Fandom Friday – My 5th Nerdaversary

I grew up in a world where being passionate about something, almost anything in fact, was enough to label you a ‘nerd’ – and a nerd wasn’t something you wanted to be; John Green was a name only known on YouTube, and geek culture wasn’t a fashion trend, it was something to laugh at. Reality wasn’t like the Disney movies, where you had to be some kind of ugly science genius to be a nerd (and even that was bad enough) – you just had to care about something.I don’t know if that’s just part of being a teenage girl, if it was just another shitty side effect of 2009 or what, but it sucked. Being a fairly smart kid with a thing for books, this wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted – pretending not to like anything is exhausting. Being ‘cool’ was more important than anything, even to the adults in my life.

Continue reading Fandom Friday – My 5th Nerdaversary

Me Monday – Life Update!

I’m back!!

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t really posted lately. The last few weeks have been crazy and exhausting, so blogging has unfortunately had to be put at the bottom of the pile. But, things are starting to level out, so I thought I’d just do a quick update to let you know what has been keeping me away from the internet (not an easy feat).

Continue reading Me Monday – Life Update!

Oops…

Hey guys!  I’d just like to apologise for the lack of posts lately. Over the next few weeks my posts will probably be quite erratic – if you haven’t seen on Twitter/Instagram, I graduated yesterday! I am at home for tonight but heading to London tomorrow for a very busy weekend, then on Monday I start a two week work experience placement. Until I have the time to sleep again & I get back into a regular pattern posts might not be as regular as usual. Bear with me!

See you soon (I hope!),

Ro x

Reading Habits Tag!

So, I’ve been doing a lot of writing today, but I’m an idiot and thought it was Tuesday. It took me until 8pm to realise I had the wrong day because I am a genius. This isn’t going to be a particularly long or interesting post but it will help you get to know me better at least: I’m doing the reading habits tag!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

My room, but it’s not something I think about.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Okay, this may get me killed, but if I can’t find anything to use as a bookmark I do fold the corners of pages. Scraps of paper and receipts are probably more common markers than bookmarks in my books though – I lose them too easily!

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I like to stop on a 5 or a 0 page if not a chapter. It just feels neat and it’s easier to remember if I lose my page for whatever reason.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yes – I don’t like crumbs in the pages but I do eat while I read. I hate myself, too. Plus, there’s something cosy about a hot drink, cold weather and a good book.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I like background noise but I don’t generally have anything on – it tends to distract me if I’ve chosen the song/show because I’ll concentrate on that instead. There’s never a lack of background noise in this house, though!

6. One book at a time or several at once?

One, generally speaking – I have two on the go at the moment though.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Anywhere, but I prefer at home/somewhere on my own.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

In my head, it comes more naturally to me  – I even used to read to my youngest brother and start reading in my head without realising. I like hearing poetry but I still don’t really read it aloud.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Nooooo! You never know what you might ruin or miss!

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Keep it like new – or, I don’t intend to break spines, I can’t say they all stay nice here though!

11. Do you write in your books?

Not really, I did for course books sometimes but not pleasure reading.

12. Who do you tag?

Anyone who wants to do it – comment below to tell me your reading habits!

See you soon,

Ro x

The Dadliest Day.

This is going to be a really short one as I’m away for a few days, but just thought I’d share something. Yesterday, as I’m sure you’re well aware, was Father’s Day. I’m so lucky to have a dad as selfless, caring and brilliant as mine. He may get grumpy and he constantly moans at me for the state of my room (which even I’ll admit is disgustingly messy most of the time!) but he’s fantastic. Have few mildly embarrassing pictures of him and let me hear all about your great dads (or mums/parents!) in the comments!

image1
Sorry dad, think I wore them better.
Dad1
One is not amused.

 

Dad2
This is the only recent picture I have of us that we don’t look miserable in – my 19th birthday (NYE 2013)

Enjoy the Toblerone & Eric Clapton album, Dad!

Love, Your Favourite x

 

 

It’s Not The Time.

I know I’m supposed to be posting a creative piece today, but this is just so much more important. I’m so saddened by the attack in Orlando and confused by some reactions to this that I couldn’t just carry on like normal today – creative piece will happen later on in the week.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, last night 50 people were killed and 53 injured in a mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando. A place that was considered “safe” for LGBT+ people to embrace and celebrate who they are was attacked. My heart is so heavy and while I started writing this angrily, it’s just turned into more sadness over the loss of life.

In a situation like this, you expect people to mourn. You expect Facebook news feeds, Twitter feeds, WordPress readers to be full of people paying their respects. Of course I saw many of these sorts of posts – there’s an awful lot of sadness and an awful lot of anger, as there should be. I also unfortunately keep seeing people making the comment that it “doesn’t matter” that these people were LGBT+, and that “all lives matter”. A lot of people are comparing it to the Paris shootings.

This attack was not just a terror attack. This was a hate crime – as Owen Jones so rightfully put it, it’s comparable to someone walking into a religious building and open firing. This wasn’t an attack on anyone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as in the Paris shootings. The victims of this attack didn’t happen to be LGBT+. The attacker knew most if not all people in there would be LGBT+. It cannot be denied that this was a homophobic attack.

It matters that the attacker targeted a certain group of people. It should be a no-brainer that this matters. It doesn’t mean that these peoples’ lives are any more or less important than any others, nor does it mean that the Paris shootings are any more or less tragic. It matters because the LGBT+ community have fought for so long just for the right to exist, and this has been taken away by one man with a gun. It matters because no one should have to fight for the right to stay alive and safe, especially in their own communities.

I could go on and on about how oppression works and what the impact of this attack will be etc, etc, but this isn’t the time. This isn’t the time to tell people to calm down. This isn’t the time to pick fights. This is the time to support the LGBT community and appreciate that people all over the world are grieving. Don’t make it worse.

Ro x

 

Writing About Writing: Who Should We Write For?

Since starting university three years ago, I’ve met a lot of writers – most in the same position as me, at university learning to hone their skills and now many of us are graduating and being thrown into the big wide world. In these three years, the same topic of conversation to do with writing has come around a lot; who should we write for?

The question is one that I struggle with personally a lot more now that I have this blog. I created it for myself, as a way to keep myself reading and writing, and so far that has also happened to be quite successful with readers; by no means is the blog popular as such, and I’m certainly not going to become a full-time, professional blogger any time soon, but my audience is steadily increasing and I think I’m doing fairly well considering it’s only been about a month. In posting what I write online, although it is from and for myself first and foremost, the reader becomes a part of the reason for writing.

I think it’s quite common with things like blogs to become easily discouraged, and for me I think writing solely for readers will do that to me; I need a schedule and I need to make myself write things on time, simply to keep me motivated, but pushing myself to write things that readers will want to see all the time will just make me tire of it. I’m currently tackling this attitude quite well; I’m not letting it bother me if my posts aren’t very successful, and instead focusing on writing the next one. This is often easier said than done, but making a conscious effort to do so is helping massively. Writing for me means writing things that interest me – and if other people aren’t interested by that thing, I have a million other things to write/review/discuss.

A friend of mine recently admitted that she was scared to set up a dedicated place on the internet for her creative writing, in case no one read it. My response to this, and I know it’s a hypocritical one, was this – who cares? It’s really scary to put your work out there, and I certainly worry that no one will read or like my creative stuff, but it’s better to have it out where someone can read it than leaving things gather dust in a 5 year old folder with an embarrassing title buried deep in your laptop.

On the topic of creative writing, we must discuss books and publishing works on paper. Historically speaking, many writers wrote for the money; Dickens was often paid by the word to write his serials, which we now of course read in the form of huge novels. It would be naive to say that many popular authors today write without money in mind, however for the majority of writers nowadays this isn’t a lucrative business; only the very bestselling authors earn enough money to live on, much less the fortunes earned by the likes of JK Rowling. Going into writing with the sole purpose of making money would be largely disappointing.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that people don’t write with the intention of getting published – there would be little point in spending all that time creating something to then not show anyone­, whether we publish for free or for profit.

So, who (or what) should we write for? Ourselves? Our audience? Money? Personally, I believe a mix is probably the best bet for success, but that’s just my personal opinion – I’ll get back to you when I’m a bestselling author!

See you soon,

Ro x

Girlguiding UK: 106 Years Old and Still Going Strong

Girlguiding is, as the title suggests, an organisation for girls and young women aged 5-25. The Guide Association started here in the UK, however has spread across the world. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) boasts 10 million members in 144 countries. In the UK alone there are around 450,000 young members (aged 5-25), as well as many adult members who volunteer their time and resources regularly. As it stands, about a quarter of all 8 year old girls in the UK are Brownies, and Girlguiding as a whole is the largest youth organisation for girls in the UK.* Why is it, then, that people still ask me if it’s needed?

This is a matter that is incredibly close to my heart. I joined Brownies aged 8, just before a particularly difficult time in life. We won’t go into details, but Brownies provided a place where my self esteem wasn’t constantly taking blows to the head – and I just didn’t get that anywhere else. I didn’t go to Guides, purely because although my confidence had improved, the Guider for my Brownies’ sister unit was terrifying. Skip forward 4 years or so and I joined Rangers – right in time for the Centenary year. When I was 17 I started helping one of my Ranger leaders at a Rainbow unit, and a little over a year ago I started my training to become an adult leader for Brownies with a unit here in Aberystwyth. I started as a tiny, shy little girl and now I’m a slightly less tiny, much more confident Tawny Owl! Guiding has given and still gives me so much, and I love giving back by volunteering with them – which is why it is so frustrating that people cannot see all the hard work this organisation does.

Brownie
Believe it or not, I was 10 in this photo.

Now, I know this seems hypocritical considering last week I was writing about how gender is unimportant in literature. Unfortunately in reality, however, we live in a male-dominated, sex-driven society which is often unwelcoming to young girls. Girlguiding allows for any self identifying females to have a safe space in which to develop, learn and just have fun away from their male peers. Of course, that isn’t to say that girls can’t be just as mean-spirited, domineering and competitive with each other – but a network of girls and women all over the world supporting each other and working together can only help stamp out the negativity nurtured by modern media in favour of celebrating other females.

Perhaps it is the organisation’s age that leads people to believe we’re insignificant – 106 years is a long time, and when mothers, grandmothers and even the Queen were members, it hardly seems cool now. People seem to think that Girlguiding hasn’t changed in that time; that we’re outdated, unchanging and disconnected from the modern world. Why is it then that The Scout Association, an even older organisation of a similar nature, doesn’t get the same questioning? Correct me if I’m wrong, but personally I’ve never seen any of my Scouting friends asked why their organisation is still around.

Yes, members may be taught traditional skills like cooking and crafting, but the point of the organisation when it was started was to allow girls to do everything boys could – and this still stands. Girlguiding offers girls the chance to go camping, try new sports, build fires, learn first aid and survival skills and so much more. At the core of leadership training is the girls themselves and how to involve them in decision making and building the term’s programme. Each section has different ways of doing this – Brownies have ‘pow-wows’, for example; not my favourite terminology, I’ll admit, but it is essentially sitting down with the girls and giving them the chance to tell us what they want to do more of.

Rangers
We apparently just wanted to pose.

 

A gendered organisation like this is intrinsically political. Guiding embraces this by allowing their members to discuss serious issues that affect them and the world around them. Senior Section members (aged 14-25) can train to become Peer Educators, and teach local units of all sections about a range of topics that interest and affect them, including sex and drug education, self- esteem and body confidence discussions and most recently mental health and wellbeing. These sessions are tailored for most if not all sections, and so girls as young as 5 are being taught about serious issues in a way that is accessible and understandable, and comes from other girls as well as adult leaders.

In a perfect world, this organisation wouldn’t be necessary. In our world, however, a world in which women are consistently dominated and silenced, even just in simple conversations, Girlguiding gives girls the space to develop and use their voices. Don’t try and tell me that that’s not something to be proud of.

Do you have a Guiding/Scouting story? I want to hear it, let me know in the comments!

See you soon,

Ro x

* Figures were found here.

 

If You Can’t Get Enough…Follow Me!

But, don’t literally follow me. That would be creepy. Follow me on Twitter, instead!

That’s right, Always in the Write is on social media! I have so much fun stuff going on this weekend that I can’t wait to write about, and would love to keep you guys updated as it all happens, as well as give you previews of the next reviews, creative pieces, etc. So, instead of waiting for me to post about it all in the week, get updates on Twitter and Instagram!

See you soon,

Ro x

First Posts.

First posts are the worst! I feel awkward just saying it! The introductory ‘about me’ post feels so odd but just getting straight in with regular content seems unnatural and impersonal when this is, after all, a personal blog. So, about me it is.

I’m Roisin, but my friends call me Rose or Ro. If you thought it said Raisin you’re not the first, don’t worry – I’ve had much worse! I’m 21, and as of two nights ago I just finished a degree in English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. I’m from a tiny village in Warwickshire, I’m a member of Girlguiding UK and am in training to become a Brownie leader. I love dogs, LUSH cosmetics, and chocolate – pretty standard stuff, really. I don’t know for sure where my life is going, but I’m ready to see what I can do and excited to see where I can go from here.

I started this blog for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that I want to do something with my degree -I want to write and create and I want this blog to be a way for me to do that even if I wind up being unable to in my career. Of course it would be a dream come true to become a professional writer, but it’s simply not realistic at this point; all I can do is keep writing and hope for the best. On the less creative side, I have so much to say and nowhere to really say it; my boyfriend and friends hear enough of me moaning without having to hear about Shakespeare or politics or Kim Kardashian’s self image on top of that! I hope this blog can provide a space for me to talk about all of these things in a way that one, my friends can pick and choose when and what they engage with, and two will attract like-minded people. I have so many ideas for this blog and I’ve no idea where it will end up – it could end up a themed blog doing book reviews, it could be a political blog, it could just be Carrie Bradshaw-style rants about my personal life. Let’s find out!

I can feel myself getting cheesy and I’m sure I will want to edit this again as soon as I’ve posted it, so I’m just going to sign off.

See you soon,

Ro x