Questioning Myself

The Unfamiliar Everyday

Do you ever get the feeling that everything around you is unfamiliar? A strange lingering feeling as if you don’t belong? Or just that ever repetitive question: How did I end up here?

I do. Right now I’m in the limbo that is unemployment. It’s strange and unsettling. You see, so far in life, I’ve been like a high speed train, constantly on the go and always busy with a project, studying or work. Now it’s like I’ve broken down. My mind whirrs and craves something to keep it occupied and my bank account is quickly depleting (especially in the run up to Christmas). Since I came back from Japan I’ve kept myself busy, applying for more jobs than I can count; doing some freelance work and writing for local magazines and, of course, my blog, which has kept me sane at times. But through all of this I’ve been living back with my parents, and don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, they’re amazing, but having lived away for the best part of 4 years, coming home has felt like a step backwards.

Now you must be thinking, why are you so unemployable? Trust me, I’ve asked that question so many times it’s etched into my brain! Beats me! I pushed myself during university, not only in my course but in my “extracurricular activities” which, for me, was being part of a fundraising group. I worked in events, marketing and management (without ever earning a penny) which has aided me in so many ways. Yet still, for so many jobs I’m not the right candidate. Who is? I hear you plea. Well they want someone who has just graduated and yet somehow has 5 years of experience in the role you’re applying for. It’s the impossible conundrum! But I refuse to stop trying, even if it’s not the perfect job, experience is still experience and right now, that’s what I need.

Other life updates include applying to poetry competitions. If you’re interested in doing this then I recommend looking on Creative Writing Ink which has a list of writing competitions. I’ve applied to: The Rialto, Kent and Sussex Poetry, Calligram, and The A3 Review. I also intend to apply to a couple of short story ones, but haven’t gotten around to that just yet.

In light of the sudden identity crisis I’ve decided to base this weeks writing challenge around that theme, and so my challenge is: To write from the perspective of someone who doesn’t recognise the place and people they live with. This should be interesting.

I’m going to get writing while it’s quiet here.



Writing Challenge #7

The Unfortunate Case of Eliza Fenning

I have been researching for hours trying to decide which historic crime would be my focal point for this challenge. And let me tell you, there are too many to count, but out of all the terrible things I read there was one story that stuck with me. In 1815 Eliza Fenning, a cook for the Turner family, was accused of attempted murder and was hanged for her crime. However there was very little supporting evidence, supposedly she had put arsenic in the dumplings she served the family for dinner, which she herself ate. Those who ate the dumplings were all horrendously ill, yet recovered. One of the family members tested the bowl the dumplings were made in, which showed positive for arsenic. Eliza had shown no contempt towards the Turner family in the previous weeks leading up to the incident and thus had no motive. There were many people who held the opinion that she was innocent and wrongly accused. If you would like to read the archived documents and letters then you can right here.

So following from that information here is my challenge, enjoy.

Her Unhappy Case

I am unfortunate young female,

Read the confessions,

See in my own hand-writing

Price: one shilling.

Decide your judgement

But I have already

Suffered the sentence of the law.

I swung for the crime

My fingers never partook

My mind never fathomed,

An ugly seed,

Flat, black, and heavy,

Spread poison

But never claimed

A soul – but mine.

Let me haunt,

Hear my plea:

“I am innocent,

Indeed I am.”

For I pay for the crime

Of another man.

That took quite a while to get all the facts, props to authors that base their books off of historic crimes, I did just a snippet of the research they have to do!

And with that I leave you,



Reading Again

Book review, binge watching and more…

As I type this post my fingers are almost blue from being so painfully cold. Winter has well and truly arrived and I already wish it would go away! Despite embracing the usual winter habits of indulging in multiple cups of tea and snuggling near the fire, the cold still manages to bite and nibble at my fingers and toes. I prefer the in-between seasons, spring and autumn, the temperature is much more agreeable and doesn’t offend my extremities so drastically.

One good thing about winter is the feeling of not being expected to spend your days outside, and though warm spring days strolling through forests with the dappled sunlight scattering shapes across the shrubs, I also love reading and staying indoors. It  is the ever tormenting curse of the introvert, we wish to go out and experience all of these amazing adventures that we read about, and yet there is another part of us that wants to curl up on the sofa, with a blanket, a cup of tea and a great book to keep us company. Unfortunately for me, I feel as though it is always one or the other, I’m either so busy out doing things that it’s just a whirlwind of endless events, or I’m cooped inside reading for days on end (I’m a bit of a binge-reader). The latter is my current state.

It took me a while to get back into reading, I love to read, but sometimes feel like I have readers-block. I start a book but then can’t get into it, so I move on to another and another and I end up with a pile of partially read books. So I decided to get a book by one of my favourite authors, in hope that she would be able to break this painful cycle.
Hannah Kent did just that! I am currently half way through her book The Good People. I loved her debut novel Burial Rites which is set in Iceland and follows the tale of a convicted murderess, in ways it drew on similar themes as Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (another fantastic read) which I will be talking about a bit later on. Anywho, The Good People is set in Ireland and plays off the idea of religion and folklore, which both held heavy influence over people. I won’t go into too much detail but I’ll let you know my full opinion once I’ve finished it. Kent’s writing style is fluid and atmospheric, an early scene in the book depicts a funeral and the detail of the tobacco smoke in the air and too many bodies crammed into the room makes you feel as though you’re experiencing it directly. If you haven’t encountered this incredible author yet then I implore you to buy one of her books, you won’t regret it.

Onto my next obsession (and netflix binge) Alias Grace. I read this a few years ago, along with The Handmaid’s Tale and The Stone Mattress, after getting majorly obsessed with Margaret Atwood’s work. I have yet to see the rendition of The Handmaid’s Tale but have heard good things. Alias Grace was incredible and scarily similar to the way I had imagined it the first time I read it. The roles are well cast, the locations reflect the book beautifully and of course it has been brilliantly adapted for the screen due to Atwood’s input. I couldn’t recommend it enough, although for anyone who likes a clean ending with everything being tied up in a neat bow then prepare to be disappointed because there are aspects that will leave you frustrated and slightly confused, but I won’t ruin it for you.

As you can probably gather there are specific genres that always seem to pull me back, both Burial Rites and Alias Grace were based off of true events. So this week I have given myself the challenge to write either an excerpt or poem based off of a historical crime… I’ve not quite decided which one yet though. I better get researching!




Writing Challenge #6

Tea Time

Evening all, it is Friday once again, I swear it comes around faster each week. I’ve been a tad under the weather this week which has stopped me from my usual gym sessions and so I’ve been cooped up on the sofa, blanket wrapped and full of tea, working away on my laptop.

And though many would see this as favourable, I get a tad restless and have been going a bit stir crazy these past few days. Also, I somehow managed to forget about this blog post, so I apologise about it being a tad rushed.

Before we begin I recommend you put the kettle on, and make yourself a cuppa.

All Time Favourite

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 4th annual Superior Beverage Ball, I want to thank you all for coming and please enjoy the night!” the Earl declared, he stood proud, his shoulders pulled back to push his chest out, like a mating bird. He’d been liberal with the bergamot tonight, it’s floral notes lingered around him in a 5 foot radius. He’d hoped the sweet scent would entice the Lady Grey, so probably applied more than was necessary.
The Earl scoped the room, it was abuzz, everyone had made an appearance for appearances sake, of course. Many of the guests detested each other, the blend, overall, was disgusting, and yet they still attended mainly so that they could be in for a chance of winning the title of All Time Favourite. The night bubbled on and chatter swirled the room on taffeta skirts and silk suits. All were dressed decadently to highlight their most attractive features, Gyokuro wore a floor length jade kimono that dipped at the back to reveal the pattern in white paint on her pale skin; Narcissus was decked out in a sooty grey suit which complemented the rich tones in his sun-kissed skin; and though there were many rare and beautiful candidates for the award there was one who was a shoe in: Camellia.
Camellia dressed the same each year, a knee length black dress, her black hair tied in a conservative bun, complementing her milky skin. She was beautiful in the conventional way, she was subtle, never overpowering and was liked by all. The Earl liked to label her as unoffensive, which was accurate in everyone’s opinion.
The clock struck 8, time for the big reveal. The Earl cleared his throat, “May I have your attention please,” the room settled and a simmer of excitement arose. “It is time for the main event, in this envelope I have the name of Britain’s All Time Favourite, though all of you were fantastic candidates the winner is…” The Earl paused for dramatic effect as he opened the envelope, “Camellia.” A slow clap flooded the room, Camellia gave a small smile to the crowd and shook The Earls hand. “Congratulations Camellia, again, four years in a row, that’s really something.” The Earl had hoped that this would be his year but somewhere inside him he had always known that the masses would choose Camellia over him any day, he took his defeat with a pinch of sugar and told himself that next year he would try again.

I’m all tea’d out now! I hope you like my unusual take on a tea themed tale. If any of you are wondering who Camellia is then let me tell you:  Camellia sinensis  is the shrub that black tea leaves grow on. So I named our unoffensive dame Camellia. I’m more of an Earl Grey girl myself but the masses tend to agree that black tea is best. Ah well.

Now then, at that I’m going to go to bed.



It’s all about Tea

Something’s Brewing …

Lately I’ve had an unhealthy obsession with tea, the different leaves, where the different types originate from and how specific blends create such soothing elixirs. In Britain there isn’t much that can’t be solved by putting the kettle on and sitting down to a cup of tea, and though we are famed for our love of it, we’re not particularly adventurous in our flavours. Herbal teas are usual deemed too fancy or flowery and so many will stick to their builders brew. Frankly, this is a massive shame, tea leaves are incredibly versatile and specific blends can aid your health in various ways. My love of tea grew during my time in Japan, all the convenience stores stocked shelves upon shelves of various teas, iced, hot and tea bags. Granted, some were much better than others but the sheer choice was a luxury, if you go into a corner shop in Britain there are very few teas available.

I’m currently interested in blending my own tea and experimenting with flavours, and all this talk of tea inspired my weekly challenge. This week I will be writing a short piece of fiction with tea as the main theme.

I’m going to go make a cuppa whilst I brew over some ideas.



Writing Challenge #5

Escaping my Universe

Currently I feel as though I am trapped in a vortex that is on a never ending repeat. I’m not sure where I feel most comfortable and then I feel guilty for wanting to be somewhere else. It’s a never ending cycle, of feeling uprooted and aimless. I need to set my feet on soil that will keep me sane, and I’m not sure if that’s where I am currently. My past has been speckled with issues due to my mental health and the minute I feel like I’m in a good place it dips again. This time I have currently, that I needed to focus on myself, has been stolen away, I wanted to put everything I had into my future job prospects and now I feel as though I’m in a snow-globe, every time I try to catch a snowflake someone shakes it. I have always had a project, volunteer work or a job, I’m not used to this sensation of having all the passion but no opportunity, it makes my muscles twitch. All I want right now is to go back in time to the place where I was the happiest, but we all know that won’t happen unless someone is willing to build me a time machine. So I will escape my universe through words, bury myself beneath them until the storm clears and it’s safe again.

Rant over, I apologise, moving on to this weeks challenge!

I have completed the Shadorma and must say I really enjoy forms that have specific syllabic rules, the method of counting things out seems to soothe me (which was greatly needed this week) So here it is:

Universe on my Nails

Ten digits
pale pebbles ready
for a change.
The abyss:
Neptune notes in inky blue,
the first to arrive.

I brought smooth
midnight seashells to
my peach lips,
ready now,
for a sprinkling of pearly
white constellations.

At least I can have the universe on my nails when I feel lost and in pain, a chance to escape and stare at the stars.




A Sudden Influx

Getting back on track

Last week was a whirlwind of emotions and various challenges, and unfortunately not of the written variety. However I am now inundated with work, applications and of course writing. I have a couple of deadlines to meet and various forms to fill out but I am thrilled to have projects which I can set my mind on, I finally feel as though I am getting back on track with my goals after a small hiccup. And, on top of all of this, I have been setting myself goals to apply for various writing competitions, so far I’ve applied to 3, but hope to apply to many more. I’ll keep you updated on what becomes of this endeavour.

I am also, once again. sticking to my blogging schedule, and today I will reveal this week’s challenge! I wanted to do a poem this week, as they are my favourite and I am in need of some comfort writing. Anyway, the poetic form I will be tackling is the Shadorma, it apparently has Spanish origin and sticks to a strict syllabic form, in a similar way to a haiku. Each stanza consists of 6 lines and follows the pattern of 3/5/3/3/7/5 syllables. I chose the Shadorma as it’s not a form I’m familiar with and I love the chance to experiment.

So that’s all for now, check back in on Friday to read my Shadorma.