writing

The Cocktail Party.

The room was softly lit with a variety of tastefully shaded lamps, all warm tones, and the occasional candle. Several women laughed melodically as the men in the room fed them humourous quips of what they did back in the old days and the sound of glasses clinking and drinks being poured reached every corner.

I had a lengthy conversation with one woman about cooking dinner for her children next week, apparently she was worried the rabbits might intervene in some freak accident, she didn’t make much sense. She wore an emerald green cocktail dress that complimented her figure perfectly, I’ve never seen a dress hang on someone so well, she was beautiful.

As soon as she’d finished a man, I assumed was her husband, approached and gave me the worst kind of body-check up and down look that is only reserved for the most unfortunate of encounters. The woman clocked this glance, gave me a curt nod, moved on to another couple in the room as if the whole exchange between the two of us never occurred.

It was no time at all until the drinks had slowed, everyone was beginning to feel the effects and some of the women were getting restless. At this point the husbands reached their full potential as leaning posts and their spouses took full advantage. The men looked utterly bored.

That’s when I noticed the staring.

One by one, a few seconds between them, all of the men began to avert their gaze from their own conversations to me. I thought it might have just been something interesting on the wall behind me but after moving away it became increasingly evident their eyes were glued to me. It was the feeling you get when looking at a painting and the subjects eyes follow you around the room, but in real life, the men were actually staring.

I approached one of the women and asked her aside what was going on, she tapped her husband in the arm and that broke the spell for a brief moment, he glanced back to her and resumed gawking. Stranger still the woman began laughing again like she’d just heard the funnies joke.

I couldn’t get the sound of dripping out of my head, steadily it became louder and louder: drip, drip drip. Someone must have spilled something on the tiled floor nearer to the kitchen and hadn’t cleaned it up yet, it was a cocktail party after all.

Suddenly the staring stopped and the party settled into full swing once again. Whatever happened before, it was intense. Maybe I’d done something, spilled a drink of my own or someone else’s without them realising but after asking, none of the men had a clue what I was talking about, strange.

At this point I decided it was nearing the time for me to leave. I began to make my way around the room and let everyone know, only polite. As I went from couple to couple it was increasingly evident that they began talking in secret once I turned my back to speak to other people. We’ve all had it happen at least once in our lives, you turn and make eye contact with someone as they’re speaking and they stop immediately. This was happening with everyone, I waved it off, the drink was obviously getting to me.

Someone knocked a candle and a pair of curtains burst into flames, no one moved apart from the lady responsible, she simply lifted the window, slid the fabric off the rail and tossed it out into the waiting darkness. Not a single remark was made, her husband brushed her dress clean of the smouldering flakes from the now-absent curtains. These people are weird, why did I even come here?

There it was again: drip, drip, drip. But this time it was obvious everyone heard it, they all stopped chatting and slowly turned to face me, wide eyed and neutral faced. Whatever’s going on here it isn’t right. I’m leaving.

I walk to the other end of the room to fetch my coat, I decide I’ll put it on once I leave and start for the door. I hear it once more: drip, drip, drip and a scream rips through the atmosphere as several candles find death in the chilling breeze which follows.

Nobody moves a muscle, they’re all fixed on me, everywhere I look I make eye contact with another perfectly turned out couple. I go to see what’s gone wrong and as I near the bathroom the dripping sound intensifies. There’s then a hideous ripping sound and a massive splash on the tiled floor inside.

I burst into the bathroom and it’s larger than I’d expected. The sun was beaming from a narrow window near the ceiling, strange, seeing as it was night at the party. The door slams shut and a streak of red begins to leak from a closed shower curtain facing me.

Another scream rips through the wet sounds and my vision blurs, like the fuzz when you can’t get a signal on old tv sets. I stumble and fall, gripping the curtain and ripping it down to reveal the woman in the emerald cocktail dress.

Or, what was left of her. Hanging from a large meat hook from her back, her dress had been torn and her ribs pried open, insides slowly leaking from the cavity.

An agonising headache came into focus through the blur as I lost consciousness all at once and I was left to the mercy of whatever had done an unspeakable horrific act to a once beautiful woman.

 

 

This is my first attempt at writing something ‘scary.’ Not that I really have many creative horror ideas but I had an image of a cocktail part and ran with it. Hope it’s not too cringey. Let me know what you thought, you know what to do!

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#newyearnewme…well, not quite.

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It feels like this year there has been quite a dispute between those who want to follow tradition by wiping their slates clean and those that feel like reality needs to bite those people in the backside.

I feel like I’m torn between both factions. I’ve always felt like the turn of the year is quite refreshing, but I do feel that it is just another day like the rest of them. We don’t ultimately change at the stroke of midnight, we don’t undergo some kind of almighty transformation into more mature beings. And the same can be said for birthdays, I’ve never felt right, I’m older, I feel more mature on a birthday. Even when I reached 18 I felt exactly the same.

So even though nothing changes, it doesn’t mean we can’t motivate ourselves into a gradual change throughout the next 365 days. I feel that rather than conclusively saying new year new me we should focus on what we’re going to do to make that a possibility. Just because you sign up to the gym doesn’t mean you’ll go. Just because you make resolutions doesn’t mean you’ll keep them. It all depends on what motivates you for the next year.

I completely agree with those that say it’s a fresh start though, it definitely is. It’s a marker to start towards a goal you can take stock of when 2015 hits and reflect on whether it was a success or not.

I also think it’s worth mentioning my opinions on resolutions and goals. I feel they are different things (feel free to agree or disagree in the comments). I think a goal is something you achieve, a target weight or buying something and a resolution is something internal like deciding you’ll go to the gym twice a week or you’ll put 50p in a tin every day.

So time to put my money where my mouth is, I guess. I’ve written several goals and resolutions for myself but here are some main ones:

Goals:

1. Read at least 30 books:

Last year I managed to read somewhere into the 20s, this year I want to push that into the 30s. Originally I thought I am going to read FIFTY books but then I think about it and that’s basically a book a week, and that’s really not happening.

2. Write and finish at least one short story:

So my dream for the future is to write something, get it published traditionally and be able to walk into a shop and hold my book in my hand. First step for me, growing as an aspiring writer, is to write a short story. Logically then I should be able to mature from then on in my writing through critique etc.

3. 5,000 views on this blog:

I had a few blogs before this one, and one of them amassed over 50,000 views before I deleted it and gave it all up as a result of a writing drought. I hope this year will start the ball rolling again.

Resolutions:

1. Take more pictures with people:

I’m prone to the odd selfie several times a day (sadly I wish that was an exaggeration). I never take pictures with people, and recently I was asked am I always alone; truth is I’m not I just haven’t felt the need to take photographic evidence. This year will hopefully change that.

2. Drink more water:

Most people usually make a resolution to do with their own personal health. I’m not a gym person, at all, heck if I saw myself in a gym I’d even laugh at me. Water flushes out all the bad stuff and leaves people looking really fresh, that’s a resolution for this year.

3. Look for pictures to support blog posts:

So far my blog has been strictly text based, and it’s worked well as far as getting a message across, but to help achieve 5,000 page views I want to help my writing as much as I can and visual aid will hopefully push it along.

So there you have it, I don’t think we change all too much but we can motivate ourselves with a new year rolling in. Good luck to everyone with goals and resolutions and I hope you stick to them!

Why I read.

I wasn’t always the type of person to enjoy reading a book. I’m only 18 now and frankly I didn’t start to enjoy it until about a year ago, which was lucky because by then I’d already settled on studying English Literature which, as you might guess, involves a lot of reading.

Just finishing up my latest venture into the written word and I had that amazing feeling of clarity. That feeling is what I search for in novels.

I love beginning a book not knowing what’s going to happen, it’s that feeling of stepping off the stairs into the darkness below trusting that there’s another step to catch your fall. I like that feeling, and it escalates as the novel continues, throwing facts and details at you that individually make no sense but in a bigger picture with context make a world of sense.

You start to draw conclusions and links between things that haven’t quite happened yet, in the hope that they will and prove you right. Eventually you end up with a web of speculation, the novel is the torch shining through those intricate details, just waiting to illuminate some major plot point to tie it all together.

Eventually it gives you a glimpse towards the end and it’s suddenly locked on and focused to the end goal, the big reveal, when it all concludes in sudden realisation. Everything falls into place, those loose ends? Consider them dealt with. Characters become fully rounded and you’re left to ponder what may happen next.

It’s sad though, I find it sad at least, that books have to end. Sometimes I think I’d be quite happy to suspend myself in this world created by the author and go about my days following a main character and their interactions but that’s the reality of it. It has to end, I have to come to acceptance with this every time I read a book.

Just some musings I found myself thinking of while finishing a novel. Hope you agree!

2013, A Summary: Quotes of note.

Every now and again someone says something or I read something and it really resonates. It doesn’t happen often, not truly, but when it does it sticks in my head and I remember it. So here are some of the quotes from this year that have meant a lot:

Gatsby? What Gatsby?

I think I can speak on behalf of myself and a few of my friends when I say this was our mostly highly anticipated film of 2013. After studying the novel for a year as the first half of my A-Levels I felt a connection to the wonderful world of words married together by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was a definite must watch and when I did, it exceeded all expectations.

I cried most of the way through it, either that or I was verging on tears. It was beautiful, not only were there a fantastic range of actors and actresses but the visuals were stunning. The story itself wraps around my heart strings and tugs for the full two hours and twenty minutes.

I could have very easily quoted the entire film because there are so many poignant lines, most of them spoken by Daisy, that really struck me. This one though umbrellas all of them. The thought of someone from your past suddenly falling back into place and being flung back to a time where you were truly happy, highlighting just how unhappy you are presently. The thought is heartbreaking, as is the entire film. But this idea sticks for me. Incredible.

Yes, you have a place.

This quote is an email from the admissions office in Glasgow University. Note the lack of social etiquette or any kind of professional trimmings you’d expect from a University representative. Results day had obviously taken it’s toll on all of us because the email in it’s entirety was simply the above quote.

This is because, in context, I’d been hounding the admissions office for hours on end. This was in the heat of results day, I’d been rejected definitively and rather harshly from Lancaster and within the space of a few hours my future hung in the balance. Everything depended on a yes from Glasgow. Evidently I got it, but for several hours I was sick with the thought of going nowhere.

I’d called them thousands of times, and that’s no exaggeration. I was sitting in the school library with a desk phone in one hand and my iPhone in the other and I was just constantly pressing redial every time it failed to connect. I couldn’t have expected anything more, everyone who’d failed to get into their firm choice was doing the exact same. Eventually I sent them an email in desperation, they replied with something semi-positive but vague like “you’ll hear officially from UCAS tonight” which wasn’t enough. I needed solid confirmation. So I asked for it to be spelt out and voila, that short, rather abrupt email hitched my wagon to a place in Glasgow University.

So the above quote encapsulates the ultimate feeling of relief and panic suddenly leaving my body all in one swift sentence.

You chose your heart over your head, and your head triumphed!

Of course I have to include a line from one of the most quotable figures in my secondary school. A past English teacher of mine, suddenly turned prophetic in a moment of absolute clarity in regards to my future education.

I’m not saying choosing Lancaster University as my firm choice was a wrong decision, but it was right that I ended up at Glasgow.

I’d fallen in love with the idea of Lancaster and what it could’ve held in store. It was remote and it was safe, security was definitely to be found in Lancaster, which is what I felt I needed at the time when I had to make the decision. Was it the right place for me then? I guess I’ll never know, which is for the best.

It’s evident to me now that Glasgow University was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I needed out, I needed escape, independence and Glasgow was my clean slate with no dirty laundry or skeletons in the closet waiting for me.

This quote taught me that I know what I want, but what’s important is what I need. I think this is a battle a lot of is face at times, when what we want is right in front of us but to grow we need to turn to the thing that’s farther away and go for that which we need.

I made it.

These were the first words uttered in my new room, my new life, in Glasgow. I’d spent all day travelling and I was knackered. Most people who know me will know I’m not one for crying in front of others. I like to stay strong in the moment and deal with the emotions later, privately. So when I said goodbye to my mum and my sister I kept it together and held it in. After a stressful couple of hours on the road, however I was ready to break. And so when I burst into my new home, I dumped my bags, called my mum and I burst into tears.

I couldn’t even say it at first, but she knew what I wanted to say: I made it.

Not taking shit from anyone, not depending on people, this year is my year. Bring it on.

These were the closing words in my very first diary entry on the 31st December 2012. I’d decided the year just gone was a complete and utter write-off and that 2013 was going to be better. I think I can safely say without a doubt that it was. It took a while to turn it around but it blossomed into an amazing few months from the beginning of summer onwards.

I felt it was poetic to end this post with the quote that began it all in 2013. It was a year of self-discovery, a year of independence, and most importantly it was my year.

Losing my glasses.

My sight became an issue a few years ago, suddenly I became aware of the fact I had to squint to see anything that wasn’t directly in front of me. This then became annoying to the point of seeing an optician and so on and so forth. Since then I’ve had glasses which do their job, can’t argue with that.

What’s annoying about glasses, though, is that they go walkabout sometimes and leave me stumbling around trying to find them. They do this on purpose, they play the most cruel game of hide and seek. They know I can’t see, so how am I supposed to find them if I can’t see them?! Setting me up for failure from the start.

I don’t like short-sightedness, it leaves me feeling vulnerable or somehow of less value than people who can see normally. Sometimes people instantly turn off on someone as soon as they don their spectacles and this is why I go without sometimes. I personally think I look better without them, and after long periods of time without them they give me headaches from straining to see so it’s a losing battle.

When I’m stumbling around, trying to find them I can’t help but think this is life taunting me. This is a physical representation of what goes on in my head every single day.

I’m an over-thinker, I always have been and right now I can’t see that changing without some severe mental-reconstruction, if that’s even possible. I’ll stumble around in the dark and construct scenarios with only the tiniest shred of evidence to go on and I’ll end up in an elaborate world of a million possibilities, all worse than the one before.

I’ll play out future conversations, interactions, arguments, failures, uneasy situations over and over again to exhaustion with no real conclusion other than:

I’m blind.

No one can see the future. No one can precisely pinpoint exactly what’s going to happen in any given situation, this is the blindness that frustrates me most, and losing my glasses plunges me into this turmoil every single time.

When I lose my glasses I realise how futile it is to worry, how pointless it is to squint to try and catch a glimpse of details just out of my reach. Eventually they’ll come into focus and everything will play out when it’s meant to.

I think it’s going to be my life’s struggle to battle with the fact I’ll never quite find my glasses in that respect, I’ll always feel that little bit more vulnerable because inside this head of mine there are a million and one of me finding new ways to screw up before I even get the chance to.

Reflection.

I look into the full length mirror, looking completely crestfallen and exhausted I study myself. Hair hanging over my face as if the life had poured out the ends, eyes flickering between hopeful and defeated, I thought whether or not I could face another day. This thought warmed me inside to know that this day, thankfully, was over. I begin to remember the headache which haunted me earlier only to realise it never actually left. Now with a thumping head and steadily weakening legs I turn around only to be met with the impossible.

My reflection.

Clothes torn and tattered, leaning to the left suggesting the right has been injured and panting as if he’d ran for an extensive amount of time. There he was, standing there, staring at me as I was to him but with a fire in his eyes that mocked my own defeated hue. He wasn’t finished.

“You…did this. To me, to us.”

And in that moment I realised this day was far from over.

There’s another snippet I felt I was ready to publish here, let me know what you think. This and anything else similar are simply ideas for now, I enjoy playing with certain images in my head, enjoy!

Struggling with the past.

It happens when I’m in bed, it’s late, the mattress slips away and suddenly I’m falling. It’s not normal, gravity doesn’t act the same way, I’m suspended by resistance as if held there, yet descending towards an almighty abyss.

Parts of my life loom below to be observed and reflected while falling, further, further into the spreading darkness. I’m forced to relive these moments, falling through the branches of the tree that is memory. Branches of events growing into consequences and ending in colourful finale as they flutter and detach into chilling emptiness.

In rehashing these moments I can interact with the version of myself unaware of the future. Shake the naivety out, quash it. I find myself changing, aware of what I was, what I can be, and I realise all of these windows into my past have to happen the way they do, if not I wouldn’t be the same person I am now. Right now, in this moment, I live these over and over again like a bird taking flight only in accepting they will eventually have to land again.

Just a bit of creative rambling this time, hope you enjoyed it. Just splashing little snippets of writing here and there to see what I can do so let me know what you think! This is just what stuck out.