4 Years Ago Today

Colin and me, doing what we did most of the time that we were together.

Facebook’s a funny old beast, and for all that I hate/love it, I’m given a sense of time by the fiendish thing. This morning it reminded me that it’s four years since we realised that my uncle Colin Barnfather had gone missing while walking on his own up in Scotland. (Spoiler: it ended badly.) It’s a very odd thing to be reminded of, along with pictures of cats and baffling cultural references, but it does unroll the past for me, and I guess I’m grateful for that.
I’m very grateful to my uncle – he was a big influence on me for reading science fiction and fantasy – the annual exchanges of cool new hardbacks were a feature of our birthdays and Christmases. I’ve written a bit about him before, but I’m not sure that I’ve said how grateful I am to him – he’s enabled a lot of changes and opportunities in my life that I wouldn’t have had without him, and without him dying. It’s a complicated feeling.
He was a keen fan of the improvised comedy outfit I’m part of, right from our early monthly shows at the Art Organisation (where Hopkinsons Gallery now lives), through to our time at The Glee. It turned out to be the reason we saw each other so regularly, and I should have realised sooner that his absence at a show was a sign something had gone very wrong. There’s not much I can do about that now. But Col is remembered, and thought of.
The gang at MissImp and I have set up a scholarship programme for our introduction to improv courses, in Colin’s name. It’s a small, but fitting tribute. He would have loved the shows we’ve been able to put on since we lost him, and it pains me that he can’t be here to enjoy them.
So yeah, thanks Facebook, for reminding me of time, what we lose, and what we somehow gain by it. But mostly, thanks Col.
And, because I still rather love this – the video I took up into the valley where Col died.
Kinloch Hourn

Gig Alert: On Fire: The Next Generation – Improv Comedy Show – Saturday 7 October

I’m very excited about this show – it’s been ages since we’ve hurled a handful of innocent faces out onto the stage. We’ll be splitting them into two teams and playing a fucktonne of fun things. It’s gonna be an ace show, and I’m proud to be hosting it.
From MissImp:

Brave, Bright New Faces

We have a superb show for you – tomorrow night at the Talent 1st Organisation we’re unveiling a host of new faces and players for the improv comedy stage. Hailing from MissImp and University of Nottingham Improv Society, these are the folks we’ll be laughing at on stage for years to come. Join us at 7.30pm for an explosion of improvised scenes and games.
Backed up by some folks you’ll recognise from other shows, this is all about having a great time, mixing up classic improv games with theatrical delights, it’s going to be a fine night for everyone. Come to the show and cheer em on!
There are just a few tickets left – remember – you can only buy tickets online! Do it, do it now.

L-R
Marilyn Ann Bird, Sam Marshall, Nick Tyler, Minder Kaur Athwal, Richard Minkley, Ian Sheard, Molly McConnell, Jack Cross, Emily Brady, Joe Hadley, Nick Parkhouse, Milou Manie, Phil Carruthers

Saturday 7th October

Talent 1st Organisation
(was the Nottingham Actors Studio)
Kayes Walk
Nottingham
NG1 1PY
Doors 7.10pm
Starts 7.30pm
Join the Facebook event

Find it!

Nanowrimo 2017 – After the Dark

It’s Scribbling Time

It is on. I’m filled with the same feelings I had before: excitement, and a kind of numb panic because I really have little idea what the story is going to be about. I’m very unclear where I’m gonna find the writing time in the next month (hell, I’ve barely made any since last year), but if the last two years are anything to go by, I will simply Make It So. Ah there’s the Nottingham Comedy Festival this and next week too – aaargh!

I thought about the things that have helped before:  title, and cover. I find them highly motivating and fun activities (if only I didn’t have to write the story too…).  The cover is stolen from a nice photo my mum took in Iceland recently (thanks Mum!), with various colours and bits added to suit my dark purpose. The title took a while to drop into the back of my brain and be passed forward for testing. It’ll do. It’s evocative enough to make my brain begin its bubbling. The Nanowrimo site also prompts for a synopsis. I realise some people actually have plans and chapter sketches and everything, but I lack common sense and planning skills, so I’m gonna do what I do every day, and just make it up as I go along. I have a trusty houseful of writing prompts – everything from a wriggling womble-beast to tarot cards, which were handy last time. So I’ve knocked out a synopsis that sounds like it could be a story. And so it shall be.

My Nanowrimo 2017 Novel

After the Dark

An existential science fantasy adventure of lost loves, lives, and worlds.

On the night that Jenn and his closest friends celebrate their lives together, the sky is torn apart by an unknown force. When Jenn is reborn from the earth, everything has changed. All he has are questions, but who will answer them?

The Plan

I’m aiming for double the daily minimum word count required to hit 50k by the end of November – 3,334 words a day. Totally doable. Totally. I’ll then be posting whatever I’ve written, every day, right here. This is my promise to myself, which I will keep because other people know about it.
Please read, please cheer me on, and please endure the interminable posts about word count and having no clue what’s happening. Good on ya.

You can also follow my progress at Nanowrimo.org, and be a Writing Buddy (please, am so alone)!