I wish you could swim

July 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

They say you should never meet your heroes.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I can’t help but feel a little flat after meeting the beautiful Cary Elwes at Comic Con last weekend. Don’t get me wrong, he was very lovely, but in retrospect, I’m a little frustrated with myself. I’m frustrated that I couldn’t articulate what I wanted to tell him, that for reasons¬† I don’t fully understand, I am completely and utterly devoted to a movie he played a part in more than 25 years ago, and a huge reason for that is his performance. Now that I’ve written that down, it’s probably for the best that I couldn’t get the words out.

‘Nice to meet you’ did the job just fine.

And then he called me ‘very sweet’, which completely threw me (it must have been the dress) and left me giddy for the next half hour.

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It’s weird that I feel this affinity with Cary Elwes and his work and he doesn’t know me from a bar of soap, but I guess storytelling works that way. Once a story’s out there, it will come to mean a multitude of different things to a multitude of different people. Obviously, this means that sometimes the people you most expect to get it, just don’t, and that can feel a little lonely.

Poor Cary Elwes isn’t to know how damn much I adore his Westley, though he probably had an inkling when I picked the photo I did for him to sign. And though I like to think I have a pretty firm grip on reality, it upset me a little that he doesn’t know how much he and that movie mean to me and no matter what, even if I sit him down and explain it the best way I can, he’ll never quite care as much as I want him to.

But then I suppose it’s the same in reverse.

I’ll never value Cary for the very real person he is, and I wonder, as more and more people line up to have their picture taken with him, hand over memorabilia for him to sign, and ask him to say that line, whether he feels lonely too. How does he reconcile the person he is with the fantasy that thousands of people want him to be?

How do any of us?

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emerging butterfly; bewildered moth

July 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last year, I attended a couple of Industry Insider panels run by the Emerging Writers Festival, and this year I was back again.

Arts and Book Coverage was the focus. Once again, the advice was sound:

  • Write for as many publications as possible, including blogs
  • Do your research before pitching or submitting a piece to a publication: read their stuff, practice writing in their style and to their word limits.
  • Always address the editor by name in your pitch – it shows attention to detail and basic research skills
  • Write the piece as though you were talking to a friend to avoid pretension

But something about the whole experience fell flat.

The title ’emerging’ doesn’t hold the same wonder it once did, the same promise. Last year, I embraced the idea of being an ’emerging’ writer, an ’emerging’ content creator, whatever. I had big plans; all I had to do was act on them and things would happen. But now, for reasons that aren’t altogether clear to me, labelling myself ’emerging’ in any shape or form feels ill-fitting in a way it didn’t then. Maybe it’s too idealistic a sentiment.

Maybe I’ve at last come to terms with the fact that I don’t put in the work. And if you don’t put in the work, how can you call yourself an ’emerging’ anything? I think I’ve accepted that. My priorities are elsewhere now. Whether that’s the right thing remains to be seen.

But it wasn’t until I was sitting smack bang in the middle of that near-deserted room, watching another compelling panel made up of creatives happily sharing their advice that I was struck by this epiphany, this feeling of separation. Something had shifted. They weren’t talking to me anymore.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

July 2, 2013 § 4 Comments

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1. The Children’s Book – A.S. Byatt

Of Byatt’s novels, Possession is usually the one that features most on ‘read before you die’ lists, but The Children’s Book has been on my TBR list for a while now, and I wish I knew how it got there! I attempted The Children’s Book about a year ago, got one or two chapters in and then, just couldn’t do it anymore. I felt like it had already taken up too much of my energy and I had barely made a dent in the brick. I may one day pick The Children’s Book up again, but not anytime soon.

 

2. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

Have you seen the size of this monster?! While I did enjoy Anna Karenina (except for the parts about Lenin’s devotion to agriculture, but if we’re to be homest, did anyone like those bits?), War and Peace just seems a little beyond me. I want to give the novel considered “one of the most important works of world literature” a good go, but I don’t know if I have the maturity for that yet.

 

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3. The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

It’s no secret that Tolkien loves detail – even The Hobbit, his children’s book, isn’t exempt from pages of description – so the idea of tackling the dense Lord of the Rings is pretty intimidating. I don’t want to spend ages wading through superfluous description to get to the action, but know this is pretty likely what will have to happen.

 

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4. The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

I’m worried that I might have missed the boat on this one. Nearly in my mid-twenties, I’m concerned that if I read The Catcher in the Rye now, it won’t have the same impact it might have had had I read it in my teens. I’ll be having only half the experience…

 

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5. Trainspotting – Irvine Walsh

I’m intimidated by both the writing style and subject matter, and yet it’s on my TBR list. Again, no idea why!

 

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6. A Casual Vacancy – J. K. Rowling

I’m really worried that I won’t like it, and I so desperately want to love everything J. K. writes.

 

7. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

I attempted it once and it got the better of me, I only hope that the next time I try I’ll be up to the challenge.

 

8. Mateship with Birds – Carrie Tiffany

Generally, I don’t tend to like books set in the Australian countryside, but this book has been so celebrated that I can’t not attempt it. It doesn’t have chapters, which is something I usually struggle with, and was described by Michelle of Book to the Future as “delightfully slow“, which has me worrying I won’t have the patience.

 

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9.  The Song of Ice and Fire series РGeorge R. R. Martin

Like everyone else, I have completely fallen in love with the television show. Martin’s world is dense, and the characters and relationships complex, so the idea of reading the books the series is based on is more than a little daunting. I’m not altogether convinced I do want to read the books as the show is ticking all the boxes for me. I’m not in any way unsatisfied with it, thus I’m not convinced that there’s much to gain from reading the source material. Plus I’m a little put off by how much more blood, betrayal and emotional trauma the books inevitably have.

 

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10. Ulysses – James Joyce

I remember my Year 11 literature teacher telling us about Ulysses and its significance within modern literature. She also mentioned its length. The problem with Ulysses, is that it’s not really enough to read the novel. To get the most from it you need prior knowledge; you should be familiar with Homer’s Odyssey, which is apparently quite epic in itself.

Not so dry July

July 1, 2013 § 2 Comments

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It’s no secret that I’ve lost my blogging flow. New posts are less than infrequent at the moment, and I can pretty much pin my time of desertion down to three months ago when I began full-time work.

Nothing could have prepared me for the experience of working full-time hours for the first time, especially after coming off a rather long stint of unemployment. I have never had to have my brain work so hard for so long, which kind of makes me sound like an idiot, but that’s the only explanation I have for the weird headache I’ve developed over these past few months. I’ve never had concentration issues in the past, but when you’re looking at a computer for the fourth hour in a row, your mind can’t help but wander.

Unfortunately, due to the exhaustion that comes along with full-time work, certain things have fallen by the wayside: blogging, reading, even regular exercise. I get up, I commute, I sit, I eat, I sit, I commute, I eat, I sleep. Yeah – it’s inspiring stuff. I haven’t found a balance yet, and desperately need to. I need to make the time; I need to prioritise.

I write lists of the things I need to get done, but some things have been so lowly prioritised for so long now that the thought of attempting to get the wheels rolling again seems like too big an ask. So I let the list grow. And the pile build.

But not this month.

In an effort to get back on the horse, I will be blogging each day in July. Today, and everyday for the next 29 days, something will be posted in this space. I’m not 100% sure what this will mean for my content, (everything may go a little bit pear-shaped), but my hope is that regular publishing will make each post feel like less of a big deal, leading to more regular posts once this month-long ‘blogging binge’ is over. So, in the immortal words of Lord Flashheart:

Where Am I?

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