GUINNESS

–It’s Welsh.

— It is?

— What is?

— It’s Irish. Obviously.

— Most people think it’s Irish. The man who’s famous for creating it –

— was Irish

— was Irish, right but was actually travelling from Wales to Ireland when he

[SOUND OF A CAMERA SHUTTER]

— Guinness. We’re talking about Guinness?

— he came across a nice little Welsh pub.

— nahh

— it’s a well known fact. Loved the drink so much he asked for the recipe.

Pause. 

bought the recipe and took it with him to Ireland.

— I don’t believe it.

— It’s a well known fact.

— I like real Irish beer. I want to go back to that place that did the free pint. the two pints for the price of one deal

— paddy’s lock

— yeah that one but i want to go with people who don’t like beer so i can get all their free ones. like rich does.

— rich does that?

— yeah he goes around the pub asking people for their spare pints when they don’t drink them

— nutter

— and he just says can i have that pint –

— and they let him/have it

— they let him have it!

Beat 

— what was that place in brighton? they did American shakes kinda thing…

— can’t remember

— it was nice there/wasn’t it?

— really nice

— how long till we’re

— 20 minutes

— home

— no less than that. if we’re…no less than that…10 minutes i’d say

— got your purse?

[SOUND OF A CAMERA SHUTTER]

— reckon the barriers are open

— we could jump the barriers. jump em and see if the police come running after us

— i’ve actually done that before

Beat.

— in paris. with fifty kids. cause we were on the wrong er

— you didnt!

— the wrong er

Laughter. 

— we got the wrong tunnel

— its illegal

— no its not. its ingenuity. resourcefulness.

— listen to her – it’s illegal

— not as illegal as telling fifty kids to jump a barrier so they could see the Louvre

— in paris!

— paris!

— only me

beat.

— we didnt see the Louvre

— anyway, youre the criminal

— me

— yeah

— me

— yeah

— wheres my wallet

— honestly i reckon its…

— yeah but just in case

— …open

— hang on. me? criminal?

— yeah. you. the true criminal.

— what on earth for?!

— for saying its Welsh, duh.

My (somewhat unconventional) Motivation in Life

I have a number of motivations in life. I’m a Christian and my main motive in life is trying to run the race that is set before me and to do everything according to God’s will.

I’m an artist and I’m motivated by life and what I see around me, what I consume.

I’m a highly goal-oriented person, so I am motivated by myself.

I enjoy motivation in general, so I am motivated by other people, sermons, self-help books, even instagram pictures!

But another one of my main motivations is somewhat more morbid.  It’s a motivation that people don’t speak of as often. People often say they need more motivation for life, or motivation to study, or motivation to GO FOR SOMETHING THEY WANT IN LIFE, without considering this particular piece of advice.

Here is what I use. Maybe it’ll be helpful for you.

A really popular phrase used to inspire motivation is: “You’ve only got one life,” or, for those of you who are down with the kids of 2014: “You only live once”/YOLO. But let’s take into account the more morbid undercurrent rippling beneath these words, because YOLO can easily be interpreted as:

 

You (yes you) are going to die soon.

 

People my age don’t tend to think about death very much, although I’ve heard your thoughts turn more morbid once you’re in your forties, fifties, sixties and so forth. But isn’t it important to consider now?! I mean, if you’re in your twenties, statistically speaking, you may have less than 80 years to go. So you’ve lived 1/5th of your life already. (Hot damn, there’s a thought). Every time I wonder whether to do something NOW or to put it off until later (or even do it at all) I think, ‘Nikki. How many years do you have left? Just do it.’ Insert Shia LeBeouf meme here…

I don’t mean to say I walk around constantly thinking about death, nor do I believe it helpful to run around frantically worrying that your time is running out. However, death is definitely something I consider when making decisions. One life. One death. THEN YOUR TIME ON EARTH IS OVER. For goodness sake, go CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN, go FINALLY DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE DRAINING YOUR ENERGY, go WRITE THAT BOOK, go DO THE SCARY THING THAT PEOPLE WILL JUDGE YOU FOR (who cares anyway, right? They’re going to die too).

I remember when I was younger, I read a verse in the Bible that basically says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning, than to go to a house of feasting.”  This confused me, particularly as I understood the overarching message of the Bible to be about the GOOD news, about living a life filled with joy through Christ. So why would I want to spend my time mourning? What I now take this to mean is that: Hey, it’s great to consider death. Why? Because hot damn, it’s coming and when it finally does, I hope you danced in the streets, you connected with people, you wore the clothes you wanted to wear, you were kind and you chased your dreams. Ultimately nobody cares what you do, so you may as well do it. And do it to your fullest potential. If you’re going to love someone, then my goodness, adore them. If you’re creating a work of art, then by George, pour everything you’ve got into it.

This is how that verse finishes (I must admit, I’ve just googled it):

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

How amazing is this? To me, it doesn’t seem like the author is saying that it is better to mourn. Rather, it is better not to ignore misery. In essence, when tragic things happen it is better to study them, than to run away because ‘death is the destiny of everyone’. When tragic things happen, we may as well learn from them.

This week it snowed. I watched my UK friends grumble and groan and avoid the snow like it was a white plague from above. I watched my non-UK friends stare at the sky in wonderment, not even feeling the cold because they were so mesmerised by the miracle of frozen water and seeing snow for the first time. The UK people wasted a whole day of their life complaining. (Life is short! Ain’t nobody got time for that) and my non-UK friends cherished the day. I learnt an important lesson.

So yes, it’s great to remember the house of mourning, to remember that life on earth is fleeting. So my message for you today?

Think about death more.

UNBOXING MY BOOK

So I want to share this with you guys 🙂 When I was going through the earlier drafts of the novel, one of the most motivating things for me was watching other peoples’ unboxing videos on youtube, thinking, ‘Work at this, Nikki! That’ll be you soon.’

THE DAY HAS COME.

I hope you enjoy. Also I thought it might be fun to do an editing series on my channel where we sit and discuss all things editing/writerly. I kinda fancy doing a Q&A on my book or just a chat in general. Stuff about character and plot and so forth. Comment below if you’d be interested in watching! And don’t forget to subscribe to my YT account, which is where my artistic videos go 🙂

2017 Writing Goals

Happy new year everybody! I hope you’ve had fun making/not making your resolutions. I’m a firm believer in setting goals for myself every year and you know what? I tend to accomplish most if not all of them! (It’s possible! You can do this!) These aren’t ALL my goals (I’m also a firm believer in keeping your goals private, if you can). However, these are SOME of my writing/blogging/social media goals, which I thought would be fun to share (seeing as it will be benefitting you guys) Y’all gotta help keep me accountable! Please.

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. FINISH PROJECT “X.”

So I had a new project in mind that I began working on in 2016. I didn’t get very far into it which is entirely my fault. I worked on other things instead and just didn’t pursue this project hard enough. It’s a book that God’s been prompting me to write, so the goal is to finish it by June! Aaaaand, as camp nanowrimo is in February, I’m feeling hopeful 🙂

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  1. UPDATE MY BLOG ONCE EVERY WEEK

So…according to wordpress stats, I posted the exact same amount of blogposts in 2016, as I did in 2014. Uh-uh. Not good. Especially when I posted almost double that amount in 2015. Mamma didn’t raise no backslider, yo! (Or even equaliser!) Mamma raised a winner. So in order to ensure that I post more regularly onto my blog, I’ve decided to go with a ‘once a week’ rule. There’s absolutely no point in setting myself a vague and un-quantifiable goal 🙂  So yes…do keep me accountable with this one!

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  1. JOIN SPOKEN WORD SOCIETY ON CAMPUS

For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently doing a full-time masters. (Which makes these goals somewhat daunting, although definitely still achievable). Anyhoo, a new spoken word society just opened up and so I want to make sure I attend and continue to write and perform poetry.

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*101 points for getting the gif reference

  1. GET TO KNOW MORE BLOGGERS

I’ve been notoriously terrible at this in the past. Mostly I’ve found actively DISCOVERING other blogs really challenging. But once a week I’m going to make time to go through the ‘Reader’ button and stalk all of you lovely people… *cough* That sounded creepier than intended.

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  1. WRITE ANOTHER PLAY

This is pretty self-explanatory. I want to write at least 1-2 more plays this year. Woo!

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  1. ACHIEVE MY GOODREADS CHALLENGE

A reading goal, yes. But a reading goal is a writing goal, right? I’m not going to aim to high with this one because the Masters is one of my main priorities. Having said that, all the research I’ll have to do definitely counts!

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  1. RUN A WRITING WORKSHOP AT A LIBRARY

This is such a random one and will require me to go a little out of my comfort zone. PERFECT. I love libraries (obviously) and I’ve helped out in libraries before, i.e. with the Summer Reading Challenge. I absolutely loved helping and listening to all those children discussing the books they loved and learning new words and narratives. I used to work with children and we always had so much fun writing stories together or I enjoyed reading to them, etc. So I thought…why not run a writing workshop for kids/teenagers at the library? That’d be super fun. So…yeah, I’ll do that and let you know how it goes 🙂

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image from quickmeme
  1. GO TO A WRITER’S CONFERENCE

I mean…they look fun, so why not?!

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  1. UPLOAD ONE VID TO MY YOUTUBE EVERY WEEK AND HAVE FUN

Again, pretty self explanatory. I’ll try and link the videos to this blog also. I’m done not uploading the things I want to talk about because I’m scared of the reaction of others. So this year…get ready for some fun and exciting videos!

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  1. IMPROVE SETTING AND CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS

All. The. Feels.  Something I’ve recently realised (and by recently, I mean within the past 5 days) is that I could really improve upon my descriptions.  I’m a huge fan of action in literature, which usually (but not always) means I am a fan of fast-paced books/plays/anime, and plot over character. If I don’t like a character but the plot is compelling…that’s okay by me. Very rarely am I character motivated. STILL. I think this has bled into my writing a little; I don’t always take the time to describe in detail what a setting/character looks like – if I’m honest, this is the part I’ll always skip over whilst reading. (The rolling hills and the sunny sky…blah-blah-blah, yaa okay just get to shooting the bad guys already!). Which is fine again, because I know some readers like to conjure up an image of character’s themselves but personally I’d like to work on it. And because we’re being QUANTIFIABLE, I’m going to sit and specifically work on describing the person next to me on the train, or the view out of the window once a month. I predict it will be tough but worth it.

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Phew! That’s my writing/blogging goals!

Let’s keep each other accountable. What are yours? 🙂

xo

ENTITLED: A RESOLUTION TO LIBERATE EMOTION AND MONOPOLISE NOTHING IN FIVE STAGES

It’s been a while since I wrote poetry. So here is a poem with an obnoxiously lengthy title, entitled ‘Entitled’ (for short).** If, like me, you enjoy reading things in PDF format (it just feels nicer) you can read the PDF version here: CLICK HERE FOR OBNOXIOUSLY TITLED POEM

If, unlike me, you’re not a total weirdo and have no preference, you can read the poem below 🙂 Have a good day people xx

*It’s not obnoxious if you acknowledge the obnoxiousness. In other words, the humble-brag never fails.

*’…title, entitled ‘Entitled’ may just about be grammatically correct. I am proud of myself.

 

ENTITLED: A RESOLUTION TO LIBERATE EMOTION AND MONOPOLISE NOTHING IN FIVE STAGES 

 

I.

One of my resolutions was to feel.

Yes. That all. To feel.

This Resolution Game has no rules.

How does one acknowledge and understand their anger?

How do I understand my pain, my sorrow or my joy?

Can I pass go? Can I collect two hundred?

Because after making my resolution,

I still censor my thoughts.

I still do not KNOW my thoughts.

Let me stay in jail, because I can’t bear the freedom.

II.  

There are a series of doors,

Some tried, tested.

Most – if we’re being honest, all – were locked.

You opened every one, peeked in, and poked about.

Doors left ajar have always pissed me off,

but I am not entitled to call you a bastard.

This is laughable.

III.

Let’s make it six days,

Six days to die then be reborn.

It’s all about timing.

IV.

Hope hurts and hope hurts and hope hurts and

Hope kills.

V.

And the “what if’ burns.

Unromantic Reasons to Date a Writer

Date a writer because she’s weird. She’ll wake in the midnight haze, post-nightmare, eyes glazed and before seeking comfort she will grab a pencil. She will take time to scrawl down the ghoulish images before they fade. She has learnt by now that fears are concrete inspiration. She has learnt to turn the darkness into light.

Date a writer because you cannot hold her hand. Instead her palms will clasp a leather-bound journal whose spine bends beneath the weight of her opus. But these are the same hands that will fly to ripening cheeks when you surprise her at open mic events. These are the same hands that will write you into history.

And yes, she can turn sighs into epic poems and the unspoken into spoken. She can transform your fragmented thoughts into novellas, or moments of hurt into a momentous novel. Let her do this because she was awarded with poetic license at birth.

Date a writer because she will listen. Not just with her ears but with all her senses. Each word that drops from your lips will taste sweeter than any wine.

And she will enjoy the hangover.

Date a writer because it will –inevitably – strengthen your vocabulary. She will not sit in silence while you mangle the language of her ancestors but she will be a walking thesaurus – an embodiment of the strength of expression. She will remind you of the words that dance on the tip of your tongue. She will teach you a hundred ways to say ‘I love you.’

Date a writer because even if she does not always heed your advice – and she won’t – she will value your honest opinion in a world that tries to pander to her fragile writer’s ego.

Date a writer because she will always win a game of Scrabble but she might let you win a game of Monopoly.  Maybe.

Date a writer because life is too short and she will not let you lose those moments too big to capture on your camera’s screen.

Date a writer because sometimes you will be her muse.

Date a writer because she will not give you a half-hearted response to – “What’s wrong?” She will tell you in autobiographies but she will give you space to breath.

Date a writer because you will never run out of tea. Or coffee. Or whatever beverage it is that feeds her mind and keeps her writing at the forgotten hours of the morning.

Date a writer because she is forgetful. She may forget anniversaries. But she’ll remember a story you told her years ago. She may forget the invitation you extended yesterday but she’ll remember what you wore the weekend of your first kiss and the compliments you give her will not be in vain. She will remember the way you look downwards to the right when you smile.  

Date a writer because she will love and defend you as much as she does her favourite book.  

Date a writer because she will challenge you to be the best you can be. She has standards because at nine years old she knew Heathcliff of the Yorkshire moors, at twelve she fell in love with Dorian’s charm and at fourteen she longed to know someone with Holden’s spontaneity. 

And if all else fails? Date a writer because books are infinite, so you’ll always, always have a present for her birthday.