Friday, 30 August 2013

Daphne Guinness and The Creative Thunderbolt

HEY, I've been inundated by bright ideas. I have longed and longed for a grown-up, adult novel I could write and ~~ KAPOWW!!! ~~ last night the vision struck me like a thunderbolt!

Yes, I'm still working on the children's book. But my problem with kiddies' writing is that it's about four times as difficult as writing for adults. When I'm on form, I can knock out a page of adult fiction about as quickly and easily as I can write a personal letter. But children's stuff is much harder for me. You have to be more succinct. More captivating. More everything. And I realized that I would never feel complete, as a creative artist, writing for children alone. (How pretentious-sounding! (But how true!!))

I've had lots of good ideas for adult fiction ~ but unfortunately they have tended to revolve around the single issue of drugs. I do not want to be known as a druggie author. If  the book were a success, my readers are just going to expect more of the same, and will be disappointed if I make departures into more "respectable" territory. I know they will.

The other thing I could have done quite easily (or so I believed) would of course be to write a memoir of addiction and insanity. But that would be an even worse move. I've never heard of a memoirist turn novelist successfully. And because I only have one or two memoirs in me, my creativity would be limited to that. I'd far rather pour my horrible life experiences into novel-writing ~ where, shining through the lens of fictional character, the truth can be expressed so much more vividly, and explicitly ~ without breaching my own or anybody else's privacy. It's a paradox that the truth can be told so much better by means of fiction ~ don't you think!

I tried to pen a memoir some years ago. The gimmick was going to be that you expected a story of how I got drawn into this sordid world of drugs ... with an eventual tale of my redemption, cleanness and serenity. But there would be no happy ending. I'm still mired in drugs. I just go on using... possibly until I die...

Then, hopefully, I do, eventually, get another memoir on how I did clean up in the end. If I don't, then I hope my family would cash in by exploiting my life-story shamelessly. In fact, I would be pissed off if they didn't. At least if they do profit financially from my death then my life would have been worthwhile... know what I mean?

For so long I've been looking for a book to read and I couldn't find a good one. The only half-decent (fictional) reading matter of the past year has been Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir (based on the true story of  Lady Jane Grey, who in the mid-1500s, was Queen of England for nine days) and Martina Cole's Faceless ~ about a murderess released from prison after 15 years, trying to put her life and her past into some order... I don't think I'd make a brilliant thriller writer. And much as I love historical fiction (not historical romance ~ I hasten to add) I couldnt' write that stuff. It's too research-heavy. In my view, the entire point of fiction is that it is just that ~ fictitious. Both the stories I'm plotting out are my own tales entirely ~ they require very little research. I'm so grateful for the Muse being with me now. The Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, who was nothing if not prolific, appeared to have nothing but disdain for the notion of "inspiration":

  • "There are those . . . who think that the man who works with his imagination should allow himself to wait till--inspiration moves him. When I have heard such doctrine preached, I have hardly been able to repress my scorn. To me it would not be more absurd if the shoemaker were to wait for inspiration, or the tallow-chandler for the divine moment of melting."
    (Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography, 1883)
 Sitting down daily between 5:30 and 8:00am, he churned out an average 2500 words every morning before setting off to put in a full day at the Post Office. I agree, it's not necessary to be "inspired" to write every day. But inspiration IS absolutely necessary to conceive your characters and their story and to get the process moving. It's that inspiration that has been so lacking in me lately. And that's why I haven't written anything for such a long time...

I have been SO MOODY lately. Either UP or DOWN, but rarely anything in between. I stuck my head out of the window one night, as the Restlessness began, and saw a perfect Full Moon floating in the sky above me. I'm sure the moon has something to do with my mood swings. I mean, we all known how the term "lunatic" derives from the ancient belief that the moon was responsible for mania and madness. And the psychiatrists of today are STILL studying possible links between bipolar disorders and the moon... (manic-depressive illness has also long been associated with creativity, too ~ which makes something of a trinity between mental illness, the moon and the Muse... Hmmm.

O yes, and I kept having these dreams about a character called Daphne Guinness. Now I have long (vaguely) known that such a character is a key figure on the London "society" circuit. But to be honest I just assumed she was a talentless airhead ~ a rich nobody. Then I alighted upon a photograph in Vanity Fair magazine of an incredibly striking beautiful woman in the most amazing fancy dress I have ever seen (not the picture here). And I thought, "wow". So I looked her up and found out she is an artist who designs her own clothes ~ and what wondrous creations they are ... She even has her own fragrance with Comme des Garcons. Not such an airhead after all...

O well I gotta go. Did anyone else see WENTWORTH on Wednesday night? Wow that was hardcore. I was expecting something like an Australian Bad Girls... but this was seriously scary. Very well done, though...


... and here is the original PRISONER: CELL BLOCK H


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Sunny Weather

IT'S BEEN BLAZING SUMMER for weeks here in good old London Town. My mood matches the weather ~ again. I seem to spend half the time getting very easily wound up and angry. But then I'm awake most of the night through, too excited and full of ideas to sleep. Yes, unfortunately most of the ideas seem to need £100,000s if not £1 millions to put into operation (yes ~ glossy magazine publishing, again). When I was younger (and before the advent of digital TV) I lived a segment of my life through such publications: The Face, i-D, Vanity Fair and the (London) Sunday Times magazines being particular favourites. The first two of these were what you'd call "lifestyle magazines". They looked like music mags, but their insides were festooned with articles on all manner of subjects that interested me. The i-D or Face reader didn't aspire to wealth or social status and wasn't a slavish follower of fashion. Rather, they liked to follow new cultural trends from the cutting edge.

The Face went out of print in 2004, by which point I had long stopped reading it. Which is weird. Only a few years before, I knew not just what day but what time it came out (11am-1pm) and my copies were covered in smudgemarks, from having been pored over while the ink was still wet.. i-D was relaunched as a fash mag and I'm not interested in clothes at all. Vanity Fair I do still read, but only when I'm in the mood for journalism about rich establishment figures who hate each other (love that kind of crap!) Judging by the ads you'd think VF was a women's magazine, but most months 75% or more of the articles are by men. I love their visual style. I'd like to do a course in magazine layout... There's more to it than meets the eye! ...

... when I get these ideas I'm so glad I stayed based in London.

But, being still addicted to methadone, and drained of funds I'm really trying to focus on doing what I can do now ~ and that means writing. After all, you only need a few pens and a lot of paper to write a book. I'm writing for kiddies, so the book is going to be mercifully short. I'm still at the planning stage ~ I need to know vaguely where the story's going before I commit pen to paper, as I hate doing major surgery on the text (eg where a character has to be completely excised or the entire flow of the plot altered). I did learn something from my failed attempts at novel-writing, and that is to keep any book you write as simple as possible. Adding one or two important characters can literally double the length, because you have to give their reasoning, reactions etc etc. Obviously I'm hoping for a 10,000,000 copy bestseller (yeah right ~ but this book really IS for kids. No wizards. And I can't imagine grown-ups reading it on the tube). But hey, if I get it right then Disney, Dreamworks and co are going to piss their pants when they read it... and that could make me a buck or two ~ ha ha!

You know it would be nice to have a job that pays the rent and leaves some cash left over to buy the stuff I actually want ~ rather than what's cheapest (as I've done all my life). If I can't earn a proper living writing, then I have decided to go into publishing. I think I'd make a great editor. Or literary agent, for that matter. Often the business deals behind books (not to mention films, records, TV shows etc) are far more interesting to me than the boring stories inside their covers (or the tunes on the discs, as the case may be...) ~~ know what I mean..??

Hey I've just found out the full moon was eight days ago. No wonder I'm feeling good. I seem to get unusually restless just after full moon has passed, and sometimes that kicks me off into a "high" or sorts... A high from the surging tides of my mysterious brain... the kind of high you don't have to pay for!

As I was telling the duty methadone script giver-outer down the clinic the other day, if everybody who was bipolar left the media and entertainment industries, they would collapse. Drugs are particularly rife in those fields. For some reason, creative people seem particularly prone to addiction. And bipolar people are particularly likely to be unusually creative. If I did get an interview for a decent job (or an internship: obviously I'm thinking of starting with that) then I've decided just to be straight with them. Being a recovering drug addict who's clean is nothing at all to be ashamed of. + it does explain the glaring gap in my CV far better than any lie could do. (Lying about having worked off the record somehow for nearly two decades would make it look like I had a singular lack of ambition ("why is he suddenly so interested in a career in publishing now..?" they'd ask themselves...)

Hmmm... it's getting late and the brand new series of Prisoner Cell Block H (titled "Wentworth Prison") is coming on channel 5 in the hour... must rush! Thank y'all for the comments on Friday 23 August's post... must dash.  

ps all this talk about working in publishing and  I haven't time to read over my own writing before posting... ukh well I hope it's ok... that's what internet cafés do to ya!

pps bloody madonna can't delete her byeeeeeeeee

Friday, 23 August 2013

The Premiere is Over (Life Is Just Beginning)

HELLO PEOPLE. I'm still around. Still trying NOT to take Nasty 'Eroin. It's all nasty nowadays. So piss weak you're paying for nothing and I've regretted it every time. I feel no different off it than on it. So I might as well stay off it, I keep telling myself. I'm off it now. And I thoroughly intend to stay that way!

My head is full of such marvellous creative ideas that I'm more dissatisfied by my Actual Life ~ As It Actually Is ~ than ever before.

I've decided the best thing I can do is to put into operation a certain long-cherished idea for a kiddies' book. Then if some publisher takes it, and I write a few more, I might HOPEFULLY get enough dosh behind me to actually be able to launch my Main Idea (which is a concept for a glossy magazine) ~ like an atom bomb on to an unsuspecting World. Trust me, when they see issue #1, Condé Nast are gonna piss their pants and wish my magazine were theirs.

Years ago, I used to work for a large local newspaper chain, and one thing that taught me about the industry was that, in business terms, a magazine is essentially a load of adverts. Editorial is, in a sense, just  filler, because it's the ads that keep any publication afloat. These days they even have a proper name for it. They call it "content" ~ as if it's a vacuum sitting there, longing to be filled in. This isn't exactly true. In the type of book I want to do, there's a great deal of synergy between editorial layouts and advertising. In other words, the heavier somebody advertisers, the heavier they feature in our wondrous photoshoots.

So anyway I've been dwelling on that, in between feeling miserable, misplaced, mishapen. And sitting around wondering what I've done with my life. One thing that is becoming increasingly apparent is that Heroin has no place at all in my future. (As if I hadn't grasped that thorny fact many years ago...)

Every week I've been going to a closed group therapy session at the methadone clinic. Although a cynical side of me sees Group Work as a money-saving exercise, there is a massive upside to doing Group. That is, that I get to be privy to other people's secret insecurities. They're essentially the same as mine. Last week, between four of us, three, including me, appeared to be so miserable we wished we had never been born and were just waiting to die. I get a certain consolation knowing I'm not the only person to feel this way. In a sense, though, I don't care how I feel. As my old friend Clare Bony Arse used to say: "WE'RE ALL ALONE IN THE DARK". Which was particularly poignant coming from Clare, because she had such severe eyesight difficulties (Retinitis Pigmentosa) that she only had 0.5% vision. And there was a real chance that in the next few years she would end up 100% blind. A thought so horrendous that I refused to give it space in my head.

Some of y'all seem to think that I feel especially sorry for myself, as if my own problems and predicament are somehow worse than anybody else's, but this has never been true. I have always, always known at least one person ~ often several people ~ who were considerably worse off than me. I remember years ago trying to explain depression to a person who had almost no grasp on the subject. Everybody seems to think they know depression. But in actuality only one person in TWENTY ever becomes seriously clinically depressed throughout the entire course of their lifetime. So this person says to me something along the lines of "you think you're the only person in the world ever to get depressed" ~ which has never been what I thought. A friend of mine at university had a breakdown so bad she ended up wandering the streets homeless, face covered in snot, convinced her life was the centre of a Satanic plot. It wasn't "schizophrenia", as you might expect. It was just particularly severe depression "with psychotic features" ~ and the doctors treated her with Prozac. So THAT was my idea of bad depression. I never thought my own depression "bad", in fact I thought it didn't count. I never saw myself as "mentally ill" and I never used my depression as an excuse to get out of anything, until things got so bad that I had to drag myself into my doctor's office ~ by which time I was so badly off I could barely string a sentence together. My GP gave me a medical certificate writing me off for the entire academic term. That autumn, at the start of my second year at uni, I spralled down so badly I barely attended any classes at all, and certainly never did any work.

One afternoon they sprang a test on us (probably after weeks of notice, though I had no idea it was going to happen ~ + the marks went towards our final degree classification). I sat there for a few minutes, then wrote some obscenity across my paper in bold capitals and skulked out. It wasn't till years later that I looked back to this era and realized I was a lot worse off than I thought. I ended up dropping out of university, which completely knocked my confidence. Then I got a job and spent every waking our either working or on the way to or from work. Every hour I wasn't working or going to work I was fast asleep. In other words, really, I had no life at all. That's why I want to work again doing something I really believe in. If only I had something to do that I really wanted to do, I would never stop working. I mean, it's not as if I haven't spent more than a decade of my life essentially on a drugged-out vacation. I've had it with drugs and I've had it with living life on perpetual holiday. When I was younger I never, ever envisaged life as a layabout. Even at university, where I knew people who seemed to take pride and revel in their pothead, slacker existences, I never counted myself as one of them. I couldn't relate to their lifestyle at all.

I did end up dossing around quite a lot, but as I put it, I was at the time completely unemployable. I once (around the year 1992 or 1993) went for a job as a cloakroom attendant and I couldn't even get that. It wasn't that I didn't want to work in a nightclub full of pissed-up beer monsters (not my kind of place at all). The point, was that back then, wish zero self-confidence and almost zero social skills, I couldn't even pretend to muster the enthusiasm to get through an interview even for a menial post such as that... NOT good. If I've learned one thing Over The Years, I've learned how to put on a pretty good act. Nobody ever thinks I'm "mentally ill" now until I'm manic enough to appear High On Crack. Until that point I seem to come across either as happy, cheerful, full of enthusiasm or just a bit moody or morose. It does annoy me sometimes that nobody sees how desperate I feel inside ~ but in reality that is a brilliant skill to have in Life ~ and particularly in Business.

Of course most of my more recent problems are self-inflicted (though no junkie ever sees their life entirely that way ~ particularly not when they're lost in the thick of it!) Not until I've dropped the "H" for good and weaned myself off methadone, will I ever truly be able to go Forward. (Much as anything else, you cannot travel the world on Heroin (at least, I would never dare try and do such a thing) ~ and my single most basic ambition is to get the hell OUT of Britain ~  at the earliest opportunity ~ and to STAY OUT ~ FOR EVER!

Ukh I have gabbled on and on. The weekend has started. The dusk is illuminated by a hundred Turkish kebab shops. I have to go.

(Do you see now why I never wanted to write my memoir. I get so bogged down in it all, whenever I turn my attention in that direction. I'm only looking in one direction Today, and that is TO THE FUTURE!


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Gledwood's Marvellous Mental Weather!

IT'S the hottest summer in years here in London Town! A couple of days ago the mercury hit 34C, that's about 93F, which might be run of the mill if you're in Sydney or Dallas but trust me, that's REALLY HOT for here. Thankfully I have whizzy wide-opening windows and an upstairs balcony. My "pet" pigeon Jilly, who's chosen to roost there has laid at least two clutches of eggs. The last generation failed to hatch and has been festering in the sun (poor eggs!) but her other babies have been cooing at my window for the last month and a half.

Believe it or not, that satellite dish I found on the street and wired up WORKS~!! Through careful angling, an accurate gut feeling and a lot of luck, I managed to point it bang-on at the correct Astra satellites for German TV! So I get back all those documentary channels about life under the seas and the "Inner German Border" (I luuurve the old Berlin Wall ~ got a real thing about it)... yes i get all that back. Plus dubbed versions of Dynasty throughout the night. For some reason in Germany, Dynasty was more popular than Dallas... (and I thought Germans were the most sensible nation on earth..?)

And the pigeons are getting braver by the day. When I'm sleeping they'll venture in to perch on my dish, which is balanced on an armchair with the sticky-out bracket wedged between cushions. Sometimes, when they get brave, they'll go for a flap all around my living room and come sit on my other couch. Then I wake up and they eye me in surreptitious terror and stop cooing and flap out of there hastily leaving stray bits of down spiralling behind them. Nobody has crapped on my carpet yet. O yeah I haven't got a carpet yet. Ho hummm!

I started feeling restless earlier and my formerly depresed mood has broken through into the full glossy, sparkly, glistering radience of summer. I feel beautiful ~ and I haven't done heroin or any other drug for days!


This music is transcendent, spectacular.... if music can sound this good on earth, what is music like in Heaven..?

... And doncha just luuurve a good Dynasty Cat Fight...?

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Grandiose? That's me baby...

OOO. ARR. Folk seem to be missing my point re: depression. I have never tried to say (though perhaps I did say it unwittingly) that I couldn't get clean because I was depressed. Neither did I ever think there was no point to getting clean because I was depressed. What I did feel (very much because I was depressed) was that there was no point LIVING ~ clean or dirty. So the despair I felt very much revolved around that point, not whether or not I could ever manage to clean myself up. I know I will do that. That isn't and never has been my major worry.

In my life, as in so many others, the misery came before the addiction. I'm scared of going back there. That's what I'm scared of.

As for whether my depression is any different from anybody else's, how can I know that. I think that, at some points in the past, it probably has been. At some point, all the drugs and the depression must have addled my brain, because I started seeing things and hearing things. And getting paranoid. These phenomena are minority experiences to the depressive population. I'm not as bad now as I used to be. But I still don't feel well. I have been sleeping for ridiculous periods. That's the first sign of depression (in me)...

By the way, the professionals call using drugs because of, or in tandem with, depression or any other mental "affliction" "self-medicating". Not my word (I thought that sounded like the perfect excuse never to stop. But by the time they used it I really did want to stop). Their word. And now they tell me to keep popping the heavy-duty antipsychotics they prescribe to me like sweets. Those pills are so strong that on a bad day you can barely function at all.

Heroin addiction is by its very nature a "chronic, relapsing condition" ~ and this is not an excuse, merely a description which captures perfectly the longterm and fluctuating nature of drug dependency. From what I've seen, heroin, the drug with the least exciting effect is the hardest drug to kick. It's about as difficult to stop taking heroin as it is to give up eating. You don't "need" to eat. You could have a glucose IV-line put in your arm. Or pulped-up babyfood could be poured through a tube up your nose. But I bet that wouldn't stop the average person getting the munchies!

I have never known anyone with years of heroin addiction behind them say they are going to stop and succeed first time. Ever. Always they do what I do, and this inevitably involves a lot of whingeing and moaning and self-contradiction. By the end of their drugtaking career most junkies do not trust themselves at all. That, I'm afraid, is the nature of the beast.

Hmmmm... so the subtitle under my blog has become a lie... should I alter it?

I'm so fed up with heroin (again) that it'll probably be truthful within a week. I mean, it's truthful now, but how long must I go without it to be "off heroin"? I don't know.

Sometimes I catch myself talking as I do (and mostly talking to myself, it has to be said...)... "I don't take ANY DRUGS now ~ except HEROIN!" and believe me I do know how ridiculous that sounds.

Do I really make so many excuses? For years I just accepted I was an addict and totally dependent on illegal heroin and was never going to stop. Now and then I did say I wanted to stop, because in a distant, philosophical sort of way, I wanted to. But in no practical sense was I ready to give up the one thing in life that ever made me happy. Maybe I should go back to how I was then. No matter how miserable I might have been ~ least I was straight down the line with it. And not a miserable, whingeing liar I seem to be now.

By the way, have you heard of the Russian street gear called Crocodile? Desomorphine, cooked up from codeine pills and iodine liquid. One of the most horrendous street drugs in the world...

PS the gradiose schemes for learning langugages... I AM learning languages. Schemes are currently in practice. But graniose? Throughout most of the world polyglossia is the norm. Only in the Anglophone world is it seen as something unusual or special or any kind of intellectual achievement.... As the title says YES THAT'S ME!