Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Writing Is

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." (E.L. Doctorow)


Right now, I have the urge to write. Unfortunately, my current 'novel' that I've been working on for some time has hit a bit of a wall at 20,179 words and my attempts at poetry are infantile. I write this blog as an outlet for my opinions but my real love is for fantasy. It's infinitely more interesting than real life. So many people want to publish a book though - I almost cringe whenever I tell people this is my dream. I feel like I'm jumping on a bandwagon. It is honestly my passion. I've written since I was tiny and remember my first complete story was called Slither The Snake (I even illustrated it myself) and gave it to my mum as a present.

I probably will never summon up the courage to send my writing off for consideration. I haven't even shown much of it to my friends and family. I tend to crumble when criticised and know you have to be pretty thick-skinned to get published. Thinking about how many publishers refused JK Rowling before she succeeded makes me feel queasy.

It annoys me that so many people good authors will never get published. Yet, Katy Price, aka Jordan, has published fiction. The one I saw was called Angel and had a pink cover. Apparently it's "a perfect book for the beach". I nearly threw up in rage. She may have a writing talent but I think we can safely say she got published because she's famous. There are a lot of 'pink' books out there and many read rather similarly. Why does she get noticed? Most authors write every day of their lives and get hardly any recognition.

Interestingly, I realised recently that I write better when depressed. In fact, when my life is happy and fulfilling and I am busy with my friends and getting on with my work, I hardly write at all. This makes sense to an extent and probably explains why so many great authors are a little neurotic. True artistry comes from a messed up mind.

I'm going to keep writing because I enjoy it. Even if no one notices. Maybe one day I will send something off hoping for publishing. The worst they can do is refuse me (and tear my confidence and story to shreds) but I'll never know if I don't try.  

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

The bestest invention in the history of mankind has to be the cake. There is nothing a piece of cake and a cup of tea cannot cure. Today, I stumbled upon the upgrade - and it is adorable! I have never seen something so cute and entirely edible.

Cake Pops. Literally a miniature cupcake on a stick covered in icing. It is genius. 

Apparently they're made famous by Bakerella and by Starbucks and are the latest trend in dessert culture. I couldn't really care less. I just think they look delicious.

I will definitely be trying out the recipe I found. Here is it if anyone else wants to give it a go:

100g chocolate (milk, white or dark - whatever takes your fancy)
250g cake (you can bake your own or use a brought cake of any flavour)
A couple of tablespoons of whatever other stuff you want (like nuts or coconut)

300g chocolate
Few drops of food colouring
Hundreds and Thousands or chocolate sprinkles or whatever

You also need lollipop sticks. 

Preparation method
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.)
  2. Crumble the cake into a bowl, then stir in the melted chocolate and stuff.
  3. Roll golf ball sized pieces of the mixture into balls. Stick a lollipop stick into each ball and set aside in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, or until firm.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the decoration chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.) Stir in the food colouring.
  5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle the sprinkles onto a plate.
  6. Remove the balls from the fridge, dip them into the chocolate, then coat in the sprinkles and place onto the baking tray. Set aside in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.
I'm not the best housewife in the world but I like cake and will give this my best shot. I doubt it'll turn out as amazing as these ones though.


I am so hungry right now.    

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Meh is a small word with a lot of meaning. 

I feel very meh right now. I'm not quite upset, and haven't the energy to be angry, but I'm not happy and can't be bothered to do anything to cheer myself up in the near future. There's not really anyone or anything I can precisely blame my current state on and that is frustrating. It's a sort of culmination of things and I don't know what to do about them. All I want to do is stare at a wall without thinking about anything apart from how boring the wall is.

I should probably do some revision but every time I start to do something, I just trail off and go back to looking into the distance without taking anything in. I decided to write this blog post and share my mehish state. It's pitifully short but I haven't the attention span to make it longer. I think I'll take a nap instead. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Your Heart is My Piñata

"Your Heart is my Piñata" (Chuck Palahnuik)

I study English Literature and the A2 part of my course is Love Through The Ages. For this reason, I found myself looking up quotes about romantic love for the exam and found some that are so true it is hilarious to read them. My personal favourite is the title of this blog post. I just have to clarify, no one's heart is my piñata - my heart is most definitely their piñata. I probably mind about that less than I should.

I will shamelessly admit that usually I adore this topic. There aren't many courses where your homework is to have an in-depth look at the library scene in Atonement - you know which one I mean. I had to go have a lie down after reading that. Sometimes though, it can hit a little too close to home when you see yourself reflected in a character. It makes you take a little look at yourself and what you're doing and wonder if it's really in your own, or the other person's, interest. A classic example of me reading too much into everything.

I am obsessed with quotes. It's a talent I have, that I can basically recite quite a lot of poetry, the majority of songs I like and whole sections from my favourite movies and books. In some ways it's a little pathetic. One of the best quotes I found for my course was: "Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams" (Dostroyevsky). It is so disgustingly true. Fiction, or at least the sort you read and watch pre-teenage, does not prepare you for a real-life relationship. A long time before I managed to find myself a boyfriend I had a very well thought out picture of what he should be like. Of course, he was not like that. Generally you find they are better than you imagine, mainly because they are real. A real guy wanting to sit and watch daytime TV with you or go buy his weekly shopping in your company is so much better than any imagined declarations of undying love and deliveries of roses. Although I would not object to some roses.

Fellows like Keats declared how "love is my religion - I could die for it", but really, what does he mean? The word love gets bandied about a lot and everyone has a slightly different opinion on the whole issue. It can all get a little silly. "Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence" according to Mencken and I think that is probably true. For some reason, despite being piñata-ed about a bit, we keep on coming back for more. It's human nature - and has definite perks.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Substitute For Life

"The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life." (Andrew Brown)

The internet is definitely an addiction. Apparently admitting an addiction is the first step to overcoming it but I doubt this particular addiction will subside anytime soon.

I sometimes wish I didn't spend so much time rotting in front of my laptop but my life is too linked to the internet to change that without a serious overhaul. In my defence, I do most of my college work on the laptop and it is infinitely faster to look up a fact on the internet than leafing through a book - although most of the facts are most likely wrong. My greatest hobby - writing - is done on the internet, here on my blog and on fanfiction. I talk to my friends on Facebook and find out what's going on with them by their statuses before they even tell me. I generally email my teachers rather than go search for them in reality. I even message my sister online sometimes when she's sitting on the computer in the other room and I don't feel like a walk.

Working on this trajectory, it won't be long until I end up like the characters in Wall-E.

Of course, the internet has manifest good points. Freedom of information and education and all that. Facebook represents some of the best and worst of the internet's gifts. It helps people stay in touch and as I'll be off to university this year I will honestly be using it to keep in contact with those left behind in Bexhill, and those who have decided to travel to places as barbaric as Scotland. However, Facebook shouldn't be used to replace human contact and physical interaction. It gives a voice to so many people who really should not possess that privilege.

This concept of guys and girls with over 2,000 Facebook friends is a little odd. I have 120 friends. I don't think I even know 2,000 people and I doubt those guys do either. The trend is to subscribe to someone who will then give you 500 friends or some such. This is not normal. These types of people are the ones who get "OMG UR SO HAWT!!" commented on their profile pictures, possibly from complete strangers. It doesn't give the person a normal view of themselves or the world.

I'm not saying I would object to a whole load of people telling me I am 'well fit' but the idea of a bunch of people I don't know judging me makes me uncomfortable. My photos are not staged for when I look at my best. And no, I am not just commenting "Aw, I look terrible" on a photo so a bunch of randoms will tell me how cute I really am. I do like compliments, but that is too far even for me.  

Something I don't really enjoy, but find curiously fascinating, is watching someone totally melt down on the internet. I am as prone as anyone to kicking off at someone, and I imagine if I had just been dumped I would also be sitting alone with ice cream and listening to Adele on repeat, but it is not good to do so publically on the internet. People aren't generally sympathetic to this; they just enjoy the idea that someone's life is even worse than their life currently is. If I ever do this, someone slap me. 

My laptop died recently. I have a bad habit of balancing it on the arm of my sofa and apparently it fell off one too many times. The thought of existing without my laptop appalled me. I could easy go borrow my parent's computer, but the idea of having to change my routine hurts me. To be honest, a bit of time without the computer to distract me would probably do wonders for my revision. I am also sure the world could do without my status updates. Much as it excites me, the fact I have a new green kettle, or how I'm having a wild weekend at home revising, is not something the world needs to know. It makes me happy though, so the world will just have to put up with it. That is the true gift of the internet. Aren't we all lucky.     

Sunday, 3 June 2012


I just went to see Avengers Assemble and it was pretty awesome! The film is fairly predictable - you know the good guys will beat the bad guys - but I don't want to ruin it for anyone so please watch it before you read this. It does contain spoilers.

Firstly I need to point out that I know nothing about the comics (many people nearly stabbed themselves in the face when they found out I did not know the difference between Marvel and DC) so I had little in the way of preconceived ideas for the film to meet. There had been so much hype though that I expected it wouldn't meet this but I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away exhilarated rather than feeling cheated.  

There was a winning line up of cast who all made the characters entirely their own and no one's acting got on my nerves. I even liked the characterisation of Black Widow who managed to be more than the token female like I had feared. As for the leading men, the amount of testosterone shown, followed by the amount of bromance, was tons of fun.

It didn't take itself too seriously and there was some laugh out loud moments but it had bits that gave it enough depth to make it bearable. Plenty of things blew up and crashed into buildings, so I believe it had pretty good special effects, but I have more interest in the story, which was not too 2D and made reasonable sense.

Something I found fairly funny was the really obvious moments of reversal in the battles. You inevitably find in battle movies, the moment when the fight goes the way of the enemy and everything looks bleak for the hero - then there is the epic moment of reversal and the good guy wins. In this though, possibly because of the sheer number of heroes, it was so much more obvious. It was amusing to watch the battle go badly simultaneously for Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Hulk, and then watch the triumph of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk. I'm not really complaining. Worse tropes can occur in films.

It was highly predictable and nothing happened to actually surprise me. Even the fairly main character death, although well done and touching, was something you could kind of see coming, especially when so much emphasis was put on the fact that guy had a first name that wasn't just 'Agent'. Iron Man's moment of almost-epic-sacrifice was predicted from the moment he was told he fought for himself not others and always had a way out. I would have been terribly disappointed if he hadn't proved himself like that.

Sometimes predictability is exactly what you want and I thought The Avengers did exactly what it said on the tin. It neither disappointed nor shocked me but it did make me laugh and want to cheer a little bit. I definitely liked it. Now I just hope they don't ruin it by making 25 sequels...  


Friday, 1 June 2012

All Work and No Play

"All work and no play makes blog posts rather boring"

The thing I am looking forward to more than anything about the end of exams is the chance to read a book. Any book. As long as it's a book that is not Arrian's Campaigns of Alexander or WL Warren's Henry II. I am craving some chicklit. I don't even like chicklit but right now I would rather read Mills and Boon than anything about historical things. I used to read history books for fun but there's nothing like a couple of months of exams to make you momentarily sick of the sight of them. 

On second thoughts, I need a day of Terry Pratchett. That man can cheer me up whatever else is happening. As far as escapism goes, you can't escape much further than Discworld, where the world is flat, held up by four elephants, who all stand on the back of a giant turtle which swims through space. His writing is hilariously funny - but not cruel funny - there's a real warmth to it which makes you feel all fuzzy and glad to be alive after reading. They also have some of the best quotes. "It's vital to remember who you really are. It's very important. It isn't a good idea to rely on other people or things to do it for you, you see. They always get it wrong." Pratchett doesn't just pretend to be profound, he means what he says and is truly unique, which is hard to find. "There are those who say that sherry should not be drunk early in the morning. They are wrong." I consider these lessons to live by. So if you get some free time, I recommend you read some Terry Pratchett.

You have no idea how glad I will be when I can ritually recycle my revision notes and just sit in the garden with a book and a nice cool drink during the summer. I'll have time to blog some more too. For those who thought they were rid of me, I apologise. I haven't gone away.