Saturday, 1 October 2016

Mad September // Adult-ing // Starting Sparks Turns One

Shall quips and sentences, and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?"
~ William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

September has been rather mad. I barely had time to turn around and BOOM the month was over!

[source] // I hope you guys all like neon art as much as I do or I fear this blog isn't much fun for you
In Life

I have a Proper Job like a Proper Adult! (Ha, as if I'm a proper adult.) I work three days a week selling diamante trainers and other delights. At times I'm so bored and disillusioned I just want to put myself through a blender, but my colleagues are lovely and we have some great customers. Some of them are very rude -- but then again, I'm only a shop assistant so why treat me like a human being?! -- but some are lovely. Honestly, there is no one to whom I'd rather sell sparkly shoes than the old ladies of Glasgow.

I also, in the name of making more mula, had an interview with a reputable department store ... It kind of made me want to throw myself/others out of a window, though, as the lady in her trouser suit gave a little speech about how she's worked with said reputable department store for nineteen years blah blah blah ... I think I'm allergic to trouser suits. (Like, really.) I'm sorry if that sounds bratty; I know I'm really lucky to have a job, and that having big dreams is a luxury. And sometimes I feel like a fool for being so very “I don't care if it looks good on my CV, I just want to run through the forest and write books!" ... But then there is the very real trouser suit allergy ... It's a quandary, friends, and no mistake. 

On the plus side, my flight to Kenya was booked yesterday! This is really happening!

Thought this gif was appropriate because it shows a Scottish girl off on an adventure.
I'm currently going through the uni application process again. Remember how last year I applied but then withdrew my application? Well LOL* we're back! I have unexpectedly had to navigate people telling me a) not to apply to the uni I want to go to and b) even more bafflingly, not to apply for English Lit ...
*an ironic lol. Very little actual lol'ing has been done in the course of this process.

my exact face
But, Emily, studying English means studying books and thinking about books and writing about books and criticising books and you've not been taught it in school the way it will be at uni! AND YOU'LL STOP LOVING BOOKS!"

I'm not trying to be an annoying 17y/o who disregards adults' advice and generally yells “YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE, MOM*" ... but equally, don't patronise me and tell me that what I think I want is not actually what I want?! In fact, I know what I want. And I'm not expecting uni to be the same as school, obviously, and even if I do get there and hate studying English I can always drop out and still like reading, it's not as if I'll be like “SHAKESPEARE IS A LIE AND GATSBY NEVER HAPPENED!" 
*To clarify, it's not my actual mom" who has said these things. She's a great lady. 

So yeah. 

Sorry, that became far more of an angsty rant than I intended ... *ahem* Look again at the quotation with which I started this post. Shakespeare, like, totally gets me ...

Artist unfortunately unknown:

Pinterest: Nuggwifee☽ ☼☾:

September has been the month of listening to almost nothing but Hamilton and marvelling at it every day.

If you don't listen to Hamilton, let me assure you here and now it will change your life. You may not realise yet your great need for a hip-hop musical about America's founding fathers, but take it from me, it's a gaping hole in your life.

#hamilton #tumblr:
The music is the best thing ever and the whole thing is just a seamless, beautiful marriage of fascinating history and personal narrative: the story of one man and the story of a nation.

Broadway Backgrounds // Hamilton:
[source] // aaaand it's all about writing. If I don't want to write I remind myself, Hamilton wrote day and night like he needed it to survive". It's very motivational.
In Books
A graphic illustrating how my star ratings are totally arbitrary and should never be trusted. Because if you asked me my September fave I'd probably say Much Ado About Nothing, and yet ... 

The stars lie.

Anna Karenina was kind of heartbreaking and also massive but definitely worth it. The themes of family, love and adultery are very interesting.

[source] // As I read I was thinking about this quotation. It was impossible to tell where Tolstoy stood, which for me as a writer was fascinating.
Much Ado About Nothing was properly hilarious. Its central couple is my OTP forever -- they just insult each other all the time!

BENEDICK: What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?
BEATRICE: Is it possible disdain should die while she hath
such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?

sarcasm is a body's natural defence against stupid - haha love it!:
[source] // Beatrice at all points, basically. Also you may be interested to know Beatrice from A Room Alone is named after this one. Their characters are very dissimilar, though!
I very much enjoyed Americanah, which was about race and racism in Nigeria and America. It was an eye-opening read. In preparation for my trip to Kenya I intend to read more African fiction, which I'm sure I'll post about sooner or later.

Lagos: intimidatingly massive, but I really should go to West Africa & Nigeria in particular.:
[source] // Lagos
Hughes' translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses was beautiful.

From Pentheus and Bacchus, one of my favourite of the poems.
Then we come to We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which was a stunning American fairytale.

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.” 

That's the opening -- tell me you don't want to read on!

In Writing
I continue to first-draft a novel. It is going fairly well ... ish. I have lost the plot a couple of times and worry that I'm going to do so in a serious way very soon. But on the plus side there's lots (and lots and lots) of hilarious (at least I think it's hilarious ...) banter and also a fair bit of romantic angst. Oh and also war and stuff. But who cares about politics when all the characters are falling in love.

[source] // me @ the characters. This is Enjolras ... every day's a Les Mis day.
Other writing news: for the first time ever, I failed to join my own link-up! I have written my story for SS September, but I did not get a chance to edit it because of my aforementioned crazy September life. I will post it, very soon ... 

Starting Sparks: October

It's Starting Sparks' birthday! This monthly prompt link-up, hosted by Ashley and me, has now been running for a year! I'd be lying if I said it has been wildly successful -- our record of linkers was seven, but normally we have, like, two -- but I for one have enjoyed being stimulated by a range of prompts to write in different genres, characters and perspectives. And if there'd been no Starting Sparks there would be no LesMisBook and no Kit and Abel, and A Room Alone would still be in a embryonic stage. So there you go.

The October prompt. How exciting is this?! Dragons. 

That was a monstrous post (in length -- hopefully not in content!). Please do tell me all about your September! Are you back at school/uni or are you braving the world of Adult-ing as I am? What was the best book you read? And do you listen to Hamilton?!


  1. Ohhh your writing style is just THE BEST, EMILY. XD I so enjoyed reading this!! And also, agh, I hear ya with a busy September. :O Actually mine was only busy because I made it so by diving into a binge-writing session, but I feel like I blinked and -- BOOM -- october and 3 months left of the year and there's all these things I have to do. #panicstations

    Good luck with the uni applications!! And the job!! And putting up with people in pantsuits!! And I tried to listen to just like half a try of one song but I'm not really big on rapping. 0_0 So I probably didn't give it a proper try and I should attempt it again in the near future.

    ANYWAY!! The best book I read was 1000000% Crooked Kingdom which was afdsakfldjfaslkdf perfection. I haven't fangirled this much since The Raven King. <3 Bless these gorgeous books that like to STAB MY FEELS AND ALSO MAKE MY LAUGH OVER THEIR INCREDIBLY WITTY BANTER. :') Good times.

    1. CAIT YOU ARE SO NICE. I'm so glad you enjoyed! But yes I know! Three months???

      Haha, I will need all the luck! OK so the first time I tried Ham I stopped after 2.5 songs because I was struggling to concentrate on the words because I am not big on rapping either, BUT YOU MUST TRY AGAIN. WHETHER YOU LIKE RAP OR NOT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

      Can't wait to dive into some Bardugo!

  2. ACK, September was as busy for you as it was for me! XD WHY does it seem like the year keeps getting BUSIER instead of CALMER? *glares at calendar*

    'We Have Always Lived in the Castle' sounds SO good - THOSE OPENING LINES. Much intrigue *nods*.

    OOH, I love the prompt for October's Starting Sparks! I might have to join ... *ponders possible ideas*.

    ~ Savannah

    1. I DON'T KNOW! ~glares at calendar also~ Maybe if we just glare at our calendars enough it'll work??

      IT'S SO GOOD. Defs give it a go!

      Oh, please do! And thank you for visiting, Savannah <3

  3. I'm not adult-ing quite yet, but I do have a volunteer gig that involves me taking my nose out of book for a few hours every week. It's worth the sacrifice though. :D

    BUT HAMILTONNNNNNNNNN.AHHHH. Seriously, it's taught me more about history than the past few years in a history classroom. I just-jfhsakljfhsdhf So many words to say about this majestic musical.

    I've been meaning to read Much Ado About Nothing! The premise just sounds like something I'd enjoy. Not to mention that I adored A Midsummer Night's Dream and one of my favorite YouTube vlog series, Nothing Much to Do, is based on the play.

    I hope I find the time for Starting Sparks this month! The one time I actually have an idea is when I don't have the time... I guess I should learn from Alexander Hamilton and just write like I'm running out of time this month. XD

    1. That sounds cool! What do you volunteer as?

      ADSFLA;DSKGJ RIGHT???? And yes, so much history! It makes me feel quite patriotic for AMERICA YOU GREAT UNFINISHED SYMPHONY ... the country that I've visited twice ... XD

      It was so good! I've not read AMND since I was twelve (and that was in school and I don't think I got much out of it at all) but I'm going to soon!

      So do I! XD But yes, Carly, you need to write day and night like you need it to survive!

  4. Good luck on college! Honestly, if high school didn't ruin English lit for you, I'm sure you'll do just fine with it in college. :)

    That's retail for you - you meet all sorts.

    Yes, Hamilton! I just finished listening to it the other day and even though I'm not really into rapping or hip-hop I absolutely loved it! Now to re-listen!

    It's hard to believe Starting Sparks has already been around for a whole year! I'm really looking forward to this month's prompt! Can't go wrong with dragons!

    1. Thanks! That is how I feel too XD

      All sorts of sorts!

      I'm not mad on rapping but IT IS MY FAVOURITE THING. And it gets better every time you listen because you notice more and more stuff. AND FORESHADOWING!

      I know, it's hard to believe! Me too XD

  5. “But, Emily, studying English means studying books and thinking about books and writing about books and criticising books and you've not been taught it in school the way it will be at uni! AND YOU'LL STOP LOVING BOOKS!"....Pardon me? I'd pay to go through that again! Actually, no. I'd like to go through that again, but I'd rather not lose my remaining arm and leg.

    Hamilton, hm... since you suggested it I gave it a try.
    I should have liked it, considering it's theatre, based on history, with lots of writing and all...but...I'm sorry. Maybe I'd like it better if someone edited out all the 'yo's?
    Yes, I realize I'm a snob. Dreadful, isn't it?

    Well, happy birthday to Starting Sparks! I always enjoy the prompts, and then seeing what people do with them!

    1. EXACTLY. I am so so excited eventually to start studying. It is going to be THE DREAM.

      You don't sound very repentant! Try again. For me ....

      Thanks! I always enjoy it greatly. <33

  6. Congrats on the job, I seem to be allergic to them. I need to read that book, We have always lived in the Castle, sounds perfect for fall.

    1. Thank you! WHALITC is a pretty good autumn book, now you mention. SO highly recommend!

  7. University is weird. It's helpful, it's pretentious, it's blood, it's muscle milk. I've definitely learned some things, but I still have no clue what's going on, haha. But I also have my hands dipped in a bunch of different jars. I haven't listened to much Hamilton directly. Most of my listening has been the covers by the public high school group Musicality. You can find them on YouTube.

    1. I am v much looking forward to it. Feel you about no clue what's going on though! XD If you have Spotify I 100% recommend listening to the Broadway soundtrack; if not I still 100% recommend buying it! An investment worth making!

  8. I don't listen to Hamilton? But the Internet won't shut up about it so I suppose I'd better get my little butt moving and start listening. And congrats on the job! And congrats on Kenya! (HAVE FUN!) (And I swear most of the time my comments are like discombobulated swirls of pandemonium because they're just random thoughts about whatever. Just like that last sentence. So sorry.)

    1. I think you better had! You will not regret. I promise.

      Thank you! Ha, that sounds like my whole life ... fear not!

  9. Ooh congrats on the adult job thing! *thumbs-up* and pants suits should be banished from earth. I tried googling Hamilton and ended up watching that carpool karaoke things with James Cordon and Hamilton. I will try again later :L I still haven't read Anna Karena after watching the movie like a bajillion years ago. Oh and Americannah, I remember reading a review of that on Ruby's blog, also still remains on tbr. Time is hard to come by nowadays. Good luck in Kenya (that's so cool!) and literature in college (it could never make you hate books!!!) and your drafting of your book(desperately want to read!) ^^

    1. Marian! Not seen you in aaages (using seen in a loose, blogosphere way)! I hope you're doing OK. Thank you for your congrats, and yes, banishment would be good ...

      STOP GETTING DISTRACTED BY CARPOOL KARAOKE. Hamilton is your priority, TRUST ME. AK is well good, esp if you're a Victorian novel fan, and I loooved Americanah. It was Ruby who put me onto it. I MISS HER.

      Thank you for all the luck! I would love you to read my book <33

  10. Why can't I have a job? Why can't I have Americanah? *cries*

    Good luck with uni and Kenya!

    God speed! *speeds off*

    1. Keep trying! You can achieve both! (The book perhaps slightly more easily than the job, if you have £7.99 handy ...)

      Thanks, Grace! :)

  11. Sounds like a flurrysome month! Ah yes, I so empathize with your angst rant about all the adulting business. (Speaking of which, welcome to retail! Enjoy getting to meet just about every side of humanity. XD) But that tension between your big dreams and the reality of your current not-dreamed-of job can be...tough some days. I think for you and I, part of it is an INFJ thing? Supposedly we idealists can struggle with menial tasks that don't seem to be supporting our dreams (so I have to convince myself this is a stepping stone to greater things) and one of our biggest fears is our lives not meaning anything. Or at least that rings pretty true for me. I hope those sparkly shoes end up offering you good experience/the funds for other good experiences! Keep your chin up, friend!

    Happy birthday to SS! I haven't linked up as often as I'd like--somehow there are only four or five Saturdays on which to post in a month?--but it's great fun every time and do. :)

    All the best with the uni application and Kenya and first drafting (Stay in the City, right?)! <3

    1. It was! Aww, Tracey, I am touched you remember my personality type XD I did not know that, but thank you, it makes sense! You are a babe <3

      Thanks! We love having you <3

      The application went and I have had offers from Glasgow and York! :D :D As for first drafting, yes, OF COURSE SitC, and I am having a wonderful time!

  12. YES! WHY CAN'T WE ALL RUN THROUGH THE FOREST AND WRITE BOOKS?! The world is hard and cruel to deny us these simple things and in exchange attempt to offer trouser suits to console us (the world is an idiot, if anyone is asking me, it's out of its mind if it thinks trouser suits are okay).

    "You'll stop loving books!" (Exhibit B of the world's stunning intellect.) What even is this?! One does not simply stop loving books. I am so with you though. Been there. Done that. People are still following me around telling me it. It drives me crazy. Stay strong, friend! Apply to uni! Read books! (*whispers* and run through the forest and write books.)

    So I've actually tried Hamilton, and I didn't like it. . . I wanted to like it. The story is good. Buuuuuut, rap is a no. It's just no. The only rap I can get into is Toby Mac, and I'm not even sure if he's legitimate rap.

    But now, I really, really want to read We Have Always Lived in the Castle. And Much Ado About Nothing. And ALL THE BOOKS! (See? Nothing squashes book lovers! Uh, except maybe their TBRs, but sssh, nobody needs to know that.)

    THAT'S SO AWESOME THAT YOU'RE GOING TO KENYA! I hope you have a blast! It'll be great!

    Love that El Dorodo gif for the stars. XD Seriously the most accurate gif for star ratings.

    That Tolstoy quote, man. Yes! I'm going to have to implement that posthaste. It's so true. I can think of a good handful of stories that do exactly that.

    1. The world is an idiot, rather. People say humanity is getting better but in the past hundred years humanity has /invented trouser suits/, and tell me what is better about that??

      Thank you! I will read books, love books, run through forests ... that was a lovely motivational speech, thank you <3

      PAL WHAT? TRY AGAIN! So many rap haters crawling out of the woodwork >.< I mean, I don't like rap either, but ...

      My TBR has been looking pretty threatening of late, it's true ... You will LOVE both of those! <3

      THANK YOU!

      I love that gif so much! I'm desperate to rewatch that film, it's been years and years.

      I know! It's so so interesting O.o


Thanks for commenting! :)