Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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All Things Are Passing Me

time-passing1This week passed in lightning speed. I wrote and emptied my mind and pieced the edges of thought back together. I remembered – I recalled – and then I forgot. Sometimes, having more than one personality means conflict within the mind or the soul (or whatever state of metaphysics we might want to say). These many states of living all parade themselves as the most important, when I simply need to sort and apply them all.

It was National Grammar Day in England on Monday. I barely batted an eyelid: I noticed the trend with surprise, pressed in 140 characters as a Neanderthal might, and got on with my evening. It will be World Book Day tomorrow, which I await with eager anticipation. There are so many days for our diaries that one must gloss over many without much realisation. Time passes.

But I should have indicated the more important to myself. I should have at least noticed.

I can’t even remember the date last week – I might have been a Friday – when it was Rare Disease Day. Again, it had been on Twitter that I had noticed the alerts and requests for attention. (One thinks: were it not for Twitter…) I retweeted CHECT’s tweets to raise my own awareness as much as that of other people’s. Yet, what else did I do for the event? You may know that I support as many charities as I can; however, I had brushed over this one especially dear to my heart due to close bereavement from Retinoblastoma, concerned more with my current form, such as editing.

It doesn’t feel right to do so.

Especially throughout Lent – the real season for giving – we must train ourselves to the higher purposes. I must bring to mind not only the school support of my outer personality and its Lenten charities, but also the external and internet support I must add to.

Too, I only just recalled Self-Harm Awareness Day when writing this. I Googled it. I have missed it by four days.

Another cause dear to me and I had raced through the early 2013 months without remembering that I might need to double-check my calendar and respects.

Time…there’s not enough off it. In this age of speed and instantaneous gratification, we tend to forget to take those moments out to spare a thought for others or to jot the clouds down.

That is why, today, I write this.


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Happy 1st Birthday, Blog!

My baby is growing up… Haha, it feels weird to think that, this time last year, I was staring at the blank screen that was the ‘Miss Alexandrina’ blog and thinking “I have no idea what to write about”. I knew I wanted a dark-but-not-too-much background and a header with my ‘tools of the trade': headphones, drumsticks, theatre ticket and notepad. Apart from that, the idea of a blog mystified me. What does one ‘blog’ about? What is the most important thing about which one must post on a regular – if not frequent – basis?

The utter notion of talking to an invisible audience baffled me.

However, my blog, she has grown and evolved, especially over the latter half of 2012. Why? Because I experience some things and had some ideas that were worth blogging about (possibly).

Well, 2012 was naff. I’ll admit, it wasn’t a great year. My beloved cat died, my best friend moved away, I failed an exam (something I’ve not done before), I missed out of several of my goals. Yeah, I could probably be picky and string the list out, but I don’t want to seem like I’m moaning. Obviously, it’s more complicated than that. It’s just that I have been troubled.

An Italian sunset.

An Italian sunset.

Out of that, though, there were some memorable events of my 2012 year: I went to Italy, and I participated in West Side Story, the first performance of RicNic Oxford. I got my first Critique Partner, who has aided my work invaluably.

Let’s look at a little summary of what went on in my blog this year:

> I started applying my knowledge of Psychology and Philosophy to ways of writing. From this I devised the idea of the Writer Phenomenon, that our unconscious and subconscious thoughts play a major role in the first draft of writing.

> I rambled on about Sims, then started applying my photography and creation knowledge to providing pictures of my characters in Sims form.

> I introduced the world to my editing plan and promptly failed when school got in the way.

I also supported a few charities...

I also supported a few charities…

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. That was fun and it helped me visually see a young Alex Kingston in the place of Aidelle.

As an early Christmas present, I also passed my Gold Star ice-skating rank

As an early Christmas present, I also passed my Gold Star ice-skating rank

Things I should do this year:
> Change the blog theme
> Edit my ‘About’ page
> Finish editing When The Clock Broke…
> Continue rewriting OJAP
> Get an A* in at least one of my A Level three
> Finish the first draft of Triangle

That should be enough to keep me on my toes, as well as the list of many other things I have condensed in my head. Here’s hoping 2013 will be full of good fortune.

Oh, and in case you wondered, my word of the week is TO-TAL-ITY, from the Latin ‘tot’, meaning entire.


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Things I Love: Cakes For Charity

In the second of my ‘things I love’ posts (started by Jae), I’m combining in a normal post, because it is both a general ‘this is my interesting life’ (!) post and something I love doing: helping others. I think there’s something quite satisfying about being useful and having a purpose to one’s actions.

That being the case, I am the student head of my school’s Peace and Justice Club, which basically raises awareness and money for charities. This Friday we held one of our cake sales, with the money raised going to CAFOD’s Hungry For Change < http://www.cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Take-action-today/Hungry-for-change> Campaign.

We also challenged those in the younger years to decorate a cake with a charity logo upon it, to be judged by members of staff. Young people are so inventive!

Why do I love putting effort in for money that won’t go to me? I can’t say for certain. I think it’s that warm feeling inside that comes from knowing that I am the middle-man between charities that help society and the other side of society itself. The odd thing is that I’m not a particular fan of volunteering in charity shops, but I could indeed spend a whole day selling cakes and sweets to people for charity.

I wouldn’t say that I’m an activist. I’m certainly not a feminist. What I mean is that I don’t intend to deliberately cause trouble by upturning the system, but I do believe that everybody on the planet deserves a chance to live a better life. I’m happy to say that I donate to charity, because I think that they will have a better use for my money than I ever would.

And there’s something about cake-sales. They buzz with action and interest – and it means I can buy a nice cake for myself!

Handmade is always better! If one makes a cake themselves, it’s that thought of being the architect that makes handmade more delicious; if a friend makes the cake, it seems to have the added ingredient of care that ‘manufactured’ cakes lack.

So, the combination of deliciousness and doing good makes me feel joyous. That is why one of the things I love is baking and selling cake for charity!

After all, not many people dislike cake!

That cake was never going to last for long, was it?


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Lent: A Time For Silence

Despite its sincere title, yes, this is another blog-post about charity, and, to be more specific, my trials towards accomplishing the success of the group I run. (I love fund-raising, but it is bloomin’ hard to organize)!

                                                        

On the afternoon of Friday 23th March 2012, the majority of the Year Sevens (First Years), at a small Catholic Secondary school in Abingdon, were challenged to be silent through their last three lessons, two hours from two ‘til four. The point of this silence, aside from giving some peace to the rest of the school (!), was to raise money for CATHOD in its 50th year.

I run the Peace and Justice Club at my school. Though it has links to Amnesty International and Rotary, Peace and Justice has a slightly different aim, trying to advocate human rights, especially those of the minority. Throughout the year, we try to put on fundraising events, the money from which goes to various charities. For example, this year, it was the turn of ‘DiabetesUK’, to which the money from the Peace and Justice stall at my school’s Christmas fayre went.

CATHOD- or the CATHolic organisation for Overseas Development- is currently running a ‘Thirst for Change’ campaign, to make drinking water safer and more available in developing countries. From the money we raised, though it has not yet been counted, all will be going towards CATHOD’s fund; so we hope to have taught the Year Sevens more about society’s imbalance as well as the skill of patience when it comes to mind over mouth.

 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah)

Our appeal happened to coincide with another charity event to do with water for Third-World countries; World Water Day was the 22nd March, raising awareness and creating change: as 783 million people still don’t have access to safe drinking water.

Ironically, since it was Lent for myself too, the amount of money I donate in this time has interest; instead of £1, I give £3. What would I do with such money anyway? But that is the point, is it not? Alms-giving has its sacredness.

A friend of mine shows how to 'zip one's lip' for silence.

 

CATHOD website: http://www.cafod.org.uk/?gclid=CM–m7Gc_a4CFUcntAoddQlf0Q

Wateraid website: http://www.wateraid.org/uk/default.asp?gclid=CL2Mh63MyK8CFVEjfAodpjiXaw

Our Lady’s School website: http://www.olab.org.uk/page/default.asp?title=Home&pid=1

 

The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesise. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues…” (I Corinthians)


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Bionics and Me

I only just found out today that my late sister had a glass eye.

I was watching a CBBC program this afternoon about two children who were first getting prosthetic limbs: a little girl getting both her legs and one arm, and a boy getting a new electronic arm after his was amputated in an accident.

These bionics, prosthetics are an amazing achievement in science. I found myself wondering at God’s miraculous work here, and the children who frequently have to cope with situations like this. As I understand, children who contract meningitis at an early age have a chance of losing their limbs. It’s a shame, but, on the other hand: look how far science has come to enable ‘elelctronomic nerves’ to move a mechanic arm on impulse!

Bionic Arm (picture from Google)

But what really shocked me today was that knowledge that bionical science had been part of the life of my sister, who was diagnosed with eye-cancer after she was five and who died two years later from a final fit, despite seemingly recovering; like Spanish Flu, or other terrible diseases, the final loss can occur suddenly.

My sister was given a new eye when she lost her own. It was made to be a visual replica of her other eye, in colour, shape, everything a glass eye must be, though her own eye, removed to combat the cancer, would never be able to work anatomically again. Yes, all that shocks me, startles me, since I was too young to know, physically, what was going on; I had never imagined that the Retinoblastoma would have caused more than just the hair-loss (in itself the consequence of treatment rather than the cancer).

This Retinoblastoma cancer is not as common as other cancers, but still as devastating, as it affects young children, most often those under five. However, even when cured, the effects of this cancer (such as my sister’s losing an eye) can last a lifetime throughout the family.

A charity that focuses on children with the cancer Retinoblastoma is CHECT. It’s their 25th year this year, and they are aiming to raise £250,000. 

This is the website, where all the facts and statistics and fundraising can be found: http://www.chect.org.uk/cms/index.php/signs-and-symptoms/what-might-happen-next/77-news-news/329-fundraise-supporting-us-25th-anniversary

Please take a look and consider supporting this charity, especially since it is one that is close to my heart, which I have been trying to support myself as an extra, but I have, yes, been struggling to keep my promise. There is not enough time in the world for me to fund-raise as much as I’d like. Please consider for yourselves supporting CHECT’s 25 scheme in any way you can, even if that is just giving a little. Let’s help beat all kinds of cancer. It may be a clichéd phrase, but that sentence even includes those less common cancers. Everybody matters.


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Sceam For Charity Success

The ebook ‘Scream For Charity’ has stopped selling and the entire proceeds will go to UNICEF.

I am particularly proud  to have been part of this ebook- with my short story ‘A Rosary, A Fume Cabinet, and A Music Book’- as it is my first adventure into publishing, letting me into the experience of e-publishing, and building my (though I must admit, slightly more selfish!) ambitions of becoming a professional writer.

Though the aforementioned story, also called ‘Genevra’ (after the forename of the obsessive protagonist), took a shorter amount of time to write than I had anticipated, it opened my eyes to two genres of literature that I had never tried before: short story-telling and darker tales. Though I had dealt copiously with murder mystery cosies beforehand, I had never taken the darker side to human nature into my hands. And I have, since ‘Genevra’ in October/November, written two new horror shorts. I’m fascinated by the behavioural/cognitive psychology behind the way humanity can behave in certain situations, a fact I hope I put-forward in ‘Genevra’. Perhaps there is even some Psychodynamic Psychology in Genevra’s unhealthy passions for her music teacher and the way she acts in the event of his death. However, that is a subject for a new post…

I’d like to thank the guys over at ThatFantasyBlog for giving me such an experience and chance (after all, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have a blog :P), and a big thanks to whomever bought the ebook, thus giving something to combat child-suffering. I’d also personally like to thank Tianna Woolf for her eager unoffical-editor eyes!

 

The full information about the money raised is here on ‘ThatFantasyBlog”s, well, blog, the original concept being found under their ‘Book Publishing’ tab:

Thank you all for the support you gave us..

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