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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Wedding Ring

Today I went to a poetry reading and so it is almost with some shame that I begin this post. Surely in all that creativity I found something more important than a wedding ring to write about. But it hasn't only been today that I've considered this. The wedding ring, as far as I'm aware is an outward sign that you have made vows binding you to another, it lets us singles know that you're off the market and no need to think further than this. While today I wouldn't have been interested in any of the members there (through no fault of their own, simply a rather large age gap) I noticed how none of the men were wearing rings on the fourth finger of the left hand. This normally doesn't bother me - many people are unmarried or divorced in these times. But they were married. This is what confused me - they were openly talking about times with their wives, one even had his wife with him (sporting a wedding ring and an engagement ring on that special finger). So why weren't they wearing the rings. Granted, they may no longer be married for whatever reason - though that wasn't the impression I was getting. I just don't understand why it's totally acceptable for a man to not wear the ring when for a woman it would be unheard of.

I've never been big on marriage but that's my choice. I simply feel that those who chose this endeavour should at least carry it through by wearing a simple token - it can't be that hard to keep a ring on your finger. Unless I'm completely wrong (in which case I hope you take the time to leave a comment and let me know) there still seems to be a double standard where men and women stand. A woman who is married must show to the world that she has been spoken for; a man apparantly stands by no such expectation.

Friday, 29 May 2009

A Reason to Moan

Lately it has been hot, really hot, here in the UK. Sun shining, few clouds and even managed a decent gust of warm breeze today. So why am I longing for the warmth of winter? The winter months bring snow, rain (granted, most months bring that) and Christmas and so are to be looked upon fondly. At least if the weather outside is cold, I can warm myself up with curling up in a hoodie in my bed with a cup of hot chocolate - in this heat I am struggling to cool myself down. And so I moan that it is too hot. But in the winter, I know that I will be moaning that it is too cold and I long for the summer months (or weeks as it usually is).

The weather, it seems, has always been the topic to complain about. Of course, those who have real problems are totally entitled to moan about those. But the rest of us, it seems, need a good moan and the weather is what pulls the short straw. That way, we won't find ourselves in an awkward situation where gossip has found its way back to its subject. And we know ourselves to be in the safety of the topic - it's what us brits are expected to talk about to strangers, and it's unlikely to offend. So is it simply that the weather is a British subject? Or are we all just chronic moaners?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Whizzpopping for the Queen

When Roald Dahl first submitted his manuscript of the BFG, he was told he couldn't have the main character whizzpopping - parents would just not appreciate it. So what did Dahl do? He added a scene where the BFG whizzpops for the Queen. We all know that this version was published - whether because it was so outrageous that it would work or simply because Roald Dahl was already a well known children's writer is unknown. But we do know that the scene with the BFG whizzpopping for the Queen is one of the most remembered episodes of any Dahl book.

Does our work have to be truly shocking to get noticed? As a writer, do I need to find something that will horrify and disturb the reader, simply to get readers and to be remembered? My dad has a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover on his bookshelf; not because it is a great book (I haven't read it so am not saying it isn't) but because it was banned. I'm not sure if he's read it or not, but he has it.

And in our modern society, where people have seen everything and are compelled to be open-minded, with freedom of speech, how do we find something controversial to keep ourselves from being forgotten? Should we start a piece of work in the hopes that the controvesy will make it well read?

My personal belief is that the artist should create for the love of his art and not for what they think people want or will respond to. It is only this way in which anything of true value can be made. However, that's not to say I haven't been tempted to add something into my work for the sake of controvesy - though I have found many of my pieces have something in them already, unintended and therefore true.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Carnival day

I have many great memories of carnivals, parades and fetes. When I was a child we went to the local procession every year. I remember them throwing sweets out to us and my dad having bags of coppers for us to put in the buckets. They're no longer allowed to throw things out to the crowd due to health and safety and if there were any buckets to throw money in to, I wouldn't have noticed today. Today I went to my local carnival - this was different than any year before as I am now at uni and so in an entirely different town.

When I say I wouldn't have noticed the buckets, it's not because I was too enraptured with the floats and costumes - it's because I'm not tall, I was near the back and I could barely see anything. Though what I did see was pretty impressive.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the town and park where the rest of the carnival was taking place. In all honesty, I was disappointed. Other than the parade, I didn't see anything visual at all. There was every kind of music, blasting from loud speakers on every other road - even when I went home, I could still hear it blaring into my room.

But by news standards, it was probably considered a great success. The weather held out - so much so that I now have a red tinge to my skin and spent the day sweltering, unable to truly enjoy anything (though it was a great excuse to wear my sunglasses) and many, many people turned up. Again, too many for me to be able to enjoy anything - hence being unable to see much of the parade.

Does anyone really enjoy these carnival days? Is everyone walking around, wishing they didn't have to put up with the masses shoving them around and too many music stations, that all they can hear is noise - or is it just me? The worst of it is, I know that next year I will go once again in the hope that it will be as good as I remember from when I was a child and if I haven't completely forgotten how exhausting it was this year, I'll still hope for the best. Maybe carnivals simply exist for those who are in them (I used to be in the parade at one point and loved it, or at least I loved the preparation for it) and for children, and the rest of us just show up because there's nothing better to do.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Looking Forward

Have you ever noticed how we organise our life by what is going to happen? We fill up events on our calenders - mine is particularly full right now as the local arts festival gets into full swing - and make notes of things we want to do. But how often do we stop and realise that while we're busy planning our lives, our lives are actually happening right now? And does the waiting for something give it false expectation which it's unlikely to be able to deliver?

Films, for example, are something I often look forward to. Currently I'm eagerly waiting for the next Happy Potter installment, Alice in Wonderland and Disney's Repunzel. The latter two aren't out for at least another year yet and so I worry about how bad they will be in comparison to what I imagine in my mind. And with good reason - I waited months and months for Coraline and when it came out foolishly went to see it in 3D, only to be bitterly disappointed. Not because the film wasn't good - the concept and design were incredible, just not up to my heightened expectations of the wait. I should add that I really don't have much idea of what is actually in the cinemas now, as I'm waiting for what will be out next year.

So often we go to the events that have been planned for months and while we are there, we are talking, or at least thinking, about what we will be doing what we get home, next week, next month. We are so preoccupied with organising our future that we forget we are living it right now.

Friday, 22 May 2009


A fairytale to many of us is a happy story where the pretty princess ends up with the handsome and brave knight. They mimic todays idea of a fairy - pretty, light and good. This is not true at all - most fairys are evil and honestly, pretty ugly, as were the originals of many of the fairytales we know today.

I don't remember the point when fairytales stopped being the Disney version of happy ever after, and became warped and sinister. When I first found out that in the original Red Riding Hood she is raped by the wolf, for veering off the path, I was horrified. I know it actually makes more sense than the fluffy version we are all fed as children as this story has a clear moral - don't walk off the path when you've been told not to, but still, the idea of the childhood fantasy had been ruined for me. From that day on I've known that everything has a dark side, and fairytales are no exception - in fact I'd go as far as to say that actually some fairytales are darker than anything I've read or seen elsewhere. But is this because I know the happy ending, fluffy, smily versions? Is it because they are against a backdrop or childhood innocence, that I find them so dark and, likewise, so alluring?

I still love watching a good Disney film, and they've never been destroyed for me by knowing that most of them come from something much more sinister. But I will continue to be fascinated by this darkness and the bleak look of the world that the originals gave us.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


Apparantly everyone has secrets. I stumbled across the PostSecret website which is publishing a book of people's secrets. You can send your secret annonoymously on a postcard and it will be posted on the site or printed in the book for the world to see. The only rule is that it has to be a secret that you've never told anyone ever before. This is where I had a problem - I really like the idea and would love to send something in but I don't think there's anything about me that someone doesn't know. I can keep secrets, just not my own. So my question is am I the only person who doesn't have a secret? I am capable of keeping secrets; just not my own.

And this led me to wonder if secrets are such a bad thing. Obviously I believe in being completely open about everything, often to the point where I scare people by my honesty. But if everyone was more open about how they felt about certain things then surely there wouldn't be so many arguments. So many break-ups between partners, friends and family are to misunderstantings. If everyone just opened up that little bit more, these mistakes would be rectified and the world would be a better place. OK, so it probably wouldn't lead to world peace, but it might lead to a clear conscience - I know I never feel guilty about anything as it isn't my fault, I let them know how I felt.

So open up and let your best friend or mother or a complete stranger learn something about you.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

No, I don't care about everyone else!

Yes, that exclamation mark is there on purpose - and I almost wrote exclamation point, way too much American tele for me.

It's true - I don't care about you and I certainly don't care that Jordan and Peter Andre broke up. Don't ask me when, I only found out today as the story was featured quite helpfully on' msn today' which pops up when I just want to check if anyone I know is online for a chat. I don't need to know what is happening to celebrities and I never read the news. Recently I have had to make myself visit the BBC website as I realised I was reaching critical self-absortion when my Mum told me about swine flu a couple of weeks ago and I had never heard of it. I just don't see what anything has to do with me. As a writer, I am constantly told to find out things, discover what is happening in the rest of the world as it is important. But that's my point exactly - it's not important to me. Unless I catch swine flu, and lets face it the chances are slim to none, then I don't care.

Saying all that, I do care about individual stories. Not the stories of celebrities or anything earth-shattering. But everyday stories, how everyday people live their everyday lives. Yes, I'll admit it is because I'm nosey but also, that's what I care about. I want to know how someone, other than me, lives - I already know how I live. What someone had for dinner, why they went to see that film, the conversation they had on the phone to their sister - these are the stories that I find fascinating. And that's what I want to write about. I want my stories to reflect reality, showing snippets of lives (even if they are imaginary) as everyone I have ever met has found the idea of living, the actual moment to moment part of it, a bit confusing. Knowing that other people get through it gives us hope that we can get through it too.

Perhaps that is why we have become obsessed with gossip papers, and more recently Twitter - the place that where you can document every little thing you are doing right now. Even in the past we wrote letters and before that, there were the town criers letting the world know the details.

I realise that this post has landed in a rather different place from where it started, and certainly not what the label promised - but how often do we get what we're promised? - That's a topic for a blog another day.

So I'll leave you with the pondering - what has happened to you today that seemed completely ordinary, barely worth a second thought, that someone like me might find real life in?

An Introduction

It has taken me a while, but I find I have finally found my blogging style/voice, whatever you wish to call it. And so, for me that means I need a brand new blog to start afresh.

Basically, I plan to blog about thoughts I have. Provoked by everyday living - it is in the magic of the insignificant I find interest and so wish to share it with you. In fairness, it is true that this is incredibly pompous, the whole act of blogging is. It is writing with the expectation of being read and having people care. As a writer of fiction, I always want people to read my work, but now I am expecting them to read the nonsense I spew to my friends as well.

So until I have a thought - which I'm hoping will come at least once a week if I can't make it everyday - I will leave you to continue browsing the world of personal stories at your fingertips.