Back (but not) for good

January 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Alas, I have returned to St Andrews for one final hurrah. It is my last semester in this seaside town and I will miss it. This semester feels odd – I know it is the last, yet in many ways it remains fundamentally the same. I suppose most students in their final semester here will be partying it up as much as possible, trying to squeeze out the last dregs of university existence before being plunged into ‘The Real World’. As for myself, I have a plan for next year: more studying. Yes, that’s right – another year of the hard slog. I must be mad.

This semester is particularly exciting because of the modules I am taking: Creative Writing and Contemporary British Fiction. Both of which I have been longing to take since I entered third year. We received a ‘terror talk’ from Jacob Polley, one of the Creative Writing coordinators; needless to say, I am terrified. Although, he did reiterate everything I already knew: this will be hard; you must work a lot. I found it interesting when they told us that it will be quite a vulnerable process; we need to delve inside ourselves, to fish out our ideas from within. I am also filled with excitement. Writing has always been a passion of mine; but recently it has faded from my everyday life to become something I do only occasionally or only ever think of doing, instead of actually doing. The only reservation I have about the module is grades. I want to do well and I am terrified not only that they will hate everything that I produce – but that I will then receive a shitty mark for it. But, I must continue. If I chickened out now, I would never forgive myself. And then there is the Contemporary British Fiction module which I can tell is going to be engaging, absorbing, fun. Our tutor is so enthusiastic and the rest of the class is vocal which always means you have to do as much work as possible in order to stand out and do well. I am currently finishing ‘Regeneration’ by Pat Barker and then we move on to Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body. I am also going to attempt to read Cloud Atlas soon because the movie comes out in about a month (perhaps less) and I simply must read it beforehand.

I shall attempt to post whatever creative nuggets I produce (haw haw) during this semester.  But now I shall leave you with this poetic, lyrical (in no way affected) passage from Jeanette Winterson’s wonderful Lighthousekeeping:

‘I’ll call you, and we’ll light a fire, and drink some wine, and recognise each other in the place that is ours. Don’t wait. Don’t tell the story later.

Life is so short. This stretch of sea and sand, this walk on the shore, before the tide covers everything we have done.

I love you.

The three most difficult words in the world. But what else can I say?’


‘Ghostwritten’ in brief

January 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Well, it has been a while. I have been quite busy in this new year. I am 22 years old (soon I will reach an age when calling myself something ‘years young’ becomes ironic). I went to Leeds and then to Bath which were both lovely. I received an offer from the University of York for a Masters. I got a first in my dissertation (hells yeah). And the final semester of my undergraduate degree begins in one week. So, things are rather great!

I recently read David Mitchell’s ‘Ghostwritten’ (not one half of Mitchell & Webb but an actual author – although I am sure David ‘The Comedian’ Mitchell could be a proper author if he wanted). It’s on my Contemporary British Fiction course for my final semester and I thought it was rather mind-boggling wonderful. In fact, I was quite literally full of wonder of it. The whole thing is split into nine narratives that all mingle and blend together, connected rather obliquely. So, we begin in Okinawa where we meet Quasar who is part of a cult, The Fellowship, led by His Serendipity; his faith in this doomsday cult propels him to commit terrorism by planting gas in an underground train. To me, the book hinges on this opening, particularly since its ending establishes a cyclical element, beginning and ending with the line, “Who was blowing on the nape of my neck?” The section Night Train follows the story of a night-time radio show host, Bat, who receives odd calls from the mysterious ‘zookeeper’, a nameless noncorpum (like the voice in the Mongolia section) whom I think must be His Serendipity. These nine stories bring spirituality, mortality, faith, science, superstition together to produce a fizzing mix that represents humanity. It reminds me of ‘Cloud Atlas’, also by Mitchell, although I haven’t read it as yet. However, I went through a period of obsessively watching the trailer of the film that was released in 2012, and its velocity and breadth gave me shivers – as well as the inclusion of the haunting m83’s ‘Outro’. I like the notion that all humans are linked together by even so much as a thin thread, a passing in the street, one look, one name, one moment. And I liked fitting together the clues, like one big jigsaw or puzzle or a tapestry, the image of which is slowly revealed, stitch by stitch.

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