Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Textual Intervention - The Worst Essay Ever

I am having some serious issues with my Textual Intervention II essay. I have never hated an essay more than this one!

‘All works of art either uphold the status quo, or challenge it.’ Focusing on The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, discuss how the author has used textual intervention and
craft (e.g. plot, characterisation, language) to challenge or promote specific sociocultural
agendas or ideas.

If anyone has any clue as to how to answer this I would greatly appreciate it! So far all I've got is a ton of books about fairy tales and another huge pile on sexual politics and gender.

I was thinking of writing about how Carter challenges the status quo by having the Mother save the day; this is radical by fairy tale standards and unheard of in a patriarchal society -  though I'll have to research that, hence the big pile of books. (Seriously, I have 9 books with me now and I did have like 7 more before!) In a way, this idea would also promote the idea of strong women and feminism, which is the dullest and most repetitive subject ever!

I would also do a comparison between Perrault's version of Bluebeard and Carter's The Bloody Chamber. I would note how the female protagonist is more active in The Bloody Chamber as she seeks to seduce Bluebeard in hopes that it will prevent her death instead of waiting for her brothers to save her - I guess this where the sexual politics and gender roles will come in.  

In a seminar we discussed that knowledge leads to power, and that the protagonist's knowledge of the chamber means she won't be tricked into going in their like the other three wives were. Gender roles would be important here too as it is usually the men with knowledge and therefore power, however, more women are being educated now and so wouldn't be as easily led to the chamber. This would again link back to the strong female.

Many fairy tales state that straying from the path can only lead to bad things, like in Little Red Riding Hood. However, because the protagonist strayed from the path by disobeying Bluebeard's orders to stay away from the locked room, she was actually able to save herself. So maybe curiosity didn't kill as many cats as we are led to believe.

At the same time Carter upholds the ideology of the perfect heterosexual relationship; Bluebeard woos the girl, buys her gifts, marries her, then wishes to consummate their marriage. The only out of the ordinary thing is when the mother kills him, but then again, what are Mother-in-Laws for?

So, this is all I've got so far but I guess it's a start. Again, if anyone else has any ideas, please comment.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Film Pitch - Tainted Blood

This is a piece that I did last year for Scriptwriting. In a group we had to come up with a film idea and pitch it to our lecturer. It was the first time I had worked in a group at University and it was a nice bonding activity, too. I'm still really close to the two girls, and one of them, Megan, also has a blog, it's called The Student Housewife.

We spent a lot of time on the script and rehearsed constantly, and in the end our efforts paid off as we received a first for it! I was really nervous as I tend to talk very fast and I didn't want to be the one that let the team down. Luckily, we had rehearsed it so much that I read at the perfect pace even if my heart was beating a mile a minute. Since then, however, I am much more confident in my reading aloud, in fact, I read something out loud to my classmates this morning!

During the pitch we all had something to say, and we colour coded our scripts. Megan was blue, I was purple, and Lauren was pink. I thought I'd leave it in colour to liven up my blog a bit, and so you can see how we all contributed.  

We came up with the idea after reading an article about the average life span being longer than it used to be a few decades ago, and I began to wonder what would happen if nobody ever died. In a way, it's very like the film Children of Men, only I haven't actually seen it so in no way did we copy it! 

I really like this idea and maybe one day I'll write it out in full as a book, obviously with Lauren and Megan's permission!

Tainted Blood is an action drama feature film following the lives of separated twins and their struggle to change a world where procreation is banned as the elimination of illnesses leads the human population to soar.

Seth is a young man that has spent most of his life hiding, living in basements, abandoned houses, or even underground, as he is an illegal child, born in a time when procreation has been banned by the Government. This is because after scientists found the cure for all diseases the world has become a dangerously overpopulated place.

His life takes a devastating turn as his girlfriend confesses that she is pregnant. Seth can’t bear for his child to grow up the same way that he did. When Seth was younger his twin brother, Xander, was taken during a governmental raid. These raids were to check for illegal children, and any that were found were sent off to army camps to learn how to fight and then join the ever threatening war over oil supplies. The two brothers were both hidden in a basement, but after Seth made an accidental noise and the Raiders started coming for him, Xander let himself be taken in order to protect his brother.

So Seth, in fear for his girlfriend and his unborn child, sets out to find the mysterious revolutionary movement called the United Forces of the Lost Generation (UFLG), who consist of other illegal children planning to overthrow the government and its regime. He has to disguise himself as an older man to avoid the suspicion of his age or being caught. He manages to travel around Britain hearing more about the UFLG and avoiding the Government, most of the time, but he has a few close calls.

 Throughout his travels he hears more about the group and eventually finds its hidden underground headquarters. Giving a motivational speech at the time is the UFLG leader, who looks exactly like Seth. It is his twin brother, Xander.

Seth manages to meet with Xander and says he wants to join the UFLG. During this meeting Xander explains how after he was taken he fought in the war and has seen many horrific things, but he worked his way into the Government. And now he knows all the ins and outs of the ‘Cure Vaccination Programme’. Xander says that he has a plan to stop the vaccination, therefore stopping over population and leaving Seth’s child to live in a better world.

Xander’s plan involves the use of Seth’s blood. Xander reveals that their father, who died before they were born, had an extremely rare genetic mutation that caused him to be immune to the vaccination. This immunity has been passed onto the twins and now their blood is riddled with many diseases and bacteria, of which the world’s population may not be able to survive. Xander and the UFLG plan to mix Seth’s blood with the vaccination, which has to be given annually to the whole world, in order to cut down some of the population and hopefully put an end to the war. 

The only problem is that the next vaccination is within the month and they need the blood now. And it will probably take all of Seth’s blood and he won’t survive. Seth asks why it has to be his blood and not Xander’s. But Xander tells Seth that he fought in the war and is now a Government official and that he deserves to live, whereas Seth is a nobody, somebody that has been hiding all his life, and not worth anything. Seth is appalled, he doesn’t want to die; he wants to be able to raise his child in a peaceful world.

However, before Seth can escape, Xander uses his followers to overpower him and take him to a secret medical facility. Seth wakes up in a bed with drips and wires coming off him and his blood being taken from him. It’s being put into containers that will be sent all over the world and secretly added to the vaccine. Xander oversees the extracting with grim satisfaction. Seth pleads with his brother, saying he is sorry for him, and sorry that he had to go the war and not him. Xander begins to break emotionally and begins to change his mind about the whole thing. But it is too late. The last of Seth’s blood has been drained and he dies.

Xander is devastated by what he did, but carries on the operation none the less. The blood is successfully mixed, and after the annual vaccination many people become sick and die. The new vaccination manages to wipe out a third of the population and puts an abrupt end to the war.

Now, because most of the Government was wiped out due to the vaccination, Xander starts a new Government to help rebuild the world, but without an ultimate cure, without a ban on procreation and without war. But Xander makes sure that Seth’s girlfriend and child know what a sacrifice he made, and that his legend lives on.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Creative Voice - Little Snippets

In Creative Voice we have to do lots of bits of writing, usually only a couple of lines long. So here are three little snippets of the work I have done.

For this piece we had to choose a famous person and write a small paragraph in their voice. Can you guess who it is?

Oh, I do love birthday parties, and I've been to my fair share of parties. I just love the idea of dressing up beautifully. I mean, I just don't know what dress I am going to wear tonight, maybe the white one that makes my breasts look bigger or the blue one that makes my waist look smaller, or maybe even that sequinned one that makes me look naked. I guess it all depends on what men are going to be there; the better the class of men the more alluring yet sophisticated the dress should be. And with this class of men you can't afford to look too cheap. It is the President's birthday party after all.

Marilyn Monroe with Bobby and John Kennedy

An Author's Message
For this task we had to write a piece with a very obvious meaning as we were discussing the quote: 'The author's audience should actively seek the author's meaning.' Can you guess the message of my piece? I hope so it's pretty obvious!

Mr Wolf loved his new coat. It had a large collar, five big shiny buttons, and huge bottomless pockets.  He had bought it from Milan and it was the height of fashion. Unfortunately, on the first day he wore it proudly out in public, a group of common dogs accosted him. They threw buckets of red paint at him and cried, 'Wearing humans is murder!' As the dogs ran away from him, Mr Wolf looked sadly at his beautiful tan leather coat. It was completely ruined.

Writing Similar Things
We had talked about whether it was possible for people to write exactly the same thing without realising. My lecturer said it wasn't possible as we all have completely different ideas. So what we had to do was all write a piece with a character called Joe who was 16 and another character called Cecil aged 45, who lived in Berkshire and were in a stable at night time. It had to start with the sentence 'it was a wrong number that started this.' My lecturer was right and we all wrote something completely different, some were about aliens, some were even about sordid relationships! Here's my piece:

It was a wrong number that started this. Joe now knew to always check who he was sending his texts to before he sent them. He meant to send it to Danny not Dad. And now he was paying the price. But his Dad choosing to yell at him in the stable was a bit over the top, and just so Mum wouldn't hear. This was typical Dad. Joe had sent the text earlier in the evening, it had taken him ages to get the guts to send the text and it had been to the wrong person. The most wrong person he could have possibly sent it to. Joe waited patiently as his Dad stormed up and down the stable, pausing briefly now and then to mutter at Joe angrily under his breath. Joe just wanted it to be over with.
'Look Dad, I'm sorry.'
'Sorry? Sorry!' his Dad stormed.
'Well, at least you know now,' Joe said helplessly.
'Yes, finding out your son is gay via text message that says he loves you is fantastic!'
Trying to lighten the situation Joe said, 'Better hope Mum doesn't see it, she might think you've having a very interesting affair.' Joe's Dad threw a fistful of straw of straw at him. It got him right in the face.

Ironically, this Friday I wrote a piece that had a man at a bar playing with a bar mat, drinking a double whisky, when a lady in a red dress spoke to him, and so did another person! So much never writing the same as another person. Though I suppose, that scenario is very cliché! 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A Wicked Fairy Tale - Cinderslut

Another fairy tale themed post! Again, this piece was written while I was at college and was inspired by none other than Angela Carter. Now that I am studying her at University I find there is a lot more to her stories than I had originally thought. Back in college I just thought she wrote sexual, feminist pieces, but now after learning about sexual politics, agendas, moral pornography I know how wrong I was. I preferred my college perspective; it was easier. Anyway, this is my Angela Carter-esque version of Cinderella. Enjoy.


Once there was a widower, who soon after his wife’s death married another wealthy widow for he had lost all his money in poor trade. She was cruel, vain and completely selfish. She had her new husband completely under her control as soon as they were married, and let her two equally selfish daughters run amok; terrorising her husband’s only daughter: Cyndi.

The stepmother had always hated Cyndi, since she had first laid eyes on the child and wanted to get rid of her, but there was nothing she could do while the girl’s father, her husband, was still around. It was then that the stepmother decided to take action.

One day a couple of weeks after the wedding, while making her husband’s tea she dropped a spoonful of rat poison into boiling water, mixing it thoroughly with the tea leaves. She gave it to her husband and smiled as she took a sip of her own untainted tea. She watched with a twisted grin as he gulped the tea down. Instantly, his eyes bulged and his lips turned blue, he slumped in his chair and the china cup smashed on the floor. The stepmother waited a few seconds, taking a couple more sips of her tea, before letting out a convincing scream.
Cyndi knew that her father’s death was no accident.At the funeral she was forced to stand with the servants while her stepfamily sobbed fake tears. Cyndi did not know it, but as her stepmother squeezed the false tears from her dry eyes she was already planning on how she would get rid of her dreadful stepdaughter.

Cyndi had always been a generous, sweet natured child but after her father’s death she was treated worse and worse and could no longer keep smiling. She was forced to work around the house and sleep in the cellar next to the hearth. Her stepsisters even gave her the wicked name of ‘Cinderslut’.

The manor soon fell into disrepair as Cyndi’s stepfamily spent all their money on frivolous things like dresses, perfumes, and jewellery, although none of these things could ever really help their hideous appearances or personalities. The roof had fallen apart in some areas and ivy grew into the walls, cracking up the frail foundations. A few of the windows were boarded up and the front door rattled in strong winds. Cyndi could not stand how despairing the old manor looked now, and her hatred for her stepfamily grew.
A few months after the funeral, the perfect opportunity arrived for the stepmother to finally get rid of Cyndi forever. An old Baron friend of the stepmother’s had come to her late husband’s funeral and had expressed a desire in her little stepdaughter. The Baron had a drooping moustache, baggy jowls and a large belly, but plenty of gold and the stepmother could never say no to gold. She sent for Cyndi straight away. Whereas the Baron was near to old age, Cyndi was only just approaching womanhood. Her hair was thick and bright, her skin was beautifully unblemished, and her body was becoming supple and soft. The old Baron slavered at the thought of her being completely his, and only his. The stepmother could not help but notice the look he had on his face and was pleased that Cyndi would get what she deserved.

Cyndi entered the drawing room with her head held high, her butterscotch hair tied back with a headscarf and her face speckled with soot.

-          Cyndi, this is our very special guest, the Baron, the stepmother said.

-          Nice to meet you Baron, Cyndi bowed gracefully and the Baron eyed her young body much to Cyndi’s disgust.

-          The Baron has a wonderful proposition; he wishes to make you his wife.

Cyndi did not even falter; she would not give her stepmother the satisfaction. She could hear her stepsisters’ delighted cries of laughter at Cyndi having to marry this repulsive letch. She really did not want to marry this Baron but she could see no way out of it; she simply stood with her back straight and said nothing. Her stepmother seemed to think this meant that she was accepting the Baron’s offer.

-          Then it is decided! Cyndi will marry the Baron at midnight in three days time! The stepmother declared vindictively.

Before the Baron left that day he took Cyndi’s hand and pressed his lips to it in a slobbering kiss, she quickly snatched her hand away.

-          I look forward to tomorrow night, my dear, he whispered into her ear, whilst smelling her hair with undisguised pleasure.  Cyndi shuddered and stepped away from him; not wanting to be near him. His odour was overpowering, it was as if he had gone fishing for the weekend but had forgotten to wash since. The smell made her gag.

As soon as the Baron left and her stepfamily finally stopped laughing at her spitefully, Cyndi ran out of the unkempt manor; anger forming tears in her eyes. She ran to the bottom of the garden to the small overgrown gravestone of her Mother. It had been many years since she had been down to visit her Mother’s grave and hundreds of branches snaked across the weathered stone. Cyndi fell to her knees and finally let the tears fall.

She did not know how long she spent by her Mother’s grave but she felt exhausted and weary from the day’s events. She could not believe that in a few days she would be a married woman; a slave for yet another person.

-          Oh Mother, what am I going to do? Cyndi whispered to the overgrown grave.

A bustling wind rushed through the branches and whipped at her hair and a small purple flower with delicate petals but vicious thorns came to her attention. She peered at the flower; towards the middle the purple darkened to pure black, and just a sniff made her eyes flicker and an instant drowsiness fell upon her.

-          Hawthorn, she muttered.

She stared at the grave. Was this her Mother’s wish; to poison the Baron with this deadly flower? She looked back at the disastrous manor occupied with equally disastrous people. It was suitable revenge for what her stepmother had done to her home, family, and life. She plucked the small flower careful not to touch its thorns or breathe in its scent. She hurried to the kitchen and ground the plant up in a small bowl, amazed at the amount of black sap it released. She quickly poured it into a vial and corked it, tucking it safely in her apron.

As the clock struck midnight, she realised with irony that in three days time she would not be a wife, but a widower.
The Ball was the talk of the ton. Hundreds of noblemen and lady friends of the Baron were invited and they were quick to accept. It was quite a scandal for the Baron to marry a woman untitled, much less a girl-child. Cyndi could feel their eyes following her but she tried to ignore them. It would not do for her to become nervous. She put her hands in the pockets of her lavish white gown and fingered the vial. It was only a matter of hours.

The ceremony was to come first though, and now Cyndi knew she must kiss the Baron no matter how much he disgusted her. When the time came she could see her stepfamily smirking gleefully behind their gloved hands, pretending to be crying with happiness. Cyndi held her breath and clenched her eyes shut. Again, the stench of fish overwhelmed her and her throat convulsed. His lips were moist and leathery, but it was the touch of his hands on her waist that made her recoil rapidly, breaking the kiss. The Baron smiled wickedly.

-          Yes, we must leave it for later; he murmured so only she could hear. Cyndi cringed. She had made up her mind; and this was the time to do it.

-          Why wait? She asked in what she hoped was a seductive tone and licked her pink lips timidly. His face brightened and his moustache twitched furiously.

-          Oh yes, my sweet, why don’t you go up all ready? I’ll entertain the guests for a while then I will join you. But please, put on the clothes I left for you.

Cyndi dreaded what awful clothes he had arranged for her to wear but exited the ballroom none the less. The Baron had given her a tour of the castle before the wedding so she climbed the stairs quickly to the Master Bedroom.

It was a dark room, with mahogany furniture and deep red velvet curtains and covers, all of which had the exact same smell as the Baron. Cyndi tried her best to hold her breath but could not last for long, so instead she willed herself to forget the smell was there; it was not for much longer and then she would be rid of this foul smelling monster.

The garment on the bed consisted of a lacy white negligee and white stockings; the fabric of both was so sheer that her body was practically bare. The negligee showed off her white skin, her pink nipples, the roundness of her bottom; each curve was on show. But Cyndi had to be strong so she sat proudly on a chair and waited for her newlywed husband.

It was not long before the door opened and said husband burst in, practically trembling with desire. His moustache was twitching so furiously this time when he saw his young bride in the virginal white gown and her blonde hair falling around her shoulders that it practically flew off his face. He devoured her with his eyes. Cyndi stood and beckoned him towards her with a finger. He came to her in a lust filled daze.

-          Oh, but wait. Cyndi interrupted, you must be thirsty, how about some wine, a toast to our marriage?
The Baron yearned so much for his girl-bride that he just nodded his head, enthralled by her glowing skin and tender body. She poured two goblets of wine and with nifty fingers poured the contents of the vial into his goblet too. The dark liquid turned the wine black before fading back to ruby red once more.  Cyndi turned to her husband, goblet in hand and smiled. She raised the wine to his lips and he drank eagerly.

After the first gulp the Baron’s eyes dimmed and his mouth slackened. After the second gulp his body stiffened and juddered. The spill of wine stained the front of Cyndi’s gown crimson as the goblet fell to the floor. The Baron pitched forwards towards Cyndi but she shoved him away causing him to crash to the floor. Then, just as her stepmother had before her, Cyndi let out a very convincing scream.
Rumours had of course spread instantly as to how the Baron had died. But the Baroness never mentioned it and would give cold glares to anyone who did. She had inherited a lot of money and power with her widowhood, and with that power she had her stepfamily evicted from the manor and sent far away so she would never have to see them again. She also gave her mother a proper burial, right next to her father’s and a planted a small Hawthorn bush on top.

Just in case she was to wed again. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Fun of Module Selections

I have now chosen my modules for next year. It was hard this time as there were many modules that I didn't want to do, there seemed to be quite a few scriptwriting and poetry ones. While I like occasionally doing some scriptwriting and poetry  I don't think I could manage doing any more assignments about them. In the end I chose: Advanced Fictional Writing, Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels, Writing History Fiction, Science Fictions, and Creative Visions. I also wanted to do Writing Non-Fiction for Children but I could only choose three modules for the first semester. I was also tempted to do Creativity: Writing and Teaching, as I am considering being an English tutor or TA after University. However, I am still a little bit shy and the module description said it wasn't for the meek and students would have to act very silly, which isn't very me.

I will also be doing Creative Voice which is compulsory and I have been doing it for the past three years. This module explores a range of writing styles and techniques and encourages us to really look at our own writing. For example, I recently had to do a self-evaluation of my last year, and believe me it is hard to write about yourself critically. There is also a lot work-shopping and reading pieces out loud, so it has helped with my shyness somewhat. Last year I had to read a whole 2000 word piece out in front of class, but it wasn't too bad in the end. 

This third year also means FYP, or Final Year Project. This is the Creative Writing version of a dissertation, it's a creative piece of around 8000 words and a rationale or commentary of 2000 words. This may seem like a lot but it really isn't. It reminds me of when I first started Art, a sheet of A3 paper seemed massive and A2 was enormous, I never thought I'd do enough drawings to fill those pieces of paper! But now I look at those pieces of paper and think they're tiny, I mean, A4 is practically nothing! It's the same with writing. I used to think writing 1500 words would be hard, but you can do that in an hour if you know what you're writing. And 8000 will be nothing, especially when the average teen book is 40,000 - 45,000 words, 8000 words will barely get you through the introduction!

Overall, I am most excited for Comics and Graphic Novels as it's something completely different. I am a little bit apprehensive of Science Fictions because I'm not sure if I'm that nerdy, will I be able to make up all the crazy science jargon? Maybe I should watch more Star Trek! But before I can even think of third year, I have to get through this year first, although, I only have 6 weeks left!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Disney Parody

Following the fairy tale theme I'm posting a story I wrote at the beginning of year 10. I just read through it and it's not as hideous as I thought it would be. However, I don't think it was worth the A* I received for it, though some parts are rather funny, if I do say so myself!

The Princess and the Affair

Cinderella was a very happy princess; she had everything she had ever dreamt of. A lovely huge castle, servants to wait on her every whim, a charming husband, (tall dark and handsome and dressed to impress) and all the shoes she could ask for. She had red shiny ones, black leather ones, blue party ones, pink glittery ones and her favourite glass slippers. She loved every single pair and they had their very own room in her castle. It had floor to ceiling shelves, with the shoes stored from smallest to highest heel, as well as colour coordinated. She even had shoes that she had never taken out of the box; they were saved for really special occasions. Now her husband, Prince Charming, had got annoyed a couple of times before, but Cinderella just promised not to do it again…and he believed her!


Cinderella smiled as the clerk packed her lovely new dark green stilettoes into a box after wrapping them in silver tissue paper - buying shoes was so much fun, she was just sad that she never got to do this sooner. How could she with those selfish idiots for a family, she was glad they had gone to live somewhere far, far away from here. She smiled again at the memory of her stepmother's face as the glass slipper slid comfortably onto her foot. That was a great day!

Her attention was quickly caught when the shopping clerk spoke. "Here you go, miss," she said brightly handing over the bag that contained her new shoes. Cinderella grinned, thanked the clerk and walked from the shop with a slight skip in her step.

As she left the shop she spied black hair, a hideous yellow skirt, blue top with light blue-capped sleeves and a high white collar. She even had that disgusting red cape on. Doesn't she know that outfit is so out of fashion, thought Cinderella, cringing at Snow White's horrible dress. She looked down smugly at her own clothes. She was wearing her new very fashionable white halter dress designed by the one and only Lumiere, a great French designer.

She smirked at Snow White as she walked past, but instead of being intimidated or afraid, Snow White just smirked back. The cheek of her, to smirk back at me, Cinderella fumed as she stormed out of the Fairy Tale Mall, (It Makes All Your Shopping Dreams Come True!) and into her lovely silver pumpkin carriage, with 8 horsepower.

She got home to her castle and ran straight up the stairs wanting to try on her new shoes and maybe get all dressed up, after all that was the second best thing after shoes - dressing up! She got to her room to see Prince Charming standing by the bed, facing the window. Cinderella quickly hid the bag, with her new shoes inside, behind her back.

‘Hello dear,’ she said sweetly. ‘I didn't expect you home until dinner time.’

Prince Charming turned around with a scowl on his face. ‘You bought more shoes, didn't you?’ he said. Cinderella's face burned as she was found out. She felt like a naughty child that had been caught eating cookies right before lunchtime.

‘Well, you could say that, I guess,’ she muttered while bringing the bag out from behind her back. Prince Charming’s scowl deepened.

‘You have thousands of shoes, why do you need more? I mean, there are some people who spend their money on better things. Like Snow White,’ as soon as he said her name Cinderella's face darkened. ‘She works so hard looking after all seven of those dwarves and she spends her money on good, useful things. Like did you know that she donated lots of money to a special clinic that helps the vertically challenged? Isn't that great? She is such a nice caring person,’ he said, now smiling. ‘I'm sure you two could become the best of friends if you just tried. But now's your chance, because I've just heard from Bluebeard that she bought the house opposite him in our street! So now you, Beauty and Snow White could hang out and do all those girlie things you like!’ He was now positively beaming at the idea of them being friends. Cinderella rolled her eyes at his happiness.

‘What if Beauty and I don't want her to be there?’

‘But she's such a nice person,’ he mumbled, looking dejected.

‘Why don't you just marry her, if you love her so much?’ she scoffed as she left the room taking her new shoes with her. Only she didn't hear her husband mutter, ‘I would if I could,’ as soon as she left the room.


Cinderella was prancing about in her new green shoes and a dress made by Lumiere when two little blue birds fluttered up to her windowsill with a creamy envelope. Cinderella gave them an odd look but took the letter all the same. The two birds quickly disappeared down the street chirping happily. Cinderella flipped the letter over in her hands and looked down on the curly writing spelling out Mr and Mrs Charming.

She looked down at it confused; she hardly ever got post. Well, she got post from the bank a lot; those goblins really hated it if she forgot to pay her bills, like they don’t already have enough money, without stealing it from her. She carefully looked at the red seal with a S.W in bedded in it. Snow White. With that she ripped the envelope open and read the letter quickly.

Dear Mr and Mrs Charming,
You are cordially invited to Snow White's palace warming party.
Please wear formal dress and bring presents.
At Snow White's house, tomorrow, dinner time.
Yours truly,
Snow White
And the Seven Dwarfs.

Cinderella glared at the letter in disgust and was very tempted to screw it up and throw it in the bin but Char would get mad at her. God, she hated Snow White. So instead she walked down to Char's study with a fake smile plastered on her face.

‘Sweetie, a letter has come.’ Prince Charming regarded her from his desk with a bored look on his face. ‘It's from Snow White,’ she added. His bored look quickly changed to shock then to surprise then to fear in about two seconds but then it was back to his clearly bored look.

‘Oh, what's it about?’ he asked in a disinterested tone. Cinderella was baffled by his quick change of expressions but let it pass.

‘It's just a palace warming party, you know 'cause she bought a new palace and all.’ She smiled sweetly again. Char nodded as if he was thinking about something very serious, then spoke.

‘I have something to do, why don't you go to the salon?’ he suggested while giving her his new credit card. (Dragons Gold Credit Card: Keep Your Treasure Safe.) Her eyes sparkled and she snatched the card from him.

‘Okay! You take your time doing what you're doing. I'll be a while, after all looking this great all of the time is a thing that only a Fairy Godmother can do! And they're not cheap!’ she said happily as she headed for the front door.

Cinderella arrived home from Genie’s Hair Salon (Makes Hair Perfect With Just Three Wishes!) with her blonde hair cut, styles and straightened. While she was out she treated herself and also had her eyebrows plucked, a manicure and a pedicure, her legs waxed, a back massage, a facial, and a medium spray tan. Once she was back in her castle, she looked at herself in the mirror for about five minutes but then she was bored. She slumped on her sofa and looked at the clock to see that it was only three o'clock, meaning the Mall would still be open for another two hours.  She could totally go and buy some new shoes; after all she didn’t have any suitable palace warming shoes. Besides, she still had Char's credit card, which she fingered lovingly. Cinderella leaped up from her seat, jumped in to her pumpkin carriage and zoomed off to the Mall. She parked quickly and ran (with dignity) to the nearest shoe shop.

An hour and a half later she came out with three new pairs of shoes, four new dresses and some new jewellery to match. Okay, she might have gone a little over the top but it's shopping, it's important. Well, to girls anyway. She smiled happily to herself but the smile fell off her face as she saw Snow White, again. Didn’t she have anything better to do than hang out at the Mall?

She was sat at a table at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Shop, sipping tea with her little pinky finger sticking out; how pretentious. But this time she was with a man, who looked oddly familiar, even if Cinderella could only see him from the back. His neatly styled dark brown hair and nice suit looked fabulous and she was sure he’d look even better from the front. Cinderella snorted. How could Snow White get such a nice, handsome boyfriend? Cinderella then decided to see whom the lucky, or should she say unlucky, man was. She began to stroll nonchalantly over to the tea shop waiting to see the out raged look on Snow White's face as she gave away all her biggest secrets and fears to her new boyfriend. Before she could reach the two lovebirds the intercom buzzed loudly.

Ding Dong! ‘Would the owner of the silver pumpkin carriage please report to the carriage park, you are parked on a goblin.’ Ding Dong! Cinderella frowned as she realised that was her carriage. She would have to move her carriage and quick otherwise the Mall Manager would ban her from the mall again. That meant she couldn't mock Snow White, but it didn't matter as the couple had finished their drinks and left the table.

Cinderella stamped her foot in annoyance but hurried off to the carriage park so she didn't have to spend money on pointless things, like parking tickets, which would make Char more annoyed.


She sped into the gravel driveway at the same time as Char came running down the street looking flushed.

‘Char!’ she exclaimed stuffing the carrier bags back into the carriage boot and shutting the door with a quick snap. He quickly looked at her nervously and guiltily.

‘Oh, Cindy!’ he said in surprise. ‘You're back; I thought you'd be longer.’ He part spoke, part mumbled. Cinderella raised one perfectly sculpted eyebrow at his remark but let it slide seeing as she had just bought lots of new clothes.

‘Well, I just went to the Mall; I needed some new clothes for Snow White's party.’ She shrugged hoping that he wouldn’t notice all the expensive labels later on. Only she didn't notice the way Char flinched at the mention of the Mall and Snow White. She smiled at him and walked into their palace with the servants carrying in her bags. Char let out a huge sigh and followed her in.


The next day Cinderella got up bright and early to get ready for Snow White's party. She was going to look so gorgeous that no one would even notice Snow White; Cinderella's beauty would just amaze and dazzle them. She smiled to herself and hummed a little tune as she got out of bed. She stopped when she saw that Char's shirt from yesterday wasn't in the wash but sticking out from under their four-poster bed.

‘Too good to put his own shirts in the wash, is he?’ she said quietly to herself as she bent down to pick it up and put it in the wash, ‘I thought I would be done with chores once I got away from my step family!’ she was about to toss the shirt in the laundry basket when she noticed something shocking. There on the shirt's white collar was a blood red lipstick mark. Cinderella gasped loudly and dropped the shirt just as Char rolled over in their bed.

‘Cindy? What's the matter?’ he asked sleepily, peering at her from under the duvet with half closed eyes.

‘Oh, nothing!’ she said quickly, ‘I just broke a nail,’ she lied while nudging the shirt under the bed again.

‘Aw, poor Cindy. Come back to bed and I'll make it all better,’ he said with a cheeky grin.
‘But I have to get ready for the party,’ she lied once more. It was only a half lie though; it would take her a long time to get ready.

‘You've got all day to do that.’ Char moaned now fully awake.

‘Well you know me, busy, busy.’ She giggled nervously as she moved over to the door pulling her designer dressing gown on. ‘See you later,’ she added and slipped through the door.

Cinderella then shut it with a snap and leaned against it. Blood red lipstick; his flushed and guilty face; the handsome guy at the mall yesterday, it all made sense. Either Char was having an affair with Snow White or he had a secret identical twin. Cinderella wished it was the twin theory but of course she had met all Char's family and he had not one other sibling, well except his half-brother, but no one knew where he was. (Apparently he was really spoilt and obnoxious and had gone to France looking for a beautiful wife and had never come home. Some say he had a curse put on him, something about a beast, but everyone knows that only happens in story books.)

Cinderella was upset and annoyed at the idea of her husband being unfaithful, but what made it so much worse was the fact that it was with Snow White! She slid down the door and sat on the floor sobbing with fury over a man that was so obviously not worth it. She heard Char get out of bed so she dried her eyes, smoothed out her nightgown and began to plot a way to get back at them both.


The time flew by and soon Cinderella and Char left their palace and walked down to Snow White's. Cinderella was proud of herself, she had come up with a plan and she looked absolutely fabulous in her long blue and white ball gown with shoulder sleeves and lovely new white heels. Her shoes tapped loudly on the pavements as she walked arm in arm with her no good, dirty, rotten, cheating husband. Snow White would regret the day she had an affair with Cinderella's husband.

Snow White's palace had decorations everywhere; hanging from turrets, weaving through trees even around some dwarves' necks. Cinderella thought it looked tacky; there was such thing as over doing it. But Char loved it.

‘Oh wow! Doesn't that look wonderful?’ he cried, amazed. Cinderella pursed her lips and tried to smile.

‘Yes,’ she replied, wishing that Char and Snow White would both spontaneously combust, but that was what the plan was for.

They arrived at the front doors and were greeted by the lesser-known eighth dwarf, Greety.

‘May I take your coat, Prince Charming?’ he asked with a twinkle in his eye. Char nodded, passed his coat over and strolled on into the house while Greety hung the coat on the back of his hook-like hat with other coats.

Cinderella was quite impressed with the castle but she would never let Snow White know that, and of course, Cinderella's palace was so much nicer. They walked hand in hand through a huge oak door into a magnificent dining room where rich and delicious food was arranged on a well-carved table. And there, sitting in the middle was a large cream covered cake with little red apples around the sides.

‘That looks delicious!’ Char beamed as Cinderella grinned falsely but inwardly she smirked - soon it would all be over.

Just then Snow White glided into the room in exactly the same long blue and white ball gown with shoulder sleeves and lovely white-heeled shoes as Cinderella. She gasped in shock and felt her face flush red as everyone turned to look at her. Snow White smirked triumphantly at her then spoke proudly.

‘Welcome fellow royalty, thank you so much for coming!’ She flashed her audience a huge, white smile, her eyes lingering on Cinderella. ‘And without further ado let the dinner be served!’ She gave a curtsy and everyone flocked to the food but Cinderella was still in shock. How dare she wear the same dress as me! thought Cinderella in outrage. She couldn't take it anymore, first she gets one of the nicest houses on the street then she steals her husband and now the worst crime, she stole her dress. That was the last straw. Scratch the plan. She marched right over to Snow White who was about to cut the cake and SPLAT! she shoved her face right into the creaminess. 

Icing, cake crumbs, and decorative apples flew everywhere as Snow White's face collided with the dessert. Cinderella grinned evilly as she pulled Snow White's head back then pushed it back into the cake again, which made a very satisfying sound. Snow White's screams overpowered the noise of people gasping, dwarves cheering, and Char yelling at her to stop.

Only Cinderella must have let her guard down because Snow White twisted in her hands and tried to bite her arm. Cinderella leapt back in surprise, her heel snapping and she fell to the ground. The room span for a second but the dizziness soon left. Unfortunately, Snow White had already dived on her knocking the wind out of her.

‘You ruined my party!’ she screeched in Cinderella's face as she tugged at her hair and tried to scratch out her eyes.

Now Char was yelling at Snow White to stop but no one tried to pull the two princesses apart. Cinderella struggled about and grabbed Snow White's wrists then pushed her to floor as she jumped up. She checked herself over and sorted her hair; she then took her shoe off and checked the damage.

‘I may have ruined your party, but you have ruined my brand new shoes!’ she yelled as she threw the broken shoe away. The shoe flew across the room and knocked a candle down off the table as Cinderella stormed from the castle with Char running after her. But no one seemed to notice the fallen over candle until the fancy lace tablecloth caught fire.

Cinderella was so angry; that jumped up princess was nothing but a spoilt bitch, there she had said it!
‘Cindy! Cindy!’ Char yelled, ‘Wait, how could you do that back there?’ Cinderella quickly turned around and slapped him right across the face.

‘I know about you two! I know your dirty little secret!’ she screamed and his face paled visibly.

‘You knew…’ But before he could finish his sentence, screams erupted from the house. The unhappily married couple both turned around to see all the guests running from the palace, flames licking their feet.

‘Run! Run!’ yelled Sleepy the dwarf sleepily while yawning loudly. Char and Cinderella froze and watched as flames engulfed the entire palace. Suddenly a scream brought them back to reality.

‘Snow White is still in there!’ a party goer cried. Char stared in horror as a long turret fall into the burning mass that was once a beautiful palace. Cinderella cringed as a flame exploded from the west wing and some trees caught fire. There was no way Snow White was still alive now.


Cinderella went to jail that night for Arson and Manslaughter. Twenty nine people including all seven dwarves testified against her. Even Char was against her but she couldn't care less about him anymore. She thought darkly that it would have been better if he had died in that fire, too. The only thing that really upset her about this horrible situation was that she no longer had all her beautiful shoes.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Fairy Tale Art

After my Textual Intervention lecture, in which we were looking at Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, and Puss in Boots, I am in a very fairy tale mood. I have written many pieces on fairy tales over the years as I absolute adore them, I did my year 13 art course on them, too. So today instead of writing, I'm going to post a few of my fairy tale inspired art pieces, and then later some pieces of writing I have done. Hope you enjoy.

This piece was inspired by Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. Her dress features the main motifs of the story, which are: marriage hence the gold rings, the key as this leads her to the bloody chamber, and the skulls which relates to death and danger. The words around the woman are some of the more explicit pieces of language that Carter uses (everyone was particularly giggly at 'orgasm') as well as the most important, like 'forbidden' and 'lust'. Notice the number 3, a magic number in fairy tales - Bluebeard had three wives before this woman, and now he has three dead wives in his bloody chamber. The art style is based on Liselotte Watkins, who does the illustrations for Tamora Pierce's fantasy books. I had originally started the course by doing the traditional fairy tales and traditional drawing styles but my teacher wanted something more 'edgy'. And what is more edgy than Angela Carter?

Oh, by the way, if you haven't read The Bloody Chamber I would highly recommend it, especially if you love fairy tales, Carter gives them a funky twist. However, as I now have to read it for University, I absolutely despise it! I have to write an essay Carter's work, sexual politics, and moral pornography. Fun.

The following photographs were taken at my friend's house. She lives in an amazing house with a huge garden; it has an orchard, a field, a croquet lawn, a vegetable patch, everything! These photos were inspired by the stories of King Arthur, and after writing The Act of Love, I was really into the tale of the Lady of Shalott, who did not receive Lancelot's love and ended up dying; so a happy ending all round. I printed off these photos as well as others and made them into a little book. But as I mentioned earlier, my teacher wanted something more daring and so was only marginally interested in these, even though they took me a long time to do. Yeah, I didn't like my art teacher very much, she was a right meanie!

The girl who plays The Fair Maid of Astolat, who's real name is Eleanor, is actually called Elly herself, and did her role as fair maid very well. The blue dress she is wearing was made by my mum for my 16th birthday - it was a fairy tale theme as all the heroines in Disney seemed to be 16 years old. I would love to wear it more, but it's hard to find a reason for wearing a princess dress in everyday life!

The girl in the white dress is my friend, Izzy. She is playing the beautiful Guinevere as she searches for her secret beloved, Lancelot. The dress she is wearing was also made by my mum for my 13th birthday, which I shared with Izzy. We had a black and white themed masquerade at this very house, in this very garden. I had the most extravagant dress, as everyone else had just bought theirs off the high street. Looking back on it now I feel very foolish, as I was only 13 but acted like I was much older.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Poetry of Earth - The Rookery

I have a confession, I only chose my Writing and the Environment module because it didn't have any assessed presentations. It was between this and Writing and the World and well, Writing and World had a presentation as part of its assignments and I found out recently it's a 10 minute long, individual presentation and that would have killed me! Anyway, I didn't expect to enjoy Writing and the Environment because I don't really care for all this global warming business and I'm not exactly a nature freak or outdoorsie person - give me a hotel over camping any day! But I'm actually feeling rather inspired, by the books not the lecturer, he's a bit tedious. 
So, today I have been writing a couple of poems not only inspired by the environment but also Roger Deakin's Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees. I'm not really very good at poems, what I did to create these poems was 'cut ups'. This means getting a text, cutting it all up and rearranging it into something new. David Bowie used to do this all the time, which explains some of his crazy lyrics. I have done this before this time last year for my Creativity module, it is called Oversized. Don't worry, I didn't cut up my whole book, I just underlined, in pencil, my favourite words and phrases, and I have come up with 4 poems, some better than others. Here is one of my favourite ones: 

The Rookery

Thousands of ancient trees,
their dark constellation of nests
Echoing the greater
rude harmony
of sweet thunder,
a crescendo of cawing
Lyrical blackcaps and lesser whitethroats,
the sweetness of robins
are dead, hollow, or rotten
Metallic splendour
Bright blind
Their ribs the leading of stained-glass windows
Tracery of veins in their wings
Hoisted home
as misty sun, rising fast
set the lichened ash trunks on fire
back to their Black Castle.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Writing Tips From The Best

I found these lists of writing tips on this website: http://www.openculture.com/2012/01/writing_rules.html and thought they were really useful! After writing a critical evaluation on my own work, I have realised how hard it is to create something truly brilliant, and how many million, trillion mistakes I make! I should remember all of these tips while I write and maybe I'll start getting more firsts!

Henry Miller (from Henry Miller on Writing)

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4. Work according to the program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. When you can’t create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people; go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it–but go back to it the next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

George Orwell (From Why I Write)

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Margaret Atwood (originally appeared in The Guardian)

1. Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
2. If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
3. Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
4. If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.
5. Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
6. Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
9. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
10. Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­isation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

Neil Gaiman (read his free short stories here)

1. Write.
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
7. Laugh at your own jokes.
8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

William Safire (the author of the New York Times Magazine column “On Language”)

1. Remember to never split an infinitive.
2. The passive voice should never be used.
3. Do not put statements in the negative form.
4. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
5. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
6. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
7. A writer must not shift your point of view.
8. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
9. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
10. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
11. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
12. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
13. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
14. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
15. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
16. Always pick on the correct idiom.
17. The adverb always follows the verb.
18. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Children's Fantasy - Peter's Quest

For my Fiction for Children module we were discussing Sci-Fi and Fantasy. In the lesson we had to come up with an idea for a Sci-Fi or Fantasy book for kids. I went with Fantasy as I find it easier to write and more interesting to read. I also love the concept of Kings and Queens, Knights, magic, mythical beast, sword fights, castles, all of it! So here is the beginning of my Fantasy novel for kids.


Peter was extremely annoyed, Penny had done it again. She had made fun of him. She had said that he was so skinny a strong wind would blow him away. Sure, he was skinny and quite tall for his age, okay; 5 foot eleven was very tall for a 14 year old. And he hadn’t filled out yet, he was still as scrawny as he was when he was 11 years old. But that was no reason for Penny to pick on him. It was only now, as he was lying in bed, that Peter thought of the perfect comeback, he should have said that even a strong wind wouldn’t be able to blow her away because she was so fat. Only that wasn’t perfect, because as soon as he had said it Penny would run to their mum and tell her what he had said. Peter scowled to himself, stupid Penny and her stupid fake tears. Peter always knew she was faking it when she cried but because she was younger, only a year though, and because she was a girl, an ugly one at that, he was always the one that got in trouble.  Peter rolled over in bed, pulling his duvet over his head leaving his feet to poke out the end. Now that he thought about it, he should have told Penny that he had seen her with Mark Tannis in the park the other day when she had told their parents she was netball training. He should have told her that he was going to tell mum all about it. That would have shut Penny up. But like all good comebacks, it had come a few hours late.

Peter turned in his bed again, this time so he was facing his window, which even though the curtains were closed tight still let in a lot of light from the streets. Mum had promised to get him new curtains, but she had been saying that for a few years now. Peter was getting really fed up with them now, he had outgrown the friendly faces of the stars and moons years ago and yet they were still there. He looked at his digital clock; the red numbers of 03.17 looked back at him. It was so late and yet he wasn’t even tired, he would never get to sleep now.

Peter had just nodded off when a blast of orange light blazed through the thin curtains. But it wasn’t the light that woke Peter up it was the loud roar that banged on his eardrums. He leapt from his bed, his large feet getting tangled in duvet, and hurried to the window, trying to kick the useless duvet away. From Peter’s window it was easy to see over the rooftops of many of the houses, he could see at least four streets away from his, annoyingly he could even see the school. So when he ripped open his curtains he could see what all the commotion was, even though it was happening three streets down from him. He stared in disbelief at the huge fire that had engulfed nearly half the street.


‘They’re really lucky that no one died,’ Billy Parker said the next day on the way home from school. The fire had been all that anyone had talked about all day, the teachers had found it very hard to gain the attention of any of their students and had finally gave in to talking about the fire themselves.

‘Yeah, but weren’t like ten people sent to hospital, I saw all the ambulances and fire engines from my window.’ Peter had called for his parents and they had all watched as the fire fighters quickly arrived and tried to tame the blaze. It had taken them ages to finally put it out, and in that time many ambulances had taken more and more people to hospital. ‘My mum said they suffered from smoke inhalation, but they would be fine though,’ he added afterwards.

‘Can you imagine being burnt to a crisp while you were sleeping?’ Billy said. ‘You’re just lying in bed thinking that your feet were nice and toasty and then bam! Dead.’

‘Billy!’ Bethany cried, ‘that’s a horrible to say and so disrespectful.’ Billy pulled a face at her but apologised none the less. ‘I think it’s dreadful,’ she continued, ‘and you know, they don’t even know what started the fire,  I heard someone say that it happened to all the houses simultaneously,’ she finished in a whisper.

‘I heard,’ said Billy in an equally hushed voice, ‘that all the fires started on the roofs and not by accident.’

‘The roofs? How did anyone get up there?’ Peter asked.

‘Who knows?’ Billy shrugged, ‘Why would anyone want to burn down a whole street in the first place?’


Peter could not stop thinking about what Billy had said that afternoon. He was distracted while he watched the TV after school. He was distracted as he ate cottage pie for dinner. He was distracted as he played on the Xbox instead of doing his maths homework. He was so distracted that he didn’t even care when Penny made a joke about his lanky legs.

He was grateful when it was time for bed so he could finally sleep and not think about the fire. But instead of sleeping, Peter found himself sat on his windowsill staring out of his bedroom window waiting to see if anyone was climbing onto the roofs to set fire to them. Maybe if caught this arsonist everyone would talk about him at school. Maybe his parents would like him more than his sister. And maybe, finally, Penny would stop taking the mick out of him all the time. He could see it now, all the kids at school begging to be his friends, the teachers giving him top marks on all his homework even algebra, his parents saying how proud they were of him and why couldn’t Penny be more like him, and best of all, Penny at his feet gushing about his greatness, and saying sorry for the times she had ever made fun of him.

The clock glowed 04.32 at Peter as he yawned hugely; it was unlikely that there would be another fire tonight. Last night was probably an accident, nothing suspicious. It was probably best to go to bed so he didn’t fall asleep in class tomorrow, or was it now today? Peter was about to let the curtains fall shut when movement caught his eye. The movement wasn’t on the roofs, it was in the sky. Clouds completely blocked out the moon and stars and the streetlights coloured them in a gloomy orange. Against this backdrop a great mass was silhouetted. At first Peter thought it was a low flying plane, or a flock of birds, or even an alien spaceship, anything other than what it really was. Peter followed the moving object closely, pressing up against the window while cupping his hands around his face to block out any unnecessary light. Yet he still couldn’t see what it was. It wasn’t until it moved closer to the streetlights that Peter got a really good look. With a gasp he fell off the windowsill with a loud thud. He stayed huddled on the floor for a few seconds, hoping he hadn’t woken anyone up. When he was sure that everyone was still asleep he scrambled to the window once more.  He peeked over the top of the windowsill and peered out of the window. He searched the sky, the rooftops, the streets but it had disappeared. Peter stood up shakily and clambered into bed.

He knew it sounded crazy but he was sure he had just seen a dragon outside his window.   

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Men have used me. They still use me. They look upon my body with greed. All they think about is what they can gain from using me. They think I exist only for them, that without them I would be useless. As if all I can offer is pleasure and if they weren’t around to receive it there would be no point to me.

They want so much from me but are never ready to give anything back. When I am ill they watch on with little interest, waiting for when I am better. When they hurt me, or scar me, or burn me they feel no remorse; they think it’s entirely my fault and why should they help at all. They continue to hurt me, as if this is supposed to happen, this is the natural order of things. They think that maybe if it happens enough I’ll get used to it, grow a harder skin; become immune. Over the years men have found new and more interesting ways to use me. There is no denying that men are smart and inventive and yet so deadly and cunning.

Men find it so hard not to destroy things, they feel power over it. In truth, I am more powerful than they are but they don’t want to think that, that thought scares them. If they think that way they get angry and then destroy more, just to prove that they are strong and I am weak.

Some men don’t like the natural look; they want new and modern, things that are only possible through science and technology. I have been altered drastically. I look so different from when I was younger. I am nearly unrecognisable. I have unnatural things in my body; chemicals and artificial materials smother my supple skin, where things should grow unashamedly is now completely bare. Metal has even pierced my most precious and secret areas. I am bigger in some places and much smaller in others, it’s almost unhealthy. But this look pleases the men, they are proud of what they have done.

I hear them talk about me, as if I have no opinions or feelings of my own. They agree on what they can do to me, they settle on their price. There have been times were parts of me have been sold for a very high price. And then, there have been times where the price was so little, so degrading. The most dreadful times are when I have been unfairly shared or simply taken.

Of course, there are times when I feel an immoral sense of pride as they fight over me. Men think they own me. They hate it when they see others touching me, touching their property. Blood has been spilt across my skin many times. Sometimes it is just two men, or a group, but there have been times when hundreds have died for me. It has been this way for years and I doubt it will ever truly stop, for as long as my body is bright and fresh people will want it.

Yes, men have used me and hurt me. But the women have hurt me just as much. They think that men are the worst culprits. They will readily point at them, blame them, scream at them, but they are just as much at fault. Women try to look the best, smell the best; be the best. But none of them can rival my pure, natural beauty and this angers the women. So they take it out on me. They try to destroy me and then blame it on the men.

Some men believe themselves to be heroes, as if they can whisk me away to some better place. They believe they’re the ones that will fix me. And yet, they’re still here using me. Men won’t stop coming to me because truthfully they don’t want to be the one missing out. Just because one man stops using me doesn’t mean all the others will. And if one man can have me they should all be allowed to. So the hero who thinks he can save me, he’s in denial, he wants to use me just as much as the others and that hurts so much more.
But I guess I don’t blame them, the men or the women. I started this myself, in a way, I invited them, enticed them. I knew what I had, what I could do and I wanted to show off to everyone, it just didn’t go the way I expected it to go. But I don’t think it’s possible for me to take it all away now, the men wouldn’t be able to cope, they’d go mad, and it would destroy them. I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I did leave. Would they give up? Would they die? Would they just get on with their lives? Or worse, would they move on and find another to satisfy their needs?

I have heard talk of another place that they could go to when I have dried up and burnt out. They talk as if I cannot hear, as if I won’t be hurt. They have made big plans already; they have spent so much time, attention, and money. They act as if I will be gone very soon and they must hurry with their schemes. But I do not feel ready to die yet, I want to go on living and have them be with me. I have seen where they want to go and I am so much better. I am not usually a jealous being but this angers me. How dare they leave me before I am ready? I have given so much to them and they just used me, they got all they can out of me, changed me, defiled me. What can I possibly do without them? After all these years it’s not like I can create anything new, I cannot bring life anymore, they made sure of that. Well, I will not be abandoned. I will make them sorry that they ever got involved with me.

I will make them pay for ruining Earth.