About Me

My photo
Tokyo, Japan
In 2011 I graduated with 1st class honours in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. I lived in China for nearly two and a half years, where I was working as an English teacher. I just moved to Tokyo where I will be spending my time teaching and writing. This blog is about my experiences of TEFL teaching and living abroad.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Feeling Festive

Ho ho ho and all that!
Hope everything is going well for everyone at this festive time of year. Myself, I've been pretty busy, only had one assignment to hand in but lots of other writing to be getting on with too. I've just started my next car writing assignment, this one is about 'Used Jeeps' which I am loving a lot more than the last one I had, definitely more to talk about this time.
Really looking forward to having a week at home for the Christmas Holiday, hoping I'll get a lot of writing done. There are so many things that distract me from writing here, so it will be a nice break to go home and just chillax with the family and do a bit of my own thing. Hopefully get some reading done too, I've been neglecting Mr Dawkins recently, though I've got the that halfway point in the book where everything is starting to get a bit dull and samey, so fingers crossed it will pick up soon! I'm reading a fair bit of children's fiction for an essay (which I really should be starting...) so that is great fun, nice and light hearted (even though the subject is..umm...death) so that's been pretty cool.
That's about it from me, I'm pretty wary of what I'm posting up here at the moment, work wise, what with plagiarism and stuff, I don't want to loose marks at Uni because they think I'm stealing, that would suck! But fingers crossed I'll have some stuff to put up here soon xxx

Sunday, 6 December 2009

So here it is...December

Doesn't time fly? Deadlines upon us and all that jazz. I do like winter though, it's nice to be able to sit indoor reading or writing, locked up in the dark without thinking 'I really should be outside enjoying the weather'. So roll on those dark and dingy months.
What have I been up to recently? This week it's been all about the submissions. I entered a competition called Bright Young Things, which is being set up by the Eden project to showcase talent of all kinds. In the creative writing section, I entered a poem about global warming, from the perspective of a polar bear. I had most my information from watching David Attenborough's 'Life on Earth' series, but I also did a bit of specific research for it, which was good. The final project wasn't fantastic, I don't aim to win the competition, it's just good to be doing things really. Make me feel like I'm achieving. The other thing I entered this week was a competition run by the 'Writing Magazine', which was to write the text for a picture book aimed at very young children. This was a bit of a sneaky bonus (or so I thought) because I was writing one anyway for my writing for children class, but as it turned out, the competitions word limit was 200 words, whereas my piece was into 400 words. Eeep. Editing is easy...to a point. But when you have to cut out over half the material, that's pretty difficult! 200 words is nothing really. But I managed to do it and keep the main structure of the story together. So I've sent that off too. Hurrah. Looking forward to seeing what reaction I get for the full piece, as I haven't really written things for children before.
What else? Well, reading, I've been reading a lot of children's books (which I'm allowed to count on my reading list as it's not for fun, I'm technically studying them, so naaah). In January I need to write an essay on a theme or some such to do with children's writing, and I've chosen to look at books that help kids come to terms with death. So I've been looking at things like 'The Sad Book' and 'Badgers Parting Gifts', lots of lovely morbid books for my back round reading. On the whole it's fun though, and it's interesting looking at it not only from the perspective of how a child would see it, but also how adults do too.
No closer really on the completion of my next publication, though I have a fair idea of the things I want to go in it, so it's all about getting more work shopping time to fix things for it. Busy busy, as always.
Oh yes, and of course, Christmas is super soon. YAY!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Editing for England

Hello there.
I've been a pretty busy bee this evening, been going through lots of older work from a few months ago as well as more recent things, just editing and reprinting for hopefully more work shopping and feedback. I'm trying to put together a collection of work for my next book which will be about 40 pages long. So far I have two poems that I am happy with to go in, so a fair bit of work to do yet! I've plenty of material, it's just getting it to that top notch standard at the moment. It'll be a mix of page poems, prose poems and maybe short short stories too. So fingers crossed I can continue to receive feedback on my stuff and get it all sorted out.
Looks like I'll be spending this weekend indoors anyway as I'm coming down with a cold :( so plenty of time for reading and writing I guess. Still cracking away at Dawkins, fun fun fun, as well as several other titles.
Fingers crossed, more updates soon!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Friday Morning

Hello there.
Yesterday I attended a reading by the poet Luke Kennard. I was very impressed. Sadly a lot of the work he red were things that I had already red myself, but it was still nice to hear him read them aloud. It always changes the poem to how you imagine it, like when you pronounce a character's name from a book one way, when others say it differently. He didn't put the pauses where I thought they'd be, particularly in the murderer poem. I would have left pauses in different places for effect, but he seemed to power through these bits I would have treated delicately. But hey, they're his poems so I shan't complain!
What am I reading now? Well I'm hitting a bit of Dawkins, couldn't get a copy of the selfish gene out the library so I've opted for the blind watch maker instead, which is just as good I'm sure. I studied the watch maker analogy (william...paley?) in A level philosophy so I feel I have a heads up for getting to grips with all of Dawkins sciencey stuff. So far...very interesting, and I'm disappointed to say (as a christian and a soon to be conformed (maybe) Dawkins hater) that he is coming across and witty and very clever indeed. But there we go.
Writing? Well I've written chapter ten of the novel and typed up to and including chapter six. Those first typed chapters are totalling about 10,000 words which is okay-ish. I was hoping for a little more. But never fear, I have a three part plan. 1. Write the first draft, which will be the bare bones, coming in seriously under word count. 2. Bulk out the entire thing with a series of re writes where I focus on adding. 3. Proper editing, which consists of course mainly of cutting things out. So I'm hoping the end product will be of a reasonable word count :)

Dawkins and coffee are calling...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Where did it all go?

Once again I have set aside an evening to crack on with some work, and alas, between dying my hair and wrapping Christmas presents, I discover it is already nearly 11 and I have achieved...nothing. Never mind, there's always another day I suppose.
I've been trying my hand at short stories recently which is fun as they are quick to do, so I can complete something rather than feeling I haven't got anything done.
I'm planning my second collection to be published, fingers crossed before the new year if I can get myself together. A medley of poems and short stories, and who knows what else. All very exciting.
I performed my first poem this week at the Raven storytelling circle, which I adore. I feel it went quite well, it was one of the last pieces so by then i think people were ready to go home, but I'm glad I got my first time out the way and over and done with. I red 'The BBC Stole my Crocodile Clip', which is likely to appear as it's new edited self in my booky wook.
That's about it for today if I'm going to get anything done...ta raaa xx

Saturday, 14 November 2009

I have already reached my annual quota of books I should read which I'm pretty chuffed about, hopefully squeeze in a few more before the new year to get an awesome grant total. I aim to have read 24 by the end of the year, which averages 2 a month. Of course it never works out that way, I usually reach around August when I realise I've only got halfway, then I read like mad until Christmas. SO very pleased indeed to be so far ahead of myself.
I've just finished Nation (Pratchett) and was very impressed by it. I think that perhaps it could have done without the last 2 chapters, but then it would have left a lot of things very open. It was one of those 'tell them all or nothing' situations, so I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbles.
I am very proud to announce that I have acquired my first writing job. I write articles and blog posts for a website that I think is a sort of search engine for reviews about cars. If you know me, then you will know I do not drive, nor do I know very much about cars, but with a creative mind and a determined will you can achieve anything so... mental though it is, bing-bang-bong I land myself a job writing about cars. Can't complain eh. Here we are in a recession and I, a student, have three jobs :) Just greedy I guess.
So what have I been writing recently? Usual story I'm afraid, not very much. I've been writing a few prose poems / flash fiction short stories (what are the difference between these, by the way? Week 3 of class and I STILL don't get it) which is quite good, means I haven't abandoned prose altogether. Poetry happens when the mood takes me, so maybe... a poem a fortnight at the moment? Not too hot. I'm doing a fair bit of editing though which is good... still little progression with the novel, but I SHALL be writing some this evening, so there!
As Christmas looms I suppose I shall be setting down my pen in swaps for knitting needles (my talent knows no limits, I know!) and gifting away, but maybe not. Who knows.
So yes, that's me. Over and out.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Springing up like daisies

It's great to see so many people (as in, my Creative Writing buddies from Bath Spa) getting blogging accounts and Twitter, etc, but there is also that innate human pang of jealously that stabs in when I see another friend has joined the networking world. Competition, I guess, but luckily that feeling quickly evaporates and I am very proud to see them stepping up their game. It's second year now, things are getting serious I guess.
I don't know about you, but I often feel very torn between books. For example, there is a book I have to read (Stuart, a life backwards) for one of my courses at uni, and a book I want to read (Nation). Of course I am more likely to read what I want to read, after all its the book I picked for myself rather than having it forced on me. It's probably my own fault for reading two at once. If I had only stuck to one then the other, I wouldn't be feeling this resentment and boredom when I pick up the book I have to read.
I remember quite vividly when I was younger and going on a family holiday, I was given two books to take away with one. One was a Jacqueline Wilson - I red almost exclusively of her for a time - and another by Michael Ende. Naturally I wanted to Wilson, but my Dad insisted that I read the other first - with it's boring cover picture, lack of pictures throughout, it seemed far too grown up. So I ploughed through against my will, but found the book to be surprisingly...fantastic! Momo by Michael Ende has remained one of my favorite books of all time, and I can't even remember which Jacqueline Wilson book it was that I coveted so much. I always this of how things can surprise you.
Battery low....taaraa! x

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Busy busy bee... BUZZ!

I haven't done any writing for pleasure in....weeks. I say weeks, it's more like... 2 or 3... which is still far too many in my opinion. I haven't really been given that much work from Uni, it's just when other things get busy it all piles up and you run out of time... hence my mad rushing to get things done. I like being busy but rushing is never good. I have DECIDED (because it IS going to happen) that things will be a lot calmer and less busy starting next week. *nods hopefully*
My editing system is in place - I have a brand new folder filled with compartments for my work to be filtered through 5 stages of drafting...so when I get the time, I shall enjoy sitting down and doing some editing!

Hang on, did I really say that? Me, enjoying editing? Wow!

What other news? Well, I'm currently reading lots of things - Terry Pratchett's Nation being one. I've only red one other Pratchett before (Jingo) and quite liked it, but I'm not one of those massive Pratchett fans, I simply don't have time to read widely of one author, I prefer to jump around. But so far Nation is impressing me. I'm also still ploughing (slowly) through In America with the fabulous Stephen Fry. I don't often get time for it (and being a massive book I can't fit it in my bag to carry around on buses etc) but when I do get the chance, it's always nice to hear from Mr Fry. I've recently been picking up the Woman's Hour 50th Anniversary Collection of Short Stories which has been a mix... the first few I red had disappointing endings that made the story a bit pointless, but I've red a few that I quite like, including my first experience of Margret Atwood, hurrah! Also...Stuart, a life backwards by Alexander Masters. I'm reading this for my life writing course at uni, as I don't usually read biographies for pleasure. It's interesting, but not my usual sort of thing.

Right...I'd better crack on with some of that darned work of mine! Currently trailing through a collection of prose poems for class tomorrow, hurrah hurrah!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Productivity? Can it be?

So I had this lecture today on 'networking' from my fabulous tutor Annie McGann. Like most of the C/W lectures I attend there were mixed feelings about it, but on the whole we (the student body, of course) were pretty impressed and came away full of knowledge. I was surprised at how few students have blogs (and out of those that do, how many of those are actually their attempt to further their career?) but I guess it makes me a bit of a rarity. Everybody likes being special sometime :)
So away from this lecture I came, and I now have a profile on google - which will apparently make me more easily found and searchable - and I have also just joined the twitter community as MissCeliaJ (because MissCeliaJenkins was one character too long, darn!). So I'm pretty pleased, maybe I'll get a bit more traffic through my blog with these other self promotion outlets (and maybe someone will actually comment on something...perhaps...no? Oh...okay then...)
What else can I tell you? Oh yes, my poetry collection 'Love and Other Nonsense' has recently become available, not only in actual physical book form, but as a download straight to your computer for about a third of the price. Bargain. That's the way things are going, isn't it? All this dowbload stuff instead of having the real thing. Then again, I think it will take a long long time to completely phase out 'the book'. People like having something to hold, and own, and pass between friends. Ahh, I do like books :)
After some ace advice on some of my poems, I am going to start up a new system for editing my work. I will have different sections in a folder, and a piece of work will have to move through all the sections before I can consider it complete. So I it shall start with 'Draft One' and maybe end with 'Draft Five'. I need to get into the habit of redrafting and redrafting and redrafting... and actually edit it properly each time. Yes. This is my plan :)

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Some poems pour vous

Remember the entry of the script 'who is he?' I posted a while back? The one I sent to the BBC? Well this is a poem I write on my rejection of said script


The BBC Stole my Crocodile Clip

It’s how they make their millions.
Searching for ‘new talent’,
eager for fresh blood,
more unsuspecting writers
to send in their scripts.
“Don’t forget your SAE!”
because heaven forbid the BBC
should fork out a penny.
“Clip all your pages together!”
...then when we’re done
we’ll send it back,
no word of encouragement,
no hopeful note,
no crocodile clip either.
We’ve stolen it.


This next one is very recent, and dedicated to my dear friend Mel



I am the first born,
and although a mothers arms
are not without their charms,
you give me something else.
I know it’s cliché, but
you’re the big sister I never had
and I’m glad
it’s you.
You guide me, and shield me,
and lead me astray
but that’s okay.
It was your birthday,
but still you sat with me in the rain,
and dried my tears.
You let me smoke your cigarettes
because I needed them more,
and in that moment I saw
the big sister I should have been,
should be.
I can’t thank you enough.


Pathetic Fallacy always reminds me of King Lear, and how is mood seemed to correlate with the weather. Here is a short one...


Pathetic Fallacy

A racing heart beat,
tingles from fingertips
to feet.
Girlish giggles
and wistful sighs,
lightning in my eyes,
electricity on my thighs.



I love being busy, but these few days I have been RUSHED which is not what I like at all. Trying to get the balance between classes, work, volunteering, social life...and still managing to do my own writing? Pfff, not the way it's going! So I'm having some serious rethinking about what I can and can't do with my time...fingers crossed that very soon I will be posting a helluva lot more on here!
So where are my writery things at? After my Writing for Children Lecture I started on a piece that I'm pretty excited about. Haven't done much in the way of writing yet but this one is heavily research based as it's going to be very fact heavy. Fingers crossed we'll see that developing soon.
Sudden Prose class with Carrie Etter was very interesting, I'm hoping to spend a lot more time looking at short stories and prose poems. We had to do a piece of work based on 'The Church of Insomnia' by Charles Simic. We had to come up with our own affliction based Church and write a short paragraph about what it would include. Churches people came up with included 'headache', 'Prozac', 'kleptomaniacs' ... lots of awesome ideas. I opted for 'The Church of Period Pains' as a bit of a challenge, so here is what I came up with:


The Church of Period Pains.

The furnishing is all stained red: carpet, drapes, cushions. One tall glass window depicts a tree bearing fruit, ripe and fertile. Another is Christ, suffering under the cross. The white robed minister holds his wafer plate filled with pain killers and looks disorientated. Chanting ebbs in moans and groans.
Men leave the pub and walk past, scratching their balls.


The idea was to describe the church and things in it with things correlating to your affliction, and the final line had to be something in contrast to such an affliction. It was an odd exercise but quite revealing...not a bad way to start a Friday morning. :)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Big it up for Taylor Mali

Hello, been doing a bit of surfing on YouTube, thought I'd mention Taylor Mali. He's a performance poet in the US and is awesome. I particularly like 'what teachers make', 'depression too is a type of fire' and 'for the life of me'. I think his poetry can be both really depressing and touching, as well as clever and funny. check him out
so...my writing? well I started chapter 10 of the transplant one today, its going okay I guess. Just about to get right into the action, Dita and Sparrow are about to find out how the transplant donor died etc so epic stuff. I've recently been very aware of what a long process it is. I've sort of been thinking that once I get to chapter 17 or whatever the last one is, that that's it, done and dusty, but of course then I have to type it, and after 2 or 3 drafts, gosh I'll probably have finished uni by then. Need to get my skates on huh!
I had my first class with Steve Voake on 'Writing for Children' which was ace. He is probably one of the most published lecturers on the creative writing team so I'm thrilled to have him as a tutor. He really opened me up to the subject which I hadn't previously thought about, so now I'm thinking up some new projects which will be really research based which is a bit nitty gritty, but it's for kids right, so it's got to be fun!

Time for another poem, I wrote this a few days ago, no editing so far so this is raw :)



Feet pumping fast,
I’m carried down the road.
You call after me but
I can’t turn back now.
I don’t think you follow.
I shift the bag from my shoulder
and it thumps on the ground,
pencils rattling in their tin,
my phone, purse, keys;
all jumbled on the floor.
I run on.
People are starting to look
as the wild girl streaks past,
her breath is fast.
Now I peel off my coat
and fling it
behind me.
I’m soaked with sweat and rain.
Liberated, unburdened.
Letting it all go
I’m natural, naked.
Up ahead are lights,
I’m soaring now,
shoes slapping on concrete.
The moments counting down,
everything goes numb,
I can only smile.
As my feet
leave the pavement
it’s all slow motion.
My legs are pedalling in
the air.
I can’t decide whether
to turn my head
and watch, as the car moves forward,
or lock straight ahead, oblivious,
so I close each eye
and then,
I fly.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Two posts in one day? Record!

I promised a revised addition of 'your office is my favorite' which a wrote a month or two back. I am not big on editing, I tend to bury things away after draft one and leave them be, but this year I will make a conscious effort to redraft all my work at least once or twice. So here is me getting off to a good start, with my sparkly poem, fresh from the edit :)


Your office is my favourite.

Your desk is the centre stage,
life evolves around it.
I’m standing in your world.
Shelving units
are bowing under the weight,
all those books.
No order, just crammed,
ready to cascade.
Dust tries to settle
on the pages of poets,
Dickens, Coleridge, Shakespeare.
I clean carefully
around the medley of mess,
a special method
understood by no one
but you.
Little scraps of paper
in shorthand and symbols
are anything but rubbish –
these are your bibles,
your babies.
I understand the necessity
for a dirty coffee cup,
flecked with mould.
A writer cannot be
without their coffee cup.
The obligatory assortment
of pens and pencils
stare at me.
They are the middle men
to your thoughts.
I hold my breath as I dust,
cautiously vacuuming,
tenderly wiping.
All cleaners have their favourites,
to treat as their own
and lavish with love.
Your office stole my heart.


P.S. this is the first post of mine that, when spellchecked, had NO typo's or spelling mistakes! YES!!!

Ahead of schedual

I try to read at least 20 books a year, preferably 24 so that it works out nicely to 2 books a month. The average British person only reads 3 books a year, so I feel my efforts are pretty good really. I've nearly reached my quota already, with 23 done and dusted and a few more I'm half through. I don't generally like to read more than one book at once, but I have some that are 'part timers'. I only read a little of them each week, things that can be broken down into easy chunks. I guess I will have at least one of them done by the end of year, so all is well in the reading world!
In the writing world, things are not too bad. I was checking through old emails when I came across a writing competition for students that I might have a crack it. It's to write a modern day German fairytale, not something I am an expert at, so not expecting much back from it, I just thought it would be cool give it a go. I'd better get my skates on though, deadline is rapidly approaching. If you want to check it out, http://london.daad.de/fairytale/call-for-entries.htm
Still not back in lessons yet (one day to go!!!) so no 'homework writing' as such. But I have kept myself busy with my own stuff. I've written the first 9 chapters of the transplant story, only typed up the first one or two, but I'm more than halfway there in first draft terms. Golly, doesn't writing a book take a long time!

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Next Project...?

So at the moment I'm trying to decide whether or not to self publish another book. My first one, the poetry collection, I published in 2006 and it's sat there doing nothing since...but as the publishing service was free it's not like I lost anything by doing it. I thought an angle for the next one could be something like 'a creative writing students guide to year one' and then I could include all my work from last year, so poetry, prose, flash fiction, scripts etc.
I guess if I were the kind of writer who did gigs, like poetry slams etc, a hard copy of my work would be a good idea as it could be sold on from there, but as for just having it on the website, I don't really get anywhere with promotion, and the lack of ISBN means I'm unlikely to get stocked in any shops either. Hmmm. Fingers crossed I'll get to speak to my personal tutor about it, I'm sure she'll have some words of wisdom!
Today I'm trying to be productive, once I've got all my housey stuff done I'm going to crack on with writing :D

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Happy birthday to me....almost!

As per usual I've been far too busy to get any writing done these past few days, but ((SHOCK HORROR!)) I have actually written about half a chapter of the transplant novel today, so not such an epic fail as I thought.
I'm really looking forward to getting back to Uni so I can be more spurred on about my writing. It's quite difficult 'being your own boss' and motivating yourself to write if you are not particularly inspired. So although I'll have less time for my own writing what with lesson time and 'homework' (oh how I miss homework!) I will probably be writing a lot more because of class etc. So I feel that attending my lessons is all for the best really.
A student who studied at my uni a few years ago is currently trying to set up a creative writing magazine called 'Dumb'. It sounds quite good, I've just sent him an email asking what kind of thing he is looking for so I can submit, so fingers crosses I will get some luck there. As to other publications, I got a letter back from 'The People's Friend' saying that although they like my most recent submission, they aren't currently looking for any stock, so a disappointment, but a step up from 'nope sorry we don't like it'. So I guess things are going in the right direction. The second world war short story I wrote is sitting still at the moment, I was going to email it to the author of a website where I did a lot of my research to see what he thought of it, but the email bounced back so no luck there. Just got to figure out what to do with it now!

Time for something a little different. I wrote my first ever radio script a few months back and submitted it to BBC Radio 4, for their afternoon plays, but naturally they weren't interested (which is rich considering some of the tat the actually do air! Which is a bit mean, some of it is very good...but some of it is not). I thought I'd put a bit up here so that my adoring fans get a diverse range of my work. I'm not sure the formatting will come out on this, but on my word copy its all underlined and in bold etc so it looks like a real script! Somewhere I've got a poem I wrote about how the BBC stole my crocodile clip...but I can't find it so that will have to be for another day.



JOYCE: Coming!
JOYCE: Hello, Amanda, come in, come in.
JOYCE: How are you?
AMANDA: I'm fine thanks, just fine, though the traffic today was
unbelievable, I really think it would be quicker for me
to walk.
JOYCE: Here, I've made some tea. Yes, sometimes when I'm
coming to yours I'll just walk through the park, it’s not
that far really, even on these old legs!
AMANDA: Mmm! You do make a good cuppa! So, how’s Roger?
JOYCE: Roger is (PAUSE) well, he's Roger isn't he? Nothing new
as usual. The firms had him working in a posh garden the
other side of town, and he's saving up for some new golf
AMANDA: These men and their golf! I was telling my John that he
really should get into it - he's reaching that age, as it were!
AMANDA: But of course he won't have any of it, he's far too content
just walking that rotten dog!
JOYCE: Oh, poor Scruffy!
AMANDA: Poor Scruffy indeed! You wouldn't believe the mess that
dog made this morning … (PAUSE) Oh! Here I am blithering
on about the dog when you said you had something exciting
to tell me. Do go on!
JOYCE: Well (PAUSE) It's less exciting, more sort of...scary I'd say.
AMANDA: Scary? Gosh, tell me all! The suspense is killing me!
JOYCE: I'm being serious, I'm genuinely worried about it.
AMANDA: What's happened?
JOYCE: I suppose this might sound silly (PAUSE) but I think
I'm being stalked
AMANDA: Stalked?
AMANDA: How do you mean?
JOYCE: Well, there's this man that's been following me.
AMANDA: Goodness! When was this?
JOYCE: Last week I was doing my big shopping trip when I noticed
him - a distinguishable character so I couldn't really
miss him. Then after I'd put my bags in the car I noticed
him again in the car park. About an hour later I was eating
lunch in that little cafe in the park, and he was there again.
AMANDA: Mightn't it be a coincidence?
JOYCE: But there's more - yesterday I was dusting the ornaments in
the front window, when I happened to glance across the road
and there he was!
AMANDA: No! Oh Joyce, how terrifying! What did he look like?
JOYCE: Quite young, mid twenties perhaps, and he wore a long dark
coat, what do they call those things?
AMANDA: Trench coats?
JOYCE: Yes that's it, a trench coat, and he had sort of dark greasy hair,
quite long, one of those goth types I guess. Altogether a quite
frightful appearance.
AMANDA: Goodness me! Have you told Roger?
JOYCE: No, I didn't want to worry him, but now (PAUSE) it's like I
can't leave the house, I constantly feel like I'm being
watched or hounded. What should I do, Amanda?
AMANDA: Now now, there's no need to get silly and emotional. It's
really quite simple, you just need to confront this young
fellow and tell when to back off.
JOYCE: What?
AMANDA: Honestly Joyce, these young hooligans are all talk, all they
need is a bit of discipline. You just march up to this young
man and tell him you're not standing for any of his
nonsense, mention the police, that'll scare him off.
JOYCE: Oh, but I couldn't possibly-
AMANDA: You must! Don't let it become a problem. If you give these
young so-and-so's an inch, they'll take a mile.
JOYCE: But what if he retaliates? Just think of poor Mr. Grainger.
AMANDA: Mr. who?
JOYCE: Mr. Grainger, don't you remember? He lived down the
road from me for years, then last summer there was that
incident where he gave those vandals a telling off and
one waved a knife in his face.
AMANDA: I had no idea! Whatever happened to him?
JOYCE: Well he moved away, Australia I think, said he wouldn't
put up with the lack of respect in kids these days, and I
don't blame him.
AMANDA: It's not all kids mind, just them few that turn out rotten.
JOYCE: Of course. (PAUSE) I'm simply at a loss Amanda, I
haven't a clue what to do. Listen, there's something you
don't know, I haven't told anyone, but I think it could be
AMANDA: Really? What is it?
JOYCE: It’s something that happened a long time ago, not even
Roger knows.
AMANDA: A long time ago? But you said the stalking has only been
Occouring recently.
JOYCE: Yes, I know.
AMANDA: And you said you don’t know this man at all, do you?
JOYCE: No, I don’t.
AMANDA: Well then, I really don’t see how this little thing from your
Past can have anything to do with this. Listen, if I were you,
I’d take my advice and stand up to this chap. Just be brave and
Tell him whose boss, right?
JOYCE: I suppose you’re right

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

September already?

So what with family weddings, moving house and other exciting stuff, my poor bloggy has been a bit neglected. So has my writing actually. I've been plodding on slowly with the transplant novel, but I haven't written in the kidnap one for months, so I think I'll leave it until I have less projects to deal with. I've polished up a short story called 'Move to America' which is for a young female audience, and also completed the WW2 piece about the combat medic. Not much else to report I'm afraid.

The 'Move to America' is written in a letter style between a young girl and her grandmother. I've tried to emulate the writers age in the language used, which is why the piece comes across as having a simplistic lexis and basic plot. Below is the opening letter extract.

Dear Gran,
we have been in America for one week today so Mum said I should write and let you know how we are getting on. The house here is very big. My room is on the top floor and has a window seat with lacy cushions. I’ve unpacked all my toys and I have a corner of my room with my craft box and art books. The garden has a swimming pool which I go in every day and there is lots of room for Mum to plant some flowers.
I already miss my friends from home. I am starting my new school in a few weeks so I will meet people there, but until then I will be on my own. I wish I had a brother or sister to play with. Dad is starting his new job tomorrow so we are keeping our fingers crossed that it goes ok.
I hope everything is good back in England. The weather is much hotter over here than it was at home but I hope you are having a good summer too and it is not raining too much. Have you found a new Bingo club to go to since your old one closed down?
Write back to me very soon. Mum said she would give you the address in her letter and our new phone number too so you can call us. Lots of love,

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

A new piece

Onwards with the cinematic education : this week it's been 'Witches of Eastwick' (I always thought Cher looked better after the surgery? Anyone agree?) 'Taming of the Shrew' and 'We were soldiers'. The latter has inspired me to start a new short piece, a short story about a combat medic in world war two. I'm having trouble finding somewhere to write to so that I can get it published. Been looking for a sort of war focused magazine but no luck so far. Been doing a lot of research which is good, I'm getting into the habit of researching stuff. Been looking at Normandy and all the statistics of the different beaches, I'm looking in particular at Juno beach on D-Day. I picked Juno beach because it had good stats I could work with for my story line, and also I adore the modern film 'Juno' so that's my little bit of a tribute there :)
I've written about 2/3 of it, maybe more, hopefully finish it off in the next few days and get it typed. Then back to the novels! Hooray!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

On a roll?

Today has been a writerly day! I typed up a chapter of my transplant novel, so making progress. I've also written about half of chapter eight, hoping to finish that today. For this one I've planned out what happens exactly in each chapter, and I'm only half done but all the stuff I planned has happened...so I'm going to have to draw it out a little to make it a reasonable length. In total the current word count for chapters 1-4 is about 15 pages, which isn't too bad, I'm planning to have a mass expanding once I've completed it so...fingers crossed!

I haven't written much for ages, but just knocked out my second poem this week. It's a dedication to a great friend of mine who is a particularly awesome lady. She's one of those people (you'll know the type) who just radiate happiness and have an infectious, contagious smile. We had dinner last night and had an ace time, and when I left this morning the poem hit me. So here's to my awesome buddy and I hope the poem is to her liking!


For Rachel Red Hair.

You make me want to smile,
fill my glass to the brim
and knock back the good stuff.
Carefree and ‘one with nature’,
you turn me to the sunshine
with eyes wide open.
You make me want to be a hippy,
act a little dippy
as I skip and prance with glee.
Because of you
I wear girly dresses,
have my hair in
purposeful messes.
You make me want
to cook and sing and dance,
learn guitar,
be an artist.
We lock eyes
as your fingers strum,
face softens,
voice changes.
I covert every inch of you
for the girl I want to be,
or the girl you’re making me.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Fresh from the Paper

Hi there.

So...writing eh. Not getting too much of that done lately. It's all a bit up in the air as far as actual writing goes, but fingers crossed things will improove next month when things aren't so hectic with work, etc.
Been doing lots of creative things to stimulate my mind, reading whenever possible mostly. Been watching lots of new films - classics and ones that people say 'oh you MUST see that' about. So recently it's been 'Casablanca', 'And God Made Women', 'Beckitt', 'Once Upon a Time in China' and others besides. So keeping busy even if I've not been writing :D

I do however have one poem which I wrote...just now! Haven't been on the poems for a while now, they tend to be either dribs and drabs of massive chunks where I'll write 20 in a week then none for months :D But yes, here is the first draft of one I wrote today, maybe I'll update a second draft at a later date so ya'll can see how it changes :)

Thanks, Celia


Your office is my favourite.

Your desk is the centre stage
and life evolves around it.
I’m standing in your world.
The shelving units
are bowing under the weight
of all those books.
No order, just crammed in
and brimming,
ready to cascade.
Dust tries to settle
on the pages of poets,
Dickens, Coleridge, Shakespeare.
I clean carefully
around the medley of mess,
the special organization
understood by no one
but you.
Little scraps of paper
in shorthand and symbols
are anything but rubbish –
these are your bibles,
your babies.
I understand the necessity
of a dirty coffee cup,
flecked with mould.
A writer cannot be
without their coffee cup.
The obligatory assortment
of pens and pencils
stare at me.
They are the middle man
to your thoughts.
I hold my breath as I dust,
cautiously vacuuming,
tenderly wiping.
All cleaners have their favourites,
to treat as their own
and lavish with love.
Your office stole my heart.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Prose, much?

Time for some of that prose nonsense I was talking about. At the moment I am working on two novels, both of which are going slowly. The first I started around Easter and blitzed the first few chapters, but it has since taken a back seat since I started my second project. It is currently untitled, but the basic plot is about a girl who has some odd experiences after receiving a heart transplant. This epilogue is introducing John Arnolds, the man whose heart the protagonist receives.


Chapter One

John Arnolds rose early after a restless night, plagued by fitful dreams and a stomach churning anticipation. Like a child on Christmas Eve, John had barely been able to shut his eyes for the excitement of the forthcoming day. Was it excitement? After striving so heard for so long, perhaps it was a joyful relief that John looked forward to. He could not let himself jump the gun; it was not over, not yet. He just had a feeling that it would soon be coming to an end.
As he stepped into the shower and felt the warm pulse of water against his skin, he allowed himself t e lulled into a dreamy contemplation. There had been other cases, of course. Circumstances more gruesome, extent more enduring, situations more demanding. He had not failed yet, and was adamant the day would never come. One way or another, John had to win. For a reason unknown to him, this one struck a chord, touched a nerve. He could not fathom why, for there had been others more worthy of compassion, with children who were younger, more vulnerable, more in the face of danger. Yet this time it seemed more important. As steam fogged over the pale blue tiles of the bathroom, John laid his hand upon his heavy heart and sighed as his qualms were washed away. It would soon be over.
Sam was awake when John returned to the bedroom. She smiled at him sleepily and fanned her fingers through her ruffled hair.
“You’re up early,” she yawned. He knelt on the corner of the bed and lent over to where she lay, entangled in the bed covers, and kissed her.
“I’ve got that coffee meet. I wanted it early s I can fly straight out if I need to,” John deliberated shirts over the shirts hung in the wardrobe, musing over shades and patterns before choosing a crisp white one. He deftly slipped the pearly buttons into place and tucked the loose ends into his good trousers.
“But you’ve only just come home,” Same strained to subdue the sadness in her voice.
“I won’t be long. Like I said yesterday, I’m hoping it’s nearly all sorted out now,” he lent over and kissed her again, stroking her cheek with his fingertips, “after this one I’ll take a break. Promise, then I’ll be all yours.”
Although she smiled, Sam’s eyes were filled with sorrow. She nodded as John looked at her encouragingly and gathered the rest of his things. In moments he was lingering at the door, still not quite knowing how to say goodbye.
“Do you love me?” Sam felt the awkward silence pulsating around her, but as John turned back he was grinning.
“With all my heart.”
The meeting had been arranged for nine o’clock at the Starbucks near the train station. John arrived on the hour, and sought out the seat where his tip off said he would sit. Sure enough he was there, his chair turned to face the wall. John approached cautiously and laid his hand on the chair opposite. The man had a square head with a broad forehead. His eyes were framed in thin round glasses, and his expression bore a grimace.
“You must leave at once, I’m afraid I’ve been followed,” the man made no eye contact and kept his hands folded firmly on the table. John glanced around.
“Are you sure?”
“Almost certain. You should leave right away; I fear there is imminent danger.”
John sat down swiftly.
“The time to leave has been and gone,” the man sighed as John stared straight at him, “I can’t leave without what I came for.”
“Very well,” the man reached into his coat and drew out a brown envelope, “I received this from my source, who is of course anonymous.”
He handed the envelope to John.
“I think it will help you piece together the final clues about the girl.”
John nodded gravely as he slowly slid the photograph from the envelope, taking care to conceal the image from the few people in the cafe.
“You know who the man is?” John nodded as he surveyed the ignorant face of Dexter Jacobs.
“The place too, I knew it at once,” John nodded, “it’s all quite clear now, I don’t know how I didn’t see it sooner.”
The photograph was placed back in the envelope and handed to its courier.
“Good luck, Mr. Arnolds. I pray God you make it,” the man stayed seated as John rose towards the door.
“I was bound to get there, one way or another,” John smiled as he headed out the door.
On the curb around the corner her hailed a taxi, and sent a quick test message while he waited for it to approach. Sam’s name was at the top of his contact list, but having fallen asleep again she would not receive it or hours. The taxi pulled up and the window scrolled down as John stepped forward.
Gatwick airport please, as quickly as possible.” The driver nodded and John opened the door to climb inside. But before he could raise his foot from the ground, a single silent bullet pierced through the air and administered a fatal wound. Blood flowed quickly down his white shirt as John slumped against the car window and rolled back onto the pavement. As his eyes closed, his ears were filled with the rhythmic drumming of his dying heart.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Time for a Blog

How's the writing going? Slow, is the answer, slow! Working 8 hours a day sort of knackers me so I don't get much writing done at the moment, just bits and pieces, but any progression is good progression. I've been filling my time with lots of creative things to get the inspiration flowing...lots of museums, art galleries in particular help me to think. I go swimming quite often, and the good thing about that is that I don't think of anything while I do it, I just completely clear my mind, so even though I'm not thinking about writing, it frees me up mentally to think on it later.
I think lots of writers have a favorite place to write. I usually just write wherever I am when inspiration hits, but I have recently found a 'regular' place to write, which is ace. It's cafe near where I live called the 'Busy Bee Cafe'... and for anyone who knows me, this is poignant as I am obsessed with bumbley bees. So I've been writing quite a lot there which is groovy.
Also been doing a fair bit of reading recently, dipping into thrillers for the first time which is cool.

So I've posted some old stuff... time for some new stuff :) I have a folder with all the poems I've written since I've been at uni, so here are a few from the past year


You linger when you leave

I catch the faintest scent of you
on my sheets
and dare not breathe
in case I blow it away.
My heart beats through the silence.
I inhale deeply, tasting the air,
and it’s like you’re here
with me.
I sink into the covers,
caught between memories and dreams,
aware of nothing but your existence.


The marvels of Plath and Hughes, audiotape.

He red Pike. She red Mushrooms.
They mulled over every syllable.
Slow, methodical, lingering.

Your voices nothing as I had imagined,
either of you.
Accents catching me by surprise.

I thought she’d sound flowery,
feminine, hippy.
Not husky, worn,
a voice full of sadness,

and him, sounding all upper class,
pondering as spoke,
probably thinking about something else.


My first Tanka

This, my first Tanka,
as I write, I biscuits eat,
light of day fading.
My laptop sits all aglow
I review other poets.



A week has passed
and you are still dead.
Your skin cold and stiff,
the drugs still in your body.
I think of the baby they took from you,
the little boy I held but you couldn’t,
the child I watched grow,
who’ll now never see you again.
I wonder if your boyfriend
is still in prison,
if now that you are dead
it will shock him out of that life, those drugs.
I try to figure out
how long it will take
for you to drift from my thoughts.
It’s been a week
and I wish I could have done something,
and I’m still sorry I couldn’t.


Thursday, 9 July 2009

Look! It's a Book!!

Time for some self promotion here. I self-published a collection of poetry in 2006 that is available to order online from the below URL. The poetry was written when I was fifteen and is mostly on the topic of 'relationships'. I will post some samples of my writing from this collection, feel free to comment on it! Thanks




Questions posed by modelled headlines:
What is this place of guilt and shame,
Where angels dwell but demons rein?
Where rainbows are painted in suit-statistic colours,
And peace from war we may only achieve
Through warriors departed on eternal leave.

Night-schooled mothers pause, to witness
Children cursing in the street
And men leave families incomplete.
Scandal hangs her dirty washing
In public places, for all to know
Her disease rises, as bed-notches grow.

Prisons filled with misled youths,
While re-offenders slip through the net,
They have not caught those criminal fish yet.
Futures based on controversial magpies-
Where one is for sorrow, but two brings more joys,
Leaving three pregnant girls and four bewildered boys.

God’s servants defy the biblical laws,
As priests bat for the other team
And choir girls sing of a sluttish dream-
And yet, again we hear that ink imprinted cry:
What is this place of guilt and shame,
Where angels dwell but demons rein?


Definitions of LOVE

There is no Lack of Liking it and always a Liking of Laughter as it stretches over all the Lands, a Language understood by all. It makes the Larynx suffer Loss of words, it's felt by Lads and Lasses, it Lasts for Life and is never too Late. There's always more to Learn about it, it gives the soul a Life and makes it feel Light; it Lingers in the heart, it's sealed with a kiss on the Lips and produces feelings, too many to be Listed, that can be felt after just one Look. It's said to turn one Loopy and/or Looney, it has no Loopholes and is better than winning the Lottery. It can be thought of as a stroke of Luck and is a Luscious feeling, which sometimes is confused with Lust.
Oaths are made in the name of it, its rules must be Obeyed, it is not an Object worth more than an Obol, or deeper than the Ocean. Often, it makes Ones eyes Ogle, grows Old with us and Only Once it's true, they say. Often there is Only One you feel it for, not an Ordinary feeling, but never an Ordeal; it's felt between you and your Other half and it gives Outrageous amounts of pleasure.
Very different from other feelings, it's never Vague and can supply us with Very Valuable Valour. Veils are worn at the ceremony to seal it, you Vow to keep it sacred and like a Vest, it keeps you warm at night.
Each hopes to feel it for the other and on Earth and beyond, it's one of the greatest Emotions Ever. It is a form of Education, is a Expedition to Embark upon, its Effect is wonderful and creates a greater spark than Electricity. Its strength can Embarrass the shy and make the Extrovert Ecstatic, its sweet Embrace is a Enhanced form of Endearment that's full of Energy, and can be Earthly Erotic. It is an Excellent Event, an Entirely new Experience, the amazement it brings is so Extreme and Extravagant, it's sometimes impossible to Express it in words and in the End, it is Endless and Eternal.


Emotions of a Tortured Heart

For every time I had cried,
For every time I wished I'd died,
For every time my heavy heart sighed,
For every time I ran to hide,
For every time I fell out of the ride,
For every time I kept it inside,
For every time my smile had lied,
For every time you left my side,
For every time I was lost with no guide,
For every time I washed away with the tide.
For each and every time I stood And waited for another time.


Growing Old Together

When they first brought you,
wide-eyed and inquisitive,
you were smaller than I.
For years you sat,
unable to do anything but look,
and I knew we would always
be together.

As a child you gave me
unconditional love.
Climbing higher each day
to my weaker boughs.
From there you fell,
and scarred yourself well.
Yet you bore me no ill-will,
and returned,
as I knew you would.

Teary eyes, you clung
onto me tight,
deep into that stormy night.
Screaming as you were taken
back to the house.
You returned the next morn,
to find a beam from the sky
had struck down one of
my weaker limbs,
and you cried for me.

As a tear-away teenager,
you spent nights by my side
as you felt out of place
anywhere else.
I provided you with fruit
which kept you from
your mothers dinners,
and in return
you shared with me
your fears, your hopes,
your dreams.

You showed me to her
on an autumns eve,
shortly after your
parents death.
I knew
she was the one for you.
From that instant
as the years went by,
I saw you grow up together.

I had watched you
be wed that summer.
And I reached out with my branches
to show I was proud.
It was in that summer
that the tree doctor came,
and condemned me never
to bear fruit again.
In the man stood before me
was the boy that I knew,
and the same old tears
sparkled in his eyes.

Ten autumns went by,
and fruitless I was,
but you still came and visited me.
Nearing the end of that tenth
blissful autumn, you cut me down.
Every blow that cut into my body,
cut deep into your heart.
Lovingly, you carved my carcass
into a cot, for the son you loved so,
and each night as I rocked him,
you told stories of old.

I'm here, and still rocking,
now the son of your son.
Your days grow older and colder.
Maybe one day, when my rocking is done,
I'll be made into your fire wood,
and as my life burns out,
so does that of the boy I once knew.

Welcome to my blog spot!
This is where I will be telling the world about my writing, and hopefully getting feedback on it. This blog will be acting as my 'writers diary' so I can keep up to date with what I've achieved lately (if anything) and let people know about what I'm up to. So without further adieu, let me tell you how it's all going...

At the moment I am working on two novels. They are my first attempts at a full length piece of work (so why, prey tell, am I attempting two at once?!). The first is as of yet untitled, but I call it the 'transplant' novel, as the main character has a heart transplant that changes her life. I've been writing this since Easter and have written the first five or so chapters. I write everything by hand primarily then copy it onto computer. At the moment I have the first three chapters typed up, so I may be uploading an extract from this in the near future.

The second novel I only started about a week ago and am still in that primary 'fired up' stage. I have written the first two chapters and am starting the third today and it's going really well. The main characters spend a lot of time jumping around in the beginning, so I haven't really established any firm secondary characters yet, but I'll get onto that soon enough.

The bit I'm not looking forward to both of these is the middley bit. We are often told that a story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and the bit I find most difficult is between the beginning and the middle. It's that stage where you've already had the fun of establishing plot and introducing character, but before the main drama has started yet, which makes it a bit uneventful. Sometime I think, why not just skip to the action? But this being my first full length piece, I am determined not to rush to the good bits and thereby compromising the length of it. So fingers crossed I'm not too plagued by 'writers block' before I get to the exciting bits. (What am I on about? Every bit is an exciting bit!)

Thanks for reading, I hope to post again soon!