Books, History, and Everything in Between

I’m the type of person who can so easily get lost in the world of a book, in the stories, characters and words, so that when I try to resurface from it, I don’t know what to do with myself.

It’s not just one type of book: I’ve gone through liking so many different genres, and taking a fancy to one book, finishing it, and then craving a different kind of book – or conversely, getting sucked into ‘phases’ of genres for ages.

Now, it’s not like I’d just read that one genre of book. I’d read others, but that genre would prevail – I almost breathe it. You know those books that set up a fire in your heart, or give you that anticipatory feeling when you want to read them? That’s what I experience when I get a passion for a certain ‘brand’ of book and though I love other books I read, it’s the type I’m obsessed with at the time that makes me happy, until a book comes along that changes my preferences. Woah, it sounds like I have romantic relwhnships with books or something… Errr, moving on.

It happened with books along the line of Harry Potter first, then fantasy (Game of Thrones), then a long period of adoring Dystopia (The Hunger Games, Halo by Frankie Rose). Then Contemporary books and then a wild love for Science Fiction (the 5th Wave, Worldwalker Trilogy, Atlantis Grail). My tastes have flitted back and forth within these genres, fit with little subsections of them – LGBTQ+ Contemporary, books that are so cliché it hurts (I read them after books that make me cry) and then, in between periods of going between genres, I read miscellaneous things here and there. You could say I have a… Varied love of books.

Now, after a stint of reading contemporary, and scouring Goodreads to find books, I’ve fallen in love with historical literature, and historical fiction. I’m not surprised either: history’s always been something I’ve liked, from Romans to the English Revolution to wartime stories; it’s now combined with my love of reading to create something that’s entirely too addicted to raving, and annoying people, with her rants about how amazing a book is.

I blame this on Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a book that made me cry so much that I made myself ill, but a book that rekindled my fascinwhn with the lives of ordinary people in war, of stories of people that didn’t change the world but were heroes and heroines nonetheless. It was amazing, and the thing is, stories like that happen every day in every war; it gave me a snapshot of things that could have existed, and showed me that war ends in tragedy for so many people.

I now have a deeply rooted respect for the classics, but specifically written in times of history which interest me. Take the Victorian period, for example; the lifestyle there is something I’ve always read up on, or tried to find out about. We’re studying Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté, which is set just in that time, and I couldn’t put it down.

True, I had a reluctance to read it when I was younger and even before I started, but that was because of its size, and I worried that the vocabulary would be too much. I was so, so wrong; I’ve nearly finished with it, occasionally start writing and speaking in the style of Bronté, and have been known to scream “YAAASS OHHH SO CUTE!” when talking about some scenes between Mr. Rochester and Jane. I can’t help it: I got frustrated with Jane at the beginning, but the way she interacts with Mr. Rochester is great.

Historical fiction written nowadays is one of my favourite things, simply because it gives a new perspective on everything. Jane Eyre’s quite progressive for its time and I love that, but fiction written about the past with a modern view in mind is so interesting to me. After starting Jane Eyre, and needing a break from the very heavy language, I wanted to read some romance because a) I needed cuteness in my life and b) I was in the mood to not think too deeply for a while. Perhaps, then, I shouldn’t have started the Storm and Silence series by Robert Thier. I don’t know how to summarise these books, except to say it opens with Lilly Linton – potentially the most fantastic girl ever – dressing up as a boy and attempting to go to a polling station to vote. She doesn’t take shit from anybody, and it involves a controlling billionaire bastard who goes through character development, and also Victorian society, humour, solid chocolate, Feminism and a main character who sticks up for herself and is just. Brilliant. I could scream about this series forever, because it was just what I needed to get me interested in the Victorian era again, and coupled with Jane Eyre, made me crave even more.

Basically, I’ve concluded that I need to get a life that preferrably involves historical books, because I love them so much. I plan to read Pride and Prejudice, as well as Chaucer, and various other books as well as lots of historical fiction written recently. Um, and obviously do work as well, and study… I’ll never get anything done at this rate!

I wanted to share with you my simple love of books, and just how scarily ecstatic I get about it. It’s not a side you see often. Who knows – maybe next year, I’ll go back to constantly reading Sci-Fi; I’Ll just have to wait and see.

Do you have any recommendations for great books?

From Elm 🙂

Humiliating Myself – Writings of a Younger Elm, Number 1

Before I start, just a reminder that You’ve got a month to submit your nominations for the Blogger Awards. Thanks to everyone who’s already submitted, and remember – don’t feel pressured, and whether you get nominated or not, your blog is still wonderful. If you’ve got any questions about the awards, then let me know!

When I was younger – and by that I mean aged 11-13 – I thought that I was a really talented writer. (Actually, I thought I was shit, but I acted as if I was amazing).

I knew that I’d wrifften cringy ‘stories’ in order to show off my tremendous power of storytelling, but I’d deleted all of them off my computer so that I didn’t have to look over them. Of course, back then, I thought that I’d be proud of them when I was older, that I’d read them again and think “Hmm, not bad!” Oh, how wrong I was.

Unfortunately, I neglected to delete the emails that I sent to people, with those stories on. Because yes: I sent those stories to everyone I could think of, because y’know, I thought that I’d let them read it. Not realising that they were seriously awful, I sent derisive comments of “Hahaha this is rubbish but hope you enjoy!” with the secret hope that it was actually great. It wasn’t.

For your enjoyment and my absolute embarrassment, I’ve unearthd possibly the worst thing I ever wrote. Until I found it again whilst trawling through old emails, I forgot that I even wrote it. When I was looking for another awful thing I’d written to show you, I found this, and it far outstripped any other in terms of god-awful ‘plot’. I couldn’t breathe at one point because I was laughing so hard, screeching in disgust. You’ll see why.

In a similar fashion to Michelle and L I’m going to be commentating on this because I CANNOT keep my mouth shut when it comes to this terrible thing. All credit goes to those two for inspiring me to do this (WHY!) and you should check out their posts.

Imagine a girl screaming, hands over her face and peeking out occasionally to stare in horror whilst you read this. I was 12. You’d think I had some semblance of what made a good plot: L, if you thought yours were bad, be prepared to laugh at me. Oh god.

Chapter 1: Humiliation

I stepped into the chilled classroom, looking out onto a sea of faces. Why was starting a new school so hard? Hey, this sounds like every single terrible tween book ever. I flicked my jet-black hair out of my face, trying hopelessly to get a better view of the sickening students around me That’s so prejudiced against them!. I hate my thick, horrible hair Is it also called lovely by many people, but you don’t believe them, because same. In addition, I am petite and thin. And I despise it, loathe it WHAT! So many people would be happy with that and I’m thin too so I get it but thank god I never published this because that’s not a good example for other people. My thoughts were shattered by the person standing, primly next to me. “I am proud to announce the new arrival of your new classmate that makes no sense, 8c . This is Sarah Dorit.” Mrs Dichon, the deputy headmistress of Loodon Secondary school inventive looked at me pointedly.

I started. Was I meant to speak? No, not really. “Um.. I.. Hello,” I gabbled, staring round Gabbled? Are you a goose?. Everyone was scrutinizing me, taking in every detail. Why? Had I said something wrong? Had I? No, they’re just dicks. The spacious classroom grew deathly silent, you could have heard a pin drop Cliché. A hush, so appressing that the light plaster-covered walls closed in on me, squeezing every hope I had out. Forcing every happy memory away, not that there had been any to start with. My past was so… No, not now. Don’t think about it, Sarah. FUCKING CLASSIC OH REALLY! I think I was trying to be mysterious by the whole ‘dark past’ but that is so so awful I can’t

Then I knew. A few chuckles spread round the room. They hit me like sharp knife-blades, and the laughing intensified Rude. My cheeks flushed bright scarlet.

“Now, now! How dare you be so rude to Sarah!” scolded Mrs Dichon You tell them! The woman in question had tiny, pig-like eyes with a wrinkled round face. She wore smart clothes, but that made her look like an utter fool and she was Wait WHAT? She was being nice to you!. I hated her already. I was in year 8, not in year 2 Maybe she’s just trying to be kind! I could actually walk by myself, thank you very much. Despite this, she knew about my past Which you skillfully avoid talking about. Why did she have to know? Because she is in a position of authority within the school. Oh mum, if you… NO! Please don’t think about it Apparently I was trying to emulate her mind but that is such sloppy writing.

“Ha ha ha! She looks so stupid! Childish! Yuck! What the FUCK was that? Are you 4? BET you don’t have a boyfriend! Why should that matter? Faaaaaiiiiiiil!” A tall girl in plaits glared at me. She was pretty, but in a dangerous way. She was thin, but in a disgusting way That is such a horrible thing to say; having any type of body shape is okay!. She was ugly, twisted, frightful inside. I hated her You seem to hate many people. In the few seconds that I’d known her, she was my worst enemy. What, because of those wonderfully imaginative insults she threw at you? She looked about 15, even though she was only approximately 13. She looked so cool, but in a popular, nasty way Being popular is NOT a bad thing STOP pushing your values onto this character!. Well she’d know. She would know What. Her glaring, brown eyes would know. Her thin, furious lips would know. Even her stupid bracelets would know. Bracelets are sentient beings, everyone

I came out of my daydream by the hushed voice of the school teacher. “Katie, that is enough! That unacceptable behaviour is disgusting! Get out of my classroom. At least someone’s sticking up for her Sarah, you may sit over there, next to Jack.” Finally, I had someone on my side. Almost. She’d not spoken yet, and her voice was quiet and soft. She had lovely, deep blue eyes, deeper than mine CUTE!. She was a plump, short woman, but what did that matter? It mattered what was on the inside Finally, you realise!

Nevertheless, ignoring the deputy headmistress’s wave, I stumped blearily over to my seat. Eyes burned hatred and scorn into me from every direction, seeking my dark past out I’m sorry but is it just me that is wondering why everyone hates her? Yeah because she’s such a bad character. Why did everything link back to that? It doesn’t I sighed. Nothing could stop these memories. Absolutely nothing.

I turned to the boy next to me, expecting burning eyes, jeers and anger. But to my shock, even to my great relief, he was smiling at me What a lad. As the class chatter resumed itself, Jack finally spoke. His voice was low, quiet Like every single stereotypical young adult love interest. As i expected. With a tall figure and broad shoulders, he would I suppose have a deep voice GREAT logic!. His eyes were the same colour as mine, but his hair was dark brown. He had beautiful skin, white and pearly, like his teeth WHY the hell are you looking at his teeth?!. What surprised me was what he told me: “Sarah, they’re horrible. Don’t pay any attention to them. They’re stupid, ignorant. I know what happened.” C’mon Jack! What makes you any different?

“How?” I choked back tears. “How do you know about—` Are you fucking kidding me? Our conversation was rudely interrupted by Katie, storming up to me. Oooohh dramaaa

“I need to talk to you about something, Sarah. Get your lazy butt over here now.” Aaah, i’m sooo scared, she said the word butt she’s so intimidating! I meekly did as I was told, wishing no, no, no. Katie continued: “Your You’re grammar taking my Jack away from me. He loves me, only me. Don’t take him away ……. I’ll… I’ll… Hate you forever, and get my revenge. I swear I will.” Okay can I just – WHAT?! Sarah knew Jack for all of 5 minutes, so this random girl comes up to her – oh sorry her ‘worst enemy’ and thinks she’s stealing him away. Oh yeah, and Jack loves her. What is this, a soap opera? Ooohh nooo, hating her forever is SUCH a bad punishment. SO threatening.

I went, subdued, back to my table. I worked with Jack all of the English lesson, but I couldn’t bear to speak with him. Katie would get her revenge, even if I didn’t “steal” Jack. You don’t even know each other! The silence between us grew bigger and deeper, until the bell rang.
“Sarah, I need to talk with you.” Jack’s words were sharp, and I instantly feared the worst. YOU LITERALLY HAVE BEEN THERE FOR ONE LESSON! Hesitantly, I faced him. He waited until the gaggle of giggling girls and the bunch of babbling boys cleared the area. Was I trying to use alliteration? That’s like something a 9-year-old would write to show that they could. He took a breath. “Sarah, I know what Katie said to you. I heard every word. No shit, because they were right by you. If she even dares to touch you,” Jack clenched his fists, anger pulsing through his body BIT of an extreme reaction; even if you’re a lovely person and saw someone being picked on, not many people would instantly be that protective “I will do something I’ll regret.”
“B-but Jack,” I stammered, “Y-you hardly know me.” Precisely!
“I don’t care,” I was informed by Jack. “From what I know about you already, I don’t care. Please rely on me, Sarah.” In a typical bad YA novel – I’ve read many to find the good ones, of which there are many – this conversation usually happens after the love interest saves the girl’s life or has her trust broken, not after one hour of meeting each other
He touched my hand then, for a split second Keep it PG bloody hell. I turned tail and bolted like a hunted animal out of the classroom. Hunted by everyone.

I actually can’t. I am half-cringing and half-raging in irritation at these under-developed, over-dramatic characters. Let’s just leave it at that…

I never wrote any more of that story, and if I did, I didn’t send it to anyone. That could be a good thing.

I think that Sarah and Katie should get together by resolving their differences. Better yet, have no romance at all.

I’m just going to cry in embarrassment in a corner.

Did you like my commentary? Do you think I should have it in the next extract of story, or does it interrupt the flow?

From Elm 🙂

Even if They’re Good, Some People Aren’t Confident

Today, I let onto my English class that I don’t feel at all confident in my work. At the time, I felt like sobbing but now? I realise that it’s taught me something.

English has always been my favourite subject. I know that I’m at least good at it, because of my GCSE results and the fact that I get alright marks in the stuff I’ve done so far. Because of that, both my class and I didn’t understand why I was so… Down about the work.

We had to write an essay on how marriage was presented in Chapter 2 of the Great Gatsby. I did it for homework, putting effort in but not making it concise or linked enough: I got a B.

For my first essay for that teacher, I KNOW that’s good. At A-Level, at the start, you aren’t expected to get good marks – I got a C in my last english essay because I didn’t round it off enough, and the only reason I got an A in my history essay was because I spent so long on it (longer than you have in the exam) and because the grade boundaries are low.

Still, I know it was good: I know, though, that I could have improved. Listening to the flawless (or it seemed so) paragraphs of some of my classmates, the points they produced effortlessly, made it seem cheap. Shit. We had to go round the class and read out a particular passage that we were proud of, and I was last to do it.

Now, that was a bit of anissue for me. I was all set to read my introduction, but as other people started reading, I began to compare myself. “GOD, you could have written that more concisely,” or “Toooo many quotations, read that instead – your points aren’t linked enough!” It was ridiculous, but I couldn’t help it.

Then, it got to me, and I felt myself freeze. All the rest of the class had had similar issues: they complained, saying that there work wasn’t good enough, and one girl (who had an amazing essay) @refused to read it herself. I understood. And then it got to me.

“Miss,” I said, as the class went silent. I KNEW what I was about to do, that I would take this to the extreme and show my emotions on my face. “Miss, it feels like it’s at GCSE level. It’s just so… Basic, not what you want at A-Level.”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s fine!”

No, I thought. It might be fine for you, for the class, but it’s not fine for me. I wanted to do more, stretch myself, reach for those amazing points and truly achieve what I KNOW I’m capable of doing. I CAN improve, I WILL improve, but making me face up to what I haven’t done in front of everyone makes me feel terrible.

The comments I got from the rest of the people around me were actually not very helpful, which makes me sad. Then again, I would have been in their position too – assuring them that I KNOW their essay would be great. How can I be upset with them when I know that they WERE trying to help?

“It’s like what I’d write at GCSE – there’s no development to it. It’s just not good enough,” I said in a bitter tone, feeling like my embarrassment was choking me because I’m not used to airing my problems with so many people who don’t understand me.

A girl to my right muttered, “Yeah, like what at GCSE with your A star…” in a not quite scathing tone. She didn’t mean it nastily, but I felt my eyes watering, my face flaming.

The teacher: “… Yet you still got a B.”

“That’s not the point!” I wanted to scream. Yes, I’m happy with a B and I know that at the moment, that’s a really good mark to get. What made me the most sad was the fact that I felt as if my feelings were being undermined, JUST because I’d done well at GCSE. I did well today, but it still doesn’t stop me from feeling a bit inadequate, and no one should make you feel like you can’t talk about it.

“Aww, Elm, you look so disgusted!” said a girl across the classroom that really, didn’t know me. I murmurred “Well I am,” so that only my friend Swan who sat next to me could hear. All of it – people who didn’t believe me when I said I couldn’t stand my work, the teacher who couldn’t understand the fact that my self-confidence was shit, and the boy who ALSO didn’t get why a lot of people find it so hard to say good things about themselves – built up to a roar inside my mind.

That boy was the last straw. He was confident in what he wrote (and it was good); I’m glad he was because I Suppose that gave people more confidence to read theirs. What I didn’t like was how he didn’t seem to take in that other people DO NOT find it easy, and maybe they didn’t voice it so much, but me and the other girl did. I did, to a point where I’m most likely viewed as the girl who hates her work.

It IS difficult to tell people why you like what you wrote, to pick it apart and not criticise it, and I failed at that today. I failed at reining in my pure loathing for my work, because as much as I don’t think it’s an awful piece of writing, the fact that people wouldn’t take in that I thought I could have done better really hurt. It’s not their fault, because everyone gets unconfident when they have to read things out to the class, but I just wish I didn’t present that side to the class because it’s something I don’t want them seeing.

Something like feeling inadequate is a private thing. For me, it’s not how I want people seeing me – there’s more to me than that. Even I don’t understand why sometimes, I tell people that my work is awful when realistically, it’s the best I could have done. My old English teacher would have sat me down, explained to me what I did wrong, but then said: “Look. You WON’t be expected to get an A now, Elm. You have to work up to it, and you’ve already got a good foundation.” He knows how my mind works, how I can be so hard on myself.

I learned today that you should never try and dismiss someone’s feelings, just because YOU think they’ve done well. To them, they’ll be comparing themselves and beating themselves up: supporting them is good, but think a bit before you make a judgement of them. Sometimes, you being in the same situation can help because they need to know they’re not alone, but if it gets to the point where you can see disgust at themselves on their face, stop. I hope I’m not being patronising: I’ve done what people today did too, so I get it.

I love my English class; the people there are amazing. However, today made me think that maybe, it’s ME that has to get confidence in myself.

Just because someone’s ‘good’ at a subject, it doesn’t mean they’re proud if they read something out. It just means they’re human, with human flaws and insecurities. I’ll try and remember that, next time I hear in someone’s voice that they’re in the same situation as I was.

From Elm 🙂

Book Club!! :)

Hi there everyone on Elm’s blog its me Tasia again.  A girl reached out to me, her name is Emma, and she just started her blog because I inspired her to begin.

She didn’t ask me to promote her or anything of the sort but I feel a little obligated to say something because I have NEVER inspired someone the way that I inspired her and that to me, is wonderful!

Anyways, she made her first REAL post on her blog just a little while ago and she wants to start a mini book club.  I won’t go into too much detail (because you can go read it here) and it will be community based and she is wanting to read Gone Girl.

I would love it if you all came and joined me in welcoming her into the blogosphere because, well, everyone deserves all the support in the world to express and create whatever their hearts desire.

Also, to throw me into the picture, I just posted a collab type post on my blog so you all should go check it out and comment to be featured in the post itself! (if you have questions please let me know)

Thanks so much for all of your support 🙂 especially you Elm. xx

I Haven’t Read A Book in Years

You’ll read the title of this post, raise your eyebrows and scream, “WHAT! You read books all the time, you liar!”

It’s true: I read books so much that I’m surprised I don’t drown in them. Saying that, I haven’t READ a book in forever. Doesn’t make sense? I’m not surprised.

When I “read” books, I either listen to them on audio, get my phone to read them to me (by using a thing called voiceover), or when I had my old computer, I connected it to my phone so that I could read it on the Braille display. For anyone that hasn’t guessed it, I’m blind. Noooo shit, you never would have been able to tell!

These methods work well. I can get through a book faster, either because I read faster or the speech plays it more quickly. If a typically fast-paced section is going on, I pause the book to absorb it. It’s how I work, and I like it, but at the same time, there’s something missing.

It’s been so, so long since I held a physical BOOK in my hands that I could read. So long since my fingers have run over the pages, feeling a little numb after a while because of the feel of the Braille. Even longer since I’ve sat on the sofa, or on the beach, turning pages lightning fast. Finishing one book, then going onto another.

There’s something beautiful about reading Braille: not the braille of my computer, but braille on paper. The braille that if you press a dot hard enough, it flattens and disappears, though that’s kind of like scribbling out a letter. The braille that fades with time, but that you can still feel; the writing that makes your hand cramp as you finish that last sentence. Only blind people will get this, because a lot of sighted people’s fingers aren’t sensitive enough to pick up on any individual dot, and that’s not because you’ve got anything wrong. It’s just that I was trained, as well as a lot of people were, to have sensitive fingers so that I could read.

Braille books are huge. When I say huge, I mean huge; the book ITSELF is larger, but it doesn’t just come in one book. Oh, no; the Harry Potter books came in 13 volumes (not that I read them in Braille, but this is just what I’ve been told) and the Lord of the Rings ones are apparently so monstrously large that they clutter up the house. I was too scared to get them because I was intimidated by them? They’re heavy too, of course – you can’t carry around 6 volumes of Braille, which is the amount of volumes I usually read when I got my books, without staggering. Some books are smaller, and it really depends on who makes them.

When I was younger, I got my books from the RNIB library. Maybe it’s cruel to say this, but their selection for books – especially young adult books – is… Not great. I get catalogues of books that have been made into Braille and I see ones from three years ago. Though there are recent ones, there aren’t many.

I understand, and I guess it’s unfair of me to criticise them. It takes money and time to print the books into Braille, so no wonder their selection isn’t “up to date”. What they do have is good, just not good enough for ME. It was when I was about 10, 11 and 12, but not now when I consume books like they’re food. I used to borrow them, and so I had to finish them within a select time, and I couldn’t do that now. What with stress and A-Levels, it would make it worse if I felt like I had to finish a book.

Reading – ACTUALLY reading – books gave me a great vocabulary, so I’m very grateful for that. However, the only Braille things I’ve properly read within the last two years are exam papers, Maths text books, some on Diagrams, signs and lifts. That’s not exactly thrilling stuff. The last book I read in Braille was She Is Not Invisible, and that was because I REALLY wanted to. Rcving it was almost a novelty, because I hadn’t borrowed anything for the RNIB library in what felt like an age. Um, more like 2 years… (I tend to exaggerate)

I miss reading, the feel of shoving a volume back in its bag and hauling out another one. Some of my best memories involve getting books, leaping up and down in my cringy 12-year-old way and getting way too over-excited and then dropping them on my foot. What can I Say – I was eager. Then again, 11-year-old me diving on 4 bags of books was a bit extreme…

A lot of people read in different ways. I almost envy people with sight, who can read print, because you can just walk into a bookshop and buy a book. Without asking, “Is this availible in Braille? When will it be? When can you get it to me – has someone already ordered it?” You could just get it out on the train without having to lug around a massive BAG of books. I suppose, though, that there can be downsides; deaf people can’t listen to radio shows or audio-based things, so I’ll always be grateful for my ears.

I miss reading. Perhaps I’ll get back into ordering books again, once I’m more relaxed. Maybe it’ll HELP me to relax.

I wanted to show you a little part of my world, just for a bit. I read Braille, always have done and always will. Print’s fascinating to me, the way it probably looks like art on a page, but that’s a discussion for another lifetime.

Reading’s something I always take for granted. Some people CAN’t read or don’t have access to books, so for now, I’ll carry on reading how I read.

From Elm 🙂
P.S: If you’ve got any questions about Braille or anything, really, then you can email me at gemmabaristol@yahoo.co.uk. I’m happy to talk about it, and sorry for ranting strangely about my obsession with books (again)!

A “Poem” About Bitterness and Other Fun Emotions

It’s okay
When you look the other way
As I walk past, so that
You can’t see me.
We all want to be blind sometimes.

It’s alright
When you gaze in awe
At the fractures of our friendship, never
Knowing how much I hurt-
I can’t see your story,
Too.

I don’t mind
When you’re cold as winter frost,
Then warm as the sun’s rays-
My heart will heal in a broken cage
As I do the same.

Don’t worry
When you hate me, fire burning
In your soul,
Yet you wear the mask of love
As if it could fit you.

But I don’t think
Of the hours wasted, tears
Falling in the darkness, hands holding
The sky: I never
Fall twice, into the sea of you.

I still exist
Despite your words, heart beating
For myself, shattering as I
Let your strings maneuver me.
No more.

You can’t hold on
To my trust, when you so trampled it
Your truth, when you saw fit
To crush and break and tear
My happiness.
Did you know?

Let go of it,
Spinning, running, lost,
When I say I hate you,
When I say goodbye,
Give me freedom to say:
It will be okay.

I hope you liked that. This really isn’t about one specific person, but rather a way to release the pent up bitterness and sadness I sometimes feel.

If you feel like I do, constantly looking at the actions of others, I have one piece of advice: yes, they’ll do the things they do, but it’s up to you to tell yourself that though you care, it’s okay that they do them. It’s okay because THEY are the ones digging themselves into a hole of anger, not you. Be strong enough to remember that you CAN be the better person, rather than giving into the shit that people throw at you.

It’s so hard. Not to feel angry at how people hurt you, not to want to scream and cry about it and tell them that they’re disgusting. What I’m trying to do is admit my own faults, that I AM sad, but that in the end – it’s fine to feel that way.

It’s good to exist and feel and love and cry. God knows I do it. Think about what people have done to you, all the misery you feel because of something, and then release that somehow. You can do it in any way you want, just as long as you don’t punch/kick the person.

I’ve been given a lot of advice recently that I haven’t listened to as much as I should. I realised that’s because I’m very scared of shutting people out, letting the bitterness and irritation control me. I find it very difficult to forgive people, but still find myself UNABLE to let go – do you know the feeling?

You’ll always feel bitter and upset because of SOMETHING – I still do, and that’s part of being human. However, you don’t have to let that rule your life. You’re bigger than it and you need to go out and LIVE so that you can come back and say: “I may wonder why they do these things, but I’m the one enjoying myself.”

From Elm 🙂

If I Don’t Conform, I’m Not Stupid

You know what annoys me? The fact that sometimes, I want to do things JUST to fit in with other people.

I study Psychology (Well I recently started) and it’s called Conformity. It seems so clinical, giving it that name, saying “everyone does it, so don’t worry!” Maybe I don’t worry, but it still annoys me, especially when I feel like I’m separate from everyone else and if I JUST TRY, I’ll fit in more and not feel so… Wrong.

By the way, I’m sorry about all this negativity in my posts lately. Because of the stress of school, and my varying moods that go from “Wooo I’m actually feeling good!” to “Fuck everything fuck work I’m too tired” have left me drained. I’m kind of scared you’re getting tired of all this, but if I don’t write this down, the feeling will go away and come back worse the next time. And anyway, locking feelings in isn’t healthy; I’ll post a more positive post tomorrow!

It’s like this: I occasionally feel like I’m so incredibly… Uncultured, or nothing, compared to everyone around me. I can’t help it. And I WANT to be more, so that I can understand what people say, but also because I want to further my knowledge.

Growing up, I didn’t watch films much, or much at ALL. I listened to books, read books and made up stuff, the classic ‘imaginary friends’ business. Not watching films became normal, so that now, I can name only five films I’ve watched and liked. Everybody around me watches them – and it’s not even because I’m blind, because you can get audio description.

It’s just that I’ve never felt as immersed in a film as I do in a book, because it’s not the same. Pretentious, right? So, people talk about films, the latest things they’ve watched, and then they ask me if I’ve watched this film or that film and I always say no. They seem shocked, as if not watching that film is UNTHINKABLE, and immediately assume it’s because I can’t see when the majority of my blind friends watch films all the time. It makes me want to watch every single film, because I want to be able to share in the discussions of plot and characters, and because I want to discover new characters and the emotions attached to those films, as I would in books. I feel like I’m missing out, because there are SO many films I haven’t watched and sometimes I pretend I have, to not feel so inadequate next to these people who, when I say I haven’t watched Up and Breaking Bad and The Lord of the Rings and SO many others, I feel would immediately judge me. Perhaps they wouldn’t, but being surrounded by references you just don’t get is frustrating.

I’m studying English Lit. It’s one of my favourite subjects, but I haven’t read many of the ‘classics’. Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, no Shakespeare plays for FUN (just the required reading in class), 1984, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men. People in my English class have – not all of them – but when I think of what I haven’t read, I feel panicky. Books are some of the best things in life, and I love them, but my book taste makes me feel like I’m not just on the level of a lot of my classmates. I feel clunky next to them, unrefined – and yes, I know it’s a bit stupid.

I like young adult books. The books that make you think, smile, laugh, cry. Fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, but that all seems to pale in front of the classics. The classics are great, of COURSE, but if you haven’t read many of them you kind of feel like you’ll fall behind, when everyone talks about how beautiful the writing of a book is and you haven’t read it. I want to read so many of them, but school’s way too demanding: “Read a book for fun!” It’ll improve my learning and my interest and I NEED to do that. My book taste doesn’t make up my worth as a person.

Music is another huge one. For some reason, if you like certain artists, you’re seen as having a certain personality type. I don’t listen to Twenty One Pilots, Melanie Martinez, Halsey (though I like her songs), and I like SONGS, but not specific bands. Often, I feel like I can’t join in with music discussions, because of what I listen to: a mishmash of assorted genres, when so many people I know love BANDS and SINGERS and can relate to each other through them. I want to listen to it all, to see if I’d like it, but I feel like if I do that, I’ll waste my time because I might not. Close-minded maybe, but I want to listen to my chosen songs without feeling insufficient.

I am so, so sick of wanting to just be like everyone else. Being miserable because you haven’t watched Orange is the New Black or read Wuthering Heights will just make me hate myself.

If I want to read a book, listen to a song or watch a film, I’ll do it because I want to. Not because I want to feel normal, not to feel somehow validated. I think that I’ll always feel somewhat behind, in the sense that I haven’t done so much that everyone in my school has, but I’ll just deal with it and find interesting things to read in my subjects. I’m not dull or wrong because of it.

Don’t feel stupid, just because you haven’t watched that TV show or don’t listen to that band. Just because your friends do it, doesn’t mean you have to; nobody should make fun of you for having your own interests. If they do, ask them why they’re saying those things about you when THEY’RE not you, and they can’t understand what you like. You could never deserve to feel worthless just because you aren’t the same. And if everyone’s different and unique in your group and you feel like an outcast even then, it’s okay.

I’m not the bastion of being different, because I always conform and do things that’ll make me be able to talk about things my friends talk about. But I think we ALL do that, and realising that you do doesn’t make you terrible. It just makes you human.

They always say, “Be yourself.” Sometimes you can’t, because you don’t know who you are; giving yourself time to figure that out and do your own thing whilst you’re at it is SO important. Only do something if you REALLY want to: not just to talk about it with people you know. Actually enjoy it.

I don’t want to force you to feel a certain way; I know what it’s like to feel like you need to do everything how everyone else does. I’m not trying to be stereotypical and tell you that being unique is okay, because you already know. I’m saying that no matter who you are, you can like what the fuck you like and do what you like without it making you feel you’re nothing.

From Elm 🙂

BLOGWARTS OFFICIALLY OPENS! – BLOGGERS’ HOUSE CUP

Just a reminder that classes start tomorrow for the Blogger’s House Cup! Don’t forget to sign up to the forums if you haven’t already. I’m Hufflepost Prefect and Amy’s the Head of House, so you can ask us or Anthony any questions you have 🙂

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Guest Post – Judging a Book by its Cover

Hey guys! This is Aditi, and I’m so happy to be posting on Elm’s blog. I came here once before, with a post called Recollection Road. I hope you enjoy this!

Elizabeth’s Bookshops in Australia, have a very interesting idea for book purchasing. Coined “Blind Date with a Book”, buyers search for a book that solely have four or five words on the paper cover that describe what is inside. In this way, it is impossible to “judge a book by its cover”.

What do you think about this? I have two takes on it.

Side 1: I think this idea inhibits the creativity that goes into creating a book cover.

It is inevitable that we judge books by their covers. It is impossible to summarize an entire novel into a few words. I’m sure you have heard the idiom: “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This is the notion that a situation conveyed with an image shows its meaning more effectively than a description does. It is more difficult to understand the essence of a book without a picture displaying it. It would be much easier to have a cover to visualize the book you are about to read.

Side 2: This idea is very beneficial, and prohibits any judging of covers.

Conversely, this could really work! Sometimes, books might not have any “substance”, but they have a dashing, yet misleading cover. Authors obviously don’t come right out and tell you about the book, unless it’s in the blurb on the back. If you’re very specific with your choices on what types of books you read, this could really help. Especially since the books are specifically chosen by people who have read the book before, there is a good chance you will enjoy it.

Which take do you follow, and what would you add them?

My Ideal Book: The book that I would want to read best would probably have these words on it.

  1. Revolution
  2. Teenagers
  3. Humorous
  4. Fantasy

This basically describes the entire Y.A. genre! I know I have read a lot of books like this already, but, if it’s really good, I will truly enjoy it.

What would be your ideal 4-5 words for a book?

Using This Strategy: This could also be used for music, games or movies. Blind dates with PEOPLE could also follow this format. What do you think about this?

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I hope you enjoyed that! If you want to, you can comment the side you would take (or if there is ANOTHER side) as well as the answers to some of the questions you posted and I could do a follow-up post showcasing some of your comments and my additional takes on this!

I’d also love if you could check out my blog here. I write about several things, but I have narrowed it down to “PET” (Poems, Education (yet interesting), and Thoughts). 🙂

Love,
Aditi

Getting Obsessed with France because I’m Cool

Technically speaking, I’ve been learning French for 10 years – since I was 6 – but I can’t speak it without stuttering, my sentence structure is horrendous and I can’t formulate words properly. So, I’m NOT ELOQUENT and I sound like a Martian when I try and speak it, and must look like a moron when I write. Trying to do “de la” when it’s du, or screwing up the gender agreements and verbs. WAHEYY!

Because of that, I’m insane for picking it at A-level. I did it for GCSE and had a love-hate relationship with it, but I decided to change my options about two weeks ago because I got it into my head that it would be better for me.

Well, it WILL be. French has always come naturally to me, and I just love the language because it’s beautiful and it flows REALLY well. I know you might be rolling your eyes at my nerd fest at a foreign language but selon moi, c’est vraiment fantastique bien que je ne le parle pas!

Over the past two weeks, I’ve decided it’s a great idea for me to NOT ACTUALLY give myself a free summer (mainly because they do give us holiday homework at school). Me? Nahh, I’m doing the homework, but I’m doing stuff for my own enjoyment. What’s that, you might ask? VOLUNTARILY doing more French than is necessary.

Okay, so it IS useful. I want to be able to be reasonably confident when I go into A-Levels; I’ll be doing it for the other subjects too but French (and also English) is my priority because I enjoy it. I literally will GO OUT OF MY WAY to do extra french; I know other people will be doing the same because it’s what you SHOULD do, so at least I’m not alone.

I’ve downloaded the app for the newspaper, Le Monde, and started to read articles in French even though I don’t understand most of it. That’s how I found out David Cameron was resigning, actually, and it was WEIRD to find it out from a French newspaper (whilst trying to piece together what it was saying).

And the worst and best thing? I’ve got obsessed with French songs. MAINSTREAM french songs, that are popular, but shhh I’m not original. I just can’t stop listening to them they’re SO GOOD!

Some of my favourites which you should totally listen to:
Dernière Danse by Indila
On Écrit Sur Les Murs by Kids United
Formidable by Stromae

And there are loads more. Honestly I don’t know why, but I LOVE French songs. It’s partly because I can understand them, but it’s also because I like the language itself.

Speaking and listening are still a huge problem for me when it comes to French. I can understand it when I’m reading it, and I can kind of write, but I’m absolutely TERRIBLE with speaking because I can’t get the words out and I can barely construct sentences. The A-Level course recommends doing LOADS of things outside school, so I’ll do that.

Maybe I can listen to french news broadcasts, or find someone – like Willow or Hazel – to speak to in French (Hazel is fluent). Who knows? Even though I won’t do French at university, I still love learning a modern language. People in other countries seem to know two or more, and I want to be able to say coeur and heart, and for it to MEAN the same thing in my head.

I’m thinking reading a book in French as well – I got this thing for my Induction Day next Tuesday for Sixth Form (no one else has the material I’m such a rebel) and it suggests setting up a Twitter account in French. Y’know what? I might actually do that.

I’m so sorry for boring you with all that! Are there any languages you love learning (or that you hate)?

From Elm 🙂