Monday, 29 August 2011

The Dark Tower sequence - Stephen King

I'm a huge lit geek, and one of the things I enjoy is when writers play little games to amuse themselves and their readers. I've recently been reading the Dark Tower Sequence by Stephen King, in which he does this a lot.
Now I'm not really a Stephen King fan, I've only read a few of his books before, including the short story which became The Shawshank Redemption. The Boy bought me a copy of The Stand a little while ago, and I really enjoyed it. He suggested I borrow The Dark Tower books from him and read them, and so I did.
I found the first book, The Gunslinger, a little dull and heavy going, despite it being a slim volume, but once other characters began to enter the plot in the second volume, then I began to enjoy it a lot more. The characters are fun and realistic, the plot sprawling and multi-layered. Occasionally it's a little confusing, and can get a bit frustrating; especially once the author entered the plot as a character.
There are loads of clever meta-textual references, to other Stephen King novels, to the Wizard of Oz, and dozens of other books. It's inspired partly by the works of Tolkien and also Robert Browning's 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came'.
If you like epic quests, brave heroes, and cute little animals who talk, I recommend you give them a go. There's also a series of graphic novels based on the novels, which I will be reading next.

The Dark Tower Sequence
  • The Gunslinger
  • The Drawing of the Three
  • The Waste Lands
  • Wizard and Glass
  • Wolves of the Calla
  • Song of Susannah
  • The Dark Tower

And so ends the summer...

For the third year running I've had a stressful summer, but this one seems to be ending on an up. I start a new job soon, which means I can finally sort out my finances and perhaps start saving for some things, like a holiday.
I've managed to get an extension for my dissertation. So I'm less stressed, I have to speak to my lecturer on Wednesday and sort out a schedule for getting it completed. It's one less thing to be worrying about.
My 25th birthday is fast approaching, and I'll probably have plenty to say on that subject soon. I'm going out with my friends and The Boy.
I don't need another summer like this, and hopefully it won't ever be like this again. Time to move forward and never, ever feel this hopeless again, depression or not, I don't want to be this girl anymore.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Well of Inspiration Has Run Dry...Again

Haven't had much luck with my supervisor so I'm plowing on with potentially the worse dissertation ever. I have no idea what I'm doing and can't imagine I'll make the word count by my deadline. I wish I could quote Douglas Adams "I love deadlines, I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by" and laugh, but if I miss this deadline then I don't think I'll be getting my Masters and will have wasted a lot of time and money for nothing. Problem is I honestly don't know whether I'll make it. I haven't wasted the summer, it's been very stressful and I've honestly tried to write before this. I just couldn't find the energy or motivation. I've done some reading, made notes, and now have to somehow produce one complete, half decent dissertation in, oh about a week.
I have this sinking feeling it's not going to happen. I don't know if I can ask for an extension. I'm trying to do as much as I can, but it's such a struggle. Well, here goes nothing.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Good news at last!!

So after the stress and strain of the summer, finally some light. I went for an interview last week in a different department of the organisation I used to work for. Spent a week with my fingers crossed, and I got the job!! I start the first week of September and I'm thrilled. It won't be the most exciting work in the world, but until MI6 get back to me, it'll do (that's a joke by the way, I'd make a terrible spy).
It's quite a relaxed office so I won't need to buy to a suit, just smart enough to look professional, I've even seen people wearing nice jeans. Having spent the last couple of weeks working in a shoe shop just to make ends meet I'm eager to be back in a job where my feet aren't aching by the end of the day. Although I like the people I'm working with, but I'll pop in every now and then and say hello.
This means I can't sort out my finances and start saving to move out, or maybe for a holiday.
Finally life is starting to be normal again, clearly summer is not a good time for me, last summer wasn't great and neither was the year before, but I'm getting back on track. So yay!!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Getting Old

In less than a month I turn 25, which isn't usually considered old, but when most of your friends are a year or more younger than you, it certainly feels it. Because of the way school years are organised, September babies are the oldest in the year. One of my best friend's is 7 months younger than me, the other 3 years younger. Even my boyfriend is a year younger (although I didn't know that when I met him).
When I was younger I thought that by 25 I'd have it all figured out, a great job, a home of my own, a wonderful partner, no money troubles, life would be good. By my age my mum had been married for 2 years, my nan had been married, become a mother and she never lets me forget it.
I don't have a great job (yet), I'm sleeping in my childhood room, I do have a wonderful boyfriend, money is still tight and things could be a lot better. But I have achieved things.
In my family at large, I'm one of the first to go to university (behind a couple of my cousins), I've travelled to countries my parents never have (and they're well travelled), I've worked several different jobs, some while studying, met a lot of awesome people, seen some wonderful things, had adventures both big and small, learned a lot about myself and still have more to do, see and be.
I know this, but still a tiny part of me is sad, that having reached a quarter of a century, I still don't have it all planned out, the way I did when I was a kid.
I guess life isn't as easy as you want it to be, and I'm not a famous writer, or someone to admire. I'm just me, trying to make it in a world which has become a lot tougher to achieve in.
So Happy Birthday all you 25-year-olds out there. Maybe this is our time now.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Oh My City!!

Three days of rioting, parts of London burning. No political message, just pointless looting and burning. Police stretched to breaking point trying to contain the chaos. The Prime Minister returned in the early hours of this morning, too little too late perhaps.
My heart aches for my city. My wonderful, nutty, fucked up city. Ripped to pieces by it's own residents. London has been torn apart before, but not by Londoners, what happened to the Blitz spirit that got us through the Second World War? Why can't we pull together, instead of tearing apart at the seams? Oh London, my home.

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Weekend Away and why (at this rate) I'm never finishing my dissertation

This weekend just passed was spent mostly at an ice rink, where The Boy was playing sledge hockey in a tournament. It was a nice weekend, we went up on Friday, stayed in a hotel, had dinner with one of his teammate's, spent time with his mum and step-dad who'd also driven up for the match, and drove back late Saturday night. Meaning Sunday was mostly spent recovering and snoozing. What we'll do if it's ever on a Sunday and we have to get up the next day is beyond me.
A brief explanation of sledge hockey, basically it's ice hockey for disabled players, originally invented for wheelchair users, at league level, both disabled and able-bodied players strap themselves into buckets on tea trays (pretty much what they are) and whizz around, using two spike ended hockey sticks to propel themselves about (the BSHA website probably explains this better). The rules are pretty much the same as in ice hockey. I'm just getting to grips with it myself. I help out on the bench at these tournaments, passing players water bottles and jelly babies (to keep their sugar levels up) and cheer them on.
This was a home match for The Boy, despite the fact we live quite a distance from the rink. It made it more fun, and they'd gone to great lengths to fundraise, with a cake stall, programs, a raffle and tickets for the crowd, people showed up just to watch and all the teams competing seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Sunday was a quiet day for us, we'd originally planned to attend a music festival, but in the end it was better that we weren't really able to as we were both quite knackered, and napped like old people in the afternoon. (Baby, if you're reading this. Stop. Now.)
Anyway, onto the second part of this post. Why I don't think I'll be completing my dissertation.
It boils down to this. I haven't got enough words written, no motivation whatsoever and I just don't see me suddenly cracking out the best part of 15000 words before the end of the month.
I need to email my tutor and confess, hopefully I can submit it at some later point, and won't have to start again with a new idea. Because, quite frankly, I'm out of them.
This summer has not been great overall. I've had no job, money worries, struggled to find something to help pay my bills, had trouble sleeping, my dad's been in hospital, I've been paranoid about losing The Boy, I feel disconnected from my friends, and that horrid creeping monster that is depression has been hanging around me again.
I've got a job interview on Thursday for a different department in the organisation I was working for most recently. Hopefully it'll go well and that'll be one less stress to deal with. I'm starting to get on top of my financial woes (I think) and a new (decently paid) job would definitely help with that.
The sleeping tablets I've been taking aren't really helping, but if things start to be less stressful, maybe I'll finally get some real sleep.
My dad's recovery from heart surgery is slow going, he needs to have a further procedure at some point, but right now he's trying to get the doctors to agree to let him go back to work, as sitting around doing nothing is driving him mad. My best friend's dad is also in hospital following an operation. What is it with these dads? We need them to stick around just a few more years at least. Fingers crossed they'll be better soon.
My worries about my relationship are probably nothing, we argue a fair amount and often seem to misunderstand each other and end up sulking and frustrated. It's a year next month that we've been together, and I don't want that to be it. We need to work on our communication, and are looking at going away, just the two of us, no family visits or hockey matches, just a little time for the two of us to be together. I hope that'll help. He's wonderful and I don't want to lose him.
As for the creeping depression, I know it's going to be tough to shake, sometimes I've managed to bury it in the past, but it doesn't ever really go away. A friend I hadn't spoken to in a while sent me a message on facebook the other day, saying how impressed she was that I write about this, as she doesn't feel that she could write about her feelings and her depression. I suppose I do it as a form of therapy, if it's written down (here or somewhere else) maybe I'm not carrying it around as much.
I don't really know. With this there is no real answers. Just guess work and a lot of hoping that tomorrow I'll be ok.
On that slightly bleak note, enjoy your week. Some comments would be nice, as it does feel like I'm writing into the ether sometimes. Or not. Who knows.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


One of my weekly little rituals/treats is checking the amazing PostSecret blog. The postcards there range from heart-breaking to hilarious. Sometimes I find myself going, "That's me! That's what I think!" Frank Warren's art project turned confessional is really rather wonderful and highly worth looking at. If you haven't already, go and see for yourself.