education, Hobbies, university, Writing

Lionel Shriver Workshop

Writers In Residence is a thing. A University thing, I think. And, to me, it’s a very important thing. It means that aspiring writers (like me) get the opportunity to submit their pieces of writing and if they win they get to participate in scheduled workshops with that author.

A real author!

This year, it is Lionel Shriver, who wrote the award winning book We Need To Talk About Kevin and she is coming to the university where I study. HOW EXCITING!

Naturally, I got so excited when the emails came around saying that students could apply to be in the workshop for Writers In Residence. With Lionel Shriver. A very successful author and journalist from America. I applied as soon as I was ready, as soon as I’d written something I thought was the absolute best I could aim for.

Choosing to come to university was a big task for me, but when I realised students got the opportunity to work with actual authors and published writers, go to poetry readings and indulge themselves in a special writing world that they may not have had the chance to do otherwise, my mind was pretty much made up. I decided to go, almost based on that. That it was a world I would be opening myself up to that I may not ever get the chance to do in the real world.

Establish contacts, hone my writing skills, just overall be with people who shared my love for the world of writing and adored literature.

really wanted to go. And it’s totally worth it. All of it. Even the ‘sit-by-myself lunchtimes’ and the ‘almost-talking-to-nobody-Fridays’. It is all worth it.

Because – dare I even say it – my application got through to the Writers In Residence workshop and soon from the beginning of April and all through to May I am getting the chance to do some fiction writing with Lionel Shriver.

It’s with 11 other applicants, and we will be spending two hours every week with her to develop our writing skills and get one to one sessions with her also if we so desire. I can’t wait. Following a disappointing email from a publisher for a short story competition saying my submission hadn’t got through, to then read this email was full blown amazing and I still can’t even believe I managed it.

It seems that since university, my life has had its doors open and opportunities flood their way in through. They may not all be successful ones on my part but I love being given the chance to throw my arrow in the bucket along with all the other applicants too. I feel this is what being a writer is all about.

Cats, Hobbies, Poetry, university, Writing

The Kitten & The Blonde Boy

 

A heavy fabric coat hangs on the doorknob, cowboy brooch fastened on the collar,
Turn the latch,
Once inside, you will drown in the clutter held within,
Eeyore sits sentry on the wardrobe, books are encased delicately behind glass;
Uglies hidden in a lower cabinet, the beauties sitting proud on the shelves,
A tall and blonde boyfriend sits on the bed frame,
Absorbed in the videogame he avidly plays,
Carefully colour coordinated DVD cases stand boldly in a bookcase,
Propped up against the wall: they are standing soldiers,
A kitten, black and white and inquisitive, watches you,
As you turn about the damp, chipped, white walls,
She is full of light and she dances about your feet,
Catching your laces as you wander about the room,
What a sight! The mess, the clutter, the bounding boulders of dirty clothes piled  high!
You sit on the bed, with the kitten and the blonde boy,
You lie back and watch the swirls on the ceiling,
You are happy, with the kitten and the blonde boy by your side,
Next year will be very strange indeed.

 

Hobbies, Poetry, Writing

What Love Was Theirs

 

 

She used to think that the one she loved shined marvelously for her, and only her. But the starlight shining bright has faltered and it’s grown dim. She doesn’t know what to think of her beloved any longer, now that she has become changed. What they had was a love story, bursting pinks and violet reds, churning out love and sweet things ripe with passion. It was all over the place, people didn’t know where to look.
Now she scalds her tongue on the love that’s burnt and it tastes bitter. Invisibility used to be her shield, the thing that kept her hidden, but now she cries out to the one who refuses to know her. The One. Who, like a child, is ignorant of her squalor.
Staying forever young and forever sixteen is bullshit. Everybody knows it. Unless you want to die, cased in your tomb like a precious thing inside a cabinet, at the ripe old age of a nearly wasted adulthood. At least the coffin does not show glass, so admirers can press their fingertips up against the glass. Their oily noses. Their eyes that are pearls.
Disrespectful.
What love was theirs was untouchable, almost a secret. But jealousy thrashed it, caged it so it remains weak but does not die. It can’t escape from the confines of her heart. A winter passing can last forever inside a broken heart; it begins to get cold, icy winds pick up speed and all parts of the body are left freezing. Dying. But strong enough to keep going indefinitely, for however long until the love gets fixed.
The Best Day is a fictional plaything, constructed inside the mind to make you feel better. So what you thought was the best day that time will never be and you will never get it back. It’ll stay locked inside you forever. A favourite song is no longer important, as it pulls the dregs of those memories up to the surface.
And, oh, it’s far too much to bear.

Hobbies, Writing

Marietta

    I knew a girl who had gotten dumped. I say knew. She hovered around the floating edges of my break times, my classes, my petulant walks through corridors. She’d never mattered to us much before. But now she was always on my mind.
Her skin, it etched in the name of the boy who had done and got her heart broke, and the blood ran off her fingertips. Marietta. She looked like a corpse dressed for Halloween. Her skin was so pale. The lace from the dresses that seemed embroidered onto her skin, her arms, became bumpy with bloodstain. It trailed all the way up to her elbow. People stared. Even the teachers stared. Too nervous, they never said anything to her. I could never work out whether they were scared of hurting her mutated feelings, or simply just her. She had an aura about her that rendered people strange. A sickly, pasty kind of feeling that sweeps over you when you walk past her in the corridor, or catch her watery blue stare as you look up.
The boy’s name was Todd Bow. Everybody knew him, so as a result everybody then knew her. Before him, I guess you could say she was normal.  She seemed so anyway. Like your average, functioning girl. But love has its way of ruining
the best of us. If we let it fester, it turns us inside out, upside down, and bent over double in pain. Blood poured from her heart, and now it poured from her arms too.
A mathematic compass was her tool. Her art for punching holes into her veins. You know the ones. We’ve all
purposely pricked our fat, fleshy fingertips with one just so we can see it hurt. Its pinprick point like a poised and ready needle. It digs in and burrows itself beneath our skin, if it should like.
Marietta took it too far. God knows what her mother thought. Perhaps she never told. Yet we all knew; we could all
see the faded lines beneath the white lace, and the fresh ones too. We could all see the quiet disdain she held in her voice when she spoke, like every boy she addressed was guilty of breaking her heart. We could all see the fresh
etchings of a T … then an O … a deep, stinging D … and finally one more. It wasn’t like she was hiding it, like she faded into the background like some old piece of furniture. She was there everyday, on everybody’s minds.
I think she knew it.
The boy hardly knew what to do. They’d lasted six months; he’d never realised how hard she’d fallen. She avoided him like the plague, yet he remained on her arms, his name a hideous inscription, like she was bound to him forever. And she liked it that way.
She shamelessly strapped his identity to her skin like it was the only thing she had.
In the end, I suppose it was.

education, Hobbies, university, Writing

Writer News!

I have some fantastic news! As a writer, I am always looking for ways to get my writing ‘out there’, so to speak. Even this blog has a way of doing that – which is obviously why a lot of people do it. So I was rather ecstatic (and still am!) over an email which delivered me with the information that I am now an official weekly features writer to an online magazine! Now, of course it is university based and it will not get me a paid contract however I am just so excited!!

I submitted the application a little while ago and every question I was answering I just kept thinking, ‘I want this, I want this, I really really want this. It sounds perfect!’ Despite me desperately wanting the position, I hardly dared to believe I would actually, really get it. Imagine my surprise when I read the words ‘I would be happy to have you as part of the team’ that got sent to me. I was overjoyed. I was so happy that my boyfriend and I started dancing in all kinds of circles across our bedroom floor.

As a weekly features writer, I am SO excited to write about all kinds of new things, from university campus news to fashion critiques. I even plan to write a feature on the campus cat (because, yes, our university does indeed have a cat). Woe betide me if I cannot write about cats on this magazine. That’s just unthinkable. I’ve hopped, I’ve skipped and I’ve ran hot with glee all over little places in my mind. My first plan is to write about our Harry Potter society at the university – because it’s a brilliant society and deserves some devoted recognition! With a brilliant photographer for the events at hand, I hope it will look stunning when I write it up in full. Our society really is just … the best. If you’ll excuse my saying so.

I probably ought to reflect on what the magazine is actually about. Basically you can find it at http://www.hercampus.com/ and it is an online worldwide magazine targeted towards women at university, written by students all over the world on different campuses. In my mind, it’s basically a kind of University version of Cosmopolitan magazine – which I always love reading. Heat magazine and all those other gossipy ones rub me up the wrong way. It’s like, who cares if a pregnant celebrity hasn’t gotten rid of her babyfat? THIS IS LIFE. GET OVER IT. Her Campus is basically the way to go for trendy campus news, or reviews, or anything relatively girly, or campus related. It’s actually really good. You should check it out.

Now, I had probably ought to go and write up something for the magazine. Hopefully writer’s block won’t catch me out too soon.

TTFN. x

education, Hobbies, Music, university, Writing

‘Safe’

As a uni student, we are told to undertake several writing challenges a week which I find incredibly stimulating and love doing it. I feel it lets my creativity out more, as a writer. One task this week was to take three different texts and muddle them together somehow. So, I took the lyrics of one of my favourite songs (Eric Church: Springsteen), a transcript of the diaologue from the new Haribo Starmix advert, and of course a line from one of the best TV shows, Firefly, which I then expanded on and just used the content.

I muddled all these together and came up with taking the form/layout of lyrics, a title ‘Gold Bears’ which the head business woman with a child’s voice squeaks out to her colleague in the Haribo advert, and the content and setting of that particular Firefly episode. I thought I’d put it up on here for other people to read, critique and leave their thoughts on, whether silently or type it away on your keyboard to me. If it’s any matter, here it is:

The character with strong stature and rustic thick brown hair
Wears a maroon shirt covered with lightly coloured braces
His boots say something of menace in his walk
Like a man who knows how to reason with evil folk
When it comes to it

The other, a tall muscular man with ashen, wire-like hair
Stands apart from him, the gloves he wears ones of
Good wear and tear, designed to protect the fleshy hand
From wary destruction of what he’s handling
In this instance: cattle

The cattle roam and they rumble
About the hovercraft that these men of goodwill have captivated them inside
Like shipmen, they boast and they banter about the rickety
Structure that is the first man’s dream and home:
Its name holds up like a beaconed torch of light: Serenity

One wise, and one a mercenary type, they unite as space tradesman
Prattling around the orbits of space with their crew
Both happy, both unhappy
Their lives are located on this ship
And nowhere else

Having landed on a distant rural planet
They get set and ready for the makers they’re about to meet
That is, the makers of their privy fortune
Having not eaten actual food for weeks, they were rather peckish
‘Alas’, they thought, ‘finally some hands on a bit of wealth?!’

The first, with his bare and brawny hands, pulled the lever
And warned the second to keep clear of the cattle,
Not to get sorely trampled
The reverse door mechanically opened
Like an old time earth bound garage

The cattle stampeded out of the large gateway
Their clackaty hooves banging down hard on the floor
Out onto the dusty sandpath and into the fenced pen
Ready for them to eat and graze
And eat and graze

The mercenary type, the burly one, held a whip in his strong arms
And smacked each cattle, one by one
Eager to get them off the ship
The stench was by far enough for him

‘Y’know they walk just as easy if you lead ‘em’ the first told him
A sense of quirked amusement in his voice
The second, merely looked back at him, a gleam in his eye
‘I like smackin’ ‘em’ he protested
Whilst the first only rolled his eyes

Finally done, and with the loading deck squandered in cowpat
The two stretched their legs onto unfamiliar planet soil
The braces around the first hung tight
And the heat made him sweat through his shirt
Everything on this planet was burning

With the trade’s cash in mind
The first rotated the field
Looking for the men he desperately wanted to see
So they could give him his money
And get the hell off this planet so he could eat

You may say it falls flat at the end. I know this, but I only had 300-450 words to use up but, hey, if you’re intrigued why not watch the actual episode? This particular one is called ‘SAFE’ – it’s brilliant. You should watch it.
And, if anybody’s slightly confused over the sources I’ve used, I’ve taken the liberty of posting them up here for you just in case. All you have to do is follow the link.

TTFN.x

Baking, Hobbies

CAKE!

I know I may be a whole four days late, but I wanted to share the cake I made for my love interest at Valentine’s. Buying and putting the whole ingredients together, I thought it would be a complete nightmare. I had never made or even attempted a cake on so big a scale as this. Usually my range of baking consists of getting a mix and going from there. So I was super, duper, wheely squeezy proud when the cake came out looking relatively fine and hadn’t flopped!

I proceeded with the icing – which at first went badly – then after I’d got it melted and all syrup-y it went perfectly, like a dream. (Like a dream cake?) With all the Haribo love hearts on it, I can happily confirm that perhaps it really is a dream cake. At least, for children I guess you could say.

Nevertheless, my boyfriend loved it! At least he told me he did.   He’s eating a piece right now, in between chewing his headphones and typing madly away at his keyboard, probably in the mad process of hammering out another screenplay.
My Valentine’s present from him was a handmade, beautifully written comic. He likes comics and is a big nerd for them. Because he got no monies, he made me that over the course of two weeks without me knowing. A few people read it before me, and apparently they cried.
Yes, I cried too!

I think our gifts to each other really did say how much we love each other this Valentine’s. Although my present didn’t seem to shine as bright as his, despite all the shimmer spray I put on it to make it all silver shiny!

P.S
Apologies if this post made you feel slightly queasy with all the ‘love’ references. Just when you thought Valentine’s Day was over for another year!

Cornwall, Fashion, Hobbies, Music

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Recently scouring the depths of eBay, I became hooked on searching through pages and pages of cowboy boots. Being an enthusiastic fan of Texas country music, I tend to do this every few months. Usually, I never buy any though, either because the ones available just don’t look right, or are too expensive. I love them, but I will not spend over £25 on cowboy boots online for the chance that they may not even fit me properly. I have tiny baby feet.

So, you can imagine my delight when I found some that:
a) weren’t too expensive
b) actually looked gorgeous!

I am proud to say I bid on them and am now the grateful and lucky owner of these fine, black leathers:

I have a brown pair, not dissimilar yet I’m sad to say these are slowly falling apart. In this dreadful weather, I’ve had to superglue them from falling apart when I came home with my feet soaking wet and little damp patches on my sad little cat socks!

I was happy, with this pair, yet the next day I got an email from eBay saying that I had also won a fabulous pair of PINK cowboy boots – new – and they were awaiting my payment.

Oops … I had gone a little crazy with the bidding on several items. I never thought I would win an item. I never thought I would win those black ones! I proceeded to the link the email had sent me and, well, fell in love with these pink ones too. I said yes to the payment and they arrived a couple days later. Now, they are sat beneath my desk, with all my other pairs of shoes (largely, yes, boots) and looking damn fine.

What beauties!

 

So far, I have acquired five pairs of cowboy boots:

One Vintage, one brown pair from a store in Plymouth that recently became friends with the superglue, two suede (one pink, one brown), and these fine black ones from this post just recently. I am waiting to be united with them soon by the postman. 

I cannot wait!

education, Hobbies, Political, university

OPPRESSED MAJORITY

I am not usually so strongly opinionated on the concept of feminism. I understand why it exists and why it is so strongly felt. But I am never usually one to rant and rave about it and protest against how women are inferior to men. After watching the short French film OPPRESSED MAJORITY however I was deeply motivated to shout, and rant, and rave, and yes – protest!

Everybody, as it has been said already, should definitely watch this film and take note of it. Within it, gender roles are reversed and the sexism and utter abuse that is shown is quite frankly outrageous. Now, I myself have never come across this abuse – verbal or physical – but I know that some women, lots of women, have and it is our job to stand up and make a mark against the ridiculous people who think they can use such ignorant language.

Watch the short film here.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4UWxlVvT1A

As the film progressed, I found myself as a viewer becoming deeply uncomfortable and unsettled by the footage being produced. There is nothing shown that is so explicit, yet the language and the treatment of the man in the film, both by strangers and even his loved ones, is unnerving.

1

Still from Oppressed Majority

And tomorrow, as well as it being Valentine’s Day, it is also I am happy to tell you VAGINA DAY.
Well, V-Day.
V-Day is the global activist movement campaign that is against violence towards women. The V in V-Day stands for

  • Victory
  • Valentine
  • Vagina

As being a part of this movement, today I made some pink cupcakes which will be sold tomorrow at my University, all proceeds going towards the movement.

Sadly not decorated like vaginas, but they’re pretty and pink nonetheless

I don’t think the movement is very well known. Commercialism has talked of nothing less than about money-making Valentine’s Day. So please, instead of telling everybody ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ why not shout across the halls, write on the bathroom cubicle walls, do a pirouette and dance up to people’s doors, and excitedly tell them ‘Happy Vagina Day!’

Please.
It’s a worthy cause.

Feel free to also add your responses to the film in the comment section.

education, Hobbies, Poetry, university, Writing

Poetry

In a seminar class today, we were asked to write no more – and no less – than 30 words to describe an object that was placed in front of us. We were, in turn, allowed to touch, feel, see, hear – and if we were brave enough – taste our object and see what images and words our minds could conjure up and make appear on our blank pieces of paper. After this, we were asked to write a poem, picking 8 words from our list to put into verse form.

Here, is my poem:

D E A D

Ached, splintered

Rough hard mud

Murky, broken

Feel free to leave a comment and guess what my object was.
Looking forward to reading them!

TTFN. x