It's been a wild few weeks here. Not always pleasant. When meeting toxicity it can be hard to address that without reinvigorating the feeling or maintaining the distance earned. It seems to work best to turn unpleasantness inside out and re-make it as something positive. I only mention it because it's come from all directions lately: from the egotist clueless manager wrapped up in self to the INLA-fetishist presenting me as a colleague (and Judas). Yes yikes. You didn't come here for that.
I'd a fantastic birthday weekend at The River Mill writer's centre. A residential retreat in a converted mill with desks and books in every room. Mine was literally bigger than my apartment! Paul Maddern who runs it prepares fresh meals for everyone, the only rule being that dinner has to be taken together. River Mill has under-floor heated tiles, a plush lounge overlooked by a library, and looking out to a tranquil garden with winding paths and flowing brook. Paul takes both group and solo bookings and despite a price rise it's competitively affordable. It's purposely built for creators.
Images from https://www.the-river-mill.co.uk/
While there I countered one of my goals for the coming year: short story writing, and flash ie. under 1,000 words. I wrote five over the weekend, and since, I've another and a longer piece. Occupied re-writes and agent-hunting will likely take up most of 2020 though. Actually, there's talk of a docu-film collaboration with Arsalan Haider-Ali about the writer's life. And I do mean to get the colouring book off the ground soon. The focus of the year coming is to keep myself out of harm's way. Less demands on myself and no volunteer work for less than the deserving.
No idea if I'll get new Christmas art done. Cards are going out in the next two days. One lucky patreoni will be offered the ORIGINAL pages of my 2012 panto comic which are reproduced here for your spectacles. It's called The Last Noel. IFTA awarded film-maker Gar Shanley described it as “if telly and panto had a baby and then that baby had a dream and you drew it.” I'll announce the winner in the next week, meantime, you could have a win now and read it.