On the Publishing Industry

As far as the publishing industry goes, I know very little about it. I know that I would like to be involved in it. And I know that it is incredibly difficult to get into the big publishing companies, purely because they’re just so competitive. The problem is less about your own aptitude for something, as opposed to finding a position that will allow you to pursue the career of your choice. Because in the corporate world, your dreams are just the same as another applicant, and you both want everything in the position.

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The problem is acquiring experience and having enough initiative to search for the highly competitive internships that do exist out there. I think being aware of them is part of the challenge, and then finding out where to go from there is naturally difficult, but not completely impossible. I personally felt better about the whole prospect of searching for a job after attending some employability events, and realising that networking as opposed to simply qualifications, is the way forwards.

However, a note on talent; I feel that everyone has one, and it just takes longer to come out in some people. It’s always there, and I do honestly believe, even though I am known for being a tad cynical, that everyone has something. It’s hard to compete with people who have a huge amount of talent, all the time, but I think that’s just a part of the world we inhabit today. Once upon a time, people found a career and worked in it until they retired, however today, we’ll all have a number of different careers, and we’ll be wanting to move on, and upwards in the world, until we retire. There’s more of a hunger to be rich and famous today than there ever was; we all want to be something, or someone, or at the very least, we want to be rich and famous.

I don’t really know how I will go about being somebody, however I think my business which has started well, and I hope it continues to go well, will help with this. It’s not always easy, phoning and emailing everyone you know to tell them about it, but eventually you have to be accepted somewhere; it’s a law of averages. Eventually, someone has to say “Yes!”. Eventually however, is not a specified time frame, and everyone I’ve spoken to says that perseverance is key. Networking is also key. Talking and communication is key. It’s almost comparable to the Deathly Hallows, really; the three ingredients to worldwide domination.

So there we are. I love the idea of belonging to this industry, no matter which bit of it. I’d like to be involved in PR, and maybe even consultancy, but it’s so difficult to really define what it is I’d like to do. Which is natural, and it’s why people of my generation tend to have a multitude of careers, and areas of expertise. The agony of choice; that’s what’s made our lives both more delightful, and more difficult, all at the same time.

(:

(1) http://www.consumercareinc.com/grey_business_group.jpg

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Indecision, Haircuts, and Farmers

It’s the eve of my nineteenth birthday, and all I can think about is a profoundly adolescent, female specific problem. Namely, my hair. It’s always sort of hung there, being curly. However now I’m approaching advanced age, I’m thinking of changing it. The colour has to change (I recently experimented with red, and despise it), and I shall need to go back to something vaguely honey and copper toned, I think. I shall leave this in the hands of my hairdresser.

Unfortunately however, I cannot simply give her free rein with the scissors; I need some direction, especially because I have particularly curly hair, which, if cut badly, will never look quite the same again. It will mean hats will be essential for the succeeding six weeks, and the experience is not really one I care to repeat.

(1) Standard haircut protocol...

This kind of conundrum does make me wonder about the superficial expectations of society and the opposite sex as a whole, however it mainly makes me question my own ability to like myself; it would seem my appearance is more important to me than anyone else, and the only person who really worries about my hair’s current colour and style is me. I put a disproportionate amount of time into worrying about my weight, and a conversely small amount of time into worrying about whether my hair looks nice. It rarely looks nice, especially during term time. I lose the ability to maintain grooming habits every time I set foot in my flat. Eyebrows are just sort of painted on, and I start to be less concerned with wearing make up.

It’s very strange to consider how appearance is directly proportional to exposure to modernity; farmers do not worry about their complexions or weight particularly (I’m sure there are exceptions), and country women typically are less concerned about heal heights and skirt lengths. Whenever I’m back in the city, heels become appropriate again, and clothing becomes much sharper. When I’m in the country, anything but jeans can be considered as an example of being overdressed, and knitted jumpers are perfectly acceptable evening attire. In the city, nothing short of a LBD will be worn on a night out. In the country, shorts and a t-shirt with flip-flops are essential. We rarely dress up, unless there’s a space themed party and some tinfoil involved.

Anyway, back to my current conundrum. I want a fringe, possibly, however I’m very worried that this will accentuate my slightly round face. I often look in the mirror and wonder what I was doing on the day they handed out the well-defined cheekbones. I need a new hair colour, and I want something new, however over the last six months I’ve pretty much covered the entire colour spectrum, from platinum blonde, to deep mahogany. I shall be satisfied with lots of highlights and lowlights, I think. In something vaguely honeyed. As long as I’m not ashy blonde anymore, I think I shall leave happy. This still doesn’t tackle the question of the cut though.

Oh, isn’t life hard?

(:

(1) http://www.everydaypeoplecartoons.com/cartoons/327—September-30-October-6,-2007,-sense-of-self-haircut.gif

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Onwards, Upwards, and Backwards

The problem is time, and loneliness. They go hand in hand; they always have. People do not form meaningful relationships overnight; a classic example of course, is the one night stand. However people also do not form relationships over any short period; there are fleeting friendships, holiday romances, work colleagues. They all form your perceptions of the world around you, and impact you in different ways, however they are rarely long-term friends, or even very good friends, because after all, we impact one another without ever really realizing that we have.

(1) It's nice, to be together. Ask Winnie the Pooh.

I always feel slightly deceived by the cliques that exist in high schools across the world, and the misconceptions that surround universities and colleges, after high school. Nothing really changes, and friends are not magically made. You do have to go out and find them, and hope that whilst you’re away, your old friends don’t move too far away from you. This is one of the worst parts of university; a complete upheaval of everything, including your friends, who are essentially the people you grew up with. It’s hard to be away from the people who know you better than anyone; suddenly you have to start making first impressions all over again, being presentable. You cannot be yourself in its full, unmitigated glory, because people can’t always handle that.

It’s challenging then, to go back to a time where people don’t know you, and have no history with you. They really don’t know you from Adam, and therefore, why would they bother with you if you didn’t come across well? This is a valid point, and one that I think is rather valuable to remember; people don’t owe you anything, ever. You call in favours, you must have history and friendship; the world is build on the latter. It’s a warm fuzzy idea, however sometimes it’s just plain alienating, because the new world is a billion miles away from where it used to be, and nothing is ever quite the same, after that. Including going home.

It’s inevitable that some life changing things will happen, and that some progress will be made. How much or how little is dependent on one’s willingness to change and evolve, and sometimes people have to go forwards in order to appreciate what they used to have. People move on. It’s one of the worst and best things about university, and I think it’s natural to think that. People are the same across the world; even if we were all still together, things would still be moving along. This tends to happen; as horrible as it is during high school, its way worse in reality.

But inevitably, we also find new people. And these people are just as amazing as the old people. They’re our people too. Real friends never tend to move too far away; they always come back given a phone call, or two.

(:

(1) https://sarahalicewaterhouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/best_friends255b1255d.jpg?w=300

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On Time

Time is fundamental to people. We use time to measure when we should sleep, how long for, and how our entire lives should function. We measure our days in terms of hours and minutes; appointments are scheduled in hours, or half hours. Nine am is the accepted beginning of the work day; this presumption emerges from the natural trend of sunlight and sunset, and broadly, sunlight is present, in the UK at least, from nine until five, for most of the year. There are some black winter days when it is dark by four pm, and not light until nine am, but that is a construct of the seasons.

I’m having a brilliant week, because of an abundance of time. I’m essentially finished for this year, and before exams and revision kick off, I am to enjoy a brief respite from university work. The weather is beautiful, and I have little to do except lie around, reading books, and going to the beach. Waking up in the morning with nothing to do is a fantastic feeling, if it is a rare one. It means you can spend an extra twenty minutes in the gym, and then go home, and conduct your day as you so wish.

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Certainly one of the creepiest portrayals of time I've ever seen. (1)

Without any spare time, household, administrative type things cease to happen; the dust on the carpet reaches levels of visibility, the washing basket overflows, and the purse starts to expel receipts. You get too tired to care about doing menial things, and in my opinion at least, this is depressing. I like to have a day, every so often, dedicated to doing boring administrative tasks. Dusting, and laundry, and so forth. I can’t abide not having enough time.

I also have an extremely irritating tendency to develop viral, throat based complaints whenever I’m incredibly tired. If I work a number of extremely busy days at work, with only five hours sleep between the end of one shift, and the beginning of another, I get some form of cold, flu, or sore throat. This has been alleviated somewhat by a tonsillectomy, however I still get twinges of sore throat, and stabbing pain in my ears. I wish I could be one of those people who can function on only four hours sleep every day, but I’m not sure I could- I get very grumpy, past a certain point of exhaustion. To the point where even I don’t recognize the snarling, irritable, pale creature staring out of the mirror.

Anyway, so back to my point; I like having time. We all base everything we do on time constraints, balancing our lives between commitments. In the modern world especially, we’re busier than we’ve ever been. I suppose it’s important to recognise however, that we should always, always, make time to do the washing. Because everyone needs clean pants.

(:

(1) http://www.ideachampions.com/weblogs/Dali%2BPersistence%2Bof%2BTime.jpg

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On Impatience

This morning I rang my mother, as I do every morning, just to say hello. And as is so often the case in these conversations, she told me I was impatient, and that I ought to learn the art of being patient. I’ve been struggling with this particular condition for years. Apparently my dad donated this particular gene to me, during the “making me from scratch” phase. I’ve never been able to wait for anything, from buses, to trains, to leaving school. I just seem incredibly anxious, all the time, to be moving on.

This is reflected in the microcosm of my bedroom. I rearrange all the stuff in it, clean it, and stack things in a different way, approximately every three weeks. I do it because it makes my room feel “new”, and fresh. Like a fresh start, almost. And this is what I spend my entire life doing, I think. Chasing a way to make a fresh start, move on, and keep progressing. I want to be everywhere, all the time, all at once. So much so that my brain feels as though it’s in complete chaos, all day long.

In some ways, I embrace this impatience, because it means I always want to improve myself, and do better. I want to succeed in my course, I want to meet more fitness targets, but I want it all now. I want to be fundraising for Africa and for South America already, and I haven’t even booked the latter yet. I have what some would call a type A personality. Others would simply refer to it as being “a pain in the ass”. I think I’d agree with them too.

“Personality is more important than beauty, but imagination is more important than both of them.” – Laurette Taylor

But anyway, today I have only one real thing to do; and that is write my essay for my Past and Present module. I will stop researching flights to Lima, Peru, and I shall read scholarly things about postmodernism. Even as I write this post, I feel some of the frustration fading away. I like posting sometimes, because it’s like venting to somebody, an almost anonymous person, and it does genuinely relieve ideas that are spinning around in my brain. I’m always scared of there not being enough time, to get everything I want to do done. I’m terrified I’ll run out of time to do the stuff on my list, and be somebody. But, as my mum said, “You’ve got all the time in the world”. She might be right; she usually is.

At this juncture then, I ought to abandon my blog, Twitter, Expedia, and G Adventures, and read my books, and write my essay. I suppose it’s always much harder to start than it is to carry on. It’s worth starting in order to finish though, I think. It’s just putting down my plans for the future and focusing on the present. It’s always much harder than it sounds, but I like to pop some Meat Loaf in my stereo, close down the internet, and make some coffee. And once the introduction is done, it gets easier.

At least, that’s what I’m counting on.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill. This is my chance to do something. I have to seize the moment.” – Andrew Jackson

(:

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On Dreams

Sunshine is currently streaming through the window, and the temperature is an ambient twenty degrees centigrade, inside my bedroom. But I’ve been sat staring at my computer screen for half an hour, wondering what on earth to do with the afternoon. Should I go to the beach, or should I research for my essay? I’m torn between the two, really. The beach seems far more appealing than an adventure to the library, but then again, essays don’t write themselves. This is something of a conundrum.

Anyway, I think logic is going to prevail; research on postmodernism is going to be far more useful to my future, in comparison to an afternoon jaunt to the beach. This is perhaps one of the strangest things about modern life. We spend all of our present planning for a future, something we aren’t even sure exists. We have no idea of the course our lives will take, and whether all of our planning will come to fruition, or whether something will change the course of our lives without us realising it. This is perhaps one of the most alarming things about being human; we have no idea what might happen to us.

At this juncture, we can consider the lion; lions (especially males) have an almost intrinsic idea of the course their lives will take; they all have a goal. To rise to the top of the pack, and to be the dominant male, a chief hunter. This ambition puts their entire lives into focus, and they have an innate idea of what their existence will be about. Humans, on the other hand, are fickle; we have big dreams, and big ambitions. We all dream of being something different, whether it’s to be a mother, or to be a CEO, or be a novelist, or a protester. We just have no idea, and we have such an abundance of opportunity that it’s confusing, but so completely breathtaking, all at the same time. I often wish there was a clue, of where I might end up, so I could work out how to get there. I think we all wish that sometimes.

Courage to Dream

Walt E. Disney (1)

I hope to end up in publishing, as both a publishing mogul and novelist at the same time. I also want to be able to travel. I might have to make career changes, and cut back on things to do it, but as I said on my bucket list, I would like to travel to every continent on the planet. I love the idea of being able to escape, and run around the world, going on safari, building houses and schools, and so on. I just like the idea of being free. However, I also really like my mum’s cooking, and watching television with her. There’s so much choice, and technology makes it so very possible, that a person couldn’t ever decide on just one dream, I think.

So, I’ve got a plan: I’m going to do things that will make me happy. Sometimes these things, for example, going to the gym at seven-thirty in the morning, will not make me happy at that present moment. However, as I get thinner, and fitter, and closer to being ready to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, I will be happy. It’s simply a system of cause and effect; temporary pain for an abundance of long-term gain. Nobody gets everything for nothing. Dreams do not simply happen. You have to work for them, and work hard for them. And it feels amazing when you actually get somewhere, and it all pays off.

(:

(1) http://images.picturesdepot.com/photo/c/courage_to_dream-8499.jpg

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On Absence

Dying, I suppose, is an inevitable part of being alive. We write about death all the time; in our speech, we say “I’m gonna kill you”; “Oh, I feel like death…”, and so forth. We never really appreciate the full gravitas of what we say. This isn’t just limited to death however; we misunderstand, or at least fail to appreciate the full significance of an idea, or a word, on a regular basis. We just never realise the full potential of what we are saying.

However, when people do disappear, whether they die, or you just lose contact with them, it’s an inexplicable feeling. It’s horrible, because you feel like something is missing. And that’s reasonable, because something is missing. There’s a part of your life that has changed; that change is often set in stone, and that’s just a part of life. People change on the basis of loss, and how they cope with it.

Humans are incredible to the extent that we can adapt to a hostile environment, and change accordingly. We wouldn’t be able to exist on a planet that fundamentally exists on the basis of change if we couldn’t; we have to just roll with the punches, and salvage what we can from the mess we leave behind us. Even the most hygienic, tidy and scrupulous human being leaves mess in their wake. I’m not talking about leaving tea cups, crisp packets and toast crumbs behind you; I mean emotional mess; the stack of relationships, friends, people that we find in our wake. We always have an impact on the people we care about. We also have an impact on people we barely even recognize.

Equally, our people leave us in their wake; they change our expectations of the world around us, for better, or for worse. We have to know what it means to be sad in order to be a whole, rounded person. People that are perpetually happy, all the time won’t know how strong they are until they have to come back from something vile, something impossible. You cannot possibly know how strong you are until you have to be strong.

So people, in absence, is terrifying, horrible; it is impossibly cruel. Especially when people are young, and they die far, far too young. People lose their kids, their wives, and their husbands. Those people are full of a strength that people have to find for themselves; it cannot be learnt, and it cannot be studied from a book. “A degree from the university of life”, one might say. Because that’s what it is; it’s life, and life is scary. I don’t know very much about life; I’m eighteen. But I know a little bit, just enough to know it’s scary, and the things I have seen barely scratch the surface of the things I may see, one day.

I think then, in conclusion, you should say what you think; appreciate people. Know that you have to be sad sometimes, in order to be strong. That’s the really hard part. Standing up and realising that life goes on, whether you want it to or not. I suppose you just have to appreciate life, and the fact that you’re in it, whilst you can. Do stuff; be something, and don’t waste it.

“Did you say it? ‘I love you. I don’t ever want to live without you. You changed my life.’ Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work towards it. But every now and then, look around, and drink it in. Because this is it. And it might all be gone tomorrow.” – Grey’s Anatomy

I realise the quote is horribly cheesy, directly quoted from television drama; but I still think it’s a very nice message to put across.

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Good Morning, Christmas Eve!

This morning is one of the two mornings a year when school aged children are willing to arise from their beds; Christmas Eve is upon us. This magical day has religious significance, familial significance, and corporate importance, to almost everyone. This year for me however is going to be slightly different, because I am going to spend the morning with my family, decorating a beautiful gingerbread house, but this afternoon, I shall be going to work. This seems like an extraordinarily grown up way of conducting the day; as children, the afternoon would be used for playing with the garland, making stockings for teddy bears, and watching Christmas films.

(1) Christmastime in Harrods

Christmas tends to be one of those reflective periods of the year, especially since it falls very close to New Years Eve, a time where we make resolutions, and promptly break them at some point on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd of January. I find the progress of the resolution strangely amusing in the way that one’s conviction for it decreases in direct proportion to the time passed immediately after it. New Year’s Eve resolutions are perhaps made to be broken, in the same way as tulip shaped wine glasses, and plastic children’s toys.

I find the Christmas period one unrivalled in attitudes by any other time of year. At no other time of the year is eating until you are considering vomiting an encouraged practice. The consumption of mince pies is, at no other time of year, a pleasant afternoon past time. During the course of weeks one to fifty-one of the year, drinking Bucks Fizz at breakfast is frowned upon. But not for Christmas. Considering the origins of the holiday, these practices present something of an attitudinal paradox.

To my untrained mind at least, Christmas seems to present something of a release from the restrictions and the tensions of the year that has just passed. Where people have been running through London’s complex tube system at six thirty every morning for fifty weeks, they relish the opportunity to exchange this for a very hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, smoked salmon, and kippers, accompanied by Buck’s Fizz. These foods represent the luxury of time which very often evades us, for most of the year. Christmas is also a time where paying mortgages, and saving up a nest egg, tends to be something of an abandoned practice; instead, we lavish gifts on family and friends, buy fine foods, gallons of wine, and seek only really, to be merry. This celebration of the year is a kind of reward: a reward for doing so well, surviving the pressures of life, and therefore instead of resisting the pleasures of life in favour of a slightly more attractive waistline, we tuck in.

The Christmas period offers us also, the opportunity to become creatures of leisure, something we don’t tend to be able to do very often during the year. Being a student, I have plenty of time for reading books, however they are not my books of choice; they are lovely books, they are classical books, but they are a part of my “job”. Over Christmas however, I get to indulge in the classics I have chosen for myself, such as Dostoevsky’s Devils, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. I also get to draw during the festive period, squeezing it in between walks and work. For the very reason that I get to be at home whilst I do all this, it’s my favourite time of year.

I hope everyone has a fantastic day today, and have a happy holiday!

(:

(1) http://www.shoppingblog.com/2011pics/harrods_christmas_world_department_2011.jpg

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Sailing Through Campus

So here we are. I am quite literally, sat outside a lecture theatre forty-five minutes early purely because it’s raining so hard that walking home will turn me into a water storage unit. And to cap it all off, I’d have to walk all the way back too. The prognosis for the week is not looking much improved either; it’s set to continue in this diabolical fashion for some time, which leads me to wonder how on earth I’m going to survive the twenty-five minute walk to town this evening for my philosophy reading group, without drowning on the way. Six centimeters of rain is expected, most of which will try to embed itself in the fabric of my jeans, in my hair, and in my socks. That’s what living on the south coast will do for a person.

However, I’m thinking of taking up sailing next semester; I think it’ll be one of those healthy and wonderful activities, which “blow away the cobwebs” and give your skin that slightly sunburnt look. It’ll be a companionable way to spend a Saturday, instead of lying around in bed, making supernoodles, and planning how to spend your ten pounds in such a way that allows you to do a ten bar crawl around town. It’s a mathematical mystery if there ever was one. However, I think sailing would be a much more productive use of both time and money; it might even become a valuable life skill.

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There are a number of problems I shall have to overcome first though; firstly, a lack of boating apparel, something which in all reality, shouldn’t be too difficult, since I live in a seaside town, which has all manner of weatherproof jackets and boat shoes a mere fifteen minute walk away. The second problem is that really, I don’t like boats. I get terrifically seasick. Ferries render me a nervous wreck. I think I may have to take a “mind over matter” approach and hope that the sea isn’t too bumpy; it’s slightly alarming, having absolutely no idea what lies beneath you in the water, and being so very alone (with the exception of a flat-mate and some friends) on the open sea. We’ve all seen Titanic.

I’ve only really been sailing a few times in my life, and on all occasions, I was the captain: the captain of the cheese sandwiches and strange tasting boat tea. I prepared all manner of refreshments, but in practice, had no real contribution to the actual sailing of the vessel. I liked sailing because I got to sit in the sunshine and float about a little bit, and then come home and have a warm shower with the classic “wind-swept” look. It’s not quite the same though, when you live alone. Things don’t really “happen”; dinner, much to my horror, doesn’t prepare itself, and if you wish to eat, you not only have to cook, but actually buy ingredients all by yourself. I’ll have to buy the bread and cheese for the cheese sandwiches, as well as make them.

All in all, I think sailing may be a bit of a learning curve. I think it’ll be worth it though, especially since I get to go with friends, and maybe this time, I’ll be allowed some navigational capacity. So… I’ll update you when we end up in a Spanish port on the north coast, as opposed to the Isle of Wight.

(:

(1) http://www.anniebees.com/Tahiti/images/Bora%20Sailboat%20Sunset.jpg

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