The Con Artist

It’s been a short while, but I’ve had quite a lot going on recently, so I do apologise.

I’m still hung up on this idea of Torpia, and I think I’ve come up with a new character for the world. Fenix is almost the anti-Torpia. Where she is great and good, he is sneaky and untrustworthy. He and his apprentice, Jestin, trick people out of their money by pretending to tell them the future. It’s a common thing in this world, I think, but Fenix is the best t what he does, and earns (if you can call it earning) a lot of money from his lies. However, I’ve barely developed anything about him, and I let him write this short section for me, really.

I like to rely on my characters when I’m getting to know them. It helps build a better picture in my mind before I delve into the deep stuff. Fenix is, like Torpia, a magician, but he’s cunning and clever in all the worst ways. He is a theif through and through, and I think I may love him.

“You are going to come into a great sum of money very soon.”

The woman looked at Fenix in great excitement. Fenix smiled at her warmly, his right eye twitching slightly.

“Is there anything else you wish to know today, ma’am?”

“Yes, actually. My husband. I fear he has been going to other women behind my back!” The woman’s face seemed to explode into different expressions; Fenix got the feeling this woman had a penchant for the dramatic.

The teller was quiet for a while, the patron’s hands in his left, his right hovering over his crystal ball, eyes closed. “I see another woman, yes.” The patron gasped. “She has long, dark hair and a scar on her left wrist.”

“My sister?! Well, what are they doing?”

Fenix peeked open his eyes and smiled again. “They’re …” he trailed off, loving the build on anxious anticipation. “They’re having tea.”

The woman gasped again. Fenix had to resist the urge to raise his brows and snort in derision.

“Post-coital tea?!” The woman exclaimed, as though this was the first rational thought that anyone would have.

“They’re fully dressed, ma’am.”

“That doesn’t mean a thing. My husband and I always get dressed after coitus.”

Goddess, coitus? Fenix had to hide his snort behind a cough this time. Was this woman for real?

“Oh, well, I cannot say for certain from this, but it is likely that your husband slept with your sister.”

“But he hates her! He never comes with me when I go to visit her! I mean—” she stopped suddenly, her hand flitting to her mouth. “But of course, he wouldn’t want to see her in front of me! The wretch is a terrible liar and knows that I know that. I’d be able to tell instantly that he would rather bed her than his own wife! Thank you, sir! Thank you! I will go and deal with this right away.” She stood quickly, tipping her chair over in her hurry. She paid no mind to it, reaching for her purse and drawing out three crisp notes. “Triple what I owe you, for your marvellous work, sir!”

Fenix took the notes and pocketed them, giving the lady a deep bow. “Ever the servant, ma’am,” he drawled, glad the dramatics were over. The lady smiled warmly, and then, with a determined glint in her eyes, she left.

As soon as the door was shut, Fenix slouched, dropping all pretences.

“Thank the Three for that. Jestin, she’s gone. You can come out.”

A small, weedy-looking boy, no older than sixteen, waltzed into the room from behind a thick curtain that cut the apartment in half.

“I dun’t know why you use your magic for this crap,” Jestin said, eyeing his master wearily.

“’Cus I needs the money, don’t I?” he snapped. “Fetch me a glass.”

“Sir, I dun’t think you should. You got another comin’ at two.”

“You think I give a shite abou’ that? Get me a soddin’ drink, now!”

This is a brief post today, but I just wanted to share my new character with you. I love thinking up new people to fit into my worlds. I have a very long way to go before I can start writing anything solid, but these short sections really do help me build personalities and worlds.

Until next time!

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Magic’s Past

My last post has inspired me. I love world building, and Torpia, since writing the fable about her, has stuck in my head. I want to know her history, her present, and her future. I want to know what happened to her, what happened to the Princess’ child… I want to delve deeper into that world.

I also love magic. I love fantasy and the many creative doors it opens. Very little is unbelieveable in fantasy, if you know how to write it. I’m not saying I’m a genius, but you only learn lots and lots of practice. Nevertheless, fantasy has alwas been and probably always will be my favourite genre both to read and to write. People love to get lost in magical worlds. I know I do!

Today, I thought I’d write a little bit about magic itself, and humankind. You always inject a bit of youself in your writing, but I don’t think this is completely how I feel; it’s much more complicated. I’ve decided to set it in an alternative world, as such, though it seems very reminiscent of ours, I suppose. I was aiming to write from Torpia’s mentor, but I think this post is better suited to an age old tome found in a dusty library. Nevertheless, I think if Torpia found it, she would agree.

They say when the world was created, humans were made in the image of the Almighty. Yet nobody has seen the Almighty in Eras, and nobody can confirm this.

Humans, they say, are the most important, most feared, creatures in our world, but they’re wrong. Magic is greater, more fearsome. Humans, with their guns and knives, cannot compare to one great burst of magic. The only thing that can come close is the destructive power of natural disasters. Humans are destructive to the world around them, to themselves, and to all we hold dear. They take and take and do not give back, and perhaps that is fearsome, but after centuries of the same thing, you tend to get used to it.

Magic, on the other hand, is forever evolving, forever being wielded for good and for evil. Some say humans are born either good or evil, and once you are one, you can never be the other, no more how hard you try. Magic is neither good nor bad; it just is. Magic is only influenced by its wielder.

Magic has been around for longer than the humans, longer than the wielders of it, longer than the animals and the trees and the oceans. It existed before the world itself, some say. Some, perhaps myself included, think the world was created with magic. There can be no other explanation, can there? And if humans are so great, why can they not heal, why do they shun and hate and battle each other? Why does any creature? Magicians wage wars, it’s true, but I have never seen a war in the magical realms to rival that of the War of the Thorns in the 10th Era. The Thorns was a battle that waged for twenty years, and the repercussions of it reached even us. Some argue that this makes humans better, but is the length of a war a fair determinant for greatness? I don’t think so. Personally, I believe this make humans pathetic.

Humans and magicians live side by side, and the humans don’t even know it. Some do, and some have a small amount of power; humans, after all, descended from us, but so much hate and suppression has occurred over the Eras that the humans barely acknowledge the everyday magic that exists. Do not misunderstand; I have no hatred for humankind, but they are arrogant and selfish in a way magicians will never be. You will never see a magician kill a human in cold blood, nor another of our kind. If it ever does happen, the consequences for that person or persons would be astounding, and would shake the magical realms forever.

Magic is as magic does; if you treat it well and do not stray from the Directives, you in turn will be treated well. Humans have their own rules, but seldom do they follow them. They would rather write new ones than face the consequences of the old.

-from Magic’s Past by Escha Miras

I want to keep doing some work in this universe, and I probably will in my own time. I’m not going to post every little update here, because if this does become a novel or something, I don’t want to give it all away!

I am enjoying getting into worldbuilding again, though! I’ve not done it in such a long time, and it’s exciting.

Until next time!

The Full Moon Magician

Hello!

In my studies, we’ve been working on creative writing and let me tell you, they haven’t made it interesting. For the upcoming assignment, for example, we have been asked to write 400 words of fiction based on a passage from a diary written the day of King George VI coronation. It sounds interesting, but this passage just details a woman selling a newspaper. So I ditched her and wrote about a chauffer and upperclassman she sold to.

However, that boring piece made me want to write something I actually enjoy, so I wrote a short (500 word, as per usual) fable-type piece. I feel like I could write a lot more about this magician and her princess, and I very well may do so at some point, but for now, I’ve written this, and while it’s not perfect, I enjoyed writing it far more than my assignment piece. Plus, you get something other than Truth, which is starting to bore me, let alone you.

I wrote this piece as a kind of monologue, as if this is a story passed down for generations, and as if a mother is telling it to her child, perhaps as a bedtime story? With that in mind, I wanted to keep it simple, but magical, something a child could understand but would find full of amazement and wonder.

“Once upon a time, there lived a great magician by the name of Torpia. Torpia was a lovely young girl with long, silver hair. She was once the King’s own magician, and she used to enchant the castle every full moon with her tricks and spells, producing stars from her fingertips and fire from her tongue.

“One day, however, the magician met a young princess. The princess was engaged to a wicked man, but she loved him dearly. Every full moon, Torpia would amaze the court, and show off for the princess, for she had developed great feeling for her over time. However, though Torpia was a mischievous witch and had many hidden tricks up her sleeves, she was not a meddler, and did not interfere with the princess and her malevolent beloved.

“It was the day of the princess’ wedding, and she had asked specifically for Torpia to attend. Torpia was hesitant, but in the end, she could not refuse. The princess was charming and beautiful, and Torpia had never seen someone so enthralled by her magic as her. So Torpia attended the marriage, and watched the princess become wed. She watched as their clasped hands were bound in white lace, listened as they exchanged vows, and performed for them under the stars.

“Torpia also performed at the princess’ daughter’s birth. Both events were magical, made more so by the magician’s enchantments. Torpia and the princess grew to be close friends, and the princess told her of the wicked things her husband had done. Her husband had never hurt her, but he was controlling and deceitful, and a bad fit for the kingdom they were destined to rule. The people hated him, and adored his wife and child.

“One day, the prince died. It was the day before their coronation, and the princess had told Torpia how scared she was for her kingdom. Her husband had struck her the night before his death, and there was a single handprint on her pale cheek. The kingdom revolted against Torpia, their princess’ closest friend, because they feared her, and because they thought she had killed the prince. So Torpia fled the kingdom.

“’Take me with you!’ the princess asked her again and again that night, and each time Torpia would refuse. Under the cover of the new moon, all alone, Torpia left, leaving only a playing card and kiss upon the princess’ cheek. Every full moon, however, she would return to the kingdom, and visit the princess for just one night. The princess, now the Queen, never remarried, and after a few years, her heart opened to Torpia.

“They fell in love and, knowing the kingdom would never agree to Torpia becoming their Queen, she fled again, this time taking the Queen and her daughter with her. They were never seen again, but it has been said, if you live where the kingdom used to be, three sets of footprints can be seen in the morning dew after every full moon.”

It’s simple, short and yet, I hope, quite magical. I like it, anyway. I find full moons are always wonderful, and they hold a lot of power. I feel like Torpia, if she were reborn, would be a full moon herself, if that were possible.

Until the next time!

First Person or Third?

Hello! My deepest apologies for not posting in three weeks. I have had a lot going on in my personal life, and not a lot going on in my writing life. The number of times I have sat down to start a blog post and just stared at the blank screen for an hour embarrasses me. I have had the world’s worst writer’s block recently.

But I digress! Having been unable to write anything new, I have decided to re-write a little more of my novel, this time in first person. I always struggle with the persons third and first, and usually find myself switching between the two and the most inconvenient of moments. This post continues on from my last, but, as I said, is in the first person.

I originally wrote Truth in the third person, so re-writing even 500 words of it in the first is rather refreshing. I don’t think I’ll continue re-writing Truth through this blog, because it could be a boring ride, but I might make a few updates every now and then (if I even re-write it in my spare time – I hope I get round to it).

So without further ado, the new extract.

The grip on my arm was vice-like. I could feel my heart racing beneath my shirt, the icy air cutting into my bare arms. I was not dressed for the snow, and I was even less prepared for what awaited me.

Every part of me was numb both due to snow and to the fear coursing through my veins. What had I done? I was in a strange place, without my family, and as far as I knew, I was being kidnapped. The man who captured me was muttering to himself. I tried to listen, but either I was too scared to focus on his words, or he was speaking an entirely different language.

I was frogmarched down the icy hillside, the lake coming into closer view. I could see, now, that it was completely frozen over. It reminded me, suddenly, of my childhood. Mother would take me and my sister into the city a few days before Christmas. She had saved for weeks to be able to afford three tickets into the ice-rink. I used to love strapping on my boots, holding Aoife’s hand and gliding across the ice.

We walked for hours – or perhaps it was only minutes – when suddenly, a huge, glittering building came into view. I don’t know how I could have missed it. Its white marble spires reaching into the sky like stalactites. It was quite clearly our destination, and my terror grew. I wasn’t being taken to a prison; I was being taken straight to the Queen.

“Where are we going?” I asked, though I thought I had already figured it out. I needed clarification.

“To see the Queen,” the man barked, panting slightly after dragging me so far; I wasn’t nimble by any means, and in the snow, I kept tripping.

So, I was right. Was I to be executed on the spot? I didn’t know how castles and royalty and punishment worked; I was from a little village that had very little to do with the outside world. As far as we were concerned, it was just the three of us, Mother, Aoife and me, in our own little world.

By the time we reached the castle’s entrance, I was frozen and shaking terribly from fear. My captor was panting harder now, almost carrying me past the guards and into the cavernous entrance hall.

“Wait here,” the man said, glaring at me before turning on his heel and leaving me alone, shivering. I took the brief reprieve to take in my surroundings. Despite being made of marble, the castle was homely inside, and there was a warm glow cast about the walls from a large crystal chandelier above my head. It did not comfort me.

A grand staircase was in the centre of the hall, leading up and away, splitting off to form two wings. I wondered what was up there. On my level, there was a set of oak door directly to my left, which is where my captor had vanished.

Of course, I have had to limit myself somewhat because of my 500 word limit (that I imposed myself… I don’t have to stick to it, but I think it’s good practice) but I like it. I don’t love it, but it’ll do for now.

In my studies, we’re getting into creative writing, so that might help me in the short term. I don’t officially start studying creative writing until the end of 2018, but these upcoming few weeks might prove beneficial.

Speaking of studies, that’s what I should be doing. I hope you’ll forgive me for the long hiatus, but life gets in the way sometimes. Nevertheless, it’s good to be back.

The Struggles of the First Novel

Today’s post is a little bit of a cop out. I’ve been sat here for an hour now, trying to think of something to write, and coming up completely blank. Therefore, I’ve decided to share with you an excerpt of my 2012 NaNo win.

The novel as a whole is about a girl who finds herself transported into a fantastical world full of elves – not two-foot high shoemakers or Santa’s helpers; these elves are sharp and intelligent, and she is their long-lost Queen.

I know, it sounds really original, doesn’t it? Since finishing the 50k manuscript, I’ve attempted to rewrite and edit it numerous times, but failed every time. I was so pleased with it when I had done it, so inspired when I was writing it, but now it’s kind of an embarrassment. I have an awful manuscript collecting dust on my harddrive, but it’s the only real work of fiction I’ve ever completed. It’s a shame, really, because I’m sure it has potential (I certainly thought so when I was seventeen) but I haven’t yet managed to find the motivation or inspriation to tap into it. And the saddest thing is, it was planned to be the first in a trilogy. The other two books haven’t yet been planned, let alone written.

Never the less, here is a short excerpt from a dusty novel. This is when the girl, Brenna, has just entered the new, strange land.

“Your Majesty, there’s been a disturbance.”

Ysobel stared passively at the guard before her.

“A disturbance?” the regal woman enquired with a raise of her brow.

“Yes, your Majesty. A Gate, your Majesty. One has been activated and permitted someone entrance.”

Ysobel’s tired demeanour moulded into confused rage.

“What do you mean, a Gate has been activated? They were all shut off near two decades ago! It’s impossible. The Highers saw to that.”

“Well, there was a surge, your Majesty. Everyone is sure. There is an intruder in the kingdom. We need to get you somewhere safe.”

The guard stepped boldly forward and grasped Ysobel by the arm.

“Release me at once!’ Ysobel demanded, pulling her arm from the guards grasp with ease. “You should be dealing with the Gate; I am perfectly safe here.”

“But what if it’s him, ma’am?”

“Just go and deal with it, sir!” she spat, brushing herself off and settling back down. “If you find someone, bring them straight to me. And for Highers’ sake, Nolan, I want them alive!

Nolan bowed deeply and did as he was bid, walking respectfully to the doors before sprinting through them, shouting orders.

*

Where am I?

Brenna looked around her, taking in her surroundings. There was snow everywhere. This most certainly wasn’t home.

She was stood atop a hill looking down upon a valley. She could see houses and people walking around, and a great lake in the distance, but everything was too far away and Brenna was too dazed to take much in.

There was a dark forest behind her. It wasn’t her beautiful autumn getaway; the trees were dark and tangled together in great masses, almost impenetrable. It exuded darkness and chilled her blood just looking at it. But there was something alluring about it.  There was something alluring about the entire place.

The unblemished snow contrasted starkly with the dark, damp forest. The silence behind her meshed with the sounds below her, and she didn’t know whether she wanted to explore the village and meet the people, or walk into the woods.

But it was dark, and that alone was enough to turn her towards the valley.

Before she did, however, she looked back from where she came.

There was a large hole in the tree at her back. It looked like someone had detonated explosives from inside. Now she was paying attention, she could see the shards of bark at her feet, scattered around. They were charred and smoking.

Frowning, Brenna turned slowly in a circle. Had she done that?

Before she could contemplate turning tail and returning home, someone grabbed her and pinned her arms to her sides.

“Hey!” someone further away, out of sight, shouted. “Hey, what’s going on?”

“I got ‘em. Situation is under control,” the man holding her shouted over his shoulder before spinning her around to face him. “Who are you?” he barked.

He didn’t give her time to answer before he started dragging her through the snow.

It’s not a bad excerpt, I suppose, but it’s not good by any mean, and it’s only 500 words! I’ve always wanted to return to the novel, give it life again and feel the joy that writing it gave me, but I simply don’t know how. Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll use this blog as a segue into re-rewriting and editing it. Probably not, but one can dream!

 

Blackfish

Today’s post is a little on the nose, so to say. It’s been just over a week since the news of Tilikum’s death, a bull orca, captured in Iceland. He was the largest in captivity and died at 35. Bear in mind that male orcas can live up to 70 years old, perhaps more, in the wild.

Watching this documentary, I was disgusted with how these animals are treated. I don’t know how much of it is true, but nevertheless, it’s horrendous. I’ve kept it to my 500-word limit, but I could have gone on for pages about this.

I want it to be known that yes, I am guilty of enjoying zoos and aquariums. I have only ever been to a SeaWorld once, when I was four years old, in or around 1999. Living in England, we don’t have SeaWorlds here. We have Sea Life centres and Oceanariums, but nothing like the scale of SeaWorld. I enjoy going to zoos and oceanariums etc., but would I be upset if they were all shut down and the animals were set free? Not in the slightest.

I just watched ‘Blackfish’, a well-known documentary surrounding the killer whale, Tilikum. SeaWorld is renowned for lawsuits and petitions against it, especially for the captivation of orcas. When I think about it, the captivation of any animal for entertainment purposes is, hands down, pretty disgusting. I like to think to myself that a lot of the animals in zoos etc. are there to be cared for. I know in the UK, we house a lot of animals that are going extinct – tigers, lions etc. – and there are breeding programs going on, charities and such that help to try and protect those animals still in the wild. But I’m probably kidding myself. Those animals are there for our entertainment just like any other, just like SeaWorld’s orcas.

But how many cases have you heard of people dying in zoos etc. in the UK? A quick Google search gave me one. One case. Now, how many people have died from orcas in captivity? Another quick search gave me 39 separate cases, four of which have been fatal. There are no cases of fatal attacks by wild orcas, and only a handful of non-fatalities. Surely this is enough to, if not shut down SeaWorld, at least stop the captivation of orcas? Apparently not.

Admittedly, I do not know a lot about orcas, but they are intelligent animals, that has been proven. Since the release of the Blackfish documentary, many people have tried to debunk it, saying that the documentary is bogus and misleading. Be that as it may, you cannot deny that keeping such large, majestic animals in a pool that is not even a percentage of the size of the ocean, is humane. Keeping any animal in any enclosure, it can be argued, is inhumane.

I would not be upset if, were it for the right reasons and these animals would be safe, every animal in captivity was set free. I certainly wouldn’t like it if I were cooped up in a cage. It is perfectly understandable why these animals attack. Trainers may not be solely to blame, but neither are they animals.

It was announced that Tilikum had died on 6th January, 2017, and many people were very happy. It is a great tragedy, of course, that this orca died, but at least now he is free. ‘Blackfish’ may not be 100% accurate, but there is so much wrong with the captivation of orcas, that it disturbs me that nothing has been done about it.

I’m not sure that there’s anything more to say. Perhaps I’m a hypocrite for enojying these kinds of attractions and being against what they stand for at the same time. I’m not perfect. But there’s clearly something wrong surrounding orcas and captivity.

Who Are You?

A new post of a new year! (Because technically, my New Year’s post went up a few hours before the new year…)

It’s been a busy old time for me recently. I’ve still got a stinking cold, and I’ve had to play catch up with my studies; luckily, the past two weeks have been our Christmas break at uni, so I’ve had time to do just that. Work has been hectic and I’m glad I get paid tomorrow; Christmas has made me, as I’m sure it’s made many of you, broke.

So, I’ve not had a lot of writing time, and to tell you the truth, I’ve not had a lot of motivation, either. I’ve sat down three or four times, ready to start a blog post, and found myself completely out of ideas.

Today’s 500 words is a little obscure. I’m not sure where it came from, I’m not sure what it means (thought it seems, on the surface, pretty self-explanatory) and I’m not sure if I like it, but I’ve written it now, so I may as well post it.

As of now there are 7,476,265,633 people in the world. That number is fluctuating person by person every millisecond. It seems that one person dies for every three that are born. The world’s population is growing exponentially, and the earth itself is not. One day, there will be too many people to fit; the forests will all be gone and the deserts will be gone, the oceans will disappear and every natural wonder will vanish because of human beings needing space.

Or will there be a great culling? Will something wipe us out before we reach that point? There are seven and a half billion people in the world, and you can only be sure of your own actions.

Your friend, reading this over your shoulder, could be in prison tomorrow. Your mother could be dead and your husband could kill you. You never know what will happen, who someone will become, what they have done that will land them in a predicament tomorrow.

Your childhood friend, the one you called ‘sister’ and held her hand when she grazed her knee; you remember her? She’s on trial for the murder of her infant son and long-term girlfriend. She was perfectly fine one day, not a hair out of place. And the she decided she had had enough, and she used the gun she keeps in her bedside drawer and ended the lives of the two people who love her most.

Your father is going to be hit by a bus and never return home from work. You remembered you never told him to ‘be safe’ this morning, something you have done every single morning since you were five.

You cannot control what other people think, what they do or what they say. You can only control what you do, what you say, how you think, and hope it’s enough to quieten the voices in someone else’s mind; to inspire them to do something great today, to be who they’ve always wanted to be and strive for the best.

So, who are you? Are you capable of murder? Will you be one of the people taking a person’s life for every three that are made? Or will you make new life, trying to bridge the gap between the births and deaths? Will you be the one to give birth to the final person that will tip the world on its side?

Do you smile at strangers? Do you tip your waitresses and thank your bus drivers? Or do you pull the heads off your sibling’s dolls and rip the wings from butterflies?

Who are you? What do you want from this life? Whose life are you going to change? You don’t have to know the answers right this second; but who do you want to be? It’s perfectly acceptable to want to change your own life, and in doing so, you may well change the lives of those around you.

Are you who you want to be? No? Change it, then.

It is a little bit out of the blue, but I think it challenges the mind. I mean think about it; are you really who you want to be? If not, what don’t you change that? Even the smallest of changes can lead to a great deal of different paths. Just something to think about until our next meeting, I suppose.

Happy New Year!

I know, I’m a little bit early, but I doubt I’ll be awake at midnight tonight, as I’m really not feeling well. After all the excitement of the holidays, I’ve been hit with a cold that’s knocked me for six.

But I digress; I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I was working for most of it, but I did spend the day with my family, which was lovely. Between working, the holidays, and being ill, I’ve not had a great deal of time or motivation for writing, but I was looking for a ‘new year’s day’ writing prompt, because my mind was blank, and I noticed this one:

Write a story where the world will end in an exactly a year from this point. The beginning of the book starts with it being New Year’s Eve. What happens at this point? How are people preparing for the end?

It stuck out to me, and demanded to be written. I feel like an entire novel could be written around it, and 500 words was difficult – I kept having to cut things out because I was going over, but that’s all part of the challenge, I suppose!

Nevertheless, here’s my short fill for this prompt.

 

Ten!

Nine!

Eight!

Seven!

Six!

Five!

Four!

Three!

Two!

One!

Happy new year!

 

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? A jolly count down and a great old exclamation? Plenty of drinks, fireworks and music to see the new year in? Well not this year, and not for the past four.

Four years ago, a message was broadcast worldwide. It was sent in writing, broadcast over the radio and television, pinned up on billboards; everyone, everywhere, received the message somehow, no matter where they were or what they were doing; it read as such:

On this day in 2018, five years hence, the world will end.

There was no explanation, no postscripts or signatures. In the beginning, everyone, except the fanatics, ignored it. It must have been a joke; every other time it had been. Columbus said the world would end in 1656, many thought a computer virus would somehow wipe out society in 2000, the Mayan calendar supposedly ended in 2012, meaning the end of the world; they were all wild speculation and, more importantly, never happened. What was so special about 2018? Nothing had been said about it before New Year’s Eve of 2013. So, many disregarded it, thinking it another hoax.

But as time wore on, the message was repeated daily and there was a counter on every television programme, a new letter sent with days dwindling from 1825.  

“You have so many days to prepare,” we were told, “there is no avoiding this.”

Eventually, people started listening; slowly at first, and many people wrote them off as crazy still, but as months passed, more people started panicking. There are still those who don’t believe in it today, who refuse to prepare, and those people are going to regret it.

Presidents and Prime Ministers and government officials had talked about it relentlessly, police and paramedics had tried running safety campaigns but what would they matter, if the world really was going to end?

There was a surge of suicides at one point, when true realisation first started setting in. The world became a dark place, homicides and murders and all manner of unspeakable acts were committed because they thought they could get away with it; the world was going to end, they’d say, no one can stop us for long.

And they were right, in one way, but families were torn apart from the news as it was, and there were people making it worse, killing and raping and stealing away the short lives people had left.

Now, the world is a silent, bleak place. It’s as though it had ended with that initial message; people panic-buy supplies, lock the doors and sleep under doorframes and tables. To this day, no one knows how it will happen, but we have one year left to figure it out, or die trying.

What would you do with your final year? Would you cherish it, or waste it away? In the end, it doesn’t matter, does it?

Or does it?

I hope you have a wonderful new year! Be safe and have a drink for me. See you next year!

(Prompt was found here)

Studies with the OU

Today’s blog post is going to be a little bit different. As you may or may not know, I am a student with the Open University, and they have recently called for bloggers to post a reflective piece about studying with them. The ‘prize’ is basically publicity, as they will share the winning post(s) to their Facebook page, which is great, but it’s not the only reason I’m doing this. In our studies, we often get assignments to look back on our work and reflect on it, but I’ve never really done it with the entire OU in mind before, so I thought this would be a great opportunity, not only for the blog, potentially, but also for myself, to see how far I’ve come. So, sticking to the theme of this blog, here’s 500 words about my experience at the Open University (so far)!

 

 

I enrolled in my first module in February 2016, with the hopes of doing an English Literature and Creative Writing degree. I had a hard time at school, left when I was sixteen, and had no hopes of going to college or university. I had always enjoyed writing, both at school and in my own time, and had thought of doing night classes or creative writing classes, perhaps an A level in English Literature, but I didn’t have the money. I had looked at the OU before, but never really put much thought into it, because I didn’t know how it worked, but distance learning seemed like a good idea to me in my situation.

So, after a lot of thought and internal debate, I talked to my mum and ended up enrolling. I was nervous, as I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was proud of myself, too as I never thought I’d be a university student! I had spoken to a few people who had been in the OU, and I knew that it was going to be hard work, but writing was what I wanted to do with my life, and I was willing to study. I enrolled part time, so my degree will take six years to complete, something that seemed very daunting at the start, but now it seems like the time will fly by. I’m in my second module already, and it feels like I only enrolled last week. A lot of the materials are interesting, the assignments are stimulating and though a lot of what we’re doing in our level one studies isn’t relevant to my degree as a whole, it’s still fun. I was worried I wasn’t good enough, or that I would be wasting my money, but I was wrong.

To anyone thinking of joining the Open University, I say go for it. You’re not completely on your own; you have a tutor and a tutor group, you have tutorials and day schools where you get to meet other students, and there is also a great student base online, such as Facebook (I’m part of a Facebook group for my second module, and I’d be lost without them!). It’s hard work, I won’t lie, but if you dedicate yourself to your studies, even an hour a day, you’ll still be able to get great grades, and the satisfaction that learning always brings.

I never thought I would be able to go to university; I never went to college and my GCSE grades are terrible due to reasons I won’t go into, but the OU don’t care about any previous qualifications, they just see someone who wants to learn, and accept them and support them. Even with my disabilities, I have received amazing support.

So, go for it. Make your dream come true. I’m working towards mine right now, and there is nothing like being proud of yourself and working towards a goal that could make you a better person.

In the Reflections

I am having a blast coming up with ideas for this new 500-words idea, and I’ve challenged myself to write no more and no less than 500 words. Sticking to word counts and not exceeding them is a skill I need for my university work, but it’s also a fun little challenge for this, too! 500 words exactly… Let’s see how long that lasts!

I came up with today’s on the bus home from work. You’ll understand when you read it, but when I was writing it, it was magical. I think it’s one of my favourite piece of writing I’ve done in a very long time. I may even extend it some time, perhaps into a short story. I think it certainly has potential.

When you read it, I want you to think about what you believe. Do you agree with what I’ve written, or not? There’s no real proof to discredit it, after all…

Do you ever wonder about the world in the reflections? Is it the same as our own, or is it different? Perhaps it’s the polar opposite. Perhaps the terrible day you’re having in this world is your best day yet in the reflection. You lost your wallet here and found a hundred pounds on the floor there. But this world isn’t just bad days; maybe you’ve given birth, but over there, you’re being murdered. World peace is achieved here, and over there another Hitler is rising to power. I suppose it all depends on what you believe. Do you believe in alternate dimensions? Do you believe in a world that exists alongside this one? If not, then those reflections are just that; reflections. But if you do believe, it opens up a whole other side to life!

What if magic existed in that world? What if all the things we thought weren’t real, are, just not in this world? What if they exist only in the reflections? Do you believe in fairies and Santa and dragons? What if, long ago, someone managed to break through from that world to this? Every time a mirror breaks, someone new slips through from that world into this one. Every time you see a shadow in the window, it’s someone from the other side, trying to get through. All those legends and fairy tales and gimmicks we tell our children had to have been started somewhere, right? If you don’t believe, perhaps you’ll say they stem from pagans or our ancestors or they are what they seem to be; made up. And maybe you’re right, but where did they pagans get them from? Where did the inspiration for the make believe come from?

I spend half of my life staring out of windows, and another portion of it staring at what’s in the window. I’ve always wondered about the person staring back at me; are they happy? Are they sad? Are they successful and have everything they want, or are they struggling? I am a believer, and I believe this world, and that world, are not they only ones. The world in the reflection of a mirror could be different to that in the reflection of a window, and different again in the reflection of water. A good world, a bad world, a magical world, a world akin to this one where perhaps everything is black and white. Worlds where you get everything you’ve ever wanted, a world where everything tastes better and depression doesn’t exist. A world where every town and city is war-torn and desolate, a world where we as humans have evolved past basic needs and the life force inside of us is provided by machines; there are so many possibilities, and I believe each and every one of them exists. I find it comforting to know that even if I’m having the worst day of my life, another me out there, somewhere, is having their best day. Do you believe?

Writing aside, it’s nearly Christmas! Perhaps my next post will be festive? Who knows! Even I don’t know yet. I’ve never really been one for Christmas, but this year, I think it might be a good one.

I’ll post again before so, but regardless, happy holidays!