It is I, the blog neglecter! I return with the possibility of words you wish to read which may or may not hold meaning of a vaguely agreeable value.
I am pleased to announce that I am now a writer for Fantasy Faction. This is a big deal for me, as this is the first place I have sent work to that is published outside of a certain catchment area, so to speak. Up until this point I had written obscure words for esoteric companies, and worked with colleagues and friends locally, but this is me, writing words I want to write, on topics I love, for the sake of it, for other people. It is essentially an extension on this ‘ere blog, but with less fucking swearing and a more professional attitude (ha, yeah right, writers with a professional attitude. That’s like artists with concentration that lasts over 4 seconds).
I will be writing articles on various topics involving the worlds and themes of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I have already talked about world-building, and have a few other ideas up my sleeve, but I also need your help. If you have fantasy or science fiction short story, please send them my way. Preferably ones already up online, even if that means just some little backwater blog you run. I want to help support new writers and - god I hate the term, but lets do it… - amateur writers by reviewing their work alongside the bigwigs. So if you have a story you don’t mind being reviewed to a wider audience with a heavy dash of constructive criticism, please send them my way. Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with an subject heading making it clear it is a short story to review, with a link to where you host it online.
I only want to review stories currently online, as this is just far simpler for me to send people to. Being able to just attach a URL to a review so people can see the work for themselves, is far easier than other methods. So no manuscripts please, just website addresses to blogs, websites and literary caves. I can’t wait to read what you have. If any short stories contain a pineapple, I will link it to this blog regardless of quality.
But yes. I’ve been neglecting this place again. I can see on the corners of punctuation marks little cobwebs by the wordspiders, and under the floorboards of the first posts are the skeletons of previous worries and woes. I need to have a tidy up.
The reason why I haven’t been here is quite a simple one. I am a pseudo-bohemian writer living out of a friends house, working for a fast food restaurant to support my crazy choice to be a wordsmith. Let me tell you, I am living the rogue writer dream, and that dream is a little bit rough around the edges. It smells funny and keeps going on nights out without my consent. I had reached a point where I could no longer function on the drips and drabs of odd projects. Being funded on projects can only help so far, and I needed something to help me. I originally didn’t want to tell anyone online I work for Burger King, on the tills getting people the food they want, because I felt this would taint my professional patter. I felt that people wouldn’t treat me as a respectable writer in my field, if they knew I supported myself with other avenues of work. So I retreated, felt sorry for myself, went home, saw Mum, got a bollocking-of-love that I am in fact doing well, gave said folks huge hugs, and returned feeling invigorated. (Note for life: if feeling lost and confused, see your Mum).
I learnt I shouldn’t be ashamed just because I am not the next Iain. M. Gaiman-Novik yet, but should be more grateful of what I do have. A family willing to support me even when I’m being a complete twatbasket about my current affairs. Friends coping with fitful outbursts of self-deprecation whilst also giving me a home to live in. A job that isn’t as bad as the media makes out, may be small pay but it lets me live a life worth living, and my colleagues are the funniest people I know. Writing work with new creatives I wish I had known for so much longer. And a future that seems, not necessarily bright yet, but definitely flickering with new born sunlight. My Stepdad told me “if there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, go down there and turn the bugger on yourself.” Doing that. Now. Finally. [I think].
Life is scary. Just, a heads up. If you’re in college or secondary school reading this, hopefully on your phone at the back of a class like the rebels you won’t be allowed to be later, remember that phrase. Life is scary. It can be horrid. But that doesn’t mean stop. It will always be that. From now, all the fears of friendship groups and passing exams, to owning your first house to your deathbed, you will be scared. Ride it like a wave. And if people say “you can be whatever you want to be”, hit them. The phrase is too positive to be worked with and adapted into your life. You can strive to be anything, but its hard, and not everyone will make it. Not everyone climbs Everest. But it’s worth the effort… and some people do. Some do win. You might be that guy. How will you ever know if you don’t pick up your gear and start a-climbin’? Hmm?
So this is it.
Send me your short stories, start your ascent. I may be just the first few pebbles at the bottom of the mountain but who knows, I might help you get a handhold to the next step. Send them to me.
Also check out all these people below. Writers and dramaturges and producers and marketers and lovely folks you need to follow on twitter because why the fuck not:
Chris Mudd, Hannah Agutter, Charlotte Greenley, Brett Knights, Samuel Mant, Alex Capper, Samuel. J. Clarke, Jim Booth, Dominic Bright, Myles Curwen, Hannah Eaton. There are probably more, check my follow list.
Those people above, and a fuck tonne more, are the people that help me get out of bed in the morning. They are the people who remind me to keep writing, keep selling burgers and to keep climbing the mountain.
I am writer, here me roar… or scribble.
40 followers. 39 posts. Time to make it equal, mother trucking doodah dayers.
The sun is setting already because I firstly got out of bed too late again, and secondly because I live in a country that doesn’t understand time or weather. I drink a coffee, but not a special brand as I usually adore, and it tastes of Tesco Savings. It reminds me that I want my own house, with a fine selection of coffees, a cafetiere, a cat called Mazzapax - or Eonada - and a plentiful supply of typewriter reels, canvas’ and internet allowance.
Recently, I sat for around four hours in a Burger King. This seems like very strange behaviour, because who on Earth would want to do that? But I had a fine reason. Firstly, I was eating there, which is a more appropriate reason, but I didn’t order 4 hours worth of nommage. Instead, rather, I was discussing friends, love, hates, worries and distempers with a lovely friend of mine who I wish I had met sooner. She and my other friend share a student house, which also has a spare room, and they allow me to sofa surf for limited periods whilst I claw my way into a respectable position in society: i.e. job hunting. And they are unbelievably supportive, the pair of them, but for those 4 hours I had the chance to discuss many things about me: what I like, what I dislike, and get my head straight.
I will be honest, I have been finding days difficult recently. To sound arrogant, I am not used to failure. I am fine with not doing my best, but very rarely do I put my mind to something and not get some form of reward. This leads me to self-deprecate and is a terrible side-effect of being told I was a gifted-and-talented student who would achieve everything. I learn now this wasn’t just lovely support, but also a great responsibility, which made me incorrectly assume I had to be great at everything or I was worthless. I am not worthless, as I have been told numerously by friends (even if I never listen to them), but when over 40 job applications come back as empty you can’t help but think that the duvet is a finer place than the outside world.
Now, I tell you this for another reason other than to get some form of psychic e-sympathy. I tell you this because it is "bullshit."
Bullshit, ladies and gentlemen, is everywhere.
Under every crevice, between every wall, lost in deodorant cans, pill boxes, coffee mugs, spiritual shops, business ventures and even sleeping soundly under your pillow each night. Yes, fellows, bullshit is everywhere.
I find it hard to get out of bed in the morning because I think I am worthless, when I know I am not, and even if I am due to a great cosmic joke it shouldn’t fucking bother me. It isn’t something to be worried about. Whether you mean something to the universe or not isn’t really important in the grand scheme of things.
I chatted to this friend in Burger King for 4 hours about what worried us - for me it was that tall women won’t find me attractive, I don’t have a job and that being a beatnik writer isn’t what it made itself out to be - and with her she told me of friends of friends troubles, past issues, et cetera, ad infinitum. And it was a fine conversation, because it put things in perspective.
I am trying my best to get a job. I care for my friends. I’m good at what I do. I just can’t handle bullshit.
I can’t handle people coming up to me and saying that I need to settle down, in that passive way where someone says their lovely little life with taxes and jobs and mortgages and engagements makes them happy, as they pop another anti-depressant. I can’t handle people telling me how they didn’t enjoy a night out clubbing because X and Y didn’t happen. I can’t handle people saying they have to say mean things because its a coping mechanism that X is ill or Y is bullying them. I can’t handle the fact that me standing up and saying, “I find it hard each day because I’m lonely” is also bullshit. Alongside twitter celebrities moaning that Doctor Who is a travesty of modern society, I am equally as bullshitty by saying “ooo, I wish someone liked me”.
Everyone is saying their problems are the worst, and 99% of those problems are not problems. They are offensive, they are frustrating, they are even saddening, but they are not problems. They are life.
People - including me - need to grow a pair.
I have issues and, I will call them problems due to a lack of the correct vocabulary for such things (there isn’t a word in English for “this that bothers me a bit too much which is kinda like a problem but really it isn’t it is just a thing I wish would fuck off or sort itself out”; German probably does have a word for it, or Japanese), and I need to just sort them. Slowly. Quickly. Angrily. Normally. Things need doing.
So I am going to do them. And I send this as a message to everyone else with… things… that bother them. That need doing.
My message is simple. Moan. Groan. Drink too much. Drink too little. Write angsty poetry as you listen to Panic! At the Disco. Whatever makes you feel better. But remember that after doing that, you need to get on with life. Don’t wallow in the bullshit. The bullshit ain’t going nowhere, so laugh at it, point and giggle at it like your an uneducated primary school student who has met his first ginger. Throw it out of a window and laugh manically as it scrambles on the concrete. Smother it with a pillow as you weep for tomorrow to be filled with more whiskey and boobs. Do these things and do other things. Nicer things. After worrying about your money and your loves and the people on twitter with too much time on their hands (I don’t count, shattup!), go for a drink, hug someone, hand out CVs, do your taxes, pet a cat. Something.
I would like you to reread the above paragraph in a tone of voice slowly and gradually rising in pitch til it is so high in exasperation you can’t understand me. Go on. Do it.
I hope everyone in the world is happy today, or at least giggling to themselves because you have no other emotion left to feel. I hope you have a day where you too can laugh for the sake of laughing, because you might as well go psychotic one day. I hope that the day after that you find the courage in yourself to ignore the bullshit and love yourself, because even if your a baby-eating gay-killing mass murdering kitten-crusher, you should love yourself as you do it. At the end of the day, it is all you have.
Love yourself, find the world as ridiculous and angry as it is, and then buy yourself some posh coffee and laugh at how un-self-aware Planet Earth truly is, and that includes you.
AFTER MOCKING YOU SENSELESS, YOU SHOULD GIVE ME MONEY. I made an EP of electronic dumb music to piss off HoneyCombLaserVision. You should download it or something:
Note one: 38th post for 38 followers. I love each and every one of you.
Note two: I love this:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended, -
That you have but slumber’d here,
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpents tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
Recently I put on a play, proper theatre and all that jazz, with fellow writery-producer man Sam Clarke. It was inspired, initially, by that closing monologue, my favourite piece of Shakespeare’s writings. I wanted to explore how all the minute characters of his work - Ghosts and Apothecaries and temporary-on-the-set-for-a-moment-faeries - are in fact utterly horrific, terrifying and malicious, and so, with the help of the horror loving Mr. Clarke, we wrote We Have Offended.
We performed it as part of the LPAC’s NewVolution festival, curated by Craig Morrow, and essentially filled the space with audience. There was an expectation of 30 people, and we hit around 45, give or take. Some people we knew were coming couldn’t make it last minute, and if we had pushed our marketing a bit more and had everyone arrive we would have hit 50 people easy, which is 10 less than what the room can hold legally. Arrogance aside, for our first ever theatre piece - by essentially unknowns, where I had to take up roles outside of my comfort zone due to a crew downsize by accident - I am really (‘scuse French) fucking chuffed with us all. We put on something progressive and fun and horrible and brilliant and it was fantastic; soundscaping and projection art and acting and omg it woz so gud i stop riting well *internally screams*.
The piece was intended to offend people, with horrific visions of hell, male rape, forced demoniacal abortions and Satan himself. When we did the Q&A afterwards, we learnt people were not offended by any of these sections, finding them either too traditionally hellish or just not scary on any level; this desensitization does not mean they weren’t offended at all, but rather were offended by a scene which one audience member read as homophobic (not our intention, was unrelated to homosexuality, ask our bisexual lead actor) and when characters said the C-swear. We found it intriguing that Satan himself - which is the personification of offensiveness in one context - was seen like a teddybear, but misunderstood homophobia and some rude words shocked people. I wonder what this says about our culture; when I log into tumblr and see people ranting over the minutiae of sexuality, femininity, masculinity, race and the kind, and argue over a single line said in a single story of a single show by a single character, I wonder whether these people are offended by larger concepts such as mass murder, war, political suppression and the kind. I wonder whether, to cope with the unbearable complexity of the universe at present, people will happily be offended by sexism whilst ignoring the murderous gangster with the machete and machine gun, but will be completely uncaring of something globally catastrophic. I also wonder whether the phrase “happily be offended” sums up our current cultural climate more effectively than a 1hr theatre piece created around the concept of offence itself. I think this sums up what We Have Offended achieved and this is far more important to me than any initial intention:
— Michelle Walsh (@MiWol)January 22, 2014
To cycle back around, I just wanted to say I am chuffed and proud and all manner of lovely words with the group of people I worked with on We Have Offended and I cannae wait to write more work in the future. I may go back and explore offensiveness again, but my next piece is going to explore futility and buddy-friend-comedy, because we all love a bit of existentialist crises.
2014 has proven to be quite a rockinghorse of fun and frivolity - of stress and heartbreak - currently, and its only the 28th of…. only the 28th! Where the hell did January go?! They say as you get older time seems to go faster. By the time I’m 35 I’ll be 90?! Where’s Capaldi when you need him…
Wake up Nathan. 2014 has proven to be quite a rockinghorse of experience, and one I need to take control of. On the one hand I have writing contacts and theatre work receiving good reviews, but in the other grubbier one is still a lack of life-sustaining job and my-own-home. I am however fixing this. Temp work, jobseekers, whatever is needed.
I’m going to restart The Puddle, but with a focus on more than merely visual art, maybe short film, music and the kind, all with that distinct poetical reviewness. If you have anything you want me to write about, send it my way, I want to keep my braining ticking over in artistic circles and The Puddle seems the best way to go about this. Mayhaps I could write for Sang Bleu or Only Magic Left is Art if The Puddle shows me off well enough, or something akin to them, to bring in some extra whiskey money. Perhaps more. Perhaps The World! Muhahahaha.
Composing myself, 2014 is going to be my most creative year to date, because I have near complete freedom in how I deliver that creativity. I am not restrained by getting grades or meeting targets… only money and getting a job. Oh well. It is going to be quite the experience.
Note Three: The promotional stuff for We Have Offended by Arron Baxter, I shall put it all into one big sexy picture post for you all after this one.
I have a feeling that spilling my heart out is the answer to getting messages in my inbox.
Thank you unknown visitor! I’m glad you too found it inspiring. I feel I was perhaps a little harsh on certain people I know, but sometimes you can’t find the right words. Sometimes it is a case of living and seeing how you react. A thousand books in a thousand libraries could not fully encapsulate somethings.
I also realise a thousand books in a thousand libraries means each library only has one book, so really that metaphor fell flat.
But yes, I hope you do! I hope this message helps me get that job haha! Thank you again!
Oh. Thank you. Glad it inspired.
I have no idea how to respond to this.
The friend who told me not to be a nihilist just read it and replied with “cool”….. “I only said cool because I cannot respond to emotions.”
Us men have two emotions: hungry and horny. So people telling me I am an inspiration merely confuses me as it does not fit into either of these categories.
I end this ramble with that I really need a stiff drink.
I want to be a writer. More than anything.
Actually, I accomplished becoming a professional one of those recently, I just need to maintain it. Let me rephrase, less sardonically and arrogantly.
I want to write things that inspire people, and make them happy (or at least feel). My dream job would be writing for Doctor Who, and my dreamiest job is to be head storyliner and writer, like Steven Moffat (I will spell his name incorrectly around 7000 times).
So I sit down this Christmas to see Matt Smith leave, to see the episode of Doctor Who I have been psyched for, since I heard he was leaving. This is not because I wanted Matt Smith to leave per se, but simply because I adore seeing new actors take over the role and add their own embellishments to that amazing Time Lord.
Now I can list here a thousand reasons why Doctor Who is personally very important to me. The easiest one to describe is that, as a boy, and as a man, I was the nerdiest, weirdest one. I had the oddest friends, the oddest hobbies, was bullied. I will and shall always exist on the fringe of a culture that worships normality like a god, and chastises idiosyncrasy as a sin. And then The Doctor (and Russell Brand) came along and taught me that being unique, odd, myself, was in its own way good. And so I now watch Doctor Who knowing this is a man who would kill himself to save just one person if he thought it mattered, who deals with that struggle, who is different and weird, and wonderful. I can be me, without hating myself. I understand that pressure of feeling like you have to fix everything for everyone.
I still hate myself now and again, but I’m getting better at not doing so. This last month - as friends and relatives will know - took me back to my selfloathing pit, which I have yet to claw back out of again, but I will. I will come back, yes, I shall come back.
Anyway, I ramble.
My point is that I want to be in charge of this man, this Doctor. I see myself as a reasonably good writer and I think I could do the job. I just have to convince the BBC and myself first that I can get that job.
And then I watch Time of the Doctor, enjoy how massive an undertaking it was, and then go online.
Let me give you two tweets of mine:
Welp. I adored that episode. Love the fact everyone nonchalantly found it naff simply because Moffats name was attached. Yay. Fan culture!— Nathan Thomas Dean (@NathanTDean)
Fan culture now means “list every flaw without discussion and enjoy nothing with excitement”— Nathan Thomas Dean (@NathanTDean) December 25, 2013
This was my immediate reaction to reading tweets and facebook statuses and texts and whoknowswhats about the show. They fumbled from “imagine if a good writer had done that” to “Clara is a crap character” to “that bit with the wood was a bit naff” to “I wish the doctors buttons had been a bit shinier, if they had I could have actually enjoyed it.”
I know my insta-reaction on twitter was a bit sarcastic, but I’m down, lonely and angry so tough. Handle it.
Steven Moffaatttington (mispelling number 80,193) is not a perfect writer. No one is. But because Moffat is a damn good writer, when he does fuck up it is seen as a horrendous misfortune to the show and he should be burnt alive and kept on a steaming pile of other ex-writers before him. Yes, he has had weak characters, yes he has had convoluted plots, but at the end of the day Steven Moffat understands the show on a level that other writers have not or could not. And simply, he is a good writer. Sorry. If you disagree do a screenwriting course, then you see bad writing.
Time of the Doctor tied up every plot thread, created a narrative that used a plethora of monsters in a way far more nuanced than The Shadow Proclamation and The Pandorica, and boiled it down the essence of The Doctor: one place, one problem.
But I am not here to discuss why I liked that episode or what is wrong with it. That is the problem.
The fans reaction was of such rage that it didn’t provide the exact thing they had already written in their heads that they felt the desperate need to tell everyone how crap it was. And yet, they will go back, and watch season 8, religiously.
I want to be a writer to entertain, inspire and - if I’m lucky - teach. I want fans to go “thank you, for putting time and effort into a show I love and keeping it alive, and though it isn’t perfect, I enjoyed it, and that was enough.” Instead, I will get rabid dogs telling me that the female character was sexist because she had a libido, the male characters are more/too dynamic, the monsters weren’t quite as you remembered and the narrative wasn’t what you had in mind. Why should I stand before a mass of people desperate for a show, if they will only stand there tutting and then ask for more. How dare they ask for more of a show they only wish to rip apart!
I realise, now, that I write this not because of the fans reaction but because of my own current situation.
My girlfriend left me for America, which currently resides in Northampton, England, with a man without all his fingers who she “never fancied.”
Another girl I quite took a liking too, I was too scared too talk to in a proper manner, and I lost her as well, in a way. But gained a superb friend.
Other friends had betrayed me in their own special ways, and don’t even know they have done. Other friends have stuck by me, and I thank them.
My family, as glorious as they sometimes be, are genetically predisposed to alcoholism, depression, anger and giving-up-syndrome. And that I too can see all of these traits bubbling under the flesh of me. (I add that superlatives and superfluosity was used for this description to help illustrate a point, do not take this too literally).
I am homeless, in the sense that I have no hoeme I call my own. I live with my Mum, bless her soul, but it wasn’t what I had in mind.
I have no job, really, and am fighting still for my corner as a writer which (as my words above prove) I don’t know if I want to fight for.
And most of it, it is Christmas day, and I have never felt this lonely in my entire life. Even after my Dad passed away I never felt this lonely. I missed him, a specific, fine point loneliness where a father shaped hole had emerged. This is bigger, vaster. Place me in a room of four thousand people and I, too, still, would feel alone. (I further add that today I actually feel considerably better than other days, and that more pinches of salt are required for this verbosity)
And when the new year arrives I am supposed to pick up my quill, write scripts, write plays, write anything I am asked of, and try and become the next Steven Moffat. No, to quoth Idris Elba, I will be the first Me.
I like me. Underneath all this darkness, I do. I really do. He’s eccentric and wild and thinks too much. He’s loud and scared of things. He’s quite lovely. He cares too much, better too much than too little.
I don’t really know what to write next.
I try, desperately, to avoid turning this blog into a chapel for the half-developed philosophy. I try not to be that moaning agony Aunt no one actually reads or cares for. But, it happens. Life happens.
I want to be head writer of Doctor Who, and one day I will be. I am far too stubborn to let a little dream like that not go unfilled. Or whatever double negative is more appropriate. I am too stubborn; I will become Head Writer, and I will do the first female doctor and everyone will go barmy crazy mad mad mad.
And I want to not care. I was talking to a friend about how I was feeling, and she said “don’t give up.” I replied simply that I would not give up as I am too stubborn, and that I will keep going. Like a Golem. An automaton. That, in a way, is harder to live with. People tell me to calm down, to slow down, to rest. I can’t. I did that this month and broke. I will keep going, even when I am 99 years old, I don’t know any other way to live, and that is what is hard. I need to be able to deal with that. The idea I can’t stop. I have no breaks.
I will be the head writer out of sheer will and determination, and people will read this blog and gawp at how I told the future.
I just wish the fans would not be so mean. A team of hundreds - perhaps thousands if you made more connections - of people made that episode today. And it was good. I mean, watch some student films, then tell me that wasn’t good, hmm? It was a damn fine episode. But it wasn’t perfect. If you want perfect, try gardening or long walks. Don’t try Doctor Who. Rule 1, the Doctor Lies. Rule 2, Timey-Wimey. Combine with some metanarrative and you get an imperfect show.
I want to run that imperfect show, and see a child grin. Big. A nice big grin.
Bigger than mine right now.
Let me show you this as well:
In a weird and horribly twisted way, fans rabidly going on tumblr or twitter or facebook and being reactionary about a piece of work is a form of flattery. They have seen your work and loved your work. That makes them want to see it again. This hate is out of a desire to get that exact feeling back. Now, this is inherently flawed, because things must evolve and adapt. But humans abhor change. The reason to continue, then, is to drag the ones who accept change up, help them, encourage them and one day, they can do the same to others. Eventually, everyone will be a better person
My friend, not one who betrayed me (I hate that word, its big and nasty, but its true), told me that.
He also said this: