Goodbye London!

It’s officially my last day in London! Tomorrow I’ll pack up and leave early in the morning to drive back down to Cornwall,  where there’s an abundance of tractors, pasties and wide open spaces. Yay!

But I won’t lie – London has been an amazing experience I won’t forget and I can’t believe that, before now, I spent most of my life absolutely terrified of it! I was shocked when everybody (well, most people) were so friendly towards me and you don’t get mugged in the streets every two seconds like I thought.

Okay, yes, I was a little naive.

But, now I’ve done it, it feels incredible to have stood in a crowd amongst London streets, seeing sights that people have seen a million times over THROUGHOUT HISTORY and to miraculously be less than a few minutes away from Oxford Street.

Now, sadly, I haven’t been able to take many photographs, 1) because I have zero memory left in my phone (stupid me) and 2) I haven’t really had the chance as I’ve been inside a building most of the time!

But that building is Penguin Random House. So, of course, this makes it all okay!

(*Credit to Carrie WishWishWish)

I still can’t really wrap my head around the fact that I got to do work experience at Penguin for two weeks. It’s incredible and I learnt so much.

I dreamed for so long of walking through those doors of Penguin HQ – either to work there or as signed author and, now, one of those things has come true! Even if it was only temporarily.

Maybe the next one will come true at some point in the future. *Fingers crossed.*

It’s been amazing.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching London go from a pitch black canvas of darkness in the sky at the end of every day to slowly lightening up into shades of inky blue and lighter indigo’s as time hurried on by. As I was heading towards Charing Cross station I could never help but smile at this! Because it meant – tah-da! – that spring is actually – finally -on its way!

And when I think of spring, I think of beach. And when I think of beach, I think of home. I honestly can’t wait to roll around in the sand, even if it’s freezing when I get there.

Yes, I’ve missed home.

So, my last day in London will mark perusing book shop shelves and darting into fancy shops I wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to go in. Also eating sushi for lunch, just because I can.

I’ve enjoyed my time here an insane amount – and read roughly four books since I’ve been here (thank you train journeys) – but now it’s time to go home and snuggle with my cats. I’ve missed them loads.

*Happy smiles.

 

 

Two Reasons

So, I’m sorry I haven’t been updating this blog very much lately. When I logged in and saw that my last post was from December my chest did a whole frump. Yeah, a frump.

I’m not really sure what that is, but it goes kind of like this:

December explains a lot really. Since December, everything has kinda changed for me. First, I didn’t feel like posting anything because I was having a mini crisis about the world. I read the book The End of Mr Y (which is actually marvelous and completely brilliant) and it changed my perception about a lot of things.

Through reading it and stumbling over a lot of other things in life, everything suddenly got turned upside down and spun around at a disorientating pace. And now I can’t put it back together again. But this version of life is better, and fresher, and more real. I’m probably not making much sense, but my friends had to deal with me a lot telling them about Derrida and the meaning of life between sobbing and finding me in strange places in the dark.

This was pretty much my life throughout most of December.

I remember a good few days where I would just get in my car, drive somewhere with a view of the sea, the cliffs, and cry angry, red, stinging tears because I was just so in despair over life and why we’re all here. I wrote so many scrawled, scribbled out pages into all my notebooks during those times. I was very scared.

An existential crisis, I suppose you could call it.

Another reason why I haven’t posted in a while is because I haven’t been totally sure of myself lately, either and I didn’t want to post anything I would regret, or look back on and think, ‘Why on earth did you write that? You little idiot.’

I don’t want things to come back and bite me in life; but then, I guess, nobody wants that, do they?

I’ve been waiting to get the hang of myself again, to step back into the person that defines herself as ‘me’. A breakup – yes, a breakup – has shaken everything up in my life. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you might get just how in love with this boy I was. Sounds cliche, doesn’t it? But I did truly love him. Weird thing is, I expected it to hurt a lot more. But it didn’t.

I guess the reason why might be this: I still have the best friends I could ever ask for; I live in a wonderful, beautiful place and I have a family who adore each other every single day. Everyone has been so kind to me and supportive I’ve not really had the chance to fall apart.

Love. I’m really starting to question what that word really means. I thought I would hold onto this perfect little romance forever – and a lot of times I genuinely believed it was totally perfect – that I would find little reminders of what we used to be everyday so terribly breaking and unbearable.

But I don’t. I find them comforting. I can speak openly about the relationship that once was (and people find this jarring because they expect me to cry) because there’s no resentment. We’re simply not meant to be together right now, and that’s okay.

We had our time together and it was so beautiful.

People usually end up hating their ex lovers, but I am genuinely so proud of what we had, what we’ve done, and I look back on all of it with amazing memories that are going to last me the whole of forever. And they’re going to get me just the best stories.

This is so important.

As with everything, you always need to know when to leave. Get the timing wrong and it can make your life something it was never meant to be.

All of this (among other things) ultimately ties up my unexplained absence. These are the two main reasons why I haven’t been here lately. But I promise to be here more, and I promise to try and do it well.

Maybe I should get back to writing about cats. This always seems to make me happy.

Complications

I’ve realised that, as a writer, I love to explore relationships. Romantic relationships. Whether it’s an old married couple who seem to have lost each other along the way in their relationship, or if it’s a young teenage couple, who have nothing better to do than wander the streets in the dark, alone with the stars and streetlamps for company.

Finding what fits and how things have become broken inside the delicate structure of a romantic relationship that doesn’t stand so rigid anymore is what fascinates me.

Suddenly living without my boyfriend as he’s gone off to university has sharpened my senses to real relationships, to people, and to how almost anything can hold potential for a new romance to blossom. Say I hit someone with my car or the postman accidentally delivers a parcel to the wrong address – this could equal romance if it were a fictional world. I’m trying to use this.

Anything can happen in fiction. But what’s probably more jolting is anything can happen in reality too. I want to stay with my boyfriend for as long as I can – forever, if I want to be that publically unashamed in admitting it – but I realise that if I’m not then things will be okay. Because music is here, and writing is here too.

I keep reminding myself that if things don’t turn out perfectly in life, then to remember what David Tennant’s doctor told Agatha Christie in Doctor Who; that living through pain is what makes her such a good writer. This is probably the only thing that’s acting as my safety blanket if things don’t turn out okay.

Writing about love, in all shapes and sizes, seems to be the only thing that matters right now.

I just love the way it feels.

We keep this love in a photograph

I’m not a crazy manic ‘buy-all-the-albums’ fan of Ed Sheeran. I appreciate his music and some of it really does strike a chord with me when I want it to. When his new album ‘X’ came out I wasn’t too fussed and just let the music come to me naturally and accidentally rather than actually seek it out like so many other fans do.

I’m not one of those fans.

But, recently, it’s started to dawn on me that by the end of the summer my long-term boyfriend will have upped and gone away – that is, to university. Like me, he wants to write for a living.

I’m – actually – really proud that he’s going, so he can do what he wants to do instead of staying here for me and resenting me for it years later. I’m no fortune teller but there’s a strong chance that would’ve happened if he’d stayed.

I’ve seen flashes of it appear sometimes and I don’t want to be that person who holds him back while I do all the things we both want to do, like write.

Now, Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Photograph’ really causes all kinds of emotions to flutter precariously around my chest, to hover over my heart and, in turn, make my eyes glaze over whenever I listen to this song. Ed Sheeran’s ability to make you just stop and think – and really listen to the words he’s singing is, to me, incredible. Not many artists can do that lately for me.

I really miss the feeling of being so in-the-moment with a song that it’s special when it happens to me now.

The song ‘Photograph’ is so much about being in love. I find that the musical arrangement along with the lyrical quality is something extremely difficult to define because it’s so good. But, for me, right now, being in love is all I know and all I want to be in, so I feel confident in defining it as perfect.

I think music has the ability to make you become part of another world and, for me, that largely gives me the ability to write and just to feel something when I write. Writing teen fiction deals with a lot of feelings and, almost always, with love. Heartbreak, lust, loss, and all that kind of emotional stuff that nobody wants to deal with after they’re a teenager – because it just hurts too much.

So I’m grateful that ‘Photograph’ can enable me to feel something like that; the way it can help define the idea of love for me. It enables me to really see what’s important and that, whenever I listen to it, I will stop and think and those thoughts will lead me to my long-term boyfriend, because he’s really just so special to me.

 

And if you hurt me
That’s okay baby, only words bleed
Inside these pages you just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go
Wait for me to come home

You can fit me
Inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen
Next to your heartbeat where I should be
Keep it deep within your soul

As well as that, I love that by writing teen fiction I get to second-handedly experience these emotions that my characters will go through and I’ll get to grow with them, passing on to them my own experiences and they’ll let me be a part of theirs too.

I think this line in the song really defines teen fiction for me, both as a reader and a writer and I love that I’ve been able to find it:

‘Only words bleed inside these pages’

This song is really special because it enables me to see life in so many different ways, from potentially varying perspectives. I love it and for it to be so rich in meaning and emotions I know I’ll hold it dear to me for a very, very long time.

‘Photograph’ by Ed Sheeran. Go and listen to it.