Maybe I peaked in childhood.
Maltesers are delicious any time, right? But what about if they were stop motion baked malteser cookies?
Here is a small video I made demonstrating the baking process. Check it out if you are interested! It is my first ever video, and the beginning, I hope, of my dabble with the visual arts. If I can tell stories via words, then why not also via images?
Let me know what you think!
Sunlight in his eyes.
She was an uninspired girl, and he had sunlight in his eyes. She was quiet and hid in the corners of rooms, shadows fell over her face and people’s eyes passed over her in a crowd.
She faded into the wall behind her, and her voice was like the bubbling of a spring; soft and gentle and mere background noise.
She watched his movements, the way his feet seemed to never touch the ground, but fly over it. The way his body flowed, in synchrony with itself. She found it so hard to synchronise her mind and her body together. Her mind saw one thing, but her body did the opposite. And how did he twist like that, duck so smoothly, double over laughing while balancing a tray in one outstretched hand.
She knew what he was like. He was like those cartoons of dancers, bending over and looping while balancing hundreds of things on all the points of their bodies.
And she was attracted to his bronze muscles. The way his cheekbones glowed under the warm light of the kitchen, and when he opened his mouth wide to let the laughter gush out, his teeth were so pearly and white, their edges so straight.
Sometimes in her room when she was writing she heard him laugh outside, and helplessly she giggled. Her body responded to him. Her brain gravitated towards him, he made her react.
That is what it was. He made her react, at a time when reacting to things was so hard and so much effort.
He teased the smile out of her, he brought the tears to her eyes, he made her heart palpitate, and her hands hot and sticky.
But he didn’t know this, and this fact made her even more withdrawn. Her feet were desperate to dance on the grass like his brown ones did, but they stayed put under her desk, folded neatly together, tapping gently to the rhythm of his.
She wrote his name on the back of her Biology text.
I think I am in love with you, Damon Ludwig.
She stared out of the window, where she could see her little sister, a tiny wisp of a girl, but like the rays of morning sunshine flooding the shadows of the night, dancing away on the wet wintery grass, and Tristan, huddled on the wall, his golden curls peeping out from under his heavy woollen winter hat. And George, smoking over the fence, and the fire in the centre of the Ludwig’s’ garden next door, and Damon Ludwig, poking the fire with a metal rod, feeding it so it cackled and rose higher, his legs moving back and forth with his motions…
Her pencil scraped the paper and dug into it so hard it broke through and made a small marked dent in the wood underneath, and Damon glanced up through his shock of jet black hair, right up into her window.
N.B. This is for my novel. Characterisation, I think. But it’s more like a love story, even though my novel is not a love story. This love story between two of my dearest characters is dear to my heart.
Six years ago when I was sixteen years old, I hid myself inside a little bubble.
I had just moved the a different city. I left all my friends behind, and I found it phenomenally hard to make new ones. I was painfully shy and irritatingly quiet, so those who did bother in the beginning soon very quickly gave up.
I didn’t see others as people. I saw them as barriers to happiness. I was depressed. So depressed. It was hard for me to talk to people so when I got home I was filled with thoughts and words and I shared them with my mother. I was desperate for human companionship. A friend to walk home from college with. Somebody to call up afterwards and have a chat about the day.
All of it was just stuff I was so used to, being so surrounded by friends at my old school. I still had those friends, of course, but time and distance were an enemy, and soon they started talking about people I didn’t know and had no interest in, so our phone calls and emails and IMs became less and less frequent, until we became those friends who see each other once in a blue moon and when we do we get along beautifully but in between those meetings there is a long, dismal stretch of echoing silence and aching loneliness.
And for two years I tried and failed to make any real friends. I had a few people who would just use me for company, and when I realised that I stayed away. We had nothing in common and they would just call me up when something was wrong or when their own friends ditched them, which I felt was unfair.
I faded in those two years.
I hid away from people. I stopped trying. I would cry sometimes, alone in my room at home. I started making internet friends. It was so much simpler, and I could find the people I had things in common with and soon I was talking to them daily, the minute I returned home from school and way into the night. It was amazing. I still felt desolately lonely during the day, but I had my internet bubble to look forward to later.
I also created more. I dreamt up characters and wrote about them in the hours of free time during lunch breaks and prep lessons, typing away furiously on the computer.
I would say that although those two years are depressing, and I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy, I am glad for it.
As I am glad for all my experiences.
It made me more compassionate towards others. It made me see through other people, be more conscious of how they might be feeling and try to make them feel included and welcomed.
I have my timetable from work, finally. I am swamped. With no breaks. Busy busy. Every minute. Which is awesome yay.
But also means I do not have any time to think. Or any inspiration. So I am still uninspired. Which bodes terribly for the novel I am currently writing. With a deadline in December. I just don’t know how this is going to go down.
I know a girl from college who is a freelancing graphic designer. She designs so beautifully and uniquely. And I really desperately want her to design my book cover. But since I have made zero progress in the last two weeks, I might have no content to present to her for her to design anything!
I really must buck up, if I am to produce anything. And if I am to produce anything close to what I see in my mind.
Lately I have been watching the film ‘Coraline’ on repeat. The making of that film was extremely complex because it was all done by hand, everything, down to miniature knitters and a number of puppets with replacement limbs and different faces with an assortment of facial expressions! Can you imagine the laborious effort it took to create such a detailed movie all by hand? That is so inspirational to me. I watch it and I sometimes slow it down to see movements clearly because it fascinates me how they could pack so much fun detail into a two hour stop motion film. It stands out because it is so unusual, and the story behind the making of it is incredible too. You can read more here if you are interested.
Didn’t they get tired of it, or fed up? I know I would. Their dedication in the end produced something so beautiful to watch and re-watch multiple times.
So whenever I watch Coraline, I let the artwork seep its dainty tendrils into the folds of my brain and maybe spark something there. It almost always produces an idea or two.
So, this is what this uninspired girl has resorted to. Where do you go to find inspiration, when it evades you?
I shall begin with Thomas Bardwell.
He was a great friend of mine, this Thomas Bardwell.
I met him during my second year at Kings College in London. He was hurrying along a low stone wall covered in ivy. He was also covered in ivy.
It was rather odd, naturally, so I stopped for a moment (you see I was on my way back to my own dorm, as it happened so I was in no rush to be anywhere by any particular time and thus could afford to loiter about for a moment or two to observe the occurrences in the college, always a peculiar thing or two going on, I can assure you) and stuffed my hands in my pockets. It was then that he noticed me, and to my surprise, he beckoned to me to follow him, and started walking even faster than before. I followed him with interest.
Thomas Bardwell was infamous at the university. Everybody who was anybody knew about him. He was well established and was known to have a vast fortune waiting for him the minute his father topped it, so to speak. It wasn’t all very fascinating to somebody such as I, who plodded through life coming across so many advantaged folk that they slid right off the count of my ten forlorn fingers. He was a tall lad, and so this cut a very fine figure among the ladies, as one could very well imagine. He was not very handsome, not more than most, however he held himself in such a fashion that people found themselves coerced, subconsciously, to submit their respect and reverence to him. It was astonishing, really. I pride myself on being the sort of fellow who has a keen eye for traits and personalities, and I am exorbitantly stubborn. I will not respect a man based on how he holds himself and yet, whenever I happen to come across Mr Bardwell I find myself tipping my hat at him and nodding, as though he were royalty, or some high duke.
He was neither of those things, however. He was born to an affluent family who, it was disdainfully rumoured, had made their money solely through trade (as though that were something to frown upon). His father had retired at the ripe age of fifty three with enough funds to allow his four children to live comfortably for the rest of their days.
I met Thomas on the day, as it happens, that he met with his fate. Neither of us knew that he was to meet with his fate, of course. One never knows when one is about to meet their fate. There is no premonition, no deep breath, no warning sign, as it were. He was, as I mentioned previously, covered in ivy. People turned to stare as he dashed past them, trails of ivy sailing behind his shock of chestnut hair. He scattered dark green leaves as he ran, and I found myself following suit, our polished shoes clacking on the cobbles.
He swerved into an alleyway and I swerved also at the last minute, scraping my shoulder against the sharp corner of the stone wall. I clutched at the area of sharp pain, but Thomas was getting further and further away so I swallowed my pain and sped on after him. Something inside me told me not to call out to him, I am not sure why.
I was sitting in the library today, trying so hard to conjure up an idea for a short story. I have a hand in on the 17th of March; I have nothing to write about!
Anyway so something inspired me to get on to google and type in ‘story idea’. A website called ‘Plot Generator‘ came up and I thought, holy moly, have I just stumbled upon a goldmine?!
Turns out I did. A hilarious gold mine. I filled in some boxes with keywords and names, and it generated a little story for me. It had me laughing so much I had to get up and take a breather.
Have a look, if you’re interested!
Two Cold Uncles Knitting to the Beat
Twig Blackadder was thinking about Emilia Blake again. Emilia was a kind angel with handsome hair and slim lips.
Twig walked over to the window and reflected on his pretty surroundings. He had always hated peaceful Lancing with its slobbering, strong seaside. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel sad.
Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the a kind figure of Emilia Blake.
Twig gulped. He glanced at his own reflection. He was a stubborn, wilful, coffee drinker with built hair and brunette lips. His friends saw him as a modern, magnificent monster. Once, he had even made a cup of tea for a villainous grandma.
But not even a stubborn person who had once made a cup of tea for a villainous grandma, was prepared for what Emilia had in store today.
The rain hammered like thinking parrot, making Twig bittersweet. Twig grabbed an ethereal key that had been strewn nearby; he massaged it with his fingers.
As Twig stepped outside and Emilia came closer, he could see the slobbering glint in her eye.
Emilia gazed with the affection of 4480 selfish amused ant. She said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want closure.”
Twig looked back, even more bittersweet and still fingering the ethereal key. “Emilia, I’ve always loved you,” he replied.
They looked at each other with nostalgic feelings, like two glorious, giant goldfish sobbing at a very considerate holiday, which had piano music playing in the background and two cold uncles knitting to the beat.
Twig studied Emilia’s handsome hair and slim lips. Eventually, he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” began Twig in apologetic tones, “but I don’t feel the same way, and I never will. I just don’t love you Emilia.”
Emilia looked happy, her emotions raw like an old, open old shoes.
Twig could actually hear Emilia’s emotions shatter into 8876 pieces. Then the kind angel hurried away into the distance.
Not even a cup of coffee would calm Twig’s nerves tonight.
To create something really remarkable. But then I realised that actually all I had were the faint echoes of a vocabulary that once packed the shelves of my brains. Now a few words lie peppered around, some discarded in cobwebbed corners, others seizing their bags and donning their hats, not giving me a second glance as they walk out the front door.
They say there are some skills you never forget; how to ride a bike, how to swim, how to canter on a horse. Unfortunately, words are very easily forgotten.
You might meet a word one day, delight in its absolute unique wonderment. You might use it tirelessly in all your sentences, rolling it over your tongue, tasting it sweet and sour and bitter and salty, in all the seasons and in every situation imaginable.
After a few weeks when the novelty of the word has died away and a new one has taken its place, it is stacked away neatly in one of the many word shelves in your brain, to be picked out at a moment’s notice, and inserted gracefully in conversation or writing. It would adorn your creativity, deck your work for conquest. It would be your crown of inventive acumen.
You would, in short, have so many words at your beck and call, to use when you desire. Your work would only require imagination to spur it on.
But if you leave those words lying around for too long, collecting dust, unused and uncared for, they will eventually seek use elsewhere. They will seek another creator’s work, and you will see them in the crisp new pages of somebody else’s book.
The same could be said for knowledge. Knowledge is something that inspires creativity. Thinking the same things everyday, doing the same things everyday, watching the same things everyday is not enough to expand your mind. You would need to read in depth, and explore many subjects, and cross the boundaries of topics, join them together, like golden threads running between, creating new things which are built of old.
Knowledge which is not refreshed becomes old and outdated. It disengages people and eventually disengages you from life and from motivation.
I reached for my words, I reached for my knowledge, and found nothing. I think it’s time to cross some new boundaries.
Well, is it?
You tell me.
An example. I wanted to buy a funky ornament. It was a motorbike (or motorcycle for you Americans) made out of old watch parts. Damnit. I wish I took a picture! It was stunning, gleaming and so steampunk. Also inventive, artistic and a fantastic way to use an old broken watch.
I could tell lots of care and attention went into making it. How proud the artist must be.
I also thought how artists and creative people gather a lot of clutter.
Before I married Damian and moved in with him my bedroom was like this:
Many tottering stacks of books from all genres in all the available nooks and crannies. Polished and varnished original floorboards with lime green vines painted on in one corner. A yellow wall covered in colourful postcards from around the country (also some from various places in Europe and three from Barbados when Aunty Jo was on holiday there).
These things covering every free surface:
Paintbrushes, pens, canvases, papers, scrapbooks, booklets, notebooks, doodles, folders, glittery pen holders, a ceramic hand draped with necklaces and rings and pretty bracelets, a glass bowl filled with beads, Sir Jiles Darcy (Lulu’s pet rock), pots and potions, purses, a teeny glass vial labelled ‘fairy dust’ and filled with superfine glittery sand (a memoir from childhood plays with friends), a large glass diamond, marbles, old coins, old stamps, lots and lots of keyring, fairy lights, calligraphy pens, mini globes, steampunk ornaments, candles…
I could go on all day. Honestly. I had so much, and always accumulated more. My room was warm and cosy and interesting and colourful and cluttered!
Now my room is clean and tidy, all my books are put neatly away, all my odd little trinkets have vanished, replaced by neat stacks of untouched paints and paintbrushes. The theme is white and grey and brown, compared to the blues and reds and yellows and greens and splashes of everything you could imagine before.
So today, I stood staring wistfully at the pretty watch motorbike, and I thought about all the things I have to pack away in boxes, and all the things I gave away, and the lack of colour in my home, but all the things I have to lug around with me as I move around the country living in many different homes and I said, aloud, “is that really necessary?”
Well, that is arguable.
Maybe it is not necessary in that I don’t need it. But I want it, I want interesting things to adorn my bare surfaces. I want things to look at and contemplate. I want colour and vividly and brightness and things, like thoughts, to crowd my room. It inspires me and gears my brain for creativity!
I think the state of my room now reflects the state of my brain. It feels empty, I am lacking creativity, my thoughts are stagnant and repetitive, I haven’t painted in years, I am not as witty as I used to be. Something needs to be done! I need to bring back some of my clutter! It’s too tidy!
This is my computer background, a delicious, colourful, vibrant mess!
So I ask you, dear reader, is it really necessary?