What is that’s sung in that song at the end of Bugsy Malone? ‘You’re gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do!’ Yup… That’s true. After all… That’s all that is left when we’re nothing but old bones in the soil (or, eventually, dust or a cardboard box in the basement of a museum if we’re lucky.) Our faces and our personalities become enigmas, more or less. All that is left are our words and our achievements. Gosh that is a moribund start to an article isn’t it? There is a reason. A few days ago I had a bit of a mini moment and I started to wonder what I had actually done with my life… It ended with me making a list that included everything that could be regarded as ‘something,’ no matter how mundane or normal it seemed. Turns out I’ve done quite a bit that’s worth bragging about…
Let’s start with actual qualifications… Although most people have them and these are by no means unique to me you still have to work for them- They’re still achievements. They are:
4 AS Levels
3 A Levels
1 Bachelor of Arts Degree
That is not bad, all things considered. And when you add in the grades it looks even better- Mostly B’s for the GCSE’s (with a few C’s thrown in for good measure) An A for one of the A levels and C’s for the other two. The AS levels… A bit more complicated owing to the fact that there was a small amount of substandard teaching go on. My first go round the roundabout I ended up with a B, two C’s and a D but thanks to some resits managed to punch this up to two B’s and two C’s. And if you think about it that isn’t bad.
I’ll admit that I am missing out the two subjects I failed- R:E and Photography- And I had to resit a couple of my history modules- But I am quite proud of the fact that I managed to fail R:E. How I ever managed that, whilst still sitting the exam and doing all the work, is a mystery. But I know the reason I failed Photography… It was because I wasn’t arty enough. It wasn’t about the photography itself or just the photographs, they had to be manipulated and made arty. That really isn’t my style. Also I was using a shit camera and although I was told at the time it didn’t matter, it probably did make a small difference. My manipulations weren’t good and I haven’t kept any of them, except for one which I am very proud of…
And I know I only got a 2:2 for the degree but I was close to a 2:1… I was only 0.7% off the next degree level. A couple more marks (and I know exactly what cost me those marks) and I would have made the next degree level. I have little use for those qualifications at the moment, true, but I still have them and I still worked for them… I still achieved them so they deserve to be on the list of things I have done with my life regardless of anything else.
Before we move on I also want to point out that, from school, I also have:
1 Certificate For Outstanding Attendance
Now considering the school I went to was utter shite, and that is an understatement, I consider that turning up there almost every day for five years (I missed only about a week’s worth in all I think) is something to be commended. I think it deserves more than a certificate though. It deserves a medal!
From university, I can claim the following:
1 Full Cast Audio Drama (acted, edited, directed)
1 Archaeology Society Website
1 Stage Managed Play
1 Produced Play
3 Radio Shows
Not bad I think… Especially considering that half of the time I had no idea what I was doing- Especially when producing the play, which was in my first year. I got somewhere in the end, I think, but mostly with the help of other people. I had absolutely no clue when I built the archaeology society site either. I didn’t even know where to start. I ended up building a basic one, piece by piece, in HTML and then gradually improving it over time. And the audio drama… Well that almost didn’t happen but thanks to my determination to get it done it did. Then there are my three radio shows- Past Force, Sidetracked and the Thursday morning breakfast show. Past Force was by far the most successful of those and probably the most fondly remembered… Which is partially why this exists:
1 Movie Script
Considering that it’s about Past Force it is totally safe to assume that without the radio show the movie script wouldn’t exist… And yeah, it may be 75% fantasy but that was half the point of writing it… I was trying to see how far I could push it. The script that currently exists is one version and clocks in at about 2.5 hours, which I think is a bit long and I feel a complete rewrite is necessary, cutting superfluous characters and reworking the plot a little. The newer version is better, pacier and more inaccurate than the first, so much so that it will now climax with an over the top shootout- I had to up the number of bad guys for that but it was easy enough. All I did was gave the main villain a whole troop of followers rather than a single stooge like he has in the first film. When it finally gets made (and I don’t know when that will happen) it should hopefully be a fun, exciting ride and this achievement will only grow stronger.
And it segues me nicely into my main writing. This falls into three categories- The permanently unpublished, which is pretty much all of the stuff I wrote (and completed) in my teens, the published (self explanatory) and the as yet incomplete (Again, self explanatory.) Of the first category there are:
13 television scripts (of 1 hour each)
It doesn’t sound like a lot but remember, this is the stuff from my teenage years and I was at school/college when I wrote the majority of it- So I had that to deal with as well. And yes, they may be unpublished and quite frankly unpublishable but to manage to do that before I was eighteen is quite impressive I think- Especially when those are all freaking FULL LENGTH novels. That is definitely something to be proud of. Plus, they all form the basic foundations of my current writing career- They’re what got me started and what eventually led to:
11 Short Stories
21 Travel Essays
5 Travel Guides
200+ other blog posts
There are a lot of words in that lot… Take the blog posts. My average length probably works out at around about 2000 words- There is very little I have written which is under 1000- So it makes for an average total of 400000 words… It is probably more. Add that to the cumulative word total of the novels, 515000, the travel essays (again let’s say a 2000 average) 42000, the travel guides, a mere 10000 words, and the stories (average of around 1000 words, maybe more) and you have an average total of 978000… Close to one million published words. Just looking at that number makes me feel exhausted… I don’t even want to thing about adding the permanently unpublished to that lot. We’d be getting on for nearly 1.5 million words, which makes me feel like I need a very long holiday… And it’s even before I add in the incomplete category:
1 Crime Novella
4 In Progress/Near Complete Novels
They add a rough extra 280000 onto the 1.5 million… Meaning that in the next year I’ll probably hit the two million mark. It is an astonishing statistic… Even the published stuff alone is something to be proud of… Despite making it look as though I need to get out more. But that isn’t quite the end of my list of lifetime accomplishments as you still need to add:
1 Animated Film Series (11+ instalments)
55+ Autobiography YouTube Videos
1 Flickr Autobiography Photo Section
2 Short Theatre Spoofs
2 Sitcom Pilots
1 Audio Short Story
Not the grandest of things to shout about but they take my list of lifetime accomplishments to a new level. The animated films… I need to do a YouTube video about them at some stage… I did over a few years in my mid teens and their total runtime is just over an hour. It is very crude animation with piss poor story telling, yeah, but I still did them. They’re something to be proud of, something that I put untold hours of work into. The rest I should be proud of as well… Somewhere in the future I plan to get those theatre spoofs performed, and maybe one of the sitcom pilots as well.
All of this, I realize, I have all done since I was ten years old. And that is incredible… It’s more than some people achieve in a whole eighty years. What is clear is that I have not done nothing with my life. I have all this to show for myself- Almost two million words, several scripts, audio material, video material and some alright qualifications. Oh… And an Award for outstanding attendance. Go me!
Oh… And good luck finding the poem… You’ll never manage it!