Three months ago I wrote a set of season notes, and it’s time for another. Three months seems a good period of time to stop and reflect on. Some things change, some things don’t, but you can see the patterns.
At the end of September I was worn out by work and organising events. I have now cut down on my commitments, which turned out to be a good move. I took the Facebook and twitter apps off my phone, and I’ve missed them less than I’ve enjoyed the feeling of additional space. I’ve also stopped keeping to-do lists, and my life didn’t collapse. I still find myself falling back into the habit, but I’m now more comfortable with letting my inbox fill up.
Lots of things that happened: Apple Day was a glorious end to the summer. I gave a talk, ‘The Internet is Haunted’ at the Phoenix Gallery and Eastbourne’s Towner. I saw the Nordic giants and watched the Manic Street Preachers play The Holy Bible – a cathartic experience. The MechaPoet performed with the Lovely Brothers then, as Chris writes, “was nearly washed away in the thunderstorm but we managed to dry her out in front of the radiator”. I went to a talk by John Lydon, attended MuCon (1, 2) and the LJC OpenConf; rounded off the 2014 season of Brighton Java; went on a trip to Sweden and visited Canterbury and Margate. One of my stories was discussed in a university English lecture. I watched 20,000 days on Earth and The Punk Singer, both of which were very inspiring. I was published in the Guardian blogs, with a piece co-written by Sophie Turton (I’ve not dared look at the link myself yet because comments). And I bonded with my family over Christmas food poisoning.
Work continued to be a drag and I drafted a resignation letter after returning from Sweden. But a couple of friends advised me to hold out, and that turned out to be a good decision. I still think the work I’m doing do is important and worthwhile and it’s a shame when distractions get in the way. Things have improved, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson in patience and forbearance. I’m currently working away at some personal goals and, once those are done, I will think about what I want to do.
One of those goals is to send out some of my creative work. I’m still not interested in being ‘a writer’; but dealing with rejection is a skill I’ve never developed. I finished a book, Everybody Hates a Tourist, back in October, and I’m going to send that out to a few places. Another goal is losing the weight I’ve put on since starting at Crunch. I’m still not able to run, so fixing my hip will be a good place to start with this.
Last time I said I wanted to get more from the books I’m reading. I’ve made some improvement on this. I read 15 books, my favourites being Head On by Julian Cope, and Black Summer, a collection of Henry Rollins’ journals (interesting that the films and books I enjoyed most were about musicians). I also loved Louise‘s book Swenglish, which I will post about tomorrow. I’m trying to read more consciously, to ask why I’m spending time on a particular book. To quote Warren Ellis, “If we’re not doing something with the information we’re taking in, then we’re just pigs at the media trough.”
The best nightmare I had featured me as the only survivor of a plane crash where there were no bodies in the wreckage. The dream plagiarised James Herbert’s The Survivor when the twist was that I was dead too. The best dream featured someone opening a window at work and the office being flooded by crows. What can that mean?
I’ve been in Brighton for twenty years now, and I sometimes worry that I’ve settled into too many habits. But things do seem to be shifting and there’s a lot to look forward to in 2015. I have a visa for India. Slash/Night is being repeated, this time under the auspices of Mathilda Gregory; I’m also doing some sort of technical/programming thing for her performance How to be Fat. And I’m reviving Not for the Faint-Hearted, my anti-creative writing sessions. Should be fun.