All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Wordless Wednesday: Glenfinnan Monument

As this is my inaugural Wordless Wednesday post I feel should I introduce the concept for those who are unaware of this blogging meme. The idea is to post a photograph with no words of explanation in the hope that the photograph itself says so much it doesn’t need any description.

 


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The Ballad of the One Who Got Away (or how I hope to tackle my fear of writing with an insane flash fiction experiment!)

Watership Down: the only film that has ever scared me!

Spiders, Puppies, G&T…oh my!

Courtesy of my anxiety I have many fears and phobias, including:

– Spiders
– Heights
– Dogs (including puppies)
– Women
– Men
– Humanity in general
Watership Down
– Gin and Tonic

and

– People reading my writing

Every time I go to publish a blog I’m overwhelmed with a terrifying fear of people reading what I’ve written. In those moments between hovering the mouse over the ‘publish’ button and clicking the button my mind races with the tens of millions of possible reactions the post could receive; will I be humiliating myself, will people laugh, will they think I’m insane, will they hate me with an intense and fiery passion, will they want to tie me to a chair and force me to watch Watership Down with a small puppy on my lap as punishment for inflicting such dross on them?

And then I click the button and sit in fear.

Sometimes nothing happens.

Sometimes people accidentally click the ‘like’ button.

Sometimes people seem to mistake my blog for someone else’s and leave praise worthy comments.

Always that endless, all-consuming fear that I’m no good, that I should have stopped writing in primary school because my abuser told me I was a pathetic, worthless writer who had nothing interesting or unique to say. Which I know is absolute horse shit! But the trauma is deep and it’s this trauma that dictates my fears and holds me back!

I KNOW I’m a good writer because I’ve been published and a publisher would have to be stoned to publish someone who can’t write!

I KNOW I’m a good writer because…well, look at this blog. It’s pretty awesome :)

Yet the fear persists…

…especially when it comes to my fictional writing!

It was this fear that drove me to use a pseudonym when I was published in 2009. If it succeeded, I could bask in the glory without anyone making me the center of attention. If it failed, I could scurry back into my shell safe in the knowledge that no-one would know the words were mine!

It is this fear that has been blocking my creative writing for so many years; locking me into the endless cycle of frustration over not being able to do something that has brought me pleasure for more years than I care to remember. So, when it came to organizing the posts for this week, I knew I had to tackle one of the biggest barriers on my road to recovery; my fear of my writing.

And the only way to tackle such an obstacle is to challenge it head on!

In the early hours of last Thursday I happened upon just the way to do this: a flash fiction novel!

Challenge Accepted!

When I began writing this blog again in May 2012 I started a 365 Day Blog Challenge. This challenge failed less than two months later but I have never forgotten the list of ‘goals’ I had to write for the year ahead. Nestled amidst break the isolation I’ve found myself in and watch ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Hobbit’ in the cinema was an item so epic in its ambition I think I slipped it in there as a means of self-sabotage; a sure-fire way to guarantee my failure:

Given it had taken me nearly ten years to write a readable final draft of The Ghosts That Haunt Me, it seems inconceivable that I would knock off a novel in a mere 365 days – especially given my mental instability and lack of professional support to achieve such a desired state.

Yet, what better way to send the ghosts of the past to the naughty corner than proving to myself I can do what I set out to do?

Cue me deciding to write a flash fiction version of this novel whilst lost in some insomniacal state!

And yet, when I think about it, it’s a win-win situation; even if it failed spectacularly I would still be writing fiction again, plus, even if people hate it, how many flash fiction novels have they ever written?

So, I accepted my challenge in a heartbeat.

The Rules

For those of you who don’t know what Flash Fiction is, the idea behind this writing style is to sit down for an allotted period of time, write a story on the fly, edit it, then post it for the whole world to see.

In adapting this concept to novel form, I will sit down for an allotted period of time, write part of the story on the fly, edit it, then post it for the whole world to see. Repeat each week until the novel is finished.

All of which makes the rules quite simple:

1. There is to be no brainstorming, notepad keeping or planning outside of my own head.
2. Each week I will write for three hours (either in one block or across several days).
3. The only overflow of this time allowed will be if I get caught up in a sequence, which I will continue to write until a suitable moment to end the session presents itself.
4. After writing I will edit that section (no revising the plot of previously posted segments) for grammar, spelling, content etc.
5. I will then post the update for people to read, should they so desire.

Will it work?

Who the hell knows?

Am I scared?

Hell yes!

I haven’t really written fiction for years, so to say I’m rusty would be an understatement. Factor in my intense fear of sharing my work even years after refinement and my decision to do this novel ‘on the fly’…yep, I’m positively terrified.

But if I am to stand any chance of demolishing these roadblocks to secure a better future for myself, I must face my fears any way I can.

For what’s the point of living if we don’t stand up to what scares us?

Should you wish to read along…

New installments of this flash fiction novel will be published every Friday, 8pm AEST (Starting 26 October 2012)

Click the image above to read The Ballad of the One Who Got Away (A Flash Fiction urban fantasy novel)


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We Are Visible: The Homeless are Not Lab Rats

The Homeless Are NOT Lab Rats

Lab Rats

Image via Wikipedia

This planet we call home is populated by over 6.7 billion people. Every one of us is unique, every one of us beautiful and every one of us has a purpose. Whether we were born in Uganda or Uzbekistan, Nigeria or Norway, China or Chile – despite the colour of our skin, the religion we follow or the beliefs we hold – every single last one of us is human.

Unless you’re living in New York City, where two hundred residents were outed this week as being a new species of rodent. They may bare all the physical characteristics of human beings but beneath the surface they are nothing more than a scavenging rat that deserves no ounce of kindness, compassion or dignity.

Don’t believe me? Then read the study that was released, in which 200 struggling families are being left to fend for themselves. Where these in-need human beings should be offered help and support they are being left to fend for themselves and face possible death – all in the name of data collection. They are lab rats to a system that has decided they are not worth caring about.

Even the mayor of New York has come out to defend the action:

“In the end, we are only going to spend money on things that work, so we have to find out what works.”
Mayor Bloomberg (on WOR-AM Radio)

If the only way we can find out what works and what doesn’t is to put already desperate human beings at even greater risk, what does that say about our society?

What does it say about our humanity, or lack thereof?

For a moment I want you to imagine you are in their position. Imagine not knowing if you are going to be able to afford your home, feed your family. Imagine that you have lost your home and are having to sleep on the street, or pack your family into the back of a car to risk a cold night in some random off the beaten track location. Wouldn’t you want to receive help? Wouldn’t you want to know that there was someone you could turn to in your hour of need? Would you be able to ‘pull yourself up from the bootstraps’ when your entire world has collapsed from around you and the only place you could have turned to you’ve been banned from attending – all in the name of research?

The actions of this study are inhumane, disgusting and continue to prove where we as a society are headed; less compassion for our fellow human beings and a greater divide between the haves and have nots.

If we’re not careful things will only get worse and God knows what will happen then.

We Are Visible

The only thing those perpetrating the study have forgotten is that we are not invisible. We homeless, we poverty stricken, we discriminated and objectified are visible. We will not go quietly into the night, we will not vanish without a fight. We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive. Even if it means having to indiscriminately quote Bill Pullman movies, we will stand up for what is right and urge the rest of the world to do the same.

The 200 people left to fend for themselves are human beings, just as you are a human being. Just as we are all human beings. Remember that always.

See Also