Today’s blog song, The Fear, is not a new one but it is a good one. Ben Howard is a singer songwriter from England who’s first album Every Kingdom was just sensational, powerful and tense, and only got better with every relisten.
Life continues to be busy. Most of the time I’m of the mind that this is a good thing, although lately I’ve found myself rebelling against it; which is to say becoming sulky whenever I’m tired but still have to leave the house because past Damian has made commitments. I’m finding it hard to slice away some time to do my own things (like writing, like I am now, hi!) and haven’t felt that I’ve had a lot of time to myself lately. Basically, I’m an introvert who needs the occasional bout of D-time (Damian-time), and will contract a serious case of the grumps if I don’t get it.
Or in other words…
Summer’s partly to blame. Melbourne’s currently going through a period of annoyingly gorgeous weather that’s making everyone want to be social, no doubt in the mind of making hay while the sun shines (or in this case drink beer outside while the sun shines). I realise I’m complaining about how annoying it is that everyone wants to hang out with me all the time and drink beer in the sunshine, which I am, because I’m a monster. No, obviously it’s awesome to drink beer in the sun with all my favourite people (bar the ones that live overseas), still, there’s a part of me that’s looking forward to winter and having things quiet down a bit. I like the idea of locking myself up against the cold, wearing beanies, eating soup, getting some writing done, and drinking beer inside for a change. No doubt I’m romanticising it. I think ultimately it’s just a case of too much of a good thing, and perhaps not enough variety of social to solo.
Work continues to be the second part of this problem. Things have ramped up at the job I’ve decided to leave and it’s becoming insanely busy for me. It’s like all the time my position was cruisey, and all the work I didn’t have to do then, has condensed into these last few months, somehow knowing I’m planning to leave. It’s horrible karmic. As for the jobs I’ve applied for, I haven’t heard anything. This could be a good thing, or a bad thing, or nothing at all. I’m hoping it means they’re still thinking things through and that I could get an interview at any point. At the very least I still have hope, which is enough to see me through each day.
I recently finished Neil Gaiman’s View From the Cheap Seats, which is a selection of essays, novel introductions, and articles Gaiman has written across his career. I consumed it in audiobook version, often while riding to and from work, and internally referenced that time ‘Riding with Neil’. I now find it hard to read anything without hearing the words spoken in his melodic voice.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, far more than I was expecting. Gaiman is a favourite of mine, as he is to many, and so I knew that I was likely to enjoy this varied collection of his writing. What I wasn’t expecting was how inspired it would end up making me, especially towards my own writing. I found the combination of Gaiman’s quiet optimism and loud imagination meant that anytime after I went riding with Neil I had a score of ideas to write down and an urge to flesh them out immediately. Even when it was something as simple as an author description or an old newspaper article, Gaiman would use such imaginative words and imagery that my own imagination would flare into life and bombard me with visions and stories.
I also enjoyed the book on multiple levels. Since Gaiman includes so much of himself and his experiences into his writing it worked as an autobiography. In fact it even seems to be laid out that way, with the first few articles referencing his childhood and latter ones the progression of his career and home life. Gaiman also clearly loves writing and so often writes about writing, meaning the book also worked as a book on writing. The canny reader (or listener) could pull out a score of invaluable writing lessons from this collection, both on the act of writing and Gaiman’s approach to it. It also worked as a book on reading as it included Gaiman’s own clear love of reading (the quantity of books he’s alluded to have read is intimidating) and suggestions on other authors to read. Finally, it is quite simply good entertainment. With the subject matter being varied and wide but still shot through with similar themes and values.
I miss riding with Neil. However, I am in luck as he recently released a new series of stories, a collection depicting his interpretation of the Norse mythologies. I expect I’ll be back riding with Neil very soon. I highly suggest you do the same.
Remember; the story of Icarus isn’t a warning about flying too close to the sun, it’s about ensuring you’re properly prepared when you do.