Falling In Love: The Writer’s Life

Now, writing a novel has always been a dream of mine. In fact, it’s on my bucket list. I have a plan. And a very detailed character list. And a blow-by-blow plan of every twist and every element in the novel. There is nothing in the novel that isn’t in the plan, and I have begun, this summer to write the chapters. Y’know, the fundamental basis of the novel; the text. And I find it something that it is very hard to do part-time.


I’m working at the moment, however when I’m not working, at three o’clock in the morning for instance, I find myself perusing the ten thousand words I’ve already written, scratching my head, and wondering how I can improve the novel, the characters, and the flow of the novel. It’s a job I’ve always dreamed of having. Writing, is the only job I can really imagine doing; and thus this very blog, which is almost a year old now, was born.

I can imagine myself, in five years or so, in a house which has an office stuffed full of books, a comfortable desk chair, and my laptop. I could contentedly work there, for ten hours or so a day, writing down all the stuff my rather expansive imagination comes up with. I would blog, at the same time, and perhaps write commissioned pieces, editorials, and do some editing work too. I could travel; laptops are rather portable, as are ideas. Travel produces ideas, and creates different perspectives. One of my biggest ambitions is to spend six months or so, travelling around South America, and writing about it. Combining two of my favourite pastimes, it would be one of the best years of my entire life.

But anyway, I’m working on the novel. It’s gonna be interesting, and has a historical aspect that I like, because I am intensely interested in both of the World Wars, and the impact it had on families and their dynamics. I hope it’ll be something I look back on in a few years, and call it my first good thing; my first successful venture into the world of publishing. I hope that comes true, and I can imagine spending all my free time writing, because that’s all I’ve ever really wanted to be, or do.

There are some problems, with the writer’s life though; the first is that you have no externally imposed structure, and so you have to be well-disciplined, and able to commit yourself to work, even when there are a variety of distractions around you. The second is writer’s block. I’ve had a few weeks recently, where there was nothing I could say. I couldn’t write anything worth a dime. But then I caught a cold, and spent a week at home, watching old episodes of Friends, and all of a sudden, I remembered why I wanted to be an author. And when my new laptop came, and I did the thing, you know, where you sort out all the old files on your computer,I found the drafts and plans I made for a novel, about a year ago. And with nothing else to do with my time, I decided to start writing it again.

And frankly, it’s been the best four days of the summer, so far. Despite the raging cold, and an ability to talk like Darth Vader.


(1) http://cjwriter.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/fountain_pen.jpg?w=600


Oh, What It Is to Be Excited…

I'd like a bed like this one day. (1)

So here we are again; another sunny Monday morning with the prospect of university essays, the gym, and the laundry to be doing. However, today is an exciting Monday, because today is the day of the Asda deliver. I promise that I’m not getting excited purely for the delivery of vegetables; I’m excited because I found a double duvet and pillowcase set, with pretty trees on it, for £2.77. And so obviously, I had to buy it. I love duvet covers. I especially like clean ones. So I’m really quite looking forwards to the changing of the duvet, later tonight. Which, as a I read that sentence back, I realise sounds a little bit sad. But nevertheless, I like pretty stuff. I especially like it when it is on sale. I think it’s a genetic programming issue.

Another upcoming event, with perhaps a tad more significance, is my impending birthday; I’ll reach the grand old age of nineteen, very soon, and therefore that’s an excuse for a party. Or in this case, a venture to a nice restaurant with ten of my oldest friends. The restaurant “Las Iguanas” is a place I’ve been desperate to try, however it is a little bit too expensive to justify it on an everyday basis. However, birthdays mean special things can happen, and therefore I feel the pressing urge to eat South American fare. I shall consider it a prelude to my visit to the continent in 2014. A necessary training exercise, one might say.

I really enjoy celebrations; not surprise parties, or massive community hall get-togethers, but I like a nice dinner, with all my favourite people. All I really want to do with my family for my birthday is snuggle up with my Mum and Dad on the sofa, and watch Swamp People, an ingenious television program about the alligator hunters of America. I wouldn’t mind eating a steak whilst I do it, maybe with some peppercorn sauce. I think celebrations ought to be as large or as small as one would like. Equally however, I’m excited to get dressed up in something pretty, and go out with all my friends.

But before this, I get to see one of my best friends, because she’s coming to visit me at university at the end of term. It’s going to be a mini-holiday, in lieu of going on a proper one; we’ll use my flat for a holiday house, and do holiday-type things; going to the beach, going out for cocktails, and watching DVDs. It’s going to be a wonderful few days, ended by the cross-country train journey back to reality, work, and home.

In conclusion then, I’m quite excited, about lots of things. My friend visiting, my Asda order, and my birthday plans, to name just a few. It’s going be amazing. Now, I just have to tackle that essay…


(1) http://www.terrysfabrics.co.uk/images/P/Lottie-Duvet-Cover-Gold.jpg


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



Wandering Across Jordan

Before my expedition to Jordan, I had never seen myself as much of a traveller; I despise flying, and travel tends to provoke a reaction in me known as “airport meltdown”. It usually means a strong coffee, a little chocolate, and buying something from duty-free to read during the flight. However, that was on conventional family holidays; when I was in Heathrow airport, ready to go to Jordan, there was little time to panic, and my airport demeanor changed radically. Perhaps it was the clothes; trekking shorts and t-shirts, as opposed to jeans and knitted jumpers; but however it happened, something changed rather radically.

Looking out over Amman

The country itself was a city completely removed from anything I have previously experienced; the traffic, the taxis, and the streets were a combination of organised chaos, the smell of every spice imaginable, and people greeting you every four steps (being the only party of Caucasian people walking through central Amman, you tended to attract attention). It was almost as though you were a different species, however the hospitality was unrivalled in Europe; in Paris, “good” treatment is the waiter serving your food within a reasonable time frame; in Jordan, more sweet teas than you could ever hope to consume were offered, without asking, by every person you walked by. For a country which is economically less developed than the western world, the human kindness of people was extraordinary; this perhaps shows that kindness, a commodity that has been lost largely in Europe, costs nothing.

As time went on, we made our way to the Dana nature reserve for a trek across the natural desert landscape, and to stay in the traditional huts. It was here that I spent one of the most memorable nights of my life; the day had been incredible, trekking and seeing native plants and reptiles, however the evening was quite literally life altering. After our trip leaders had done the sensible thing and gone into their huts for the night, one of our friends wished to know how the sweet tea (the kind I have never been able to replicate) was made. And so, the owner of the camp, invited us into a tiny kitchen around a fire, and showed us; later, we sat around a small camp fire, talking about his experiences, and imagining how it would be to live his life; the most haunting part of the tale for me is that he spends every day in almost complete solitary confinement; very rarely has he left the reserve. He lives a completely simple life, far away from modern-day technology, using only a mobile phone for business purposes. He still lives on the side of a hill where his mother did, and he will continue to do so, maintaining the family business.

Later sunrise in Dana

The world as we understand it today has lost many traditions that were revered only fifty years ago; our understanding of the family has changed, and where people once acquired a job at twenty that they would continue in until retirement, we constantly change careers, change our convictions, and change our ideas. This is symbolic of the age of change in which we live, however to experience a place that holds a deep regard for the traditional family structure, and maintaining the country as it once was, is a deeply moving experience.

Once we left the nature reserve, we went on into Petra, one of the seven wonders of the world. We spent a fantastic day climbing up to the very top; past the Monastery, and looking out across the country. It is rather under appreciated country, at least in my opinion, and I think it is breathtakingly beautiful. It was interesting to see how high the city really climbed; in that day, we estimated that we’d climbed up and down approximately two thousand stairs, determined to see the High Place of Sacrifice, the Monastery, and a tiny viewpoint above the Monastery that looks out over an extremely beautiful landscape. The physical effort that went into that day was more than worth it; and when we were watching sunset from the High Place of Sacrifice, I resolved to see all the wonders of both the ancient and modern world.

Looking down from the highest place in Petra

By the time I got back on the aeroplane to come home, I’d convinced myself that I would simply have to travel; everywhere, and everywhere. I’d just have to ignore my brain and fly all over the world, because I want to experience things like I did when I was in Jordan, all over again. I want to understand far more than is directly in front of my face, and I hope to be able to travel to South America, and go in a horseshoe shape, across the continent, doing things like volunteering, and of course, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.

I hope everyone , at least once in their life, gets to experience things like this; I feel immensely privileged to have had the opportunity to go, and when I’m at work, wondering why I should be making yet another decaf soya latte with extra foam, I think of Jordan, and the prospect of going even further afield, and this particular thought makes the task much more palatable.