Friday is kicking my arse. And it’s only just lunchtime.

(I’m not over my gif obsession yet. Sorry.)

Right now I am not just wondering why I bothered to get out of bed this morning, but why my ancestors ever even bothered to emerge from the primordial sludge. I am failing at humanity

I appear to be off my game today.

So the day has gone like this so far –
Continue reading

Raindrops on Roses

Perhaps there comes a time in every bloggers life where she needs to sit back and have a long, hard think about what she is writing and who she is writing for. I know I reached that point this past week.

I’ve said before that I don’t care about my audience, that I write for me and that still holds true. I say nothing on this blog that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face if I had to. What you read is what you get in any world, real or virtual (online I’m minus my planet-sized insecurity, but I have a crew of people offline doing their best to cure me of that).

And now I feel I have to hold my tongue.

I guess it had to happen. You get a readership that spans everyone from your father, your colleagues, your friends, to people you went to primary school with and others you have never even met, with a minister thrown in for good measure, not to mention everyone in between – commonsense dictates that you should pull a few punches. Not step outside the bounds too much. Play it nice.

Simply put, I’ve got to face the fact a fair few of the people who might end up reading Bright Meadow are going to think I’m a heathen sinner on the fast track to a firey place where all the sunblock in creation ain’t gonna help me.

Which actually is ok in a bizarre kind of way. So I’d rather not end up in whichever Circle is reserved for infidel bloggers, but I’ll accept I could be way off base with my lifestyle. I’m not going to call people on what they believe just so long as they return the courtesy and don’t outright preach to my face.

(If you just can’t restrain yourself on that score, please take it to email and not the comments – some things should be personal and telling me the way I live my life is wrong? That’s personal).

It doesn’t help that people who say I rock also think I’m going straight to hell, however they’ve made their choices along the way, same as I’ve made mine, and who is to say they are wrong? I try to live my life the best way I can just as they are living theirs. We’re just working off a different script is all.

But just because I don’t talk about my beliefs that often, it doesn’t mean I don’t have them. And at times it doesn’t mean I don’t want to reach into the computer screen and wrap my fingers round the throats of some patronising bigots who’s words I read.

But I don’t say anything.
Because I’m the friendly one.

There are times I am sickened by the people I am involved with, the people I spend time with and the things they say and do behind closed web-doors.

But I don’t say anything.
Because I’m the nice one.

My boss said it true when we were giving a presentation the other day about the work we do: it’s not the situations that get us down – it is the people who disappoint us. The narrow minded, the self absorbed and the ignorant.

Is it wrong for me to want at my little piece of the internet to be friendly, warm, welcoming, peaceful? To be a place where it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, bi or interested in aliens covered in purple polka dots? Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Haven’t-Got-a-Clue, Couldn’t-Care-Less? Black, White, Purple-Polka-Dotted-Alien?

I really don’t care. Just so long as you have a nice word to say to your fellow readers, you are welcome. From the bottom of my heart I mean it. I truly cannot comprehend people who say hurtful things because they can. It escapes me. It depresses me.

Why it should be that the insignificant minority can trample my soul into the dust I do not know. The good should outweigh the bad, but it is the bad that keeps me up at night. I try to surround myself with people who make me soar and somehow the demons keep shouting down my better angels.

And I do not say anything. I do not rock boats. I sensor my own words that are screaming inside my heart because… It is who I am.

But I think there are times I should say things and I don’t because now Bright Meadow is what it is. It isn’t the place to unleash the sarcastic, vitriolic, seething beast within me. I don’t know where that place is, or even if it should exist at all, but I know it isn’t here. And just occasionally I wish that right here, right now, I could say some of the words I have bubbling up inside me.

I want to be able to fight back – to say I feel insulted, hurt, betrayed. Or to call people out for the horrendous things they say to other people – to say no, it’s not alright to say that, being a self-proclaimed cocky bastard is not clever, funny, or sexy. I want not to have to clothe my words in passive/aggressive ramblings written late at night when something has pushed me over the edge. I want not to try and say something nice about someone only to have it thrown back in my face twenty times over by the trolling element.

I want not to be in the situation where I type a response to something someone has said then hesitate over the ‘post’ button, and more often than not reach for the ‘delete’ button. Cas and Bright Meadow have built up a reputation, for better or worse and I don’t want to bring it all tumbling down around my ears because of something I said in an unguarded moment.

But why should I have to be the one who puts a gag on my tongue and my website?

We all choose our words for our audiences and the stages we talk from. It is part of being an adult and part of living in a society. Whilst I truly wouldn’t want it any other way, to borrow words from someone I’ve adored for a long time now – it’s my headspace people and I’m just letting you camp here a while. Just because I’m not saying something it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking it. And if I can restrain myself and refrain from ripping you a new one, why can’t you do the same?

People, stop it!

OK, if you love me people, you’ll stop inviting me to your universities to do PHds.

I can’t afford it.
I don’t have the idea I need – sadly “ooh, I’d love to play around reading about online stuff for three years” doesn’t quite cut it as a PHd topic.
And most importantly I was in therapy by the end of the MSc. Literally. I’m not sure I’d be alive at the end of the PHd!

This doesn’t mean I don’t want to DO a PHd. As I’ve told Neko a lot lately, I’m very, very jealous of you people who can just do research as your 9-t0-5. I’d love to do a PHd. I just don’t think a PHd would love me.

So yes. Stop taunting me with your shiny new departments and old professors who’d like to work with me again. Stop it I tell you!

Or, if you insist on keeping on doing it, at least tell me that there’s oodles of funding and propose a topic for me 😛

Can I really?

Can I really like a guy who uses text txt speak?

I’m talking honest to god usage of “C U L8R” and other gems.

Can I really, truly like a guy who does that?

Comment Woes (again)

Why is it always when you have posts you want comments on, something goes wrong?

If you’re getting an error message that says “Could not process submit, please try again“, you are not the only one. Please bear with me whilst I try and get to the bottom of the problem.

If you have anything you want to say, email me on cas.brightmeadow[@] – if it’s a comment, I’ll get it posted as such once normal service resumes.

When comments are back up and running, I will let you all know!

*goes and starts to dig through WordPress code and prod her server with a pointy stick*

Oh, and *waves* hello anyone who has been directed here from Antiquist – trust me, things aren’t normally quite this badly disorganized. My timing is just supreme as always 🙂

Things seem momentarily fixed. If you notice it going again, PLEASE email me to let me know?

And then again, not… Any ideas what could cause a WordPress blog to allow trackbacks through, let spam through (in that it reaches the Akismet queue), but doesn’t let proper comments through?

Well, it looks like our old friend coComment integration might be to blame. I’ve (once again) stripped the code out of the template. If you want coComment to track your conversations here for a while, you’ll have to do it manually. Sorry.

Rain drops keep falling on my head

originally posted by stefman75

How do I go about appeasing the Rain Gods? What is an acceptable offering to them?

I ask this because regardless of the weather when I leave the house, it invariably rains on me at some point during my excursion. Especially on the weekend – I can’t remember the last time I made a trip to the supermarket and back without getting rained on.

It’s gotten so bad that Moose was driven to ask when I came back from Waitrose today “what have you DONE to make the Rain Gods hate you so much?”

I don’t know, but I wish I could make it better. The sun was shining when I left the house and the sun is shining now – it is a glorious day – but for the entire walk to and from the supermarket it was sleeting on me 🙁

500 Words Explained

A little while ago I had a mini-rant about 500 word essays. I promised I would explain/elaborate at a later date. I just didn’t plan on the date being this much later! Ah well, at least I remembered eventually – that’s got to count for something?

I have a problem. I have to write an essay. The essay isn’t the problem – an essay is just an argument in words after all and I like arguing and I like words – it is the length of this essay that is getting to me.

It’s only meant to be 500 words.

Yup. I haven’t written 500 words since, well, last time I did A-Levels (or GCSE’s for that matter). The last piece of work was my thesis where my introduction alone was nearly 2000 words! Now my introduction needs to be two sentences.

Which means concise.

Which means I am screwed as I have never been concise in my life. My blog posts are frequently over the 1000 word mark. It’s not uncommon for them to be 2000 words. I think the longest clocked in at just over 3000 words – though I admit that was stretching to the breaking point and beyond what you want to read on a blog.

If you’re counting, this makes approximately 155 words.

So yup, I am, as previously mentioned, screwed. Up a malodorous backwater without any means of propulsion. Shafted. And all other pleasant types of things (Oh, 180).

So what wondrous subject have I got to condense into 500 words (which approximates 2 handwritten – handwritten! I can’t read my own bloody writing half the time! – sides)?

It boils down to gender discourse in one of Angela Carter’s short stories – “The Snow Child”. A topic which, if you set your mind to it, it is easy to write 5 thousand words on. I’m not stressing the assignment. In fact I was enthused about it before I knew how little I had to say.

We even did a mock essay plan! It’s at these points the differences between me (two degrees, 24, writes for a past time) and the majority of the class (18/19, just done A-Levels, still to even experience Uni) become startlingly clear. In Uni you write essays constantly. Long, complex essays. A-level essays are smaller but at the same time more important – you write just two before your coursework. You are quite expressly NOT permitted to voice your opinion as that is considered arrogant, as we were told tonight. Work from the text, don’t use the text to support you. At most the reverse of MSc where opinions are liked and even necessary.

So the essay plan was “P.E.A.R” (point, example, analyze, refer) or “Intro, point 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, conclusion” and I had to struggle not to laugh out loud. 500 words just keeps ringing in my head. Five points plus intro and conclusion.
Say 450 words for points, 50 for the rest.
That gives me 90 words to make my points.
And don’t forget I have to quote things, so say two quotes for each point, fifteen words each.
That leaves 60 words for each analysis.

On fuck I am so monumentally screwed! If you are counting along with me now by the way, we are approaching the 475 word mark. Time for the conclusion?

Why did I write this post? To illustrate how little 500 words is to me now. It’s two and a half pages of my tatty handwriting. It’s taken me thirty minutes to scrawl. It’s just about enough to express my disgust at a 500 word limit but no way enough to do justice to “In what ways does Carter use language to present male and female in The Snow Child?”

Yes, I will also post my essay (when it’s written and marked) for the edification and amusement of you all *

Now I’ve got to go to bed and ask myself why I find it so hard to be concise. When did being verbose and being able to write 5000 word essays become a good thing? Surely brevity is also a virtue? Wasn’t the Gettyesburg Address also child-sized? To be able to quickly sketch your argument and clearly illustrate it… Now that’s a good skill to have, surely?

And the final word count of this post? Six hundred and eighty glorious words, give or take a handful.

* If I get a good mark that is. If I get a bad mark I shall crawl under my desk and die in shame. No really, I will.