Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My To-Do List

  • Take your time with your coursework and actually get it done long before it's due in. Not the night before, you're only going to make yourself sick.
  • Finish and send off your MA applications. Don't leave them until the last minute like an idiot.
  • Get your ears pierced again- you've been thinking about it long enough.
  • Take more risks and make more mistakes. Make more of a fool of yourself (if that's even possible) and don't let yourself get scared out of anything.
  • Fall in love. Deeply. Never regret it.
  • Lose weight.
  • Keep it off.
  • Love your body. It's not perfect, but it's yours.
  • Learn to play the acoustic guitar.
  • Never miss a chance to let your family and friends know that you love them.
  • Stop talking about all the novels you'd like to write and WRITE THEM. You could do it if you'd just put your mind to it.
  • Start singing and acting again. You know you miss it.
  • Read all those bloody books that have been gathering dust on your shelves for years. I know you have a lot of work, but you can afford a break once in a while to read something you enjoy.
  • Find a part-time job somewhere. Anywhere. It's not fair on your Mum and Dad that you never have any spare money of your own to fall back on.
  • Find another one in Lancaster when you return for your MA. You can get out and meet new people.
  • Travel. Go to Northern Ireland and America and Mexico and Portugal and anywhere else that catches your eye.
  • Say yes more.
  • And say no when you need to.
  • If you're still thinking about Thailand this time next year then go and do it. It will be amazing.
  • Listen to advice.
  • Ignore it when necessary. (Note: as you are still very young and stupid this will be most of the time)
  • Always ask questions.
  • Take more photos- you want memories to show your children.
  • Smile. Life is good.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Choices, choices, choices

So this year my university have decided to offer its students an alternative choice to exams. Rather than taking an exam, we can approach the department with the idea for a mini dissertation and write 6,000 words of coursework on the module rather than an exam.
    Honestly, I'm sort of struggling to decide what to do. When I first heard it I thought 'psht, don't be ridiculous; you're good at exams' which, not trying to blow my own horn or anything, I am. I find it easy to work under that kind of pressure because I love the idea of just writing for three hours and then having everything over and done with. Coursework hangs over your head for weeks. On top of that, there's a very high chance the mini dissertation will be due in around the same time as my actual dissertation, so I'll have enough work to do next term anyway.
    I only have one exam this year anyway because all of my other modules are coursework based, so really I shouldn't be considering this new option at all. However, we've been doing some of the History plays in my Shakespeare module these past three weeks and I'm really enjoying them; particularly the way in which the politics and power shifts in them. There should be a question on that subject in the exam anyway, but if there isn't I'll kick myself if I know there's a chance I could have done a mini dissertation on just that and gotten a good mark for it.
    I dunno. Life's full of too many choices right now and I'm thinking ahead when I actually have two assignments to finish today/tomorrow. So, on that note, I'd better get back to Lacan and his psychoanalytical theories. Fun times.

    Toodles! J.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Just Your Average Student Panic

I'm having one of those horrible days where I have no idea what I'm doing with my life, or in which direction it's going. It's pretty damn terrifying, as I'm supposed to be graduating next year. Luckily for me I don't need to find a career right this second as I'm hoping to return to university for another year for postgraduate study; this is something I've wanted to do since first year, but I'm even starting to question that. Do I only want to do it because I don't know what job I want yet? And what if I still have no idea what to do after that year of postgraduate study is over?
     I have a dream job, of course, like everyone else. I'd love to be a published author, but unlike so many other talented people out there I have yet to find the time to sit down and actually write a novel. I have several ideas, but the sensible part of me has always made me prioritise my degree and I don't regret that decision. However I realise that there is never a 'good time' to write a novel, you just have to make yourself do it. Like so many other things in life, I think I'm just being rather cowardly.
     I'm not as depressed as I sound right now. I'm actually very happy; I'm loving my modules at university, I love my friends and I've found a wonderful place in the Lit Community on deviantART. It's just my future I'm worried about, and everything I still haven't done that I thought I would have done by now. I haven't fallen in love yet, I haven't visited so many places that I really want to visit yet and I haven't gotten anything published yet.
     I guess 'yet' is the most important word there. I don't want to inflict a downer on anyone who happens to be reading this, so I'm going to look on the bright side of this situation. I'm not as young as I was last year, but I'm still pretty damn young. I still intend to all those things I have yet to do, and I can't wait for when they happen; I just hope at least one of them happens soon. That'd be nice.
     I hope everything's going well where you are! 
     Toodles! J.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Oh how I wish I could take part this year!
     Like every year since I learnt about the existence of NaNoWriMo I have far too much work to even think of taking part. This is a huge pain in the butt, as I have an idea for a novel that's been running around in my head for well over a year, but my degree has to come first. I have a ten thousand word dissertation to do for April, a three thousand word Shakespeare essay due in in a few weeks, a five thousand word Victorian essay to do over Christmas, another five thousand word Gothic essay next term and an eight thousand word Creative Writing portfolio due in in March.
     In other words, I have a lot of work.
     On the plus side it means I'm never without something to do, and I bet I'll miss this feeling at the end of the year when I have weeks and weeks of nothing before my graduation.
     Graduation. Now there's a scary word.
     Well I'm gonna get back to reading Treasure Island and calming my raging hormones with spoonfuls of Greek yogurt. Because this - this right here - is student living.
     Toodles! J.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Agnes Grey Review

There is no doubt about it, I adore this book.
     In my personal opinion Anne Brontë is so very underappreciated in the literary world because she is overshadowed by Emily and Charlotte. I cannot deny that both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are fine pieces of literature, but there is something so much more real in Anne's narrative that I love.
     She is honest about the world and the brutal way that it works without needing to add a gothic element to it. Yes, Agnes can sometimes appear a little too perfect compared to the other characters in the novel, but there is something so genuinely kind about her that it does not bother me in the slightest. I want to appreciate how sweet she is as a person because I fully believe that she deserves to be appreciated.
     One of the best things in the novel? Why Mr. Weston of course!
     I did not read the book purely for the male lead, but as a character and love interest he was perfectly charming. I have never quite been able to understand Heathcliff's popularity among women; realistically he is a frightening, controlling, violent man. As for Mr. Rochester, while he leaves me feeling a little more sympathetic, I am not sure I would be able to trust a man who had kept his wife locked in an attic.
     Mr. Weston is perfectly normal and just plain nice. That, ladies, is what I find attractive in a man. Niceness. While Heathcliff spends his years abusing everyone within his vicinity, Mr. Weston spends his time helping old ladies find their cats. All while keeping his masculinity intact.
     All in all I simply found this novel a pleasure to read. It was calming and sweet and beautiful.
     I am most definitely an Anne Brontë fangirl.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Suicide Awareness Day

So I know this is a little late, but I felt that this needed to be said.
    As I'm sure many of you know, September 10th is Suicide Awareness Day. Suicide is one subject that always manages to make me incredibly sad. I'm very lucky and blessed in that I have never lost anyone to suicide, but I have friends who have considered it in the past when they were going through a very bleak period of their life.
    No matter how you might be feeling suicide is not the answer. Whatever it is you're struggling with, there is always another solution.
    Before I say anything else I would like to say that you can find me on tumblr under the same username and that, any time of the year, my inbox will be open for you whether you want to talk anonymously or not. I'm here to listen, and I won't judge you. Just know that you are never alone, and there are hundreds of other people online who would be more than willing to talk to you and reach out a helpful hand.
    It's cheesy but it's true.
    Now onto what I really want to talk about. I've heard a few people point out that there shouldn't just be one day of the year in which we're aware of suicide, and those people are absolutely right. People need help all year round.
   I don't want this to end up sounding like me preaching to the rest of the world, I'm just asking everyone to be more aware of their fellow man. If you have a friend or family member or anyone that you know who you think is in need of help, or outright asks for it, please be sure to provide it in any way that you can. People who genuinely feel that the only way to solve their problems is to take their life don't choose to feel like that.
    They're not attention seekers, they're just desperate for somebody to offer a friendly hand and listen. 
   My thoughts are with everyone who has lost someone to suicide, and anyone considering it.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Tackling Writer's Block

Let's face it, my fellow writers, we've all been there. Whether you write poetry, prose, scripts or non-fiction every writer has had one (if not several) of those: 'my muse! She hath deserted me!' moments.
    You know it's true. 
    Writing is a passion of mine, and I hope to be published one day. As such, I'm not going to sit here and pretend to be an expert on the subject because a) I'm not and b) I don't think such a person exists anyway. Even so, I'm going to tell you guys (you guys being anyone who reads this) some little tips that I have learned over the years and find really useful when dealing with writer's block.
    If there's one thing I've noticed when myself or anyone else I know that writes is suffering from writer's block, it's that writers always seem to feel bad when they're not writing. You can stop that attitude right there. Every writer has a blockage sometimes, so why make yourself feel even worse about it? If there's one thing we know for certain about writer's block, it's that it always goes away. I've never met a writer who's suffered from the block and then never again picked up their pen.
   Personally, I believe that how you choose to tackle your block depends on whether or not you're working towards a deadline.
   If you have told yourself that you want whatever it is you're working on to be done by a certain time and, unlike me, you work by setting yourself daily targets (1000 words a day, for example) then I find one of the best things to do is to find a new page. Turn to a fresh page in your notebook or open a new word document or find a scrap piece of paper - whatever works for you - and start writing.
    Sounds sort of impossible, huh? Well, the idea behind this task is to just keep writing. You don't have to suddenly scribble down a masterpiece; in fact nobody but you ever has to see what it is you write. Write about what your desk looks like; whatever you can see; whatever you can smell; whatever you can feel. Just write and don't stop. It doesn't have to make sense, in fact it'll be utter tripe, but it'll clear out the cobwebs and you'll rediscover your muse.
    If, on the other hand, you're writing with a very laid back - practically nonexistent - schedule in mind, you have some more time on your hands.
    There's no shame in being stuck, so give yourself a break and leave your writing somewhere safe for a while. If you're anything like me then you can only write when you're fairly relaxed, so go and take a shower. Stand under that water until your skin wrinkles if you want, put the radio on and do a naked dance; you could even sing along. Nobody can judge you if they can't see you.
    If you're clean enough already, then do anything but write. Don't think about it. Your unconscious is a wonderful thing, and it'll continue working away for you while you let other things - like buttering toast and that guy/girl from work - take over the forefront of your mind. Read that book Mindy from down the street recommended to you; watch that film you've wanted to see for ages; go to that new restaurant with your friends that you keep forlornly walking past. The greatest source of inspiration is life, and you'll be amazed with how many ideas you'll come back to your paper and pen with.
    So far I've assumed that people only suffer from writer's block when they're midway through writing something. I know only too well from my own experiences earlier this year that the dreaded block can also strike when a writer has recently finished a creative piece, and subsequently finds it impossible to write something new.
    While the blank page is a creative outlet, it can also be rather daunting. All you have in front of you is a wide, blank space that is just waiting - expecting - to be filled with your literary greatness. Whether it's the first chapter of an epic novel or the simplest haiku, you always expect an awful lot of yourself when you decide to start a new project.
    My advice? Doodle!
    That probably sounds kind of weird, but it's amazing how nonthreatening a fresh page looks when it's covered with grumpy faces of that teacher you hated in school and stick-men practicing positions from the Karma Sutra. Soon your doodles will become words and, before you know it, you've already started your next masterpiece.
    Now for my last suggestion (and if you're still reading you have my eternal thanks for humouring my attempts to give you advice) and that is, quite simply, to go to sleep.
    How many of you have found your muse abandoning you in the early hours of the morning when you should be tucked up in bed? There's a reason for that; she's trying to tell you something. 
    Don't get me wrong, there's nothing the matter with writing during the night. Many writers - myself included - often find that you gain inspiration when the worries of the day are far away, and you are left with nothing but the blissful solitude that the evening brings. Even so, not to sound too much like your mother, sleeping during the night is also a good idea. There's almost nothing better for the creative mind than a good night's sleep; a chance for your brain to recharge and possibly give you a few crazy ideas while you dream.
    I'm sure that there are hundreds of other ways to push through writer's block, these are simply the tips and tricks that I have found the most helpful. I hope this has been somewhat helpful for anyone out there who's currently suffering from a blockage; even if this post only helps one person that's good enough for me.
   Just remember that, however you choose to tackle your writer's block, make sure you return to the written word refreshed.
    That's enough from me for now. Thanks for reading!
    Toodles! J.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Writing a blog seems to be 'the thing' recently, and I've always wanted to have a go myself despite not really having a clue what I might write about. But hey, I'll never know unless I try.
    I'd like to say this is my first attempt but it's actually my second as my first attempt failed miserably. This time, however, I already have some things in mind that I'd like to write about. More than anything I want to make sure I'm writing for me rather than thinking too hard on pleasing whoever reads this. After all, I hardly expect anybody to read this anyway.
    As my profile would suggest my name is Jess, I'm currently twenty years old and at the end of this month I'll be entering my third year of university. I'm awkward, nerdy, chubby and opinionated, and you can always rely on me to end up saying the wrong thing. So apologies in advance, reader! Take none of it personally; I don't, and I'm my own worst critic.
   Whelp, that's enough from me for now. Stay tuned if any of this sounded interesting, and I'll try to keep you amused!