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I’m tired.

More than anything else, that is the feeling I take with me from 2018. It has been an exhausting year.

Most of that year I’ve been fighting for and fretting over getting assistance with my depression and anxiety; this has meant wrangling with the Department of Work and Pensions and ATOS (Independent Assessment Services). A pair of organisations for whom the terms ‘Orwellian’ and ‘Kafkaesque’ were seemingly invented. I’d call them ‘Gilliamesque’ in a nod to Brazil, but there’s no humour in this system successive governments have created. Not even black humour.

In my professional life it has been a struggle to produce anything, and as a result, I’ve offloaded some work to others to get it done. Perversely, I feel bad not necessarily because I haven’t been producing much, but because -as a result – I haven’t been able to give other people as much work. People who need it, and who I get a kick out of boosting and helping out.

Personally as well as professionally, I am also exhausted. In this ongoing culture war, it takes so much effort to tread water and stay in place, let alone to make any progress. So many people mistake change for growth, not understanding that the direction of travel can be backward as well as forward. Year on year it seems things continue to get worse. People I love, people I used to respect, excusing the worst, most censorious social and even legal acts of suppression the modern west has seen in generations. It’s shocking in anyone, but it’s especially surprising – at least to me – when it comes from the political left and the creative community.

I am tired of that constant fight, just to stay still.

I am tired of being called things I am not, simply because I don’t sing the unholy hymnal in the same key as the approved choir.

I am tired of holding my tongue, swallowing back my anger and ignoring people’s political and historical illiteracy in a vain attempt to reach them.

I am tired of waiting for being principled and consistent, for working hard, to pay off.
I am so very tired of being mentally ill, but that’s my life now, and I have to adjust to it.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to abandon those principles and that consistency, just for a more comfortable life. I’ve realised, however, this year that I am just intrinsically incapable of being that kind of person.

I am tired of the repeated realisation that I’m a rare bird indeed, because of that.

I don’t know how to be happy.

I only know how to be authentic.

A ‘new year’ is an illusory and arbitrary break in time. Nothing is new; nothing changes immediately when that clock ticks past midnight. Still, I want this next year to ‘pay off’. I want to do more than survive. I want to do more than exist. I want being a ‘good man’ to finally reap some of that positive karma I’ve heard so much about.

Whoever you are out there reading this, I want the best for you. Friend or foe, stranger or intimate. I hope everyone does better, and if I can’t get what I want, I hope you get your heart’s desire.

Raise a glass and watch that clock tick down.

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kT85rArgc

I am in the business of communication. I write, I make videos, I record audio. I communicate with the people I work with for art, design and writing and it is essential that I adequately express my ideas to do so.

One of the most painful things for me, then, is when I fail to make myself understood, and my tendency when that happens is to blame myself. Since I am a professional communicator, it seems to me that the blame must be mine.

I was given cause to revisit these thoughts recently. I don’t have the time or mental energy to engage in much self-promotion, nor do I especially have the temperament for it. To solve this problem I’ve hired someone – part-time – to do some promotion for me.

They had posted but a single promotion, in an appropriate subsection on a notorious forum on my behalf, when they were summarily banned. This gave me cause to investigate and to try and find out why this should be so. Guilt by association for my presumed ‘crimes’ perhaps? Hard to tell.

Still, in investigating it was made depressingly apparent to me that in my absence from most of these people’s discussion about me, in this and other places, that the echo chamber has had its effect. People’s ideas have gotten wildly out of hand, the accusations and assumptions over my politics and numerous other issues are wildly out of step with reality and yet there’s no way to answer back.

This, I think, is a goodly demonstration as to the hows and whys of the necessity of a right of reply, of being willing to engage with people and to listen to their explanations and words straight from the horse’s mouth. Without that, without bursting these bubbles, nonsense gets profoundly out of hand – even to the extent that questioning the fictions themselves becomes an act of unforgivable transgression.

It bothers me in the personal sense because it’s untrue and I feel that I must have somehow miscommunicated my beliefs and stances. It bothers me in the more significant, overall sense because I think this is an endemic problem in the modern west — self-imposed echo chambers of extremism and ideological purity, feeding incestuously on their internal mythology.

Some of this is top-down censorship, but a lot of it is self-imposed, and that’s even harder to change. We can’t even get social media companies to abide by their own professed ideals. Let alone get users to be willing to face discomfort or to question their assumptions.

I don’t see a way out.

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Postmortem Studios

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Genties, Ladymen and children of all genders!

Cast your functioning sensory organs in something approximating this direction and gaze in awe and wonder at the cavalcade of entertainment and dysfunction on show!

Step this way, and for the low, low fee of your attention you will find diversions most deviant, entertainments most exciting and writings most wicked. We practically (but not actually) guarantee your satisfaction and amusement!

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Behold, the hall of Social Media! What distractions and horrors may lie inside these darkened halls?

Perhaps you seek the cheap thrill of voyeurism to be found in the unblinking gaze of Madam Narcissist!

Will you test your mettle and your patience in the Blue Bird Arena?

Perhaps one of our fabulous freaks, Bookface will entertain you with his mind reading tricks, targeted advertising andmostdivertinggroups?

There are new attractions too, wild and untamed creatures from the furthest…

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61ne1wukiwlI had forgotten I contributed to this and that it was out. So, yeah!

Go look.

“Lovecraft After Dark,” a is new collection of erotic horror from JWK Fiction, edited by James Ward Kirk and Roger Cowin. We offer short fiction and poetry blending erotica with the Mythos. Erotic encounters, forbidden romances between humans and the gods and demons of Lovecraft’s world. Ever wonder what obscene romance produced the human / elder god hybrid, Wilbur Whateley? How did the Black Goat of the Wood come to have a thousand young? These are just a few of the ideas explored in “Lovecraft After Dark.” Explore what Lovecraft only hinted at. Let your imagination go wild. We did.

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