On the appreciation of art

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Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

~Moby Dick

It’s been one of those days where nothing feels right and you can’t sit still long enough to finish a cup of tea, never mind actually get anything done. A relentless restlessness pervades your soul and it seems the only solution is to take to the sea. Metaphorically. One must completely remove themselves from the environment they’re in and completely give yourself over to the freshness of the experience.

Living in Preston and being in the middle of revision doesn’t give me the freedom to be like Ishmael and take to the sea literally – I mean I could hop on the train to Blackpool but then it can just get awkward with train timings and the dark etc – so I did the next best thing. There’s a park in the center of the city (technically) with a river running through it and sometimes, you just can’t beat the peacefulness of a walk with nothing but your music and your thoughts for company.

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Now I’ve never been massively interested in art – I appreciate it and love going to museums but I never got it. And then today it clicked. It was while I was sat next to the water, mindlessly watching the play of the waning light play on the water and the different directions that the water was flowing and the way the water moved and I realised there are some things that simply cannot be captured in words. Words are beautiful – they can do a million and one things but even if I’d sat there for 5 more hours with a dictionary and thesaurus, I couldn’t have captured that river in words. It’s times like this that art is so completely essential to humanity – it gives us the ability to capture the beauty of a sunset and a river flowing through the city, completely unaware and uncaring of the petty problems that exist less than a mile away.

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It’s a new day, It’s a new life, and I’m feeling …

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Blank.

Usually that’s not how the song goes. I would know – Bubbles is by far one of my most beloved crooners. Something about his voice, it just melts me.

But I digress.

As my co-blogger/partner in crime/haven’t seen her in ages friend oh so helpfully pointed out, I haven’t made my presence felt on here. But the strange thing is, it’s not due to a lack of things to say, opinions to voice. I find myself feeling void these days. I have so much to do between the paper, Spanish, my degree, 2 jobs and now the radio that I don’t tend to get a moment to stand still and smell the roses. Not that there are any roses here but you understand my general meaning. The point is, I feel like I haven’t breathed in what feels like ages. Life seems to be passing me by – I’m doing all of these things, taking all of these opportunities but I’m so numb to it all that I may as well be doing it on auto-pilot.

There comes a time when you stop chasing the big things and learn to enjoy the little pockets or moments that life gives you (a bit heavy and potentially depressing but hear me out on this thought..) I had come to embrace the little moments, love them even but it now feels like I’m living underwater. There are two separate worlds in the sense that I’m both part of the world (I do everything, I talk to everyone, I smile, I laugh, I eat, I sleep) but at the same time, everything is like white noise. My mind is so overwrought that it’s stopped processing anything. The world feels silent.

And if there’s one thing I have never been good with, it’s the silence.

Livin’ Large

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I did it! After applying relentlessly to internships and work experience, I FINALLY managed to get a placement at a magazine in London. I won’t lie – getting here was NOT easy. Having to sort out accommodation, travel and food without bankrupting myself is quite difficult. I nearly lost all my hair (so much for not worrying as much this year!)

And I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

I’ve never been in a business environment so what I didn’t anticipate was the feeling of sheer TERROR when i walked into those offices. When movies show you magazine offices and it looks too good to be true? It’s not. It’s really really not. I’m romanticising it a bit – I know I am. I’m just a small town girl (..living in a lonely world – no, just kidding. I won’t type out an entire Journey song) who hasn’t spent any significant amount of time in London so naturally I’m going to romanticise it.

But that doesn’t make what I’m trying to say insignificant. And what I’m saying is this: I walked into that office on Monday and even though I was terrified and spent the entire day on the verge of a panic attack (and was aided by my dear co-blogger), I knew the instant I walked in there that this is where I wanted to spend my life. The publishing industry has been my dream for so long that seeing it become a reality for even 2 weeks is an experience I will never forget. So far I’ve transcribed interviews, helped compile lists for future issues (events, books, other things to include) and not for a single second have I been bored or fed up.

This is it world. I have found my place and I will fight tooth, nail and claw to make it here.

How to say NO!

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People reading the title of this blog post have already come into it with a perception. And I can guess it very well. They’ve seen the title and gone, ‘Oh! This’ll be some sort of feminist, empowering statement about standing up to your significant other’ – basically the same sort of statement and general mentality that is starting to take over our Facebooks, Tumblrs, Twitters, Buzzfeeds .. you get the gist. And while I’m very much a feminist and very much for self empowerment, this blog post is not that. Not even a little bit.

It is, in fact, about MY ability to say no. To any opportunity. Ever.

Now generally, this can be taken as a positive thing. It’s good to take part and it is definitely imperative to take advantage of the opportunities you are provided with. But with me, it’s like too much of a good thing, you know? Whenever I see something, I apply for it. I take on WAY too much! There have been times that I’ve double booked myself on work shifts, there have been times when I’ve had three essay deadlines in one week and EXTRA STUFF ON TOP!

I realise I sound a bit ungrateful here. Not my intention at all. I’m just making sure the world knows my good and bad qualities. In my last post, I talked about how I handle criticism well, here I’m talking about how I take on more than I can cope with. 7 modules, an editorship, 3 gym classes and work seemed like a good idea last year but I was literally like a headless chicken. I have to physically stop myself this year – note to self! Although, one thing I’ll never regret is applying for a Leadership Course in Cyprus and a trip to Paris where I designed a literary tour of Victor Hugo’s Paris. There are some experiences in life that come out of nowhere but they’re so amazing that you’re left shocked that you were a part of it!

The moral of the story, kids, is that yes, apply to opportunities, apply to LOTS of opportunities. But don’t overload yourself and burn yourself out. Ultimately it ends up being bad because by the sheer laws of physics, it means you can’t possibly give your 100% to each thing and by not having some free time to yourself to enjoy a cup of tea and an episode of Friends (*insert book/tv/leisure preference here*), you can become almost a hindrance in your own life and goals! Take it from someone who knows all too well.

P.S. I WILL be posting up that promised feature – just need to check with Mr Editor if I’m allowed to.

P.P.S. I will also be posting that Victor Hugo Tour.

P.P.P.S. I am FINALLY moved into Uni for my third and final year (eep!) and after a couple of rocky days with no internet (hence no posts for a while) and a lot of boxes, I am fresh faced and ready to dive into the final year of my undergrad (eep.eep!). Cue panic induced crying.

Taking Criticism

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Over the summer, I applied to be the features editor of my university’s paper. I’d previously been the comments editor as well as a staff writer but I wanted a bit of change so I took a shot. This is something I’ve been doing more and more – applying to stuff. Even if I don’t think I’ll get it, even if it’s last minute, even if I might not be able to do it  – the experience of application processes and interview is almost as essential as the job itself!

But I digress.

So I applied for this features internship and I got it! (Needless to say, I was shocked). With Freshers week coming up, we’ll be publishing our first issue of the year and I wrote my first feature in about two years for it this week and let me tell you! That entire piece was a shot in the dark. But thankfully my editor was a godsend and helped me out a fair bit and at the end, he apologised to me because there hadn’t been time to send me the piece to correct and he’d done some edits and in his words – he was brutal.

There’s a grey area when it comes to editing someone’s work because you don’t want to change their work drastically but you don’t want it to go to the next stage as a bad piece either. I personally don’t have anything against him editing my work and am even grateful because now I’ll have an idea for next time. But some people have a tough time with criticism, especially when it comes to creative things such as writing. To them I say take it all with a grain of salt! At the end of the day, however much you resent it, you’ll end up going back to that same advice so as to better your work. If you’re just open to it to begin with, it’ll help you out in the long run AND you’ll be able to get more detailed advice.

So take that criticism as a gift, my friend!

P.S. I will be posting my written articles on here once they get published in the paper. So watch this space!

The Return of Jas.

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You know it’s a bad sign when you’ve forgotten the password to log into your own blog. My absence cannot be justified or explained apart from the same old tired ‘I’ve-been-working-all-summer-man!’. That is no excuse however so I’m not even going to put it forward as a candidate.

 

My first ever post on this blog was about how you should write SOMETHING every day and I stand by that. Just because I haven’t updated this doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing! Promise!!

 

However, from now on, I will update this one every week (at the very least) because like something else I said on my first post, all writing should be like an exercise. You have to do it regularly and at a set time, to get your mind into the habit of thinking that way. At the risk of sounding like a robot, I’m going to attempt to chronicle my process of writing through routine.