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Showing posts from 2009

in which i get my first TMA back...

I don't want to brag, in fact, I don't even know if I have anything to brag about given that I don't know how the OU marking structure works, or what constitutes a good grade, but I got my first TMA back today. 72%. I can't help but be a little proud, especially when that grade was accompanied by comments such as:

"This piece shows a great deal of skill with language and character development...." and "you include touches of humour and excellent use of desrciptive detail...." and, best of all "....it's one that you could enter for competitions looking for short stories: short, but perfectly formed."

YEAH FOR ME!!!!

in which Ian reveals he is a secret writer....

S'quite annoying that I repeatedly fail to hit the 'save' key and lose my posts. Dammit.
So, currently I am mostly grumpy. My job sucks at the moment, my jobs sucks most of the time, but at the moment it sucks more. In the last week and a half my boss has had me in tears for 5days out of 7. How marvellous. Perhaps I need a new job. I am so stressed out, and so miserable that I can't read. I'm not even lying. I settle myself down with a hot milk and honey and my Margaret Atwood and I start reading. & then I have to stop because I realise I've read the same line seven times and all I can think about is what's going to happen at work the next day and I have a horrible knot in my tummy and the only way of getting rid of it is to be asleep. Reading has always been my only escape. How bad is it that even that doesn't work anymore.

Anyway, enough enough. On to more optimistic topics. I am nervously awaiting the return of my first TMA, which should be here in…

in which i submit my first ever OU assignment...

Well, it's finally happening. I am a student, proper and yesterday, I submitted my first TMA. It wasn't due til the 30th, but, I was in danger of over editing and so I decided to just go for it. I hit the 'send' button, and that's it. No turning back.
I am so nervous. Seriously. I have no idea if it's any good, no idea really what they expect and I am just terrified that my tutor will hate it and my mark will be embarrasingly low. There's not a lot I can do but wait and see.
It was a good assignment actually: a short freewrite inspired by a given prompt, a fiction piece inspired by your freewrite, and then a commentary on both. I enjoyed it. I'm enjoying the course as a whole, and have even been brave enough to post a few of my exercises on the course forum - thankfully my public feedback wasn't awful - it was even rather good. Phew.

Poetry next. I shall be making headway with that over the weekend and I am trying to embrace the challenge rather than …

in which i finally share my love for the graveyard book

"You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.”

I love Neil Gaiman a little bit. Granted, I've only read three of his novels: Coraline, Stardust and The Graveyard Book and some people might feel this isn't evidence enough to be using the 'L' word but I don't care. I don't. I love him. Coraline, a modern day Alice: amazing if slightly (really) creepy. Stardust: so much better than the film, so pretty and magical and incredible. The Graveyard Book: in the running as my book of the year. Ok, so I'm not the Booker Prize, I'm just some girl who likes to read but still, I loved this book. I loved it more than pretty much everything else I've read this y…

in which i get excited about the OU

It seems I have failed lately with the whole blog thing. Real life has gotten in the way and holidays and work have left me with little time to update. However, I am back on it, and have much to talk about such as Margaret Atwood and the Shopaholic books, and my new found love for Neil Gaiman...til then though, the OU.

The stuff for my creative writing course came through at the end of last week, and it looks very exciting! So much so, that I am tempted to start before the 'official' start date of beginning of October. It won't matter will it, and it's not like this blog is widely read enough for me to get caught ;)

All the course material looks great, and there are some fun looking excercises in the big fat workbook, so, with any luck (mine and not yours) I will soon be posting lots of new stuff on here. I've also taken a sneaky peek at the TMA's - the course is assessed on 5 TMA's and one final assignments. They look awesome. I am excited about them all wi…

in which i ponder upon friendships

They say the friends you make at university are the friends you keep for life. If you didn’t go to university then I suppose the friends you made when you were of university age – late teens and early twenties - will be your equivalent.

Your friends mean the world to you. They are the people you want to share things with, good news and bad; the people you want to make memories with; the people who feel like an extension of yourself. With these friends, time and distance doesn’t matter: no matter how long it’s been, the moment you get together it’s like no time has passed at all. You are connected. Wired.

Life moves on. Of course it does. Nothing stays the same. None of us are the same person we were when we were 18, 19, 20, even 24. People get married, or change jobs, or have children, or move house. Priorities change. Time is forced to be divided up differently. Are friendships affected by this? I think the answer is yes and no. You still care. You still love each other. You sti…

in which I read about sex on a train

I always loved Melvin Burgess. I’d read anything he put his name to and would flaunt his books proudly. When I was a teenager he lived next door to my cousin’s best friend’s Auntie. Obviously, this meant I knew him, despite the fact I never actually met him. Ah, the teenage years. “What’s that you’re reading?” my friends would enquire and I’d smile smugly “Oh, it’s by Melvin Burgess. He lives next door to my cousin’s best friend’s Auntie you know.” I was so proud. An Angel For May; Burning Issy; The Baby and Fly Pie; Loving April; Kite. I’d read them all and Junk, his novel about teenage runaway heroin addicts is still secure in it’s position of one of my favourite books ever. I re-read it recently and it had lost none of it’s appeal. Burgess takes controversial subject matters and he writes them, well. Junk is a perfect example of that, but, I am not here to talk about Junk, or brag about my Melvin Burgess claim to fame. I am here to talk about his more recent offering, Doing It.

It i…

in which it rained on Saturday

It rained on Saturday, almost as though the weather man was in tune with the empty cold that had started in the pit of her stomach and forced itself outwards, icy fingers curling themselves around her, seeping through her veins, seeming to have no intention of ever letting her go. Perhaps it would never be sunny again.
It pounded hard against the window, the dull pitter-patter almost soothing in it’s repetitiveness. She shivered, pulled the blanket closer around her and shuffled closer to the edge of the bed, her eyes stinging as the memories and then the loneliness crept over her again. Every day she kidded herself that it was getting easier. Every night she fell asleep thinking that maybe today hadn’t been that bad; she had remembered something in the middle of the afternoon and it hadn’t made her throw up. That was an improvement. And yet, every morning she woke up and felt it afresh, raw and deep and as painful as it ever was. One day she expected to wake up and find it had engulf…

in which i scribble when i shouldn't be scribbling

She has told herself that tonight will be the last time.
She has told herself the same thing so many times before but this time, this time, she really means it. She can’t take anymore. A line has to be drawn and she is drawing it tonight. If only it were as simple as she manages to make it sound. It is not; he is under her skin. He has been under her skin for almost five years and she hates it. Hates the fact that he is there, hates him for being there, hates herself for the fact that no matter what defences she builds against him they are never quite as inpenetratable as she imagines they are and somehow he always manages to find a crack and slide through it, burrowing under her skin, scorching through her veins, making her ache with a hated longing and so she has decided that after tonight there will be no more.

It’s not even as though this, whatever it is that they have, is enjoyable. The thing that Hallmark always forgets to tell you is that actually, love hurts. Her life is like …

in which i share some writing

I scribbled this down about a month ago. Before I discovered the blog. I will, at some point be posting new stuff on here - when I have time to actually write the words bouncing around in my head that is, after all, I'd be a fool to embark on a creative writing course if I didn't actually write, would I not? But for now, this is where I was at on June 18th....

Daffodils.

I saw you standing there, waiting and I stopped, the sight of you like a punch to the stomach, almost knocking the wind out of me. Somehow I hadn’t been expecting to see you. I’d walked all this way and still I was surprised you were there. I stopped and I watched you. I wondered how long you’d wait for, how long it would take before you decided I wasn’t coming and got back on the train. I wondered why I’d come and whether I should turn around and walk back away, my feet re-tracing my steps as though in rewind. I studied you, scrutinising you from a distance, watching you from behind my over-sized sunglasses. Yo…

In which My Sister's Keeper makes me cry. Properly, actually cry.

I have to confess to actually rather liking Jodi Picoult, she is my guilty secret, and her novels make up the majority of the ‘P’ section of my bookshelf.

My Sister’s Keeper was the second of her novels I read, the first being The Pact. It’s not one of the best. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but I still maintain she has written much better. Second Glance for one….

My Sister’s Keeper is absorbing, it’s funny and it’s moving and it asks some very pertinent questions; how far should a family go to save a child? What if that means infringing on both the rights and the welfare of another? The situations Picoult has created are imaginable, the characters very real , the ethical dilemma makes for a compelling story and the twist at the end almost reduced me to tears BUT it is also overly sentimental, in the same way that The Lovely Bones is overly sentimental (I hate that book); contrived to cause tears and therefore rather lacking in subtlety. I have heard of people weeping at the book…

in which i am excited

On Thursday I am going to London. This makes me very happy, because not only does it mean I get to escape from the office for a day, and sit on a train with Neil Gaiman’s ‘Coraline’ – I have several of Neil’s novels which I plan to devour over the summer, Coraline being the first - it also means I get to spend the day with the lovely Jen. I am VERY excited. If I could change anything about my life at the moment it would be to have Jen and another friend of mine, Sue, living closer than they do so the prospect of a whole day with Jen is definitely high on my list of ‘fun things to do.’

Jen is lovely, and very clever. She recently graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in English Literature, and is now officially a struggling writer, fingerless gloves and all. Although I think at the moment she is managing to pay her electricity bills! She is working on her first novel, which I can confidently say is going to be fabulous – and I say this not because it’s what you do when your fri…

In which I am looking forward to the weekend

This week has been long and tedious. A new employee – who has been off sick for two days in her first week, but who otherwise is shaping up ok; a boss who I would suspect was pre-menstrual were he not male; a pile of work that seems to keep on growing. I am tired and I am fed up. I am pleased it is the weekend.

This evening Helen is coming over for Chinese and pear cider and a film. Maybe Notes on a Scandal. I am intrigued as to how it will compare to the book, or by comparing am I setting myself up for despair? I do think Dame Judi Dench will make a marvellous Barbara. I also plan to finish The Whole Day Through, by Patrick Gale and get stuck into some nice and easy crime. Hello, Harlan Coben!

Saturday means lunch out, gardening, cleaning and snowboarding and please all keep your fingers crossed that the sun shines on Sunday. I wish to picnic.

In which I write my first blog review....

Left alone over the weekend I finished Sharon Osbourne’s second book ‘Survivor’ which I may or may not come back to muse upon at a later date; it was eye opening to say the least, although not as ‘enjoyable’ as ‘Extreme’, and then devoured ‘Private Papers’ by Margaret Forster. This one took me rather by surprise; I found it hard to get into at first and wondered whether it’s seemingly choppy narrative would mean it would be one of those novels I ploughed through purely because I hate to leave a book unfinished. Luckily this was not the case.

‘Private Papers’ is a well-crafted novel following the lives of one family as seen through the very different eyes of a Mother and her oldest daughter. The story begins with Rosemary, the eldest of four daughters coming across her Mother, Penelope’s, ‘private papers’; her version of the family history. Whilst Rosemary agrees with the facts, her interpretation is wildly different and she begins to tell the story, the way she sees it so what we hav…

in which i jump on the blog wagon

At 26 I have decided it’s time to stop sitting around regretting and to start seeing if I can atone for the sins of my past. Don’t I sound dramatic? Worry not though dear reader as mass murderer I am not. What I am is a young woman regretting the mistakes she made when she was a silly little girl that resulted in her dropping out of college and not getting any formal qualifications other than her GCSE’s. Yup, I really was that stupid. So, in an effort to do something about that, and, in an effort to stop my brain stagnating which it really feels like it might be doing, I have signed up with the OU. My short-term goal is to achieve a diploma in Creative Writing and Literature. My long term goal? Well, a BA in English Lang/Lit would be nice but we’ll see.

The first course starts in October – a 30point creative writing course, and so here I am setting up a blog to chart my progress, waffle about books I like and books I don’t like and probably moan quite a bit about my job. I manage a sma…