Daily Prompt: Folly

via Daily Prompt: Folly

The last time I had lay down on the sofa with my knees against my chest was when I was eleven, and I had been off school with a bug. My mother had rubbed my back each time I retched and I watched cartoons through bleary eyes. Seven years later, I feel just as childish, and wish I could grasp that innocence I have lost. I can hear Mum clattering around the kitchen, slamming pans louder than necessary and rattling cupboards, but she isn’t sympathetic to my plight this time.

In fact, when she comes in, storming past with bundles of laundry and giving me a glare as she passes, I can hear her words of earlier in my mind: “How could you be so stupid? This is your own fault! What have you done?”

I close my eyes, focusing on the soft glow of light from behind my eyelids, but it doesn’t stop the memories. Summer days, stolen kisses, wondrous nights. Now all I’m left with is morning sickness and a disappointed mother. Now that he’s gone, I feel like I’m left with nothing.

I rub my stomach, attempting to soothe myself and the baby, trying to shut out how happy I was before. I had just finished school, and I thought I would have a few months of freedom. As soon as Adam found out I was expecting, that childish, breezy love was gone, the carelessness replaced as quickly as his face dropped with something adult. Within days, he had broken my heart. Within weeks, he decided to go travelling with his friends across the world, while I was stuck at home with a growing human inside me.

Mum walks past again, stopping abruptly to turn and snap, “Don’t tell me you’re still moping about that Adam.”
I sigh and open my eyes, looking at her tiredly. “No.”

“That…stupid boy. How could he possibly leave you in this state?” She runs a hand through her greying hair, messy and unwashed since I dropped the news on her. Adam’s departure had left her just as shaken as me, though from the beginning she knew it wouldn’t last between us. I sit up slowly, feeling my head spin after being horizontal for so long: Mum looks close to crying instead of furious, and it’s unusual. I assumed she was just plain angry.

Writing practice.

Daily Prompt: Treasure

via Daily Prompt: Treasure

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A child to a mother. Alcohol to an addict. Applause to a showman. Attention to the lonely.

Treasure is a prize, the ultimate gift held in high regard. It varies from person to person, dependent on the individual itself, and comes in many forms.

Though ‘treasure’ itself is materialistic, it doesn’t have to be. It can be more than just a trinket to amuse for a while – without someone to admire it, diamonds and jewels are just objects.

Though, at the same time, anything can lose its value when there is no one who holds it dear to them.

Daily Prompt: Protest

via Daily Prompt: Protest

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 The smashing of glass mixed with delighted whoops and angered shouting makes my eyes fly open, confused as I stare around my dark room, though the flicker of orange from behind my curtains has me shooting out of bed and rushing to look outside in a flash. Behind the glass, the world is black and orange – black sky, dark shadows, men dressed in black clothing as they rush around under the orange street lamps, fire flickering as it consumes a car surrounded by my neighbours screaming and shouting.

But these men in black don’t seem to care – they are too quick and can easily dart away from the still sleepy car owner without much trouble. Judging from their whoops and catcalls, which echo up and down the street, they are young and cocky with the safety of their masks over their faces.

I had heard of the riots in the papers – the tales of protest marches turned violent and youths doing whatever they could to get their voices heard. I never expected it to break free from the heart of the city where it all began and stretch out to suburbia.

Writing practice.

Daily Prompt: Martyr

via Daily Prompt: Martyr

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 In 1913, Emily Davison was killed by running in front of a horse at the Epsom race course.

It was an act that gave her a title: martyr. A representation of the determination women had to gain suffrage, and a demonstration to show just how far they would go to gain it.

Though she certainly had no intention in her death, she still unfortunately died for her cause, but it still managed to spread the word and bring attention onto the women’s plight. But was this good attention, or bad attention? Did her death bring more of an argument against giving women the right to vote – an excuse for the patriarchal men of the time to claim they were too insane to have the vote?

Did Emily Davison’s death help or hinder the cause?

Daily Prompt: Sacred

via Daily Prompt: Sacred

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The second year of A-Level Sociology includes the topic of religion, from which I have used a quote in my first published post.

Durkheim says that religion exists to assist in bringing society together, by making the norms and values become important and reinforced.

The sacred and profane references to taboo objects (that are sacred) that inspire and awe. However, though they are so powerful and mesmerising in comparison to the ordinary objects with no significance (profane), only society can command this; it is society that decides what is sacred and what is profane. The function of this then helps to unify believers, and bring society together.

Chaos and the Calm [James Bay]

Another review made too late.

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 One of the albums I was giddy to buy when it was first released was Chaos and the Calm by James Bay, back in earlier 2015. A few months prior (if I remember correctly) he had just released his first single, Hold Back The River, so he was fresh on the public scene. In honesty, Hold Back The River wasn’t the first single I heard, despite its successful place in the charts. It was my friend who had come to me telling me I should check out his music, as she assumed (correctly) that I would like his style.

 In doing so, I stumbled upon his YouTube channel, which had acoustic versions of his album’s song pre-release, many of which done all in one take with a visually pleasing backdrop. It was When We Were On Fire that I had first decided to watch and listen to, and I was immediately impressed with him. The riff of his guitar in this particular song/video was a pleasant surprise, as I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a perky, quick tune of abrupt notes that made me smile, and even better was his talented voice; his natural, acoustic singing voice is very much like his studio recordings, showing he needs no touch-ups to make himself sound passable as a singer, and there is an enjoyable warmth to his tone that emulates himself as a person (he comes across as a lovely person). After becoming hooked on this, I checked out his single and immediately loved it, with each pluck of the guitar string and the fabulous build up during the song’s progression to a storming jam that is impossible to not sing along to.

 Bay’s style was distinguishable from the off, and as I discovered and delved into more of his songs, the spirited feel of his voice and excellent instrumentals – always with his guitar at the forefront – I was getting more and more hooked on his sound. It wasn’t just his wonderful voice, however, but his personal style too: his discernible look of long hair and a hat, which almost echoes the ‘rock star’ trend but with a chiselled, polished clean-up. James Bay is clever in how he visually portrays himself – though he lets his music do the talking, he is recognisable as having the long hair, the hat, the guitar (and I’m sure his cheekbones have had their own recognition before), which is a good tool when becoming memorable by the public. Melanie Martinez, for example, has her own sweet and girly baby style, with pretty, childish clothing, and the King of Pop was remembered during his career for the militant jacket, the hat and the glittering glove – though James is far more reserved. [some very random examples of memorable style, I know]

 Of course, I’m not at all saying it’s his style people remember him for. It’s his talent. His perfectly indie rock/folk rock/soul voice has an earthy feel, not perfected (as I mentioned before) like most mainstream music is. It somehow makes his thoughtful lyrics more relatable, though they themselves capture real emotions, real thoughts (notably in Craving where he sings of the train of thought we all encounter – “Where do I go? What do I need?”)

 When I bought the album, it was a wonderful experience for the first time, with some eye-openingly brilliant songs, though brilliantly it doesn’t lose its appeal after several listens. Strangely, despite there being some quick-paced, chirpy songs, and tracks with stomping rhythm, I finish the album often with a mellow feeling – it’s perfect for some quiet background music.

 Each track has its own flavour and difference (predominantly): the cheerful yet thoughtful Craving, the hopeful and heart-warming Best Fake Smile, the slow and beautiful Move Together (with adorably polite sexual lyrics), the dirty and strained Collide* and, of course, the irresistable song that started it all: Hold Back The River.

 The way Mr Bay flows from emotion to emotion, with a multitude of stories and themes within his music and lyrics, shows his real passion for music: you can tell from his vocal ability and envious lyrical writing that he is a man in love with what he does. He isn’t a try-hard, he doesn’t perform for the money or write songs for attention – he does it because he loves it, which can only make equally passionate listeners feel more connected with the songs and the artist.

 In conclusion, I thank James Bay for blessing me with his music, as he is an inspired creative artist who inspires me. Which is a weird thing to say, but it is the best I can do as a closing note.

*my personal favourite.

Flaws of the ‘Flawless’: Bella Swan

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When I was a few years younger, I was very much invested in the young adult fiction series, The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, much like many teens were. As a girl who was obsessed with books – from the Harry Potter series in my pre-teens to the Jacqueline Wilson books which brought real-life dilemmas and family matters to my attention – I was very much into Twilight.

I adored (and still do adore) the writing style of Meyer, and did have a certain fondness and fascination for the characters, though I am somewhat less fascinated by them now. However, Bella Swan was always on the fence between my usual passion and connection between myself and the main character of a book, and the irritation and head-shaking she continuously inflicted.

I have seen several articles before criticising Meyer’s lead female as being a ‘Mary-Sue’ – an idealised version of typical teenage outcasts or in the very least ‘ordinary’ characters. Bella is incredibly beautiful, though not at all vain; Bella is very smart, though doesn’t boast that she shares the same intellect as a man who’s age is around a hundred years old; Bella gets all kinds of positive attention, particularly from the boys, though does not accept any of it. In fact, in order for Bella Swan to be ‘relatable’ to the bookish teen audience the novel was aimed at, Bella is an outcast, who seems to actively avoid human contact – until she meets the godlike Edward Cullen.

Even then, this epitome of perfection seems to love this apparently ‘completely ordinary’ human, and she in turn becomes an even better character: she’s selfless! She would die for him! Everybody praise Bella Swan for not only being generally clever, beautiful and humble, but she also has suicidal tendencies to protect the man (or vampire) she loves!

Of course, Bella Swan isn’t a Mary Sue – though Meyer tried hard to make her into the girl every female aches to be, Bella has some critical flaws that make me pull a face similar to wandering onto a farm and inhaling manure whenever I see these issues (that being said, I do not think Bella is entirely fecal and I do still think The Twilight Saga is an excellent series of books to read).

Putting aside some of her flaws (including her attachment to her vampire bae Edward, which is a tad worrying considering the intensity – as a fellow 17 year old, I can’t understand how she got so attached to this individual who really isn’t that special, to be frank), one of the flaws that frequently bugs me is her disregard to her real family.

As the novels progress, her relationship with the Cullen coven also progresses, and she sees them more and more as her family, and vice versa. However, this makes me feel concerned for her real family -particularly her long-suffering father, Charlie. Though she does his cooking and cleaning, she barely spends time with him, which I’m sure, despite their mutual acknowledgement of being awkward, he would have enjoyed and appreciated. Instead, she continuously puts herself in the path of danger: chasing after a (very old) boy who could kill her or get her killed at any moment; riding motorcycles with no experience; getting on motorcycles that belong to a stranger; cliff-diving into water in a ‘recreational’ activity without supervision or guidance from much more experienced divers; rushing of to Italy while Charlie was at a funeral (which isn’t dangerous from her father’s perspective, but I think it was just damn rude of her). The disregard for his feelings is concerning, and though it is clear within the books that she cares, she doesn’t do Charlie many favours (if we look at most of the saga from his perspective).

There many other things to say about Twilight – criticisms of the characters themselves and their actions, particularly Edward Cullen – but I feel the saga redeems itself enough to keep from being entirely critical of Meyer’s work. Though Bella does not stick with me as a likeable character and frequently frustrates me, she is still an interesting read with an entertaining story to tell, and she does have her positives and amusing moments that I just personally tend to overlook; like, for example, Meyer’s clear exaggeration of heady young love channelled through the flawed ‘flawless’ Bella Swan.

The purpose of this post was for writing practice (not hating).