Friday, 20 January 2012

Me vs. Story - A bit of silliness

Evening folks,

This is just something a little bit daft that was inspired by a sleep deprived conversation with Milli at the end of Wednesday's 10K Day. Milli did a similar piece a little while back called Inner Kid and Igor Converse About Writing.

I hope this little piece of rubbish makes you smile, it's made me feel better today :-)


Story: *tap tap tap*
Me: Hello?
Story: Hi, umm, I was just wondering, could I get written sometime soon?
Me: Certainly. Do you have all your material together for me?
Story: Not really, no.
Me: Oh, well then I can’t write you right now I’m afraid. I can make notes of what you’ve got if you like?
Story: Well, see the thing is, I really really want to get written.
Me: I understand that, but when you first arrived I did explain that you’d have to get your material together before I could write you. You’re welcome to stay up there as long as necessary to do that, but you’ve got to do the work, I’m just the typist.
Story: But surely it’s my turn by now, I’ve been up there a while!
Me: You’ve been up there a week…
Story: But it’s getting really crowded.
Me: I’m well aware of that fact, believe me.
Story: But but…but how long do I have to wait then?
Me: As I said, that’s up to you. Pirate’s Daughter has been up there since 2004, it’s only in the last two years that we’ve started making progress together, and we’ve made a lot of progress in that time, but we’re not quite ready for the 1st draft yet and she’s happy with that.
Story: I have to wait two years???
Me: Of course not, you’re a short story, if you get your material together you can be written in a few hours.
Story: But I want to be written now!
Another Story: Umm…excuse me?
Me: Yes?
Another Story: Sorry to interrupt but I think I’m ready to be written.
Story: What??? I was here first!
Me: Actually she’s been here for nearly 3 weeks now. Have you got all your material together?
Another Story: Most of it, there’s two small gaps though…
Me: I’m sure we can work with that. Please make yourself comfortable.
Story: Wait wait wait! What about me?
Me: What about you?
Story: I need to be written!
Me: Get your material together and I’ll sort you out, I’ve told you that.
Pirate’s Daughter: Everything all right in here hon?
Me: Hi mate, sorry, can it wait a while?
Pirate’s Daughter: Sure thing, just had an outline element arrive earlier. Ummm…want some help with her?
Me: Feel free to let a couple of your characters loose on her if you want but I think I can handle it.
Pirate’s Daughter: Ok, but just yell if you want a hand.
Me: All right that’s enough!
Story: I WAnt…
Me: Thank you. Now then, you’ve got two choices. Either you go back upstairs and wait until you’ve gathered all your material, or you get out and go find another writer. Either way, you’d better stop pounding on the back of my skull! So what are you going to do?
Story: Umm…

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Apple Diary - Part 2

Hey hey folks!

The little orchard has certainly seen some drama over the last month.

A couple of days after the last instalment my seven happy apple sproutlings were joined by 3 more. With the 28 cox seeds and 10 chilli seeds I'd just planted the top of my dresser was starting to get pretty crowded. Due to not having enough pots, I'd gone and and made my own seed trays out of cut down plastic milk bottles with scored bases to allow drainage.

I was pleasantly surprised two weeks later to find the first chilli sprout coming through. When the cardboard seed holders that they'd been planted with ( as per instructions on the packet) started growing furry I was worried that the soil was bad. This was the same pot and soil my aloe vera had been in when it failed, but within three days of the first sprout appearing, six happy little chilli plants were standing tall.  Their pot was the closest to the radiator so I'm guessing they had just enough warmth coming through to encourage them.

Impatiently I waited for the cox sprouts to make their appearance. A little over 3 weeks after planting the first one popped it's head through the soil, and the next day a seventh chilli sprout joined the pot.

And then nothing. As we saw with the batch 1, once one sproutling comes through the rest usually follow quite quickly. But not this time. I can only presume that the weather had gotten too cold. Goodness knows there were a few nights were I was shivering under my duvet, so it may have been too cold for the other seeds to germinate. So I wrapped the pots in clingfilm to give them a bit more insulation, and placed a blanket over them a short distance from the radiator.

On Sunday night I was delighted to see another sprout appear. Still no sign of life from the rest of them, so I'm not sure whether to just give up on them and go buy a real propagator for batch 3, or to just leave them and see if eventually something else comes through.

Random scientific observation for you here. When the royal gala sprouts emerged from their seeds, they all had two lovely big leaves. The coxs however sprout with one big leaf and two smaller ones.

About the time we started radiator therapy on batch 2 I began putting the gala and chilli sprouts by the window to get them a bit more sunlight. A strange little fellow had popped up in one of the gala pots.

I can only presume that little Stumpy here was planted too deep and that his nice big seed leaves are still under the soil. He's grown very little, and I was really hoping that the extra sunlight would encourage him to put out some nice big leaves, but so far nothing, and the ominous brown tinge he's taking on around soil level makes me think he's heading for the same fate as one of the other batch 1 sproutlings.

Yesterday I was very saddened to see one of the tallest sprouts had flopped over. At soil level the stalk had turned brown and soft although it was still nice and healthy below the surface level and above. The soil around the stalk had developed a yellow colour to it, possibly some sort of fungus which I immediately dug out to protect the other sprout in the pot. I cut the dying sprout off above the discolouration and after digging out the root, replaced the healthy part of the stalk in the soil. I know it's unlikely, but I'm hoping it might put out new roots.

Four of the sproutlings that were planted in a Philadelphia tub have also started developing brown spots on their leaves and generally looking a bit wilty. They've been moved back to the dresser rather than the window sill, in case it's the cold that's causing them to struggle.

So not quite where I was expecting to be with this little orchard at this point, but it's all a learning curve.
At present the total stands at 7 healthy looking sprouts across batch 1 and 2, and 7 very happy looking chilli sprouts.

We also had a nice fertile aloe vera join us over Christmas, along with a 6 year old oak sapling (it's been in a pot all its life, hence the size) courtesy of my aunt and uncle who wanted good homes for them when they moved house.

The oak sapling was originally part of a project started by my secondary school back in 1997. Every student was given an acorn and told to plant it and nurture it. The resulting trees would be planted on the grounds of the school as part of a millennium regeneration project. But the staff forgot all about it. My uncle had nurtured two acorns for me, which we donated to the school shortly before I left. This little one however was just to see if we could get another one to grow after the success of the other two.
It's now sat quite happily on a sheltered ledge in the garden where it has already weathered 3 days of gales.

The aloe vera on the other hand is trying to take over my dresser top. Since I've had it it's grown 3 new little sprouts on the stem which, once they're a bit bigger I will transfer to their own pots.

It's going to be interesting to see where we're at in a months time!

By the way, last week my latest article went up on Milliver's Travels, Sunrise at Rangitukia, New Zealand.

Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 - Bring It On!

London's New Year fireworks

HAPPY 2012!

Firstly, what do you think of my new banner? My mate Lee McGeorge made it for me, and though at first I couldn’t believe he’d used that terrible photo it’s really grown on me. Now I just need to persuade him that I need series banners as well. :-)

Secondly, a lot of people have stated that 2011 wasn’t exactly the best year. I have to agree. I’m going to refrain from whining but 2011 wasn’t the best year for me, it certainly had it’s ups and downs. So I’m going to do my best to make…sorry I WILL make the most of 2012!

I’m coming to realise more and more that my attitude needs to change. Actually I’ve been aware of this for some time and whether it was a case of being unwilling or unable to make that change I’m not entirely sure, but the change is going to happen, and it’s going to happen now!

I’ve spent the last few days thinking carefully about what I want and need to achieve this year, and here are the main ones.


Just some of the titles I plan to read this year!
Reading is so important for a writer-in-training, and though I love to read I know I can do more. I’ve noticed myself becoming more critical of my reading material. 
For example, the book I’m currently reading, and determined to finish reading today, really could have done with another proof-reading pass! Part of me is itching to take a red pen to all the mistakes that have jarred me out of the flow and send it back to the publishers.
In this category there are two very simple goals:

- Read at least 2 books per month. This shouldn’t be difficult at all. Since I’ve doing a lot of travelling for work I typically have one book going on the Kindle, and a paperback by my bed. I may also start doing some book reviews on here.
- Read more widely. Try new genres and read books that I wouldn’t normally even pick up.

I also need to limit my fanfiction intake! Once you stumble upon an archive of good stories it’s very hard to get out of it!


Signed posters from the best shows I've worked on.
Right now work is a major concern for me. I’ve been fortunate that since May I have had almost continuous theatre work, even though it’s been stage management rather than sound but still for the most part it’s been a lot of fun. However, because it’s been all fringe theatre since August, my finances have suffered greatly. 
At my stage on the theatre technicians ladder it’s not unusual to get stuck with the problem of either taking a decent job and as a result being unable to take theatre work, or take theatre work and really struggle for money, but at least you’re working in theatre.
So in this category there are four goals:

- Work on a show that lasts for more than 6 weeks. Until May, any theatre work I had typically only lasted a week and then it was back to hunting for another job. Working for Drama Studio London from May until the end of July was hard work but sheer bliss. I had assured and well paid work. Since then my shows have lasted 3-5 weeks which has been pleasant enough, but I would love nothing more than a longer gig to look forward to.
- Get onto a West End show. Even if it’s just for work experience at first, at least that’s a foot in the door. Better print off the CV’s and start doing the West End walk again.
- Become financially independent again. I’ve been guilty of using the Bank of Dad to stay afloat the last couple of months.
- Bunker down for the Olympics. Originally I’d intended to skip the country for the Olympics, go and find some work in New Zealand to escape the Hellhole that London will become in the coming months. I’ve heard some worrying talk that theatre is likely to decline during the Olympics so I will need to either be secure on a big show by the time it comes round or just skip town! 


My new writing journal. Great start eh?
This is the major one for this year. As much as anything I’ve got to get myself into better writing habits.
So here’s the plan:

- Minimum of 15 minutes writing, 5 days a week. This is one of those habits that can be a great starting point. I spend far too much time thinking “I really need to write this, but I don’t have enough time”, so I’ve got to force myself to start using shorter amounts of time constructively.
- Finish everything I start. There’s a stack of short stories that I’ve started writing this year but have not yet finished. This is not good enough and must be remedied!
- Write the 1st draft of The Pirate’s Daughter. This novel will get written! I know I’ve been threatening it for nearly two years now, but this is the year that it will happen!
- Blog more regularly. The first few months of this blog produced a lot of rubbish but I’m now working to change that. Rather than use this blog as a journal, I want to use it to blog about more specific things; reviews of shows and books, dedications to inspirational people, documenting the growth of my orchard, and my new series, Pirate Profiles.
- Migrate to WordPress. I’m not entirely sure why I want to do this, but I do, so will be working on that over the coming months.
- Get paid to write. Or at least look in to possible avenues of getting paid to write. A lot of the US bloggers I follow make it sound relatively easy to find work like copy-writing over there, but I have no idea how to go about finding such work over here.
- Sort out my desk! It’s become a dumping spot again, not ideal when it needs to be a spot of creativity and business!

So there you have it. I think that’s the worst of it.


    What do you want to do with this year?