Monday, 29 August 2011


Someone asked me why I keep submitting to an ezine that always rejects my work - doesn't it hurt? Don't I feel embittered towards them? Don't I lose confidence?

Well, maybe it hurts initially for a minute or so, but isn't that a natural human reaction? 

The stories I like to write are similar to the stories I like to read, and I really like the stories in this ezine! Even if they don't accept my work, I know I'm in for a treat when I read the stories they do decide to publish. And when I read them carefully, I should be able to get an idea of why my story wasn't up to scratch. I can then make sure any future work I wish to submit is more to their taste in terms of characterisation, voice or point of view. 

So, yes, it may get me down a little bit, but I like to think there's always a way to make the best out of a bad situation. And one day, with perseverance, hopefully I'll make the grade.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Books, Books, Books

image from here
My reading list for uni has arrived! I'm very very excited - I start my English lit course at Sussex in just over a month, so I have a lot of reading to do. But hey, Alice in Wonderland is on my list, so it won't be such a hard slog...

Although I have been joking all year about being sure John Milton's Paradise Lost would be on my reading list, and now, lo and behold, it is. It's not so funny anymore! Ever since I was at school studying for my GCSEs, my English teachers were talking about this behemoth of a book, and how it is one of the biggest and hardest books to read. Hmm...wish me luck?

This whole year I have told myself I mustn't read so much, because it means I'm not working. Finally, reading and working are the same thing. Bring on the books!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Fairytale Land

How many fairytales are set in the woods?

I knew Germany had a lot of woodland, but on the decent into Frankfurt airport it became very obvious, with lush, green patches of trees dotted everywhere. It was a stark contrast after leaving Birmingham; as the sprawl of the city fell behind us, the scenery transformed into scarily regular patchwork fields as far as the eye could see.

We went on walks in a couple of forests, one near my cousin’s home, and the other in the ‘Saarschleife,’ which is said to be one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in the Saarland province, in the south west of the country. Well…just look at that view, whoever made this claim wasn’t wrong!

What an inspiring view! It is easy to see why German forests are the setting for many Grimm Brothers' fairy tales...

The Saarschleife also boasted an ‘enchanted forest’ for children, full of popular fairy tale characters in, I suppose, an authentic setting. The main part of this forest was closed, but I did find a large monument to ‘Hans in Luck’, a wonderful tale by the Grimm brothers.

Although the characters were cartoons and it was meant to be an attraction for children, there was an underlying sinister feel that, for me, served as a reminder that these tales were often not originally happily-ever-after stories. And certainly not for children…

There is a power in the forests in Germany. They are nothing like the woodlands in England, which seem tame and quaint, full of bluebells in Spring, and where you could imagine Winnie The Pooh larking around. These forests are vast, the trees creak eerily, and you don’t have to look too far ahead, amongst the trunks, before it all goes dark.

Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and all the other Grimm stories set in the woods…surely these were tales of terror, for there would be no retaining of innocence after a night in these forests.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The power of laughter

I’m back from Germany! It was a truly amazing holiday visiting family, meeting new people, and seeing such a beautiful country. Everyone made us so welcome, even though we hardly spoke a (useful) word of German.

It wasn’t for lack of trying though! Unfortunately one attempt at pronouncing the name of the town we were staying near – Blieskastel – ended up a translation of ‘sex castle’. Apparently. It caused so many laughs that I can believe it!

There is so much beauty and wonder in languages. I have grown up loving them. I had a fantastic Spanish tutor who was so enthused and passionate about language, it was hard not to be infected with the bug. Having been a Spanish and French student at school, I had to try and learn some German before the holiday, but learnt so much more whilst we were actually there. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go and live in a foreign country, and become fluent in the language?

It’s funny…we didn’t speak much German, and the German friends and family we were introduced to didn’t speak much English, but we all got along amazingly. Why? I now truly believe that laughter is the universal language! And based on that I think I’ve had the most in depth conversations of my life~

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Deutschland Bound

Apologies for not posting regularly - I have been in a mad flurry of panic trying to organise myself to go to Germany! I had high hopes of setting up automatic posts to appear while I'm away, but I've been too busy worrying about how many pairs of socks I might need to go about setting that up...

Seriously. These sorts of things keep me awake at night.

Have a lovely week or so, I'll be back with enough writing to make up for my shameful lack of attention this past week x