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Just Jot It January: Day twenty five…

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So here we go for the final week of Just Jot It January, a feature that I’ve found to be a very worthwhile challenge to take part in and one that has made me very envious of all those of you who are able to write full-time.

I have wondered many times, since I started my blogging adventure four years ago, how good it would be to get up in the morning with nothing else to do except write.
I don’t mind having a “proper job”, I like to be busy and it’s just a means to an end after all,
We all need to do something to pay the bills and there are worse things than having to get up for work every day, but very few of us are lucky enough to do what we love for a living.

If I was able to choose, (i.e. if I suddenly came into a massive fortune, enabling me to give up my day job and spend my time doing exactly what I wanted) then I doubt I’d go overboard on the luxury items like fancy cars or big houses, I’d simply revel in the opportunity to write for long periods of time without interruptions.

Ok, so maybe I’d find us a nicer place to live, with a decent sized garden and the space to be able to have a dog, but I’m not talking about having a study to lock myself away in, or a summer house that I could retire to when I felt touched by the muse.
No, just the thought of having a few hours of peace and quiet every day, when there isn’t the mind-numbing jabber of children’s TV in the background, or the need to stop every five minutes to check out Audrey’s latest art project/cake design/baby dragon/video game, etc; that alone would gain me about two hours a day in concentration, easy.

Because the more often I write, the more often I want to write.
If I’m undisturbed, it doesn’t take me long to get “in the zone”, so to speak, it’s the stop-start-stop-start breaks in focus that often result in me giving up and waiting for a quite moment later on, (one of the primary reasons for my continual lateness with SoCS posts) so the ability to write all day would be luxury indeed.

However, I wouldn’t sacrifice the life that I have for the ephemeral satisfaction of making stuff up and writing it down, not only because it makes me very happy, but because that happiness is all part and parcel of what gives me the incentive to write in the first place.

So for now, until the royalty cheques start rolling in from the megabucks Hollywood adaptation of The Wrong Stuff, I’ll stick with wearing headphones, writing in the garden whenever possible, gritting my teeth when the Scooby Doo theme comes on for the fiftieth time that day and missing the odd deadline, because blogging might be great, but it’s no good unless there’s someone you love to tell you how brilliant you are.

{For Rhonda and Audrey, my two favourite distractions}

#JusJoJan

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty one…

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I’m just jotting a quick update for today’s JJIJ post, because I’ve just received yet another award nomination and I’d like to be able to do it justice in its own post later on.

So…

Since I told you my exciting news the other day, about being given a second opportunity to have my work published, I have sent in a story that I wanted to include in Stories In Green Ink, but which was too long to fit the submission criteria.
Well, I heard back from the publisher yesterday that it has been accepted. Yay!

Not only that, but I also managed to sort out the problem that some of my American readers were apparently having with finding the book on the US Amazon site.
I got this response to my e-mail;

“Hello,

I checked our US website and can confirm your Kindle book is indeed live and buyable at a list price of $6.99.

Please be assured that the book can be downloaded to all Kindle devices and applications.

If you still think they didn’t receive the correct version, you can ask them to contact our customer service at this toll-free number, 1-866-216-1072 and they will be able to push the content to you.”

So now you know.

But if you’d like to go directly to the right page, here are those links in full:

U.S. readers go HERE for both formats.

U.K. readers go HERE for Kindle or HERE for paperback.

And, just in case you think I’m only interested in plugging myself, (like the blogslut I most assuredly am) here are a couple of random artistic oddities I made.

A gif of a galaxy…

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…and Fuckface von Clownstick in the role he was born to play; an unprincipled presidential candidate in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone.

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You’re welcome.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 

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Just Jot It January: Day twenty…

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I’m beginning to think that Just Jot It January is some sort of jinx, what with all the public figures dropping dead left, right and centre.

Just in the last week or so we’ve lost David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman and Dale Griffin from Mott the Hoople, and now I wake up to the terrible news that Queen Elizabeth has passed away.

Apparently she was taken ill with a nasty case of hypothermia whilst snowboarding in the back garden at Balmoral yesterday and died later from complications resulting from overdoing the Jaegerbombs in an attempt to warm up.
Prince King Charles has asked that the royal family be allowed their privacy in this, his hour of celebration grief.

Ok, that’s not actually true.

But how many of you stopped reading in shock after the first paragraph and googled “Queen Elizabeth dead”?

I’m hoping very few of you, because I like to think my readers are somewhat brighter than that (plus, you probably noticed that this post was tagged “hoaxes”; a bit of a giveaway in itself) and you don’t just automatically believe something on the basis that “it’s on the internet, so it must be true”.

But not everyone online has your finely-tuned analytical faculties (or “bullshit detectors” as I prefer to think of them) and many people will indeed take anything they see as they cruise the information superhighway as the gospel truth.

Facebook appears to be one of the most densely packed credibility minefields for the gullible to pick their way through, with idiotic memes and nonsensical “facts” being posted almost every day by the less discerning web surfer.

I could understand if these cheeky attempts to con people into believing rubbish were in some way humorous or satirical, (it’s easy enough to manufacture reasonably convincing spoofs these days, with all the gadgets, apps and simple technology available to us at the touch of a button) here’s one that took me two minutes to make just now…

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…but so many of the allegedly plausible posts I see scrolling past, often posted by friends I know to be intelligent and articulate in any other situation, are so demonstrably bollocks that it amazes me they manage to get through anyone’s bullshit filter without setting off all the alarms on first reading.

For instance, here’s a perennial favourite, the inane response to a con that I’m sure you’ve seen on the Facebook newsfeed, one which seems to do the rounds on a regular basis;

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Now, I understand that unchecked optimism can lead to the odd lapse in judgement, but surely nobody realistically believes that Mr Zuckerberg got rich by randomly giving his money away to strangers, (especially when he has all those diapers and babysitters to pay for) so what makes anyone think it’s even worth reposting this stuff?

And then there are things like this next one, which I really can’t get my head round.

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Why somebody would fabricate this sort of pseudo-medical nonsense to start with is completely beyond me.
Apart from anything else, there is a very real risk of someone actually taking it seriously and, relying on the idea that, if you get chest pains the best thing to do is have a nice refreshing glass of water and go to bed, could very well result in you waking up dead.

Not all of these memes are dangerous of course.
How about the much-reproduced post that claims to be the “last words of Steve Jobs”..?

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…it isn’t exactly malicious, but I doubt his loved ones appreciate their deceased friend or family member’s image being hijacked, in order to service some personal agenda or bid for notoriety.

And yet thousands of people have unthinkingly shared it without even the slightest suspicion that, amongst other things;
a) as a confirmed atheist, Jobs was unlikely to be thinking of God at all, let alone giving him column inches in his epitaph,
b) he would have posted something that was written with such peculiar phrasing and grammar (particularly given Jobs’ well documented perfectionism), or
c) he had such a long and cheesy speech ready to quote at the last minute, even if he’d had the strength or inclination to self-eulogize to such an extent anyway.

Jobs isn’t the only victim of posthumous image fraud of course, there are many others whose pictures have been manipulated for fun or mischief, (like my Dr MLK meme at the start of this post) the best known of which is probably one of the variations on photos of Albert Einstein…

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…and, most recently, this photo of the late, great David Bowie and his old mate, Lemmy…

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…which is a nice piece of fan-generated wish fulfillment, but the original photo featured Lemmy and his French girlfriend.

So, how do you avoid the crushing disappointment/cringing embarrassment of posting something that is less realistic than The Donald’s hairline?
You use Snopes of course, either that or Hoax Slayer, that way you can post away to your heart’s content and not worry about being ridiculed by your online peers for a Facebook faux-pas.

I know a lot of you are thinking; “What a patronising bastard, we’re not stupid you know!”, but there is at least one person reading this who will be glad of a fact checker (you know who you are, hahaha) and I’m sure they’ll make good use of it in the future too.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 

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Just Jot It January: Day fifteen…

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Day fifteen of JJIJ and it’s been one of those days.

My phone and Wi-Fi signal has been dropping in and out all day, I’ve got a bloody great crack in my windscreen (that’s a “windshield” to you, my American-speaking readers) that I can’t afford to fix, but have got to because my MoT is due next month, and to top it all I just had my card declined in the supermarket, resulting in the undignified process of me unloading my shopping at the checkout, while a disapproving woman in a paisley headscarf stood and glared down her nose at me for having the nerve to inconvenience her by being broke.
She didn’t seem inclined to offer to pay for my shopping, thereby speeding her on her way, so I smiled politely and apologised to the rest of the queue in general, (all of whom seemed to have important things to be looking at elsewhere all of a sudden) nodded cheerfully at Scarf Lady and left, shoppingless.

Now I just want to sit down to dinner and relax.
So here’s a nice picture of this evening’s sunset.
See you tomorrow.

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#JusJoJan

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Just Jot It January: Day fourteen…

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As we reach the end of week two of Just Jot It January, it occurs to me (after reading some of the other posts that follow today’s prompt; “motivation”) that there are almost as many reasons for writing a blog as there are bloggers writing them.

I suppose it isn’t all that surprising, given the fact that everyone is unique and we all want something different from life, which explains why everyone has their own personal set of criteria for what makes blogging worthwhile.

For now though, I’m more interested in finding out why one blogger in particular chooses to do what they do.

Namely, me.

Because, if I’m honest, I really have no idea.

The only reason I’ve decided to break my self-imposed rule to try this month’s challenge without resorting to Linda G Hill’s prompts, is that I have been asked several times recently why I write, or what “inspires” me to do so, and I realised that it’s not something I’ve ever really thought about.

I had little or no interest in the internet until the arrival of smartphones, but as soon as I got my hands on the first primitive version of this incredible, science fiction-like pocket computer that we all now take for granted, I was hooked almost immediately.
And my first addiction was Facebook.

Initially, the nostalgic novelty of being able to reconnect with old school friends was enough to suck me into the social network, but after it became clear that I could communicate with an endless supply of other users, all over the world, people I’d never even heard of before, let alone met, I began to really have fun.

I have always loved language; the way words work, the etymology of communication and the way sentences seem to just flow when they spill from the word processor, typewriter or pen of certain writers.
The way that writers like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett could turn an everyday phrase into a comedic gem by adding a couple (or a few) extra words, words that didn’t strictly need to be there, but oh, you were glad of their understanding of what gave those extra words power.
The way that those little black marks on a page can form pictures in your head fascinated me, even as a child, but it had just never occurred to me to try to translate that wonder into pictures of my own.

But once I began to write smartass comments on Facebook and construct little rants and memes of my own, mainly for my own entertainment, I found the idea of having a platform of my own, from which I could address the vast expanse of the Weird Wide Web, increasingly attractive.
This first dabbling in virtual creativity coincided with my introduction by a  mutual friend to the extraordinarily talented blogger, author, globetrotting urban explorer and all round bohemian, Mr Darmon Richter, who encouraged and assisted me in making my bumbling way into the blogosphere.

Meanwhile, WordPress made the process of getting started an idiot-proof experience, even for someone with my Olympian level of idiocy with all things internet related and Diary of an Internet Nobody was born.

And then I started writing stuff down. I didn’t know any better.

As anyone who knows me personally will tell you, I can talk.
And talk.
So, with an audience of, theoretically, several billion, I just started writing what I’d say if I was talking to you, (until you surreptitiously looked at your watch and mumbled about needing to be somewhere, anywhere, urgently) I didn’t see the point of having a theme, my reasoning was; I’m not an expert on anything, I’ll just say whatever comes into my head and see if anyone listens.

Then fiction came along.
Well, it had been there before, I’d read bloody loads of it.
But this time I thought I’d do it from the sharp end, so to speak.*

Then I stumbled upon Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompts and I thought I’d have a go at doing them all as short stories.
Which is where I get to the point where it all gets a bit vague, because from the first time I sat down to write a story, it was, umm, well, it was easy.

I know that sounds smug and immodest, but I don’t know how else to explain it.
My very first attempt was prompted by;
” “ke.”  Use the letter combination at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the word you choose to base your post on…”
And this came to me, literally as I wrote it.
I was quite pleased, despite the fact a few people didn’t get it (you might need to read it twice) and every other story I’ve written, with the exception of The Wrong Stuff (which I had a rough idea about for the first post and then decided it would be fun to see where it went on its own) has been pretty much the same way, with varying levels of success.
Including having three stories published in an anthology, available on Amazon AT THIS LINK, just in case I’d forgotten to mention that.

None of which comes anywhere close to tackling “motivation” I’m afraid, but then I did tell you at the start that I had no idea.

* – I read this a few times and I know it doesn’t work as an analogy, but I still like it.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 

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Just Jot It January: Day thirteen…

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I must say I’m rather enjoying the routine of Just Jot It January, even if my (predictably obtuse) decision to ignore Linda G Hill’s daily prompt (and to post all the usual weekly threads separately) has left me with even more waffling to do than usual.

Fortunately, there’s always the fallback position of reminding you all yet again that my very first, lovingly crafted, #SoCS-inspired works of fiction are now available in the oddly-titled anthology, Stories In Green Ink, the Kindle edition of which now features a bonus third story of mine, (the one I originally asked to be included) along with many other new works by up and coming writers.

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The link to that expanded electronic version is HERE, but if, like me, you prefer the satisfying feeling of an actual physical book in your hand when you’re reading, you can find the paperback edition HERE.

I know I’ve been banging on about this since before Christmas, but I keep getting e-mails from my publisher (oh alright, she’s not MY publisher exactly, but it gives me a buzz to say so) telling me that I should be plugging the book every chance I get.
I can’t help thinking that everyone must be heartily fed up with hearing about it by now, but at least it beats talking about the weather, right?

Anyway, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about something else.

It’s not big and it’s not clever, but Rhonda and I both smoke, which we have to do outside as we’re quite rightly not allowed to do so in the flat, (not that I would anyway; we have Audrey to consider and, even as a smoker, when the smoking ban came into force a few years ago it didn’t take long to appreciate how much nicer it is to drink in a pub that didn’t have the atmosphere of a gas chamber on a Beijing industrial estate) so I bought a cheap, metal framed gazebo and erected it in the garden as soon as we moved in.

As it turned out, it was a bloody good idea, not only was it a useful shelter from the inevitable English summer rainy season, but I spent many a day writing under the shade of the canopy, when that mysterious golden orb in the sky put in an occasional, all too brief appearance last year.

However, given that it has all the rigid structural integrity of a macaroni step ladder in an earthquake, any type of extreme weather was always going to be a bit of a problem, especially since we have no lawn and hammering the guide rope pegs into the patio wasn’t an option.
So, being an inventive sort of bloke, I’d attached various wires and braces to the surrounding fence posts and wedged the feet under the edges of paving slabs to ensure it remained in place.

Which, up until yesterday, it had done.

That’s when Rhonda posted this photo on Facebook when I was still at work, with the caption; “A tad windy today.”

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Oh bollocks.

So last night when I got home, (by which time Rhonda was at work) I had to spend half an hour or so in the dark, in a raging gale, attempting to wrestle with an upside down gazebo with all the aerodynamics of recalcitrant stilt-walker wearing a parachute, finally managing to re-secure it to the fence with electrical flex and plastic washing line and weigh down the wildly flailing legs with heavy, soil-filled planters.

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Ta-dah!

All of which just goes to show, If you’re English, sooner or later, you’re going to end up talking about the weather.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 

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Just Jot It January: Day five…

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Day five of JJIJ is brought to you in partnership with the lovely Horty Rexach and her blog, It Is What It Is.

Dr Rex, as she is known to her readers, has not only been a faithful supporter of Diary of an Internet Nobody for sometime, but I’m also lucky enough to have become friends with her on Facebook and her irrepressible positivity never fails to brighten my newsfeed.

(She was also very taken with Ho’s Christmas toons at the end of last year, so much so that she reblogged every single one, meaning that Ho actually got more hits on my blog than I did in December!)

And, as if that wasn’t enough, Horty has done me the great honour of nominating me for The Dedicated Blogger Award, the sentiment of which is best expressed by the blogger who nominated Dr Rex herself, Idealistic Rebel

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This particular award is refreshingly free of conditions and instructions, but I am choosing to pass it on to some of the writers and artists who made 2015 such a fun year to be part of the blogosphere.
So if your blog appears in the following list, you can be sure that you have informed, entertained or inspired me with your own unique brand of dedication to the blogging cause and I thank you kindly.

Turquoise Moon.

Joeyfully Stated.

Fiction Favorites. (Note the “correct” U.S. spelling of favourites)

Cooking With A Wallflower.

Observashunal.

These Vagaries.

Strata Of The Self.

Assorted Thoughts From An Unsorted Mind.

Shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos.

Zeebra Designs And Destinations.

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And finally, an extra special mention to Linda G Hill, for being instrumental in inspiring my dalliance with fiction, via her excellent Stream of Consciousness Saturday feature, (and for giving me the opportunity to inflict a cringe-inducing one liner on the blogging community every week) which I have enjoyed enormously.

#JusJoJan

Pingback to the very inspiring and dedicated Linda G Hill.

 

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