Practice Makes Perfect

Writing, much like any other creative pursuit is a matter of practice.  The more you write the better you get, that doesn’t necessarily translate into success of course.  Being good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be mega successful, it just means you’re good at it…obviously.

I have recently been a little lax in my writing, I’d like to say there’s a good reason for this; but there isn’t.  Frankly, I’ve just been lazy and playing on my X-Box too much.  This is a common problem for me and I need to be more disciplined.  I’m not going to get better if I’m not writing.

Naughty Tom!

This is all going to change, I’m re-releasing Brogan and the Bandit King and so there are many things to do.  New content needs to be to finished and inserted, artwork needs to be commissioned and an editing process needs to be undertaken, amongst other things.  I need to save the money to pay for most of the things that need doing as of course.

I’ve personally always found writing to be easy, when I’m in the mood the words just flow on to the page.  The editing and promotional process however I find to be incredibly intimidating and mind numbingly tedious in equal measure.  Talking myself up is not something I find to be a natural thing, I don’t know if it’s my inner Englishman pushing through, or whether I just lack the personality traits required to big myself up.  It’s all so very difficult.

Still, like the old saying goes; nothing worth doing is ever easy.

People are awesome…

Well it’s done now.

I left my old job of eleven years on Friday, it did not go as planned.  I had always imagined my last day in that office to go something like this.  I was going to finish my last piece of work and then having managed to negotiate my last day I would leap out of the window, fireworks erupting all over the show as I cartwheeled off across the carpark to the train station and home.  I jest of course, but my last day was going to be something like that.

Not so.

I had asked my good friend Zog to not make a fuss on my last day, not to do a collection as is customary for someone leaving there so I could avoid a last-minute presentation as everyone gathered around to wish me farewell.  If truth be told, the nature of my job didn’t give me the impression that I would be popular enough to pull together much more than £5.  Despite that I suspected shenanigans, so I got in mind what I was going to say if it came to it, I’m manly enough to not get emotional I thought.

Zog had, as it quickly became apparent, pulled a fast one and collected some money together.  People started gathering around my desk, a fair few people it had to be said.  A short presentation from Zog later and it was my turn, I opened the card first, this was a mistake.  In the card, which was plastered with signatures from people wishing me well was a wedge of cash to the tune of £100.  It didn’t take long for my usual stoic façade to start to crumble, though it was nice it wasn’t the amount of money that got me, it was the gesture.

All I had to do was hold it together long enough to give a short speech and that was it, I failed.  To say I fluffed my lines would be an understatement, everything I had planned to say disappeared out of my head the moment I opened the card.  I mumbled a few words about much appreciated what they’d done and that sort of thing.  Frankly, I couldn’t tell you exactly what I said, my focus was to get through it without breaking my cool manly exterior.  I don’t think I succeeded on that front, based on how much my hands were shaking and how little I remembered I can say with certainty I didn’t in fact.

What’s the point of this blog post, if truth be told I’m not sure it has any deeper meaning.  I just thought it was a tremendous act of kindness from my former work colleagues that should be mentioned.  They are a tremendous bunch of people and I will always cherish my time with them.

In short, I love you guys, you’re awesome and your immense generosity never ceases to amaze me.  Stay awesome my friends.

The Arts: All Things To All People

The arts.

I think their importance to people’s lives is often underestimated.  They have the power to inspire, to give people the opportunity to escape or appreciate something beautiful.  For people such as myself who aren’t blessed with an overabundance of money, the arts provide an opportunity to see things and places that we may not otherwise see.  To bear witness to events that have long since passed from living memory, to see great and wondrous things that have long since crumbled to dust.

They allow us to order our thoughts and document our own lives, as well as the lives of others.  They allow us to see into the minds of great figures from history, to see how they viewed themselves compared to how their contemporaries viewed them.  They allow us to delve into the collective psyche of nations, to see how they developed and to follow their eventual decline.  They allow us to see the better side of humanity, whether it be music, literature, or any of the other methods of human expression, the importance of the arts cannot be overstated.

Having said all of that, it also allows us to see the ugly side of humanity.  For as long as the arts have existed, they have been used to inspire people to some of the most heinous acts imaginable.  People have used them to espouse hateful political ideologies, leading to some of the worst atrocities in human history.  They have been used to craft policies leading to the oppression and suffering of entire groups of people, for no greater reason than the colour of their skin, their religious and/or political beliefs, their gender or any number of arbitrary reasons of little, to no relevance in judging the worth of a person.

We can be unbelievable shits to each other sometimes, when inspired by a picture, a film, or a piece of music we can react in some of the worst ways imaginable to one another.  But we can also be beautiful, I have been privileged in my life to have witnessed some of the most touching acts of kindness from people in situations little better than the person they are helping.

People have tremendous capacity.  Whatever we choose to create and whatever effect it has, I’d rather have a world of boundless creative possibilities than the alternative.

My mind has been racing with thoughts such as these lately, so expect more such musings.  In the meantime, stay classy world!

A change is as good as a rest…

Life has a funny habit of springing surprises on you.

I think back ten months to last June and I remember how settled everything felt.  I was working in the same place I’d been working in for eleven years, working on the same job I’d been working on for eight years and working with the same group of people I’d been working with for six years.  There didn’t seem to be anything new on the horizon, everything seemed like it would remain the same for another year.  Indeed, despite my January resolution to be in a better situation at the end of the year than I was at the start, I looked on course to be worse off if anything.

From my viewpoint, everything seemed to start going tits-up* around the end of June.  My friend Chris, who had been my wingman for the better part of five years, announced he had gotten promotion and was going to be moving to a new office.  Now, being a man I did not do anything so unmanly as shed a tear, but when he eventually departed it did feel like my left arm** had been cut off.  Another of my colleagues left around the same time, a further colleague with whom I had worked for the last eight years retired at the end of December and now, this Friday another of my close friends is going to be departing for fairer shores.  Finally, to round it all off my team got moved to a new section, they’re all really nice people up there, but I was sorry to leave behind my old section as we were made to feel unbelievably welcome there.

Now you’re probably thinking something along the lines of how that’s a lot of change for one year.***  Well yes it is, but I’m not done.  As anyone who has been reading this humble blog will know I applied for a new job recently, well I got the new job.  So, finally it’s my time to move to something new and that was essentially what caused me to write this post.

It’s a bit of a corny and overused cliché oftentimes, but for me this is the end of an era.  Not all my friends have gone from my current team and I will be sorry to leave those behind who are still there.  When you work with the same group of people for so long you get used to their foibles, come to appreciate the peculiarities**** of your workmates.  I spent upwards of eight hours a day with some of these fine people and it is going to be hard to leave them, that’s going to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced in there.

Change, it’s never easy, but it’s not always bad either.  For me this has come at the right time in my life, I have so many things I want to do and for that I need to be closer to home, as well as have more money available to me.  This accomplishes both of those things.

All I need to do now is make it through the next few weeks without breaking my cool manly exterior.

*Gone wrong.
**I’m left handed, my right arm would have been easier to lose, metaphorically speaking of course.
***You’re probably not actually thinking that, but for the purposes of my blog you are, so shut up and think it!
****They are incredibly peculiar sometimes.  Not like me, I’m perfectly normal.