Thursday, 18 September 2014

SHOUT! SHOUT! LET IT ALL FUCKING OUT!

Do you ever just want to scream and shout? Does it ever simply get too much and your head feels like it's going to explode even harder than your guts? The world around you is a shit pile of inequality, injustice and cruelty. You're punch drunk from the spite and venom bandied about like ever cheaper supermarket booze. It's appalling but you keep plodding on while idiots thrive, and you quietly seethe - because for your voice to be heard over the clamour of the ignorant would take a fucking miracle. You try to move forward but some folks just won't let you, they want to keep you in the predictable pigeonhole they've fashioned for you ("this is what you are, we have decided") and want to watch you slowly drown in their blinkered juice of judgement. Then someone goes and pisses you off but you know it doesn't really matter. After all, it says more about them than you, but you're still annoyed so what does that say about you if you can't just get over it and move on? Does it mean you're a nut job? In the wrong? WHAT?!

A few things have been playing on my mind for a while now. Trouble is, I don't really want to talk about them because they are totally self-indulgent and utterly pointless (and apparently a source of abundant adjectivity). I've been torturing myself about shit I should either have forgotten about by now (it's not like I do that all the time…) or not allowed to get to me because it's out of my hands… and yet… my brain doesn't work like that. Every slight and injustice imagined or otherwise plays on my mind like a stuck fucking record and I'm tired of it. Shining a light on them will give them a validity they have no right to, yet they remain, chipping at my temper like squirrelly little brain bastards. Well, I'm not going to take it anymore. That's right, Brain, you're getting purged, son! My good sense pipes aren't going to buckle, but some steam is going to be blown. I'm going to YELL. REALLY FUCKING LOUD. I'm allowed to do that on the internet, right?

I WANT TO RAGE AND KICK STUFF AND SHOUT ABOUT HOW UNFAIR IT IS. I WANT TO KICK NICE IN THE FACE AND TEAR DOWN THE BLANKET OF APATHY THAT'S SMOTHERING US ALL. I WANT TO NUT CONFORMITY RIGHT IN ITS DROOPY FUCKING CHOPS AND WAVE MY BARE ARSE AT WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO THINK AND HOW I'M SUPPOSED TO BEHAVE. I WANT TO SCREECH "HOW FUCKING DARE YOU, YOU BLOW HOLE", AND IF YOU ACTUALLY HAD BOLLOCKS I'D KICK THEM RIGHT IN THE SWEET SPOT AND LAUGH AS YOUR EYES POPPED OUT OF YOUR SORRY EXCUSE FOR A SKULL. I'D WAVE MY FIST AT THE SKY AS I RANT ABOUT HOW BLOODY PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN MINIMISE OTHERS, HOW THEY THINK THEY CAN TELL THEM WHAT'S WHAT WITHOUT AN IF, BUT OR MAYBE, WITHOUT EVEN CONDESCENDING TO MAKE ANY APOLOGY (BECAUSE IT'S NOT LIKE THEY DID ANYTHING WRONG AT ALL) AND TOTALLY NULLIFYING SOMEONE'S VALID RESPONSE TO BALLACHING SHITDICKERY. WELL, FUCK YOU, TINY DANCER, FUCK YOU AND YOUR KIND IN THE BRAIN PAN AND UPSIDE THE DITCH PIPE AND I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY BEING A BALLBAG FOR ETERNITY. I HOPE YOU CRY AT NIGHT FOR BEING SUCH A SUPERCILIOUS ARSEHOLE. MAY YOUR BREATH EVER BE FULL OF THE SPORES OF SATAN AND ONE BY ONE YOUR TEETH FALL OUT AS YOUR GUMS RECEDE INTO YOUR NASAL PASSAGE, BUT MOSTLY I HOPE YOUR HAIR IS GREASY, YOUR SKIN BLOTCHY AND YOUR ARSE SPOTTY. REALLY. FUCKING SPOTTY.

FUCK THIS SHIT.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That was nice. You should try it. Most therapeutic. I feel a lot fucking better. Now, it's your turn...

Monday, 1 September 2014

OCD - it's not all cleaning your oven or checking your pegs...

Read this first
http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5524041?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

It drives me mad when people say "It's just my OCD acting up" - and there are so many of them. I have little real humour about OCD (which is odd because I'll laugh at most anything, not like a hyena or owt though…) and it's not  right that OCD has become something of a cultural joke, a denotative shorthand for "this chap's got problems"; FYI it's a real fucking thing that can cripple you.

My OCD isn't the same as the person's who wrote the article; mine's all inappropriate thoughts and having to control and rank thoughts etc (for want of a better explanation). It's internalised. It's one of the reasons I stare into space a lot, my mind's busy evening its shit up and making sure I'm not transgressing with my evil brain skills. I habitually have trouble sleeping and have done since I was a child because of the relentless thoughts and worries - and I mean "relentless". It never stops. I often feel quite nervous around people and that comes across via the glorious medium of Babble (imagine the creaking, straining seams of my mind machine when that happens!).

I've had a recurring nightmare since I was little (it probably started around 5 years old). In it my evil smile would kill people. I'd get out the pearly whites, intending to be nice to folks, but it would dazzle them into oblivion. The only way I could stop it was to control my thoughts really hard before I smiled and that's how I feel in real life. I'm constantly fighting to keep things the right way up, to stem my terrible influence and turn it into something people (including me) won't be hurt by. That's OCD. That's how long I've lived with it. It's why I haven't always been able to go out when people ask, to be who they want me to be, or bend with their plans and ideals just because they think I should (this is one of the good things about my OCD, if you ask me). I've had run ins about that and at no time have I had any understanding. They don't see it (they don't want to, I'm happy old Chlo who gets everything she wants, what problems do I have?) and it's exhausting. All that said, I'm winning. I've worked hard at it and I. Have. Control. I know how to work around my triggers and how to deal with my thoughts both compassionately and firmly. Something I once wasn't sure I'd ever learn how to do. I'm lucky. Surviving OCD has made me stronger, given me more backbone than I realise and made me want to kick life up the arse. NO APOLOGIES NO SURRENDER! In your face OCD, you dickless gonad.

Listening to people claim OCD as though it's an inconvenience and not a grinding burden is insulting. It makes light of something that has weighed many of us down for a very long time and has stopped me being the person I might have been. Mind you, saying that, it has made me the person I am and that person isn't so bad. It's taken a long time for me to say that… I will have to do a few "who do you think you ares" to even it out though. Everything costs something with OCD. Feel lucky that you don't have it, be happy you're a neat freak.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Don't Say What You See Because You're Probably Wrong, Fool.

Despite myself, I’m often curious about how others see me. I’m not sure if it matters to me if others like me or not - after all I don’t bend my walk to suit other people, I was born with this gait - but I’m nosey and in constant need of reassurance (I can admit that, m’lud. I just need to learn to reassure myself is all) Well, be careful what you wish for… Recently, someone told me, unsolicited, that I'm incredibly lucky because I, unlike them and others who chipped in, have no anxiety or stress in my life. Not one stitch. I don't have a job, no children, no responsibilities and a husband who does absolutely everything for me. It would seem that I am a happy-go-lucky dependent puff of cloud on a summer's day, a solar-powered duck sailing across the ever-sunny waters of life on the buoyancy aids of my husband (not his balls). 

I mean, look at me. A jolly airhead, bobbing merrily along while everyone else is out there making tough choices. What have I ever had to deal with? Easy Street Central, that’s my HQ, son. Heaven forfend that anyone should stop to consider that we’ve designed our lives so I can avoid as much stress and anxiety as I choose for very good reasons. Why should anyone believe for one second that our choices and decisions, although different from theirs, have been just as hard-fought and hard-won? Don't get me wrong, I know I'm lucky. I'm married to someone who loves me unconditionally and is the best friend I've ever had, but it's not a one-way street. I gave my dreams up twice for Mr Y. It's not something I regret, but it's not something I would happily recommend. It’s been hard, but it was my choice, I just didn't know it was going to rob me of what little self-esteem I had (don't worry folks, the barrels are refilling even as we speak). I made a choice, it had consequences, I dealt with them (mostly). So when people tell me I have it easy, I get offended. 

Assumptions. People make them and being offended by them isn’t useful, not one bit. Usually I’d be all “whatever, love”, but I’m surprised how much it’s bothered me this time. It’s far from the first time I’ve been labeled like this or been made to feel this way. I’ve encountered an awful lot of people, some from a perilously young age, who’ve wanted to impress upon me that I’m not as important as them, that while I have it easy they have to endure and battle through life and I’m “less” somehow because of that. I wonder what it is about me that makes other people want to quash me, to put me back in my box where I belong, to reinforce upon me that I should know my "place". Is it because I’m different and I need to be catalogued into the Great Library of Normality for the ease of others? Or is it that I am, in fact, simply GLORIOUS and they can’t handle that shit?

It’s both, isn’t it? ;)

It's true, I don't have a regular job. I don't have children (not entirely by choice either, so some sensitivity would be appreciated on occasion), and I married an absolutely splendid man. I couldn't ask for a better partner in life, but he is just that - a PARTNER. We're in it together, we make it work together. One oar and it's circles, baby. The fact is our lives are dictated by the choices and decisions we make. Just because my decisions have designed a life very different from my peers, doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable. Just because I don’t have children, doesn’t mean I don’t have responsibilities. Just because I don’t have a “job”, doesn’t mean I don’t work. People should take my self-deprecation and smart mouth a little less literally, perhaps. All this I know. So why am I so bothered? Is it because I'm sitting here, trying to force a novel and a book of stories out of my tiny recalcitrant brain onto the page but deep down I'm wondering why I have the cheek to think I can? That something in me is saying "yeah but it's YOU, Chloë. Why do you think you're entitled to even try? And who would read that shit anyway?" Then someone comes along and tells me how easy I've got it and my brain breaks a little. 

Maybe it's all that… or maybe it's that I'm tired of listening to this shit, both the outside voices and the inside one that makes me crazy. It's not my voice (it's not the voice of Ethel Merman either, so don't worry, I don't need those pills again) it's the cumulative voice of all those inconsiderate ballbags who are oblivious to the hurt their flippantly ill-considered and ill-informed assumptions can cause. Especially one ballbag, maybe two. Well, I've let them roll around in my head, dictating my humility, for far too fucking long. DON'T LISTEN, CHLOË! YOU KNOW YOU SHOULDN'T, SO DON'T (who said that? *looks around*)

Assumptions are dangerous and, along with their weapon, the sweeping statement, they can suck the chutzpah right out of a fella. Be careful with your assumptions, they'll not only hurt others but, in someone else's eyes, they make you look a right fucking tit. Listening to assumptions and thinking they matter is the only thing worse than righteously delivering your own, so FUCK THAT SHIT. Now. Right now. 

You may go.



Monday, 12 May 2014

Bloghopgasm! Three Things I Don’t Write (and Three Things I Do)

 My first BlogHop! The delightful Ruth Booth has kindly tagged me, along with Neil Williamson and Jennifer Williams, so that I can test the waters of this brave new world. Check out Ruth’s bloghoppy installment here: http://www.ruthbooth.com/2014/05/bloghop-three-things-i-dont-write-and-three-things-i-do/ 
One wee caveat before we begin. Like Ruth I’m not entirely sure what I do or don’t write. I just write. When people ask me what I write, I reply “stories” and they think I’m being facetious. I’m not. I write whatever comes into the old brainpan and I’ll give pretty much anything a go. In fact, I’m currently thinking about some gothic Bunty/Enid Blyton Space Opera Erotica fan fiction… Onwards!



Three Things I Don’t Write.
1. Hard SF
It’s not because I don’t want to, I simply don’t know enough sciencey stuff to make it any good. I’ve not read a great deal of it either, so in many ways I’m ill-equipped. All that said, I am partial to a spot of Arthur C. Clarke and I was brought up by a pack of feral Astronomers, so the stars and the great dark depths of space have always been a fascination for me, so maybe one day…

2. Time Travel – I don’t know if this comes under the umbrella of Hard SF or not, but I’m guessing it doesn’t entirely. Time travel makes my brain hurt. Hurt, I tell you! Paradoxes and timelines and all that business panic the tiny goblins that operate my cerebral cogs and throw them into riot. And then they die. Bad times. There are so many possibilities and problems with time travel; when would you travel to? Would you go backwards or forwards in time? Wait though! Can you simply travel backwards or forwards, or is it more complicated than that? Hang on, what about diseases? Would you really want to go to Elizabethan England and catch a nice dose of the plague or smallpox? And what about where you wind up, geographically speaking? What if you land in the middle of an old building you didn’t know existed before and you get bricks up the wazoo? And then there’s the small (!) matter of paradoxes (I can’t even get my head around most of that business) and of the potential, not to mention multitudinous, consequences of changing even the tiniest thing. Lordy! I’m confused enough just getting up in the morning…

3. Children’s Fiction – I swear too much. I have to learn not to because I’d quite like to have a crack at children’s fiction and, indeed, some YA. Why not, I say? And then a fuck or a bollock trips out of my fingers and my hopes are dashed. One day, sensei, one day.

Three Things I Do Write.


1. My Own Worlds – I don’t set stories exclusively in invented worlds, but I confess that I prefer mine to the “real” one. I’m a control freak and live (at least part-time) in the delusion that I am The Mighty Warrior Empress-Mage of All Time and Space, so creating a world from the ground up appeases a little of my wannabe-megalomaniac tendencies. The characters are my minions and I their overlord… okay, maybe not that because my characters seem to do whatever the fuck they like. Quite rude.
In addition, it’s like Jake Chambers says, right before his second death in Stephen King’s The Gunslinger, "Go, then. There are other worlds than these." There are. I’m sure of it and if I can’t visit them, I’m going to grow my own.

2. Mental Health – You drop the old MH bomb and people visibly quell. Still. Which is probably why it’s something I’d like to explore more. My story “Maggie and the Cat” http://www.terranullius.it/home/index.php/rubriche/75-etemenanki-no-subtitles/540-maggie-and-the-cat-chloe-yates.html was one of my favourites to write so far. I wrote it with the work of Leonora Carrington in mind (albeit very loosely). I wanted to convey the disconnection, confusion and uncertainty of something like depression, how it can cloud your actions and thoughts and how, furthermore, the selfish ballbaggery of others can compound the anxieties you are already dealing with. The absurdities and unexpected juxtapositions that are central facets to surrealism seem like ideal tools to blur those kinds of lines.
Mental health is a difficult subject to write about in a way that doesn’t overload the reader with sanctimonious solemnity. I’d like to write about the experience of having a mental health problem without it having to be an exemplar of inspirational dogma. Sometimes we can be crazy and just be crazy. We can’t be fixed, but we do deal. Sometimes the lesson, if there is one, is simply the experience itself.

3. Swear words – I like to swear and that’s a fact. Cursing instantly conveys visceral emotion that can lack punch with “ordinary” words.  Besides, swear words are as much a part of our language as any other kind of word – denying that denies a rich folk heritage of cussing. I like to be creative with my swearing – no word is ever thrown in just for the sake of it. I think about it hard and look for the right word at the right time. When I can’t find the right one, I make that shit up. Of course, I understand some people don’t like it, I’m not an idiot, but sticks and stones, baby. They’re just words. As long as they’re not directed at a real live someone in a vicious way, they’re not going to crush your soul or steal your sweets. There’s already plenty enough to get upset about in this world. (PS. Not every story I write is a cuss fest. Check them out for yourself and where you can get hold of them at www.chloeyates.com)

Right, that's enough of my blather. I’m tagging my fellow skulk members, Alec McQuay and James Bennett, who are both excellent writers and genuinely decent human beans.

Alec McQuay is a horror, fantasy and science fiction writer hailing from Cornwall in the south-west of England; an area renowned for natural outstanding beauty and the worst internet connections in the country. Capable of going off at odd tangents, bizarre flights of fantasy and generally being incapable of taking things like bio-writing seriously, Alec spends most of his time scribbling notes and ideas on his phone and talking the ears off his wife and friends about whatever mad-cap scheme he intends to write next. Alec’s novella  ‘Spares’ is already available and his debut novel, the steampunk adventure ‘Emily Nation’ will be released in 2014. You can find Alec’s blog at http://alecmcquay.wordpress.com/

James Bennett is a British writer of fantasy, horror and the odd contemporary fable. He and I shared our first public reading together last year and I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. For further information, and to find where and how you can read his work, check out James’s blog at http://jamesbennett72.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Social Media is not the scourge of our Age.

Why do people keep sharing that bloody awful poem about how social media isn't social and blah blah blah? What deliberately heart-twanging bollocks! It's not as simple as that, as nothing is. Social media can give isolated people a way to communicate. It can appease loneliness, despite what he says, help you make connections you might never have had the chance to make. Kids weren't playing outside all day every day a long time before social media reared its head. Do you think there weren't lonely people before or aren't now in spite of it? A lot of people I know in real life don't know the "real me", a great many of them don't care either. It's like anything else, a handy thing to blame, a source for our excuses.



Friday, 14 February 2014

Valenshizzle

St Valentine's Day is made up. Chaucer made it up. He laid down a lesson for Shakespeare in how to appropriate shizzle and roll it into a nice big ball of something new(ish). Check out the Prof's excellent blog post on St Valentine's Day  https://medium.com/p/566e369a0f4dLove Is Not All She ain't wrong.

Personally, I loathe all the hoopla and expectation of St Valentine's. It's so false and utterly in opposition to what love is. Presents and flowers and showing off to your mates about them seems ugly. "How many Valentine's cards did you get?" is usually a question someone who got a load asks someone who they know didn't get any. That's a proper loving and not at all accumulative or spiteful way to approach it. ("Fuck off" is the appropriate reply to that question, btw) I have lots of single friends, almost none of whom seem unhappy with their lot. I have quite a few married and long-term committed friends, some of whom certainly seem like they'd at least like to have a look at that grass over there, some of whom I have no idea at all why they stay together. The pretence of Valentine's day merely papers over their cracks.

Romantic love is not an illusion. It exists. It isn't, however, something that flourishes under acquisitive temperaments. I don't think I've ever thought I'm better than someone else because of my relationship with Mr Y, I've only ever felt fucking lucky for what we have. That's enough. It doesn't need bombast and swagger. And it's not even all there is out there. There's so many different kinds of love, and each one should be valued.

So take it easy with the puffed chests and, conversely, the misery. After all, love is not all -

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Friday, 31 January 2014

My Six Nations post *warning SPORT related

Ha! Reading the predictions for the Six Nations Championship in the Guardian is always a "treat". Funny how they pretty much go for their own countries. Me? I don't know. I think it could be almost anyone's.

France aren't quite as strong as they should be and they have the disability of the sometimes disastrous Saint-Andre at the helm (why oh why would you choose him over Gaulthier, French Rugby people? Tell me he didn't want it, please tell me that!), but there's always the Toulouse factor to consider (watch out for Louis Picamoles - he's one of the very best back row players in the world at the moment. I'd love to see him play alongside Richie McCaw… That should put the kibosh on him then. Sorry in advance, Louis) and Wesley Fofana is on fire at the mo.

Wales? They've got a difficult draw (like we had last year) so who knows? Just because no one's done three in a row for a while, doesn't mean they can't. They're probably the most established and (hopefully) settled team in the tournament, so why not? They can play some beautiful rugby when they get their shit together and they certainly know how to win these days.

Ireland? I'm tempted to say no but I think that's dangerous. I never discount them and neither should you. They put the frighteners on the All Blacks in the Autumn (even more than the English did) and it's O'Driscoll's final tournament. Bod is the man, the single best player in the professional era, in my opinion. If anyone can pull it off, he can.

Scotland? They're improving (funnily enough since Robinson's been gone. Can I get an "amen"?). They had a pretty good autumn series (a good win against Japan and two losses, but I'm talking about the playing rather than results) and they did come third last year - above France and Ireland.

Italy? To be honest, I'm not sure what's going on with them at the moment but I'll be interested to see some of the young players from the Top 14 in there. They can surprise you when you least expect it.

As for England, I never assume anything. There's quite a few newbloods in the squad and Lancaster has finally got rid of Ashton for the French fixture. Let's hope he's not knee-jerked back in there too quickly if things go wrong. The Vunipola brothers can be thrilling to watch (especially Billy), Farrell seems settled in at 10, and our back row is once again an embarrassment of riches even without Tom Croft. Let's hope they fire. We need to sort out our back line. We need some slippery little suckers who can cut defences up and not run into them and wonder why lying flat on their backs in the mud. Invention, boys, it's all about invention. More than anything, I hope Joe Lauchbury has a fabulous tournament. He's a Wasp and I'm a Wasp until I die.

Fact is, these days I know more about the French Top 14 than I do of the Premiership. It's difficult for me when France and England play because part of me has an investment with our cousins across the ditch (The Yatesies are Toulouse fans). Still, England need to find their form and their team. World Cup's next year and it's at home. Better hurry, Mr Lancaster.