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Friday, 21 August 2015

In These Shoes

I used to hate cookery, but now I love it :D 

From time to time, I'll see someone who has attempted to end their life on Social Media.

That sentence already looks odd having written it, but I know that's how the modern world now works: people who have no connection to the 'reality' they live in and feel closer to the virtual friends they've never met, but end up being more confident talking to. Those who don't feel they have 'friends' to turn to in reality, but know if they cry for help via Twitter or Facebook? Someone will hear them. Except that's not a certainty, not even close to one. Throwing your life into the lap of strangers? That's not something I think I'd ever recommend to anyone, and still an increasing number of people feel this is all they have. So this makes me wonder why, and so I go back to my personal issues for answers.

As someone who was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, I feel I ought to try and give a sense of what it does to your mind, but no two women are the same. It isn't just psychological circumstances either, geography and pride play equally significant parts in the equation. For a long time I'd just avoid the issues altogether or pretend they didn't exist, or find ways to avoid going out, making myself a deliberate prisoner in my own home. The straw that broke me was the day I ended up alone having had both kids safely in other people's hands, and realising I was physically scared of even going to the Supermarket. I sat in the car and sweated for 30 minutes before forcing myself inside where I felt so sick and confused I ended up having a full on panic attack. Then I knew: this was ridiculous. I was 42. I couldn't live normally like this, and I needed help. So I went and found it.

Fossils are a hobby I also enjoy :D

As a Mother, you're always judging yourself, pretty much from the moment you wake until the time you sleep. Nothing you do is ever good enough, how you act and what you feed your kids, if they're happy or unhappy, how you discipline them, whether you should shout or not... the list is literally endless. Then there's the moment when you genuinely stuff up or something happens that is out of your control... and you're screwed either way, because your brain will inevitably decide this shows the world what a terrible mother you are. Everybody's a critic, nobody seems to care, and you're expected to just deal with it all like everyone else does. Except, you can't. 

You need to ask for help. And the Internet, beautiful and brilliant as it is, is not necessarily the answer  everyone will need.

Rocks in all their forms are beautiful

In fact, and this may not make me hugely popular for saying, I'd argue that the better option for many is not to reach out to the people who seem to care more, but to actually try and talk to those who seem to care less but exist in your reality, because those are the ones who you'll need to work with to improve your situation. A cry for help is all well and good, but it does not actually solve the real issues you may feel you are facing. Yes, it may also get you the medical attention you need, but sometimes it is far better if you can find the strength within yourself to reach out yourself without having to resort to the drastic. Because if there's nobody to hear you? If you pick the moment and nobody hears the cries?

There is no second chance.

I cannot stress this enough: for all the stories of the people who got lucky and managed to be saved, there are the countless people who take their own lives and are lost forever. Brilliant, beautiful people who never come back, who cannot be returned to their friends and families. Suicide is absolutely the last place you should ever go. You should never let yourself get there, and you can absolutely prevent even needing to be the cry for help. You need to find the strength inside yourself, and that is I know the hardest thing in the whole World to say or write, but it is doable. I know this, because I've done it, and I know countless people who are living, walking attestants to the same. The hardest thing you will ever have to do in your life is ask for help.

The best thing you'll ever do for yourself is asking for help early, and often.

So, I took an hour out of my holiday today to sit here and write a post to remind people they are never alone, even if they feel they are. It isn't impossible to ask for help from your husband or your mother, however much you might hate them for coping better than you do. You don't need the Internet to be there for you, however seductive the notion might be of using it to grab some attention (and I know that's not what you're thinking or how it works, but some people will assume that's what it is.) Mostly, what you need to do is find a way to help yourself that means you get better, and you're able to live to fight another day. Because that is pretty much what matters more than anything else. You, living. Because you are brilliant, and special, and there is always a better way than simply deciding you've had enough.

Every day is worth living as best as you can. Take it from someone who understands how it feels to be that person who needs help, then took it, and has come out the other side both stronger and better as a result.

People want to help you. You need to let them try.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

More Than Words

Everybody's a critic.

The World I choose to inhabit is not kind, a lot of the time. When I see people talking about abortive suicide attempts being thwarted, I remember every argument and back-biting row there's been, often over the most stupidly trivial of subjects. I cannot forget the 'oh you shouldn't follow them, they've done X' messages I've had from people over the years. For every bright spark of joy and positivity there are many, many darker corners where people say they don't want to go. Except they do, and they keep returning to kick people while they're down, and then stuff just gets raked over and over until it bears no resemblance to anything you previously thought you knew.

This is the reality of Social Media as abuse, and it bothers me.

It bothers me because I am now aware of dragging abuse to places where it did not previously exist. One of my Podcast ventures this week received an anonymous e-mail which basically poked me with something I'd said the previous show. Then I had a run-in the same recording session with someone who took issue with the way I handled myself in the chat room. Neither of these are any major big deal to blow up over, but the fact they happened at all gives me pause for thought. Because when you choose to be a certain way, inevitably, stuff happens. If you are the kind of person who demands the World revolves around you, inevitably there's going to be conflict and collision with those simply being what they are. When that happens, it will get messy.

And however good you think you are, it doesn't pay to assume you're the one in the right.

Visual displays of achievement piss people off. FACT.

I have come to realise that what I consider as motivational screenies of my Workouts are actually resented by some who can't do what I am able to. I didn't grasp this until recently and then stopped posting for a while, until it occurred to me that actually it really doesn't matter what I do, on any subject, regarding what I stick in my own social media feeds. So, the reports are back with the clear understanding that I'm not actually the one who has to change how I act in this equation. However, I need to be mindful of consequence if I tread this path. So, you don't go and rant at people until you know the facts. You don't post anything you're not prepared to stand by with irrefutable evidence. And you NEVER LIE. Which for many, pretty much completely defeats the point of Social Media existing in the first place.

Sometimes, there is innocent and pure 100% ignorance of circumstance. I've been there and done that: if I'd had known that in-game item was named after your friend I'd certainly not have used it in the way I did, but the name was so not related to anything I could grasp and the reference so obscure? Maybe I just didn't realise it was what it was. The assumption is always that you're attacking someone, which is utterly and totally wrong. There's never any thought that you've made an innocent mistake, because that would just be too easy. And heaven forbid you be given the opportunity to defend yourself. However, if you don't think and dig yourself a bigger hole when you could have simply sat back for a bit and considered your position? If you give someone the ammunition and motive they need not only to shoot you but to escape from the crime scene scot free? Frankly, you only have yourself to blame.

History should teach us everything.

I am very deliberate in how I approach things, especially when it comes to the Internet. I wish more people thought first before just ranting. I wish more people were polite, including me. I know I shouldn't post when tired or at certain times 'of the month' and the skill of learning when to walk away? I have to say, even though I agree some people need to speak their minds? Others so definitely do not.

The best thing you can ever do for yourself is to know that anything you say can be dangerous, and to plan accordingly as a result.

Friday, 15 May 2015


Please send a Shredder.

This has to be said, somewhere public where I can link it, because people aren't grasping some fairly basic truths.

I'm really sorry, but I'm not ignoring you. Sometimes I have other things to do with my life, or I deliberately choose to not respond to things because of their contentious nature. However now, honestly? I just can't keep up. I'm human and I miss things sometimes, and for me that's absolutely fine, because Social Media is not where I live, it's just where I work. If you want me to be your 'friend'? Treat me with respect, don't crowd me and most crucially of all understand that sometimes, I'm just not paying attention. That's not a personal insult. I'm just probably doing something else.

I'm very close to 2000 Followers currently and as the number continues to grow, deliberate efforts will be put in place to reduce the noise of people who don't get how to be respectful and who forget when they talk on Twitter EVERYONE can hear them (whether they grasp this or not.) If you take this as a personal affront I'm really sorry, but it absolutely isn't. It's just me preserving a vital writing tool for as long as I can, and as writing is my life, it matters to have the variety. I love and cherish all the people who I do interact with who get this, who can grasp that (for whatever reason) this place is special not because of any one person's presence but because of EVERYBODY'S, good and bad.

So, as of this morning, if you ask me something and I miss it? There's a Feedback Form for that. It's on the main Warcraft site and if you genuinely want an answer to something? That's how to get me.

To everyone reading this who understands why I just had to say this?

Thank you.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Sayers :: Consolidation (Two)


This is the latest instalment of my first long-form piece, The Sayers. You can find links to every chapter of the Novel at the dedicated blog page. If you notice any grammatical errors I have overlooked, or you have any observations to make on this piece, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

For the previous part of the story, Click Here.
For the next part of the story, Click Here.


Look up.

Instinct breaks her focus from the road, pulling the mare up sharply as a falcon appears, swooping down and across the threesome’s path, obvious in both control and direction. Alexa’s mind snaps back to life, adrenaline breathless, aware of both men’s confusion at the sudden halt. They had ridden abreast since the farmhouse, no fear of discovery this far into sympathiser territory, and on reflection it would only have been a matter of time before they were detected. Parson’s compound is less than half an hour away at their pace: forests and shrubs around them consciously planted, landscaped to hide observers from a casual traveller.

Their arrival had understandably been anticipated.

‘Can you tell who controls it?’

Daniel is at her shoulder, staring skyward, looking for identifying livery or a ribbon marker, and failing to spot either, his concern obvious in her head. The bird drops briefly behind a dense coppice to the northeast, before appearing again, flying over the horses almost close enough to touch. There are no indicators of ownership, except the instinct she possesses that determines the bird’s manipulation.

‘Not yet, but I will. One more pass-’

Off her horse at speed, she hits the ground as her mind tracks the spy, suddenly oblivious to everything except the falconer that seeks them, existing inside the wings and delicate frame. Direction in animals was a skill she’d learnt but seldom used and there were few who could successfully master the shift between minds. If this were controlled by a Junta mind…

Earth shifts, light reflecting from a metal canteen somewhere to the east, distraction as the falcon climbs west, animal and handler intentionally divided. She throws her mind upwards, consciousness ascending at speed to begin chase: the pursuer senses confrontation and wheels suddenly downwards, swooping away but she tracks determined, aware of laughter long forgotten. Familiar warmth caresses her mind with impish joy, enthusiasm and breathless amazement at her presence. The bird lands on his gloved hand, rabbit leg as reward for a job well done, gnarled fingers she last felt at her face…


Daniel stares with amazement, already shaking his head in obvious disbelief at what has been shared through their bond. The brilliant half-blood, whose Mediterranean mother and home-born father Marchant had hidden after the Imperial Edict to 'repatriate' foreigners: the loner whose heart was larger than anyone she had met. Dark-skinned and blonde haired, a brilliant mass of contradictions who handled twin swords better than any Assassin alive.

Except you, Mistress.

He always Directed with passion, but this enthusiasm is odd: she was expected, her death never truly grasped… and not just by him. There are others that stand and watch the bird sent back to the compound to inform of arrivals, worryingly-familiar minds laughing and moving, riding out of the coppice and towards them…


From the east come the horses, players Alexa needs only moments to identify. Daniel rides to intercept with enthusiasm outriding concern: she makes no attempt to prevent him. Deception is not a factor, despite the now unmistakable presences of those sent as a welcoming party. Her own disquiet rises unchallenged at their presence joined; if she were to choose a group to fight beside in the days that followed, it would be impossible to select better.

‘You didn’t expect to meet anyone here, did you?’

Max grasps the unease she can now taste, off his horse to protect: his empathy is unmistakeable and immediately welcome. Hilltop’s amazement at this turn of events is genuine: no idea anyone except Darkworth would know their location. Only one explanation makes logical sense: Anastasia. As Alexa was bound to Hilltop, so the Sayers will have manipulated this meeting. Inevitably, wherever they had chosen to escape, Wakering would have ended up their destination regardless, and the players required sent there to await them…


The single word is a surprise, pre-empting anger she would have struggled to control: the gun he carried slipped without prompting into a waiting hand, tucked in her jacket’s holster without thinking. His mind may be untrained by traditional methods, but the speed he has grasped single word Direction’s use is staggering, and the effect is immediate. She melts unhindered into his calm, concerns placed aside for more pressing needs.

‘These people are strangers to me and I need to know them.’

His mind isolates concern as memories are located: Petrelli’s brilliance with any sword, unswaying devotion to the Guild often at odds with his fiercely independent nature. Amy’s ability with restorative herbs is matched by her lover’s passion for staves, Ruth’s expertise in close combat undimmed after nearly three decades. The women were inseparable until death and since Alexa had first known them, yet both had been left on less than amicable terms… but it is Boyd’s presence that concerns her the most. Their closeness had been the next most difficult separation to bear after Hilltop’s, and their intimacy is a surprise Max deals with in a breath.

To have them here together is almost impossible to cope with, except she can. Max’s word of power flows around her, waves reassuring with their rhythm. She is in darkness, safe beneath his body, surrounded in calm. He becomes water, implacable depth, escape to silence in the chaos of her moment. His hand traces, briefest of contacts: finger brushing an open palm, feeling a ridge of scar that lives there and questioning its origin. She shows Mid Lands Steel dug into flesh, Imperial Guard who attacked her. The fight to the Throne Room. The last time Marchant had been at her side.

Reality shifts, and the moment is gone.

The horses are approaching, Daniel at their head, discussion already animated and excitable. Max moves aside as Petrelli almost runs into her, hugging with a passion she has missed, enthusiasm inevitably infectious and disarming.

‘Mistress Greengrass, I am beyond pleased to again be in your presence.’

She cannot help but smile, relief at familiarity suddenly overtaken by unbridled joy at this moment. In an instant the halfblood is gone, replaced by another, slim body shaking as they connect. Boyd embraces almost too tightly, hand at her head, desire mixed with relief. As it was with Hilltop, he knew she lived despite what he had been told. His Direction in her mind is an echo of the day before, understanding passion for her remained very much alive.

I’m sorry.

The words are loaded: this is not personal regret at his actions, but understanding that her freedom was forcibly curtailed. His suspicions at the Sayers are more pronounced, a mind more packed with worries and niggles than her own. Without thought she soothes him in turn, Max withdrawing as she does but crucially not leaving her consciousness. He remains at distance, still guarding.

‘Ant, I should have waited until you regained consciousness. I’m the one who should apologise, not you.’

‘Lass, you did what you needed. All you’ve ever done, that’s all. Junta’s would have killed you next, right after Marchant, nobody was int’ doubt of that. Boss never said as much, but we knew. What he did was for all. Always been that way.’

The women stand behind, talking to Daniel, and Alexa pulls from Boyd, aware of the potential flashpoint her actions could create with them both. It is a surprise therefore when Ruth moves and hugs with a firmness that belies their last contact.

‘I should never have let you go without clearing the air, a fact I intend to correct immediately. Amy and I may not have supported Marchant with enthusiasm, but neither of us have any love for Junta tyranny. We would have backed your actions regardless, I’m sorry I never made that clear. When it became apparent what had happened… I feel I too was responsible for driving you away. It was never my intention. We are stronger joined and always will be.’

‘No-one is at fault here except me. There is so much you should know of that last week I never had chance to tell anyone-‘

‘Now you can tell us all, for there are many friends at Wakering that await your presence. And yes, you have right to be concerned. Angelo, do you have your summons?’

Petrelli is behind her, passing a scroll on cue. Created on official Guild parchment, crucially not handwritten. This is of the typed style that Alexa knows has become popular and its direction is concise: Assassins are instructed to gather at Wakering Hall as soon as they are able, to fight for the liberation of the Island under the banner of Hilltop, Master of The Glorious Guild of Assassins... and to celebrate the return of Mistress Greengrass.  She who was lost but who has now been found. The Soul who has returned from the Earth.

She stares at the words before passing the missive to Hilltop. Her next question to Boyd does not need to be vocalised, already aware of what she needs to hear.

'I was here yesternight, I came as soon as I heard you'd be. I bet most of those that are here did so for same reason. Not often one of us rises from the grave.'

'How long was your journey?'

'I was in Northern Isles, with Atlas. You remember 'im? The Florentine? When they put out the warrants for us all he went looking for work out of the way. Lots of Highland sympathisers 'ere. Long story short, we ended up by a Loch poaching salmon and venison to feed locals. Been best part of week to get here.'

Seven days. Alexa and Hilltop exchange a glance, but it is Ruth who presents their collective fear.

‘We are well aware you did not send this message, knowing the risks involved in doing so and considering them far too great. Amy knows who contrives this, as I suspect do you.’

Ruth’s lover does not speak, speech severed by the Sisters when her Sight was confirmed in childhood. Alexa’s link to the slight blonde woman had been forged over their treatment at Sayers’ hands, trust cemented when she understood her Direction was as her own: tainted.  She moves forward, hand placed firmly to Alexa’s face: minimal as always except with her lover, the most unchanged of all these people in five Summers. Then foreheads touch, the greeting reserved only for those most trusted.

Max is gone and the Earth stutters, points severed and instantly reconnected. The vision from the Cherry Tree flares bright: the women march, two abreast, swords crossed on their backs, pistols strapped to strong, slim legs. The army moves South, ready to fight, but their allegiance is flawed. Alexa is the Tether, means to pull all that wish to fight to the single point of conflict. She is the Fire, all-consuming, to burn away the dead and to bring life from the ashes.

She commands the colours of High Sister before they are destroyed forever.

Your time comes.

Now the Earth stops, sudden and damning. Amy’s words are Direction and more as it had been the night Brown had been taken from the Palace in her stead. Ekhert had meant to rescue Greengrass but instead the Country had been more important, the future decided in a heartbeat, her breath. To escape alone had been her choice, future away from prediction and manipulation… or so she had believed. In the silence, she looks at the woman who was raised as Sister but fought as Assassin, and challenges her loyalty. Alexa must know that the future remains undecided, in flux.

Amy smiles: blue eyes beguiling, without ambiguity.

Your choice alone.

Alexa sees everything: Earth around her not disparate but joined, herself as the dust and the sky, particles of being conjoined. In the dust there is movement, energies unfocussed and pliant, waiting for her thoughts to command and control. From chaos comes a path: Daniel’s presence then Max’s, both bound in a shape of such beauty and elegance the Earth itself warps to create itself in their image: three sides, indivisible and unbreakable… what the Sisters can see but will never dictate. That now is hers to form and complete.

Reality re-ignites, noise and passion as Amy’s hand withdraws: Max being introduced, Daniel bringing Petrelli up to speed on events, Boyd’s hand around hers. Alexa experiences everything apart, as it was when she escaped underwater: voices abstracted, events out of vision, aware that where one mind had vacated another had replaced. In the calm Max created but she now maintains, bubble expanding around her, everything is serene, controlled. Slowly the moments shift back to order, comforting and safe despite unfamiliarity. Ears pop, pressure restored: back on her horse, surrounded by a world that finally makes her smile, turning to Amy and nodding, grasping what the woman ignited in her consciousness.

The Earth’s own potential is now hers to command.


For the previous part of the story, Click Here.
For the next part of the story, Click Here.

Medicine Man

Yupik shaman Nushagak.jpg

"Yupik shaman Nushagak" by Carpenter, Frank G. (Frank George), 
1855-1924, photographer, collector. - Library of Congress [1]
Forms part of the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection. Gift; 
Mrs. W. Chapin Huntington; 1951.. 
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Modern World can be scary sometimes.

I had to explain to my 10 year old yesterday: as a rule people are frightened by things they do not understand. This is why Shaman became so revered by generations of the past, their ability to comprehend the complexities of the human body far beyond the capacity of most. It's why for a very long time it was simply easier to grasp the concept of the Universe revolving around us and not the other way around. Currently, it appears that everybody's got a dose of the Social Crusader about them. Being morally indignant is the cause du jour, and the prevalence of Social Media in our lives means this can happen and inevitably we'll discover that other people agree with us when we speak out. Except sometimes? Maybe your cause célèbre wasn't  a problem for everyone else, and perhaps by doing what you've done there'll be more harm caused than good.

But, it's social media so that doesn't matter, right?


Except, it actually does matter quite a bit, especially when the focus of ire is something that maybe you think is a problem but with a few steps back becomes normal and acceptable for everyone else. The counter to this is simple: once upon a time, what we now consider barbaric and unacceptable was seen as commonplace because that was the way society functioned. Slavery was the norm, people used real money to secure passage into Heaven and leeches were invaluable in medicine. But hang on, that's not even accurate now, is it? All this stuff still happens. Women remain victims, men feel emancipated, the youth rail and rebel at anything with a hashtag. The world is inherently skewed towards a certain set of values. The good guys don't always win, right?

Change is a curious beast. What one person things is wrong is inevitably absolutely fine for many others.

What I miss more than anything else right now is moderation. I am as much to blame as the rest of Humanity for not taking a mental step backwards some days before I open my mouth. Instant communication means you can be down someone's throat before they're even capable of taking a breath to defend themselves, and that can never be a good thing because actually sometimes you don't want to explain your reasoning anyway. There are days when it isn't about the moral crusade or the trailblazing change, it's just life. People are born, live and die and in that that time the wealth of experience is so vast, it becomes impossible to accurately mirror the diversity. Especially when it comes to literature and media, the mainstream often forgets that what society allows is often now what people can cope with seeing. Particularly if they are impressionable or sensitive.

Trying to change the old to the new is hard work. Often it is better to ignore the old altogether and just start again.

Or often, let's just change the subject completely.

Some days I come here to make a point. Today I arrived realising that actually, I'm happy with the World at this moment. I get why some people are really cross, and that others want to have a rant, and that you guys over there are really pissed off because this is 2015 and this shouldn't be happening any more, and if I agree with you I will only move to make that clear when I'm convinced my personal argument is sound. I refuse to pin personal colours to any flag any more unless I'm prepared to back that argument up with facts I feel are irrefutable. It seems a decent life skill to cultivate, because if I can't stand by the courage of conviction... well, what's the point? Maybe it's mostly down now to the understanding that picking a moment doesn't matter nearly as much as feeling comfortable you're doing what's right for you.

When I have something worth hearing? You'll know about it.

Friday, 1 May 2015

You're the One

Fry gets a lot of work around this Parish ^^

One of the problems with Social Media for me is the concept of who considers you a 'friend.' For me the word's a bit... well... difficult sometimes, because there are those people you know that when you start a Blog Post or a Tweet are automatically going to assume your ire is directed at them. It's the guilt complex in all of us, that moment when you read something and think 'hang on, I did that today, is this being focussed at me?' That's the reason the Subtweet Gambit (TM) is as effective as it undoubtedly is in making the people who are causing trouble in your life sit up and take notice without the need to actual say you are.

Maybe therefore I should define the boundaries of what I consider friendship in the Digital Age. Would this help certain people in their desire to wind me up at every possible opportunity? Unlikely, because that happens with them just being what they are regardless. I know this happens the other way around with people who follow me. You can tell those who thought I was a good person to read when they saw me at my best, but the moment I go off on an emotionally-charged rant (which, let's face it, happens quite a bit) they'll be off in short order because what with that and all the GIF mullarky, I'm quite hard work.

What I need right now is to stop worrying about what other people think and just do what's right for me.


The problem of course comes when you do this, and people react to your reaction. I am aware that certain people follow others out of a sense of obligation, that by effectively cutting sections out of your media 'circle' you create potential schisms that can resonate throughout the 'life' you create online. However you try and dress it up, people undoubtedly often just see what they want and hear what they need. Very few even read what you write, if truth be told, and it can be hard to grasp why someone's calling themselves your 'friend' when so little actual communication appears to go on to begin with. The most sensible approach to this seems to be that if you mute someone because you find them frustrating, you're probably never going to feel otherwise in the long term, and probably just not having them there at all is a better lifestyle choice.

It's the same old song... ^^

The larger your reach extends in digital circles, the more noise gets generated around you. The smart people will tell you this is a positive indicator of you doing something right, that upsetting people is a benchmark for progress. I always thought this could be avoided if you took care in what you wrote, but what has become increasingly apparent in the last few months is that you have absolutely no control of anything you write in the modern world, unless you are backed up by some fairly serious legal clout (and even that's not a guarantee any more.) That means a choice at personal level: cut away the people that actively make you feel uncomfortable and move on. If the people you lose see this as a personal insult, so be it, but in the end you do what is right for you. Hopefully this works out well for everyone concerned, but if it doesn't you just have to accept the consequences and move on.

When the shoe is on the other foot, and someone removes you because of the exact same issue, use it as a means to step back and re-assess your position.

Privileges revoked.

This happened last week with two much respected and long-term contributors to my social media circles, and to have them both leave pretty much on the same day was actually not a surprise, if I'm honest. I'm tired of having to lie about how I feel regarding a lot of things in an attempt to remain relevant to many who it seems don't actually agree with my approach to begin with, and as I have become more honest with words, people have begun to push back. Some do so in a very aggressive and active fashion, others simply turn and walk, and there are pretty much an infinite number of points in between. The fact remains, I know I am making a difference. There are days when I think perhaps that's not true but the overriding majority of people I speak to find my work challenging and thought-provoking. They don't need to subtext it with anything, or to be critical of me for what I am as a result. For those people alone the continued effort is worthwhile. For the others who feel they know me but aren't actually listening? Well, I'm sorry but if you will not afford me the respect of actually trying to grasp what I say, what should I do? Ah yes, it's me that doesn't understand you, and that's my job. Except, if you frighten or scare me with your attitude, I get the choice to walk away.

No. And NO.

In the end, some people just won't ever like you. That's just a fact. If you really don't like someone because of the way you feel they've treated you, there are a number of practical avenues of recourse. You can mail them and challenge them directly, and I've done that, but be prepared to be surprised at the responses you might get. If you've judged them over time and feel that direct communication will just make things worse? Cut the chord. Your reasoning is yours to understand and ultimately nobody else's to know. You don't need to announce a Twitter cull or a Facebook prune, don't make an event of something that's already going to be drama laden to begin with. Grow some balls and remove the negative elements from your life once and for all, and you will feel better for it.

'Friends' are only worthwhile if both of you are prepared to make it work.

Thursday, 30 April 2015


Rather embarrassingly for me, I appear to have received another one of these award things.

The rules for this shebang appear to entail the following:

Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify them via their social media/blogs. 
Thank and post the link of the person who nominated you. 
Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers. 
Pass on the rules.

Right then. Thank you to Chestnut for the nomination, and because I like you all too much to inflict this level of pain on anyone else, there will be no extension of this chain letter further nominations.

As for five 'facts'?

Okay then.


1. My hair's been going white since my early teens. I'm pretty much 90% this colour now.

2. My first love was Roger Moore. It was 1973. I was only seven, and he had a gun :P

"The Changes closing titles" by Source.
Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

3. I was very strongly affected by a children's TV show of the 1970's called 'The Changes' That was 1975. Don't get me started on 'The Children of the Stones' either ^^

4. The first album I ever bought was John Foxx's 'Metamatic' The first single was Little Jimmy Osmond's 'Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.' I am definitely more proud of the former.

5. I once gave this man an award. Not only did he accept it, he was very gracious too.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Learning to Fly

Easy now there big fella ^^

Learning how to write is fucking hard work.

The worst part of the journey is when you know that you need to get from A-B and you have no clue on how you're gonna do it. That's been me this week: even though I'd already written the next half a dozen sections of  'The Sayers' they didn't work well enough for me to want to post them. So on came the re-write, that ended up with just over 15k's worth of written work being either trashed or recycled. The basic 'plot' remains but the means by which you now see this played out has undergone the most brutal of redirections.

As it stands, I'm happy with the way this has now gone, but we're still not done yet. I'm still working out the kinks in the rewrite, but the plan remains to try and go back to Mondays for posting, starting with the upcoming Bank Holiday. Mostly I wanted to get this right because it matters that I make my story what I think it should be, rather than simply settle for having something substandard to meet a deadline. Mostly it is the perfectionist in me realising that I want to tell this story as well as I can, which means it's show, not tell all the way.

If you'll excuse me Dave, I'll go back to the editing now.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Bohemian Like You

Twitter's a dangerous game. Except it *isn't a game.*

Twitter is one of those places where The Rules, such as they are, appear to be quite strongly ingrained. One of those involves the concept of the 'Subtweet' (which we have discussed before) and how individuals use this to express their displeasure at behaviour from specific individuals on their feeds without the necessary inconvenience of naming them. However, the subtweet 'gambit' only works if the person doing the talking is actually aiming to abuse someone to begin with. The assumption, and this shows just how negative many people expect Social Media to be, is that you'll always moan at someone without naming them. 

The thing is, maybe it was't aimed at you to begin with. Perhaps it wasn't aimed at anybody at all.

A perfect example of this came yesterday, when my annoyance at people not actually reading what I write and simply interpreting what they want surfaced over several weeks worth of blog replies, after a particularly fraught morning. Ironically, that then was exactly what happened with someone else, because the assumption now seems to be that when anything is said on Twitter with some kind of 'generic' or 'vague' subtext this clearly means that response you just made to my post, and therefore I must be moaning at you. In shock news I don't spend every moment of my day obsessively checking my Website for the latest feedback, because otherwise no life at all would ever be had.

My day yesterday, in .GIF form ^^

As this is now the second time an incident of this type has taken place in as many months, I sense I'm stuck in a bit of a cleft stick: I thought I'd been clear enough in the last few weeks to make sure I could manage any misunderstanding. It now occurs to me, because I'm slow and often quite dense, that I'm not actually the whole problem. If someone else is following me and decides to leave because they don't like what I'm writing, I'm still doing a job. I'm making them think, regardless of the sentiments that may be generated. That isn't about my words, it's their interpretation of what is presented, and if all you are looking for is a view of the World where you agree with the people around you? Actually, I get that, probably more than a lot of people might initially believe I'm capable of. But I know there are two sides to this story, even if some people would like to ignore the bad.

This is what I am. Especially the outfit.

The upshot of this is... well, nothing. Even if I don't say anything I know is aimed at a specific person, someone is still capable of assuming I have, as the number of people who follow me continues to rise. My point is to those people who follow others on Twitter and become overly obsessed with what they read? Don't. It's dangerous and unhealthy and will only lead to you getting far more upset than the person to whom you focus your interest, because more likely than not they'll not even realise you've got a problem to begin with. That's me this morning, and I now know that for my own sanity, there's going to need to be a far more active policing of my personal spaces than there has been previously.

Hopefully this will simply stop the problems before they start, but you can never tell.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Sayers :: Consolidation (One)


This is the latest instalment of my first long-form piece, The Sayers. You can find links to every chapter of the Novel at the dedicated blog page. If you notice any grammatical errors I have overlooked, or you have any observations to make on this piece, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

For the previous part of the story, Click Here.
For the next part of the story, Click Here.



The trio are finally forced to rest, at the site of a gutted farmhouse.

This is one of many areas in the Prefecture Daniel travelled between before the Military had purged the land, systematically gutting sympathiser buildings as they did. It sits between the river and the rough edge of marshland they will need to cover to reach Wakering Hall, but Hilltop senses Alexa’s fatigue is more pressing. His lover is close to exhausted: even the briefest of respites will be of greater benefit than pushing to their destination. She is already off her horse, limbs heavy, dragging panniers up the overgrown garden that now almost obscures the front of the property. Max has silently taken care of the horses, already in the process of stowing tack from prying eyes.

The cartographer had hugged both with enthusiasm after liberation, relief all too apparent. His reticence to interact with Alexa however is a concern: getting her to rest will give them a chance to talk. Daniel watches the woman almost shuffle to the back of the house, sensing a mind on the verge of shutdown. He assists but doesn't crowd, ensuring the softest of bags doubles as support for her head. Squatting as she settles, sensing consciousness almost gone he wraps reassurance around the tired body, safety in his care. She stares upward with the weakest of smiles, history reminding of too many nights on the run. After encounters like this, he always wanted to let her sleep forever.

Once her mind settles into the depth of non-dream sleep, Daniel returns outside to locate Max.

He is absolutely in his element: bright and infectious, checking saddles with the care and attention of someone clearly well versed with their handling. Hilltop feels some rest would help him too: without a thought he hands the cartographer a pistol.

‘I trust you’ll know how to use this if the need arises?’

‘I have handled firearms in my time, I may not have killed but I know where to aim. I won’t need any rest either, been far too long locked up. I fully intend to make the most of every waking moment.’

‘I didn’t want to assume anything, I had no idea how capable you’d be.’

‘Rudge may be playing for the Sisters, but did a decent fist of ensuring I was drug free. I suspect I’d like the man if he wasn't allied where he is.’

‘His sympathy has never lain with Korrina’s faction, that much I know. I’d heard rumours that Anastasia still lived-‘

‘-and she does. Rudge’s memories were provided to me as as context, her influence is all over everything. Every motive screams of self-preservation, as has always been the case. Attempting to manipulate us to further her own ambitions is going to be met with considerable resistance.’

It doesn't come as a surprise to Hilltop that the old guard are responsible for their combined manipulation, need to forge them into an effective unit as quickly as possible a pressing priority. That means knowing why Max only spoke to him as they travelled, seeming to ignore Alexa’s presence completely.

‘Larger plans aside, we need to talk-‘

‘-about Greengrass, I know. I can’t let her distract me, the task at hand is beyond considerable. It took two months to create the original plan of the Palace, I doubt we’ll have even close to that timescale before it’s impossible to even get near the Capitol. The diversion the Green Men pulled to get me out’s only going to make matters worse in the short term.’

‘You’re aware of what she’s seen of our futures?’

‘I know where this is heading. For all of us. I thank you again for keeping your word and seeking me out when so many others were happy to just leave me to rot. Your integrity’s never been an issue. I am aware Alexa’s also uncertain of me in the flesh, but when she Directs-‘

‘That’s a different story, and why I was compelled to seek her out when I knew revolution was inevitable… it isn't just protection. What she is capable of inside a willing mind-’

‘I admit being envious of your history, just the briefest of exposure is enough to make her-‘

‘Addictive. That’s the word you’re looking for, and yes, that I can certainly attest to.’

There is tension building, not generated by jealousy. Daniel can taste Max’s arousal, unmistakably placed between him and the woman who now sleeps. There is a moment of disbelief, confusion at the split of focus: the three of them together isn't something he’d even considered until now. This could end up as the best of both worlds. He’d assumed that they would come to some arrangement, but Max’s mind presents a possibility that renders him temporarily stunned. To exist within her simultaneously-

‘I also sense you are torn. You no longer find me attractive?’

Then the assassin has to laugh, full and hard, relief genuine for the first time in many days. Instinct pulls them both to a hug without overture: making the moment reassurance and nothing more. Here is a joint understanding of the Earth they will tread, plus acceptance of responsibility they hold for Greengrass. She binds them both, each to the other: her welfare more significant than either is yet prepared to vocalise. As he releases Wright, their bond is sealed.

‘Then I will distract you from your task no longer. I took the liberty of travelling with supplies to help you begin your project. Wake us at dawn, we will travel to Wakering Hall with the rising sun.’

Charcoal sticks and notepad are pulled from his jacket and handed to Max: the man is already thinking ahead, planning how to translate the Palace from head to page. Fatigue makes Daniel’s shoulders ache as he drags himself away to where Alexa lies: settling beside her an arm wraps automatically around her waist. It is as if five summers were a heartbeat, a blink: meaningless separation easily forgotten.

He is unconscious in less than a minute.


Max dives into the unknown, comfortable and without fear.

The cold of the river is sudden and glorious, instant exhilaration: he takes a moment to re-orientate beneath, recalling sensations loved as a child. The water here is tidal, salty darkness: current a constant reminder he cannot remain stationary for long. Striking back upward he breaks the surface and swims towards land: dragging a suddenly tired body to the bank a laugh starts somewhere beneath his breastbone. He flips onto his back, giggling uncontrollably, amazed at this spontaneous bout of stupidity. He’s now muddier than he was before deciding an early morning swim was an excellent idea. This will never do.

A stretch of moss and bullrushes a little way upstream finally affords a place to hang his sodden undergarments, plus a place to lie and watch the last moments of twilight. The dawn chorus has begun in earnest, sky to the east rapidly lightening: the thrill of existence flowing through Max undimmed, adrenaline and enthusiasm for the day ahead. Naked he lies, staring upwards, waiting for what remains reassuringly unchanging. The thrilling constant of a new day, raft of possibilities it will inevitably present.

His first morning as a free man begins with the most glorious of sunrises.

Dawn creeps inexorably across misty sky, paleness becoming light, remains of low-density cloud quickly evaporating. Max moves to sit cross-legged, grinning in silent and incredible wonder. It has been many years since such beauty was his to behold, yet the moment is tinged with the realisation of his future: responsibility he now willingly shoulders. He could still take a horse, keep riding, run away and not look back… as Alexa did so many years before. She had been unable to escape her destiny. The only way to ensure their future is confrontation of the consequences.

The Palace outline is already planned, pages of details reproduced until his hand ached and cheap parchment used. Everything he requires exists within, simply the task remains of transcribing memory to reality. Yet all he can think of is her, ardour barely cooled by the freezing water: finally he understands why the Sisters kept his libido so tightly in check. How he balances the task in hand and her immediate presence is cause for some concern, that he could so easily allow himself to be distracted completely…

She is standing at the shore, downstream, watching him.

His nakedness should concern but doesn’t: neither does hers: it is the most natural thing in the world. Max can’t breathe, stuck as he stares: fascinated with the way the early light illuminates her body, paths of damage across skin he is desperate to begin mapping. Each scar to taste, feeling of raised flesh under a hungry mouth, every separate story to trace and memorise…

No distractions.

When she dives it is with a grace already revealed at the moment their minds joined, hitting the water with the smallest of splashes, vanishing with a speed that cannot fail to impress. Her Direction understands what is at stake: she won’t deflect him, knowing a myriad of consequences if she does. His regard of her as she stood is both noted and appreciated, but she pulls herself away, intimacy deliberately hidden. Her calm remains a lie, water hiding nothing from him.

Consciousness reacts, quickly soothing fear without thinking, quiet insistence at the understanding of what must be done, that what they will be is inevitable. The future seeded inside both minds already germinates, delicate shoots of a tentative connection: he stops thinking with images, instead focusing on feelings that bind them both. The joy of mental freedom she’d demonstrated: his quick study of Alexa’s actions to imitate and support. Minds meshing, seamless combination of everything in a breath: belief and reinforcement, they are stronger when joined. Holding him within, exhaling her fear: both together, indivisible from the sun rising.

I’ll wait.

Their Direction interchanges: combined promise not to interfere, clear definition of two roles, movement of water and wave as the tide changes. Destiny shifts, moving back down the river to the Capitol. Unexpectedly she appears at his feet, pulling herself to the bank, dye from her hair leeching out into the water. Both are transformed by the moment as she passes, walking away back to the Farmhouse. He doesn’t need to watch any more: her body lives in his mind, waiting for the moment when annotation can be completed at leisure.

Yet he is drawn to the mark across her stomach: the injury that rendered her barren, impotent, a joke to the Sisters who prized fertility above intelligence. Deliberate castration, punishment for a misdemeanour she never committed. These women were dangerous and unpredictable, moved by beliefs that were no longer relevant. They will not fashion a future from his lovers, he who was and she who will be. Nobody would stand between them and the bond they would now cement.

Max’s metamorphosis within them both had already begun.


For the previous part of the story, Click Here.
For the next part of the story, Click Here.