Per Ardua Ad Astra – “Through Adversity to the Stars”

Per Ardua Ad Astra: The motto of the RAF

Lets face it, in the not-so-competative world of mottos that’s not a bad hand to be dealt, is it? What of “Who dares wins?” I hear you cry! A little simple for my taste. Plus I find the idea of the world’s elite armed unit daring each other to go rescue hostages from an embassy a little like a bad WW2 film…….

“You go, Charlie”
“What, me?”
“Yeah, Charlie. Roger went last time and Titch assassinated the Guatemalan defence minister, though the damn Yanks haven’t paid for that yet. It’s your turn!”
“C’mon, Charlie. Dare you."
“But I don’t want to. I’ve got a bad foot."
“Double dare you, Charlie. You can’t back down from that!”

…….Not the best image for the SAS I’m sure you agree. Other mottos?

The Best or Nothing – Daimler Chrysler: You're
Swifter, higher, stronger – The Olympics: In Latin: Amazing. In English: Top-Trumps
The sea shall not have them –RNLI: Sounds great aloud, preferably shouted by a man with a beard and weatherbeaten features, forging out into a storm in the dead of night. On paper it just looks like the sea's been denied the last of the mozarella sticks.
Ready, aye ready – The Sea Cadets: was also the slogan of the village people
These Romas are Crazy – Obelix: errr……OK, I’ve lost my thread.

I was going to put down something here about the use of language to inspire, the artistry of mottos and slogans to convey so much feeling in so few words, the curious nature of people to find deeper mystery in something translated from a second language (Latin usually) as though by saying something twice, but differently, infers a meaning we’ll never understand unless we lived in Rome and therefore adds worth. The usual type of garbage I’d normally think would be ideal to beginthis journal with. But I reckon we'd both end up nauseous.

And so here we are, with a sentence in two languages that seems so pretty, so poetic, that I won’t tarnish its inherent beauty by bending it to my own aims. Instead I’ll begin with what I hoped to avoid, like some awful introduction to an AA meeting…

Hi! I’m Andrew and I’m an unpublished writer.

This is the part where you all stand up and say “Hi, Andrew” as though you really give a damn and you aren’t thinking “I can't lose! If he's awful, I can compare myself favourably to his inane drivelling. If he has a mote of talent: I’ll eat his heart and take his power for my own. HA HA HA HA!” – or is that just me?…

Yes, despite my thinly veiled attempt at making the whole intro to this more, well, interesting, we’re left unfortunately with the terrible fear of the introduction you didn’t want followed by a litany of targets like soul-crushing powerpoint presentation. God, it’s tedious. I hate those as much as you, trust me, but it seems one of those things you have to do. As sure as night follows day, kebab follows beer, weather follows news and nausea follows watching Eastenders; give a man a means by which he can smear his thoughts across the public domain, he will attempt to measure its worth in aims and dreams. Maybe I'll get to that another time

So for now, here we go. A familiar ride in a new car, a trip you’ve taken before but on a new airline, making love for the hundredth time but the first time with someone new, a new person playing Doctor Who: You been on this ride, but this time you take it with me. And what is this ride? You know it: The search for publication. Battling self doubt and ill self-discipline, battling the fickle muse and the distracting power of the outside world, fighting disappointment, rejection, hubris, and meekness, hoping one day to put pen to paper and to immortalise ones ideas and dreams in the form of inches on a bookshelf in Borders or Waterstones……..

In Short: Per Ardua Ad Astra