Grasping at Straws (okay, leaflets)

Today I spent four hours in a virtual queue waiting for tickets for The Cursed Child, only to spend my allotted twenty minutes of browsing time searching fruitlessly for the right number of tickets on the right number of days in the correct type of seats.

So ‘miffed’ doesn’t really cover it.

Frank Iero gif
from Tumblr

Anyway, the good news: I made some things to help you survive – and, dare I say it, thrive – during the upcoming general election.

Here’s something to encourage the youth in your family to vote:

Students' Guide to Voting General Election 2017

Here’s something to help you all decide how to vote:

Ho Do I Hate Least Political Party Comparison

My constituency hasn’t announced its candidates yet (something tells me the Conservatives will win) but I’m considering the Women’s Independence Party. Or signing up for that Mars mission. You can buy and print those designs here if you want (actual prints are coming this week, hopefully) so you can spread the democracy and all that. I suppose if someone decides to vote after seeing them, or if the shop makes some money on them, the current state of British politics won’t be entirely a waste of human intelligence…

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Proof 2016 Wasn’t One Hundred Per Cent Shite.

Let’s not pretend that 2016 won’t go down in history as utterly awful. But amongst all the death and elections and heartbreak, there were a few shining – or at least weakly glowing – lights. Here’s a few I could remember… help me out and suggest some more to get me through the next few days?

  • Leonardo diCaprio won an Oscar.
  • I decided to go to Asia I am about to pack up my belongings in a rucksack, finish my final shift at my final job and spend three months on a continent I’ve never seen. LET’S DO IT.
  • Beyonce released this:
  • I met Maggie Stiefvater And embarrassed myself, obvs.
  • Gravitational waves got discovered (proven? I am not a science person but I think it means that Albert Einstein was definitely quite clever).
  • I passed my driving test! I started learning to drive in summer 2014, took a ten-ish month break, took it back up about 18 months ago and passed first time. None of that really conveys how terrified of driving I was when I started versus how not-terrified I am now. Maybe one day I will write about it in relation to facing fear or whatever but right now I CAN DRIVE MYSELF PLACES and deal with Southend’s ridiculous car park charges.
  • Science people (seriously, help me out) are making leaps and bounds in cancer treatment research, like this.
  • Prep is coming to the NHS
  • Despite everything, we do still have an NHS.
  • Choreography on Strictly like this and this and, most of all, this.
  • #Parade10 I love MCR, but sometimes I think I might love the MCRmy more.
  • Planet Earth II.

  • Rio 2016 Give the British some green sludge to fall into and they start acing contests what a metaphor. But seriously if there hadn’t been a break in actual news coverage this year I think the year might have lost the plot… also, can we please take a minute to hero worship the Refugee Team and the life guards at the aquatics centre? This year did not deserve you.

  • The Raven King came out Look it might be my favourite book I’ve ever read.
  • I wrote something that got attention in a good way My school is going to fuckin haunt me.
  • MCRX.
  • Joe Biden memes.

https://twitter.com/Thomas_A_Moore/status/797584838983303168

I have to go and look at pictures of Carrie Fisher flipping people off now, so I will leave this here. What have your not-completely-shite moments been? TELL ME. SPREAD THE DREGS OF LOVE.

In Which I’m Drowning in Striped Paper Bags

In the interests of coming home to an organised life Etsy stockpile, I emptied out one of my storage containers so I could refill the drawers more neatly… except I can’t decide how best to store everything, and I’m having a crisis over whether or not I need to buy more supplies before I leave. My mum’s offered to ship orders while I’m away so I don’t need to deactivate any listings, but I counted out my business cards and envelopes and there isn’t enough to cover every potential order there might be.

I know that realistically I don’t need to panic-buy supplies until a few weeks in December because by then hopefully a lot more orders will have sold and I’ll have a better idea of what’s going to be left in January…  but I don’t like waiting, and in the mean time I’m surrounded by approximately three reels of ribbon, thirty paper bags, a set of return address labels, old postcards I can’t shift, a gift box and some price tags to name but a few and I don’t know how to organise any of them.

And no I’m not going to take a photo because the level of untidiness has passed ‘interesting’ and landed on ‘chaotic’. Not Insta friendly.

Possibly I will go and browse Pinterest for Marie Kondo tips. Possibly I will fall asleep on my keyboard and wake up to find house elves have organised everything for me. Possibly it’s time for a YouTube playlist and some elbow grease.

While I’m off alphabetising labels, you can find my Etsy here (and if you’re in the UK, get free P&P on orders over £8 with SNOWFLAKE16). PLEASE ORDER SOON SO I CAN WORK OUT HOW MANY ENVELOPES TO PANIC-BUY THANK YOU. You’ll also get free worldwide postage from Friday through Monday on all individually-listed postcards, because I have lots of spare postcards of designs I don’t print any more and looking at them all lonely makes me anxious.

Seriously please take them.

Smug Bragging 2k16 (I published a short story!)

I’ve got to run to get some jabs pretty soon, but on the last round I came home and my arms got deader and deader (and I got sleepier and sleepier but I’m already running at about 70% average consciousness so  I could probably also blame everything else in my life) so I thought I’d blog now just in case. I’ve already added to the list – if you have any contributions send them over  – so woohoo it looks like I’m committing to something.

Not sure how I feel about that given that I have only fifty days until I leave the continent, but I guess we all need things to come home to. Speaking of making things, I wrote a short story! And it’s published in something I didn’t run! I’m not sure which I’m more surprised about, now I think about it… but I guess it’s something to add to my ridiculous CV.

I should probably go and meditate in preparation for my next bout of hepatitis, so I will leave this here. If you chance upon this newspaper in or around Southend:

Trawler magazine winter 2016 Southend on Sea Francesca Burke

Turn to page 30 straight away.

 

‘Fuck Australia’ and Other Things I Might Regret Putting on the Internet (ft. #Parade10)

If you’ve followed this blog more more than about six months, you’ll have noticed that I can’t commit. To anything. Blog wise, I mean (whether or not I can commit to anything else is going to take another post). And if you were here before about three hours ago, you’ll have noticed that I’ve changed the layout. Again. Sort of. It’s brighter than it was. I got fed up with the overbearing header so I changed it to… a stock photo of a city that came with the WordPress theme. I’m not sure which city it is. It might not even be a city. The marketing person in me wants to go and make a branded header right now, but I like that it’s kind of anonymous. I might replace it tomorrow… I might not. NOTHING IS FIXED IN THIS WORLD EXCEPT MY DESIRE TO LISTEN TO MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE.

Speaking of.

Sunday was #Parade10, aka Lots of People I’ve Known for Years on the Internet Hung Out and Nearly Cried Watching Old Footage of a Semi-Vintage Band. I met up with people I saw at #Revenge10 and have actually tried to stay in touch this time. I met entirely new people and will try to stay in touch this time. Coincidentally Sunday was also six years since this happened. Six entire years since MCR debuted Danger Days at the Hammersmith Apollo and I heard The Kids From Yesterday and thought  ‘I think that makes me a kid of today’. Since I’m not quite at the age MCR were when they wrote Kids, I refuse to acknowledge that I’m not still, like, the youth, even though I feel fucking old when I look at the top 40 (is it still actually called that). But I guess the youth don’t partake in videos saying ‘fuck Australia’, so.

I Got Mail and It Wasn’t Something I Ordered for My Shop

I submitted a piece of writing to a publication today and holy shit I had forgotten how stressful it is. Not the writing (okay maybe a little bit the writing) but the titling and proofing and second guessing whether you can even speak English.

I’m going to de-stress by looking at my recently-filled bank account and browsing Etsy for cute things. Speaking of cute, this arrived in my postbox the other day:

I love fan art zines and anthologies (this is going alongside Ladies of Literature Volumes I and II, and a Heroes of Olympus one). Reading them is the only time I ever wish I could draw as well as I write, because no one ever does writing zines… I guess they would be called books. Anyway thank you to Caroline who very nicely sent me this even though the project’s closed (can  I just say that the level of sleuthing required to find zines that aren’t taking orders any more but you want one anyway and were just broke and abroad when orders were open is insane).

I’m going to peruse it and play a game where I choose which artists I would want to illustrate my work… spoiler alert ALL OF THEM. Also if you have no idea which book series this zine is from you need to read The Raven Cycle immediately. I’ve even reviewed it for you, kind of.

Urgh, now I want to organise a zine where writers and artists collaborate on work. Or just organise a zine. Or just buy more zines.

I’m going to Etsy.

Happy Friday!

Crowdfunding Market Research (aka please have a read and answer)

I’ve been doing up my Patreon lately (still no video because every time I’ve got a minute to make one, I realise I don’t have a minute to make one) but I’ve tidied up my goals and rewards, and I was wondering if you guys could be a lil focus group?

Rewards

Let’s start with the fun bit. I’m offering things that you won’t just get from following me on Twitter – though you can hey hey – like actual handwritten letters and postcards and General Free Shit. You can see your name on the sidebar of this very website and in the thank you notes of every book I write (which will happen, I’m just too superstitious to say any more) too. But I’ve had my Patreon open with various rewards for over a year and have thus far attracted zero beans of investment. That could be because I don’t have a lot of work to show apart from here and a handful of publications – I told you, I’m working on it – or it could be because no one cares about receiving cute mail. So, were you to pledge me a dollar or five or ten a month, what would you want in return?

Goals

#1: Blog Upkeep

Francesca's Patreon Goal 1 THE BLOGS

Aside from domain expenses, I would love dearly to have the money to rid my sites of AdWords completely – but at the moment there’s a chance they could earn me $100 so I’m leaving them up and will use the earnings to pay to get rid of all ads for as long as I can afford. I’ve had AdWords on Indifferent Ignorance since 2012, mind you, and have so far clocked up the grand sum of $15. WordPress won’t pay out until it reaches $100, so unless people get clicking with enthusiasm, having a goal on Patreon is the smarter option. Or is it a bit of a naff goal?

#2 & #3: Health Upkeep 

My other two goals are set predominantly for my mental health. My biggest expenses over the year are train tickets, research costs like entrance fees into places I can’t talk about because I don’t want to give my projects away (patience darlings), accountancy fees and software updates. I also work from home and although it’s fun – dogs are on hand, coffee is there, I can blast CDs – it’s causing massive problems with my family. The way things stand, I have to either quit freelancing and get a ‘real’ job (not my word but don’t get me started) or ask you guys for help to research my work properly, rent office space and take some courses to ultimately progress onto what is deemed a real job.

Francesca's Patreon Goal 2

I have my eye on a really nice shared space in Southend, but the cheapest rent is £100 pre-VAT at three months’ minimum use. I could manage it by myself if I replaced all my business cards with handwritten slips, traded my computer for a typewriter and took a pay cut… Well I could manage it if I took a pay cut, but I’m so far under any type of average earnings threshold that I’m surprised inland revenue haven’t come knocking to check I don’t have a spare bank account in Panama.

Francesca's Patreon Goal 3 THE MOON

I don’t think the goals I’ve set are unreasonable – there are creators on the site looking for a thousand dollars plus towards recording equipment or studios – but they might not be all that interesting?

I’m not expecting to earn a grand a month from the general public, and every dollar I received would go toward work. You guys would be contributing to everything I make even more than you already do, with the added bonus that I could focus my actual wages toward moving out of my mum’s before our relationship deteriorates completely.

So what do you think? Do you see Patreon as an interactive tip jar, or would you consider pledging double figures to my work? Do you have an ideas for rewards? What would you like to see me make? Do you think I should just pack in everything for a real job?

Tell me all.

I Summon Thee, Bullshitticus

I’ve been feeling a little bit short on inspiration lately, but I’m trying not to just shut off the page when I can’t think of the next sentence, so this is version three of today’s blog and I will fucking make a statement: I am considering rescinding my atheism. Don’t worry, I haven’t found God. I was approached by a couple of very polite Mormon recruiters in Southend the other day and equally-ish politely rebuffed their advances; I’m not fussed about my soul’s final resting place. In fact, I’m considering offering that up to the fates as well. It’s not capital-G God I’m looking, it’s the gods. Well, the nine Muses. Well, any of the Muses. Maybe not Euterpe, who was apparently muse of flutes and lyric poetry, but I’ll take the rest. Thalia, muse of comedy, will do. Or Melpomene, muse of tragedy. I’ll work with what I can get at this point. I will even pray to this guy:

Bullshiticus God of term papers by the sous chef on Tumblr
from thesouschef.tumblr.com

The artist accompanied their illustration with extra theology:

In this time of term papers I wanted to draw my patron deity, Bullshitticus, god of students and general last minute fudgery, sitting upon his Golden Futon, attended by the muses Caffeina and Thesaurae, whose powers of artificial energy and pretentious vocabulary can be invoked in case of the all-nighter.

I like to think he’s Dionysus’s second cousin or something.

I do not have a term paper due, but I do have two articles to finish, three or four postcards to design, some stories to complete and a week of social media posts to compose. I have lost my information book on the original Nine Muses and sources about Bullshitticus are scarce (I feel he is a last resort anyway, although I could do with a blessing from Thesaurae) but I will consult my mythology books for worship tips. Should I make a burnt offering? Construct a shrine? Do I need to find honeyed wine and sprinkle it on a brazier alongside words of thanks?

Muses, I am considering going back to fan fiction. I have wondered about trying poetry. I’m willing to forgo my daily surf of the popular page on Instagram. I will make you a shrine in my bedroom next to my MCR posters. I will buy scented candles and burn them while I read from classical texts. Please send help.

On the off chance the muses aren’t listening, do you guys have any ideas for rekindling inspiration?