Saturday, 25 August 2007

The rules of the game and a new name


Any good game must have rules, and if going to a new place and reinventing yourself is anything then it must be considered a game. So:

1) All entries must be handwritten in a notebook.
For now it's one that I happened to have lying around, but I think I'll try and buy a new one so that it's all contained in one place that's solely for this diary/self-exploration.

2) At least one entry must be written per week.
No exceptions. If I miss one week then I'll end up missing two and before you know it I'll have given up and got nowhere.

3) I imagine there might be people out there who find this interesting, so I might as well make it a blog.
This'll mean copying it out by hand which sounds like a good use for a Sunday evening. Although I'll probably end up transferring it to my work laptop mid-week. We'll see. But I'll be posting every Sunday at the latest.

4) All entries shall be written in London.
Except this one which is being written in Letchworth. Steve has a job interview and we're on our way up to Manchester to meet some friends from the forum. So that had better be "All entries shall be written outside of Southampton."

5) Any differences between the blog and the handbook can only be to fix spelling and grammar errors.
No editing for clarity, brevity or taste. If write something late at night whilst drunk that I wouldn't normally want people to know about then I'll just have to live with it. Be warned.

6) No falling into a set routine.
Some routine is allowed, but I should never be in the situation of having had a "normal" week. Even if it's only walking around a new port of London on a Friday afternoon then that is all I should do.

7) Try to do something that makes me nervous/scared/wary each week, or maybe month.
It doesn't have to be big, or spectacular. It can be as simple as a phone call I don't want to make. But if I'm not challenged then how will I ever get anywhere? It can be a mental/emotional/physical or spiritual challenge, but it should be new in some way.

That should do for now. We'll see, but I think this list will grow as time goes on. It's only intended as a basic, generic unbreakable set to get me going. I'll probably have to create some guidelines or something for all the other stuff. We'll see.

In fact I might have an open rule per week. That might be fun. Like be a vegetarian or tee-total for a week. That kind of thing. In fact:

8) One entry per month should be about the year in total.
This is to make sure that I don't lose sight of my goals here and settle into a malformed rut. After all setting challenges can in itself be a challenge, and being different can end up being the norm if you let it.


Last night I went to a reunion for a production of The Tempest I did ten years ago. It was done as a musical and involved a group of about thirty 16- 20 year olds. I seem to recall there were about nine weeks between the decision to do it in a pub one night and the actual production. That included writing and learning all the songs (and then re-writing one of them when it turned out the actress couldn't actually sing). In those nine weeks we basically lived in each others pockets.

The weird thing is that I got nicknamed "Cammers" during the show, which I'd completely forgotten about. It made me think about how many names I've been called over the years, and how many of those names are linked to specific periods of my life. Apart fram my family I'm pretty much universally known as Cam now, but in the past I've had such varied names as "Smelly", "Cheesegrater", "Cazymodo", "Camel" and "Ginger haired freak" or "Ginger" for short. Hell, some of them I'm still known as in some cases. There's still a group of people online who know me as 'Shu (a group of people that I'm on my way to see now with Steve).

Anyway, I think for this period I'll start being Ron. I have no idea how long that'll last (although by the looks of it not long). The only other time I've consciously decidede what I'll be called was when I became "Cam" at the start of University. That was pretty easy to do since I was already vaguely called that beforehand. I also think I'll have to stay as Cam at work - it'll be too confusing to try and explain it to them otherwise.

The thing is I've never really liked the name Ron. I've always considered it to be normal and boring. Not at all in keeping with myself. I made the mistake of telling this to a few friends a couple of years ago and so they deliberately started calling mu Ron so that I'd get over it. Maybe it worked, I'm not sure, but mainly I think I'll start using it because it feels like something of a grown up name. Maybe it always did and that was the problem I had with it.

You see being the youngest of four I was in something of an odd position. Most of my formattive years were spent with people much older than me which meant I matured a lot faster to try and match their level (it was sub-concious and I failed horribly, but I tried). However as the youngest I was the one to be protected and looked after. I was the baby, which I guess I played up to. It leaves me in a weird position where I'm both very mature and yet at the same time very immature.

Living in a hotel and carrying a work laptop around with me I've started to feel, not my age as such, more what age I am. This was compounded when I randomly buped into a friend in London who asked me if I was in town "on business". My instant reaction was that being "on business" was a terribly grown up thing and that I'd been sent to London "with work". It was almost as if work was just a friend that I happen to be on holiday with.

Words shape our thoughts and our thoughts shape the words we use, and I think I was deliberately avoiding the term "on business" to try and pretend I was still younger than I actually am. But I am living in a hotel, I do have an expense account and I am away on business. I've clung to my immaturity because I like the sense of wonder and naivity I get from it. But wonder and naivity can still exist as a grown up, so I think it's time I did grow up, and that change needs some form and shape in my head. If I at least start to think of myself as Ron then I change the thoughts I have. This in turn changes the words I use and the actions I take.

Maybe it'll be a good thing, maybe it won't, but every change to the world starts with a change to yourself and every change to myself has started with a new name and a new sense of identity. And it's got to be better than whatever sense of identity "Cammers" would bring to me now!

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