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.

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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.

Constructive?? Criticism

Yesterday was my first day of getting a uni coursework back date. I admit I wasn’t fussed as I knew that the grade I would get would be the grade I would get. I wasn’t looking to fail, like a lot of people were. People were so nervous, their hands were shaking and they kept feigning a ‘not bothered’ attitude towards the grade they were getting.

“Wheey for getting a fail!”

“It’s only first year. It doesn’t matter at all.”

“If we fail – PUB!”

These are the loud mutterings I heard from across the room, in the long line for the queue.

When I finally received mine I will admit my heart did a nervous tremor, as if gearing up to do a somersault – but then deciding not to. Upon reading my results, I was pleased! I got a 2:1 in a cultural theory module essay and another 2:1 for my creative writing piece – which was the one I was looking most forward to hearing back from.
My face flushed with modest excitement. But what I saw on the comments page made me falter and, yes, get a little bit sad.

That very morning, I had yabbered on to my friend in a shower cubicle at the local swimming pool how I simply loved our Creative Writing lecturer. I yabbered on for some while, eventually telling her how I wished I could wrap him and just cuddle him, cook him eggs or something. He’s like a teddy bear, I told her. She only laughed back at me.

I take it back.

Like Mike, I was desperately unhappy.

Instead of being constructive, how he is supposed to be, he bluntly told me in the first sentence on the page that my work was:

  • strange
  • self-obsessed
  • almost claustrophobic
  • cliche
  • predictable

I peeked across at my friends’ papers, and he was at least a little constructive towards their stories; however he did refer to my friend’s discourse as ‘mopey’. I know this is being what a writer is, and you have to take criticism. This is what people are like towards your work after college and school; there is no cushioning.

I know that. It was just a little disconcerting.

This is what happened in my mind.

But I know I can write better. I wasn’t sure of the story myself. I shaped it into something I didn’t know, and didn’t want. I recognise that myself. But I know lots of good things can come of this incredibly negative, disheartening feedback. After 24 dull hours of contemplating, I have come through with an energetic mind and so many ideas for new stories and projects, I was even buzzing in work, so when it was quiet, I pulled up a few blank receipts and scribbled story ideas on that.

My supervisor asked what I was doing, and I mumbled something unintelligible about story writing, embarrassed.

And so, I rise triumphant, defiantly writing vague ideas for new stories and new beginnings.
WHEY.

This Love Was Ours

Recently, I wrote a poem and submitted it to a local broadcast radio show. I JUST got an email back saying they will broadcast my poem!
It’s about loving something, or someone, so much and so dear, when suddenly you find they’re not your own anymore and you’re having to struggle against the tide to hold onto them. And when you are holding on to them, they don’t love you anymore and everything just turns bitter. Love has gone wrong and love is now empty.

NOTE: I wrote this not about anyone I know personally, but about a singer-songwriter who I adored for some intense few years. Now, they’re a complete sellout and it makes me sad to see them like this now, all contemporary, cheap and fake compared to the beauty and richness of how they used to be. At least, that’s how I remember them to be.
Try and work out who the poem addresses if you wish.
Sadly, I can guarantee you will have heard of them.

This Love Was Ours

i loved you, back then
but now the love tastes bitter and scalded
i still think of you, all the time
of the days back when you were Mine

because there was a time,
when i used to run around Fearless,
knowing what we had was a perfect little
Love Story

your Starlight shined to me
and although i still remain Invisible to you
i’ll still forever adore you,
although your State of Grace has now fallen

i wanted you to stay forever sixteen,
i wanted you to Never Grow Up
i wanted you to Stay
Stay, Stay

The Way I Loved You was intense,
and so, so easy; Untouchable,
but jealousy has spiralled in and out,
and out of my control

you comforted a girl whose world had been shattered
around her by divorce, depression
and instability
you allowed her to Breathe

now i’m stuck, stuck on The Outside
where it’s bitter and cold
Treacherous, even
Everything Has Changed

so Long Live
those times I used to share with you
because they’re not my own anymore
and they were truly The Best Day(s)

And when I think Tim McGraw,
yes
of course
do think of you

It’s personal, it’s deep, and it’s cutting. I was in rather a melacholy state of sadness when I wrote it. I just wish they could read it too and see how much they mean to people when they change.

A Feeble Writer

My self confidence is shaking enough on its own as it is. I fret over the notion of somebody standing over my shoulder, reading intently, scrutinising what I am about to commit to page from the bleak cave of my mind. I am a nervous writer, and with that inevitably comes a nervous disposition towards criticism. Criticism is part of it, but hopefully not from the ones I love. I want a critic to be faceless and unknown to me; that way, he cannot hurt me. But words are like knives, piercing and seizing up your muscles until you can no longer breathe. I’m forgetting why I wanted to be a writer in the first place: I used to write for me, but I fear I no longer can. I want my writing to be critiqued brilliantly, or softly at least. Maybe whispered at least on the small scale. Not brutally, with force enough to whip me in the face.

It is, to say the least, powerful what words can do. One day, I want to be the writer behind the words with power invested in them. But for now, I can only feel so feeble.