Thinking Chimp, Live at the Snooty Fox, Wakefield

This is my full set (well, nearly, when they remembered to turn the sound on anyway!) from the Tins for Tunes gig at the Snooty Fox, Wakefield, to raise food for the local food bank. I was only an hour and a half late going on, so expect LOTS OF SWEARING, some drunkardness, but definitely no nudity…

 

Garrison Hodge

Garrison Hodge

Garrison Hodge

Garrison Hodge sat in the doctor’s waiting room wearing his best suit – a used teabag colour with various historic holes and stains – and a nicotine coloured shirt, mostly tucked in, with an unnoticed tomato sauce spot accompanying the second button down. This was okay though, because he was wearing a matching tie, which would have covered the tomato blob up, had it been straight, and had the last three buttons of his shirt not been left undone so that the bulging neck of Garrison Hodge could expand fully. The amalgamating neck-a-chin, thick with unbothered stubble of differing lengths, met his huge wobbly mouth within which sat remnants of last weeks’ meals. This was overseen by a substantial nose and bulging eyes with lids eager to get that bit closer to the sagging under-face, consistent in its gravitational pull. His rhythmic heavy breathing and unusual odour had detracted a small child’s attention away from the sticky wooden train he was once so enamoured with. The child’s curious concentration abruptly snapped into a wailing cry, and his mother lifted him to her comfortable jumper.

Continue reading “Garrison Hodge”

Dear Theresa May, Prime Minister of my country…

Dear Theresa May, if you hate humans so much why did you become a politician?
And why, Theresa May, would this be a legacy you want to be responsible for: the backwards leaver, destroying any hope of a united human race?
Are you really that scared of him, Theresa May? You’d let our country once again be subservient to the cause of humanity’s downfall?
And, as a woman, Theresa May, why would you condemn your gender to the repression of a hundred years ago, flicking the Vs at the brave women who fought for you so you could become a leader of our country? 
When did you lose yourself?

52 stories

I heard Ray Bradbury used to aim to write a story a week. He’d ponder an idea over the weekend with a view to writing an outline on Monday. He’d allow himself a couple of days to flesh out that outline, and then by Friday expected a finished product of around three to four thousand words. Great if you’ve got nothing else to do with your time. And I’m certainly no Ray Bradbury. So with the limited time I do have to write I’m starting my first ever writing challenge: to write 52 stories, one a week, during 2017, (preferably with some kind of illustration to go with it)

 

 

Epoch of Madness – The Plan

 

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Undercarriage of Injustice

 

Since the humans of earth have decided to enter the Epoch of Madness by giving the red button to an orange bewigged undercarriage of injustice named after a flatulent cartoon duck, I have decided to emigrate to Mars. Saturn was my first thought, but its gaseous rumblings would remind me too much of home, and for this tremendous voyage and subsequent colonisation there must be no room for sentimentality. Tyrannical rule of a newly captured planet is hard enough. Red also suits my mood.

 

I will, as a token of my superior rule, be giving free emancipation to those humans who wish to join me in kicking this old outdated planet aside. I understand that some humans may find the thought of leaving their home planet daunting, in which case a no win, no tree kidnapping service will be provided.

 

You’re welcome.

 

It must be understood and emphatically agreed by all kidnappees, voluntary or screaming, that my thoughts, words, and commands are absolute, and I will not tolerate any disobedience, free thought, or knitting for the duration of your enslavement*.

 

My first task as supreme ruler (imperial only) will be to build a 60 earth feet** wall around Mars, and I shall require some hands capable of such hysterical…historical megalithical sculpting. Therefore, only slaves with hands will be allowed to take part in the construction of aforementioned wall. Slaves without hands must collect dust which will be piled higher than the Olympus Mons, making the largest mountain in the universe as monument to my selfless deliverance of the unhanded from inequality and subjugation.

 

Once built, the wall will provide the perfect eclipse behind which my plans for the exploitation of Earth’s humans will take shape. Such will be their misery, their hopelessness, their brutal sadness on their outdated planet that the craving within the pleasure part of their inferior brains will swell with longing. With the flood of unhappiness engulfing their meaningless lives they will do anything to fill the skull splitting black hole of inner despair. And I, ruler, tyrant, female woman thing, shall be their heroin of misspelt heroes.

 

With devious efficiency and belligerent force I shall infiltrate the underground pleasure providers with a weapon so powerful it would make all red buttons to the earth’s destruction melt into a pool of pathetic plastic goo. This weapon, feared by the orange one, and other undercarriages of injustice who believe they are in charge of their mounds of soil across the earth, will secretly spread dopamine across the lands, filling the oppressed with glee, the depressed with squee, and the repressed with the dignity of upturned mouths. What is this weapon you ask?

 _niu8khx

 

Cats.

 

Specifically baby cats.

 

Specifically laughing baby cats.

 

Humans have such weakness for laughing cats. A human’s weakness for laughing cats is laughable in itself. The fine brains of these creatures worked this out long ago, during the times of Egyptian rule when the Sun God Ra shimmered at the squeak of a playful kitten, making him sink behind the pyramids before opening the back door. Such outrage did this cause the Lord of Cats that a vow was taken by all cat kind to oppress those with the opposable thumbs via the art of LOLing. Having held extensive strokies with the Lord of Cats I have procured the loyalty of the Purring Army through a mutually agreed act of pleasure exchange (chin based). I impress upon you the magnitude of controlling force this weapon will bring me, and you will do well to heed its effects upon those which you will leave behind. Any thoughts of sorrow, any moods of compassion, any hedonistic leanings of love, unity or solidarity will be beaten from within you and dumped on Mercury where it will be scorched into oblivion along with your left nipple.

 

The LOL will rule, and thusly will I.

 

*until the end of time itself

**Feet will be provided by excess slave legs. (I hear stump blisters cause the most unbearable pain; just another perk of the job, other than the getting to do what I tell you to do bit. Again, you’re welcome.)

Mind Wars

I’m spending this weekend with The Mother. I haven’t seen her in the flesh since March, seven months ago. Then I had protection in the form of other people. This time it’s just us two. The relationship between The Mother and me is a whole tortuous book in itself, so I won’t bore you with it. All you need to know is she’s a controlling person, and I have let her be that person with me. She does that through fear because of childhood things, exacerbated by secret alcoholic husband, which, in that context, makes it totally understandable. Now.

I can pinpoint the exact time I decided that I wasn’t going to be like I was anymore. I wasn’t going to take this shit from her. Or anyone else for that matter. I’d had a bad year. Most years up to then hadn’t been good, apart from the odd moment here or there after I escaped home and school, and the heady days at university when everything was possible. After that came a complete breakdown, but all good things have to come to an end somehow. I regained some stability with my OH for the last ten years, a home, and two cats. Thank fuck! However, all good situations have their evil side. The grass may be greener, but there’s still perennial weeds in there.  The home situation with an autistic step-son, his not so interested mother, and my OH had got out of hand. When I say out of hand, I mean it hadn’t been dealt with. None of it. It was impossible to when that part of our lives wasn’t within our control. We weren’t allowed to make the decisions. And, looking back, I don’t think we wanted to be making them either. Without the OH’s Asperger’s diagnosis it was difficult for us to communicate about anything properly. Like a cushion trying to understand a hammer.

It was a lonely time for both of us. I sought solitude, which then sought company in some of the best friends I’ll ever have. That’s what it felt like at the time anyway. Then, suddenly, all my friends had got boyfriends/girlfriends/lives all at the same time. I was left alone. Isolated. Again. [Insert boring record of not having any family at all other than The Mother and inadequate training in social interaction due to alcoholic father here]. So keen was I to not be lonely for the rest of my life I’d put myself behind others, be there without question, the best friend they’d ever had. I’d been there for them, and they just left me. Obviously, that feeling has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with me. The way it felt, the injustice, the pain of rejection and forced isolation in the middle of a situation that was already unstable, was intolerable – and I mean intolerable, to the point of physical pain that had only one way out. I put myself out there more than I’d ever done before. Prostrate on the floor, metaphorical innards bared. And I got hurt, obviously.

Turns out that’s the best thing they could have done for me.

It was on an excruciating week’s ‘holiday’ (she called it this. I call it a week in enforced hell with en suite) in Cornwall with my mother that I decided I wasn’t going to put up with her or anyone else’s shit any longer. My innards healed over and put an extra protective layer of fixative on top. I physically felt it one of those long nights stuck in a converted barn in the middle of nowhere with my life long guilt giver snoring in the next room. Once that huge, ugly monster (of emotions, not The Mother. Although…) had been encased forever inside me things started to show themselves from the other side. Their shapes were different and their overpowering repression not so overpowering anymore. That’s when the ever present Rebel sitting at the back marched forward and said, “I’m driving this body now. Get out of the bloody way Anxiety. Shift your fucking fat arse Self-Doubt, I’m taking over, you can all fuck off!”

I’d felt Rebel before, but this time was different. Instead of Anxiety throttling her on the spot, Rebel fought back, hard. They tried to push Rebel out before she could strap herself in, but Rebel was too strong and had been ignored, crushed and bullied for far too long by the others. She has won nearly every battle ever since. Rebel was finally able to teach me how to have confidence in my own intelligence (knocked out of me at school, of course), that I could work this life thing out myself if I just put in some time and effort and really used this amazing (and controllable!!) blob of grey slime in my skull. Rebel appointed Stubborn as Mind monitor. Stubborn was strict about things, making me read things that really helped me learn about how this bunch of cells I call my body works. Stubborn made me stick with battling through the nonsense commercial (bullshit) self-help market and find the real information. I learned about my biology, my chemistry, how it creates those intangible things called feelings and behaviours and reactions, and how I can control them with this flimsy thing called Mind. Defenceless as Mind would usually be, Rebel has released its full force. Now that Rebel is in charge I’m allowed to have confidence in myself as a fully formed human person (to the point anyone can be approaching midlife crisis age). I care about what people think about my writing, the way I look, what I think and say, but at the same time I don’t. I know that I know how to know stuff (think about it), and I know that I know how to unknow the old and inknow the new (I make up words. Problem?). I am capable, in my own way. Different to everyone else’s way. Good.

Those friends? After I’d hit the bottom of the pit and struggled back out again some of them turned out to be actual friends! But the majority turned out to be not worth any effort at all. And that’s fine.

Of course Rebel has to have the odd holiday. We all need a rest. That’s when Anxiety comes back for a day or two. Or Self-Doubt, with the apprentice, Self-Loathing. But they’re only temporary staff.

Multiverse Me! [Cats and Ladders]

Today I have noticed the kink between the multiverses.  
Yesterday I noticed an abundance of wall sitting cats. I concluded it must have been their AGM, where they share intelligence on walls and their various attributes, prime spots, with good pouncing cover, etc. 

The AGM of wall sitting cats

 

Unfortunately, Terry couldnt make it
 
 
And Shirley tends to get a bit confused
 
But that was only the beginning of the phenomenon. I put it down to just noticing them, my brain having decided it was a ‘thing’ (It does that). But there is a definite increase in wall based cat doings. And they noticed that I noticed, and I noticed that they’d noticed I’d noticed. Etc. 

Then…

My doppelgänger tried to carry out Evil Plan 2.1 (a) by taking out my 2D self and replacing me with a 70 year old version who would then sabotage this universe’s me’s 2D friends and thusly take over the whole multiverse by inciting a 3D (actual world) riot via a joystick of words. They have since been eliminated by the Forces of Facespaz. For now. 

And…

Some mysterious ladders have appeared in my back garden (not a euphemism). 

 

Artist’s representation
 
They were not there yesterday, and though the note shoved through the letterbox says he’s been today the window cleaner has not appeared all day (detailed surveillance notes available). Even so, why would he leave his ladders and not return? I’ve checked for fallen bodies: Negative. 

In conclusion, the cat revolution is working in collaboration with the multiverse’s mes to send this me (the me me) into mental meltdown so that I am confined to a duvet covered room (shed, please) until I expire. THAT’S how much of a threat this me is! Who knows why? Until then, I have recruited two renegade pussies, using covert opposable thumb blackmail, as informants, and will be keeping well away from any blackholes. 

 

Im watching you! (as much as NASA lets me)
 
-ENDS-

I’m An Alien

Im an alienI sometimes feel like I’m an alien in this world, watching these odd creatures via my moving pictures box who insist on trying to wipe themselves from their own planet. The only planet capable of sustaining them (or stupid enough to have made them in the first place).

 

 

I’m interested in working out how people work. The experiences individuals have in their lives that determine their future selves and their behaviour. And most are usually quite obvious. An angry environment breeds an angry person. An honest and encouraging environment breeds a self-secure person. And the subtle nuances in between all serve to make each of us truly individual. Some end up in prison, some end up conforming to the definition of ‘successful human’, some end up rebelling against that definition (and are, in my world, the most successful).

Without condoning the severely disturbed humans (or idiots) that are ISIS, ISIL, IS, or whatever the current ‘so called’ media ‘so called’ term is today, I can still just about wrap my head around why they’ve ended up doing these things because of the environment in which they grew up and live. That certainly doesn’t excuse the choices they have made, just like any murderer. I must admit though that I’m absolutely stumped by one particular human of the species. Donald J Trump, and his apparent supporters.

He’s been an anomaly to me since I first came across him, but then he was poncing about in his own TV series having decided he’d like to be a celebrity, and was basically a harmless greedy fat cat in that Land of the Fucked Up (America, duh!). But now, with the same disbelief I felt when Arnie first launched himself as California’s saviour, he actually thinks he can run a fucking country! The ultimate corporate takeover, with the added networking and contacts icing that makes the mightiest Cake of Power that no human should consume alone. If he wasn’t getting so much support it would be entertaining to watch. Unfortunately it seems my frame of reference re cultural norms of human reasoning is skewed. I have never encountered any fellow human (including those based on that bit of Earth over there) who thinks this guy is a good idea. I can only presume his supporters are a different breed of human, especially if they are able to agree with his reasoning to treat others with the same racist distinctions as the very people which you’re supposed to be against.

 

This sends my mind into an infinite loop of dead ended ‘But why?’ Trump thinks that in order to fight ISIS he must become a terrorist in his own right and punish a generic lump of humans in line with his ignorant (and vote winning) way of thinking. Yes, he is a homunculus of America’s finest business school and his cash hungry real estate father, but does that really mean he should be THIS self-serving, greedy, unfeeling and stupid? Is the only thing that sparks some kind of pleasurable nerve ending sensation in his second (maybe primary) stomach brain the sound of wads of cash being dumped into his vast bank vault hidden in his secret lair located in Switzerland, Dubai, Monaco and Timbuktu all at once whilst paying all taxes owed on paper in his own country, of course. Sorry, I need to sneeze (BULLSHIT!). Bless me.


You could say he’s the primary product of our time. ‘Modern Civilisation’ defined. After all, none of the other participating countries had a thought about how they could help the innocent people of Syria to escape from death roulette in their home country BEFORE they dropped billions of tax payers’ money in bombs.

 

Imagine the country that organised a full scale evacuation programme for these helpless victims of our own species, each country accommodating them, helping them deal with the fact that life as they know it, including all the good parts, has changed dramatically into a fearful Unknown. How refreshing and truly deserving to represent the human species of the Earth would that country have been? Imagine the media outlet that sought to deliver messages of help and resources and hope to its valued viewers and fellow humans of our home, Earth. How refreshing and deserving to communicate our world news would that media outlet have been?


Too utopian for you, World? Okay. How about a sensible debate, without petulant name-calling, both private and public, with facts uncoloured by any particular media outlet’s brand pallet, with transparent points of view of instead of sleight of hand, hidden mirrors, under the table, back handed whips of PR’d ‘statements’, ‘party lines’, or deliberate confused gibberish to keep people busy. The price of bread cover up is a classic that will always be in the politician’s toolbox. At least Strictly’s still on, eh?

 

So as I watch this alien planet try very hard to destroy itself through its own inventions, run by 0.00003% of its population, to the detriment of over half of its total population under the manipulated marketing strategy that is labelled ‘democracy’ I stare at the screen of my Western you-never-had-it-so-good iPhone and think I should really clean this screen.

“There’s never no evil, only a different kind of evil.” – A Human

 

 

All artwork by Casper Arp Knudsen. Please go take a look at his amazing 2D and 3D work here…

http://casperaknudsen.com/

http://fuzzymelox.deviantart.com/

https://society6.com/casperarpknudsen

© Casper Arp Knudsen, under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

Brand: Writer

anxiety_by_morrison3000-d8j3revThe dreaded workshop. Creativity on demand, under the scrutiny of other far more competent creatives. Yes, I attended a couple the other week. It took a lot of courage and many self pep talks to even get myself into the room! I spent the few days leading up to it gathering the neurotic thoughts I could find – you’re not as good as everyone else, they’ll all laugh at your ideas, you’re not clever enough, you can’t write, give up – which inevitably led to the usual anxiety attack just before leaving for the first workshop. The difference between the me now and the me I was this time last year being I ACTUALLY WENT! I didn’t cop out. I really MADE myself go. The few experiences of doing this previously had gone well, and so finally my brain has seemed to reach an equilibrium between the neurotic thoughts and the experiential evidence to show that it’s never as bad as I can very competently make out it’s going to be. I held onto that thought like a toddler with an ice-cream. Also, it’s about self-confidence *looks at self-confidence bucket, status: empty*. It’s about realising what could REALISTICALLY go wrong, and knowing that you do have the ability to get through it if it does. Unfortunately us humans must go through a few harrowing experiences to realise this fact fully, but hey, life’s a bitch on steroids sometimes.lightheaded_by_morrison3000-d9biw0q

Anyway, back to the workshops. So, I was nervous about attending this workshop full of literary geniuses. When I arrived there were 20 other people all sat round a table like the class of 1992, silent, ridged, and concentrating very hard on their pencils. After what seemed like a lifetime plus one, the teacher arrived. Sorry, ‘workshop leader’. As a plan was drawn of the names of the people in attendance and ‘just a little bit about what style of writing you do’ I could see that every single person was bricking it as much as me. Everyone feels the same in these situations. If they don’t look like it then they have years of practice behind them meaning they’re bloody good at covering it up!

Most writers I’ve come across are like this: full of self-doubt, unsure whether their audacity to fill pages of dead trees with their words is justifiable. Of course, some new writers are very confident, some rightly so, and for some it can be their downfall. A bit of humility can go a long way, and it is essential for learning and creating. As writers in the world of open communication we are expected to be brands in ourselves. We need to be personalities which our audience can buy into, like a character in a book. The thought of selling yourself as a package of writing brilliance is incomprehensible to writers, most of whom will openly admit they don’t know everything there is to know about themselves, never mind present it to the world neatly tag-lined and photo-perfect.

hidden_beauty_by_morrison3000-d7x5fbm

Writers are natural introverts, observers rather than participators. Writers are used to hiding behind their writing. Writers want their writing to be their brand that represents them. But to the hungry wolf that is social media being a writer is not enough. sane_and_insane_rivalry_by_morrison3000-d7fc3dmWe need to form relationships with our readers before they’ve even read anything we’ve written, and we need to do it in such a way that it represents our writing style so as to fulfil our readers’ expectations when they do finally skim through the opening lines of our stories. Brand Writer must deliver what it promises.

Again, we come back to that illusive rogue, time. Having time. If I was a social media guru I wouldn’t spend as much time writing. Simple. I’m currently working on how to do both. My brain is complaining about this distraction, but I will come to a mutually beneficial compromise at some point.

a_mess_by_morrison3000-d7k7jnd

The workshops? Loved every second! I didn’t appear to cause offence to anyone, and I didn’t turn into a blubbering jellylike blob, and my head didn’t explode all over my fellow participants. Once I’d forgotten to worry about those things and became absorbed in the whole thing the time passed way too quickly and before I knew it I was leaving that once terrifying room feeling self-sanctimonious, telling myself that I told myself it would be all right, didn’t I, hmm?

It was great to hear what others were writing, and it was great to come up with ideas amongst such creative people, even if certain ideas wouldn’t pop forth on demand. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t a test. It was for us workshopees to learn something. The stuff I did come up with inspired a whole new story with a great character I can hardly believe I created, and I was able to grasp a sense of where my particular comfy cushion of ‘Me’ sits within the writer population. I know more than I think I do is really what these workshops taught me, and I should have confidence in this fact. I came away from my two days of learning feeling super confident about my writing and where I’m going with it. I decided, in comparison (as humans do) that I’ve actually got a head start on some, and that my slight apprehension about attending things like this is actually a good thing: I go there feeling I don’t know everything, and that’s exactly how it should be.

euphoria_by_morrison3000-d7qemab

All artwork by Dolores A Morrison. Please check out this fab artist here…
http://www.doloresmorrison.com
http://morrison3000.deviantart.com
https://www.facebook.com/Morrison3000Art/

What the Hell am I Doing?

Good question. I’ve been writing various things for ages, with no real focus or theme. Really just enjoying myself. But I’ve decided enough is enough, I have to take this thing-wot-I-do more seriously, even if it’s just to get my mother off my back asking me why I can’t write something like Jane Eyre. So, I’m kicking my insecurities and those who gift them to me up the proverbial back passage and exposing a full frontal bucket load of confidence by sorting my ‘stuff’ out. This starts with stopping something. Stopping giving away my writing for free. Yes, I’ll blog (much more often, I promise), and there may be the occasional bit of creative writing shoved in here and there, but the point is I need to get something published.

Now you know the situation, here’s the question. I’ve got a few dark/freaky fairy tales sitting patiently waiting for others to join them so that I can publish a full themed collection. I’d like to illustrate them too. I’ve also got a book sized story on the go. Not one for giving myself an easy time, this story has required a full world building exercise which has all been dumped in a wiki of its very own. I have some characters in mind, but they’re no way near developed to the point of clarity, neither is the plot line. I basically have a lot of narrative, most of which I don’t want to use as narrative. So there’s two projects, and deciding which one to dedicate time to is really annoying! The fairy tales is a bit more developed, well rounded, focused, easy to see the step by step process kind of project. The book isn’t. So my kind of logic tells me that I should focus on the fairy tales, get it finished, get something produced, and then start all the marketing malarkey, then I’ve got ‘something’ to show. Whadda you think?

Another part of sorting my ‘stuff’ out is sorting out this site, my ‘platform’ (I went to a ‘marketing your book’ workshop this weekend, so I know aaaallll the lingo now ;)). I’m spending this afternoon taking off the miserable ranty stuff, all the complete stories that I want to do something with, and generally giving it a good ol’ clean out. So it may seem a bit thinner than before, but…well…tough! I’m reassessing my social media presence too. I’ve spent some time away from it over the past few months and I’ve really, thoroughly enjoyed not getting caught up in the global distraction of narcissism and 2D ‘friendships’. It’s only with a massive reframing of the purpose of social media that I’m venturing back to it, now with my I’m-A-Writer face on. I was going to start completely afresh with a new Twitter and Facesplat account, but, thinking about it (I’m good at that y’know), I’ve decided it would be silly to neglect all you wonderful people who’ve already been so kind as to mark your interest with a ‘follow’. I hope to take you with me on my meander through this insane world of the business-of-writing from the point of view of a business-of-writing-phobe. I’ll probably need your unending support and proclamations of adoration in difficult times, but I won’t write about you if you don’t (maybe). Just a ‘like’ or maybe a ‘buy’ would be as good *smiling sweetly face*.

So, all change, but all good. Thanks for sticking around Thinking Chimps!