Sunday, September 15, 2019

Other Worlds.

I've just arrived home from a wonderful writer's workshop in Nottingham. Organised by Alex Davis, the force behind Edge-Lit in Derby, Other Worlds had four guest presenters, published authors and specialists in their subject. Mark A Latham presented on Planning & Plotting, Andrew Bannister on Politics & Science Fiction, Sophie Draper on Psychological Thrillers and Charlotte Baker on Atomspheric Scenes.  In between and around all this, Alex ran sessions on a range of aspects regarding writing and the publishing industry.

Thank you all.

Even though I have encountered some of this before, I always manage to find new take-aways. And this weekend there were plenty of those from all guests. New ideas, new techniques, things to consider, and pitfalls to avoid.

But it's the participants who can make or break these workshops. We had an excellent crew, with a high level of involvement, no-one dominating the discussions, and a level of mutual respect amongst us all.

A few others had likewise chosen to stay overnight, so I was able to have dinner with Martin, Aly and Alex. It was a fantastic evening of laughs, shared stories and experiences. And like any other group of writers, it soon turns out there are mutual friends.

Thank you for your time, and for inviting me to join you for dinner.

Of course I'm re-inspired - that's what happens on these weekends. Now all I have to do is make the time to start writing again.  Like everything else, it's a matter of priorities and making a choice.  Choosing to write rather than watch TV.

I choose to write. Unfortunately, I have a few very busy weeks coming on. Events and commitments which cannot be shifted.

Let's see how I go.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Choices.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of parallel worlds.

Simply put, one theory suggests that every time a decision is made from a number of different options, the universe splits into another timeline, where both choices are made. Of course this would mean there are an infinite number of universes.

But does this mean there are identical universes, one from where I cough at 10:27:03 am, and one where I cough a second later?  If something so small isn't enough to warrant a split, then how major do the differing events need to be?

I admit it. It's been many many years since I read anything about this, and my understanding is simplistic and probably erroneous, but I do love the thought that somewhere there is another universe where I am a successful author with a string of publications to my name.  Now that's a couple of books I would love to get my hands on. I figure I'd love those stories.

It also means there's a universe where the Beatles didn't split up and there are Beatle songs I've never heard.  Of course there are universes where they never became a band.

I've recently read about Dimension Jumping, or Quantum Jumping. People claim to be able to transfer to another parallel universe, one where they are able to achieve their dreams.  The stories they tell are fascinating, although I'm not really convinced by any of them. They have, however, given me ideas for my writing.

In this world we can simply do our best, taking time to make choices that are for our own good and for the good of those around us. Realising our actions can impact on others, and deciding not to harm them. Thinking before we make major choices that could ripple through time and affect our own future.

Life is a choose your own adventure book. I think I'm currently on page 74.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What Kind of Fan?

No doubt there are degrees of fans.

I consider myself a pretty big Beatles fan. I collect Beatles stuff, and can instantly tell you the difference between different mixes of their music. I know how many takes of I Saw Her Standing There were recorded, which ones were complete and how the released version was constructed.

I also love Essendon, my football club. I watch almost every game live - even if it means getting up at 4.30 am. If they play on a Thursday or Friday evening, that's a touch more difficult as it's usually daytime here in the UK and I'm at work. I don't think my managers would be too please if I had the game running on my PC in the office. Those games, I catch up in the evening. And I'll stick by them through good and bad.

But recently, in several online forums and groups to which I belong, I've seen fans putting down others because they aren't as fanatical. They don't go to as many matches, they don't have as much vinyl, or they don't know the names of every song McCartney ever recorded.

Lincoln City Football Club, my local team, has recently risen from years in a slump. Some fans in one Facebook group seem to yearn for the days when attendance at games was a fraction of what it is now, and rather than celebrate regular victories, sell-out games and more people in town wearing Lincoln shirts, they disparage those who are new supporters as being "Plastic Fans".

And the snobbery.

One Bob Dylan forum to which I belong, recently had a post stating that "When I put a post on here I forget it will probably be read by non-musicians."

What?  You mean your posts are so incredibly meaningful that those who don't play an instrument will never understand them?

I also saw one proclaiming that we all agree Dylan is the greatest musician otherwise you we wouldn't be in this group.  Umm, I belong to several music groups, not just Dylan's.

Another post declared those who don't "get" Dylan are obviously less intelligent than those who do. No, it wasn't meant to be funny, it wasn't a troll. Possibly the funniest part of it was that it was misspelled.

Guess what? We're allowed to like different things to different degrees. We're also not allowed to like other things. And not everything speaks to everyone in the same way. 

I'm proud of my Beatles knowledge, but I'll happily discuss them with people who know far more than I do, and those who just like some of their songs.

And, for the record, not everything they recorded was a masterpiece. You have no idea how little I listen to What's The New Mary Jane?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Excuses, Excuses.

I had all good and honourable intentions of getting some writing over the summer. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, that has yet to occur.

I've been busy. Work and life got in the way. I'm going abroad on holidays soon. I must catch up on Battlestar Galactica (yeah, I'm more than a few years behind). I got distracted by Facebook/Wikipedia/reading articles.

I probably could have made some time if I wanted to.

I sometimes wonder whether I can be bothered writing again. Truth is I enjoy writing and being published but I'm never really sure who is reading my published work.

Someone obviously does. Publishers pay to print my words. I see reviews in Goodreads, Amazon and the occasional blog, but they almost seem removed, remote. There's little sense of immediate feedback.

It all comes down to priorities.

I have ideas still. I write them in my notebooks. And when I have the urge, I'm sure I'll start writing again.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dreadlines.

Douglas Adams said, "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." And from all accounts, he would know. Even a quick glance at any of his biographies will reveal exactly how difficult it was for anyone to get written words out of him - never mind on time. From memory, one publisher pretty much resorted to kidnapping and keeping him hostage until he finished his promised work.

I commenced this month with all good intentions of completing two short stories for deadlines this coming weekend. I'm sad to report I won't meet them.

These were open submissions for a couple of projects I would have loved to have been part of. Unfortunately life took a rather busy turn (in a couple of areas) and I simply haven't had the time to get behind the keyboard.

Lost opportunities? Perhaps. But there was no guarantee my stories would have been accepted, and there will be other opportunities.

Of course, yin and yang, swings and roundabouts, doors opening and other motivational chat.  Which is my way of saying that despite my being busy (or partly from it) I've had some great news too, and further opportunities have arisen and been met.

So once again I will share more when I can - although it won't be soon as these will play out in a much longer time frame.

From what I've seen, this weekend is going to be lovely and warm - 30c on Saturday. And that means I might be sitting in the backyard with a nice cold beer as that deadline whooshes past.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Walkabout in Derby.

I love going to conventions. I try to go to at least one a year. Since I moved to the UK, and can't get back for Continuum in Melbourne, I usually manage to get to Edge-Lit up in Derby. Last year I managed to also get to FantasyCon, which was a bonus. It's a bigger con, slightly larger than Continuum with some great writers and presenters attending.

I've booked this year's Edge-Lit, and I'm excited about catching up with some friends. Usually the crowd from Leicester are there, and I honestly enjoy their company - even if they do try to drag me into Walkabout every chance they get. I really don't see why visiting a chain "Australian" bar is either enticing or humourous. Especially when said chain isn't Australian, other than hanging flags out the front and selling Fosters. Sigh. Don't even get me started on the "Blokes"and "Sheilas" toilets.

I usually meet a few new people at these events too, and that's always a bonus. Socialising is a huge part of conventions, and as writing can be such a solitary activity, it's an important part. I've made good friends at cons, people who are important to me, people I regularly contact away from cons, people whose interests overlap my own.

I hope to see you in Derby next month. For those in Australia, I think Continuum is this weekend. If you're going, enjoy!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Twenty-Four Days And Counting.

It's about a month to my birthday.  I've been asked what I want, and I have a couple of ideas. Some Beatles, some Lennon, some Goodies, cake.

Cake is always good.

Going out for dinner is always an option - as is staying home and having something nice brought in. Might even get to spend some time with family.

I usually enjoy birthdays, but for some reason I'm really looking forward to this one. More than usual, anyway. I'm not sure why but I can't wait for it to arrive. I have to work that day, but that's not a big issue. I kind of like people in the office wishing me a happy birthday. And our office usually has cards and so on, and sometimes singing. Yeah, even that is good.

If you really want to send me a present I can make a few suggestions. I'm also open to surprises.

And if an editor wants to buy one of my stories to publish, that would be a great present too.