When I was younger, I spent a lot of time by myself. I was a loner because nobody out there understood what I liked or why I liked it. My interests just didn’t match up to those of my peers and while they were out playing chase games in the playground I was inside picking out tunes on the steel drums. After that, the girls would be playing kiss-chase, terrifying the lads and I’d be sitting on a bench studying a rock I’d found near the pond and trying to figure out what earth processes made it. Later still, in secondary school, everyone would sit in a classroom and gossip about Take That, Peter Andre, Boyzone and Spice Girls, while I’d hide in the computer room writing stories about witches who could stop time. Sixth form was still worse, everyone had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend and I was working the kinks out of a roleplay group on line that I was building from the ground up with only the most basic knowledge of HTML code.
Then I left home and came to a brand new city and to university. And then it hit me… there were other people out there who liked some of the stuff I did. They would be able to talk to me for longer than ten minutes with no risk of loosing my attention because they’d drifted into Eastenders or bloody Coronation Street. Or, god forbid, Hollyoaks. -_-
Then, university ended, I started work and started to go out of my way to find hobbies and talk to people and, oh my god (!) there are other people out there who kinda, sorta get me. Its true. I’m really not alone. It became more obvious to me, than ever before, that going out and meeting more people that my interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes are not all that strange and mismatched after all. There are plenty of people in the world who enjoy the same things I do and a lot of them actually do similar things to me.
RolePlay Games (including PnP [Pen and Paper], online & LARP [Live Action RolePlay])
I play lots of these. Not as often as I used to, but still as often as I can manage. PnP includes Dungeons and Dragons, Savage Worlds, Suzerain and White Wolf, most of which played with the fabulous members of East Midlands Roleplayers. I have fantastic fun with them and can’t wait to get back to a point that I can play with people who get my jokes and appreciate them. Online games are mainly through The Ice Wolf Tavern which is a play by post forum for freeform roleplay. I started the group a loooooooooooooooong time ago on MSN when they still ran communities and now with the help (I say help, I could never have done it without her – she did most of the work!!!) of a valuable and treasured friend have been able to move it across to its own domain and forum through phpBB. Its there that the Ileandra Young character took on her second incarnation as it were and though she’s very different from the SORB Ileandra, she’s just as much fun to write. Then there’s LARP which I do with the fabulous people of Herofest. This is another character from The Ice Wolf who I’ve brought to life, her name is Trya Fenwyn.
My point being that there are lots of people I have met or talked to through these things who are now very close and dear to me and who I desperately want to see more of, because parts of myself are in them.
I started doing this through a forum I joined back in 2009. One of the inter-forum clans I joined was frantic, looking for ‘big voices belonging to music lovers’ to host radio shows. Been as a couple of my friends were already doing this, I decided to give it a go. More than a year on, the show is flourishing (though the forum has moved and therefore put all broadcasting on hold grrr) and I have a solid listener base. The show, named Radio ILL-LAY DUUUUUUUUUUUDE!!! runs every Sunday from 8pm until 10pm and is a request show. I use the show to learn more about other people’s music tastes and introduce myself to more music.
The second of these shows is one I do with a friend that actually runs of FM radio, you can also hear it online by visiting Demon FM between 8am and 10am on a Saturday and tuning in. This show has been going for a short while now and is less request base and more a chatter sort of show with musical background. Miranda, my partner in crime is just as nutty as I am when let loose on air. In fact that show keeps a short blog too; you should check it out.
Now I’ve probably not talked about this much, but I dance too. I used to do belly dancing, line dancing, bachata and salsa though now I’m looking into Lindy Hop and Balboa. Both of these are swing dances from the 50s and 60s (and 40s for that matter) and have carried forward into today to become wholly cool, utterly massive and very good for you. The exercise I get after a lesson of this stuff makes me feel all sorts of fantastic. There are a few more dances I want to try, though to be honest, finding time to do these things at the minute is pretty tricky. I’m just having to hold on and wait for space to grow before I can do more. By that, I mean more free time, though to be honest, I’m probably not going to get to do that until this blog and my writing kicks off as hard as I want it to. So… tell your friends about this blog!
My partner is in a band. He plays guitar and is fabulous. Though him and because of him I’ve been exposed to a LOT of live music in the last year or so. So much so that I’ve been itching to learn how to play guitar. I don’t know where I’m finding the time for it at the moment, but I am squeezing in about an hour a week (not much, but something) to teach my fingers the muscle memory they need to enable me to fret properly. I’m working on one song in particular and hope to be able to play that in some decent form by the next point I see my uncle, who also plays and is also in a band. Though since that’s looking as though it may be as soon as next week, I really don’t know how well I’ll do in that aim. O.o We’ll see.
As I write this, I’m also listening to the latest album of a punk/metal/ska band called Random Hand. I’d never heard of them before they were mentioned to me by a friend who then suggested that we go to see them. They were fantastic, can I just say and there was no hesitation in me against buying the CD. In fact, if I can find them on myspace, I may well add them to the list of bands I enjoy that you can find to the right of this page.
Reading (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Crime, Horror and Thrillers)
I read lots of these. Probably less crime than the others, but I did treat myself to three more books this week. They were all cheap and all for a good cause for Comic Relief, so not only did I get a treat in some new reads, but I also was able to donate more for a good cause. In fact I bought lots of stuff to donate! Its a wonder I’m not broke now.
I’ve started to read The Silmarillion which is how I start my annual Tolkien-Fest (you may have caught that in my Twitter feed). I’m half way through it now and reminding myself of how much I love his work. Yes, it is hard going – nothing this guy wrote is an easy read – but the story his novels tell touch me and stay with me. So I do enjoy them.
Obviously what this blog is about. I’m exposed to a lot of writing through what I do here and the people I talk to. I also visited States of Independence which was enjoyable and informative while I was there. I’ve found a couple of ways to expose my work and, of course talk more with other writers and poets and the like. LWC was there too, so it was nice to get back in contact with them; I’ll have to start going back to the group.
Anyway… the point of all that is this: I go to the writing club with my buddy Miranda who also does the radio with me. She joins me Lindy Hopping with another friend (A) who I met through pen and paper roleplay. I enjoy playing in the game she runs, while I ran a game that she briefly played and was also joined by the woman (H) who introduced me to Herofest LARPing. The LARP is wonderful, it happens every year and as well as Miranda joining me there this year, H is a member of a band that regularly plays in my end of town. In fact she often plays in the club where my partner had his last gig which is just around the corner from where I saw Random Hand.
I’ll end up playing Random Hand on the radio which is listened to by several of the LARPers at Herofest as well as a couple of the people who play pen and paper roleplay games. These people who also hear me talk about my writing and its through one of these roleplayers that I got in contact with Martin at Savage Mojo who is currently taking a look at SORB for me.
One of the men at Lindy Hop has written and published a children’s book and is looking to write another. He is also talking about doing NaNoWriMo this year. NaNoWriMo last year lead me to talking to a couple of other people in the midlands area who are looking to join a pen and paper roleplaying game. It has also taking me back to The Ice Wolf Tavern to consider a collaborative project with some of the members there to write something together.
My partner’s band has led to A more keenly wanting to start a band of her own. I’m pushing at my guitar practise to join her if I can along with Miranda who plays drums. She also writes and, if she had more time would probably work on a NaNoWriMo for 2011.
I had no idea that so many of my hobbies were linked up. Previous to this, I must have been talking to the wrong people, living with the wrong people, hanging out with the wrong people. I just looking back to a time perhaps three years ago and realise that since then I have met, discovered and grown to know who many people who love what I love, do what I do that I’m fascinated that I wasn’t miserable as hell before! Well, I certainly wasn’t as happy then as I am right now. Everything is fantastic right now except for a few minor (and yes they really are minor) complaints which I should put in perspective really. My complaints are nothing against those of the people living in Japan right now, or Libya.
All that remains now is to continue linking up these people, these contacts and these joys. Sooner or later if I keep talking and meeting and greeting and expanding, I’m going to reach a point where I can take large, leaping steps forward in my goal towards publishing SORB. And, more than that, I can add further proof to the idea that I’m really not alone.