All I’m going to say is. . .

Enjoying the heat and the sun, and intend to be making the most of it while it lasts!

And before any of you out there start complaining that it’s too hot, spare a thought for those (like me) who enjoy this weather and have to put up with being cold for more than three-quarters of the year. Sometimes even while wearing four+ layers. Surely you can put up with this for a few days, a week if we’re lucky?

See you when the weather turns!

Weekend Binge

Sometimes I just don’t really want to do anything but sit down in front of the tv. Anyone else get that? Unfortunately I don’t like most programs on actual tv, so I have to find a series or film to watch. These days (theoretically) it’s not so hard what with cheaper DVDs and services like Netflix, but you still have to pick something and there’s tons to choose from. I’m bad at making decisions like that. Big things I’m ok with, it’s the little things that hold me up.

This weekend I fell back on one of my old go-to’s: Jurassic Park. That’s right, I indulged in a four-film Jurassic binge. It was great. Good films, no need to decide what to watch next, weekend taken care of! (I don’t do this too often, but every now and again doesn’t hurt) I know most people don’t like the later films, and technically the latest is ‘world’, not ‘park’, but what the hey. It’s part of the same series.

The original film I love – and I’ll try to argue round anyone who doesn’t. The first excitement of genetic engineering and creating dinosaurs, the special effects which I think stand up positively even against some of today’s stuff (I’ve seen new effects that are worse and less realistic than the Jurassic stuff), the epic music. . . How not only do the baddies get theirs, but some of the good guys don’t make it either. The revelation of dinosaurs as something other than scary monsters, although they can be that too. The development of the characters as you go along.

I’m not going to go through all of them, although I will say I think they maintained the original sentiments of Jurassic Park in Jurassic World while adding new things to it to keep it relevant and fresh. Something else they maintained: the presence of only two named female characters. Compare that to the number of males running round.

  • Jurassic Park: paleobotanist Ellie Sattler, and Mr Hammond’s granddaughter Lex
  • Jurassic Park II: paleontologist Sarah Harding, and Ian Malcolm’s daughter Kelly
  • Jurassic Park III: Amanda Kirby, and a brief reappearance of Ellie Sattler
  • Jurassic World: Claire Dearing and Vivian, with brief appearances of the children’s mother, Karen Mitchell

I don’t analyse the films I watch all that much, sometimes I guess I do it more than others though, and I’ll notice different things. Like this time I noticed the female characters because I’ve been reading and hearing quite a bit about both feminism, and the portrayal of females in books and film. If you compare the latest Jurassic film to the first, the female characters have actually gone backward in many ways, and suffer somewhat by comparison.

And now I’ve started going on, when this was just meant to be a binge confession! That’s writing for you, easy to get off point, which is why you’re meant to plan it. Plan shman I say!

 

Overdoing Things

Why?

Why do I do too much when I know it’s a bad idea? That I’ll suffer for it – sooner rather than later and for longer than expected. There are all sorts of reasons. Last week I did too much for two three main reasons: in support of family, because the weather was pretty good, and because I was feeling better than I had for a while. Now of course, I’m feeling worse than I have for a while.

All weekend, in fact since Friday afternoon, I’ve been feeling pretty lousy. Now this could all be self inflicted, but it could also be weather related – it went very changeable, and from warm in shorts to shivering in trousers and jumper – or it could be alternate health-related in that I was fighting off a cold – I was tired, sneezy, queasy, and grumpy. Which are not Snow White’s dwarfs, but which could be hay-fever instead of illness.

Does it matter which it was? Maybe not, because I felt (and feel) awful either way. Maybe I just needed a place to ramble/rant and this is it. Then again, maybe it does matter, because maybe this is the reason I keep falling foul of my CFS/ME: if when I get to feeling better I push a bit harder, don’t keep as close a watch on how I’m feeling, make myself vulnerable. . . boom and bust. Classic CFS/ME.

You’d think I’d know better after nearly 20 years, but apparently not always. That’s going to change though. I hope? I’ll try?

Avoidance

Not doing something you don’t really want to do is scarily easy. You find excuses, which may or may not also be legitimate reasons. You ‘forget’. You put it off until later and then forget. You decide something else is more important.

I have done all of the above. Probably so have you.

One of the harder things in life is to do something not because you want to, but because it needs doing. If you don’t do it it either won’t get done or it will fall to someone else, so save yourself or that other person a little time and aggravation, and just get on and do the thing already!

Waiting. . .

I don’t do well with waiting. Maybe not many people do. But I’m really bad at it, whether what’s coming is something I’m looking forward to, indifferent about, or wish I could avoid. If I have to do whatever then let’s get on with it!

Sometimes I don’t even know I’m having problems until someone points it out. You see, when I’m waiting for something I have difficulty concentrating. I get fidgety. I have trouble deciding what to do, and then more trouble starting and sticking with it. I have a waiting feeling that just won’t go away. I’m not anxious, I’m just not. . . right. If I work at it I can occasionally get past it, but whatever I manage to produce is not my best.

Like this.

I wanted to write something to explain my recent silence. I’d thought it was just my brain going on strike, but I realised today I’m waiting, and I only hope the feeling will go away soon. Until then I’ll try to keep posting something, though I wouldn’t swear as to quality. It’s the effort that counts though right? That’s what people say?

A Writer? Seriously?

This is something I hear regularly. More so from myself than other people funnily enough. It’s that doubt, that voice from childhood wriggling in your brain: ‘Writing? You mean like a journalist? You wouldn’t like that.’ ‘No, I mean writing as in stories, books. It’s a real job.’ ‘It’s a real job for other people though, it’s far too uncertain to be something you’d want to go into. It’s almost as bad as acting or music! What you want is a good steady profession like accounting or computing or teaching. Become a laboratory assistant, just don’t try to be a writer!’ (I wasn’t actually told I couldn’t be anything, I was just unknowingly steered toward certain things and away from others.)

Trouble is I am a writer. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think about is probably writing – what am I working on at the moment, have I solved that problem, oh heck I’ve finished something, that means I’m on editing! During the day I can sit typing for hours without noticing. Before I go to sleep the characters whisper–

Yes, I’m a crazy person too. I hear voices. My characters often refuse to do things that are out of character or a bit iffy, ask if we can please get on with the story, and demand to know how I’m going to get them out of the situation I’ve stuck us in. It’s a common enough complaint among writers. One said if they weren’t a writer they’d be in serious trouble. I mean, hearing voices, compulsive behaviours and rituals, taking drugs (caffeine only. By the bucket) suffering from multiple personalities, delusions. . . Not a good prognosis.

So, a writer but not a published one, which means I’m not an author. (Subtle difference but a big one) Does this mean, since I’ve been writing for however many years and haven’t yet had anything published, that I’m bad at it? Not necessarily. Could be I’ve been submitting my work to the wrong places, been unlucky, just need to make a slight change to my style and I’d get there. . . Sometimes it feels as stupid as saying you nearly won the race. Because it doesn’t matter how nearly you were if you didn’t win. But at the same time writing is so subjective, so vulnerable to the choice of judges, the chance of who else happens to write a story like yours but theirs is just a snitch better.

My writing story: how I started writing. It all began in school. I enjoyed English classes, I loved reading, and the only downside was the stories we started in class usually didn’t get finished. It was a ‘write the first chapter’ exercise or ‘we’ll finish this next week’ and we never did. I started writing my first novel while I was in secondary school. It turned into a series of novels which I worked on through college, had a break from for the first couple of years of university but then I got back to in my final year. Those notebooks still sit on my writing shelf.

I wrote on and off after that: For My Eyes Only. Got to writing a bit more seriously a couple of years back. I’d had a bad year health-wise, and writing short stories gave me something non-active and not too intimidating to do. Sometimes the brain requirements fell through, but that could be fixed during editing! I showed my work to a couple of people, I saw a poster advertising a competition, and I was hooked. Competition entering is addictive I tell you! And expensive if you’re not so selective, as I wasn’t that first year. After I weaned myself off the competitions I was still writing, but I was back onto novels: a fantasy YA, Regency romance, contemporary romance, sci-fi, a cosy murder, more romances, a ghost story. Not all of them got finished, but I was enjoying having a go at a bit of everything.

There’s so many different routes to go down now as an aspiring author: traditional agent and publishing, entering competitions and making submissions to magazines and journals, self-publication, crowd-funding projects like on kickstarter. . . And don’t get me started on the social media and marketing side of things! Trouble is, several of those options require investment – pay for manuscript editing and assessment, agents get a percentage, publicists get a percentage, having a proper author website can be costly, getting your book self-published often costs, and then there’s cover design– Sorry, sidetracked. What was I saying?

Oh, yes, lots of different routes to choose from. All requiring (unless you’re already rich) a writer to be also editor, designer, marketer, and all while having a ‘real’ job. I’m currently teetering on the precipice: should I self-publish? I’ve edited (and re-edited over and over and over) one of my novels, formatted it how they want, designed a front cover – thank goodness for my limited art skills right? – and now. . . Now I’m thinking things through, trying to decide whether or not to go ahead.

The writing part is so much fun! It’s everything else that’s the pain. I just then feel bad for all these stories sitting on my hard-disk or tucked away on my bookshelf. I can’t stop writing though, and if I’m going to be spending my time on it I might as well keep sending work out to see if anything comes of it. I guess the worst that can happen is I get rejected. Again. Again, again, again, again, again, again. And it’s not always just a no. I’ve had work shortlisted, and one piece has been accepted for publication. (Who knows when it’ll actually be published mind)

Plus, I could claim it’s therapy and then who’s going to tell me to stop? Yeah.

“In my writing I explore situations and express otherwise pent-up emotions, in a healthy and creative way.”

Definitely sounds plausible.

 

The Guilt-Frustration Cycle (With added Hope)

I may have mentioned this before, but everyone – not just people, everyone – says, don’t let (x) stop you from doing things. If the thing stopping you is fear then sure, I agree. (Unless it’s a legitimate fear of death or injury or some such.) Or if it’s only a money thing then go ahead and do it. (Unless doing so means you won’t be eating for the next week.) Or if people say you can’t do something then of course it’s your sworn duty to prove them wrong. (Unless your doing so puts yourself and others in danger.)

So you see the reasons people have for not doing things are automatically a load of rubbish, (Don’t use the children as an excuse – pack them off somewhere for a few days. Work? Take sick days if you don’t have holiday, come on!) and if you want to do something even a teeny-tiny bit then you should.

My reason for sometimes not doing things is way better than any of these. You see, if I start doing something like gardening or working, then at some point I get ill and it all goes to– something unpleasant. In other words I just get used to doing whatever and I’m forced to stop. Imagine the frustration of effort and build-up and perseverance gone to waste! I mean, why work to increase your vertical time, your tolerance for being around people, your ability to leave the house, when it’s all going to be set back to the beginning in a few weeks or months?

Why start in the first place?

Because of guilt. Guilt and a different sort of frustration. The frustration here comes from not being able to do much of anything, and if you don’t put in the effort to improve then you’re never going to be able to do more. You’d go crazy – or I would anyway. The guilt potentially comes from several places. The first is probably the worst: guilt at being a burden on other people, because they have enough to do without taking care of you, being around your toxicly grumpy self, and feeling bad that you’re feeling so bad. Another is self-guilt: you should be doing something to contribute to life, even if it’s just sitting with everyone else to have a meal. Finally there’s the fact that by giving in you’re going against the weight of belief of everyone.

Because you shouldn’t let anything stop you doing things.

No, instead you feel guilty and frustrated so you make the effort to do things like a normal human being, only perhaps you over-do things and suffer another episode. You’re forced to stop. You get more frustrated and guilty but really truly can’t do anything about it. Until your start to feel better, and it starts all over again.

Not so much a guilt-frustration cycle as a constant shifting. . . hmm. The activity cycle? That sounds a bit more like it. Start, improve, get used to, stop, be ill, get better, start. . .

And of course we mustn’t forget the endless springing of hope. Hope also makes you do things. The hope that maybe this time will be the last bad time, that even if you do get bad it won’t be so bad, that if you do things a bit differently, try a bit harder, be a bit more careful. . . I’ve even hoped I was making up being ill, that the next time I got better I’d decide I’d had enough of that and would (as my GP would say) pick myself up and get on with life.

People are bizarre – or maybe that’s just me? Here’s hoping indeed!