Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The post which starts my career as a successful blogger...

So I’ve been reading other people’s blogs lately and it’s come to my attention that most successful blogs have pictures.

Now, I can’t draw like Adam or Allie and I don’t own any interesting taxidermied animals or animal shaped objects like Jenny so I turned to a slightly less orthodox visual art form.

By that I mean i sculpted something that vaguely resembled the intended animal and called it art. If you're interested, my medium of choice is non-hardening cheap-dollar-store plasticine/modelling clay (so help me if anyone makes a play-dough reference I will find you and I will release tarantulas in your car. Hungry tarantulas).

But this was meant to be about skating, not threatening my dear readers (all five of them). Yes, it’s been three days since I last skated but before that I skated six days in a row so don’t look at me like that with your judging eyes.

Besides, Monday was rainy and Tuesday…well, Tuesday I literally did not have time because we went on a field trip that took over 8 hours, and today was cold and miserable and I wanted to write a blog post instead. I’ll go tomorrow, I swear...except I have a meeting with a friend and then a show-thing to attend, and on Friday I have another show thing, but I'll go in the weekend, definitely. I promise. And I promised on the internet, so it must be true. It's like an unbreakable vow.

Quick aside because it's a funny story- the field trip was to see John Safran be interviewed by David Farrier and$, despite being basically an advertorial for Safran’s new book, it was pretty darned funny. However, my favourite moment was when we got to see the effects of a grey girder - which was hard to see, because it was Hamilton and it’s all grey (I kid, I kid) - on a turning vehicle. Our turning vehicle, to be precise. Pic to the right, insignia blanked so that nobody sues me (you never know), with the damage marked for your convenience.

Obviously just a minor scrape, with the only casualty being the driver’s ego. Personally, I found the whole thing to be totally hilarious. Clearly I do not react appropriately to potentially dangerous situations.

Back to the original topic. Now. I am really uncoordinated and quite clumsy, so it’s a bit of a miracle that I manage not to fall over whilst skating. Anyway, the main point of this whole story is that I saw a girl on inline skates the other day, looking graceful and elegant, and I started wondering what I look like on skates.

To your left is the conclusion I reached. For what I look like trying to walk in heels, substitute the skates for heels.

That’s right. A drunk giraffe (I really hope someone gets that reference).

And to the right is what I look like whilst going downhill.

I was going for terrified giraffe (look, at least this one has eyes) but it looks closer to a giraffe on acid. Also, check out my GIMP skills, enhancing the brightness (it was way worse before I ‘fixed’ it, I swear).

Today was just an experiment, so let me know what you think of the pictures (they’re terrible quality because they were taken on my phone and also so that it was harder to see my terrible sculpting).

Comment below with your thoughts and something you’d like me to try to sculpt and at lunchtime Monday I will put all the ideas in a hat and draw one out and that sculpture will feature in a blog post, along with a shout out to the suggester (shut up, it’s a word), should they so desire.

Love, Jess

Friday, 9 August 2013

Where my journey as a writer first began...

Firstly, I have some news. Those of you who know me, are you sitting down? Good.

Wait for it. Drumroll please….actually, the drumroll is overkill. Kill the drumroll.

The news is that I’ve started rollerblading for fitness. That said, I’m 4 days into, but that’s 2 and a half days longer than any other exercise program/regime/thing I’ve done (possibly because most of those involved waking up early and I am NOT a morning person).

I have rollerbladed before, quite a lot, but that was probably back before I started high school. Still, I haven’t fallen yet and I’m pretty good at the basic stuff. I can turn without falling (somewhat) and break quite effectively.

Writing at my primary school was mostly done in recount form (as in, “who, what, when, where, why, how”, with an introduction, series of events, and conclusion brought in later) and though I appreciate that this set me up well for later in my schooling years, I do regret that I didn’t discover creative writing earlier.

The problem with recounts was that they had to be factual and I never really did anything worth recounting because I was always meant to be cleaning my room and never did. So recounts and I did not get along.

In my first couple of years of primary school, we did read a lot of poetry, but that was nursery-rhyme type poetry, the stuff designed to help kids learn to read.

The first time I got to dabble in poetry was with a relief teacher during my first or second year. I’m not sure what the instructions were but I ended up writing an acrostic poem. My cat had just died and down the side of the page I wrote “WHEN SILKY THE CAT GOT HIT”. Maybe there’s a reason we stuck to factual writing.

The teacher loved it and submitted it to The School Journal, who rejected it on account of not having enough space. Fair enough. Never mind it was written by a 5/6 year old who had little idea of what an acrostic poem should look like.

The poem has long since been lost, which is a shame as I’m sure it would have been hilarious. I have no idea how or why, but I do remember the ILKY (from SILKY) lines though.

So, without further ado, here is a small slice of what is possibly the first poem I ever wrote

It isn’t obvious, isn’t to me,
Likely not to
You or me

For that to make even the slightest bit of sense, bear in mind I was talking about my cat getting hit by a car, and was five or six. I also clearly had no idea of my own mortality.

But the teacher who open the door to a world where words could be creative was Mrs Anstey, who taught me when I was year 5 or 6 (9 or 10 years old), and who also introduced me to the book Holes, by Louis Sachar, among other things.

She allowed us to play with words, introduced us to (slightly) more grown up poetry and allowed us to explore the feelings and thoughts it evoked. There was a beautiful one about autumn and the leaves which I can’t quite remember, and one about being a Marrog from Mars, but my favourite by far, the one that has stuck with me, is The Wendigo by Ogden Nash.

The Wendigo,
The Wendigo!
Its eyes are ice and indigo!
Its blood is rank and yellowish!
Its voice is hoarse and bellowish!
Its tentacles are slithery,
And scummy,
Its lips are hungry blubbery,
And smacky,

The Wendigo,
The Wendigo!
I saw it just a friend ago!
Last night it lurked in Canada;
Tonight, on your veranada!
As you are lolling hammockwise
It contemplates you stomachwise.
You loll,
It contemplates,
It lollops.
The rest is merely gulps and gollops.

I hope I’m not breaking too many copyright laws here.
I just love the imagery and the fact that he rhymed something with the word ‘indigo’. This is such an action based, physical poem, but so whimsical and descriptive as well. And fun.

The voice in my head still reads it with the same passion and intensity as Mrs Anstey did all those years ago. Mrs Judy Anstey, if you ever read this, thank you. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much you have influenced my life. You taught me that words could be fun and open my eyes to the worlds they could create. I may not have shown it (I was a right terror back then), but I loved your classes. Thank you. Thank you. A million times thank you.

And on that note, with a thank you and a potential copyright infringement, I shall say adieu.

Love, Jess

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sense and sensibility...

Well, today was interesting.

Today I had the chance to get intimately acquainted with a delicious piece of chocolate cake.

Allow me to explain. As part of a feature writing lesson (workshop?) with the wonderfully bright, inspiring and talented Virginia Winder, we were encouraged to engage our senses using some of Jaz's birthday cake (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAZZY-DAWG!).

Having done similar exercises at some of the better poetry workshops I've been to, I was quite excited at the idea of this.

First we examined it. I got interesting ideas and words such as "hazel eyed" (yeah, I don't understand it either), "like a gravel road" (it had two tiers with a strip of icing down the middle) for the cake itself, and "smooth mudflow" and "lahar" for the icing.

Secondly, we smelt the cake. That led to more...interesting....ideas, such as "like every chocolate cake ever, yet uniquely its own" (cliche, I know) and "rich and ashy like burned out fires" (you know how chocolate cakes, even perfectly cooked ones, have that "burnt" sort of smell? Just me then? Ok.).

Listening to the cake was quite challenging. This produced a range of different attempts to hear the cake, from dropping it to poking it. Apart from the obvious "Eat me", I heard "thump" and "squish".

I know I've already talked about how my favourite word is flail, but squish is probably among my top ten words. It's also an onomatopoeia (yes, it took me three attempts to spell that correctly), which means a word that sounds like what is is, such as boom, or pop, or sizzle. Onomatopoeia is also an awesome word.

But I digress, as usual. Next up was feeling the cake, which was quite fun. It definitely felt to me like a new sponge that was full of water. The only other description I could come up with was "like new slippers", because you know when you get new slippers, and for about ten minutes it feels like you're walking on air and firm pillows at the same time? It felt like that. Except new slippers lose the feeling after a day at the most, and I doubt the cake would have. Maybe we should make slippers out of cake...On second thoughts, maybe I should be forbidden from ever starting any sort of product line...

Finally, after all that suspense and build up, we got to eat the cake. That was also quite a difficult thing to describe. The icing was definitely soft and slippery, but the cake itself...I got frustrated because I couldn't find the right words and the closest thing I could come up with was "rice without edges". Don't ask me to explain that...

Final verdict is that the exercise was definitely helpful and Jaz's mother makes the best cake ever!

In other news (I use that quite often too, don't I?), I have a bubble gun, which started because I won a funky hat which prompted Robin, my tutor, to ask who had let me go to a rave. That inspired the bubble gun idea and so I bought one. It's blue and shaped like a seahorse. It is hand-powered and makes a pleasing whirring sound which I'm pretty sure my class is growing/has grown to hate.

Anyway, I've been using it to blow bubbles, lots of bubbles, in town, because it would make my day to walk through a cloud of bubbles and surely I can't be the only person who feels that way. Even if most of the other people who feel that way are under the age of 18. I may be too old for this. But people were smiling and that's all  really wanted to do, was bring a little joy to someone's day.

Also, I met up with my awesome friends whilst I was in The Warehouse. They adopted me. So now I have LOTS more family members. YAY!

It just occurred to me whilst writing the tags for this post that one of my first posts also used the "sensory exploration" method, that time on my room. I was thinking I might do one post using my five senses each month. Comment below if you have any suggestions as to what my next "sensory exploration" should be!

That's all for now,
thanks for reading,