Am I Okay? – Day 315 – Simon Groth Mentor Part 2

Before I begin, I did a word count this morning and I am now over 38, 100 words. I feel like this:

so many 

Anyway, today I asked Simon to be a mentor one last time.

Me and Simon laughing at the difficulties of selfies with huge height differences. (Simon is stooping... a lot)
Me and Simon at the start of the year laughing at the difficulties of selfies with huge height differences.

Here is a little snippets of my questions and his brilliant answers:

At the start I wanted to see if I could become a writer- so I’m wondering if you think I have become one? What do you do with your time? With your attention? Arrange words? Then yes, you’re a writer. If you want my opinion as some kind of external confirmation, then yes, you are a writer. Welcome to the club. Silly hats are optional.

I also think after writing everyday it has become a habit and sometimes I’m not entirely sure why I am doing it. Oh yeah, you’re a writer, alright.

Why do you write or why do you think there are writers? I’ve been writing a long time now. I’ve wired my brain for this. I’m really not sure I’m qualified to do much else any more, despite my hodge-podge collection of ‘qualifications’. I write because I want to express ideas and stories in ways that are succinct, arresting, beautiful, and utterly my own. I want to reach people who don’t know me, who have never met me and inspire or encourage or entertain them, or even sometime irritate them if I’m in the mood.

As for why there are writers: there are writers because there are readers. There are readers because we have evolved to recognise patterns and there’s no more pleasing pattern than the narrative. We are storytelling mammals because we are first story-receiving mammals.

And lastly- this challenge has been like school for me. There have been simple rules to follow, but do you think I can survive outside it? What will I need to do to survive outside it? You’ve trained yourself to find stories, craft them, and put them together in a way that other people enjoy. You already have your basic survival kit in order. So where do you envisage this going? What kind of form would you like to use? What kind of help might you need to reach a bigger audience? Think about that for a while and take your time, but don’t dismiss the success you’ve achieved so far. Try and use whatever platform you’ve established to get to the next level and keep thinking ahead.

These answers comforted me a great deal about leaving this challenge behind. I realised the question “am I a writer?” is not the question I am really asking- I’ll have to let go of that question now.  What I really want to know is, “am I okay?” “am I improving” “will I be alright?”: Approval – the golden chalice for most writers… and humans for that matter. It seems ridiculously vain when I see it written down now, but it’s true. Humans: we like approval and we like narratives.

Here’s my story. I imagine it as a picture book.

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked the philosopher.

“Depends what you mean by okay,” replied the philosopher.

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked the mathematician.

“That’s a bit vague,” replied the mathematician. “Do you want it as a percentage or decimal?”

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked the meditator.

“Look inside yourself,” replied the meditator. “Do you feel okay?”

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked a peacock.

“Yes,” replied the peacock.

“Don’t you want to know my definition of ‘okay’ or how to express your answer as a decimal?” asked the bluebird.

“No. I like you, I think you’re going to be okay.”

When We Took to the Sky – Day 314 – Realisation

After that realisation yesterday that everything doesn’t have to end- I feel like I can fly.

Warning: could also be because I just finished the game “Journey” and this is what I currently look like in my head:

journey gif

I’m sitting

Eyes shut

Wishing I could fly

You’re shouting

My eyes snap open

I see

You on the grass

Far below

My feet

Dangling

In the sky

I’m scared

But then I pause

Curios

I shout

“Think about flying!”

Then you’re floating

We’re swimming

Through the sky

I look around

There are others too

No one knows

What happened that day

Only some

Can fly

They tried to regulate it

But we just float

higher

and higher

away.

Fenlan and the Warriors – Day 313 – Lawrence Leung

I went to see one of my favourite comedians, Lawrence Leung, at the National Young Writers Festival this weekend. He ran a great workshop about creative practice. Above is a picture of me being awkwardly star struck. I asked him what I should do after my 365 Day Challenge. His answer was simple, elegant and embarrassingly obvious for me. “Ask your followers.”

Suddenly I was aware that everything I have built during this challenge was my own doing (my connections, my skills and you guys reading!) I won’t lose it once it’s over. I’m not alone. So to anyone who follows this blog- please let me know if you have an idea for my next project or where I should take my writing next. 

Here’s my story:

Fenlan made the jagged rocks of the mountain her home for a year. People came from all around to learn to be fine warriors. Most came from warring villages but learnt side by side, for peace is always kept amongst the clouds.

Fenlan was the Queen’s daughter and when she came of age, she would have to fight off the evil spirits who terrorised the region. It was said only a royal daughter was strong enough to defeat them. Unfortunately no daughter had ever managed the task.

She had become a strong agile fighter, but her greatest strength had been making friends. She had even brought some of the feuding warriors together.

On the last night she cried. The thought of fighting the spirits alone scared her. She was used to fighting with her fellow warriors and couldn’t bear the thought of them going back to their homes only to fight with each other.

The next morning, on her birthday, she realised she didn’t have to face the spirits alone, it was always just assumed. So she rallied the warriors. It wasn’t easy convincing them to work together, but even the master agreed.

“I have been waiting for a daughter like you, one who realises their true strength,” she told Fenlan.

So they marched from the mountain. Many people laughed when they saw Fenlan wasn’t alone.

“Only a daughter can defeat the spirits!” they shouted.

Fenlan blocked them out as the spirits came swiftly, gnashing their teeth.

“What do you want? We have killed many daughters like you, what makes you think you special?”

Fenlan introduced herself and the other warriors.

“We have found you a new home in the mountains where peace is always kept,” she said, “and if you do not go, you will face us all.”

“Those warriors are from feuding villages,” the spirits said, “does that mean you are united?”

“Yes,” the warriors answered.

“We are happy to accept,” said the spirits. “We are spirits of war, only when the villages are united can we rest. Thank you.”

The mountains are now home to the spirits and it is no longer a training camp, for there is no need for warriors.

Og – Day 311 – NYWF & Critical Animals

I’m headed to the National Young Writers Festival and Critical Animals in Newcastle today to enjoy the festivities. Perhaps a small part of being a writer is entering that community and being accepted?

Og carve rocks.

Alone in cave.

Og carve friends.

Deer.

Bird.

Even Lion.

But Og still lonely.

Og search for new rocks.

Og will make more

Till Og is happy.

Og find purple rock.

Og run hand over rock.

But rock has soft bit.

A hand.

Og’s eyes follow hand.

Arm.

Shoulder.

Neck.

Face.

Says his name is Ug.

Ug carve rocks too.