Monday, 31 October 2011

Reading and Writing.

This is one of those spur-of-the-moment posts. It's not coming from good feelings, to be honest, but I'll try to keep it as light-hearted as possible.

When I think of my childhood, reading is one of the first things that come to mind. In primary, I was the books kid. I was the kid who learnt to read early and stayed ahead from there on in. I was the kid who found writing fun, and consistently got top grades in creative writing or English pieces. I was the kid who, in year two, would randomly walk out of the classroom the second the teacher's back was turned, run off down the corridor to the bookcase, plonk herself down on the floor and start reading. A couple of years later, I was the kid who'd have to be forcibly dragged out of the library, and who would take a book off a shelf whilst standing in the dinner queue, never getting deterred by the  fact that she'd have to grudgingly put it back after a minute or so when everyone moved forward. I was the kid who, in year six, would pull a book out of her bag and start reading in class whenever the work got too boring (and then get verbally bollocked into next week by the teacher).

Then, in year seven, I attempted to write books, some fact, some fiction, and, after religiously writing at least a page a night, I actually managed to finish one, although nothing ever came of it. I also regularly read the textbooks on teaching and disability in my school's Student Support area, because the vast majority of the fiction was so far below my level I just could not muster up any interest in it. In year eight, I submitted an autobiographical piece of writing to a child psychologist, who was writing a book about autism as seen from the perspective of children on the spectrum, and was happy to see it make the final cut. Around this time, I started doing patches of creative writing for fun.

When people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, my answer would always be some variation on 'writer'.

Now, I'm...

I can't exactly pin down when things changed, but they did. They did so damn much. I can only suppose that when I got... whatever I got... around the middle of year nine, and my motivation to work began to wane, my motivation to write did too. It's been so, so long now since I wrote bits of fiction just for the fun of it. I still have ideas, but they never seem to make it to paper like they used to. As for reading, well, there's been a couple of years now where it's taken me ages to get round to reading anything, and even longer to actually read it. I'm gradually getting better on that front, but considering reading used to be something I just did all the time, the fact that I've spent vast swathes of the last two or three years just 'not in the mood'... I just don't know how it happened.

My current environment hasn't helped. At least, with Wyvern, I had my English GCSE coursework (most pieces of which I got an A* for), and the school newspaper, which I wrote for multiple times over the course of the year. Even the final exam allowed me to be creative, and I actually had fun as I answered the final question with a surreal fantasy short story. Itchen? Nothing. I applied to write for the newsletter, but this time I just had no motivation, and ended up writing my entry at the absolute last minute. It didn't get included, probably because it was rushed, possibly because it wasn't suitable, and I never made an effort to get a second chance. I don't really have any creative subjects, either. Teaching To Exams is one of the biggest problems with the current education system, and English lang/lit is one of the worst casualties. You hardly ever get a chance to experiment or be creative on this course. Everything's about the exam, and the real objective seems to be learning to write what the examiner wants to read. It's dry, businesslike, and joyless.

I was supposed to be going on a creative writing course last July, but that fell through. My lack of organisation has a lot to answer for, really.

Anyway, today my best friend started talking to be about the novel she's randomly decided to write, and it struck me just how much I want to reverse whatever went wrong. The one thing I was naturally really good at and I've just... done next to nothing with it for two years or so. To be honest, writing is still what I really want to do as a career, no matter what other plans I make, and it's looking as though my feelings that I'd 'lost the knack' when it comes to writing might not be as accurate as I'd thought. Last week, my history teacher complimented me on my 'fluent' writing style. I almost died of shock. I had been convinced that I wasn't good at it anymore, it's starting to look like I might be wrong.

I am gradually turning things around. I have taken A level Journalism, even though it might never get me anywhere, because it's what I wanted (although it's turned out this first year will be all about Radio, and I won't actually get to write anything until next year). I have entered a poetry competition. For the first time in ages, I'm reading regularly for fun. However, the fact that I'm having to put effort into this at all is a bit of a downer, really.

The seven year old kid who used to sit in the corner of the class with a book in her hand, enjoy writing poems, and look forward to visits to the local library? I miss her. I want her back.        

Now, I did say I'd make this light-hearted, and I'm not sure I've managed that, so here's some fluff to finish off. I have a confession: I've been watching the Moomins, not out of nostalgia, but because that show is just too cute. And the artwork's pretty. And it has whimsical charm and blah blah blah. Basically, I watch it for the same reason a baby watches when you dangle a really shiny necklace in front of it's face. It's what I have instead of a lava lamp.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The Goth Challenge- Day 18: Worst Hair Experience?: 

Oh, there's no question about this. My worst hairdo is late 2008 to mid 2010.

Right, to clarify, my hair is stupidly thick and naturally wavy, and it long ago decided that it wasn't going to take any orders from the likes of me. My hair does what it likes. I can tie it back or put it up, but it will battle styling products like no-one's business, it took serious cunning to get it to accept black dye rather than chuck half of it out during the first wash, and I'm yet to see straighteners have any effect on it besides 'horrible'.

When it's long, this doesn't matter, because long thick wavy hair looks nice. When my hair is long, like it is now, I see it as my best feature. No, the problems came when I, aged thirteen and deciding a change would be nice, decided to cut it down, in a couple of stages, from chest-length to chin-length.

It wasn't having that.

I'd hoped to straighten my newly short hair into a nice sleek bob. What I got, no matter how thorough I was with the straighteners, was the revolting, mud-eating twin of this:

Once or twice, I tried to solve the problem by adding a layer. All that did was give me Miss Hoolie with a slight edge of James May.

It took me a long time to realise that there was just no way my hair was going to look decent below shoulder length, and even once I'd decided to grow it back out, it took forever to get down to a good length, as though it was trying to punish me for getting uppity with it.

It couldn't hold off forever, though. (Excuse pyjamas, the wonderful background of Shower Screen, and fact that I had to pull a stupid trick with two mirrors to get my phone at the right angle).

(Once, when it was about shoulder length, I tried to backcomb it It stayed put for about half an hour before deciding that anti-gravity wasn't its cup of tea, ta very much, and falling back down).  

No comments:

Post a Comment