Category Archives: Uncategorized

Posting delays

I’ve had a slightly strange couple of months, hence the posting delay. Taking a break from here (I say that as if my posting was regular, watched by millions and so this excuse is necessary. Awkward.) was important because I didn’t want to share how I was feeling angry and disappointed.

Being unemployed is a really mixed blessing. I had a horrible final year and there’s nothing more I want to say on it, so all I needed afterwards was to pause and become normal again. I needed time unemployed with no responsibilities to make up for having 60-bajillion responsibilities throughout my second term, but I have essentially been killing time since May now. Having time to sleep and look after myself has been good, but having no purpose or having no confirmation of when this monotony will end has been less good. It’s difficult trying to not waste my time feeling resentful, but I wonder if I went back in time and told my 17/18 year old self that having a degree would disadvantage me for casual jobs and give me no advantage for the ones that I dream of, I probably wouldn’t have come to university. It’s tough being £20k in debt with the knowledge of mistakes on my shoulders. Of course now I look back and think that those three years were wonderful and taught me pretty much everything I know, but I don’t feel that they prepared me for any future.

So, I’m back at home. The boxes that sat with uncertainty on my bedroom floor have slowly unpacked themselves; their contents have weedled their way back into my day-to-day existence. I am no longer a guest here, a temporary being, but rather a permanent member. Those boxes, the same ones that are squished full from last-minute university packing at the end of term have been filled with mixtures of things I wanted to find and things I couldn’t help but cry over as I brought them out. Why did I bring them home? Perhaps I thought that these memories would be dealt with or at least understood by the time they were forced back into my present consciousness. Maybe I just wanted to fill the boxes and go home to free food as soon as I could, which meant leaving the sorting until later.

The biggest box of memory sits on my floor with an uneasy promise of nostalgia within. When I directed Titus Andronicus in second term of final year, I submitted it as part of my degree (why write an essay when you can direct a play, I thought, foolishly) and so created a box filled with the details, including a huge and terrifying diary of every idea and rehearsal as I had them. I promised my friend Lily (who, in turn, promises to be a regular reader – hello!), who produced the play, that I would go through that box and write a blog post about why I love it. I do love that play, I still talk about it with fondness, and when I ran a workshop recently I boasted about my cast’s abilities with things like Harry Potter Zip-Zap-Boing. The box was submitted to external moderators as part of the marking, which meant that I wasn’t able to pick it up until the start of December, yet even though I have had it at home for over a month, I still can’t bring myself to look inside. Directing that play was a great experience, even if the finished product wasn’t quite what I wanted (my fault, no blame elsewhere), but there was so much other mess going on in my life at that time that it was much more misery-inducing and stressful than it should have been. As soon as I open that box, I will have to read that diary I wrote while directing and I will be forced to remember. I promise I will do it, but it may take a bit more time.

I’ve never been able to write diaries before. As a child I tried on many occasions, but my life was so boring (clearly creative writing was my outlet: see earlier posts…) that I didn’t have anything of interest to write and they are an embarrassment to look at now. Two choice examples (judging by my writing, you’d guess I was around 3, but the fact that my sister was in Upper-Two means I must have been six/seven and this is horrible and embarrassing for me. )

Sat the 2nd of August

Today we are going to wales on holiday we are going for two for the first week we are going to a converted farm house and for 2nd week we’re going to a cottage.

BYE BYE

The second entry reads:

1. My biggest secret is that the upper-two play is called the wizard of wobbeling rock.

2. I don’t really have a second secret so I gues thiss book is a secret.

This is then followed by a drawing of a fat girl jumping. No self-portrait jokes, please.

The other thing that those bits of creative-writing showed is that I was never much of a writer anyway. I’m trying to write a play at the moment but I’m beating myself up over every word because I can’t get them right, even though I care a lot about what I’m writing. At two of the most important stages of my life, when I could feel myself and the world beneath me changing, I did the lame literature student thing of writing a poem. (I don’t include in that list of two the one I wrote in my first year about a friend who made me very angry: it’s rubbish and not worth sharing because I think he reads this occasionally and I’m over it now, eek)

I wrote the first one in Sixth Form. I’ll admit it was for a competition on the subject of change, but I really took it to heart and it was genuinely important to me.

Change marks the not yet tangible but seemingly solid

movement of time. Temperless optimism lost as sand

filters through the crude bone structure that ebbs,

flows and curls its way to create the new. Fading

dreams no longer attainable dance in the memory like

paper in the wind – there for a moment but lost and un-

x

recognisable until they are gone. Dreams are not all

dreams but the apocalyptic foresight of realisation: the

end is nigh and Cotardian beliefs slip upon us just for a

moment, as if remembering past lives or emotional

strays. Inheritance comes upon us and we question the

dead, we were invincible until now – we would never join them yet

x

must we? Joining a world of lost souls, growing in all but

maturity – we come of age yet feel the same. Dancing

lights among us reveal the path but must we follow? Too

tempting is the soft comfort we left behind yet

regression is not an option. Juxtaposed against the

Elysium fields in which we, too, danced yet now we

trump and slod and delay, still awkward in the new

stresses of change

I grew up a lot in sixth form. I earned myself a reputation of being boring amongst my old friends, but I also earned myself the university place I had wanted, which was a relief. I think when I wrote this poem I didn’t know where I’d be going, I don’t think I had been accepted yet and I knew it depended on my exam results which were not guaranteed. I have always worried about change and have had varying anxieties since I was quite young. When I wrote this poem, I was feeling anxious about the change not just that I could foresee but also that I knew I had just had. This isn’t about to be some gross puberty paragraph. I think there’s meant to be a psychological moment when you recognise that you’re going to die and I definitely had this quite late in my teens. This poem was written when I had realised that I wasn’t invincible and there could well be future repercussions from a past hedonistic summer. I felt awkward and stressed about change: changes past and changes future.

So here I am 4 years later, once again completely changed. But coming back to this poem for the first time in a long time gives me comfort that I am still awkward, still stressed about change and yet, like then, I am excited. Just like then, my recent past has been full of change and I continue to hope for it in my future. I was angry then and I’m angry now and though the things that impassion and anger me have mostly changed, I take great comfort in reading this and knowing that I am still recognisable. Even if I don’t have complicated syntax and poetry inside me anymore, I have a whole play inside me instead that I am desperate to write. I hope I keep changing, but I hope I don’t ever stop feeling angry and passionate. I hope that in four years time, when I am changed and different, then I can look back and read the things I write now and recognise myself in my feelings about change. It’s cyclical, it makes my head hurt a bit.

While this may all sound unimportant, it’s not. Going back to the beginning (cyclical again, nice touch) and the frustration with being unemployed: the frustration lies in that every day is the same with nothing ever changing and that monotony is pretty depressing. To go through old university things and find this poem makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief that I had no need to worry about change in the past because it turned out ok. And I’m praying that this time it will turn out ok too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

I occasionally blog-stalk a girl from school (Hi Honor!) who writes a really nice blog about her time at university. Have a look here. She had found a list entitled “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind” and had chosen 10 good questions and answered them seriously and thought provokingly.

I will do no such thing.

I think half the reason this appealed was because it is so reminiscent of those egocentric questionnaires we used to forward around with infuriating speed and enjoy filling in, mostly because we got to admit to piercings, snogging and how well we got on with our parents. Rebellious. So, because I’d like to answer all 50 questions, I’ve tried to answer them quickly. We’ll see how it goes.

x

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

If I looked in the mirror, I’d guess about 20. If I looked at my collection of books, I’d guess 40. If I looked at my collection of shoes I’d guess, like, 12 with horrible taste.

Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Never trying. I got a fringe – I failed at it, because I hate it, but I am pleased I went and done it.

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

Because we’re lazy and don’t live in the Bahamas.

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

I write a blog because I have too many words in my head. I am clearly all about the talking.

What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

REVOLUTION. No more capitalism  and no more bankers please.

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Eating.

Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

I’m unemployed, which means I sit on the sofa and occasionally go to the gym. I’m starting to make a bum shape into the sofa. Settling.

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

When the human life span was 40 then girls were married off at like, 13. So, at my grand old age of 21 I’d be feeling very spinstery and probably knitting a basket for my cats and working on a hobby like licking my elbow.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

I’m a Christian. I believe in a God who knows every decision I’ll make but doesn’t control them.

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

I wish I were the latter.

You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?

Kick them in the face.

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Buy a waffle maker and use it to buy friends.

Would you break the law to save a loved one?

Depends on the law, depends on the loved one. I’d break a speed limit or sleep in a wheelie bin or knock a policeman’s hat off, but I don’t want to commit now to doing anything more serious.

Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

Yep. I’ve also seen insanity where other people saw creativity. Thank you theatre degree.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

Gesticulate.

How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

Because everyone else is wrong.

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?

Continue running my theatre company. I need moneys.

Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

A moment ago I was chewing the cord on my hoodie until I realised my cat had done the same yesterday. A;ljadkf

If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

Scotland because I want to live in a castle.

Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

Yes and no, I do it because it’s fun.

Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

The former is doing me ok for now (snort)

Why are you, you?

Nature, nurture, blah.

Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

Yes, always.

Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

Moving away – I miss people from university.

What are you most grateful for?

Right now my slippers because my feet were cold.

Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

Never be able to make new ones. At least that way I stay the same.

Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

What is truth? Vom.

Has your greatest fear ever come true?

I’m terrified of hitting my head. Twice broken nose, a shattered hard palate, an exposed nerve and two false teeth later I’d say yes.

Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?

Yes, I think about it every day and am grateful for it.

What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?

I was happy for most of my childhood, nothing stands out. Winding up my sister was fun, I remember seeing a man wearing a motorbike helmet and telling Katie to look at his shiny hair and she told me he must use a lot of conditioner. DUHHH HE WAS IN A HELMET

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

On Friday I ran a workshop for KCL about Much Ado About Nothing – it made me remember that theatre is where I’m supposed to be.

If not now, then when?

Right now I’m sitting on the sofa wearing the same hoody I’ve worn for like, 4 months since I graduated, so maybe when I put on better clothes.

If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?

My bum shaped dent in the sofa.

Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

No because I know what a conversation is. Plus anybody who knows me knows that I like to fill the silence.

Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?

Because there’s oil involved.

Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

I believe in God, Satan, Heaven & Hell. Beyond that I can’t categorise so easily.

If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?

My job is sofa-sitting, so yes, maybe. Maybe I’d buy a new sofa. Who knows.

Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

I’d like work please. Any employers reading this?

Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?

I have!

When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

What does that even mean? I can see why Honor picked 10 good questions now.

If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

Tom

Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?

Do I get to be extremely attractive/famous forever? I don’t want to be old and wrinkly.

What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

Being on or off a ventilator.

When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

5pm, when it is right to haulass off the sofa and go have a cup of tea.

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

Because it’s embarrassing.

What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

My hair.

When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

I have a cold and can hear it right now and it is driving me insane.

What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?

I woke my cat up because she looked so cute and she tried to maul my face so I’m going to be more careful with expressions now.

In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?

Yesterday, no. The day before I had a job interview (as;dklfja;lksdf) and the day before I ran a workshop. I hope so.

Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

I might assert my decision making skills and make tea now, even if it is only 2.40.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Creative writing, c. 1997, part 2.

I left the school of yesterday’s post for various reasons and moved to a mixed boarding school, where I really began to develop my own horrible, horrible style as a writer. I became a bit more casual in my style of writing, so if there’s a word that’s even slightly onomatopoeic, just presume it is surrounded by some illustration of that.

11th September 1998

My life as a seed and tree

Once I was a tiny seed, I was a holly seed. I was red, a lovely red. I was picked up of the ground and I heard a girl say, “Mummy can I plant this seed”, I heard another, “OK if you really want.”

At last the day I was waiting for!!!

Well in the end I had to wait 2 weeks. After that I was so exited I could !BURST! I heard a voice “Mummy I’m gonna plant it now”. [Ed: Nice use of “gonna” to add a touch of realism to the girl’s speech.] I was dropped in the soil, lovely.

After five years I was already huge. At Christmas weirdly I was decorated with tinsel but it was lovely.

I grew more, More, MORE. When I was 15 I was the biggest tree in the garden, but sadly I drooped low and dull. I was green all year round but that didn’t make me feel any better.

Year after year after year after year went by, I just drooped more and more.

I had a boring life and there was no-way it was fun.

One day there was a horrid storm the lightning screamed, the thunder shouted, Flashes [Ed: surrounded by lines to suggest a flash, a nice touch] !BOOM’S! everywhere I got struck by lightning. The next morning I, I…

The implication at this point, if you weren’t sure, is that I died as I wrote. Nothing further needs to be said.

The next poem, which acts as a sort of climax for horrible plant poems was written for a Grandmothers day, when our grandmothers all came in and listened to our poems. Pretty much everyone else wrote nice ones, except me. Still, the teacher wrote “Superb!” and I had no shame. It’s about a nettle.

Mighty Me!

Mister Nasty thats my name,

Mister Nasty thats my game.

I see all the children running past me,

I stick out my leg and sting them as much as can be,

I’m tall and green I’m sure you’ve seen me.

Whenever I see a little pink flower

I thceem and thceem until I make mythelf thick. [Ed: I was thinking of Violet Elizabeth Bott from Just William here. So post-modern.]

My best friend’s the thistle as the dead nettle won’t sting.

I have a mean purple

They have a goody-goody white.

Animals hide under me I give them a sting.

I’m gorgeous, I’m a dream but nobody believes me.

What ho? oh no! they have got the spray

Please Please don’t spray me away,

I beg you, going, going gone and I’m dead

Yeah.

8th October 1998

The Perculiar Ring

“If only someone would help me” she said. It was then that she noticed the peculiar ring on the ground. Immediately she put the ring on and blew off all the dust. As soon as she did this her head swelled like there was no tomorrow, Her eyes grew thin and yellow and then shrank. Then she shrunk to the size of an aphid. She grew again, her head was its normal size. Everything was normal but her eyes.

She ran to school. “Oh no I can’t get the ring off” she said. She ran on to her class room. She was early. After Assembly was the test. These were the words they were supposed to learn:

Awkward

Survive

Ancient

Egypt

Egyptian

Summer

Uranus

Jupiter

Alphabet

Biscuit

These are the answers she had: [Ed: At this point, I whipped out my dictionary and found words I didn’t understand that began with the same letters. I am super smug that I now know all these words, oh yeah]

Anno-Domini  X

X-ylophone  X

Agglomeration  X

Ecological  X

Economy  X

Somnambulist  X

Ubiquitous  X

Jurisdiction  X

Afforestation  X

Bibliography  X

[Ed: the above Xs mark crosses next to her wrong answers, obviously. The test is also marked with a big F- crossed out and replaced with a G- in a big circle]

comments:

These aren’t the right words!! Bad work!

Celina (for that was her name) used Infra-Red [Ed: the word is outlined with a zig-zag line] beams from her thin yellow eyes and froze every one in the room including Miss Mork (that was the teacher) then melted Miss Mork. Celina didn’t want to, “The ring is still stuck on my finger” she thought. She ran home even though it wasn’t the right time. Her eyes did something to her test so now her mark was

A+

comments:

Excellent!

Her Mum was there when she got home. She didn’t work you see. Celina wished she was ill so she didn’t need to go to school. 10 seconds later she had the measles. She knocked on the door. Her Mum quickly opened the door, she quickly took Celina inside, she quickly pushed a thermometer into her mouth. This was her temperature: 43°C. Her Mum rushed her to the Hospital. Her head started throbbing, her ears hurt, her eyes went red and became infected. Then she fainted, she had a dream about being normal. Meanwhile, at school the class had crowded around Miss Morks puddle.

When Celina woke she was having an injection. She wished she was having a normal life without that stupid ring. A second later she was back where she was before she found the ring. After assembly was the test. Her paper did not have

Anno-Domini

X-ylophone

Agglomeration

Ecological

Economy

Somnambulist

Ubiquitous

Jurisdiction

Afforestation

Bibliography

on it it had…

Awkward √

Survive √

Ancient √

Egypt √

Egyptian √

Summer √

Uranus √

Jupiter √

Alphabet √

Biscuit √

comments

Well done!

A+

I think that’s probably the trippiest of my stories, but they continue in this fairly bizarre and horrid way.

Next up it’s another poem. I think we’d been learning about similes, so we were all trying to show off by thinking of weird things to imagine. As far as my poems go, this is pretty average until we get to taste, when I clearly had no idea what to write and so shoved in the first thing that came into my head.

5th November 1998

Emotions

Fear

Fear is a pale, silvery blue,

it makes me shiver inside.

It is sloppy and watery,

it slurps through my fingers and down to teh ground.

It sounds like a ghost howling,

howling through the night,

It tastes like a big, big mouldy sausage.

It smells like sweat,

disgusting thick sweat.

Its shapless body gobbles people to fear.

I met fear this morning when a tiger prowled by

I wish, oh I wish it would go away.

Pretty sure there weren’t that many tigers in Berkshire.

The next story was written after we’d learnt about hurricanes in possibly Geography. All the details of what each character does are taken from a discussion filled with “facts” around the class, where people shared information they “knew” from watching telly, etc.

12 November 1998

The day the hurricane came

Dear Mum,

I was at school, just after lunch when strangely a tree fell down, the lights went out. Everyone looked out the window there was a swirl of some kind and as it got closer somebody screamed “a hurricane” [Ed: not sure I actually knew what a hurricane was.] Mrs Hyde took the mirrors down and told us to hide under our desks She hid the T.V. then she hid like us. I was near the window I saw the caretaker atchully get thrown out of the hurricane. I prayed “God please keep us alive”. But the rumbling got louder and louder I then felt pain, deep pain. I called to Clarissa my best friend she called back, there was so much noise I thought I’d become deaf. I got up from my lieing position and I sat there shivering. I got cold and scared, a tree fell down by an inch it missed the school. Mrs Hyde turned the mirror tray upside down. We all were screaming. Jerry died of fright, so he didn’t have to cope with what was coming up. The hurricane was close. When it got here the whole school fell I’m now in hospital. So please come and visit me.

Love From

Melissa

XXX

The boy is wearing an action man tshirt.

14 January 1999

As if I’d believe that!

“One New Year’s Eve I met the tooth fairy”. I said. Everyone thought I was lying. I mean I don’t blame them but its true. “How can we beleive you, you’r allways lying”. Then it was time for the class photo.

I hate school photo’s [Ed: Such bad grammar, sob.]. I usually look as if I’m asleep. Eventually it was over. Immediatly my tooth fell out. “Yes” I whispered. When it was bedtime I put my tooth in my pyjama pocket. I stayed away until midnight then a little blue light appeared no bigger than my thum then a red light.

“We are fairys”. The little red light spoke.

“You have seen us you must come with us”.

“Tough” I wispered. I climed out of my bed. When I touched the ground I shrunk. The fairys picked me up. I turned into a fairy. I was Beautiful with a capital b. I was taken to fairy land where the sat me down on a block of wood. “You” I yelled. The block split in two. “AAAAAGH” I hit the bottom “Oof”. I couldn’t die, nobody does in fairy land. I’m still waiting to be taken out. I waited ages just looking up at the top. Suddenly I noticed a door way… I ran towards it, it had a dead end but therew as a bottle of I think poison. I wanted it. In fact I’m drinking it at the mo…

The pencil streaks off to the side during that final word, as if I’m actually dying while I write it. I am so imaginative! I remember writing this one, I stopped with “I’m still waiting to be taken out” but then decided that I could use this as an opportunity to use my clever dying-as-I-write technique that I was clearly working on so just added a bit more on the end.

The next one was meant to be a story where we were taught the ins and outs of using speech marks and how to write dialogue in stories. So, it’s a bit dialogue heavy with no real storyline. Enjoy.

The Victorian Disaster

“Good-morning, er my names, Vera I work for the Queen Victoria, It is er lovely to be aquainted with you. Excuse me m’ladys calling me. Oh please I really want to go home, to see mother and my five sisters and six brothers. Good-bye I must leave you.

“Where is that wretched girl.”

“I’m sorry m’lady.”

“We are not amused.”

“About what m’lady.”

“That your always late.”

“I’m sorry m’lady I really am.”

“Why have I not been told its dinner yet.”

“It is ready m’lady.”

“Since Albert died its been hard to keep my temper.” [Ed: Nice little historical knowledge of her husband. Good work.]

“Oh m’lady I did not know.”

“Well, now you do so I would like you to be here before I call you.”

“Well, m’lady. Will you go down for dinner.”

“Yes I will.”

Phew she’s gone. Oh no, I can not stay here any longer. I’ve got to run away now! Hmm I had better pack… Good everythings packed now Goodbye room ….. It is good to be outside. Mother is always telling me to follow my nose. So I guess I’d better.. It is late oh look my home.. Nearly there now phew I’m here. Now to knock.. Oh mother, oh father your back. Hello Jack, Tom, Ben, Albert, oh I can not remember the other names. It is so nice to be with you again!

The End

My teacher commented that she pretty much understood none of it, but she did like the conversation with Victoria, which I was pretty chuffed with.

Humans

Humans are clever I think, I think.

Some are not because they drink, they drink.

Some are ill, some are well.

Some stay up, others they fell,

Some are commen others they’re Royal,

Wich I think makes them terribly spoilt. [Ed: I was left wing even as a child]

I am happy some are not,

They haven’t even got…

Clothes, houses even,

Food or a clean drink,

Come on, come on

Get off your chair

So help them by sending some money.

I wish I knew the context in which this was written. I think it was probably just meant to be about humans generally, but I was such a dork that I took the opportunity to write about everything wrong with the world. I did a pretty good job.

A couple of the next stories are pretty standard fare for a child of my age, and actually not that bad. The next story, though, is where I really peak in my attitude of laziness towards writing. I tried to make it funny, so I wrote it all in an accent, but probably not the right accent for a Roman soldier.

A Roman Soldiers Diary

Dear Diary,

I ‘ate it ‘ere its all cold and ‘orrible. Luckily I’m not cleanin’ the loo because I’ve got a job at the lumbermill. Uh-Oh got to go, oh by the way I’m in Scotland… YUCK.

love Trinius

xxx

Dear Diary,

Time for bed. I’m the only one awake writin’ to you. It’s a shame ‘cos I’m only an auxilliary and my job is gone ‘cos I forgot to to make me masters spear. I ‘ave got to clean the loo tomorrow bit of a shame ‘cos um I can’t get a job wever its part time or not anywhere else!

love Trinius

Dear Diary,

I’m a !legionary! [Ed: underlined with a zig-zag for emphasis] Yahoo and I got a job as a job as a blacksmith but I got to clean the loo first. Oh and I’ve only got 15 more years to go till I leave.

love Trinius

(P.S. Yourr my only friend)

xxx

Dear Diary,

I fallen in love wif the emperors’s wife she is so pretty here she is

isnt she butiful I’m going on duty now . . . I’m ‘ere yuck its cold and wet and yuckky and … SPLAT yuck what was that ugh yuck bird splat uh oh theres a barbarian. Wheres my horn, wheres my horn ahh here now how do you work this. Oh I see BOOO, BOOOO.

Love Trinius.

XXXX

(P.S. I’m still in love.)

Dear Diary,

Sorry I haven’t written to you for 2 years. But I have great news I’m not a centurian but an emperer. I’m married to Marrian (the ex-emperers wife). And I’m happy as can be except I want to go home. Wait a moment…

… I’m going home YES! OK lets go

Love Trinius

Dear Diary,

I’m home at last oh happy day, oh happy day, I’m not going to need you anymore diary.

Love Trinius

XXX

The stories continue to get more and more average after this I think. I’ve had a good rummage through our boxes of things from my childhood but can’t find the sequel to the last book, and so the conclusion to the final story is missing. The story itself is pretty boring, though it shows how remarkably out of touch I was with the real world. The only bit really worth reading is the introduction:

Our Trip around the world

It seemed like a normal day because we were going shopping but no it was not normal because we had won 100 thousand million pounds in the lottery. We were going to spend it by going shopping. I was very excited.

We decided to buy a mansion with 90 floors, a gold helicopter, a bronze launchpad, a privet jet, a privet cruiser, a submarine and 60 maids and butlers and we still had 90 thousand million pounds left. We decided to go on a trip around the world. That left us with 50 thousand million pounds.

It’s amazing that my friends who bought round-the-world plane trips for their gap years managed to raise 40 thousand million pounds to do so. I underestimated how hard they must have worked.

In my Dad’s TES (Times Educational Supplement, he’s a teacher) I was reading yesterday about the imagination of children:

The importance of the enchantment factor becomes clear in an example related by Russian poet Korney Chukovsky, who described a policy instituted by the Soviet government in the 1920s banning all fantasy form the education of children in favour of simple, realistic, factual stories.

One of the educators, curious about the effects of this ruling, began to keep a diary of her own child’s development and found that her son, as if to compensate for what he was being denied, began to make up his own fantasies. He had never heard a fairy tale, never heard a folktale, but talking tigers, birds, and bugs, as well as beautiful maidens, castles, and underground cities soon populated his imaginative world.

Chukovsky concluded: “Fantasy is the most valuable attribute of the human mind and should be diligently nurtured from earliest childhood.”

I can only hope my children have as horrible an imagination as I did.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Creative writing, c. 1997, part 1.

I’ve got to a point where I have no idea what anyone actually wants to read. I have about 15 or so unpublished posts sitting in my drafts, which all need some polishing, but are mostly there because I read them through and wonder if anyone would care. The post I’m going to put up on Sunday is a good example, I wrote it as a list for the Sunday just gone but it’s stupidly long, but equally I worked stupidly hard on it. I think I just have to work out whether this is a blog for me or a blog for you, or at least be happy with the medium that I reach. My sister says I should just shut up and split the post in two.

So, while I wonder whether anybody has the stamina to stick with the post I’ve just finished, I thought I’d write about something that I really enjoy reading. At this point, it’s important to note that I don’t have any syndromes or serious problems that I’m aware about, and I was actually quite a normal child. My mother is a doctor, which I think is in part the reason I don’t get squeamish about anything other than the thought of injuring my head (having broken my nose twice and the lower half of my face rather seriously I feel this is justified) and my dark sense of humour is definitely shared with my family.

When I was clearing out my room a few years ago, I found two books that have brought me great joy since their discovery. Year 3 and 4 Creative Writing books, aka the weird stories what I wrote between the ages of 6 and 8. I’m missing the sequel to the Year 4 book and one of the stories is cut off as I must have completed it in a new book. I’ll update more if I find it, don’t sweat. I have written such a vast quantity of things, that I’m going to split this post over today and tomorrow, so come back soon for my Year 4 book.

All spellings, grammar and phrases are exactly as they read in the book. I’m just sorry you can’t see my horrible handwriting.

Wednesday 1st October 1997

The strange spell

Ned and Deb were two adventurous children who loved to read they liked other subjects but reading was their favourite. Ned was 6 and Deb was 12. Deb had blonde hair and Ned had brown.

It was Saturday and Deb and Ned were going to the junk store. They looked at other stores like the painting store and the wood store and lots more then they saw the book store. When they got there they looked at useless books, [Ed: the comma is on a separate line to “books”] old books, true books, ancient books, cheap books and lots more.

Then Ned found a very old fashioned book first he thought it was a strange dictionary but it was a spell book! Ned saw that the book was called Ye Magic Spelle.

Ned showed Deb the book of spells. She said “Lets take it home” so they did and decided to make the spell fortunatly they had evrything so they started the spell.

First nothing happened then Ned and Deb started too fade then they appered again in another dimenshon! When their Mum came home she saw the mixture and she new straight away that they had been fooling with magic.

This is a good warm up for the other stories. It’s got stupidity and smug children in it, as well as unnecessary lists about book types and an omniscient mother.

26th November 1997

The little Fir tree: My story

My earliest memory was when I lived in the forest with all the big pine trees towering over me when I had animal freinds like birds who nested in my branches and animals playing underneath me. Then one day it started to snow!

And all my animal friends went to hibernate but I wasn’t lonerly because I soon heard children tobbogening down slopes but three small children came up to me and shouted “Dad can you come and chop this tree down” I was chopped down and put on a sledge then I was taken to a house and I was put in a large tub. Then I had some beautiful decirations put on me like a huge star with a mirror in the middle and lots of beautiful boubles. Soon the lights went out and everyone left the room then father Christmas came through the chimney and put presents under the tree. I was amazed I had atchually seen father Christmas! And then he went up the chimney. I think in my futer I will be planted again and again so there are lots of little fir trees all over England.

Again, this foreshadows stories to come. Note the positive end to this tree’s life as a point of comparison against the end of the lives of plants in future books.

Wednesday 10th December

The night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas when my dad had fled,

I think its because my mums finger had bled,

We were all in bed and snuggled up tight,

All except two who were having a pillow fight,

I came in to the room and saw,

They were finding it a bit of abore,

Everything went quiet and then there were some bumps,

I thought that I had caught the mumps,

Suddenly it started to rain

And then we heard the bumps again.

POEMS ARE MY FAVOURITE. I continue to be no good at poetry writing, but this is just great and rubbish. But it gets worse. Clearly we had just learnt the story of Icarus flying into the sun. FYI, the title is written in MASSIVE letters, taking up a few lines to give emphasis.

Wednesday 6th May

Oh No!!

When Daedalus finished his maze,

At last he had done it,

He’d been on it for days!

He wanted to go back,

But he was stopped

“Tell us your secret or else!”


One day Daedalus had an idea,

To fly away,

“But” he said “We’ve got to get things first”

First they caught about 20 chickens!

Plucked off all the feathers,

Then the chickens were very bald.

Then they collected lots of wax,

Got stung,

Then felt funny

Stuck it together,

Made a big mess!

But it worked

Then off they go,

“Icarus come back!”

He flew too high

“OH-NO! Dad I’m falling”

Icarus was very quickly

“Help”

Poor Icarus fell more and more

Then plunged into the sea,

“You wouldn’t listen to me”

OH NO

I like to think it’s a bit ee cummings.

The above is a drawing I did in my creative writing book of some people stealing a robot dinosaur. I was 6 and clearly my imagination hasn’t developed much in the meantime.

The next story features a list of character names on the left hand side – I actually remember writing this, we were taught the word hogging and to write a story about this subject, probably to teach us how selfishness is WRONG. We were also taught about planning stories, told to make notes on the character names and a synopsis of our story so that we could stick to the plan. I wrote and misspelt the character names in the margin then got right into it. I think the fact that I knew my subject really well and had planned out the subtexts and story arcs really well comes out.

Hogging the ball

One day Henrietta, Mary, Thomas, Benjman and Harry wanted to play in the mud with Tom’s new ball. He came with them but wouldn’t let them touch the ball because it had gone through the window when it was closed. So he was told off. So he hoged the ball. The rest of them moaned and whined, especually Henrietta and Mary. They kept saying “Hey it’s not fair.” So they went home to mother and said he was being naughty. So mother came out and smacked him and sent him to bed. The others cheered exept Harry. They went to bed with a smack and Harry got some chips for supper. The End.

M. Night Shyamalan would be proud of that twist at the end.

For the next one, it should  be noted that my school house was called “Ducat” and I went to an all girls school at this point, so I’m not sure why my poem looking back on the day involves boys.

Sports Day

Today Jennifer seemed to be in a talking race,

But at least she ran at a good pace,

Ducat won again in first place,

Well we did run at our fastest pace.

I thought I’d win the sack race,

But I fell over Tom, the fat face,

People watching with their cameras

“Oh bother!” I said, “That one’s Pamela’s” [Ed: Who?]

I also thought I’d win the relays,

But if I fell over there would be replays.

Yellows and whites had the blues

Lucky Tim had the flu

I’m going to win the Runnig Race

I’m sure, I am very fast

I ran through the finish line

“Hip Hip Horay, you’ve Won!”

The picture at the end of that story was very much my style when I was 6. Please note the attention to detail with the teacher, including cable knit jumper and pleated skirt.

The next story is my personal favourite. One of the things it shows is that Tim and Tom are recurring character names because I wasn’t that good at names, but I definitely was imaginative.

The above photograph was badly stuck in next to the story. I’m still using my webcam, so apologies that the quality is lacking. It’s basically an old photograph of a boy in a mini go-kart going round a corner with lots of kids watching and having a jolly good time. It’s a happy, old fashioned photograph of better times. Please bear in mind that tone when you read the following:

Round the Bend

One day four-year-old Tim was bored, so h went to see his brother Tom who said, “Why don’t you play on your go-cart?” “OK.” said Tim, Tom pushed Tim all the way to the festival then went rushing round the bend. Woosh. Tom went wooshing over the go-cart and WAM head first on to the stones, had to go to casualty, And lived unhappily ever after. The End.

Story got a tick.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Final year nostalgia

Like a lot of people, I found my final year really tough. I was constantly overworked and underslept and I look back on a lot of it like it was a bad dream. While at the time I was disappointed not to get a First, I now find it remarkable I even made it through the year. Some time during second term, I discovered one of the halls on campus which was weirdly beautiful, miles away from the ugly prison-block halls I had been cramped in during first year. The lake in the middle, filled with swans, had a tree jutting out, with a bench tacked on around it. It was always empty, and for my two final terms it became my favourite haunt. I’d go down there alone and read and write, sometimes doodling, a couple of times catching up on the work that hung over me, ruining these moments of downtime. When it got to summer, other people started to come and sit there, but they didn’t usually stay, perhaps frustrated that I was more stubborn than they were and I wouldn’t move if I didn’t have to. I’ve idealised the space now, when I tried to find images to show the way it really looked, it looked mundane and ugly, a dark and man-made puddle between boring redbrick buildings, but it doesn’t change it for me.

During third term, I bought an ugly notebook I could doodle in. I didn’t get very far, I’ve never been as much of a doodler, despite coming from a family of far more than doodlers. I claim no gift at art, I know it’s about practise, but I haven’t practised and this is no false modesty. I really am not good at drawing. Regardless, I drew this and wrote with it. (Apologies about my fingernails, I can’t find my camera so was forced to use my webcam)

I don’t come down here innocently – movies play through my mind and romanticise my blonde hair that blows around. Rather than flying in my face it should blow about, making me Kathy on the moors. My paper is lined, not the sketchbook I imagine I own, but its crude brother, ring-bound and tatty, expectant for words to be impregnated upon its fair skin, merely providing the vessel for catharsis and musings. Instead, my disappointing drawings and awkward, pretentious logorrhoea grey its pages with the wrong pencil for sketching. To HB or not to HB? I will never be enough, always brimming over with words and rhymes (at my best), rather than the drawings that claim not to but will always want out of me. I will never be the artist’s daughter, I will always be making the wrong meaning, misinterpreting.

I made a promise to myself at the end of university to leave the house every day. I was lucky enough to spend my final year living in a house full of talented and wonderful people, two of which were involved in the production of an opera at the end of our final term. The days after exams finished, then, were strange, a mixture of busy socialising, going from one meeting to another, and days when if I didn’t leave the house I could manage to see no other people all day. But how to fill days out of the house? My love of clothes meant living in a town with not-half-bad-shopping could mean leaving the house daily was pretty dangerous for my bank account. So I tried to find new spaces on campus. Some days it would get to the evening before I would realise I hadn’t kept my own promise and I would pull on clothes and force myself out of the house. One day stands out, I had the novel I was struggling through (who knew a literature degree would make it so hard to read?), my ugly notebook and, thankfully, my umbrella in my bag as I left the house to go back to this bench-lined tree, but as I walked the half-mile to the bus stop, I remember thinking that I was grateful for tights. The sky was a very ominous grey and the street lamps were already on: while it was light, it was darkening and glooming over and surprisingly cold. By the time I got to campus, the rain had obscured the bus windows and made heavy knocking noises on the metal, yet by the time I had got off the bus, the rain was reduced. Still wet enough to make my hair go weird, still wet enough to make the air muggy and bleak, but perhaps not wet enough to justify the umbrella I clutched. Walking to my favourite spot seemed stupid, but I am and was far too stubborn to consider just staying on that bus and going home. If I was out of the house, I was damn-well going to be out of the house. My leather jacket on the sodden steps, I sat down at one of the central points in campus and began to doodle. I drew the space in front of me, and once again decided to write.

Not sure what Monday means. The world walks past, they are in skirts too short and smartest shirts for scoring. Cellulite dimples its way past me, the lone one in opaque tights with my brolly spinning over my shoulder and goosebumps rippling my bare shoulders in a way that should get them too, but fake tan and trowelled on foundation protect them from the elements. The awkward modern building juts in front of me, every pillar and 45° angle rigid and misunderstanding, inappropriate. The floor, littered with beer-branded detritus contrasts those clean lines and stinks of the disappointment that building provided. Others, like me, alienated perhaps by the dolled up, desperate dollies, stroll past, their heads down, perhaps not confident enough to raise an umbrella in what can only be called drizzle.

As I said, final year was tough. These bits of writing seem more bleak now, looking back on them, than they did at the time. I probably just thought I was being perceptive. Finding this notebook was part of a clearing of university things, everything is drenched in nostalgia, ticket stubs clutched and marked with cracked fold lines from being stuffed in pockets during plays, postcards, bought and sent and received and thank you cards, littered with signatures from characters I once understood. But while this notebook seems now to be more grumpy than I’d originally realised, it was lovely finding a note from a friend that I’d forgotten him writing.

Perhaps the most complimentary line of it was him writing “you were… THE OPPOSITE OF BORING”. That sounds sarcastic, but it meant a lot. He was always a lot cooler than me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A blog-worthy personality

The final straw that led to my belief that I should just suck it up and write a blog was a conversation with my sister. She studied Archaeology & Anthropology at Cambridge and is intimidatingly intelligent, often impressing me with pretty exciting monkey facts but facts that I nonetheless struggle to slip into casual conversation. Japanese Macaque monkeys take hot baths in the mountains and soak their food in salt water because it enhances the flavour. As someone who pretty much eats raw bouillon powder (but not actually before I’m judged in the first blog post I make), I appreciate their love of salt on food.

I digress.

So, one of the great bits of knowledge my sister came out with the other day was a link to this website:

Human metrics personality test

“Oh, an unaesthetically pleasing website, snore” I hear you cry. OH NO JUST WAIT, this little website is DAMAGING. What this website is (thank you wikipedia for helping me paraphrase without rage) is a simplified and free version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, which basically shoe horns everyone into 16 categories to decide how you perceive the world and how you make decisions. Originally I spent about half an hour pretty much copying word-for-word the wikipedia page in an attempt to make this make sense. I then read it back and fell asleep in my mouth a bit because it took about a week and a half to read, didn’t really make much sense because paraphrasing is not my forte and most importantly it was probably the most boring thing I’ve ever written (and having just finished an essay-based degree, that’s actually saying something) so if you’re actually interested in taking the test, it’s worth reading about yourself.

Obviously I leapt at the chance to read things about myself that, as I have been myself for a good 21 years, I already know. If you want to do this quiz, feel free – my friend got the result called “Idealist Champion” and has banged on about it ever since – but be aware that the results may not be quite what you had in mind. My results, rather frustratingly, put me somewhere between two different categories, which I guess is what happens when you don’t fork out for the full test, giving me the title of Idealist Teacher (sounds great) and Rational Fieldmarshal (sounds less great.). Teacher suggests that I love leading and teaching others in a really creative and delightful way, that I’m good at language n that and I’m highly sensitive to others and their needs. What great news, I thought, I am clearly a misunderstood DELIGHT of a human being. The Fieldmarshal had other ideas. Essentially this showed me up as an organisational freak with a terrifying desire for leadership and an inability to understand any other people. Famous ‘Teachers’ include Oprah and Trotsky. Famous ‘Fieldmarshals’ include Hitler and Margaret Thatcher. Whaaat.

The thing that wound me up about being called a Fieldmarshal was it suggested I have an inability to not organise things, to the point where I WILL ORGANISE WHATEVER I WANT, WHOEVER GETS IN MY WAY. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love organisation.

This is not just a bookshelf, this is a bookshelf organised by type of book and then with such a complex organisational system that while the book order looks random, it most definitely isn’t. It’s a clever ruse, but I can find any book in a moment. Yumyum.

And this chest of drawers?

This is no challenge. This is an enabler. Few Fieldmarshals have such an opportunity to organise their clothing by genre.

But this is about the extent of my organisation. I feel telling me I’m in the same personality category as Hitler, who was less interested in organising his bookshelf than organising the racial differences in Europe, seems a wee bit extreme. If you are willing to obsess about these results like I am (I don’t remember obsessing over negativity being part of the results of a Teacher or a Fieldmarshal. Maybe it’s a given?), then just a little bit of research reveals the careers that would suit your personality. The career offerings varied greatly under each heading. Fieldmarshal suggested a career in the army, business, or maybe even stockbrokering (not sure that’s the word. Thanks Teacher for giving me false hope in my skills at language), whereas Teacher pretty much only suggested teaching. Great, thanks.

I remember taking careers tests at school, which would ask wonderful, revealing questions like “Do you want to work in smart clothing?” – I think at this point I was about 15 and the thought of wearing heels EVERY SINGLE DAY was the best thing ever. One rather embarrassing careers test result suggested I become a tailor’s assistant with no other options. I do remember that I was in a bad mood that day, so when the test asked me if I wanted to help people, if I liked old people or animals or if I had any social skills at all, I am certain I answered in the negative. A more complex careers test when I was a bit older suggested I go into performing arts or law. The former has been on my agenda for a while – I studied English & Theatre Studies and consider myself a drama nerd, with a handful of Shakespearean characters pretty high on my top 10 literary crushes. (I promise this in a later entry.) I directed Titus Andronicus in the Spring (another later entry will be why I love this play and why T.S. Eliot was wrong when he said it was “one of the stupidest and most uninspired plays ever written”, though Eliot was right about a lot of things. Prufrock is great. Plus he was clearly a cat person LIKE ME) under my theatre company which I hope to run full time when I am rich and know things. I got into the idea of doing law back in my first year at university, when a particularly empowering friend told me about her plans to be a Solicitor (can anybody tell me what the verb is for this? Clearly solicitors do not go out soliciting, a mistake I learnt the hard way) and wear the high heels I spent my time dreaming about circa 2005. To me, being a barrister would be more my kind of thing – think of the drama! If theatre fails me (or if I fail theatre, equally possible.) then law is definitely the next step. When I was feeling law-focussed back in first year, a fellow actor told me I’d never do well at law because I am a woman. I know I should have been taken aback by this terrifying sexism, but actually I was just excited that I was now old enough to be called a WOMAN.

The idea of being a woman does scare me a little bit – I haven’t found what my sister calls ‘the woman’s haircut’, which I believe is the title she uses for the haircut some women get and then maintain for approximately the rest of eternity. I have a curly mane of hair that definitely is not grown up enough for being a woman. The first time I realised I wasn’t a child, though, was when a woman (she had found the right haircut, she looked smart and was wearing heels) guided her young child around me with the words, “Mind the lady.” LADY?! Reading that back it looks a bit like I’m outraged that anybody would recognise my true gender, but that is not the issue here at all. Rather that I am old enough to be a grown up and not be called a girl. This rather puts the pressure on my hairdresser to find me a style to suit me forever and ever. I consider my hair an example of how I consider myself more of a Teacher than a Fieldmarshal. Rather than CONTROL AND ORGANISE my hair, I prefer to lead it creatively, which is the optimistic term for I HAVE TRIED AND FAILED TO CONTROL AND ORGANISE MY HAIR BUT IT IS JUST TOO MASSIVE.

So why blog? Maybe it’s just a chance to prove to myself that I’m more Trotsky than Hitler, more Oprah than Thatcher (I like to think those are comparisons that have never been used before and will never again. See? I am creative and teacher-like after all). Or maybe it’s just a clever form of extreme organisation of my thoughts. Who knows? Watch this space.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized