The pleasures of writing, cooking and being

I’m writing this post to give a kind of status update. Over the past of couple of years I’ve been writing and producing audiobooks. I’ve always had a very good eye for detail and picking up emotions and atmospheres. And I’ve had a talent for putting those intangible atmospheres into words.

I’ve produced 3 books (one published, two being prepared), several short stories and 5 audiobooks in that time. Most recently I wrote The Foreign Desk. It is about a buffoon of a journalist who bumbles around a mountain town in Spain looking for a weather-altering machine but he’s rather drunk and hapless. It was a fun jolly jape to write, read and record.

I got a 4* review from a stranger on Amazon – who compared it to the likes of Ernest Hemingway! So please buy it when you get chance.

The thing about writing and telling stores is it takes people out of themselves. It gives them another point of view. It gives another perspective. It’s magical in it’s own way.

I’ve found writing and narrating audiobooks has been incredibly therapeutic for me too. I can take the roles of other people and you think how they would think. You start to think about how people operate, how the gears of their minds work. In a way you embody them and it’s a phenomenal experience and skill once you have it. You feel understanding and empathy, you begin to see the depths of the world around you. No longer are you limited to yourself and your own personality – you can be and become whoever you want to be. Everything takes on a new dimension and the world becomes richer and richer.

An orange becomes more than just an orange. It’s a zesty skin, it’s acidic spray, it’s an uplifting smell, it’s a journey through the flat plains near Seville with Moroccan labourers plucking them and filling trailers.

Equally as that sensitivity has grown and has been a curse. Being in crowds, especially harsh hostile city environments becomes unbearable and physically painful. Anything heavy on TV like a violent thriller or drama becomes intolerable too.  I process that in my own cells and there have been times when I had to walk out of a cinema because I was getting pain in my head from the distress of the characters.

I have been incredibly lucky to meet the Creative Writing Society at the University of Kent. They have been a massively supportive group. We would meet twice a week, one where someone would deliver a workshop and we’d write, another time where we’d read and share our work. It was incredibly special and we also did some trips around Kent. Then of course there was the extraordinary foreign trips of January.

In 2017 we went to Seville. It was absolutely blissful and I was the happiest I have ever been in my life that week. I was in a kind of earthly heaven.

Then in 2018 we went to Marrakesh. A horrendously overwhelming place full of tricksters and crooks, but also some very light kind people. With my sensitivity it was really easy to know who to trust and who to dodge and I didn’t get ripped off in the souk. While there, I wrote a pantomime with magic carpets, the palace of His Holy Excellency Omar Tagine and genies.

Besides those trips for the most part, I’ve lived a small and simple life and have been very happy with it. When I’ve been in the UK – I’ve rarely travelled further than the 4 or 6 miles on my bike to the nearest towns and when I’ve been in Spain I’ve biked the 9 miles out of town and back.

The world isn’t out there, the most important world is at home – being kind and warm and loving and caring. But also having clear boundaries so wretched people don’t take advantage of your good-nature. The universe doesn’t need more bankers and cut-throat career people – it needs people who are attentive to their own real needs and the needs of the community.

All of my old writings here are from a time when I was traumatised by toxic school, work and social environments. I’m kind of embarrassed, but I want to leave them online for reference. Looking back I can say my psyche was very fractured, the pain bottled away. I was angry at the world for creating me and hurting me. I was trying to find the thing that would fix everything – be that a job, or money, or a relationship or something like that.

In the end I realised that nothing could fix me, except me. I trusted my intuition and guts more than whatever society and people told me. I followed my curiosity and in the end I found exactly what I was looking for – the ability to trust myself and be Alex in own weird and wonderful way.

There are strong forces at work that are trying to connect people together, that are bringing more love into the world. Over time more and more people will awaken. The general energy will expand and many people (at some point this lifetime or in several incarnations time) will get to their own peace.

I’ve been doing my writing, recording and have got deeply into cooking. It’s incredibly satisfying. Here is a really divine tagine I made the other night. It was with fresh apricots and it was just sex on a plate.

Besides that, I’m not that important in the great scheme of the cosmos. I’m just one person of 7 billion on this planet. This is just one planet in the zillions of galaxies and dimensions.  So I basically don’t exist. I have my role to play while I’m still alive – it matters and it’s significant in its own little way. But it’s not that important. My ego is small and I’m just happy to be alive most of the time when I’m not having a down day.

I would like to become a modestly successful author in this lifetime, so please buy my books and audiobooks. I have created a new website: alexandercliffordstories.com From there you can sign up to the mailing list.

Thanks for reading, Alex

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