Saying Farewell to the Scooby Gang and Angel Investigations (for now…)

On my eighteenth birthday (July 2012, if you were wondering), one of my very good friends gave me the perfect gift. It was a doorway into another world, a portal into a dimension of “oh, my feelz” and “aw hell no” and “why doesn’t everyone I love watch this?” It was, if you haven’t guessed already, the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It’s been over a year, and I’ve finally finished the seven seasons of BtVS, and the five season spin-off series Angel (is it possible for a spin-off series to be better than the original?) … and man, am I sad it’s over. There were high points and low points amidst the epic journey I took with Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Anya, Tara, Dawn, Cordelia, Angel, Spike, Wesley, Fred, Gunn, Lorne and (even) Andrew (plus a helluva lot more). I came to love all of these characters — each so different, yet each perfectly written, fully realised and completely real. There are characters who merely formed the milieu of the story that I would’ve named, but the list would go on for a while (longer than it already is, I mean). These people (for that’s what they are to me; more than characters) have taken me on an adventure beyond my imaginings, and have shown me things I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

But, more importantly, they made me feel.

And the writing! Oh man, the writing is simply superb. With Joss Whedon as creator (and the writer of most of the best episodes), know that you can’t go wrong. The story-lines are gripping, emotive and make you wish that you had the genius required to come up with something so fantastical, so amazing, so right. (I’ll have you know I cried more than once during the watching of all 254 episodes that make up the Buffyverse.)

I am devastated that my time with these wonderful people in this wonderful (or not so wonderful, depending on how you view it) world is up, but I’m also grateful that I was a part of it (belatedly, I’ll admit, but hey, I can’t help when I was born). Things to look forward to now: the comic books that continue the series (canon, of course), more Joss Whedon paraphernalia (particularly Firefly, I’m told), and the hope and inspiration that I, too, may create something half as brilliant as this. If you haven’t watched this yet: why are you still reading this? Go get yourself some Buffy!

To everyone (cast, crew, creators): thank you, sincerely.

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Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

A short, experimental piece. Let me know what you think! Can also be found here.

A trembling pair of hands, a couple of fifties, a few twenties, and a fiver. Exchanged for a packet of white powder. Angel Dust, they called it. The shaking stopped in anticipation of the next fix, and the money was shoved into a filthy pocket alongside a few soggy cigarettes, a condom wrapper and a mobile phone.

Days later, the fiver was still in there. In the grimy pocket. In the crumpled, low-riding jeans. In his bedroom, on the floor. In his musty apartment. In the dark end of Sydney, where everything seemed constantly damp and mouldy. That’s where the fiver was, days later.

Until the jeans were lifted off the floor, shaken out and put back on.

A fumbling hand deep in a pocket until the fiver is clenched between two fingers and drawn out — “Poor bastard” — and dropped into a quivering paper cup. Exchanged for a grateful grunt.

A trembling pair of hands, a collection of tens, and the fiver. Exchanged for a packet of white powder. Angel Dust, they called it…

White Flag; a story

Hi friends and followers!

Sorry I’ve been AWOL for far too long, but you know how life gets. I’ve just had uni assignments and readings, and every time I sit down to relax, I remember I’ve got to be doing something else … I’m looking forward to holidays, let me tell you!

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any spare time, could they read over a short story I’ve written for an assignment? I would value as much feedback as possible. You can comment here, or on this link (if you have a deviantART profile) or wherever else I’ll be able to see it.

Here’s the description I wrote on the piece to give you a little more background:

A piece I wrote for an upcoming assignment. The criteria is to combine two forms (which I have done here with prose and script), but it’s slightly too long (about 100 words over the limit) and I need to cut it down. So if you see any unnecessarily wordy parts, please tell me. Or even if you think a scene is unnecessary. I thought I was doing pretty well, because after workshopping it in class I had to shorten the whole piece by 200 words AND the teacher wanted me to put in the whole letter sequence. So that was fun.

Please tell me what you think! Are there some parts that don’t work? Any historical inaccuracies (I’m afraid my knowledge of early-1940s England leaves much to be desired) or narrative plot holes?

NOTE: Although there are script segments, I do not intend for it to be performative; they are only there (aside from meeting the assignment’s criteria) to reflect the imaginings of the mother, and contrast them against her realities.

I would be so appreciative of any help you are able to give. Thank you in advance!

Quick Lit Review: HIGH FIDELITY

HIGH FIDELITY novel cover

What a strange, wonderful, depressing book! It’s a coming-of-age story narrated by middle-aged Rob, audiophile extraordinaire. He is unmarried, childless and possesses a wry, self-deprecating humour, but his charisma is what drives the narrative forward.

The novel has been called ‘humorous’ and ‘satirical’ by some, but I feel it speaks of a deeper truth, one that everyone is scared of: to have achieved nothing in this lifetime. It questions the meaning of existence and the purpose of humanity.

HIGH FIDELITY film poster

But don’t let that put you off! Nick Hornby’s acclaimed novel is famous for its many allusions and references to music, but don’t let that dissuade you either. I know next to nothing about music, and I got along swimmingly.

The ending is particularly fitting, I feel, and concludes the story wonderfully.

Also, there’s a movie, with a young John Cusack and Jack Black and middle-aged angst and a brilliant soundtrack (or so I’m led to believe)…

The Weight of Souls — Book Review

As I sit here, hot chocolate by my side and rain thundering outside, I am glad to say that my holidays have been very full. I’ve had five weeks of church camps, acting at the local theatre, family and friend get-togethers, job hunting, movie watching and book reading. I also got my uni marks for last semester back, and I’m pleased to report that I went extremely well in all of my subjects. (Yeah, I know, I’m real modest.)

Somewhere in there I received an ARC in the mail: a book for me to review, free of charge. I think it’s obvious that I was excited. Plus, I received a little card signed by the author and a little ghost charm (it’s themed, don’t worry). And it was a Strange Chemistry book—an imprint of Angry Robot, a publisher I love. So, awesomeness in a little cardboard package arrived at my house that day.

Bryony Pearce’s novel The Weight of Souls gripped me immediately with its story of ghost-avenger and struggling teenager, Taylor Oh. It had the perfect mix of fantasy and reality, of ancient curses and broken friendships. It took me a week and a half to read it, but I had read half of it in two days before I left for a four-night camp, which was followed by two nights of performances in the play I was in. Cut me some slack, you fast-readers you.

Cover for WEIGHT OF SOULS

A pleasing mix of China, Egypt and magic…

The main character is of Asian descent (‘Oh’ is generally a pretty good indicator of that, as is the cover), and the rest of the character cast is pleasantly multicultural. But don’t let that sway your opinion one way or the other, because it really doesn’t add much to the story. The most her being Chinese means is that bullies can direct racial slurs her way. Anyway, it was nice to read something where different ethnicities aren’t that big a deal. As they shouldn’t be.

Know that this is a YA novel. It shouldn’t make a difference, because the best YA should be universal, but I do feel like the plot is dumbed down a bit. And I’m getting really sick of the ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ endings. I mean, the novel is obviously set up for at least one sequel, but does everything have to go so swimmingly all the time? My favourite ending of any story would have to be at the end of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials — but no spoilers for those of you who haven’t read the trilogy yet!

All in all though, this was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading the second one in the series (as there has to be after an ending like that!). I’m tossing up between three and a half stars, or four stars. Meh, what the heck: four stars it is. Well done Bryony!

Stuck in the doldrums of literature…

So I haven’t finished a book in…ooh, four months? I know, I know. But hear me out. I’ve started so many books, but then I always get interrupted with life: uni, chores, friends. Not that I mind, but I wish I could just finish a book for once. I think once I finish a book, I’ll get back into the swing of things, and perhaps be able to keep my attention focussed long enough to read more.

See, I’ll start a book, read maybe 250 pages, then leave it for a few days (or weeks, whatever) and when I come back to it, I feel lost and confused — but not bothered to start it again. I’m a slow reader; I can admit this freely and without shame. However, it does frustrate me that to enjoy a book (even only a slim one) can take me up to a week, and that’s without reading anything else.

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Maybe not THIS slow…

I’ve decided to put away all the books I’d started on, and to just begin afresh. It made me feel so much better. I didn’t realise the pile of books was haunting me so much. If you’re interested, the books I’ve started (some of which I’ve even read over half of) include (but are not limited to):

And yesterday I started E.M. Forster‘s Howards End, but got distracted by a second hand bookstore in a hospital and am now reading Robert Cormier‘s I am the Cheese. Not to mention that I’ve got about a dozen more books to read for uni for next semester. So much for a break. When will this madness stop?

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And I read faster than this statue does. I think…

Does anyone else have this problem? Please tell me I’m not the only one! (Comments and/or encouragement would be more than welcome.)

Who else is excited for THE GREAT GATSBY?

Okay, so the Australian premiere of The Great Gatsby is tonight, which is pretty exciting stuff. For any international readers out there, have you seen the film yet? Was it any good? If you haven’t, are you going to? Are you as excited as I am? (Hint: I’m very excited.) Have you read the book? High expectations for the film? Low ones?

Film poster for THE GREAT GATSBY.

Doesn’t this poster look so awesome and steampunkish? Makes me want to see it even more!

I’d love for you to leave a ten word review if you’ve seen it! (Need I say, ‘No spoilers’? I should hope not!) Or just comment for the heck of it. I love replying to you guys!

You should date a guy who writes

Date a guy who writes. Date a guy whose fingers are stained with ink, whose pockets are filled with pens, and whose eyes smile and dance with curiosity. Date a guy who notices things like the colour of your hair and the way you have your coffee, not because he has to, but just because it’s a habit of his to notice things. Date a guy who can barely get around a computer, but is expert with his word processor. It doesn’t matter; he prefers pen and paper anyway.

Find a guy who writes. You’ll find him just outside a library. He’ll like the idea of being outside, on the verge of a thousand worlds, a few steps away. He’ll love the idea of being outside, on the brink of one world, a few carefully placed letters away.

Or he will be inside a café. He doesn’t care whether it’s boutique or Gloria Jeans, moodily or well lit, though he likes it there especially when it’s raining. He will be the one with a notebook in one hand, pen in the other, lounging back and trying to think of how to best word what he wants to say next. Buy him a coffee. Or a tea. Or a hot chocolate. Buy him something to eat, too. He’d forgotten about food and he needs help remembering. Understand that he wants to talk to you, but if he drifts off for a moment, or bends forward to hurriedly scribble something, it’s because you’ve inspired him. This is a good thing.

Ask him what he’s writing. If he shows you, he’s being honest, exposing his heart. Return the favour. Tell him how his work makes you feel, not how you feel about his work. He’s sensitive, but eager to become better. He will love when you get what he’s on about, when you laugh at his jokes, admire the way he plays with words, adore his imagery, recognises his references. He will love you when you love his work. If he doesn’t show you, don’t be disheartened. He isn’t ready yet, but he will be. It will be all the sweeter for the wait.

He will spend hours with you, entranced with you. He tries to fathom you, but he knows he won’t ever completely, and he’s okay with this. In fact, this makes him feel kind of glad. He likes complex characters. He wants to create them, and being around them helps.

Kiss him. You have to be first, because he’s not sure whether he’s misreading the signals. He would hate to confuse the tendrils of a daydream with the jarring of reality. You have to be first because he’s too scared to lose you. After that, he will lose himself in you, without hesitation. There’s no misreading that first kiss.

Don’t lie to him. He won’t lie to you because he hopes you’ll be honest with him. Show integrity. He appreciates that. Then again, lie to him. He loves your complexity, and the cadence of your untruths will ensnare him, your weaving of excuses will remind him that humanity is duplicitous in its very nature. He likes being reminded of humanity.

Tell him when you fail. He understands. He will fail, too. He knows he will eventually have editors and proofreaders for mistakes. He knows he has you for when he fails. He hopes you will have him when you do the same.

Complain to him, tell him how your day was. It may not be relevant to his story, but he’ll want to hear your voice. He’ll store these details away and use them when even you have forgotten. He will remember. It’s a habit.

Make him do things spontaneously. Experiment with him. Make him do things he would never do. He will love you for this, because sometimes he wishes he could do the things he writes about, be the characters he dreams of. You can make this happen.

He will propose to you. Probably with a slip of paper, words neatly printed, hidden inside a fountain pen you gave him, or in place of the bookmark you always use. He may not say anything out loud, but his heart is screaming for you. Know that he finds comfort in the written word, in its solidarity, in its stasis. For him, the written word is true, and does not change. Remember, he is a writer, and this is who he is. Accept this, and you accept him.

You will have children. They will grow up, fed on a diet of strange worlds and captivating snapshots of language and wild turns of phrases, become accustomed to the essence of images distilled by the purity of a pen. Even better, they also will write.

They will grow old, and you will realise that you, too, have grown older. He’d made you forget with his homespun tales. Or maybe it was that habit of his that you’d made your own: you drift off again.

He dies. Or you die. It doesn’t matter who goes first, the other won’t be far behind. But neither of you are really dead. He has captured a little of you in everything he’s written, a little of himself, too. You both live on through his words, eternally entwined.

You should date a guy who writes.

[Also found deviantART and on tumblr.]

Some me in the absence of me

Video

So…it’s been a while now since I’ve posted something. And I still don’t quite have the time to post a whole, er, something, so I’m posting this video of me last July, that my friend edited and put up on her YouTube account a few months ago. Because I’m being fashionably late, you see.

Basically, I shaved my hair to raise money for breast cancer (I raised $160, which was alright, but not as much as I’d hoped), and if you feel like laughing at my awkward self, then go right ahead and enjoy the video!

Also, in other news, uni is going swimmingly (apart from assignments — but that’s to be expected), and I’m currently reading We Need to Talk About Kevin which is utterly amazing and a complete work of art (I say, only 180 pages in — proof enough that I’m smitten), and have nearly finished Buffy season five / Angel season two (oh, the dramz! the feelz!). But anyway, what are you guys reading/watching? Anything particularly awesome you want to rave about? (Leave a comment, because I love replying to them!)

Ode to the Novel

You thirst for the completion

That opening this trove of

Treasure can – will – bring.

Beyond rhyme or reason, you

Know only the clots of ink

Will satisfy you.

 

You crack its spine, relishing

In its dusty, primal scent,

Its papery flesh.

The lifeblood of literature

Spills over your hands, congealed

Already. You eat.

 

Gorged on imagination,

You drain the dregs, bittersweet,

Head tilted backwards.

You cry yourself to sleep, scared

This is the only way you’ll

Feel emotion.

 

So you stroke it (bloated, full),

Creativity’s creature,

A drug; side effects

Include nausea, distress,

Sleeplessness and sleepiness.

You are tainted, quenched.

So, my life has been quite hectic during the past few days (if you’re interested, reading this article will help — the children involved in the accident were my brother and two sisters, one of which has a broken rib, contused kidney and had to have an operation on her abdomen), but it’s nice to take some time out and work on a bit of poetry. Plus, it also knocks over some homework for my Creative Writing class. Two birds, one stone…

Any feedback or opinions are greatly appreciated! I’m a tough cookie so don’t be afraid to really tell me what needs fixing, what doesn’t work, etc. Thanks for reading!