More Creative Quotes

Another ‘creative’ quote from my manuscript, this time from Aidelle’s side of the separation. Of regrets and chilling thoughts of being away from him.

(It’s larger – and the picture was, sadly, more cumbersome than my previous, horizontal photos – therefore, I have to say, the quote carries less elegance than the other, but I still thinks this brings a certain bundle of ‘feels’ when I read it. I highlighted some of the phrases that have stayed with me throughout writing.)

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Vlog: Self-Harm Awareness Day

Miss Alexandrina:

(Seeing that I managed to miss Self-Injury Awareness Day this year, here’s a neat vlog giving a quick summary of self-harm.)

Originally posted on rosie brown: fighting the stigma:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsTHZXEa7V8

(the video is clearer if you click the link and watch it on Youtube)

Hello everybody.

Yesterday/ this morning I have made a video on Self-Harm in honour of Self-Harm Awareness Day/ Month.

I deal with:
- What is Self-Harm.
- Why People Self-Harm.
- How Common is Self-Harm.
- What to do if you Self-Harm.

And I have interspersed some of my own personal experiences.

I hope you enjoy the video. It was difficult for me to make as I am still getting used to talking about it. If you have a youtube account then please subscribe. I am new to YouTube so would really appreciate the support. Also if you don’t already I tweet here : @fighiting_stigma.

Thanks for reading/ Watching. x

View original

My Top Five Movies

Something light for your Friday evening Saturday. I’ve not done one of these ‘top five’ posts before, and that’s not surprising, considering that I dislike having favourites – everything should be grand, in my opinion! However, recently I noticed a trend of some sort in my love of old[er] movies rather than the newer stuff. I like a film that, whilst being entertaining, also resonates and is wise.

1. Stardust (2007)

I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving this epic fantasy. It’s sweet, funny, clever and just a bit magical. ;) The entire cast are on fine form and the setting is gorgeous – just look at those rolling hills. Gah, I could pointlessly praise the film repeatedly. To be honest, it’s one of those pieces of work for which I have no particular love. I just do love it! I’m not the only one to say so, either. It’s one of the great English films of the ‘noughties’.

Oh, and, as a plus, my dad likes it, too! His favourite characters are the ghosts and his favourite scene the confrontation between Tristan and the witches after Septimus is killed, which makes sense, since he’s in the army and that fight scene has an element of military humour.

2. Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998)

Oh, great, Alex is talking about this movie again. Haha, yes, I am! I’ve mentioned before how much the book influenced me – even if Carroll does suggest the ‘it was all a dream’ ending – and the film did the same with its faithful adaptation. It’s so quotable! One only has to think of the rich universe Carroll created to imagine the presentation the movie brings: prissy talking flowers, chessboard portals, cacophony and order, wrapped together with some delicious pieces of soundtrack by Dominik Scherrer.

"'The white knight slid down the poker; he balanced very badly.' That's not a memorandum of your feelings!"

“‘The white knight slid down the poker; he balanced very badly.’ That’s not a memorandum of your feelings!”

The actors bring those exotic characters to life, from Kate Beckingsale right up to Geoffrey Palmer and Penelope Wilton, and it doesn’t take much to get lost in the fantasy. Sure, it’s a 90s film and the people dressed up as animals reflects that, but, despite this, there’s no sense of falseness in the filmography. One gets so ‘into’ the fiction that one forgets what is reality or not. Apparently, it was low-budget, too!

In a way, one could argue that my adventures into philosophy started with Lewis Carroll’s fiction, and for that I shall be forever grateful.

3. The Jungle Book (1994)

Live action, adult romance version of Rudyard Kipling’s tales. Mowgli is separated from Kitty as a child when vicious tiger Shere Kahn attacks the camp in which they’re staying. Mowgli survives in the Indian rainforest by being raised by wolves and a panther and a young bear he rescued from a fallen log. By the time Kitty returns as part of her father’s army posting, she’s unhappily betrothed to an arrogant young officer who seeks the mythical treasure of monkey King Louie, regardless of who he betrays in the process.

The tension! It’s such a rich plot. (And, no, it’s not a love triangle. From the first time we meet adult Kitty, Katherine, we can tell that she’s become uncomfortable with her previous flirtation, but is squashed under the rule of her officer). Lena Headey is one of my favourite actresses nowadays, though I guess I can now link back to when I first saw her, even when I didn’t realise who she was then. And John Cleese. :) I can’t really say much more about why I like this film, but it’s clever, funny, and unique, since Mowgli cannot speak for the first forty-five minutes of the film so the actor who plays him portrays so much emotion through feral glances and movements.

Animals are our friends. :)

4. A Bug’s Life (1998)

Classic Pixar. This was one of my favourite childhood films, though I have no idea why. Inventor ant hires a bunch of circus clowns to free his colony from the tyranny of mean ol’ grasshoppers. Atta was my favourite character – you know, the lovable, sensible female lead – but Flik and Hopper resonated with me so much that the first piece of fiction I wrote was a short story about them, written on two sides of A4 in bright red felt pen. I think my house still has a giant talking Dot doll somewhere, too.

So, it was probably the dynamic colours, setting and the characters that drew me to the film, but the plot and believable dialogue kept me to it. Pixar worked hard with this one.

 

5. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

The only one on this list I’ve seen only once, but I’d jump at the chance to see it again, cringiness or not. This is also the most unusual of the top five, for its black and white-ness. I don’t normally watch black and white films, but, like a good book, I forgot that the colour had gone because I was so immersed in the quaint tale of a crazy heroine, her pet leopard called Baby, and the palaeontologist who finds himself in the middle of their business. Katharine Hepburn is a gorgeous charm, though her character is frustratingly insane to no end! Cary Grant plays pathetic to perfect pitch.

You said it, 1930s trailer!

Swirls of Words

Did you know that there’s a place on the web where you can visualise any document or element of text? Wordle. So, being me, I was messing around on it, seeing what I could come up with if I copy-and-pasted the entirety of WTCB into it.

Anndd, tilt head…now. No, I won’t laugh at you for doing that. I’m doing it, too.

WTCBwordle2

WTCBwordle4

The romantic, arty version

Let’s look at this for a second. (Click to zoom if you like) I think it’s a pretty awesome representation of the novel. As expected, our protagonists Aidelle and Phillip – the lovers – feature the most. In the same vein, the supporting relations emerge here: Peter, Phillip’s brother, from whose eyes some of the novel is seen; Zara, Aidelle’s Supporting Character; Rion, the antagonist; even Dr. Costello – misled father role, if he had to be shoved into one – has been recorded by the Wordle, through both direct and indirect ‘father’ references.

In fact, if one looks closely enough, one sees that, whilst not all of the Costello family are mentioned, Andrew makes his appearance, and even servants Tia and Richards are there!

Interestingly, you’ll see words like ‘head’, ‘face’ ‘eyes’, ‘lips’, ‘voice’, ‘hand/s’, ‘fingers’ and ‘arms’ in varying levels of Wordle prominence. I can guarantee that novels without strong romantic hooks will have these words contribute much less. However, due to my romantic plot, these characters understand each other through the way they touch, through their attraction and appreciation of each other: that’s what holds together the novel. In the same way, you’ll notice the prominence of words of unity and measure – ‘one’, ‘together’ (juxtaposed with ‘without’ in the second Wordle), ‘heart’ and ‘love’. Aww.

On the other hand, one mustn’t forget the setting-y, sci-fi-y words with a leaning towards Aidelle’s entrapment: ‘clock’ – naturally! – ‘time’,’stopped’, ‘house’, ‘door’, ‘kitchen’, ‘room’, ‘war’, ‘world’…

I’ve got the philosophy elements via ‘know’ and ‘thoughts/think’, ‘believe’ and ‘mind’.

Is that even ‘words’ in there? The Wordle knows me well!

Of course, I could analyse every word mentioned for its literary relevance to my works. Instead, though, I’ll leave that to your wandering eyes. There is some great Wordle word placement. Some words there aren’t surprising – those words of place and sentence; others, I guess, are novel-specific.

~~~

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As a last thing, I’d like to thank Charley R for promoting Fauxpocalypse on her blog (though she does spell my surname wrong, but she has fully admitted to that fact to me). Check it out.

Raising and Giving week (Or: In Which I Have Red Hair)

(Somebody tell me how the gifs hijacked this post…!)

These next couple of weeks I shall be even busier than normal, due to my duty to support anything charity-related – and it is Raising and Giving Week (next week, due to an arrangement change, but that doesn’t matter) at Wantage Hall, ran by the JCR and the Charity Rep, who happens to live two doors down from me. I’ll try and keep y’all informed of the happenings. With pictures (and gifs?) hopefully, because raising money for charity is something I’m passionate about…even in this wretched British weather driving thoughts away.

I myself am doing (what I consider to be) an extra special event, since I’ve not had that much to do with charity after leaving school. The British Heart Foundation’s Ramp Up the Red is this Friday 7th Feb, so anybody can get involved with fighting heart disease, even if you don’t live in the UK. Raising as little as even £50 can “provide a special kit to measure tissue or blood samples as part of vital research in the lab”. And that, as small an action as it sounds, could potentially save someone’s life.

But I’m doing something extra, for the rest of Feb, too. I owe the world more.

Me? I dyed my hair red to raise money for them. The entirety of February. Let’s say that again: I have gold hair no more for all of my February fixtures. 

You can actually (do the honourable thing *cough* xD) support me from afar by donating here: http://www.justgiving.com/Alex-Brant1

But, seriously, threats bribes persuasion aside, even £1/$2 goes towards my goal and, thinking about it, we can always spare a pound/dollar or two by doing the healthier thing and not buying, say, chocolate or alcohol for one day. Think of raising money for charity as a very-short, all-year-’round Lent. Yeah…

Anyway, I think raising and giving is worth the trouble. In our daily lives, we spend so much time on the minuscule that we forget about those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s this time of year – just after the start of the year, but before we fall to the heavy slog of work and exams – that is the best for thinking about giving – be that more than money, be that time or care or attention to someone who deserves it more than they themselves realise. Give a moment these coming weeks to someone who thinks less of themselves, and prove that they are Humanity just as we are…

Love's chosen few

“Love’s chosen few can frolic without care…” (Phillip’s Poem, 2012)

I made myself into a gif. I’m just that good. ;) Alexandrina :D

Happy Second Birthday!

Well, what can I say? On 29th Jan 2012 I started this blog and look how it has grown! I didn’t really know where I was heading, or what I was doing (or why on Earth I was starting a freaking blog!), so the posts were all over the place, but now posts and trends are beginning to form in front of my eyes.

For a laugh, let’s look back an entire year, to my first birthday post. Although corny, I’ll admit that the parallels are interesting.

I talked about Poirot twice and Holmes three times, whilst producing two Doctor Who/time-related posts, one of which became my most-viewed post: (I’m not gonna call it) The Next Big Thing – which meant I had to hunt around for pictures of actors whom I would cast were ‘When The Clock Broke…‘ turned into a movie.

Since then, my posts on crime fiction have expanded. Agatha Christie, Poirot, Sherlock, murder mysteries and death are all prime tags, with some even having ten posts about them! Amusingly, only these last couple of weeks as I delve back into rewriting the first of the Agnetha King Mysteries Trilogy have I been blogging about what exactly makes a detective. Check those out if you like discussion about the integral nature of crime fiction and cosy mysteries! I refer to Nancy Drew, Morse and Midsomer Murders, too!

You’ll notice that I also started looking at characterisation and getting deeper into a character, from the negative personality traits that Main Characters have alongside their worthy traits to applying the Psychology I’ve learnt over the last few years to varied explanations of their behaviours. In September, I devoted a blog month to the editing and literary analysis of When the Clock Broke. Although, sadly, I have not kept up the essay writing – not for want of ideas, but for want of time and mental space/capacity, these ideas have led me to analyses and cross-analyses my characters time and again.

I even started an Almanac spanning a millennium to understand the world of The Continent in greater detail. Bits can be found on the blog under the tag The Continental Almanac and the Extracts, Beginnings, and Drafts category.

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That writer face ^.^

Some stuff I did this year and blogged about, in no specific order:

> Started university at Reading. Above everything, learnt the awesomeness of Psychology and Philosophy joint.

> Started playing Quidditch and became the Social Secretary for the Reading Rocs

> Went to Uganda for two and a half weeks

> Published in the Fauxpocalypse collection

> Finished two first drafts and wrote three (and a bit) short stories. Writing wordcount breakdown.

AlexandrinaBrant_dress1

Au contraire, things to look forward to this year:

> The Fauxpocalypse release party in St. Louis on Saturday the 1st – I am attending – via Google Hangouts, a very exciting (not to mention: baffling) procedure!

> Ramp Up the Red for British Heart Foundation and Red Feb (more about that next week)

> My confirmation

> CampNaNoWriMo – in which I hope to start a new series of lighter, shorter NA Romance books. Ideas are swarming me!

> New blog layout and new Twitter bio – hopefully.

The top posts and pages bit of my blog changes everyday, so it’s worth checking out everything – in my humble opinion! ;) I guess the last thing to say is:

How delightfully gaudy…

From the Log of the Social Sec: The Adventures of MudGirl

socialSec

With the new academic term (Hilary ’14) comes a new set of training for the Reading Rocs Quidditch team. For instance, the Southern Cup – hosted by Southampton – is the first week of Feb, and the Valentine Cup – the mercenary tournament hosted by Oxford – is in a month. However, the UK is still battling against the weather, and sometimes the team is faced with the consequences of the indefatigable weather: grass, drenched through with rain.

I don’t mind the rain, per se; it’s hardly a villainous thing, and, with my new umbrella, I accept it better than I have ever done. What is the problem is what happens when our field is utterly bogged up with the mud we rake up just by running about. One can tell we’ve caused some of the bog if one looks at the rest of the field. Yes, it’s flooded, too, but the low-lying mud picked up by the edges of trainers is nothing compared to the chunks studded football boots pick up.

You might think that what stalls us is the slipping about, but, in fact, it’s the dodgeballs and volleyballs as – and after – they hit the floor. Mud. Splashing. Darting. Drenching worse than rain – it’s thicker and less easy to rub off the balls than water.

And I have been coated in mud during practise twice in one week.

As such, I have given myself the superhero title of MudGirl. Yeah!

ReturnofMudGirl

Yes, perhaps it is too muddy to perform an entire game, but even the practises of such – the snippet training of individual positions – might be marred by everything wrong with mud. For instance, in this Wednesday training, we were doing a Chaser exercise on dodging bludgers: three Beaters took their stand on the outside of a square. On the inside – Chasers trapped like white mice, with nowhere to run. Their only survival tactic - dodge. Something so valuable in Quidditch games, it is often overlooked in training regimes.

Anyway, I was one of the remaining Chasers dodging. A bludger soared, not aimed for my head, sure, but certainly heading in that direction. My foot slipped in the mud as I lowered my head, and I skidded. Down. On both knees. Across the earth.

I’d avoided the threats, but my rash move had me plummeting to the ground. When I rose again, my knees were coated in thick mud and strands of grass.

At a later instance in the same afternoon, Snitch and Seeker practise – something to which I have no calling anyway – led to a different kind of dodging and ducking. I had the Snitch Sock tucked lightly into my waistband, now my only task was the gargantuan one of avoiding the two Seekers heading at me. I twisted my body, but they’d almost cornered me. And my typical reaction to that? Fall onto my back on the floor.

In summer, that would have left no mark. In this wet winter, the entire back of my shirt soaked and I’d managed to sit at the edge of another mud mire, giving my shorts a handprint of glorious, thick mud. Time to pre-soak my washing again!

Okay, general tips for all you Quidditch fans out there: how does one – and one team – get around the problems of bogged pitches and ruddy weather? Move the pitch to less a muddy space, naturally. But, often, as with us, that is hardly the easy case. We have one space alone and its position is, of all things, near the lake. So, strategic practising is my answer. You’ve got to partition your exercises so that in the worst of the weather, you do less direct running and more of the passing/tactical practises.

Happy Quidditching!

Alexandrina :)

 

You Can Buy Fauxpocalypse in Print!

The not-end of the world is now available to read as a hard copy (and, yes, I’ll be posting when I get a copy myself! Keep an eye out on my blog and the main Fauxpocalypse blog as well as the other contributors’ for other promotional ideas we’ve in the works). My very own story, REVELATION, is the third in the collection.

What does one do when the world has, effectively, given up on itself? The supplies are less than low, the religious fanatics are praising, and of the population…some survived – some are still on their way to surviving. Now they must press through the failed end of society to whatever lies at the other side of the Fauxpocalypse.

This collection of twelve short stories by eleven authors tells of fire, revenge, family, change and, ultimately, hope.

 

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Amazon Kindle copy (this link should take you to the correct .com or .co.uk site relevant to you)

Amazon Paperback! 

Smashwords for Kindle

Our Fauxpocalypse ‘Webstore’

My Thoughts on ITV’s ‘Endless Night’

Here I discuss the recent for-TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s crime novel of the same name. It is worth pointing out that I’ve not read the book yet. Also SPOILERS. That’s the point.

Endless Night has certainly been portrayed as one of Christie’s darker pieces – more thriller than cosy. The story follows, and is narrated by, Michael ‘Mike’ Rogers (played here by the immensely brooding Tom Hughes) as he courts and marries rich American Ellie Guteman and they buy the supposedly cursed piece of land known as Gipsy’s Acre and live in the house designed by an old friend of Mike’s, Robbie, whose brother Mike attempting to save years previously. Yes, the story takes place over a year, maybe a year and a half, at least, judging by the way it was narrated.

Joanna Vanderham as Ellie Goodman and Tom Hughes as Mike Rogers

Oddly enough, I’m going to start my thoughts by looking at the end of the performance, not counting that contemplation on “my beginning is my end” in his jail cell. I want to look at the two very contrasting, yet so linked, images that stuck in my mind: the (remarkably controlled) explosion of Gipsy’s Acre house and the ice-locked brother of Robbie, Pete.

By the camera angles and colours, we are left wondering throughout the piece until its denouement whether Pete’s death really was an accident, thus shadowing Mike’s narration with heavy watcher foreboding throughout. Granted, this, unlike Ellie’s murder, was unplanned, sudden slaughter, the weakness of the criminal mind yet its utter unlocking and lust-bringing.

If one murders once, it gets under one’s skin, and Mike realises this towards the end. I don’t think he really wanted to murder his lover Greta (after all, he’d only just admitted to Marple that they were getting married), but the disease of murder gripped him, pure murder-lust. I’ve seen this in Christie’s characters before, just as I’ve seen chaos-lust in my own characters.

People with curious minds might want to think the best of Mike from this…but, in the back of their minds, there will always be that idea… Did he deliberately kill him?

Just for a pricy watch.

And that brings me to Mike as a character.

I empathised with him, especially at the denouement, and not just because, in those final scenes, perhaps he doesn’t want to kill when the disease is strong enough to misdirect his mind. One wanted to like him, but for his lack of morals.

Yet, he is a ‘cold-blooded’ (to borrow a cliché) killer, utterly clear by the final ten minutes’ screen time. What surprised me, however, was Mike’s shock at Marple’s words – “that would be like killing your mother” – when he has had that desire in him for many many years. And who can tell whom is to blame for that? Mike may be innately…evil, perhaps.

I think that’s a line that will hit home with a lot of viewers, for the reason that one will be either revolted – or that one will know exactly what that’s like.

And I can tell you that the latter will be more likely.

I cannot account for what the prose elicits, but I suspect this relativity was part of Christie’s intention in her unreliable narrative.

Another reason is not of empathy and human nurturing, but that of tearing life down with morbid curiosity: fear – and fascination. Part of the human psyche we cannot, as a reasoning species, ignore.

Fire and Ice and Foreshadowing

Perhaps Mike’s actions on the ice traumatised Robbie, too, hence his own rather morbid fascination with the death. In the end, although he never murders exactly the way he wondered, his words, his mentality, still foreshadows his own death and destruction of the house he himself created – after all, revenge bears logic when one has nothing left to lose.

Christie and the ITV team use the themes of foreshadowing/mystic guesswork a lot in this piece – Mrs. Lee’s palm-reading and its effects, for instance – though, one could argue, fatalism takes actual hold or precedence here, through the characters’ obsessions with death that ultimately lead to their own demises (heard of don’t play with fire, yeah?).

Too, their minds may have been twisted by the stunning landscape tapestry.

The post-modern architecture was never going to survive in Gipsy Acre’s wilderness; but the canyon – where numerous characters go to reminisce about their deaths, and, uh, push people down – also provides a good metaphor for the themes. The drop, of sanity. The descent, into amorality (this happens to most of the characters, if one gives their actions a broad sweeping sense). The fall, from riches – or by riches. Take the ablative however you like.

Other Characters?

I guess more is said of Ellie’s new friend Claudia (and her relationship with Doctor what’s-his-name) in the book, but, personally, I felt those characters were never really introduced in the more personal way Christie has done in Poirot and some other Marples. This may also be accounted for by the exceedingly long drag of the beginning (as I said: over a year in plot…).

Not counting Pete’s murder, Ellie doesn’t die until the 1-hour-15 mark, would you believe! Even the omens of the gypsy’s curse, though fake, seem to float into the plot very loosely and sporadically, or irrelevantly.

This I expect of Murder, She Wrote, but not of Marple.

So…

That lack of in-depth Secondary Characters and the slowed pacing put me off the adaptation. However, I enjoyed the story immensely. In the words of Poirot: “I look at the psychology”. Indeed, the twisted sense of mind Greta, Robbie and Mike have bleeds from their pasts, maybe their present ideologies and humours, and their overriding psychology, like their constant desire for money and success.

And, as this is a murder mystery, we all know it’s going to go wrong.