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Sunday 27 June 2010

Sunday Shout Out

I know a lot of you who read this blog want to know more about M.E/C.F.S. and I have written here as best I can, how this disability effects me.  Recently I came across another sufferer's blog who also suffers with NEAD (Non Epileptic Attack Disorder) and have found it to be one of the most truthful accounts of how it feels to live with such disabilities.  ME, myself and NEAD is not a blog filled with hopeful and positive messages, but nor does it make the situation worse than it is - it simply explains one person's life.  Although some of the posts may be upsetting, I strongly recommend anyone who wants to know how either of these disabilities can effect a life to go and read it.

Friday 25 June 2010

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I picked this book up simply for the title but after having read it I know I'll be reading it again and raving to everyone I meet about it.  Because, in case you couldn't guess, I LOVED it.  This book is for anyone who is interested in letters, literature, Guernsey, people and WWII.

The story is told through a series of letters written to and from many of the characters.  I've always wanted to write a story like this but found diary form hard enough, but this book made it seem easy.  Through the letters, the reader has no option but to become attached to the main character Juliet and the group of friends she makes in Guernsey who make up the society. 

The reader is led through Juliet's story in the present (just after the war) and also Elizabeth's - the creator of the Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society - during the German occupation.  This book was informative and brought the characters and the setting alive in a way that retelling here would not give it any credit so I'll simply say - read it yourself and I promise that you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Get Offline

I spend probably far too much time in front my laptop screen.  I love my laptop.  It gives me access to facebook, emails, blogs and it's where I do a majority of my writing.  Not to mention that I can do all of this sitting down, and with M.E. that's definitely a bonus.

But I try not to spend all day online or writing onto a screen.  For starters, it doesn't help the headaches/migraines.  And for the rest of it - I don't want to just live in virtual reality.  I want to live my real life in the real world. 

So the rest of the day I read, write by hand, rest, watch dvds (though I try not to do this too much either), talk, and lately I've been making sure that I go outside for at least a few minutes every day.  Fresh air is very good.  But mainly, I just try and live and notice everything.  As a writer I feel that, as much as I love words, it wouldn't be a great idea to live my life solely through words.  If I did, how would I know what real people do, what they want to know about, what they want to read?  So I go out into the world and people watch.  Or I just discuss anything with the people around me (like the tax cuts and VAT rise today).  This helps me to form opinions and use my imagination.  I'm certainly not saying I want to shove my opinions on anyone (though I guess I do with this blog - but you choose to read it) but I need to know what my opinions are.

And today my opinion is to remember that the real world exists.  You may be able to do everything from a computer now, but that doesn't mean you should.  Smell the grass, hear the lawnmower, taste your dinner, enjoy your senses and your life and your writing will be so much fuller.

Monday 21 June 2010

Continuing my Novel

Regular followers of my blog will remember that I attempted NaNoWriMo last year and didn't get very far.  I have left the word count up on this blog and finally have added to it.  Yesterday I decided it was time to get back to the novel after writing a few short stories.

The main problem I have is that I'm just not that excited about this story anymore.  No, that's not entirely true.  I'm excited about the story but I'm not excited about being the one to tell it.  And honestly I don't know if it will stretch to novel length (one of the reasons I'm writing it, to find out how long it will be).  It's not in my usual genre, though in fairness I don't know what my usual genre is yet.  But this one is very specific - YA Fantasy/Dystopian/Adventure and I know that that's not what I want to be writing in the future (though I'll never say never).

So why am I writing it anyway?  Because I want to finish it.  I've been working on this idea literally for years.  It's almost like I have to get it out of the way before I can start seriously writing.  I also want to know if I can write a story of novel length - so far everything I've written has been a short story.  Though I am wondering if perhaps short stories are better for me as I don't have to stay excited about them for as long - it's much easier to move onto new ideas with short stories.  And I figure that writing of any form is good.  I'm getting words onto the page (or screen, technically) and that can't be a bad thing (even if they are pretty atrocious and would need a LOT of editing).

Sunday 20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day

Today I was quite surprised to see how many people have dedicated their blogs to their fathers and husbands.  I totally feel that this day should be celebrated but at school it was always Mother's Day that we had to fuss over.  We didn't make Father's Day cards as not every child had a Dad.  Well, news flash, not every child has a Mum either.  Personally I feel that both should be treated the same - parents are to be celebrated.  Children should be taught to be grateful for their parents.

Then again, I don't really have the right to say that as I was one of the lucky ones who has two very loving parents.  I love my Mum and I love my Dad - both equally.  But it is easier for me to express it to my Mum so know that sometimes my Dad gets left by the wayside.  This isn't because I don't love him as much.  More that we are both so similar in personality that it can be hard to show emotions.  I doubt my Dad will read this but if he does stumble here then I want to tell him that I love him and think he (and my Mum) is completely awesome and I couldn't have asked for a better Dad.

Thursday 17 June 2010

My Needs

As you probably know, I've been participating in the Creativity Boot Camp.  However, since this weekend I have to admit I haven't been doing any writing.  I am inspired by the quotes and the prompts but simply haven't had the energy to do it everyday (or at all).  But I've decided to not worry about it.  Maegan is keeping the site up for a month after it finishes (which is in two days) so I don't feel pressured.  I feel that this is very important.  If I tried to write now, when my mind and body are this exhausted, I can guarantee I won't be half as creative and therefore won't be feeling the full benefits from the course, if any.  I don't want that to happen.  I don't want my writing and my creativity to become a chore.  If it becomes a chore I don't want to do it and I don't enjoy it - so what would be the point.

My writing is important to me, it is part of who I am.  So, to me, that means that I should treat it with respect.  I do write when I don't want to (sometimes) but writing and pushing myself when I'm unable is not the way to go.  So I try to follow my own schedule which mainly consists of being aware of my body's needs.  What I'm trying to get across here is that pushing yourself can be good but if you push past your limits it's likely to cause more problems than it solves.  I am not prepared to put my health on the line for my writing - if I did then I would never be able to write comfortably again.  It's about knowing yourself and following your own needs, not anyone elses. 

I hope this makes sense.  As I've said, I am physically and mentally exhausted but so inspired and motivated that I had to let it out somewhere (which is exactly what I feel my blog is for).

Sunday 13 June 2010

Sunday Shout Out

This week I'd like to shout out to a fellow M.E. sufferer, Lucy who has recently started her own business Heaven Is A Cupcake.  Having tasted her cupcakes I can vouch for their amazingness and anytime she has new pictures up my mouth starts watering.  So hop on over and feast your eyes on her fantastic designs.  The blog is still in it's infancy so it would be great if you could follow her along and give her the support she deserves.

[Picture belongs to Heaven Is A Cupcake]

Saturday 12 June 2010

Day 7 - Fly

It has just occurred to me that I've never shared any of my fictional writing here on my blog - I always seem to give you mini essays on my thoughts.  This certainly isn't a bad thing but I've decided that perhaps it's time to share some writing.  Please feel free to constructively critisize but remember that this isn't work that I'm planning on continuing or perfecting in any way.  While I am working on some stories to submit for publication you can understand why I don't want to share any of that on such a public forum as the internet.

All this week I have been writing short scenes or beginnings of stories based on the prompt words that have been given by Maegan in the Creativity Boot Camp (click button to your right to be taken to the course).  Today's word is 'fly'.

Shelly looked out of the window and realised with a jolt that they were moving. This was it; she couldn't escape now.  She pumped her hands a few times wishing she'd brought something to fiddle with.  She picked up the sheet slipped into the back of the seat in front of her.  She glanced at the pictures first - how to put on your seatbelt.  Shelly started reading.

It was only when her ears popped that she realised the plane was now in flight.  Technically it was still going up.  Shelly peered cautiously out of the window and almost jumped back in shock.  She knew that it would be flying high but hadn''t really understood just how small everything below would seem.  She turned over the laminated safety sheet and continued reading.  Before finishing the first paragraph she hurridly popped it back in the pouch.  She didn't want to know what to do in case of emergency.  It would probably be better to die straight out anyway.  Then again she might get stuck amongst the rubble and slowly starve to death.  Shelly hurridly picked the instruction sheet up again and began to read.

So please comment with your opinions and let me know if you'd like to see more of my work here on this blog.

What Happened to Men Power?

I have been looking around the blog-o-sphere lately in the search for motivation, inspiration and creativity.  What I have found has overwhelmed me.  I have come to realise that there are oh so many women standing up and grabbing their potential.  It really is amazing how supportive of each other these women are and as a result how amazing the work they produce is.  But I am beginning to wonder where are the men?  I'm all for women power, don't get me wrong, but mainly I'm for equality.  I believe that anything men can do, women can do.  But surely that phrase should stand the other way as well?  Anything women can do, men can do.  I'm sure they can, afterall, photography is still mainly dominated by men, or so I'm told.  So where is the evidence of this?  I haven't found many blogs written by men?  Is it that they aren't inspirational and creative or that they show it in another place (in which case - where are they?).  I'm seriously confused.  While women are rising up and proving that they can make in a man-dominated world, the men seem to be in the background and happy to stay quiet and alone in any endeavours they might partake in.

Thursday 10 June 2010

I Am Not A Brand

I started this blog as a way to connect to people but to be truthful the main reason was that when I finally get published (which I will do some day) I would have a place where I could plug my work so you, my readers who have followed me for so long, will buy it.  I'm not saying I won't do that - in fact, I can guarantee that I will be doing it when the time comes.

But I now realise that I got it wrong.  I was trying to brand myself - I was selling myself and therefore tried to put myself in a little box.  When this first occurred to me I decided to start my other blog so that I could show myself for who I really am - a person.  But it is only in the past week, since I have started doing The Creativity Boot Camp that I have come to realise that there is so much more to the internet, and to myself.  I am discovering community and while I haven't made any friends yet, I know I have found supportive and inspiring people who I want to connect with.  I don't want to sell them anything, especially not myself.  I want to learn who I am through them.

And today I read this Manifesto by Maureen Johnson.  Here is a little of what she says but I strongly recommend you read the whole thing - you will realise that you are not a brand, that you deserve to be not only the best of yourself but just yourself especially in places such as the internet.

"The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people—talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare . . . but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand—tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people."
 I am proud to admit that I am not a brand.  I am myself.  I am a person.  And I deserve to be treated as such and so do you.  So I am going to be working on not putting myself in a little box but being myself and I hope that in doing so I will be able to inspire others and use my potential at the same time as proving that I don't have to be just one thing, and neither do you.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Working Together

Today I made a lilypad from a napkin in Costa. It is something I learnt a long time ago from my Grandmother.  Anyway, as it sat on the table between myself and my boyfriend we started blowing it from one end to the other.  It didn't take us long to realise that if we both blew at the same time then, sometimes, we could actually float the lilypad and hold it up in the air.  OK, not for particularly long periods but it looked like it was suspended in air and that the law of gravity didn't apply.  This only worked when we both worked together, never when one of us tried it by ourselves.

I think that many things in life follow the same rule.  We may be able to make a difference by ourselves - we each managed to move the lilypad without any help from the other; but when we work together we can create the seemingly impossible.  It is through partnership and coming together that we can change the world.  Everyone is a powerful being but imagine if the whole world stopped working against each other and started working together, imagine what could be achieved.  Sharing ideas makes a huge difference.  It creates a sense of community and motivation - when people come together they change the world.

Monday 7 June 2010


As you probably have noticed I am trying out a new look for my blog - it is something I will be working on for the next week (I have great ideas for my tag system) so please excuse any problems or disasters I manage to cause.  Saying that, if you notice something wrong, please let me know as it may be something I have overlooked and I want this blog to be the best it can be.

Saturday 5 June 2010


Today I watched 'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium' I have to say I was disappointed.  However, it really did hammer home the point that you have to believe in yourself before you can succeed. (It may have hammered home the point a little too much - one of the reasons I was disappointed.)  I doubt I'll ever be able to make a toy shop come alive with magic, but that doesn't mean I have to stop believing.  When people stop believing in magic (fate, luck, whatever you want to call it) it will be a very sad day.

However I do believe that believing is not enough.  I can believe I'm going to be a big name in the writing world til my face is blue but unless I actually write something (ok, probably a lot of somethings) it's never going to happen.  I think it takes believing and hard work to achieve.  We have to believe or else why would we continue trying but we have to keep trying as otherwise it is a waste of time to believe.  Find your dreams, believe in your dreams and work hard for your dreams and there is every possiblility they will come true.  Of course, this is the real world so they might not, but you'll never know if you don't give it your best shot.

Friday 4 June 2010

Sex And The City 2 Review

It was with a little trepidation that I walked into the cinema with my best friend.  The things we had heard - iPhone ad, no plot, etc - were a little worrying but as Sex And The City fans we couldn't very well not go.  As it is, I am so glad I went and will definitely be buying it on DVD when it comes out.  OK, so there was one line about an iPhone that jarred, and there were a few too many famous people (Liza Minneli - though you can't say she can't sing, Miley Cyrus - who does nothing but stand there, Penelope Cruz - who's an extra?) but overall those things didn't really ruin the film.

Now, you probably want to know why it was good and why I'm going to be raving for a few weeks about it.  Because, in my opinion, it was way better than the first film and there is every chance that I will see it again while it's still in cinemas.  It was better than the first film simply because the first one depressed the crap out of me.  It ruined the ending of the series and it makes me want to curl up in a ball and eat ice cream.  This film did non of the above.  It made the cinema laugh out loud and I even heard some clapping going on at certain lines.  That to me means it's a hit.  Everyone loves to laugh and that's why we're there - to be entertained.

Entertainment isn't all this film offers.  It looks into the customs of cultures/places (Abu Dhabi in the Middle East to be specific) where women are still considered inferior and for the first time I truly felt appreciation for the fact that I can wear what I like, I can kiss who I like, where I like and no one will bat an eyelid.  I will admit that even for SATC the feminist issues were a little in your face but when the women surrounding the four main characters are covered head-to-toe it would have been hard not to have been.

I won't be surprised if no man ever wants to see this film (though it is probably the most male-friendly 'episode' of SATC) and ladies, DON'T force your men to go with you, seriously, it's really not a good idea, but for every woman I would say this is a definite hit.  Yes, even YOU (Cassie and Kelly - that it includes you!)  I give this film a huge thumbs up.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Notes From Underground Competition

As you may have noticed I have something new under tags (to your right ------->) and this is because I think this competition run by The Literary Lab sounds really interesting. It is completely open to any and every type of writing, if you need any more ideas check here.  The first part of the competition (where you submit your idea(s)) is open until August 15th but if you are lucky enough to get to the next stage you'll have 3 months in which to actually write your piece(s).  Now if you'll excuse me, I have some serious thinking to do.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

My Favourite Childhood Books

I have always loved books and I believe that it is my love of books that has made me love writing so much.  I want to join the legions of people who inspire, change, entertain, provide an escape through their words.  Now, I have read a ridiculous number of books and I wouldn't be able to describe them all here - in fact I can't remember most of them unless I have a little reminder (be that an idea, the title or a scene).  But there are a few that stand out in my mind, ones I read when I was younger that have made an impact on me.  And the fact that I remember them inspires me to share them with you.

I read the entire Green Gables series (6 books in all though there are others based around the same characters) after seeing the film.  The first chapter, I remember I hated, it was long and boring, but once I got past that I loved every second of it.  I wanted to be Anne Shirley - in fact, the year my primary school participated in World Book Day I dressed as her only to find that no one, not even the teachers knew who she was (I was absolutely horrified as I had believed that at least the teachers would understand).  I'm also pretty certain that this is where my love of auburn hair originates from - I've always wanted auburn hair as to me it's the most beautiful colour, it's the colour Anne strives towards (to her, her hair is plain, boring red) and I've realised that I am more likely to be attracted to someone with auburn hair. Anne taught me to believe in myself and to work hard to get where I want to go.  I want to read this series again but it is with some trepidation as after rereading 'Little Women' by L. M. Alcott, I found that is wasn't half as good as I remembered it (this also happened with 'Jane Eyre' so is it a wonder I'm uncertain about rereading possibly the most influential book on my childhood.

I can't remember when I read 'The Flawed Glass' and nor do I remember much about it other than it deals with disability.  The reason I've included it here is because even all these years later I remember the feelings it brought up in me and I can clearly see the setting of the island in my mind - now if that's not visual writing I don't know what is.  I'm not sure how realistic this book is but it shows simple times when disability wasn't really understood and how one person can make a huge difference to someone's life.  I am definitey going to reread this over the summer just to find those passages of beauty and wind on my face recollections.

I absolutely loved Enid Blyton as a child.  To me, the characters lived the perfect childhood with picnics and girl's boarding schools.  For years I wanted to be in a boarding school and felt that my parents were stifling my brilliance by keeping me at home.  That was until we visited a boarding school and once I realised that they are nothing like the places of midnight feasts in the stories, my love for them dissipated.  Despite the unrealisticness of much of Blyton's writing they are something I feel should be shared with every child.  Though I am very angry at the 'politically correct' versions now being published.  How are children going to know what 'gay' originally meant if they never hear it in it's original context and have the chance to ask?  But political correctness is something for another post.  I now collect Enid Blyton books though I have no where near a full collection, I haven't been able to read all those I own yet.

In A Blue Velvet Dress is an incredibly moving and beautiful ghost story.  The main character is an avid reader and I think that that's probaby why she's stayed with me so long.  I don't really remember the aspects of the ghost story but I know it is when I realised that ghosts don't have to be scary and there is something sad about lost souls who have got stuck on Earth.  It changed my whole view on what is scary and why.  Perhaps ghosts scare us because the give the thought of being left behind or being on our own?

OK, so I didn't read this when I was a child, I read it only a few years ago but since then I have really wanted to read it again (if only there weren't so many books for me to read).  It combines two time periods and manages to weave them together almost seamlessly and the story is beautiful and artistic.  This is a book I would recommend to children and adults alike as everyone has something to learn from it.  It opened my mind to taking in everything and allowing other people, customs and ideas into my mind.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite books, why don't you share yours in the comments.  Is there a writer or story that has stayed with you or has a special meaning for you?

25 Things

I was tagged by Sarah to write 25 Things about myself.  I have decided to post this on my other blog (psst over here) as that is where I share my personal life and feel it would be more fitting there.