Sunday, 13 November 2016

Mental Trauma piece

Hey again guys!
It's Lydia here, yeah I know twice in one day. This piece is also a creative writing homework task, I wrote it about a week ago. But if you could leave me a comment on how it could become better and be improved, that would be great.

“Now Bill, you must speak to me. I am purely here to help you, it is my job,” he said carefully, “It may burst the magnitude of mental tension that has grown inside you.”

I can’t talk about that.  I cower from the pain of these relentless thoughts and can say nothing. I want so badly to speak, to form the words, to feel my tongue glide over teeth in the formation. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. Speaking of the horror was reliving the experience all over again. The nature as humans is to stay in the comfort and ease of our warm beds, to feel the purple adrenaline lash through the blood pushing our legs to run away from danger. As soldiers we were forced to fight this chemical, to scream no when our minds said go home. It was what the army indoctrinated into every young man who stood ready in khaki green.
 As a boy who had newly turned eighteen when war was declared, I obeyed and was left chained up in my mind as a result.
I watched many people die. But one in particular haunted my thoughts. One afternoon, the Germans were continually pelting shell after shell at us. Each one getting nearer to my battalion, they seemed to scream, “I’m coming for you” then crash and explode as they hit the mud, each one was a growing parasite on my brain. One shell bounced off the cliff of the trench and fell with a clunk. We all waited for the quick death, but none came. It clicked in recognition, that we all wouldn’t join our deceased brothers, but what poured out of the grey can was just as damaging, it flowed like a mustard river, bubbling and teeming in all directions.
“Gas! Gas! Quick boys! Masks on!”
All but one found their mask. We all stood like evacuees waiting and watching. There was nothing we could do. The fog embraced him, crushing his life with invisible force. He fell choking, gargling blood and writhing like a waterless fish. It would be over any second now I thought. He took ten minutes to die. This painful end replayed in the back of my eyes every night, I couldn’t stop my mind from seeing the red foamed lips and yellow stained body. He was the last face I saw until my inner workings were infiltrated by buzzing insects that ate away at my rigid structure, causing the hold on myself to flop and go limp, and my form hit the earth in guilt filled exhaustion.
He and so many more ghosts swarm around inside me asking why I’m alive and they aren’t, and why am I so special that I was granted to live. I simply answer I don’t know. I keep telling them that I don’t want to be here, that I want to die, hitting and slamming my hands against my head to stop the voices.
A conscious keeps reassuring me, but I can’t seem to hear the nurturing voice over the pounding in my brain. In each beat their names are said, Jack, Michael, Jacob, Oliver, William, Robert.
The inner workings of me seemed to twitch, seize and snatch as I recoiled in the memory of each of their deaths.

“Open your mouth Bill. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the sake of your wife and children.” He said more agitatedly

“I have nothing to say.”

Imagery to present a character

Hey guys, long time no see! 
It's Lydia here!
Let me know what you think of this piece I wrote on Friday, it was homework from my creative writing class. 
Leave me a comment if you have any opinions to voice.

Can someone clarify the definition of beauty?
 I am not beautiful, my nose is wonky as a bent wire, and one eye is emerald green while the other is pastel blue. I do not have an crystal hour glass figure, its dumpy on top and balanced on thin legs like that of a child’s crayon drawing or a famous Picasso piece. My arms are hard and thick like leather and my hair is not long and luscious, but stubbornly rigid and straw-like.
I am not beautiful.
Yet the girl who sits across from me, Nancy, yes I think her name is, has white moon skin that shines like a light bulb in the mirror, while pinpricks of red blemishes are dotted about her cheeks as though droplets of blood on marble. Her features are structured and cohesive as if God made her with a protractor and ruler, the nose is high with balanced bones, and it curves like a silver spoon to meet a small pink sphere, and each eye is equally blue. Her face is shaped like a cut out heart, sweetly round and sinuous, that meets to join the hairline, the colour of coffee, with faint lines of fire orange that continue to the ends.
 Is this what perfection is?
How can this be while her insides bubble and boil, like an old hag stirring a caldron. With thin snake like wrinkles, that etches out like fork marks that reach her dying, dull and moldy eyes. Her skin isn’t a firm jewel, but limp and loose like a living corpse, with the colours of decease, a yellowing gray form with ageing purple bruises. Her body is bumpy but solid, as her skeletal form peaks beneath dusty skin. It seems that vanity has eaten her decayed soul, as the beast eats the innocent.

Inner beauty is something more I wish to harvest; the beating gold heart is of more worth than a full face.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Handmaid’s Tale

Hello, this is Heather! Lydia just uploaded some fantastic poetry, so if you haven’t already, please do go and read it; her and Shani write beautifully. On the topic of Lydia, she lent me this book a few weeks ago; I haven’t been able to review it for a while since I’ve been ill and pent up with writing UCAs stuff, but here’s a very short review on it.

Author: Margaret Atwood
Published: 1985
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart
My rating: ★★★

This dystopian novel certainly has some moments that make the reader withdraw in revulsion. It takes place after the society has changed, meaning women have no rights to own property or be independent. The narrator, known by the name of Offred, has lost her money, her job, her husband and her daughter because of this revolution. For those of you innocent to the meaning of a handmaid, it is someone hired to have a baby with the man of the family when the wife is deemed infertile. The theme of feminism is adamant throughout as women are exploited and abused by men in this society. Even the upper class, married women feel little love and seem to have no control over their marriage.
I am glad to report there is not much explicit sex written about (it would have made my train journey to Leeds on which I read the book a tad awkward). The whole procedure of making love is treated in the antithesis of a romantic or spontaneous thing; the wife being present the whole time and the protagonist not going into specific details on what is going on. I think this really shows how traumatic but also automated it became for the protagonist. It is merely a routine, a job to her, yet she twists what is happening in her language, making it seem like a dentist appointment. There is a definite theme of distance, the book being void of proximity or love. Offred never names her child, perhaps to create a sense of detachment between them, nor does she ever disclose her genuine name, so she seems to not even know herself.
The reader sympathises with how lonely the narrator is but also the confusion. There is scarcely any detail on exactly what happened to cause the revolution, which is quite scary; imagine going to work one day and finding that you’ve been fired… and you have no money… and your husband owns all you have. It’s a terrifying thought that so little control can be grasped in these situations. I was a little confused at how the protagonist could remember some aspects of the past but not others. She spends so much time on a daily basis reflecting on the past that one would have thought she’d have at least painted a version of most vital life events in her head – yet she seems to remember random little things and forget some quite big other bits of the past. Aside from that, I really liked the writing style. 
“I sit in the chair and think about the word chair. It can also mean the leader of a meeting. It can also mean a mode of execution. It is the first syllable in charity. It is the French word for flesh. None of these facts has any connection with the others.”
Comments like the above I felt should have been more frequent in the tale. Firstly, it’s something that we all think about sometimes, the quirky ways of our language and the way the strict definitions of words, much like Offred’s identity, get muddled amongst the ever-changing nature of society. She is focusing on something familiar, the patter of language, looking at words like they hold a secret meaning that could free her from a society where she is banned from reading. 
Lydia and I both tirade the ending of the novel, which is, kindly worded, ambiguous. I was disappointed to learn there are no sequels and even Wikipedia could not enlighten me of what happened in the ending – it seems Atwood decided to leave the reader completely alone in deciphering what happened. I suppose it’s like a cycle; Offred is puzzled when the society is changed and confused on what is going on, much like the reader when they reach the end.
I really enjoyed Atwood’s writing style, blending Offred’s past in beautifully with the present in a surprisingly not confusing way. Her plot is something scary but different, it’s just a shame the ending is not expanded on further.