I remember we were doing an improv exercise at college where we had to pretend we were in the big brother house. The tutor played the part of the “big brother” character and he basically told us the situations and the rules for the improv. At some point he told us that the house was being locked down and we would be poisoned to death with Chlorine gas for the entertainment of the viewers. We all started pretending to be freaked out and getting upset. Then we all actually started getting freaked out and upset. People started screaming and crying. At one point I picked up a chair and threw it at the window, which luckily did not break. We were all so completely absorbed in the game that even though we knew it wasn’t real, we were allowing ourselves to go so far as to behave as though it was. Then the room started to fill with gas and we started running out of air. We collapsed one by one and passed out. Some people actually passed out. Then the tutor told us that it had been a test and there was no gas. We were all free to leave. He walked out of the room and we were just supposed to carry on with the day. This had been an exercise just like any other and now we were supposed to just carry on.
Looking back on it now I think it was kind of pointless. It’s an interesting story though.
This may all just be delusions, or it might be long overdue chemical brain damage, or it could actually be true and real and not imaginary in any way. But it’s definitely one of those. I just don’t know which one.
This was a terrible way to begin.
I’ll start again.
I sometimes have bouts of deja vu. But not like anyone else I know. For me they can last for minutes at a time and i am almost always sure that I have dreamed whatever it is I am in the middle of. In a few cases I have been able to tell someone what is about to happen and then it happens. The last couple of days have visited upon me a small scale version of this.
It always seems to happen just as things feel as though they are getting into the right places. People and places and opportunities and events mesh together perfectly and then it all just sort of happens. This one wayward thought passes through your head on it’s travels to somewhere else and then you’re following it. There is no logical reason to do so, but for some reason you are following this half formed idea somewhere. The longer you follow it, the more familiar everything around that thought seems to be. There are people attached to this vagabond idea that you had forgotten all about until just now. Songs that you haven’t heard in years must be played in case something goes wrong. Jigsaw pieces fall from above your head and bounce once before dropping into their rightful places. You instantly understand, in this one tiny moment, that something vital is going to happen. And these are the songs that you will hear, and this is the cast of characters, here is a list of the times and the places and here is the most important part. Here is the bit where you just have to remember what to say next to make it all work. All of these events will clockwork their way into existence if you can just remember the next line.
Something…something about tightropes. Something about balance and perspective. Something about uncertainty and validation and how i’d rather watch the sky getting further away than watch the ground rushing up to meet me. Something about failure being a signpost on the way to success. Something about waiting for the perfect idea and then three come along at once. Something colourful. Something specific and inspiring. And then you were there with me, but you had somewhere else that you had to be. So we went our separate ways. I turned around quickly because I remembered that there was something I wanted to tell you. Something…Something that looks like a victorian wardrobe with little tiny cameo portraits on the doors. There are scuffling sounds and then the doors burst open and fifteen identically dressed officials collapse into the room. Into the space. Into the…the…balance. A lion roars somewhere and a cat meows back. Sickly children line up with their bony hands outstretched. Top hats and tails. Top hats and tails and canes. Unable to pick one thought from the next now. This is not how it was supposed to go. There was something.
I nearly had it.
Lots of writing and editing and some more writing this week. Script editing for The Skeleton Project is going well. We did a scratch version of the first section at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Saturday. It was received very well and we got lots of good feedback about it. Now we just need to carry on with the rest of the piece. But since we have adjusted the whole first section of it so much, the rest of the piece feels quite loose and wobbly. But that’s what editing is for.
I have also been trying to make sure that I write something every day. Sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes it’s part of a story idea, more often than not it’s just a collection of rambling thoughts that I will condense down into something more interesting at some point in the future. But I am very definitely writing more than I have done in a long time. I also got started on a site called HitRECord (the mid-word capitalisation annoys me, but it’s the name of the thing so I suppose it’s fine.) There’s a fairly impressive writing community on there which is good. Also they do writing challenges and things like that. If you are interested this is where it lives. It is all explained on there, rather than me going into it here for people who aren’t interested. Although i’m not sure why you are here if you’re not interested in reading about writing.
So yes. Lots of writing. Lots of good times with good peoples. Lots of new peoples.
The more I write, the more fun it is to actually start pulling what I have written to pieces and find ways to make it better. I’m starting to find that is a more enjoyable part of the work sometimes. The initial idea is great, but hacking at it and shaping it into something better is quite exciting.
ALSO. I have been learning about all the different kinds of poetic metres. I can’t remember the names of any of them at the moment, but I am starting to think more about the technical side of that sort of writing. I am finding it quite fascinating. I am sure that it is probably not anywhere near as exciting to anyone else.
Shortly after posting that last piece a very lovely person sent me a song that sums up exactly the feeling of sundays I was attempting to put into words, but in the form of noises instead. It’s here if you want to listen to it. Also this sounds a lot like a sunday squished down into one minute and forty one seconds.
Warning: Bleak and slightly cold, but in a soothing sort of way that implies that it will be over soon and that maybe things aren’t so bad after all.
I’ve always had this weird aversion to sundays. It’s one of my earliest memories. Bad things always happen on sunday. I forget that there is homework to do for monday and sunday night becomes a mixture of terror and maths and hoping that i’m not being a huge disappointment to anyone. For anyone else I know sunday is a relaxing day of rest before the weekly grind begins again. Games and films and hangovers and fun things with fun people. And if I am hungover then it can be that. If I wake up at someone elses house then usually it starts of as an amusing day. Gathering thoughts and memories of the previous night. Drinking cups of tea and half watching stupid garbage on the television. But sober sundays are nightmares, to me at least. Sundays are fear and loss and despair. Sundays are death and attempted abductions. Sundays are memories of Lego and Bonnie Tyler. It’s the same reason that listening to the radio makes me feel numb. Not because it’s shit, which it invariably is, but because the sound of the radio is inextricably linked with sadness and fear and loss and Lego and death and missing cousins and sunday.
I’m not sure why this has all just come to the surface all of a sudden. The same way you feel as you leave a loud club and the lack of noise disorients you for a moment whilst your ears adjust to the absence of heavy bass and loud crowds. I tend to get quite addicted to being social. If I don’t get the chance for a while then I just lose my taste for it and fade back into hermitry. But that bit takes a while. And in between all of those bits I get that instantly recognisable sunday feeling. (I don’t know if hermitry is a word, but I like it and so it is a word now.)
I feel as though I should be writing more, But I have nothing specific to write about. So this is what comes out. I really don’t do enough writing.
For anyone who is interested, the novel I have been working on since last November is coming along at a very slow pace. I have bursts of energy with it that disappear quite quickly. I am basically stuck at a point where I feel as though the entire thing is shit. But I don’t know how to make it not shit. I feel generally quite happy with it when I am working on it. There are some parts that I am very proud of and then some bits that i’m not so bothered about. But they are sort of necessary to the story. And then because I can’t decide what I want to do with those bits, I stop trying and just get very down about the whole thing and the entire idea of being a writer. But if I can just write, whatever it is and however it comes out, then surely that is better than spending my time arguing with myself about my own abilities as a writer. At least I can perhaps work through some of those issues by writing about them.
I have started reading The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker. And that is part of the reason why I feel so negative about my own work. I have a habit of comparing myself to internationally known and published writers and just immediately assuming that if my work isn’t as good as Chuck Palahniuk then obviously me making any sort of work at all is a massive waste of time.
This is probably going to become a regular thing now. I can’t think of a word for it, but this basic unpicking of issues that I find myself staring at. It’s a good excuse to write and I don’t feel as though I’m putting something else off if I’m working towards something like this. And who knows, maybe some good will come out of it.
Also, I wrote an article for my brother’s blog Alpha Signal Five. I reblogged the first part, but the second part is up now too and the third will be going up sometime in the next seven days. So if you are into Minecraft or Microsoft or just want to read something else that I’ve put together, here’s a link for you.
In a bit, kids.