Thursday, 31 May 2012

Type 2


I love this letter. I staggered across is on the internet and found it visually and emotionally inspiring. It speaks sense. I think if you keep getting rejected and you consider ending your writing time then you're not a destined writer. Admittedly there's only so much rejection a guy can take but the more you write the better you become. I received a very charming rejection letter the other day and I plan on sending more stories to said magazine. You've got to keep going. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

And The List They Want You To Read

... With my comments.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (I thoroughly dislike this book. I find it boring. That's my own qualm with it. I don't think it is vulgar, it doesn't anger me, it just bores me. But, to be a tad sexist, I think this is because I'm a guy. I don't know. Just not for me. But, on another note, I do find Austen a bit 'fairy' and not a very challenging writer. I know the Austen scholars in the world will hate me for saying that.) 
 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 
 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (I tried, I really did and I gave up.)
 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (Agreed!)
 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (On my 'to read' list so for now, from what I've heard, I'm going to agree.)
 6 The Bible (To form an opinion, I hope.)
 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (Most definitely agreed!)
 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (I do want to finish it but I tried and I failed.)
 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (Again, on the 'to read.)
 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (Boring. So boring I don't even remember what happens. Which makes me question whether I was drunk when I read it or I need to re-read it.) 
 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (This title screwed me over in a pub quiz once because of that I refuse to read.) 
 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (Heller's daughter didn't read the novel. Do I have to?) 
 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (That's a life task not a reading session.)
 15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (Going to read it before the film comes out.)
 17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk 
 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (I'm agreeing only because you should gather an opinion on it but I didn't like it.) 
 19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (The book is much better than the film but spends a long time telling us unnecessary stuff. There's a 200 page section on her family which seemed a tad pointless. I respect the book and think the book was quite gritty - there's a lot of sex and a lot of true emotions and sexual desires and feelings. The best scene is a sex scene towards the end of the book. A very interesting concept.) 
 20 Middlemarch - George Eliot (Ms. George's book 'The Lifted Veil' was a bit of a dive so I'm not going to return to her.) 
 21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (The thing with books like this is that if I were to pick it up in a shop, unknown to me about its reputation, I wouldn't read it. I only want to read it because I should and people would see me as 'well read'. Is that a reason to read a book?) 
 24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (Really don't want to read it.) 
 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 
 27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Tried. Failed.) 
 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
 30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (I'm going to read this one day.) 
 31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (But nobody enjoys it.) 
 32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
 33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (Only to prepare your kids and get them to challenge what they read, if they're the 'gobble it up and believe it' kinda kid, keep them away. We'll all have little Lewis' running around that abandon the Susans out there.) 
 34 Emma -Jane Austen
 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
 36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis 
 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 
 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres 
 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden 
 40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne (I agree. I haven't read any yet, they're on my Amazon wish list but I do agree.) 
 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (I will read it but I'm not loving the idea.) 
 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (Agreed.) 
 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (He's been called the Dickens of our time so I guess he must be important.) 
 45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (Tried. Gave up.) 
 46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
 47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
 48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood 
 49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (I agree. Yes, I agree.) 
 50 Atonement - Ian McEwan (I want to read McEwan but I've heard that some of his stuff is boring. Reviews do indeed crush your opinions, twist your mind you might say.) 
 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (On the 'to read' pile.) 
 52 Dune - Frank Herbert 
 53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
 54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (Do we really need more Austen?)
 55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth 
 56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon 
 57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (We get it Charlie, you love the city, you hate the city.) 
 58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley 
 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon 
 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (I was forced to read this in GCSE so I'm thinking my opinion is tainted because of that experience. Steinbeck is important, so they say, but I'm not so sure, this summer will tell when I finish 'East of Eden.) 
 62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (I have just ordered this for research.) 
 63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt (I tried but I failed. Not for me. The writing style anyway.) 
 64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (I really disliked it. I wouldn't bother.) 
 65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
 66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (I'm going travelling for two weeks in America this summer. Is it a book I need on my person? Hmm.) 
 67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
 69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie (The best review on Rushdie's books is during the episode of 'Fresh Meat' - watch it, Vod speaks sense.) 
 70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (How many pages can we have on a whale?) 
 71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (Agreed.) 
 72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (I have to read this for Gothic so I'm excited about that.) 
 73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (I was told to read it so I'm not going to.) 
 74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
 75 Ulysses - James Joyce (God no. The idea saddens me.) 
 76 The Inferno - Dante (Nobody reads Dante for pleasure.) 
 77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 
 78 Germinal - Emile Zola 
 79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
 80 Possession - AS Byatt
 81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (It's a favourite.) 
 82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
 83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (I think this is an important novel - much like 'The Help' which I did enjoy so I will read this one day.) 
 84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro 
 85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (On my 'to read' list.) 
 86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
 87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White (A childhood favourite, at least that's what the kids that read it told me.) 
 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (I tried reading Albom and found him a bit flimsy. I wouldn't bother.) 
 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
 90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
 91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad 
 92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
 93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks 
 94 Watership Down - Richard Adams 
 95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole 
 96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
 97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas 
 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare 
 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (I forgot this wonderful man on my list. Read everything of Dahl.) 
 100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

The Real Books You Should Read Before You Die

I've been trying to write this blog for quite some time now and I guess it's taken so long because I don't know what I'm trying to write but, luckily, now I do. I was just doing some procrastinating and looking at writers online and the usual "100 books you should read before you die" popped up and it irked me. It irks me because on that list are the books that people deem as "classics" - Jane Austen (shit), Charles Dickens (some good, others awful), Fitzgerald (I don't have an opinion yet), C.S. Lewis (get your kids away from him!) - I do joke about Lewis, he should be read so the kids that read him get an opinion - but anyway the lists are jokes and they irk me. 

Some of the books yes you should read but anyway here's my list and here's why. (They're not in any particular order.)

1. The End of Mr. Y - Scarlet Thomas. (I've already wrote a blog about this wonderful book with the dodgy ending so the reasons are right there.)

2. The Pilo Family Circus - Will Elliot. (Yes it has a weird ending but the book is great, sets a very eerie atmosphere and has the ability to get you excited. What I love in books is when the writer tells you something is going to happen soon and you're excited for it, looking how far ahead it is.) 

3. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte. (This is where I agree with the list because this book is mint. Love it!)

4. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates. (Of course!)

5. Lord of the Flies - William Golding. (Like no other.)

6. Little Children - Tom Perrotta. (If you love suburban fiction and want to read the brutality of humans then this is the book. I also reviewed it here -  - as well as the two above.) 

7. Frankenstein - Mary Shelly. (Again this is on those lists and it is a very important book in the Gothic and scientific study. Read it!)

8. On Writing - Stephen King. (The best non-fiction book about writing out there. Any writer - both published and not so published. Awesome!)

9. The End of Alice - A.M. Homes. (Not a comfortable read and not something you would give to your mum to read - I made that mistake - but a very important and interesting and fucked-up book. Not for the faint hearted.)

10. The Suicide Club - Rhys Thomas. (This could be your Catcher in the Rye - it is most definitely mine. I think with this book it comes down to where you are in your life for your enjoyment.) 

11. Rainbow Boys/Rainbow High/Rainbow Road - Alex Sanchez. (Read it and find out why.)

12. The Child Thief - Brom. (Not many people I know have heard of this amazing writer. Dark, fantastical, wonderful.)

13. The Red Tree - Shaun Tan. (If you've ever wanted to read a children's picture book with such brutal honest, breath-taking illustrations and sheer beauty this is the book. There are no more words. It stole them all.) 

14. American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis. (This usually makes its way onto the 'books that were banned' list and I think that's why you should read it. It's plot is a bit naff and the ending is awful but you should read it because everyone should read one of Ellis' books in their lifetime, if you love horror - this is most notable literary horror - then you should and, well, to get an opinion on the book people usually have an opinion about.)

Footnote 1 - If you had asked me two years ago to write this list I wouldn't have put half of the books on here but one book I would have definitely put on here is the 'Harry Potter' series. I'm not going to put in on my list, I would say read it but it's not a must. They're amazing and well groomed - meaning the information Ms. Rowling decides to give each book is well thought out and planned - but they're the kind of books that change the way you read, that challenge you enough to make you think I'm going to read something harder. Fuck it. No. I've changed my mind. This should be number 15. They are important books because they move readers. 15. Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling. Footnote 2 - People sometimes don't call these books 'literature' because they're 'popular books', I tell those people to fuck off. 

16. Any Edgar Allan Poe! - I would suggest 'The Black Cat' but his collections are something you need in your life. He was a very fucked-up chap and he wrote some amazing stuff. 

17. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens. (OK you should read him, he is kind of important. I would say read Hard Times just so you can see how boring it is but I would stick with a classic. It is pretty good.)

18. Macbeth - William Shakespeare. (We'll chuck him on the list because it's 'literary' and if you can quote Shakespeare people are impressed but really Shakespeare is not supposed to be read, he is supposed to be produced and enjoyed. Macbeth is the winner with Shakespeare, if you do want to come across as respected and well-read in literary circles.)

19. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown. (Again this is because of the 'banned factor' but it is a good read and is quite interesting. Treat it as fiction - just as I treat The Bible.) 

20. The Edge Chronicles - Paul Stewart. (They're fun and they're imaginative and there's lots of them...and they have cool illustrations.) 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

After My Hiatus

It's been a while since I've written for my blog and I don't think I have an excuse but after reading an article on Thought Catalogue about dating a writer and the truth that the article held. ( basically said writer's are messed up. And that is very true. I guess writers spend a lot of time thinking about writing or, more importantly, trying to get their head around being a writer. Do writers actually understand what they're supposed to be? What their positions in life really is? Most definatley not, that's why we write. We write to make sense of things. Purposes, meanings and so on. 

I don't think a day goes by that I don't sit down at my desk and think about what kind of writer I will become, when that story I thought was shit is actually published or the poem that I loved will get rejected. I received a nice rejection letter the other day where two of my stories were called 'uncrisp' and needed to be 'crisper', I'm still trying to get my head around it but I shall try and do as the editor said. But, one day, when a story gets published or, as the dream is, a book then what kind of writer will I become?

But what kind of person is a writer? There are so many types, I guess I can only think of a few based on those I have around me. There's the occasional writer (my friend Vicky), the thoughtful writer, the one who ponders over things for a while before writing (my friend Dom), the silent writer, the one who is working on big projects but doesn't really talk about them or when he does people get confused because there's so many names and stories (my friend Sam), the insane writer, the obsessive writer (myself) and so on. 

It is true that I love writers and today's blog is my thoughts, I guess, to the article I just read. What stayed with me was the bit about being busy. Writers are always busy but we're just busy in different ways. I have six articles to write and a mountain of work to do for my third year, as I want to get that first. But not just that but my mind. My mind is busy. In my mind I have so many stories taking shape. For today, dear friends, it's just about writing and what I think and what will become. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Scotch Breath

I was recently looking through my folder of short stories that I am going to write for my third year and started rearranging them so they made sense. I decided my theme would be relationships and hopefully lead it into violence. A few weeks ago I put the beginning of a story about domestic abuse on my blog but I've decided to revamp it. Below is the beginning to a story I completed last year about domestic abuse, only, unlike the other, it has a child-like quirk that I found to be the point of the story. The breaking of innocence, you might say.

The boy had found himself in that same position once again.
Like most nights he was curled up on the bathroom floor, knees tucked into his chest as his ear pressed against the cold tiles. He heard the muffled sounds which slowly grew, hitting the ceiling, roaring in his ears. The growls from his father’s mouth, the screams from his mother and the occasional sound of glass being smashed – that was the most deathly of sounds. A glass smashing meant two things: the drink would be over the ground and his mother would be forced to clean it. The boy knew the scene all too well. When the glass smashed he would sit down in a chair and bark orders at the woman who would go on her hands and knees and clean up his mess. He was the man who made the mess, always making the mess, always, always.
            The boy couldn’t help but feel a surge of happiness when his mother finally shot back her own unhappiness. “This is not the life I wanted,” was one of his favourites, it always managed to get his father right to the core, always made that silence, that lingering silence where you could tell that he was thinking. “You drink too much,” was one that happened on the very rare occasions, only when his father had had too much to drink, when he would wake up with his eternal amnesia. 
“I hate you.”
That was the one.
That was the one that made him angry, very angry indeed. That was the one that led to the screams, not screams of anger but screams that would issue with such ferocity and pain from his mother’s mouth that the only thing he could do was clap his hands over his ears and wish for the screams to stop. It was the screams that would make him wish, make him wish that he was big and strong, that he could stop his father, hurt his father. But he was a little boy. A little boy with little ideas.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Even though things about demons and possessions scare the living crap out of me – didn’t sleep for days after watching the horrible Paranormal Activity – how many more films about possessions do we need? How many more twisting backs and rolling white eyes, demon voices and people flying into walls, do we really need? Films like these annoy me. Let’s get some imagination and creativity into the horror genre shall we? Enough of this “I cast you out demon!” shit. We had that. It was a terrible film but it did the job. It was called The Exorcist. Now let’s move on. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Words

My Favourite Poem

My favourite poem is written by my friend Victoria Routledge. Here it is:

The Cardigan

I search beneath the oppressive heavy lid of my trunk.

I see the sleeve poking out towards the bottom,
waving for surrender.
I offer it my hand and pull.
I hold it for a moment, regarding it like a forgotten friend; a stranger.
There is little resistance as I slip it on.

The smell of you is overpowering.

A flash of white teeth and rosy lips, brown scruffy hair.
I feel your arms around me; your warm breath tickles the back of my neck
 as your beautiful mouth whispers things to me.
I remember when we ran through the snow
holding hands,
your laughter echoing for only us to hear.
You put your cardigan round my shoulders, and rubbed my arms
This will keep you warm.

I remember the fights, the tears;
the anger scrunching up your handsome face.
The words that you could never take back resonate through my head.
I remember when you left.
I take it off slowly,
fold it neatly.
Stare at it.

I return it to the trunk,
and close the lid.

I want to forget you, 

but I can't just yet. 

Popped Balloon

Here's another poem that I wrote on the train on my way home from Uni. My friend, Sam, was sitting with me and said that I was messed up. I thought it was funny... 

Standing on the platform I hear the rumble,
that tranquil, loud forever, forever grumble.

How quaint and perfect it is to I,
to others it is a fitting just to die.

I feel my bubble inflate and rise,
soon to pop, silencing the sighs.

Sighs from me, sighs from them,
the covering of noses, the fleeing to the hem.

In truth I can’t help but smile,
as my bubble will soon make a pile.

The smell will spread wide and proud,
and I am happy, I even bowed. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Who We Go Book Shopping With

We, as book lovers, go shopping. We go shopping for books. Sometimes - most of the time - we go shopping alone because we know what we want and we want time with the books in front of us. I go into Waterstones and write down the title of the books I want to get on Amazon because they're so expensive in the shops - bad I know but student budget. But sometimes we go with people and it's who we go with that is interesting. 

I've been with my mother who flutters around the shelves. My mother is the kind of reader that likes books to be given to her, she likes it when people recommend and borrow. I like buying. I've been with friends who have no interest in books and groan when I mention the name of such a shop but by far the most interesting - and perhaps harrowing - person I have ever been with is one of my best friends Anthony who would rather eat a live dog that stay in a room of books. 

We entered and he groaned - of course. But what was most fascinating about this horrific trip was that I wanted to get a book for my mother for mother's day and foolishly asked him for advice. He gripped every book and shouted for me when I was in another isle. Although a book shop isn't a library there's an undertone of how loud you should be. Anthony knows no boundaries and shouted for me, shouted suggestions, full well knowing what other fellow book lovers would think. 

Just a short one, just a short tale of my friend Anthony, a person whom I go book shopping with and the crazy things he gets up to. 


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Andy's Drawer

I had an idea for a picture book alas I cannot draw. I asked my good friend Sophie who is a very talented drawer. She illustrated the book. Here is what the two of us created...




Monday, 14 May 2012

The Soul Eater Comes Down The Chimney

In college we were asked to write a short-short story about Christmas. My friend Emma wrote one about elves and Father Christmas and happiness. I handed over my story and watched the teacher's expression as she read it. When she was finished she looked up and said to me "Tom, it's tragic." "That's life, Miss," I replied. The story - I wish I still had a copy as I really liked it - was about a young boy who went downstairs to discover Father Christmas wasn't real (a tragic moment in any childhood - sorry kids if you're reading this!) 

The obese, notorious criminal slips down the snowy
chimney in order to steal their souls. No need for a key
just the aggressive storm across the room. The little girl Chloe,

innocently nestled in her bed, unaware of he
who drags the souls upon his back. Creeping up the stairs,
avoiding the light, Santa Claus, the killer to be

feared. Upon the night news his photograph glares
at the children who once loved him. Eighteen souls
had been taken that night ready to share

it with his elves and reindeers. Children slipped through the holes
in the days of December. Lock your doors,
bar your windows, turn up your fires, Chloe was told

and that’s why the sharp candy cane, which broke many laws
lay under her pillows, waiting for him. Soon it would creep
and he would step in, dragging the bag, the bag with the head and jaws

and souls. Santa Claus did just that. He took a leap
and entered the room. The shadow cast vicariously across the bed
over Chloe, sweet Chloe who pretended to be asleep.

“Sweet child,” said Santa as he opened the sack. “You may call me Ted –”
“I’d rather not,” snapped Chloe and turned to face
the man who so idly killed the children, who snuck to their bed,

who stole their souls. In the darkness the space
between them was filled with the swish of the sharp candy cane
and Chloe took a massive fall from grace,

stabbing at precious Santa Claus – she must be insane!
but not so, really, not until she jumped and fought
and yelled. With wicked shrieks she would gain,

gain vengeance and life. She remembered what she had been taught
from Billy’s dying breaths, what she had to do
which disgusted her as much as a witches’ wart.

Santa had taken their souls, taken somebody’s son
and Chloe fought. Chloe who screamed and attacked and had had enough,
enough of the man who weighed a ton,

enough of the fat man. Enough of all this stuff,
stuff that ruined Christmas, the trees, the decorations, the Chloe
she used to be. She hooked the knife upon his cuff

wrestling him but the sack was opened and it looked snowy
like a thousand places she wanted to go. Like her soul was going,
and so, when Santa left the house, he left with a soul and the end of Chloe.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Love Poetry

Last year, in my creative writing class, we all had to complete a folder of work. I had written one poem already about an evil Father Christmas - which shall be posted on here in the next blog - but I sat down and thought "let's do what everyone else is doing and see if I can pull it off." I decided to write a love poem, a happy love poem, a poem which used those three words that everyone winces when they hear. I did and this was the outcome...


This is strange, I don’t understand;
It’s new to me, like my tongue isn’t my own, releasing unknown words.
I look around and see love – dark and gloomy, bright and happy,
but I don’t understand, I can’t understand, not yet anyway.
Others do, those around me bathe in romantic love but I do not, I cannot.
Don’t blame me X; don’t cast my words to the wind, my invisible emotions away,
I try to do it, climb that mountain, that steep mountain.
I’m trying. I am.
Listen with your heart, help me with my own.
When others are like sunshine, I am rain;
Some say speeches, I only write them;
Smiles are a rare experience on my face, they come slowly,
but when they come they come because of you,
because no matter how I look or act I do, I do love you. 

Wisdom Again

I love this quote. 

"There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever."

So true. 

Saturday, 12 May 2012


How To Deal With The Fact Your Partner Has A History

I did a second article for Thoughtcatalogue that didn't get a response so I'll put it here. This one is serious one out the two I wrote:

There comes a moment, in every relationship, when you wake up, turn to your significant other and realise you’re not the first. You’re not the first person to have kissed them. You’re not the first person to have had sex with them. You’re not the first person to see them naked or hold their hand or look them deep in the eye. Other people have done this and only now you realise. Then you think about these people – it’s natural right? – you think about what they did with your current partner, you think about what they had and whether you have it, or more. You think that they ended, one of them messed up, and you don’t want to do that, you don’t want to mess up.

Do I matter? You think. Am I just another number on their list? Am I going to be the last or am I right in the middle? Did they reveal this much to their ex? Did they kiss their one night stands like this? Did they laugh at their jokes? Did they tell them they loved them?

Then you have to meet one of them, one of you. “It was one night, it happened before I met you,” they say, “it didn’t mean anything, we’re just friends now.” You accept this, you trust them but you stand and watch them talk and feel yourself shrink. The one night stand has power over you – they were there first, you have their sloppy seconds – you know it and they know it. They saw them naked, kissed them, felt their bodies, way before you did. They smile at you, no, smirk and it’s a patronising smirk, a smirk that makes you shrink even more. Your partner’s phone goes off and it’s their ‘friend’ – the one night stand – arranging to go out with the others. You bite your tongue because it doesn’t matter, it didn’t matter but they have a connection, something happened between them before you even arrived. You can’t be mad but you can’t get over it. The one night stand is part of their story.

Then you ask. You have to. It’s eating you away. And they tell you a number and give you all the answers you could ever have wanted. But it doesn’t help. You keep thinking about it. You’ve already told them every bit of your history, every nugget of information but you feel like they have a lot more to tell you, details they’ve missed out. A fragmented truth. You can’t say anything now, you’d sound crazy. Just ignore it. Ignore it.

But then you mention it again. You want to know details, want to know what happened, why it happened, and then it will help you get over it. They’re uncomfortable when they tell you and you don’t understand why. You go for a walk and spend two hours questioning them, pushing for more details because you need to see this person as a whole, you need to understand their past to understand their future. You need to know what kind of person they once were, to know what person they are going to become.

Even now it still makes you uncomfortable. Not as much but a little. But you know that they’ve told you everything and it was uncomfortable for them and they put up with your crazy questioning and obsessive thinking. And then you know they care, they matter and not many people would so you wouldn’t want to give them up, because you’re their present and you have one thing over those before you, you have them now and, hopefully forever. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Curse of Morning Glory

I have never been one for non-fiction. There's a course that runs in my University but I never took it. Not just because you have to write about yourself - and I do that enough on here - but also because the idea of listening to true stories or articles just doesn't interest me. Fiction, even semi-autobiographical writing interests me. I enjoy it when writers use aspects of their lives in their novels and stories.

Anyway, there's this amazing site called Thoughtcatalogue which contains mini-essays, funny ones, sad ones, serious ones that are both non-fiction and fiction - I'm assuming fiction because some of them are very detailed and personal that it seems frightening that someone would be so open. I wrote a fictional mini-essay - attempting to be comedic - for the website but never heard anything back. Thus, I shall publish it here myself. The essay is called 'The Curse of Morning Glory'. Be warned - the word 'penis' crops up...

The alarm rattles. Your arm reaches from under your duvets and you swipe for the clock. The noise ends, finally, and you roll around, not wanting to get up. Then you feel it. That strong feeling between your legs. Yep, that’s morning glory, that’s your penis saying “Hello! I’m awake too!” You ignore it for a moment and it pulses. Even if you hate it – if you distrust this hardness between your legs – through sleepy eyes and ruffled hair you end up humping your bed, not properly, just against. But there are many things that can happen in this situation, many, many things.

What Happens When Your Roommate Comes in and Rips the Duvet off because You Told Him To.

Your anger is unjustified. You told him to come and wake you up but you have to make a quick decision. Snap decision – flip over! – it’s better he sees your ass than your erect penis. He would understand, it happens to him too, but you’re mid enjoyment/annoyance, you can’t share this moment.

Do I Go With It?

Your hands slip down. You’re tired. It’s early. You may have to be somewhere, you may not. Needless to say you have stuff to do in the day. Do you have time? If you’re roommate has just woken you up your time is limited. Your hand slips down. Should you go with it? But what about the mess? Masturbation, after all, is like murder – you gotta clean up the evidence.

The Loves and the Haters

Here you have the people who love their morning glory. They wake and think “hey, I might as well take advantage of this” or awaken with a thirst for release. Then you have those that find their thickening friend a burden, a curse. They ignore it, hoping it may go away and climb out of their bed. They try and hide it, sneak past their parents or their roommate and head into the bathroom. They stand above the basin and attempt to urinate, only to dodge the jolt. Then they think of grandma and it doesn’t work. So they step back and push it down, by doing this they sort of lift of the ground and the urine bounces off the toilet seat like stones thumping against a window.

The Return of Ignorance

There are those that will successfully ignore their morning glory and go about their day. They will be filing papers, taking notes, organising products, driving the car, crossing the road and then suddenly, ever so suddenly, they feel it – that rise, that jolt, that twitch and then it’s back, back with a vengeance. Now it will never go away. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

What I'd Give To Be A Walrus

First, there's the obvious thing you'd give up to be a walrus - your mother. The classic saying "he'd sell his mother" is prudent in this scenario. But what else? What else does one have to give to be a walrus? And does one really want to be a walrus? I don't know why I chose walrus. On reflection it might have been a very silly idea indeed. "Perhaps I have gone mad," Edgar Allan Poe would say. But this is not the case. I was merely thinking about animals, well, that's a lie, I was thinking about how I hadn't written anything on this blog in a long time. I have three 'in the works' blogs about Tim Burton,  Guillermo  De Toro and a blog called 'interesting books' but have yet to get around to write such blogs. Thus, my mind wandered and I thought about what animals I would want to be. But now my mind gives forth two questions - what animal would I really want to be? And what would I give up to be it?


Call me cruel but by looking at the images above I know which one I would rather be. Most definitely, the penguin. Not only are they cuter but they are more companion based. Penguins stand with one another. But now...what would I give up to be one? I already said my mother so we can scrap that. Well, I guess any sort of technological device would be next - you're not gonna see a penguin walking around with an iPod in his ear are you? I don't think I'd give my books, I think they'd come with me to Antarctica and I'd teach the other penguins to read and enjoy literature. I know what you're thinking - how on Earth are we (as penguins) gonna hold the book? Way ahead of you - we'll get the walruses - we'll have to make an alliance - to make lectures for us out of the ice and use them to read.

Or, are you really thinking, what the hell has he been smoking to write a blog about walruses and penguins? Well, dear friends, procrastination sends the mind to wonder and, on this occasion, it wandered into what I would give up and what I'd rather be. More coming soon! (Hopefully not about animals next time!) 

Friday, 4 May 2012

On Wisdom

China Mieville

I have only read one book by China Mieville - Un Lun Dun - and am about to start my second, The Scar. But I have to say this - I love this writer. Not only was his book Un Lun Dun wonderful - creating a dark, steam-punk world which a homage to characters such as Alice and Dorothy, but his understanding of his genre, his experiments with his novels are really very interesting. Below is a video of him talking about his latest book, Embassytown. Listening to him shows just how much he has thought about his novels. A lot of people I know either write or started out writing fantasy. It's easy to start with this, in a way, as you can make up your own rules and don't have to abide by laws - you simply make them up.

However, when you expand and actually think about what kind of fantasy novel - or novels - you're going to create you have to think of everything. What are the laws? What are the creatures (if any)? What are the races? Why is this fantasy? There's a lot of work to be done with fantasy, a lot of understanding. Mieville does not just write fantasy, however, he writes science fiction which he has a clear understanding of (you may want to check out his speeches on science fiction on Youtube.) Another reason why I love this man is not just because he is a fantasy/science fiction writer but he is more than that, he has published a book of essays on Marxism, he is an academic. He is the kind of writer I want to be.

I was recently having a conversation with my roommate Dom about labels. Do writers get labels? Yes. That's how we know what we're getting when we read them.  But what label do I want? Honestly, I don't want one. I feel - I may be wrong as I must admit I'm only young - that I have three horror novels in me but others novels, I don't know, all I know is what I want to write. I want to write a trilogy of Gothic children's books, I want to write a series of fantasy, I want to write a book of short stories, maybe poems, I want to write a non-fiction book on the suburbs in literature, I want to write a musical, I want to write some 'literature' for want of a better word or contemporary fiction being even better. I want to write these things and I feel that by experimenting with some of this stuff I will get the tools to accomplish what I want to do. Time will tell, eh? 

I Love This Man

Thursday, 3 May 2012

'The Dead' by James Joyce

Last year, I had the horrific task of having to read James Joyce's short story The Dead. My lecturer - similar to Ian McEwan - called it 'the best short story ever written' and 'a great piece of literature'. She said, in her exasperation at the 'grandness' of the story that 'if you don't like then you have no taste.' I do like to think I have taste - a required one I will admit - but taste nonetheless and I found it boring and bad. James Joyce is also a required taste but his story held no meaning and did nothing to me. Good literature is like being attacked - you get taken by surprise, gripped tightly and held for a long time then, when it's over, you get thrown away. You stagger back, out of breath, confused and then you think about it, over and over again. The Dead - similar to a book I tried reading the other day called Tell Me No Secrets - and I threw it aside because it was so bad - resulted in my discarding it when it was finished and shrugging my shoulders.

Some people may say I missed the point, that this is a narrow-minded thing to do but we know what's good, we know what's bad and The Dead is most certainly bad and James Joyce, in my opinion, is not a very interesting writer at all. 

Ian McEwan: On His Favorite Book to FIlm Adaptations

‘The Dead’ by James Joyce – ugh! 

Ian McEwan on His Writing Process

However, he does create a nice image of his study. 

Ian McEwan's Advice for Aspiring Writers

How I disagree with Mr. McEwan. I believe people should read, yes, there I agree with him but the idea of not studying creative writing and writing as an Undergraduate is garbage. We, as undergraduates, should write and experiment and find our feet. We shouldn’t spend twenty years reading and then think “OK now I can write.” If you want to write, write. 

Spot of Poetry

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Relationships: Cristina & Owen Vs. Romeo & Juliet

Shakespeare gave us - apparently - "the greatest love story ever told." Romeo and Juliet fall in love, can't be together, try and be together, fail and they die. That, supposedly, was romance and love back then. I've always been skeptical of Shakespeare. I've never found him to be the greatest author that the world has seen. Sure, I like Macbeth and find The Tempest quite good but I've always hated Romeo and Juliet and found some of his other stuff a bit bland. Romeo and Juliet, in my opinion, is a tedious, dull and vulgar piece of writing. We may quote it and we may say "is her your Romeo?", "is she your Juliet?" but, deep down, it's not a very good or interesting or challenging story. 

Romeo and Juliet ends in death or, as somebody in my GCSE English class wrote, "ends with Juliet shooting herself" - erm, I don't think so. Watching it and reading it never really challenged me or evoked any emotion. I understand that at the time it was quite a grim tale and the kind of romance everybody dreamed of having - minus the double suicide - but it wasn't very realistic.

The world, however, has given us another romance by the name of Cristina Yang and Owen Hunt - the dark and tortured couple from the TV show Grey's Anatomy. He's an ex-military soldier who suffered a massive phase of PTSD and, when meeting the love of his life, wants children. She is a career-driven woman who, after performing surgery on her best friend's husband with a gun to her head, suffered PTSD also and doesn't want children. Their love story is romantic and wonderful... but dark at the same time.

They have a forbidden relationship. They both know they're no good for each other - he is ill and she is finding it hard to put up with it. But they get together. Then he thinks he loves someone else - the memories of war and the presence of an old friend swaying him. They find their way back. She offers to exchange him for a great surgery mentor. Then she suffers PTSD and he stands beside her. Then she gets pregnant and they disagree on what to do. He eventually says he'll stand by her again and let her have the abortion. She does. Only they never get past it. Then he has an affair. And that's where they are now.

Are they toxic? Perhaps. Are they good for each other? Maybe not anymore. Are they soul-mates? Yes, they most definitely are. They understand each other, they have their own weird and wonderful relationship. But it's not a happy ending. Romeo and Juliet isn't a happy ending but it's a very extreme ending - they kill themselves to be together under very silly circumstances. Owen and Cristina want to be together, should be together, but certain obstacles pull them a part - there lies the true tragedy. Romeo and Juliet decided if they couldn't exist together they wouldn't exist at all. Owen and Cristina want to exist together but can't. There lies real tragedy. Real life. Real love. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012