Going Underground: Thoughts on life in London, one year on – 6/9/17

I’m writing this as paint slathered on my newly-assembled IKEA bed slowly gets its fumes up in my respiratory system. After what feels like an eternity of frantic Facebook messages, unread voicemails, and offers falling through, a group of very desperate (but very wonderful) girls finally found a house to move in to in Peckham. Go us!

The move marked the end of my first year in London, and it’s been quite the 12 months. Being a serial journal keeper, looking back on things year by year is something I tend to do quite habitually. I used to do this weird thing as a teenager where I’d track my progress each year – say the date was 13 August, I might take a look back at last year’s journal to see what I was up to on or around that date, and see how I fared up. For example: ‘Since 13 August 2013, I’ve kissed four more boys and got a fringe!’ So this post is kind of like that, but with more boys and no fringe.

If you overlook the fact that no matter how hard you work, you’ll never have enough money to go out (from filing copy in the 10 seconds you get Wi-Fi at Underground stops, to never getting a lie-in at weekends to get to the bottom of a to-do list), life in London is a rewarding hustle. It took a while though.

It’s strange to think just how much has changed since I moved away from home, but now, as I sit here, totally exhausted (perpetual state) and in need of a beer (more-than-occasional state), I feel quite grateful for the risk that I took.

Living in the city can be hard, but it pays off. I grew up in a village, where the nearest place you could get a pint of milk was a 10 minute drive away. Growing up in a place with fewer than 100 people in the mid-’00s was a weird one – it didn’t feel very rural, in fact – I spent most of my time inside the house trying to perfect my Tumblr profile.

Yet living in London is different to what I expected. Some thoughts on how to do it:

You are allowed to stay in bed all day sometimes and not feel guilty about it

In Hugo Macdonald’s beautifully written book How to Live in the City, he says it’s totally OK to to pencil in days to lounge around in bed all day – and to do this guilt-free. Because city life is a strain physically, mentally and emotionally, you shouldn’t torment yourself about it, either. (I suppose, in this frazzled digital world we live, the same could be said for those residing in hamlets).

There’s an idea that you should constantly be going at the same rate as the city, but try to remember all those evenings spent working overtime, or the times you had to cancel something hobby-based to do something work-related, and collect all your zzzzzzs guilt-free as you drift in and out of consciousness (unless you’re at your desk, obviously).

Don’t shy away from building small relationships with people you see every day

There are thousands and thousands of people bobbing around a city at any one time. It’s an impossible feat to attempt conversation with everyone you pass on the street, but why does it feel much easier to queue for the self-checkout machines at a supermarket rather than conjure up the effort to talk to someone? Your day-to-day existence can feel more connected when you say hi to the guy who makes your coffee, the woman struggling with her buggy on the bus, or the teenager at the corner shop where you top up your gas. This might seem so horribly self-help preachy but it’s bound to make you feel better, and it requires less effort than you’d think. Even saying hello and – the biggest small change you can incorporate into your city lifestyle – making eye contact, will help you feel more connected to those around you.

Be a tourist in your own city

Exploring parts of the city you don’t usually kick around in is so important to do when you can. There is so much to learn from being a tourist in the place you call home.

Macdonald says: “It’s shocking how many of us have not ‘seen the sights’ in our own cities. Whether it’s the palace, the parliament, the natural history museum, the observatory, the boat trips… these are dots on a map, chapters in a guidebook and stops on a tour for good reason. They represent the history and the culture of the place in which we live. They form the lens through which others see and experience our city – and the more ways we can look at our city, the more interesting it becomes.”

So get your sneaks on and get walking (selfie sticks optional).

Making the most of your commute

The dreaded commute can sometimes feel like one of the worst things about having a nine-to-five in the city (I have to admit, I feel quite blessed when I work from home and don’t have to step outside until everyone’s tucked away in offices). But, if you flip and reverse your commuting habits, it doesn’t need to feel quite so chore-like and time-consuming.

Imagine if you lived above your office, or just across the road from it. It’d be weird! Like those kids who used to live right near school and never knew the struggle of a rotting packed lunches and near-bullying banter on the bus home.

If you can find a way to enjoy certain aspects of your commute, it can become a way to prepare yourself for a day’s work, and likewise, leave it behind at the office as you ride home on your hour-long commute. I lost my headphones for a few weeks recently, and eavesdropped hard on the funniest conversations, the sort of things you read in Time Out’s hilarious feature Word On The Street. If listening to anyone spout bullshit before 9am is your idea of hell, listening to music on your commute is an obvious way to deal, and if you curate your playlist specifically to last as long as your journey (a bit smug about this one), you are DEFINITELY bossing your commute.

If I had 100 words in which to sum up what I’ve learned in 374 days here, they would be these words:

  • Be sensible with money, but try to curb in talking about it ALL THE TIME, as everyone’s broke as shit and no-one needs constantly reminding of that fact. Instead, revel in the solidarity shared with the three other people squatting next to you near the reduced section of the fridge in Tesco. (Except for when they take the last £0.87 sushi you were eyeing up.)
  • Be kind. Kindness is so underrated, and we’re in dire need of it. Thank the bus driver; don’t cancel on your friends twice in a row; hug your flatmates often.

Over and out, and ready for a nap! Zzzzzzzzzzz

‘I want to marry the blue light’, or ‘Writing because you haven’t in a while’ – 28/5/16

I tend to write on this blog once a month, usually exactly one month after the last post. I have no idea how this happens. I write a post, a few days later I think I should write again, let the feeling pass; two weeks later I get another urge to add something to this personalised URL – eyes are too sore from being on the internet all day, four weeks later, bam. And so on. It’s the cyclical nature of blogging perhaps.

I said I would take a break from my laptop for the next few days but, alas, the allure of the blue light is too endearing. There’s that bit on Broad City in The Matrix episode where Abbi’s all like, “I want to marry the blue light”, which ALWAYS makes me laugh because I can only agree. Sometimes I’m curled up in bed with the blue light and think we could have a long and happy existence together. 

So, yes, I wanted to check in on here and check WordPress is surviving without me. (DISCLAIMER: It is.) Although WordPress is still as difficult as ever to work, and I still have no idea how to use it, I’m glad my blog is still here, gathering dust. I rarely have time to write on here anymore, but seeing as I do right now, allow me to clear my throat, good people: Ahem.

I have an exciting week coming up as my play ‘Fitting Room’ is going to be watched by actual people at an actual theatre. I’m only as anxious as a kind-of-playwright can be: The rehearsal draft is in and now the director does their job. I’m looking forward to it though. I am missing Bruce Springsteen for it, but I am in no way bitter about it. No, really. I started writing it back in August and it’s been a lovely project to work on over these past nine or so months – to see something evolve and grow over umpteen drafts. I still have a bit of a soft spot for the first draft though, even though it was the shittiest. I’m a bit like that. If you don’t believe that I could have written a play that a theatre company wanted to produce, here’s the proof. I find myself looking at that a few times a day, just to be sure.

I’ve been writing on this blog less because I’ve been working on a new site based on a zine I created a few years ago, Obviously a Hobby. Although it’s a bit reminiscent of 2009, I’m back on Tumblr, as Tumblr is so much easier to navigate than this goddamn site that I couldn’t say no to its virtual suggestively raised eyebrow. It does everything I want it to. Some of my friends will hopefully get on board with it in the next few months, but right now they’re (rightly) enjoying their newfound summer freedom that comes after exams and such. You can see the (beta) version here.  I’ll be double-posting things of worth on here too, but I’m now reserving this space for stream-of-consciousness diary-like- letter ramblings as it’s what I’ve accidentally done for the past four years anyway.

There’s loads more going on but I’ll save it for another day.

All my love,

T.A.L x

‘Living in Sulk St.’, or ‘Dear diary…’- 27/4/16

I’ve been sulky today. Truly, utterly sulky – with this song playing over and over in my head. I busied myself with some work, which took my mind off my sulk for a bit, but the sulk kept returning, as sulks so often do.

The only thing that slightly cheered me up was a dumb-ass online article that has been widely shared over my Facebook page today about ‘modern dating’ – which made me scoff and scorn as much as the quote marks suggest it did.

I was like, please. I don’t want to read another article about how people want to ditch Tinder and get out there in the real world and actually be able to talk to guys at a bar, like people did in the 1860s or something! Come on you guys! (I say this as someone who is yet to try Tinder, not on moral grounds ((well, I’m not mad on instant validation)) but just cause I can’t imagine anything more embarrassing than bumping into my brother on it. I know. I am still a child.)

Anyway. I have so much on at the moment, as usual, that I can’t seem to find the time to enjoy much of it. I want to do sooo many things – as we all do, I suppose – but I’m so concerned and fixated on success at the end of it that I often forget to enjoy it while it’s happening.

I’ve started to pick up books again because – unlike when I was at school – there is no deadline that looms large with a book, you can plod along with it at your own pace, step by step, page by page, and I feel much better off for it.

Plodding along is particularly apt with the book I’m reading at the moment, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I’m pretty hooked because it’s about hiking across an impossible route (not impossible, but hyperbole is perhaps necessary when boring you with information about what books I’m reading) in Northern America – the Appalachian Trail.

Now, I have probably walked pretty far in my lifetime if you calculate every step that I’ve ever taken (from the car to the office, over and over) so this book really speaks to me. (Sorry, I’ve drunk a lot of coffee and am finding myself really funny).

In all seriousness, I once did a spontaneous 13-mile walk with my best friend through surrounding villages near our houses, and I’ve not since had that same simple satisfaction of putting one foot in front of the other, for miles and miles, with no real destination nor appointment in mind. It was good enough to simply plod forward, on and on, lowly and slowly.

The Appalachian Trial, by contrast, is 2,200 miles – but it’s a great book if you’re looking for something to while away your hours with. Also, my mate Chloe – big up – loves it and (presumably) endorses it, so go forth with your £0.04 and pay for that postage, people. 

If you just have one hour, then you must watch Lemonade – if you haven’t already. I’m not even going to write about it, all you need is a decent search engine – say Google – and one letter on your keyboard – ‘L’. (Steps have been taken out of this process, i.e you need Tidal – but get a free trial and waste 30 hours of this next month watching it over and over. I’ve seen it twice now, and it was SO much better the second time. NO WORDS.)

I’m 20 in two weeks. How am I handling this information – the cold truth that I’m departing my teenage years without even agreeing to it? Let’s just say that Weezer’s Teenage Dirtbag came on in Flares on Friday night and I cried my way through it while shouting in my 18-year-old friend’s ear: “This song’s for you now, babe. You gotta own it. And remember – it’s not forever.” Ah, the optimism of a drunk 19 year-, 11 month, 2 week-old. ‘Listen to Iron Maiden, maybe, with me. Oo-oo-oh.’ (Maybe).

I’m up against a play deadline at the moment so obviously I’m the least productive I’ve ever been. My acrylics have got to a really difficult length that also makes typing hard. There are no excuses, obviously, cause I’ve just written this 761-word blog post (761 words! Wow, thanks coffee!)

I’m also working on lots of exciting mini projects at the moment, with various friends and foes, some of which I’ll post about on here if they ever come into ripe fruition. The projects, not the people, of course.

Until then,

T.A.L x

 

Writing about write-off days – 25/02/16

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Abandoned house keeps company with dairy cattle in Penobscot County, Maine | National Geographic | June 1977

19:05

Thought I might as well write a blog post as to not write this day off as something totally unproductive [insert joke about the double meaning of ‘write’ I just stumbled across there]. I guess the day was pretty much over at 9:20am, when I got two tickets for me and my dad to see Bruce Springsteen in just over three months. That’s not even that much time to wait. When you get your Glastonbury tickets eight months ahead of the festival, you have to build up a certain level of pre-gig patience, but this is TOO soon. And WAY too exciting.

I love Bruce Springsteen so much, I had actually convinced myself I’d already seen him. I think it was Adolf Hitler who once said “the bigger the lie you tell to people, the more likely they are to believe it” – and that’s true in this case, but with me telling myself lies. Sorry to bring Hitler into it, I could have explained that some other way without bringing Hitler into it.

Anyway yes, I’ve watched so many YouTube live videos of Bruce, and heard so many stories of just how good he was live, that I was all like: “I loved when he came on with Paul McCartney in Hyde Park, it was a moment where you just HAD to be there, that beat ALL other momen… oh wait. I didn’t even go to that, my dad did, and he told me about it. So, yeah I guess I wasn’t there. It’s okay though. One day soon.”

And: “What about his legendary Cleveland, Ohio show, 1978, HEY – what a year to be alive and a Bruce Springsteen fan, right?… oh wait. I wasn’t around in 1978, and by not being around in 1978 I guess that pretty much excludes me from being a Bruce Springsteen fan in 1978. Ah yes, that’s right. I guess I wasn’t there. I just read about that on Twitter.”

But hey, whatever, let’s leave the past in the past and focus on the 3 June! It’s happening everyone! I’m going to be in Coventry – a working man’s city – with my dad, the biggest Springsteen fan known to man, drinking Bud.

Anyway, that was today’s big news. This week has been the first of the last two or three years (maybe) where I haven’t had anything to do in the evenings (no rehearsals/classes/rehearsals/rehearsals/general things to do). It’s been so blissful. Even more blissful is the fact that the office refurbishment took slightly longer than planned, so I’ve been working from home for the past two days and have had the opposite of a ‘burnout’ week. From a self-confessed proper burnout, it’s felt alien and confusing at the best of times, but having time to do things like read a book and watch Eastenders is pure bliss. I might try to do nothing more, but then I guess by trying to do nothing, you’re doing something. (Can you tell I’ve barely seen anyone in the past two days? No, those weren’t pocket calls. Yes, I did call you 10 times today.)

On that note, however, this week is an anomaly: I have SO many exciting things lined up (including Bruce Springsteen, of course, which is enough to be excited about alone) especially regarding my writing – and PLAYWRITING – and the next few months are going to be about getting my head down with that. As much as I’ve just preached the power of doing nothing, it’s equally as fun to be doing loads of things all the time – things that you genuinely really love. But yes, I’ve been going to a weekly playwriting course in Cambridge (which finishes in two weeks) with a group of other lovely young playwrights and it’s helping me with my writing so much. It’s just cool to chat with other #yung #teenz who are gonna be the next Becketts or Shakespeares or whatever – they’re smart cookies and are all writing all this GREAT stuff. And the pub next door is cheap! So that’s good.

Anyway, I have to go. I’m going to watch 45 Years with my mother at a local arts cinema I’ve known of for the past 10 or so years but have never actually been to. I don’t think she’s had any tea so remind me to bring some Doritos before I leave.

Speak soon,

T.A.L x

 

“it’s a Monday, it’s so mundane” – 15/02/16

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Alaskan brown bear stands ceiling high at the University of Alaska’s museum | National Geographic | June 1956

 

I haven’t written on here for nearly a month, which is NOT cool. How to persuade myself to post more? Become a vlogger? I would, if I could come to terms with my wonky tooth (jussssst joking. Not joking about having a wonky tooth – I have a wonky tooth – but I’m oke with that. I just hate vloggers. Sorry Zoella). Post a daily pic of my #OOTD? I would, if my #OOTD wasn’t a week-old, unwashed jumper dress with leggings, on all the days. So what you get instead is infrequent old twaddle. Enjoy!

I presume that somebody was listening when I prayed to not be bored ever again that one time. It was probably a day in the summer holidays when I was eight or nine, kicking around a quarry bored out of my mind – praying for something, ANYTHING to happen – when I sealed my burnout fate forevermore.

I’m so busy, and I haven’t been able to post on here. But I’ve had some really excellent, exciting news in the past seven days that make all the hard sloggin’ worth it. Kinda. Trying to be in so many places at once (both mentally and geographically at times) can make everything feel so fragmented and judder so slowly that everything almost comes to a halt. I’ve tried to push past the biggest to-do list of my life this last fortnight, and everything is – terrifyingly – coming up Milhouse. Trying not to allow cynicism to nudge its way in and just be proud for the work I’ve achieved over the past few months. Happy snaps for me, or whatever.

I’ve also written a gazillion and one draft blog posts in the past couple of months that have not passed draft stage. My mind has not been in any one place. My writing at the moment seems to go off on so many tangents and thoughts that  makes me sound irrational, hormonal, and very (soon-to-be-no-longer) teenage, whereas I am in fact a very cool, calm and collected serious woman. Might change my Twitter bio to that, as some kind of self-deluded joke to myself. Tara Lepore, Cool, Calm, Collected, Serious Woman.

I get pissed at myself sometimes that I don’t write on here as much as I’d like to, but then I quickly stop caring. Sometimes the internet, with its billion eyes and sneering opinions, feels like something I don’t want to share anything with. It’s too vast; noone cares.

I still keep my journal and am writing every day, more or less, for ‘pleasure’. What a word-stain, though. ‘Do you write for pleasure?’ Do you breathe for pleasure, PUNK?

The more I force myself to write for pleasure, the more I end up wanting to paint, or go to the gym, or watch every episode of Grace and Frankie. Forcing yourself to do something ‘for pleasure’, or thinking that if I you do it, you’ll feel better as a result – is a bit like eating an entire tub of ice cream when you’ve been throwing up all day. Sometimes you don’t want to do something for a reason.

I’d tried to convince myself to post everything I write, whether it’s ‘done’ or not, with the argument that I shouldn’t be ashamed of churning out shitty writing – and tag it #formative #writing – no matter how bad it is – in the hope to be seen as a more prolific writer who can prove that they’re constantly writing, rather than scrolling through Twitter or watching every episode of Grace and Frankie.

We’re encouraged to share everything we have to share on the internet, but I’m no longer going to beat myself up for not writing on here for sometimes weeks at a time. I am writing anyway. Some of the things I’m working on at the moment, alongside my day job of editing a magazine for 3,000 coach drivers every month (not a joke), include:

  1. I’m working on a longer version of a short play I wrote last year (with some exciting plans to maybe do something MORE with it! With a proper company! MORE to FOLLOW! MORE SOON (guhhh) !!!) Woohoo! MORE MORE MORE!
  2. I’m thinking about writing a 10-minute piece for the radio. Thinking about writing is basically the same thing as writing. Am listening to lots of radio drama to try and get the ol’ brain cogs working, and delightfully surprised at some of the gems out there (particularly the huge archive of Steptoe and Son radio adaptations – such as this episode where Harold joins the local am-dram society and worries about his inexperience/says loads of things about class divides re theatre. There’s too many quote-worthy things in it. If you’re curious, have a listen.)
  3. Seriously really want to produce another zine this year, following this tweet from Kanye West. Pronounced Zeen short for magazine.  A lot of people pronounce it wrong. I’d love it to be on paper, like this one was – but I’m mad into the idea of getting some contributors on board too. I will let this bounce around in my brain for a while I think. Perhaps it’s something for the autumn.

I’m trying to be a little more realistic with what I can achieve with the time that I’ve got. I’m too quick to get involved with every SINGLE thing that excites me the slightest bit. I found myself looking at a job as a Trainee Camera Assistant on BBC’s Eastenders the other day, like: “Ooooh, better brush up and adapt my CV!”

It’s like, yo, girl – you can be excited that something like Eastenders is a thing that exists, but you don’t HAVE TO BE INVOLVED WITH IT TO APPRECIATE IT AS A CULTURAL PHENOMENA! Let someone else do it man, you’re too busy!

In other news, I was in Manchester for a few days last week and had a lovely ol’ time. I had a few pints, bought some CDs, went to the Museum of Science and Industry and slept a lot. I love the North of England; it has my heart.

I bought Courtney Barnett’s first double-EP-turned LP, A Sea of Split Peas, which has lyrics like “The paramedic thinks I’m clever cause I play guitar/I think she’s clever cause she stops people dying” on Avant Gardner. I also bought Station to Station, cause I didn’t have it previously, and can now hop around my room pretending to be the Thin White Duke at all times.

Until then,

T.A.L x

“New Year’s resolution – to write something of value” 02/01/2016

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Vacationing children on Squirrel Island, Maine National Geographic | June 1977

 

I’m waiting for my nails to dry and want my eyebrows to look good tonight so have only set aside a small part of this evening to write. Just wanted to wish all you online URLs a very happy new year. It’s a time for me to reflect on how wrong everything went in the year gone by, before contemplating just how right it went, too. There are now over 400 of you following what I’m writing here, which is something to smile about at least.

After unsuccessfully delivering my ‘Tara Lepore: The Year in Review’ speech on both Christmas and New Year’s Eve (after one too many whiskies), I’ve spent the last few days getting overly sentimental about the 365-day cycle, and what I want to get done this year. As I’ve nearly finished Mad Men, with only seven hours left until it’s all over (perfectly timed for tomorrow’s hangover), I hope to dedicate many of January’s hours with some serious blogging time, in the hope that 2016 will be more productive and filled-with-words than ever.

In the meantime, take a look at what I wrote for The Pulp Zine about the music that means the most to me here, and have a great week by listening to this, here.

‘Tis the season, no, not that season (quite yet), but another season: An ode to autumn

This is from my 2011 scrapbook! I know right! Original images. Don't get used to it.
This is from my 2011 scrapbook! I know right! An original image. Don’t get used to it.

Happy Fireworks night. I don’t feel so firework-y tonight (long, heartfelt sigh), I’m just gonna have a huge bowl of spaghetti and read a book. I wrote this at the start of October but it’s been laying dormant until now – so sorry if it’s already a little outdated. Like, if this post was a fresh leaf when it was written in late-September, early-October, it’ll now be a mushed-up, rained-on mixture of pulp and chewing gum mashed into some pavement somewhere. Such is life. 

Look – I don’t know if it’s anything to do with the fact that both my parents were born within a week of each other at the crossover of September into October, so it’s ingrained into my DNA make-up or whatever; perhaps I’m overly sentimental for things like transitions and change and every other darned thing a writer can get sentimental about (SPOILER: everything)

Maybe it’s the familiarisation of routine that sets back in after a long summer: early nights, hearty meals, people bonding miserably over the miserable and changeable weather; maybe I’m a witch, whatever, who even cares – but autumn is my lady.

There is just something about darkness setting in earlier, leaves browning and yellowing and dark purpling, lying dead on the ground; that smell when they get rained on, get dried, and then turn into autumn sludge again. 

This season has more memories for me than any other. In the way that childhood/adolescence is often portrayed in films – hanging out with your friends all summer long, in sepia – I don’t feel as nostalgic about the summer as I do the autumn. (I spent a good few of my summer holidays as a child counting down the days until I could get back to school)

Autumn feels a lot more familiar than other seasons. Autumn and I are friendly to each other. Well, I say friendly. Ms. A.T gives me the gift of big, woollen jumpers, increased portion sizes with every meal (it’s getting colder – I need to be insulated) and this. I mean, I don’t listen to that all the time, although I wish I could say I did – but all I’m saying is autumn provides us with all the tools we need to stay in, get our heads down, and begin to create things. We don’t give it anything, we just sort of walk around in it. But thanks anyway, autumn!

Applying to online courses, looking up university degrees, pitching ideas to magazines. Maybe I link this time of year to being at school, slightly perspiring from the dusty heaters cranked up to 11.  Autumn feels pretty studious – until the clocks go back and you’re all ‘I’ll stay in Dreamland for another six or seven hours, thank you” – but there is a brief changeover period where I feel like getting my head down and getting to it.

I hope this feeling of wanting to begin new things prevails throughout the rest of my life. It’s convenient getting stuck into new projects at the start of the season when there’s stationary deals going on in every store across the world as everyone’s getting geared up for another academic year. 

Once we get into winter, every evening is a prime Netflix and chill time. And I don’t even mean Netflix and chill, I just mean Netflix and chill. Unfortunately.

Autumn, on the other hand, is pretty expectant. Suddenly, I have to face the fact that there is LESS than two months left in the year. The year! Like, Christmas, guys! Again!

And as I have to pretty much dismiss the potential of doing anything at all in the winter (hibernation, impending eternal darkness, Netflix), I always feel so inspired to spend time on my own, reading books I’ve been saving up all summer, scrapbooking everything I’ve been collecting over the last few months, taking time out to check in with myself and make sure I’m set for the long and cold winter (kind of like a squirrel collecting nuts).

As the nights get colder, it becomes way too easy to indulge nightly in mass social media-ing. I’ve recently deleted my Instagram, because although it’s great fun, it was stopping me from getting all my shit done by the time it needed to be.

[EDIT] That other girl that deleted her Instagram this week got loads of attention online, possibly because she was ‘goals’. Although she cried about being ‘goals’, so everyone was all “This girl was goals for her hot bod, now she’s goals for taking a stand on what is becoming a boring and negative daily ritual for many. The girl is just GENERALLY goals.” I deleted my Instagram and NOBODY even noticed. So I’m not goals, but I’ll do.

I thought it was about time to get rid of all those distractions as I work full-time and have so much I want to do in the evenings. The small solo projects I’m working on now may not amount to anything, but it’s not a waste of time. Use these precious autumnal opportunities to their full potential. It may be the compost that’ll turn into that good idea. Stay in for the night, turn your phone off, throw a huge jumper on, and work all the way through to the witching hour. (‘Tis the season, non?) Pritt-sticking, writing, painting, practising cartwheels: Use your time wisely, and get to it.

(Just for the archive, my first play is on in a couple of weeks (16-17 November)! I’ll probably write more about it and the process of writing it soon, when I have a few spare hours. I’m soooo proud of it. Now I just want to get started on something else! A feature film! A fashion line! A symphony!)