Monday, 21 December 2009

Claire's Christmas Cracker

Well the first semester is over already. Just handed in my essay today. I think its the best essay I've written yet. Hopefully my marks will say the same thing! I've really enjoyed the film and literature module. I certainly won't be too quick to say the film is crapper than the book now I know all the ins and outs of adaptations!
I'm not quite ready for Christmas yet. Got a few bits and need to buy a few more, it's never ending really isn't it? This Christmas is going to be a very special and exciting one.
Weather permitting, my good friend Jemma will be up from London, it was meant to be a surprise for me but she can't keep secrets! he he. It is also my first Christmas with James so I'm excited about that too. Jemma's mum has invited us both over for Christmas night for her cheese board and turkey sandwiches.
Today's snow of course, is the icing on my Christmas cake! I haven't seen snow like this since I was a little girl! This morning I was struggling to get up as usual so James went to have a shower and I rolled over for a little snooze. He came back in and threw snow at me! That woke me up!
I'm really excited, just to spend time with my family, also I'm cooking the dinner for the first time (did a practise run yesterday) too. So its just going to be a really good Christmas :) Hope you all have a good time too! xx

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Long Time No Speak

Once again I left it months before I bother to post a blog. I'm not very good am I? Yet I can waste plenty of time on Facebook talking nonsense!

Well I'm almost at the end of the first semester which means I'm half way through my final year at University and so far so good. The first draft of my dissertation has been handed in, reviewed and I'm currently working on the second. I've finally got a 2:1 in an English Lit assignment so I'm buzzing about that too. My elective module hasn't really taken off yet. I'm involved in the production of an in house publication for the University known as Impact. I go and interview lecturers and find out what sort of research they do for the courses they teach etc. I like talking to various members of university staff and finding out what goes into degree courses.

My internship with ceth has been a busy one. Vic and I have been asked to do kinds of things for the publishing house. We're creating lots of databases for MA students and assist with the planning of a Crossover Fiction Conference that will be going ahead next year. I'm fairly new to crossover, I've never picked up a copy of Harry Potter in my life and it turns out there is much more out there! There are all kinds of questions being asked and I'm finding it fascinating. I'm currently working my way through a novel called Uglies while I battle with Atonement for my Film and Literature module.

Speaking of Film and Literature....this has turned out to be a really interesting course. Films are adaptations of the novels they're based on and we forget that when we see the film. We always walk out of the cinema saying it was rubbish but I've learnt that films can never be exactly like the book. What helped me to understand more about this was our assignment. We had to take an extract from a novel and adapt it into a screen play, taking into account the camera angles, actions of the actors, props, scenes etc. It was really hard to do but I got there and got a good mark. So now, not only do I read differently but I watch films differently too. This course has been truely amazing to me.

I've had quite a few money problems this year. I only worked 10hrs a week over summer and that is when all the trouble started really. Come September when I received my student loan, money was going here there and everywhere as I caught up with myself but of course this has had consequences. So I sold all my good clothes, shoes and books on ebay. Even turned some jewellery into cash but I'm well and truely out of funds now, and I've nothing left to sell. My job at the uni is only 10hrs still so not enough to live on! My friends, family and boyfriend have been amazingly supportive and understanding about it though. Friends buy me lunch now and then, my boyfriend bought me a week's groceries last week (as well as taking me out to cheer me up) and my parents are stumping my rent this month. I want to throw them a party when I graduate so I can thank them all for being so patient, generous and understanding. Nobody can get through a degree without is that support that keeps me going on the treadmill!

I tried to go back to the gym last month too. It worked for a couple of weeks but then I fell ill for a while. I'd got some sort of virus infection and it really knocked the wind out of my sails. I couldn't eat or sleep and had fever sometimes. I'm still not 100% but lots of TLC has done me good and I'm continuing to work as hard as I can. The gym is on the back burner now because I can't afford it which is a shame because I was really starting to enjoy the classes I was going to with my friend.

Despite my hurdles I keep on going and James has been wonderful. He took me out this weekend with his friends. Just for a few drinks on the Saturday and to a gig on Sunday night which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately I'm shattered now! I didn't drink much...I can't drink anymore but there wasn't much sleep involved and thats me wiped out for the week!

So I guess that is me up to date for now. I've no intention of planning Christmas until I've got my final assignment out of the way!

Monday, 21 September 2009

First Day Back - Fresh Start

The new academic year has not started without it's hic ups. Thankfully these were resolved and this week my classes & lectures have started. My literature module for this semester is looking at various novels and their film adaptations. Rather than a lecture followed by a seminar our tutor is treating it like a workshop. We read various novels and watch the film adaptations in our own time and then discuss them indepth in class. Today we looked at Edgar Allan Poe's The Fallen House of Usher and the 1960 film (with Vincent Price) House of Usher. Many of us watch adaptations and often see them as a violation of the novel so it is interesting to learn why these adaptations made. Novels from our past like 19th century literature are converted into films to provide us with a visual of what the times were like back then. What clothes were worn, what transport was used etc. The adaptation of contemporary novels are more often than not created for commercial reasons. We often see the best sellers turned into films and very often the plot is changed, characters have different relationships and the narrative disappears. If a novel can make so much money than it can make a good film too...the story earns respectiability as a novel so people run out to see the film. I can't wait to dig further into this and find out what all the critics of literature say. I've already been to the library and taken out various text books. The assignments for this module seem straight forward. Adapting an extract myself, a presentation (my group is doing it on Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events) and an essay. I'm confident I'll get good grades in this module.

My only other class for this semester is another publishing project. Not doing a book this time, instead I will be creating a leaflet for an arts provision in Preston. Haven't got any more details on this. Not until tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it and my friend's mum has lots of tips on marketing and promotion for me :)

My dissertation is already well under way and I'm really excited about it. The little class time I have this semester means I can spend quite a bit of time reading and writing. I'm determined to keep my grades up and finish my degree with a bang.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Unicorns of the Night

Dark blue sky hovers over a wonderful scene,
A herd of unicorns can be seen.
A filly drinks from a pool of cold water,
Quenching the thirst of this mystical daughter.

The stallion’s coat shines silver in the moonlight,
But by dawn he will be white.
His ivory horn illuminates his beautiful face.
Oh this magic image is something I must embrace!

He looks over his mare with protective eyes,
Watching the land where she lies.
He hopes no goblins will appear tonight,
Because they will ruin this evening’s delight.

A cluster of flowers lie close to the water’s edge,
Sweet nectar they pledge -
To the hummingbirds who fly amongst fairies,
Whose mischief makes the unicorns quite wary.

A thick mist sweeps over the enchanted land,
Hiding the volcanic sand.
Soon it will be dawn and the unicorns must go,
Or they will grow too hot under the sun’s glow.

Will Miss Her :(

My internet has been down over the last couple of weeks but this is what I wanted to post on 4th Sept:

I am currently in need of tea and sympathy as I have just waved my friend off to the bright lights of London.

So many people have come and gone from my life but I don’t think I have ever experienced a tearful goodbye. Not since I was a kid anyway. I met this friend just over a year ago, through other friends and we just clicked, as you do with some people. We became firm friends and did what girls do. We went out dancing, went to gigs, festivals, went shopping, went to the pictures or we’d stay in, drink lots of tea and eat pizza and chocolate. We did what any friends do, even when we had no money (which is often!), we’d always find something to do. She has this unusual quality that makes those around her act young and daft. She is probably one of the reasons why I don’t feel my age! Despite only knowing her a short time she became one of the few people I could confide in and trust and in return I too became someone she could trust.

She has gone to London because she’s a born performer and her ultimate ambition in life is to sing. She’s doing the thing screenwriters and authors write about all the time. Chasing her dream into the big bright lights, to where all the celebrities hang out. Some people will think that’s crazy but if you knew her you’d know that she is doing the right thing. I’ve every confidence in her and should it not work out, I won’t be disappointed either, she’s my friend and friends support one another.

From a selfish point of view I’m upset, what will I do on Monday afternoons when we’re usually wrestling with the clothes rails in charity shops or giggling over a sugar high in Neros? Who will come to festivals with me and sleep in the car? Who will encourage me to wear all things pink and girly? Who will watch stupid You Tube videos with me on Sunday evenings? There are so many things that we did together and I’m going to miss those times. We’ve always had fun and forgotten our troubles when we’ve gone out on random road trips etc.

But I wish her every ounce of luck in the world because I wish the best for her. If it hadn’t been for her not only would I have had to drink a white-chocolate-vanilla-syrup-cream-chocolate-covered mocha on my own but I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend either.

I haven’t said a proper goodbye because I will be going to visit her, even if it means catching the megabus and driving through the night to see her. Good friends are hard to come by and I only have a few of them so I treasure them and treat them like they’re my own family.
To add insult to injury my longest serving friend (we went to school together), has gone to Bulgaria for two weeks. Thankfully my gay friend is still around for shopping trips and sugar highs. Otherwise I’d have to resort to making whipped cream covered beverages at home and shop online which just isn’t quite the same is it?

Finally, before you reach for the tissues at my tale of woe, it was my birthday yesterday and tomorrow night myself, my boyfriend, my brother and a couple of close friends will be having a meal in a posh restaurant in Manchester. This will keep me from thinking about Monday afternoon.

To date I've either been kept busy on Monday afternoons and had one unsuccesful shopping trip. I got a take away coffee and it spilt everywhere. My new uni timetable means I'll be in class all day Mondays from now on - this will keep me from insanity for the time being but I'll still miss her :(

Monday, 24 August 2009

My skin can give Oil of Ulay a run for its money!

Its been far too long since my last usual! I'm rubbish at this blogging business aren't I? Considering I've hardly had any money this summer its been a busy one! I've worked full time for a couple of weeks but I won't be paid for the extra hours until the end of then I'll have my student loan and won't be as desperate for the cash. Typical huh? So surviving has been tough, I had to sell my V festival ticket, sell clothes and shoes on ebay and other valued things in order to pay gas bills and such! At least when I get a full time job again, I'll value my £££s more!

Thrown into the mix of extra work and bills, things at home have gone from bad to worse. I'm not a confrontational person but at the same time I don't like people to take the piss. A rift has formed between me and my two flatmates. Its quite sad really but they make me so angry and I don't like being angry. It isn't the usual flatmate dirty dishes left to grow legs, stuff scattered everywhere, dirty bathrooms etc Its the stuff that goes against my morals as a woman and their attitude to women. It was one rule for them and another for me. I wish I could go into it in more detail, but despite how angry they've made me feel I am not about to spread stuff about them over the internet. I'm unhappy in my living situation so I'm removing myself from it. I quickly found a new place to live and commence moving this week. Its a little outside of Preston but to a quiet cul de sac in a safe area. I'll only be living there for a year or so...just need to get myself graduated and employed, then I can decide where to go from there.

Living with guys combined with my boyfriend has proved my theory about dating, right. More on that in another blog I think. Its certainly a theory single girls should read :)

Speaking of boyfriends, James and I took a stroll into Didsbury the other day. It was quite a stroll! Being a city boy he walks everywhere whereas I'm used to driving to all my destinations. We were walking along a long, straight road which was sheltered by brick walls and trees, which hid the beautiful houses that ran along either side. James walked on the outside of the path and I was on the inside, kicking up leaves with my feet. Not just any leaves people, BROWN leafs, GOLDEN leaves and RED leaves!

The early signs of autumn are upon us, it means the kids go back to school soon and it means my birthday is next week! Oh yes, I'm about to enter my 30th year and am I scared? No. I'm told by people I look 22 and I only act my age when I really have to (I'm still not sure when I have to but I'm sure I'll act my age when the occasion arises). I've got another year to start gettng that old feeling and something tells me I won't get it. 30 doesn't mean I'm old or should start planning my retirement. It simply means I've got the clumsy days over with. I've learnt more about people and life and all these things will make me a better writer. I've more to write about, more experiences to share with people. So turning 29 isn't so bad. Its good, in fact I love telling people how old I am! AND, I'm rather smug about the fact that I haven't felt the need to reach for the anti wrinkle cream (which is a money making load of nonsense anyway).

So come on Autumn! Hurry up and get here...I'm fed up of the muggy heat and warm rain. I'm sick of strappy summer shoes, I miss my cowgirl boots! And on a financial note, I can't wait to get my hands on that student loan so I can eat something other than beans!

Monday, 20 July 2009

The Morning After

Chloe woke up in her hotel room to a cacophony of ringing telephones, cartoon noises on the television and knocking on the door. The sounds scratched across her consciousness. She couldn’t move, her head hurt and she felt sick. Slowly reaching her hand out, she fumbled for the phone. Raising herself up onto one elbow, she covered her eyes from the sunlight with her other hand. She gazed around the room that was papered with chintz and home to various pieces of antique looking furniture. Clothing had been abandoned on the dated floral carpet. Her bed was covered with miniature sized bottles of gin and vodka. All empty! A half eaten pizza was perched on the mahogany dressing table. Her vision was too blurred to catch her reflection in the mirror. The television was still on and made her head throb. She rooted around the empty bottles to find the remote and pressed the mute button. Her mouth was dry and her face felt filthy from all the make-up she had been forced to wear. She looked down to discover that she was still wearing her dress. She fell back into the pillows to blot everything out.

The knocking on the door announced a sense of urgency. Taking deep breaths to control the nausea she sidled out of bed and made her way to the door, tripping on an empty champagne bottle. Holding herself up by placing her hand on the wall for support she opened the door an inch. A face suddenly appeared very close to her own, making her jump back in fright. The man chuckled with amusement. It was James. Chloe let him make his own way in and went into the bathroom, again having to use her hands on the sink to hold herself up, she felt weak with nausea. Peering at her reflection in the mirror, she inspected the damage. Her right eye was black, there were scratch marks on her shoulders. She reached to the back of her head with her hand and winced in pain. She felt her cheeks burn red. Had she fallen unconscious? She looked closer, she didn’t even recognise herself. This wasn’t who she was. What had happened? Had she behaved appallingly in front of her family? James followed her into the bathroom.

‘Well, you’re alive then?’ He said cheerfully, ‘everyone is sitting down to breakfast soon.’ His smile then faded. ‘You’d better join them, Chloe, you’ve got some apologies to make.’

Chloe cringed. ‘Why? What did I do?’ She gasped, her hand on her chest, feeling the bile slowly rising in her throat. James sighed.

‘In the shower’, he said pushing her into the cubical and quickly turning on the tap before his friend could jump out again. Chloe made some high pitched shrieking noises until the temperature of the water warmed up.

‘I don’t understand, why do I have to make apologies? It looks like someone hit me!’ She cried from behind the glass door. ‘James? What did I do?’

‘What didn’t you do?’ he snorted, Chloe put her head round the door, her eyes wide. He raised the palm of his hand and began to list things on his fingers. ‘You got drunk, you got bored, you fancied some guy, you got in a fight and then you cried like a baby. Oh yeah, and you fell into the wedding cake.’ Chloe hid her head behind the door in shame and fell back against the cold wet tiles behind her.

‘Oh God, I think I’m going to be sick’, she croaked. As the steam from the hot water enveloped her, a flash of the day before came into her hazy mind. There was champagne when they got ready at her mum’s house, champagne in the wedding car on the way to the church. James sharing his flask of brandy, from his inside jacket pocket came into her head. Of course, she had gotten bored with all the photographing and felt tense around her family. Snotty little children kept standing on her dress and her sister kept snapping at her for twisting her hair with her fingers because it would ruin the pictures of her perfect day. So Chloe had turned to the bottle to relieve her frustration.

After the shower, a sorry looking Chloe walked back into the bedroom. A breeze blew in from the window that James had opened and goose bumps appeared on her shoulders.
‘I thought that would wake you up a bit!’ he laughed, passing her a cup of coffee.
‘Well, the dress is ruined’, she mumbled, patting herself dry with a towel.
‘When were you going to wear that pink monstrosity again? You looked like a cream cake. You all did. I thought I was in the baker’s when I saw you lot coming down the aisle’, he scoffed. Chloe tried not to smile but she couldn’t help it.

‘So, I drank your brandy...yeah, I remember that, and I remember getting to the reception and there were more photos. What is with photographers at weddings?’ She moaned.
‘Never mind the photographers! You were first at the bar, the first to the free champagne, you were pissed before the meal started!’ Interrupted James. ‘We were sat with that Welsh couple...remember? That woman who talked incessantly about her sons all the way through the meal...well, until you told her to be quiet. That was a conversation killer!’

Chloe giggled. ‘It’s not funny. You were in a bad mood all day’, he scolded.
‘Weddings are boring. I hate weddings. James, this is the fifth wedding we’ve been to this year and it’s only August!’ Chloe went back to the bathroom with her arms full of clean clothes.

As she put on her t shirt and jeans, she caught her reflection in the mirror again. She gulped in horror as she recalled a large blonde girl throwing a punch in her direction. She felt tears roll down her face as the memory of her shocking drunk behaviour came flooding back to her, bit by bit. The girl was Cindy. They had both made a bee line for the same man on the dance floor. The cousins had never seen eye to eye and this recent clash was the breaking point. Before either of them had even spoken to the poor man they had set their sights on, they had started to shout at one another. Chloe was never the sort of person to argue or fight, especially in a public place, but she had drunk too much and it had turned her into another person.

James picked up the debris off the floor and put it in the bin.
‘This is going to cost you a fortune’, he muttered to himself, knowing that Chloe wouldn’t have the money to pay for it. She never had any money.
‘I remember!’ She cried from the bathroom. ‘I had my eye on that cute of the groomsmen...I remember now - and so did Cindy!’ She said, her voice full of venom. She came back into the bedroom.
‘Yes, you both argued like little girls. Both twenty-five going on fourteen. Cindy pushed you, you pushed her, and then there was some hair pulling and squealing. I tried to stop you both but, to be honest, you were both pretty frightening, and then Cindy punched you in the face and that was when you fell into the cake’, James shook his head in disgust. Chloe could feel her cheeks burning.

‘Sorry. I’m so sorry’, she whispered and tears began to fall down her face. He walked over to her and gave her a hug.
‘I lied about the cake’, he said quietly, ‘come on, you need some slap on your face to cover that bruise’. She’d disgraced her family big time. Together they had managed to cover the bruise so it didn’t look as black. They left the room and walked down the corridor to the lift.
In the lift, Chloe gathered her thoughts and more memories came back to her.
‘Some friend, you picked me up off the floor, took me to my room and let me carry on drinking?’ She looked at her friend accusingly.
‘I was trying to cheer you up!’ He protested, laughing. ‘Anyway, no man was going to mess with you after that nonsense with Cindy. Do you realise you took a clump of hair from her head?’ He exclaimed. ‘It was scary!’ Chloe could feel the humiliation sweep over her face.
‘Oh God, what an idiot! So I passed out at some point?’ She enquired. Her friend confirmed it with a nod of his head.

Eventually the lift reached the ground floor and they walked out into the reception area. Chloe reached out and grabbed James by the wrist to prevent him from walking any further. Opposite them was the doorway to the dining room and there stood Cindy. She was wearing a short, tight red dress, milk white flesh spilt out of it in all directions, making James feel as sick as his friend. Cindy’s red glossed lips were positioned in a pout, her gold ringed hands rested on her hips, her small grey eyes glaring at Chloe. The two girls just stared at one another, the animosity crackling between them. James wriggled away from Chloe’s grip and was about to say something when the man they’d been falling out over entered the hotel foyer, hand in hand with another man!

The Time Traveller's Wife - After thoughts

Curiousity made me choose this novel. It was an international best seller. Film rights have been sold. Wow, it must be good. It made one of my friends cry. So I had to find out what all the fuss was about...

It has taken me a long time to finish this book, mostly because I wasn't really enjoying it. I would pick it up, read a little, put it down and forget about it for a week or two then pick it up again. The good thing is that because of the nature of the story (jumping back and forth in time)
it is okay to have a rest from reading it.

For me, the beginning was a little slow. Mum read it before me and she didn't like it at all. She warned me that the first few chapters/sections (its almost like a diary) would be slow. I'm still not entirely sure whether or not I think those first few sections were even needed.

The middle however, kept me turning the pages over. First of all there was the intriguing love story, thats what this novel is. Just another love story but written in a clever format. One of the lovers has a sort of illness...he time travels...and not through choice. It just happens. So because of this I kept turning the pages to see what happened next and to fill in the gaps that would be left. Some sections were so short you were perplexed and then another section will crop up that linked back to that short one. Its almost as though the author wrote the story in chronological order and then cut it up, mixed it about a little and put it together again.

Loose ends are tied up way before it finishes and I found myself skimming the last few pages/sections. I know, my bad but I just stopped feeling so curious once the main plot had come to a close. The rest seemed pointless. The end was a cliche but I won't disclose the details in case you're yet to read it.

But hey, thats just my opinion on it. You might think different.

I haven't really enjoyed the last few books I've read. English Literature has been a tough subject to study at Uni but its working. At long last I've used my brain and I obviously need a more stimulating read than a love story or chick lit novel. However, before I tackle more classics and the reccommended 'I am Legend' (I've promised my boyfriend I'll read this before watching the film), I've borrowed a friend's copy of Twilight. I know, its cheesy and meant for teenagers (but how many of you have read Harry Potter?) but once again curiousity killed the cat and I need to know what all the fuss is about!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Going Back To The Roots

Sometimes I look forward to the day I have my own children and sometimes I hope I never have children. Every time I go back to my parents house I get nagged at like I'm still a teenager. I love my parents to bits but why can't they grow up with us? I mean, sometimes I get the distinct impression that no time has passed them by since the day I left home.

They only live 5 miles away so I see them on a regular basis and my trips to the family home are always the same. My dad will see me arrive but still insist on saying 'who's that?' when I let myself in. Then he'll stick his head out of the door to inspect my parking.

I'll go and sit down at the kitchen table which is never an easy task. Every flat surface (including the chairs) will be covered in newspapers, magazines and junk mail. I will have to gather it all up and then seek out a flat surface that isn't already covered in paper. This task is followed by a tut from dad. Its not even my house, why should I try and tidy up? In fact, when did the child EVER tidy up the family home? I'm supposed to make the mess!

Cups of coffee will be made. Mum will make it, I will remind her I require one sugar, I get it and there isn't any sugar. So then I go to get the sugar and she will tell me its about time I stopped taking sugar. Why is this such an issue? I have taken sugar in my coffee for years, I like sugar in my coffee. Why should I have to give it up?

Dad will hover over us, making sure we use coasters and don't spill anything. He shouldn't get wound up over a bit of split coffee or a ring mark on the table. These things happen. He can't accept this though and so he'll always suffer from high blood pressure.

Mum will get the ryvitas out and offer me one (they're always on diets so jaffa cakes are never an option). Dad will then sit there watching over me, making sure I drop crumbs onto the plate and not anywhere else. I think he has OCD or something. He'll make me feel like I'm 5 again.

When we were kids, eating chips in the back of the car was a treat. He would cover the entire car with newspaper before we were allowed to eat the chips and he would stand over us until we'd finished. Then he'd yell 'put your hands up in the air where i can see them' like we're criminals or something and then he'd rub our hands clean with his handkerchief. If he didn't watch us, yes, we would wipe our hands on our legs or on the seats but that is what children do isn't it? However, I'm 29 now. Is it necessary to watch me eat?

Once the cups and plates are cleared he will leave us to it and go back to his newspaper. The rest of my visit will involve mum telling me that same old story about my cousin getting married. I've never met this cousin, I'm not going to the wedding, I was never invited..probably because she's never met me, but my mum will insist on telling me all about it anyway. Then she'll talk about some poor old dear I've never met who has just popped her clogs. I will get an hour's worth of useless information and gossip before I can speak about anything.

The last few weeks my visits have been slightly different. I've met someone you see, so I'm expected to volunteer information about it. What have we been doing, where did we go, are we seeing each other this weekend. The dreaded 'when will I meet him' question. As it happens, I'm meeting his parents this weekend and to this my mum snorted 'well I hope you're going to sort those roots out' and she pointed at my head.

So you see, sometimes I don't want to have children of my own, because once a parent, always a parent. Surely its exhausting to be nagging all the time? Don't get me wrong, I love my parents. I get on with them really well, but the nagging....can't the nagging be put to rest now?

Friday, 10 July 2009


I've been quiet about my results this semester. I'm going to stop being so shy and share the news.

My average is a 2:1 which is awesome but the grades themselves just aren't quite high enough. I think one of the modules has been done wrong so I'm going to have to question it and I seem to be disappointing myself all the time with English Literature. It really is quite a challenge that subject.

The Victorian novels are hard to read and so I find it hard keeping up but I do it. I have to. My essay writing is terrible though. I love writing so much but I have trouble adapting a scholarly style. Its frustrating more than anything but thankfully a few higher marks in other modules have kept me in the 2:1 bracket.

I was over the moon with my Publishing elective. My overall grade was 71%. I have never had a first before! I was in tears of joy when I found out because I put everything I'm made of into that module. Myself and a group of other students worked really hard and published an anthology of poetry for local poet, Michael Molyneux. Publishing is definitely what I want to do when I graduate which is why I desperately want to keep getting 2:1s for my work.

Thankfully I have supportive people around me who will help me improve my essay writing over summer so that I can push my grades higher. For the first time in my life I actually feel passionate about something and really ambitious. I never thought I was one of those people but I am now. I want to do well, get a great job and just be as successful as I can. My intern job at the university has also given me some wonderful new opportunities that will make my CV stand out from the rest. I can't wait to get started on some of the projects that involve clan-u press and workshops for school children, to help them write a creative piece for a competition our faculty has set up.

Hopefully in two year's time I will be a copy editor's assistant and writing my own bestseller :)

The Smelly Man

I've started making regular trips to Manchester, so that means experiencing public transport. Nothing takes me out of Preston much, I'm used to transporting myself via my feet or my little car (a silver saxo with pink flowers on the bonnet, you might have seen it). Public places are great for people watching (or people judging, someone once said to me). So I always make sure I've got my notebook with me. It looks a bit dodgey I know. I could be mistaken for a trainspotter but I'm hoping my irish smile, fabulous taste in trainers and handbags deter people from making that assumption.

On Wednesday I made one of my trips to Manchester. I sat down on the platform, opened up my novel and began to read. While reading a particularly sad part of the story, my attention was taken away when a nasty stench of cigars, BO and mustyness found its way into my nostrils. An old man in a grubby rain coat sat down next to me. I didn't want to be too obvious but I wanted to check he wasn't one of the drunk tramps that have increased in numbers since the weather turned dry (some of them can be quite aggressive). So I peered over the top of my paperback and looked at his feet. His shoes looked decent enough and his trousers were clean. So I ruled out the idea that he was a tramp. I didn't feel like I could get up and move because it would be rude. He would know that I wanted to get away from him because he smelt so bad, so I breathed through my mouth when necessary.

3 minutes passed by and my face was turning blue. I couldn't make out the words in my book, I was going to suffocate if he didn't move! Then a long Virgin train headed to London Euston pulled up on the tracks opposite and the old man started to fidget. He pulled out a tatty notebook from his pocket. I couldn't help myself, I'm a nosey person. I had to see what he was writing. Down one side was a list of numbers and next to some of these numbers were town names. He looked up at the train opposite and then scribbled Preston next to one of these random numbers. I forgot about his nasty odour as I became fascinated in what he was doing.

The train began its journey to London and he got up and walked forwards a few steps and then stopped. Coughed and then with his left hand reached under his rain coat that was covered in stains, put his hand near his buttock and tugged at his trousers. He clearly had a 'wedgey'. He coughed again and staggered off. I was left on the bench feeling amused but I stopped myself. He was just a sweet, lonely old man with a quiet hobby doing no one any harm. As I watched him walk away I wondered if he had anyone to look after him. His clothes under his coat were clean enough. I tried to think of reasons why his coat was so filthy but my train came and disturbed my thoughts. I hope he's okay. If I come across him again I'll smile and say hello.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Day Dreaming

Ever since I was a little girl I have been able to lose myself in my imagination. I could stare out of the bedroom window and think things up or stare at the blackboard covered in numbers, and think of more interesting things, like princesses, flowers, horses and magic. As I grew older my day dreams turned into new topics. I was horse crazy during my teens and I would lose myself in the Saddle Club novels my mum used to buy me. I rode every week and looked after a pony for somebody else. Unlike most girls my age I never lied to my parents about where I was going. I couldn't really, I never wore anything but jodphers and riding boots. Every spare minute I had was spent in the stables and while I mucked out the horses I would imagine dad turning up with my own horse. A beautiful black arab that I could take out on long gallops across the fields. Of course it never actually happened. I just dreamt about it when I should have been doing my homework.
As I got older I started to dream about other things. I'd create this little world in my head, my ideal world. I'd do the things I always wanted to do like write and be in charge of my own business instead of working for other people.

Despite making the transition from full time work to full time education, I didn't feel confident. My first year was full of blips as I got accustomed to the system, workload, study and lack of money. I wasn't entirely sure if I'd done the right thing. Yes I was happy I was no longer at work but anyone would be right? Was I really going to get a degree though? Was I capable?

Look at all those times I messed up at school because I was more interested in living than learning. These negative thoughts used to fill my mind whenever I received a low mark or did something wrong. I considered myself lucky to have got accepted straight onto a degree course and set myself the goal of getting a 2:2.

Oh how things change! I have completed my second year now and my grades are constantly improving. Today I went to collect my Creative Writing portfolio was overwhelmed with the results. I had always doubted my ability as a writer. Even though it was what I wanted to do, I'd hear or read other students' work and I'd doubt myself. I concluded that I was rubbish and hid under the desk whenever our tutor asked for volunteers to share their work with the class.

We didn't write much fiction in our first year so the fiction module was going to be interesting. It isn't about scribbling down a story like I used to. Its about drafting, setting a scene, creating a mood and showing the reader things instead of telling them. I realised that I was a lazy writer. Most of my stories relied entirely on dialogue. Perhaps I should have done Script Writing? I did well in the Media module. The course helped me learn much more about narrative and plots etc. Today I found out one of my stories had earnt me 70% and I couldn't believe my eyes!
I'm going to stop doubting myself now. Instead of being so insecure about my work I am going to keep working hard and try and get more grades like this...higher grades even. And to think that in 2007 I was happy with a 2:2!

Something that occurred to me later on this morning; if I can write a short story of such a high standard, then surely that means I could make my dream of being a published writer come true? This along with my ambition to enter the publishing industry would make me so happy and I know now that you can day dream all you like but you have to MAKE these things happen.

I hope the summer doesn't go too slow, not that I like to wish my life away but I can't wait to go back to uni in September.

Friday, 22 May 2009

You Blew a Kiss into the Crowd

Back in March I got to see one of my favourite bands play in Manchester. I'm head over heels in love with the lead singer and I don't care what anyone says about me behaving in an immature way. I think that is a good thing to find something in life that still makes you giddy, that causes you to act like a silly teenager. So I tried to capture this feeling in a poem. It still needs some amendments but I'm proud of it. It was laughed at on Facebook :(

You blew a kiss into the crowd
I watched it drift through the air
Like a tiny little cloud.

I stood up onto my tiptoes
Wanting to capture it,
Stepping into the firing line of Cupid’s arrows.

As you sing softly into the night,
Your kiss is still in full flight,
You are singing my favourite song,
It makes me smile when I’m sad,
Helps me to forget that there was something wrong.

At last I catch your kiss on my lips!
Despite the others, the heat of their lust
It is my heart that your song grips!

The harmonic tones of the piano move me to tears
My friends and the audience think I’m queer
The kiss you fired has seeped through my skin
The fast flow of blood causes my head to spin!

It might seem cliched or cheesy to some. Laughable to others. But that is the point, that is how silly I feel when I react like a hormone crazed teenager.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Questions and Answers

Uni has finished for summer, its good but sad too. I have done nothing but live and breath essays, assignments and lectures since September. My hands never seemed to leave the keyboard and my eyes have been constantly fixed to a book. I have been sleeping under a paper duvet for quite some time and the pile of washing up has just got bigger, much to the annoyance of my flatmates.

Then suddenly, the panic set in and lasted for fourteen days. I had to make a mad dash to the library, go to Asda at 1am for more paper and ink, ignore my friends and work my through an alarming rate of sugar and caffeine to keep me sane. The fourteenth day came round and I went to the top of the building where all the tutors' pigeon holes were waiting. They stand there in that small little room, looming over me, waiting to snatch my essays from my hot hands. I always take a deep anxious breath at this moment, I check, double check and check again that I'm posting my assignment into the correct box. I have never got the wrong box before and I wouldn't know what to do if I did. I would probably panic, cry. I cry when I panic. Got to make sure I never do that. Yes, it was definitly the right one and I dropped it in there, glancing at the name one last time. Phew, its okay, its done. The deadline has been met. Instead of relief I felt a pang of sadness in my heart. What will I do now? What challenges lay before me over the next three months?

Two days later the laziness kicks in. Apart from the 10hrs of work I do at uni, I've nothing else to do. I'll start a story. I'll apply for next year's loans. I'll make more plans regarding my career. I'll eat my body weight in Ben and Jerry's ice cream and make myself feel guilty afterwards.

I feel empty now that uni has finished for Summer. If I feel like this now how will I feel next year? When its over for good. Will I be relieved? Will I be happy? Will I have a job to fall into? Will I get that 2:1? Will I be sad? What is going to happen to me? Will it have been worth giving up a career for? Will the people who frowned at me and refused to support my returning to study be able to say 'I told you so?' or will they be forced to eat their unsupportive words? Will I be able to prove to them that going to uni was a good idea? Will I be successful?

Two weeks have passed since then. I'm okay, I've got the monthly Word Soup event to go to, that always inspires me to write. I've got a dissertation to prepare for, a book club to organise and a holiday in four weeks. I'm lucky, I've got many supportive friends and family members who will keep me entertained all summer long. The uni have extended my part time contract and I have some temping to do. Summer is going to be just fine. As for my graduation? I'll worry about that bridge when I come to it.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Better Blogging

This evening myself, a colleague, a fellow student and one of my first year tutors went to the blogging workshop being held at a local pub. It was really interesting. Although I didn't get chance to mingle much because my friend was helping me learn how to write a blog and embed links and insert pictures etc. I realised there is more to blogging than I thought! So with this new knowledge and my ever improving writing skills I intend to spent this Summer break blogging. No idea what I will be blogging about. I want to keep it interesting and raise my profile as a local writer.