Sunday 1 – Monday 2 January 2017
So, here it is. My first post of 2017, and I’ve aptly titled it 2017 – The First Post . . . Witty, I know. Yes, I’m beginning the year as I mean to continue – full of wit. Wit, I said, wit . . . not sh!t Although, I can understand how you’d make that mistake so early on in the piece. Actually, I can’t; I just wanted you to feel a lil better about making such a cr@p judgement about me within the first few days of the year. It’s okay, I’ll get over it. I’ve had worse insults. I digress . . .
I pondered what my first post could be about, and can up with a whole load of ideas that looked just like . . . bugger all. Nuh, couldn’t come up with a single thing that I wanted to write in this, the first post. I could have gone on about Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire again. I could have gone on about the fact that I have tickets to see Adele live in concert in February and again when she performs her Finale concerts at Wembley Stadium in London, and how much I love, love, love her music. But let’s face it, they’re not really things that you want to be hearing about repeatedly . . . again. I could have covered all of the celebrity losses we experienced in 2016, but that one’s been done to death – sorry, no pun intended. I could have written one of those posts where people tell you all about how they’re going to change in the new year, what they’re going to set out to achieve, how they aim to make themselves and the world better, but, the truth is, everyone does those kinds of posts. And frankly, I’m not everyone.
My solution to this insignificant issue is to write a post about something that a number of other people have probably already written about with regards to themselves, so it’s not entirely a new concept. It is, however, something that I almost feel compelled to write about, but I fear that it could go into the realm of schlocky, schmaltzy, sentimental, and rubbish quite quickly. I will endeavour, if I can, to prevent it from plumbing those depths.
I don’t want to review 2016 in its entirety because that would be boring. I do want to pull out a few things that I felt were noteworthy in terms of my life and things that I did. The year began in a pretty sh!tty manner, as my regular readers will remember, with the passing of my beloved smooch poochy, gorgeous Border Collie, Miss Parker, in early February. What a completely sh!t way to start a year. I can’t say that I’m over it, or that I’ll ever be over it, but I have managed to move forward in a relatively adult manner. I have my days, usually on a Tuesday because that’s the day she passed, but this are returning to a new normal.
I spent about three months in the second half of 2016 job sharing. My colleague (A) and I filled in for another colleague (J) who had taken long service leave. We were inspired at the beginning of our time. We were determined to make a difference, shake things up a lil, get our charges to where they needed to be by the end of the three months we had with them. Now, for someone like me, who has been in this particular field for essentially twenty years, being inspired to make a difference is a) a big thing because we’re potentially burnt out or stuck in a rut after all that time, b) a challenge, c) one way to ensure we fail miserably, d) much like setting our sights and standards way too high to achieve anything, e) a challenge, and f) likely the cause of any stress that we will experience in a three-month period.
It was a three-month period that could have been disastrous. I’d never job shared before, and anyone who knows me well, knows that I was cr@pping my dacks over the very thought of working so closely with someone else. I’m known for being ridiculously independent, often to the point where it is detrimental to my wellbeing. This was going to be a massive challenge for me. How did I do? I’m so glad you asked. We rocked. Yes, that’s an answer in its simplest form, but we did. And I really don’t mean to sound egotistical about this, but A and I had it covered. From my point of view, things went smoothly, we have very similar ideas and theories about our industry and how things should be done, we have very similar concerns about time, and we’re both relatively high-functioning stress beings. We are capable of causing our own stress at 20 paces, eyes blindfolded, arms tied behind our backs. Yes, I understand the image I’ve just painted would cause the ordinary person to feel some level of stress, so it probably was a sh!t image to suggest. You get the point though.
In those three months, and I’ve said this numerous times since, how I do my job, how I view my job, how I interact with my charges have all changed. In part, the change was instigated by our charges, and in part, it was a matter of adapting or failing. And God knows, I hate to fail. And I hate to lose my independence, so when A and I had to ask admin for assistance to resolve some things, ordinarily I would have felt like it was a kick in the guts. However, this time, it wasn’t like that at all. My previous experience with administrators (particularly female administrators) is incredibly negative. This time, it wasn’t. We are lucky to have an incredibly experienced, compassionate, educated, female administrator who worked as support for A and I, rather than a demoralising force of evil. She’s changed my view of female administrators – yes, she’s that good. The point is, however, that the challenge presented to A and I affected a positive change in how I work. I found it terrifying and exhilarating simultaneously. Did A and I rise to the occasion? A resounding yes, by all accounts from admin. Am I proud of what we did manage to achieve? Hell, yes. We kicked arse. Would I do it again? Without a doubt, if I had the good fortune to work with A again.
Clearly those three months were significant given how much of this post is dedicated to them.
The final thing I want to cover is that in the midst of my inability to write anything that I considered significant this year (which I put down to the significant sense of loss I feel about Miss P passing), it dawned on me that I may never write anything again. At the time, that wasn’t a big deal to me. However, at some point that changed, and I found that I wanted to return to how I sort of fell into writing as a university student – speeches and scripts. Now, I remember being able to write from a young age. Stories just came to me, and the bit that I enjoyed almost more than the writing was retelling the story to others with an apparent “dramatic flair”. I never considered myself to be particularly dramatic, but harking back to Year Twelve English Literature and my well educated English Literature teacher, apparently, I was well suited to studying Drama at university.
A slight twist of fate meant that I didn’t end up in the Drama course that I originally applied for, which was essentially a pure Drama degree, but Drama teaching instead. That, in turn, led to a couple of other twists of fate, or serendipity, or whatever you choose to call it. And in all of that, I was writing quite prolifically. 2016 has been my leanest writing year since my first year in uni when I seriously put pen to paper, or rather fingers to computer keyboard. That’s around about twenty-four years, or as I like to refer to it, a bloody long time ago.
So, here I am, back where I started writing. Scripts, be they TV, film, or stage play, are a thing of beauty for me because they consist mostly of dialogue. I’m sure I’ve previously written a post about how much I love writing and constructing dialogue. I’m sure I’ve already mentioned in some other post about the fact that I, more often than not, think in terms of dialogue or speech. As far back as I can remember, it’s just something that I’ve always done. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for me to spend the time refining my scriptwriting, and learning some new scripting skills. Hence my recent purchase of Final Draft 10 which, I will say again, is an exceptional piece of software, and I might just be a lil bit in love with it. Weird, I know, but it is fabulous.
I’ve managed to get back into the swing of writing, and I’m in the process of scripting a TV series. I don’t know if it’ll be any good, or what I intend to do with it once it’s finished, but I’m enjoying a certain amount of structure that I’m getting from the process of scripting, writing scene by scene breakdowns of episodes, and contemplating what my characters should say. I’m struggling a lil at the moment with ensuring that it doesn’t end up stereotypical, or that I’m not stealing characters and ideas from other shows. My obsession with a few particular shows at the current time means that I’m always reflecting on that writer’s dialogue and scene structure, and I’m trying very hard to make sure that my characters remain unique from the characters in that writer’s work. It’s a bit like songwriters who have to ensure that they don’t put musical notes in the same melody and timing as songs that already exist. It can be frustrating when you discover that the character you thought was original bears a striking resemblance to one of your favourites from another show, so you have to recreate and rewrite everything to do with your character. Still, I’ll get there.
And in the interests of honesty and openness, I must confess that I actually do have an idea about what I’m going to do with my TV show idea. I’m not going to tell you just yet, so don’t bother asking, because I want to be able to work on them at my own pace, and without feeling outside pressure from people who know my intentions (ahem, you, dear reader).
In concluding this post, I sincerely hope that you all have a fabulous 2017. Let compassion, understanding, tolerance, intelligence, common sense, respect, and courtesy make a comeback. Well, I live in hope for that. 😉