I’m thinking of becoming a student again. Not going back to university or anything, but committing to learning and progress. I’ll have to work out a syllabus for each topic I choose to study, which involves deciding on where I want to get to, what skills I want to acquire.
No ready-made, one-size-fits-all programmes for me to submit to. A bespoke programme for each area of study for me to grow into.
I’m looking forward to it.
The summer is over: September begins the day after tomorrow. College nights, as my girl calls them, when people begin wearing coats and scarves and hats.
Mondays and Tuesdays during term time I teach English, and that all begins again in four days. In anticipation of going back to work, I woke early for the first time in weeks and was here at MaccyDs, writing, before 6am.
I do more when I’m busy.
I have this idea for a story, it’s called The Rainbow Bridge, and it’s about someone who inhabits a world that has changed, in which people barely exist and cities are empty and machines do not work. The old certainties are gone. And, without explanation, the protagonist finds himself thousands of miles from home.
Seem to be doing a lot of gigs with my pal the Count – up to four or five a week: we’ve got three coming up this weekend. Not used to the late nights involve, but after the weekend I think I’ll be able to manage it at maybe twice weekly.
Chips and me walked the East Durham Coastline from Seaton Carew to Seaham – eighteen miles of deep, wooded denes and long beaches littered with the remains of old industry, brownfield sites above the beaches, a huge pipe on iron stilts that was used to draw seawater to produce magnesium , great concrete slabs that were used to seat diggers or pumps or WW2 cannon. In the heart of a deep gully we saw a curved brick wall that had collapsed back into the undergrowth.
The Northumberland coastline is beautiful and windswept, but the East Durham coastline is more rugged. It’s a much more taxing place to walk, which is why I’m sitting in MaccyDs at half-four in the morning – my legs were just too sore to sleep – the paths are steep, the beaches are grubby with the slag from long-dismantled collieries, and there are few walkers.
My adoption of a 3310 instead of my usual iPhone has had some interesting side-effects: texting takes forever, for one, so I’m texting less. I can’t idly surf the net whenever I’m bored either, which is good. I can’t check for emails when I’m out, which is bracing. It takes up less space in my pocket and only needs charging once a week.
It’s stopped being a prop for my whirring mind and is becoming just a thing. A tool. Not even a very useful tool either.
I can happily leave it at home.
As mentioned multiple times previously, I suffer chronic migraines and I have to take a tablet every day to keep them at arm’s length. But I’m also an eternal optimist so every now and again I try and cut down on my daily dose, because the way the tablets make me feel is second only to the migraines in its crapness.
And then the migraines return, like they did yesterday, in their burning, flickering, head-twisting glory, so it’s back to full-strength tablets again.
Which feels quite nice really, if only I’d surrender to it.
This month’s story is It’s Just the Sun Rising, which is very late, for which I have no excuse.
It’s also a key chapter in a forthcoming novel Shoreline Gold, due for completion in a year or so.
Been playing regularly with the Count – him singing and playing guitar, me on the sax, Miyagi, my battered old alto. Got a gig at a beer festival in a fortnight, so that should be fun.
Can’t practice at home though cos my pooch Angus howls at the first note.
Playing music with loud bands has made me a bit deaf, so I went to the doctor’s and he told me I had glue ear, I’d probably had it since I was a kid when I used to get a lot of ear and throat infections. My left eardrum is scarred too.
Might need grommets.