Stepping off the edge.

I’m sure a lot of you will have heard me ramble on about this before, but I want to start my own business. For a long time it’s what I’ve wanted to do. When I was younger I looked up to , my wonderful, hardworking and dedicated mother. She took a huge risk and picked up a failing business (a Newsagent in a small, seaside village), dusted it off and turned it into her livelihood for several years. The shop has been closed for a while now, the recession biting at the heels of a stumbling business, already trying to deal with other problems, such as competition and people.

Now, I don’t want to follow directly in her footsteps. I don’t want to become the proprietor of a newsagent or sweetshop in a village. I want to run my own successful internet cafe. It would be more than just an internet cafe – it would specialize in LAN gaming and online gaming. Ideally there’d be the opportunity for me to run Friday Night Magic there, too. But I don’t want a small, dark, grotty basement. I want a shop where non-gamers would also feel comfortable coming and browsing the internet with a cup of coffee for an hour.

My idea came from visiting Swansea one day when I was in 6th form and missing a train home. I needed something to do for two hours to kill time before the next train home, and so I went into Crossfire. They have 56 computers there, 15 for web browsing and 41 for gaming. They are all networked together and they all have super-fast broadband.

I want to spread this wonderful idea. I want to bring it to Lancaster. I can almost see it – casual internet cafe/coffee shop in the day, hardcore gaming lair in the night.

There is already somewhere in Lancaster that offers this service, but I’ll give anyone who can name the place and the location 50 points. They operate in a small, slightly underground and very unappealing premises. I went there last year so I could play WoW alongside someone (damn campus rooms having only one internet connection) and they told me that their computers weren’t equipped to deal with WoW and their internet connection couldn’t deal with it either. Competition, of a sorts, but I’m convinced I could do it better.

The main hurdle I have is money. Of course it is – so many people would do so much if money wasn’t a worry. Premises, utilities, equipment – it’s all expensive. Also, technical knowledge – I don’t know the first thing about computer networks. The thing is, this idea has been plaguing me for four years now. I can’t make it go away. I can hide it in a cupboard for a while, but eventually it’ll find the handle on the inside and be out there again, nagging and niggling at me. So much so, in fact, that I’ve bought a ‘Start your own business’ book, and am writing this LJ post for people to comment on my idea.

I want, maybe more than anything, to be in Lancaster with the people that I care about and love. I’m having doubts about university – I’ve already made two goes at it, why should the third be any more successful? I want to do something that interests me, that makes me feel like I’m giving a service to satisfied customers. I want to get to know my regular customers and I want to be in control of something Big. Something Important (to me at least).

At the moment, just musings and ideas, but ones that won’t go and sit on the shelf like obedient ideas – ones that really want playing with and exploring and testing. Stay tuned to hear more in the future.


On Jorneys and Love

This post composed on the train from Lancaster to Ferryside. Home now, companionship with my brother, lovely.

It feel somewhat strange to me to be taking a long journey. I dream, very regularly about journeys, especially train journeys – though most of these are occupied by my getting lost, confused, frustrated and upset on the platforms, which are inevitably confusing and complicated places. Thank you, subconscious. I often wonder if my dreams are trying to tell me something, though equally often I hope that they aren’t – I scarcely leave the station in the dreams, let alone arrive at my destination. (though there was that one dream where my ex and I were forcibly removed from his flat by a fire alarm, and so got on the train from South West campus to the giant shopping Mall, many times larger than the Arndale center in Manchester)

But yes, even though my dreams are very defeatist, I myself am less so. I hope, (I’m not yet at the stage of believing) that I’ve finally found the correct ladder at the bottom of the pit. There have been many false ladders, though. Many that looked like they might have been a way out, but led to dead ends, or had broken rungs, or just faded out of existence. These have led me all the way back down to the bottom of the pit again. I’ve tried and tried again to find new ladders, but they’re all the same color as the pit and blend seamlessly into the walls.

Whereas right now I’m making the climb on my own, I know that I’m not alone – there is of course a distinct difference. As some of you may or may not be aware, Sam and I have gone our separate ways. I don’t want to get into the details, they are a private matter between he and I, but suffice to say we are probably going to make much better friends than a boyfriend/girlfriend combo. I am sad, of course to have lost some levels of intimacy in my life, but I am pleased and excited to have a new good friend. I will miss the little things that happen between couples that we used to have, little in-jokes and secret smiles, and of course more physical things, gratification of primal desired. There is a lot to be said for having a boyfriend – having someone to sleep beside being one. It is very confusing to wake up in the night and expect there to be a warm, comforting body beside you, and then realise that it’s just an expanse of cold linen and then the edge. A single bed has never felt so big as when you feel there should be someone sharing it with you.

I am pleased that I am not entirely alone in this endeavor – they say it’s dangerous to climb without someone to help if you fall, and I am hopeful that there are people around me willing to hold a blanket underneath to catch me if and when I fall. I am also grateful to those who have already helped, given advice, comforted me, dragged me out of my hidey hole, distracted me, and many other things that people have done for me when I’ve been feeling low.

Hopefully some time away from the norm will give me a chance to look at it and assess it and see what I can realistically do that will help. What can I change in my life to make it better? I have a feeling that more than one of these things will be physical – eating better (less pizza, more real food) and doing more exercise. Swimming, probably. And I do so want to get back into archery. It’s still very painful to think about being there and not having Matt as my boyfriend to comfort me if I have a bad end, or congratulate me if I do particularly well. The thing is, archery is something that I really enjoyed and was getting good at. I’d won medals way above my category, scoring more highly than even our captain. So I want to start that again. I want to beat the demons that are holding me back.

Another thing that I need to consider is purging my bedroom of unnecessary stuff. I own far too many clothes, and I need to sell them. I also need to stop buying magic cards, they are expensive and I can’t afford them. Same goes for clothes, though I’ve not bought any in a while (see above)

Perhaps the biggest thing to think about on the near horizon is an offer I’ve had from a friend. The opportunity to go on an expenses paid trip to Amsterdam. Sounds great – the friend in question is fantastic company and would be great to go to the museums with I’m sure. I just worry about what else he would expect want from me on the trip – things I don’t think I’m able to provide.

This post has lost a lot of momentum, I feel. I had a train change, at Crewe, and that has apparently made me unable to think of more relevant things to say. I am tempted to describe more of my failed-journey dreams but that seems utterly pointless. I’m sure you all understand what I think the dreams are referring to in a metaphorical way. So since I’m lacking anything more to say, I shall head off and have some lunch and look out of the window at the passing green blur of fields, and trees, dotted with the occasional farm house or stream. We live in a beautiful country. There are splashes of yellow which indicate a farm vehicle of some kind, cows and horses and sheep inhabiting some of the fields, though there are relatively few, given the time of year. There is a certain amount of irony – as I sit and type, the young man sat on the opposite side of the table to me talks on his phone about how ugly the views are, so plain and boring. Its as if the beauty is hiding in plain sight.

Maybe that’s where success, beauty and happiness are all hiding, and we all have to learn to see what’s there in front of us.