Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Clean New Year For Me

I CAN'T STAY ON FOR A LONG TIME; it's the end of a long day, I didn't go to bed last night I feel maxxed out and overloaded and stressed and I've just gone shopping with Binky pre-new-year rush and all. I'm getting on with Binky far far better. My fellow blogger-friend Beverly asked (in recent comments (and I didn't reply Bev because I only just got them, they automatically go through moderation once the post is a certain number of days old...) am I loving? Well I think, no. (In a way, at least). What I mean by this is that one thing I picked up from the failed (cancelled) MBT group I was going to was how divorced from my feelings I actually am. In many ways Binky and I are emotional opposites. She inhabits her emotions, I can, at times, tend to want to sit opposite mine feeling ironic and slightly superior. I mean, for years one of my most favourite words has been "entertaining" which one ex-friend once admitted to me, during a blazing argument, that she really found irritating because it seemed to epitomize me as a sneery supercilious person. I'm not sure that I was, but she thought I was. I'm more an emotionally deadened person who plays it tonge-in-cheek a lot of the time for want of any other way to play it. It may sound weird to talk of emotional detatchment when I've been so prone to mood problems over the years, but moods and emotions are very different things. Binky'snot to feel emotional. A lot of depressed people tend to claim they don't actually feel... that they can't feel; that their feelings are more frozen than painful as such... Do you see what I mean?
mental problems seem to focus around emotional dysregulation; whereas mine have often seemed to involve some dysregulation of mood. Mood is to do with your predominate feelings, so it's possible to use mood as a way

Why am I banging on about distancing self from feelings? Because I feel that, in a sense, I have treated Binky too callously in the past, shutting myself off from her. I can't put my finger on what it is I did wrong, but I know I do really find it difficult to engage with people in any kind of really "emotional" way... I don't know why, it's just something I've noticed over the years...

... And of course heroin, my addict drug of choice is inherently about not feeling things. (People don't really take heroin to get "high" as such, more not to feel low, not to feel real, not to feel the immediacy of life... or perhaps more literalistically you could say it seems to blunt off life's sharp edges and that's what I relied on it for far far FAR TOO MUCH.

Both Binky and I are making new year's resolutions NOT TO USE AGAIN. And it's 3:42pm ~ about eight hours till the new year and I think this year I actually am going to watch those review of the year shows and counting in hogmanay on BBC. In previous eras I haven't had the slightest interest in a change of date from one number to another, but I DID make and very largely keep a new year's res to give up crack cocaine some years ago (you know it could well be five years ago now) and was so impressed by my success there that I'm into making another resolution this year to knock heroin-taking on the head for once and for all. For so many reasons it is not a good thing. Why would I even state such an obviousness? Because there's a part in me who asserts that heroin has made me feel good, helped me cope (emotionally), killed my pain, that I have every right to the pursuit of my own happiness and if that has to involve a reliance on heroin then so be it... yes I have indulged in that line of thought in the past. I've been feeling really really horrible at some points over recent weeks (probably with depression though I'm so wearied of all that I've now largely dropped labels, except where absolutely necessary)... I'vat all...) More recently life has become confused and I so want to move on and be CLEAN in so many ways. Physically clean, drugsually clean, emotionally clean, psychically clean, spiritually clean... know what I mean?
e felt shit and taken heroin I've felt shit and not taken it. I was doing REALLY REALLY WELL late 2010, early 2011 (even though mentally deranged I was not touching heroin or any illicit drugs

So that's my resolution for 2014 TO BE CLEAN IN EVERY SENSE...

Am I blithering on in my usual self-centred way yet again? Well this IS a blog. By a drug addict desperate to stop... so what else do I write about?

I just think the heroin I've still been using has confounded an already confused and confusing situation, that it has to be taken out of the mix, that I would do better to focus on cutting down and giving up methadone ... etc etc. I have a LOT of ambitions for a new life and yes I HAVE put in the legwork to change my life, it's not just talk. I predict my life will alter in the next couple of years beyond all recognition....

And I sit here and hear myself "the heroin I've been using"... like I'm talking about drinking cups of tea. Yes I know we live in a drug-addled society but still HEROIN ~ the dirtiest and hardest and most disreputable of drugs. I'm so ashamed to say it has still been playing a part in my life and that part has been far too big. (If you don't need heroin, my advice to self and to others is DON'T TAKE IT. So that's where I'm going. Back to not taking it at all.

And like I say, I've started to feel genuinely and deeply ashamed about my drug use. I'm unhappy enough about being on methadone, but heroin is beyond the pale.

By the way I think I should add that here in London there is no scene around synthetic prescription opiates like OxyContin or Dilaudid as in America. In London, opiate abuse means heroin abuse. (Of course prescription drugs must go around, but in my approaching 15 years of addiction I've never seen pills or vials of illicitly obtained opiates. Ever. They're that rare here and that's a side-effect, I'm sure of having an NHS. Where patients are not paying customers, doctors feel far less pressured to cough out spurious pain medication prescriptions ~ that's the fact of the matter, I'm afraid.

Well I've gabbled on enough and I have to go. I just want to wish you all a very happy and successful new year 2014 and to pass on my love and best wishes to you all XxXxXxX

Oh PS I wish I knew how to post up drawings. Would you believe it my art is coming on in leaps and bounds. I actually managed to copy a picture of a puppy this afternoon at Binky's that encapsulated all the cuteness and furriness of the doggie, who was jumping for joy...

Herebelow is another person's brushpen art, just to show how the instrument can handle, though I paint in a far heavier black-&-white style...

GREAT SONG for the new year: MADONNA'S HUNG UP
You know this went to number one in some incredible number of countries... just about everywhere EXCEPT the United States, (how weird is that?)...

O and another song for the new year. I love this one: Abba Take a Chance on Me

O and this one Abba Chiquita


Monday, 30 December 2013

Better Friends (than ever before)...

BINKY AND I are getting on far far better than I would have imagined after our friendship-fracturing-to-the-point-of-near-termination blazing xmas day row. Which was kind of all my fault, as it was I who verbally stuck the boot in (I see in retrospect). Though at the time I believed I was merely making highly valid points that needed to be made if our dysfunctional relationship was to continue to function at all... I upset her so very much I'm deeply surprised that she wants to talk to me at all. (+ deeply touched.) 

Tomorrow we're going to the art shop for my intellectual Japanese brushpen ink and her sketching equipment. For some reason, we're both into learning to draw black-n-white illustrations. Me to illustrate my children's book. Her purely for self-improvement, I think. She knows I've completed this story that I'm calling my "intellectual book" (there's nothing intellectual about it and it's barely long enough to be considered a book by anybody's standards, but I'm kind of proud of myself over my achievement at actually finishing something, even just this one tiny thing, that I started... know what I mean? So I'm learning illustration, to be able to put this story out on my own, without reliance on an outside illustrator. I'm learning Japanese brush pen because it'll give my work a distinctive aura all of its own that will be more difficult for outsiders to copy. Did you know the cartridges for this Pentel refillable brush cost literally £4 each??!? That's $6.59!!! So I took a syringe and pumped in 6 parts Windsor and Newton's India black and another 7 parts Lamy black bottled fountain pen ink and got a product almost as good. It's just not quite as sensitive to the very finest details, where the old product sank more into the paper this floats atop it, causing different effects. Also I find it quite different attemptedly painting in shadow, whereas naturally we see by light. So in effect I'm painting a photographic negative... know what I mean?

I'm also TRYING to write another story but am nowhere near as inspired as I'd like to be. + another, far better plot has come along, for another book, but I'm trying to finish the first book first... which is wearying and very trying for me, as I know I need to be most professional about all this. Even though I'm not a professional but merely a down-&-out schizo on benefits who is lucky to be able to write at all. And when I feel really ill I can't even do that. Can't get my head around the details of even the simplest passage of children's prose, in order to compare and improve short less than 1-page passages of parallel drafts. How truly pathetic is that? 

Anyway, back to Binky's and my friendship. I think it's better than ever before, for this spring cleaning of truth-telling agony... how really weird is THAT??!?

My family say give her more benefit of the doubt, she is mentally ill and all that. Weirdly, Binky says I am mentally ill. It's true, at one point I did learn all the labels but labels are all they are ~ in the modern-day prevailing religion known as Psychiatry where the priests are the doctors and the Blessed Ones are diagnosed with Schizophrenia... Know what I mean? (Ie, I mean it's all bullshit.)

I do think I give Binky a lot of Benefit of the Doubt but was angry on xmas day because I thought she was insulting my intelligence and taking me for a ride. Now I think I was unnecessarily cruel to a person who is immensely brave and strong to have survived the cartload of shit that she has been through in life and the last thing she needs is a person like me, who should be supportive, undermining her in any way. So I've decided that I need to be much more of a friend and I'm doing the things I think friends do. So I hope I'm doing the right things...

Righty-ho I've got to go. Have a great New Years Eve everybody and NO TWERKING!!

BARBRA STREISAND singing in the film YENTL
You could say the words are totemic to my life...
I want this played at my funeral

o and here's a new year's song especially for you Akelamalu, because I know you like it


Illustrated: top ~ this is what I think I have done in principle to Binky ~ beat up somebody who didn't deserve it though very kindly she forgave me; my Pentel Japanese cartridge brushpen; Japanese liquid "sumi" ink; "The Nightmare Before Xmas" (though ours was AT xmas...); "Where is it Written?" I love this tune...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Massive Christmas Day Argument

XMAS DAY WAS TERRIBLE for me and Binky. We had a vicious argument on the phone about me never making it round to her house. I never made it because I felt terrible and we had an argument which started with that but then went on to other things (on my part) kept pent up for too Long. So xmas day was a horrible day and Binky got reallly upset, sobbing pitifully down the phone and I felt dead guilty for having set her off so bad. So I sent her a big message saying sorry and we only exchanged pressies today.
I took my meds early and slept the entire xmas day through, missing everything on TV, proof that I really wasn't well (you know, because I secong-guess myself all the time, telling myself I ought to be fine, in fact I go through life telling everybody I'm fine even when I feel anything but...) (I cannot just sleep like that all day on demand). (What had happened was, I slept about an hour and a half over the night then it was time to go, walking six miles there and back and I just wasn't up to it. My foot was still hurting after my treading broken glass into it.... all this ridiculousness.)

She bought me a really cool watch a SKELETON WATCH which is what I've always wanted. I don't know how she knew that. And I got her gold dangly earrings and giant silver diamond hoops. Stuff that would have cost in the £100,000s were it real. I was really glad she liked hers as I semi thought she might consider it worthless tacky tat. But it's not tat at all, it's beautiful.

I have to go I'm thinking about my future life and am really stressed about the legalistics of the amusement of my "intellectual books"...

So that was my xmas. OK in the end, and we forgave and forgot. LITERALLY forgot. Neither of us WANTS and we certainly don't need to recall the ins and outs of a crazy episode... so it's fading from both our minds, exactly as we require it to. 

I hope your day was more joyous...

Pictures: not the exact stuff, but the jewellery is from the same lines... isn't it wonderful?

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

I'm doing xmas at Binky's. We're having frozen something, that's if the takeaways are shut. She said she's getting takeaway in, Chinese or something, I said good luck with that. I seriously doubt they'll be open xmas day but she believes otherwise.

What are you up to?

And where is everybody (of the moody variety)? Anna Grace, Beverly, Bugerlugs...

ANYWAY, HERE'S WISHING Y'ALL A MERRY ONE, if you're into xmas. Ho ho ho!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


I'VE BEEN DOING ART and it's opened a kind of interdimensional artistic third eye. I went to the London Graphic Centre where I bought a Pentel Manga Pen (synthetic brush loaded with Chinese ink cartridges). I keep seeing art with my eyes open and shut. But my art facility has increased drastically. I can see how to draw things I couldn't draw before. Though I'm still getting used to wielding an Asian brush pen, which can draw from marker pen thickness to fineliner in a single sweep. Swift, confident strokes are required, otherwise the drawing looks very shaky indeed.

I nearly had a nervous breakdown last night. My brain started racing out of control. I don't know why it does that. Then I found out it's full moon at 09:28 hours today, Universal Standard Time (which is London local time). So maybe THAT has something to do with it. Anyway, at another point in the night, I nearly had a panic attack, because someone upstairs dropped something like a penny on the ceiling. Yes I was feeling that sensitive. Now I feel hyped up, but I feel depression about to crash back again at any moment so I don't know WHAT's happening with me. I keep feeling like I'm going to end up in the nuthouse. I have felt that way off and on for over a month. But I do my writing and art instead and I'm still not in the nuthouse, so SOMETHING's working, hey!

Gotta run. Happy full moon to y'all!



Monday, 16 December 2013

Depressed (what's left?)

I HAVEN'T POSTED in a while because for weeks on end I have been feeling lousy. I've been feeling lousy for weeks on end. Only writing this stupid story has distracted me. But as soon as I stopped writing I was depressed again. Now that the book is written (in a wordprocessor-ready draft at least) I'm more miserable than ever. I'm on chapter 2 of the next story but have felt so low that I can barely continue. Also my head is too confused by alterations I have had to make in the text. The text is lousy, so I have to change it, but changing it (ending up with paragraphs lying all over the place) really does my head in. I've been doing art as well, but painting and drawing is making me see things. Severed fingers on the landing. Giant spiders. I am hearing voices murmuring. And I AM taking the antipsyco pills. This morning I opened the kitchen door and an enormous bright yellow spider ran away from me. (Am I going insane?) I don't believe in mental illness, except as a sort of religion, giving structure to our formless lives. In a push-button age of instant gratification and personal comfort our souls are in pain. Psychiatry means "care of the soul". In an irreligious era the psychiatrists are the high-priests of our spirit and we're all in pain. All in so much pain, because our lives are meaningless and worthless.

This is what I get when I google "mad doctor animated gif":~~~~~~~


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Photocopying hell

PHOTOCOPYING! If Dante had written the inferno in more recent years I'm sure he would have included use of the photocopyer to reproduce more than 10 sheets at any one sitting on A3-A4 reduce setting. Ukh I have copied 40 manuscript pages at a sitting, twice. No I tell a lie. I WOULD have got to page 80 today, had the library not closed. So as it is, I'm only on page 65. I have to copy this document to send to someone who can tell me their opinions....

I'M IN A REAL FLAP of a bad mood. Got into a tailspin this afternoon about something exceedingly petty (but VERY important, in the scheme of things) that I can't go into. If I could go into it here, then it wouldn't have got me in such a flap. Just one of those annoying things that, frankly, I wish I could afford to pay somebody to do for me. You know, the trivial petty things in life that personal assistants/managers/lawyers do for you. I worked out recently that had I been born an 18th century aristocrat NONE of my present-day problems would exist! They are ALL to do with having to have the volition to run the meaningless minutiae of my own life, which of course I don't want to. Like washing my socks. Washing clothes. Cleaning house. If somebody else could do that for me, I'd be absolutely fine. But as it is, those nut-doctors would put it down as "issues with self-care" or some such nonsense.

ANYWAY back to writing. I'm about to start book 2 in my amazing "better than Harry Potter" series of entertainment! How amazing is that!!!

I've got to go. I'm too irritated to write any more. Really starting to feel shitty and depressed. I'm just glad I can put a deceptive brave face on. People who think they know me think I'm OK. I'm not OK at all.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Calligraphic Black

I'VE BEEN LOOKING for the "blackest fountain pen ink". There are pages and pages of online reviews for brands not available in London. Who are Noodlers? Should I have heard of them? I've never seen their products anywhere...
The standard ink here in the UK would be Parker Quink. But it's nowhere near dark enough. They should call it Quink Dark Grey. I used to use this stuff called Higgins Eternal, but it's eternally even lighter mid-grey than Quink, and certainly not proper black.
The one I'm using now is called Lamy black, but it's still too washy for my exacting taste. I want my writing/artwork to look "like a void in the universe" as someone else put it.
Why is it that rollerball and gel ink pens write so much darker? Is it that because for a throw-away pen they can use a more intense formulation that would clog a fountain pen over time? Who knows. Actually, does anyone really care?
WELL ANYWAY, I'm learning (my own style of) calligraphy, you see. Very slowly. I mean, I  wish I could be as artistic as this (I'm getting in this direction):
or even this (by JRR Tolkien):

But I'm not quite there yet. One day soon I want to learn "real" calligraphy. Did you know you can get work calligraphing lawyers' deeds? I'm serious. For that I'm gonna need really ultra-black lawyerly cosmic ink, y'know the type fraudsters cannot wash off. I used to have an india ink pen, which was really for doodling and drawing, not writing: that produced fantastically black scribbles, but I heard you can literally wipe it clean from parchment and vellum. Not very fraud-proof! Is that true?

I'd also like to learn Japanese and Chinese calligraphy. When my set of TEN books is finished (not just one book ~ ten) and I've got paid however much you get for writing bestsellers these days, then I intend to invest in the Rosetta Stone Japanese course, but you'd need to write a bestseller or ten to afford it. The complete course costs £279 ($449.35)


O, and last but not least; THIS is what a real Tolkien manuscript looks like (the one on Saturday's post was by God knows who, but it wasn't JRR Tolkien!)
Isn't it beautiful.
Ukh and that's another thing. I have to learn how to do proper pen-&-ink drawings to illustrate all TEN VOLUMES of my kiddies' book. If I end up publishing it myself. Even if I do get a real publisher, I want them to agree to let me print up limited fine editions myself. So I'm STILL going to have to learn to draw. Wish me luck because I only have a talent for abstract art, not the real stuff. (I would be make a good interior designer of mosques.)

Illustrated: Noodler's ink bottle by Geeky Girl at her blog; homespun calligraphy in black Quink; dwarfish runes on MS by Tolkien, another Tolkien manuscript; mosque design...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Still Writing...

I'VE FINISHED HALF A BOOK. Half a short book. (I'm talking about the rewrites. Version one is finished and lying in a ringbinder as we speak...) WH Smith's refill pad by hand and now it's less of a mess (but I STILL keep remembering little lose ends not tied up... y'know... very annoying).

All this bluster and puff from me about how I "don't want to self-publish" ~ now I'm spending most of my time wondering whether the local supermarkets will take mine in hardback... etc. If I AM gonna print it up myself I definitely want it in proper hardbacks. Even just a tiny print run of 500. Then I'll go round every WH Smiths, bookshop and supermarket in every part of London saying I'm a "local author" and would they take just 25 copies (surely that's not very many, for a future classic of world literature, is it?) Hmmm.

WH Smith, by the way,  is a news agent, stationers and book shop. In many UK towns they're the ONLY book shop left ... What do people do in foreign counties where there's no WH Smiths? Not read or use Amazon, I suppose...

Oh did you know I used to live in a REAL garrat and I DID write a novel when I lived there. I still have the handwritten pages in £1.99 A4 exercise books.

It's not very good though. And it's FULL of drugs. Ukh.

I'm getting my computer fixed soon. So I can be a "professional" writer! I will let y'all know when that happens!

Got to go. I spend every waking hour editing or thinking about editing. (TV blaring away in the background, of course. How very professional of me.)

Once this one's finished I have plots of NINE MORE TO GO!!

Cereal characters: doncha just love 'em!

BTW was I very miserable and depressed last time I posted? I sounded it. Been sleeping 12 hours flat every night, Going to bed at 5am getting up at 5pm. Last night I popped a humungous dose of antipsychotic to knock me out early and was up at 7:30am! You see, legal drugs do have their uses!!!

Illustrated: not my MS but (allegedly) part of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit

Monday, 11 November 2013

A Real Pen!

HEY SOMEBODY BOUGHT ME A PRESENT! YES, finally I'm the proud owner of a real ink pen again! I lost all my old pens when I turned into a raving heroin junkie nearly 14 years ago (don't even know where they went: I certainly didn't sell 'em). I love a good ink pen, with a liberal nib that splurges ink all over the paper (before it sinks in, you can see the wet writing sort of standing up on the paper). So I'm really happy with this pen. It is for writing great literature with. Well... editing the "great literature" already written. I've so far revamped 5000 words and have "only" 25,000 to go! (Which is not that much prose: Liz set a goal to pen 50,000 words this month alone! A shortish adult novel would be 80,000 words and that would occupy about 200-300 pages, depending on typesetting.) So my 30,000 words isn't that much at all. When I'm in a good mood I do think (or hope, more like) that they're 30,000 pretty amazing words, it has to be said. (Well someone has to believe in this book~ it's my job to!)

WHY AM I SUCH A MISERABLE BASTARD? I should be happy. I have everything going for me. I have written draft one of this book I keep banging on about. Including illustrations it would comprise a 150-page (or so) volume.  So it's not that long. But at least I achieved something ~ so why am I so bloody miserable? Ukh, I have no idea.

I told my methadone worker about all this and the new life I was hoping/intending to start up, you know, as a worthy writer and all and she said "what about your mental health?" (my drugs worker thinks I'm really nutty, last time when I came in looking particularly scruffy she said I looked "very community care" (community care is what they call it when you see a person going barking mad at the traffic lights. It means there's not enough room in British mental hospitals). Oh I saw a TV prog t'other day on Channel 4 called Bedlam. The episode I saw just happened to feature 3 bipolar people. The theatre studies girl happened to have been slapped with the same horrible label as me ("schizoaffective")... but I couldn't help but notice, when her manic episode wore off and the meds were working she looked completely and utterly sane ~ I mean, even saner than I am. There was a big black guy who the nurses said was being "horrible" (you have to be REALLY horrible to get that label from a mental health nurse!) and lastly a bloke who'd come in after a "suicide attempt" looking really chirpy and not at all depressed. Supposedly bipolar, but it turned out to be a misdiagnosis. The new doctors decided he was personality-disordered, promptly withdrew all drugs and chucked him out of hospital! Yeah so anyway, my future mental health. Well I've never expected to feel any different in the future from how I do now, and it turns out that was a most pragmatic move on my part. Because I've "achieved a life goal" and yet I feel practically the same as before! Every morning I wake up feeling miserable. Every time I stop thinking, moving, speaking, writing~ the misery floods back. Like a sinking ship, when you cease bailing out. Swamped all over again. Oh I dunno!

Hey I just had a really nice pineapple-vanilla ice lolly split. I do love a good lolly in the autumn. Inspires the mind to greater things.

OK I've got to go. Noah I will get back to ya tomorrow. I'm about to be timed out by this ******g thing. Can't swear. Now that I'm a children's writer ha ha!


Illustrated: Lamy Al-Star ~ a fountain pen for writting intellectual books; Liz Hinds jailbird extraordinaire (she's a prison chaplaincy adult literacy counselling assistant. Or something... Authoress of This Time Next Year, available on Amazon! The last photo shows Liz's dog George having an "issue" over a twig with a Northern Spitz. Nothing to do with anything really. Just liked the picture!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

I've written (a rough version of) a (very short) intellectual book!

THE BAILIFFS ARE OFF MY BACK. I hope. I had to go through an Eastern-European potato-rationing queuing system to see a kindly black lady at the council with artistic fingernails.. She told me that because an arrangement to repay my council tax arrears had been made by the council, complete with instalment plan (starting next week) the bailiffs had been called out in error and just a click of her mouse would (supposedly) send them e-packing (I hope!)

Oh and I've finished my intellectual children's book. It's not that long. (About as long as a Famous Five book, if you know those (Americans don't seem to have heard of Enid Blyton, which is weird. Or maybe not. She's about as British as cricket and rain.)

According to Wikipedia, Enid Blyton's 800+ books have sold over 600,000,000 copies. So I hope a bit of her luck rubs off on me!

So now I'm due to hack through this intellectual "MS" of mine (as us intellectual writers call it) and turn it into something printable. Considering my novel is for the under-12s, do you think I'll have to take out the lurid 10-page sex scenes? O I'm just kidding. Really they're 12 pages long ha har!.

Do you know my friend Liz, who is always going in and out of prison, so she must have something decent to write about, (OK, fair dinkum, she does work there) but anyway she sent her intellectual novel to 25+ literary agents, before ending up self-publishing. How very inconvenient!

Did you know an advance for a children's book can be as small as £2000 ($3213.24) so I'm going to have to save up loads of these books and submit them all at once... (Do you think?) Ukh, I don't know anything about the publishing business. Is it true the book business is supposed to be on its last legs? If so, how come EL James has managed to flog 70,000,000+ books in the last year or so? She was said to have sold 45,000,000,000 copies in just three months this summer! Is that really true? (They do say publishers' biggest fictions are their own sales figures!)

OK well I have to stop thinking about this stuff and just hope I ever manage to get in print at all! I wonder if anyone will wanna read my stupid tales? You know I have so many "literary ideas", at the present rate it would take over TEN YEARS to pen them all! I'm serious!

Anyway I've gotta go. Take care everybody. PS I'm hopefully getting my computer fixed. Soon!

Illustrated:  the field of children's books is crowded out by "celebrity" authors. From top: Sarah, Duchess of York; footballer Frank Lampard; my fellow blogger Liz's book; Madonna with a book she wrote and got a million-pound advance for (wonder if anyone actually read it)...

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sued Again!/Bailiffs/whatever.

HEY I CAME BACK HOME TODAY by the way I don't usually go. Ie I entered my enormous building by the main door, not one of the other three (I like to think of my building as enormously glamorous, not enormously chavvy). 

Anyway, this letter was stuck on the door with tape, addressed to me, from BAILIFFS ~ re a council tax account ending February this year (when I moved into this glamorous building) which is only there because the council fucked up. I wrote to them repeatedly, and have copies of the letters, asking would they please send me either a payment card (which they've stopped making, whose brilliant idea was that?) or a barcode, or a book of paying-in slips. So I know, that when I pay money to the council, it actually clears the balance of my own account, and not somebody else's. Which is not unreasonable, right?

I wrote twice within about two months. My last offer of payment was dated just over two weeks ago. But they never replied. So I reckon I have a pretty strong case against them and I'm going to cause merry hell and put in motion the full complaints procedure, against the individual people involved. Right up to the Local Government Ombudsman.
I didn't used to be like this, but have had a lifetime full of being persecuted for being on the bottom rung. If my book is a success, I'm leaving the country. I've had enough of this place. I want to live somewhere in Europe, where TV is broadcast in some glamorous foreign tongue and I don't feel I have the right to moan against the government, because it's not "my" government. I HATE the tories. Labour are just reckless. Lib-Dems a waste of space. And by the way, if I were tied down and forced to vote for one of the Big 3, I think I would, extremely reluctantly, vote TORY. Ukh, I can't believe I admitted that. So that's me.
O and the council office were already closed at a quarter to five. So anybody with a 9-5 job and a problem with the council is *****d.

OK I'm off. Good day all.

Oh and PS the bailiffs have seized a car that doesn't belong to me. They're welcome to it!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Feeling Better: not so depressed/still writing "great literature"

FINALLY the fog of "depression"/whatever you wanna call it (feeling unamused + sleeping 12-16 hours per day EVERY day... yes THAT is lifting. O and when I did get up "early" (eg 8am) thinking how well I was doing, not only did I feel absolute stygian gloom, barely able to function at all, but I'd flop down on the sofa, maybe a couple of hours later, after I'd done all I had to do for the day ~ getting methadone, buying shopping in etc, so the rest of the day was comparitively "optional" then BAM!! straight to sleep and catching up on every single hour "lost" plus EVEN MORE! ~ meaning I just couldn't win. I told my GPs (both of them) and they nodded understandingly. They certainly didn't try and imply if only I had more mettle and forced myself to stay awake I'd somehow be all right because I wasn't all right. The less sleep the LOWER my mood went. It was horrible. ANYWAY this is all finished now and I'm currently on 9 hours. My mood today has actually gone UP. I'm really excited because I found some yummy blue soft cheese (Cambazola) to put in my French baguettes, which I eat nearly every day. Or is it because I'm busily writing the most amazing children's book of all time? I don't know!

Ukh. As for my brilliant writerly idea... I REALLY need a good "literary agent" with whom to discuss this stuff. My family are good, but really just as clueless as me when it comes to the wherewithalls of publishing. I haven't the faintest idea how that industry works and I need someone I can bounce ideas off who is NOT my publisher, because I feel I should produce (and hence publish) my stuff in a certain way, in a certain order of appearance. Maybe I'm sounding a bit mysterious here: what I mean is, I have so very many ideas for stories it'd take me at least the next five years to write them all. That's if I took up writing full-time. Currently I'm only writing ~ really ~ part-time I haven't the physical energy to scribble away at this hobby of mine full-time.

(Most of the time when I'm "writing" I'm actually watching True Movies 2 on Freesat!)

I was watching French television last night (as you do when you're supposedly writing an intellectual novel) and this brilliant prison drama came on called Unité 9 ~ far better than the present-day rehash of Prisoner Cell Block H they're calling Wentworth. I also saw a good courtroom-cum-prison drama Anybody's Nightmare, starring Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth Bucket) on True Entertainment. The real-life story of Sheila Bowler, a middle-aged, middle-class music teacher falsely accused and then convicted of the murder of her frail and elderly aunt. That was really good too.

You know as I'm getting older and becoming an accomplished intellectual novelist, I can watch TV drama and think "no that's a cheap shot; they should have focused more on that character, added an establishing scene here, rejiggled a bit there, done it this other way". + when I read other people's books I'm constantly blue-pencilling other writers' prose  (I do it enough to my own). I got Sharon Osbourne's latest memoir Unbreakable from Morrisons for £10 (Binky thinks this is the biggest self-indulgence, spending £10 on A book!) ~ no ghostwriter is credited, but some of the prose, at its best is top-drawer. Paul Burrel's book A Royal Duty doesn't credit a ghostwriter either and that's amazingly well done, considering the lengthy, convoluted story he had to tell and, in the words of her brother, Earl Spencer: a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister, the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds

I once tried penning my own memoir ~ a "misery memoir" as my own tale would be labelled ~ and I can tell you it is NOT easy ~ not just recalling your own life in brutal close-up, but detailing precisely HOW and why one thing led to another, what was said by whom and how it made you feel. The misery of my own memoiring made me so depressed that  I gave up in favour of fiction. Then I gave up writing for grown-ups because I was so fed up of the shitty world I would have to portray (+ too uninspired to write anything approaching a full-length book), and, in the end didn't even want to feel obliged to reproduce swear-words in print, that I finally gravitated to children's fiction, perhaps the one single arena of innocence left in this dark and nasty world ...

Ukh, every time I post I seem to be writing the same thing. Yes I'm writing a story. By £1 shop pen, on WH Smiths lined refill paper. But I can't tell you what it's about! It's not finished.

OK I've got to go now. Hope you're all OK. Take care y'all...

Illustrated: (upper) WH Smith's "wide-ruled refill pad" ~ what I use for the composition of great literature..! (middle) Cambazola ~ soft and spreadable blue cheese (lower) Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It, to date, the most successful "misery memoir" of all time...

Most successful author of all time with agglommerated sales of (allegedly) 2,000,000,000(!!!)
Her detectives Poirot and Miss Marple are still on British TV every single week. Mistress of the "whodunnit"! Her books seem incredibly "creaky" by today's standards but she's very popular on television. Her detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple can be seen on British screens every week, and new productions based on her 66 mystery novels  are still being made.
Her play The Mousetrap is the longest-running stage production in recorded history. Opening in 1952, it's STILL GOING after SIXTY-ONE YEARS!!!

She was the most successful children's author of all time and one of my favourites. When I want "inspiration" I read her Famous Five books, which are delightfully PI (politically incorrect!)
Her prose might be rather plain, but it's really readable.
Americans seem not to have heard of her, but she's a pillar of British culture. Very famous indeed within these shores!

Barbara Cartland is supposedly the second-bestselling British writer of ALL TIME
(Have YOU ever read one of her books? I haven't!)
In her final years she was knocking out one slim historical romance per fortnight ~ publishing 24 titles per year, each of which would sell a million copies around the world. Frequently appeared on British TV extolling the virtues of vitamins and reprimanding the modern proclivity to sex before marriage!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Literary Brainwave!

I'VE HAD A BRILLIANT IDEA for my book. It's like a new version of my story, which I'm going to do...

Which I cannot divulge. It's so good, if I said it here then everyone writing for children would want to copy me and I, of course want to be first...

(What am I saying? Nobody reads my blog these days anyhow!!!)

Ukh despite the brainwaves, I have been feeling pretty terrible of late. Which is a paradox, I know, but that's life... Sleeping on and on and on. And on. And on and on. And on. Oh yeah: and on again. Terrible, I know. Makes me seem really lazy, doesn't it. If I do manage to be in bed by midnight, which is difficult when you've spent an evening slowly ~ very slowly ~ dreaming up silly animal tales, then it is difficult to sleep afterwards. I write pretty slowly ~ less than a page an hour, which works out at an average of just FIVE words per minute... and that's only the first draft...

Anyway once I do get to sleep, which can be difficult because ironically I sometimes feel a bit "high" of an evening, I fall into an abyss of dormancy and am unfit to be revived until a good TWELVE hours later. FOURTEEN, SIXTEEN, EIGHTEEN on a really bad day. Then I generally get up feeling distinctly under the weather...

OF COURSE I have tried forcing myself to rise at eight, and when I do I think "Wow, I'm doing really well..." until I dare to sit down at around 10am and suddenly ~ WHOOSH! ~ sleep overcomes me once more like a stealthy disease and I'm wiped out all day, making up all "lost" time, and often more. + making it even HARDER to sleep at the right time come midnight... Another thing: when I sleep less than twelve hours I usually feel very depressed during the day. Much worse than on a "standard" day... so I can't win. I'm just SO GLAD I'm managing to get this story done. I'm now a good ¾ of the way through (20,000 words written!). Isn't that amazing!

20,000 words, by the way, can I say to the non-writers amongst us, is NOT a lot of writing. To people who don't have cause to think in thousands of words, let me explain. In an adult Penguin Classics style volume (ie fairly closely-set type) that is just 50 printed pages.  In a kiddies' novel (sans illustration) it works out at approx 75-80 pages, not counting blank patches at ends and beginnings of chapters (which can add a lot; that's one device publishers have of lengthening brief manuscripts into books of more impressive length). So really I've NOT done a lot of writing. My book will not by any stretch of the imagination be "too long"! But hey I'm SO HAPPY to be writing it. I just cannot believe I never knuckled down and did this before.

(Well I AM the author of three failed novels, FAILED being very much the operative word!!)

(Actually I CAN believe it. I spent years feeling uninspired and thanks to that maxim "write what you know" I felt limited to tawdry tales of heroin addicts, petty crims, prostitutes and gangsters ... also I did once try composing a mysery memoir. But walking into WH Smiths one day only to see a five-pack of life-tales of woe on special offer. I remember thinking "no way do I want my own life packaged up like that ~ schizoaffective heroin addiction next to wife-beating, anorexia and incest" and so I proceeded no further. Also just the act of recalling my life and having to join the dots into something that made sense to strangers was more disconcerting (or upsetting, if you prefer) than I had anticipated.

Another thing: as a writer you're obviously known for the genre you write in and I did not want to feel I'd have to spend a career putting in repeat performances of druggy tales. Plus, if I did put in a successful memoir, I reckon my "fans" (if I collected any) would want more and more tales from my own life. Fictionalized stories would feel very much like a second best, and I've always wanted to be a novelist, not a memoirist.

As for children's writing, once I turned my mind to this field I had literally an entire page full of ideas ~ all for separate books. More ideas in one hour for children than a lifetime of "adult popular fiction" (the genre I'd always wanted to write in). What stopped me from proceeding was how difficult I found my first attempts to be. The writing just would not flow... So I put it down, assuming that I just didn't have it in me ~ that I wasn't good enough to write for children. 

Children's writing is a rare talent ~ I can see that by the profuse lack of talent that appeared to be on display every time I browsed the kiddies' shelves in WH Smith ~and I just didn't think I had it either. What changed was that I stopped worrying "will they understand this word; is that sentence too complicated for them" (and I haven't got any and don't even KNOW any children) and just sat down and wrote the story for myself. I'm such a big kid anyway there's no difference between writing for a ten year-old and writing for myself . That's how I found my voice...

Anyway, enought said! Gotta go and put more high-grade entertainment to paper...

Hope you're all doing well. Take care folks XxXxXxX

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Pygmy Shrews, Harvest Mice and Roborovski Hamsters: tiniest mammals in the world!


(Sorex minutus)
weighing in at just 4g
with a 2inch (52mm) body and 32mm (1¾inch) tail
is the tiniest mammal in Europe
and the second tiniest in the world
(after the African pygmy mouse)

In a hand: to scale:~
How tiny and cute!
It's actually slightly smaller than the exceedingly agile Eurasian harvest mouse (Micromys minutus)
Which is very tiny and cute too!
Also very little in comparison to the human hand:
And quite a lot smaller than the Mongolian pygmy hamster
(Phodopus roborovskii)
~ better known as the roborovski hammy,
which is the tiniest hammy in the world
and, at just 50mm/2inches no longer in the body
but which weighs an average 20-25g ~ 5-6 times more
How delightful! This one's a teenager:
Pygmy shrew on Youtube:
Roborovski hamsters in the wild
(Northern China):~

Yes, as my American friends like to say, they are indeed
(We in Britain tend to prefer "delightful" ~ and of course they're both!)


Monday, 14 October 2013

I've written half a book!

I HAVE WRITTEN NEARLY HALF A BOOK! Half a children's book, that is ~ ie 6 chapters; about 15,000 words. I'm aiming for about 35,000-40,000 words, but I keep overrunning (which is far better than being too brief: you can prune away excess verbiage far more easily than making up new content to fill a void).

Well obviously, because it's the product of my hard work and star-spangled brains I think my novel is amazing and will be an instant classic. Well is is very funny. I think so.

For some idiot reason I typed "how much advance children's book" into google and got back a news report from 2004 talking of a £2 million 6-book deal.

As if.

Well mine is envisaged as a series of ten ~ open-ended (that is, the stories do not run from one book to another so you could read them in the wrong order without spoiling any of the fun).

I think it would make an excellent film by the way. If it was done properly... something along the lines of Ice Age or Finding Nemo ~ the same sort of humour. Not so much a "children's film" as "family entertainment".

I wish I hadn't found that article about the £2 million. Thinking about business matters is most offputting whilst one has a creative head on. It is certainly true that since JK Rowling, children's books are taken a whole lot more seriously ... but I can't really imagine my silly story being read by adults on the bus... on the other hand it's not really even a story about children; it's about animals (woodland creatures feature very heavily indeed). Maybe grown-ups would read it secretly on their Kindles... who knows?

I don't like thinking about the business side of publishing at all. That's why I want a literary agent. My family seem to obsess about the idea of self-publishing, but that's not what I want. I would like an editor and an agent who I could phone up and moan to when I'm feeling stuck. Yes I would like to publish my own work in fine editions (ie really expensive hardbacks printed on rag paper with fully-sewn bindings and full colour illustrations, costing £50 to £100 ($79.85-$159.71) each (when I say "fine", I really do mean really extremely fine). But would far rather a "real" publisher took care of ordinary editions and ebooks and complicated things to do with overseas rights. 

I know self-publishing is all the rage, but then I thought "how would I get it in print in German, French, Japanese etc?" Translation agencies charge about £6000 ($9587.72) for a 40,000 word document. And how do I know the translation is any good? To translate fiction you need an experienced literary translator, and I don't know any. ~ Of course I would have to go to literary agents and publishers from abroad. So it seems ridiculous to use professionals for the translation rights but not English, which is by far the most lucrative language. Oh blah blah see I've got to thinking about all the stuff I don't want to. OK I've got to go bye.

Illustrated: British chilren't classics... (Paddington and Rupert being personal favourites)