Bible Porn

The first bit of porn I remember watching made me come in ten seconds.

The scene is etched into my memory. An – even by young-me’s standards – average woman, bent over the bonnet of a yellow Porsche Boxster,fucked by the hairiest man possible –  who happened to have the world’s sexiest cock.

I think that might have been the first time I fell in love with Porsche.

It was probably also the first time I had an inkling I was bi.

I’ve been lucky: my sexual preference has only been mocked by two people: One a pretty Danish girl who, on hearing I want to get back into dancing, ice skating and cycling, declared “In all possible offensiveness, that is soooo gay” which made me laugh: part of the reason I like ice skating is…well. I’m sure YouTube will help you figure it out.

The only other person who has demonised my sexuality is me.

I spent my teenage years growing up in a boys-only boarding school, where my biggest fear was showering with attractive boys. Two boys caught practicing their addition (34+35 from what I hear) were talked about in hushed voices – often accompanied with words such as “disgusting” and “gross”.

I longed for a similar situation to befall me – preferably without being caught. As this proved elusive, I instead adopted the pulpit’s perspective. It was easy to lose myself in the biblical beliefs, berating myself for my lustful longings and sinful suggestions.

I was a little confused as to “why” it was wrong: the Bible was not clear on homosexuality. At no point did any worthy writer record god as saying “oh yeah. You should only have sex with people of the opposite sex, regardless of your desires – and you should control those too!”.

Nothing explained why me wanting cock was bad.

I didn’t stop strangling myself about it. I didn’t stop questioning. And I was so busy distracting myself with hating me for who I was, I completely missed other parts of me.

I completely missed the fact that I was more than sexual. I completely missed that, as much as I wanted to date a girl, I wanted to date a boy too. I was so busy branding half of myself as “horribly homo” that I failed to notice I was beautifully bi.

There’s a wonderful song by “A Great Big World” entitled “Everyone is gay.”

If you’re gay then you’re gay
if you’re straight well that’s great!
If you fall in between
that’s the best way to be,
you’ve got so many options
every fish in the sea
wants to kiss you.

It scares me, the thought of falling for a guy. But it thrills me too. I have no idea when it will happen. I know I want it more right now because of what I’m going through. Because I want someone to lean on. But that’s not really fair on a partner. I need to love myself first. But when someone comes along who flips my heart and stretches my jeans, who makes me laugh and makes me care, it’s nice to not care if it’s a guy or a girl – though it’d be awesome regardless if they have a Porsche.

Euro Whore

Sitting on the bonnet of Someone’s car, talking to Her like we used to, not even noticing that we’d been there for two hours and She still hadn’t given me the key, I realised something: I’m a complete an utter Eurowhore.

For a good thirty minutes, we spoke about nothing but cars – almost extensively European. We spoke about the Ferrari She’d sat next to in traffic, admiring the way it’s engine note rebounded off the vehicles around Her. Moments later, it drove by us, blinding us with its gorgeous lights. I’ve photographed that car so many times, I’m surprised he still drives by my house.

I told Her about the Rolls Royce Ghost I see at work and the smug driver. We talked about the Mercedes G55 AMG and how sensual that engine sounds, and discussed in detail what straight six turbo could be blasting past my house every afternoon.

I also told Her I still love Her.

I told her about the Danish girl (who’ll get annoyed if I call her Dutch) and how Someone seems almost sane in comparison. She told me about Her new hangout. I got annoyed that She spends time there, but never spent time with me.

She told me She thought She was happier where She is now. I told her I am happier single. I told Her and She told me how nice it was to not say “I’ve just seen such and such and I’m going here now” and we both said how much we missed getting those texts. I told Her I missed Her annoying “Hey hun how is work?” texts and how I checked for them every half an hour. She told me She missed having someone to call at 2 in the morning.

We both agreed we dated too soon. We both agreed breaking up was a good idea. And I think we both cried once we said goodbye.

I told her how drunk I got; She told me how sober She stayed. I told Her how sorry I was for the things I said; She said it’s ok, but She can’t get my voice out of Her head.

I will fall in love again – often, repetitively, with broken European girls. Hopefully, I will grow. Hopefully, I’ll learn to love myself first. To soothe myself first. To not need someone to care for me, but to care for myself.

And I’m going to hold on to Her. Because the fights were epic and the conversations eternal, the sex was magic and the love was open, and there’s a part of me I’m locking away that says “I belong to Someone” and that won’t change.

I’m ok

It took me 10 minutes to pile all of her things on one side of the room, ready for her to pickup. I didn’t feel a thing. There was nothing as I picked up her collection of perfumes and nail polishes, nothing as I piled up her books,nothing as I took down her clothes. I knew she wouldn’t take long to get here. Once she was here, she could take her stuff and be gone. Out of my life. Nothing left. Just me – free.

For some reason, I couldn’t quite read the words on the cds. I couldn’t work out which where hers and which where mine. I just kinda stared at them, trying to classify them – if they’re about cars or movies that make me cry, they’re mine, otherwise hers. But I couldn’t remember which ones made me cry.

She arrived whilst I was still bent over them. And she just kinda stood in the room, staring at the growing pile of stuff in the corner. Her eyes sprung a leak.

It’s not like either of us have an easy life. It’s not like either of us is worse off than the other. It’s not like either of us is not giving their all.

But there is so much fucking anger inside of me, I’m struggling to forgive. I’m struggling to see another side of the picture. All I see is my view, and my view is all that matters. Everything else is an excuse, a reason to not love me, a reason to not want me.

It’s so hard to keep trying when you feel you’ve given your all, and the only thing left is your anger and you don’t want to share that at all.

Her stuff’s back where it belongs now. It stayed sitting in the corner for a day. It made my room lonely. Where before there’d been little essences of femininity, there were now simply stark walls. So I returned it all from where it came, I replaced those touches that sparked off memories and thoughts and good ideas and my room is mine again.

Am I happy?

No.

Every day is the same day with different spelling. Every day, the same patterns, hopes, dismays, dreams and anger blaze through. I’m slowly being crushed under a weight I can’t hold.

I’m not fucking giving up. God no.

There is no going back. There is no “it get’s easier.” It fucking doesn’t. don’t fucking lie, it never gets easier! It only ever gets harder, there’s always more to add on, there’s always more to do, there is no quick fix, there is no point, there is no attainable dream.

The only options are to give up or to get stronger. Stronger and stronger, till what was heavy is light and light is unnoticeable. Stronger, until what took everything takes nothing and smiles are easy once more. Just keep fighting, keep pushing, keep holding on. The only easy way out is death, and that comes eventually so I may as well keep holding.

I don’t know if it’ll be enough. I don’t know if I can make it through. But I’m going to try. Though it hurts and every part of me is telling me not to, is asking what’s the point, I’m going to try. Just in case I can.

Autumn Dyes

Chef was nice. I’m talking about a movie by the way. A movie about a chef, surprisingly. It has the worst starting dialogue in a movie ever. I was considering falling asleep when I heard it. Then it ended. So I stayed awake.

I was glad.

It is – quite simply – the story of a chef who quits his job to do what he loves. And that’s pretty much it. There was no conflict. There was no critical point. It was simply the story of someone who gave not a shit about money, did what they loved and accepted help from those who offered. It was the story of being genuine.

It was the absolute perfect antithesis to a tumultuous weekend.

Nothing in particular went wrong. There were just things. Little, insignificant, immemorable moments that – on the face – seemed positively average, yet added up to a desecrating anger.

Anger is often described as a fire, as something hot that burns or smoulders. It feels more like a stone to me. A sharp, heavy boulder that weighs everything down. I scream and pound it with all the energy I possess in a futile attempt to budge it and it simply remains, holding me down. Immovable.

For the last month, it’s been ever present. And every time a stress or complication adds to this ginormous weight I flail uselessly against it, daring it to stay, begging it to move, crying for it to disintegrate. It simply remains.

And I don’t know what happened last night. But something in that simple movie chipped a little sliver off that mountain and it dipped infinitesimally in weight. It was just that little bit lighter. Something cracked, something fell and I suddenly realised that, actually, it’s going to be ok.

I love winter. If I could choose for every day to be one season, I’d choose the fractured skies and broken temperatures of winter. I’d choose stark trees and warm jackets and fires in the early dark. I’d choose the answer “Brr, cold” to the polite asking “how are you?”

But Autumn is my absolute favourite.That sensual little nip in the air, the abundance of sweating scarfs and the burning trees. It is beautiful because it is fleeting: everything is but a promise of what is to come. The scene before me will not repeat for a year. Tomorrow is completely different from today.

I know everything will be ok because today I stopped as I walked and stared at the burgundy fire that fed upon a tree. And though the dog pulled in the direction of tantalizing smells, though people hit the grass to walk past, I stayed and stared and I smiled. I hadn’t quite noticed it’s autumn. I hadn’t quite noticed the fleeting beauty around me. I hadn’t quite noticed just how lucky it is to be me.

Entered Title Here.

It’s the softer words that strike me the hardest. The hidden meanings too. The words behind the meanings behind the squiggled lines of pen.

I’m struggling to write.

It’s not a block; it’s the problem of choice. There are so many options – so many words to write, so many stories to tell, so many feelings to deal with, so many things to do….just….so many.

I’m floundering in sea-sized waves. I don’t know where to turn. What to do first. How to even start.

This is so hard.

I’m not for a moment going to pretend it’s nothing but hard. Some moments are fucking awesome. I’m still laughing, still smiling, still finding joy. They’re just tinged with a guilty sadness.

Guilt is such an easy word to malign and misunderstand. I’ve been told so many times that it’s not my fault, I shouldn’t feel guilty. But that completely ignores what I mean.

My father is in jail. Not a sentence I’d have thought myself stating honestly. But he is. I don’t feel guilty for him being there: whilst his intentions were inadequately pure, his actions were stupid, counterproductive and harmful. I felt fury when he claimed he’d done it “all for us”. Because I never asked him too. But I apportion no blame at me or my family. The fault is solely his. Forgiveness was mine.

I don’t feel guilty for decisions that keep me at home supporting and stressing. If I’d have left, the only thing I’d have learnt is that I should have stayed. It frustrates me, it annoys me. But it keeps me dreaming. It keeps me hoping. Because it’s just one more year. And that’s exciting. I have no idea what will happen. But simply being free of obligations to myself, to be proud of standing by the people who matter most…that’s exciting.

No, I don’t feel guilty of my dad’s crime. I don’t feel guilty over my feelings toward him.

I feel guilty because my sadness overwhelms me.  Because, seriously, it’s not like he’s dead or anything. He’ll be out soon, really. And all I have to deal with are life things. They’re not that difficult, it’s all manageable. Other people manage it everyday. I have all the ability and skill to do all of these things – there’s absolutely no reason why I should find it all so hard.

Right?

It really is just like drowning.

Indescribable

The car trip felt inescapably long.

I sat in the back, tensely watching traffic. We couldn’t be late. I wondered if we had enough time – I didn’t want us to get there too early, waiting was not an option. I surreptitiously withdrew my phone, patiently feeding it information, agonising over its delays as I waited for it to tell me how long the trip would take. I tried to keep it quiet in the deathly silent car.

“Head East.” said my phone, the strong, feminine voice making all four of us jump.

The silence broken, people rushed to fill it. And they aimed their questions at me.

I couldn’t cope with it. I was unravelling, these questions were inane, irrelevant, I couldn’t handle them. My answers were snapped off, my tolerance extended by the situation we sat in. Eventually, the silence returned.

We arrived early.

We filtered out of the two cars, one member at a time. We stood for a fragile moment in the dirt-packed car park, and then strode off.

Dad lead – fitting given the scenario. He held mom’s hand. He wore his darkly handsome suit.

My sister, her boyfriend supporting at a brief distance followed.

Me and my brother dragged out the rear.

Shame simply flooded me. Given our location, our dress, the way we walked, every person who passed us by knew where we were going. I dared not look for the condemnation in their eyes – I was too scared of finding compassion.

We marched down the road, stopping only to wait for the traffic light. As we waited for the little red man to change his mind, as other marchers ignored him and simply walked by, as police officers broke stride only to check for cars, I realised how ironically legal our waiting was.

He changed. We walked. We turned right and marched quickly into Manukau District Court.

We found a computer screen with the fifth page of today’s court displayed. We surveyed the waiting data, finding it wanting, and waited patiently for it to change. Page one flickered into being, A brief perusal revealing yet more wasteful data.

An indefinable amount of time passed. The screen flickered again. Eagerly, our eyes rasped across the names, disappointment and frustration dulling our senses. We waited. Finally, screen three, and there, a third of the way down, our surname, dad’s name. Court Room 8.

The simple signs dictated our direction. As one, the six of us turned and headed for the stairs.

My steps rang through the vacant foyer, every second step muffled. Petrified of setting off the metal detector, I’d removed a safety-pin that had hiked the hem of my jeans off the ground. Now, the hem frayed beneath my left leg, stifling the loud clap of shoe on tile.

With each step, a small realisation whispered through me.

Whatever happened, whatever came today, I couldn’t – wouldn’t – face it with my head aimed at the ground. Doubtless, I’d cry. Doubtless, emotions would fail to be described. I couldn’t change that. But what I could change was how I stood. Was how I looked. Was how I strode.

I raised my head and rolled my shoulders, a familiar strut sliding into my steps. I straightened my lips and unclenched my fists and looked at the five people around me.

We’re all so beautifully weak.

Cracked lines of support run from member to member; a little glance here, a touch there, a sniff here, a smile there. Little ways of letting each other know “I feel it too.”

We settled onto benches beside the court room doors. And began to wait.

The sentencing was supposed to start at 9. For reasons known best as “technicalities”, it was delayed till ten. For just short of an hour, we sat on those seats and watched as the court-house filled up around us.

People passed in varying states of dress, decorum and drunkenness, the first and last seemingly synonymous. We watched in complete befuddlement as a squat little lawyer of a man stumbled by, following an ellipse only he could see as he muttered loudly about how no one ever bothered to tell him where he was meant to be. He stumbled haphazardly into a court room, then burst back out, cavorting toward some other, distant room, his mutterings profane.

Police officers bedecked in smartly useless suits appeared and huddled, forcing laughter as nervousness showed. I don’t know what they were doing, but some were young, barely new recruits. They seemed more scared than me. Lawyers dazzled by, proclaiming loudly for their customers or targets, disappearing in a swirl of black tails. An official stumped up and down the path, demanding tetchily that people remove caps and glasses.

We talked. I don’t know how, but we talked and we laughed and we turned that time from treacle to honey as it oozed by. And finally, he was summoned.

We wouldn’t have stood faster if lightning the chairs. We convened by the doors, and he turned with reddened eyes and grabbed us one by one for a hug “Just in case.”

With each hug, he left words and imprints. Mom. Sister. Me.

“Stay strong. Look after them for me.”

And I let go. A rush of anger, of hatred, of selfishness, of remembered words, of broken spirits, of defiance, of loss, of pain, of acceptance blazed through me and I turned away, knowing my mouth contorted out of sight. Why must I pay for the crimes you commit? What about me?

We walk in to a scene vaguely reminiscent of tv.

We take our seats. On the other side sit the victim and his lawyer.

My dad is angry with him. Blames him for what happened. But I’ve read his victim impact statement. I’ve stolen glances at documents secreted away. I know where blame solely lies. And I feel so sorry for him.

I’ve imagined over the past few nights what would happen when I see him. Loyalty might seem to demand aggression, a belief that his actions caused us to be here. Whilst true, his actions are a reaction. He hasn’t done this against us. He’s done this for him. And given what dad has put him through, I cannot blame him.

And as I watch his reflection in the corner of my eye, I know that I want to tell him I’m sorry. Whatever happens, I want to talk to him and tell him I am so, so, so sorry for what dad has done.

And here begins the sentencing.

God it’s tedious. TV series imply that lawyers are eloquent, smart, dazzling and loud. But this one ums more than stutterers in the rain, engages in silences that I swear are meditations and unambiguously details the fraud my father committed. He lays out, in no uncertain terms, the states legal response: for a crime of this nature: 4 to 5 years. Finally he sits down.

And now, our rebuff. A rebuff that is more hesitant, a rebuff that screws up one vital and meaningless fact, a rebuff that pleads “look not at the crime, but the bigger picture.” And he too sits down.

Behind him, before us, in his smart black suits, my father stands. He does not shake. His left hand clenches and relaxes, I see a twitch race down his right arm. Beside me, my mother sniffs, tears breaking free. I’m crying too.

The judge is a kind looking man. Headmaster, perhaps, of an old English Christian boarding house. He shuffles papers and with a posh lilt I can’t place, begins to summarise.

I don’t want to listen, I want it to be over – please let it be over, I’m so tired of waiting, I’m so tired of delays, I’m so tired of not knowing, I’m so tired of this purgatory, I’m so tired of feeling guilty for something I didn’t do – but once it’s over it can’t be changed, until it’s said anything is possible, please don’t end, keep talking, so long as you talk my father is free.

“…and, in accordance with what the Appeal Court has decided in similar cases, I must sentence you to prison. As [first lawyer] says, this should be a term of four to five years…”

Before him, the judges aid scrambles for her phone. I can’t watch. Her low voice murmurs across the room. She hangs up. A few seconds pass as the judge details what reductions he can make. There’s the sound of running footsteps, a key scraping a lock, and a door is flung open.

A policewoman bursts through. I can’t bear to look, but my soaking eyes are drawn. She is pretty. She glances rapidly around, surmises the situation and realises she disturbed the peace. Mortification reddens her face and she sinks into a seat, the handcuffs clinking merrily.

“…and so I sentence you to three years and eight months imprisonment.”

The rest is just noise.

I rise as requested. My father turns and looks my mother in the eyes and mouths “I’m sorry.” And all I can think is “I love you.”

Somehow, we’re downstairs. We’re waiting for the lawyer. We’re all crying, we’re all shocked, we’re all broken. I look up the stairs and I see the victim, laughing with his lawyer. Hot, unfair rage floods me and i blink it away. I need to talk to him. I need to say sorry.

But I need to phone Someone first. Sick and fevered, she couldn’t be with us in more than thought. I walk out to the atrium, gulping fresh air. I tap on my phone, Her blurred name appearing. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a handshake and a body move toward the stairs. I press her name and my phone freezes. Angrily, I tap it again. He’s coming down the stairs quickly, and my phone won’t connect, it won’t let me select Her name, come on you stupid thing I need to tell Her but fuck I need to talk to him.

I take a step toward the doors he’s about to walk through, my focus still on my phone, but what do I say what if he’s angry with me what if he blames me No I can’t I can’t risk it I’ll talk to him another day I need to phone Someone I need her right now and this stupid fucking phone won’t fucking connect and his hand is on my shoulder.

“Gareth, I…”

I don’t know what he said. I honestly do not recall it. But compassion, pain, sorrow, support blazed out of his eyes and I was humbled by this man, by this man whose wife cooked us macaroni cheese and pretended to ignore me as I surreptitiously moved my least favourite meal out of my way, who gave my dad a job on just one interview, who would come and talk to me when I visited dad at work, who made dad go home when he worked too late, this man who has been completely ruined by my father is making sure that I’m ok.

I gather my wits. I take in a breath as I see my mom stand and head toward us. I hold out my hand and I apologise for what my dad has done. I tell him how sorry I am. And then mom is there, and she’s repeating me, and he’s hugging her, and telling her how the people who knew her are thinking of her and are there to support her.

And then he is gone.

I turn and look back at my phone. My favourite name is highlighted. Finally, it calls her. It rings. I walk to a pillar. It rings again. My eyes have a puncture. It rings again. My body is shaking. It rings again. I lean against the pillar. She answers.

And I can’t say a single thing.

Superficially Waiting

“Don’t be sad.” She said, pulling her skirt straight. I shuffled over and She cuddled down on the edge of the bed. “I want you to have a happy day.”

I love shoes.

Last night, She wore heels to heaven with crystalised blue and purple dancing amidst bold black. They stretched Her frame to the star and made Her body sway as we waltzed the streets, Her dress a melodious expansion.

I don’t care how I looked; She looked amazing and everyone stared. Sad Fuckers.

We’re mean. We criticise everybody we see.

“Oh My God, what the fuck is she thinking?”

“Don’t you wanna just walk up behind her and…unclip it? Like, what’s the point?”

“He’d be cute if he wasn’t smoking. And wearing different clothes. But I love his shoes.”

“Is he seriously going to town in…those?”

“Those are pretty dresses.” “Yeah, but they’re on the wrong women.”

I think we might be a little superficial.

Superficial is good. Superficial is easy. I love superficial things. Clothes are superficial. Shoes are superficial. Wine and whisky are superficial. Maths is superfical.

They’re so easy to deal with. There’s nothing really to them. We pretend there is – we add so much meaning, but it’s just shadow and light, taste and quality. There’s a specific sort of complex beauty in superficial things, an appreciable beauty, a beauty that seldom causes friction, a share-able beauty.

Love isn’t superficial. Love complicates things.

I lay last night with Her wrapped in my arms and – as she snored unsoftly in my ear – I wished and longed for the night to never end. To just be there. To be cuddled close with the covers heating and the facades gone, to be raw and human and completely simple. She wore no make-up and a too large tshirt and she snored and stole blankets and she’s never been more beautiful.

I drifted asleep.

I woke, and I couldn’t help being sad, for the night had ended and I hadn’t watched it go by.

There will be another night. Another time. Another moment perhaps where I grumble blanketless, or cover ears with pillows, or sleep on the edge. Another night where I sleep so peacefully, or wake so rested. It will come, it will be here.

Just like everything else. This will change. That will get better. Those things will end. This stage too will pass. I’ll get through it. It’ll be easier then. Just one more step.

I know that. I believe it completely.

I’m just so tired of waiting.

$1000 flight

My car has an unsightly dent in its face.

It’s quite distinctive now. You can see people dismiss it the moment they see it – unless the lights are on. Pop up lights are fucking awesome.

I discovered recently that – for some unbeknownst reason – the value of a Mazda Astina has risen. Every other car I’ve been looking at has dropped over the last two months. The Astina has gone from an average $1400 to an average $1600.

I could fix my car and sell it for a resulting $1000. Which, as I discovered on Sunday night, is more than enough for a one way ticket to the UK, leaving next Wednesday.

I dislike stuff and clutter. Some of it is necessary. But, if I were to leave, I could sell it all fast. Easily. Not perhaps for an accurate value, but for something. Enough, totaled, for a base in the UK.

A fresh start. A new beginning. To no longer deal with all this crap. To simply say “This is no longer my problem, bye bye.”

To no longer have nights substituting crap games and bbw porn for intimacy and sleep. To no longer wake and long for sleep. To no longer spend evenings knowing one drink would calm me, but one drink won’t end. To no longer fall asleep, exhausted, with wet pillows and twisted blankets.

To spend days smiling, not hiding fears and worries and regrets and anger. To write without wrestling words away from their emotions. To work without calculating how much exactly I can actually use.

When told, Someone simply stated “Well go. You have nothing stopping you.”

But there is something stopping me: Me.

I can’t run away from problems.

Not simply because running away never works. Not simply because it’ll make bigger problems. Not simply because the easiest solution is seldom the best.

But because I couldn’t be me if I did.

To run away and “start afresh” would have one intention: finding myself. Losing myself in order to find me is rather circular and a waste of time. Ultimately, 5 years down the line, I’ll be in a similar situation facing similar problems with similar escapes. The only difference: It’ll be five years too late.

I’ve been told I’m “too soft”. I think I’ve been told that so many times it might make a good tattoo – strategically placed. I’m too soft, apparently, because I’ll keep taking shit from people and just deal with it. Or, try to. When there’s little but shit my way it becomes a bit difficult to deal with it all – one pile at a time please. It makes it hard to see sexy people too.

This is something I distinctly dislike about myself. And yet it’s been something that’s true of me for a little over 25 years. Every time I try to change it, it ends up rearing it’s head in another, sneaky way.

I realise now it’s because I can’t be me if I’m not…accepting? Perhaps that is a better phrase than “too soft”.

Happiness is often linked to selfishness – “You can’t be happy if you don’t look after yourself.” I completely agree with that – “me first” is an ideal required to be your best. I add to it though.

Instead of simply saying “Do what makes you happy”, I tell myself “Do what makes you happy without impairing others’ happiness.”

It switches the focus. Instead of an immediate, almost gratuitous, happiness, it looks at a long-term happiness – a happiness that supersedes the current time and plans for tomorrow.

A friend told me – and I’ve mentioned this before – that “you can’t find happiness. It doesn’t exist as a place or object. You need to make it. Create Happiness.”

Like any creative work, it doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t easy. You don’t (or at least, I don’t) create a book by starting with a book.

I start with an idea. A story. The plan, the overview. A bit of research takes place, attempting to find places where I might encounter problems.

That’s the easy bit. There’s still no book.

Then the writing begins. At first it seems easy: x number of words? Simple. You just press 6x keys. At y keys an hour, that’ll only take 6x/y hours and then the book is done!

But no.

Because the words have to come from somewhere. They have to be carefully extracted from the contents of your thoughts, stripped of personal emotion and sewn into a volatile narrative.

And hell, that hurts. But finally, you’re done. There is a story, written down with your words. It’s wonderful. Masterful.

But just a draft.

Editing is worse. Editing is reading over your scars and deciding that they don’t add to the story, so they have to go. Editing is finding a scene that dripped down your face as you wrote and finding it lacking in emotion.

Editing is what finally makes a novel worth reading.

But you’re still not done.

There’s cover design, beta reading, publicising, re-editing, re-researching…it begins to feel like there is no such thing as an end. Bookshops, libraries and authors in Porsches prove otherwise.

But there is no ending to happiness. There is no point where you stop and say “Wow! I’m happy! I can’t stop now.”

You simply have to carry on.

The first step isn’t the easiest. The first step is looking at yourself and saying “Hey, I love you.With all your faults and idiosyncrasies. I think you’re awesome, just the way you are – and no one knows you better than me.”

And I can’t take that step with a $1000 ticket. I can’t take that step by running away. I take that step by stopping, turning, taking another blow on the cheek and knowing I’m going to be ok.

———

A post really worth reading: 30 things to  stop doing to yourself.

 

(Also: this has got to be the first post ever to mention bbws, cars, math and writing)

Fighting Minions

I had an argument with a cellphone today.

More accurately, I had an argument with a lady via my cellphone. I’ve tried shouting at my phone before. It doesn’t make much difference.

The lady in question worked for some organization to which I owe money . Having only recently found some semblance of the idea of financial security, I was finally repaying some debts. This was quite a nerve-wracking experience.

As I’ve explained before, money makes me twitchy. I decided to try a new tactic for dealing with it: Acting.

Scene one: The minion answers and takes my details, opening my account.

“Thank you sir, I see you owe -” Ha. Not so fast minion…the best line of defense is attack, so:

“$82 and 68 cents, which I have here in my account and I’d like to pay but first I’d like to talk to you about your actions over the last two weeks.” See, I’m taking control! I’m in charge! Silly minion.

“Sure Sir, but I’d like to say you owe $92.68 when you include the interest.” Excuse me? Liar. That’s not going to work.

“No, I owe $82.68 and you’re charging $10 for sending a letter.” $10. For a fucking letter. I’ll send you nine letters and include a free one if you’re not careful. My words are mightier than yours.

“Yes Gareth, that’s company policy.” What a hideous byword for “not my problem”, minion.

“I don’t care. I’m not paying it. I spoke to you last week and blah blah blah…”

At this point, the acting became pure anger (scene two) and my voice went all whiny and high. I figured this was good. I used a tactic I’m hopeless against and began talking in circles, repeating myself and adding in new and impressive points. It works wonderfully. She became quite flustered.

“Now look Gareth! Let me say this, please stop talking, You’re not listening.” Obviously, when do people in charge ever listen?

“Speak, I shall listen.” The fuck? I swear she snorted when I said that. Less acting, perhaps.

“Uh, you’re saying you can pay the $82 today and I thank you for that, but I’m telling you that your account will still be overdue by $10.” Ha. That’s where you’re wrong! Logic and derision ensue

“Is that all? You’ve said that three times and I definitely heard you the first time. To repeat myself: If that’s the case, then I won’t be paying you. I have saved up this money specifically to pay you rather than some of my other debts, and if you’re going to try take more money off me than I’d rather pay them. I’ve never missed a payment to you, I’ve had a bad few months and I’m sure you can waive the fee.” Hmm…is it too late to appeal to the minion’s nice side? A surprise attack?

“No Sir,  I can’t waive it and your account will still be -” What nice side? there’s no weakness here.

“Then put me on to someone higher.” Right. I can’t beat the minion, so let’s go for the boss: in real life, the bosses are easier to beat than the minions…right?

“Please hold.” Is that the sound of success?

I was very uptight by this point, but oddly excited. This was almost…fun…Scene 3:

“Hello Gareth, my name is [Anna]!” Well fuck. Aren’t you friendly. I guess that means….

“Hello [Anna] I’m Ga…ah, you already know that. Do you have my account details?” I have to be friendly too. It’s unsettling. I’m on the back-foot.

“Yes.” Ok. Uhm. Guess I have to talk now

“Cool, well, this is my situation blah blah blah bla-“ My summary is surprisingly succinct and polite – a careful attack.

“Gareth, I don’t want to waste your time or mine…” Oh fuck. That didn’t go so well. Putmebackontotheminionpleasepleasepleaseple…

“…so I’m going to waive the fee for the letter.” asepleaspleaseplea….what? She….what? Yay!

“Thank you Anna. That is wonderful of you.”

We talk – pleasantries and genuine conversation with someone super friendly. We complain about IT. I ask her to apologize to the minion because I felt bad. I hang up, $82.68 poorer and infinitely happier.

The first step really is the hardest.

Murdered Boobs

“You are legally allowed to commit murder once, but you must fill out the proper paperwork and your proposed victim will be notified of your intentions”.

That’s a writing prompt.

I’m a little distracted right now because the girl opposite me just leant forward. Low cut tops are lovely. She’s so engrossed in Law that she hasn’t even – whoops, back to my screen.

The writing prompt.

I saw it on Reddit yesterday and almost spat coffee over my screen. Swallowing helped. It sounded hilarious. There have been some really unusual writing prompts lately (“You live in a world where eating is taboo and sex isn’t”). I’ve considered having a go at some of them but other things always get in the way.

Not last night though.

After reading the prompt, I walked to the bathroom and tripped over the idea, fully forming it before I hit the floor.

God they’re distracting. Every time she moves they jiggle. Words, focus on the words.

I sat down at my laptop and began to type. It came quickly, making me smile.

So many people – on obtaining these writing prompts – immediately presume that because something is legal/not taboo, it means everyone will do it.  I respectfully disagree.  It is (apparently) legal to shoot a Welshman in Chester with a bow and arrow, but that doesn’t mean everybody is doing it.

She scrunched her shoulders. They’re all squished together now. Sometimes, I really love university.

My idea – for my story – was that it was an old and little known law. No one really used it because why would you? This is a government administered programme: it involves paperwork. Paperwork sucks. With the right amount of paperwork (excessive), very few sane people will attempt to commit a legal murder. And when you consider the effort required to perform a murder – in addition to the paperwork – it’s just easier to leave it be.

And then you get the “legal” side of things. If it’s “legal” for you to commit murder, does that mean you must deal with the consequences? Who gets rid of the body? Is there an investigation? Is the deceased covered by their life insurance? Is it legal for someone to stop you? If your victim defends themselves and kills you, are they liable?

She just yawned down her top.

The words kept on flowing. The story grew, detail expanding. What sort of questions will the form ask? Has the perpetrator performed any research? What sort of person is the perpetrator? Why does he want to kill the victim? What impact will it have on the perpetrator? On the victim’s family? On his emotions and mental state? On his finances?

The back story was complete in my head. I just needed to dramatise and expand.

Her head is resting on her left hand. The other hand is highlighting in waves. The effect is…mesmerising.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. I was amazed at how many words there were leaving my fingers. They weren’t tiring. I felt energised. Awake. Nowhere near my limit.

What liberation.

I’ve been struggling with my books. The editing process is doubt-inducing. I’ve been writing HTS for 8 weeks. In my head, the story is done, all the details completed, but the words are difficult to find. I struggle to describe the emotions – firstly, because of my chosen narration style, secondly because they’re  personal feelings. I just want it done…but it’s simply creeping along. 

So when, at 01:30 in the morning, I finished the final twist and immediately published that raw, unassuming, mistake-laden draft, I felt a huge sense of success, for I’d thrown out a mind-blowing 6800 words in under 7 hours – dinner and shower included. And my fingers didn’t hurt. I wasn’t tired. If I’d had more story, I’d have kept going.

She’s noticed the time. Her books have flown into her bag and she’s bounced up, casting about for something. With a frantic glance at her watch, she waltzes out.

A part of me didn’t care how many views the story got, how many people liked it. I was lucky: one of the stories written on that prompt is amazing, and has received a huge amount of attention. As a result, every other story on there is being…viewed. So some people have looked at my story (32, to be precise. 34 now), and some have even voted on it! Some people even commented!

And that makes it all the more worthwhile. It gives me reason to keep writing. It reminds me that practice isn’t perfect, and never will be.