Some Short Stories

Hey loves,

I realised I have quite the collection of amazing short stories amassed from my years of moulding young minds (and definitely not playing them early ’90’s hip-hop).

So I thought ‘hey, why not share some of my favourites with you all completely unsolicited because I’m annoying like that’ and ‘I think my cat has telepathic powers’ but mostly the first thing.

A Perfect Day for Bananafish- J.D. Salinger

This is just perfection. It’s dark, it’s bizarre, it’s vintage Salinger and I love it.

Guests of the Nation- Frank O’ Connor

Frank O’ Connor is truly one of the best writers of short fiction. This story may require a little background knowledge on the Irish War of Independence but anyone would enjoy it. If you’re not completely moved by the ending, then you may be a psychopath. Special mention to First Confession also; it’s hilarious.

To Build a Fire- Jack London

Man vs Nature…who will win?

Spoiler: Nature, obvs

The Cask of Amontillado- Edgar Allan Poe

This story is all kinds of f**ked up and I f**king love it. A story so nice, I swore twice. Special mention to The Tell-Tale Heart also.

Genesis and Catastrophe- Roald Dahl

The twist in this is great and really makes you think. Also, Dahl rules.

You guys enjoy reading and I’m going to continue brunching while I still can:

🤟🏻🤟🏻🤟🏻🤟🏻

Nobody Else is You 

Here’s a silly little poem I jotted down one day waiting for a bus. Hope you guys like it:

                                                                    

                                                                     Nobody knows you like you do
                                                                     Nobody else can ever be you
                                                                    And you can’t be somebody else
                                                                    You can only be you 

                                                                   You can go and try on someone else
                                                                  And wear their thoughts like a scarf 
                                                                 But nobody else will ever fit
                                                                 So be comfortable wearing you 


Is Blogging Narcissistic?

During my college studies, I was part of a small class of close-knit friends. Every Tuesday, the girls in my group would go for tea and gossip about the boys in our class. Pretty standard. During one of our many bitching sessions (hey, ten points to me for honesty), we were talking about a guy in our class that was really irritating the majority of the girls. He didn’t really bother me as much, but I listened as the girls discussed why they found him so annoying. ‘His hair’, ‘his face’, ‘his shirts’, ‘his habit of giggling like a schoolgirl at something that isn’t remotely funny’ seemed to be his worst offences until one of the girls piped up with:

‘Oh, and he has a blog.’

There was a collective groan. All the girls were shaking their heads as if it had just been revealed that he enjoys kicking orphaned puppies in his spare time. I sat there silently, waiting for someone to explain why this was such a cardinal sin. I didn’t have a blog at the time, but I had frequently considered setting one up. I didn’t understand what the problem was. After a seemingly interminable silence, I asked ‘erm, what’s wrong with that?’

You know when you say something in a group that virtually no one agrees with and literally everyone of them starts talking at the same time, with the express intent of letting you know how dumb your opinion is? Yeah, that was one of those moments. This is basically a quick run-through of their opinions on blogging:

‘It’s so narcissistic. I mean, no one cares what you think.’

‘Someone who blogs clearly has too much time on their hands.’

‘What does someone actually expect to get out of it?’

‘It’s like something an angst-ridden teenager does.’

I hope you guys aren’t getting too mad, but don’t fret, because I’m about to drop some TRUTH. 

I sat and I listened as each girl basically explained why bloggers are the scourge of the planet, and must be destroyed, one post about cats at a time. Of course, I didn’t agree with them and yes, I defended blogging, even before I was set up a blog myself so you guys should basically see my like this now:

Disclaimer: I can’t fly and my cape is in the laundry….

Now that I have my own blog, I’ve been able to form more considered opinions about the whole situation. Yes, you could argue that, as a “blogger”, I’m completely biased. Of course I am. I love everything about the blogosphere, especially the free wine (which I will now drink as a show of solidarity… you’re welcome). I  don’t think that any of us have to defend our choice to blog, but I have often found myself explaining why I chose to start a blog. The girl from college has not been the only person that I have met to refer to blogging, and bloggers by extension, as narcissistic.

So it blogging narcissistic?

Maybe a little. 

I understand that ‘narcissism’ is a very strong word. I also think that society is becoming increasingly self-interested. The population of the world is growing all the time, and I think many people feel that they must compete to get ahead and get noticed. If we all were 100% honest with ourselves, and each other, we would admit that as bloggers, it’s nice to be noticed. It feels good when a post that we have worked on gains attention. So maybe that does make us a little selfish at times, but isn’t everyone a little selfish?

 

Anyway, if having a blog is even a small bit narcissistic, then what about having a Facebook account, or a Twitter account, or an Instagram account, or a Snapchat account or a Bitch, I’m Totally Amazing, Look at Me account?

So I totally made one of those up….guess which one?

I think that any form of social media is inherently a little narcissistic.

We all like to show off a little, let’s be honest. We all like a little bit of attention. Everyone like some praise from time to time. We choose to share aspects of our lives for a multitude of reasons. If there is something we’re good at, we like to feel validated. A writer will share their fiction, a poet will share their poetry, a photographer will share their best shots, and a joker might share a post about farting. Ahem.

I told my friends that day that I understood why this particular guy would have a blog. He was intelligent, opinionated and very knowledgeable on current affairs. A blog seemed like the perfect outlet for his thoughts. To the girls, however, it was incredibly narcissistic of him to acknowledge as much. How dare someone have confidence in their own abilities!

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being confident in your own abilities or wanting to share aspects of your life, even if some people out there don’t necessarily agree with your choice to do it. What’s wrong with being good at something, and wanting to share that with others? I follow many bloggers who are excellent writers, poets, photographers, artists, teachers, and musicians. I honestly love and appreciate getting a peek into the lives of so many people around the world. I am often awed when scrolling through my reader, because I am reminded of the huge variety of talented people that blog. I also find that bloggers tend to be very welcoming and friendy; this certainly applies to the ones I have connected with. My life is truly enriched by them (you).

As for my own blog? Well, girl from college, in the unlikely event you’re reading this: I like my blog. It is a hot mess, there’s errors, I have no niche, but it’s mine. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME…sorry…

I make no apologies for blogging, and neither should anyone. So the next time someone asks you why you blog, you tell them the truth: because you’re amazing and the world deserves to know that. Too much? How about: because you’re good at something and you don’t mind other people knowing that. Yes, you are good. Great, even. Believe that and believe that it’s okay to believe that. Yes, I know what I said. Even if you feel like you’re not the best writer, the best photographer, the best anything, you’re expressing yourself, and that’s always a good thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What are your experiences with people whom you have shared your blog with? Do you agree with me or want to punch my face? Sound off in the comments! 

 

Freestyle Writing Challenge

     My topic: The best quality that you possess

I find writing things like this very difficult. I am quite a self-deprecating person and I find it hard to take compliments so writing a post about my best quality is quite difficult for me, but I shall try! 

I try my best to be a compassionate person. When other people criticise someone, I am usually the one defending them, even if that person happens to be in the wrong. I am a big believer in forgiveness as I feel that holding on to negative feelings only causes harm in the long run. When someone in my family or one of my friends is arguing with someone, I will always be the one to play devil’s advocate. I will pose questions that I hope will get them to consider the motives of the other person and prompt them to consider that maybe something caused the other person to behave in such a way. I am not saying that I defend people who are malicious or evil, I just think it’s important that we don’t jump to conclusions about a person’s intent or motive. I suppose I aim to be just like my favourite literary character, Atticus Finch, in that I aim to show empathy and understanding for others. And that’s my best quality, I think. I try to climb into someone else’s skin and walk around in it..in an Atticus Finch kind of way, not a Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs kind of way.

  
Source
Words: 249 in ten minutes 

So in case you guys are wondering what the heck I’m on about, I was invited by the wonderful Spence’s Girl to take part in a free style writing challenge. Here are the rules that I have copy and pasted from her blog:

Open an MS Word document (or Pages)

1. Set a stop watch or your mobile to 5 minutes or 10 minutes whichever challenge you think you can beat. 

2. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH A TIMER.

3. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you began writing do not stop even to turn.

4. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spellings and grammar with spell check in MS WORD (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules)

5. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation and capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.

6. At the end of your post write down ‘No. Of words =_____’ so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.

7. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new Topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nominations (at least 5 bloggers).

Now, as usual, I’m going to cheat a little here. I think this is such a great challenge, and very liberating, so I would like everyone to do it! Yes, that’s right, all of you! If you are reading this and you’re thinking “hey, that seems like something I’d like to do” then I’d be delighted if you would go right ahead and doooo iiiiit! Just let me know in the comments if you are going to partake. It was a lot of fun. 

And your topic?

Well….

You can’t look…

…just yet….

You have to be ready to write….

….the minute you see it….

…so without further ado….

Your topic is…..


What is your favourite memory? 
Now GO GO GO!

  

Source

P.S. Those of you who have kindly nominated me for awards (you beauties!), I have not forgotten 😘 I am on it like a car bonnet. Or a pepperoni pizza. 

Writing Process Blog Tour

Aisha over at The Hashtag Generation and Minnie over at A Minnie Blog have chosen me to partake in a little post to describe the process I go through when writing posts for my blog. I can assure you that it is extremely physical and strenuous. Ahem.
BE
Basically, it’s like this but with less old Chinese men….

Aisha and Minnie’s blogs are both great and their posts (which I’ve linked to above) will give you a little more insight into their blogs.

Basically the writing process blog tour is a way for bloggers to give a little insight into their own blogs. There are four questions to answer, and you then nominate three bloggers who carry on the tour exactly a week later? So in Irish time, I’ve got very little time to finish this argh!

So, let’s begin:

1. What are you working on?

Well, I just made lasagne….oh, my blog…right. I’m actually working on improving my blog a little over the summer. I would like a little more structure to it. I’m just going to clean it up a bit and organise it a little better, although organisation is not exactly my strong suit. You guys need to see my shoe closet.

I would like to do more collaborative stuff, or even have guest posters so if you’re interested, you know what to do. Oh, you don’t? EMAIL MEEEE!

2.How does your work differ from other’s in its genre?

The thing is, I don’t necessarily look at myself as having a “genre”. I have talked about such a wide variety of topics that I don’t really know where I belong here. *Goes to cry in the shower*
I suppose I would like to think that I have a good sense of humour, that I’m very laid back about this whole thing, but that I also try to write about serious topics…sometimes. I’ve said this before, but the best compliment for me is knowing that I’ve made someone laugh or even smile. Why am I suddenly sounding like Miss World?

3.Why do you write what you do?

In case any of you don’t know, I’m a teacher. I love my job, but maaaan, it’s stressful. When I began this blog, I was going through a very difficult time in my life (seriously Miss World, f**k off!) and I suppose I just wanted an outlet. My “real” life often requires me to be very serious and responsible and I suppose I just wanted a place where I could be weird and silly. I never, ever thought people would actually read this. So, from the bottom of my aortic pump, THANK YOU.

4. How does your writing process work?

Okay. I have to be honest here. This post is one of the first times that I have ever used a laptop to write a post. I ALWAYS use my phone. I know this will seem a little strange to you all, but there’s a reason for it.

When I first started, I had a laptop. After a few days, it broke. Jack is doing a PhD, so he uses his all the time. I got comfortable using my phone, and I just haven’t really gone back.

So, how do I get inspiration for posts I hear no one ask? Well, it could come from anywhere. I might see a beautiful rainbow and think “man, I love owls” or I might see a sunset and think “I’m going to write about my mad karaoke skills.” It’s a rich tapestry.

Blogs I am going to choose to continue the tour:
(If you don’t wish to participate, or have been chosen to already, there’s no hassle in the castle)

Julie from Musings From a Workaholic

V from The Verbal Spew Review

Tara from Love from Tara

Ladies, if you are so inclined, you continue the tour with the same questions in one week.

Also, a big thank you and hug to Sarah Kirkland from Falling with Style for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award and to Cheryl from Tropical Affair for the Quintet of Radiance Award. You guys are so getting virtual internet pie. You. Are. Welcome.

TWO MINUTES BEFORE MIDNIGHT. Winning.

Teenagers say the darndest things

The funniest thing happened a few years back with a student that I felt I had to share. Here is pretty much the conversation:

Me: So, Sarah*, I need to talk to you about your story.

Sarah: Am I in trouble miss?

Me: Well, it’s just that… your central character…

Sarah: Oh miss, I worked so hard on him. I wanted to create a complex hero; a kind of a Mr. Darcy, but kinder. It’s so cheesy miss, but I created what I feel would be the perfect boyfriend.

Me: But his name…

Sarah: Well, I chose ‘Ted’ because I thought it was kind of a cute name. He’s an everyday guy.

Me: So you’re telling me this was an accident?

Sarah: What? The name? Like I said, I chose ‘Ted’ because it’s a cute name and then I was looking around my kitchen and I saw a packet of hotdog buns called ‘Bundy’s’ and I thought ‘Ted Bundy’ has a certain charm.

Me: Erm, not quite Sarah. Ted Bundy was one of the most famous serial killers of the twentieth century.

Sarah: WHAT?! I thought it sounded familiar alright. Oh my god, sorry miss.

Me: No, no. I mean, your Ted is lovely. It was just hard to take the bit where he takes his mother out for dinner seriously when all I could picture was the cold hard stare of a prolific serial killer…and then there was the part where he saved that puppy from the pound and I actually wanted to dive into the story and save the puppy.

Sarah: Can I have the story back so I can change his name?

Me: Yes, just stay away from ‘Adolf Hitler’ ok?

I just love my students.
*Name changed

My thoughts on blogging

So I think it’s probably about time I explain my blog a little. I started this blog in July and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t even my idea. For years, I’ve been writing random thoughts down or typing them onto Jack’s laptop. When he read some of them he told me that I should start a blog. I also get a lot of feedback from friends about my Facebook page. Whenever I’m out at a bar, I get random acquaintances approaching me saying things like ‘hey Jane, your status updates are hilarious’ which is confusing really, because I’m trying to be serious. I mean someone once wrote ‘LOL’ under my status about how I broke my ankle on a mountain. Now I know how The Joker feels.

I decided to write mostly about my relationship and relationships in general but I have often veered waaay off topic because, well, I do that. I mostly just write what I feel like and what doesn’t appear totally insane. Although inside my head looks mainly like this:

20131212-190952.jpg

My issue with blogging is that I can’t be myself and I can be more myself all at the same time. Don’t worry, I know that sentence is more complex than the plot to “Inception” but I’ll explain. I have to remain anonymous. I can’t share this blog on my Facebook page because Ireland is such a small nation that sooner or later it would find its way to my students’ computer screens. ‘Hey miss, how’s the menstrual cycle?’ Ok, I won’t ever write about that, but I’m not even happy that they know I have a cat. Given that I talk about my relationship and generally act certifiable, it’s probably best that I remain anonymous.

I think my friends would like my blog, and it would certainly give my blog a wider readership. However, I’m actually enjoying the anonymity. I can be completely honest about my thoughts and feelings without worrying about running into Mary down the road in the supermarket (and she’s a real pill, by the way).
This blog might not be attracting a lot of traffic nor do I have heaps of followers, but that was never why I started (although I’m grateful for it all). I actually didn’t expect much interaction at all. I have an incredibly random brain. I don’t really have a filter (which makes teaching fuuunnn) so I honestly assumed that I would basically be writing to myself but that hasn’t been the case. Some of you actually take time to read my thought processes and to be honest, it’s really nice. Especially since this is all done on my phone, ill-prepared and badly edited. So I’m grateful for any interaction at all really, and it’s been fun. I find myself much more drawn to WordPress than to any of my other social networking sites because I’m more open and honest here. I find it quite therapeutic.

I also enjoy reading other peoples’ random thoughts because I’m creepy like that. No, I’m not lurking in your garden. Yet.

Blogging has quickly become my favourite thing to do. Yep, it even beats building model castles with my students. Mostly because it’s not as messy, even if I have cookie crumbs on my top right now.
So I hope that this is just the start of something great.