30 November 2016

What defines a writer?

What defines a writer?

Is it a woman in her late 30's who wears glasses and works for a prestigious newspaper in the depths of New York? Or a balding middle-aged man sitting in a dark room with only a type-writer as company? Is it a son who dedicates his life travelling the world to find long forgotten family stories to write them up in an unpublished journal that will never see the stands? Is it a motivated university student who dreams of being the next J.K Rowling and spends her evenings in a far off imagined world where she can finally belong? Is it a 10 year old girl who finds she can only fit her imagination onto paper where the pen magically runs free as if it were writing by itself?  Is it an ageing English teacher who lectures about his passion but never really found the words to put onto paper? Or is it a 15 year old blogger with a dream?

Maybe you can't define a writer. 

// Jeani

28 November 2016

We Fear Nothing // Poem

We fear nothing
No. Not the absence of fear,
But the absence of absence,
The absence of any idea

We fear nothing
The lack of the click of a tongue
The eternal oblivion
Never hear a note being sung

We fear nothing
But we are cowardice in the purest of forms
The pursuit of vibrancy
With the knowledge we'll fall

We fear nothing
It's just a breath away
Lingering fingertips
Still fall when they may

We fear nothing
Not the winter claws of trees
But the cool, numbing sunshine
Broken by the nothing of sleep

We fear nothing
Not the pain. But the pain.
The pain of unfeeling
Of not feeling the pain

The curse of humanity
Desperate we cling to conspiracy

Yet we fear nothing
But clockwork and the pettiest of sins
We fear nothing of starvation
Or the loneliness of kin

How do we fear nothing
When our life is a chaotic vortex?
We are neighbours to poverty
To perversity, to a survival contest?

We fear nothing.
No. We are built on fear
Every cell and synapse
Every molecule and chemical survives on fear

We fear nothing.
We fear all.

20 November 2016

We Will Rock You

Sometimes in life, there are moments that are too perfect. As I stood in the wings for the last time, I felt all the work we have put in over the past few months come down to this one final moment, over so quickly and so finitely. It felt so beautiful to close my eyes and allow myself to feel my heart rise in my chest at the sentimentality of the moment, to feel the heat of the lights, to hear the wonderfully talented voices of my friends, to feel my costume clinging to my skin and the twinge of a smile on my lips. 

From the first time watching the show I knew I wanted to play Scaramouche, my heart latched onto the role from the moment I began to see myself in her, I was desperate, although I kept my cool publicly to not raise my hopes too high.  I loved her sarcasm, her quick wit and individuality, I loved the idea of quiet rebellion and found myself relating to her confident come-backs towards the people that tried to kick her down. She was an inspiration. Even without my attachment for Scaramouche, my mum is an enormous Queen fan so I found her pushing me even further towards this. 

When I went into my audition, my hands were shaking despite my unusual calm breath and clear head. I was of course prepared, after falling in love with Scaramouche's character I had watched the show 5 times and knew the words to all the songs off by heart. I walked in and sang "somebody to love" after an awkward misunderstanding before an acting audition for which I had memorised all the lines.  When I found out that I'd got the role, as anticipated by my teacher, I screamed and jumped up and down like an ecstatic child, not understanding then of the amount of work I was going to have to put in!

Rehearsals were fun but sometimes tedious, I found myself growing more anxious the closer we got to the show as there were many parts of the script that we had not finished or even covered and we all began to worry that there would not be time to finish. But on our last two days, we watched as the show pulled itself together from uncoordinated mess to something that actually resembled a show!

I found the performances going far too fast. Sitting backstage on first night left me shaking and extremely nervous but I found myself comforting others who were nervous to avoid the feeling of sickness. Kashoggi, policemen and I danced in the wings to "I want to break free" and suddenly I was singing on stage and loving every moment, almost accidentally smiling at my family in the crowd but singing my heart out. The rest of the show moved very quickly and before I knew it, it was Saturday evening and I was tearing up at the speeches before final performance. Suddenly, I was on stage for the last time and I felt my heart well up as I looked into the audience, sombre but proud. I smiled as I took my bow, savouring in the moment of having people clapping and screaming for me, who knows when I will ever feel that again? A final principles bow and I sneak a smile with the people who have shared this experience with me most of all over the past few months, before we all take our final bow.

The shows we do are amazing because the cast gains this sense of unity and suddenly everyone is supporting each other because all these unrelated people who would usually never say two words to each other are suddenly connected in this incredible thing, it is beautiful. The cast becomes a family for a little while and you share in each other's pride, nerves, joy, panic, stress, relief and excitement, when you stand on that stage together you become one. Your voices blend together and your heartbeats synchronise while you dance. What was once just a stage becomes our stage, our freedom, our connection. You lose the sense of segregation which dictates most school days, and suddenly age, gender, race, disagreements and all the petty reasons we usually stay apart are suddenly non-existent and we are just one movement with one vision ;)

When the final bows have been taken, suddenly all of that is suddenly broken and it is absolutely heartbreaking. But while it was there, it was amazing, it was beautiful and we all now share each other's memories of this wonderful production and that helped me through my tears last night.

It's a beautiful process and I feel so honoured to have played such a huge part in it. 

Now here we are. Our minds have finished collecting the memories and we replay them in our heads more like a slideshow than a movie and I feel sad that I don't have the full, smooth running of the production in my mind. It makes me sad how there are, even now, gaps in my memory. Maybe it's okay to let go.

It's a beautiful process and I feel so honoured to have played such a huge part in it. 

// Jeani

13 November 2016

Books I've Read Since September

Hey everyone!

Today I thought I would do a very simplistic post on all the books I have read since the beginning of this academic year:
1) My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

Made me cry, unexpected ending just blew me away, one of my favourite books of all time
I'm never totally keen on different points of view during a book, but I understand that in this case they were important to the story 

2) The Maze Runner Trilogy - James Dashner
Kept me hooked all the way through, I absolutely loved it as I always do with Dystopian novels
The deaths really broke me into little pieces

3) The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Beautiful tale, I enjoyed it thoroughly, left me heartbroken but satisfied.
Slightly slow paced at times

4) The Girl On The Train - Paula Hawkins
Fantastic, kept me gripped all the way through. One of those books that you want to find out the ending for but you just don't want to end. 

5) Eeny Meeny - M. J. Arlidge

Brilliantly thrilling concept, satisfying ending and just kept me excited all the time

6) Hide - Lisa Gardner
Left me terrified but it was so amazing, I was gripped from the word go and there were so many twists that it was just like a roller coaster, the characters were in depth and mysterious, there were so many questions throughout that you were just desperate to know the answer to and the end most certainly did not disappoint

7) Now Is Good - Jenny Downham

I really loved this book, truly heartbreaking and it left me sobbing. Many important messages about life, living and love. A definite must read, truly inspiring. I read it in one day!

So many important morals in the story, it was captivating watching the change in both Ellie and Mikey, seeing them realise them realise what love is and the entire concept of the story sent me through so many emotions: anger, fear, happiness... It was really good
Slightly disappointing ending in my opinion as one section of the story is not resolved; however, perhaps it's best we never know what happened

Next: Atonement - Ian McEwan

// Jeani

12 November 2016

Mary Shelley // Verbal Spill

I wrote a blog post a few months ago called "I am my protagonist" which was inspired by an argument I had with someone and I realised that we both thought the other had terrible intentions when this was actually not the case. I just want to talk about that idea a little more today.

Mary Shelley was the author of Frankenstein, a 19 year old girl who changed the way of literature forever, this quote of hers perfectly sums up one of my core beliefs. I don't believe that anybody truly has evil intentions, I don't believe that anybody wants to inflict pain on someone else, I think that would be easy to believe perhaps, but it's far too simplistic.

Everybody believes that they are doing the right thing, either for them self, a friend, someone from their family, or someone that they believe is doing the right thing.  It's very easy to place blame and it's very easy to believe that their opponent's intentions are no more complex than "I want to do a terrible thing" when the reality is that they are only seeking happiness and they believe that the path they are going down is the way to find it

Everyone has hidden secrets, "no one knows anyone" (Jenny Downham ~ you against me). Everyone has their reasons for acting like an arse, not that that excuses terrible behaviour but some people really believe they are doing good in their own way. The only thing to do is explain that they're wrong and that there are better ways of living.

// Jeani

2 November 2016

Busy // Poem

I close my eyes as a dam
The flood rushes through my brain
A shaky breath into my lungs
A tap to reassure I am sane

I smile without any fear
Though the flood presses into my skull
I'm always aware that it's near
But somehow the realisation is dull

A tick of the clock one step nearer
The dam dares threaten to break
But I swallow the gulp in my throat
I focus on company's hate

I write till my hands cannot grip
The bleeding nib of the pen
The hand moves another tick closer
My heart dares to race then 

My future is just round the bend
But my car is surrounded by smog
Forever depends on this moment
But I can't see when I'm stuck in this fog

I crave just a breath of fresh air
But this paper is trapping me in
I love the feeling of learning
But the pressure is making me spin

I peek through the edge of my lashes
The flood's the forefront of my mind
A drop escapes from my eyelid
It's like I heard my heart breathe a sigh

The flood screams with joy as it runs
Down my chilled and rose-red cheeks
The balloon inside me releases
 I exhale, as it too is free

My mind soon remembers to focus
Without the shrill of the flood's strict dictation
So it seems the sobs and simple tears
Were the key to my liberation

A letter to my female peers // Verbal Spill

We are a small school, and yet there are people hypothetically reading this letter that I have never even said hello to in nearly five years. Hello.

When I came to this high school there was suddenly this whole new world where the concept of popularity could possibly exist, because we all watched Mean Girls, which seemed to make sense to us at the time. That was our bible. We did not realise at the time that the groups that we naturally spread into did not actually exist because god pushed certain people together or because they were pretty or intelligent and there certainly is not a social hierarchy in terms of any of those things. We are all students. We are all teenagers. We are all girls. In this year group, there is a definite divide in our heads between each other because we have all formed these ideas of what the other groups of people are like.

You do not have to conform to your stereotype. We are not divided by an American clique system, we are not split into "nerds", "plastics", "drama gays" or "try-hards". We do not need to look down on each other because we perceive the other person to be something that, in reality, they are not. Within my friendship group, I have come across many different perspectives on the other people that we go to lessons with every day. I have encountered envy, hatred, disapproval and awe, all on people that we don’t actually know, people that we converse with once every month, how can we possibly say we are justified in our opinions? How can we possibly say that we know someone when all we see are each-others masks? How can we possibly say we understand someone when we don’t know about the horrific secrets that they keep hidden and tear them up every day? Their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations, their happiest memories, their most painful heart break, the funerals they won’t forget or the songs they listen to when they cry? We do not know each other. But what I know is that we are the same.  We should certainly not feel threatened by each other and we should definitely not be making snap judgements on people that we don’t even know.

We are all female here. I know that I sometimes feel like I need to be one type of girl: a smart girl, a pretty girl, a tomboy, a hipster, a feminist. I’ve discovered something recently. Beyond the realms of television and pre-teen, Zoella-approved novels, us girls do not conform to the stereotypes. I spent my childhood aching to be the pretty girl, I would have given up my intelligence and opinion just to be pretty. I thought that I could not be both. I realise now that I was wrong. I realise now that we are merely people, endeavouring on a journey of self-discovery and gender should not come into that, the label of “female” should not dictate who we are because we are so much more complex than the stereotypes. I still see girls throwing away everything that makes them who they are on being someone that boys will find attractive, trying to fit into the unrealistic shape of a certain stereotype. I beg of all of you, don’t let that be what you aspire to. Aspire to be the journalists, the politicians, the activists, the mothers, the lawyers, the head teachers and the students of the future that make a difference to the world. Aspire to find the life you want, not the person that you think you need to be to find love, when the right boy comes around, he will love you for who you really are.

Furthermore, don’t allow yourself to be the girl that tears another girl down because she is pretty or smart and you don’t feel confident in yourself. Many studies show that successful and happy people do not place blame of their failures on others, they get up and they try again and then they pick the people up that fall behind them. Don’t allow yourself to be the girl that feels the need to push others down to reach the top. Let’s help each other up. As the brilliant Michelle Obama said “When they go low, we go high”.

Please, lets just support each other in our final year. I know that some of us don't get along and some of us have had our disagreements in the past, but lets unite from today on-wards as a team. We are all scared. So, let's link arms and face this together.

Thank you