Thursday, 14 February 2013

Ch-ch-changes and spreading some love

So, since its Valentines, I've been thinking a lot about how much has changed in my life over the past year.

This time last year I woke up, hungover, next to a rebound guy on my best mates sofa.
This time last year I was heartbroken.
This time last year I was the most stressed I have ever been.

Suffice to say this year has been a hell of an improvement.

I woke up to my phone buzzing at the ripe hour of 7.20am (it was a text from my boss) and spent the day writing an essay. Ok, maybe not a huge improvement then. But I'm not stressed and I'm getting taken out by the fella tonight. So things are looking very much on the up.

It's hard at times like this not to reflect on the past, what the year has brought. Which is what makes it so hard if you're someone who is affected by being single on Valentines. My past V-day's ain't been that good. As I said last year I was hungover and alone, the year before that I was avoiding the guy i was with and broke up with him the next day. Before that I didn't have boyfriends. So, this is a first for me.

I just wanted to spread the love a little. Wherever you are, I hope you have a wonderful day, and whether or not you celebrate St. Valentine, I hope it's filled with love.

If you're missing out on some lovin, I recommend you watch this video, it always causes my heart to burst a little

Love You Bye


Monday, 11 February 2013

On Opinions (the good, the bad and the ugly)

Opinions. Everybody's got 'em. And, in this internet age it's easier than ever to express them (anonymously or otherwise) without 'suffering the consequences'. However, whilst this can be a really good thing, it is also dangerous and damaging. I don't have a particularly strong internet presence, but I'm sure I'm not the only one to have noticed the 'opinion wars' that occur in the comments section of YouTube videos, on blog or Facebook posts, or on Twitter. I've got nothing against a healthy discussion, and I'm very opposed to the 'you're opinion is wrong' tactic (unless you don't think Jennifer Lawrence/Owen Farrell are attractive. In which case, your opinion IS wrong), however, there are ways of noticing when you're typing a 'bad' opinion (note, 'bad' not 'wrong').

For example:

Recently (not that recently I know, but it did cause a bit of a stir) Miley Cyrus cut her hair. DUN dun dun DUN, right? She received a lot of stick for this, however, not all the opinions were the best directed. (Before I type anymore I'm just going to clear up my opinion on this hard hitting matter: I preferred her ballerina bun style, however she's a beautiful woman and can pull anything off. I do think it'd look better in her natural colour, or dyed darker though.)

Here's an example of a 'good' opinion: I don't like Miley's new hair style. I miss her old hair :(

A 'bad' opinion: Ugh, Miley's new hair cut is so not feminine enough. Makes her look like a boy. No guy is ever going to like that.

And a 'just-plain-ugly' opinion: OMFG She looks like a slut/bitch/whore (etc. You get the point).

Whilst it's easy to distinguish the ugly opinion from the others, it's not so easy to tell the difference between the good and bad ones. This is because they are both articulately expressed opinions. However, there is a key difference between the two. The first is commenting on her hair at a purely aesthetic level: It only talks about her hair. The second, however, is making a comment on society. This in itself is not bad thing, however, this particular comment is reinforcing a patriarchal opinion on femininity and what a girl should be or should look like in order to get what every girl wants: 'a guy'. These kind of comments that put value on a women's femininity are such a bad thing for society. They make young women see themselves as 'ugly' for not conforming to a narrow minded standard. As such, this is a 'bad' opinion.

Obviously, this argument works with lots of other situations in which a particular sect of society are told they can't look like/think/do certain things. Which is just bad.

I realise this perhaps wasn't the most eloquently expressed post, but I've got about 10 minutes to go catch a bus!

Best wishes!


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bet Down, Shine Bright

Yesterday at CWS we studied OULIPO poetry (a French movement in which you write with constraints). So, we were each given a phrase and were challenged to write a poem using only letters found in said phrase. Mine was 'Bet Down, Shine Bright' (which I quite like as a little phrase and might to some more work surrounding it). I was quite proud with mine, so I thought I'd share.

Bet Down, Shine Bright

Hit the thing with the ring so it sings;
Now hide.
Tie the tie in a bow then sigh.
Show the bone to the dog,
Show the hog how to sing.
The dog shit,
Hit a nit with a net and neigh.
The dog downs egg-nog
Then snogs the hog.
They sit on the bed with high tog.
Now sing!

It is night and the end is nigh.

Write your own! Pick a random phrase of a website and see what you can do with it! It's a lot of fun!

I promise I'll write about finding a house soon, got three essays due in at the moment and another couple of hundered pages of reading to do by Monday, so I'm going to get on that first!

Best Wishes!


Monday, 4 February 2013

On Meeting Idols (OMGJohnGreenAHHH)

Hullo all,

Sorry I've been a bit rubbish about posting (I would say 'recently' but consider I started this in September (I think?) it technically still is a 'recent' thing so I'm basically saying 'sorry for being rubbish about posting'. So, sorry.) Turns out that this university lark is a lot more work than they say it is... so much for going out and getting trashed/wasted every night!

I have so much to catch you up on, stuff that is actually quite important considering I started this blog to map how I cope being a fresher whilst still living at home (the main thing being I actually have a house for next year now!), but today is not the day when you get to learn about that. Sorry.

Today is the day, however, that I get to eeep and squeal and bounce up and down clapping my hands about the fact that yesterday I met my idol.

We (when I put 'we' here it will mean myself, my sister and (for a majority of the time) two (or sometimes three) of her friends (an occasionally a couple of northerners)) woke up at the bright an breezy hour of 5 am in order to leave our house at 6am in order to get on a bus to London at 6.45am. So that was fun. The bus journey, as most travel experiences are at the hour of the morning, was a couple of hours of mixed excitement, exhaustion, worry and planning. I felt sorry for the other passengers on the bus, who clearly were not as stoked as us, but not sorry enough to turn down the dial on my glowing mood.

We arrived in London 25 minutes ahead of schedule, which was nice and relaxing. However, it also meant we had to spend an extra 25 minutes in the bitter London wind, which wasn't fun. I don't know if a lot of non-Londoners know this - I didn't until we went to London for Les Mis in January - but London doesn't really start until 10am on a regular day. I had assumed it would start up between 8 and 9 like all the other cities in this country, but nope. 10am. Can anybody explain why?? Anyway, so as London starts at 10am on a regular day, we didn't realise that shops wouldn't open till 12am on a Sunday... Our gig/show started at 12am. This meant that there was literally NOTHING TO DO other than wander round in the bitter weather or sit huddled in a cafe. We chose the latter. I'm ashamed to say we huddled in a chain shop rather than a nice local cafe. This was partly because the chain shop was actually open, and partly because we were in Chelsea (specifically Kensington) which is notorious for being a bit expensive (for further reference/to be blown away by appalling acting/to be dumbstruck by wealth and/or beauty/for mind numbing effects: watch Made In Chelsea). At about 11 we decided to seek out the venue, which took us all of ten minutes and if we had any doubts about whether or not it was the right place, the queue quickly settled those. We joined it, got interviewed by a guy with a camera, and entered the venue.

Cadogan Hall is beautiful. Everything looks so clean and so old and its just gorgeous. We walked in and received a signed (and Hanklerfished) copy of  John Green's The Fault In Our Stars, then queued again (because no Brit can resist a good queue) and I bought a poster. Everyone at the venue was lovely. I've never been in an environment when everyone is so excited and happy and wants to meet you and make friends. A group of girls came up to us and offered us home-made and TFioS iced buns!

Then it was time for the show. John came on and said some things about writing TFioS and about writing in general and gave advice and read a bit and was generally beautiful. Here's some of what I remember he said.

He spoke about how long it had taken him to write TFioS, and I don't just mean the many drafts that became TFioS I mean the entire writing process, from wanting to write a book that featured children who were suffering and from wanting to tell the story of them and their family. This began in 2000, when he was working as a chaplain in a children's hospice. The early drafts of TFioS featured a guy who was sort of like John, but (as he said) 'Adverb. Handsome'. Following this he said (for me) his most important piece of writing advice: none of those drafts worked because they were self indulgent. Not only was he writing about himself, but he was also writing for himself. It was only when he began to write for other people, so that other people would enjoy his work, that he became a writer. Writing doesn't work when you write for yourself, or if you write to be popular or if you write to sell. As John said, he never expected TFioS to sell - so clearly he shouldn't be trusted with things like that.

Amongst all this profundity and life advice - do things for other people not just for yourself - he also said a lot of funny things. There is a line in the first few pages of TFioS where it says that everything is a side effect of dying, including cancer. Which I know doesn't sound all that funny, but it was his defence of this line (which many people disagree with) that was funny. He said that cancer is form from the death of cells, which then have to reform, as cells that don't go through this process don't get cancer. We know this because Zombies don't get cancer. John Green, everybody.

He also spoke a lot about a certain nerdfighter called Esther Earl. You can find her in the links at the bottom of this page (you can also find where to donate to This Star Won't Go Out - the charity founded in her memory). He, through Esther, was taught that however short life is it deserves to be lived. This comes across in TFioS. It is also very poignant that the story is set from the point of view of a sick person, and about their life. All too often, stories are about helathy people. They seem to suggest that the sick person is put on the planet to help them learn something. But of course one person is not alive to help another. They are there for themselves too, and if they help you along the way then that's a bonus.

After all of this, Hank came on and played some songs, they both answered questions put to them by special guest Maureen Johnson, Hank got slapped, he played some more songs and they closed with the Proclaimers 500 miles. We waited two hours in a signing queue, got our stuff signed, had a brief chat and left, very happy people.

I'm not going to go into detail about what I said to John or what I said to Hank or what they said to me, because it wasn't that groundbreaking and it's special to me. I left them both letters, which said everything I knew I wouldn't be able to say (because of time and general flusteryness). I also left a letter for Rosianna (Halse Rojas, missxrojas on the tubes) because I knew she was going to the show later, but then I saw her down stairs, said hi and thank you a lot. We left, went to another chain shop, got food, got a bus, slept a lot, got home.

It was one of those days I won't ever forget. I met the man who inspired me to read differently, to write with purpose, to be the best person I can be. And I met his equally amazing brother. And I met the beautiful Rosianna.
I think a lot of people freak out when they meet their idols. I didn't meet my idol that day, I met a man. A brilliant man, but a man none the less. He was tired, his arm was probably about to fall off and when it was over, he had to do it all again two hours later. He wasn't this amazing being, but he was human. And that was what made the day so special. I got to meet the human who did so much for me. I got to say thank you to him. I got to give him my letter. I got to tell him,

Best Wishes

John and Hank: