Psychic

In January I’ll have been doing automation for eighteen years. Not bad, considering when I was asked to go to a new cruise ship and learn automation, I didn’t know what it was.

I’ve done it on cruise ships, and for resident shows, and tours, and big events, and one offs. I could probably even claim I’ve worked on movies and TV, although it wasn’t specifically for that but more as an aside for a show I was already working on. I’ve been the boss, and the peon, and everything in between. I’ve worked with solid, reliable systems, and dodgy, skin of your teeth systems. And crews.

I’ve explained so many times that no, automation is not the same as the lighting or the sound. On several occasions, to the same people. That’s fine. I like what I do, and I’m mostly proud of what I’ve done, even if I wouldn’t always want anyone to see the actual shows themselves.

I got fired in August. First time for everything, I guess. But it sucks getting to 39, 17+ years under my belt, and getting let go. But the weird thing about it was, I knew it was coming.

I had a feeling about a week before it happened. Watched a guy go complain about me to management. But more than that, when I took the job I joked with people that I’d meet up with them when the tour swung through town, unless I got fired before then. I’ve never joked about that before, on any gig. But this one, for some reason from the moment I took it I was joking about it. I even asked when the show would need me in Europe, as I was planning a birthday trip. And added, assuming you guys would still want me by that point.

So yeah, I’m psychic. I knew it. But I would like to know, if I knew I was going to get canned, and I’d joked about it for six weeks before it happened after a month of work, why it still rankles? A friend said, on hearing of it, “Conrgatulations, you’re now a proper roadie.” So it’s not like it doesn’t happen. A bunch. And I was smiling on the way out the arena, for the first time in two weeks. It was definitely best for me. But still.

And this is totally different from the time I was put on a corporate black list for a cruise line. I wasn’t fired that time, and in fact they extended my contract by two weeks while they tried to find a replacement. I just wasn’t offered another contract (for a while, at least; got an email two years later asking if I was still interested in working for them. I politely (and arrogantly) declined).

Anyway, I’m writing this at work, a different job, so the biggest impact getting fired has had on me is my fragile ego.

Luck

History is pretty great. Apart from having the benefit of hindsight and being able to look back and judge all those poor dumb bastards for treating things with leeches, or painting their faces and making water pipes out of lead, it’s pretty amazing to hear about some of the things people have gotten up to— you wouldn’t think to make half of it up.

But do you know how lucky we are to not be living in history? I mean, yeah, of course everything we’ve done is technically history already, but in reading about some of the things people have gotten up to, well, holy shit there was a lot of shit.

Not even counting all the wars that seem to have filled most of our time and taken most of our money since we came up with both of them, there’s all the medical stuff. The Black Death, Spanish Flu, appendixes and childbirth and lead poisoning… I’m pretty glad that they’re not much of a concern these days. But that’s not what this blog is about.

How many of you wouldn’t have had a job a hundred years ago? Fifty? Ten?

I know I woudn’t, even fifty years ago. Automation wasn’t exactly a thing, theatrically speaking. So how cool is it I get to work on something I love that I’d have never been able to do fifty years ago? In all the thousands of years of humanity, I’m lucky enough to be alive NOW, and do the stuff I enjoy. But it’s the same almost across the board, except for farmers, merchants, and ladies of negotiable virtue.

And even they have it better, I’d argue. Farmers get all the machinery to use, merchants can sell things to people halfway round the world with a click of a few buttons, and again, medicine has been good for sex workers.

I digress. I get to be an automation operator/programmer, a career that wasn’t a thing such a short time ago. I want to get into writing movies and TV— again, a career that wasn’t a thing a short time ago. And can anyone tell me what the hell influencers would be doing if they weren’t influencing? How lucky are those bastards?

copy and paste

A couple of year ago, I was writing ten thousand words a month (a couple, in the same sense that “I’ve only had a couple of drinks” or “I’ve only been across the Atlantic a couple of times).

Back then I was on a roll. I was also on someone else’s payroll. I would write at work, in my down time, and I had a lot of down time as my job basically consisted of putting out metaphorical fires.

At some point that stopped. Maybe it was the feedback— I sent it to a family member’s family member, and they didn’t really give me anything I felt was constructive to what I was doing. Maybe it was the job— I got a promotion, and work actually became something I had less time to sit around and write during. But mostly, I think it was that, most of the way done with book 2, I realised book 1 needed so much work, so much editing, I lost interest in writing novels in general.

Because I don’t like editing. There’s something anathema to me about spending all that time writing, then doing it all again. And again. And deleting, and changing.

I never learned to do it. Taking English classes in England, I learned how to read the shit out of a book. Eng Lit was 2 years reading approximately six books. I think it was six. Of Mice and Men, a Game of Soldiers, one of the Austen Novels (they’re pretty interchangeable to me), a play set in WWI, and I forget the last two. In comparison, AP English in the US we read about 20 books.

In England, we learned to write a two or three page essay as quickly as possible. It was geared up to getting the first draft as good as we could, cos that’s what we’d be doing for GCSE’s. Answer a question about a book you have a pretty good grasp on, and move on to the next one.

And unfortunately, that’s where my writing interests lie. Write it as well as you can the first time around, then move on. That’s why I’m sitting (funnily enough, at work) here writing this blog entry instead of editing.

I’m biased, but I think it’s a good script. It’s loosely based on an idea I had when I was back in University, and I never wrote the full script until last year. After writing it, I (took a year off from it, then) printed it out, red lined it, and re-typed it. And that’s where I would love to be able to stop. Because this blog is new, and I don’t have to edit it, and that script is something I already wrote.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to do that. I don’t get to ‘once and done’ with scripts any more than I do with novels, unless they remain intellectual exercises or a cheap form of therapy. I get to beat my head against the screen, curse the names of the characters, the movie industry, and the twat who decided to write the script. And then I get to blog a bit for a break, because it’s new and I don’t have to edit it, and then I get to go back to tweaking, refining, deleting, and hating the characters I care about.

I’m on page 81 of 103 of what was 112 pages, in case you’re counting.

Humbling

I couldn’t do it.

I only have a tenuous link to D-Day, in the same way that everyone from the UK does; I grew up knowing about it, knowing the areas near where I grew up that ware part of the buildup of troops, knowing the story about Churchill and Eisenhower getting together for a war council at a local pub.

But as far as I know no one in my family was involved in it. My grandfather was either in Canada, finishing up his alpine warfare training, or in Sicily or Italy, having already started up into the ‘soft underbelly,’ and about two months away from losing a leg. There’s no family stories of bravery, or near misses, or of loss from that day, so I’ve never really made a concerted effort to go to Normandy and see the beaches.

That’s not really why I was even here this time around. A couple of free days, I thought why not go look at the Bayeux tapestry, see one of the primary contemporary sources for something I’ve been learning about for a while now. Call it research, pretend you’re not there for the cidre and the galettes.

But the tapestry, while it’s 70 metres long and the second longest tapestry in the world, only takes about a half hour to see. So I thought I’d go look at some D-Day stuff, because hey, it’s nearby, and I probably won’t come up here again.

I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t ride across the channel in an oversized metal bathtub, the taste of salt water and the smell of vomit and fear, then struggle up a beach as bullets fly past (if you’re lucky) your head, lugging so much equipment. I couldn’t stay calm while friends die, some still in their teens, all too young.

Nothing but respect for those that did it, 75 years ago. It’s a humbling thing, to see the guns that were pointed at them, the obstacles they overcame and know they did it for you. For us. For the idea that Fascism is bad, that people shouldn’t be rounded up and put into camps because they’re different, that freedom is a possibility if we fight hard enough for it.

I’m lucky I don’t need to do it. I don’t need to run into the guns, through the water, up the sand, over the cliffs. Other people did that for me. But I need to remember what they died for, and make the most of the opportunities they preserved, and remember that people can be better than politicians that divide us to the point that storming the beaches seems necessary.

Home

Where is home any more?

There is a house in Las Vegas with most of my stuff in. Bed and sheets, clothes (including a growing number of Doc Martens), Lego, and more kitchen utensils than I need (but not more than I want). My car is parked there, and all the tools for work and play are there too. It has a pool.

There’s a house in Eugene, Oregon, with some more stuff. Most of this stuff is in a garage, because in Eugene they don’t have to park the cars inside to prevent them from turning into furnaces in the warmer months. That, and the house is already full of other stuff. There’s boxes of books I’ve read, and probably some more kitchen utensils. There’s an MGB chassis that I suspect is going to end up being mine.

There’s a house in Salisbury, UK, that doesn’t have enough stuff in for it to be called ‘stuff.’ There’s my salopette foulies. A jigsaw puzzle. An MGB model kit (1:24 scale, so much more manageable than the Oregon one). And apparently a chequebook from an account long-since cancelled.

There’s a house in London I stay in on occasion, and last time I stayed there I did laundry unsuccessfully, leaving three or four items of clothing stuck to the top of the dryer. Amateur mistake, you’d think I hadn’t been doing my own laundry for 24 years…

And then there’s the myriad hotel rooms I’ve stayed in over the last couple of years. I daresay at the rate I shed hair and the speed with which some rooms are expected to be turned over there’s still DNA evidence I was there. HAIR. I said HAIR.

You know what? They’re all home. Because, and I shudder to get mushy, home is where I take it, where I make it. Home is somewhere I’ve never been before, as long as I’m there with a friend. Home is all of the above places, because of the family and friends who are attached to said places. Maybe not the hotel rooms per se, but even them, depending on where they are and why I’m there, have friends attached to them. Attached as in “hey, I’m in London and several mates live there,” not attached as in “hey, morning, I see you’re still handcuffed to the radiator.” That’s a different type of friend.

Besides, you should never handcuff someone to the radiator. That’s how injuries happen.

Birthdays

I wasn’t sure whether to write this one or not without coming across as being a whiny little bitch. But then sod it, it’s my page and I can whine if I want to.

One of the things I miss about being on the road, is birthdays. Mostly other peoples, but sometimes mine. Because working on the road, you miss them. You’ll forget that it’s come around again, that you’re another year older, and the grey in your hair is more noticeable and possibly migrating to your face, and the wrinkles don’t disappear when you stop smiling any more.

I miss birthday drinks. Mostly other people’s, again, but sometimes mine. This year I went out to eat two days before my birthday because that was my day off that week. Had a great meal, and a couple glasses of wine, but it would have been better to sit around a teppanyaki with a bunch of mates, or grab beers with people after they finish work. And it’s a great time to catch up with people. As we all get older and slightly less social (through choice, obligation, or a bit of both) the times between seeing people, even when you live in the same town as them, get longer. It’s easier to stay home, and not put pants on.

Birthdays give a purpose to putting on pants, I guess.

Several years ago, I took my birthday off facebook. Mostly because I had a hundred notifications, and 90% of them were from people I almost never speak to. It felt fake; contrived, phone-in friendships.

But now I use facebook for keeping in touch with people. It’s how I get most of my news about their lives. And maybe it isn’t the worst thing to do, to be reminded on that one day a year that there are people around the world, who would actually come out for a pint if you were near them… or at least seriously consider putting on pants.

Maybe next year I’ll put it up there, assuming I’ll be in a hotel room somewhere and away from the people I love, care about, or want to mooch free drinks off. And maybe next year I’ll start actually wishing people a happy birthday on facebook.

Actually, next year is 40. I think I’m supposed to have a big destination party according to a deal I made with several members of the family. Only got 11 and a half months, should probably start planning…

(oh, and for those of you keeping score, I wrote every day this week, almost 3k words. Baby steps).

Productive?

Holy shit you guys, I wrote every day this week! I haven’t done that in at least a year and a half!

Admittedly, the average is about a hundred words a day, so at this rate I’ll finish the screenplay in about half a year… but it’s a start. It’s like the first week of the app that shall remain nameless until they pay me for all last week’s blog mentions. Start out in small increments, and build on them, right?

And it’s a far cry from those couple of months I was doing 25K+, but I’m not as young as I once was. Damnit, writing doesn’t really work that way, does it…

But it feels good. And unlike running, there’s no dodgy joints to stop my progress. There’s no fear of damaging myself in a foreign country with a vague idea of how to communicate (I know it’s je sues mal, but is it jambe or jambon, and I’m pretty sure that would matter if I pulled a muscle). I mean, there’s a dodgy brain, but that’s just it being it’s old usual grumbly miserable self.

So yeah. 800 words in. Am I going to make my target of having a finished script by— oh crap, I just counted, and it’s 18 days away. 18. And this blog is already longer than some of the days last week. And I haven’t done my words for today. So I’ll type soon.

Fitness

As I sit here in my hotel room in France, slurping my dinner of instant noodles down (to be followed with a dessert of milka chocolate) I’m not sure why I’ve decided to write about this, of all things, tonight. Maybe I feel like I owe the three people who were watching me struggle through the couch to 5k app an explanation as to why there haven’t been any posts recently. Maybe I don’t blog so much any more, as generate excuses where none were asked for.

But notice I haven’t apologised for not writing in a while this time? Not going to either. There’s a lot I could have, would have, written about, but it’s all seemed a bit off. Politics? Too many people spewing about that anyway. Work? Couple of NDA’s so that’s a no go. Travel? Yeah, been doing a bit of that in between the NDAing. I posted pics. Thanks for liking them.

The truth is, I don’t know if I’ve been fit enough to write. Not in the sense that I’m not fit enough to do the couch to 5k challenge (I had to stop three quarters of the way through week 2, day 2. My right knee and groin were definitely not having any of that running shit, and being without health insurance, in a foreign country, I thought it better to not risk doing myself a damage), but in the sense that my head’s not been there.

I need to approach writing a bit like couch to 5k, I suppose (and just so you know, I have not been paid by them to mention the app this many times). I need to do a bit more at a time, and build on it, to the point I can run a 5k… or finish a project in the equivalent. But while I’d list the reasons for not working out (self-conscious, irregular working hours, shitty joints, feeling like Sisyphus), you don’t need to delve into the fitness of my mind.

But I wrote a short last week. It was 3 pages, and it could have been longer, but I didn’t feel the need. It was short, and dark, and twisted, and it made me feel good. And now the wheels are turning. The reasons seem… stupid. Like excuses that don’t need to be made. And I want to do more. A bit like the feeling, not right when you finish running, but about an hour later when your body realises that pushing it isn’t (probably) going to kill you, and that maybe this isn’t such a bad thing to do on a little more regular basis.

So I’m giving myself a month. I’ve got this horrible little idea in my head, and it could be quite a weird little script, and I’m going to finish it in a month. Provided the mental equivalent of my right knee and groin don’t start giving my gyp.

Gambler

I lived in Vegas for ten years, and in that time maybe spent $300 on gambling. Got a royal flush on a poker machine once, so I pretty much figure there's not much point in me continuing to gamble if I already got my royal. 

But here on the road, I find myself gambling. And I can see the appeal, the addictive side of it. I've spent way more on this gambling in two months than I ever did the entire time I lived in Vegas,  checking the apps and the websites a couple times a day. I've spent $1725 so far, and I'm down $50.76 so far.

I'm teaching myself to invest. Not very well, obviously, as I'm down $50.76. But it's fascinating, and addicting, and infuriating. Stay off drugs, kids; I bought stock in a marijuana company and I'm down $84 dollars there. But that's slightly balanced out by some laser company my brother knows one of the workers that I bought stock in. They're up, but not enough to break even. And just for shits and giggles, I bought stock in the parent company that did movie pass. It was $40, I've spent more on that on a hangover, and this is way more entertaining (and hopefully going to last longer than some of my hangovers which seem to go on forever these days).

I might not be going about it the right way, and I've always been highly judgmental of wall street, and day traders, and I'm glad I'm not doing it for a living, but for now stock trading is actually kinda fun. I've used stash a bit too, which is way less pressure and gives some decent breakdowns, and also handy for research. 

So here I am, crossing the US, updating stock feeds every couple hour or so, watching the numbers turn green, and red, and wondering what else to buy, and wondering about investing in other markets cos it's really boring between 1700-0900h Eastern time. Gambling with my money on things I have no control over, and if my luck with buying a house is anything to go by the market is going to crash in the next year or so and I should probably get out now when I"m only down $50 (and 76 cents).

Dearie Me

What a long time without a post. And I have to say I left it with a less than couth title. 

I could blame it on being busy, or not having things to write about, and yada yada yada. 

The problem is, I haven't felt like writing. I want to, there's so much to opine about, but where to start? And where to stop? 

I could write about relationships, love, sex, emotions, but in the years since I started writing this blog I've learned to keep more of that shit private, for better or worse. If you want to know, have a drink with me in a pub somewhere. And this way, it doesn't hurt anyone else's feelings. And as I've excluded myself from the possibility of having a relationship for the foreseeable future, I'm not really in a position to grumble about it.

I could write about politics, but for fuck's sake. What is there to talk about except everything everyone has already said? It's depressing, the state of half the governments in the world is depressing, and me hammering out some position here isn't going to do much except maybe get the ten people who read it to nod and murmur "I agree."

I can't write about work, because non-disclosure agreements and all that. But I'm working on the road, doing rock and roll touring, and it's nice to enjoy the shows again. Hours are long, I don't know what day it is (or even what city or time zone we're in), but it's definitely keeping me out of trouble.

Friends? Sailing? Death? Taxes? Personal Hygiene? The State of Young People Today? Meh. 

But here I am, managed to fill a post about all the things I haven't been writing about. And looking at how I was doing back at the beginning of the year, a whole blog a week (!) and it makes me feel guilty I couldn't keep up the momentum. 

 

I'm currently chipping away at a new story. Two pages in. I'm managing maybe a couple of lines a day. And maybe, just maybe, drivelling on here will somehow kick my arse in gear, push me into getting that other shit written. We'll see. It's not like I don't have time on the bus, from city to city to state to province (we're in Canada right now). I'm deleting the games off my laptop. I'm not buying any more books for my kindle. I'm going to sit and stare at this bloody screen til I have something tangible to post here. 

Fuck You

Now I’ve got that out of the way, let me explain. 

there’s a lot going on in the word right now. The administration of Donald Trump, Brexit, the situation in Turkey, human rights crisis in Yemen, North and Both Korea actually talking, Rohingya ethnic cleansing, Tom Petty and Prince as casualties of the US Opioid epidemic, and so on and so forth. 

But here’s the thing. I want to talk about it. I want to know your point of view. (Well, not your point of view, cos you’re probably about as progressive as I am. But any non-progressives who accidentally stumbled to this corner of the interwebs. You.) I want to talk about why you believe what you believe, and in exchange, I want to tell you why I feel the way I feel. I’ll be respectful as much as I can, which is a struggle for me cos if Jesus came back and changed my water in to wine I’d probably give his shit for making a chardonnay instead of literally any other type of wine cos no son of god of mine is going to subject anyone to chardofuckingnnay. I don’t like authority is my point, even if that authority is the son of god…

But I digress. And that’s the problem. We digress these days. We get waylaid by 41 texts that exemplify what it’s like to date a narcissist, or 31 tweets that show your dog is the cutest, or 91 times the stranger days kids were literally the modern day prophets that people born in the 80’s want them to be.

See? Digression. It’s easy to do. But I don’t want to digress. I want to understand. And not to convert. Just to understand, and have a conversation. I’m about as lefty liberal snowflakes cuckish that you can get, but here’s the thing. I won’t use a slur to talk to or about anyone on the other side of the political spectrum. Because I don’t think I deserve the monikers they throw at me as a way to ‘other,’ to dehumanise, to keep people on their side.

So let’s talk. I’m not going to call you a trumptard, or republican’t, or whatever the current insult du jour is. Let’s just talk. Let’s talk about the things we agree with, or disagree with, and have fun with it. No need for name calling. No need to dehumanise the other side, because we’ve all got one life to live, and one family to make proud, and the only way we can make the most of it is by talking to each other.

And if you can’t do that? If you can’t talk to people who believe other than you, and you want to sling insults and epithets at them?

Then fuck you.

Lack of Structure.

Sticking to a schedule is a real bugger when you don't have structure. And when your attempt to introduce structure fails because of you and sleep not being on good terms...

I don't think I could be a parent. Based on the sleep I don't get right now, with no work and no pets and no reason to not sleep, I still have the worst sleeping habits. Thoughts bounce around the inside of my skull, some exciting, some depressing, all distracting. A song will get stuck in there, but because of the music I listen to a lot of the time it doesn't necessarily have lyrics, which is almost worse. A melody, a couple of bars of music, playing itself over and over is almost painful when you haven't been musical for decades.

Geez. Decades. That's how I can measure my life these days. 

I'm almost at the point I can say that about writing, too. It was about a decade ago I realised how much I used to enjoy it, when I was young, before it got beaten out of me by years and years of education. For so long, writing was a chore. It was homework, something that had to be done. I couldn't tell you what made me start again (or maybe I could if I went back and waded through the blogs I've been spewing for probably about that long, but I can't be arsed). All I know is that I've gotten a lot written in the last ten years, and it's no where near enough. One novel, and all but three chapters done of the second book in the series. Several short stories (some of which are up on this site somewhere). Two scripts that were produced by a theatre company I started with some mates. Several short screenplays, one of which we produced. Pilots for two different TV series. Three full-length screenplays, with a fourth to be finished TODAY. 

And hundreds of notes, drafts, deleted and forgotten documents languishing on hard drives somewhere. And more ideas on my white board, talked about over beers, or bouncing around inside my skull. So I'm getting there. At some point it won't be enough to just write; someone's going to have to read it. And ideally give me money for doing so.

But not today. Today I'm finishing a screenplay I began four years ago. That I lost, and couldn't bring myself to start again with. That I found, 80% done, in a box in a cupboard in my parent's house. It's not a nice story, really. But it's the one that killed me to lose, and disheartened me from writing for a while. Once it's done, I feel like I can move on, I can maybe clean up, edit some stuff, and tentatively dip my toe in the wonderful world that is submission rejection...

Structure

If I could without feeling guilty, I'd just repost last week's blog, because this week was a great one for catching up, and a couple of really good brainstorming sessions make me think January might be busy for the writing. If I drag my arse out of bed any time soon, but it's all warm and comfy, and I have no real reason to get up other than to fill my belly or empty my bladder. 

But that can wait while I hash out this blog. Still one a week, although sometimes I forget it's Monday. Having not worked in... a while now... it's amazing how often I forget what day it is, and even time has lost some of it's meaning. It'll be 2145 and I'll get started on a project, only to need something from Home Depot. Or it'll be gone midnight and I'll realise I didn't have dinner. It'll be Sunday and I'll have forgotten to go to church. For about 25 years on that one...

Anyway. The structure I've always rebelled against, mostly because I can be quite a contrary bastard sometimes, well, I'll admit it would be nice to have something. Something that gives me a reason to get up at a specific time, or make me eat, or go to bed at a "normal" time rather than when I'm fed up watching youtube videos... I've tried enforcing it myself, but I'm not the strictest of disciplinarians at the best of time, and especially not towards myself. Apparently I need deadlines. 

I should have known that. I always did better on schoolwork when there was a specific deadline (as long as it was far enough in the future I could waste some of the time not doing it, but not too far that I'd completely forget about it). And just this week I accomplished what might be a first fo me... I finally submitted a script to a competition. Now, that's not the first, I actually did one about four years ago, but it didn't go anywhere. No, what's "first" about it is that the deadline for submissions is 1st February. 1st February, and I submitted on 9th January. That's a whole 22 days early! Who am I, and what have I done with me??

And in an effort to not rest on my laurels, I'm gonna keep with the momentum and try to structure my life better. Wednesday's are for the blog. I'm going to actually set an alarm for five days a week, something I haven't had to do in... a while now. 0930 sounds about right. Couple of hours to run errands, then errands and fed by 1300, and then writing. Writing writing writing. My white board is filled with projects I've started, projects I've come up with, and a whole bunch of things to do around the house. My white board is my structure. And as of today it is my lord and taskmaster. 

In 16 minutes. It's not 0930 yet. Maybe make that 1000...

Cheers, Mates.

Happy New Year and all that bollocks I suppose. I'd say I took the last half of December off as a reward for finishing a screenplay, but to take time off I'd have to be working. And I still did a bit of writing, just not on here. 

But this post isn't about writing. It's about life, my life, and the last year. And the things that got me through the year. Which is namely you buggers. 

Look, I have a lot to be thankful for. I (think I)'m healthy, I'm of (relatively, and some people would argue the opposite) sound mind. When I work, I'm in a fairly specific, in-demand field, and I get paid as such, and that gives me the opportunity to take time off, travel, see the world, and focus on other things. I have a family that are incredibly supportive, even when it's deciding to not work, or turn down jobs I wouldn't be happy at. Altho I suspect that's just because they don't want to listen to me bitch about aforementioned jobs, having had to go through it on more than one occasion.

But 2017 was a great year for friendship. From the new ones fostered, to the old ones that taking time off enabled me to rediscover, it was a good year. Sure, one or two fall along the way, and gods know I spent more time than I probably should thinking about some of them, but on the whole I finished 2017 off way richer than I started it. 

At the same time, I've found that my year away on the boat, not really having a phone or regular contact with people, has made me worse at actually calling, texting, or messaging. Being transient has a lot of perks, but that's definitely not one. As I drove home New Year's Eve I realised I hasn't messaged the people I usually would. I've missed birthday messages and suchlike, so I'm sorry about that, and this year, my only resolution is to be better about that. 

I mean, there's things I'm gonna do this year. Send some writing off. Probably go back to work for a while. Lose the bikini body in time for Mexico. Keep my room tidier. But those aren't resolutions, just "Oh yeah, I should probably do that's." Is there a word for that? 

Anyway. Thank you. Thank you for last year, and being there when I needed, or didn't need. Thank you for making me leave the house, or the country, trying new things, getting over old things, and bearing with me when I kept bragging about not working for seven months...

And the five people that read this, well, thank you for that too. And tell the other buggers that if they want to be thanked they're going to have to read this too, cos it is NOT a resolution to go round and to that to everyone, because that's a lot of travel and I can't afford it.

Last day

I didn't post yesterday cos I was busy cooking. The last couple of days have been all about the kitchen (although I did get 2600 words done the day before). I'm going to make someone a great wife one day, as long as all you look for is good cooking and an arsehole sense of humour...

But I digress. Today is the last day of my challenge to write 30,000 words in a month. Did I do it?

Eh, not exactly. I'm at 20191, and I don't think I'm going to get 9k+ done today. BUT. Today I WILL finish a screenplay, and maybe sit by the fire outside when the sun goes down, so there's that. And possibly sign up for healthcare, if I can talk to someone about what to do when you're not in one place and need something other than an HMO.

For now, though, the writing. Once I finish this bloody script today, that's three full length features in the bag. I mean, they still need editing, and I'll have to do treatments for them once they're edited, but it's not the worst start to a writing career, or the worst end to six-plus months of unemployment. Not that I'm starting a job, I'm just now at the point that I should start thinking about getting one. Make some phone calls, send some emails, remind people in the industry that I exist, have passports will travel, that sort of thing.

So enough waffling, I'm getting up, making breakfast (one thing I'll miss about working again is having all the time to mess around in the kitchen), and then I'm finishing this script.

And then, tomorrow, admitting to Tannith I only got two-thirds of the words. Fricking bell peppers.

Downhill Slog

Fourteen thousand words didn't happen. But Ten and a half thousand did. I wrote every day this week, and some days I had to stop myself once I reached the two thousand goal. I don't know if this is good, or I should have let myself keep going, but it's good to get into that habit I reckon.

It's also good for a distraction. Because holy shit the news is depressing right now. I'm trying to wrap my head around what's going on in American Politics, and I just don't get it. I'm angry that one party is allowed to ignore facts, their own words, and scream and shout and deflect to get what they want.

And what they want, it seems to me, is not a good thing. I'd love to be wrong. Let me rephrase that. It would be good for everyone (except my fragile ego) if I was wrong, and their new tax plan did what they keep saying it will. I just can't see it happening. It hasn't in the past, so why should it now? It would be amazing if the huge gaps in income in this country disappeared, money had more purchasing power than it has, wages kept up with inflation, and yadda yadda yadda. If it does, I will (begrudgingly) admit I was wrong, and I'll change my point of view, my economical philosophies, and go forth with a new outlook on financial matter.

If it goes the way I expect, based on looking historically at what's happened before in similar situations, will anyone on the other side change their point of view? It's a hard thing to do. But there's too much of feeling of 'my team vs. their team' in this country. It's hard to wrap your head around, especially with how low the approval ratings are for Congress across the board, on both sides of the aisle. If we collectively hate out elected officials, why do we keep voting the same twats in? Mitch McConnell with his unwillingness to hear things he doesn't like. Paul Ryan with his complete commitment to  deficit reduction... unless it's a deficit his policies will bring about. And Nancy Pelosi with her tone deaf approach to motivating her party's base and what they actually want.

I'd say let's vote all of them out, let's get a brand new crop of Senators and Representatives, but unfortunately I can't not vote for a Democrat, because my only other viable option is a Republican, and I fundamentally believe in marriage equality, access to health care, taxing the churches, net neutrality, science where it needs to be (the EPA, FDA, etc.), and access to decent education for all citizens. Based on those beliefs I can't vote for a Republican, because they don't agree with any of these. 

And this was supposed to be about all the writing I've gotten done this week. Sorry. I did buy a writing chair from Ikea, it's very comfortable.

grumblegrumblewordcountgrumble

So the search for 30k words in a month isn't going swimmingly. I'm just above 2000, and I've got 15 days left. 

Part of the problem, apart from my attention span being that of a cat in a laser pointer testing room full of mirrors, is that there's no structure to my days. Some days I wake up at 5am, some days it's closer to 10. Some days I'll spend all day cooking, and some days I'll pace the kitchen, looking for something to eat, unhappy with everything that I've already prepared (although I have pasties in the freezer now, so I'm good for at least five meals. Always ready for a pasty).

Here's the new plan, attempting to add structure to my life: Awake and up by ten, two hours in which to fart around, run errands, go grocery shopping, etc. etc. Then right around noon, writing time. Noon til Six pee em, bash away at a keyboard, or at least stare at a screen with no distractions on it other than blank or half-filled (hopefully) documents.

Ideally, two thousand words later, that's me writing for the day done. Two thousand, or six o'clock, whichever comes first, because some days I know nothing will come. And of course the only way for me to make all this happen is by keeping track on a conditionally formatted spreadsheet, all done up nicely so it'll follow seamlessly from month to month, totals transferring over. 

It's now 12:31pm on the first day of the rest of my writing schedule, and I've already done the spreadsheet, so all I have to do now is post this bollocks, and get on with it. Two thousand words, here I come. Potentially Fourteen thousand when I next post. 

Wasted Time

It's Wednesday. I was supposed to post on Monday. Sorry. But there's not much worth posting. I'm way down on my word count (still 28000 to go), and I've been dealing with plumbing problems and bashing holes in the wall of the house and horrific facial hair for the last week or so. But the sink is fixed, the hole is made, and the facial hair will grow back eventually. 

I'm really caught up on all the news though. And watched a couple comedy specials. And rewatched films I've already seen. Because there's all this time I have that I seem desperate to use on doing anything BUT writing. But today I'm breaking the back of the bloody thing. Writing and making Tiramisu are the plans of the day. I've got enough pre-made food that I can't even use that as an excuse today...

So I've had breakfast, I'm bashing this out, then I'm going to keep bashing away at this bloody script. Only another 13000 words. And then a second script. Sod. At this rate I'll definitely be eating a damned red pepper in December. 

Wasted words

That's what this blog is. I mean, it's good that it's another Monday, and I'm writing it. Yay commitment. It's just I have a bet on with a friend. The bet is that she can write 50k words of a novel in a month, and I can write 30k of a screenplay in the same time. Doesn't seem fair? 30k is about 2 screenplays, whereas 50k isn't quite a full length novel. 

Anyway. That's why I begrudgingly type this. This could have been a conversation between two characters. Or an action sequence. Probably not description tho. I can't be having with much of that. 

160 words for the day so far. 840 to go to hit 1000, which is what I need to average to do this, win the bet, and not have to eat a fricking capsicum. They're in the nightshade family. Seriously. Sod those things.

And if we both do it? Well, then we both win and end up with a bunch of stuff written that we would probably have dragged arse on writing. 

Now I'm waffling and definitely wasting words. But nightshade!

Decisions

I'm going to have to make some of them soon. Any day now. Maybe at the end of the week. I'll at least decide when to decide by then. Depending on some emails I get. Once I decide to send them. 

Got all that? Good. 

I'm currently in the UK (again), and I really need to be over here when the weather's miserable. Not just cold, but grey for two weeks, damp air, dirty puddles twixt the cobblestones, windy enough that umbrellas are impractical, and so on. Because for the last couple years, every time I come over it's been so much nicer than I have any reason to expect. And it makes me miss living over here more than just the food I grew up with, the access to healthcare, the history and public transport (which today has been shockingly bad but I still love having it) and family and friends.

So the decision is, US or UK? But that all depends on work, and that all depends on where, and that all depends on when I decide I need to start again. But I've got to say, incidents like the Texas church mass shooting, or the Vegas mass shooting the week before, or any of the 28 mass shootings that happened last month, push me in one direction. Then news that the Tories want to cut NHS funding make me wonder what the difference between the two countries are. Then both sides of the Atlantic have small but vocal parts of the population that are afraid of foreigners who are a different colour or religion and want to use that to push an agenda. 

One side has ridiculous University fees; the other seems to be heading that way. Both have incredibly popular TV shows that revolve around people who don't dance dancing. I have friends and family and places to stay in each. I can probably get work in both, or at least work on the road so all I need is a place to come back to. 

Bloody decisions. This blog isn't helping. But at least it gave me an excuse to use the word twixt. How many things have you read this week with that?