Life

2018 – not all the things but some of them

I haven’t finished a Dickens yet but I’m on the way. I’m a couple of chapters in and actually … I’m really enjoying it. Dickens writes well – who knew? 

(Me. I should have done.)

travel

  • Canada – came home in July
  • England – home
  • Moldova – taught for three months
  • Various Airports – Vienna, Frankfurt etc
  • Gotham – not yET BECAUSE 1) HOW DANGEROUS WOULD THAT BE AND ALSO 2) IT’S FICTIONAL. LIFE IS HARD.

writing

HAHAHAHAHA.

It has been a bad year for my writing, to be honest. No books have been finished. A handful of short stories have been completed. One or two have been submitted to competitions. (One honourable mention, but that was all.)

In short: for someone who considers herself to be a writer … I’ve done a poor job of being one.

But on the plus side, I’ve really started to deep dive into the ‘behind the scenes of writing’. Usually, I just go by instinct: sit down, and write. BOOM! Story done. (Or not.) But now … I’m really pondering what goes on with characters, with plot, heck – even with grammar. It’s really fascinating and for the first time in a long time I’m getting excited about writing.

I’ve always been excited about stories and consuming them but writing? Yeah. I’m a bit chuffed and looking forward to what I can do in the New Year.

reading

This was always going to be more successful than my writing. Goodreads lists only a fraction of what I’ve actually read. I’m kind of awful that way.

I’ve read a lot more factual books this year – and I’m glad that I did. Particular highlights were a book on the history of China and a history of eclipses (I really enjoyed that one!)

personal

  • haven’t solved any murders
  • haven’t captured a dragon (and trained it. obvs)
  • haven’t fulfilled my destiny and brought about MAJOR prison reform (I shouldn’t have read Narconomics, should I? NO RAGRATS!)
  • haven’t learned how to function without spell check
  • haven’t become a black belt in ballroom dancing (this was never an ambition but I haven’t done it so I thought I should list it here.)

what i hope for the next year …

  • more writing projects completed (maybe a novel! Maybe several short stories!)
  • finish teaching in Moldova
  • find a job back home (post-Brexit BAHAHAHAHA. Oh gosh. So doomed.)
  • learn how to say ‘no’ to things (it’s harder than you’d think.)
  • more blog posts per month

happy reading, God bless, and happy new year, everyone!

also, if anyone has read a dickens this year then … please let me know which one it was and what did you think and what was your favourite quote etc etc ALSO HOW WAS YOUR YEAR?????

Advertisements
Books

recountings: the lantern bearers

behold – the eloquent fruit of my SOUL

I didn’t precisely plagiarize ‘The Lantern Bearers’ when I wrote ‘The Hard Way’. I was inspired by it. *cough cough* I remember sitting in our minibus, notepad and pen firmly gripped in my hands. I wrote and wrote, inspiration sitting on my shoulder and zeal for words seizing my soul.

Afterwards, when the first – and only – chapter was finished, an older brother was kind enough to type it up onto our computer.

With the first chapter completed, I dusted my hands off and went on to other stories. This, unfortunately, would set a precedent for the majority of my stories. (I have folders full of tales that are called ‘Hopefully. Nearer To Now’ ‘On The Back Burner’ ‘Abandoned’ and ‘It Happens. Now’. And also random word documents littering random files on every computer that I’ve ever owned.)

The Lantern Bearers //Rosemary Sutcliff

This book. This cover. We had the ‘Eagle of the Ninth’ series when I was much younger – and I, being the devourer of all books, got my hands on this one.

I can still remember holding it – the cover was matte, the title written in golden letters. It was so beautiful.

I spent buckets of time with Aquila and his world – something about the book drew me in and kept me rereading it.

Heck, even now, if I close my eyes I can picture a scene from the book exactly. (Well, not exactly. I can’t remember every word. But dang, I can feel the loneliness, the gloom, the brown countryside with some red shrubbery – wait, was it red? OH NO! THE HUMANITY! MY MEMORY! IT HAS FAULTS!).

It is isn’t a happy book, it’s a bittersweet one. Perhaps that’s why I loved it so much – the relationships and situations that Aquila encounters seemed so much more realistic than those in other books. His reunion with his sister. His relationship with his son. His marriage to his wife isn’t a ‘love match’ – no, he doesn’t want to marry but is ordered to and makes the choice between the beautiful golden sister and little brown one. He chooses Ness – the little brown one. The plainer sister.

(As a young girl I related to this on a spiritual level. I had brown hair. I was plain. I COULD BE CHOSEN JUST LIKE NESS WAS. THERE WAS HOPE.)

(Also, she liked watching storms. If there had been a storm occurring when I was reading this book … you can be sure I would have gone out and found it. And stood there. Watching it. Getting drenched but feeling awesome.)

And yes, my pen name is inspired by this Ness. (The surname? Ironman 3 had just come out and Ben Kingsley had subconsciously sunk into my skull. I … don’t regret it?)

I could go on and on – about Minnow, about the monk and his bees, Aquila’s captivity, Sutcliff’s prose, the characterizations and so much more. But … sometimes it’s best not to hear about another’s bookish adventure but to go on it yourself.

So scoot – go on! Go pick it up and dive in.

Aquila is a complex character – yet he is someone who you can understand – you can cheer for him and yet suffer immense heartache on his behalf.

The ending is a beautiful one. There isn’t a loud ‘out with a bang’ ending but a quieter, better and more subtle one.

One that leaves you with a strange ache – wanting more but knowing that the ending is perfect as it is. And I think that those are the best endings.

You can borrow the ebook version of the Lantern Bearers here.

Books, I think I just rambled, Life

elephant thieves, adventures in grammar, and taps.

img_20181001_020627_033I’m living in Eastern Europe at the moment, TEFL-ing my heart out. English Grammar is an intriguing beast and I am wrestling with it on a daily basis. The upside is that grammar is logical. The downside is that though my brain is extremely fond of logic, it isn’t always very quick to grasp it. It’s fast in a sort of … ‘cold molasses gently oozing down an indecisive hill’ kind of way.

Thankfully, I don’t think my students are being too badly damaged, and dare I say it – are perhaps learning things as well.

Though I’ve never thought of my accent in a negative light – not really – right now I am having a crisis; I have a sort of not-posh posh British accent and it seems that learners find it easier to listen to and understand American English. (Something about the ‘r’s.)

My accent isn’t good enough.

Benefits of Living In Different Places: you find new ways to be humbled.

BOOKS I’VE READ

I mean, fanfiction doesn’t count, right? (WHAT?? YOU READ FANFICTION? Yes. Yes, I do #noragrets) Look. It’s free and it’s fun and sometimes it is written really well. What’s not to like?

684363

Appointment In Jerusalem

I only brought two physical books with me – this one and Holiness by J.C Ryle (I think?) Appointment in Jerusalem has been an encouragement and I shall probably reread it a few times while I am here.

Lydia left her comforts and the Known and traveled to where she believed God had called her. And if that isn’t courage, I don’t know what is.

35434295

Elephant Thief by Lia Patterson

I have always liked Lia’s writing in the fanfiction realm. She’s also written two books and this one is my favourite.

She writes good characters and weaves enjoyable plots with a great dollop of adventure.

What’s not to love?

Also, she needs to write more books ASAP.

WRITING … WHY AREN’T YOU DOING IT?

To say I’ve gotten rusty with my writing skills is to say that the earth is round – both are facts and both should never be debated. [But one day I want to go to a flat earth conference … because imagine how interesting it would be? I have so many questions. 1) …  just … how … wut … *much spluttering* 2) BUT SCIENCE-! HISTORY! FACTS! EVIDENCE! 3) Tell me about everything you believe and why and can I write this down and how do you feel about being inserted into a book?]

Ah-hem.

What I mean to say is – I need to get back to writing a little more than lesson plans. But this will come with time, I think. And that time isn’t right now. Next week, I shall be teaching an extra two classes twice a week.

I am bracing myself.

APPARENTLY, I AM AN IDIOT

… and I have evidence to support this theory. My new apartment, you see, has taps. Running water. That sort of thing.

For perhaps a week, I believed that we didn’t have hot water. It’s the poorest country in Eastern Europe, I thought. You can’t have everything. Turns out … actually, you can. IF YOU TURN THE TAP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

… yes. That sound you are hearing?

It’s me.

Face palming.

Benefits of Living In Different Places: you find new ways to be EXTREMELY humbled.

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? –

IMG_20180120_110338_399.jpg

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.

a241b2dc-0eb9-4a3c-af6b-d6462df95203

– 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? –

tenor-9
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.

mewithbook

– 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

flour.gif

Life

how to survive without a laptop

Well. So much for posting twice a week. I do have a reason for my absence; my laptop (or rather, the laptop belonging to my brother) decided to retreat behind an eternally black screen. I was not overwhelmingly happy with this decision.

PANIC LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW

You know, like ‘party like there’s no-‘ fine. my blogging skills are rusty.

It is a second of extreme crisis – that moment when you realize that technology has Failed You. History fans out before your very eyes. (Interestingly, history is mostly represented by Mongols). How on earth did they survive without a laptop, you demand of Wikipedia.

(Oh. Wait. You can’t look up anything on Wikipedia. Your laptop is as responsive as a stone.)

crying.gif

ACCEPT YOUR FATE

After brief moments of panic in which the future is hopeless and your life void of joy, you realize that … you can survive this. The Mongols did. The Vikings did. Robin Hood didn’t need twitter or, or a blog to have his valiant adventures.

(Actually. He didn’t exist. Probably. Except in your head. Diverted, a moment of quiet, sad reflection is spent on this thought.)

You can survive this absence of technology.

You can use your iPad, kindle, and phone.

You can cope.

EXIST. LIVE- NAY. THRIVE!!

Suddenly you find that you aren’t wasting time, whiling away the hours surfing the web. (You are versatile – you find other ways to waste time.)

Instead of being distracted by your blog, you write Greenwood unintelligibly by hand, your letters formed with grace and skill that a drunken chicken would be proud of.

You write twelve pages.

And then, you snap. You’ve had enough. Why?

  1. You have to edit a project
  2. It just … is a different experience, writing without a laptop (You like it. to an extent. but not to a very large extent. And certainly not for an entire six months)
  3. You are never – in a million years – going to be able to reread your handwriting

TO HECK WITH IT. BUY ANOTHER LAPTOP

It doesn’t have to be flashy. It just has to have Word, a (working) screen, and a keyboard. (Definitely a keyboard.)

Yes. It will cost money, and yes, Dickens and Austen authored books without the aid of computers (and yes, that makes you feel like a second-rate writer, but … pfft. Time travel. They could have time traveled.Hypothetically speaking.) but you know what’ll it save you?

Squinting at your own handwriting.

horror.gif

So, I have a new laptop. His name is Ivanhoe. He is fast in the way of glaciers, with more memory than a gnat. But he has Word, a screen, and a keyboard. And so life is good. Nay. Life is beautiful.