Shit I Have Enjoyed Recently

Worst blog owner ever. Shout out to my friend Dan for holding me accountable

ANYWAY here’s some stuff that’s been occupying my brain recently. A spoiler:

heart eyes

Downton Abbey movie

When I saw this announced I made A Noise. I think the tech guys I work with thought someone was slowly letting the air out of me, like a balloon.

brandpBrando doing an impression of my actual face.

I’m refusing to let myself get too excited until I hear that Brendan Coyle is going to be in it. Please lord above, don’t do this to me.

Barcelona

Sean and I have been together for three years and this is the first trip we’ve been on together to visit his brother. I had an absolute BLAST in Barcelona – I’ll write another post on it specifically, but it’s a great city and I already want to go back. Patatas Bravas, I miss you…

patatas bravasGet this shit right into my face.

Mental Health

Not poor mental health as such, more poor planning and an inability to get hold of my GP. I ran out of Sertraline for nearly a week. It’s not the worst situation (my entire life doesn’t fall apart immediately) but the physical side effects of sudden withdrawal are HARSH.

If you’ve ever had brain zaps, you’ll know where I’m coming from.

WRITING STUFF

I’ve still been writing. I started what has the potential to be a novel-length…something, and I’m about 7000 words in. I’ve been messing about with various other wee things when I need a distraction. Some of them will see the light of day. Many will not. I don’t really care, I enjoyed myself.

Gaming

I made the mistake of downloading Pokemon Go in Barcelona. Now I’m hooked again. It makes the morning bus journey through Edinburgh more exciting.

pokwmon goEvery day’s a Pika Party in my town.

I’ve been getting into legacy games as well – we started playing Pandemic: Legacy, but we’ve taken a break from it so we can crack into Gloomhaven. I’m REALLY enjoying it – Sean’s been obsessed with it for a while so he’s quite thrilled that he can play it with me as well as his dungeon crew.

Plus Magic: the Gathering continues to dictate my life from multiple angles. I played in my first competitive event for years at the weekend, I’m going to be on staff at a comp event for the first time next weekend, and in between I’m usually talking about it, organising it or playing it.

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Tell me what you’ve been up to recently. GO.

The Notebook

I found something on the train a few weeks ago.

I’d been deliberating on my way to the station about whether to buy a new notebook – I’d had an idea for a story, and it had taken hold like a limpet. It seemed like the fates had aligned to make a decision for me when I found one down the side of a seat.

When I flicked through it, I saw it wasn’t newly-bought,  an escapee from a plastic bag. It was full of what looked like study notes, tiny doodles of creatures I didn’t recognise, and intricate, swirling letters, scripted over and over again in various shades of ink.

It was suddenly awfully heavy in my hands. I was holding someone’s notes, sure, and it’s awful to lose them midway through a semester, but it was more than that.

I felt like I was holding someone’s soul as well.

notebook

I’ve got more notebooks than I really need, all because I thought I needed blank pages to be the conduit for what I felt. Most of them are half-filled, bought for some project that never came to fruition, one burst of creativity that moved me so fiercely that I felt I might die if I didn’t transfer it to paper.

I tend to want to keep them pristine. One smudged line or poorly formed letter and it takes me out of the mood.

This is why I mostly write on the computer. Mistakes are clean.

But in those scribbles on the train I saw more than just notes and doodles from a dry class. I saw that place where things come from, a place deep in your soul. Whoever owned that notebook had bared themselves on the pages, moved by some force that I can’t explain or even adequately describe, a force that transcends brain and mouth and motor function. And mistakes.

I’d forgotten what that felt like.

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Looking in that book was like being caught in someone’s bathroom when you’re not supposed to be there. But it reminded me that those notebooks that I have stuffed in drawers aren’t just taking up space. I bought them because something was in me that was fighting to get out, something bigger than I am, and I wasn’t taking advantage of it. I was too bothered by making sure it was a work of art. A sign of one of my biggest flaws: if I don’t do it perfectly first time, it isn’t worth doing at all.

Which isn’t the way this game works. So thank you, whoever lost it, for reminding me of the beauty of filling a notebook, of carrying one around for when I need to catch my feelings.

I’ve got mine.

Why I (Won’t) Suck At Blogging, vol. 1

Surprise! I bet you all thought I’d given up already. Well, you were NEARLY correct. I wrote that first blog post nearly two months ago and it’s with a great deal of disgust that I slink back in now with the second one, pissed off with myself and feeling like a bit of (read: a lot of) a failure.

At first, I simply thought I’d run out of subject matter. Happens all it at the time, I’m quite boring. I thought I’d made an enormous mistake investing time in a blog when I had nothing to write about. Except I started several posts. I even managed to nearly finish one. I’ve been to several places that I could have written about, and had a couple of really crap weeks that I probably SHOULD have written about.

As easy as it would have been use that as an excuse, it wasn’t hugely plausible.

Exhibit two was the problem I have that usually prohibits me from finishing anything: the moment I get slightly stuck I give it up for lost and throw it into some folder where it can’t prod at my conscience. Six months, a year, two years down the line I rediscover it and go “ha, that was actually quite good”, start again, hit the wall…the cycle continues.

But that doesn’t really work either, cause for a change I started…not caring. Putting a million “saids” into dialogue just to get it down on paper, describing what I want to happen rather than writing it if a wall gets thrown up. Don’t edit mid-paragraph, persevere through the grim times. Everyone’s first draft is awful. But the more I wrote, the more disheartened I was, because it was straight up garbage. And I knew it.

But I didn’t stop to think about WHY it was garbage.

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I don’t have a particularly good voice, whether I’m speaking or writing. I’m aggressively sarcastic more often than not, I stutter garbled nonsense when I’m put on the spot, and unless you’re one of the few people I’m happy to be my usual dickhead self around I’m probably going to struggle. There’s a reason I loathe phonecalls, with silences I feel compelled to break with some idiot sentence before I chew off my own fingers. I’d much rather send an email or a Facebook message, where I can sit and think about what I’m going to say before I say it.

But a blog is different. Knowing that what I was writing was going out into the public internet, where literally anybody could stumble across it, was drastically altering the way I was writing it. It wasn’t me anymore, it was my words in someone else’s voice and I hated it.

I was stuck in a painful limbo for a while, running up the trade-off between writing something crap and impersonal and comfortable that made me grind my teeth, and writing something authentic, something with a bit of heart and feeling desperately sweaty about it.

So I took the gamble. I stopped writing inoffensive generic nonsense, or trying too hard to be amusing. Was it uncomfortable? Deeply. Did I manage to get it done without having to squeeze each individual word out? Eventually. But, all things considered, I think I’d rather make myself uncomfortable every now and again rather than trying to be funny or clever (and I’m pretty sure my friends will quite happily tell you that I’m frequently neither) if it means that I’ll actually be able to get things done, because I know – from years of experience – that doing nothing is worse.

It’s a start, right? Maybe in future I’ll be able to write quality blog posts with cool photos between the paragraphs, but aside from the expression I get when my brain is about to dribble out of my ears I’m not sure how I’d illustrate the predicament I’ve had for the past two months…

Good day friends!

I had a blog once, back in the day, but it kind of fell apart due to a) my crippling anxiety with regards to writing things and then showing them to other people (fun fact: I’ve suffered from a generalised anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember) and b) feeling like my life was shockingly boring and I had nothing to write about. I plan on fixing the latter by roping my friends in to give me random prompts every once in a while (fun fact: I nearly called the page “Smells Like Team Spirit”). The former I’ll attempt to get over by ripping the plaster off, firing nonsense into the internet and trying to resist the urge to set myself on fire afterwards.

Since I’ve already dropped a couple of facts in, here’s ten of the most interesting facts about me. Some of these will probably come up in the future. Some, like my awful jokes, will probably not.

1.       Most of my friends call me Sticky. I made a throwaway comment once about how nicknames never stuck. Unfortunately, this one has.

2.       I’ve got a big floppy cat called Stella. She hardly ever moves, chews my hair when she’s hungry and fall over when you pay attention to her. I love her.

3.       I have mild megalophobia. Nobody’s ever heard of it but it turns me into a jumpy bag of nerves any time I’m near an airport.

4.       I run (with my friends) our local Magic: the Gathering community. It’s simultaneously the most stressful and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

5.       I got engaged two weeks ago. I accidentally found out my fiancé had bought a ring so he got on one knee with a photo of it on his phone in its absence.

6.       R.E.M. have been my favourite band since I was nine. I never saw them live before they called it a day and it haunts me.

7.       My parents found out I could read when my dad had the newspaper sports pages open and I asked him who Colin Montgomery was.

8.       My jokes are so bad that I’ve been removed from buildings for punning.

9.       I’ve seen far too many episodes of Air Crash Investigation for someone who was already a nervous flier.

10.   I learned “London” by William Blake for my Higher English exam and I could still recite it and then sit down and write a pretty hot critical analysis of it nearly a decade later.

Thanks for reading!