Jeremy, job, journal, rock climbing, update

Achievements

See that stickman up there? That’s me, that is.

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately, and that’s a damned shame. I keep telling myself I want to be a writer and then sitting down to do a sum total of no writing. Part of me wants to blame my elderly* laptop’s sticky-buttoned keyboard. But let’s be honest here. It’s my old adversaries Laziness and Apathy rearing their ugly heads again. I’d rise up and rebel against them but I usually just can’t be bothered. Ho hum. I think I need to re-evaluate my internet habits to see if I can stream-line my online activities and make the most of my free time. For now, though, I blog.
I have two very important developments to talk about here. They’re both achievements of different kinds, both mean a lot to me and both are worth resurrecting the blog for – but I don’t really want to double-post and I don’t want to put either topic off, so I’ll try to do them both justice in one post.
A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend Tonks decided we needed to be more spontaneous. So we picked ourselves off the sofa and took ourselves down to Nottingham Climbing Centre and took a little introductory course in rock climbing. As someone with a little height problem, I thought this would prove to be a challenge, possibly an insurmountable one.  Still, I was willing to show … er … willing. And I’m certainly glad I did.
Rock-climbing gives me a thrill that I don’t think I’ve felt in a long time (except possibly on the set of ‘Jeremy’, that short film wot I wrote). After the introductory session I felt elated, lighter-than-air.  I’ve never been especially active, not in a physical sense. Yet once I was strapped into the harness and Tonks was at the bottom taking up slack I was scampering up the wall like a spider-monkey. I was nervous at first but the instructor advised me to loosen up and not to hug the wall – after which it just clicked.
We’ve been back twice since, with friends, and we’ve decided to make it a regular thing. It’s such incredible fun, and it feels like such an achievement for me. I’ve found something active and fun that I’m actually quite good at. That fear of heights? It doesn’t even factor into it more than a vague feeling of nervousness as I pat the wall looking for the next handhold. And it’s helping me get in shape. It’s Accidental Exercise. And it’s glorious.
The second achievement is equally glorious & potentially life-changing. A team leader position opened up at work. I wasn’t sure at first whether or not I should go for it. Firstly there’s the hours; 13.30 to 22.00 every weekday. Ouch. I’d lose Scifi, JuggleSoc, evening climbing. My social life would need an overhaul. There’s also my long-standing self-confidence issues and my tendency to find a comfortable rut and stay in it. I am the immoveable object.
In the end, of course, I applied. This is a long way from the worst job I’ve ever had and I like working with most of my colleagues. If I’m going to stay here, I’m going to need to push myself and challenge myself. If I don’t then I’ll get complacent, and it’s when I’m complacent that I start to make mistakes. For the past few months I’ve had perfect monitoring results and while that’s great there’s been a real danger of me getting lazy. So, I applied.
And I only went and bloody got it!
I’ve been congratulated right left and centre for the past two days, which has made me feel incredibly loved. My head’s still spinning a bit, truth be told. Me? In a position of relative power and responsibility? Taking things seriously? Surely not. And yet …
And yet I think I can do it. Scratch that – I know I can do it. It’ll be nerve-wracking at first, and it’ll take a while for me to work out a viable routine but I’m excited. More responsibility, a more varied job role, better pay and a bit of stability. And while my social life will take a nasty knock, it won’t be completely killed; I’ll still have weekends, and as I finish at 10 I’ll be able to swing by the pub after others have been to Scifi & JuggleSoc. My mornings will be my own; shopping, doctor’s appointments, tidying, video-gaming – perhaps even some actual bloody writing for once!
So I’m embracing the change. Without change we stagnate, and if we stagnate then we don’t live, we merely exist. And who wants to merely exist? Existing is boring. Breathe in. Breathe out. Left foot. Right foot. Eat. Sleep. Boring. Now living? Living is worth giving a try.
If you’ve read this far, please leave a comment talking about something you’ve always wanted to do, or something you came across recently that you think you might like to try. Then go and do it. Just go and do it. Find the time, find the money. The former is easier than the latter but it can be done. You’ll feel better for it – even if it’s not something you enjoy, it’s a first step to finding something you do. It’s a cliché but it still rings true – you only live once. So stop existing.
Go and live.  
* A year or so. That’s elderly in the technology world.
Jeremy, Pictonaut challenge, SFFS, SFFS Movie, story

From Page to Screen : "Jeremy", A Story Wot I Wrote

Well, I failed the Pictonaut Challenge. “Grenade in the Rain” languishes in a sub-folder of My Documents labelled ‘Fragments’, half-baked and awaiting its time to come into its own. And I’m OK with that. No, really. I slipped into a creative funk, as is wont to happen, and I let Real Life things get in the way, but that’s fine. I need to come to terms with the fact that I’m not expected to succeed at everything. I can’t even expect to achieve Good Enough every time, let alone Excellence. So it’s fine that “Grenade in the Rain” is unfinished.

It certainly helps that I’ve got something even better lined up.

If you know me (and if you don’t, I’m surprised that you’re reading this but welcome, stranger!) then you probably know I’m in the local Uni’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Society. Last year we made a little headway with our plan to make out own film. We entered the planning stages, got an excellent concept courtesy of John and made some sketchy plans. Unfortunately we’ve not really had much time/opportunity to flesh out the concept so that particular film has been placed on hiatus while we work on something that’ll prove a less ambitious dry run.

An adaptation of a short story by me.

I wrote it in an afternoon as something to send in for our society’s e-magazine. It’s not perfect, but it’s a serviceable little tale of a creepy stalker and a zombie apocalypse. Using this as a subject for our film scores over John’s more awesome concept in only one small but important way: it’s already written. Adapting it to a screenplay will take two weeks, maximum. Hopefully. If I keep at it each evening until it’s done, starting after work tomorrow.

I’m excited about this. We’ve lost the driving force of John, seeing as he’s been swallowed by Slough, but have gained another in the combined form of James & Mel, who between them have equipment, a modicum of experience and a shedload of passion – the latter of which is shared with my own and that of many other awesome SF&F society members – between us we WILL make this a success and we WILL leave our society with a new tradition & a legacy that will hopefully last well into the future.

If you’re interested in ready the story itself … well … you can. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it, please do comment and let me know – and if you’re interested in helping out with the film, give us a shout, we’d love to have you!

Jeremy
My name is Jeremy, and I am in love with a zombie.
Her name is Mary. We went to school together, though obviously she wasn’t a zombie back then. We grew up together, but we never spoke much.  She was one of the popular girls, always surrounded by a group of pretty interchangeable airheads. They may as well have been clones, but she … she was different. She was special.
I loved her from afar.  I’d sit in the row behind her in English class, paying more attention to the back of her head than to the lessons. I think I fell in love with her blonde dye job a little bit.  You could occasionally see dark roots at her scalp, but to me that was just endearing.  I love her hair. Sure, it’s not in the best of condition now, what with all the rotting and stuff, but back then it was shiny and luxurious. And it always smelled of strawberries. I climbed through her bathroom window once and checked out the shampoo she was using. I like strawberries.
When the zombie outbreak happened, there was a lot of panic, but school carried on as normal for the first week. Our town didn’t have a serious zombie problem for a while, but when they started showing up on school grounds then lessons were cancelled for obvious reasons. The world had more important things to deal with than algebra. I was furious. Not about algebra, but because I wouldn’t see Mary every day if we weren’t going to school.  Life wouldn’t be worth living if I couldn’t spend it with the girl I loved. Isn’t that what love is about?
I was lucky enough to run into her during tone of my forages for food and supplies. I was good at keeping out of zombies’ way; I’ve turned a lifetime of being ignored and unnoticed at school into a lifesaving talent.  My parents weren’t as lucky. I don’t care that much; we never really saw eye to eye.  For a pair of bigshot scientists, they sure weren’t very good at survival.
I watched as Mary ran down the main road that runs down through the centre of our town.  She had about a small mob of zombies following her. They move slowly, but she was wearing heels. I love her with all of my heart, but she wasn’t the smartest girl when she was alive.
I ran up beside her, grabbed her wrist. She screamed and hit me, but calmed down when I assured her I was still alive. I pulled her off the road and brought her to my house.  I’d boarded up the windows and front door so we climbed the oak tree beside the house and entered the house through the attic window.  My house isn’t totally zombie proof but I’d reinforced the doors and had other countermeasures in place. It still keeps them out, though I’m not sure how long for.
I made Mary a cup of coffee and she sat in my kitchen, sobbing.  I watched her. I love watching her. She wanted to know what was going on, why the world had gone crazy. I didn’t have any answers for her. I didn’t care. To me, the only important thing in the world was that Mary. Was. In. MY. Kitchen. My dream come true.  Lifetime objective? Achieved.
She had a bite on her wrist, so I washed it clean and bandaged it. I was closer to her than I’d ever been, touching her, my heart pounding like it wanted to burst out of my chest and leap into hers.  When I finished I held her and she wept. Then I kissed her, full on the lips.  That’s when things went sour.
She jerked back as if she’d been burned and lashed out, slapping me across the face. She looked so disgusted, as if it weren’t me that had kissed her but one of the rotting corpses that shambled and moaned outside.
“I’d rather die,” she said.  “I’d rather die.”
Well.
I sort of lost it.
I grabbed her by the arms and dragged her down the stairs to the basement.  My parents had a lab down there — nice thick walls, a security-glass window in the door, perfect for keeping specimens in. They’d trapped a couple of zombies in there, the zombies that had eventually torn them apart, but I’d dealt with them. The room was empty until I threw Mary into it, slamming and locking the door behind her.
She banged on the glass, furious. She was angry for about an hour. Then she cried some more. After a couple of hours she told me I was handsome, told me she’d kiss me and more if I opened the door. An hour or two after that she cried about being hungry. She sure used to cry a lot. I watched her cry. I stood in front of the little window and watched all of this. I watched her starve. I watched her get sick. Over two days, I watched her die. And I watched her come back.
   
You know, I asked her out once, back when she was alive. She looked at me, sneering. She doesn’t sneer now. She snarls occasionally, but she never sneers. I watch her through the window in door to the secure room I keep her in.  Sometimes she watches me back and we spend hours staring at each other. I can tell she wants me to let her out, so we can be together. I think I will, soon. We share something, a spark. I know she wants me now, I know she wants to be with me.
She loves me for my brains.       

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Jeremy by Sam Kurd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.