Life

an interview with me, myself, and i

Just under five years ago, I started this blog – moving over from good old blogger. And in all this time, I don’t think I’ve ever done a ‘who on earth is this other random-stranger-with-a-blog?’ blog post. So. Here it is. Five years too late and answering all the burning questions I’m sure no one everyone has been dying to ask.

WHO ARE YOU? –

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I’m English. I like to write (but by gosh, in these last two years there’s barely been a single bleep on the ‘YAY I COMPLETED A NOVEL’ radar. Life is rough.) I am a bookworm – you may have noticed.

Puns are my favourite form of joke. I enjoy finding humour in the ridiculous. I am beyond awful at escape rooms.

I’m in my twenties. Once upon a time I thought fifteen was olllldddd. Haha. (It’s not.)

I dyed my hair red, but am growing it out back to my usual brunette locks. Man, it’s going to look weird for the next couple of months.

– WHY ‘OF WORDS AND BOOKS’? –

Because I’ve tried everything – puns, seriousness. And then I thought … this blog is about books, and words. Because words cover everything else; thoughts? Words. Life things? Words. Rambling about tea? Words. Bookworm things? MOAR WORDS! Podcasts? SPOKEN WORDS!!

With a blog title like that, I’ve got all my bases covered.

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– WHERE DO YOU WORK? –

I wanted to work in a morgue, but my mother thought it would be too morbid (say WHHAAAAATTT?!) Right now, I’ve got a temp job in an office. I’m enjoying it.

Unfortunately, I have not been hired to be a dragon-slayer, a super spy, or a MAGNIFICENT peacock trainer. This is a tragedy.

– ARE YOU SINGLE? –

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yes

I’ve yet to meet a Radcliffe Emerson, Batman, Robin Hood, Tarzan, or an ex-SAS officer with a kind heart, a limp, and an eyepatch. It’s very sad. (Apparently, fictional men shouldn’t be your standards for life partners but … pfft.)

Though it would be nice to have someone of my very own, I’m quite happy just being me.

– WHAT ARE YOU PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? –

Lord willing, later this month I shall be leaving the country for three months to teach English in Moldova.

Writing wise … I’ve come to terms with the fact that while I may never be a full-time-professional-and-churning-out-books writer, I will always be a writer. And so, through the years, I’ll be writing here, there, and everywhere. A little right now, a lot soon, nothing after that, and then quite a bit just beyond that.

I have a lot of projects on the go, and I hope to finish them all. But perhaps not all at once.

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– WHY DON’T YOU POST ON SERIOUS SUBJECTS? –

Um, are you saying books and Heyer aren’t SERIOUS?!

Ah-hem.

It’s not that I don’t care (I do), it’s just that this isn’t always the place for it. And sure, one day I may ramble about how bloodletting was an ignorant, illogical, and awful practice and ugh! just WHY?!!!! (I get why they thought it was THE THING but at the same time … logic. why. wuyyy.)

(I have a medical book I’m reading through.)

(You’re probably going to hear about it one day. In, like, forty-seven years!)

And- actually. Come to think of it, that isn’t quite the ‘serious subject’ I had in mind. The depressing ones, the dark ones, the ones that make me look about the world and wonder at the state of society and of mankind and just – those ones. Those I feel ill-equipped to write about. But maybe one day. But not yet, and not here.

And besides, sometimes – just sometimes – it’s nice to have a little corner of the web that isn’t doom and gloom and the darker side of reality.

– PLEASE, DO SUM UP –

I’m a bookworm. I love stories and adventures and long romantic walks on the beach. I am a Christian. I believe that love conquers all. I am not cheesy in the least.

Thank you for reading my blog

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I think I just rambled, Life

things that didn’t happen on my adventure

I think I did something wrong on my last adventure. According to my extensive research, I should have, at the very least, stumbled across a puzzle which would have led to a treasure map which would, in turn, have led me to El Dorado. This … did not happen.

THERE WERE NO DEAD BODIES

I’m not really going to complain about this, though my readings in the world of Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L Sayers led me to conclude that it was an inevitable fact of life:

  • Gravity: what goes up must come down.
  • Life: you live, you find a dead body, you solve a murder mystery.

Nope. Didn’t happen.

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I saw a dead groundhog though. It was on a road. The poor thing was squished. The butler probably did it.

THERE WAS NO WHISKING OFF INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION

There was no Narnia hidden in a wardrobe. Or even a kitchen cupboard. To be honest, Canada had quite enough snow to make you think ‘oh my gosh someone kill the evil witch already IT’S SO COLD’ but alas, there were no furniture gateways into other worlds.

This would probably be a good thing. In stories, what you’re supposed to do sort of falls into your lap. In actual reality, you’d probably end up working as a maid in a tavern while the prince you were supposed to save was slain by the evil tyrant you were supposed to defeat.

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THERE WAS NO ROMANTIC SUB-PLOT

There was no pirate, lumberjack, detective, prince, villain-waiting-to-be-saved-by-the-love-of-a-good-woman, tormented artist, time traveler, or dinosaur trainer to sweep me off my feet.

I know.

Life is tough.

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I started to develop the sneaking suspicion that book heroes (*cough* clichés *cough*) don’t actually translate well to real life. For a bookworm, this is a hard – nay, DEVASTATING –  truth to face. This could mean that there are no Radcliff Emersons, Heyer leads, or Mr. Rochesters about.

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But … that’s okay. It’s all okay – I didn’t solve a murder mystery. I didn’t fall into another world. I didn’t get swept off my feet by a brooding hero.

Some adventures are full to the bursting with startling events, and quick things that trip over themselves in their haste to happen (if it doesn’t rain, it pours).

… but some adventures are quiet, where no big earth-shattering events occur, but where subtle little things steal in unannounced, one after the other, building up and up and up until you look back and think yes, what an adventure that was.

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I think I just rambled, Life

dinosaur thieves playing tag [movies i’ve watched]

So. I’ve been going to the cinema a lot recently. I’ll spare you my rant on the insane cost of popcorn (Seriously. It costs about an arm, a leg, and an ovary AND I’M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING [much]) and my opinions on how IMAX is amazing and AV-whatever-the-other-letter-is is a WASTE OF SPACE, TIME, AND MONEY, and cut to the chase – I’ve been watching movies, and I’ve decided to write about them.

Just for this post, mind.

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WAHOO!! FEMALES CAN STEAL TOO!!!

[OCEAN’S 8]

Replace this cast with males and this movie would have been as interesting as waterlogged toast; the plot is a touch too simplistic and needed just a little bit more conflict. But because it had an all-female cast!! it works.

And it looks good doing it. (Them dresses though!)

Now, I’m not going to go into in-detailed rants about Hollywood and female leads and the Bechdel Test etc etc etc because quite frankly, my stomach is pleasantly full of root beer, fries, and a teen burger (and that’s it’s name and it’s not made from the body of a teenager. geez, people) and I’m tired and when I was writing essays for my English exam, my Dad looked at my work and said ‘yes, daughter, I think you’re more suited to writing fiction’ (translated: DON’T TRY TO WRITE LOGICALLY. I THINK THE LOGIC SKIPPED YOU AND WENT TO YOUR BROTHERS) (I’m paraphrasing) and so … I’m not going to do that here.

But this movie did pass the Bechdel Test. It was enjoyable, and it made me think: wow, is this what it’s like to be a boy and see Ocean’s 11 and have ROLE MODEL THIEVES OF THE SAME GENDER AS YOU?!!!

It’s a nice feeling. But don’t worry, I’m not going to become a thief. I tried to do an escape room bank robbery once and it did not go well; they actually radioed in and asked if I needed a hint.

three and a half stars. out of five. not ten. the plot isn’t that simplistic.

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WHAAAATTT DINOSAURS ARE ENDANGERED? AGAIN?!!

[Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom]

‘The movie was good,’ I told my friend. ‘But it needed more carnage.’ (I told her this four times. She’s a patient friend.)

(Actually, it was more like six.)

I liked Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; it has an interesting concept and looks really good. There’s some oh no! the dinosaur is going to kill us fo sure better run OH MY GOSH WE’REGONNADIE moments, your run-of-the-mill villain, a moral question that is solved in an interesting way (you’ll know the moment and REALLY. THINK OF THE DEATH TOLL HUH?!! WHY DON’T YOU!!!! ugh) and some fun humour amusement moments. (What, I totally didn’t consult my favourite dinosaur THE THESAURUS.)

But … there were moments in which I just wished the movie would hurry up. Maybe I’m getting old, or am used to skimming tedious parts when reading, but sometimes movies just need to get a move on already.

So, I liked the movie because: Chris Pratt, dinosaurs, and umm dinosaurs. BUT IT NEEDED MORE CARNAGE.

probably three and three-quarter stars out of maybe five because it needed more carnage (did i mention that?) or maybe it needs more stars. i don’t know how i feel. i am having a crisis right now.

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PETER PAN: THE SEQUEL. WITH SWEARING

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Remember when I said that sometimes movies need to get a move on already? This movie snatches your attention, taunts you with it, and then legs it. It doesn’t give it back until the credits finish.

I kid you not.

This movie is fun. There’s not a dull moment and the cast are having a blast, and so therefore do we.

I laughed a heck of a lot, and not once – not ONCE – did I think: how much longer is there?!

It’s refreshing – there’s so many movies where EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE AND THE ONE I LOVE IS IN DANGER or just thinks I’m the worst AND DEATH IS HURLING DOWN LIKE HAIL STONES IF HAIL STONES WERE MADE OF CGI AND FAKE BLOOD! But this? It’s literally about a group of friends playing tag.

The world isn’t threatened, there aren’t dead bodies here, there, and everywhere, no CGI monsters … it’s not perfect, but it’s like a nice glass of cool root beer. Refreshing.

Or whatever your beverage of choice is, it’s that. (Unless your beverage of choice is green tea. And then, I’m sorry – but no. Just no.)

(but bear in mind, this movie is rated ‘R’ and there are definitely reasons for that rating.)

three point eight six three out of five

(Also, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a good movie, butitneededmorecarnage.)

… no one is going to hire me to write film reviews, are they?

Life

i’m not dead

Time flies by, pretty quick, huh? One moment, you’re looking at the snow (IN APRIL) and really wishing winter would hurry up and leave already – the next you are nursing a nice sunburn. (This probably has more to do with my natural deathly milk white paleness English Rose complexion.)

NOOONNNN

I’ve been living in Canada for the better part of a year now, and boy oh boy, do I miss my books. (Oh. And my family. Them too.)

MY GOSH YOU’VE BEEN POSTING SO MUCH RECENTLY /s

Okay. Fine. I haven’t. I’ve drafted lots and lots of blog posts (probably five. or four. or three) – rants and ravings about winter and loathing coats and wonderful things like that, but – much like my ability to sprout wings and fly and boil eggs and that sort of thing – they never happened.

I am alive though. Even though I seem to try very hard not to be; I still sometimes look the wrong way when crossing the road. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

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PROOF OF LIVENESS. (Is it even me though?)

SO WHAT *HAVE* YOU BEEN UP TO?

This year has been like one giant working holiday. (With emphasis on the working.) I work pretty much full-time, harass colleagues with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, harass everyone with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, have a weekend adventure or two, sing, go for long romantic side-walk walks for one, visit the library, hang out with friends, speak Very Bad French, spend money wisely, and occasionally put my big girl socks on and write.

Okay. So the walk has happened twice, one of my friends deserted me for England, and I don’t visit the library all the time. Pfft. (I just get a shelf load of books out and stare at them lovingly.)

I do think that buying an expensive top which pictures a cat riding a unicorn to be a good investment. Think about it; the top is clothing. Clothing stops you from being naked. BOOM. It’s vital.

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recent weekend adventure: A tulip festival

SO YOU HAVE SOME PRETTY BIG NEWS?

Yes!!!! I do. I do.

(But, not in a marriage sense.)

I – she of the pen name Ness Kingsley – am going to a gym tomorrow. Yes. I know. WHAAAATTTT?!!!!!! How exciting. And very, very all-the-world-does-it-or-has-a-membership-they-don’t-use of you. I’ve never set a toe in a proper one before. I fully expect to develop abs on my thighs by mere osmosis. It’ll totally happen!

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WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO YOUR EYES?!!!

Okay. Gather round, friends – time for a quick life lesson in the form of two quotes from me:

Gee! Let me use this used make-up with its used make-up brushes! Why golly gosh! Nothing bad will happen!

me – tuesday evening

Oh. Bother.

me – wednesday morning

Infection. That’s what happens. (Infection or an allergic reaction, but probably most likely an infection.)

Infection and red, red demon eyes that look like you’ve:

  • just murdered someone
  • been strangled
  • cried buckets and buckets of soul tears because of Infinity Wars

Don’t be me, kids. Don’t use used make-up brushes or make-up. Yes, the war face you made was EPIC, but was it worth it? Was it really worth it?

No … well, probably not.

(The war face was pretty epic.)

Books, Recountings

i have been reading disturbing things

*** warning: my recountings are of books with quite horrific subject matter. If you have a delicate stomach perhaps don’t read ***

So I’m sure you have many pressing questions for me (WHERE DID YOU GO AGAIN? DID YOU GET BITTEN BY A RADIOACTIVE CATERPILLAR? CAN YOU SPELL YET? WHY DO YOU DISLIKE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM?) that you probably spending a large portion of your days simply agonizing over.

Also – why on earth did you shill out for a laptop and then … not use it? (Ah, yes. My good life decisions. I make so many of them.)

I’ve been reading, living, and finding out that Mt. Royal isn’t actually where I thought it was. (How can a mole hill mountain move? you ask. I DON’T KNOW EITHER.)

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THE OPIUM WARS:

THE ADDICTION OF ONE EMPIRE AND THE CORRUPTION OF ANOTHER

[aka wut teh british empire was pretty rubbish huh]

Iopiumwars‘m not sure how much I knew about the Opium Wars before I cracked open this book. But what I found here was awful – if I get the details right …

  •  we were buying a heck of a lot of tea from China
  • China weren’t buying a lot of things from us
  • basically, this was kind of uneconomical and so instead of … doing better market research, for instance, we forced them not to ban our opium from India [The ‘Just Say No’ slogan ran more in the ‘Say Yes Right Now’ direction]
  • and destroyed the Summer Palace
  • and the British Drug Lords were horrible
  • Lots and lots of egos on both sides were involved
  • and a horrifying number of people in China were addicted to opium (I believe the book mentions that at one point 90% of the Chinese army were addicted)
  • and lots of time was spent in trying to work out how the British officials could bow to the Chinese high ups without actually bowing to them.
  • and the Emperor only heard what his advisors thought he’d like to hear. Which wasn’t the best thing when trying to run a war. And led to quite a few bad decisions.

It’s fascinating stuff – the book is well researched and contains excerpts from documents on both sides. It’s also rather depressing and made me take sidelong glances at my cup of tea.

Also, depressing subjects seem to be a common theme in my latest factual reads. Yay.

THE GLADIATOR:

THE SECRET HISTORY OF ROME’S WARRIOR SLAVES

[aka … that’s just not right]

thegladiatorI wrote an extensive review after finishing this book [Actually, it was a page BUT THE WRITING WAS SMALL] and then I found out that Dan Carlin of Hardcore History had released a podcast on the same sort of subject ‘Painfotainment’ … which I haven’t listened to fully yet – but my point is (YOU HAVE ONE?) that this book affected me and I didn’t like it and I decided that I was quite right in loathing some of the Roman Emperors. Seriously. They were jerks.

My problem with this book didn’t lie in the actual history it was recounting – history, is after all, history. You can get mad at it and rave at it but you can’t change it. No, my issues lie in one of the chapters – the crowning chapter of the entire book – in which it describes how a slave is raped and then commits suicide to avoid the games. And this is fictional. To use the story medium as an illustration for how life was back then. A sort of ‘How We Lived and How It Stank’.

Cool. But no. When I read history, I want to read history. When I want to read historical fiction, I pick up a book of historical fiction.

History is bad in plenty of places; give me the facts but by golly, don’t wallow in it. I don’t want to read fictional gratuitous violence in my history book.

And, yes, I did get upset about that chapter, and yes, you’d be right in thinking me absolutely off my rocker for picking up this next book – but there is a difference – one was fiction, and this one? This one is horrible, brutal reality.

THE RAPE OF NANKING

by Iris Chang

nanking.jpgIn December 1937, the Japanese army invaded the ancient city of Nanking, systematically raping, torturing, and murdering more than 300,000 Chinese civilians.

This book tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved many.

This was an awful read. I don’t believe in avoiding the worst points of the world’s history; you can’t understand humankind if you glance at their achievements and virtues. Darkness shows how bright the light can be. But at the same time … what horrors people have done and are capable of …

I think it’s when you look at your fellow man and think of them as less – less than human. Less than nothing. When you forget your humanity, or forget theirs, and then well, you can do anything to them, can’t you? Most of us will think nothing of squishing a bug and there’s nothing wrong with stamping on dirt, is there?

It’s hard reading. I had to put the book down for a while, just for a break. But I finished it and I was glad I did.

Ultranationalists denied that the Rape happened, and for a long time, this atrocity against humanity was a mere lukewarm line or two in Japanese history books. But this book puts the truth out there. It’s terrible and it’s horrid and it’s brutal and awful. But it shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten.

As the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel warned years ago, to forget a holocaust is to kill twice

The more I learn about history, the more I realise that the answer of humanity does not – nay, cannot – lie within ourselves.

Also, my next factual book after I finish The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over The World is going to be about fish.

Just for a break.