Friday, February 24, 2012

The Rest of My Life

As of last night, my undergraduate Research Paper is now an existing thing. The first meeting with the moderator is next week, I have to get my ideas all together in advance for that, and it's going to follow me about for the next seven or eight months. I'm going to be honest, it's a long time since I spent so long writing one thing. I've never written something academic that's worth as much as this one paper.

What's more is that this paper, once completed, represents me in the college. And worse, when it's done I'll be almost half-way through my final year in college. That's where this post comes in.

I'm on the final steps towards facing the rest of my life. I might go and do a Masters, but I couldn't tell you what I'd do. Chaplaincy maybe. Or Counselling. I'm not sure. Maybe even Creative Writing, but I already know that's not a sure-fire way to get published.

And that's the thing: I want to get published. I want that to be how I make a living. Right now I feel like I'm too young to be in a classroom from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon. I'm too young to face a few hundred people every day and try to get a message through to them under the pretence of Mr Carroll. I'm just not that person. Not yet, anyway.

I still want to teach. That much will never change. But how I teach is a different story. I wrote up a big list of things I'm interested in that I've covered in college, and so far I'm looking at over a dozen different things I would like to write about. You know, academically. Or, at the very least, informative. I want the writing to be accessible, not something you would quote in an essay or article. For me, it's more important that people can read about the topics and understand them. That has to come first, or I'm not doing it properly.

As well as that, I want to teach creative writing. I know I'm not published, but I do have a lot more experience than some people do. In particular, since it would be a course for beginners, I would have more experience than everyone in the room. (It's what happens when you've been writing for seven years and been mentored unofficially for at least three of those years by a number of people online.)

Then, you know, there's my own creative writing. Fiction, poetry, plays. I just want to keep writing, to get published. That's how I want to make a living. I have dozens of stories in my head, all flying about untamed and unwritten, and if it weren't for the aforementioned Research Paper and the college hours that go along with it, I'd be writing full time by now. I plan to, in the summer. I need to get that experience, and I need to be doing it for money.

That's not a greed thing. That's a genuine need. I can't spend the next eighteen months sitting at home writing for nothing to find that come graduation I'm still only working weekends in a bookshop. It would drive me insane.

I need to change my life, and it starts now. It has to, or I'll keep putting it all off.

It's time to face the rest of my life, before college ends and I'm dropped in the deep end with a stitch in my side and nobody around to stop me sinking.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

All the Parties!

This has been one of those Reading Weeks that involved little-to-no reading. For the citizens of the Hallmarkian  Empire, Valentine's Day reared its vicious, consumer-focused head. Immediately following it was my birthday, more a product of my parents than Hallmark. Cue the parties.

The day before the V-Bomb hit, a group of friends and I got together for some drinks. We called it Anti-Valentine's Day. It's not a unique event, but our way of sticking it to the man was certainly more enjoyable than the Dreaded Singles of us sitting at home alone, albeit eradicating dragons and whatnot in Skyrim. Instead, we played Truth or Dare.

How horribly 1990s adolescents of us. Of course, ours was a 21st Century version: it was done using a Truth or Dare App. Society, you have lost your ability to exploit your friends and colleagues darkest secrets with the invention of Apps. Nonetheless, we did manage to have a lot of fun, while drinking too much and eating too much. Sure it's Anti-Valentine's Day; it'd be rude not to.

Tackling the Hallmarkian Empire once again, I settled into a day-long session of bitterness and banter with the Drama Society. Most of us are part of the Dreaded Singles, the Empire's biggest foes. For some, it's for lack of trying. For others, lack of interest. I don't know what to say about the rest. Heck, I'm not even sure where I fall in that system.

Regardless of whether we were a Dreaded Single or a Hopeless Romantic, we gathered around, chatted a lot, and ordered pizza. This was before the alcohol later that night, with which the Hopeless Romantic Singles drowned their sorrows. We piled into a car called Fearghus and drove to the off-licence, bought just enough alcohol that our livers wouldn't hate us for a week, and headed off to a house with two Hopeless Romantics, lots of bitterness and an attention seeking kitten.

A bottle of Captain Morgan's later - shared with a friend - I stumbled home. Actually, I got a taxi home, but Anti-Valentine's Day Part II ended, for me, at 3am. It was officially my birthday.

With my birthday on top of me - a heavy 21 years - we had some friends down at the house. I hadn't really planned on them coming down. One of them said to me before my brother did. Oh well! I still got to have people down.

Keep in mind I was tired at this point, but I was surviving on chocolate and awesome home-made burgers by my older brother. Hallmark got nothing out of my friends, but Forbidden Planet got themselves a lot of business. I had a few small presents, while my brother got a bag; the fun part was when I was pulling vouchers and money out of my gift bag and he could just sit there watching until I was done. Then they handed him his vouchers. Those kidders!

I suddenly regret sounding so 1970s American. Let's move on.

I spent this party sober, partially to give my liver a break, and partially to save myself some money. We watched The Breakfast Club, one of my favourite films of all time. After that, we played yet more Truth or Dare. With an App. I ought to ban that App. It was a good night, anyway, even if I was about ready to pass out from exhaustion from the day.

Yes, I skipped Friday. It was DnD day, not a party. This was the big day of the week, with the actual arranged 21st birthday party. I sat in the pub for over two hours waiting for the majority of my friends to arrive. In fairness, my secondary school friends and two girls I worked with made the effort to arrive earlier, but I wasn't drinking with them.

That was when the Drama Society, the first group of friends (and the same crowd from Wednesday) and my Meath friend arrived, all within ten minutes of each other. It was also when I lost control of when I was getting drinks (though I didn't have to pay for any myself previously.) The Meath Man covered the costs, and damn near did my liver in in the process. The result was that I struggled to stand up without leading against something and my face went numb.

I call that a success.

A group of us went back to my house afterwards, already heavily intoxicated. The Mammy and the Daddy had already set out drinks, which were hastily tucked in to by a number of the group. I avoided further alcohol at this point, and resolved to having what one of the girls calls a DMC with the Meath Man while he drank and smoked. I couldn't stand for most of it. I literally had to pick my moments wisely and appropriately, before collapsing back onto my seat (which was actually a sleeper in the garden).

I managed to walk around again after some time and a little encouragement, and two hours later the guests were leaving. Those two hours involved a number of broken glasses, lots of alcohol consumption, the breaking of a flower pot, a tour of the house (minus the bedrooms that aren't mine), more DMCs and a few falling people.

Le Conclusion
Overall, a successful week. But no study or reading done. Still, I think part of my education process involves having friends and having four parties in a week at least once. Further conclusions that can be drawn from the experience? My friends are crazy, my liver doesn't hate me, I can survive partying better than I first thought and I definitely want to continue living my life to the full.

And there you have it, my summary of all the parties!

This blog post was brought to you by the letter H, for Half-Assed Hangover. I'm tired, my stomach feels funny (I can't tell if I'm hungry or full!) but I don't have a headache or any of the other features of a hangover. My body really doesn't like trying too hard, does it?

Monday, February 6, 2012


Like everybody else in this world, I make mistake. I made one that got me upset earlier, confusing my time table and not being able to take part in a workshop as a result of it. I freaked out more than a little bit.

However, I was determined not to let it get the best of me. So I reacted with writing. However good or bad I might be (I don't pretend to be an expert in myself) it's something I know I can do at least a little bit right. So I sat down in my Nerd Corner/Corner of Shame and I got to writing. I won't say what. It's still sooper sekrit. But it had swearing and anger and I got to vent through this story all the little things that were going through my head.

It's a sort of therapy that works on me when I get a bit down, like everyone does. I'm happy writing, because it restores me to some sense of security and comfort and I don't feel like I'm going to mess up tremendously. I wrote a few hundred words, before people started arriving for Drama and I had to stop, but it was enough for me.

Writing wouldn't work for everyone. Some people, no matter how good they might be at it, don't believe in their ability. But there's something everyone can do that makes them happy, and I reckon we just need to find those things for our own emotional balance. It's like a weighing scales; when something bad happens and/or we get upset, we need something to fall back on.

For me, of course, writing a blog or an email isn't going to sort it out. I need to write fiction, something that I can just let loose with. I like to write angry characters, people with problems, people who don't know how to deal with the world, people who are weird and wonderful but don't fit in. I like writing characters that are that little bit like me that I can understand them, but that are so bizarre I still need to do some thinking about them.

And that works for me. I'm addicted to people, and making them up always helps me satisfy my need to vent problems at them.

I'm weird like that. But hey, anything to get an emotional balance right? It stops me making big mistakes (and boy do I make those...). More than that, though, it helps me make the right choices. (Bliss, The Phantom Zone, my website, The Rest is Silence...)

And this post? This was just me spewing up words. Sure it has to happen somewhere.