Archive for the ‘Oh dear!’ Category

I’ve been in such a strange mood all day, without really being able to figure out why. I’m struggling to articulate the feeling; almost wistful, but not quite, and over absolutely nothing. It rendered me unable to even contemplate writing, which was my agenda for the day. Hmm… what to do?

I gave the oven an overdue clean, but that failed to stir up any sense of achievement. Then, I watched The Three Doctors followed by Arc of Infinity, but neither were able to distract me, and not just because they were both a bit rubbish. As evening descended, I tended towards Morgan’s Spiced Rum, followed by Triple Sec, Morgan’s Spiced Rum and Triple Sec with Coke*, and a desperate snifter of Peach Schnapps to quell the malaise. It barely touched the sides.

Ultimately, the only action that managed to lift my spirits was sitting in the garden, in the gushing rain, listening to Teen Dream by Beach House (10 Mile Stereo, twice). Deep exhalation, music booming through headphones, rain pounding. So, unexplained disquiet, eventually vanquished. At least it dispels my own personal trope that I have to be gloomy to write, so that’s a positive lesson.

Actually, I don’t know whether it is due to my improved demeanour or because I’m a bit tipsy, but The Caves of Androzani is pretty damn good so far. Well, apart from the guy in the gimp mask. Now there’s a cheap-looking armadillo monster. Maybe I spoke too soon.

* I blame Nic for this. I do well to avoid drinking Coke since it is a nasty, body-shocking concoction, but my efforts usually consist of little more than not buying it, which is easy. However, Nic came home with two six-packs of Coke, and when it is in the house I find it very difficult not to partake.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

  • Causality (hornfingerproductions.wordpress.com)

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The Lost Future

I’m feeling marginally better today. Light headache and nausea minus vomiting: I’ll gladly take that. But I was still lacking the energy to do anything. I couldn’t get out of bed until 16:00, and was barely able to play more than an hour of Professor Layton and The Lost Future. It’s a great game, though: the best of the three. Rather than just revolving around a series of arbitrary mysteries, the game actually has (so far, at least) a compelling story, and many more of the puzzles have been integrated into that story.

I was really upset last night upon hearing of the death of Elisabeth Sladen, best known as Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. Although I wasn’t alive during her original tenure on Doctor Who – from 1973 to 1976 – she was The Doctor’s companion during my introduction to the show, when BBC 2 aired repeats of the Third and Fourth Doctors‘ runs back in the late Eighties and early Nineties. Because of this, Tom Baker was my Doctor* and Sarah Jane was my companion (or assistant, which was the un-politically correct title given to those who travelled with The Doctor before its 2005 revival).

* Jon Pertwee was my first Doctor, and although I liked him I think I felt underwhelmed by many of the UNIT-based stories. Once Tom Baker’s Doctor took over and was allowed to travel in the TARDIS more freely he managed to sweep me away with him.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I have been having a series of dreams, for the past week or so, with a recurring theme. Each dream revolves around a figures from my past, whether that be people I’m still in touch with but haven’t seen in a while, people I’ve lost contact with, or others I’ve extricated from my life. I don’t know what the Hell is going on in my subconscious, but it’s doing some odd things and stirring up some odd thoughts, both nostalgic and wearying, like some elongated near-death experience.

And I love it. It’s precisely the (slightly masochistic) mindset I should be in to write well. Or, at least, I have always thought it is. Is it perverse that I feel I have to channel some unknown form of inner turmoil to write effectively? Isn’t that just the most blenching cliché? Or, since I used to be at my most creative while charged with a horribly abased kind of energy, is it another effort to recapture how I used to work, the romantic ideal I still cling on to?

If that be true, I should take steps to absolve myself of it: it’s clear I cannot work in the same way – and maybe never will – so it is pure idealism that feeds this syndrome. I need to stay on my current path (writing-wise), rather than hark back to the unattainable.

I’ve kept myself sane by experimenting with new curry and naan bread recipes. Yum!

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I’ve just finished reading Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale – The Final Chapter and was reminded of an old habit: when reading a paperback, I’m very, very careful not to crease the spine, to the degree that a former English teacher in college accused me of not reading my copy of Tess of the D’urbervilles because of the book’s pristine condition*. I like to preserve the structural integrity of my books, DVDs, and CDs, to the point where I apply strict criteria when assessing who I lend stuff to. Nic is reading one of my books and when I noticed that she had creased the spine of it – I hadn’t previously informed her of my neurosis, and neither should I have done so – I felt remarkably tense.

I actually have a DNL (Do Not Lend) list. I really do. Some people were added to the list a little later that I would have hoped – after the damage has already been done – but I try to assess how well they take care of their own stuff before I part with my own. It’s odd, it’s unreasonable, and it’s petty, but I’m not sure I’m willing to surrender it just yet.

Still stuck on my how do I get my characters from a to c? Whatever it is, it needs to be pretty ingenious; it’s only today that I realised just how wet that paint is. A bath and a cup of tea – the greatest creative lubricants I have at my disposal – are certainly in order.

* I really wish that I hadn’t.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I’ve had a rather productive day today: I cleaned the bathroom, made some red onion marmalade and a batch of ginger ale (the bottle of which I am currently hugging to encourage the fermentation process), and I even washed the dishes afterwards. Yep, I’m that ace. It’s more than I’ve done in about a year, and I’m pretty weary now, but it was worth it.

I also wrote a haiku:

Fernando Torres,
He spat his dummy too late;
The Kop shook its head.

We had a note through the door earlier. It read:

My son is a plumber. The water you have dripping down your outside wall is from the boiler. When it is empty the central heating will go off. Norma.

Logic tells me that this was a friendly warning from a helpful neighbour, but I couldn’t help but read it as a threat, as though the dripping is a ticking clock and the central heating is a bomb. In that context, I can only take “My son is a plumber” as an odd boast, unless plumber happens to be a euphemism for assassin, much like in the new Jason Statham film. Is my neighbour really trying to kill me? If my house explodes, tell the Police it was Norma.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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