Return of the Mac (Mini)

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Got my Mac Mini up and running at my parent’s place. Really happy, after much fussing around with buying cables, returning cables and re-ordering cables, to have my Mac in working order. Huge thank you to my younger brother who has given me his display.

 

I recently treated myself to a Blue Snowball mic to create a podcast. That’s my next project. I loved making a podcast with Mannionaise; we made about four episodes together about our individual projects, our relationship and things happening in our lives. When we broke up, sadly the podcast could not continue – but I’ve always wanted to keep working on a project like this.

 

Now everything is set up I can begin tinkering around with Garageband and my new mic. Think I’ve sorted a format. So all thats standing in my way is my voice quality, my ideas, my ability to create an RSS feed, and the good people at iTunes who I really hope will let me put my podcast on their app.

 

Fingers crossed!

Five Signs You Live With A Writer.

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When I moved in with @mannionaise I quickly realised that two people identifying under the vague name ‘writer’ can create a unique living dynamic:

1. There are pens everywhere. Everywhere.
There are pens in the kitchen, the living room, our bedside table. There are literally dozens of pots of pens all over the place.

2. The office is key.
Our office space is in our bedroom. The bookshelf was alphabetised within days of moving in; the stationary has been neatly sorted and piled. The office is a fully functioning area of our new home. But our clothing is still in boxes. Priorities innit?

3. The desk will be mistaken for the dinner table.
I hoovered up the other day and the concentration of crumbs around the desk was shameful. If I’m making progress on an article I’ll make lunch and eat it while working. Even if I’m not doing well, writers block gives me the munchies. I know Mannionaise is the same. I often find sweet wrappers in the paper bin. We went grocery shopping and decided that any snack food would not stay in the cupboard for long.

4. Deadlines are our primary excuse to get out of housework.
Saturday morning, we both had deadlines to meet by the afternoon and there were chores to be done. There was definitely raised voices about who had the more pressing deadline and who shouldn’t be expected change the bedsheets.

5. One of you will write about it.
This is provided that one of you writes non fiction.

These are by no means complaints. I love the entire shelf we have devoted to literary theory and gender studies and the way our walls are being taken over by post its. We are still working out our writing environments; I prefer company and noise, she prefers quiet solitude.

The List (2)

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It’s September.

This time last year I wrote a list of resolutions, following a particularly strenuous month at the Edinburgh Fringe. As Autumn sets in I thought I would establish another list of goals, and reflect on last year’s attempts.

Last Year’s List:

No booze in September.
Stayed sober the entire month despite several parties, and a lot of post rehearsal drinks.

Find a day job.
I now have steady work which is enjoyable. They also let me arrange my shifts around rehearsals and my freelance commitments, which is a huge bonus.

Feel better in body, so you can tattoo body.
This one is still and ongoing process! I was doing the gym thing, but couldn’t afford to renew membership when the time came. My friend Frog and I try to go running in the mornings – which sometimes works!
As for the tattoo, I’m still working on a design – and a location that I’m happy with. It’s in flux. I’m constantly playing with new ideas and images.

Make the flat feel more like a home.
This was an attempt by both myself and my flatmate, we had people over for dinner and threw a most excellent party for my twenty-fifth birthday. However, the flat was broken into in December, which I found extremely traumatic and struggled for a long time to feel safe alone in the flat. Things have improved slowly and I’m starting to feel more comfortable again.

Stop sleeping with men.

Girlfriend.

 

So then, onto this year’s resolutions:

Move in with my girlfriend.
We have been discussing living together and it’s something we would both like to do. At this point we’re spending every night together and have fallen into an easy cohabiting pattern. I’ve never lived with a partner before but I feel ready and confident to bicker about the bills and whose turn it is to clean the bathroom with this particular lady.

Get published.
I’ve been writing for a year now; blogs, articles and fiction in varying degrees of eroticism. I’m starting work on a project which I’m very excited about and it is my intention to self-publish an ebook by the Autumn of 2015.

Working towards a long term project is a new experience for me and being pretty goal-oriented this seems like a good combination of traits old and skills new.

Get tattooed.
Somebody march me to Greenwich and let Sergio cover me in inky pain. This artist was responsible for my last tattoo and was so precise. I love the tattoo on my wrist and I want more!

And that’s it. My goals are fewer this year but more precise. Fingers crossed for the coming twelve months.

Dad.

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My father is awesome.

In that sort of stoic Yorkshire gruff man way. I think I understand him but every now and then he’ll surprise me.

I took my girlfriend home a few weeks ago to meet my whole family. She is the first girlfriend I’ve introduced to my dad. Naturally I was nervous. My father is particularly unwelcoming to people I date.

My father has only passed judgement on one partner. He deemed my first boyfriend unsuitable. This boyfriend was my age, studying for a career in engineering and the most marriage and family oriented kind of man you could hope to meet. My father still recalls him as not right for me.

So if that sort of person isn’t right for his daughter, could any partner be accepted by this man? Would a girlfriend be any better?

Fortunately yes.

My father and my girlfriend got on very well. At the end of the weekend he took me to one side and told me that I seemed happier with my girlfriend than with any of my other boyfriends.

“It’s not a gender thing as such, I just think you’re better suited.”

I was surprised and relieved that he had welcomed my girlfriend and, by extension, accepted me as his (very) lesbian daughter. I was ready for resistance, or to accept that my dad would not support this relationship.

I have seriously underestimated my father. I should have realised he’d be ok with it. He told me the following after I came out:

“I love you, do what makes you happy.
Just don’t do drugs.”

I love my dad.

Kink Is For The Profoundly Strange.

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What’s the deal with weirdos and kink?

Or to be more specific – what’s the deal with BDSM and fetish narratives featuring characters with severe issues as a direct catalyst for kink tendencies.

Give us a break, writers and film makers.

Yes, its positive to feature subjects like BDSM in film and literature. It helps make these preferences more commonplace in our collective sexual understanding.

However.

By including characters who are clearly mentally and socially maladjusted, these works are giving out signals that anyone who enjoys BDSM has problems, or is turning to kink as a way of sorting their lives out.

Well done folks.

It seems we’ve come one step forward and two steps back on the subject. Its a sort of passive aggressive shaming. The audiences for these things are going to have a high volume of people who enjoy a bit of kink -where are the positive representations for them to identify with?

All they can see reflected back is BDSM, but as a symptom/fix for something gravely wrong. Are they ‘wrong’ too?

Plus, I’m guessing that if you’ve been institutionalised, or had cigarettes stubbed out on your chest as a toddler, you’re not the ideal candidate for a pain and control relationship. Where’s the chat? The endless discussions about limits? The ability to identify what you want and to calmly and politely ask for it?

New project: I am writing a sex-positive story about two people who haven’t suffered horrific trauma but who enjoy BDSM.

Oh _lord_ the sheer novelty of it!

Flash Fiction: Clutch.

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My hand grips yours, my stumpy fingers tangled in your slender ones. Thumbs on knuckles. A squeeze. Touch comforts.

You are here. Real. Solid but shaken. Fragile. Still here. I wonder if this is contact is for you or for me. Probably some vulnerable exchange. A clinging relief.

I’m glad to be able to hang onto you for a little while.

#SmallTales: Waste.

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@LiterallyGeeked is running a weekly flash fiction competition on Twitter called #SmallTales. Submissions of 100 words, or artwork, on a given theme.

This week, #SmallTales is on the brief of ‘waste’.

Below is my entry:

The alley cats return from stalking.

Their evening amongst the bins was profitable. Their search through the filth yielded several discarded bottles. They enjoy licking the shards of glass which bear remains of booze.

They prowl home to me at dawn, scandal clenched in their mouths. They spit these out at my feet like baby birds with snapped necks and bloodied wings. They are left to fester on the carpet. I am too tired to praise the maggots which feast on their tiny corpses.

They press themselves to my leg in ownership. I feel rainwater and garbage on my skin.

@Mannionaise’s Blog

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So I wrote this last night while falling asleep, basically instructions to read my girlfriends blog. It’s rather good. Her blog, not mine.

Mannionaise is keeping a blog. Every day she writes 250 words of poetry or drama to flex her creative muscles, to discipline herself in the ways of the Professional Writer and to identify any preferred working conditions.

(Night. It’s always at night.)

Tonight Mannionaise has realised that she’s thirteen blogs behind schedule and needs to do some serious catching up. I’m currently in bed being Not Helpful (apparently) while she types. My attempts to suggest things to fill up her blog quota have not been welcomed.

These also aren’t helpful:

•Breaking into her WordPress account and posting 250 words of freshly made erotica.
•Recording an interpretative dance version of her blog. Or my blog. And posting it online.
•Getting everyone we know on Twitter to guest post.
•Sex.
•Taking pictures of The Business Seal.
•Falling asleep (and snoring).

Then I fell asleep. And snored. Probably*. But enough about how difficult it is to co-habit with me! Go read #250for250. 250 words for 250 days. Running until July.

*Just checked, I did snore.

My New Twitter Picture.

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My New Twitter Picture.

Created by the delightful @frogcroakley via Twitter, its a drawing of my old photo of a bunny in glasses – but I asked for an additional rainbow because of my big gay identity. Frog decided to put them coming out of the bunny’s mouth.
ISN’T IT PRETTY?!

Valentine’s Day.

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A confession: I quite like Valentine’s Day.

Not the commercialism. Not the pressure to make it a perfect indulgent trembly sexfest. But I do like the sense of obligation. The expectation you should spend time with your loved one.

Or loved ones.

Or anybody special in your life.

It’s nice to set aside a day to recognise their impact on your life/emotions/libido.

It’s not just for couples, or a day to take stock and mourn your singleness. Don’t focus on what you think you lack. Just enjoy togetherness! Call your best friend for a long chat, make your housemate a cup of tea and tell them they’re awesome or even take your parents out for dinner. When I was a teenager, I used to buy my mother flowers on my way home from school on Valentine’s Day. My father worked away for most of my adolescence and couldn’t afford to do the big mail order bouquet thing. So I’d give my mother a humble bunch of something pink or white on the day, to remind her she was loved by all of us and to tide her over until my father came home days later with something slightly more elaborate. She didn’t need either of our bouquets, but we liked to give them.

I’m a big fan of celebrating love – any sort of love. It’s great. All kinds. Platonic, familial, romantic, erotic, kinky, gay, straight and everything else that ties us to other humans

If you don’t habitually let someone know how important they are to you, 14th February is pretty handy. I consider it a little check-in for relationships. Not ideal, but useful. Of course it’s nice to do it more than once a year, but gestures/expressions of love don’t necessarily come easily to everyone. Especially if you’re more reserved in your affection. Or particularly busy.

I’m not reserved in my anything. But I am certainly busy. I am overworked and underpaid. A frazzled nightmare of a workaholic. I, for one, appreciate the obligation of Valentine’s Day. I’m taking 14th February as a cue to text my best friends and my parents and tell them I love them. And to uncharacteristically turn off my computer and take my girlfriend out on a date.

I’m lucky enough to be in love with a tremendous woman. But I’m not around as much as I’d like to be. I’m not as present as I could be when we do get together. I don’t think holding hands while I organise rehearsal schedules counts as a proper date. I’m perpetually distracted or exhausted. And she’s so understanding. She’s patient and proud and constantly there for me when I’m mindless with fatigue.

So yes, it’s only Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s tacky and clichéd and the lowest of holidays. But tomorrow I spend the day with my girlfriend. Whom I love. Society expects it. And for once I shall bow to society’s arbitrary requirements, if it makes me stop working myself into the ground, appreciate the fucking amazing people in my life and take my girlfriend out for flirting and a movie.