The end is nigh

I’m not quite sure how it has come about, but in a little over 7 days I will have completed all my classes, submitted all of my coursework and will essentially be finished with my undergraduate university career. Wowzer.

It’s been a lot of hard work. Some moments have been downright awful, some have been fantastic and every one has been new to me. Right now I am looking forward to a few days with nothing to worry about. In the last three weeks I have handed in 8,000 words and have another 12,000 due before the week is out. These last few deadlines have been the hardest of them all, not necessarily because they have been more complex (though they have), but mainly because I am so tired.

Recently it has felt relentless. No sooner has one submission gone in that another has been imminently due. I consider myself luckier than most as I don’t have any exams to worry about, but the downside of that has been 20,000 words in a month.

I’m looking forward to the end for a number of reasons, some of which I’ll list below.

1) I’m tired. I can’t wait for a few days of sleeping, lounging around in my pjs and catching up on some movies that have been on my ‘to watch’ list for a very long time. Lazy and perhaps a little selfish, but a reason nonetheless.

2) I’m ready to be a grown up again. I’m glad I waited a few years before I came to uni. Being a ‘mature’ student has meant that I know what my focus is and I haven’t been concerned with being at every party, socialising at every opportunity. Sadly it has meant that I have missed the freedom and pleasure a regular wage can bring. Again shallow and this time materialistic but true.

3) I miss the Bearded One. Almost two years of long distance it’s really starting to wear thin. Plus he’s moved into our new house in the beautiful lake district and I want to be there!

4) I want to do something with everything I’ve learned. I have improved my skills in so many ways, learnt so much about myself and what I can do and I want to get out there and put everything into action. I think I can be really good at whatever it is I want to do and I want to get out there!

As mentioned already, only a week and all of this will become all too real and I will no doubt be wishing for my student life again. But that’s a whole week away. Feels like a lifetime right now…

Many apologies for any typos, nonsense or rubbish in the body of this post. As stated in point one, I am tired. Be gentle with me.

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Book Review: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Though by no means a new book, Malorie Blackman’s Nought and Crosses is a great read and one which, having reread, I felt a desire to write about. So I shall.

Noughts and Crosses is a young adult book set in a world very similar yet vastly different to our own. The story follows Sephy, a young Cross girl of the ruling class, and Callum, a ‘colourless’ member of the Nought underclass. It is our world twisted and turned on its head, where black people rule the world and the whites are their recently freed slaves.

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Flight (a short story)

Continuing on with my self-indulgent week I’ve decided to share a short story/excerpt that I was once very self-conscious of. I submitted it to one magazine whose editor asked for change after change after change. By the time I had done what he had asked the story was not the one I had originally submitted, and he decided he didn’t actually like it. The joys of trying to sell your work! That was the moment I decided I would fix things for editors, but massive changes like the ones he asked for were out of the question.

What I like about this piece (and what he didn’t) is the ambiguity, though I’m not sure that’s there any more. He wanted back story, purpose. I like subtext, imagination. Anyway, it’s here for you to decide for yourself. Feedback for this piece would be really appreciated.

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This week

Wow. It’s been a hectic week. There have been shows to tech, deadlines to meet, essays to plan and Easter to arrange (escape to the North – hurrah). Therefore I come to Sunday and I have ideas for posts but no actual energy or inspiration to write them. So I shall save them for another week and this week instead I shall indulge myself and share some of my creative writing with you. I’ve been tidying and organising my computer recently trying to get everything in the same place and have managed to bring all of my writings together. Some of it I would go so far as to say it is good, other stuff…needs work, shall we say. But I’ve chosen a few pieces to share with you over the next seven days.

The one I’m going to start with is the thing I have been working so hard on for the last three months. Once Upon A Fairy-Tale (working title) is a novel I have been writing for my Creative Writing module at uni. It’s a new genre which I have titled an Anti-Fairy Tale, kind along the lines of Gregory Maguire’s Oz works. The thing to remember with it is every creature you come across is the opposite of what you would expect.

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Book Break

In a recent issue of Writers’ Forum (my most favourite magazine in all the world) there was mention of a new online book show all about…well, books. It’s broadcast as live and also is on YouTube so I thought I would pop on over and have a look. I’m a little late to the party – it was filmed in February – but I’m really glad I had a look. It’s only half an hour long and really was very enjoyable.

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Are writing courses a waste of time?

Hanif Kureishi, novelist and creative writing teacher, while speaking recently at the Independent Bath Literature Festival was quoted as saying that creative writing courses are “a waste of time” and that most of his students cannot tell a story. Well… I must try and keep my head during this post. Forgive me in advance if I don’t.

First of all, creative writing is a skill that must be honed. I didn’t believe this until I began to study it, at which point I realised both my prose and poetry were clunky, awkward and sometimes a complete bore. I needed the feedback and direction my lecturers gave me to make my writing the best it could be. It still isn’t, but this is a process that never truly ends.

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