being one that fit into my non-existent budget. The finished result is proudly displayed up top, and it has actually contributed to my excitement level.

I want to take this time to thank everyone who has offered words of encouragement and support, especially my incredible wife who has had to sit and listen to me ramble about tiny plot details while she is just trying to relax and have a little quiet time.

I may only be halfway home, but the boys will be here soon....oh, and the inimitable Miss Raven Loonie, too.