the muffled screams of a cluttered mind

The Issue

This creative silence in my mind makes no sense. My words fail to appear, even as I think them, they vanish. I am left alone with the emptiness of the page before me. These white dunes of manuscript are barren,  devoid of their native, ink inhabitants. It is perplexing and perverse that my words should scatter to the winds with such ease when I require them to sharpen my mind and articulate my thoughts.

Perhaps that is the issue here. Perhaps my mind has become so dull and devoid of stimulation that the words have leaked out of me. I fear they have dribbled out of my ear canals like so much dirty rain water and soaked into my pillows and sheets in the night. I may never find them again. I do not know how to extract an abstract from a physical. The very idea itself is ludicrous. You cannot tame fog or air, therefore, how could I ever hope to tame and recapture those words that I have lost? Are they not as ethereal and vague?

Then again, it may just be that I do not know my mind as well as I believed. Surely the words I require to express myself still exist in some capacity inside this brain of mine. After all, I read more than the vast majority of people I know. One’s mind cannot become overcrowded with words. No. I am in no doubt that my love of reading has allowed me to accrue an expansive vocabulary. So why do they elude me?

Why do I find myself at a loss  attempting to enunciate even the simplest details when describing a person or a place? How is this possible? I am bewildered by my own ineptitude. Clearly, there are words inside this thick skull of mine. Why, then, do they persist in failing to cohere into comprehensible sentences?

I can only speculate as to the cause of my mental block. Perhaps (again, that word) it is my own lack of self-belief. Maybe I have mentally crippled myself by neglecting my creative impulses for so many years. Too many years wasted focusing only on the immediate, the perceived “real”. As if imagination itself cannot be considered as real and necessary as the physical world.

Still, this speculation is not helping. I am no closer to being able to capture a scene or conjure an image.
Again with the self-pity; how dreary. When did I become so facile?

“Woe is me, I can’t write anymore.”

How pathetic.

And now the self-loathing has arrived to complete the trinity: Stupidity, self-pity, self-loathing. A fool’s trinity of destructive emotions, tailor made to inspire revulsion in any social setting.
I am an ass for wallowing here.

That, I believe, is the real issue.


Writing Warm Up 15/09/2014

Dew dripped lazily from the charred fringe of grass that skirted the fresh crater puddles beyond the shelter door. Roana could still detect a slight, acrid tang in the unseasonably warm air as she emerged from her metal cocoon to survey the freshly churned field.

She didn’t expect to find anything. It had been weeks since she had seen anyone near the farmhouse. Most of her neighbours had abandoned their homesteads when the ever surging frontier had begun to ebb into the adjoining county less than 15 kilometres to the west. She was amongst the last.

Then she saw the shoe.

It was not a large shoe; she might easily have missed it. But it hadn’t been there the night before. Of that, she was certain. Its singed heel poked up forlornly from one of the puddles just a few metres from the doorway. Once she caught sight of it, she was mesmerised.

As she processed this new object’s implications, a single question formed in her mind.

Why hadn’t they cried out?

So close to the shelter, the shoes owner could have called out. They might have been saved had they just made a noise to let her know they were there.

Then a second, grimmer thought took shape and brought with it the leaden feeling of guilt.

Perhaps they did. Perhaps they did call out as the shells bloomed in the surrounding countryside. It was conceivable she might not have heard them over the noise of the murderous downpour.

The thought that they had come so close stung.

With a weary heart, Roana closed the shelter door softly. Stepping lightly between the puddles, she retrieved the shoe with funereal reverence and carried it back to the farmhouse to bury with the rest of the nameless remnants.

Writing Warm-up / Comic Stuff

Wednesday is here! Mid-week has arrived and it’s New Comic Book Day!

Of course, since I have to buy my comics on-line rather than in a store it will be a few days before I receive anything. But I can still be excited. Indeed, I may even have a new stash to look forward to when I get home seeing as I recently ordered the first (and, currently, only) seven issues of Ghost.

I have to admit, I was saddened to see that Kelly-Sue Deconnick’s run ended after issue #4. But I am psyched that her co-writer on some of those issues, Chris Sebela, is the one who took over. Everything should be shiny.

In other comic related news – Did you see the porn-butt on the Variant cover for the new Spider-Woman #1?!
Holy Cow Doodie! What the hell were they thinking when they green-lit that cover?

LOVE (yes, all caps LOVE) Jessica Drew. She is a super kick-ass, complex, and interesting character on multiple levels in both the 616 and Ultimate universes. But it is very easy to over-sexualise her due to the sheer skin-tight/shiny design of her iconic costume.

However, there is absolutely no excuse for why her butt should be splayed open in an overtly slash-fic/fetish porn style on this Variant cover. This is a Marvel comic, not a Zenoscope one. Hopefully the editorial team will remember that for future issues.

Something I need to share

Last night I sat with my wife and children in my parent’s living room to watch Jumanji. A wonderful film in which Robin Williams plays a grown up who was sucked into a magical board game as a kid. His role is, by turns, both funny and poignant. But mainly hilarious.

If you haven’t seen the film, stop reading, go and watch it with the people you love, and then come back. You owe it to yourself.

Personally, watching Jumanji is a bittersweet experience for me. Any time I see it being shown on T.V. I feel compelled to watch it. But it also reminds me of those friends I first saw it with at the cinema when it was  released. Friends I haven’t seen in years for a whole slew of reasons. Most of them made up. Yet, the film always manages to put a smile on my face no matter how silly and introspective I get when the titles first appear.

Needless to say, my kids loved it. Their favourite part? Robin Williams, of course. After all, what’s funnier than watching a grown man who acts with the energy and enthusiasm of a child? They absolutely loved the film and his madcap performance.

This morning I awoke to the sad news that this wonderful,funny man is no longer with us.
Just as my parents didn’t tell me and my friends that John Candy had passed away before we went to see ‘Cool Runnings’, I don’t have the heart to tell the children yet.

Amidst the many facebook tributes my friends have posted, my wife has simply put, “Nanu nanu.” Mork’s signature phrase meaning both, ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’. It seems fitting, I think.

For my part, the only words I can think of are, Thank You.

Thank you, Mr. Williams for sharing your boundless talent and enthusiasm with the world. I can’t wait to introduce my children to the rest of your work.
Thank you.

Proof of Life

Updates. I hate them.

There’s something incredibly presumptuous about writing an update. My main problem is that the very act of writing an update assumes that people should care. But why should people care? I haven’t written here in an age, and it’s not like anyone was hanging on my every word beforehand. My opinion just isn’t that important to complete strangers. Sad, but true. Also – obvious.

All that said, here’s an update, if you care for that sort of thing.

I am still a weird mess of creativity. However, I have successfully reigned in my need to share half-complete/half-formed work. Not just with people I’ve never met, no. Even my wife hasn’t seen any of the scripts/drafts I am currently working on. I still haven’t shown her the +30,000 words I churned out during last year’s NaNoWriMo.

Since I last rambled here various projects have gone into hibernation. Outlets I previously used have also, sadly, dried up. And to top it all my keyboard has slowly disintegrated. I am currently waiting for a new one to arrive. It’s got keys and everything. Very exciting.

There’s also the matter of my now being thirty, which I find peculiar. Not because of any sudden revelations. More because, well… I still feel & think the same as I did when I was 17/18. Maybe if I hadn’t spent the last decade raising kids I might feel wiser & more mature than, say, five years ago. But I have. So my responsibilities are still the same as they have been for a long time. Thirty is just another number. It holds no power over me despite an endless stream of subpar sitcoms trying to tell me it should.

Anyway, I am continuing to work on my writing whilst holding down an increasingly dreary day job. It’s going fairly well, though I still haven’t completely shaken the impulse to edit as I write. But I am making progress on something I feel a need to write. But I won’t talk about that at the moment. I’ll save that for once it’s finally done.

So, there it is. Consider yourselves updated.

At the moment I have no inclination to return to producing articles on here. That doesn’t mean I won’t. I just have no plans to write articles or reviews at the moment. Similarly, the Kickstarter recommendations won’t be making a return for the foreseeable future.

I am without schedule. It’s rather nice.

Take care, and thanks for reading. – B


Time to state the obvious: This blog is on hiatus.

I am still writing a fair amount, but I reached the stage a couple of months ago where I realised that most of what I was writing was long form fiction. As such, it needs several drafts to reach a standard where I know I will be happy with it. However, the temptation to publish things on the blog, without proper analysis and editing, is too much for me. I’ve never been that fantastic at keeping secrets when it comes to the things I’m working on.

Therefore, for now, the blog is on hiatus.

I can still be found spouting random bits and pieces on twitter. Though, even there, my presence is currently diminished as I have been reading a lot more, scrawling indecipherable gibberish in notepads, and catching up on multiple series and documentaries I had previously been neglecting.

Thank you to those of you who have followed my sporadic ramblings up to this point. I will still be lurking in the ether, scouring through your blogs, and I will return to write here again in the future.

In the meantime take care, and I wish you the best in all you do.

Ben – 12/10/2013.

Brazil alarm at UK terror detention

Brazil alarm at Heathrow airport terror detention as UK police abuse terror legislation to intimidate journalists. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23750289


I’m on autopilot at the moment. The last week has left me feeling completely drained, and the lack of consistent sleep is not helping matters. I’m still trying to work out why on earth I decided to start exercising again. I’m sure it seemed like a noble (or sensible) idea at the time. But now I just ache and my body hates my brain for suggesting the dumb idea in the first place.

In other news, I’ve been writing bits and bats for a couple of projects, but I’m still throwing out more than I’m creating. This brain fog is evil and most be erased, much like the typo I made a second ago since a brain frog sounds rather derivative of Futurama.

As you will have gathered by now, I have no particular insights to share with the world today. I’m also not comfortable sharing any of the short stories/verses/articles I’ve been jotting down as literally all of them need to be re-written into coherent, presentable forms. 

So this post is more a ‘proof of life’ than anything else.

I hope to come back with something worthwhile soon. But, for now, take it easy. I hope you all have a decent end to your week.


Stream of Consciousness: “Preposterous”

Somehow I appear to have gained quite a few followers over the last week. So, thank you. I have no idea where you came from but it’s nice to have you around.

<fairwarning> This piece will probably make you disappear again. </fairwarning>

I would like to clarify that, despite its layout, the following piece is not a poem. I don’t do poetry because I’m just awful at it. There are already too many atrocious poets out there; I feel no compulsion to swell their ranks.

So, if it’s not a poem (“But it rhymes so it must be a poem!” *smack*) what is it?

It’s my brain’s response to years of listening to people explain why they support whichever particular political party they support, in whatever country they live in, all over the world. I understand the instinctive human need to establish a core set of values. But the idea of throwing your full support behind an entity whose decisions and responses you cannot predict or influence from one day to the next just doesn’t sit right with me. If the last two decades have shown us anything in this area it’s that such entities are quite willing to ignore the public consensus and just do whatever the hell they want anyway.

So, this is what fell out of my head when I found myself staring at a blank piece of paper waiting for the office clock to hit home time last Friday. I’ve (over) punctuated it since then, but other than that it remains unmolested and rather rough around the edges. It contains some swearing and a weird sexual metaphor that I don’t actually remember writing…


My politics are preposterous: this could be true,
You might call me liberal – but I hate more than I do.
I deplore violence and war and lines in the sand.
But I’d rather cut you than shake a racist’s hand.

I don’t mean to be a dick, but sometimes I am –
It’s one of the reasons I’m writing this down.
You see, if it’s in text form, and I read it aloud,
I’ll hopefully be able to turn that around.

I tried socialism, once, but it didn’t work out.
No-one could agree, and that’s what it’s meant to be about.
And sure, you stand smug with your true party vision.
But what use is a strict core when we only progress through cooperation?

There’s more than one way to skin a cat,
There’s more than one way to cut benefits back –
but fuck knows if your parties can think of another.

My politics are preposterous: This appears to be true.
But so are yours, whether pig red, piss yellow or faded thong blue.*

“All politics are bullshit!” – my inner punk’s shining through.
So, yeah, my politics are preposterous – but at least I’d help you.

I’d help you up, not grind you down,
Offer you support, not judge you as you drown.
And it’s not my religion (I have none you see)
It’s just basic human decency that separates you and me.

So – Yes – I’m a dick, and I’m fuming with rage
Spurting angry words all over this page
My politics are preposterous, now this much is clear,
But I’d rather keep my mind open than blindly follow in fear.


*I live in the UK – these are the colours of the three main parties. The piss and the thong are currently ruling as a coalition, though an anthropomorphic piss stained thong would probably be a less damaging option if one were to ever run for election.