Tag: WordPress

I’m sorry, this blog is no more.

(this is my last bold-faced, bracketed subheading)

Sorry for the silence.

I won’t go into detail here because this blog is now dead. It’ll remain online for people to check up on that Geographical Pickup Lines post, but there won’t be anything new here.

Instead, I’d encourage you to check out my new blog, with its own fancy domain!

Hope you see you there,

Casey

See you in a month

(I don’t always take a break, but when I do…)

Long story short I can’t be doing this blog at the moment. I’m not doing so well currently, and am basically in the process of stripping down my life and rebuilding it somewhat from scratch. And if I’m gonna do a cold reboot of my life, I don’t want something like this blog bridging the gap, stopping me from moving on from my old, shitty way of doing things to a newer, less shitty method.

So I’ll see you again at the start of December.

The One Lovely Blog award

(I don’t really do ‘lovely’. ‘Spiky’ is more my thing)

This fine personage has nominated me for an award I didn’t even know existed – a measure of my inattentiveness towards my fellow bloggers of late – so let’s get to answering the questions and jumping through the hoops, so we can all put off writing real content for another day by slipping into the false security of a cut-and-paste post structure that exists entirely to satisfy our own egos.

Thank the person who nominated you

Thanks for the support, asshole.

Add the award logo

I’m gonna follow Odd’s lead here and say nah.

List seven facts about yourself

  1. I prefer soya milk to almond milk
  2. I’ve never broken a bone in my body
  3. I’m starting to reject the idea of gender identity being one of two fixed binaries
  4. I pee sitting down (not necessarily related to the previous point)
  5. I’ve not read anyone else’s blog posts in about three weeks
  6. I accidentally posted regular updates of me making a lasagne from scratch on my Facebook feed the other day. I tried to keep it all on Twitter, but I made a terrible mistake.
  7. There aren’t seven facts.
  8. That last fact is now true.
  9. The following fact is not.
  10. There are eleven facts.
  11. The ninth fact is now untrue.

Sayonara.

 

I used to be an idiot misogynist

(operative word there being ‘used’)

I don’t think I’m an idiot misogynist these days. I don’t want to engage in an infantile Top Trumps-style game of ‘Who’s the Bigger Feminist’ by comparing my attendance record at Gender and Fem Soc events to yours, because it’s pointless, but I try to perceive people based on their actions, not randomly-assigned wobbly bits; in all honesty, I think I’m pretty successful in this approach as I’ve not managed to alienate all of my female friends by making strings of vulgar sexist remarks, which is a relief.

But Younger James wasn’t so open-minded. From the ages of about twelve to fifteen, after I had realised that gender was a thing one could discuss but before I met people worth discussing it with, I was an idiot misogynist. I had taken the perspective that all women acted for the attention of men (which is already homophobic and probably transphobic but those are stories for another day), and from this came a number of cringeworthy opinions: of course it’s the victim’s fault in cases of sexual harassment, she (invariably ‘she’) provoked her harasser in that womanly way of hers; of course unmarried, adult women are in some way flawed, they don’t have a man in their lives.

This all stemmed from my early impression that femininity is in some way artificial, destructive, and forced. The two women in the life of little me – my mum and my sister – weren’t typically ‘feminine’, and even rallied against gender norms, complaining angrily to my early primary schools that my sister wasn’t allowed to wear a pair of trousers like the boys. But instead of seeing their valid criticisms for what they were, I rubbished them, simultaneously seeing them as not important, and dismissing all other women (about three and a half billion people, by the way) for choosing to engage with this shallow, needlessly impractical carnival of ‘being feminine’. I was a very practical kid, and saw no reason to have long hair, because it gets in your face, or wear a dress, because it’s harder to run in than shorts, and so people who liked these things became weird, with backward, superficial priorities.

This was all exacerbated when I went to a single-sex secondary school. Women fell into three categories: my family, who were unfeminine and so we weird; my teachers, who were teachers first and foremost and so served a functional role rather than a personal one; and the women I saw in games and on TV, and endless parade of wimpy caricatures and tits. For Younger James, women were simple beings, ones that could be understood and categorised by the clothes they wore or the men they were associated with, and I honestly didn’t see any reason to change this worldview for a very long time.

Then, however, I was saved by actually meeting women. I’ve referred to my two-month stint at a youth centre’s music group as a turning point in my life for years, but this was perhaps the most profound impact of that stay; here were women who were feminine but not ditzy, complex but not uninteresting, vibrant but without being archetypes. It took me until I was fifteen to realise that women are people, rather than some kind of makeup-wearing deviant from men, who had previously been the default for all humanity as far as I was concerned. Now, I’ve not only realised the idiocy of my stance, but have pulled a few 180s; skirts tend to look better than trousers, and I think that me and my males friends could all do with a bit more affectionate hugging and platonic pet name-calling in our lives.

There’s a reason for me telling you all this. Today is the second anniversary of this blog, the day 24 months ago when I decided to sign up to WordPress and start pissing off all my friends by insisting they read my garbage to validate me as a writer and a person. And just as I’ve changed from being an idiot misogynist to a near-raging feminist in my personal life, I’ve improved as a writer and a thinker in my creative life; I write for magazines, bash out funny emails for UCL societies, and may or mate not have a notebook of poetry that I’m not horrendously ashamed of. In two years writing has gone from a pipedream to a skill that could plausibly become a career; that might not be as broadly important as realising that women are people too, but on a purely internal level, that’s a pretty big change.

So cheers for reading this stuff; here’s to the next two years.

I’ve not written a structured post in a while

(I’ve also not written a concise title in ages)

See those categories there, on your right and just down a bit? There are quite a few too many of them (but streamlining 600 posts into neater categories is a terrifying task) and several are things like ‘Pro Tips!’ or ‘Pickup Lines!’, and include posts that not only fit those descriptions, but are written in rather rigid formats. And while I liked writing these earlier, I’m simply not interested in churning out structured posts any more; so, because I love irony, here’s a needlessly structured post about why I’m not writing structured posts any more.

1) I’m a writer, not a list-filler

This is a bit of a pretentious one – suggesting that rigid posts are in some way beneath the attention of the marvellous James Patrick Casey – but I think it’s very valid. Not only do I do a hell of a lot more prose-writing than list-making (by my count it’s six journalistic projects versus zero shopping lists left on post-it notes), but I have an image of myself as a writer above all else. Whether it’s conscious or otherwise, when I’m casting around for ideas for a post, my mind drifts to life updates I can ramble off the back of, or observations that may or may not occasionally be halfway-intelligent.

2) Structured posts have become oppressive, rather than creative

Back in the day, when I was a poorer writer, structured posts helped me be creative in the same way that making stuff within the confines of iambic pentameter, or the 140 characters of a Tweet, does. But as time wore on, and I became able to shape ideas and arguments without bold-faced subheadings literally saying ‘THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT NOW’, the idea of coming up with five points, each prefaced with a heading and no longer than two paragraphs, became a series of arbitrary conditions and restrictions, rather than anything to help focus my writing. Basically, instead of keeping me upright, the training wheels just made it harder to ride where I wanted to.

3) Structured posts are finite

This piggy-backs of the last point a bit, and is the idea that there are only so many kinds of exclamation mark-suffixed categories I can use to be entertaining or informative. If I want to write pickup lines, I’ll fall back into a Pickup Lines post for sure, but if I want to speculate on sexuality in video games more broadly, blank prose is the go-to style. If I were to create a different narrative and formatting style for each of these relatively minor variations in form, I’d end up with 600 posts spread into 550 categories, and the very idea of categorisation would become pointless.

4) I can manage my own time

Broadly speaking, I split all of my posts, both those published and those in my head, into two categories: daily, and non-daily. The former are responses to current events, either on a personal or international scale, and so can only be written and properly read within a certain time frame; the latter are broader pieces that can basically be churned out at any time with equal relevance. When I was in Sixth Form, and I’d spend my free periods writing blog posts on Word documents to be uploaded later, I banged out a load of non-daily posts, as I used my little free time to stockpile posts for the inevitable lack of writing time on weekends or evenings. Structured posts are overwhelmingly more likely to be non-daily posts, and so I wrote structured posts as a product of living on a timetable imposed from without (i.e. school) when I couldn’t make time to write daily (and so more fluid) posts. Now that I’m essentially in control of my own timetable, and have been for about fifteen months, I have more time to write off-the cuff posts about daily events, and I’m under far less pressure to build up a supply of posts in advance because I’ll be unfairly busy at some point in the future.

5) I have things to say

It’s no secret that the last twelve months of my life have been the best twelve months of my life, as a combination of sudden personal freedom, lovely people and doing things I enjoy on a daily basis have impacted me. While my demeanour and interests are broadly unchanged, some older friends have commented on me being much happier this last year, and much more willing to engage with things. As a result, I’m far more willing to form opinions about topics, then publicise those opinions on here; I’ve written about the NHS and the General Election for frak’s sake; and I’m not any more optimistic or less pissed off about those things, I’m just seeing complexity as a challenge to tackle, rather than a fuzzy obstacle to slink away from.

And whether I reach solutions, or anyone cares, isn’t the point. This blog reflects how my life is going, often in ways I don’t even intend for it to, and a I’ve become a more complex, thoughtful individual, so have these posts.

All The WordPress!

(some people play guitar until their fingers bleed. I tag posts until mine do)

I write a lot of things, for a lot of people, and enjoy it 99% of the time (that 1% constitutes those days on this blog when I can’t think of an idea but bash hopelessly away at my keyboard just to keep my streak going). Quite a few of these things are on, or hosted by, WordPress, and collecting all of these sites on my homepage has presented a rather interesting fact about my life: I have five simultaneous projects on this one site. Five.

I can scroll through the stats pages of five different websites. I can right-click to access my admin page five times, and for five different admin pages. I can ignore WordPress’s annoying ‘plan’ adverts five times over! I don’t know why this excites me: it might be a cousin of the simple delight of completing a thing, that I can feel a bit more like a proper writer if I can see all of my ongoing projects collected in one place, like a kind of self-validating CV that only I can see; or these serve as tangible pieces of evidence that I’m actually writing things, instead of claiming to be a writer, then spending months on end eating Morrisons’ Salt & Vinegar Twists in bed in my underpants while struggling with ‘writers’ block’.

Doing things is a great feeling, and writing is my favourite kind of doing to spend my time with; it’s just an interesting logistical quirk that it’s all collected in one place. It probably says something about how good WordPress is as a site, but I’m annoyed at the fact that the complex editor is so hard to access, so I’m gonna save that.

Screw you WordPress, but cheers for the websites ❤