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What do I do when I am not writing?

Quite a lot actually, because I don’t write much at all these days; I have lots of ideas for things to write but I think illness has made me lose focus and passion for it.  I was a lot more passionate about writing than I am nowadays.  It is simply because pain distracts me and makes me lose where I am heading – coughing fits and a severely runny nose are the biggest contributors for throwing me off course, yanking me out of the zone, as it were.  As I have said before in many posts, I live with a perpetual chronic cold, with ear, nose and throat infections thrown in.  It isn’t just a sniffle, I wish it were, but I can get through five hundred individual tissues on a bad day, two hundred being the norm for me.

Since the 21st December 2019 the only things I have written are what are on the blog and approximately 5000 words of non-posted works of other things, but nothing contributing to my novels.  Hand written notes of other ideas are not included in this, I am spending more and more time in bed these days as I can barely move.  All these problems are giving me severe insomnia and hypersomnia.  What do I mean by that?  Well I don’t sleep at night, I seem to sleep better during the day, for some reason my chest and sinus is worse at night.  When I do eventually sleep during the day I sleep between 7 and 16 hours in a stretch, to wake up for 2 hours in a choking fit with a dry crusted mouth.  Not a pretty visual I know.  I can go 30 to 40 hours without sleeping, purely because I am too busy clearing mucus from my system.

So it isn’t any wonder why I lack focus and concentration really.

Basically, everything I do when I am not writing, are things I can do at home, in the bedroom.  Primarily with my desktop computer, as I have recently had it moved to the bedroom due to the fact I am often too sick to get downstairs these days and I have moved my laptop downstairs for the rare occasion I am down there for more than an hour.  Because my legs swell a lot sitting at the computer desk, I can only sit here for an hour before I have to rest with legs up for thirty minutes, to get the swelling down, so even if I am on a roll, my ankles start burning and that throws me off course and I have to go and put my feet up.

I read approximately 30 to 80 pages of a book per day and about half a magazine too.  The types of things I read the most are fantasy, sci-fi and comedy fiction with a lot of non-fiction thrown in; the non-fiction I enjoy are self-help books, nutrition books, history books, theological research, mythology, folklore and cultural studies.  My current reading list is Time Song by Julia Blackburn, The Toll by Neal Shusterman and Roy Vickery’s folk flora. 

I do puzzles such as codebreakers, arrow words and gardening magazine crosswords – before my chest got too bad I used to love doing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, but it is frustrating having a coughing fit and losing pieces across the room all the time!

If I am not too busy fighting mucus, I get to knit, crochet, sew or practise my recorder and keyboard. 

I watch TV only if there are documentaries I am interested in, I mostly watch Smithsonian and BBC four with some Drama channel thrown in.  I will watch anything with Lucy Worsley, anything about the history of jazz, soul and classical music, nature and wildlife documentaries, documentaries about farming and country life.  I like science too, so I will watch sky at night and space science programs as well as things in the past such as time commanders, gladiators and the occasional wrestling show.  I love comedies, I only watch the comedies on the Drama Channel, but I am picky about which ones to watch.  I like only connect and some quiz and puzzle shows like Countdown, but I don’t watch them all the time.  I have to be in the mood to watch TV and before I was sick I watched around three hours of TV a week, these days it’s about two hours a day.  We never miss Michael McIntyre’s Big Show if we can help it, nor do we tend to like missing gardeners world or shows such as the RHS show, cruft’s and BBC Proms.  I’m pretty old fashioned I suppose for someone who is thirty seven.  I dislike soap operas and drama llama stuff – yes I mentioned the drama channel, but there are three hours a day where it is strictly comedy and I tend to only watch that channel (at the comedy times) or food network when there is nothing else on.  Sometimes I put on a DVD and I will often choose vampires or family animations and comedies. 

The main things I do these days are play games online.  I don’t even socialise that much online anymore, because I lose concentration and people who know me are starting to think I have memory problems.  Because a coughing fit will make me forget what I have said or what I was on about.

The online games that grip me are… Roblox, yes Henry got me onto it and to be honest, Roblox has saved my relationship with my son!  Because I find his kind of games hard to do since becoming sick – Roblox has opened a whole new world for us and we play hide and seek and various other games together.  When Henry is at school, I still sneak onto the site and play bee swarm simulator, Ripull mini games and fairy simulator.  Bee Swarm simulator especially!

Other online games I play are ovipets it is a cute breeding game on facebook and I have been addicted to that for nearly 5yrs. 

Flightrising is another breeding game, but I go in and out of phases with that.  Primarily I have played this for a whole eight months without a break, purely because Henry wants to see what dragons I breed and he loves to name them and do what we call “Dragon Lottery”.  Dragon Lottery is where I look through the offspring possibilities scrying menu to see what will happen if I pair certain dragons up, sometimes I can’t decide, so I make a list of all the best ones that go with my chosen female that day and I number them, then Henry, Paul and I will choose a number from the list and put it through random.org and sometimes someone gets the number right, in which case that person must get a treat of some kind or get to choose to do something; I breed five pairs of dragons every five days, because that is how long it takes for the eggs to hatch and we have a limit of five breeding nests on this game. 

I used to play online scrabble but I have got accused of cheating because I know too many unusual words.  I don’t cheat on that game, I don’t see what purpose that serves other than the joy of creating misery on another person who loses and I am not a vindictive person like that.  I really do have a broad vocabulary, though I rarely use it outside of scrabble and I love doing anagrams for fun, so I see a lot of seven letter words and I am a dictionary and language addict, so I know words that are weird to normal people.  Here is a list of words I know for high scoring on scrabble, which have got me accused of cheating when used previously – plus, I have read books written by scrabble champions.

ZEBU – QAT –  QUARE – SEQUIN – AWK – EUOI – AIA – QI – KIMCHI – VEX – VAV – TAV – EAU – UVEA – AEON – OXIDE – POXY – QIN – QINTAR – FATWA – QABALA – QADI – SJOE – KHAKI – EUOUAE to name but a few.  I have to admit I was shocked when SEQUIN was considered a questionable word, the others I can understand, but I was sure almost everyone knew what sequins were?

I love words and word play so much I have considered about having a word of the week thing, but I am unreliable with keeping to things like that, as you can clearly see from past efforts or lack of.

Other than sketching with pencils or sharpies in bed and/or colouring in and story planning, I don’t do much else on a bad day.  On a good day I can add about an hour of light gardening to the list but not much else anymore.

I’m pretty boring I suppose, by my peers.  I can’t even cuddle the rabbit lately because I cough too much it terrifies the poor thing!  I suppose I sound like some big barking bear or something to the poor creature.

I have gone out to the doctors and walked past dogs when I am like this and the dogs think I am barking at them, they react accordingly, it is embarrassing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fear, death and Dracula

Spoilers included of the new BBC Dracula series that was on at Christmas 2019.

I would have written this sooner, as it has been a week now since the BBC’s Dracula was aired on our TVs and I must say, of all the vampire movies and series I have ever watched, this is the only one which had played into four of my most dreaded fears.

Regarding horror and the realms of fear, I am not known to be a sensitive person, but, like all human beings, I do have some sensitivities which make me fear aspects of life and some scenes in this Dracula did affect me badly in some way or another – though saying that, I would watch it all again. 

One thing of the four must have been so pronoun that I have forgotten it entirely, I just remember at the end of episode three that I knew there were four things I had to list about this series here – I did write it down but it must have been amongst the papers where I spilled orange juice when I had a coughing fit the other day.  (I lost a lot of works in progress that evening and I am upset about that, they were hand written in my sick bed).

One of the scenes which upset me was the “something in your eye” moment with Jonathan Harker and Sister Agatha, where sister Agatha paused in her conversation with Mr Harker long enough for him to remark what was wrong?  She pointed out that there was something in his eye and indeed there was a fly crawling on the eyeball of the eye, which is bad enough but then the next thing that happened was he blinked and looked sideways and the fly found itself behind the back of the eye of Jonathan Harker whom at this point was going through what I can only describe as a “Vampire in Brooklyn” body falling apart and dying, ghoul stage.  He had no idea what was happening to himself, and then he asked Sister Agatha if it had gone?  She gulped and said yes, but it was still behind his eye.

Eye scenes unnerve me a lot, anything to do with eyeballs affect me in horror.  Usually the gouging of them or the stabbing or eating of them, such as the scene found in Mrs Peregrines home for peculiar children – that sort of thing really makes me shudder.

The second and third things which played on my mind a lot in Dracula was the two things which scare me most about death and dying.  Since becoming ill around seven or eight years ago, I often have nightmares and thoughts about death and what may or may not happen during or before death.  One repeated nightmare I have had is that my body is rotting away and literally decomposing whilst I am still conscious and that there is nothing I or anyone else can do about it, then because I have rotten sufficiently enough not to move or talk, people presume I am dead and then bury me, whilst I am still alive and conscious and that this never ceases.  There are scenes in this Dracula where anyone bitten by Dracula is immediately a decomposing animated being forever and ever and that they eventually beg to be killed by him so they that no longer have to suffer rotting consciously as they are.  I had thought that I am a weird person for thinking such things and that not many people have done so, I had wanted to write this as a story, but now I feel like it would come across as copying. 

The third thing is another death fear.  My mother had always tried to talk me into accepting the idea of being cremated when I die because graves cause more pain to the visitors than if I was literally turned into dust and thrown away somewhere.  I had always told her that I fear to be cremated, because what if I wasn’t properly dead?  What if someone got it wrong?  There are neurological conditions out there which can render people in a dead like state but are still in fact perfectly alive – how awful it would be to be woken up by being burned to death in a sealed container where no one can hear you scream?  She always called me silly for that, but this was another scene that Dracula portrayed and it did so incredibly well.  Oh and yes, I still hold firm that a burial is a better option for me, I have discussed this with Paul already as I am convinced I am dying of something or another but I just haven’t been told because if doctors commit to diagnosing me they might have to commit their money to try and save me and I really do believe that some doctors won’t tell patients the truth.  I am to be buried in a lovely place on the outskirts of Rugby town, it is a newly planted forest, a tree is planted for everyone who dies and is buried there, the tree will sit on top of a bio-gradable coffin with me in it and you can choose any native species of tree to have on top of you with a plaque on it – yes, I want to be buried in a haunted forest.  I would like anything that helps the most life of the woodland – an oak I have been told is the best, though I had thought of having a berry tree of some sort, like a rowan and then I thought of the avenging spirit of the elder and birch trees, I can see me becoming someone who would help others find justice if I were to become a ghost.  Protecting victims of the forest, the animals, and children, anyone who might need my help, fiercely, like some mythic forest guardian.

It was such a very good adaption to Dracula though I must say in some places it quite lost the plot.  I liked how they portrayed death as unsexy and how it showed the harsh reality of what death could potentially bring to the unwary or to the ignorant young romanticists.  I did not, however, like how it portrayed Dracula as a greedy, untidy eater.  I am pretty sure that drinking blood as a vampire would be similar to indulging in tomato soup, you do so neatly, you don’t just pick up the bowl and pour it into your mouth without a care of how much dribbles down your chin and clothes, especially when you are as well dressed and polite as he was.  Aristocrats are not slobs, vampires or otherwise!  It does seem to be a thing these days, I know Christopher Lee often dribbled when he played Dracula, but this day and age they act like bloody vultures, literally, they may as well tear the stomach in half of their victims and shove their heads into the cavity for what mess they blooming make.

I always imagined vampires to be discrete and clean creatures, you can’t walk down the street in the middle of the night looking like Carrie fresh from the prom – it isn’t done, especially nightly!

Well that’s my two cents on the matter.

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Reading List for 21st May 2013

Cult fiction by Andrew Calcutt and Richard Shephard

The Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

The Gothic by David Punter and Glennis Byron

Testament of a witch by Douglas Watt

Pam Ayres the works the classic collection by BBC books

Storytelling and theater by Michael Wilson

Music Composition for dummies by Scott Jarrett

The revolting peasant by Robin Page

Compendium of drawing techniques 200 tips by Donna Krizek

Parallel worlds by Michio Kaku

Lucky by Alice Sebold

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Whatever you think by Richard Gentle

The Goddess experience by Gisele Scanlon

The Wish by Angela Donovan

From the kitchen a half-truth by Maria Goodin

A child’s world by Sarah Brewer

The mammoth book of comic fantasy By Mike Ashley

My dad is 10yrs old by Mark O’Sullivan

I know, I know, it’s a long list, but truly if I read 90 minutes a day every day, this list would be down within a month, six weeks tops, I do speed read, but I speed read deeply, I read fast and remember most of what I read after and dream about it all in depths and over think the plots if they’re fiction and over think the facts if it’s non-fiction. This blog is consuming me though, so this means that reading may become a month slower.  I am not expecting to finish this list before the end of July, but I would be disappointed if it’s not at least half read by the 30th June!

 

 

 

 

 

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Trends

I am one of these people who don’t follow big trends when they’re new or very big.  Lady Gaga is one, I heard a lot about her and there was a lot of people claiming they loved her etc, but I never felt compelled to find out who she is or what she does and one day I heard something interesting about her.  In fact it was in 2012 when I decided, hey, I’ll actually look into her.  My reason?  I was in a spiritual website and there was a lot of Christians worrying over her lyrics in Judas, of which it turned out, they misheard; to be honest, so did I initially.

I thought I heard Lady Gaga sing “May the fury of Satan arise” so did all these Christians, but as any Lady Gaga fan would know she actually sang “With the fury of the saints in her eyes”.  Easily misheard but also very subtle.

This clever use of words made me admire Gaga, I must admit.  Very ballsy character I thought, but at the time I didn’t know her fashion sense, wow, she’s me in another life, I’m sure!  Anyway, I decided to listen and watch a few of her youtube videos with amazement, I found out to my luck  that a fortnight after discovering her she would be having an interview with Paul O’Grady about her latest video Hair.  After that interview was aired I got hooked on her, big time and so did my little boy.  I don’t normally follow trends, I’m usually seen as the trend setter, but I adore this woman, she’s great.

Also talking of trends I discovered “The Big Bang Theory” after season two and I stumbled upon it accidentally when channel flicking on one boring night and wow, that’s a great new comedy.  I love it and own all the series now, I am very much like several of the characters there.  I am the worlds biggest geek, as you’ll soon find out.  I have to laugh because most of it is true, and I tend to deliberately go out with geek guys because they are the only ones who seem to semi-understand me, on the downside, some geek guys don’t get imagination and as you know, imagination is pretty big in my life.

I hadn’t paid much attention either to “The Game of Thrones” never seen one before, but I am taking the plunge and buying the box-set to see what it’s like, if I don’t like it I will just give it as a gift to someone who does.  I have never seen Merlin the new BBC series either, though I say new it’s probably been around for five years now, but it’s new to me.  For someone who loves the alternative and fantasy, I am not doing a very good job in keeping up with the latest around me, I don’t even know the top new fantasy books or new authors within the last five years either, so better get on top of that hadn’t I?

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