Sunday, 29 April 2012


I'm not the kind of person to grab life by the throat. I don't spring out of bed and scream 'YIELD OR DIE' to the day. I'm not ambitious, driven or a workaholic. I do become frustrated by my own lack of get up and go some days and wish I was like other people, you know, probably people like you. But then I am working on it. I recently came face to face with opportunity and instead of ducking and making my excuses I decided 'why the hell not', it seems to have worked out really well.

If you follow me on twitter at @eddsnotdead then you know I like a bit of British 'Chaphop'; a strange but obvious mix of Rap and Steampunk/Victoriana. Now an excellent artist called Professor Elemental has been preparing a T.V project with @Benjamin_Field and I'd been retweeting like mad to get them some love on their cloudfunded project when Ben got in touch. We 'skyped' it up and I read for a part in this coming webshow. He offered me the part and I took it. Happily. Which is odd because normally I'd make my excuses.

The production has come to film now and he phoned me to see if one of the kids could appear too, 'yes' was the answer again and due to the need for 'Steampunk ladies' for a rap sequence my gorgeous wife also got to make an appearance! All from saying 'yes' once. Weird huh?! She took Roo up to film, did her music video bits and took our Niece 'L' up as well. All had a great time, got all dressed up, made up and did some grinding and extra work and it has been a real experience for them.

I film Wednesday and have a speaking part. I've been walking round the house repeating my lines, taped a copy of them on the kitchen cupboard so I can check myself while I cook, have had The Roo reading with me and am really looking forward to it. Its small and unpaid and you know what? Its not going to make me rich, famous or even notorious, but it is something not everyone gets to do.

Saying yes can be a pain in the arse. It can cause problems, it can cause havoc but I would urge you to say 'yes' to something this week. Something that you wouldn't normally say yes to. 'Are you free Tuesday night?': Yes. 'Want to go for a drink?' Yes. 'Are you interested in appearing on television?' Yes. 'Could we work out a way to make our lives better?' Yes.'Do you like me?' Yes.

Say 'Yes' this week and maybe see where it takes you.  

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Many years ago the Roo was an argumentative soul (he still is really) and at the age of 6 or so and loved a good moan. One particular meal time (one of his favourite times to kick off) he complained that the food was so bad at our house that it was as bad as 'being in prison.'

This was a bit insulting and perhaps overly harsh and so we took the line that it was certainly a wild claim. He strapped in and was not budging so we came to the decision to write to Lewes prison and ask them about their menu. The letter was written by @mamacrow and dictated in part by the Roo. It was dispatched and we expected no answer but were impressed by our innovation.

Within two weeks we received a letter, from the prison and yes the lovely letter thanked us for our interesting question and included a menu. They actually sent us a menu!

This is when it became difficult really because it turned out the menu was pretty good actually. Better than ours. Hum...the crowing from the Roo was indeed a bloody pain! The selection was great, veggies were catered for, there was provision for religious restrictions and a choice of starter and dessert. This was going to be a tough week for me (the chef; I was a stay at home dad) until we worked out the downside!

The next day Roo was asked to tell us what he wanted to eat for the next month. He was asked to make sure that he had different meals on different days to give him variation and that he would have to eat what he had booked whether he fancied it or not. This was something he could not do! Ha!

So after some discussion we agreed that the menu prepared by us was fine though he wanted a greater input, which he got, and so the issue was settled.

In the end I was so surprised by the lovely letter that we were sent and that made it well worth it doing and it serves as a reminder to me that there is always some way to settle an argument if you try hard enough. Ta Roo.

By the way, he's just as argumentative as ever, only now he knows far more and so is even more difficult to win against.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


We had a park football match and all was going swimmingly. The kids had picked the teams, consisting of myself on one side with my brother; a maths teacher, his daughter and some of our tribe verses the rest of my kids and the cousins from my eldest brothers family.

All was going well and we were all enjoying ourselves when the ball broke towards the path and I charged after it, suddenly our eldest decided he wanted it too. Now normally this wouldn't be a problem but he got something vastly wrong and just as we were coming towards the gravel path I saw him shift his weight and BANG, he took me out.

He's short, squat and physically capable. At fifteen he's had years of football training, inherited all of my father's robust physical prowess (something that I didn't get) and is a Brown Black belt in Karate. In short, he's capable. So when he shifted his weight and stuck his seven and a half stone into me mid step I went down.

Yes I'm heavier, but only by two stone and he caught me, caught me like he wanted to, on purpose. I went down and smashed into the gravel path on my hands and knees and skidded and he'd done me some seriously superficial damage.

I got up dripping with blood from my hands and explained calmly why his behaviour was unacceptable. I didn't shout, I didn't threaten and I did not try to intimidate. I told him I knew he'd done it deliberatly, that it wasn't a way to play with me, 'play that way with your mates if you really must, but not with me.'

I asked him to sit down on the bench, calm down and watch the game for a minute while I calmed down as I was quite angry and also I needed to assess the damage in peace. He sat and I checked.

Right palm torn to pieces near the wrist with gravel deeply embedded in the wound, left palm and forearm up to the elbow shredded, left knee a mess and my nice tracksuit bottoms totally written off. Great. I picked the stones out and ran some water over the wounds, collected him from the bench of shame and we played some more.

I must have looked like I had bloody murder in mind when I spoke to him just after the take out but I hope he wasn't scared, more concerned and sorry for his reckless actions. This was confirmed over the following days when he slipped a 'sorry' in at least three times a day, normally when one of the other kids hung off my knee or poked my hand.

He was sorry and that's good, he was reckless and that's not so good, but maybe he will seriously think twice before doing that sort of thing again.

For my part I'm healing and even though the knee and right palm wont close because they keep being slapped, grabbed, poked and twisted I think I did okay. I expressed my opinion, why I felt the way I felt and why I thought his behaviour was unacceptable and he took what I had said, reflected upon it and felt remorse. This is success!

I want my kids to be able to make mistakes and recognise when they have, not only be remorseful because they were caught. I want them to have a decent core and I want them to have a good life and that comes from being a good, confident person. I kept my cool under fire and I showed them that pain or anger are not excuses to fire off. That control can be maintained and that you can express dissatisfaction without being rude or shouting.

I hope that bears out and when things go badly for him later in life he can remember that lesson and show control as I did. I hope that's the case.

If there is one thing that I'd like them to be, one thing from all the many words we could pluck out of the air then it wouldn't be 'successful' or 'rich' would be 'good.'  

Good as in compassionate and kind and thoughtful and respectful of others. Good to themselves and good to the people in their lives. I hope, no, I pray, that I have done a 'good' enough job of looking after them and teaching them that this comes to pass.

All gravel and shoulder barging aside I walked away and my brother asked if I was okay. I confirmed I was and he grinned. 'Good take out,' he said grinning.

Friday, 13 April 2012


I followed a link this week to a blog. It involved a Comedian taking strips of a journalist. I read it till I had to switch away.

The thing was that these two people, both the journalist and the comedian, were more successful than I am, were obviously more confident than I am in their abilities and certainly have more money than I have, but to be fair, both of them were terribly negative, horrible people.

It got me thinking, what is it about me that sees me here, in this place, in this time? Why is my name not up there on the header of the paper or on the poster advertising a great night out? Why am I so super under qualified, unpublished, and unemployed? What is my problem? And then it hit me; like a truck, the answer is I don't want to be those people. I don't want to be a cunt.

Now that's very judgemental and its based purely on what I read at that time and this is print and stage so they probably leave that venom on the screen, head home and are lovely... but then there is this bit of me that really doesn't buy that at all.

They both had a point, they both had an angle and they both took their shots but what came across most was their unpleasant nature.

I'm willing to put the hours in, I'm willing to be honest and say I'm not a saint and I'm willing to see the truth...I'm not the best out there or anything. Yet I can get better, through time and experimentation and heart. I don't need to be negative and an arsehole, you don't need to be negative or an arsehole. So don't be.

This journalist has written Romance novels (something the comedian took a shit on, which I find weird because I can't imagine him writing anything that wasn't cynical or negative), the comedian stands and entertains large sell out crowds (something the journalist looked upon as laughable that people would pay to hear his bile) and yet the fact remains simply this; they are the same. Two people saying and writing what they believe will sell, and to sell they know they need to shock.

I can see them for what they are; people selling a product. The sad truth is that what they are selling isn't worth buying.



Its been a weird few weeks and make no mistake it is in fact getting weirder.

I have been badgering the cleaning company that stiffed me, looking at Jobs and trying to get some writing time down and for the most part I haven't done any of it that well. The jobs don't seem to see me as a fit for them, the cleaners have no interest in paying me and I haven't really gotten enough hours in and yet I have made some progress in directions I couldn't have foreseen.

Take for instance my painting at my parents, its getting better. No seriously, it really is. They say if you can piss you can paint. Well I can piss... so I can paint. This is a good thing, it means I can earn small amounts and keep us afloat. This is a great thing.

Still there is more. I got another gig. Believe it or not its an acting job, unpaid mind you, but something I'm really looking forward too. I wont say too much about it as its fun to keep some secrets but at the same time its something I hope I will do well enough to make other people happy... If that makes any sense?

Now on top of this I also completed my assignment for an on-line Role Playing magazine and will be handing in as soon as possible. That too sits well with me. I'm also making progress with my ScriptFrenzy. Yay.

That's all the week stuff, in between that I went to Drusillas Zoo, enjoyed Easter, watched some movies and chilled. Happy.

So its odd that I'm hopefully about to hand in a piece of work that could see the light of day, will be appearing in something that will be seen by as many people as humanly possible and that things are looking up financially... Especially when I haven't really felt like I was getting anywhere at all. 

It may be a dull post but its an update. Update done. I'm out of here.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


I'll take you back nine years (so long ago its just silly) and show you a younger, dumber, fresher me that had the crazy idea that he would write a novel.

I look at him and wonder what was going through his mind? Was it thoughts of jewels on every hand and diamond encrusted toilet seats? Endless parties and awards and money being thrown at him from anyone that had any? Did he think it would be easy? Did he see success as a formality yet to be actuated but never in any real doubt? No. No, I remember back and recall a dream. A simple one that didn't really escape past one simple goal.

I wanted to write a book.

I settled on an idea so simple that it really was perhaps about as pure an idea as I'd ever had, it wasn't cash (though I wanted to escape the conventional work scene), it wasn't fame, it wasn't to be awesome... it was just to start and finish a book.

To cut a long story short I wrote one. I was a house husband at the time and I crammed in all the hours I could while dealing with the two children we had at the time (that's changed just a bit!). It took a long time and it was a tough slog but I got help from my wife, my parents and the kids, and they made sure I got the time I needed while working around my other commitments and a year after I was done.

Now came the hard work. I picked it apart and gave it to my wife who was wasn't thrilled with the quality. She presumed it would be, well, better. I assured her I was now going to put colour into my sketch. I was going to buff it and shine it and place trimmings and hang curtains and just make it better. I'm not sure she believed me but she said 'okay' and so I started again.

I attacked the book and it was indeed like the shell of a building, waiting for chippies and plasterers and painters and metalworkers and labourers to carry all the shit away. It was a work in progress. I attacked it in the ring, it in the Crimson corner and me in the regal blue one. With gloves on and gum shields in we beat the hell out of each other but after another four months the fight was done. I printed it out and lay it chapter by slaved over chapter on the floor. Then I complied it all into one bulk and set it on the desk.

158,000 words. Drink that in. I had added forty thousand words and it was better. It was a far better book!

I re submitted it to the person I trust most in the world and she took a very long time to get to reading it again, but eventually she did and she confirmed it was indeed better. It was a good day.

I then set that sucker down and sat back and said I was going to send it out but I never did. I told people I did, but I didn't. Why didn't I? Whats the worst that could happen? Well, I could be rejected.

Skip forward and its still here. Its sitting in the corner of the room and its still not sold but I tell you what it isn't if you like? Its not shit. I know. I pulled it out from the computer and had a read. I like it. Not all of it, but certainly enough.

This is what I have decided to bring to the Script Fenzy. My first book. I'm converting it to script form and giving it some love. Love I should have given it years ago.

Maybe this isn't a step forward, perhaps this is what I needed; a step back. A time to look at what I have accomplished before but more importantly to look at why. Why I started this in the first place.

Since I started this I've written two books and three screen plays. None of them have been bought or published. None of them have been optioned or applauded and none of them have won any awards...but then perhaps up until now I haven't understood what this journey was really all about. It is of course about self.

I hope to sell these stories now and make money, to take the step that is logical. To become a published writer with enough revenue coming in to say that this is my job. I want all that yes but if it doesn't happened, as it doesn't for so many, then maybe that's okay. It wont stop me trying but the real reason I do this is to get the noises out of my head and perhaps if I just keep doing what I'm doing and send it off? Maybe I will get there.

I've been reading something I wrote a life time ago. It feels like my future.

Be excellent to each other.