Hiatus is Over (AKA the one in which our heroine makes an unexpected comeback)

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So. It’s been a while. I’ve been staring at this blank page for hours, typing a sentence, then deleting and browsing various social media for 20 minutes before trying again. But I still don’t really know how to get back into this. I have a lot of feelings, as always, so I’m not really sure where to start.

Let’s start with time. Time is super weird. I say that so often it’s what I suppose could be referred to as my motto. And for a time, and even now to certain extent, they were the words I lived my life by. The older I get the weirder time gets, and the more ignorant of its passing I am the more at peace I feel. Which is probably ridiculous. After a period of time moving very rapidly, it’s odd to now be at a point where time feels rather stagnant. I see it flowing all around me for most other people in my life, which in a way highlights the lack of time in my life at the moment. I’m still not sure how to feel about all of that, but I think I’m starting to realise I’ll ever know how I feel about time, and that’s okay. Time will keep doing it’s weird thing and not giving a shit what I feel or think about its movements. And that’s oddly comforting.

Let’s talk about thinking too. I overthink a lot. I over examine everything to the minutest detail, till I drive myself half insane. but over the past couple months, I’ve started to notice I’m not thinking things through at all half the time. My brain feels so empty both of worry and whatever the opposite of worry is, and I don’t know how to feel about that. Seems the only thing I’m overthinking at the moment is my lack thereof.

Let’s also talk about journeys. I’ve been reading a lot of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales recently, and I’ve noticed a common theme of a journey. Character’s – such as Gerda in the Snow Queen – go on long journeys to find something that has been lost to them. The people they meet on the road try to stop them, but eventually they help, and the obstacles are overcome and the day is usually won. But not always, sometimes things go to hell in a handbasket and there is little you can do about it. I like that even in fairy tales that can be the case, it makes me feel better while things go a bit strange in my real life.

I don’t really know what this all means. I know it isn’t particularly cohesive, but I wanted to lay out some of my weird feelings, so we can start again from scratch. I’m staying home for a year, so hopefully I’ll have the time to keep this up more constant, but life is strange and who knows where it’ll take me. Take us.

See you soon,

Emily

xxx

 

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Welcome Home Persephone (AKA as the one in which Emily continues to be a romantic nerd)

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So, I think I’ve fallen in love with the Spring. It goes like this;

as the almost golden sun drips through the blossom trees, or drenches the sky and the fields in haze, I am lost in a place that my brain cannot perceive as real. Because to grow up, I had to teach myself that reality is never as bright as the world in my head. So, of course, I must be dreaming when I’m sat gazing out the window at the stretches of luminous fields that curve up to make hills that were obviously painted as concept art for the Shire. And so, because its a dream I don’t mind smiling like a huge dork, and singing out of key for everyone in the street to hear.

And even when it rains and the skies turn an overbearing grey, I don’t despair any more, because I know that it isn’t going to drain away my energy like vampiric January. There’s a warm hand on my back, reminding me this isn’t all there’s going to be, pushing me forward. So although I may not smile, I don’t bury my hope in a chest at the bottom of the sea. Just maybe under my bed.

So I’ll wear my prettiest dress, uncaring if I freeze to death.

And I’m praying that if I keep pretending it’s warmer than it is, the spring will always stay here, by my side. Which makes me realise that I don’t know what I’m going to do when the autumn strolls in and gives my joy a sleeping pill. I push the thought to the back of my mind, pull out my sunglasses from the obscure hole they were hiding in.

That’s the sum and total of it. Me and Demeter should start a support group. Imagine the t-shirts.

Thanks for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts. It’s all a bit like unravelled, tangled up wool at the moment, I’m just trying to tug on the right thread. Give me time, I’ll get it.

See you soon,

Emily

xxx

Aimless (AKA as the one in which Past Emily must be relied upon for content)

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If this blog post feels a little aimless, then I suppose I have done my job – provided of course that my job is to accurately convey my emotions into a word-like structure.

It’s a weird time at the moment. I can’t put my finger on why, or whether it’s just me, but there is certainly something happening that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m wading through exhaustion fuelled nonchalance, and I want to do is sleep and write poetry. (And yes, that probably is the most pretentious sentence I have ever conceived). I think it’s mostly due to my brain’s attempt to deal with the rising temperatures in the metaphorical cooking pot I’m boiling in. So to save you all from the weirdness, and mostly indecipherable train wreck that is my thought processes at the moment I thought I would share the first part of a story I’m writing. I wrote most of this in bunk-bed in a youth hostel pretending to be a hotel down in London. I hope you enjoy!


So I’m stood, gazing out the window in the student-film lighting, trying to estimate the social standing of each area of London from the aesthetic of it’s tube station.

Here are grim-faced, straight-laced, fine suited and booted folks. “We’re in a posh bit here”, I  think to myself with a smile I hope is wry.

Dirty wood and bare concrete, out-dated 80s decor. “Oh, a bit of a rougher patch here”

And I live for a moment in the buzz of my own insight, as for a passing minute I can pretend that I have knowledge of this strange world I have never been able to fully comprehend.

The underground is a strange place, you see it so often on TV and in films and god-knows where else that, even if you’ve never actually been on it, late at night when there’s only a handful of people in that warm yellow glow it’s like you’ve been there many times before. My headphones jammed in my ears, gentle music playing, and as my bones begin to warm for the first time in 5 hours, all I want to do is sleep. Only the over-hanging fear of missing my stop keeps me awake, so I sit, enjoying existing in this mellow setting for a brief juncture in my day.

When I step out into the street it is raining. It’s been raining all day, but I am still for some reason surprised. I pull my beanie hat further down over my ears, and wrap my arms around myself in an attempt to hold onto my rapidly depleting warmth. The sun has just set, and it brings a whole different tone to the chill that’s now starting to set back under my skin. All I can think about is having a hot shower, but tonight there is other business to attend to.


Thank you for reading! I hope to resume usual blogging style soon, but I’m in London again next week so I’m not making any promises I’m afraid.

See you soon!

Emily

xxx

 

Fiction vs the Patriarchy (AKA Emily continues to be a dork, even on International Women’s Day)

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Happy International Women’s Day!

I originally had a heartfelt ramble about my personal experiences with feminism written for today, but it was rather depressing and serious, and I believe today should be a celebration of women, not a time to dwell on how awful everything is. So I thought I would list some of my favourite (what I would consider feminist) creations that seem to be widely unknown by people. Please check them out and let me know what you think!

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I know this may not be a particularly unknown one, as back in the nineties it was (according to my parents at least, I was still an infant and so do not recall) exceedingly popular. However these days I know very few people under the age of 30 who have watched it. Please do! This show defined how I view strong female characters from the age of 10 ( when i started watching it, I was probably too young – thanks dad for the nightmares) One of the best examples i know of demonstrating strong, powerful women who also are girly. Plus strong female friendships! A variety of different women who play principle roles! And vampires! All wrapped up in nineties fashion, what more could you want?

  • The Final Girls

This is a fantastic horror film that came out in 2015, about a group of friends who get tapped in an eighties horror film. This film knocks the Bechdel test out of the park, centres around the importance of a mother/daughter relationship, and also as Taissa Farmiga swinging around a machete. This is also a beautifully cheesy homage to eighties horror movies such as ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Friday 13th’. Absolutely awesome!!

  • Lumberjanes

If you like comic books and you haven’t read this, please go fix that immediately. Mysterious bear-ladies, three-eyed foxes, Greek gods, mermaids, and much more wierdness ensues at the ‘Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types’, the five Lumberjane scouts of Roanoke cabin are on the case! Beautiful artwork and hilarious stories, with predominantly female characters driving the project!

  • Giant Days

I adore Lumberjanes, but this is probably my favourite comic book of all time. A (mostly) realistic story about a group of friends at university, what makes this comic so fantastic and hilarious is how purely ordinary the characters are, in way you rarely see women depicted as in any kind of media. Also one of the funniest things I have ever read, if you want to start reading comics but don’t want superhero stuff, this is your best bet!

  • The Awesome

Buffy the Vampire Slayer with more sex and she can say f*ck. I don’t really have to say more that I hope. Also bloody hysterical, one of the best YA books currently being published!

I know this is a bit different from my usual style of post, but I think it’s really important that we celebrate the strong women in fiction, as they help make the women strong in real life!

Thank you for reading, and here’s to a future of strong women continuing to do amazing things!

See you soon,

Emily

xxx

The Author is Dead (AKA the one where Emily takes on CS Lewis from beyond the grave)

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The impact a creator’s intent has on a project is undeniable. Whether it’s a book, a film, a painting or a podcast, it’s the creator’s intent that ultimately shapes it.

I recently had a day off, so whilst tackling the ominous mountain of ironing, I decided to re-watch the Chronicles of Narnia films. I only made it through the first two as I had other things to get done that day, but what surprised me was how much I enjoyed watching these films. Growing up, I adored the books of the Chronicles of Narnia. I got the whole set for my eighth birthday from a family friend, and I devoured them. My favourite was always The Magicians Nephew, as I lived in a terraced house just like the one Diggory and Polly played together in, and I spent years hoping a best friend would just move in next door, and then we would go on magical adventures together. I also loved the character of Jadis. She was one of the first female characters I had come across who was purely self-confident, and although this is obviously framed as a negative trait in the context of the books, I just thought she was really cool. (If you’ll pardon the pun).

However, as I got older, my bubble was broken. I don’t remember who first pointed it out to me, but once I realised the underlying religious tone of this series, I immediately distanced myself from them. They were no longer my favourite childhood books, and I plunged myself into Harry Potter instead. (Which is actually equally problematic in some aspects, but I’ll get to that another time). I went to go see the films when they came out, mostly because I’ll go and see pretty much any fantasy film, but I generally talked about Narnia with a hint of scorn amongst my social circles.

But when I re-watched the films this time around, I was just struck with how much I loved them, all cheesy fantasy tropes aside. I still love the characters, the plot, and honestly even some of the heavy handed moral lessons – such as the importance of not dismissing children, that making mistakes does not make you an intrinsically bad person, and that being kind is just as important as being brave. So honestly, I don’t care about the religious elements to this series! I acknowledge they exist, but they will no longer change the way I love Narnia!

I guess what I’m trying to say (in my usual hyperbolic manner) is that the intent of Lewis may have shaped these books, and perhaps are at the root of some of the themes, but at the end of the day, it’s what I took from these books that is really important. And I believe this can be applied to creative work in general. It’s what you personally take away that is what really matters, as art is the most subjective thing you can get.

Thanks for reading! Sorry I missed last week – it was a bit hectic so I didn’t get chance to upload anything. But regular programming has been restored, and (much like the Backstreet Boys) I am back!

See you soon,

Emily

xxx

Nostalgic (AKA Emily vs the Mental Breakdown™)

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And so it begins. We all brace ourselves with coffee so strong it will probably cause brain damage and enough coloured pens to recreate a Monet painting, and collectively descend into revision hell. I’ll be honest, I have not descended quite as deeply as I should have at this point, but such is the consequence of being a chronic procrastinator.But even when you procrastinate, the stress and panic of preparing for exams, no matter what age you are, can be overwhelming at times.

I’ve always found that around this time of year, and around any difficult or stressful time, I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic.

Nostalgia can be an awful thing. I have certainly found that dwelling in my past, and most likely remembering it to be much more golden than it actually was, creates an almost heart-breaking sense of discontent with my present. The future itself becomes insignificant, and living day to day feels pointless, as no matter how hard you work you can never get those effervescent days back. This form of nostalgia is in many ways toxic, eating away at your sense of purpose and self-esteem. And typically it perpetuates itself, as you become more discontent with your present you rely more on happy memories of your past, and so become more dis-engaged with what is happening right now. It’s a noxious circle of self-destruction.

Now I know that the dictionary defines nostalgia as ‘a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past’, but I believe that it is far more complex concept than that. Nostalgia, for me at least, is a form of escapism. And escapism doesn’t necessarily need to perpetuate the negativity that motivates your need for escape. We should try to be ‘nostalgic’ for our future, rather than for our past. I find it easiest to do this on my bus journeys, listening to music and looking above the towns to the hills in the distance. The stress of work becomes less of a dead weight when you remind yourself that is there is something beyond it. And no mater what it’s going to be, it’s certainly going to be different, which should be exciting! The past can never provide that kind of potential.

Good luck to everyone studying at the moment, I hope you maintain your sanity, whatever way you choose to do that! And never forget that there are hills on the horizon.

See you soon,

Emily

xxx

Origins (AKA as the one where Emily is a blogging cliché)

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Some say that there are only eight stories, eight tales that repeat themselves throughout history and throughout cultures, changing slightly, but are essentially the same. Now I’m no expert on these things, I haven’t studied nearly enough History or Literature to give a valid judgement as to whether this is true, but the issue of originality is something that I think about constantly.

When I was younger it was my dream to be an author, and as I got older I considered going into film-making. But the one thing that always held me back (other than my habit of procrastinating EVERYTHING) was the fear that I wasn’t creating something original. If something I wrote in any way resembled something I knew existed in media I would abandon the project to the wolves. This meant that I have to yet to actually ever finish even a short story. I kept subconsciously drawing from other books I have read and films I have seen, and so considered myself a terrible creator, and threw in the towel. Now the speed at which I will give up on something deserves a blog-post of it’s own (and will probably get one at some point in the future) but that looming fear that I simply wasn’t an original writer meant I practically gave up writing altogether.

Over the past year or so I have considered what makes an idea original probably far too deeply. But the conclusion I’ve come to is that honestly? It doesn’t matter. I’m not saying you should steal from other people! Respecting other writers and artists is very important! But if you spend all your time fretting over whether what you make is fresh and new you’ll never get anything done. I know it’s a cliché, but there’s a lot to be said for just making things that you enjoy making. If your short story ends up being just like every other sci-fi book you’ve ever read, or your short film accidentally turns out to be the plot of an Adventure Time episode, don’t sweat it. It is better to have something unoriginal created than having crated noting at all. And keep in mind that early human communities invented farming at around the same time, in separate unconnected parts of the globe. So we’ve always been subconsciously unoriginal.

Thanks for reading, now go forth and create!

See you soon,

Emily

xxx