The Chemical Imbalances of Balancing Emotions

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Dear diary,

Today has been a helluva day. I ping ponged my wau through a large pile of mail. I killed three mice under the sofa, and I walked sixteen miles only to find that the plans had been cancelled. I waited all day for a response, only to find it meagre and scratchy. I ate leftover pizza which I am certain has been nibbled on by the kitchen rats, and everyday I watch the notes in my secret envelope dwindle horrifically. I smashed into three cars, and I stalled several times. All for what? A packet of peanut butter m&ms.

 

No really. I have not written on this blog for a dreadfully long time, and it has only been because several life changing things happened recently. Now, I do not wish to sound ungrateful or horrid or anything like that, especially considering I had a fantastic weekend and I am also in love, and being in love constitutes rather a lot of things, like amicability, tolerance and happiness, but I am just dreadfully out of sorts and rather blue in the face today.

Firstly, I shall mention that I have writer’s block, which means I have been sitting in front of a blank piece of paper for hours and hours, and all I have written is;

Meanwhile, Thomas Bardwell was wallowing in a pit of his own helpless misery.

Which to be frank with you is a line of meaningless and rather hopeless drivel.

Let us start with today. I have a pile of editing to do. A foreign student has handed me her 15,000 word dissertation to edit. Her english is, quite frankly, appalling, and although I can see she has tried her best to convey her opinions on paper, I just cannot seem to find any proper way to put her points across! The main reason being, of course, that I actually do not understand what she is trying to say.

So I just ask myself two questions:

1. WHY on EARTH are universities in the United Kingdom allowing students to complete their courses, nay, to JOIN courses, when they know absolutely nothing about the English language? SURELY there is a rule stating how much english one must know before they embark on a course so reliant on tonnes of ENGLISH writing?

2. Why am I even bothering to help this poor woman? All I am serving to do is eliminate all her meaningless drivel and fix what little she has left. How is she ever going to get any marks from that!?

There is no use going into detail. I am bored, frustrated and extremely tired with it all. I just want to pack everything away, eat a slice of that delicious pizza my brother made, and slump over my bed and sleep.

I started editing in the morning. It was pretty pleasant, actually. The sun was out for half an hour and everybody was asleep, which meant I had a few precious moments of complete silence. After that, however, my day just trudged miserably down a hill tripped over a particularly sharp rock, and carried on rolling down, knocking into trees and other stones as it did, before crashing into a bony, tired, messy heap right at the bottom.

After three hours of editing, I dragged my sorry self up, had a deliciously warm shower and rushed out to a driving lesson, which suffice to say, was a complete failure. I stalled the car seven times, and made my instructor quite frustrated with me. After this, I returned home for three minutes, threw on some decent clothes, and rushed out again to meet an old friend of mine. At her house I decided to tell her that I got married on Saturday. At this point I was feeling particularly drained and rather grumpy. She however expressed her joy in jovial terms, and I think I detected a judgement in her eyes but I let it pass because you know, my fault for telling people. 

After this I went straight to work, where I was nasty and awful and made a seven year old child cry despicably.

So I shouldered the tiredness and irritability, stopped her crying, got into the car that would kindly drop me home, rang my mother, demanded to know when the editing deadline was, discovered that it was three days ago, rushed into the house, washed my face, climbed out of my clothes and tossed on an old nighty, climbed into bed, switched on my laptop and began to edit once again.

I really am not feeling this.

My writing is dreadful, my brain is clogged, and I have porridge glooping out of my ears. My husband is not being as accommodating as I had hoped he would be. When one is moody, one just wants to complain, and having a spouse three hours away, and rather distant on a messaging service, is dreadfully daunting. I do not want to complain. Only yesterday I was in a lala land of love and dreams and roses. Right now I want to smash a vase and eat a giant bag of doritos. I am blaming the chemical imbalances in my brain.When will this horror end?

 

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The Art of Not Learning

I feel like blogging is supposed to be about things that matter to the world, and things that have impacts and MEAN things.

For example, in the book I am currently reading, F Scott Fitzgerald pointed out that criticising other humans should be kept in check because not everybody has had the advantages you have had. That being said, however, one can argue for hours over what could be considered an advantage but I suppose, pragmatically speaking, we would all concur that to have a roof over one’s head and to have a nourished stomach is to be advantaged.

Now this is a rather pointless example if I don’t explain myself, and I feel I can only do so by replaying a little conversation I had in my mind a few days ago while I was clearing the dinner table (or rather, the table at which we eat dinner given that a dinner table is not the same as a table at which we eat dinner for the simple reason that there are such things as breakfast tables and coffee tables and, I daresay, lunch tables and so would all be significantly different from each other):

Well here I am cleaning tables

Yes indeed I am here.

Cleaning a table is not the same as having a table cleaned.

Quite so, quite so.

And neither is liking what one does the same as doing what one likes.

Saying what one means is not the same as meaning what one says.

 And so on, and so forth, ladies and gentlemen. So you see, I really was listing a list of various things which are not the same as the other, even though the eventual outcome of these things might be of striking semblance. Now you can very well see that I was playing on the musings of that Mad Hatter and the old March Hare, creations of Carroll, of course. Not that they were bloggers, in any way, of course, given that they were both of an era where blogging was virtually non existent given that they had no internet) but going back to my point about bloggery being meaningful, I am pretty sure that both Fitzgerald and Carroll put quite a lot of thought into their jottings and writings and as such were able to produce masterpieces of thought and artistic innovation, whereas I, as a blogging human undertaking the art of bloggery, merely write about things found in the nooks and crannies of my mind that I have no use for.

This, as they say, is not learning, but recycling. One learns by reading and observing, not reusing a pile of scrap one has no use for!

That being said, there is no use of course complaining about it! As another wise human once said:

Rather than complain about things, Lenny, you might as well get on with them. Or change them.

— My Mother

And so wiles my night away. I suppose a great thing to do would be to pick up an informative text and indulge in that for the rest of the night.

The Dream Thieves

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Normally, sequels are a huge splash of disappointment and and a tangled web of unfulfilled fantasies.

The same cannot be said of The Dream Thieves, the sequel to The Raven Boys. The Raven Boys was good enough, but The Dream Thieves surpassed it by leagues and leagues and left it dwindling behind like one of those coal ravaged cities old Dombey mourned over. It was brilliant and sparky and had me on the verge of falling off my seat (well, bed) with excitement at 6am in the morning. When I turned the last page my heart sank in pitiful desolation because I had no idea when the third book was going to be released, and I felt as though I couldn’t brave this taunting anonymity. I still do not know when it will be released, which is very daunting, considering that I gave up on reading Inheritance because the gap between it and Brisingr was too long.

This book started off being very confusing but as I have learnt from Maggie Stiefvater, her confusion is just a pathway to glorious clarity. So whenever I didn’t understand anything, I just carried on reading. Sure enough, my befuddlement lifted and my curiosity was satiated in a most beautiful manner.

Maggie explored her characters in greater depth in her sequel. Suddenly they all had separate lives, and feelings, and opinions which clashed, as opinions are wont to do. They all suddenly made so much sense. You started off the book thinking, gosh what a rambling mess this all is, and finished it thinking, DAYUM, MAGGIE, YOU SORCERESS.

So anyway, yes I fully recommend this book. One hundred percent. I am very hard to please, you see. Roll on book the third!

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Entrapped in a Vile World

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I was sitting in the GP surgery waiting room, when it suddenly struck me that the world as I know it is one big fat ignominious lie.

The thought didn’t pop out of nowhere. It had to be triggered by something. And it was, never fear. There was a TV screen at the end of the room, showing a slideshow of important things, such as statistics of cancellations, and notices about the winter flu.

One thing that popped up, during a slideshow about the flu, was this little sentence:

Book your flu jab appointments NOW before they run out!!!

Literally three exclamation marks. I sat there for a few minutes, thinking the following;

Huh, fancy that, how can you book appointments before they run out. Before appointments run out? How does that work, surely..OH. Flu jab appointments. Does this mean the stuff in the jab runs out? Probably. Yes, it’s probably so everybody gets their jab before it runs out. Yes I under–

HOLD up a second.

If everybody gets their jab before the jab runs out, then how will the jab run out? If there are enough jabs to be handed around to EVERYBODY before they run out, then why do we need to hurry? Why do we need to hurry up to book flu jab appointments before they run out if there is only a limited number of flu jabs?

So, why are they telling me to book my appointment NOW, before they run out? Doesn’t everybody else need flu jabs too? Why me, and not all those humans who will eventually make them run out?

 What I am trying to say is that saying “Book your appointments now before they run out” is a very illogical thing to say. It makes no sense. If the flu jabs are going so fast originally, then there’s no point booking one, because it will still go to somebody who is in need of one, correct?

They are telling you to hurry up and get a flu jab, even though they are selling like hot cakes. They are begging you to get a flu jab, even though they are hinting that you already should know that flu jabs are really important and are vanishing at a remarkable rate.

They are, in short, lying to you by saying that flu jabs are important. 

Don’t you SEE? The flu jabs AREN’T going to run out. They’re NOT being used up. These humans WANT you to THINK they’re being used up, and that it is the medical “fashion” of sorts, to get a flu jab, to entice you into getting a flu jab. This is just a ruse to get humans to take chemicals in their bodies when they do not need them. Yeah, sure, humans die from the flu, big deal. Everybody will die, and humans certainly are not likely to die more from the flu than anything else. Even if they did die, that was their fate. Humans are born to die.

Medicine as we know it today is somehow, managing to control us in the very same way the higher secret powers are. Nobody is safe. They never were. 

As an end note, I would like to say that natural remedies work just as well as man made ones, if not better. Our ancestors survived years (yes, years) on natural remedies. The only reason why their average mortality rate was so low was because of the high rates of infant deaths, which of course would naturally affect the average rate in a population. Humans a hundred years ago lived to the ripe old age of seventy years, if not more. I would also like to point out that our way of living is drastically worse than most humans of that era. Discounting of course, city dwellers during the Industrial Revolution.

Walrus in a Car

 

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As days go, this was terribly awkward. I felt like a walrus trapped in a fancy car. I didn’t know if I belonged there or not. I couldn’t get out of it, and I couldn’t say anything. When I eventually got home, I shimmied out as fast as I could and scampered into my house without a backward glance. I felt so, so, so terrible. I vowed to say no thank you when offered a lift tomorrow, although knowing me, I will probably just oblige and climb into the car after the children.

I do not belong.

Chasm

“I have to give them a taste of my own medicine. A taste. Nothing but a taste”

He was listening to her, and he was also slowly poisoning her. He understood completely that a single teaspoon could be the ruin of her. It could literally result in her entire world crumbling apart; tumbling down past her ears. He watched the golden curls hanging by her ears sway a little in an unseen draft. The draft, he mused, that the rubble that was all that remained of her life made as it crashed past her temples. A silent storm that nobody, not even her, saw. A muted rage only felt by a subconscious sense in the gleaming tendrils of her ringlets, as they were pushed aside by a force so weak it could be mistaken for an ethereal puff.

He dipped the teaspoon into the bowl of sugar. A few particles tumbled back into the bowl. They made a vociferous thumping sound in the back of his brain as they spilled over their friends. When he looked back up at her, he saw her eyes fixated on the spoon. They widened slightly. Her thin, sallow hands twisted in her bony lap. The outline of her knobbly knees severe through the filmy grey that was her dress. There were large red spots by her sharp mouth; angry, purple welts that painted her painful journey through her sickness vividly. They disgusted him. He tried not to look at them as the spoon passed tremblingly over the table and vanished into the thin china teacup on the table, inches away from her knee.

He spent a few seconds, which seemed like minutes, stirring thoughtfully. He felt the directness of her gaze on him, it unnerved him slightly. He was taking part in a very nervy action, if it actually came down to it. It did not do to dwell on the nerves of matters.

He lifted the teaspoon, and set it calmly on the saucer. Then he looked up at her. She was picking at one of her sores, her eyes darting from the spoon, to him. He resisted the urge to grimace, as he lifted her teacup with his right hand, and brought her papery little hand towards the cup with his left. She shuddered at the sudden warmth that engulfed her icy fingers, as she struggled to grasp the teacup around its middle. He looked up at her, eyebrows raised, ready smile, hand still on the handle of the cup.

She bared her teeth back at him, which left him with the sensation that a ghostly child was running cold fingers along his shoulder blades and down the back of his neck. He let go, and sat back.

“Will you not have some?” she enquired softly. Her head tilted sideways at him. He forced himself to nod, and smile again.

“Oh, yes”

It sounded more like glee, when her thin, taught lips touched the rim of the china cup. He tried not to look eager, as he leant forward and picked up his own cup, identical to hers. He brought it round so he could fit his index finger through the hole of the small, dainty handle. He glanced up at her, just in time to see her throat move as she swallowed, bringing her cup down towards the saucer.

The sound as it hit the small plate reverberated in his ears, clanging like a hundred bells in his mind.

“Oh, yes”

 

Insomnia’s Dreams

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I dream of a sunny day, the swish of layers of gauze

The smell of chrism, the feel of maquillage

the passing smile, the shy glance

the butterflies

the tears quivering on the edges of a refined lash.

I dream of the soft glow of a lamp,

The crinkle of pages well loved;

thumbed and creased,

the steam as it rises from a chipped mug

frayed edges

old plush

I dream of soft skin, wrinkled and stretched

the hands, worked through love

the silvery strands, of soft smelling hair

entwined around a band,

the head long buried, six feet deep

I dream of a smile,

A sharp bone of hip,

The laughter of the children

echoing through the street

emotional tears

through the window

heart thumping

mind racing

sweat pouring

living.

The Raven Boys

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You know what made this book so great for me? The prologue. Was it a prologue? The dead, the church, the path? Whatever it was, it was a beautiful, fascinating, magnificent start and it surged in my veins, readying me for something great.

I have been reading quite a lot of dystopia recently and lots of it was, quite frankly, despicably written. There was a severe want for great writers to pen the already great ideas down. Perhaps those writers WERE great writers, but they lacked proper editing, or perhaps they didn’t edit at all.

I was preparing myself for another shoddy fantasy, when I turned the page of the second chapter.

I thought, alright Lenny, benefit of the doubt and whatnot.

I can smell coffee right now and it is making me hunger for it.

This book has caught me in its traps. I am currently reading the sequel (The Dream Thieves) but I am trying my best to take it slow, because the third one isn’t out yet, and I cannot be sitting around hankering after a piece of literature that hasn’t even been written yet, probably! It’s too heartbreaking!

Alright, enough rambling. There are no spoilers in here so do not worry. The book is about a daughter of a psychic. The girl is called Blue. Now how about that for a nice, pretty, unique name? Her fate appears to be crossed with four school boys, who go to Aglionby Academy, an all boys’ school reputed to be full of snobs and rich snotty nosed lads. This isn’t exactly a love story. It is a fascinating tale of one boy’s hunt for a vast treasure (of the spirit kind, not the gold kind), and the dubiousness of whether he will find it before his time (as predicted by the mother of Blue, and her other odd psychic family members) runs out. It is also the tale of the secrets of the boy (Gansey)’s three friends, Noel, Ronan and Adam. Everybody is entwined with a magic of their own; a secret, a history, a ghost.

It was my first book by Maggie Stiefvater, and it is definitely not my last. I have embarked upon the thrilling ride that is this Maggie, and I have discovered some amazing writings by her. The Scorpio Races is one such example. I simply cannot wait to read more!

Oblivion

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“I was just sitting there when she burst forth like an exploding pipe. Snot and tears everywhere. At first I wasn’t sure if she was laughing, or crying, or both. And then I still wasn’t sure. I am not sure to this day, whether or not she was happy or so dreadfully, dreadfully disappointed.”

I was walking home from Tesco today, with my little boys, and I saw his car outside the house. Dark maroon, casually parked there, without a clue of the dreadful impact seeing it there had on me.

Spent so many years of my life with a thudding heart everytime I see I bright red car, and it turns out his is maroon. What is wrong with me? I am mad. I knew he was in there. I smelt him as I pushed my front door open. It was a beautiful smell. Words cannot explain the beauty I feel everytime I smell his smell. Although I have never been near him it lingers like a swirl of mist behind him when he moves. A unique, oriental smell. Slightly musky, with a hint of something smokey, like beautiful smelling wood crackling at a fire. My heart felt light and heavy at the same time. Like it could fly away dragging a chain behind it. My knees grew weak. I’ve never felt like this before. But I just walked in walked right past him, and marched into the kitchen. He has no idea what he does to me. No idea.

And then, that is when it hit me. I knew. I KNEW. I could never marry anybody but this boy. This man. This beautiful, beautiful practical soul. With his lists. And his surprise smile. You had to look twice to have the full effect of his smile crash down upon you. Flitter in your heart and crack it open with it’s warmth and glow. And his maroon car. And his trainers. He wears trainers. Oh god why he wears trainers. Why. Am. I. Thinking. About. His. Trainers. And his black, black hair. And his grey socks. And his smile. And his face when he is trying to understand what you are saying. And, his smile.

“She was laughing when she told me she tried on his shoes. I sat there in horror. ‘You tried on his shoes?!’ I exclaimed.

‘He doesn’t know you exist and you tried on his shoes!?’

‘And his hat’ she added, then she cringed. ‘I sniffed his hat too’

‘You mad, mad person’ I said to her. ‘You insane human. That is so gross'”

But it isn’t.

Under the Never Sky – A Pretentious Review

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Warning to all humans.

This review is packed with spoilers. Completely littered.

Under the Never Sky was a book that I put off reading for as long as I could. I had it on my phone, and as a result, it lacked a blurb. So obviously I was going to have to plunge into this completely blindfolded (this is why I prefer real books).

The first chapter started off in an artful manner. Veronica Rossi (who I kept confusing with Veronica Roth, but I am now pretty sure they are not the same human) dropped us right in the middle of an action about to surge with tragedy. You knew it hung with doom because she opened with it. There was no escaping what the humans were about to do, because they were all so terrified. This in itself was premise enough for me to carry on reading.

The majority of humans who wrote reviews on this book complained that it was too slow and took ages to get into. I didn’t find that this was the case, although I can see how people would think it was, because the constant switch between the perspectives of the two main characters made the general plot seem slowed down, although the switches carried on with the plot more than anything!

The world Rossi has created is a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy, and manages to escape the boring monotonous passages of description, whilst keeping just enough imagery in there to create vivid pictures of what her wonderful world looks like. She has the uncanny ability of folding in her portrayal of the world Aria and Perry live in, with her plotline. It really felt as though I was there, looking at all the scenery flashing before me, as the plot thickened.

Rossi’s style was average, if anything. It will not do to compare her style with other writers, namely because each writer has their own unique style, but I did feel as though her writing wasn’t captivating enough, as the story went on, for me to give it five stars. I rated it 3 stars because it was quite a unique story, and unlike most fantasy/sci-fi these days, it was not predictable. I did feel as though lots of things were fobbed off, however.

SPOILER ALERT.

What bothered me about the book was the lack of actual answers. Rossi didn’t expand on anything she said, for example she described the Aether (brilliant invention, by the way), but she never went into full depth about what exactly the aether was and how it came about, and whether or not it was always there. The concept that it might have been a phenomenon brought about by the latest changes in human living standards seems to be very plausible given that the aether intensifies when it comes near to things made by the Dwellers, such as the suit Aria wore when she was dumped in the Death Shop. Another example is the history of how these ‘Dwellings’ in ‘Pods’ came about. There is frequent talk of a ‘unity’ but nothing else, and it is all very confusing. However there are two other sequels to this story so perhaps this is something Rossi plans on explaining further. At least, this is what I am hoping!

I did like how the lack of answers did not make the book particularly hard to read. I feel as though this was because the plot was closely related to the personal struggles of the characters, and this relates into my previous point. Given that the story is told from the perspectives of two very different people, it would stand to reason that they wouldn’t go into depth about the whole history of their world. It makes sense that they wouldn’t understand much about what had happened to years before to separate their worlds. They were two outcasts, from entirely different lives, cast together and it made sense that their alliance would give them more difficult, first hand problems to deal with, such as their immediate survival, and their adaptations to each other’s very different personalities and ways of thought. I think Rossi did a great job analysing these differences.

Her characters were delightfully well-rounded, which is something that can only be said about a very small number of sci-fi/fantasy novels out there. Most of them focus too deeply on world/plot building and leave out the important characterisation that is vital for bringing about a compelling novel.

SPOILER ALERT.

Despite this, however, I did feel as though there was something severely lacking in the story, to make it less than the wonder it could have been. After pondering on this a while, it came to me. Lots of things were just so unrealistic! For example when the wolves attacked, there just miraculously happened to be a tree house in front of Aria and Perry, which just miraculously happened to be empty, and just magically happened to appear just as Aria’s magically heightened sense of hearing heard the pattering of wolf paws behind them. And they just miraculously managed to get up in time, and then, to make it all seem like a ruse for setting, they just decided to have sex up in a tree despite just having been chased down by a pack of salivating, howling, snapping wolves who were supposed to be waiting at the foot of the tree, but who somehow decided to slink away because Aria howled at them.

The whole situation fell a little thin. It was too good to be true. Lots of these narrow-escapes-from-death littered the novel, making it seem just a little bit like the author lent her hand in far too much. Like how the boy comes and saves them from the cannibals at the last instant. It’s predictable, and banishes all sense of plausibility. This is what prevented me from enjoying the novel as much as I could have.

I did warn y’all about the spoilers.

After reading lots of reviews, I noticed a pattern in people’s reactions to the romance in this book, in that it wasn’t instant and unrealistic, as is so much of the romance in so many dystopian novels. People found this realistic and relatable.

SPOILER ALERT.

The romance between Perry and Aria blossoms naturally. There are the initial feelings of mistrust, anger and fear towards each other, as is natural given that they both come from such different worlds, and are almost completely alien to each other. However I personally that it was slightly overdone, and rather unnecessary. Lots of people commented on how much they enjoyed the fact that the romance did not interfere with the plotline much, and I found that this was true. It was refreshing to be able to focus on an interesting plot without the frequent romantic episodes that scatter most dystopian novels.

There is so much more I want to know about this never sky, and the history of the people in the land, and what happens to them all, so despite the criticism, I will say that I did enjoy reading this book, and cannot wait to read Through the Ever Night.