Spring Cleaning

You may have noticed that this site is looking a little unprofessional.

I mean, y’know, more unprofessional than usual.

I keep meaning to make this house look like a home, but honestly I keep forgetting this blog exists. As you can probably imagine, that makes it quite hard to fix up.

Despite that, I’ll probably do a bit of spring cleaning here in the next few weeks, which will most likely include getting rid of the majority of my old posts, namely the ones that actually have pageviews. Sorry, but as with everything I create, I look back on it from time to time and wonder what the fuck I was thinking.

I may leave a few up depending on whether they are 1. well written, 2. agree with present-day me, and 3. aren’t likely to trigger another flame war in the near future.

Or I may keep the inflammatory ones, depending on what mood I’m in when I break out the dustpan and brush.

Rest assured that I have a lot of things to say, some of which might be just as embarrassing to look back on later, but which I feel need to be said. Mainly I think I need to get back to this because a fair amount of what I want to write about is not relevant to Teen Skepchick (which you should all totally read, by the way), which I need to write more for anyway, and the more I blog, the more up for blogging I’ll be.

I think.

Rethinking Being British

I’ve been getting really big into history recently. 

It started off with Ancient Rome, and then extended its tendrils further and further into the evolution of Europe, thanks in no small part to my reading of ‘Death of Kings’ by Bernard Cornwell. I also recently read the first book in that series (Saxon Stories), ‘The Last Kingdom’, which was amazing, and I would urge anyone who’s even remotely interested in the period, or just good writing to read it.

After that I’ve delved into whatever I can scour from ask historians on reddit, to the British History Podcast, and I have to say that it’s really made me think about my country in a different light.

It helps, I suppose, that I’ve been volunteering in the Nottingham Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall for these last few months. It’s hard not to be inspired walking up to a tudor mansion on a regular basis. That, and sorting the remains of dead creatures from millions of years before humans even thought to stack two stones together. 

In a way, I’m closer now than ever to understanding how some people can be proud of their country, though I doubt I’ll ever understand fully. I’m not proud that Britain has such an extensive and fascinating history, just as I’m not proud that there was life there for millions of years before humans that also were not me. I do however, find it extremely interesting, and, if I’m being honest, it’s hard not to feel a tinge of connectedness to it all.

I’m not proud to be British, but perhaps my feelings of attachment to its heritage are the closest thing I’m ever going to get to that.

The Second Act of Death

Not literally death. This isn’t that kind of blog. I’m actually having a pretty good day. Well, maybe that kind of death, but in the fictional realm.

It’s striking thinking about how often tragedy occurs in the second act of a story, especially thinking about how tragic the second books (or films) of trilogies can be. Perhaps it’s the ultimate time to start slaughtering your characters and revealing the horrors that have been hiding under the surface. By this point in the story, you know the characters pretty well, you’re confident about where their arcs are headed, and, in a way, you know that they can’t succeed in the way that they want to. They have to be fucked over. Sorry, fictional characters. 

Of course, I’m mainly thinking about this because of my own work. It seems whenever I come up with a long-spanning idea for a story the brutalities seem to gather in one specific place (and sometimes the moments leading up to it). The cycle of victory then defeat then victory is tried and true, and though I don’t mean to emulate it, these kind of patterns we copy without thinking.

We’re influenced by the stories around us, we steal them unknowingly, and sometimes the horrible bits as well as the good.

Who Run The World? (a snarky response)

Let me address a comment recently left on an old post of mine, advising me that my brain doesn’t have the ‘CPU capacity’ to run the program of understanding the New World Order conspiracy theory. 

Firstly, you don’t win an argument by being rude (I know, I know, plank, thorn, eye, whatever). If you don’t agree with what someone is saying, you can’t prove them wrong by calling them stupid. This is condescending and only makes you look bad. If you have evidence that I’m wrong and/or you’re right, let me see it, don’t make a computing analogy just to insult me.

Secondly, the NWO conspiracy theory is so vast and convoluted that no, I haven’t deeply explored every aspect of it. Frankly, I have better things to do than try and comprehend how Kanye West is in league with ancient demon-worshippers and freemasons to take over the world. For the record, I like Kanye West’s music most of the time, but if he was in charge of the world we would know it. For starters, Beyoncé would have won the VMA instead of Taylor Swift, and nobody would let him get in his zone.

See how I do this without calling the commenter in question stupid? I might have pointed out a grammar mistake in his comment in a very unprofessional way on the main post, but the fact that he’s not a syntax expert doesn’t make him wrong. What makes him wrong about me being stupid is the evidence cited by my current university grades, and what makes him wrong about the NWO is, I would hope, obvious.

If I really have to go into it again, I will.

Also, sorry for the gap between posts, I’ve been a little busy.

The Cycle of Pain

If you were reading this blog at this time last year, then you probably know that revising for my exams has left me feeling incredibly unfulfilled. Working thanklessly for months only for a a little bit of that to pay off… I know it’s necessary (at least in our current system), but it’s frustrating and it makes me want to curl up into a little ball and sleep for a thousand years.

What I do like however, is writing. Only when I’m doing it recently I feel guilty for not using my time for revision, which makes me want to write – it’s a cycle of pain. Why couldn’t I be doing an entirely coursework-based degree? Damn you, science.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I put a fiction sample up on here, and seeing as every one I’ve done so far has been (in hindsight) a steaming turd with a smiley face painted on it, I’m going to hold back on that until I know it’s worth putting out there.

It pays to be your harshest critic sometimes.

Not that I’m not excited by what I’m doing, but I have no doubt that when I look over it again it will play out a little something like this:

Me: Well, I’ve left this alone for a month, time to do another draft.

Me again: Wow, I thought this was much better when I was doing it.

Still me: I’m a terrible writer.

Me after a week to think about it: Well, practice makes perfect.

*Does another draft/starts something new*

[REPEAT PROCESS AD INFINITUM]

And to think when I started this blog I was arrogant enough to think my first project would be published. Pffft, that one’s in a pile gathering virtual dust, as this one may end up if I haven’t improved enough to fix it in two years.

Printing Guns

You may have heard that, somewhere in Texas, there is someone 3D printing guns. The actual news item is, of course, much less vague than I’m making out it is, but the point is that this is now a thing, and it’s being done in the name of liberty and freedom. I have a problem with those words, not because I dislike being free (duh), but because their meanings have become so conflated. I can’t see how we in Britain, where guns are much harder to get hold of, are any less ‘free’ than, say, people in the US where gun laws are more relaxed.

There’s a certain mindset, it seems, that sees regulation as an inherently bad thing. Well, regulations can be good, and certainly if all of them were taken away we’d be left with something that barely resembled modern society at all (although some might think that a good thing).

I’d like a world where it was harder for dangerous people to get hold of dangerous weapons that let them do dangerous things. I mean, guns have one purpose, they’re made to kill. There’s not much else you could want a gun for unless it’s to protect yourself from other people with guns, in which case the problem is still one of people having guns.

And printing them out doesn’t seem like the best way to aid that situation.

I admit that I could be wrong, if everyone gets printed guns and gun crime becomes a thing of the past, I will concede that I was wrong and guns are just the thing everyone should need.

Until then, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable about the whole idea.