Books I wish I’d put down

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I read the way most people watch TV.  I do it every single day, even if its just for half an hour.  I’ve even turned up at children’s parties with my kindle in tow and sat down for a read.  I used to read only one book at a time and, although I have changed genre over the years, I tended to stick to one genre at a time.  As a consequence I have read loads of books over different genres.  My favourite genres at the moment are YA and Thrillers, both at the same time is even better.

Books that I have read but wish I hadn’t bothered are:

The Road – Cormack McCarthy – I read this during my Literature degree as the university forums were always full of people who said it was a masterpiece.  I obviously didn’t get it.  I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen, or an explanation of what had happened or what was going to happen.  Maybe you are supposed to gain your own insight into the deadened earth but I didn’t find it.  One of the most depressing books I have ever read.

Another classic wasted on me was:

The Alchemist – this was lent to me by one of my best friends.  She was a philosophy student at the time and couldn’t stop going on about this revelatory book.  I duly borrowed the book and read it,  spent the entire time trying to glean the point and again, failing to do so.  Absolutely nothing happened.  I can remember talking to her about it years later and she admitted she had been nonplussed about it too.  When I asked her why she’d recommended it to me she said she thought I’d ‘get it’ as I was the literature student.  I told her it was completely lost on me and I thought she had ‘got it’ because she was a philosophy student.

During my degree I had to read my fair share of books solely for literature assignments.  The one that stood out the most for all the wrong reasons was:

Candide – Voltaire – The style of writing for this book was what grated on my nerves the most.  For me it was written in one of the most childish, whining voices I have ever had the displeasure to read.  The topic of slavery was not one that I ever wish to revisit either.

Years ago, once I started a book, I would usually finish it, whether I liked it or not, but now, if it doesn’t grab me by the third chapter I put it down.  Life is far too short to read books that you are not interested in.



Fantasy Writing

Have just completed a Fantasy Writing course that I bought after Christmas for myself.  It was only £19 from Wowcher so I thought it was worth a go.  Sadly, I didn’t really learn anything new from it but it did get me thinking that perhaps I have done all of the learning that I can do and should really concentrate on doing some actual writing.  As part of my degree I studied creative writing for a year and already have several short stories and poems that I could work on.  I’ve also got copious amounts of unfinished note books bursting with ideas for short stories and poems so I’m not in short supply of material to work on.  I also found a plan for a fantasy trilogy that I began over 6 years ago, before I began my degree.  I really think that the only thing stopping me, is me.  So I’ve decided to write a little every night.  I’m going to dust off the old laptop and dig out some of my old drafts to rehash.  I really think the time is right for some action.

I also seem to have got myself in a pickle with my blog, I appear to have 2, both with the same name, both on my account and I can never seem to get the right one.  Oh well, it’s certainly a learning curve for me.

Another go

Here I go, about to begin blogging again.  After several attempts at moving my blog along and failing to do so, I decided this time I would give it more attention than I had in the past.  After all, there are no excuses for failure.  I’m no longer studying and can give my blog the attention it deserves…hopefully.  So here goes.

My blog will be about my life in general, book reviews and my own foray into the unknown field of writing.  I am unpublished to date but intend this to change too.  Nothing like high hopes eh?

I have completed my BA (hons) English Language and English Literature and have, as of yet, been unable to put into practice any of the skills I learned during my 5 long years of study.  I’m hoping to start my long thought about (but never done anything about it) novel and would also like to enter a few competitions with my unpublished short stories and poetry.  I will be posting about my progress with these goals for the year and maybe showing off my poetry and short stories to boot.

Why do I write?

I write because I have a fantastically vivid imagination that thinks up all sorts of strange and wonderful things, coupled with the memory of a goldfish.  If I didn’t write, I would never remember the fantastical worlds, amazing scenarios and strange and wonderful creatures that my over active mind conjures up.

I am two weeks away from completing my BA (hons) English Language and Literature degree with The Open University.  I have spent the last 5 years honing my writing skills.  I started off with academic writing.  My first essay resembled a story rather than an academic style essay.  I can look back and laugh at it now but at the time I was completely clueless.  I had to learn what an argument was and how to construct one within my essay.  This actually took me most of the first year to realise, thanks to a particularly unhelpful tutor.  When asked what on earth she meant by an argument, her reply was ‘well its difficult to describe’.  Great… Thankfully my second year Language tutor was able to help and once id learned the basics I was off on my way, constructing arguments with all and sundry.

I also learned how to write reports.  These were required for the Language side of the degree, which was considered to be scientific in requirement, as opposed to the arts side of literature.  I loved learning about language and its uses, didn’t enjoy Halliday’s theory as much and hated the theory side of language.

The literature side of my degree has meant that I was also able to do loads of reading.  I could wonder around with my nose in a book saying ‘its for uni’.  Unfortunately I also had to read stuff that I absolutely hated, I mean really hated.  Shakespeare however was a real revelation.  Loved it, couldn’t get enough of it, did the exam, bought the t-shirt and am now wading through his entire collection, thanks to Norton Shakespeare; a huge tome of a book, of biblical proportions.  Entirely unpractical, you need a suitcase to drag it around with you, a pillow to hold it up and a magnifying glass to read the words.

I ended my degree with a creative writing module.  So now I have learned to write short stories and poetry.  Oh yes, it can be taught.  Poetry was a revelation.  I now have several drafts of several poems on the go, so to speak.  Its actually easier than you think and a lot more satisfying.

So that’s it, why do I write, because I have to!

Second first post

This is my second attempt at blogging, my first attempt failed after the first post. Anyway, after a rather rubbish first attempt I have decided that I’m going to give this a go again. Although, this post was supposed to have been posted yesterday and it is now today…

After being made redundant in January, for the second time in three years, I was forced to re-evaluate my life in several ways. I had hated my job anyway so it was rather a relief to be made redundant, but like most people, I worked because I had to pay the bills and so I had stayed in my awful job. More to come on that at a later date.

I resigned myself to temping for a few months before deciding to take the summer off. After all, when am I ever going to get the chance to take the summer off again…probably when I eventually retire, and so I have spent my summer re-discovering all of the things that I enjoy doing.

I have re-established my love of sewing, making something out of a piece of fabric is such a satisfying thing to do. I have also been busy studying, I am now in my 5th module of a 6 module honours degree which I am taking through Open University.  The end of my degree is now within sight and I am on course to complete my BA (hons) English Language and English Literature in 2016.

My personal journey through studying has opened my mind to a variety of different things. I have discovered a love for linguistics and have researched the history of the English Language and its uses in the world today.  I have discovered an interest in all kinds of literature, from the classics to modern day sci-fi.  I am also writing a novel, which although still in the planning stage due to time constraints of the degree, is something that I have always wanted to do.

I would love to connect with other sewers, readers and writers, actually anyone with an interest is welcome as I love to learn about new things. I love change and I love to be taken out of my comfort zone to face new ideas and challenges.

Hello to everybody

2011 – live your life

On this day in 2011, my mother died after a short but swift lung cancer, which was diagnosed three months previously.  She had been sat on the settee with one of her overfed Jack Russell dogs.  She had brushed the dog away with her arm, which promptly snapped into two.  Yes, her arm had broken.  She had an operation to pin the bones together but it was discovered that she had cancer in her bones.  This was a secondary cancer and her primary cancer had actually spread from her lungs.  Before she died it would also spread to her brain.

The cancer was almost certainly caused by smoking.  Her husband, my step-father (I use the term laughingly) had kept her supplied with cheap and illegal imports, that she chain smoked, often lighting the next cigarette with the last.  The house they lived in was brown, everything was covered in a brown stain, revolting to think about it now.

We had many conversations before she died but one I have never forgotten is when we added up how much she had spent on the cigarettes that were now killing her.  It amounted to at least £250-£300 a month.  We were amazed, she was shocked, I said she could have a weekend away every single month for the price of her cigarettes.  Truth was she could have done a lot of things with that money.

Don’t let life pass you by.  Live every single minute and don’t forget “Shit in…Shit out