Well, I’ve been busy. And also lazy. I feel I’ve been very lazy. When I became part-time last August I envisaged an explosion of creative activity: daily posts; wonders goddammit. I’m stunned to discover that I failed to achieve my own expectations. Instead I’ve found myself unwinding and relaxing for the first time in years. Dropping from five to three days has had a profound effect on my internal peace. It’s given me distance from the remarkable and seemingly unending stress and anxiety of being in an organisation which has gone from the quite bad state of being torn apart from the inside out, to reckless transformation by way of brutal tectonic violence under the ethically-smeared wings of corporate opacity. That’s been ace fun and while it can be enraging during the day time I’m able to leave it behind in the evening. Without that daily environment I’ve sidestepped most of the anger, fear and cynicism of my colleagues. I have been ridiculously fortunate to be able to escape it.
It seems absurd to suggest that I’ve spent nearly 9 months uncoiling from its shadow, because that feels so indulgent. On the other hand it took me more than fifteen years to escape the chains of abuse, or at least rust ’em away to a fashionable tarnish. So I think that’s what it is – I’ve been chillin’ out. It wasn’t just work though. My other half and I have had to recover from the sudden loss of our cat, beloved Merly-Boo last April. Huge chunks of the last year have been among the very worst we’ve ever had. Adjectives fail me. I know a lot of people don’t really get it, but if you substitute ‘cat’ for ‘the thing you love most’ (like your child or something) then it’s easier to grasp. As a partial consequence I’m fitter than I’ve been for years. Near daily cycling and swimming dug me out of that pit and kept me from teetering on its brim. I have lovely shoulders now. It’s harming my awesome t-shirt collection though. My virtues are countered by good beer and chocolate intent on retaining my alco-tum. I suppose I could do something about that.
Since then… I’ve done some writing. NaNoWriMo was wonderful. I’m still slowly revising Watchers from the raw unedited state I posted up every day. Eventually it may even be quite good. The Desert Crystals will be completed one day, honest. In relaxing I’ve changed from being a producer to a consumer of media.
Wondrous Netflix and Prime
I’ve watched a lot of TV and film. The last few years have produced some wicked sci-fi shows and I’m closer than I’ve ever been to seeing it all (I’m miles and miles away!). God bless Netflix, Amazon Prime and my capacity for soaking in twelve hours of viewing at a time. I doubt I can even recall all of the amazing shows, but it’s worth a shot:
In particular I’ve been delighted by Marvel – obviously Daredevil and Jessica Jones were superb, both in performance, direction and production. Even Agents of SHIELD came back from its dodgy first season as a completely different beast. I’m sad that Agent Carter has already been canned; I loved season one. They nailed ’40s film noir with beautiful set design to match. Damn those cancerous cancelling studios. Marvel’s film and TV output has been in stark contrast to DC. I used to prefer Batman and Superman in comics to Marvel’s, but the last five years has completely flipped that round. DC just can’t make good stuff… Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Batman vs Superman, Gotham have all been at best briefly watchable. It’s an amazing fall and failure to capitalise on their incredible properties. I think it’s partly because Marvel’s approach is to define a character, and then give them super-powers, whereas DC thinks of a super-power and then skips character entirely. It’s the same problem in Sony’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
The Very Best
The hands down winner of all sci-fi however is Star Wars Rebels. This is the Star Wars I have been waiting for since I was a kid. I loved The Force Awakens but Rebels is just perfect. The cameos are wonderful surprises (Lando, Leia, Vader… I won’t spoil the end of season 2) and the setting, animation and characters have me enraptured.
And The Rest
Weirder stuff: ‘ve helped empty and reorganise the loft of my aunt in Sweden – we saw the amazing sights of a genuine Swedish dump site, Ikea and a candle-lit swim. It was an odd little holiday but I enjoyed the time with my dad and his sister.
I’ve also been reading, and spending whole days reading reminds me of being fifteen again and chewing cover to cover through Stephen Donaldson’s white gold wielder tales. So I’ve made a decent dent in the terrifying stack of books and comics awaiting my sweating eyes. We have of course, doubled it in size since then. I try to pretend that all the books I have on the Kindle don’t really count. I’m now almost solely using Goodreads to keep track. All of my back of the notebook lists have expired.
Gaming and Being Outside
I have played no video games. Apart from Plants Vs Zombies 2, Punchquest and Minigore 2. But mobile games don’t count either right? Instead I’ve been doing more compering for Furthest From The Sea in Derby, Luton and Northampton and performing with MissImp. Our ongoing quest for a place to live has brought us the nether regions of the Malt Cross (for now). We’ve spawned a killer show – Millions of Voices – The Improvised Star Wars Show. We’ve performed it at Leicester Comedy Festival, Derby Comedy Festival and soon at the Nottingham Playhouse (where we’ll be supported by the other new MissImp spin off – Rhymes Against Humanity).
Lego has taken up more of my time than most adults would readily admit. My present project is illustrating the Flash Pulp podcast. I’m all the way up to episode 15, out of 450… I even made myself a light box to take better pictures with, but it is of course too small for most of the things I’ve built. Curses.
I guess that’s actually quite a lot. Perhaps most important of all, certainly for my brain and our home life is that we have acquired a new kitten. Young Geiger. He’s adorable, bonkers, so cute I want to bury my face in his fur until the crazy takes him and he bounds off, tail quirking like a runaway walking stick sticking to furniture with his claws. He’s amazing. I have spent since November getting to know the little guy since he was eight weeks old. He’s massive now. I’d rather talk about him and his gorgeous puffy tail and rumble-tiger purr than anything else in the world. I’m sure I’ll get over my anxiety about him being outside on his own.
So why am I writing this now? Because I’m finally feeling ready for change in whatever form it takes, and that’s given me permission to do one of the many things I love – writing. I’m sorry for the hiatus (if you’ve noticed), but I’m back – in some form.
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