15.12.14 (Day 358)
In seven days time I’ll have been out on the road for a year and I’m feeling reflective.
The last year is one I’d rather forget and one I regret in some respects. In other ways though, the year just past holds many fond memories and reasons to be thankful. Most of those reasons are the people I’ve met and the experiences we’ve shared.
As well as the current host family, there were The Pink Hearts. Some of them are still around and remain close to my heart. Some of them say I helped them: I was just being me. Some say I helped them grow up: they were just around me. Others I gave nick names, which have stuck. Two of them have their own blogs:
The Fold-up one: http://www.foldupone.wordpress.com
Best friends and sisters to each other; adopted daughters to me. My two book ends, whom I love deeply.
My relationship with the book ends and other teenage girls is frowned upon by some. The age difference between us is considered inappropriate. Why? There isn’t now and never has been anything untoward going on. To them I’m a father figure. To me, they and others are the closest I have to daughters (and I have sons) whilst I’m not able to see my own kids. And the people who think the relationships inappropriate think that way because they had the very thought themselves. A little like those who disapprove of breast feeding because they see it as being sexual. It’s the doubters who think wrongly.
Then there’s the other daughter: the one who’s also known as The Wife. She might as well be, given how close we are. But again, what some suspect is not the case. Ours is a marriage of mutual convenience. I love her too.
And of course, my sister The Courts. She who is usually there for me if she’s not being wayward or in trouble. Love you sis.
Bridges have been burned and rebuilt this year. Some have then been burned again. I’ve had my fingers burnt, my collar felt; been bottled, throttled, got into fights and all the rest that’s documented in this blog, which serves as a permanent reminder of that which I’d rather forget sometimes but which also includes fond memories.
Fires have been lit and fought with gasoline; there have been explosions, literally and actually. So much has gone on and it’s true to say it’s been a year that changed me; for the better I believe. I’m certainly better off knowing the people I’ve met, especially those that have stuck around.
Besides the book ends, there are my other best friends: Meg and Nettie, who’ve been there throughout. And Matt, who’s always in the background but who sometimes steps to the fore with a helping hand. A man after my own heart, we’re chalk and cheese and opposites repel but also attract.
Someone who must remain nameless has reappeared on the horizon. Someone who was the love of a lost life. They know who they are as they read this. I carry a candle for this person and I don’t need this blog to remind me of them when I look back. When I look back, I may even be with this person. I’ve been there before.
Back to today and there is much to do: doctors to see, drugs to collect, authorities to battle, food to cook, a week to plan in the diary and writing assignments to complete. Once all that’s done, I shall permit myself some time to play with Little Blue II, the name of the tablet computer which has replaced Little Blue. No-one can accuse me of not being imaginative.
Like Little Blue, Mk II is running my life. I’ve got so much stuffed into this little Android that I would be lost without it. Tonight we shall play some poker (not going so well) and lay down further gauntlets to the host family playing games. Current favourites are the Asteroids mode in PewPew (my high score: 20’000) and Galaga Special Edition (my high score: 2’994’000). Both games are downloadable at least for Android and they’re free. Gauntlets laid.
I’ve installed MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) on the droid and I’ve got a Bombjack ROM. Top score: just over 1’000’000 and once ninth best globally, as officially recognised by Twin Galaxies International.
It would seem that my writing talent has gained some recognition too, with the acceptance of my two latest short stories for publication on Schlock (www.schlock.co.uk). Previously my work has been self-published on this blog, on Booksie and on ABC Tales. Self-publishing online is a little like what used to be called vanity publishing in print but it does serve a purpose: it allows the writer to garner feedback and critique from their peers. A lot of writing on self-publishing sites is poor and wouldn’t gain publication anywhere else. Mine has been noticed though and recognised as having merit. As such, The Paradox of Shadows is due to appear on Schlock in the next issue on 28th December and The Paradox of Reflection will be in the following issue.
Schlock is an e-zine only platform (the content is pretty niche) and doesn’t pay. What it does for the author however is give them exposure. The site has several thousand hits per issue; far more interested parties than are likely to read self-published work and readers specifically interested in the kind of work published by the site: dark fiction. Publishing is an incredibly competitive business and unless a writer is very lucky or is fortunate enough to have an agent, seeing your work in print and getting paid for it is elusive and rare. E-zines like Schlock though serve as a springboard. The writing that appears on niche sites like Schlock has literary merit because it’s been chosen by an editor. It’s the literary equivalent of being noticed and gaining a place in the audition stages of a talent show. The hope then is to be noticed by a talent scout, or an agent or publisher in the case of writing. All of this in addition to my work being included in an exhibition staged by The Royal Society of Arts. I can do it and I will do it.
I also can and will cook, for up to 40 diners this coming Thursday. The cooks are booked, the kitchen reserved, the food bought and the staff commandeered. Now it’s down to me to put on a good show, impress my potential customers and hopefully gain some future business. Flyers and business cards are at the ready and over the last few days I’ve built a personal website self-promoting myself as both writer and chef: http://www.stevelaker.net; I know, I’m pretty.
This time next year Rodders…
After much competitive playing of Asteroids Mode on PewPew with my best mate Meg, a new high score: 25’428. My score I might add.