“It was the best of times…”

“…it was the worst of times”

For those of you in the know the quote is of course from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it may have also been the start to some Victorian Novel by Charles Dickens called Tale of Two somethings-or-another.

So why am I using it?

Well it is simple, 2017 has been both a horrid and good year for me. I am going to Vaguebook a little and not fill in the exact details of what made it either bad or good. It just was.

This is just me off-loading a little to the world and saying that 2017 despite how it looked from the outside was pretty much a massive up and down period in which far too much shit hit the fan at the same time as having some excellent moments.

Is there a real message that I want people to take away from reading this? Probably not. Just that you can have both amazing and awful at pretty much the same time. You can have life-changing times where you learn from both the positive and negative things that occur.

How about 2018?

Well I wish I could say that there is some new dawn, a brightest time approaching, but there likely isn’t. It looks to be both up and down as well.

At this point life is a roller-coaster. I am affected by so many other forces that I cannot actively control the destination, but I am able to help navigate the path and in doing so maybe make it a road easier to travel.

So what was this?

Did you not read the part about vaguebooking? I am marking a point. It is the end of the year and I wanted to place a reference that it was bad, and also good. I wanted to remember that despite all the pain of 2017, there was also some massive highs.

In life we often focus too much on the lows and they can stay with us for so much longer. Especially grief and loss. So the good things that happened at the same time can become consumed by the bad.

So this is a marker to remind me that it wasn’t my horrible year (I’m not the Queen, I don’t do Latin). It was both good and bad. In fact it was probably both the best and the worst.

Write A Day 2

Back in March, in my last post, I mentioned that I had been doing a writing challenge in 2015 where I would write at least a page for each day in a small journal. It’s the start of 2016 and I haven’t really blogged much here (though i have managed to blog significantly to my company blog and news pages). I can happily report that I completed my challenge.

So the three things I set out to do (not resolutions but goals) in 2015 that I completed:

  1. Write a page for each day in a journal; Completed.
  2. Write one Haiku for each week; Completed.
  3. Complete 50,000 words in november for Nanowrimo; Completed.

I didn’t complete the two other writing goals I had set myself, but I had a feeling that I wouldn’t as the whole wish list was pretty large. However i do feel very proud of what I have done.

So what now? Well I have already announced to some friends that I have at least one goal for 2016 and I will let you all have another here. I will be publishing the Haikus I wrote in 2015. They need a little editing and a little cleaning but I will publish them as an eBook. I will likely make this available for free to download with a donate if you like link. The idea of a pay what you want appeals to me for the poems, there are at least 52 of them with a few others spread around. This is on the list for release sometime around Easter to Summer. I hope to let you know more soon.

-mdk

 

Write A Day

Back in December Leigh published the following blog all about the diary challenge that she had recently completed and how you could do the same.

It was a call to action to all of us who want to write and sometimes have an issue in finding the time or the motivation.

The basic story is that a few years ago Leigh decided to fill a page of a diary each day with writing for a single year. Life, of course, didn’t make things easy and it took her more than the one year to finish the diary. The important part is that she finished the diary. The really important part is that in doing so she not only achieved a goal but she built up good habits about just writing.

Writing isn’t easy and it isn’t natural and people who say that it is are generally not telling a whole truth. It can become more practiced but it is not easy, and I am not so sure it should be. In order to write you need a lot of motivation, you need to make time and you have to be prepared to keep at it. Like any skill it generally improves with practice. Sure, there are some people who find it easier than others, some natural advantages from evolution, upbringing and attitude perhaps, but even they say probably don’t say it is easy.

I have had some issues with my motivation. I haven’t been writing fiction or even wanting to write. I haven’t felt like even writing my diary entries. All of that was not making me happy.

I did motivate Leigh to publish her call to action to inspire people and I know it has done so as they responded and I have spoken to some about their efforts (keep at it guys, if you miss days don’t stress). If you missed the 1st January don’t worry. I would say that you can start anytime in the year and now is likely a good time to start as you can pick up a diary for less cost.

As for me. I don’t generally use my diary except for work appointments and the formal tasks that I live my life by. I don’t really find the format of a diary condusive to writing for me. It reminds me too much of my structured work and community life.

I like note books.

I like journals.

I like mixed media.

I like the book I bought to try and write every day this year.

I have done so every day this year.

I write a page each day, probably less than 200 words so fairly light. Sometimes I write a little more, sometimes a couple of pages. I write poems and draw sketches in there as well. I have wrote every day so far. Sometimes I have written more than once a day.

On the one day I missed, I wrote twice on the following day to catch up. That was once, I don’t feel it was a fail, but I made sure to think about what I would write before going to sleep even though I was too tired (and a little drunk) to write, and then wrote it the next morning. If I don’t have my journal with me I write in any A6 book I can find and then tear the pages out and put them in the journal later (yes I am bloody odd, thanks for asking).

I was inspired, you see by these words:

“If the diary challenge has taught me anything it’s how to get over that fear of the blank page.”

I am not really scared of a blank page I got over that, but I am for sure tired of never filling one of them. I got tired of looking at a blank page and just not caring if I wrote on it. I wanted to kill my de-motivation. Also, I kinda liked the idea of somethign as crazy mad as this:

“It would be difficult for me to give a break down of exactly what is in the damn thing. At least 1 complete script, 50,000 words of a novel, and many many many short stories, flash fiction, ideas, characters, bits of novels, plots and poems. There are zombies, pirates, aliens, apocalypses, angels and demons, bond villains, parallel universes and a lot of weird Christmas stories. Sounds like the best book ever, right? Well it wasn’t all fun. There’s at least one page describing my fishtank, some shockingly bad poetry, and some filler days that are just my RPG characters having arguments with each other, just to mention a few of the pages I’m less proud of. But it’s done.”

So I want to thank my beautiful, and slightly bat-sugar-insane, wife for inspiring me. I am one sixth into this crazy challenge and I am two thirds through my first A6-ish mixed page journal. For the curious types I use these journals for writing and sketching in, love them.

 

 

‘the violence calls up silence’

 [This is the second of two stories written for the Lancaster and Cumbria Nanowrimo groups first creative writing challenge]

Ed looked into Lily’s eyes and saw nothing. Once they were filled with laughter, love, intrigue and sometimes sadness. Her eyes were truly the gateway to her soul and would reflect every inner thought. In the throes of passion and in each tumultuous fight he would know her inner feeling just by looking into those green seas.

Seas, the ever shifting landscape that they both loved, it is why they stayed in Blackpool. For all its cheapness, bright lights, wailing sirens, dilapidated arcades with wind-faded signs and streets littered with bargain shops. They loved the seas, the winds, the dunes near to Lytham, it was change and decay in equal measure. Like a fading relationship filled with contradiction and melancholy. You could come to Blackpool and just let yourself merge into the miasma of broken dreams and empty promises. Here you could let things fade away slowly hanging onto a facade filled with wild smiles and madness with nothing underneath.

Even in the days of Austerity, with its investments culled and ambitions slaughtered the town survived. Every boarded shop and for sale sign patterned with a thousand billboards and stickers, moated in vomit. Empty holes like the sockets where teeth once stood. The rest of those teeth kept all bright white and artificially straightened to hide the decay inside, the rotting core and receding gums.

Blackpool was a period piece that was condemned repeatedly yet still survived. A dinosaur with the tenacity of a turtle, out evolved but still plodding along cocooned in a hard shell. That was what Ed and Lily loved. To them it was a treasure, a peasant in a toilet who knows that even princes have to piss. Blackpool was not restrained by its past, it was proud and even mocking.

Blackpool saved them. It brought them back together all those years ago. They had returned to this town, near to their birth and closer to their hearts than each other and had found themselves. The fading matched the shift in their lives. The decay, hidden beneath the apologists polish, a match for the hole in their lives.

But the ever-shifting seas, the sands and the skies.

The rich red skies of morning, the deep reds of night, had rekindled a deeper understanding. They saw themselves as a part of the tapestry, they were matched to this scene and as Blackpool’s fortunes shone and dimmed, so could their love. But is still went on, the tides would never stop, the winds would blow, the skies shift and the world would turn and they could see that together.

But now her eyes, those emeralds highlighted beneath the gathering brows of age were dulled. They no longer shone, or danced with laughter, they no longer held that love for him.

But he held no love for her.

Ed had loved Lily more than he knew. He had held her in his arms through all of life’s rich melody. They had come to understand each other’s needs so perfectly that they could explore the deeper relationships. He knew that he would stay with her until the end of his life, that without her life itself had no value. He just did not want it to be so soon.

Endings are inevitable, not even the universe would last forever. Lily had said that mankind’s destruction was itself and she was right. It was man who made the compact with the forces of darkness and unleashed the hell upon the world. It was man who sold his sould to the devil of science. It was science that created the virus and Hell the creatures that caught it.

As the world went insane and the virus spread Ed and Lily had prepared for the end. they had shored up supplies and built defences and held each other in the dark as the lights all faded and Blackpool went dark. But they could not hold out for ever.

The creatures did not stop, did not pause, did not feel. Finally the barricades fell and they came in and Ed and Lily fled, here to the seafront, to their special place in the dunes, to look at the seas and watch the sunset of mankind. But even here in the stillness they had come.

The creature had launched itself at Lily but Ed had got to it first. The fight that followed had been beyond belief, even now Ed could not believe his own anger, hatred and fear. He had taken the life of a woman, an infected near dead creature, but still a woman, a mother or a sister, a daughter at least.

But she had already killed him first. She had bitten his arm and transmitted her filth into him. Impregnating him with a hateful seed that would turn him into a monster. Lily had cried and held him as he started to turn and in his last moments of conscious thought. Before he became an unthinking thing, a zombie he had made his decision. They would be together still.

That was when Ed had bitten her, had sunk his teeth into her flesh drawing blood despite her screams, impregnating her one last time.

Ed looked into Lily’s eyes and saw nothing. Just the milky white of death as her limbs twitched and she lurched upwards. Deep inside of him the last of his humanity went away, and milky-eyed he stood next to her and stumbled across the sands.

* Zombie, The Cranberries

Religious Image

Still on the theme of the Photo Challenge set by castaway on her blog today I took a wander outside after my one day of sickness yesterday, to capture some images of a Religious theme.

The choice was obvious as there is a nearby church that i could get access to, and it seems that I was fortunate it was visible from the road as the first image will reveal.

I really like the look and shape of the building, and it makes me wonder what it is like inside, it looks squat, despite the towering height, the lack of a steeple adds to this, but it is also the width, I wonder if it has large transepts…

The Images including the grunged Gothic image that is my image of the day, I could hardly be a fan of Dark metal without doing some kind of remix to a crucifix.

IMG_7209 IMG_7210 IMG_7211 IMG_7212

The February Challenge

I am continuing to do the challenge set by the excellent Castaway on her blog for February, and as part of that participated in today’s challenge to photograph a child.

Luckily for me I caught a break today with Elliott being held by his mummy in the rain and finding it hilarious that we were getting wet and i was holding a camera. So I managed to snap a few good images of him.

It’s especially gratifying as yesterday he was one year old, and was filled with quite a bad cold so pretty miserable from feeling ill, so seeing him closer towards his usual chipper self is really great.

Onto the images:

IMG_5149 IMG_5151 IMG_5152 IMG_5153 IMG_5154 IMG_5156

 

3 Colours Blue

Castaway, also known as Jess Robinson, is running a challenge this month on her blog. The premise is that she will set a daily photo challenge and she and others must fulfil it.

The idea is to encourage you to get out and take a creative image with a camera, this will make you take some fresh air, get some exercise and be creative.

I managed to miss the first few days and with my fairly full schedule I doubt I can commit to this for even one month as I do have some goals of my own.

However, I am determined to do a few of them and hopefully help inspire Jess in return.

Today was the colour blue and I took a trio of images while out to reflect that.

20130204-175302.jpg

20130204-175314.jpg

20130204-175327.jpg

 

These images were all taken with an iPhone 4 and clean passed through Snapseed.