What i would like to say to the internet

Of late I have felt like I have been wading through the bog of eternal stench. Or maybe its the swamp of sadness. Some just call it the internet.

bog

I get it. I do.

You are A. GOOD. PERSON. You’ve memorised that quote that someone sent you once in a cat meme (you know the one with the rotten Jerry torturing poor Tom) ‘all that evil needs to flourish is that good men do nothing..’ well,  first you fixed that..good men people.. then you took up your flaming Sword of Truth and now make no mistake biatch, you are prepared to yield it..

You know, from here..

hiding

Your indignance is righteous..

You’re practically a super hero, though you’d never say it yourself

joey

You’re a defender of the weak, upholder of the grammar, (it’s about standards..), slayer of trolls, you’re a signed up 100% prepared to tweet, member of the FUCK YOU I’M A LIBERAL society.

You’ve seen the dark underbelly, the sweaty crotch of humanity and are prepared to expose it to the light..

power

Far be it for me to intrude on your delusions – um.. d..d….mission, but is it possible in your delusion – um…d..d..enthusiasm that you..

pulp-fiction-classic-ft1

Have you considered that maybe they know the difference between ‘then’ and ‘than’, that no they don’t have a strange addiction to the letter ‘u’ (unless not being American is now a recognised mental disorder), that ‘how sweet’ is actually not the first thing an author thinks when you kindly return their work with all mistakes underlined in red.

funny-movie-disclaimer-examples-i4

DISCLAIMER: this banana may not taste exactly the same as the last banana you ate..

DISCLAIMER: writing disclaimers for everything is not reducing the unemployment statistics

DISCLAIMER: writing this sent me fucking crazy you pedantic, semantic, mamma loving, basement dwelling, train spotting C***! I’m sorry for not using your full name, but don’t worry, I will find it…

spike

I get it. I do.

You care, you link, you think.. and what you think is all that needs to be considered right?

You have a social conscience, you have a right to be heard. You stand for free speech. Someone has to.

spartacus

Maybe seven billion can’t all be Spartacus. Maybe the dickhead who is quite funny was trying to be quite funny and thinks that you’re a dickhead and maybe we already knew bananas come in different sizes..

Maybe life will always be lived with prejudice because we aren’t

spock

Maybe if you are honest you might be picking the wrong fight for the wrong reasons..

lionking

Maybe we’re all doing the best we can with what we have.

Its not easy figuring out where harm is intended and ire appropriate, choosing between walking on eggshells or sitting with a fence pole up your bum. That’s still not an excuse

shrek_faces_fire

So before you accidentally stick the big green hero, try walking in their shoes. You never know where they might take you..

slippers

The internet can be an amazing place but you have to seek out the light just as you seek out the dark. And you can still be

shera

There will always be a need for  those willing to shine a light.

Yours in eternal hope,

Just another Human Being

Brave Old World

hopeRisks are a measure of people. People who won’t take them are trying to preserve what they have. People who do take them often end up having more

Mr Paul Arden. He once gave a speech to an auditorium of publishers accompanied by a naked man.

Once gave a speech without a word.

Always struck me as one of those wonderful creatures of hideous ego that you would duck and cower from if ever you chanced to be in his path, but he leaves gold in his wake, true gold for the curious, breadcrumbs of genius, endless stories and scenarios, I could sit and picture in my head and never lose the wonder of them.

But I’m not just enjoying him, I’m referencing those breadcrumbs.

There is a storm brewing. A wee storm, but it blows the edges of my wee world, that of indies and wannabes, might bes and just hobby be’s.
An idea has been pinched, perhaps more, the details are uncertain but a man’s narrative territory has been infringed upon. And trust in the big bad internet and the big bad publishing world alike, has been severely worn down.

Should we put our stuff out there? Can our bloodsweat be replaced for a few hundred quid and a writer for hire? Are we not so much a slush pile but a cauldron of ideas? And if we happen to get boiled up in the process…eh…

Can someone steal your story? Yip. They can steal your car and your shoes, your favourite joke at a party and they might get more laughs. It happens every day and rarely ends in court.

As a kid I surrendered nights and sleep to thoughts. Words I thought I had to capture, like a rare nocturnal species, I was sure if I didn’t pin them down, then and there, they would be gone. And I was right, but my fear, really, was that there would be no more. Every thought I had might be the one, the only one that was worth giving out and if I didn’t catch them all I might miss it.

It’s the writers misconception – a common affliction that doesn’t necessarily pass. Maybe it’s built into the profession. We are all knobbling for room on narrow ground. We share a common language, sup from a common culture, parcelling out the meagre seven stories that have had to do us since the very beginning and we’re all afraid we might miss our chance to stake our corner. Maybe it’s built into being human.

There is a greater truth as we huddle hoarding those thoughts with aching fingers, fearing that they might dry up, wondering which one – is it this one? – might be our golden ticket, they were never ours to begin with. We’re all thieves. Be honest ask yourself, who has inspired you? In voice whose tone have you sought to emulate, did that alpha male construct himself (does he really resemble your snoring other half?) Can you say you took nothing of what they gave so willingly? As long as there is discourse there is theft and great art. As soon as we shut it down we shut down ourselves.

Give away everything you know and more will come back to you

The only way to extend that narrow ground is to lay more ideas down. And no matter how terrifying it seems, the truth is until you stick your foot out into the abyss you run far more risk of having your toes tread on.

It was my fondness for sleep that taught me. So now, unless its the solution to a particularly thorny problem, I let the nocturnal thoughts fly free. I still have more thoughts, ideas and stories than I can wade through, the incoming flow a tidal wave I’m quite happy to watch from the observation platform, spraying all and sundry. Now my fear is that I will miss my chance, too busy holding back afraid I am not good enough.. I wonder what Paul had to say about that?

“Being right may be like walking backwards proving where you’ve been.
Being wrong isn’t in the future, or in the past.
Being wrong isn’t anywhere but being here
.”

Not immediately obvious as the answer I am looking for, nor the answer to should we just throw our ideas out there, but it all returns to risk. Taking the chance, throwing caution and experience and wiser words to the wind. You can never really know you’re doing the right thing, living the right moment, writing the right story, until you do it.

So do it..

And if someone steals it, well they don’t steal lada’s do they?

choking back the words..

I belong to one of those online writing communities.. ah the things I could say.. I would consider membership to be a pass to a better education than the school of life could ever offer.. but despite my best lab coat disguise as I shuffle round the margins, sometimes when I peer in for a closer look the inspirational lunacy gets a little too real. Sometimes I find myself yelling in those stark white rooms ..

I was indulging in some banter when some random, lets call him Dick.. no reason.. decides to pull apart my grammar.. on a forum post.. then rounds up with a snide little put down and a wink.. though I’m not sure how they differ..

it was the snideness that bothered me, but as it happens Dick was wrong..

So how would you have responded?

In my head:

Here’s a handy guide for the next time you are confused over when to use which and when to use that..

It is Dick’s inability to let the smallest of inaccuracies pass without correcting them that resulted in him being nominated Pedantic Jackass of the Year

‘That’ is restrictive- clause one inevitably leads to clause two.. without it the meaning of the sentence is irrevocably altered.

Or we could say

It was certain that Dick’s attention to detail, by which I mean he was a pedantic jackass, was responsible for his reputation on the forums, by which I mean everyone knew he was a pedantic jackass..

‘Which’ is non-restrictive – I don’t have to point out that he is a pedantic jackass for us to know that he is one..

Hope that helped 😉

In reality..

I pointed out that he was wrong and didn’t leave a smiley face.

I feel like such a bitch..

How do you ever know when it is right to snap back? Is it ever? I should have left the smiley face.

Comments full, article….. missing?

Buried, lost, drowned under the expected deluge of IMO’s, SMH’s and, of course, the inevitable anger. Anger on its behalf by righteous defenders; anger at its stance, its omissions, its tone and very often, but most bewilderingly, anger at its very existence, indignant that it is taking up valuable space in the infinite recesses of cyber-space. It all too often ends in the chat room brawl- not an intellectual debate, an exchange of thoughts or a chance, in the cool white rooms of the internet, to hear the other side without the blood stirring spit and smug face of your opponent to rouse you. Instead it’s usually around 200 posts of ‘suck this fanboiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee!’ Often I wonder whether anyone would even notice if the article made it to print at all.

I’ll put in right here before anyone starts readying their responsorial fingers, that I believe, and beyond my humble belief there is plenty of evidence, that critical thought is crucial to our advancement as individuals and as a society. I’m just wondering how critical thought descended into suck this fanboiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee. Here’s a question (or ten): how many of you have already started to formulate your response to my ramblings in your heads, not yet two paragraphs in? How many of you started by the time you had read the title? Have you spell checked me? Rearranged my syntax? Ground your teeth at my use of ….. don’t you just hate that? It literally drives me insane. And don’t you hate how literally anything that anyone does these days is done so fucking literally? Does my tone grate, have I missed the most important point- most likely something to do with apostrophes- is your temperature rising, your fingers itching, your mind racing through your ever ready selection of eight-letter put-downs, are you already gone?

I loved the idea of a comments section when they first started popping up. Finally I could voice my opinion and without fear of growing hoarse, as usually occurred when shouting at Jeremy Kyle. Normally no one listens to me – this might not have changed, but I write in eternal hope. My mother gave it a valiant effort before finally conceding, ‘but you have an opinion on everything.’ She’s never visited a comments section. I haven’t bothered reading Twilight because I dislike sappy romances, I didn’t realise the author suffered from adverb disease. Nor did it ever occur to me that it was singlehandedly sending the feminist movement back to the dark ages. I didn’t know that articles about celebrity cellulite were responsible for the collapse of the moral integrity of the human race, though I am curious about the metaphysical ramifications of how something that no one knew about and no one cared about, could generate 300 odd comments.

I’m not trying to be snide; I’m trying to be genuine, while simultaneously feeling faintly nauseous and deeply apprehensive about how this will be received. As a writer I am often paralysed by those thoughts, constantly asking myself, ‘what do they want?’ The bigger question is now becoming, why bother at all? My contribution or lack thereof may not trouble you, but I may not be the only person asking this. When Stephen Fry considered (for the first time) leaving twitter, citing ‘too much aggression and unkindness around’, his followers showed support by viciously attacking the man who had dared to spit out the vitriolic sentiment that Stephen’s tweets were ‘ a bit boring’. Fry ended up apologising on their behalf to the naysayer, but his relationship with the interpretations of his output remains rocky. I would say understandably IMHO, but opinions can be dangerous.

Deadly as expressing an opinion might be, the greater peril seems to lie in putting out actual work. You know something you crafted, nurtured, laboured on for months, if not years. Imagine what James Joyce after seven years dedicated graft might have thought if he’d read the comments about Ulysees on Amazon (overrated, long winded bore, 83 people were kind enough to tell me). Every artist, good and 83 comments worth of dreadful, has to relinquish control over their work when they publish, yet the degree to which the public latch a hold of everything as though they have the right not only to possess but to destroy, is disturbing. There is no respect or acknowledgment of the effort, the hope, the time invested, merely a sneering note on the misuse of the pluperfect. There is also the sense that with every purchase, some fraction of your soul has been bought. No one warns you beforehand that you are floating yourself on the internet exchange- not unless you read the comments section.

I used to think if my work made one person happy then it was worth putting out there, until I realised that it was equally likely to make ten people very angry. Not neglecting the death threats or worse- bickering with users named PUDSYTAKESITUPTHEARSE in a public domain. I’m sure most of you have been moved by the desire to put something out there, not to feed the wolves, born only to die a brutal death but to simply be: A tiny, shining fragment of what you are. I acknowledge that I’m writing from a deeply personal place, and whatever I say it certainly won’t be perfect. I’m interested in anyone who actually wants to add to a curious thought, but if you aren’t, I would prefer you move on quietly without wiping your feet on my whimsy.