25 February 2013

No to the Oxford Comma

There are natural rhythms and pauses in the English language; peaks and troughs, in which there is no space or requirement for the Oxford comma - at all. Unnecessary. It makes the aesthetic of the written line...awkward. A comma before an 'and' and 'but' looks like an impostor, a trip, accidentally annoying, the proverbial banana skin placed to have you fall flat on your back. I really do find it hard to abide. I physically wince when I see one.

Unlike this kind writer, for me, it is  very personal *wicked smile*

Also the Environmental Secretary, Owen Paterson agrees, so my view is completed validated, I mean on a *cough* cooler note, Vampire Weekend sum it up in their song. Even though they say 'who gives a f*** about an Oxford comma?' it mattered enough to be in a song. So don't look at me like that, as if I wasted a whole blog post on this issue. It's safer in this kind of forum, as it could be a dangerous subject to broach out in the real world with actual people, as Lynne Truss said:
"There are people who embrace the Oxford comma and people who don't and I'll just say this: never get between these people when drink has been taken."

Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma

16 February 2013

9.02.2012 - Fire and Snow

Reader, I confess that I confessed I would be more candid in my written accounts. I'm not sure how to really start this particular post, as it was meant for the 9th of February and it's of a very personal nature.

9th February has some significance to me as of last year. It was a bright, crisp winter morning and the snow was still clinging to the side of pavements and patches of grass, more ice than fluffy flakes of cold, white wonder. I drove to hospital with an elevated joy and arrived there to see the clinic near empty. I was seen by the consultant ON time (we're talking about the NHS here, so there was the first miracle of the day). My appointment lasted a mere few minutes; all I had to tell him was that I was no longer on medication. No longer on any form of allopathic medicine. I was going along on herbal remedies alone, something the medical world all tell you is useless once they've diagnosed you with an 'incurable' condition. As if their failed attempts to cure (not manage, which is all they can do, at best) means no one else can possibly succeed. (Please note, reader, I write only from my own experience, so my conclusions are of a personal nature, though they appear to be couched in a generalisation).

My consultant has supported my move into exploring natural remedies, seeing as immuno-suppressants had  me fighting for my life - but he does not hold any faith in it. That's fine by me because at least he can admit that, after what had happened to me, it was remarkable that I was doing so well. I had smiled madly at this, biting my lip to stop myself from adding 'All without drugs, doctor!'

I would never say that to my consultant, he' s too nice. I would to my old consultant,  he was heartless.
GIF courtesy of http://wheninlondontown.tumblr.com/
It is a small wonder and a quiet triumph that is without pomp or screams of delight. When I first went through being diagnosed a few years back, I remember the ride home from Roding Hospital and just being so utterly devastated. I cried in loud wails. The car pulled up our driveway and I didn't even want to move. It was midsummer and the end of life as I knew it. If anyone had told me then, that in less than five years, I would be well and healthy and off drugs, enjoying life with real poignancy and zest for that organic spark inside of us, I would have not even been able to conceive of that notion, process those thoughts, the sentiments behind them, anything. It would have all been consumed in a terrible void.

So when I returned back home last year from hospital, with Robert McKee's 'Story' in hand, the woudrous realisation came upon me. It was not instant or gripping, it was just an assured conviction, with a constant warmth, in the same way the midwinter sun shone that day on the drive outside the family home. What did dawn on me more suddenly was the reflection, the 'turnaround' of that moment - here I was standing in the drive on a snowy, crisp morning in midwinter, filled with an inexpressible sense of achievement, peace and something deeper than faith; an assurance that a river might have in its one sole mission to reach the sea, come what may. A few mere years ago, this same girl had stood in the driveway in hot midsummer with empty devastation. That day mum and dad had been with me but I had been as good as alone, alone, alone, forsaken by life. Now, I stood solitarily but completely consumed by life, amongst everything. By the gods, is this what they talked about when you glimpse bliss? I was there. Twas good, twas real good. And it was so, so calming.

That day was magically rounded off by seeing Kina Grannis play at The Union Chapel. And it snowed once the concert was over and my sister and I made our way back home. Another beautiful turnaround  - ice - the opposite of the over-fired, inflammatory nature that had manifested inside of me.

Sublime. I love that word. And I had experienced it.


Kina Grannis - Message from Your Heart

7 February 2013

Spoon Comedy at Camden Head

I had the pleasure of watching this fab comedy ensemble perform at Camden Head recently and took a few snaps of the night. It was a simple set but with some great laughs to be had. One of the comedians is ridiculously tall and the other petite, so you can imagine the scenarios that arose from that alone - a highlight was their take on the 'I look up to him' sketch. The troupe is made up of fab Pauline, cheeky Tiz, tall Paul and Jon,  the dude with the gun (see below).

I just think it's super brave to get up and give comedy sketches a go. And it was a great relief/antidote to the super stressful attempt to get there. I had to keep pausing the photo snaps to just sit back and appreciate the funny stuff.

Anyhoo! Spoon Comedy are on Facebook here and Twitter here. Their next show is on February 23rd if you fancy checking out some fun, fledgeling comedy.

1 February 2013

New Short Story posted

So, this week, I'm actually blogging a relevant 'my own writing' kind of post. Gosh, what a terrible opening line! (Wahey, for unedited mind babble!)

Anyway, in an attempt to keep the website alive with fresher writing content, I've posted up the first part of a short story that I finally got around to penning. Now, I allowed myself to indulge a little with this text because I've not written it for any specific purpose, other than to get it down and done. It forms a prelude to a wider concept around a young girl befriending tree spirits. So I don't know whether it will in fact grow in that manner but hey.

So yes, I kind of wrote less censored or refined as it were and it's definitely a small exercise in drawing from 'what I know'. And it's in first person POV - shocker! It's not usually my format of choice - I'm not averse to it but perhaps I've resisted it from reading too many sub-standard YA fantasy - more on that in another post where I give my thoughts on 'City of Bones' and the insufferable patterns from this pop genre.

I'm rubbish at selling my work, which is something I need to skill up on because it's kind of necessary in the publishing obstacle course. But I know the starting point is just being able to write, write, write. And then putting out there into the internet-ether and letting it breathe, with the opportunity of others to give thoughts if they so desire.

I did enjoy just letting the words find their place on the page and I hope that kind of comes across to any readers.