Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well. I thought I would come on here and discuss something I have recently come to realise. I have always been a firm activist for the preservation of physical books. They, in my humble opinion, are superior in many ways. I love feeling the weight of a book, as it reminds me that these words came from someone’s imagination. A book makes them feel real. I have many more reasons as to why I prefer reading books, but that’s a completely different blog post.
Recently, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to pick up a book. The motivation to do so has been laying dormant somewhere inside me. But the desire and urge to read remained. I’ve been focussing most of my time on academic reading for my degree, of which has left me devoid of motivation for recreational reading.
I’m an Amazon Prime customer and am constantly bombarded with Audible advertisements, offering me 2 free credits for any audio books of my choosing. As I mentioned earlier I haven’t read a book in some time, so I decided to try Audible. I chose a book that interested me and decided I would try to fall asleep while listening to it. My only experience with audio books would be when I used an app that read soft sleep stories, in soothing hushed tones that lull you to sleep. I quickly realised this experience was vastly different. The voices were very expressive and demanded to be heard. I ended up listening to 5 hours of the book without realising it.
I finished the audio book and swiftly selected my second free title. I was equally as drawn in to the story as I was with the first one. I am very shocked to have enjoyed it so much.
It has definitely helped me reinvigorate the motivation to read again. Almost. To be fair to myself, I have been writing more recently which is a positive thing.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed this little post, it’s a lot less serious than a lot of my other posts recently.
I haven’t written a post just having a chat in a little while. I have been in writing mode for a while and have enjoyed getting my creative juices flowing.
However, I’ve found that it is proving very hard to read AND write at the same time. You see, I have been working on 3 short stories as well as my current WIP recently. This has come after having a break from writing as I had a lot of Uni work on. But somehow I still managed to read quite a few books and short stories while still doing uni work. I’m not sure how to balance both?
I’ve picked up a few books and read the first few chapters and each time proceeded to slam it down with frustration. Nothing is gripping me and I’m wondering if that is due to me being so invested in my own stories. It’s as though everything else doesn’t quite evoke the same feelings as my own.
I would like to think this is a good thing, but I miss reading. Yet I can’t bring myself to power through more than a couple of chapters.
I have been reading a lot of short stories here on WordPress, does that count?
I also quickly wanted to mention the current mismatched style of my blog. As I still consider myself a newbie blogger, I feel like I’m experimenting with what I want to post. I still love everything I’ve shared and hope the eclectic style is not distracting or off putting.
Anyway, ramble over. If you have any tips on how to balance writing with reading, please leave a comment!
I have been here for what seems like one hundred years. The trees have grown unbelievably tall and the cars now require no human intervention. People keep taking pictures of me as they go about their days. Some of them say hello. Most of them walk past without a second glance. I understand though.
Until today, I have never felt the urge to leave this place. I have been quite content with my home and the exotic wildlife who visit me everyday. Today though, I want to leave. I want to see what lies beyond this place. I want to explore and meet new species of birds, other than pigeons and the mutated seagulls that dominate the skies. Today, I believe it is time to go.
My legs ache as I will them to take a step. They refuse. I try for hours to move even the smallest muscle but every joint feels too stiff, it is proving very difficult to leave. Every time somebody passes me, I try to tell them. I try to ask for their help but thus far nobody has offered their services. Somebody is coming my way now. I clear my throat and wait for them to become close enough to talk. It is a little girl, no older than six or seven. Her mother strolls not far behind her. The young girl spots me and runs straight for me. My heart soars as I see her bright eyes studying me.
“Hello Mrs. Hayes” the young girl says to me with a curtsey. Such manners. If I wasn’t already smiling, I would beam with delight. However that joy is soon overshadowed once again when I ask her to help me and we are instead interrupted by the child’s’ mother. Her eyes are studious as she comes closer.
“Lydie, would you like me to take a picture of you next to Mrs. Hayes?” The tall woman says kindly.
“No, she’s asking me for help.” I take in a sharp breath and almost refuse to believe it. This child has heard me. She heard me.
“Yes, yes. Good child and lady, I’m stuck and would like very much to leave this place” I continue, I let my eyes fall upon the woman standing before me, but her eyes are glued to her daughter.
“What are you on about?” She says, her eyes are drowning in worry. “Stop messing around, you’ve seen that before. You know better than to make things up.”
“Didn’t you just hear her? She wants to leave, she’s stuck. Mum we need to he-“
“Enough! Your imagination is too much Lydie. Do you really expect me to believe that?”
The girl walks slowly towards me. I can feel my heart breaking as my eyes fill with tears.
“Look mum, see? She’s crying. You’re horrible mum.” For a moment, the woman looked almost, sad. She took a long look at me and then up at the sky.
“No Lydie. Look. It’s just started to rain. That’s just a statue darling, they can’t speak or cry silly girl” the softening lady says reassuringly “the lady who it’s made to look like died a long time ago, she can’t talk”. She leads her daughter to me and knocks three times on my shoulder. The young girl wrinkles her nose and mimics her mother’s actions. The sound is like an echo chamber, every knock sending more and more ripples of sound that roll through my body. They turn around and in moments they are gone.
They are free to leave while I am imprisoned within this metal cage. It is certainly time to go now.
Let me know what you think of this short story! I have planned countless stories and haven’t finished them. This is something I came up with last night and have basically “pantsed” the entire short.
So who is Jen? Who is the author behind this blog? The part-time poet? The part-time writer? The part-time Blogger? Yes, yes, yes and… Yes.
I see myself as all of the above, but there is more to me than that. I reluctantly shared a short extract from my current WIP of which I refer to as “Project Delilah”. After sharing and posting it, I came to a realisation. Although I have an “About The Author” page on my blog, it is only there as a temporary measure. I do believe it is important for anybody who may be interested in my work, to know a bit more about me and why I have decided to start blogging, as well as my motivations to write in general.
I can’t expect anyone to be invested in my work, without knowing more about me.
Hello There, My Name’s Jenny
So, my full name is Jenny Lee-Kearns. My last name is a double-barrel name from both my mum and dad. I love my name as I am pretty sure I am the only Jenny Lee-Kearns alive (well, my search on Facebook came up empty so that’s close enough, right?) My middle name is Maureen, as an ode to my great grandmother who sadly died the year before I was born. It also helps me feel a little more connected to my Irish roots.
I am 23 years old and am trying to complete my BA (Hons) Sociology and Criminology degree. I started this degree in 2014 and am still yet to graduate. This is due to some unforeseen circumstances of which seem to come up almost every year. I am determined to finish and come out with a high grade as I am more than capable of it.
I have always been interested in crime, criminals and especially serial murder. Any type of crimes that involve complex methodologies, piques my interest. In sixth form I wrote a 6000 word mini dissertation in which I posed the question of: “Is serial murder solely a psychological issue?” Spoiler: It is far more complex than that!
Creative Writing > Academic Writing
Although I love my course, I do have a greater love for creative writing. Not dissimilar to other writers, I have filled up countess notebooks since a very young age, with stories, poems and sometimes even drafts of novels.
My most memorable attempt was during my early teens, in which I bought a 250 page Pukka Pad and decided to handwrite my book that was inspired by Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak. I called it, “The Nightwalkers”. I dedicated it to my primary school teacher who was the first to recognise and nurture my flair for creative writing.
There is something about academic writing that is restricting. You need to stick to the facts, figures, statistics and specific terminology. However, all writing is writing. All writing is practice.
The Big Write
I had a wonderful Year 6 teacher, inspiring, encouraging and strong. She told me to dedicate my first book to her and that is a promise I intend to keep.
My love for writing really began to flourish once she become my teacher. She created an initiative called “The Big Write”. Every Friday after 1st break, some students would stay behind to prepare the classroom. The blinds would be closed, the lights dimmed and electric candles and bowls of dried fruit were placed in the middle of the tables. Soothing concentration music hummed quietly in the background. On the table sat a brief for us. It could say anything from, the first line of our story as a writing prompt, to instructions of the format we should write in. Every Friday the prompts changed and we created unique stories, letters, diary entries or even pamphlets from the same few lines.
We would write in silence from the minute we sat down, for the next hour and a half. I remember feeling like it was never enough time. Ideas were born from other ideas, characters forming before my eyes. Our teacher and the lovely teaching assistants would walk around reading over our shoulder. If they felt what you had just written was interesting, well written or impressive, we were told to take a piece of dried fruit. It was like a message to our peers that we have talent. As a child, your pride is huge and it would encourage us to carry on writing the best that we can.
Our teacher helped us create “portfolios” of all of our stories. By the end of the year, we each had a portfolio filled with 36 short stories. My teacher wanted to expand the initiative to other schools after she successfully implemented it within our entire primary school. She chose a handful of the best portfolios (including mine) and showcased them to other schools in the local area. I have always wanted to re-read these stories but unfortunately I never received them back.
Unfortunately I found out she passed away nearly 2 years ago. It was heartbreaking to know, she will never read the book I am writing. She will never read my dedications page and see just how much she inspired me. Her unwavering belief in me is what is driving me to continue on this journey.
I Dedicate This Book To…
Of course, I shall be dedicating my book to Ms. S. But there is another kind soul I shall be sharing the honour with.
My grandad. He was my hero, my saviour and my inspiration. He was the most hardworking, funny, loving and annoying grandad a girl could ever ask for. I am so thankful for him and I genuinely would not be alive today if he wasn’t there. He was my rock when I needed strength and my clown when I needed to laugh.
There is so much more I could say about him, however it is still very hard to talk about him without asking why? Why was he taken from me? I don’t know. I will never stop needing him or missing him.
What I do know is, all I can do is try my best to make him proud. I can hear him say “Stop crying girl. You know I love ya don’t ya?” He would be so happy to see my writing this blog. I am such a shy person with a lot of paranoia. I have never fit in and doubt I ever will. I just want to finish my book and as my grandad would say “You’re the boss Jen” and he is right.
If You Made It This Far
I hope this gives you a little bit more of an insight into who I am.
“The dream began the same as it did every other night. I was standing in my front room, not the fancy one, the normal one. I looked around and every corner of the room was dark. I glanced over to the tall bookcase to my left and it was…Impossibly dark. Like a shade of black that was yet to be discovered. The thought that I was not alone unsettled me, so much so I scrambled around in search of a light source, opening drawers, feeling for a light switch along the walls. There was nothing.
Next, I heard somebody crying. The sound echoed through every room in the house. It was as if a spirit was carrying it through the walls, flying from room to room, seeking me out. I couldn’t let it find me. I looked down and found I was running down a long hallway that seemed to go on forever. The picture frames on the walls taunted me as they kept on coming, no matter how fast I ran. I remember trying to keep my eyes forward but it was impossible. Not when the only face I saw in the thousands of frames, belonged to a girl I thought was my sister. She stared at me as I continued to sprint as fast as I could.
“You’re not real!” I said sternly. “You never existed!”
At last the hallway ended and there stood a large black door. I wanted to turn around and keep on running but instead, I walked straight through the door. Every hair on my body stood up to attention. I didn’t recognise the empty room, but something about it felt uncomfortably familiar. The walls were painted black as well as the ceiling and floor. The furniture then started to appear one by one. First the wardrobe, then a bedside table, a filthy rug and finally a bed. On the bed, sat a heap of dirty duvets, blankets and stained pillows. My eyes then adjusted to the darkness and to my surprise, the blankets seemed to be breathing. I could see the pile rising up and falling back down again; its breaths short and jagged. I blinked hard and let out a quiet sigh I didn’t know I was holding. I could sense the darkness creeping up behind me, as though some kind of evil entity was consuming the room with me still inside.
I tried to call out, but the words refused to leave my lips. Though I did sense the atmosphere shift, as the pile on the bed suddenly froze. Maybe I had spoke after all, maybe it heard me. I took a silent step towards the bed, trying to stay quiet as I approached. I managed a few more steps before a squeaky floorboard cut through the silence; the pile suddenly snapped around and stared straight at me. I was stunned to see that it was not a pile of old duvets, blankets or stained pillows. It was my sister.”
– An unedited extract taken from my current project
This is an extract from my first book, of which I will be referring to as ‘Project Delilah’.
This extract is taken from my main characters book, of which is featured between (almost) every other ‘main story’ chapter. This chapter was written from the perspective of Delilah’s main character, Elodie. (Confusing, I know but all will become clear once the book is complete (I hope!))
I chose to make it harder for myself to essentially write two different stories within one book. However, Delilah’s book is very significant to the plot and I believe it adds a lot to the book in terms of depth and it offers a unique insight into Delilah as a character as well as an author.
The two stories are interconnected and that’s about all I can say about it at the moment!
I hope you enjoyed this little extract and if you have any feed back that would be great. Please bare in mind, I have copy and pasted this directly from my manuscript and it is completely unedited. (Please be nice haha)
Please let me know what you think in the comments. Even if you thought it was boring, or cheesey or clichè. Write out your initial thoughts up on reading it and I shall do a celebratory dance and take it on board.