Friday, 4 April 2014

Letter of Complaint about a faulty Dominic

Twelve Step writing exercise Day 7: Write a letter to yourself telling you what you need to improve in the coming 6 months.”

Okay so this is a weird exercise and no mistake. At a stretch, at an absolute stretch, I can say that it probably exists to give you focus on your letter writing abilities – maybe what you can improve in how you write, or how you approach writing. In my case, certainly length and tone have been a commented-on issue and rightly so. These are practical things that make practical sense and perhaps in writing a focused and specific letter, that will help. 

But this one. I don't know. There's no context to it, in fact it seems to be asking the writer to ponder themselves on an existential level and then write a letter against themselves. I know it mirrors up with the “wonderful letter to your agent” a couple of exercises back but I don't know, it doesn't help to be entirely positive or entirely negative in something like this, in what is just an exercise for writing.

Better – like the blog do's and don'ts I've been working from – to have an equal set of positive and negative statements, pros and cons, so that for every negative there's a positive. This exercise seems very, very awkward, and needs contextualising. Why write negatives about yourself unless you're unwaveringly comfortable in your own skin? It seems a very tactless and even dangerous thing to do.

Blog do's and don'ts number 7 - When Writing a Blog Don’t …set Unrealistic Goals.
You know your schedule and abilities better than anyone else, so don’t attempt to post every day if you can’t. Start out by posting weekly and get in a groove. As you streamline your process, increase your posting if you can.”

A fair point. I've set my self the goal of writing every day, because the goal is to complete an exercise every day and accumulate my experience. Though in my own circusmstance it's a realstic goal I have to say it's been a trying one. Especially on a day like today, a Friday, where I've just bought The Lord of the Rings Five : The Hobbit 2 : The Desolation of Smoog and if I'm honest would prefer to be watching that.

But as always in the spirit of the exercise, I have done my best.

FAO Head of complaints
Re : The “Dominic” programme


Dear Sir/Madam

it has been six months since I last contacted you, without so much as a confirmation of receipt in return. This is unacceptable, in particular given the nature of my complaints, which if I do not hear from you within the next six months, will be brought to the attention of the ombudsman.

To recap – when I partook in your “Dominic” programme, I was led to believe a certain level of confidentiality, not to mention discretion would be the order of the day. How wrong that was.

The “Dominic” programme has been anything but discreet. If there is a problem, no matter how insignificant, the programme squeals it loudly to the world, often using social media. The programme does this, not with tact or well-chosen wording but whatever comes to its mind, effectively alienating half of my friends. While giving the other half the impression that I am a bitter angry lunatic given to speaking my mind in the most haphazard and obnoxious manner possible.

This is not what I asked for when I signed on to this programme, thirty eight years ago.

I do not need this anger and negativity in my life, quite frankly. It is a complete and utter bummer, and what's worse is when the “Dominic” programme takes over, there's just no arguing with it. The “Dominic” programme is always right and will argue at sometimes ferocious length until, to my utter shame and detriment I just give up and agree. I feel trapped, if I'm honest. I feel as though I have been placed in a corner

I have begun to recognise where this negativity comes from : fear. The “Dominic” programme fears everything yet feins bravado, to the point where it becomes obnoxiously “confident” in order to combat that very fear. Under normal circumstances, knowing this would allow me a certain pathos for the programme, yet it has become self-aware, which means that it will go ahead with it's often foolishly callow plans, knowing full well it can apologise for it's shortcomings at a later date. This has become infuriating.

Despite yearly updates this programme shows no sign of maturity. Quite the opposite, though not in a cute Benjemin Button-style fashion, rather in an almost petulant unwillingness to progress. Yet the programme also shows signs of awareness that other programmes are progressing and rather than copy, paste, and learn from these programmes, the “Dominic” programme exhibits dangerous levels of what can only be described as bitter jealousy. The “jealousy” for want of a more appropriate word, keeps the programme inert, and unwilling to accept modifications except at the basest of levels. For example, it is quite happy to update it's music database, yet will not update its knowledge and speed applications no matter how much I try and reason with it.

And don't even get me started on it's DVD function! While I appreciate it has an inbuilt selection mode that CAN be useful at times, the fact of the matter is, sometimes I just want to be able to grab something and shove it on in the background. I don't want to have to start with Lethal Weapon One through Four, then follow those up with every Shane Black movie ending in Iron Man 3. But then I can't even DO that because the “Dominic” programme paradoxes every time this choice comes up, because I have not watched the first two Iron Man movies – or for that matter the other Marvel movies in sequence. It has become impossible to argue with the “Dominic” programme in these matters. He won't even admit that The Muppets is NOT a bad movie just because the songs are terrible. I feel like I am being smothered by his "personality". No one knows who I am any more.

As far as I am concerned, the “Dominic” project is out-dated, slow, defective and requires replacement. That aforementioned level of pathos is the only thing keeping me from doing it, but my tolerance for its behaviour is running out and running out fast. Recently it has taken to decrying itself as fat, while openly eating fatty foods and drinking beer. I have tried to embed it with a diet programmme but it seems incompatible with even the most basic of diet or training programmes. It has rejected all updates thus far, declaring that they will simply become redundant in six months time and need replacing anyway. Despite protestations otherwise, it seems the “Dominic” programme does not understand irony.

This situation is simply not acceptable. I expect answers to my complaints and solutions to my problems with this programme, and I expect these within the next six months.

Yours sincerely etc

an increasingly unwilling paying customer

Twelve steps of addiction, step 7 : Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

I am beginning to loathe the twelve steps of addiction, and the real intent behind them. Like this last exercise, but far more insidiously, these steps are designed to psychologically break a person down by admitting that they are powerless yet somehow dangerous at the same time. They appear – and I will hold my tongue until the end, until I know for sure – but they appear to be cultish, willfully destroying an addict's humanity and individuality and replacing their drug with an obsessive and damaging form of Christianity. You must have wronged someone, this mantra is assuming. It does not matter what they did to you, because sin is sin is sin. And therefore you were at fault and must admit culpability.

Admit powerlessness and give yourself over to Christ – or at the very least Christ's church. Admit you're wrong, you're dangerous, and give yourself over to Christ. Then spread the lord's good word about sin and fault.

See I can admit to my faults. I can parody myself and satirise myself and I can tip over the edge into self-loathing when it gets too much. But I am also fully aware that these faults are a part of me, are a part of my personality and that I have pros as well as cons. They are my faults, no one else's. I try to temper my darker tendencies because I recognise that they can hurt others. That, I believe is a natural tenet of being human. Giving yourself over to some false idol is denying responsibility for your actions, past, present and future.

These twelve steps of addiction are painfully, obviously insidious and when I'm done here I think I'm going to look into them further.

Until then however, day eight will be monday – The Revenge of Smag is about a weekend long - but when I return will tackle Day 8:Rewrite a fairy tale from the bad guy’s point of view.

I like that one.