Monthly Archives: December 2016

Happy New Year!

Well… I’m not sure how I can sum up 2016. Shit seems the most appropriate word. I don’t know if, statistically speaking, this year has been that bad but it certainly feels that way. I shall welcome 2017 with open arms.

Many famous people have died this year. Which ones are special to us depends greatly on our own point of view. I haven’t talked about these deaths but in this, my final post of the year, I feel I should talk about Carrie Fisher.

I only know of Carrie Fisher because of Star Wars. Until her death I was unaware of her work on mental health. So it is Star Wars I shall talk about.

The original Star Wars trilogy is lacking in female characters, it fails the Bechdel Test if that is anything to go by, but Princess Leia  was a strong and capable character. Luke and Han may have had to rescue her in the beginning but she was never a helpless damsel in distress.

“Somebody has to save our skins.”

Princess Leia.

And let’s be serious the Star Destroyer did rather outclass the Blockade Runner.

Princess Leia was a vital character to the original trilogy and Carrie Fisher will always be known for her portrayal of the character. And we will see her again when Episode 8 is released.

On a purely personal level, away from Brexit, Trump, and celebrity deaths, I have to count 2016 as a good year.

It saw the birth of my nephew. I’m still getting to grips with the idea of being an uncle. I’m looking forward to playing with Lego, watching Star Wars, and taking him to the cinema.

And I met a wonderful woman. We only talked for a couple of months and she always brought a smile to my face. I hope to be able to talk to her more next year.

So it’s goodbye to 2016 and hopefully 2017 will be a better year.

…but don’t we say that every new year?

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Christmas Eve

I’m writing this on the 21st of December. Today I just finished listening to A Christmas Carol. I read, or I suppose you could say experience, this book every year. This year I listened to the audible adaptation. It was quite a nice adaptation with a good cast and was free too…which is always good.

I also watched the 1999 adaptation with Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a most faithful adaptation.

On balance of course the original is the best. The book is written in a rather grandfatherly style and includes the wonderful line ‘.and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow…’ – if you haven’t read this book I thoroughly recommend it. And tonight is the perfect night to do so.

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In the Pale Moonlight

Christmas is almost upon us. So before I start this post, which will be rather serious, lets start with some Christmas cheer.

I just think this is so creative. Anyway I want to talk to you today about depression and mental illness in general. It is a difficult topic – I am unqualified to talk about it but I need to. I will try and make it as lighthearted as possible and intersperse it with some music.

Maybe this one isn’t so light-hearted.

I chose the title because I think it nicely demonstrates how I feel sometimes. (And it’s the title of my favourite DS9 episode but that’s irrelevant – or is it a hippopotamus?)

That joke may only work spoken say it and see if you get it.

I have said before, somewhere on this blog, that I have this idea that I can fundamentally control my life – or rather that life is like a computer game that can be completed. And sometimes I feel depressed just because I haven’t done something that only I care about.

Yes… I have done this in the past. I have put fun on my to-do list. Because if I do that it feels like I’m achieving something.

What does this have to do with dancing and the devil?

Well with dancing one must lead and one must follow. So in a way I’m dancing with my own self. You could say it’s like the me from the mirror universe. I’m guessing that he must be clean shaven as I have a beard.

And so this other me takes the lead sometimes. And in those situations I feel terrible. And its not about what you’ve achieved in life (money/family however you measure it) or what you haven’t got. It’s… well one person described it as being like having a full fridge but not liking the look of any of the food.

My mind seems to do this…

…at the slightest provocation.

Where a normal person, in a difficult situation, might ask themselves: What’s the worst that can happen? And come up with things like: you’ll be fired, fined, ect…

My mind is thinking…

…or some such thing…

…well that’s a gross exaggeration but I’m sure you get the idea…

Yes… there have been thoughts of death in my mind at time… this is when the devil really takes over the dance…

This is something difficult to talk about. I’m not sure I can. I have moments that come on suddenly where I imagine having died and the reactions of others to this news…

… and then just as suddenly I’m happy again for no reason.

… which is nice…

This is getting very sad…

People, some people, don’t understand mental illness. This is an often repeated point but I’m going to make it anyway. I’m sure you’ve heard it. It’s the idea that if you said you weren’t going to attend a party because you’d fallen down the stairs that morning and broken their leg – everyone would understand – if you told them it was because of anxiety – they would tell you to cheer up.

I very dear friend of mine (the one from a couple of posts ago) is dealing with these issues now. It is sad how she devalue herself. Because she is courageous. She’s a fighter and I know she will pull through. And without meaning to be boastful perhaps I am too. I am frequently stressed, worried, and have dark thoughts, but I have a job and I maintain it – I can smile of course but I know that sooner or later the devil will take the lead again, I will feel terrible like there is no point to anything, and I will need to fight him off.

And to that friend I have to say…

‘I have been and always shall be your friend.’

… and that I miss you.

…And to all of you reading this, for whatever you a celebrating at this time of year, have a wonderful time!

***

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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Absolute Pandemonium

I don’t mention many of the books I read but I’ve got to mention this one. Absolute Pandemonium, the autobiography of Brian Blessed, is a must read. To be more accurate I would actually say it’s a must listen.

Hearing Brian Blessed tell his own story is quite remarkable. The book is wonderfully funny of course and interesting too. I can’t recommend it enough. I’m actually listening to it at the moment. The next chapter is called… Gordon’s Alive.

That has got to be an endorsement hasn’t it? I’m recommending it before I’ve finished it!

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The Writer Dances

When in doubt steel. That is not a credo for life but a credo for writing. Hench why I have picked this title – for those who don’t know this is from a title of a Doctor Who episode – The Doctor Dances. (The Episode has nothing to do with anything it’s just a good title.)

So why am I dancing…

Well give me a few minutes to answer that question. For many 2016 has been a very bad year. Voting has not gone the way many hoped, Brexit and the US Election, and celebrities who are special to many have died. I realise the irony of mentioning Brexit and the US Election – they were, basically, a straight choice between two options after all. Nevertheless there are many unhappy people in the US and UK at the moment.

For me personally 2016 will go down as a good year. I’ve met a special someone and thus 2016 is the best year of my life. I now have more of a purpose in my life – I want to see the world with her – I’ve been talking to her for a couple of months now and its wonderful. So, yes, this writer is dancing, and singing too. That is not entirely figurative. Even at work I am muttering songs under my breath. Including The Best is Yet to Come.

And Unconditional by The Corrs.

And speaking of writing I attempted Nanowrimo last month. I failed. I was about 3000 words off target also my desk top died so I couldn’t even fail properly! Nevertheless I still have a very good chunk of a novel written. That, my friends, shows the supreme importance of backups. Backup everything!

So, for me, 2016 is not so bad. And I think that 2017 is going to be an excellent year.

***

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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