Photo Diary: A Weekend in Whitby

From light breezes to blustering winds, drizzly spells to torrential rainfall and times where you are just simply left breathless – and I’m not just talking about walking up and down those hundred and ninety-nine steps several times – but whether it be in the warmth of the golden sun or through blurred vision because the wind has struck you and you’re crying rivers, Whitby is still without a doubt, breathtakingly beautiful.

You see, writing can get so overwhelming and stressful at times that a break is needed to avoid the risk of one becoming a sectioned patient. Luckily for us, our amazing creative writing tutors understood this and organised a weekend retreat to Whitby where we able to escape, to write, or to just take in the lovely sights that Whitby consisted of where inspiration was lurking on every cobbled corner. And it was definitely a wonderful break indeed! Minus those killer steps of course – our hostel was situated on the cliff top and the easiest way to get into the town was to go down that bugger of a staircase – but no pain, no gain right?

We arrived at the hostel and I’m sure the first question asked was “what’s the WIFI password?” (I may or may not have wanted to know that myself.) So once all that important stuff was out the way we had our chance to explore! Yes, we were at the seaside but let’s not forget it’s November (and this is Britain) so I basically wanted to wrap up so much that if I fell and hit the floor, the goal was to bounce straight off the ground and get back up again! (Fortunately I didn’t fall but that meant I was never able to test that theory.) So, hats, scarves, boots were the basics, obviously gloves were out of the question because then I wouldn’t be able to use my phone. #FirstWorldProbs

Whitby has always been a special place from a literary perspective as its mesmerising scenes has influenced many great writers – Lewis Carroll and of course, Bram Stoker are just a couple. Now, it was OUR time to become inspired! We had the pleasure of walking through cemeteries where the gravestones looked more like props stolen from a movie set (except there were actual real people buried underneath these ones.) We took a gander round the little town, discovered tiny coffee shops that seemed only fit for hobbits – there was a lot of “Mind Your Head” signs about it – I met some overly friendly donkeys and I think I probably made friends with more dogs than I did with people 🙂

We had a night dedicated to the students for their chance to read out what they had written over the course of the first day, I just have to say, I was surrounded by some crazy, mad talent in there! Being in the company of such a lovely group of people, bonding and meeting some amazing new friends has definitely been the highlight of the trip! Okay, soppy moment over.

And I think that’s it in a nutshell! So, here I have created a little photo diary of my time over the retreat. I switched into photographer mode quite often, okay, very often (I got a little excited at the Abbey ruins as you may be able to tell) and of course, there’s plenty of selfie action!

Somehow all 199 of those steps seemed to have had some kind of inspirational powers because writer, Michael Farber has wrote a whole novel about them. I don’t know what he was on whilst he was walking up (and down) them, but I want some of it. The point being, I intend to read his novel that is, oh shocker, called The Hundred and Ninety Nine Steps to try and find some positivity from the devil that made me feel like I’d done three straight days of leg-day at the gym! Okay, I’ve never been to a leg-day session in my life but if I did, I imagine it would feel like that.

Also, a massive, massive thank you to the Creative Writing Team at York St John! We had a blast!

Follow @YSJWriting on Twitter for more pictures of how the trip went down.

Relaxed Retreater out x

Confessions of an English Literature Student: October

Gather round peoples…it’s the second instalment of the confessional chronicles!

So this post has been in the making for a while, but it’s here! Better late than never right? So, to keep you guys updated with the shenanigans of my 3rd year, I’ve decided to show you through monthly posts because let’s face it, it’s only uni and my life isn’t interesting enough to read about on a very frequent basis. I don’t want to be that person who dedicates a whole post about what I had for breakfast that day (that’s what my Instagram is for) 😉 As it is now November (that rushed its way over to us with no intentions of slowing down – I swear, all I did was blink and October was over!) I am going to show you a brief October diary of the ‘settling in’ stage I experienced at uni at the start of the year. Also, a mini autumnal photo-shoot I shot of places around my university, as we say good-bye to the leaves for the last time this year – oh, oh, wait, did you hear that? Yeah, that was the sound of my heart breaking a little inside. I’m so not looking forward to winter.

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The First Day

You walk onto campus and you sense this nervous, lost and scared feeling. It isn’t coming from you but from the emotions of the Fresher’s that have left this sensation lingering in the atmosphere. You of course sympathise for the young Fresher, understanding the fact that you were in those shoes not too long ago. You don’t feel sorry because of the fact that they’re new and lonely, no of course not, but for the dreaded ice-breaker sessions that will be coming their way. God, them bloody ice-breaker sessions! Where EVERY tutor in EVERY class will assign EVERYONE to do. The whole, turn to the person next to you and tell them 3 fun facts about yourself but one of them has to be a lie, the other person has to guess which one is the lie. Anybody had that one before? You haven’t met this person before, so for all you know every single fact they tell you could be a lie! The worst part is trying to guess the fact that is a lie, because you don’t want to offend anybody if they say something that is completely ridiculous and you obviously assume it to be a lie, but then it turns out to be a true fact! So you’re sat there basically looking like a mug. Why do they put us trough that, eh?

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So this year you count yourself lucky as you don’t have to go through any more  ice-breakers because by now you should be ‘familiar’ with everyone, and you are familiar with everyone…everyone being those who are just your friends. It’s not like you choose to be anti-social with everyone else, you try to make conversation with somebody you haven’t spoken a word to in the past two years (and you don’t really know their name) but then they look at you as though you have trespassed some invisible territorial piece of land of theirs. Rude. But you tried.

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Classes are in session

Currently reading:
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (20th Century Writing module)
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri (Scriptwriting module)

You walk into your first class thinking things are going to be so chilled, calm and cool, it’s the first week and you will be eased back slowly into being able to hold a pen and write on paper (because you haven’t done that all summer.) But boy, you were so delusional.Wrong, wrong and completely wrong! As soon as you sit your ass down in that lecture theatre everything comes at you at a billion miles an hour. Assignment briefs, deadline dates and …  the dreaded DISSERTATION.

Welcome to third year folks.

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The reading list you so very well prepared yourself (debatable) magically has two new books added to them! And your like ‘OMG’ and you flashback to a couple of weeks back where you tried to read just one of those books (the smallest one as well) and ended up watching the movie instead. You had followed the book while watching the movie, so that sort of counts as reading it, right? You’re panicking and think you’re going to have to up your game a little bit now and (with a miracle) squeeze in those two mysteriously added books into your reading agenda somehow. Buying them first might be a good idea.

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In classes, there is a discussion on the book you were supposed to have read, but you’ve only managed to read the first couple of chapters. Your tutor asks you to discuss it with the people around you. Now, there’s two ways this can go down. Scenario 1 – The person you are paired with has read the book in the summer and then re-read it in preparation for this class just last night and knows the plot inside out, understands every character’s feelings and thought of every philosophical theory about the book. Scenario 2 – You’re paired with someone who has read the blurb of the book and you can’t get no conversation out of them whatsoever. Here you have a fine example of two ends of the student spectrum. Then there’s you. Stuck in the middle. You smile, nod and throw in an ‘Oh yeah of course, I agree’ now and then in scenario 1, trying to bring the conversation back to the bits you actually did read to make yourself sound more intelligent. In scenario 2, I suppose you just talk about what they did over the weekend.

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As you can see from what you have read, I should totally be a representative of the university right? I just can’t get my head around as to why I haven’t been approached by any of the faculty members yet! Okay, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. Oh! And I hope you all have an absolute blast tonight for Bonfire Night (sorry, these puns are even starting to irritate me) that is if you are doing anything interesting tonight. I for one am debating between going to the local firework display show and seeing the show through the lens of my camera, or sitting on the sofa in front of the TV with a Chinese take-away, and as I am typing this, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Until next month guys for the next part of the Confessional Chronicles…

Bad Punned Student out ..x

Confessions of an English Literature Student: September

Please note: All actions conducted throughout this post are not commonly practiced by all English Literature students – it’s just me, well I like to think other students do but I highly doubt it, so again, this is just me.

Let’s start at the beginning. It’s a few weeks before the start of 3rd year…

It’s the end of August. September is dawning. You remember you have a reading list, you haven’t read anything from that reading list, you don’t have any of the books on that reading list in your possession! – $@!% – You search for the books on Amazon but you find that they are cheaper on Ebay, score! Oh, second hand? You think, ‘ah, a few coffee rings, some creased spines and dog-eared pages, it’ll be okay.’ Add them all to your bag. Proceed to checkout. You want to pay extra for next-day delivery because you’re an idiot and you left it too late and need them as soon as possible. Turns out next-day delivery is more expensive than the books themselves – what?! – So you go back to Amazon. You see that Amazon works out cheaper (next-day delivery included)! – Better! – Proceed to checkout, pay, order confirmed – success!

The next day you are expecting the books to arrive. It’s not a clothes or shoes delivery, so you haven’t been hanging around the front door all morning or peering out of the windows waiting for a delivery van to park up – puh-lease like I do that anyway, who am I kidding? Of course I do that – but these are just books (spoken like a passionate English Literature student, eh?)

The books finally arrive. You unbox them to make sure they’re all there. Really you are secretly checking the thickness of each one, as you calculate how long it would actually take you to finish each one. Ah, you can get each one read in two days easy! In reality: Two weeks tops – give or take a few days – for each one. You place your mini library in a pile on your desk, you aim to start reading straight away. The pile isn’t touched for two weeks. The new term starts in two days. You panic. Time has gone too fast, you’ve been too busy…binge watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix all Summer. You pick up the slimmest book of the lot. By luck it is also the first book on the reading list. You begin to read it. The introduction is long, like really long. You skip that and find the first chapter. Eleven pages in you put the book down. It hasn’t enticed you yet so you think ‘time for a cuppa’. You make the tea. You sit in front of the TV.

Forty-four minutes later. The episode you have just viewed has ended on a cliffhanger. You’ve finished your tea…a while ago. You need to know what happens in the next episode. You reach for the TV remote, but then hesitate. You reach for the book instead, good girl. You tell yourself to read up until the next chapter. When you reach the next chapter the plot finally begins to get interesting, so you continue reading. Ah, false alarm, the book has hit a lull. The book gets placed down (again). You say to yourself ‘you love books, you really do!’

You tell yourself, you’ll read more tomorrow.

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The confessional chronicles is a little something I thought would be fun to share with you guys. It’s basically an update of what I get up to at Uni (or haven’t got up to) but kind of like a behind-the-scenes version of all the kafuffle and chaos that comes along the way – I know every student at some point can relate with. Stay tuned for my first day of third year…

Sincerely,
the bookworm finding it difficult to finish a book (oh the irony!)
x

P.S. I do love books, I really do!