May the 4th be with you!

I’m a fairly solid Star Wars fan, I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the extended universe and I’ve only seen one of the prequels, but I’m a fan and It’s always had a special place in my heart. I am fortunate enough that not far from where I live In the city of Newcastle, there is a Star Wars themed cafe called The Empire Coffee Co. It’s owned and operated by some members of the Southern Cross Garrison of the 501st legion. A wonderful charity full of Star Wars Cosplayers – if you are not aware of them or their work, which includes such moments as turning up to escort the girl dressed as Leia in these pictures to her year 6 formal – you can check out their website here.

Today, being May the 4th and international Star Wars day they had an event on. I went down with my kids to check it out and basically just wanted to share some of the photos I took. So here:

Writer Q&A Tag

 

I was tagged for this by my good friend Aila Stephens. You can find her Q&A here. Full disclosure that this is my second time being tagged in this particular game and am presumably now an honorary member of the blogging sisterhood. I’ve already answered one round of questions in this post ‘Click me’. But there were different questions this time and there’s nothing that says i can’t do another one, so there. Besides, they’re fun to do.

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog in your post.
2. Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided.
3. Nominate ten other bloggers (or up to 10)
4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nominations.

Aila’s questions

1.) What object is closest to the left of your computer and how could you use it in the zombie apocalypse?

Umm, it’s a mason jar cup with a candle inside it. I’m probably screwed. Why do i not keep a flamethrower in my living room for questions like these?

2.) You’re in the woods; it’s dark. Suddenly a branch cracks on the ground only a few feet behind you and all the little hairs on your neck stand at attention – what is the *first* thing you hope it isn’t going to be?

The anthropomorphized spirit of all of my ignored To-Do lists coming to hunt me down.

3.) What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Strawberry. I was the kid who ate all the strawberry out of the Neapolitan tub when everybody else went for chocolate. It is surprisingly difficult to find nice strawberry ice cream by the way. It’s an under appreciated flavour. I’m also partial to a good vanilla ice cream. ‘You say boring, I say Classic’.

4.) What known (doesn’t have to be well-known) superhero would you be, and which of their villains would you most want to face?

Not strictly a super hero because he doesn’t have special powers, but he’s been wearing purple tights and fighting baddies in comics since the 1930s. I would choose to be The Phantom, ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, milk drinking puncher of bad guys (I wanted one of those skull rings so badly when i was a kid). I read the comics religiously every week  and just – don’t talk to me about the movie okay?

Villains? I would totes want to face his old nemesis the Singh Brotherhood pirates.

phantom 1

 

5.) What charitable organization is closest to your heart, and why?

The Samaritans. Because their family support workers were invaluable to me when i was first dealing with becoming a single father.

6.) What is your absolute favorite thing about yourself?

The fact that i have grown and evolved a lot as a person in the last few years.

7.) What is your favorite season and why?

Early Autumn, when the weather is good to wear jeans and a t-shirt without being too hot or cold. Also Mid Summer because I love the summer storms that we get here on the East Coast (but I’m not a fan of the heat).

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Devastating charm and disarming wit. The ability to get up every day and keep going.

9.) What were your three favorite posters that hung in your bedroom as a teenager?

A poster of Sid Viscous from the Sex pistols playing bass.

An 80s poster of Samantha Fox in a leather biker outfit and impractical stiletto heeled boots.

One of those digital art trippy sphere posters that were so popular with stoners in the 90s.

 

10.) You’re a guest at a well-attended party, what are you most likely doing?

  • Being deeply involved in conversation with one or two people.
  • Wandering around awkwardly trying not to embarrass myself.
  • Hiding outside with a cigarette and using Twitter on my phone in order to look busy.

It took me a month to come up with 10 people to nominate last time, I’ll start with one and add to it later.

Sarah Mitchell Jackson of Running Without Slipping blog.

EDIT: Here are my questions that i forgot to put in 😛

  1. Do you believe in the “You must write every single day” ethos?
  2. What was the last book you read?
  3. How do you find balancing time to write with the rest of your life?
  4. Are you a Planner or a Pantser?
  5. What are you currently working on?
  6. How do you handle criticism of your work?
  7. When people ask the inevitable “what do you write about?” how do you respond?
  8. Who are the Writers you admire and why?
  9. How much of yourself is in any of your characters?
  10. Where do you write from? What fuels the stories you choose to tell and why?

 

 

In the company of #writers

About a year go i started using Twitter actively. I’ve had an account for ages, but my use before then was limited to logging in every few weeks or so and shouting some random stuff into the void. then I began to be active and actually interact with people and suddenly I understood why people liked this platform. The main area that I started connecting with people was via the #amwriting hashtag and through that I found the #1linewed game. Through that I met a whole bunch of other writers and found on Twitter a community that I have yet to find in my local community. That is a collection of awesome people who shared the same passion/madness for storytelling that I do. They have been a community that I felt encouraged and welcomed by. A collective group that has given me advice and helped me out when the words weren’t happening and I have done my best to pay this stuff forward.

Needless to say. finding a community of other writers has been beneficial for me. One of the biggest things that I have gotten out of having a group of other writers to talk to is the will to keep working on my dream of finishing and publishing my novel. Of getting my work out there. Which brings me to the point of why I started this post in the first place.

Early on the majority of the other writers that I knew were unpublished. I remember at times while reading snippets of countless peoples work thinking that it was like being in the middle of a heap of great novels while they were being written. In the last few months particularly I have seen quite a few of my writer friends cross the line to becoming published Authors. Some have gotten traditional publishing deals and some have taken the Independent publishing path, both of which have their own pros, cons and challenges. I don’t personally believe that either is better or worse, just different ways to get to the same goal. Having your book out there for people to read.

It is incredibly gratifying for me to see my friends take that next step. I get really excited when i see somebody post about it and I just want to share that love basically. Because one of the things that i really believe in is that as writers we should support each other and not see each other as competition or any kind of bullshit like that.

So, this is me taking a moment to say congratulations and thank you and to encourage all of you to keep on doing what you are doing.

 

 

Me and My Monster.

[I originally posted this about a year and a half ago before taking it down for a while for personal reasons. I have decided that i want it to remain here, so i am reposting with some light editing to the original.]

Me and my monster have a complex relationship.

Some days we get along, walk side by side and not bother each other. Sometimes I track it down and dance with it, even make the occasional joke about it. Some days it’s like it isn’t even there and if it wasn’t for my memories I could feel like it didn’t exist. But some days it kicks my feet from underneath me without warning and I have to scream and fight inside to drag myself up off the ground. Sometimes it bides its time and sneaks up on me slowly and it is not until I am nearly suffocating in its grip that I realise what is happening.
I think it must be hard to understand sometimes from the outside even by people who know. Because I have stages where it doesn’t hinder me and I get things done and seem to have my life together for a bit. Then there are other times when I’m not so well and it drags me down. Times when it can be an effort to do even the most basic things to keep life ticking over and I struggle just to get through to the end of the day without curling up into a ball somewhere.

I live with something and sometimes I call it my monster. I could say that I have a mental illness, but that isn’t correct; even though most people seem to think of it that way. I live with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD isn’t an illness; it isn’t something that just occurs randomly. It has a definite cause. It is a psychiatric injury. One that was inflicted upon me by another person during my childhood and kept in darkness until I first told another soul about it at the age of thirty-two.

Unacknowledged, it shaped my life from an unseen vantage point until I peeled back the layers of smothered memories and confronted it. A process that required the help and guidance of others and I doubt that I would have managed it left to my own devices. Even though I have done that, I still live with it and the legacy it wrought across the twenty-five years of my life where its effects shaped the filter through which I saw the world. Learning how to deal with it and not let it control and define me is a constant part of my life.

But I have chosen this path, because for most of my adult life I lived inside a dissociative bubble and felt nothing real at all. No emotions beyond surface reactions, I was numb from the inside out. Now I feel emotion. Some days it is far too much for me to handle as twenty-five years’ worth of repressed feelings leak their way out and threaten to drown me. I struggle with the curse of feeling too much, but it is better than not feeling anything.

Because that is not living at all.

 

Why blog?

Well, here it is. My first post.
I had some grand ideas that my first piece would be some solid literary soliloquy exploring why it is that in my mid 30s I am still pursuing the idea of being a writer and i was going to talk about the authors that i hold in high regard and share some thoughts on writing as a craft that i have found useful and inspiring over the years.
Instead, at the moment i feel my thoughts turning much more internally and i fell that i may be about to delve a little further into my head than i originally intended.

I write because it is one of the pieces of me that i am sure of and i should explain why that is such a big deal. the name of my blog comes from the phrase “coat of many colours” comes from the view of myself as a person and i think how everybody is. Imagine each part of your personality, your likes, dislikes and all of the things that make you who you are and see each of those pieces as a different coloured swatch of fabric. They are then all combined together to make a coat that you wear as who you are.

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