Writing, Studying And Attempting To Have A Life Somewhere In Between

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I’ve pretty much stopped writing over the last month. Which is bad because I have a poetry reading coming up and so far my ten minute slot is occupied by silence. I am simply not arty enough to pull off ten minutes of silence people! What am I going to do?

The simple answer would be, of course, to write some flipping poetry. Except I’m already supposed to be writing my dissertation… and two research projects… and two 3,000 word essays…and I may also have a couple of posters to finish for final assessments.

I’m pretty much swamped.

I’ve been trying to take some time to myself. Eating out with the boyfriend, watching a little T.V, musing over random lines of poetry while driving in the hopes that something will click… but that’s about it.

My blog has sat gathering dust for almost a month, I realised that I’ve not done a single book review as far as I know, I realised I’ve not read any books front to back for almost three months, and I realised that in five weeks I finish university and I’m supposed to start a grown up life!

Someone find me a bed to crawl under so I can hide.

Anyway. Darkened Daughter is currently sat at around 10,000 words awaiting the 15th of May when my last deadline is finished and I can sweep her into my loving arms once more. I’m intending a flurry of C.V/flash fiction/novel writing for those few weeks. [C.V because I need a job. A proper, grown-up one that will pay for things like rent.]

So! A rough schedule For June! [Because I’m going to be on hiatus then so I can get all this uni work out of the way.]

June 1st: An Unusual Formation [The Expanded Short Story]

June 3rd: Friday Fictioneers

June 8th: Headquarters Update [Central Command]

June 10th: Friday Fictioneers

June 15th: Headquarters Update [Safe Haven]

June 17th: Friday Fictioneers

June 22nd: Darkened Daughter Update

June 24th: Friday Fictioneers

June 29th: Book Review

So this is my attempt to structure for June so that I don’t flounder when it comes back to blogging regularly.

Replying to Comments

I doubt there is a single blogger who doesn’t do some sort of mental fist pump (or even physical fist pump) when they see the little comment icon highlighting in their notifications. I’ve found a problem though. How do you respond?

These days most of my replies to comments are “thank you” or “I’ll take that into consideration.” I really struggle to find a way to make my response hold more weight since saying thank you does seem to lose some of  the meaning after a while, just as repeating any word over and over does.

So what do the rest of you bloggers out there think? How do you mix it up on the comment front?

 

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Elusive Jeans

English: Mannequins wearing jeans in Sânnicola...
English: Mannequins wearing jeans in Sânnicolau Mare, Romania Deutsch: Schaufensterpuppen mit Jeans in Sânnicolau Mare, Rumänien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am aware that I’m short. Apparently I’m dead on five foot, but I was told this by a rather drunk, self-proclaimed witch shortly before he ended up paralytic on the floor and this might suggest that is less than accurate. It is a number that seems close enough though and I’m going to stick with that when people ask how tall I am, since any other answer would first require me to spend the time measuring myself.

Have you ever tried to measure yourself? It is always far more hassle then I care to put myself through.

But back to the original point of this post; which is actually nothing to do with jeans but a feeling of guilt that I have not posted properly in a while and I am actually quite proud of my older, not-so-fiction-based posts that are hidden somewhere in the archives of this blog. (Check them out if you have time. I think they’re rather good and I tend to be my harshest critic. I could also be wrong; but we won’t mention that.) Anyway. My older not-so-fiction-based posts are the only journal I really keep anymore. Paper based ones tend to be scribbled in a couple of times and then sit dormant on a bookshelf until I go back and throw away the overly emotional drivel of thirteen-year-old me.

There is a reason why I don’t like my older poetry. It sucks.

However! I’ve found that writing up about what goes on in my little life here, tends to produce much more cohesive and engaging pieces of writing than any of my journals ever did. I tend to write in a stream of consciousness, I don’t proof-read that much and I spend the next twenty minutes staring at the notifications tab hoping that someone will leave a comment and validate my eccentricity.

Blogging and writing in general requires a certain level of egotism. You lot are getting to see our life’s work in a way; if we’re not going to be pompous about it then why do we bother trying to show our work to the masses in the first place?

This brings me perfectly into why a stream of consciousness can be a problem with these posts. Well less of a problem and more of a confusion since I tend to wander off down numerous tangents before I get to my point. I mean really! I haven’t even mentioned why me being short is relevant to this post yet.

Why is it relevant?

It is relevant because last Thursday I went shopping for boot-cut jeans.

Firstly, nowhere really wants to sell you boot-cut jeans, they all want to see you skinny jeans instead. I have plenty of skinny jeans at home. On Thursday I wanted boot-cut.

Two places had a good selection. The Gap shop in Chester had a really good range and the costumer service was absolutely fantastic! Within moments of me turning to the display rail looking completely bemused as to what I was actually meant to do next, and which pair I wanted, there was a shop assistant there and waiting. Incredibly friendly and ready to help. It was just a shame that all the jeans were a little too long in the leg to actually fit me.

See that is the problem. Around the bum, hips and thighs, the jeans would fit and look dam good. I’m nicely proportioned. I feel comfortable in my body. However, the jeans puddled on the ground at my feet.

As a student I find myself walking around campus and the town a lot. Even if I wore a fairly tall pair of heels, which I tend to do normally, my trousers would still drag and the bottoms would no doubt get soaked on damp days.

There was only one place that I found where the jeans fit me perfectly.

Next.

The Next petite range was a fantastic fit. Size sixes, and a reasonable leg length. I found that in some other shops even the petite lengths were as long as the regulars, making shopping rather frustrating. It was a shame that the petite range in Next wasn’t bigger. For a fair sized store the range was rather limited.

I don’t think that my size is that unusual. I’ve met loads of people who are a similar height and build, who find the same issues when shopping for clothes.

I’m definitely short, but I’m not that short.

So what was your worst shopping experience? Do you end up traipsing sing from shop to shop just to find what you want? Or do you throw in the towel and risk the uncertainty of online purchases?

You can leave your responses in the comments below! Go one! Have a good moan.

Ismae and Michael

“And where have you been?” spat Ismae, throwing her hair back over one shoulder as she spun to face Michael.

He slumped against the doorway, one hand covering the gaping wound beneath his ribs.

“I-” He gasped, coughed and dribbled blood down his chin. “She got the jump on me.” he rasped, sinking towards the cabin floor as he spoke.

Ismae titled her head to one side and looked at him, eyes narrowed and lips pursed.

“She got the jump on you?” she said, clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth after the last word. “One little rich girl manage to get the jump on you?”

She shook her head, blond hair spraying our behind her. “I don’t believe it.” she said, leaning back against her desk. “I would have thought you had at least enough sense not to fall for her tricks.”

Michael took three hacking breaths and fell silent.

“You have really disappointed me Michael.” Ismae sighed. “After all we’ve been through; I would have thought that you could have at least done me this one favour.” She ran a hand through her hair, pushing it back from her face.

Michael’s lips began to turn blue.

“She murdered her own father. Did you know that? Organised it so that it would seem like the South Banks had killed him in a form of protest; clever I’ll admit, but not that clever.”

Eyes bulging, Michael heaved his one arm into the air, reaching forward only for the limb to land of the wooden flooring with a solid thunk moments later. His bloodstained fingers curled, dragging peelings of pine with them.

“I suppose I will have to send someone else to deal with her now.” continues Ismae, examining the stolen chandelier handing from the cabin roof. “It won’t be easy to find someone, not after what she did to […], but there will be a few willing to ignore that little fiasco if they believe there is enough gold in it.”

Ismae glanced over at Michael.

“Michael.” she said, one eyebrow arched. “Michael! Get up!”

Michael laid where he was, eyes glassy and fingers half curled. He wasn’t quiet dead, the rattle in his chest proved that.

“Groog!” Ismae called, remaining where she was against the desk. “Groog! Get down here and clean this mess up!”

She scowled at Michael, still rattling away on her cabin floor and making no effort to remove himself from her sight.

Groog stumbled to the door, milky eyed and stinking of a mixture of rum and mouse droppings.

“Captain.” he croaked, jowls flapping as he spoke. “Ya call?”

Groog blinked, squinted and then blinked again, eyes failing to focus each time. He shuffled forward two steps, bumping the toes of his boot against Michael’s calf. Groog frowned.

“Ya got a body ‘ere.” he said, kicking Michael again. Michael made no response except to continue with that ridiculous rattle. “Want im overboard?”

Ismae pinched the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger.

“Of course I don’t want him overboard you idiot!” she hissed. “We’re still in port! What would the officials think if they saw one of the crew members dumping corpses into the docks?”

Groog shrugged and blinked again.

“Where’s he goin’ then?” he asked. “Bodies start stinkin’ in a day or two.”

“I don’t anyone would notice the difference on this ship.” replied Ismae. “Most of you ingrates reek so badly that anyone could think you were week-old stiffs.”

Drawing a sweat stained sleeve beneath his nose, Groog snuffled loudly and stared at a spot two inches from where Michael’s head rested against the doorway.

“We could use th’ rum.” he suggested. “Picklin’s good enough f’r herin.”

Ismae hummed and then nodded. “Well… I suppose it could do. Only as a stop-gap though, just until we were far enough out for the authorities not to pay us much mind.”

The rattle in Michael’s chest hitched for a moment and both members of the conversation turned their attention on him. The waited, breathe held, seagulls screaming and wood planks creaking as the ship rose slightly with the swell.

There was a choke and a cough; before the rattling started up again.

“Dam it.” Ismae scowled. “All of a sudden he’s decided that he will be stubborn after all.”

She reached behind her, checking over one shoulder to spot the item she wanted before curling her hands around the silver, filigree dagger handle that had been her last present from Michael.

His blood left an arc of droplets across the cabin floor. Cleaning the blade on dark silk jacket Michael had been wearing, Ismae paused for a moment. There was a glint of gold hiding in the folds of his sleeve, peeking out beneath the cuff.

She snagged it and stood up, dagger turning between her fingers as she paced across the room.

“Get rid of that Groog.” she said, without so much as a nod in Michael’s direction. “I don’t want him cluttering the room.”

 



I have still not written anything new for Henry Granger. I haven’t even come up with any ideas for the new title. I have however, started working on my 2012 attempt at NaNoWriMo. I’ve tagged this piece as Flash Fiction since really, it can be read as a stand alone piece which is quite cool.

The word count is now 18,473 words, so not too much further until I can say that I have completed a nice round 20,000 words. I really need to see if I can find a widget or something that can go on my site and show you how many words I have written for each of my current novels.

I currently have four manuscripts on the go, which includes CampNaNoWriMo since I have a load of notes sitting around my bedroom for that novel.

Hopefully I will be able to post again tonight and tell you that another chapter for Henry Granger has been completed and a new title has been settled on. I shall not hold my breath however, since I may choose to work on Nano 2012 instead since I’m sort of in the mood for it.

As always, feel free to let me know what you think and if you’ve enjoyed this, check out some more of my writing on the site. Look, there is an easy to reach sidebar just there to the right. It is so very, very easy to reach.

The Combined Beautiful Sunshine Award

bbloggerAwarded by Miss Anastasia sunshine-award1

Now this post is a little late in arriving, well actually it is very late in arriving, but I hope you will forgive me.

I really have no clue as to the protocol that surrounds these sort of posts, but since I’ve received a few nominations for various awards, I thought I was high time that I got around to having a stab at organising myself.

So here we go:

So for the Sunshine Award I am apparently meant to highlight 10-12 other bloggers who I think are deserving of being presented with this very, oh so very, orange flower. I am also meant to include ten points about myself… well how hard can that be?

The nominees are:

Miss Millie Ho – I love this girl’s artwork and I can’t wait to be able to turn around in the future and say, “She drew some of my characters before she became famous.”

Chris – An absolutely awesome guy, and an absolutely awesome writer. Need I say more?

Thomas J Webster – You scared the fluff out of me! A fantastic writer of creepy short stories, and another reason why I can not stand next to the gap under my bed in the dark.

Pyscho Lady – I have always loved poetry, and I love it even more when I read a poets work that is wonderfully original and carefully thought out.

Kuba Larson – This piece had me laughing the first time I read it, since I related mostly to the initial impression I got. After I read it again I realised that there was more to it then I first thought and the meaning could be taken as much deeper. A fantastic read all together.

Subhan Zein – I’m a sucker for the romantic. I know it’s clichéd, but throw me a guy writing poetry for the girl he loves and I’m a puddle of gooey mush on the floor. This guy writes beautifully, and not only that, his work had history and cultural roots behind it. It is so rare that you get to see someone embracing poetry as something more than writing and here it is done brilliantly.

Kyoske – I just love it when his updates pop up in my inbox. I always enjoy reading what he’s put up and there is generally something to brighten my day within the words. Even if I’m just cheered by the thought of someone else gaining some form of success in their lives be it large or small.

Lone Wolf Poetry – As I said, I love poetry, and here is another fantastic poet that you must check out if you get chance.

Elizabeth Huff – For services to the world of writers’ block sufferers everywhere. She regularly updates a wonderful collection of writing prompts for those of us who are struggling to put pen to paper, or perhaps just want a challenge with something a little new.

Kyra Leigh – A close, personal friend of mine and someone I can always rely on for an honest opinion. She is such a talented writer herself and I know that at some point in the future I will have to nod along amiably as the great intellectuals of the world discuss her work.

10 points about myself:

– I’m the daughter of a Shropshire farmer and have spent all of my childhood on a medium sized farm in the beautiful English country-side.

– According to my grandfather, I am descended from Sir William Swinnerton; who was a knight of William the Conqueror in 1066.

– I have a great Uncle in Ireland who used to keep pigs in his sitting room. No, I do not joke, he actually had the pigs living in the house.

– I am incredibly short and my mother often jokes that I am the family leprechaun. (Irish connections.)

– I adore books by Neil Gaimon and Derek Landy. They are two of my absolute favourite authors.

– Each spring I go to watch the point-to-pointing with my family.

– I’ve been a room guide at Attingham Park in Shrewsbury and hope to go back next summer.

– I often take on far more than I should be able to cope with. When it comes to writing and work, I always have something to be doing and I rarely have free time that isn’t brought about by putting off work.

– I hate coffee. It is a vile concoction that has no use whatsoever for me, especially since a small cup of tea has about four times the caffeine as a can of red bull. (I don’t remember the ratio for tea to coffee but tea wins out.)

– I have a tendency to wear rings which either appear to resemble knuckle-dusters or pieces straight out of the medieval era. Either way, my fingers are rarely bare of decoration.

Now! For the beautiful blogger award I need to list seven more fantastic bloggers who I have the pleasure of sharing WordPress with, and also reveal seven super secrets.

The nominees are:

Lukas Berzaks – I’m not a cat person. Mostly because these balls of fluff will cause my eyelids to swell shut and the sneeze-a-thon to begin. However, this artist had managed to make me fall in love with cats, if only the awesome kitty that he’s drawn recently.

Table Art Press – This just made me laugh.

Cyranette – Cyranette’s blog is wonderful for those searching for inspiration, and she is a fantastic reader for any blog to have, her comments are invaluable.

Riley Beresini – Contains fantastic artwork.

Sonja Porter – For making me want to read ‘The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared’ (and for writing about it in the first place, where would we be without obscure books?)

Weakly Short Stories – As the name suggests, good for a quick read, fantastic openings.

Random Jossings – Just Read

Seven Super Secrets:

– I talk to my teddy-bears. I simply cannot throw them out, and I find them very useful when I need someone to rant at when sorting out plot problems.

– I’m a little bit of an amazon shopaholic.

– I bluff my way through a lot of things. A lot!

– I get obsessed with TV shows. I watched supernatural seasons 1-7 in about a fortnight and a half.

– Recently I have started working on essays at nine pm, the night before they are due in… This is not good. Do not copy this!

– I ring people, and half way through the ring-tone, realise that I don’t actually want to speak to them.

– I’m awful with dates, despite history being my favourite subject. This is not very useful in exams.

So there we go, I’m pretty sure that is everything I need to complete. I hope that everyone enjoyed reading.