Friday Photo Blogging: graffiti and lampposts

I’ve been thinking maybe VCTB needs to be more ‘edgy’ and ‘urban’ – to reach that youth demographic, y’know. So, some local graffiti to show I’m ‘down with my hood’:

Southsea graffiti

And just to demonstrate to the regulars that I’m not all about the Benjamins (or Faradays, this being the UK after all), here’s another shot from the seafront. Please ignore the smudge to the right of the frame – that’s the little problem that meant I had to get my sensor cleaned the other week – and tell me what you think of the composition, if you have an opinion. Best to click through to the originals, as these shrunken versions never render fine lines very nicely.

Seafront lamppost

***

Another week flies by. As usual, I feel like I’ve not achieved much, but when I sit down and think about it, I’ve not done too badly at all. I have a review of Rudy Rucker’s Mad Professor collection waiting to be rolled out at SF Site in the near future, and four album reviews with my editor at Pennyblack, which should go live over the weekend. Add to this sundry other faffing about, and I have a body of work for the week that I really shouldn’t be ashamed of when I consider that I’m still working full time at the moment.

I get the feeling that even once the new job starts, I’ll still feel that I don’t have enough time to get all the things done that I want to – which is why I’ll be arranging for chunks of creative writing time in my daily agenda, so that it becomes something I treat with the same level of commitment as my day-job. That’s not possible right at this moment, due to the fact that I have a lot of deadlines for reviews over the next few weeks – and I am a firm believer that breaking deadlines, even for unpaid work, is the worst thing a writer can possibly do as far as professionalism is concerned. In a fortnight’s time, when I have around twenty extra hours per week to play with, that is going to change. I can’t wait!

***

Incoming material for this week consists of the February issue of F&SF, and the Spring issue of Obsessed With Pipework poetry magazine. (If you like a bit of contemporary non-genre poetry, you could do far worse than give OWP a look; it avoids the over-arty excesses of a lot of modern poetry ‘zines, and focusses on stuff that causes a genuine emotional response in the reader. I don’t always like every piece of work in each issue – indeed, sometimes there’s stuff in there that I find almost offensively self-indulgent or cryptic – but I’d rather have a negative reaction to a piece of writing than no reaction at all. You can check out free back issues at the Poetry Library’s online archive.) I’m still awaiting the arrival of more books from various sources, but their current absence is not troubling me; I refer you to my comments about pending deadlines a few paragraphs up from here!

Talking of receiving books for free through the mail – which is one of my favourite subjects, in case you hadn’t noticed – I got some really excellent news this week in the form of an email from the Business Manager of Orbit Books. Turns out he’d seen my interview with Ken MacLeod, thought it was quite good, and decided that I should be added to the Orbit ARC mailing list! I was, as you can probably imagine, utterly stoked.

Of course, they don’t segregate the mail-outs – I’ll be receiving horror and fantasy titles as well as science fiction – so it may be time to look for additional contributors to VCTB. Consider this a tentative solicitation; if you love your fantasy or horror, and you’d like to get a few free books and write reviews of them for public consumption, drop me a line with a sample of your reviewing style. I’ll probably do a full separate post regarding this over the next week or so, but this gives readers loyal enough to trawl through my Friday ramblings a chance to jump the gun.

I take it you all noticed the competition announcement earlier in the week? If not, go look for a chance to win a copy of Glorifying Terrorism; if so, you should know that the first entry has already arrived! I hope you’ll consider having a go, it’s all in the name of fun, and you could win a great book. Gotta be worth a few hours of your time, surely?

***

That’s about all there is to say about the week, I think. Tomorrow is my final Saturday of work (day-job work, at least), but Sunday is Tongues and Grooves night, and I’m looking forward to getting out and hearing some fresh poetry from the guests and regulars – even though it’s an uncomfortable reminder of how long it has been since I actually knocked out a new piece myself. Next week I have a gig review on the calendar, and my first consultation job – teaching a local independent business man about social media, blogging and how to use the internet to market your skills – as well as all the usual stuff that fills my time.

And you know what? It feels good. I’m actually doing something about getting to where I want to be in life, and I can feel the inertia shedding slowly like old dead skin. Yeah, I’m still a little scared, but that’s a good thing. I’m ‘stepping outside of the comfort zone’ – which is a cliched life-coach way of saying I’m pulling my metaphorical thumb out of my metaphorical arse. And that can’t be a bad thing for anyone to do.

Right; Friday Curry time. Have a good weekend, ladies and gents!

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