I will write a book! – Inspiration and confidence boost!

I have spent today getting on and I spent this evening being inspired, so all in all a productive day. I spent a few hours this evening working at our Postgraduate Open Evening and for me it was that bit more exciting as these people may be my classmates next year when I undertake MA.

I’ve always found my lecturers to be very inspirational, I know I sound like a geek but if I’m honest I don’t care. The lecturers are all incredibly smart and brilliant with their specialties. Studying English Lit has just made this passion burst out of me and the only other thing that has ever done that is music (more on that at a later date), I love them both but I know that after this year I’m not ready to stop studying. I feel like there is so much more to do, to read and to explore and tonight talking to lecturers in Literature, Language, Creative Writing and Publishing and there was just a buzz I felt, I know that if I can’t be a musician for a living this was the next best thing.

If all that wasn’t enough to get me hyped up about finally sitting down and getting my book finished then what I came home to was. If you follow my blog you may remember that I met a great friend at YA book club last month, Becky. I came home to the news that she has published her novel on Amazon! I’m so proud and excited for her and if you’d like to take a look and buy her novel (which you definitely should) then you can click here and if you’d like to follow her on Twitter head to @Becky__Willson. Becky may only be 17 but I see big things coming for her and I’m so proud to be able to call her my friend :3.

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The cover for Becky’s novel, isn’t it pretty! 

I’m lucky to have such amazing people around me and I now that a lot of people don’t have that. From now on I’m going to be working on my novel and hopefully one day I’ll be able to release it. I’m currently writing a Young Adult novel about a character called Ava and her complicated family life, friends and general life as a teenager. I know that’s not much to sink your teeth into yet but it will be! I promise! I just don’t want to give anything away yet until I’m sure myself.

Finally I’ve got some confidence back in me, some positivity and some great things planned and I honestly can’t wait!

As always tomorrow will be another book review, 15 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Hello September! Welcome to third year!

I’ve made it! I’m slightly slower than I was last year but I can’t believe that this month I will be starting the third and final year of my undergraduate degree! It’s absolutely crazy that I’m at the last chapter already, people used to tell me it would fly by and I rarely believed them, but I should have. I’m excited and terrified to be getting back to uni at the end of the month, but that’s not the only reason I should be excited that it’s finally September, oh no! This month is going to be incredible and I’m almost climbing the walls that so many positive things are starting this month such as –

  • I’m going to Amsterdam in 5 days! Yes I’m finally getting to do my little bit of travelling with Amy and Dani as my birthday treat to myself. I’m going to be a dork and go to a load of museums and galleries as well as the Anne Frank House, which is what I wanted to visit since I was a little girl!
  • I’m running my own Freshers Fair stall. This year I won’t be aimlessly walking around finding something to sign up to, I’ll be trying to make sure people join the horse riding society! Although I probably won’t be able to ride for the whole of the academic year it’ll be great to help others enjoy the sport.
  • Not as exciting but I’ll get to see a Neurosurgeon this month to have a spine check up and hopefully some good news
  • It’s soon going to be my FAVOURITE season, Autumn, bring on the hats, scarves and Hot Chocolate!
  • I’m playing Freshers! Yes! This week we were asked to play a show at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston during freshers week, hopefully it’ll be super busy and a great night to play!
  • I finally get some kind of routine back! It’s been quite difficult this summer without a routine, so I’m hoping that my mood will go back up again once I’m around people and have a schedule.
  • Oh and just to mention IT’S MY 21ST BIRTHDAY THIS MONTH!!!! I’m so excited to finally be hitting 21 and have some great things planned as well as a night out with some of my best friends :)
  • I finally get to go back to uni. After having 6 months off of lectures I am 100% ready to get back to studying, I’ve actually kind of missed it over the summer and I’ll be applying for my masters soon, Eek!
  • It’s the Rugby World Cup <3

As you can all see September is going to be an absolute blast! I’m so excited that it’s finally here and I’m going to be enjoying every minute of it! I want to take the chance to say thank you to you all for reading alongside my time at uni and assure you that just because I’m in my last year of undergrad does not mean the blog will be finishing!! I have a lot of great ideas ahead!

I survived second year! – 10 best bits

I did it! I’ve reached the end of the second year of my blog and second year of university. As of tomorrow it will be September again and I’ll be heading back to uni at the end of the month to take on my third year!

This year has been pretty special I’ve learnt a lot and changed a lot. I’ve lived with Ali for over a year now, I was finally allowed to join full field English Literature, made more friends than I thought I possibly would, made a good dent in my mental health recovery, been generally happier, played a load of shows with the boys, took up a sport for the first time since I was 9, won a KU Talent Award, got another job that I love, travelled for uni and broken a part of my back. If that isn’t a crazy year I don’t know what is. I’ve absolutely loved second year. I’m not going to say there weren’t point when I really struggled, because I did but the difference is that I had more people to support me through this year than I have in a long time.

I could write so much about every aspect of second year because it’s been one of the greatest, no matter how it ended. I’ve made new friends and stayed in touch with some others and the thought that I’m going into my last year of undergrad is scary! So for you all tonight I’ve put 10 of my best bits of second year and I’ll remember it with warm memories for the rest of my life.

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  1. I finally got my two little adorables this year, Noodle and Hamski. Even if they have had to be separated now I’m so in love with both of them <3

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2. No People Club played a lot this year. We spent a lot of our weekends loading up my little car and driving to shows in London, Kingston, Basingstoke and Portsmouth. I’m gutted we had to take a break while my spine healed but we’ve got more stuff planned for the next year and it’s going to be awesome. We also have our awesome fan and sticker guy, one of my best friends Joe, who’s stuck around too.

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3. My second tattoo finally happened! When I found out I wouldn’t be going to Foo Fighters because they’d sold out of disabled tickets I was heartbroken so I got this tattoo instead. I’ve been very up and down this year and not as stable as I’d like but I’m assured that most people would have lows after a big break and spinal brace let alone someone with depression.

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4. I got to go to Athens. I was so, so thankful to be given the opportunity to go to Athens and not have to pay the Creative Writing course fee. Although I was supposed to be going on my own initially, Ali got to come with me because I was still using my wheelchair and not able to move as much. A fab first holiday and it got my creative brain going!

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5. I got my KU Talent award for Overcoming Adversity to Achieve, awarded to be by Sir Trevor McDonald who I actually had a great conversation with while we were sitting at the same table. I’m still gobsmacked I won as there were so many amazing people. I’m so proud that I now work for KU Talent and will get to attend this years awards too!

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6. I started Horse Riding! In October I had my first ride and I was hooked. I had a great 6 months before my fall, including meeting this cutie who really stole my heart. Even though I still have a long way to go in terms of recovery and I don’t know if I’ll go back to riding, but I’ve been voted to run the society this year so I’ll be around the horses anyway. I also made an amazing friend in Laura, who’s been with me every step of the way.

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7. I gave a speech about living with mental health for the university’s diversity conference. It was a great way to connect with people and share my experience and if you want to watch you can click here to watch.

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8. I finished second year with a 66% average, a 2:1. I’m slightly bummed out that I dropped a few percent from last year but I surprised myself with some assignments. It’s made me even more determined to get what I need to get a first this year.

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9. I had some absolutely amazing friends by my side through everything. Here’s a picture of me and the girls as Alissa’s birthday meal, my first outing in my wheelchair which they managed to make fun!

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10. I got to live with a boy, and I still kind of like him.

Oh and a sneaky 11, I’m still working and awesome job and I’ve got another one, always fun!

A girl walks into a comic shop…

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Hello everyone!

Sorry I’ve dropped off the radar for the last few days with my back protesting and a low mood creeping in I’ve just found myself blankly staring at my laptop not knowing what to write. Instead I’ve surrounded myself with some good company when I could and I think I’m slowly breaking out of this low and through it I’ve found a strange new love.

Now I’ve been friends with Joe for years, back when we were both super anxious 18 year olds about to start uni. Ever since I’ve known him Joe’s been heavily into his comic books. When I was younger I got hold of a copy of Spider Girl and loved it but with no comic book shops near me I completely forgot about it. Since then a new comic book shop has opened in Kingston town centre and, of course, Joe has gone and landed himself a job there. After a while of me visiting I felt like I should probably buy something and try to understand what makes comic books so great.

I feel like I shouldn’t have made that decision because my bank account really hates it. Firstly it was getting into the Spider Gwen then the Gotham Academy series, which I’m now obsessed with. Now it’s evolved into me having a list to buy as well as buying three Superman and Wonderwoman comicbooks, Thor Goddess of Thunder, the two Gotham Academy issues I was missing and two indie Graphic Novels. Basically Joe is not only a great friend but also a great salesman. I’ve spent a good few hours pouring over them and I have to say he’s very good with recommendations.

I’ve met so many different people in the past few weeks since I started reading, mostly guys and they’ve all been so nice! This isn’t like my beloved novels, it’s nice to have something to just flick through, look at some nice art and something to look forward to monthly rather than once or twice a year. Don’t worry, nothing will be replacing the love I have for books but it’s another way of appreciating literature in a more visual way.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the past few days, I have another thing to explore and get excited about and I’m pleased to report there are loads of awesome female heroes in comic books, much more than people would have you believe. There’s the ‘female versions’ of the well known super heroes but they’re not just rip offs they all have their own pretty awesome characters and ideas, Godess Thor is one of my personal favourites after reading today.

I’d love to know if you guys are into comic books and have any recommendations for me! I love a kick ass female or two in a comic book so if that gives you any ideas! Also if you’re in Kingston make sure you find Piranha Comics on one of the little side streets near Kingston Markets, it’s a great shop and all of the staff are great! I really love the way that they’ll sit and talk with you and actually care about the recommendations they give you, basically they’re one of my absolute favourite shops in Kingston now.

Don’t blame the Goths and the Emos

Every now and again, when I’m having a low day I start to think about where it all started, the first time I remember feeling depressed. While I was browsing online tonight I found an article on the BBC claiming research states that people who are considered Goths are more likely to become depressed and self harm. To say it made me angry was an understatement, but actually it upset me more than anything. I didn’t identify as a Goth as a teenager but I was well known as one of the ’emo’ kids at school and took a lot of shit for it. While other girls go into fashion I would resist shopping as much as possible unless it was for black clothes and anything with a guitar or skull on it, my parents did think I was a goth.

Throughout my teenage years I was constantly pissed off by the media saying that the music I listened to made people kill themselves, made people violent, made us all antisocial weirdos. I also remember the death of Sophie Lancaster and the stir it caused that she was murdered merely for the way she chose to dress, when the rockers, the goths and the emos all stood together in grief. You see if you’re involved in it you know that we’re not ‘freaks’ or ‘weirdos’ we’re people just like everyone else.

Now looking through my instagram feed nowadays most people can’t believe that I used to wear black constantly, love eyeliner and hate anything remotely feminine. I’m different to how I used to be but that teenagers still there, I love eyeliner, I swapped wrist bands for tattoos and there is nothing better than having My Chemical Romance on full blast, but there is one crucial difference, music is no longer my only saviour.

Like I said at the beginning I will think about my depression and my teenage years, there’s no doubt I was sick. The thing is I didn’t get sick because of the music I listened to, in fact it was the opposite, it kept me going. I found in these lyrics someone who understood, someone who got the stuff going on in my head and the desperate loneliness I had. The music made me feel like I wasn’t a freak like people said I was and it introduced me to some of the greatest people in my life as well as influencing my own music.

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Me aged 13, just getting into the scene

I put the song Famous Last Words in this post because more than any song I associate this with trying to carry on. On more nights than I could count I would lay in bed wishing I could sleep and crying, for no reason and every reason. I was miserable with my life at school at couldn’t see the point of anything but My Chem saved me, say what you want about cliche I don’t care. I would like there and repeat the lyrics while I was crying:

‘I am not afraid to keep on living, I am not afraid to walk this world alone.. Honey if you stay I’ll be forgiven, nothing you can say can stop me going home’

I sang those lyrics over and over again to give me strength, to tell myself not to give up on living. As you can see I’m here, so it must have worked. This music and these lyrics gave me something that I couldn’t even give myself at that point in time, hope and reason to carry on. I’m not writing this for pity or for people to tell me ‘how brave I am’, I’m writing this because like thousands of other kids rock music changed my life for the better and I’m pretty sure it saved my life.

I didn’t get depressed because of the music I listened to, in fact I’m pretty sure if we’re going that far back you’ll have to take into account all the pop music I listened to at 11 years old when it initially reared it’s ugly head after I was beaten up almost every day. I don’t think many people would blame kid friendly pop, right?

I know a lot of people who love the music I do and they don’t have a mental illness. I do and I do because of what I’ve been through in my life, not my musical choices.

Book Review: The Fever – Megan Abbott

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“You spend a long time waiting for life to start – her past year or two filled with all these firsts, everything new and terrifying and significant – and then it does start and you realise it isn’t what you’d expected, or asked for.” 

On a normal day in class Deenie’s best friend Lise has a seizure in the middle of class, at first while everyone is shocked, it is assumed that there is merely something wrong with Lise. When another girl has a seizure not much later shock becomes suspicion and fear. What is happening and why? As more and more girls become victims to a mystery illness a towns panic becomes world wide news. Is any girl safe?

I picked up this book because it sounded interesting a story of a mystery illness and girls being ‘betrayed by their bodies’ and wanted to see how it could be done. That and I’m a sucker for a good thriller, which Fever undoubtedly is. The story by focuses on Deenie, her brother Eli and father Tom. Each has an interesting view about the situation. While Deenie is both terrified and filled with guilt over her friends, Tom is trying to keep a level head as a teacher, while also worrying if his daughter is going to be next. I don’t really know why we see the whole thing through Eli’s perspective, possibly as a more outside perspective? I’m not sure what his viewpoint really does for the novel but it was a nice change from the typical teenage girl.

The novel is dark, creepy and eerie. I found that I didn’t want to but needed to keep reading. I loved the way that Abbott took something that could very well be true as the cause of the illness and manipulate it through media. This made the story feel a lot closer to home, especially for young women of my own age who could think about the what-ifs. The way that the hysteria spreads through media adds a lot to the plot and makes the reader even more curious and desperate to get to the end. The mention of Youtube videos and such were also telling, I don’t know of too many novels who have embraced modern technology in this type of story but Abbott has done so with ease.

While there were quite a few great things about the novel there were also some parts that irritated me. I wasn’t especially keen on the character of Deenie, I didn’t feel like she was someone I could relate too, nor did she really have much of a spark. She just kind of went with whatever was happening and was a little mopey, even in the flashbacks prior to the outbreak. It was because of this that there were points where the novel slowed down considerably, although this didn’t happen often, when it did it really dragged and I got a little frustrated wanting to skip pages.

I was also quite let down by the end of the novel, it felt like it was building up to such great suspense and then was a let down. I can’t go into too much detail without a potential spoiler but the fact that the ending only really delt with one side of the novel upset me. It kind of felt like there was no explanation. For a while I couldn’t decide if this was a great way to end it or not, to question our own beliefs but I really struggled with the sense of loss I felt not really knowing certain things at the end of the novel.

Overall I’m going to give this book 3 stars. While I did enjoy it I think that the ending would stop me from strongly recommending this to my friends. Abbott can clearly write and has a talent for suspense but at times this wavers and we are left with a slightly boring protagonist. A lot of people love this novel but, sadly, it just wasn’t for me.

Review by Chloe Metzger

A light at the end of the tunnel

Today in the never ending spine saga. Hey everyone, so I’ve been a little all over the place with blogs this week, partially writers block, partially being busy. I wish I had something interesting to go on but today it’s another spine update for you all. It’s been 18 weeks since I had my fall and I finally got to see a pain specialist, there’s good news mostly and some not so good news.

So it looks like I’m not going to be having any surgery or injections and I’m doing very well in my recovery, despite being in a lot of pain. The good news is that I have a 95% chance of recovery without complications. I still have from 6 months to a year until I’ll be getting back to my normal self. The not so good news, I will have this weakness in my spine for the rest of my life and the slight loss of feeling in my left leg might also stay for the rest of my life.

The doctor was finally open with me and talked about the future, he reminded me that while I’m eager to get back into the world this wasn’t just a small arm fracture this was a large and complicated fracture with damage to the soft tissue, muscles and nerves. The fact that I can walk and go out even a little bit is apparently brilliant. It kind of reminded me that while I’ve been so down and frustrated that I’ve lost the summer it’s not something small and I can’t just get rid of it.

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My kind of breakfast for the minute. 

I’m still on a lot of medication, I’m got a kick ass physio routine to stick to for months ahead and I need to start keeping fit and healthy…which is possibly the most terrifying part of it, I’m kidding. It might not all sound positive but I’m finally seeing some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.

Image from here.