The Futility of Trying to Write Something New

Originally posted on S.A. Barton: Seriously Eclectic:

Ballpoint

My writing is going to be BIG!

I have heard, and seen in various forums for writers online, the same basic question posed dozens of times. “How do I write something that hasn’t been written before?” “How can I be sure nobody’s done this story before?” “How do I get a NEW idea?”

I have good news and bad news for the askers of those questions.

You’re not going to write something that hasn’t been written before. Somebody has done this story before. Your idea is not new. That’s the news, good and bad wrapped up together in it like yin and yang.

You might find something specific to add, a new element. With the advent of the personal computer, we began to see all the old stories made new again with the addition of computers, hackers, the internet, email. But that didn’t make them new stories. It made them…

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Tinkerbell, Aspergers and fitting in…

I was watching “Tinkerbell” with my daughters today and unfortunately I’ve seen it so many times that my brain clicks into Editor Mode. It starts pointing out the plot holes and mistakes, so I find I have to go do something to distract myself from it!

This time, I decided to clean the grill.

As I was doing that, I realised that “Tinkerbell” is about girls with Aspergers. Now I can see all the Mum’s getting up in arms and shouting “It’s about a brand new fairy who is trying to find herself.”
And they are right, it is about that. But it is also about a girl who has been thrust into a new world, not understanding why she feels like she doesn’t fit.

My eldest daughter is nine. She has two years left at Primary School (they start high school at eleven around here) before she is pushed by her age into High School. She is also developing physically more quickly that her peers. To add to that, she is showing signs of Aspergers, so she is going through testing to check if it is that or something similar.

She has already admitted to feeling very out of place in her peer group.

A girl with Aspergers is difficult to spot. Girls are generally social creatures and when they are young, those in the group who are good at Social Behaviour will help their peers who aren’t. Girls are also emotionally biased, so they understand outbursts of high emotion and can help those friends that suffer with them cope. Thus a girl with Aspergers will be taught by her peers how to act.
And act is exactly what she does. By the time she hits high school, she is so well camouflaged that adults  rarely see her for what she actually is.

So why is “Tinkerbell” about girls with Aspergers?

Consider the plot:

A girl is thrust into a new world. She is told that she is a Tinker and that her life, from now on, will be about making pots and pans. But she doesn’t feel as if she quite fits in.

She makes friends who are pretty, well dressed and have more interesting jobs. Then she is told that these girls can also go off and have adventures.
Of course, she wants to do that too. She is quickly smacked back down when she tries to follow her nature and get to have adventures.

Still feeling that she doesn’t fit in as a Tinker, she tries to change who she is, to become like the other girls. Everything that follows is an obvious effect of trying to go against her nature and just makes her more unhappy.

Eventually she realises this and gives up, but not before the local bully, who is jealous of all the attention the Tinker is getting, helps her to wreck everything that the others have built.

Finally, the girl works out a way of fixing what she has wrecked by going with her nature rather than against it. She thinks about the problem from outside the box and shows why she was chosen to be a tinker in the first place.
Her reward is to be allowed to join her friends on their adventure.

Tinkerbell is our girl with Aspergers – she looks the same as the other girls physically, but knows that inside she is different. She thinks about things differently and can’t understand why, once she has learned to fit in, she still doesn’t feel right; like a jigsaw puzzle piece that is the right shape but with the wrong picture.

Now imagine our “Tinkerbell” moving from warm, comfortable Primary School (the old world) to cold, hard, High School (being reborn as a student.) She may have learned to fit in with her Primary friends, but at High School, the social scene is different. She is just different enough to garner attention from those who don’t like difference and may well get bullied (like Tinkerbell and Vidia) and her response is, more often than not, will try on different natures.
Our Tinkerbell will be Goth one minute, a sporty girl the next. She will change styles as fast as possible, trying to find that elusive hole to fit into so that she isn’t picked on anymore.
It may end up in a train wreck of a situation; or sometimes our girl will find her spot and get comfortable again. Her reward will be friends and a life she can relax into again.

Most often though, our Tinkerbell will take a long time to find her spot, her real nature.

Why have I written about this today?

Well, I watch my daughter at Brownies and School and I can see that, while she is comfortable in her current hole, when she goes to High School, she will be lost again. So over the summer, we picked one of her interests (music and singing) and sent her to a Theatre School Summer Camp.

She blossomed.

She’d found the right picture to match her shape. My daughter will still find High School difficult, but by sending her to Theatre School at the weekends, she will be able to cope with whatever the social scene throws at her and hopefully, she won’t need to go against her nature to find where she fits in at school.

If you have a child with Aspergers I can recommend the following books – they really opened our eyes to how NOS sees the world and how PT can be helped to navigate around the social scene of High School -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asperkids-Secret-Book-Social-Rules/dp/1849059152/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412543447&sr=8-1&keywords=asperkids+secret+book+of+social+rules

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Queen-Bees-Wannabes-boyfriends-realities/dp/0749924373/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412543622&sr=1-1&keywords=queen+bees+and+wannabes

Some thoughts about Guns…

TOH is playing Watchdogs. For the most part, he likes it because you can sneak around playing the game without hurting any of the civilian characters that are wandering around the city.

There are puzzles and you can choose the way you play so that you become a Vigilante rather than Terrorist (the opposite end of the reputation bar.) You can protect civilians, stop them getting hurt and attacked.

The story line is quite an interesting one. It looks at the way that information is used in the real world and just how much information everyone puts out there that can be twisted or used to hurt. It’s a scary concept, but that’s not what I want to talk about.

Like with many of the games now, you get digital trophies for certain things – for example, the number of police scans you evade. Most of these are easy enough to do without hurting anyone. However,  TOH being who he is, likes to get all of the trophies, and there was one that he couldn’t figure out; you had to escape a level 5 police scan.

So he went online and googled the problem. He was not happy with the result, but try as he might, it was the only one he could find. So he did it this morning before he went to work.

He took the character to a crowded place, pulled out a machine gun and let rip. It must have killed between 15 and 20 civilian characters before the scan meter was at level 5. The noise was horrendous and it attracted both my attention (and made me muck up the pattern I was knitting) and the baby’s attention (she’d been playing with her ducky ball).

It was realistic and I started having a panic attack. I picked up the baby and cuddled her away from the noise.

Now I can think logically about it, it wasn’t what was on the screen that was panicking me. It was the noise. The realistic sound of the machine gun he was using on the game. It took me back to a particular incident that shaped my life without me realising it.

* * *

When I was 16, I was in the Air Training Corps. It’s the cadet branch of the RAF and I was seriously considering a career in the RAF at the time. One of the last events I went to was a joint exercise with the local USAF base. The Military Police there had put on an exercise for the local ATC units complete with full military training gear. This meant we were wearing the laser vests that they used and carrying blank adapted M16’s with laser equipment to “tag” the vests.

And yes, you read that one right. They were allowing teenagers to use M16’s. There were also two M60 ‘s set up the same way, one for each team. We were given the guns and put through training exercises – stripping, cleaning, reassembling in a set time, practice on a range with live bullets and on a stationary dummy wearing a laser vest with blanks in the gun.

All stuff we had done before at ATC with the 302 rifles we’d used for ages on our range.

We also were given a small strip of ammunition and allowed to shoot the M60. This was to show us how the rifle worked and make the point that the only people big enough to carry the things were two of the biggest boys I had ever seen in my life… and I wasn’t a small, dainty little girl.

Anyway. It wasn’t the experience of shooting the M60 that did the damage. That was funny because the gun moved me back in the heather by about 3 feet. It wasn’t even the “capture the flag” exercise we played next, albeit with the M16’s on our shoulders. We’d done that before with LR98’s and laser equipment on a RAF Base.

It was the Night Exercise.

We’d been told that we were being treated like Military Academy students and that when they were on exercise, they carried their guns at all times. So we had to. I literally slept that night with an M16 next to me. We were all in one camp, both teams together.

I say slept. Others slept. I didn’t. I couldn’t. The gun felt as hard and dangerous as a knife and while I knew it was loaded with blanks and the safety was on, I was terrified that it was going to go off in the night.

I fell into a half doze about three in the morning when my body refused to remain awake any longer.

At dawn the camp was attacked.

I lay in my tent, my hand on the M16, frozen with fear as an M60 opened up out in the woods around us and blasted us. Everyone’s laser vests started screaming at us and while some of the boys managed to rally and fire back, the rest of us lay there, scared out of our wits.

They were trying to make some kind of point apparently, because they’d noticed that some of the boys had got rather cocky, trigger happy and were being reckless. Our Officers had agreed and were joining in.

That noise has lived with me ever since.

I managed to complete the event without being hurt (normally I got an injury of some sort), cleaned and returned my M16. I even got a commendation for being able to complete the entire 1 mile obstacle course within a decent time.

I quit ATC  not long after that. My excuse was that I wanted to concentrate on my exams. The real reason was that I realized that the RAF wasn’t for me. At the time I didn’t want to think like that and I was being encouraged by my teachers to choose that career, so I acted out the charade a little longer and then when I got to University, I changed direction.

This morning, it was that noise. The machine gun going off on the TV that sent me straight back into my 16 year old self lying on the ground, listening to the M60 shoot over my head and the laser vest’s warning screaming in my ear.

I know now that should I have to, I can pick up a gun and shoot someone with it. To protect my life, to protect my children, to protect TOH, I will do it. But I’m scared of them, of guns. I’m scared that I found that in myself. I’m scared that I could kill another human being.

And I’m scared that all the war and violence that I ducked out of by not going into the RAF might actually happen over here. That I might actually have to pick up a gun to defend my children.

And the Autumnal Lurgy hits…

Fresher’s Flu, First Cold of The Year, Autumnal Lurgy… whatever you call it, I have it, my family has it, a lot of my friends (RL and FB) have it.

I should imagine this time of year has the cold & flu tablet manufacturers rubbing their hands with glee, as they think about all the money rolling in as the supermarkets and chemists put their orders in to cope with the flood of people  scooping packets of tablets into their baskets…

The Cold Virus… probably not really this cute, but definitely around!

Sometimes I think that the reason drug manufacturers don’t bother trying to cure the Common Cold (or any illness) is pure greed; remove the demand, lose the cash.

But then I think that it’s not the scientists that feel like that; many scientists are working really hard to cure Cancer, AIDS, even the Common Cold and don’t have anything to do with the manufacturing and sales side. Maybe they’ve come up with cures already and it really is the Greed of the Pharma Managers stopping us from having an illness free society.

Elysium Medical Machine

Is this machine really all that far away? Only those in charge of Big Pharma really know that.

I apologise…

When you’re feeling ill, your mind seems to take a dive into the depressive trough and your body follows it, making it difficult to get better.

She sighs, coughs, splutters and flakes against the back of her chair.

I think maybe I should go rest up a bit more… I’ll return to the world of words when I am feeling a bit less lurgal and a bit happier!

The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman – Vox

The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman – Vox.

I, personally, will not stand for this. I want the world my girls grow up in to not only be safe for them, but safe for my son as well.

My partner and I are bringing him up to be as aware of himself and his effect on people around him as possible and we don’t need the pervasive misogynistic atmosphere that this planet currently has to be confusing him.

We are all Human;
no matter what our gender assignment is;
no matter what our sexual preference is;
no matter what our romantic preferences are;
no matter what our race is;
no matter what our Religion is;
no matter what our Personal Beliefs are.

It is time we recognised that FACT and act as a species to change the world we live in. We are good at changing what stands in our way, it’s what has made us the most successful predator on the planet, so let’s use that ability on our OWN CULTURE and change it for the better.

Autumn is on its way… and so is NaNoWriMo!

I don’t know about you, but September is one of those months where everything is a little confused. The weather can’t decide if it’s summer or autumn, there’s new flowers blooming and trees dropping their leaves. There are Bees and Butterflies, but also Craneflies and giant Spiders…

It’s the start of education for many children (and adults) as the schools, colleges and universities start back after the summer holidays, so there’s uniform, new shoes, stationary to buy… in fact it almost feels like it should be the start of the year, instead of the year being almost over.

I get quite sad at this time of year because of the confusion all around me. Then I hit the anniversary of meeting TOH (we count this our anniversary because we’re not married yet) and I’m reminded that this time of year was the start of our partnership and that that partnership brought me the three lovely children that we have together

TOH

Then things get better. We have several birthdays in October (including mine) and then Hallowe’en appears and NaNoWriMo… and before you know it we’re counting down towards Christmas.

So while September can be quite sad at it’s beginning, by the end of it, I’m cheery and moderately excited.

Hmm… Yes, all things considered, I like autumn and it starts with September.

* * *

Now I have to consider something really important.

What on Earth do I do for NaNoWriMo this year? Do I continue on with “The Secret of Arking Down” Project or do I do something completely different?

For those of you who don’t know what “The Secret of Arking Down” is, I’ll give you a quick recap.

In 2009 I wrote a story based on two things; a house in the village I live in that I would love to live in and the wish to win the biggest prize on the lottery and not have anymore money worries…

…yes, I know, it’s a recurring wish for me…

The story I wrote was about a set of twins who were split apart by divorce. One sister stayed with their Mother in Wales and the other went with their Father to live in England. The story followed the twin who moved away and the life she ended up living…

The Angel's Crown - cover (1)

…but as I was writing it, the world opened up in front of me and stories began appearing in front of my eyes. I scribbled down the premises and carried on with the one I was writing.

Once NaNo was over and done with, I reread what I had written… I’d managed to write 50,000 words but not finished the story, so it took me the rest of the year to finish that particular story. I decided in the run up to NaNo 2010 that I would try one of the premises I had come up with and write a complete story this time.

It worked. 

I wrote “The Dragon’s Pendant” in 30 days.

02 - The Dragon's Pendant - cover

I finished editing “The Angel’s Crown” and asked a editor friend to take a look at it. She was wonderful and pretty soon it was ready to publish. So publish it I did.

In 2011, I took another premise from my notebook and wrote “The Second Door” about the sister who didn’t go to Wales.

The Second door - cover - 03

 

I hit the 50k mark with it, but again, the story wasn’t finished and I was so involved with “The Tower and The Eye”…

The Tower and The Eye Series

… that I didn’t have enough time to finish it. So NaNo 2012 crept up on me!

I again managed to hit 50k on “Daemon’s Will” but I didn’t finish the story again and once again, TTATE swallowed up the rest of my year, so it remained unfinished.

The Daemon's Will - cover - 03
Last year, I wrote the required 50k on “The Cat’s Bell” – book #5 in the series. And yet again I didn’t manage to finish the story.

The Cat's Bell - cover

I started looking at “The Dragon’s Pendant” again this year. I decided it needed a thorough re-read and edit… there are so many plot holes and things that it’s now in the re-writing queue!

I’ve finished the TTATE series now, so there’s nothing to distract me from NaNo and I need to decide if I’m going to continue writing the series or take a break and do something else.

The book that is in line for creation this year is “The Tree of Fate”:

The Tree of Fate - cover

 

The novel is based on a novella I wrote called “The Bog Boy. This one is going to be almost pure Fantasy (Science Fiction crept into most of the previous books) with a touch of romance.

The story of  “The Bog Boy” is set after “The Dragon’s Pendant” and involves a very yucky sounding British sport called Bog Snorkelling and some rather interesting historical people!

Here’s an excerpt -

The Healer watched the little boy crawl around her herb garden. “He’s a fine, healthy boy, Annwr.”

“But that foot means he’ll never be a warrior. The Druid wouldn’t let my husband expose him the way the Gods approve of.” Annwr rocked the tiny girl feeding at her breast, almost absently.

“Tylo said the little one had a greater destiny waiting for him, Annwr. Stop worrying.” The Healer handed the other woman a steaming cup, then poured herself one from the jug beside her.

“He never makes a sound, Carys. Even when he falls and hurts himself; his mouth opens, but nothing comes out.” Annwr cast a scared look at the child.

Carys bit back a groan. I’ll have to have words with Hafwen at this rate. The changeling rumours have got to stop before poor Annwr goes moon-shy. “Iluead!“ she called to the investigating child

The little boy carried on exploring the texture of the herb leaf he had in his hands, his back to the adults. He rubbed it against his face and sniffed the fragrance.

The Healer rose and touched the child’s shoulder. He looked up, then held the leaf out to her, smiling.

“That’s Thyme.” Carys told him softly.

Iluead opened his mouth and nothing came out. He smiled.

I could have sworn he tried to copy me; but nothing came out. Is he deaf and mute?

Carys frowned and tried a few more of the tests her Mentor had taught her. She talked to him, naming objects. Each time, Iluead would open his mouth and no sound would come out, but he would grin as if he’d got it right.

She whispered into each ear and he’d turn towards her, but when she moved back and clapped behind him, Iluead ignored her until he was touched in some way.

Then Carys examined Iluead’s ears and throat carefully.

Annwr watched Carys test her son, the worried expression on her face growing with each failure.

Finally, Carys returned to her seat. “He is responding to me and trying to repeat the words I am saying, it’s just that nothing is coming from his throat.”

Annwr bit her lip.

“I can see that he hears me in some way, I just don’t know how.” The healer was perturbed by her failure to diagnose the problem.

“I see that you have discovered the gift the Gods have given our Moon Child.” The Druid’s voice preceded the man himself.

“He has no voice, he cannot hear and he has a deformed foot. How can you call those gifts!” Annwr’s voice rose. “He should have been exposed when the foot was discovered, yet you demanded that my husband let him live.”

“The Gods told me that your firstborn son would bring the Clan a great deal of power and save it from annihilation. I could not in conscience allow his death to happen.” He smiled down at the child who rocked over on his back and grinned toothlessly up at the white robed man, who hunkered down beside the boy

Annwr subsided as the Druid picked her son up. “But what will he do? I cannot look after him for the rest of his life if I can’t hear him and he cannot look after himself.”

Carys took Annwr’s hand as her distress disturbed the baby.

“I can hear him just fine. He has a lovely clear mind voice.” Tylo looked at the boy wriggling on his knee.

“That explains a lot. It would seem that he is destined to be a druid then.” Carys smiled and relaxed.

“For a while, yes.” Tylo let Iluead go again and laughed as he toddled off after a butterfly. The druid looked at Annwr “Is he weaned?”

She nodded. “He has been on solid food for several months now.”

“I will take him into my house as my Foster Son. May I ask for Alys to accompany him as well? Both will be well looked after.”

The child giggled silently as he fell over in his pursuit of the insect. A bumble bee caught his attention and the little boy scrambled up to watch it buzz from flower to flower; a small, serious expression on his round face.

Annwr sighed and rocked a little. “I don’t know what my husband will say.”

“He has already agreed to this. Your new daughter needs both her parents and there will be other children for you to love.” Tylo caught Iluead as the little one reached out to touch the bee. “Oh no you don’t.”

The toddler wriggled away from the Druid and wandered over to tug on his mother’s kirtle. She looked down into his guileless blue eyes and ruffled the white-blonde hair curling wildly around his cherubic face.

“I will always love him. He might be deformed, but he is my first born son and will always be so.” Handing the baby to Carys, she picked up the boy and held him close. Iluead snuggled into her arms. “I know you cannot hear me, Iluead, but I am your mother. If you need me, I am here for you.”

The little boy reached up with one hand and patted Annwr’s cheek, then he kissed her and wriggled down from her lap. She watched as he toddled over to Carys and planted a soft kiss on his sister’s head.

“It looks like he’s saying goodbye.” Carys said with wide eyes.

“He has more gifts than you think.” The druid said, holding his hand out to Iluead.

Iluead took the druid’s hand and without a backward glance followed him out of Carys’ garden.

Annwr watched her son leave, tears running down her cheeks.

The misery the little boy’s mother felt, swept over me in a wave. I could feel myself crying in my sleep, the lump in my throat making it difficult to breathe.

 

If you’ve made it to this end, maybe I can get an opinion? Should I continue with “The Secret of Arking Down” or do one of the many new ideas that have occurred to me in the last six months or so?

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Biting the bullet…

Warning – this is partly a Pity party, but the whining does have a point… eventually.

Asking for help is one of the hardest things in the world.

All my life, I was told not to ask for things, “You’ll get what you’re given and like it.” was a common refrain throughout my childhood from a variety of people; not just my parents.

I was taught that if I needed something, I should work for it myself. So I was working from the age of 12 3/4 years old.

Yes, that was technically illegal, I didn’t care and my employer didn’t either.

I sampled lots of menial jobs in my early working life. I was a Chambermaid, a Market Seller, a Paper Girl, a Waitress, a Bar Steward, sold Fish’n’Chips, broke up fights, drifted into sleep doing data entry, tried to sell double glazing, sold computer games, tried to help people with their digital TV…

I got up early and stayed up late in pursuit of the money to be able to live in the way I wanted. I often didn’t have the money to eat from those jobs – I only just made my half of the rent a lot of the time.

It was irritating.

I earned enough (with my partner’s income as well) to be ineligible for any Govt. help (there was no such thing as Working Tax Credit then) and we ate  pasta and ketchup way too much. I already had a degree, but it was useless for almost everything I tried to apply for.

So I took a PGCE in the hope that becoming a Teacher. I passed (it was difficult) and got a NQT job to finish my training. I passed that and got a full time teaching job. Which ended a year later.

 

Ah well, there’s always supply work. I thought to myself when I tried and failed to get another full time or part time teaching job.

HAH!

I joined agency after agency. I got very little work and was told that it was because I couldn’t drive. But I couldn’t afford to learn to drive… so I was in a Catch 22 situation.

By now, I had two children to support and my partner was driving over two hundred miles a day, just to keep us in the house we were in…

Fast forward to today.

The Kids

The Kids

This is my family. My partner has been diagnosed as Aspergers. NOS has been trying to cope with both Aspergers and High School for over two years. And we have the wonderfully entertaining Princess Wriggles to enjoy.

We’re still in the same house. That’s right. 3 Kids, two adults and all the attendant stuff in a small 3 bedroom house. Just about liveable… or it would be if it weren’t for the state of the roof and the plumbing (but that’s another story).
We’d planned to put the baby into the same room as PT when she turned a year old. We didn’t count on PT possibly being Aspergers as well.

What is Aspergers?

“As soon as we meet a person we make judgements about them. From their facial expression, tone of voice and body language we can usually tell whether they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly.

People with Asperger syndrome can find it harder to read the signals that most of us take for granted. This means they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others which can lead to high levels of anxiety and confusion.” – From The National Autistic Society

One of the things that those with Aspergers need is a safe, secure and above all, calming environment to recharge and relax.
Dealing with the outside world causes all sorts of problems. While an adult can find a quiet place to calm down while they’re out and about, a child can’t. Add the school environment to their daily routine and you have daily sensory overload.
So a quiet bedroom / private space is essential to their well being.

We have the space for NOS to have this. The only way we can give PT the same space and give ourselves space (TOH really needs a private space) as well, is to put the baby in our room and sleep in the living room.

Not an ideal situation, more of a last resort.

So why don’t you move?

And here is where the earlier whining is relevant. I haven’t been able to return to teaching since I lost my job. I’ve updated my qualifications and still not been able to get a job. TOH is in the midst of changing career and while he has a part time job at the moment, it’s not an ideal long term solution as it’s only temporary.

We are reliant on Benefits to help us live day to day. There is very little spare cash and what spare cash there is goes on clothes or shoes etc. We’ve not been able to save up the money we need to move.
The deposit, the rent in advance, the moving costs – when I’ve figured it up, we’d need about £3,500 to be able to do it. And every time I manage to save money, it flies out the door again on the wings of an emergency / unforeseen bill.

I’m forced to ask for help.

None of my immediate family can help – they’re in similar straits. We can’t get a Bank loan big enough because we don’t have a big enough income or full time jobs – the banks are suddenly feeling responsible!

So the only thing left (other than sleeping on the sofa) is to ask for help generally.

I’ve started a GoFundMe campaign to this end. If you feel like donating money to help our family move to a more suitable house, then feel free to click on this link – House Move  - and donate whatever you feel you can afford.
There’s no time limit to the campaign and I’ll keep it open until either we get the amount we need, or we get kicked out of the house we are in (not as far fetched a prospect as you might think.)

If you feel uneasy about donating to a complete stranger (and believe me, I understand!) then look up my books (under Kira Morgana or A. E. Churchyard) and buy a copy or two – any sales from my work will be put aside to add to the Moving Fund.

If you don’t want to do either of those, then I won’t be upset – I realise it is a difficult world out there and there are people who are worse off than we are. If you want to support the campaign emotionally / promotionally, then feel free to tweet nice things about it and/or share it on FB.

I realise that this is a bit of a pipe dream.

However, I’ve already had four lovely, wonderful people donate to the campaign already, meaning it isn’t as much of a dream as it was.

So there you have it. I’ve bit the bullet and asked for help.