Writing Mode

Image Detail

So much for writing every day! Yeah, had a feeling that wasn’t going to last long, I’m just too busy putting my writing energy into writing essays and novels! I had to take a break anyway after those essays, but the good news is I passed the ones I handed in before Xmas and one of the others I handed in on Monday. So, things are going well there! I got back into writing mode with a new novel idea. These things just have a habit of popping up and sometimes they stick and my head and refuse to get out. So my idea started on a train going to uni, after I’d just finished drawing. That’s a rare thing for me since the only thing I draw are graveyard scenes often with churches, angels or the Grim Reaper as centre pieces. I was wondering what I could do with it and then these story just rolled into my head!

I started writing it after my lecture and then typed it up yesterday. I realised that it was really influenced by Japan. I guess that’s because I’ve been reading and watching Vampire Knight lately and I also want to watch the 3rd series of Bleach. As normal though I’m keeping my story idea under wraps, but let’s just say that it’s about a group of people who collect souls. Very typical with my writing though is the fact I don’t have a clue what the story plot is going to be! So, hopefully I’ll find out as I write some more.

Today though I’ve had to redraft the first chapter of a novel I hope to use for my dissatation. I know that word fills people with dread, but I’m looking forward to it because I just have to write a few chapters of my novel and then its done. Problem is I’m having trouble writing the novel! With this new idea so stuck in my head I’ve been more drawn to write that then do the actual piece I need! I got about halfway through today and now with it being so late, I thought a little more writing on my novel would be good. So yeah that’s my plan after a snack to do that and see if getting more of it out of my head helps! Sure is a problem having all these different ideas when in writing mode. I’ve kept them separate and there’s been no crossing over of things (yet). I’ve discovered that this is how writers work though, they have a number of projects on the go at the same time. Meaning that they have lots of work to do, just like me!

I’m on book 6 of Vampire Knight now, though the addiction is wearing off again. I want to finish reading them this time though and see what happens! I blame my brother for getting me to manga with Dragonball, but its something I’ve now become very interested in. It’s different from the American comics and the art work is so amazing! I started reading a novel called Ascension by Sable Grace too. My best friend made me buy it from Waterstones the other day. It’s okay, very action-packed. She said it was my kind of novel, but I still don’t think it is! Anyway I’ve to finish it so I can read another book for my course, but until then I guess I’ll just read some more Vampire Knight!

Stressed Out

I’d claim that I don’t get stressed very often, that writing essays and doing exams doesn’t bother me and I just get on with them. This though can be proven wrong at certain points. Like right now. It seems my bug thing can’t be anything else than stress triggered. So it looks like I need some serious de-stressing after today, for then I’ll be free of essays for a bit. I finished my last one yesterday, but still have to audits to write about what I’ve been up too as a writer. Sounds like fun, though I know I should have been up to a lot more! So in need of more motivation! At least peppermint rock cake tastes nice, hopefully that’ll help settle my stomach so I could do some work. My audits are pretty essay though just a record of everything I’ve read, watched ect and I’m listening to more calming music today – Meat Loaf. I broke the headphones on my ipod yesterday, so I need some more of them now. I almost made pancakes this morning, but decided it was just a random carving. Nothing seems to be working to break this stress, funny thing though is that I don’t actually feel stressed. I just feel ill. Better go and do some work, then I can chill some more later….maybe I need to play Bioshock or something like that…..

Sunlight!

I can’t believe it’s a blue sky today with the sun out and shinning. It still feels cold though and the weatherforcast says it’ll get colder at the weekend, so has winter finally decided to show its face some more? Compared to last year, it’s not been so bad and at least we’ve only had one flurry of snow back in December, but that didn’t stick around long. I know there’s still a whole month to go yet and though that child part of me really wants there to be snow, because come on what is better than getting up in the morning and seeing the world snuggled under a blanket of fluffy white stuff? The adult part of me though is dreading the traveling to uni- buses and trains cancelled, freezing seats- if you can even get one and walking though the streets too. So yeah, if not snows then it’s best of being only mild.

Going to keep my post short today anyway. Not feeling very well and as of yet I still don’t know what it is, a stomach bug, an ear infection, maybe even a stomach infection? that sounds gross and I’ll be off to the doctors if it’s still with me after the weekend. Can’t be ill for uni! So, I’m not going to write my post about ghosts as I was, but I’m going to write about two pieces of news instead.

The first is that yesterday I signed up to review books at Angry Robot Books. It looked interesting and something to put on my CV. I like reviewing stuff anyway and when it involves free books I’m so there! I’m waiting to here back from them now. I also got an interview for a higher student guide post at uni, which means I’ll be touring high schools, colleges and uni fairs and promoting the uni, so that should be fun. I’ll get paid for that too and money is always useful!

Secondly is this news report I saw this morning about a big cat in Gloucestershire. (The link is below) It’s always been said that England has, maybe, got big cats roaming around the countryside, but they don’t get seen much, so they are always looking for more evidence, so is the dead deer more prove? I’m not so sure….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-16516500

Right, I’m off to write 400 words of my essay to finish it off and then well I can’t have a nap since I got up at 12pm, so I guess I’ll just chill with more Vampire Knight online.

Strange Hobby

 (Bronte country, Howath Graveyard)

I was busy thinking what I could write on my blog post today and I decided that maybe it was time to write something a little different instead of moaning about my 2,000 words left on my essay, which as at 2.38pm I’ve done no work on it! So I thought I’d write about a strange hobby of mine that I’ve had awhile now. I like to take photos of gravestones and visit random and often out-of-the-way graveyards, cemeteries and churches. (recently, I’ve also started having an interested in abandoned places.) To this day I’m not sure where this hobby has come from, but one of the earliest memories I’ve got that could be connected is of being a member of Rainbows at the age of 6 – the group below Brownies, for those who don’t know- and since the house where the weekly meetings took place was the old Victors’ house behind the church, we were allowed to play in the attached graveyard. Games like hide and seek, tag ect, spring to mind when I think about it, but yeah we use to run around the graveyard in the fading light and I don’t ever remember being scared about it. That possible is where my interested started really, I liked to look at the headstones and wonder about the dead people.

 

(Bronte family grave in Howath)

I’m not sure how it then developed and it must have been as an early teenager that I started actually taking photos and exploring graveyards on holidays. My interest has grown from there and now I’ve a mass of photos of headstones from different places in England and Wales – I don’t travel anywhere else, lack of money, lack of car ect. Even so I’ve found some really interesting headstones on my travels and sometimes reading the words placed on by family or themselves can be thought-provoking and you start thinking about the person they once where really. The down side to my hobby is controlling my emotions. This is understandable in graveyards that are still in use or when I go and visit my relatives, but in old graveyards you wouldn’t think the attachment would existed, but it does for me. I try not to think about it and fantasy about the life that person has led because that’s much more positive thinking. One of the places I’d love to visit is Highgate Cemetery in London- take a look at the website below! I’d like to see some cemeteries in Europe and the USA too, just look at the differences between them all.

(Lancs, Pendle. The grave of the Nutter family, which is said to connect to Alice Nutter of the Pendle Witches. I give permission for this photo to be used in a book last year.)

I guess like with most hobbies, there is a bit of risk to it, especially exploring some of the more abandoned cemeteries. The ground is uneven underfoot and though I’ve yet to find any ‘open’ graves, I’ve found ones that have sunk or else the gravestone edging is hidden in the grass and you can trip over and that’s the same for fallen or broken headstones. So I’m always carefully -even in a well looked after cemetery too, because you never know!- with my footing and keeping my eyes down for danger. Wearing the right footwear helps too. I think what is also needed though I never really give it much thought, because it comes so naturally too me, is the respecting of the site and the people buried there. Slightly going off the path here, but I believe in ghosts and I’ve seen and talked to them since I was little. So I always thank the people buried there for letting me take photos and I also have a habit of apologising, if I suddenly walk over a grave or anything like that. I also never take anything off the graves that have been left there by family members, though I’ve been known to pick things up to replace them or slightly reorganise  things. Lastly and this is a big one for me, I always make sure that I’m with someone and keep them insight 99% of the time. My family members have had to cope with my hobby, but sometimes it does rub off on them! If that’s not possible I always tell someone where I’m going have a full charged phone. These places are closest to home though.

(Lancs. Pendle. Possible grave of someone connect to a life at sea.)

I can feel myself waffling on now, but I do get passionate about it! Though this isn’t writing my essay and I still need to put some photos up and that’ll take me ages. So, I’m going to make this the last part and then add some links. I’ve been asked before why I do have this strange hobby and frankly no clear answer comes to mind. I’ve a few ideas though- I like connecting to nature and often graveyards allow you to do this and also because they are quiet, sometimes isolated places that the world can easily forget about. I like quietness and escaping from the busy world to get back to natural roots in a sense. I think the second attraction has to be the art work on the headstones themselves. Once you start looking and you’ve visited a few different places, you learn that there is a massive variety of headstones out there and some designs can only be found in certain areas of the country. I like statues of angels and animals and delicate carvings. Lastly, it has to do the epitaphs because some of these are unique, funny, strange and sad. You can learn a lot about a person from reading what’s been put on their headstone. So yeah, that gives you a rough idea of why, but how come a hobby has to be explained anyway?

 (Bronte Country, just outside of Howath. Found this wonderful headstone in a large-ish cemetry after a walk across ‘Bronte moorland.’)

The very last thing before I go there is actually a name for it; Taphophilia. Which as Wikipedia states  “is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries.[1] The singular term is a taphophile.Taphophilia involves epitaphs, gravestone rubbing, photography, art, and history of (famous) deaths. An example of an individual’s expression of taphophilia is the character Harold in the movie Harold and Maude (1971).” (Wiki 2011) and now here are some links –

My headstone photos on flickr:    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30582799@N04/

Good website, I found a few minutes ago: http://www.graveaddiction.com/

Highgate Cemetery: http://www.highgate-cemetery.org/

Interesting photos of abandoned places: http://abandoned-places.com/

And here are some more photos!

(Liverpool. The sunken cemetry in the heart of Liverpool.)

(Liverpool. An angel bearing a cross statue in the sunken cemetry)

(Bolton Abby graveyard)

(Lancs. Pendle. massive tower headstone with Urn)

Writing Every Day

Hi readers,

Just been sorting out what seemed to be a glitch on my last post, so had to take down two photos- not sure if the size of them was the problem-and delete part of my last post. Hopefully this one will turn out okay now! I was reading yesterday during my research into my writer’s websites project that I should be writing every day on my blog- time ect permitting. So I thought I’d give it ago! Though my other blog has now become badly neglected, so I’ll have to update that after this. Though I’m struggling for time to write my 4,000 words in now, but I did 155 yesterday for an introduction and today I’ve got my Ipod, so I can block out the world with music and disappear into the world of writing.

I was also thinking that maybe I need to start writing this blog a bit like my diary only with a bit more closer!! Not sure how that’ll go or if it’ll be interesting enough for a blog, but this page is about musing so yeah. So, I’m sitting in a leather arm-chair, in the once dining room now turned pc/study/craft/dumping space room. This chair use to be in the living room with its friend, but it was in the place we normally put the Xmas tree up in, so it got moved to this room and swapped with a tatty desk chair. There’s nothing really special about this arm-chair, but it did belong to my uncle who passed away almost a year ago now. My mum decided to save the two seater sofa and the two arm chairs and use them until she brought a corner sofa. There’s actually no sign of that yet, but I can’t help but wonder where this arm-chair will end up in the future, since the plan was to give them to one of the furniture chairty shops down the road.

Random, but it’s the little things like that thinking that seems to be in the building of writers. The wondering, not just about furniture and things, but about people, who are they? where are they going? what are their lives like? There’s so many people out there and just from a few minutes watching say in a cafe or shop, so much can be learned. People watching is one of the building tools too. Moving on one of the recent things I’ve found out as that I like making up stories based around the lyrics in the music I listen too. Strange to think that all songs are actually stories. They tell the world about a range of emotions and happenings. For example…. Offspring’s Hit That might not be a good one though…shuffle on Ipod can’t be trusted to play a good song when you need one! But yeah, you get my meaning.

Oh that was the other thing I was going to write! I’m sit opposite a window and I have this habit of writing about the weather. Not sure way that comes from, maybe it’s just a British thing! Anyway today the sky is grey, through the clouds don’t look like rain ones, but it has been drizzling a bit. I’m never keen on the Winter season, everything being so dull and dark. Most people think that because I’ve a love for dark things/horror/gothic ect that I like the darkness. But truthfully, I don’t. Everything feels dead right now and cold, there’s hardly any colour left in the world and its get you thinking about bleakness. That’s why I like Spring and Autumn, because so much is happening and the world is full of colour and noise if only you look and listen. I can just about get through summer, though the heat does me in and the endless days making my sleep pattern go crazy.

I’ve a really cool but creepy photo to end on, but I need to go and see if I can fix the colour contrast first. This was taken last night and it looks as if it’s coming straight out of a horror film – the full yellow moon rising over the church tower, though it could just as easily be the tower of a castle.

 

 

Monthly Recommendations

So, it’s the start of a new year and it’s time to try out something different! Here’s some of the stuff I’ve started doing this month:

1. Books – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

People have been talking about this book for a little while now and I’ve had to read it as part of my course. Though it’s one of those books I’ve been meaning to read. Actually once you get over the slightly difficult way its written, things begin to make sense. The connecting stories which though at first sight do have you thinking its a collection of short stories, break down into interlocking chapters and really it just leaves you hungry for more, which then makes it so hard to put down! So, yeah I can see why it’s so interesting.

TV/Film
There’s a lot of shows appearing now and I can wait for the new series of Hustle to start. I love how the team are con artists, yet they con bad guys and there’s always a good twist at the end! Eternal Law start last week and though I’ve yet to see it the idea of angels being lawyers is an interesting one. Call The Midwife is starting this Sunday and its based on a novel, which is a memoir. Set in 1950’s slums of East-end London, it follows the story of a new midwife getting to grips with the relates of life.  It looks really good and I plan to watch it with my mum, who is a full trained midwife though she has a different job now.
The new movie I want to see this month is War Horse. It tells the story of a horse at the front line in WWI and looks wonderfully filmed. I bet there’ll be sad parts too, but I think its nice to have a different take on how animals were used during the war and the amazing stories that they could tell if they could talk. It’s based on a novel and also a stage play.
3. Music
Within temptation and Raise To Remin are the new bands are discovered over Christmas. I still need sometime to listen to them before I decided officially on them. But RTR sounds like BFMV, a screamy/shouty heavy band, whilst WT have a sound softly/slowly sound to them.
4. Cooking
Awesome American Style Chocolate and Cherry muffins
Ingredients:

300g self-raising flour

1tsp baking powder

90g caster sugar

150g bar plain chocolate (chunks)

250g cherries, stoned and halved

250ml milk

2 medium eggs

4tbsp sunflower oil

12-hole muffin tray silicone/paper case or an american muffin tray (I used)

Firstly, set the oven to 200°C. Sift the flour and baking powder. Stir in caster sugar. add plain chocolate and cherries. Then lightly beat together the milk, eggs and oil. Stir them into the dry ingredients. Spoon this mixture into the silicon or paper cases and bake  for 15-18 mins, or until they are a light-golden colour and feel firm to the touch . Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cook completely. Serve warm or cold. If there’s any left!