Ray Bradbury and I
It is the end of November 2019 and less than 4 weeks until Christmas day. The television is spewing out enough festive adverts to almost distract you that there is bugger all on the TV these days. Worst of all is the intense pain in my wallet as I am forced by my insatiable insecurity regards creating Christmas for the family to spend far more than i have. However, enough small talk, i have a very well paid therapist for that, today is a day for slapping myself in the face and trying for the sweet love of a god to stop arsing around and bloody well write. You know what the past twenty years of writing has taught me? How not to write. That's right, i am a creature of bizarre OCD rituals and habits, always putting off doing what i actually want, always toying with the idea of being something, playing out the success prematurely. If i succeed at anything it is procrastinating, in fact i believe i have it down to a rather fine art. Part of the issue though i have found is I never actually believe in myself as a writer. Sure i write and i love writing, i even sometimes write some pretty darn good stuff, but if someone were to ask me if i write i shrivel up like a limp penis and deny everything. Now i'm sure that i'm not the only one, but what the hell? Can a writer be such a social recluse, just a shadow unnoticed and living vicariously through the words on a screen? Well i have decided yes. yes they bloody well can. In fact, they can do whatever the bloody hell they want. I need to believe this else i'm in trouble. I've spent so many years wanting to write, but also crippled by the dark cloud of failure as a provider and a husband and father, and friend if i want to really wring our the guilt. Writing feels such an extremely selfish dream, its such an isolating journey, a solitary endeavor. I have been torn between wanting to fulfill my dream of writing but also provide for a family. Lets face it writing doesn't really pay many bills, not in my house anyway. So my head is in a constant state of disarray, an unceasing chaos of indecision about the future, about getting a proper job. And you know what, i ain't getting any younger. That pressure becomes more intense. I recently finished an MA in creative writing that i really did enjoy, and when i finished it left me such a void that it spun my head a bit. My current job pays the bills, and allows me time to write, its not overly demanding and works well to balance life, writing and working. I don't want anything more because it would take time away from my writing. I recently had an agonizing time trying to decide whether to pursue a PhD and although i spent months working with a supervisor preparing a proposal in the end I just felt like i was procrastinating again. As odd as it sounds, doing a PhD would be taking me away from the writing i should be doing. The thing is that the end result would be the same whether i did a PhD or not, i don't want to lecture or teach, i just want to write, and a doctorate isn't going to get my books in waterstones any quicker. So i decided to put that on the back burner. Not long passed and i was back again looking at other vocational degrees i could do in order to give a little more meaning to my working life, and for a while i was really set on committing to another full undergraduate degree, but sometimes you just need to take a step back and really simplify things. Sort your head and make a plan. This is my reasoning and i think its fairly sound.
Don't worry what others are doing.
Do what you want to do, stop doing all the things you think others want you to do.
You have a family, a roof over your head and food in your stomach, you're doing pretty darn good.
In the end your loved ones just want you to be happy, just as you want them to be happy.
what is it you want to do? Write. Okay so write. Easy.
Do you want to be a social worker, or a teacher, or a astrophysicist? Not really. So why stress about it then, just don't go that route. Okay.
In five years time what do you want? I want everything i have now but a lovely big novel sitting on the shelves in Waterstones. And maybe a netflix film. Okay well hold on a little bit, pull back, lets aim for Waterstones first.
How are you going to achieve that? I need to write that book i guess. You guess right my friend. You need to write that book. So i know what i want and i know what i need to do to achieve it. So stop fart arsing around just bloody well write. Forget everything else, forget your insecurities, everything is fine, just focus on what is important to you.
Sounds good. Where have you been the last twenty years of my life?
Anyway, if any of you are going through your own breakdown, i hope you find some parallels in what you've just read and draw some confidence of your own from it. Go be what you want and damn the others.
Anyway, now that's off my chest, whats been happened? Well like i said i graduated my MA in creative writing, yay me. I found this not only revelationary but also a great source of support and resources and would recommend it if it takes your fancy. I started working for a publishing house up the north of England called Bandit Fiction. They are a really great group of people all working together to create good quality stuff and help authors develop their work. I am part of the editorial team and i go through submission for publication, i am also one of many who provide a feedback service free of charge.
Crystal Lake Publishing is a big deal for me, a highly regarded and award winning publisher has picked up one of my stories and is due for publication in their next Anthology hopefully before the years end. I'll provide more information about that closer the time, but very excited about that. Also Dead Boat 2 is in its final stages of editing and prepping for its own release the beginning of 2020. This is another massive massive thing for me. The dead boat series is a very personal thing for me and I have the privileged to be represented by Kyanite Publishing who picked up the series and have had the faith in me to deliver the goods. We are working together to create a really special alternative history historical horror novelette series. Again i will post again when i have more details and links are up for pre-purchase.
I've a few stories still in publishing limbo awaiting to hear their fate, and one i'm really excited about, but for now let me wrap up by saying that i am in the final stages of finishing edits on the first part of my brand new children of war novelette series, a proper science fiction adventure that has been a blast to write. Hopefully that will be out before the end of the year and then next year is very much a year of sequels.
Now i need to let you down gently, I do not know nor have ever met Ray Bradbury, in fact this post has very little to do with him. Sorry. However, what i wanted to do was make a recommendation to any sci-fi fans that may have not already read any Bradbury. I'm sure you have, but i recently came into possession of a 1964 edition of Imagination Unlimited by Mayflower-Dell in which was the Ray Bradbury story 'Referent' written in 1948. There is something special about old paperback books, the way they smell and feel. Anyway, the story was beautifully written and made me thirsty for more sci-fi. It is about a distant futuristic world where a young boy comes into contact with a life form that takes form from others perception of it. Its a bit more deep than my crude explanation, but recommended.