Happy New Year, There Is No Hope

New Year is upon us. Some of you are back at work. I’m not. I’m sooooo not.
Now, I had started writing a post about 2014, new year’s resolutions and my thoughts on this period of transitional panicking. But the time is still not right for me to share these musings. First, you must see where I have come from.
So instead here is a piece I wrote a while ago, in 2013. I think you’ll find it has that ‘new year, new outlook’ feel we’re all looking for at this time of year…

There is no hope.
I write this while staring at my screen, slightly concerned. The Great Machine of Work has shut down for the day, and others have gone home, in search of respite, wine and grievances. But I am still here. It matters not where I am – if I weren’t in my chair, I’d be in my car, gripping the steering wheel, not moving from my parking space. Or I’d be at home, pressed up against the windows of my freezing house, wide-eyed and mute.
I’ve been here 20 years now. I think it’s been 20 years. It probably hasn’t. Maybe I’ve been here 5 years. Or 3. It’s definitely either 3 years or 20.
I had plans, such plans. By this age, I was supposed to have become a big shot, the kind with fame and respect and hair that just won’t quit. I was supposed to have been famous by the time I was 30. Sure, I’ve been moving the goalposts since I was 21….but it really all should have been sorted by now.
I should have been paid to act by now.
I can do all the acting – walking, talking, looking, standing still, hands. Sometimes all at once. I’ve done a few am dram shows, and they were good. Really, they were good. People said so, no one tried to burn me at all. A big name director should have been wandering past the local theatre one night looking for a good time and, in the middle of paying for his or her hooker, been distracted by the sound of my loud, pointy voice. In they should have walked and instantly fainted at my awesomeness. Then they would rise, and faint again, and again, until it got distracting for everyone. I would have signed a fancy contract then and there, and be living in a lovely character flat in Notting Hill, reading scripts and hate mail. (I hate Notting Hill but apparently it’s a really big deal).
Then again, it’s more likely that a director wandered into the theatre and sensed that I occasionally get mildly fat, so you can’t blame the casting world for ignoring me. I’m thinner now though. Thin, and dead behind the eyes.
I should have learnt an instrument by now.
That was one of the things I was absolutely meant to do, and I make a point of resolving to do it every January to prove it. But this year I have been distracted by a series of things and stuff. Unlike last year, when I was preoccupied by matter.
I’m sure I can play the piano… I’ve had lots of lessons over the years, and I found D7 the other day by accident. But I haven’t practised. I really should have practised more in the last 11 years. Maybe it’s the piano’s fault; I don’t think it likes me. I tried to learn the guitar too, but I ended up learning that I should not try to learn an instrument that my other half is much, much better at; it leads to wide spread smashing of items. As a result, I remain terrible on any instrument, alive or dead. Apart from the saxophone. But that’s no help to me or to mankind.
Having musical backing would really help all those songs I’ve been writing. It would elevate them beyond ramblings I shout/sob in the car. And I am almost entirely certain that anyone who heard them performed in a cute night spot would be both moved and aroused. Though they would have to question why they were in a ‘night spot’, it being not New York or the 1940s or an existing place. People would clap, and ask for more, and point at me in the street, weeping openly (for both good and bad reasons). But I have no means of accompanying myself, and what with my crippling fear of asking other musicians to help me first lest they turn out to be a) terrible, b) outstanding but they hate me, or c) made entirely of bees, the songs stay stuck in my head.
I should have written a book by now.

I started one a couple of years ago, but foolishly choose a weak idea when I should have been working on the one good idea I had. The good one is easy, but the ex claimed he had a similar idea that he wanted to work on (which translates as do nothing with it and then accusing Terry Pratchett of stealing it). So I tried to work on the awful one. I sent to a lady who knows about books. After reading it, she travelled to my house to spit at me and then ran over my neighbour’s kids. She was right to do it. In hindsight, I’m not entirely sure she worked in publishing at all, but her feedback was invaluable nonetheless.

If I wrote a proper book, Neil Gaiman and I would be friends. There is absolutely no way that could not happen. It’s just good sense.
Facebook tells me that other people are doing more things than I, with more panache and wider eyes. I see them online, throwing their tasks in my virtual face, posting pictures and sharing their artistic integrity with no regard for my inconsequential feelings. I should be somewhere, like them – these people who are unquestionably real, these seldom seen acquaintances and their always positive posts, these figures I know only by their fixed status smiles!
I should be something by now, surely?
…..I know. I know. Me and my talents should be doing more, and planning less. I should be doing what I am supposed to do, not what I expect to be doing.
But maybe tomorrow will be different. Maybe tomorrow will bring better advice.

One thought on “Happy New Year, There Is No Hope

  1. I will impart simply one piece of my many many many years of accumulated wisdom, and you would do best to nurture it and feed it well, for it is my child. Refrain from self castigation, not because it will particularly do you any great harm, but simply because it denies the pleasure that others may take of casting their own brand of evil and venom upon you, and as a sensitive and reasonable person, I just know that you wouldn't wish that for others. Imagine the grief and heart-wrenching sadness when others find that there is nothing more dark, or more wretched, that they can tell of you than you have already told of yourself. Having said that, I wish you and your year a loving symbiosis and may you live long and prosper.


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