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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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Just Jot It January: Day four…

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Day four of Just Jot It January and I have an update on my first foray into publishing.

As I’m sure most of you are already aware, last year I was fortunate enough to be chosen to have one of the short stories I wrote for Stream of Consciousness Saturday included in an anthology of “new fiction by new writers”, via one of my connections on the business networking site, LinkedIn.

I was of course extremely flattered that one of my stories was picked for the collection, especially since I’d only recently begun experimenting in fiction, mainly inspired by Linda G Hill’s writing prompts, (so thank you Linda, you’re officially an inspiration) all of which were written in one take, so to speak.

I had initially submitted a story called “Famous Last Words” to go in the book, (the second story I’d written and even now, one of my favourites) only to be told that it was slightly over the word count required by the publisher and would therefore not qualify for inclusion.
Somewhat disappointed, I nevertheless sent in a list of alternatives, from which I was told one had been chosen as a replacement, so I just sat back waited to see my work in print for the first time.

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Fast forward a couple of weeks and I receive an e-mail telling me that, due to a shortfall in appropriate submissions from other writers, I had been randomly selected to have a second story included and could now have my first choice in the book after all.

Yay!

So imagine my frustration when, having finally taken delivery of my very first printed work of fiction, I discover that although I did indeed have two stories included in the anthology, (as well as being allowed to write the book’s dedication) neither of them were my original choice!

At this point I decided that I’d done all I could to fight my creative corner, I should just think myself lucky I’d made it into print after all and put the whole thing down to experience.

That is, until just after new year, when I received yet another e-mail, this one telling me that although the paperback edition of Stories In Green Ink is a done deal and will not be altered, the Kindle edition contained a small error that hadn’t previously been detected. Apparently, while they were correcting it they decided they would now also like to add “Famous Last Words”, giving me a total of three entries in the electronic version of the collection.

Woohoo!

It would seem that good things do indeed come to those who wait and you can find the Kindle edition of “Stories In Green Ink” right here.

{Thanks again to Catherine Broughton at Turquoise Moon blog for all her help}

#JusJoJan

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

 

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Book reminder…

So, the main festivities are over and we’re entering the limbo between Christmas and New Year, where there’s a lot of sitting around with the kids, playing with their new toys, eating leftovers and watching rubbish TV.

So why not give your snoozing brain something to do, use up that Amazon gift voucher you were given by a generous relative and order a copy of Stories In Green Ink, the anthology of new short fiction by new writers which contains two of my short stories (writing as Guy Thair).

I finally got my copy last week and I can’t deny that it’s a thrill to see my words in print even though one of the stories in the book is not the one I expected to be included…

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…and I’m glad that I was able to dedicate the collection to my friend Chris and Rhonda’s aunt Linda, two wonderful people who we lost this year, I know they would both have been suitably proud of my minor literary achievement.

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I would also be very grateful if you’d leave a review of the book after you read it, because positive word of mouth is by far the best marketing in my opinion.

The anthology is available in paperback at this link, or, if you’re one of those high-tech types, you can find the Kindle edition here.

Thank you for your continued support.

 
 

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New Starship Gypsies post…

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Here’s a link to Jerry’s latest post on Starship Gypsies, our collaborative sci-fi side project.

EPISODE 13 – Kids.

{Picture credit – NASA}

 
 

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Published at last (aka the Big Reveal)…

Well it’s finally happened, I’ve been published.

In an actual book!

Yes, the waiting is over; I received an e-mail this morning from the lovely Catherine Broughton, writer of the blog Turquoise Moon, telling me that Stories In Green Ink, compiled by Anna Trowbridge, makes its debut on Amazon this morning.

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But that isn’t all. I’m also lucky enough to have had two stories included in the collection, and I was asked to supply the dedication for the book.

Now, somewhat confusingly for some of you, (possibly some recent readers may not yet have got the hang of my slightly peculiar nom-de-blog) I’ve chosen to publish these stories under my real name, Guy Thair, so don’t be too surprised when you can’t find any works of sparkling creative genius credited to “dalecooper57”.

However, there’s no need to worry about that, I shall still answer to “Dale” on the blog because, well, I’ve become rather fond of my fictional alter-ego and I don’t want him wandering around in my head with nothing to do, I have enough trouble keeping him busy as it is.

Plus, “dalecooper57” is quite a useful and unique trademark in itself and I don’t want to mess up all my internet search results.

My two contributions to this anthology of fiction by new writers are a couple of twisty little mysteries with a sting in the tale which I’m inordinately proud of.
So, please FOLLOW THIS LINK and avoid Christmas disappointment by ordering your copy immediately, (why not get a couple for friends too) and if you could leave a review and share the Amazon link, I’d be extremely grateful.

Thanks again to Catherine for all her hard work getting the book submissions organised and thank you, my loyal readers, for providing me with an audience.
Because without you lot for me to entertain, I may never have got this far to begin with.

 

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Accidents will happen…

image I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but almost fifty years ago now, I was involved in a serious accident.

All things considered, I was very fortunate, many people who have had a similar accident find it very difficult to adjust to life afterwards.
It can blight people’s entire lives, making it nearly impossible to come to terms with the consequences of a random event that none of us have any control over.

Some of those who suffer accidents like mine are destined to be shunned by a society that seems incapable of adjusting to things it either can’t, or doesn’t want to understand.

When I was young, despite the natural inclination of some children to be spiteful and mean (like it or not, for all their supposed innocence, we all know kids can be little bastards to each other from time to time) I didn’t really register the fact that my accident made me any different to anyone else.
Maybe that’s an indication of how lucky I was, growing up where I did, or maybe I was just less sensitive to my environment at the time, I don’t know.

But whatever the reason, I made it through my childhood relatively unscathed by the sort of prejudice suffered by those whose accidents left them with more obvious disadvantages.

It was only when I reached my teens I think, that it occurred to me how hard it must be to deal with the simple business of everyday life, when the way people see you is dictated purely by an event you had no control over; something which, given the choice, you would probably avoid at all costs.

Of course all these years later, like most of us who experienced such accidents at an early age, I’ve become desensitized to something I’ve lived with my whole life, and now it only bothers me when I see others who have suffered even worse accidents than mine and are still coming to terms with the irreversible and sometimes horribly damaging consequences.

Depressingly, in recent times, the ones who suffer the most at the hands of the cruel and ignorant amongst us become bitter and disillusioned, in some cases withdrawing from society altogether, only to find that this also marks them apart from the rest and so begins the whole sorry cycle once more.

Name calling and bullying escalate into hateful abuse and physical violence, all because of an accident that befell a person just like me or you, years, sometimes even decades before, an accident none of them had any control over and which they certainly did not choose.

That isn’t to say that all of the victims of such accidents hide themselves away from society, indeed most of us interact with the rest of the world perfectly normally.
In the same way that there are also accident victims who turn on society for reasons of their own, justifying their actions with twisted logic and perverted ideologies, but we have the sense to see that they don’t represent the views of the majority.

Because your family and friends, the people you work with and the strangers you pass in the street, the bloke that cut you up on the motorway and the pretty girl you flirted with in the pub, the waiter that served you on holiday and the homeless man in the bus shelter, all of them had accidents just like me.
And like you too.

I’m a white European male.

My life is easy.

I don’t have to walk miles every day to get water.
My house hasn’t been hit by machine gun fire or a barrel bomb today.
I haven’t had to flee with my family from a land wracked by a war I don’t understand.
I’m not forced to work for little or no pay, just so I can live in a slum.
And I don’t live under the oppressive threat of arrest, imprisonment or worse, just for saying what I think.

Almost fifty years ago, I suffered the universal accident of birth.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

 

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Travel n Ravel post: Barging in…

Here’s another repurposed post that I’ve tweaked for Ian Cochrane and his eclectic travel blog. (see link below)

There’s nothing like a nice country pub when you want to relax and unwind, especially when you can meet interesting people, explore the local history and hear a few amusing stories whilst sampling the delicacies of the region.

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But whatever you do, make sure you know the geography of the area, otherwise you might find yourself…

Barging in.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Guest spots., Humour, Personal anecdote, Travel

 

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