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.
Tag Archives: Writing
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.
Time ticks ever onwards. The year fades out of February and into March. The cogs of causal reality whirr and click in the heart of the great and unfathomable machine that is the universe. Winter is petering out and the days are getting warmer. Spring is just around the corner. Spring is a time of change and of new beginnings. Admittedly, depending on how you look at it, the same could be said for all the seasons but that is beside the point. The last two Pictonaut Challenges have been a bit on the grim side. All dark and gloomy, a little bit lonely and depressing, more wintery moods. I think it’s time for a bit of a change of pace and a change of scenery. With the weather starting to get milder and the evenings getting shorter I think it’s high time we pulled on our boots, put on a nice, light and airy coat, because we’re Going For A Walk.
It’s a sad thing to come to the end of February. February is cool. Cool in the sense that fezes and bow-ties are cool. It’s cool in the temperate sense too, but that’s neither here nor there. I do enjoy February. But all good things must come to an end. I’m closing the month on something of a high-note. I remain physiological intact, if somewhat mentally disparate, and in the last week I have been spectacularly productive. So productive that I think I’ve been the victim of some cruel and insidious trick. An anthology piece is done, and against all odds I managed to finish off this month’s wordascope in record time. The blog is now a whole two years old and I’m still going. All-in-all I think a small “woohoo” is in order.
There are few things quite so satisfying as getting something finished. When you finally limp and stagger over the ill-defined finish line and collapse onto your back, facing the sky screaming “I did it. I DID IT!” Before descending into a fit of manic and unintelligible laughter based gibbering. That, dear readers, is pretty much what happened yesterday at about half past nine in the evening. Back at the start of January I was harping on about an anthology piece that I was hammering away at. It has been a bugbear of mine for far too long. I’m not very good at multi-tasking my projects, if I’ve got something on the go it is that and that alone which consumes my attention and energy. This of course is extremely frustrating when the aforementioned project simply refuses to be written. But with the first deadline looming at the end of the month I gritted my teeth and performed the literally equivalent of dragging someone into an alley and brutally beating them to death with an old chair leg.
January is dead. It’s corpse has been stripped of its clothes, jewellery, money and anything of even tenuous value. It now lies cooling in a shallow grave in the middle of the desert of time. That’s just how time roles. It takes you for everything you have and leaves you dead and forgotten. Time is the bastard’s bastard. Cheery today aren’t I? Things were looking up, things were looking good, but then last night dinner went a bit pear-shaped, though not literally, no pears were involved. The cheese sauce bubbled over, it was very messy, it delayed things, it was massively inconvenient. There were no words in any language living or dead that could adequately convey my profound and abiding sense of anger and sadness. It was, in essence, the human condition. These are the trials I face in my life and I am left the worse for it. I swear it was going to be all sunshine and lollipops, unicorns and gumdrop mountains, but now? Now it’s going to be all grim-dark misery and the palpable despair of life in a universe that is as cruel as it is cold. This month we’re going down the rabbit hole and treading where no man should ever set foot. This month we’re going to the Dead Places.
Down here in my neck of the woods the snow has finally decided to bugger off and leave us well alone. The British weather in its typical mercurial way has rebounded from the cold snap by swinging to heights of frankly terrifying mildness. Despite it being what I would term the depths of winter the temperature rose to an incredible 13 degrees Celsius, forcing me to forgo both jumper and hat. Even the gloves came off, my winter beard now feels entirely extraneous. This unexpected bloom of warmth fits rather nicely with my equally mercurial mood. At the start of the month I was not in the finest of fettles, but now the grim introspection has gone, although the existential dread remains. But I’m okay with that he’s a reasonably okay guy when you get to know him, bit misunderstood and maligned, but always does the washing up and takes his shoes off when he comes through the door. So January’s ending on something approaching a high. I remain gainfully employed, I’m not dead and I have a house with function heating. everything’s coming up rose. Though not literally, give it a few months though.