About Me

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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, 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.