Where I am the best version of me.

Is there a place where you feel like a different person, or perhaps where you feel like a superior or ultimate version of yourself? Somewhere that brings out your greatest aspects, diminishes you faults, somewhere where you excel. Mine is my old university town. I have yet to find anywhere that can make me feel safe and peaceful; it is where I formed some of great ideas about literature, art, friends and life. Aberystwyth in Wales lives in its own dazzling bubble, with little crime, vice or evil one can quite happy forget there is a big bad world beyond it boarders. It was a place where I could just be, just live and be happy.

I went through a lot of pain there but I never felt isolated or lonely. It wasn’t just the incredible people I met there, the place itself stood by my side, it laughed with me, stood close by me when I cried in the dark and stopped the world to comfort me. I miss it, I miss the people I love so much I cling to them as though I’m afraid they are a wonderful dream that will slip through my fingers. I miss the person I was there, the better, smarter, prettier and happier person. I miss the conversations about politics, books, comics, films, music, love, passion and life. I wondered if it was just me who had a place like this? Or does everyone have a place where they are the person they could be?   

Tumbling Pretties

Great Gatsby

I have a list of books in my head that I’m desperate to read or think that I should read. On the list is the Great Gatsby which I finished about a week ago. It has taken me a while to figure out what I thought and feel about the novel. It was never going to measure up to the magnitude I had built it up to. I suppose that will always be a problem when you pick up a novel that is so renowned, by an author as admired as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Words and phrases such as ‘classic’ and ‘loved by everyone’ will always mar you opinion for better or worse before you even read the first line.

I felt that the novel was dull, like 1984 I felt nothing really happened for a long time. I felt no emotional investment; I didn’t care for Nick, who did nothing but watch the world he happily inhabited with cynicism, I didn’t care for Daisy and after the intrigue of waiting for the infamous Gatsby to appear on the written page I no longer cared for Jay. And I was waiting, always waiting; waiting for Fitzgerald to say something, less obvious than, look at the moral decay of our time, look at the decay of the American dream. I wanted him say something subtle, through all the negative, all the putrid and festering commotion, something positive. I wanted there to be an understated acknowledgment that there was still beauty in life, however much the good hearts and dreams are doomed to die and leave little mark on a glittering materialistic world. There are many things I could say about the novel but I could never say it wasn’t beautiful, I kept reading because it was aesthetically so pleasing.

This carefully crafted piece of art is at heart a thwarted love story of star-crossed lovers and while keeping to the traditional separation devices of money and status, the fact the lovers aren’t perfect makes them easier to relate to. Romantic idolised lovers are untouchable; however, it is their flaws that make Daisy and Gatsby interesting. It is the flaws in the lovers and in the wealthy that leads to their destruction, the society and morals around them are decaying. Both of these verge on being romanticised but are dragged back to represent the dark dangerous world that was developing in the 1920’s. It is the disillusionment that Fitzgerald presents to the reader that is so striking, the 1920s is a world presented full of greed and the pursuit of pleasure that is an all top accurate illustration of our current world, a world despite it rotten core will remain outwardly stunning.

Fitzgerald speaks to the readers fears that good hearts like Gatsby’s seem doomed to die but isn’t that just because we remember? No one will remember Tom, Daisy or Jordan but we will always recall the one who is great long after they are gone, believing they left too early. It is the fear that our dreams will die that speaks so well to the reader, no one wants to believe that the American or Gatsby’s dream will die or worse, in its essence is untouchable. Fitzgerald does raise the question, do we idealise and perfect dreams to a point that renders them unattainable and effectively doom them to die in a materialist world?

Gatsby may have been trapped in the past by status and background but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of recreation. Yes I wish Gatsby wasn’t chasing a past summer but who is to say he wouldn’t create a better summer when he caught it? What I love about Gatsby is that he believes in the green light despite what he has seen in war and how cynical the world has made him. He still believes in his dream of the better world he wants to create. The belief that people will choose to dream of something better in a dark world is wonderful and one I believe in whole heartedly.

So yeah, I still think it was dull and there were things I didn’t like about The Great Gatsbybut I doubt that is what I’m going to talk about when someone asks me if I’ve read the book.

The cover of the first edition of The Great Ga...

Green eyed monster and other fiends

Jealousy is an ugly thing, it is horrible when it takes hold of you, the “green-ey’d monster that doth mock The meat it feeds on” (Othello, Shakespeare) and what is worse you can’t save someone else from the monster’s grip. You can’t change how people feel. I find that as I get older that the main problem when trying to maintain relationships is that you can’t control how people feel. Then again if you could control how someone felt life would be much simpler. I can’t stop someone having feelings for me or not as the case maybe. I can’t help it is someone is jealous or disappointed and I can’t stop a person being tactless or feeling humiliated. I can’t stand that, that other people maybe hurt and there isn’t very much I can do about it.

I dislike people who lead devoted admirers on because they like the attention but have no romantic interest in them, it setting them up for an agonising fall. No you can’t stop a person liking you but you can control your actions around them and stop leading them on. Two of my friends are currently engaged in this dance and I worry about the fallout and the pain that will be cause and whether either party is really ready for it. You can’t stop a person being jealous but you can try to appease the situation and know when to call it a day if it’s not going to change. My colleague at work is determined to make a relationship work with a man who is cause hurt by her every move it seems. You can’t stop someone being hurt by a joke but you can stop telling it and you can’t stop someone feeling disappointed in you but you can at least try. I’m sorry to say when I was younger, for a short period, I manipulated people’s emotions to get what I wanted and since I couldn’t change how people felt I chose to simply not care. It didn’t last long I find it heartbreaking to see people unhappy and am happy to do everything to make someone smile just a little bit.

You can’t control how other people feel, you can’t control if they fall in love or what they will find ridiculous or how they will react to an event. As I’ve got older I have watched more and more people try to manipulate others emotions or pre-empt how people will react, I have watched these interactions with limited success. Now I’m older I realise you can’t predict how people will feel, you can only control your own actions and the intent of those actions. I find it distressing that I can’t promise that people will always like what I do or that someone won’t end up being hurt, all I can do within my own power is to endeavour to do what I think is right and to the best of my abilities not cause pain to those around me. This doesn’t mean I won’t cause someone pain, I already have and I probably will again, it just means I’ll strive to do minimal damage.

The Hunger Games

 

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

So I haven't read this yet.............

So this will probably only serve to demonstrate that I live in the UK and that I’m not a teenager anymore (apparently twenteen is okay but twenteenone is too much of a mouth full to be tolerated and people just give me a look of pity when I use the phase) but I haven’t actually read The Hunger Game books. I know, I know it is a disgraceful thing to state, but it’s the truth. PLEASE DON’T HURT ME, I have so much to live for, for example actually reading The Hunger Games Trilogy.

The thing is until recently I had never heard of The Hunger Games, not even a little peep, then suddenly it sort of exploded everywhere, it seems to have appendages scattered all over the place, blogs, vlogs, newspapers, magazines, posters and the television. I don’t even watch TV anymore so if I know it’s there I can’t imagine what it is like for regular viewers.  This is by no means a terrible thing, because you know what?? Colour me intrigued, what the hell have I been missing??

It isn’t just me who has been missing it, none of my friends (bear in mind most my friends are students of literature) have read it either. It just seems to have missed most of the UK, which is really disappointing considering we got Twilight, I mean really if you are going to put us through the agony of Twilight USA at least give us a light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’m not exactly its target audience but one of my favourite books is Artemis Fowl and that is aimed at 12 year old boys so I think I can manage The Hunger Games.  All I’ve got from posting the question on Facebook “So anyone actually read the Hunger Games?” is ridicule from my American friends for missing out on something great, obliviousness from my UK friends and surprise that it’s a book as well as a film and the general consensus that it’s better than Twilight.

Here are my questions: Is the writing decent?? Has it got a better idea then Romeo and Juliet with Vampires?? Is it interesting or am I going to feel like I’m wading through treacle?? Are the characters engaging and am I going to care about their plight?? Is it really as good a social commentary as everyone suggests?? Can I put it by H.G, Wells collection of dystopian literature?? And is it worth reading beyond the reason of seeing what all the fuss is about??

I just want to know if it will be good, that’s all?? Not that I don’t read a lot of rubbish but with all the hype I don’t want to end up despairing at the worlds taste in literature. I’ll be honest I’ll probably read it anyway I just want to know if I’m going to enjoy it or am I going to finish it and hate the world, feeling it was a really disappointing lover that lied to me about how great their performance was going to be.

Letter to self,

everything I could never tell you

All the words I think but don't always tell

15:49pm GMT

In Sister’s Room

Home

Dear me,

I would address this more specifically but we do have a terrible habit of changing our preference of what we go by and what people call us. I am writing a letter to my future self, where ever and whenever I have chosen to read it again. This is as bizarre as the last time I did it, if just a little more familiar. I doubt you even get letters anymore, I know that I’ll be sorry about that, I like letters, they will be an archaic form of communication but nevertheless a lost art form.

I’m not writing to set us a goal or a target for the future I have no doubt that we will achieve whatever we have set you to do.  This is simply a reminder not to run away from life, happiness and what you really want. I know you, I know what you are like, you let fear of upsetting or hurting the people around you stop you; I don’t think you can live a whole life caring for other people’s emotions and neglecting your own. I speak from experience as much as you like living vicariously and sharing others happiness it’s not really your own.

I just want you to remember at an unspecific point in time who you are right now, at this specific moment. I’m lost in the utopia, the no place, stuck in a transition between my youth and adulthood. The things I know is that love is an incredible force, my friends and family are my world and hugs are wonderful. My head is an amazing if complicated place to be. I don’t always like my reflection, sometimes I hate for so many reasons. I have no regrets but I’m not proud of everything I have done. I have never been in love and I don’t believe in it, I’m too pragmatic to believe I would give up everything for someone or that I would open myself up to so much hurt. I don’t even think I could have children I think the pain of love would kill me. I think love for the people around me is killing me. I’m still however at heart the greatest romantic and an optimist masquerading as a pessimist. I lose hours just staring at the beauty in the world, at the splendour of my own little part of it and at the magnificence in the imperfect and small things. I am in utter awe of humanities creativity and its development, especially its ability to communicate ideas and in constant fear of atrocious acts it is capable of. I believe in humanity’s potential. I’m not numb anymore, but I’m not as happy as I used to be, in fact right now I’m terrified, terrified of not becoming the person I am meant to be. I’m terrified but I’m not holding back, I’m not a coward, the path maybe rough but I know deep down I am tough enough for this world. I adore the possibilities I have. And I used to be a dreamer, not so much now.

I hope you have remembered everything you have learnt up till now, things such as you should always believe in something no matter how small. Maintain that brilliant contradiction of always believing but questioning everything. Always know that magic is everywhere in the world if you look for it. I hope you reading too much, always have a camera to photograph everything and always have a jotter handy to write every moment and thought large and small and everything in between. I hope we still live every moment like it will never happen again, that we have travelled, done and experienced as much as we can, grabbing every chance has created some great memories. I hope we don’t wait till we are ready because I fear we will wait forever. Be happy but remember to feel, don’t let yourself be numb again, don’t let your soul die.

I have to wonder where and what I’m doing and who I have become. How do we compare? The person who was, the person now and the person I have become. I can only answer two of those, I hope I have grown and change, my identity still fluid and full of possibilities. I wonder in our quest to reach the stars where did we land? I hope we lost and found ourselves a million times over because that’s the only way to know who we really are. If you are not still a geek, you have betrayed your roots and I hope music, art and literature still makes you giddy and smile. Most of all I hope our pile of good things that has happened in life is bigger than the bad and that neither one has tarnished the other. Everything bad that happens is an experience and everything good is wonderful. I hope that you have learnt from everything that has happened and that everyone who has entered your life did so for a reason and help you grow and be simply you.

I hope you still ramble like this because being in your head most of the time is a pleasure.

Yours lost in utopia at 21.

Age and letters here

It’s a Bookworm Thing

The book lovers chair

The book lovers chair

I am having a bad week, the Monday Blues stuck around and this week has just not gone my way or even been remotely tolerable. The universe seems to have taken offence to me. I’m currently in last minute negotiations for an improvement on next week, but trying to get the universe in a dialogue is like getting a child to sit still. Neither wants to be unmoving and must be everywhere at once spouting outrageous demands that if refused will result in tantrums. I am, however, hopeful.

Sweety Shop

Sweety Shop

My bad week has given me a chance to indulge my weakness and great passion, the written word. I really don’t need an excuse to read an obscene amount of books, but a bad week where all I can do to cheer myself up is to picture the next time I’ll get to pick up my book, it becomes the few minutes of sunshine in an otherwise very bleak day. A beautifully written book can make everything better, it can make you feel an immeasurable amount of emotions and make you believe you can take on the world. It can do the wonderful thing of filling you with a golden glow from your head to your toes. As for a not so beautifully written book, well that can just amuse you for a couple of hours. Buying a new book is like… being in a sweet shop and they have new stock. The old trusted tastes are still there to be procured but there are so many new ones to try, to experiment with, to be enjoyed.

Classics

Classics

You can open a book and be taken anywhere, to the far reaches of the globe or a completely different world. A good book has the ability to whisk you away to improbable places, away from your world to anywhere you and the author cares to dream of. Then there are the books that take you home and are so familiar they comfort you. It doesn’t matter how far beyond your own knowledge a book maybe, a good one, when you pick it up makes you feel, smell and hear everything. You are there with the author and character, gone from your seat to somewhere special; even if it is just someone else’s day to day life. Some books reflect reality, time and culture; they are an extraordinary gateway to experiences and societies outside your own. Books stand as a documentation of a way of life that has the potential to be sadly lost, preserving a world safely in black ink within bound pages.

They have to possibility to bring masses of people together, to unite and on occasions reshape literature, for example in the last ten years children’s novels has been completely revolutionised. They can touch a diverse range of people and connect them with one enjoyment. Literatures capability to expand a person’s belief of what is possible is fantastic, people often choose to translate the endless possibilities of books over into their lives and worlds.

Literature, books and novels change people lives, my own has been completely redirected by the written word and I believe there is no greater force. They can change a person, their ideas, attitudes and thinking, changing an outlook can make a person or break them. The written word has a wonderful potential to inspire a person or movement and it can communicate an idea in a few symbols. The written word is pleasurable, awesome and life changing. Or so this bookworm thinks.

 

Posting Literature thingys here all week!!