Restoke – Man Up

Last night I watched ‘Man Up’ from the wonderful ‘Restoke’, a group of artists and collaborators who work with the local community to craft music, dance and spoken word performances in various unusual locations around Stoke on Trent.

This was the first year I was able to watch a performance purely as an audience member, having previously helped out with the technical crew behind the scenes, and regrettably missing last year’s performance due to baby duties!

What a year I chose to come and watch.

‘Man Up’ was pitched as “A gritty, humorous & revealing performance from the frontlines of masculinity & mental health.” (https://www.restoke.org.uk/man-up/), a strapline that is entirely accurate, but could not possibly convey the emotional heft and punch that we felt in the audience.

Almost radiating from the stage, there was a palpable energy in that room as the cast shared interpretations of their struggles with the concept of masculinity, identity and mental health.

And for what reason? Well, that was made clear early in the night: Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. The prison and homeless population is predominantly male. These facts are the surface reality of deep, social questions that we need productions like this to ask.

The received image of masculinity is that men are not great at talking, at sharing their feelings, at ‘connecting’ with their emotions. At worse, it is almost as if we should purposefully avoid doing so. Yet I just watched a group of men from all walks of life, who started this process as strangers, literally perform their anxieties, their stories, their hopes and fears, together, to yet more strangers.

If that’s not talking about your feelings, I don’t know what is.

This was exceptional in many senses. It was an exceptional production, but it was also an exceptional opportunity for those few who chose to share and see the process through. The hope, I would think, is that focussing on these issues will help conversations happen more regularly in ‘real’ life, whatever that means to each of us.

I certainly heard a lot of stories of audience members inspired to check in with friends, family, or even colleagues who might be needing an opportunity of their own to share, to reach out, to be heard, to be helped. And although these stories came from men who had experienced the extreme edges of mental health, there are none of us immune to the possibility of finding ourselves in those same places.

Mental health, like physical health, is a scale that we can all move up and down, and if society’s preconceived notions of gender identity are causing men to not seek the help they need, then we need to challenge and change society, in whatever way we can, even if that is simply telling someone that it is okay to talk about it.

Find out more about Restoke and their work here: https://www.restoke.org.uk/

The book marketing diaries Part 2.5 – A series?

Alluding back to part 2 of this diary (here: The Book Marketing Diaries Part 2 – What’s in a name?) what I came to realise from feedback and seeing those names laid out in front of me was that maybe I was looking at more than one title here.

I have a general idea of the plot of a second book, which I have left open as a possibility in the upcoming novel, and thematically, it would follow on nicely to have the following two titles confirmed, with any third part being left for another time (say, when I was anywhere close to writing it).

So my current thinking is this:

BOOK 1 (Autumn 2016):

coollogo_com-12571161

Book 2 (2018 – I have an unrelated title in progress at the moment slated for 2017):

coollogo_com-84781913

Book 3: (Who knows? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but if I get a modicum of success from the first two, I would look at a trilogy).

Of course, as a free individual, I reserve all rights to not write another at all! But I do have enough confidence to think a second part would be of interest to my readers at least.

So, that’s my current thinking… But I am always open to having my mind changed (and have in fact, spent many years actively trying to do so), so PLEASE do comment in any way you can if you have an opinion and/or advice about this!

Thanks to everyone who has helped me out so far. even the littlest comment can make a big difference when you are doing something like writing, which despite everything else in life, can feel like a lonely endeavour sometimes.

 

 

Admin Cat! Decorating.

Admin Cat Face

This week’s (year’s!) ADMIN CAT! 06/04/2015 #61 – Why not visit the ADMIN CAT SHOP ?

Also, if you enjoy Admin Cat and my blog, please consider taking a look at my eBook ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’ – the link is on the sidebar to view it on Amazon. It’s on LIMITED OFFER at £0.77 ($0.99)  and your purchase would help me to maintain this blog and write my next novel! I think you will enjoy it, others have! Thank you.

Admin Cat Decorating copy

For more cartoons click on ADMIN CAT from the category menu on the right hand side. Please feel free to share this anywhere you like, but please use the page URL and not just the picture! Thanks!

 

Admin Cat! Baby Steps. VIDEO!

Admin Cat Face

A very special Admin Cat for you all. It is called ‘Baby Steps’ for more than one reason: I wanted to see if I could ‘do’ a little animation relatively quickly, and here it is. It’s hardly Disney, but it’s a start. There may be more to come, but I will also do some still cartoons eventually. So far 2015 isn’t giving me much time. But for now, sit back, relax and WATCH ADMIN CAT!

Why not visit the ADMIN CAT SHOP ?

Also, if you enjoy Admin Cat and my blog, please consider taking a look at my eBook ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’ – the link is on the sidebar to view it on Amazon. It’s on LIMITED OFFER at £0.77 ($0.99)  and your purchase would help me to maintain this blog and write my next novel! I think you will enjoy it, others have! Thank you.

For more cartoons click on ADMIN CAT from the category menu on the right hand side. Please feel free to share this anywhere you like, but please use the page URL and not just the picture! Thanks!

 

Admin Cat! Christmas Special!

Admin Cat Face

This weeks Christmas Special ADMIN CAT! 24/12/2014 #60 – Why not visit the ADMIN CAT SHOP ?

Also, if you enjoy Admin Cat and my blog, please consider taking a look at my eBook ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’ – the link is on the sidebar to view it on Amazon. It’s on LIMITED OFFER at £0.77 ($0.99)  and your purchase would help me to maintain this blog and write my next novel! I think you will enjoy it, others have! Thank you.

ADMIN CAT Christmas 2014 copy

For more cartoons click on ADMIN CAT from the category menu on the right hand side. Please feel free to share this anywhere you like, but please use the page URL and not just the picture! Thanks!

 

Admin Cat! Printer. Finale.

Admin Cat Face

This weeks ADMIN CAT! 11/12/2014 #59 – Why not visit the ADMIN CAT SHOP ?

Also, if you enjoy Admin Cat and my blog, please consider taking a look at my eBook ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’ – the link is on the sidebar to view it on Amazon. It’s on LIMITED OFFER at £0.77 ($0.99)  and your purchase would help me to maintain this blog and write my next novel! I think you will enjoy it, others have! Thank you.

Admin Cat Printer part 4 copy

For more cartoons click on ADMIN CAT from the category menu on the right hand side. Please feel free to share this anywhere you like, but please use the page URL and not just the picture! Thanks!

 

Admin Cat! Printer. Part Three.

Admin Cat Face

This weeks ADMIN CAT! 04/12/2014 #58 – Why not visit the ADMIN CAT SHOP ?

Also, if you enjoy Admin Cat and my blog, please consider taking a look at my eBook ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’ – the link is on the sidebar to view it on Amazon. It’s on LIMITED OFFER at £0.77 ($0.99)  and your purchase would help me to maintain this blog and write my next novel! I think you will enjoy it, others have! Thank you.

Admin Cat Printer part 3 copy

For more cartoons click on ADMIN CAT from the category menu on the right hand side. Please feel free to share this anywhere you like, but please use the page URL and not just the picture! Thanks!