I’ve been dithering over whether to take part in the various ‘twenty days’ challenges that have been popping up all over my RSS reader.
My brain is a stubborn lump, y’see. It notes that I’ve updated within the last three or four days and it decides it doesn’t want to write that concluding paragraph for an otherwise-finished post. If I was updating with a 20 days post every day, well, I don’t think I’d get anything else written.
And yes, that is an admission that I’m not entirely on top of this ‘self motivation’ gig. I am working on it, alright.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my best bet is to answer questions on a once-weekly basis, leaving the rest of the week to normal posts. The next twenty Mondays, therefore, will be dedicated to Saga’s 20 Days of Blogging Challenge. I’m thinking Friday can host my attempts at prose, but we’ll see about that. For now, onward.
Day one: introduce yourself
My usual tagline is that I wear hats, pet cats and fight crime. I can confirm that this is 75% accurate.
Here is the hat.
Here are the cats.
And once my dad and I reported a shoplifter to Sainsbury’s security staff.
I had a jet-set childhood, which accounts for the three major components that constitute me: a wondering mind, a familiarity with and tendency toward isolation, and a bloody ridiculous accent that no-one can really place.
People get confused, you see, because on the whole I enunciate pretty well, and I have no proper register control so I do dump my Latinate words in with my usual effing and blinding, but apparently there’s some kinda American drawl to it, here and there, so I get guesses like Essex! Birmingham? The Isle of Man! New Zealand? Florida! – and no, none of those are accurate, and yes, they’re all real guesses I’ve had thrown my way.
I lived in the UK to start with, where I traumatised my primary school classmates with my interest in death.
One boy had said he wanted to hear something cool before I told him all about how, one day, the sun would swell up so enormously huge that it would engulf the earth, incinerating everything.
I did tell him not to worry. This would happen so far in the future we’d all be long dead anyway, me, and him, and his siblings, and his parents, and his extended family, and his dog… so really I don’t know why he went crying to the teacher about it at all.
Not in the least bit terrifying to a five year old.
At age six I was asked politely by my parents if I would like to visit the United States. It turned out that ‘visit’ was less ‘visiting’ and more ‘living there until you’re in double-digits.’
We moved to Beverly Hills. Michigan. I confess I was a bitter and vindictive child about the whole thing: I had a habit of declaring to my friends that I’d be gone any day now, when this year ended I would be gone, I’d be back home, they’d better not expect to see me around next year.
They were, however, a brilliant group of people, and we spent a lot of our time pretending to be dragons, constructing worm hospitals, and reading Tamora Pierce while sitting on the swings.
By the way, if you haven’t read Tamora Pierce, you probably should. Although most of her books are written for pre-to-early teens, they’re still brilliant: swords-and-magic fantasy with excellent female leads and without some of the irritating tropes that I always feel I’m risking whenever I pick up an unknown at the bookstore. She’s also an all-round excellent person.
We went to live in Hiroshima, Japan, after Michigan. I adored Japan. I liked the heat; I liked the insects; I liked the phonebook-sized manga compilations you could pick up at the local 7-Eleven; and I liked the cramped nature of the city, with lots of back alleyways and weird amalgamations of old buildings with new storeys stacked on top.
Once I peered down an alleyway not a metre and a half wide. There was a giant animatronic crab up on the wall, easily broader than the alleyway itself. To me that was, and remains, The Best Thing Ever.
I asked Google and this was the best it could find. Imagine this in an alleyway and it's not a bad
While I was in Japan, I experienced a seven-point-something earthquake while sitting in a concert hall. A girl was on stage playing the violin beside the grand piano, and slowly I became aware that the bouquet sitting on the piano’s lid had started keeping time.
Then the swaying became a judder and the whole place started to vibrate. We were the only dumb gaijin in there, and my parents were still looking around in confusion when everyone else had ducked under their chairs. I was bouncing in my seat having the best time ever.
My brother was out on the riverbank playing with friends when it happened, and missed that earthquake altogether because he was spinning in circles. He thought he was just dizzy.
Yes, it does run in the family.
Nowadays I’m back in the UK. My mother and I relocated to the Peak District relatively recently. As folk on Twitter may already know, courtesy of my damnit snow picture posts, this is a really beautiful place to live.
Things as they should be.
Things as they insist on being now.
It’s beneficial in some ways (feeling down, look out the window -> awed by the majesty of nature) and less so in others (being awed by the majesty of nature is my new form of procrastination). I’m also at the mercy of public transport out here, far from Proper Civilisation.
I will say one thing for public transport: it is brilliant for a writer. A lot of my blog posts and prose pieces are written while on the train; waiting for the train; or to calm the hell down after a train’s been cancelled at short notice, or a train’s smashed me with its door, or a conductor has given me the wrong ticket and refused to exchange the damn thing because he’s a massive cock-
BFFs, this and me.
I am pretty serious about my writing, at any rate. Although my run-ins with depression have led to some dry spells, I’ve been writing most days for the past, say, seventeen years? If I was a little better at not losing things, I imagine I’d have a combined word count numbering in the millions.
That’s a big ‘if’, mind you, because I am one of the most disorderly creatures on the planet. (Hyperbole? Alright, but only because hoarders exist – and I’m not one of them.) But I’m sure that’ll become apparent when day six rolls around, and you see the abomination that is my desk...
In the meantime, well, I hope this ramble has given you a better idea of who I am and why. I would just like to add: that header image. I found it in my photo folder, okay. It’s old. It made me laugh. Stop judging me.