Centres

Every human being is convinced he or she is the centre of the universe. From day one, the brain is unable to cope with the idea of something being so big, and the person so tiny in comparison. So, the person creates his or her own small universe in which to live, sheltered from the huge, immeasurable space outside.

No matter how much you travel, of if you have an inferiority complex, or if someone showed you a map of the world with a tiny dot in it marked “You are here, pipsqueak,” it is still mentally impossible to picture how vast everything is compared to yourself. You may try, but only go so far for so long until the task seems too daunting, or you are unable to stretch your mind any futher. When this happens, you have two choices: retreat back into your shell or go mad.

Go on, try. I’ll give you five minutes. Open your mind and think about the space either side of you, above and perhaps even below you if you happen to be skydiving (though why you’re reading this falling through the air beats me.) Keep stretching yourself outwards – mentally, I mean, don’t bust a gut – and keep going. Towards the walls and the ceiling, pass those, towards the horizon, and then, er…ooh I’m going boss-eyed…argh help I’m stuck….no, no use, sorry, can’t go any further. My head aches.

3, 2, 1…Are you back with me? Yes? Not gone doollally? Good.

So now we have reached the limits of our awareness, shall we talk about something closer to home?

Never mind about being the centre of a universe, what’s at the centre of a person? Literally speaking, we have guts and all manner of stuff the likes of which we’ve seen on Casualty, but I mean is there anything else? There must be, or we would be plain animals. How do we be conscious and thinking, and conscious OF our thinking, all the time? It must be something to do with the black you see when you close your eyes. Or eye, if you happen to be a cyclops.

Where would this thing be situated? Is it really just your brain? That’s what I’d like to know. But then, if the thing that thinks is inside your head, it’s not in the middle of you, is it? So perhaps I’d be right in asking what’s at the centre of a person’s head instead.

So now we have tried to go the distance, outwards and inwards. We all deserve a long nap.

Which reminds me, the other thing I don’t understand is dreams.

For instance, how do I know I’m awake, and not dreaming? Or indeed asleep? You only seem to know you’ve been asleep after it’s happened. Maybe when you are awake, you are dreaming, and when you are asleep it’s reality. In which case, everybody’s been mixed up for years.

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Blithering

The other day, (which can mean anytime in the last ten years when it comes out of my gob) I saw a couple of lines written about love on the Internet.

They said that a girl’s head goes down, underneath the boy’s chin, because the boy is her whole world and she gets lost in it. The boy’s head, apparently, remains up so he can check no one else is looking at his girlfriend.

I do not believe this. On one hand, it is a lovely (if rather sexist) sentiment. However, isn’t it merely a matter of height? The same thing would not happen if the girl was taller than the boy. Not without a great deal of contortionism, which might result in whiplash or some other neck problem.

Then again, I haven’t got a romantic bone in my body, except for my funnybone.

They say — whoever they are, I’ve forgotten — that love is what writers and artists are concerned the most with expressing or explaining because it is difficult to understand. It is not difficult, it’s more that there’s so much to understand about it all at once and not a lot of people have the time to think about it in its entirety, (because they’re too busy being all fluffy and lovey-dovey, maybe). It brings with it all these extreme emotions so it is like unpacking a suitcase.

But you’ll be fine, so long as one of you remembers to buy a stepladder.

On a completely irrelevant note, my story “Safe” came out in Strange Fictions SF & F magazine, which started back in March, I think. Linky:

http://strangefictionszine.com/safe/

 

Lowry

lowry

So, it’s been a while again. I’m at a point in my life where not much of note happens, usually (unless you want a comprehensive list of everything I eat and all the exercises I have to do.) Above is a copy of a Lowry painting I did, for my grandparents’ wedding anniversary. They got it framed.

What else has been going on? I’ve been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos type 3, and now Fibromyalgia. There have been a lot of trips backwards and forwards to hospital, and to a physiotherapist, but I’ve been discharged now. Some people really suffer with these chronic pain conditions but I am refusing painkillers (I know, I’m a loon) because though I have bad days I prefer to be sore than feel sick and not know where I am or what in high hell I think I’m doing.

Some publications I don’t know whether anybody missed:

 

https://simplebooklet.com/snowqueen

My story “Winter Queen, Summer Woman” appeared in Timeless Tales back in January.

 

http://mironline.org/tower-of-words-han-adcock/

and “Tower of Words” appeared in MIROnline in July 2016.

 

http://poeticdiversity.org/main/prose.php?recordID=2203&date=2016-04-01

And “Sentience” appeared in Poetic Diversity in April last year.

 

These days I prefer to go by the name of Han instead of Hannah. This is because, being unhappy with living in a female body, and after a lot of thought, I have decided to transition into a man. This is only a social thing at the moment, the gender clinic I’m waiting to get into has a LONG queue (minimum waiting time is 18 months, it’s depressing) so I am unable to transition biologically, much as I need to. That, combined with having two incurable conditions…well, my head isn’t exactly full of sunshine at the moment. Hence the long silences, and I apologise for leaving you all hanging.

 

Winter novels part 2

Told you I’d be back! Here are five more of my favourite books to read in the dreary months:

6) A New York Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-York-Winters-Tale/dp/1447247558/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1478267582&sr=8-3&keywords=a+new+york+winters+tale

Yes, you guessed it, snow snow and more snow. There’s a flying horse in it as well.

7) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inkheart-Trilogy-Cornelia-Funke/dp/1908435119/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478267735&sr=1-1&keywords=inkheart

OK, so not very wintry seeing as most of the book takes place in Italy, but the beginning scene where Dustfinger is waiting out in the night-time rain staring at the house is Hallowe’en-ish.

8) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Witch-Wardrobe-Chronicles-Narnia-HarperCollinsChildrensBooks/dp/B00SLUAKTC/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478267919&sr=1-7&keywords=the+lion+the+witch+and+the+wardrobe+book

For the snow again, obviously, and the faun under the lamppost, and the White Witch. Also Aslan. I read the Narnia series when I was a child, and still have those books…hiding in my wardrobe.

9) Angels, Arguments, and a Furry Merry Christmas by Karen McCombie.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angels-Arguments-Furry-Merry-Christmas/dp/043994287X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478268131&sr=1-2&keywords=angels%2C+arguments+and+a+furry+merry+Christmas

A touch of humour. I love the voice these books are told in and I love the family in them. Who wouldn’t want to visit their favourite family at this time of year?

10) Viking! By Kevin Crossley-Holland.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Viking-Myths-Monsters-Kevin-Crossley-Holland/dp/184255283X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478268274&sr=1-5&keywords=Viking%21+Kevin+crossley+holland

And finally this one. (This list is not in order of preference, just random.) More Norse myths. Yep, can’t read too many of those.

That’s all of ’em. I can only apologise for the long jargon-filled links, but not being very techie I don’t know how else to put them in. Perhaps I will go back and tidy up after myself when I work out how. But first I have to hunt around inside my wardrobe…

Winter novels

I thought I’d compile a list of my favourite books to read in winter. Living in a relatively sheltered area of England, I don’t get to see much snow, but I see a lot of rain and glaring white-ish grey skies that, while also giving me headaches, makes the old seasonal blues a frequent thing. So, I turn to novels containing winters as they SHOULD be.

1) Northern Lights by Philip Pullman.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Northern-Lights-His-Dark-Materials/dp/1407130226/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478112386&sr=8-1&keywords=Northern+lights

Talking polar bears, witches, a journey to the Arctic. An alethiometer-wielding child in a place where every human has an animal familiar. Love it.

2) North Child by Edith Pattou

https://www.amazon.co.uk/North-Child-Edith-Pattou/dp/1409540545/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478112726&sr=8-1&keywords=North+child

And another sentient polar bear. I seem to have a thing for polar bears. This is a really strange retelling of an old fairy tale, with weird troll people and amnesia-inducing hot chocolate thrown in, which would be great if it existed in real life because then nobody would have to get drunk.

3) The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Rising-Vintage-Childrens-Classics/dp/0099583089/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1478112986&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Dark+is+Rising

I got into the entire series this book is part of after reading my mother’s copy of “Silver on the Tree” when I had glandular fever. The way the evil forces are equated with the twelve nights of Christmas gives one a warm fuzzy feeling.

4) The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Weirdstone-Brisingamen-Tale-Alderley/dp/B00CJV0P6C/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478113348&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=The+Wyrdstone+of+Brisingamen

OK, so it’s not very wintry, but it contains ravens and tunnels and goblins, all part of an atmosphere that you equate with autumn at least. (No, we do not get goblins in winter where I live. But hey, the weirdstone was once owned by Freya of the Norse gods, which I equate with all things snowy.)

5) Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frost-Giants-World-Book-Gaiman/dp/B00E31YRGK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478113599&sr=1-2&keywords=odd+and+the+frost+giants

Talking of Norse gods, here they are again in the service of a boy with a lame leg and an unusually persistent smile. One for the kids, but I’ve never let stuff like age limits get in my way.

 

part 2 coming up soon. All of you stay warm.

Back again

Edge reading poetry and orrery 002

As you can see, my desk space is now taken up by a giant orrery, which I have been piecing together on the less uncomfortable days. U2 poster in the background. (These are two of my interests: U2 and space, or in general terms music and How Stuff Works.)

So I’ve been on hiatus for the last few months, still writing obviously (see story published in MIROnline in July: http://mironline.org/tower-of-words-han-adcock/ ) and I have been doing an awful lot of reading, mostly in a horizontal position.

It turns out that I may have a form of arthritis (what, ALREADY?) However, I cannot get in to see the rheumatologist until September-ish, so finding out which sort (if any — hoping this is just a false alarm. But then if it is, where is all the growing gnawing pain coming from, and why does my spine burn when I stay upright for more than twenty minutes, etc yadda yadda whines on playing her violin) will take a little bit of time.

Still, I have now worked out how to email my writing from my iPad. (God, I sound like a 60-year-old). So I can now write lying down. Service is resumed.

Encouraging words

Quotes

Read a few of these if you ever have doubts, not just about writing, but about ANYTHING you are doing which can, or has to, be judged using someone’s personal opinion. Here are some of my favourites:

“This is not a book that should be tossed lightly aside. It should be hurled with great force.” Dorothy Parker

“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.” Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve been reading reviews of my stories for twenty-five years, and can’t remember a single useful point in any of them, or the slightest good advice. The only reviewer who ever made an impression on me was Skabichevsky, who prophesied that I would die drunk in the bottom of a ditch.” Anton Chekhov

I used to save all my rejection slips because I told myself, one day I’m going to autograph these and auction them. And then I lost the box.” James Lee Burke

 

And I probably should say “Sentience” (by me) has appeared in Poetic Diversity:

http://www.poeticdiversity.org/main/prose.php?recordID=2203&date=2016-04-01

Enjoy.