Saturday, 30 June 2012

RBL: The Art of Leaving

When I was on the grueling flight to America - stuffed between two people and trying to control my want to fall asleep - I began thinking about the art of leaving people. (This is a common thought process in my mind.) As the theme for my fiction folder is guilt - mainly guilt in relationships - I thought about other forms of art that dealt with leaving, betrayal, romantic fuck-ups in other words. And so became the title for my latest blog - RBL - Revolutionary Road, Blue Valentine and Last Night. 

These wonderful three films deal with tragic romances. Revolutionary Road - as if I haven't talked about it enough - follows the crumbling relationship of April and Frank Wheeler. Blue Valentine follows a young married couple, Dean and Cindy, who seem to be going through a very bad and dark rough patch. Last Night is harder and deals with Joanna and Michael Reed, a young married couple living in New York. This film deals with the art of infidelity and the feelings for two different people. Hard stuff but three very great films. 

But what stands out to me about these wonderful and devastating films is the art of leaving. In Revolutionary Road - spoiler alert! - April leaves the marriage but having a fatal abortion that kills her, she, however, has also left the marriage via her mind by a) sleeping with another man and b) telling her husband she doesn't love him - whether she's just lying or not is debatable. 

In Blue Valentine it is Cindy who seems to be the most cold - a bitch to some people - but in reality she just understands her marriage is over, that the two of them have out-grown each other, she's being realistic, not staying in a dead-end and unhappy marriage. In Last Night she realizes that she may still love her old boyfriend. She's cheated on her husband - and, the same night he cheated on her too - but she is the first to tell him ergo the first to end the marriage. 

In these films it is the women who are leaving the men, not the other way around. Women that are emotionally leaving their husbands. April through an abortion. Cindy through a discussion. Joanna through talking. It's an interesting thought and an interesting topic to look into - do women always leave their husbands emotionally, rather than physically? The men move out or run off with someone else when the women say "it's over"? Stereo-typically, women are more thoughtful than men. Sex, for example, has to work out in the mind before the physical act is committed - stereo-typically, of course. 

But worth a thought, eh? 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Epic Conclusion

So there we have it folks. Two trailers in the same genre with a big battle at the end. Well, Harry Potter has a big battle Twilight has a few people on some snow running at each other - even Narnia beat them in terms of amount. The final Harry Potter stands there with its crumbling buildings, amazing CGI and explosive wand fights, Twilight has a few people, the odd dog/werewolf, standing on some ice ready to run at some other guys in long cloaks with stupid long hair. My conclusion, dear friends, Harry Potter's awesome and Twilight sucks. 

The evidence is below...

Epic Vs...

...Not So Epic

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Best Speech Ever

"I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn't. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting."
 - Mary, 'He's Just Not That Into You'

Monday, 11 June 2012

Flash Fiction Take Two

I sent my flash fiction off to my tutor, Catherine, the other day and she said they would work if they were in a group, a series almost. So, it was 3am and I couldn't sleep and was in the mood to write some brutal flash fiction about relationships. My theme for the series of relationships - the realism of them. Here's what I got: 


The world was a wonderful place, until he turned to his wife and said “I slept with someone else,” and then the world fell apart.


“I bumped into George today,” he said.
                “George who?” she asked.
                “The man you cheated on me with.”


They lay there against the sheets, naked and fulfilled.
                He smiled.
                “What?” He asked.
                “I think...I think I like you,” he said.
                He paused. “I’m leaving in two days,” he replied.


There was no lipstick on his shirt; he wasn’t stupid enough for that. But when she looked around the bedroom after her trip she noticed the hat had been moved. He knew not to move it. She, herself, hadn’t moved it either. And then she knew.


“Why did I marry you?”
                “Because you love me.”
                “I don’t love you. I hate you.”


“Where were you last night?” he asked.
                “Out with Kate.”
                “Oh. Good night?”
                She knew that he believed her. He always did.


She knew she loved him. She had loved him ever since they first kissed; she just never had the guts to say it. Until, one day she said, “I have something to tell you.”
                “What’s that?” he said.
                “I love you.”
                He didn’t say it back.


Two weeks after they broke up he logged onto Facebook to look at his account. He scrolled down until he saw the word that read “in a relationship” and then his heart sank.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

So Much Could Be Said

Why I Hate The Kindle

There was a time you could walk down the street or through a park on a sunny day and see people holding onto books. Whether the spines be cracked or the pages curling, people were holding onto them, staring at them, gobbling up every word. Now, a new force has come into our midst to stop this perfect picture. Something has come. Something is on its way to threaten everything we hold dear. Something that could be the eternal end for books as we know it. We call it...the kindle. 

In a few weeks I'm off to America for two months to work as a counsellor at a summer school. After that I'm spending two weeks travelling. People keep telling me "you need a Kindle", "it's good for travelling", "it's cheap to get books". I appreciate this. I appreciate where they're coming from, I get their arguments but my answer I will not get a Kindle no matter how grand it is or how easy it is to carry. If I had a Kindle and I look to my shelf what would I see? A skinny black thing sitting there, not a dozen spines wanting me to pick them up.

My friend Elly told me a really great story the other day and I hope she won't mind me sharing it. She told me the story about her grandfather who was one of those men that loved having his things around him - just like me and her, in fact. His wife told him he had too many books and not enough room so, to keep them, he started stacking them up the stairs, each step you took would be a new collection of books. Not only is this a lovely image but it shows what books are about. Susan Hill reiterated the point in her book Howard's End is on the Landing "books make a home" and they most definitely do. What pains me about living in a student house is that all my books aren't with me. When I go home to my parents I justify why each book should come with me but know I have no space for them.

Books don't just make a home, they hold memories. When I pick up The Suicide Club and flick through it I remember when I went through my XBOX phase and I was sitting on COD and I had people screaming at me down the microphone why I wasn't moving, why I kept dying, I was, of course, sitting there reading, too engrossed in the pages. I know that when I finished Hero I was sitting on the sofa in my attic when it rained all day. When I pick up my copy of Harry Potter I see the wrinkled, orange pages from when my mother spilled orange juice all over it or The Witches from when I left it outside in the rain. 

What would my Kindle do? Well it would break in the rain, it wouldn't wrinkle and it wouldn't throw me back to where I was. The Kindle is not my memory lane, it will not make my house a home, it's a silly threat. Will book shops shut because of the Kindle? No. Is the Kindle the end of us? No. Because book lovers love books, not just the idea of reading. Books will always be on the staircase. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Time Traveler's Wife: The Modern Lolita?

I was in work today and was thinking about 'The Time Traveler's Wife'. I don't know why it came into my head but it just sort of popped and the line "I wouldn't change one second of our life together" came into my head - I think this is from the trailer, not the book but ah well. Anyway I was thinking about it in black and white - sometimes I live in that world. A older man meets a young girl and tells her one day she will grow up and marry him. She grows up and has this idea that one day she will meet this man, she does and she falls for him, naturally, he said she would, she fulfilled his prophecy. Then they embark on an epic relationship and then it ends in tragedy.

If you heard this would you not be thinking of the word 'groomed'? Did Henry not groom Clare into loving him? Make her believe he was the one for her? 

I haven't read 'Lolita' yet - in fact it just turned up at my door this morning and had the wrong cover - so annoyed! - anyway, I have not read it. But I know the basic premise - a pedophile obsessed about a young girl. Is 'The Time Traveler's Wife' not the same? Does Henry not obsess over a young girl, a young girl he grooms and will soon love him? This may be a ridiculous notion, but since when did literature seek to prove the truth? Literature merely throws around thoughts and opinions and hopes they work. 


Sunday, 3 June 2012


A while ago I wrote a blog about writer's rooms and how amazing and interesting they are, how they reflect people's personalities - a room full of too many books or cluttered with notebooks. The other week a friend of mine, Kate, uploaded a picture of her room. She's an illustrator and the only word I have to describe it is incredible! 

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Another bash at flash fiction.

When she got home from work she said, “today I found out I’m pregnant.”
            He smiled. “That’ –”
            She waved her hand and silenced him. “I made an appointment at the clinic.”
            His smile faded. 

Sometimes Writers Need Breaks

...And this is what they do.
Skype their friends. 

Flash Fiction


“Do you think we’ve become that old couple that have nothing to say to each other?” He asked.
            “Of course not dear,” she replied.
            He nodded. 


Friday, 1 June 2012

Night of Inspiration

Last night I was having a spur of inspiration and as I switched off my lamp to go to sleep I turned it back on again with two ideas for flash fiction. Below is what came of it:


“Sorry,” she says.
            “You need to stop saying that so much, you’ll wear it out,” he replies.
            “Sorry,” she says. 


“Make sure you say goodbye to me before you leave tomorrow.”
            “I don’t want to wake you.”
            “I’d rather you woke me than I wake up without you.”

Magically Twisted