It’s back! It’s time to continue musing. What have I been up to over the past two weeks?
Where do I begin with this one?! There was the raunchy BDSM dream, involving swings and cuffs… but enough of that. I had an odd, and somewhat distressing dream about being back at an old workplace, trying and struggling to get sales. It was distinctly unsettling and brought back memories of stressful days. The comfort factor is that it was a dream and not my reality. Our dreams are fleeting, and they can sources of fear and melancholy, pain and dread, but they are still fleeting. Dreams can be windows into happy, joyous memories (and occasionally erotic memories!), but they are still fleeting. Whatever they are, they are fleeting.
For that reason one cannot get too hung up on them. Yes, sometimes they can linger, but they cannot touch you, they cannot hurt you. Dreams can do nothing except, from time to time, entertain.
August was a disruptive month for me, with quite a bit of time off to use up holiday. My hope had been that we might have had some nice hot weather, but the British summer has ended as it began, with grey murky clouds and rain. I’m seriously pissed with the summer weather, it’s been a joke, and the worst part is, I’m raging against an implacable force of nature. It’s stupid and I know it’s stupid, but it’s been incredibly frustrating to be denied a decent hot summer. After the stress of the last year and a half, was it too much to hope for sunshine to take the edge off?
Anyway, now I’m back into the swing of things, trying to focus and concentrate and push on from where I was. My regular gig is the key source of income and so it’s vital for me and my family. It is not however, the only gig in town…
I think we all have milestone moments in our lives. Some are good, some are bad, but they’re occasions that stand out and ping in our memories as something major and key to us. The birth of my daughter will always be such an occasion, perhaps the key moment in my life, that I will always reflect on as the happiest moment. When she was born it felt as though I’d been waiting a lifetime to meet her, and it was worth the wait.
There’s the day I met my wife, one hot and sunny July day in 2004. It sometimes feels like a verrrrrrrrry long time ago, but it was another huge moment, one that set my life onto the path it is on now. If we’d never met, or never hit it off, I have absolutely no idea what my life would be.
Then there’s the unexpected and long-desired milestones. For some it’s becoming a famous singer or sports star. For others it’ll be about cracking a career in a high-paying industry. We all dream and fantasize about doing and achieving things that matter, even if they only matter in a jovial or light-hearted sense. For me, I hit a personal milestone last year, when I self-published The Awakening. For the first time I could claim to be a published author, having developed and written a piece of original science fiction and then setting it loose. It was a proud moment, though I had ambitions to go further.
To that end I reached out to a few publishers. The hope was to pique some interest and see my book on the shelves of bookstores. I didn’t hear back from a few but one did come back to me, not with a no but with a ‘this is what we think, and this is how you could improve things’. It would tempting to dig one’s heels in and not heed the advice offered, but the advice was given because someone out there believed enough in what I’d done to encourage me and push me. I have spent much of the past year re-writing and re-working my book, with the intention of re-submitting it. At the beginning of August they came back to me, following my fresh submission.
Somehow, I’ve impressed a publisher enough to earn myself a contract! Jumpmaster Press have seen something, be it the story, the characters, the style, or maybe my willingness to go away and work on re-developing the book, and they’ve decided to take a chance on me.
The best ways to describe this is as vindication, validation and victory. There’s a lot of hard work ahead – The Awakening is going to be revised and edited further – but at the end of that work I will be a published author in the traditional sense, and who knows what doors that will open? I’ve battled doubts, doubters, time, stress and writer’s block, and if at the end of it all the book earns me an extra £100 a week, it would have been worth it. If it goes beyond that, it will be incredible and delightful and transformative. I’m not expecting that (though my Mum is insisting I should be optimistic and think big!), but you never know.
Cutting Stuff Out
Lately I’ve come to the realisation that arguments online with people who hold completely different positions to my own. There are two particular cases in point: the MGTOW who thought threatening to assault me would intimidate me, and the author of Theology Archaeology, with whom I have had many disagreements. It’s healthier for me to disengage with these people. That’s not to say that I’ll never pass comment on the writings of others (just as I am fully aware I cannot stop others from commenting on my writing, not that I’d want them to), but actively engaging and arguing with the authors of these sites? That’s a different matter.
It’s the same with Twitter. I’ve tangled myself up in raging arguments against sexist fools, racist idiots and bigots of various forms. I don’t have a fondness for injustice and cruelty, but there’s the ever-present danger of falling into the same type of behaviour as the trolls I’ve debated. I want – need – to carry myself better, to be more honourable. Never cruel or cowardly, that’s the motto I need to strive to follow. I’ll stumble, I have no doubt of that, but surely the effort is worth it?
So the negativity is taking a hit. Tangling myself in knots with people who are never likely to be persuaded to consider different positions is doing me no benefit. Let’s change that.
My daughter is now at senior school, which is a terrifying notion. When did she get to be that old?! The day she was born is as clear as day, yet she is now eleven and starting senior school. It’s surreal, and scary.
I guess I’m scared for her, because she tends to take most things in her stride. I’m imposing my memories of senior school upon her future experiences, and there’s no reason that the two will align. What I don’t want is for her to feel isolated or scared. I hope she makes friends and I want her to be secure and safe in the new environment she will find herself in.
Recently my wife and I marked out 12th Wedding Anniversary, which got me thinking a lot about what love is. I am reminded of the words of, appropriately enough, the 12th Doctor. ‘Love, it’s not an emotion. Love is a promise.’
Love is declaring before witnesses that no matter what, we are committed to one another. Love is patience, endurance, and companionship. Love is walking side-by-side with another soul until the end of our days. When the giddy time of falling in love passes, what remains is what love truly is.
When you can be comfortable in your own skin with another person until the end of your days, that’s love.
Earlier in this Muse I raged about the miserable summer weather we’ve had this year in the UK. Well now we’re getting a mini heatwave – at last! – after the kids have gone back to school.
If there are deities watching over us, they’re having a laugh at our expense.
Texas (content warning via the link)
I’ve already written a few things on the new Texas abortion law, and I don’t want to weigh in on the subject too heavily in a Muse, but suffice to say, I’m disgusted with how women are being reduced to cattle. The expectation is that women should serve only one role in society, and they are punished for wanting to have autonomy. This is not about life, it’s about control.
So here we are. My daughter is at senior school. My wife and I have been married 12 years. I will be a traditionally published author. Things are changing, as they always do. To quote the 11th Doctor:
We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.
Until next time!