You could write a book…

How many times is that bantared around? Anyone with a half creative brain, anyone studying English, anyone have ever had an english lesson, everyone thinks could be a writer. It’s mentioned like, going shopping or popping to the gym or losing a few pounds.

No. simply no. We cannot all write novels. We are not all gifted enough, it’s a skill, yes everyone can write to a degree, everyone can put across their voice, can write a little bit of a prose, can write things that their friends will gush over, but as in, getting a publishing contract and hundreds of sales, enough to live?

No. I didn’t take the creative writing modules at Uni for the simple reason, that I couldn’t handle, hearing people every seminar saying, I’m writing my second book, this is an excerpt from my first novel, I’m currently finishing off my first paperback… instead I had to listen to everyone bitching about it. Yes there are a lot of authors out there, but compared to the number of people actually living in a  country or in the world? It’s a TINY percentage and it’s getting harder, with funding limited and publishers not so keen to print.

Oh yeah, anyone can self publish, but that isn’t quite the same thing is it? The same sense of achievement, the same sort of, book deal that everyone (it seems) craves. I’m sorry to sound like a heartless woman, damning everyone’s hopes and dreams of literary success, I’m just a realist. I would love to be a writer, a full-time erotic fiction writer…

Oh yes, that’s the other half of my brain, spent delving into dark corners and crevices of passionate embraces and sexy encounters. I would love, adore, to be that good, to give up the day job, teaching and to just write, to do product reviews and enjoy my dark side. But it isn’t going to happen. I don’t write fiction, I write erotic tales, there’s no romance,  no plot, it’s just sex and that’s what I love – and it wouldn’t sell.

I hate this culture of everyone being an author. celebrities bringing out books by the week. Do you actually think they write them? Not some poor twit that can’t make it and is hoping that one day they’ll be recognised by their amazing skills in putting across Katie Price’s life story, and writing something rewarding.

I have an unbelievable amount of respect for writers, for authors and for publishers. The hours writers spend on their own, immersed in their own thoughts, in a story, trawling over sentences and syntax, and trying to get it, just right. Publishers, for the tine and commitment in reading, re reading, editing, making sure we get the very best novel from an author that they can. Its gruelling – it’s not an easy job. What if it doesn’t sell, what if your ill and behind on a deadline, what if you can’t pay your rent, what if you realise, you weren’t that good?

I am not disillusioned, but I am respectfully envious, not of their success, not of their lifestyle, but of their ability, that they have found their niche, and a skill that many of us just simply don’t have. Well, I guess that concludes my rant. Maybe one day we’ll all have a book, maybe we’ll all write about our lives and keep it hidden for eyes one day to see, maybe we’ll call it a diary or something…

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The joys of Mobility.

I’d never really given it a thought, what it means to be mobile, the sense of mobility and its function in our lives. It wasn’t until both my legs were cast and I struggled to move around as normal that it occurred to me. I wasn’t disabled by any means, and I do not think I will ever comprehend how difficult it must be to be impaired in such a way but I was hindered. I was stared at and commented on, I was unable to get about in my usual way, struggled to move in spaces and around town, struggled to move on with my life.

Yes I don’t just mean mobility literally but more in the sense of upward mobility, life’s mobility of continuing on a journey. Since the news of my legs and what not I haven’t been able to, get on with things as I was. University is effectively on hold awaiting test results to decide whether I return or take a year out for recovery, I can’t drive or get to see people with my legs in cast, I am stunted in this place, in this time, in my life as it is at present.

I take it for granted that I can do what I want, that I have the freedom, the means, to further myself and do as I wish. To go to University, to study, to live independently, to plan a career, to make long goals, to develop myself into, well an academic – supposedly.

How many people don’t have that opportunity, the means or the start in life, the physical ability and are therefore hindered in choices, maybe mentally they are held back by experiences or mental health issues, or maybe they aren’t born in the right area, in the right class, the right colour, they don’t fit the demographic that allows us to move on and have chances in life.

Are we all Naive to think that we are all as free as each other, to do as we please, to have the same chances? So yes we all get an education by the state, but anyone who has worked in more than one school, even a classroom can tell you the differences in education received by students not just in the teaching but in the classroom environment and the children’s ability to learn within their group.

Are we to believe we live in a society where racism, gender, sexuality still doesn’t affect those employed, the opportunities we have, that it doesn’t have a bearing on the decisions and the opportunities of others? I am grateful that I have the opportunities I do in life, and am thankful for the start I was given by my parents. I have chosen my career to try to help others, to impart knowledge, to give everyone the same opportunities, but life is unfair, and it hinders some of us.

We are held back by aspects of our lives, we are hindered by our experiences, we are changed by our environment, we are dictated to by the state. The only thing we can hope to do is, try, be happy and  continue to fight. Not literally with violence but to not give up on a dream, on an idea, on a desire, on our ambitions. Its important, its something we can all do, despite whatever may be in our ways, and its the one thing we can all hang on to.

I dropped out of college due to health problems, I passed my GCSE’s with 5 after having not attended school in the last two years, and suddenly the specifications for my board of examinations changed. I had to restart my two-year studies, and be way behind. I found another way, I wanted to do an access course, I was too young, had to pay 6 grands worth of fees, every excuse and measure, and rule book was thrown in my face. So I wrote to the council, I wrote to the education secretary, I got my place on my course and ended up at University just a year later than I should’ve, even more determined to study than I had been before. I didn’t stop there, I went into schools preaching about access courses, the chances they offer, I worked in schools helping as a Volunteer Teaching Assistant, I showed people that you didn’t have to be Einstein to do well, but everyone had a talent.

I’m not perfect, and I am not a saint, please do not think I am trying to preach my own praises, I’m simply saying that, mobility is a something we all take for granted. The right to move, to go where, to do as we please, to have the opportunities we all share, and its something we should always strive for, work for, look for – something we should remember and cherish.

Every book is an artefact.

Literature. The lifeblood of a nation, one of the true representations of our life, our current economy, our society, our… reality. Its stands to represent the thoughts and feelings of a nation. From the upper classes, to the lower, with popular culture and the start of the serial press back in Victorian Era, literature has come to be something we can all appreciate and reflect upon.

So why is it so important? Well, like all the arts, it’s a way of preserving our time. Think back to the Victorians, without the emergence of the popular serialised publishing by the new middle class, we would know nothing of the strife and struggle for the lower classes, the working conditions, the sense of the time they lived in. We wouldn’t understand the emergence of the middle class, it wouldn’t be, documented by those high brow writers we cherish. Victorian Literature that’s studied now is just that sort, the sort that focuses on the sociological and economical England of the time.

Every literature tells you something, ever written piece of prose, a thought, a doodle. Think of notes from a class, they reveal the voice of that age, their issues, their humour, the individuals perspective, their worries, which relates to the bigger picture. You get a note from a thirteen year old saying they’d love to do someone, well you can tell that the younger generations are sexually active, grown up, independent. It tells you something about the people of our time.

So why are we so concerned with the canon, the literary on that is. Of the high brow critics the writers that changed our nation, of Shelley and Joyce, of Hemingway and Shakes, of Woolf and Keats – because they wrote something revolutionary, the changed the course of the literature, they made a difference to our heritage or culture in someway with its representation of it. But don’t all authors do that.

A romance novel, concerned with a young woman trying to find herself and her lovers, husband the one. It shows the emotional state, talks of romance and love, of all the clichés we’ve heard a thousand times. Yet it does something more than that, so much more. It tells you about gender, about representations of the Masculine and Feminine in our time, it represents ideologies, so engrained within our culture, we write within them without realising or thought. It  tells you about what’s popular, what our nation is reading and why, about escapism, about a world which doesn’t reflect the romantic parallel we’ve made up. It explores the idea of anyone being able to write, about women writers, about their role within Literature during our time, our representation and restraints on society.

Erotica, a genre we might not normally consider. It represents our culture, open and accepting, or sexuality and the importance of sexual desire and freedom. It shows a nation willing and participating in the voicing of certain fetishes, of difference, of individualism, of self-expression. It represents issues of self-esteem, of freedom, of wanting to escape the norm, of fantasy. It shows relationships and the way we interact with one another, as sexes, within our gender constructs. All from one titillating tale of the plumber and the girl next door… But that’s just my point.

Everything we read is having an effect on us, its transcribing and voicing all these little details that we soak up and process without realising. It helps to broaden our understanding of our world, of ourselves, our society and our individualism. It challenges us with philosophy, sociology, psychology, politics, history and theoretical concepts. It imparts knowledge and understanding, opening our minds to new prospects, ideas and vocabulary.

Literature, every literature, is valuable. It should be saved and recorded, studied or enjoyed. In an age of technology we must not lose the written word, to online uploads and computer software. Books, the smell of the them, the feel of a hard back, of soft covers, of the pages, should always remain. What if we become so advanced, we lose books? We lose reading in all sense of the word, we simply get to a time where we download a book into our brains and we’ve read it instantly. The process of reading, of time out, of learning and the enjoyment of the journey would be lost. Its far-fetched I know, but its true. Reading is a learning process and one we must sustain and encourage.

Literature and every art form, represent us. Individually, because we fit into the grander schemes of society, of women and men and gender, of sexuality, of a nation, of a species, and therefore we are engaged with it. Lets not segregate ourselves from our world and heritage. lets read and enjoy, immerse ourselves in the brilliant minds and imaginations of others, enjoy each word, syllable and phrase for what it is – a journey through someone else’s eyes, a discovery of ourselves and an experience of our culture.