I should have known the second he walked into my office – he was trouble. Tim Maytom, legs made for dancing and a collection of Los Campesinos! t-shirts that just wouldn’t quit.
“Mr Spencer,” he cooed, twirling one lock of that beautiful dark hair. “I’ve got something you might be interested in.
“I’m taking part in a ‘Blogtour’, a kind of chain-letter of blogging, where you pass on the format of the blogpost to a couple of writers you follow, and so on – basically talking about their writing process and what they’re currently working on.”
It sounded like a perfect chance to talk about myself. Almost too perfect. Looking into those big bubblegum eyes of his, how could I say no?
Tim had real projects to talk about. He’s putting together something called a ‘role-playing-game’. Me? I just sit here in my pants and blog. What the hell do I have to talk about?
Like I said – Tim was trouble.
What Am I Working On?
All that might not make be particularly unique, but it keeps me as honest as I can be, and it’s why I… oh, hang on.
If I read/play/watch/listen to/think about something that really grabs me, shortly afterwards, these chunks of phrases will start to appear in my mind, unsummoned. The words float there, editing themselves, until I do something about it. By writing them down, I’m able to think of this as a gift, rather than a mental illness.
When those chunks of paragraphs appear in my head, I try to get them tethered down into a Word doc as quickly as possible.
(Sometimes I’ll lose one of them, and it hurts. This weekend, out of nowhere, my brain started rewriting the final two paragraphs of my recent blog on Hearthstone, which I thought ended a little messily. This was a revelation. Suddenly I knew how to tie together all those ideas and memories in a way that made total sense, was more true to the game and what I was trying to say. But I was on holiday in Leeds, without access to a keyboard, and frankly I spent a lot of the time drinking heavily. It’s not there anymore, but I can feel the phantom of it.)
Then, I wait until I’ve got about double the sensible wordcount, and start chipping away at it. As I expand the fragments into whole segments, I’ll liberally deploy “???” placeholders where I can’t think of the exact right phrase yet. Once the whole thing is in rough sentences, I’ll copy-and-paste bits around until a shape starts to present itself.
These days, this last stage (what most people would actually call the writing) happens a lot sporadically than I’d like, because I have to squeeze it into lunch hours and early mornings on weekends. Sometimes, this means by the time a piece is ready for human consumption, the original thrill has gone and I’m just writing in the character of the guy who wrote these excited notes. This is the main thing I’d like to fix about my writing, since you haven’t asked, and is why I’ve tried to keep it as low-concept as possible with my blogging this year.
Two people were stupid enough to volunteer themselves.
Michael writes, directs, produces and makes props for plays which skip across comedy, drama and, on occasion, edutainment with an enviable lightness. Also, in the interludes he plays music, and sometimes it’s Prince because I’m in the audience.
He’s written about comics for this very site, and blogs at letsgetcomical.blogspot.co.uk, which used to have a regular feature called ‘Sandwich of the Month’. Sadly missed. Nowadays, it’s mainly used to document Michael’s attempt to watch a new film and reading a book every week of the year. I have shamelessly copied this idea for 2014, except not with books because I’m borderline illiterate.
I’ve got this far without writing about his hair? Goddamn, that hair. It’s like Aslan was cast in an advert for silky soft conditioner.
By day, Reece works for Chocolate Films, making videos, running workshops and lugging heavy camera equipment across Europe.
By night, he is the Shimmer-Man, skimming across London on his Shimmer-Bike, dancing the Shimmertusi at feminist nightclubs, and running Shimmer-Man Productions.
In the middle bit, which isn’t quite day or night, he writes about films for Cult Hub.