Can anyone tell me a blockbuster famous novel they have read with a main character that was either gay or lesbian? Don’t worry, I’ll wait whilst you scratch your head to think… still haven’t thought of one? No. Me neither. Anyone else got an issue with that? Because I really do. Continue reading
I really hate January 1st. It’s the ultimate come down. You partied hard the night before, fuelled by booze, contagious enthusiasm and ever more ridiculous resolution promises. The night seemed alive, 2015 was going to be THE year. It’s your year, your time and your chance.
What a load of shit.
Woke up this morning, feeling more bloated and fatter than ever, with a raging hangover and more resolution promises I will break before the end of month. Stepped on the scales, didn’t I?
WHY, did I do that?
Now ELEVEN pounds heavier than I was in August.
Fuck January. Fuck my life.
January 1st – berroca in the morning 11am hangover starting to disappear, better make an effort – healthy yogurt and bagel for breakfast. By 1:45pm I’d eaten chocolate, hated myself for eating it so ate more to console myself.
F***ing January. I’ll start tomorrow!
Looked at the insanity DVD pile with enough hatred to send me straight back to the chocolate drawer for another round of “stuff my face and hate myself some more” I’ll start insanity tomorrow.
Looked at my beautiful treasured Mac laptop lain unused for the entire Christmas break. Not a word written, not a thought for my assignment nor my much in need of an edit WIP. Looked at it, hated on it. Then hated on myself for slacking. I’ll start tomorrow.
Looked at the calendar, only 3 more days off till I go back to work. And the awful realisation I’ve wasted my entire precious Christmas holiday doing sweet fuck all. Something I can’t abide – waste. Spent most of the first week off being ill with a stupid cold I couldn’t rid myself of for a month. Happy to say the last two days have seen it finally bite the dust. But still. I hated on myself some more for behaving like the thing I hate – a waster – sleep is for the weak!
So where did it go? When did I lose my mojo? It’s been gone at least a month. I have no motivation AT ALL. Not to exercise and lose the weight I need to, and not to pick up my technological pen and write.
How do you get motivated when you and your mojo are lost?
Maybe you should tell me tomorrow?!
Killing off characters…
Whilst I might not be an accomplished published writer… yet and therefore not necessarily have the right to say what I am about to, I am a prolific bibliophile, which does give me the right as I may well read your work one day too! Just as a caveat, this isn’t meant as a slur on anyones work, just a lowly readers opinion.
So, killing off characters….. lots of people do it, in fact most authors kill off a character or two… Sometimes it helps to shimmy your plot along… Great, do it… but what about when you kill off a main character…?
George RR Martin does it all the time you say, well if game of thrones can do it then so can I.
No. No you can’t.
I mean, you could. But word of cautionary warning… don’t just kill off main characters without a irrefutable reason. I will give you an example.
Spoiler alert: Veronica Roth & Divergent
If you intend to read Divergent then skip to another post!
You spend three long books getting to know, investing in and falling in love with her main character Tris. Then she offs her a few chapters from the last book. Fatal mistake. I know I am not alone in thinking this either. Most of my friends who have read her are equally as pissed off. Heres why:
1. She spent three books making us fall in love with her character, ‘feel’ for her character, get to know her inside out, as well as we know ourselves.
2. We were invested in her
3. It came out of the blue – I had to re-read the page in which she killed her off three times before I understood that she had in fact killed her off, at which point I genuinely said out loud “Are you fucking kidding me?”
4. Three books close to a thousand pages of reading about a character and then the last couple of chapters end without her in it.
5. Secretly most people want a happy ending for the characters they love, unless the whole book has lead you to a different ending, which this didn’t.
6. She wrote the first two books from the main characters point of view, in the first person, and then split the last book chapter by chapter to two different characters POV – annoying. Do it the whole way through or not at all.
7. She tricked us, into thinking she was going to have a happy ending with ‘four’ her boyfriend and live happily ever after.
This all adds up to being NOT ok. It’s sloppy writing, in fact it is down right lazy writing. I feel like she couldn’t be bothered to work out an ending so she just offed her main character. Who does that???
Another point to note is POV. Veronica Roth writes in the first person. *SLAPS FOREHEAD* you simply can’t write three books in the first person and then kill your character off. I mean obviously thats why she split the last book to write from two characters view points, but still wrote in the first person. It was tough going and annoying. But explains why she was able to kill off her main character.
She made me invest in a character and then tricked her readers (me) out of the ending we had been expecting and wanting. It’s not ok to do that. Whilst Veronica Roth wrote an outstanding first book, which has clearly made her millions, and an ok second book, she utterly massacred the last one, with an ending thats pissed off every reader I know. It has certainly put me off reading any of her future work. What it does show, is that she can certainly make her audience talk about her work, and feel emotional about her work, I mean, if angry counts? Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant as a character assassination on Veronica Roth or the Divergent series. I am just trying to show you how not to really irritate your readers.
DON’T CHEAT US OUT OF AN ENDING YOU LED US TO.
Obviously, if you have led us down the road of knowing the main character is going to die, then fine. But if you haven’t, then please be careful, think about what your readers would want and expect, and hope for, for your characters ending.
The one thing I do have to thank her for, is she inspired me to get off my arse, and write a better story, with a better ending. I’m not saying I am a better writer than her, I’m clearly an unpublished nobody. But, she made me want to write a story with a better ending. I was that annoyed! and here I am in the midst of NaNoWriMo, several thousand words deep in my book…. 🙂
Ahhhh, the dreaded clock change that happens twice yearly…. that sacred extra hour you usually get in bed…pre parenthood.
WORST WEEK OF MY LIFE PEOPLE!!!
Babies apparently don’t appreciate this annual gift we are given of extra sleep, in fact, not only do they reject the gift, they completely ignore it, choosing instead to get up at the usual time (now an hour early) the joyous hour of 5am. Fuck the worm, I have never been a morning person. I choose to be a late bird, why oh why did my son not inherit this precious piece of me?!
This was genuinely me trying to get out of bed at 5am to get the boy this morning.
The thing is, he is doesn’t just affect the morning its also affecting the evening. Instead of going to be at 7, like normal we get to half past 6, and he goes all
Its horrendous. We have tried everything from distraction, to TV, to extra milk, and out and out bribery! nothing is working. So tomorrow we have asked friends to come round to try and distract him between half six and 7, in the vague hope ‘new faces’ might be exciting! sigh. My caffeine intake this week is actually offensive!
Anyone else suffering with Daylight Savings Time?
As I promised, this would be a blog of two halves, partly about my life as a mum, writer, and worker bee, and partly about writing, and my quest to get published.
So, this is a motherhood post.
Everybody knows about the terrible twos, how truly awful they are with screaming tantrums and public paddies.
Hideously embarrassing and the phase I suspect most parents dread in young children. BUT SERIOUSLY…. why did no one tell me about the horrific change that happens at ten months? My son is now ten and a half approaching eleven months, and it was like an alien literally took over his body and possessed his previously calm temperament.
Nappy changing is simply an impossibility without an army of spare hands, arms and legs to pin your gremlin of a child in place while you change them. Ok, so distraction occasionally works too, but not as well as it used to! He now likes to pitch an absolute bitch of a screaming fit, when I get him dressed, try and do his teeth, or anything that even remotely changes his current situation.
In spite of the fact I’ve read a million mum blogs, help sites read books and compared notes with a hundred friends, it kind of doesn’t matter what they say or suggest because baby black, is just going to make life difficult his own way! When I find a solution I’ll report back!
There are some fundamental things about motherhood that just don’t change. You will change umpteen nappies, and as a result you will get baby poop and other bodily liquids over most of your limbs at one point or another. Generally speaking however you obtain a child (no, not theft, I’m talking adoption, fertility treatment or in a plethora of other ways) it’s come from the same place – a womb. There will be a time – if you have a newborn or very young baby – where you don’t sleep, you will feel like the walking dead and you won’t know who you are; one day you will find you self sat on the sofa in yesterday’s underwear, bloodshot eyes with bags the size of houses, unbrushed teeth that still look clean because you can’t remember the last time you ate, smeared with poop, a few bubbles of sick down one arm, and some crusty snot thrown in for good measure. That happens. To everyone who’s a parent believe me. There’s other things, like the fact that once your a parent there really is no going back – particularly for those that have carried and birthed a child, once you have that baby your life will never be the same again. It takes time to go back to feeling like yourself, but that self is very much a different self. Whoever you were before you had a child is gone, held captive by your long forgotten and never to return youth. Whoever you were is most definitely not returning. But that’s ok. This new you is a better you anyway!
Thats the stuff that’s the same. Seems like everything, right? Wrong. The differences are invariably cultural. Its always cultural. It’s those little things that make our lives that bit harder. The worst bit, is it starts before your child’s even born.
Take your antenatal classes – a class full of straight couples. Where does the non birth mother sit? For the sake of this and any ongoing blogs I post (and my word count!) the non birth mother will be referred to as ‘mama’ and birth mother (mum). Where should the mama sit? It’s not really with the mums – they are all discussing the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and their fears of labour. But it’s also not really with the dads who are more concerned with discussing where the closest dominoes pizza place is to the hospital.
Throughout pregnancy I felt sorry for my wife – she would tell people she’s having a child and within about three seconds a haze of confusion would melt over their face as their eyes would unsubtly drop to her stomach and back to her face a few times. It’s still not ‘normal’ enough for people to just accept that two women can have a baby.
Even after pregnancy and labour it continues – but the problem is – the differences are between your friends and you. I am sure that to a certain extent straight couples who have kids young experience similar things. The friends who begin to slip away because they ‘just don’t get it’. They are incapable of compromising or being understanding to the fact that organising a night out is the equivalent to party planning for the royals. It takes serious time and effort, you can’t just go out at the drop of a hat. And, lets be honest, most of the time you don’t want too either, not because you’re a bore, but because if you do go out – the consequences will reach further than just a saturday morning hangover. You’re going to be tired long into thursday – especially when your child decides to start teething again – at that very moment you went out and let your hair down – commence a week or two of exhaustion. That bit – is probably the same.
But for the LGBT circle, the current generation of young’uns (17-35) we seem to be taking life in the slow lane. The majority of people who are having children in this gayby boom are 35 plus in the LGBT world – obviously I’m not saying everyone, there are also pockets of exceptions – but in my world – most if not all the LGBT parents I have met are 35 plus – in fact thats kind of mimicked with the hetero-parents I’ve met too. The difference this makes is – most of my friends are still in the culture of being concerned with where the next night out is coming from and who’s round is next. most still live at home with mum and dad, and few have careers sorted or any kind of concept of where they want to be when they grow up. Indeed any kind of mention of commitment and you got yourself a full on epi pen needing allergic reaction. Why is our generation of young LGBT so frightened of commitment? few if any of my friends have had relationships longer than a couple of years. It makes me feel like a freakshow – not only am I LGBT and therefore in a minority group as it is – but I’m a minority within a minority – a young LGBT person with a child, who actually had the child in a lesbian relationship and whats more, gave birth.
Other major differences include the ‘questioning’ when you come across a straight couple with a newborn – usual questions include: Oh how adorable – how much did they weigh? How was the birth? Do they sleep?
Now – we tend to get one or two of those normal questions and then you get hit with the- ‘I’m going to look really awkward and shift from foot to foot because I know what I’m about to ask is rude, but I’m going to do it anyway!’ – face and then the barrage of “oh so, er, how did you do it then?” most of the time I feel like responding with an equally stupid answer “do what? get my hair styled this way?, do what look this good on no sleep?” etc etc. Other stupid questions include “do you know the donor?” “are you both called mum”
Seriously, next time a straight couple asks me how I ‘did it’ I’m going to ask them how they got pregnant too, see how they like them apples!
I’m ranting – but I have a point, we face regular interrogations from joe public, and even from our parents. My own dad commented that he wasn’t really sure how it would ‘be’ raising a male child with two mums. “Where’s the balance” I remember him saying. He ate his own words though when he visited because he then said “I don’t think I’ve met a happier child.”
There are probably a million other differences I could name, but my rant just ran out of steam! For any of you LGBT mummies out there – anyone else able to add irritations to the list?
The wife has always had a penchant for Disney. I on the other hand barely watched them as a child, preferring to have my head stuck firmly in the pages of dusty old books. Disney came up in conversation again recently – having pushed a small human out – and the fact she wanted to have a large collection of disney films ready for the boy to watch. Sky had a few on demand over Christmas, so we sat down and stuck The Little Mermaid (TLM) on.
I sat, aghast for the entire film. How has disney been able to produce films that are quite simply an abomination. People – and by people I refer to the murky world of ‘parents’ – seem to rave about disney and how good their films are…. Good?
Good – sure, if you count a hideously antifeminist, despicably amoral story that has nothing even remotely like the ethics or values I want my son to grow up with.
I hate to be a mermaid basher so I will start with a positive. Race equality – TLM is a great story about how love is equal across any race, Mermaid loves a human, different races, love conquers all blah, blah, blah, Great – this is a moral I can not only live with, but as a lesbian, actively promote and encourage. I want my child to know they can love whoever they want, no matter their race, creed, gender or otherwise.
Issue 1: Ariel falls in love with the prince. – So wrong. She spontaneously falls in love with someone she has never spoken to and mostly just perved on, in a fairly stalkerish way from afar.
Would you encourage your kid to do this? I doubt it. I can already see the injunctions and restraining orders being slapped all over him, because a stupid film told him real love happens by stalking someone for two days. Ok, I am being facetious but you see my point. I would also like to point out I am not suggesting that I don’t believe in love at first sight. More that you need to have a reality check in real life, even if you do fall for someone instantly.
Issue 2: Ariel wants to change herself to be with him.
I hate to go all feminist ranty on you. Actually, I don’t hate it, I love a good feminist rant. In fact, any sort of rant. I digress – BUT don’t we have enough antifeminist-bullshit pressure to conform to the ultra skinny, rib protruding, size of a seven year old, bulimic-anorexic, vomit inducing ‘celebrity look’
society the media loves, without having it force-fed subconsciously to our infants. UGH. No woman…. Actually no man either, should ever have to change themselves to be with someone. Is it just me? Or do we spend hours of our lives giving advice to our perpetually confused friends on their relationships, and why it’s not ok for them to allow their partner to nag them into suppression?
Issue 3: The prince starts to fall for Ariel but then deserts her instantly for a disguised Ursula over something so shallow as her voice! He decides to marry Ursula immediately having spent all of no time getting to know her…
Where do I even start with this. It is not ok to teach my child that they can desert a woman (or man) based solely on a characteristic. Thats akin to suggesting it’s ok to leave their partner if they get fat, or a scar, or a disability. I mean SERIOUSLY. And then to marry the other woman because of that same characteristic, after what 2.5 milliseconds of time spent with said woman… sure thats an outstanding idea. I am positive all parents would approve of their kids doing this.
Issue 4: Instead of Ariel taking her pride and moving on she pandas to the prince and chases after him.
This makes me want to claw my face off in frustration and resort to excessive amounts of alcohol. How low must her self confidence be to chase after a guy who only likes her because of her voice and will desert her as quickly as he met her for another woman simply because she lost that characteristic.
Issue 5: After all that the prince goes back to Ariel dumping Ursula and THEN kills Ursula just for good measure.
Now I just feel awkward. No one wants to date a psychopath, and lets be honest, the prince is looking more and more like a psychopath; with emotions unnecessarily fickle, and an assumption that it’s ok to off your ex…
Despite the fact I am resolute in knowing TLM is morally wrong, it’s not like theres anything better on the market. I think I may have to go investigate the other films!
The thing is, we ask for advice even when we don’t really need it, don’t really want it and then, we don’t really follow it!
I have a bee in my bonnet about this because I annoy myself asking for advice.
Why do I do it?
I… Infact WE all already know the answer. Don’t we?
Should I go out tonight?
Even though your asking with a little wry smile you already know your going, so why do we bloody ask?
Should I eat a second bar of chocolate?
No Sach, of course you shouldn’t, because once you do, your guna be wracked with guilt over the calories you have guzzled, feel guilty, fat and then reach for a third bar to console yourself – why do I do it? I just shouldn’t ask because I already know the answer!
The real irritation I have with asking for advice is really, deep down, we’re all just looking for self justification. It’s kind of arrogant! We want everyone else to agree and justify what we want to do, even when we know it’s a bad idea.
Oh what should I do? – my (fictional) boyfriends cheated on me… again – should I take him back? I mean he is really sorry this time.
Why can’t we just be confident in our decisions? In what we already know we are going to do. Why do we pretend and deny that we haven’t made our minds up?! The moment I ask for advice I’ve already made my mind up. I know it, whoever I’m asking knows it too. Yet we both persist in dancing around the perpetual advice fence: you justify whatever course of action you really want to take, and the person giving advice rolls around the reasons why it’s a bad idea.
What’s the point? Waste of air.
AND…. Even when we do get advice we never bloody follow it! Humans are awful at following advice. We all give it, and even when we ask our dear friends what they would tell themselves, we still don’t follow it!
So – I decided –
Fuck advice, I already know what I want to do….
I have been searching for the right writing course for two years, the course to give me the right knowledge to finish my novel and kick start what I hope will be a writing career – my dream.
Why I thought to ask whether or not to do it I have no idea. I only got annoyed with what I heard, because really, all I wanted was confirmation I was doing the right thing, and who can actually give me that? No one but me!
Yes it’s 350 quid, but I can pay it over a few months, yes I have a newborn. But so what. Who do I actually need to justify it to?
Does having an infant mean my life goes on hold? That my dreams stop?No. More to the point, if I did put my life on hold, what kind of role model is that for my child? Do I want him to learn that you can be lazy and find excuses not to follow your dreams? Or do I want him to know that he has to work, hard, play hard and never give up….
So, I’ll ignore the pessimism, stop asking for advice and do it anyway. My money, my time, my choice.
I might be, covered in sick, soaked in pee, stinking of baby poop, slightly delirious, and temporarily daisy the milking cow, but that doesn’t mean I can’t follow my dreams…..
Even if I have to do it one handed, smelling of baby fluids and caked in puke. Failing that I’ll do it in the bath once the boys asleep!
Friday was…utterly ridiculous. I went to my GP just to see what this itch was all about, because it was intolerable, but I assumed that it was just eczema because the midwife had said it was nothing the week before. Anyway – the GP was having none of it and decided that I needed to go straight into hospital and have blood tests – for Obstetric Cholestasis
For Information OC is:
Obstetric cholestasis (OC), also called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), is a potentially serious liver disorder that can develop in pregnancy. Normally, bile salts flow from your liver to your gut to help you digest food. In obstetric cholestasis, the bile salts don’t flow properly and build up in your body instead. There’s no cure for OC, but it clears up once you’ve had your baby.Some studies have found that babies of women with OC are more likely to be born prematurely or to be stillborn. It’s not known how much higher the risk of stillbirth is compared to women who don’t have OC. There is no reliable way to work out your baby’s individual risk of stillbirth.
I rocked up to hospital and was basically immediately quarantined – they weren’t sure if I had chicken pox or OC – neither of which are great news – they drew blood decided to give me a CTG ( monitoring the babies heart rate) – which they then thought showed a deceleration, so I was then re-monitored and had to sit with the CTG monitor bands on my itchy rash wrapped round my belly for over an hour – I was becoming more and more displeased with the situation! We had gone in at 3pm and at 10pm there were STILL no blood test results. They didn’t want to release me as they had said that if the tests came back positive they were going to induce me there and then.
Do you know my major concern at this point… as pathetic as it sounds… try not to judge me… but I hadn’t shaved!! I didn’t want to be induced and have hairy legs – not if I was able to have a pool birth! ridiculous the things you worry about when your panicking!!
Anyway – I decided that we would leave hospital because the wife hadn’t eaten for over 12 hours and I had, had just about enough of all the fuss. Suffice to say the results all came back fine and I didn’t need inducing at all – and do you know what they gave me… a bloody piriton – PIRITON – an allergy drug I could have bought over the bloody counter at the local supermarket HOURS before. The irritating thing is my best mate ( a doctor) diagnosed me with PEP (polymorphic eruption of pregnancy) about an hour into me sitting in hospital – all she got was a couple of tidbits of information over a text no exam or anything – sigh – if only she had been able to be my doctor!!
PEP is: a relatively common skin disorder that occurs in women of childbearing age. It usually presents in women during their first pregnancy. Recurrence in subsequent pregnancies is unusual and milder.
It is characterised by an itchy rash that commonly begins on the abdomen, particularly within stretch marks (striae). It most usually develops during late pregnancy (third trimester)
Basically a really annoying itchy rash – delightful, one of the other lovely ailments caused in pregnancy!! Suffice to say the itchy is subsiding now I have the piriton but the rash is spreading – and is now on my thighs 🙁
Today was officially my last day at work – I know I finished over a week ago but I had to go in today for half a day for a conference that my team had organised. Half day – so left at about 1 /1:30 and between 9:30 and 1:30 I had no less than 6 people comment on my size…
some of the most ridiculous inducing:
“woah im not being rude, but your fucking huge”
“oh you’ve put on weight since I last saw you” “hahaha”
How is “alright fatty” a bloody greeting ??? Why (a women no less) think that it was acceptable to greet another women in that way? irrespective of being pregnant. Just infuriates me. I don’t think I’m that fat? I don’t think I have put on that much weight, but all the constant comments are really starting to get to me, no one ever says anything nice, only comments about how huge I am. I am trying really hard to stay positive, but I am still a girl and I am still sensitive about my weight and its really not nice hearing people comment on how massive you are CONTINUOUSLY – even if the cause is pregnancy.
So, last week, we got the all clear, I have to apologise for not writing for over a week, but this week has been ridiculous.
We are moving a week today, so we have been packing up the house, I had an interview this week… which I am delighted to say I got the job!! so will be graduating off the training scheme shortly – plus I get another pay rise! #win The job is also located where I will be moving too so I can walk to work!
This week, I also had to deliver a board report, and a presentation – this is besides all the packing and prep for job interviews and also an assignment which I haven’t done and had to ask for an extension #fail.
Alas, I now have a chest infection – not great when your 13 weeks pregnant. Not only a chest infection but swollen glands, a throat like cut glass, and a soaring temperature. SO the doc has had to put me on antibiotics, and I am laid up in bed feeling spectacularly sorry for myself.
We spent the weekend telling everyone – mostly shouting the baby news from the roof tops. It was great, so nice to get some positivity and a chance to be excited about the baby.
However, what did annoy me was the repetitive stream of questions about the donor. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very very grateful to the donor, for donating his sperm. I truly am, there isn’t enough thank you’s in the world for him. BUT that is it.
It is our baby, our family, our unit.
The first question out of everyones mouth was “Oh, congrats, so how did you do it”
“Oh congrats, so who’s the donor”
How about fuck off. DO you ask a straight couple how they got pregnant ? No you don’t, because its rude. I know that not everyone knows how you get pregnant as a lesbian, but surely it doesnt take a fucking genius to work it out. Somewhere down the line sperm has to be involved. I am a married lesbian, so its not like I’m going to go fuck a guy IS IT? So how the fuck do you think I got pregnant.
Ok, I will stop ranting and swearing now! – Sorry, but it really got my goat this weekend.
I dont understand why people can’t be just the slightest bit considerate.
They could say “Oh wow, congrats thats amazing, I hope you don’t mind me asking, as I have never experienced lesbian friends having children, do you mind telling me about the process?”
Do you know what I mean? Thats much less rude, and inconsiderate. I know people are going to be curious as its not a common occurrence, but does it really have to be the first thing out their mouths? cant they ask how the wife’s feeling or if we have any names??
I duno, I just felt aggrieved by the whole thing because EVERYONE asked. Family, friends, the lot. It sort of rained on our parade a bit. So now I have a bee in my bonnet and the next person to ask is going to get a mouthful of shitty answers and snot thrown back at them!!
Right, I am off to fall into a deep sleep coma!!