Days Like These

You know those mornings when your dogs bark every time you start to concentrate on something, and you have to go out mid-afternoon so you’re reluctant to really get stuck into anything, but you can’t ignore the fact you really ought to get stuck into something, so you decide to pass the time writing a blog instead of pretending Tumblr browsing is market research?

Me too!

I try to be all behind-the-scenes-y on social media, especially Instagram, but if I showed you what my office space looks like right now, you’d all stop taking me seriously. (I’m aware that implies you already take me seriously, which is unlikely. My point is, the room looks like Royal Mail exploded.) There are two baking trays on my printer, tissue paper and open boxes sitting in places where other things should go, receipts stacked underneath the printer and a Pilates ball in the middle of the room to really set the ambience. I’m not moving any of it until tomorrow, when my mum is away and I can haul things up and down stairs without causing havoc… I’m thinking of changing my room around so I stop keeping shop supplies on the floor, but if past experience is an indication of ‘a quick tidy up’, I won’t just move some things around. I will deep clean, throw out shit I’d forgotten I owned, redecorate my desk and probably take several hours doing it.

But on Monday I will breeze downstairs and all will be right with the world… I’ll probably write four pages, finish a blog draft, do Pilates, enjoy a constant stream of Etsy orders and have a backer on Patreon. All because I spent the time re-organising, of course.

I wish I believed that.

I mean, everything is in place for all of those things to happen. I have pages of notes to turn into prose, a couple of blogs to craft into viral-article material, a free sticker scheme on Etsy until next Sunday and a Patreon full of excellent perks and reasons to support my work. But the biggest thing to happen on Monday will probably be my driving lesson. Maybe that is a bad example because driving is a huge thing for me and I often have to practice breathing before a lesson, but you know what I mean? Sometimes you can plan and organise and de-clutter and be as zen as you like and things still don’t fall into place. Is there a word for that? I feel like the Japanese or the French or the Greeks would have a word for that, while the English just vocalise it by making vowel sounds and flapping their hands. Like ‘mojo’ or ‘kefi’. What the hell did the English say before we learnt ‘mojo’?

I’m digressing. Perhaps I will decorate Indifferent Ignorance until it’s time to leave. If you have any ideas about how to describe ‘with the best will in the word, you’re running up a down escalator’ in less than 13 words, let me know.

Oh and if you follow me on the social media, I apologise for any spammy photos this evening of the O2. We’re seeing Top Gear Live That Isn’t Called Top Gear Live Since Clarkson Got Sacked. I am hoping for muscle cars and lots of this:

Top Gear complaints form dontkillthevibe.t
from dontkillthevibes.tumblr.com

I Wish I’d Thought of That: Vinaya Altrius Jewellery

You guys know how I’m always moaning that I’m a slave to my phone, right? And how I can’t see that changing without growing self-will and/or becoming very relaxed about the state of my internet-based job? Well, there may be a solution.

Full disclosure: I have not researched Vinaya’s competitors and I have an incredibly limited understanding of wearable tech in general, other than the knowledge I should probably avoid it (I mean, seriously, Apple Watch? You are an ugly piece of overpriced wiring that will make me more anxious. Piss off). But I love the aesthetics of Vinaya’s jewellery – it looks like actual jewellery, not like someone’s stuck a computer on a wrist strap.

from Vinaya.com
from Vinaya.com

Look at that person. They are someone I strive to be.

They’re also rich; prices start from £220 and the products are so new that some are only available to pre-order, which makes me think, were I inclined to spend £2.50+ on something pretty, I would wait until I had more info about how well the pieces actually work. But I like the philosophy behind the company – it’s founder, Kate Unsworth, did a tech detox and realised it was something that should be permanent. And pretty. You can read more Unsworth and the tech in this article if you fancy, you know, buying me one for Christmas…

In the mean time I will try to employ my phone’s silent mode more, and stick to putting it in a different room when I want to concentrate. What do you guys do to avoid overdoing phone time? Ever resorted to desperate measures? (I have considered locked safes and employing a PA, but for the cost I might be better buying a pretty necklace.)

Questionable Late Night Ideas/Blog Challenge??

Do you know what I feel like I’m lacking? Apart from a crowded bank account and my Christmas shopping?

Reading blogs. I was thinking about the blogs I follow and although they’re quite varied and interesting, I don’t feel like I’m immersed in a community I’ve been a part of for six years.

And I know there are a million blogs out there, because every time I look at a piece of Internet-based journalism, I read that there are a million blogs. Or a billion. Or one hundred thousand. Can’t remember, I hate those articles (they always continue with success stories about people who recommend eyeliner to teenage girls). So they’re out there. Maybe a blogger is reading this right now. Maybe you’re hilarious and intelligent and insightful and maybe in five years’ time you’ll be in an article alongside the eyeliner hustlers. But I don’t fuckin’ know it because I spend my free time eating peanut butter and wondering what it would be like to go on The Graham Norton Show.

So, at 11pm on a Friday when I’ve nothing better to do, I’m setting myself a challenge. A game. I’m going to find 50 blogs, and I’m going to actually read them. More than two posts per site, more than the about page. I’ll actually comment on them, I’ll follow them if I’m in the mood to commit and I’ll share them here if I reckon they might be up other people’s streets. The 50 blog challenge. It might already exist but I wouldn’t know, because I’m oblivious to my blogger neighbours.

I might even make a spreadsheet to organise myself. Really fill the hole in my life that’s usually stemmed by peanut butter.

I guess it goes without saying that if you know any bloggers, let me know? I don’t feel comfortable talking to strangers, so introductions would be useful…

Review: ‘The Raven Boys’, Maggie Stiefvater

Ye olde disclaimer: this review has no spoilers. Tumblr does though.

To be honest, if I’d come across this novel in the library or a shop, I probably would have ignored it because I judge books by their covers and this one screamed ‘boring YA romance between “quirky” teenage girl and dashing, brooding, teenage male’.

Good thing I found it on Tumblr, then, innit. I was intrigued by edits and posts reblogged by Feistiest, whose account I can’t remember deciding to follow. But I’m glad I did because she’s hilarious and The Raven Boys is absolutely brilliant. I was unsure what to expect just from Tumblr; I assumed it was hella queer and full of socially subversive characters or themes because Tumblr is a good testing ground for whether a novel is full of boring (read: straight, white, brooding) photocopy characters. So when I saw the tagline – ‘if you kiss your true love, he will die’ – I thought ‘Christ, this true love is of course a guy and probably a photocopy of all white straight young adult dude characters’. On the back, I saw that the novel has won a Glamour award for ‘Best Book to Curl Up With’. Had Tumblr been hoodwinked by a toilet paper YA masquerading as a hella queer/socially subversive character-rich YA? Or, holy shit, could the novel be both high  in quality and content and incredibly easy to read?

Yes, yes it could. I don’t read enough YA to know if it’s blowing the doors off the genre (thanks for that, Twilight) but it’s the sort of book I wish I’d known when I was 15 or 16. If I had, I might’ve been a bit more interested in boys and/or world history and/or brilliant storytelling. The plot centres around Blue, a girl whose family is psychic, and a group of guys broadly known as raven boys. They have nothing in common until it turns out that psychics, dead(ish) people, Welsh kings and Blue’s guarantee to kill her true love do in fact have things in common.

TRB

I’m only on the first novel of three at time of writing, and it’s too early to tell if the characters grow or if it gradually increases in queerness. At the moment my money’s on massive character development at the very least, and I hope I’m right… Tumblr edits aren’t always that accurate, you know? Maybe I misread the pretty pictures, and I can’t check until I’ve read the rest of the series. Which, by the time you read this, I may well have done.

Update, at time of publishing: I have finished the series with a fervour normally reserved for MCR. Tumblr was right and I am in love. Please do not look up the book online – there are spoilers everywhere – just reserve it from your library ASAP. Please. Oh and follow Maggie Stiefvater online because she is hilarious and eloquent with that really-good-author style that makes me want to take creative writing classes. She also took the piss out of me so in my head we are friends for life.

Oh, you can support my mission to become a writer of decent YA and various other genres on Patreon here.

In Which I’ve Run Out of Things to Say

Events like Paris always remind me why I started Indifferent Ignorance, but the older I get the less equipped I feel to discuss them. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to read a news article and analyse it further than thinking ‘what a lot of shit we are living in’; every terrorist attack feels more like a black hole and no sooner have we recovered from one attack than another one reminds us that we’re only ever about a week from world war three.

Maybe that’s what happens when you reach adulthood, maybe the downside of becoming more emotionally stable and less self-centred is that the shit hits home a bit more. Remember when six year-old me took 9/11 in her stride and went back to eating birthday cake? I miss those days. 20 year-old me wants to move everyone I love to Mars. If I ever have children I’ll raise them in a basement so they don’t have to risk getting killed by deluded radicals or join wars intended to kill the deluded radicals. Course, in doing so I’d let the deluded radicals win, so I should bravely raise my offspring to be sensible, empathic liberals and regularly take them to public places.

I am really glad that’s not an actual decision I’ll have to make in the near future. In the mean time, I think the best thing we can do is get on with our lives and try to spread love and empathy wherever we go? Unless you know a safe multi-party mission to Mars, in which case I will see you in space.

It Never Rains But It – Oh Wait, It’s Stopped.

When we walked the dogs this morning the sky was that white-blue hue unique to autumn and winter months; the air was crisp and verging on cold; the sun was low and almost too bright.

What the hell happened, Essex? Within half an hour you deleted the autumn setting in favour of the English downpour setting. I can no longer take a leisurely walk into town. I might not even take a hurried walk into town. Today has become the perfect time to curl up with a marketing plan and hot drink, plotting my rise to fame/fortune/financial independence, instead of a day stamping around Southend doing the marketing plan. Pfft.

Tell you what though, I know something you guys can curl up with if strategic Excel documents aren’t your thing.

Ghost Stories III

I have even made merchandise. I just checked the calendar and there’s a Friday 13th in May next year, but I’m not in the habit of planning that far in advance even with the old marketing ploys, so I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’ll do a fourth volume. I planned all three this year back in January and did most of the heavy lifting then too; today I am less inclined to reopen a set of Photoshop files that I spent 11 months tweaking. Still, never say never – I always forget how much I love working with the macabre and/or black humour until I’m doing it, and then I always wish I do it more.

Speaking of the macabre, my freelance work calls. Well, emails. Well, there’s a post-it on my desk reminding me I’m going out tomorrow so really ought to take advantage of the rain and get shit done today.

Hang on, it’s stopped raining.

A Reflection on Productivity feat. My Voice

I didn’t get another jumper, but I did eat a lot of lunch.

Creative Constipation Relief Post #1

Evening.

This evening I saw that WordPress had introduced an incredibly cute new theme, Button. It was potentially perfect for Indifferent Ignorance so I decided to dive into it, technically speaking. Once I’d changed it over I remembered why it was only potentially perfect, and I remembered why I usually use the ‘preview’ mode before altering themes. Additionally, this week I have been trying and failing to design stickers worthy of human consumption at the same time as planning a marketing strategy around said stickers, which at this rate are good for nothing except reminding my why I never studied graphics. So I’m feeling slightly creatively constipated blocked frustrated.

It has also been more than three days since I last washed my hair and I’m very aware that I’m working with members of the public tomorrow, which calls into question why I’m writing this instead of eking hot water from a 10-year-old shower head. I think it’s because stringy showers are a lot less likely to bestow the creative equivalent of laxatives than blog posts in which I’m consciously considering alteration. Although let’s face it, I’m 180 words in and so far I’m not sure I’ve done much unblocking… might have irritated the shit out of you by overdoing descriptions. (If I have, I’ll count the evening a success.)

And now I am really going to wash my hair.

Probably.