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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One Day in Glasgow

Glasgow

For Samantha,
the world is a lesser place without you.
xox

Introduction

Ever since writing the post One Night in Adelaide I’ve wanted to write its sequel: One Day in Glasgow, yet every time I sit down to chronicle the events of (what is possibly) the best day of my life, words fail me. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, I do, it’s just that I cannot assemble the words to form coherent, emotional sentences. And this post is an emotional one, at least for me, as it deals with the last time I ever saw my friend Samantha face-to-face.

Samantha was an incredible woman; intelligent, charming and ravishingly beautiful. She had a mature, almost philosophical outlook on this crazy thing called life, yet despite this maturity there was a delicious immature streak running throughout her soul; equally at ease playing with crayons as she was debating the age-old question of why we’re here.

It was almost impossible to meet Samantha without falling in love with her on some level. She never judged, never held grudges and had an almost super-human ability to draw the best out of people.

But none of this means she was perfect, far from it. Samantha worked too hard; filling almost every moment of her life with a project, scheme or double-shift at work, all of which leaving little time for play or relaxing. And when she did relax, she ventured far too easily into the world of illegal narcotics, with ecstasy and speed being her drugs of choice; a choice that would ultimately spell her untimely end.

But this post is not about her death, nor my reaction to it, that will follow in good time. This post is about my memories of her. It is about the day Samantha took time off from her life to hang out with a slightly overweight, mentally ill man who, according to her journal, made her feel happiness like no-one she’d ever met.

Because it has taken so much to get this post out of my system, I’ve decided on three things:

1) That instead of retelling the events of the day in intimate detail, I will instead focus on extrapolating the principal memories of that day; for in these memories lives the essence of who Samantha was; and it is she that I want you all to meet.

2) I have decided to write each memory in the style that Samantha preferred (and encouraged me) to write in, namely, freewriting. Rather than focus endlessly on each sentence, each punctuation mark and the meaning behind chosen words, I have just allowed each memory to flow from my mind before moving onto the next. Hopefully, by doing this, I will be creating a post that Samantha would be proud of.

3) With Samantha’s preferences still firmly in mind, I have also chosen to tell the tale of our twenty-four hours in Glasgow in a non-linear format. Each of the illustrations below depict one of the memories of my time in that great city. They have not been arranged in any particular order and you are encouraged to dip in and out of the memories in any way you see fit. For as Samantha used to say, rarely in life do things return to us in the exact order that they happened.

Hopefully by choosing to write this post to the above specifications, I will be creating a post that Samantha would not only have enjoyed reading, but one she would be proud to be the inspiration behind.

   
Please note, the items marked with a padlock are password protected.
Should you wish to read these memories, please contact me via email.


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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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The art of journal writing

Between the years 1992 and 2007 I was a prolific journalist. And by journalist I don’t mean I wrote for newspapers or reported on current events for dodgy current affairs shows, I mean I wrote millions of pages of journal entries chronicling every single moment of my life.

My journal (from 1997 – present)

Each night after finishing my homework I’d dedicate a couple of hours to sharing my innermost thoughts and secrets to a collection of A4 ruled notepads or A5 notepads. Some of those entries were pointless, some profound. There were really bad poems and pretty decent drawings. Never did I sit down and consider what I was writing; I would just lie on the bed in my pyjamas and write whatever was in my mind. There were times I unleashed all the pain I was feeling about my sister, others when I scribed fan letters to Toni Pearen. Following particularly bad days of bullying at school I would write about how much I hated it there, others, following a particularly memorable moment, I would wax lyrical over the beautiful Kathryn before chastising myself in black biro for being so weak and shy.

For over fifteen years I kept those journals. They chronicled my life as I navigated through secondary school, the confusion over my intimate fantasies and the endless isolation of having no real friends during that dark period of my life. When I ran away, every second of that trip was transcribed; every moment of bliss, each moment of pain. Throughout Scotland and Canada I recorded the events of my trip in two simultaneous journals and after arriving in Australia, my journals helped me navigate the intense agony and bewilderment of immigration.

During those long teenage years my journal was my only outlet. I had no-one to talk to about what I was going through, no-one to provide me with advice on what I had to do. My journal was my friend, my mentor and one of the few reasons I’m still here.

In 2007, after fifteen years, I stopped writing journals.

Throughout my abusive relationship they had come under constant fire. They were selfish, self-absorbed, a waste of time, pointless. I should be talking to people instead of relying on my journal. The drawings were laughably pathetic. It was a concrete example of my worthlessness in the world and a prime example of how I was never going to change. In the weeks after the breakdown I tried to write; I drew, I wrote, I bled onto the page – but whenever I did my abuser’s words rung in my ears and blocked the emotions from coming.

In the last five years I’ve never written a journal and I miss it. My blog is different because I censor myself too much. All the aspects of my life I’m scared of being judged over I bottle up out of fear. I allow them to fester inside; eating away at my innards like a vicious, out-of-control parasite. In addition, I can’t sit down with the blog and write random erotic fiction, sketch bizarre ‘artworks’ or take my ‘friend’ on a hike into the wilderness to write for hours in relative solitude about all I’ve seen.

All of that is in the past, lost somewhere in the psychological damage of abuse, leaving only random ghosts of a bygone era.

For todays voice of the past I am sharing some of the random ‘artwork’ that filled my journals through the years. I’m not the finest artist in the world, but however dodgy the drawings are, they are reminders of beautiful moments of my life. They are part of who I am.

Berneray Hostel (February 2000)

Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye (September 1999)

Castle Urquhart, with Nessie (September 1999)

WTF? I have no idea. Seriously. None. (October 1999)

Callanish Standing Stones (February 2000)

And finally, I began drawing this map in my journal but became constricted by space. Instead, I purchased a couple of A3 pads and stuck the pages to my bedroom wall, spending days drawing, sketching, colouring and imagining the Faerie realm that lives inside me, a world that my fictional writing partially takes place in.

Tir Nan Og [aka the Otherworld] (October 2006)