Saturday, 29 October 2016

Time Travellers

The outside to their worlds,
She watched,
As they passed by.
 Fascinated by their unknown destinations. 
All strangers. 
They all blurred after long,
Just misty bodies and frames
Looking like time travellers,
Making footprints in marble
Like ghosts they moved, 
Invisible to each stare. 
Were they not distant brothers and sisters?
Kin to one another?
So much breath wasted on hate,
Intelligent creatures, who lavish there talent in death.
Blinded by difference, lost themselves in endless lineage. 
Has thy affections been vanquished over paper and earth,
Stunned by breed, heedless to see 
You share one brain, 
One heart, 
Once soul. 

Hey guys its Lydia here! I wrote this open on my break a few days ago, while I was doing my work experience in London. I was mainly influenced from some of the issues that are going on with society right now, but in literacy connections I have been reading a lot of World War One poems, and I've been reading and almost finished To Kill a Mocking bird, which is such a beautifully written book and I highly recommend you to read it, love it and wrap your mind around the novel. 
Give me a comment on the poem, telling me whether you like it or think it could be improved, I'm still not so sure on the coffee bit at the beginning. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Basket Cask

Hey guys! Its Lydia here. Sorry I haven't posted in a few weeks, I've been extremely busy with school work. But here's a poem I wrote yesterday. Leave me a comment if you enjoyed it or perhaps one on how it could be improved.

“Sir, sir, the soldiers, they ain’t right in the head. The doctors say they got Shellshock.”
“Poppycock, nonsense boy. They’re cowards, they might as well back up and become women. The army is no place for those sort.”

The wasteland, the setting
Of the story, clay of blood their
Bodies absorbed and soaked.

Before he saw a skull,
Like a mushroom amongst the trench.
Its empty eyes await his future.
Soldiers mangled, decaying bones
Devise the field. Where they fall,
Is where they die.
Forever in unblessed graves they lie.

He trembled, unmoving on the battlefield.
Rifle in hand, eyes twitching
Hearing the howls of dying comrades.
He looked around, where was Billy?
Where was John? They lay at his feet.
Billy’s face was rolled down like a blind,
With teeth through lower lip.
And John’s form torn apart
Arms and legs spumed like vomit.
He heard before he saw.
Like angry wasps they flew.
The metallic insects whistled in their charge.
They stung in clavicle and thigh,
Hissing as tail imbedded in flesh.
Struck down, he fell, arms spread.
Legacy flowed from his wounds,
And spread to drown his friends in red.
Is this how Jesus felt, dying, bleeding
On the cross? His life was remembered,
Dedicated in a book.
But his will never mean as much.

He woke in a hospital, friendless,
Lifeless, a living corpse.
The shoulder strapped and healing.
His leg trimmed at mid thigh,
Left in No Mans Land to rot and die with the lot.
The helpless future he demanded from others,
As he took the title, the Basket Case.

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Great Gatsby

Hello, it's Heather here! I realised a few hours ago that I've accidentally avoided reviewing any books that our English Literature class has studied, which is odd considering how good they've all been. So, here's one on The Great Gatsby.

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published: 1925
Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons
My rating: ★★★★

The symbolism is so obvious in this book; it’s like a canary yellow car hit you with the hidden meanings. It’s quite understandable why The Great Gatsby is well-renowned in the English Literature world, flick to any page and it’s like a recipe for how to write a decent novel (2 tablespoons of foreshadowing, 100 grams of metaphors and a pinch of alliteration). If you haven’t already read The Great Gatsby, then do it right now.
Fitzgerald echoes his own relationship through the novel, making the reader feel pity for Gatsby upon first reading. Some of the writing is beautiful, like how Daisy blossomed like a flower for Gatsby on their first kiss. There should be more books set in the Jazz Age; it is simply an enchanting time for a story to be set, what with the glamour and sparkles of the rich mixed with the many people unable to quite reach it. The plot itself is intriguing, especially thanks to Nick, who I loved as a protagonist. Nick lies so many times, he paints himself out to be virtuous and humble and positive, and outwardly it may seem that this is true – but the true Nick is jam-packed with judgement, he is so unbelievably blunt and conclusive that it’s almost laughable. I suppose this is all part of the green-light illusion, Nick can see this version of himself, but it’s untouchable in a society where materialism is valued so highly. The American Dream is far from the main focus of the novel, but having just looked at Merton in sociology, I can certainly see how strain theory is in place. Gatsby being the working class boy that dreamt of a grand lifestyle only obtainable through illegitimate means and having fully gained the respect and rewards he wanted via these methods. The ambiguous nature of a lot of the book makes it interesting to analyse, we never truly know if Gatsby tells Nick the truth, we never quite learn how Nick ends up in most scenarios or why he feels that if he does not interfere or reveal any secrets, he will be the better man.
As I said before, symbolism is paramount in the book. Literally everything can be seen in a different way, which makes it fun to write essays about… take the green light at the end of Gatsby’s dock and ponder these three explanations. Green is corresponded with safety, so Gatsby wistfully looks upon the light as he thinks of his family and the quiet life he left behind in exchange for quite a savage world of gangs and parties. Green can be associated with healing, so Gatsby wants someone to mend the heart that has been hurting for such a long time now. In some countries, green is the colour of money so he yearns for more and more money, mirroring that consumerist life the upper class indulged in. The list goes on, but you get the picture. I remember writing my notes about The Great Gatsby and coming across a random comment about purchasing oranges and lemons – this was so exciting for me that I soon had a substantial debate outlining how these objects clearly showed that Gatsby is being mocked by a song about bells for having a lack of morals (chances are he just liked fruit, or Fitzgerald wanted to demonstrate his wealth). Sadly, that chunk of notes has never made it into one of my essays, but I wait in anticipation for the day someone asks me about the significance of oranges and lemons featuring in The Great Gatsby.
It's good to consider love in the book, since nobody really gets a fairy-tale ending; reciprocated true love is arguably absent from the book. Shani and I are huge ‘shippers’ of Nick and Jay – Nick even says his smile was gorgeous! Nick is so blinded with admiration that the book is smothered in positive language about Gatsby despite several others claiming he’s got some dodgy money-making ways and is rumoured to be related to very scandalous people indeed. Gatsby grins and Nick swoons like my fellow bloggers do when I present them with hardback books. Gatsby does not reciprocate and seems to be completely oblivious, which is probably a good thing considering the historical context.
This book review was more of a ramble (and an excuse to finally pent out my love for oranges and lemons), so apologies for that, but let me know what you thought of The Great Gatsby if you have read it.   

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Flash Drama

Set in a basement of a house, a man is locked up for the murders he has committed. While he sleeps on a wooden stool, his conscious comes out from his body and realizes and remarks in what he has done.
Wakes up form his death like sleep.

Jeremy: Why am I covered in a cloak of staining red! I taste it on my tongue with metallic disgust. I see it through my eyes; it tinges my vision with thick scarlet. This is not my blood. (He looks to the body asleep on the stool.) What have you done you monster! Caked in red mud! What is this place? A dungeon? A basement! There are no windows except the small peephole in the corner over there. (Points to the left hand corner behind him.) The dark is too suffocating; it engulfs me and swallows me whole. I am the victim left in the beast’s fangs, forever trapped in its warm saliva. He is the monster! (Gestures to the body.) I am the fool who was deceived by his kind face, but no, what lives in his mind is so grotesque and demonic that it would scare you half blind. He sleeps so peacefully now, but when awakes he churns and twitches of whom is next victim will be. (Breaths deeply) He killed my wife, Sarah. Lovely, kind benevolent Sarah, he stole her spirit away in an act of madness. He could not stand her good will and graces, for her vast beauty reflected her inside. (He weeps) My love, (He looks up, holdings is palms together) do not think me evil, it was the other who did you wrong. Indeed I was present, but trapped in the mind of a demon. (He whispers, “I love you”) I do not deserve to be in this cave of a place, to have blood of another on my innocent skin. (Rubs his hands together) I am not the monster with ‘terrible teeth and terrible claws’; I am not the one who is the chill in a nightmare. I am not the curse of the living. My heartbeats and pounds against the chest, (Puts his hand over his heart) but I am beguiled in the brain of a soulless man. Yet his heart never contracts, but he still stands.
Wake up you hellion! (He shouts, and kicks the shin of the body.)

-       Red eyes are now alert and awake and the body rises.

- Lights out, end of scene.

Hey guys!! Its Lydia here, sorry its been so long since I last posted anything, I've been very busy with school work! Here's something I recently did for my creative writing class. 
Leave me a comment and tell me what you think. 

The Girl In Between

It's Heather here, this is such a great book!

Author: Laekan Zea Kemp
Published: September 2014
Publisher: Amazon Media EU (though I’m unsure on whether this was the publisher or just the seller)
My rating: ★★★★

THIS BOOK IS FREE ON KINDLE RIGHT NOW – GO AHEAD AND BUY IT! I was scouring the young adult/fantasy books on my Kindle when, amongst numerous blokes dramatically flaunting their bare and tattooed chests on book covers, I found this. I know the saying – don’t judge a book by its cover – many a time has a book cover been deceptive to me (see my review on the light of the fireflies), but I really wanted something a little different from the whole ‘woah it’s a sassy teenage girl who overreacts about literally everything that falls in love with a sub-human’ tat that you tend to find. Anyway, enough ranting.
The Girl In Between refers to Bryn, who has Klein-Levin syndrome, which the book description romanticises to sleeping beauty syndrome. Fear not though, the book itself goes against this poetic and lovely yet totally wrong idea of the syndrome being ideal. The disease is fairly rare; it basically means that sometimes Bryn will fall into a deep sleep that lasts - well it’s hard to define exactly how long her sleep does last for, considering it varies from a few months to three days. I dedicate ten minutes each day to whining about how exhausted I am to my friends, and a further twenty minutes to mentally wishing I was asleep. At first the idea of having such a long sleep seems serene and precious, but Laekan Zea Kemp really puts the reader into Bryn’s head; we feel her frustrations at missing out on key parts of life, her loneliness fluttering like a bird trapped in her chest, the exclusion and the stigmatisation from the kids at school, the constant feeling of selfishness, the panic over whether her mother’s life is mostly spent caring for her. It’s a burden that I would wish upon no one. The saddest part of the book is the reality – Klein- Levin Syndrome is not fictional, much like when reading Regeneration, this mingling of real issues and story makes it all the more distressing. Bryn’s case is unique; she is transported to a landscape of memories whilst sleeping, so spends the time hiking a place that sweeps between her grandfather’s farmhouse, the caravan she used to live in, beaches and various other places. She is completely alone here. Meanwhile at home, she mechanically eats and uses the bathroom when necessary. That is until, during one episode, a boy falls into her landscape; someone that is neither a part of her memory nor has a memory of his own.
I really am trying to avoid spoilers in this review since I plan on encouraging (or forcing) my friends to read this book, so if I do breach this then do comment and let me know. The protagonist is never described as pretty, her disease means she binge eats at points and her shape can go from very underweight to ‘chubby’. I loved this. I really hope they don’t disrupt this aspect if the book is ever turned into a film. I was flabbergasted to find a review on the book that said the poetic and descriptive nature of the book was bad? I’ve read far too many young adult books that seem to be under the illusion that plot is the only thing that makes a book worthy of being read – if you cannot visualise the book, if it does not make you think or echo the concern the characters mentally voice then is it really literature? I really like flowery bits and bobs, I want to feel everything that the protagonist feels, I want to see and smell and ponder even the silliest of details that seem utterly fatuous. Whilst I commend the author for integrating some of this detail into her book, I’d like to have more of it. The plot is brilliant, really impressive, with nice little details about how her family and friends are also having… well… lives… several books seem to disregard anyone but the protagonist so it’s always good to have some other characters actually focused on. There were some exceptional characters, some less so. Felix was the perfect, typical teenage lad. Her grandmother was hilariously prude, complacent and ‘old fashioned’. Drew was frustratingly good at bending people’s words to fit his situation. These three were absolutely spot on. At points, one may argue that it’s confusing to determine what is in Bryn’s head as opposed to what is real, though I see this as a benefit since Bryn herself is just as confused as the reader.
The book ends in a real ‘wi-fi is buffering’ moment (I was going to say cliff-hanger, but that seemed a little cliché). You’ll hence be glad to discover that there are in fact two more books currently out in the same series and another on its way! This is a great book that’s easy to read and has an intriguing and imaginative plot that blends the serious issue of Klein-Levin syndrome into a fictional adventure. Please do comment below if you’ve read or are intending to read it!