Like with 100% of my problems, I like to ignore the fact that I can’t write anymore. Now, it’s okay to pretend my shelves don’t need urgently dusting, but not writing is probably a much more pressing problem. Writing is (unfortunately) a huge part of my identity. So is reading, and I haven’t being doing a whole lot of that either. But as university creeps closer – and, keep in mind, I’ll be studying Creative Writing – I’m really struggling to ignore this problem any longer. Like, it’s now surpassed trying to finish Inside No. 9 before my Netflix trial runs out.
Look, I’ve always been pretty vocal about vegetarianism. And by vocal I mean I might share a Humane League post about turkeys around Christmas time on Facebook, or awkwardly explain, “Well, ‘cos I love animals,” when interrogated after refusing a bag of Haribos at a school competition. But I did feel very strongly about not eating meat, and about animal rights. It was how I was raised. However, I never really gave veganism a proper thought. Granted, going vegetarian is still an excellent first step, but I think few vegetarians realise the impact of the dairy and egg industry – and that included me. I avoided leather, but that was my bit.
I stuff my fists into my pockets as I make my way across the empty playground. It’s a cold afternoon, the sky overcast, an archetypal Monday. Just as I come up to the door to reception, it’s opened by Alfie’s Literacy and Numeracy teacher, Miss Mercier.
“Can I help you?” she asks, unsmiling. She keeps half her body inside, behind the door.
I tell her that I am here to pick up my son. He’s not very well. She stares at me, her eyes searching for something that isn’t there, her face beginning to stiffen. I clarify the name: “I’m here to pick up Alfie. I’m his dad. I know you rang his mum, but she’s actually in Brighton at the moment, so she rang to tell me he’s poorly. His tummy’s a bit sore?”
I stumbled across bullet journaling in November 2016 and was instantly excited to start – I loved the idea, and the community had an ever-growing presence on Instagram which fuelled me with ideas upon ideas upon ideas. However, a year later I came to reflect upon how chaotic my debut bullet journal was given my very rushed beginning, and spent the last week setting up an improved, more mature and slightly less messy bullet journal. I’m still learning, and I still make mistakes, but let’s take a look:
This has probably been the worst year for me in terms of reading – or maybe 2016 was even worse – but I am now making a sincere effort to read more. I really slowed down in 2017, and I regret wasting precious reading time, although I made an effort to pick up the pace towards the end of the year. I’ve omitted a few poetry books, flash fiction collections and plays, and you can see more of my books on Goodreads, but here’s my 2017 book list:
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Ashamedly, had I not been as infatuated with Yanagihara’s second novel, A Little Life, I would probably have never considered picking up The People in the Trees. I bought it only with the assumption that the author of one of the greatest books I’d ever read was not capable of disappointing me, and yet I still neglected reading this book for a stupid amount of time, for very stupid reasons. Firstly, the plot outlined in the blurb (and it really is the entire plot, on the surface) didn’t appeal to me; I had no interest in science or anthropology or scientifically-accurate semi-fictional memoirs despite never having read one before. Secondly, of all things, the footnotes scared me! I was convinced I was not the sort of person to enjoy a novel with footnotes (granted, I didn’t like John Green’s Abundance of Katherines, which is littered with many tongue-in-cheek footnotes, although these were to provide comedy, rather than something as horrifying as the Harvard referencing system), and this novel is full of them, some filling entire pages. Yes: I was very stupid to have put off this novel for so long.
The reason I’m making this post is because I struggled a great deal in the initial stages of creating my Artefact to find any previous Artefacts people had made, or the relevant documents. As part of the June cohort, I have only yet to do my final presentation now, so I thought I’d provide anyone who may be struggling in the future with this with a little insight.