May. A month of dancing round poles and the subsequent phallic symbolism such an act invokes. A month of two sweet and solid bank holidays; the last before a drought that save for a brief respite in late August will last until the end of the year. Summer’s not quite here yet. I can sense it though, just around the corner, just waiting for a chance to start flaunting its heat. But with that heat there is the promise of cider, beer gardens and nights as clear and crisp as cut glass. And with the burgeoning swell of summer comes the desire to throw open all your windows and crank the stereo all the way to eleven and let music fill the air. And that leads us, by an unwieldy and overly circuitous route to May’s Pictonaut Challenge: Music Box.
Author Archives: The Rogue Verbumancer
And no sooner than it had begun, April was over. It scarce feels like 30 whole days have passed since this month’s challenge started. It’s all passed by in a haze of work, writing and lounging about in my jim-jams. Spring has finally deigned to grace us with its mercurial presence. It feels like I’ve done nothing but write this month. Or more accurately try to write for hours only to be rewarded with a brief and transient flicker of words for a few fleeting moments. I’ve been snowed under with things to do, but slowly and surely, in the harsh light of spring, they are melting away. Hopefully I can return to a clam and pastoral life for a while, though I doubt it will be long before I’m seized by writer’s fervour and end up committing myself to even more things. But they are problems for another day. Now, to Pictonaut based business…
There are two things which I am notoriously bad at. These things are time management and concentration. Also I’m pretty bad at spelling, social interaction, domestic cleanliness and human emotion. But for the sake of argument let’s ignore those and stick with the first two. Anyway… I find it incredibly difficult to pay attention to more than one thing at once. I seem to be more or less functionally incapable of listening at the same time I’m reading or writing at the same time I’m listening, or any varied composite mixture of similar things. Basically I can’t really do more than one thing at once, and with my simply dire ability to manage my time I generally don’t have a great amount of time to do a lot of things. For this reason I’ve generally shied away from podcasts. They always got put on the back burner, things to look at later, a thing for a tomorrow never to arrive. As time has gone by I’ve been more and more inclined to give them an even wider berth, for the world of podcasts is world that is to me a strange and unknowable place that operates by rules and laws i have not the nous to fathom nor the patience to decipher. That was until now.
Earlier this week a friend of mine was waxing lyrical about something he had been listening to. I was beguiled by a sliver thin glimpse into a world to which I had never ventured before. I was lost the very moment a smooth, rich baritone voice uttered the words “Welcome to Night Vale.”
Last week saw me more or less soiling myself with abject artistic terror. I’d just started a new project and was somewhat concerned as to what its reception would be. This fear however seems to have been largely unfounded. The fear is dead. I killed it. My hands are slicked with its horror-blood, my shirt stained with its nightmare-fluids and my boots caked with lumps of its panic-offal. So yeah. That’s a weight off my mind.
Right now my anxiety is making a noise. it’s a high-pitched whining sound that could, if properly channelled, slice through steel. I could, if I were so inclined, stretch out this metaphor beyond the limits of its tensile strength. I could draw comparisons between the aforementioned steel and reason. I could even go on to the attribute the alloying elements contained within to a myriad of different emotional qualities and or foibles. But the anxiety has robbed me of much of my desire to sit down and have a real and proper think about things and/or stuff. I think it’s safe to say that I am now deep within the grip of “The Fear.“
But what, you might be wondering, is the source of The Fear. That is a question I for once have an answer to, though I’m not sure if knowing the source makes this any better than the occasional nameless feeling of dread that cloaks my addled brain. The source is simple. At approximately the same time as this post hits the seething cauldron of words that is the internet, my latest writing project starts. Today is the day that The Life and Times of a Working Barbarian goes live.
This post is arriving after noon so as to avoid the plethora of April Fools related shenanigans and totally not because I popped out to buy milk. The start of April is always a bit silly, hell the entire month is a bit silly. It rolls up declaring “Look! It’s definitely spring now! The weather is going to be so much better now!” And then it promptly tips it down for nearly the entire month. April is a month of lies and absurdity. Last Year I picked a fairly bizarre image for April’s Pictonaut Challenge, so I decided to stay in a similar vein this year. Combine this with the fact that today is one of the UK’s scant few public holidays, that means tomorrow the vast majority of us are back to work. So in keeping with that, and a desire for general absurdity we have Office Warfare.
It is March 31st and let me just say now, for the record, I am most assuredly not going for a walk. As fellow Brits are probably well aware we’ve just entered British Summer Time, BST, Bastard-Shitting-Timechange. Last night Time snuck into my room while I slept and stole from me an hour of rest. Now I’ve got a horrible fug in my head, a slight headache and a general desire to crawl under a particularly large rock and die. I have what can be best described as a case of temporal jet-lag. I can fly half way around the world and laugh at the mere notion of travel based jet-lag, but the minute the clocks change it comes and hits me, quite literally, where I live. But you didn’t come here to read about my dodgy circadian rhythms. You came here for stories. Or because you googled something seriously weird.
I spent this weekend in the wilds of deepest, darkest Essex. A place which I like to think of as more or less perfectly fitting the bill of the anti-north. I was renewing acquaintances with an old friend of mine. There had been a forecast of snow, but when Saturday morning finally rolled around I did not expect to find it lying so thick and heavy. All plans to go or to do were abandoned as we found ourselves housebound. Not so much due to an inability to leave the house, but through the plain common sense that perhaps driving anywhere that day might not actually be very near the top of a list titled “Clever Things To Do.” Gravitating to the kitchen, as all right-thinking folk do, we quickly found ourselves embroiled in a tale of high adventure, with epic quests and feats of daring do as we set out the reshape the world with our deeds.
Sometimes I honestly have no idea what to blog about. And today is one of those days. How I’ve kept this up for nearly two years boggles the mind. So here I am sitting in my lounge, the gloom of a British spring slowly darkening the skies and I am at a loss as to what to type. In order for there to be something to blog about I generally have to be doing something that could by considered “interesting” or at the very least, be the tangential spin-off from some writing that I’ve been doing. And recently? Well I’ve been doing precious little of either recently
So with little else to say I will tell you what I did this weekend. I bought milk.
All good things must come to an end. In the time since that idiom was first coined, whole nations have risen and entire empires have fallen. And yet, despite all that has gone before, I like many others did not listen. I was seduced by the possibility that things could only ever go up, could only get bigger, that there was no downward slope. But I have paid for my hubris, now I know all too well that the possibility of infinite growth within the confines of a finite system is a quaint illusion. To believe otherwise is folly.
Since I started this blog I have been enthralled by its statistics, the bar-charts, the numbers, the global demographics. As months went by I saw those bars grow and grow. At the end of 2012 I hit an all time record of 1608 hits in a single month. Then it all started to go downhill…