The Deconstruction of May

For the last month, you’ve had to put up with new blogs from me every day.

Back on the 1st May I said that the reason I wanted to do it was because it would be a great challenge and would be a new way to flex my writing muscle.

So now, 31 blog posts later, what have I learnt?

At around 500-1000 words on average per blog, I wrote somewhere upwards of 20,000 words in a month, and it wasn’t a quiet month for me.

I was busy, like, incredibly busy. But I still managed to write that many words. It’s proven to me that it’s not about finding the time to write, it’s about making the time to write.

I said I was good with deadlines, and that also, when given a prompt, I could probably write something on it. I won’t lie to you, I flagged a little bit in the middle, but I managed it.

Some of the prompts that I thought would be hardest, were actually really easy, and vice versa. In addition, it was interesting which posts gained the most traction with the audience, which ones got shared most, and viewed the most, and which ones didn’t.

The last prompt of the month was Write a short story. It preyed on me the closer I got to it, mostly because I’m not very good at brevity.

Before I started it, I knew what the first line of it would be, but not what it would be about. In fact, the first line ended up being something different, with my original line appearing later on. I wrote the thousand words or so in an evening.

It’s not perfect. I knew that even when I finished it, but it tells a tale, and it has a twist – or two. I might revisit it at a later date and explore the idea a bit more. I’d like to flesh out the main character of Sally a bit more, and it’s possible that it will become a bigger story one day.

BEDM was mostly a fun distraction, although it did increase my audience. Now that May is over, I need to return to thinking about my writing career and working out what happens next.

The first step, will be looking into hiring that hot gay guy to be my PA.

#BEDM14: Let Go of the Lego

If you’re lucky your childhood home goes through four stages.

The first is the eighteen or so years of your life when you actually live there.

The third is very short and hopefully comes many years down the line, when you have to pack up your parent’s things and sell it on.

The fourth will be when you view it from the outside when someone else lives there.

I’m currently, though, in the second stage. The stage where I don’t live there, when I rarely visit there unless offered dinner.

It’s during this stage that every six months or so you receive a phone call from your mum. She’s having a clear out.

A shudder goes down your spine.

She’s in the loft. She’s in the garage.

She’s got black bags.

My instructions are always the same.

“Do what you like, but don’t touch the Goosebumps books. Don’t touch any on my Nintendos. And don’t touch the Lego!”

I’m probably never going to use any of them again, and when we get to stage three, I will probably transition them to my own home, never to be touched again.

Maybe I should learn to stop hoarding, but all three of those bits are massive parts of my childhood. I’m not ready to move on yet.

Prompt: Lego or Meccano? Trains or Planes?

#BEDM14: Regretfully Yours

The trite answer to the question ‘what’s your biggest regret?’ is to say that you have no regrets. That everything in your life, good and bad has made you who you are today.

The supposition there is that the person you are today is the best person you could possibly be.

There are plenty of things I regret.

There are some things I’ve done which I regret more than I should. And I’ve done things that I should regret more than I do.

To go into them here is something that I will probably regret – like Rumpelstiltskin and his name, I would lose my mystery – so I shan’t reveal them.

I think something that we should all regret, though, is wasted time. There are plenty more things we could do with our lives if we didn’t waste our time.

So, I’m gonna wrap this post up and head off to do something productive*

*Watch Game of Thrones

Prompt: What’s your biggest regret?

#BEDM14: I’m Up All Night To Get Lucky

Most of the time I have a pretty good memory, but right now, it’s failing me. So is Google

I wanted to tell you about a quote, and therefore wanted to tell you what the quote was, but I can’t remember it.

Instead, I’ll have to paraphrase.

It was some years ago, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (come on, it’s been ages since I dragged a Harry Potter reference onto the blog) had just been released or was about to be released.

There was a TV interview with JK Rowling and she was asked about how lucky she’d been with Harry Potter.

Her reply went along the lines of

It was luck that gave me the initial idea. Everything else was hard work.

We are often too quick to dismiss the success of others as luck, but also, people are sometimes too quick to dismiss their own success as luck.

It was nice to see someone standing up for their own hard work, and it always reminds me that I can’t sit here and wait for luck to happen. I have to go out there and make my own luck.

Another quote of similar sentiment is

The harder I work, the luckier I get

There is no such thing as good or bad luck, but there is such things as hard work and laziness.

Prompt: Discuss a Quote

#BEDM14: Jammy-Dodger-Man

I have quite an odd relationship with superheroes.

I find the notion of them a little bit odd.

Spider-man. Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman. For a start, I find their names a bit… dull. I guess they were cutting edge names when they were first created, but we’re decades down the line now, it’s all a bit cliché.

But I can forgive them that. (Especially as I’d admit to wanting my own version of that name. I’d probably end up being BiscuitMan – now there’s a superhero I can get on board with. Flying around the world in a never-ending battle against those 4pm munchies)

No, where I really take issue is the supposed goodness of these characters.

They are given great powers, and yes, we all know that with great power comes great responsibility.

But why should I admire these people because they do good things with these great powers. I mean, I guess I’m grateful they’re not doing bad things with it, but it sort of underwhelms me a bit.

Let’s take Buffy Summers as a case in point (another silly name but at least she’s not SlayerGirl) because she’s the superhero that I’m most qualified to comment on.

She’s a superhero for the modern day, and perhaps quite far away from the traditional type of superhero, however on the points I’m going to illustrate now, she’s quite similar.

Among other things which are not really elaborated on, but presumably include heightened senses, and a keen sense of strategy, she is gifted with super strength. Great.

She uses that strength to go around beating up bad guys. Fabulous. Even better.

But she’s also gifted with some great friends. I’m going to pick on Xander in particular.

He’s a bit whiny. I don’t find him particularly attractive, but the key thing is, he’s there with Buffy through seven years of fighting evil.

And he’s normal. He doesn’t have super strength. He’s generally a bit of an idiot. But he tries. And it’s harder for him than it is for Buffy, because he’s not gifted with the same in-born skills.

Sure, he might not achieve everything that Buffy does, he certainly doesn’t save the world as often as she does… but here’s the thing: He does save the world.

When a world-class writer wins the Booker Prize, we’re all pleased for him or her, and we probably all adore the book. But me? I reserve my admiration for the lifeguard that didn’t win, but DID make it to the shortlist.

Conversely – a lifeguard during a storm saving fifteen people from drowning. That’s amazing, I don’t want to do that down, but it IS their job.

It’s what they’re good at. In the same storm, a world-class writer puts down his pen, and without second thought dives in and saves just one person. That’s incredible, and that’s what gets my admiration.

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, but what makes a hero super, isn’t the good they achieve with their natural abilities. It’s the good they achieve without them.

Prompt: Which superhero do you identify with and why?

#BEDM14: Big Bird’s Got Nothing On Me

Dear Nic,

It’s possible that with a few of these BEDM14 posts that I’m doing that I’m not quite doing what you intended with the prompts.

For instance, today’s prompt was A letter.

The assumption is that you wanted us to write a letter to someone. It would certainly make for a different style of blog post and would keep things interesting, if not for us, then for the readers.

What it has done is make me think – which may also be the point of all of the prompts.

Letters come in two shapes and sizes. One is professional, quite dry and not exactly the sort of thing you’d want to write about on a blog (Despite that being exactly what I did a few weeks ago when I wrote about writing covering letters, but hey, everything has a context).

The other kind of letter would be a personal one. A letter to someone with whom I have some kind of prior relationship – or to someone who I’d like to have some kind of future relationship with.

Putting up a letter of that kind would not only reveal a lot about me, but would also reveal stuff about them. At least, stuff that I perceive about them.

The prompt made me question, just how much do I want to reveal about myself to my audience – regardless of the size?

The answer is the same as it would be on Twitter, or on Facebook, at work, or in real life. I don’t want to reveal all that much. At least not yet.

I want to be in control of what I reveal and when, therefore any letter that I wrote would be either dishonest, dull, or revealing what I didn’t want to reveal.

That’s why I’ve chosen not to write a letter. However, by addressing this post to you, I have therefore written a letter, which makes the whole point of it… null and void.

Do I now have to come up with another blog post for today?

 

Regards,

Alexander J Call

 

PS – It’s possible you actually wanted us to write about a letter from the alphabet, which is a little bit Sesame Street. If that was the case, my favourite letter would probably have to be P. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for it. I think it leaves a nice sound on the lips.

Prompt: A letter

You Can’t Upgrade A Child

I don’t have kids.

I probably won’t have kids

I don’t really know a lot about kids – and I don’t really want to know about kids.

What’s my point?

Well, I do know that you’re not supposed to have favourites, and that most parents when asked will say that of course they don’t have favourites.

But is it possible not to have a favourite?

A parent would probably say that they love Fanny their little first born, but then when little Willie is born a couple of years later, they’ve learned from their mistakes.

They know what to avoid, what to do more of, and more importantly which shops sell the most flame-retardant clothing

Little Willie is just better. Child 2.0.

It doesn’t mean they don’t love Fanny, they just prefer Willie.

And part of them probably does wish they could start again with Fanny, but they got it wrong at the beginning and they’ll probably never invest in Fanny as much as they should.

On the flip side, Fanny hasn’t done anything wrong, she’s just got the unfortunate happenstance of having come first.

Lucky Willie didn’t come till later.

Like I said, I don’t have kids, but I do have experience in this area.

I like Facebook, I don’t want to delete Facebook, but I’d rather spend my evening with Willie. I mean Twitter. It’s just better.

It’s exactly the same.

Prompt: Facebook or Twitter?

 

 

Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

My best friend is petrified of spiders

Like, really, really afraid.

He once jumped into my arms like someone in a cartoon when a mouse appears.

I left a dish upside down on the living room floor once, and he didn’t touch it for a weekend in case I’d trapped a spider underneath it.

And yes, I did that on purpose.

The oddest thing about his phobia, though is that he ought to be afraid of daddy long legs. Which, as far as I’m concerned would be worse than a spider, because they are pretty much the same as spiders. But with WINGS.

Flying spiders. Just think about that for a moment.

But he’s not. Because they only have six legs – which is really interesting. What is it that makes him scared of spiders? Because it’s clearly not their size or general insect-like appearance.

Let’s face it, a bug with six legs isn’t much different to a bug with eight. So, it seems the thing that he doesn’t like about spiders, is that they’re spiders. Like they’ve personally offended him or something.

It’s just the very idea of a spider that he doesn’t like. Presumably something bad happened with a spider in the distant past which makes him scared, rather than the physical presence of a spider.

Which brings me to what I’m scared of.

You have to understand that what scares me stems from two very traumatic incidents which occurred fairly closely together. I’m not scared of either event happening again, but I was scared enough at the time to still make me look back and shudder a little bit.

Moment 1: Tyrannosaurus Rex bursts out and roars at Jeff Goldblum

Moment 2: Ursula comes out of her underwater lair surrounded by eels

I’ve truly never been able to bring myself to watch either Jurassic Park or The Little Mermaid ever again.

I will not be scared by them now (probably) – but the fear in those moments has led me to be conditioned never to watch them again.

So, when we’re frightened – what are we truly frightened of? A scary thing, or simply our own past?

Prompt: The things you’re most afraid of

Every Day I’m Bloggering

White Rabbit, White Rabbit, White Rabbit

 

Happy May everyone.

I’ve been looking forward to May for quite some time for several reasons:

1) The weather – There’s an argument that April 25th is the best date because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket. I would argue, however that May is a whole month of April 25th’s

2) Bank holidays – not one, but two.

3) Ian Somerhalder – I get to turn the next page in my calendar. Ok, so that happens every month, and is really just an excuse for me to post a picture of a hot guy on my blog:

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4) BEDM – Blog Every Day in May. This is a thing, apparently. First introduced to me by Nic Parkes (find out more about him here: http://hellonic.co.uk or indeed here: https://twitter.com/picnarkes) who took part last year.

Believe it or not, the idea is to Blog. Every day. In May.

It’s not Nic’s idea, he freely admits that, but he’s come up with the list of topics which I’ll be following – or at least attempting to follow.

Oh, yes, that’s right, you poor sods. I’m gonna be blogging every day for a month.

You might be wondering why I’m doing it. The truth is, when Nic did it last year, I thought it was a great challenge for a writer to set his or her self. I thought:

 

One day, I’ll do that as well.

 

So it’s May. I have a blog. It’s like the stars have aligned.

Plus, I perform well with deadlines and thought it would be yet another tool to help me flex my writing muscle.

It might be quite difficult, it might take quite a lot of time, I might run out of things to say by the 6th, but by the end of May, I’ll be able to say I’ve done it. Tick it off my bucket list as it were.

Not that I believe in bucket lists. If you want to do something, then just go ahead and do it.

 

Want to go to Australia? Go.

Want to write a book? Do.

Want to go out with a bloke? Ask.

 

Want to write every day in May? Write.

I won’t reveal the topics ahead of time (although it wouldn’t take a genius to find them) – and I won’t necessarily stick to the topics, I may just be inspired or prompted by them – but I will post them at the end of each daily blog. Sometimes the connection between the blog and the prompt will be obvious, other times it’ll be a mystery to all but me.

Thanks for getting this far, I’ll hopefully see you tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that. And – you get the idea…

Prompt: What would be on your bucket list?