Ahoy there! It’s pirate and story writing week for me and so far progress is slow… that’s rather disappointing. Unfortunately it’s proving to be a busy week at work and the evenings are rather full, predictably, with MissImp related improv action.
A tiny recap. I write short pirate stories under the unlikely pseudonym of Captain Ignatius Pigheart. He’s a mean old rogue with a penchant for mermaids and an unenviable record in mutiny, marooning and monsters. He’s also prone to unpronounceable bouts of alliteration.
I’ve been writing the stories for fun for about four years. I’m not especially confident when it comes to my writing – in terms of getting it read or published. That might sound strange, given my other interests which mainly involve getting up on stage with no plan and just assuming it’ll work out fine. Well, improv’s different: there’s a team, there’s the practice and experience, and the adrenaline which prop you up. But with my writing..? If it’s crap or no one laughs then that’s even worse, because I’ve actually pre-written it and agonised over the content. You see what I mean?
I first discovered this when I used to act in plays at school, university and a bit after that. Having learned the words, or written them you have an extra responsibility for it to be good. I don’t like that responsibility.
To counteract it a bit I write ‘in character’ which sounds incredibly pretentious but in Pigheart’s case boils down to saying “yaarr, ye face be all a-flounder” and using other authentically historical nautical terms. It means that the stories I write are often best read aloud, to get a sense of the rhythm and the brutally abbreviated words I’ve decided that pirates used. It’s not my fault, I’m not the one who shortened ‘boatswain’ to ‘bosun’.
Pub Poetry & Fear
My Dad dragged me along to a delightful new comic poetry night in Burton on Trent, ‘Pub Poetry – Culture, Real Ale & Poetry’. There I had to pretty much beg to read my story, as they were focussed on poems and stuff. I can honestly say I’ve rarely felt more nervous than when waiting to read my Mermaid Adventure to a group of strangers, plus (and possibly worse) my Dad, step-mum and sister (I think). As a consequence I did drink a little too much. As it turned out that only added to the character and I growled and slurred my way through it.
To my delight everyone loved it and I’ve been attending the nights ever since. Sadly they’re only on about 3 times a year. So, to get more of a fix I dragged Adrian who hosts the night over to Nottingham to run it in the Nottingham Comedy Festival last year. That was really good fun too and since January I’ve been holding the Nottingham version at the Canalhouse on the second Monday of each month.
There don’t seem to be many poetry events which are aimed at comedy. Personally I have a tough time maintaining an interest in anything which isn’t even drily amusing, and have a dreadful tendency to misinterpret the words comedically. That doesn’t always go down well. I enjoyed the recent WriteLion event at the Contemporary Café which was a cool night, but there wasn’t much funny stuff there.
Pub Poetry Nottingham is a fun little night. We get a lovely range of readers with their own carefully crafted comic words in verse or prose, or those more comfortable with poetry karaoke. I read a pirate story and there are more very short stories being read too. Anyone can read pretty much anything, as long as it’s funnyish and you attribute where appropriate. We also have a limerick contest with amazing* prizes (honest*), which gets suitably filthy. You’re all welcome to come – it’s upstairs at the Canalhouse at 8pm – the next one is on Monday 13th September. You can join the Facebook Group to get reminders and stuff too.
So – back to piracy
My plans this week are to get a domain name – captainpigheart.com – check!
Done that, and the website build is stuttering along. I’ve chosen to jump from Blogger to WordPress. It’s a difficult decision, because I’ve enjoyed using Blogger, but I’ve realised that I want a website as well as a blog and WordPress will let me do things that Blogger won’t (like have an unlimited number of pages!). I’ve also been able to transfer my complete history of posts to captainpigheart.com so all I need to do now is re-arrange my content, add some more, and make it awesome cool. All comments and feedback will be cherished. I shall miss my lovely 12,000 + hit count on captainpigheart.blogspot.com but hopefully I can entice people into reading the new one (starting with you).
This is how I spent yesterday
Hmm, don’t seem to be able to rotate that. Ho hum.
I rigged up a nice microphone with a pop guard (note the tights around the mic) and made myself a dinky mini-studio. I recorded three stories (Mermaid Adventure, Lost at Sea Adventure and String Along Adventure. Yes, they’re all adventures!) That took forever – remember the hideous alliteration I’ve cursed myself with? Consequently I have about an hour of audio of me swearing and being tongue-tied.
The faux-pirate accent is quite taxing… I also found that our cat, Merly, is loud enough to be picked up by a mic six feet in the air. That did not help. I then spent hours, literally hours, fiddling with the sound to get rid of hiss (there are many snakes in our spare room) and the four versions of String Along I had to do to say enough of the words correctly. I persuaded Marilyn to record a husky intro and outro for them and now need to stitch those together too.
Buy me, love me. Just buy me. Please.
But why, you may ask. Well, since I’ve neither the confidence nor will to do the publisher rounds I’m going to publish them online as audiobook tracks! For some reason that seems like less hassle to me. (I may be broken inside.) I’m going to use cdbaby.com as it has very reasonable fees and they come across as genuinely decent folk.
It takes a while to get your stuff uploaded, and I’m hoping the third attempt to format the Mermaid Adventure will be successful. If it is I should be able to get the others uploaded quickly enough and with a massive dollop of luck they’ll be available to buy and download on iTunes, amazon.com and a million other places by the weekend.
I promise to hassle you about them, in return I would like you to buy them. They’ll be cheap and I think you’ll like them.
More news tomorrow!
* ’amazing’ and ‘honest’ appear courtesy of Good Faith Inc which has no responsibility for the accuracy of their use.