Irish Tales: Oisín and Tír na nÓg

Inspired by my previous posts, I wanted to try my hand at retelling the classic Irish fairytales I grew up with. We knew these stories so well, and it has been great to look back on them. By looking into these fairytales, I started to realize how vast Irish mythology is and how these stories only scrape the surface of our legends. I may make a post about Irish mythology down the line. But today, I shall be telling the story of Oisín and Tír na nÓg. Just as a preface for this story, the Fianna were a band of semi-independent warriors in Irish mythology. Tír na nÓg is known as The Land of the Young, and another way to name the Celtic Underworld. My retelling of this tale is taken from a children’s book I read years ago. So this will be told in a different way to other versions. So enjoy this retelling of “Oisín and Tír na nÓg.”

 

One morning, the Fianna were out hunting deer on the shores of Loch Lein in County Kerry. They saw a beautiful white horse coming towards them. Riding on the horse was the most beautiful woman they have ever seen. She wore a long blue dress, blue as the summer sky, studded with silver stars, and her long golden hair went down to her waist. 

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“What is your name and what land do you come from?” asked Fionn, leader of the Fianna. 

“I am Niamh Chinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden hair). My father is the king of Tír na nÓg” she replied. “I have heard of a warrior called Oisín. I have heard of his courage and of his poetry. I have come to find him, and take him back with me, to Tír na nÓg.” 

Oisín was the son of Fionn. He was a great leader and a poet. “Tell me,” Oisín said. “What sort of land is Tír na nÓg?”

“Tír na nÓg is the land of youth,” replied Niamh. “It is a happy place, with no pain and no sorrow. Any wish you make comes true, and no one grows old there. If you come with me, youll find out all of this is true.”

Oisín mounted the white horse, and said goodbye to his father and friends. He promised he would return soon. The horse galloped over the water, moving as swiftly as a shadow. The Fianna were sad to see Oisín go, but Fionn reminded them of his promise to return soon. 

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The King and Queen of Tír na nÓg welcomed Oisín, and held a great feast in his honour. It was indeed a wonderful land, just as Niamh had said. In Tír na nÓg, the trees were in constant bloom and the leaves never fall or die. All the people who lived in Tír na nÓg, were young and beautiful. They hunted and feasted, and at night, he told stories of Fionn and the Fianna, and their lives in Ireland. But he never felt as happy as he did, when he was with Niamh. And before long, they were married, and had two children, Oscar and their daughter, Plor na mBan (Flower of Women). Time passed quickly, and although he was very happy, Oisín began to think of returning home for a visit. Niamh didn’t want him to go. But at last, she said, “Take my white horse. It will carry you safely to Ireland and back. Whatever happens, you must not get off the horse, and touch the soil of Ireland. If you do, you will never return to me, and to Tír na nÓg.” She didn’t tell him that, although he had only been away for a few years, he had really been there for 300 hundred years.

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Ireland seemed like a strange place when Oisín arrived back. There seemed to be no trace of his father or the rest of the Fianna. As he passed through Gleann na Smól, he saw some men trying to move a large stone. “I will help you,” said Oisín. The men were terrified of this giant on a white horse. Stooping from his saddle, Oisín lifted the stone with one hand and hurled it. With that, the saddle strap broke, and Oisín was flung to the ground. Immediately, the white horse disappeared, and the men saw before them, an old, old man. They took him to a holy man, who lived nearby. Some say that the holy man was Saint Patrick. 

“Where is my father and the Fianna?” Oisín asked. When he was told they were long dead, he was heartbroken. He spoke of the many deeds of Fionn and the Fianna, and their many adventures together. He spoke of his time in Tír na nÓg, and his beautiful wife that he would never see again. 

Although he died soon after, the wonderful stories of Oisín have lived on. To this day, children in Ireland still retell the story of Oisín, and his magical adventures in Tír na nÓg. Some people claimed to have seen the beautiful white horse through the early mists of the dawn, only to disappear before their eyes, when the mist clears. 

 

Hope you enjoyed it. I have so many more tales I plan to share on my blog. Thats all I have for this post and I shall see you in the next one x

 

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Irish Writers – We are depressing 💚

In my Masters course, I got the chance to take a class analysing Irish literature. Throughout my college career, I never really looked into Irish literature. For my final year project, I did analyse Irish Gothic texts. But I haven’t looked into contemporary Irish novels.

So the class I took, Gender and Sexuality in Irish literature, analysed a couple of contemporary Irish texts and new woman fiction etc. It was fascinating, to look more into the literature from my country.

But one thing I picked up on, was a conversation I had with an American student. He attends the creative writing masters in my college. One day, he comes into class and talks about the style of Irish writers.

“You Irish people write some depressing s**t. Why does everything have to be sad in your stories”

I had to laugh at this comment, because it reminds me of the tagline for my blog. “I am a happy person but a depressing writer.” From the little interaction I had with Irish literature, it’s true that we have a flair for the tragedies. We place our characters into dark situations with no way out. I just read a novel about a woman who killed her abusive, alcoholic husband and the novel follows the unsettling relationship between her and her son, as they live together in Dublin city. The continuous silence between mother and son speaks volumes to what it means to be Irish. We don’t talk about our feelings. We mostly bottle them up and if we do talk about them, we make a laugh out of it. For the mother and son, they never acknowledge the past horrors at home and maintain this hidden truth, that can never be spoken out loud.

One of my classmates responded to the guys comment, “that’s because we were colonised.”

Ireland has a dark history related to our colonialization by the British Empire. However, that doesn’t really plague our country as much anymore. The darkness within our country at the moment, would be the control of the Catholic Church, the uproar over sexual harassment and assault towards women.

We have our dark moments that seemed unbearable to relive, such as the Magdalene laundries, the sexual abuse of children from members of the church, and many more. Therefore, these dark memories of our country in some shape or form within our writing. They seep into every Irish work, as it would within any work. However, I have come to appreciate this style of writing, as through all these trials and tragedies, the Irish maintain their dry sense of humour.

Through the dark times, the Irish remain humorous. And it’s evident within Irish writers work. So yes, we are depressing. But we use self deprecating humour to push that aside or bring attention to it. This shows who we are as a culture, and I’m proud to call myself Irish.

Some Irish books I recommend you check out would be The Long Falling by Keith Ridgway, Normal People by Sally Rooney. I am currently reading a book called The Pleasures of Eliza Lynch by Anne Enright. It tells the story of a real Cork woman who was a well known prostitute who became mistress to a prince. Eliza Lynch became merely a footnote in history, so Anne Enright  decided to write about her.

This post seems a bit all over the place but I just wanted to talk about that comment from the American student. I’m proud of our self deprecating attitude towards life and our history. There is a great charm to Irish works because of that. I want to read more Irish novels and if I find any good ones, I’m sure I’ll make a post about it. And if you have any works from your country that I might like, let me know. I hope you had a lovely end to 2018 and happy New year 💜 I shall talk to you in the next post.

 

 

Irish books from my childhood

Recently, my sister and I were trying to remember classic novels we read in primary school. Most of them, were classic Irish books written by Irish writers. I dont think I have ever talked about Irish books on my blog before. I think I need to change that. I have another idea for a blog post related to Irish books or Irish writing, which Ill post in the next week or so. But for now, lets delve into my childhood and look at some Irish books that I read when I was young.

 

Drumshee Chronicles by Cora Harrison (Titanic and Murder Strikes Back)

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I remember these vividly. It was a series of books, written by Cora Harrison, which are historical novels for children which tell the history of Ireland through two millennia. These stories talk about the Celts, monks, Vikings and the Normans, the 1798 revolution, the Great Famine etc. My favourite books from the series, or the ones I remember most, are Murder Strikes Back and Titanic Voyage.

Titanic Voyage Synopsis:  Kitty loves everything about the magnificent Titanic – its splendour, wearing her beautiful gold necklace at the ceilis, meeting other passengers, including handsome John. She began to get quite fond of the two children in her care, Robert and Tabitha. She did not even once think of her grandmother’s words as she left Drumshee:
‘That necklace must never leave Drumshee, or bad luck will follow.”

And then disaster strikes. As the Titanic starts to sink and the terrified passengers begin to panic, Kitty realises that Robert and Tabitha are missing.

Murder Strikes Back: In fifth century Ireland, Christianity was new and strange, and Cetterick, the priest, had been cruel and arrogant and had made many enemies.
But which one of those enemies hated him enough to kill him?
Was it the unfortunate slave boy?
The jealous druid?
The goldsmith in fear for his life?
The wife whom Cetterick had abandoned?
The farmer cheated of his land?
And what about the beautiful Mara? What was she doing outside the chapel?
Once again murder strikes at Drumshee, and once again Ita and her fellow students at Drumshee law school set out to solve the mystery.

The novels provide interesting history lessons of Ireland’s past through fictional stories. If you are interested in Irish history, maybe try out these books. I might do a review on them down the line. I havent read them since I was a child so I want to see if they hold up today.

 

When the Sea Calls by Don Conroy
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Synopsis: Sinéad Keane is a lonely young girl growing up in the west of Ireland in the early 1900s. Her mother died tragically in a drowning accident seventeen years earlier. She was pregnant with Sinéad at the time. Whenever Sinéad enquires about the tragic event no one is willing to talk to her about it, least of all her father.

Who is the mysterious stranger from England? Will Sinéad’s friend Danny survive the war that’s raging in Europe? Why does the sea have such a pull on Sinéad’s emotions and feelings?

I am unsure whether I read this or not. I know my sister loved this book when we were young. She talked to me about all of the time. A very haunting story, and ties with Irish mythology really well. So if wanted to know a little more on the myths of Ireland, check out this book.

 

Fallen Star by Joan O’ Neill

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Synopsis: In 1950s Ireland, Sixteen year old Stella’s innocent childhood is shattered when charismatic Charlie comes into her life. Where Stella’s family struggle to make ends meet, Charlie can have anything he wants, and that includes Stella, who is rapidly falling for him. Then Stella discovers she is pregnant. Suddenly Charlie is gone, and Stella is left with only the bracelet he gave her. Stella’s devoutly religious mother, horrifed by the scandal, sends her errant daughter to a Magdalene Laundry convent, miles from home, where in return for daily and rigorous and endless chores, Stella will be able to have her baby in secret. The convent is bleak and austere, the nuns themselves cruel and lacking compassion. When Stella’s baby girl is born, it will be taken from her for adoption, the only answer is to run away with her child. But Stella didn’t expect the struggle and pain of being a single mother – with her family turning against her, who can she rely on for help. Out of the blue, comes support and love from an unexpected quarter, to finally make Stella’s story a happy one. 

This is more of a young adult novel, but I remember it vividly from my childhood. This is a lot darker than the other books, as this takes a leaf out of our history. As you may not know, Ireland had Magdalene Laundries around the country for years. Their purpose was to take “fallen” women into their convents and subject them to hard labour, to repent their sins. These women would be deemed too promiscuous and tainted to live in society. Mostly, they were women who got pregnant out of wedlock, which was a big no-no in the old days of Ireland. So any woman who was raped, or just had sex, or even seemed interested in sex, were sent to the laundries. All mothers who gave birth in the laundries were separated from their children and never saw them again. This book captures that really well. The nuns in the laundries never gave them information, and treated the women terribly. It is a shameful part of our history, as I think the last laundry closed in 1996. If you want to learn more about this topic, there are some documentaries on the topic or you can watch the Magdalene Sisters movie. Its very good.

 

Irish Legends for Children by Yvonne Carroll

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Synopsis: A delightful collection of traditional Irish legends including much-loved favourites such as ‘Oisin’, ‘The Brown Bull of Cooley’ and ‘The Giant from Scotland’. 

This book was in every classroom in my primary school. It told the classic tales of Irish myth such as ‘The Children of Lir’ or ‘Deidre of Sorrows’. Its a great way for us Irish kids, to understand our roots and learn about the classic Irish stories of old. Maybe Ill tell some of those stories on my blog. I love the Irish legends. They are so fascinating and very tied with the country of Ireland. Makes me appreciate where I come from. I’m considering writing a novel tied with the Irish legends. Dont know yet. We shall see.

 

Under the Hawthorn Tree and Wildflower Girl by Marita Conlon-McKenna

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Synopsis: The story of Under the Hawthorn Tree is about three brave young children, Eily who is twelve, Michael who is ten and Peggy who is seven, who try to survive during the time of the famine in the 1840’s. The book tells of their courage while making their journey to Castletaggart to find their great aunts, Nano and Lena, where they would be safe and have food.

Wildflower Girl is the second book in the Children of the Famine trilogy. At seven, Peggy made a dangerous journey through Ireland during the Great Famine. Now thirteen, she goes on another challenging journey, across the Atlantic to America.

Marita Conlon-McKenna was a huge part of my childhood. She wrote many children’s books, but the ones I remember most was Under the Hawthorn Tree and Wildflower Girl. They are part of the trilogy, Children of the Famine. Most of you might not know the story of the Great Famine in Ireland. The Great Famine (An Gorta Mór) was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. It caused great devastation to Ireland, many died of starvation, of diseases on ships etc. Many left Ireland to survive the famine, never to return. Therefore, it was fascinating that McKenna incorporated this part of Irish history into her novels. This provides Irish children an easier outlet to learn about their history, without learning all of the facts.

 

That is all I have for today. I liked looking over the old Irish books I read when I was a child. I havent really talked about where I come from, except for when I wrote about my new project. I have a couple of posts planned relating to Irish writing, author, or even Irish tales. I found writing this post a joy, so I hope to do more like this soon. Hope to see you in the next post x

 

 

 

The Owl and the Pussycat

I decided to do something a little different. I was remincising on my childhood and I remembered a lovely poem I read when I was young. I couldn’t remember the name of it. I searched and I searched. Then I remembered the story of it and I found “The Owl and the Pussycat.” A lovely little children’s poem I loved when I was little and I wanted to share with you.

I have a couple of blog posts ready for the next week or so. I cant wait for you to see them. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this poem. I got the poem from Poetry Foundation.

The Owl and The Pussycat by Edward Lear

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I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

II
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

III
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

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Tips for Nanowrimo

This month is Nanowrimo month (National Novel Writing Month). I would love to take part this month, but I’m in the middle of my Masters programme. I’m too busy thinking of ideas for my thesis.

I am hoping to do some writing in December, when I am on my Christmas break from college. But a lot of you are about to start Nanowrimo and it may feel daunting at first. I love the idea, where you give yourself a month to write your first rough draft of your novel. Here are some tips to survive Nanowrimo:

 

Dont overwork yourself

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I know there is an importance on getting your wordcount done each day. But dont overwork yourself. If you do too much at once, youll burn yourself out. When you feel overworked, take a break, have a kit-kat. Allow yourself the time to step away from writing and breath.

 

Forget the word count

Dont stress over word count. It doesn’t matter. I know that you need to reach a certain word count each day. But take my advice: don’t think about word count. Just get your story down. Write out your important scenes. It doesn’t have to be perfect or have to be a certain word count. Once you have your story down, that’s all that matters.

Plan ahead

As you are half way through Nanowrimo, I don’t know if this will help now. But, plan ahead of Nanowrimo, so you don’t get stuck in the middle of writing your story. If you don’t plan, you may find yourself stuck in writers block a few times and it’ll set you back in the process. So a good tip is to make out a spider web, with all your characters, plot and settings. Write them down and sort them out. It’ll help you in the long run.

 

Just have fun

Nanowrimo is a great opportunity for writers to crack out that story you’ve always wanted to write. I was meaning to take part in it this year, to start on my new project. But college is too hectic at the moment. This is your time to tell your story. So enjoy it, while you can. Because the hard part comes when you have to edit it. So enjoy the writing process.

 

That’s all I have for today. Sorry about the mess. My WordPress hasn’t been working on my computer so I had to finish this on my phone. Not used to it. Hope you are all enjoying Nanowrimo so far, and I shall talk to you in the next post x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Struggling

I had a new blog post almost ready to post about tips for Nanowrimo, but some reason, WordPress wont let me edit it. So I decided to just do a post talking to you about what has been happening with me lately. I just saw that the last time I posted was the 18th of October. A whole month of not posting. I’m sorry about that, but I have been busy.

 

Some of you may remember that I am doing my Masters degree in college at the moment. It was been an enlightening experience, but awful at the same time. I’m in the 9th week of the 12 week semester and I have so much assignments due. I have a presentation in 2 weeks and 3 more essays due. Its rough. The last couple of weeks, I have been waking up early in the morning to spend my day, in the library and going to classes.

College is no longer fun. I have been feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. All I want to do is sleep. But I cant sleep, because work needs to be done. Also I work at the weekends, so college work is out of the question. I do a nine hour swift of work and all I want to do is sleep when I get home. Ive been praying everyday for the Christmas holidays to come. Thats how bad its gotten.

I also dont feel intelligent enough to be in this programme. I’m surrounded by these incredibly intelligent people and I feel like I’m just fumbling along. I use to feel confident in my academic field, but in the Masters, I feel inadequate.

 

The good news is I may have an idea for my Masters thesis. Thats good at least. Need to start early. Ill do a little research during the Christmas holidays, but not too much. Ill need to sleep for days, when the semester is over. To those who think that the Masters is an easy year in college and just want to procrastinate before going into the real world, the Masters will chew you up and spit you out, at that rate.

Sorry about the disappearing act. Ill try better to post, but I am going to be busy for the next few weeks. Be patient with me. I promise Ill post again soon. Hope ye had a nice day and Ill talk to you in the next post.

BookTuber/Writing Channels I Love

I dont watch that many booktubers or writing videos on YouTube. I have been trying to find more writing vlog to watch, because I find watching these type of YouTubers inspire me to keep writing. My writing has slowed down within the last couple of years.

Sometimes I hated these YouTubers for talking about reading and writing. With my reading slump, I felt like a failure when watching these people. They would talk about the 10 books they had read in the past month, whereas I barely get through one book. However, these channels helped me to get back into writing.

They talk about stories they love in these books and they talk about their writing process. I mean you cant say that watching these types of videos, wont make you feel inspired by the end. I wanted to write a blog post about these channels so that if any of you need some inspiration or you feel discouraged by your reading or writing, check out these channels. You may find the next best book for you to read and they could help you start writing again.

And for any of you who do watch some booktubers or writing channels, let me know of anymore channels I could watch. I’m trying to broaden my watchlist.

Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia)

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The first booktuber I need to talk about is Sasha Alsberg. Her channel is called @abookutopia. She was the first booktuber I came across and her channel was the reason I got into watching other literature channels. She is very bubbly, outgoing and brilliant to watch. Moreover, she has become a writer, as she published her first book in January 2018, called Zenith. She has made a few vlogs about her writing process through the time she was writing Zenith. She got me excited to write again. I just wanted to sit down, and write my own adventures again, after watching her vlogs.

She also makes videos about her favourite books of the year etc. She is a great source to go to, if you are looking for new books to read. She is one of teh more popular booktubers as she has met and interviewed several celebrities on her channel, such as Stephanie Meyer:

She is a young upcoming writer and a fun YouTuber to watch. I have yet to read her book, Zenith, but I have it ready on my bookshelf.

Lindsay Cummings 

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Next is Lindsay Cummings. I discovered her through Sasha’s channel. Since she co-wrote Zenith with Sasha, she appears in several of her videos. Lindsay has a channel of her own, where she discusses her love of reading and her own experiences with publishing. She is one of the more experienced writers I have come across on YouTuber, as she has published several novels. Overall, she has published 7 novels; The Murder Complex, The Fear Trials, The Death Code, The Balance Keepers Triology and Zenith. Her channel focuses more on the writing process and how to get published. I love the writing vlogs she does as you can see into her day as she goes through a draft of her novels.

She does a lot of videos on writing tips. She discusses NaNoWriMo and the difficulties of getting through your novel.

She is less bubbly than Sasha, but I love her writing advice. She makes a calm atmosphere in her videos, which makes it easier to feel inspired and listen to what she says. She is updating less on YouTube as she has moved house and having her first child with her husband. I wish her all the best in her endeavours, with her new life and her next novel, Nexus.

Shaelin Bishop (ShaelinWrites)

Her channel is more about the art of writing and she discusses her own projects she is working. I love Shaelin’s channel as she discusses her own projects, her own novels and short stories. She has published a couple of short stories, so I feel confident watching her advice videos and feel more inspired to write after her discussions. She took a hiatus from her channel, so I didnt go back to her channel for a while. She recently came back to her channel so I came back to her old and new content. My favourite videos from her are her discussing her works:

 

I love when she discusses how she came up with her ideas, and how she delves into these different worlds she writes about. She also talks about her set-backs, such as her growing disinterest in a project she used to love or the hardships of writing a particular work:

But my favourite videos of hers, are the more recent writing vlogs she is doing, where she writes out a short story and discusses what happens while she is writing it. She provides great advice on how to create an engaging story, interesting characters and unique dialogue. I love her simple set-up in her videos. It is just her and the camera. She just sits down and talks about writing. And I love it.

Those are all the booktuber channels that I love. Go check them out. They have really inspired to keep writing and reading. It’s a section on YouTube where I felt was what I was into. It’s not all prank videos or drama videos, which is nice to find. And if you have any other book/writing I can check out, let me know in the comments. I’d love to watch some more. See you in the next post x

5 books I didn’t like

I’m surprised I never talked about some books I disliked. I wrote reviews on novels that I liked, so its only fair that I write a post about a few of the novels I didn’t like. Now, this is all going to be based on my opinion. I may talk some shit about popular books from popular authors. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have no hate towards the authors of the novels. Mostly, I love their work. Just not the ones I am going to talk about in this post.

Ill only be talking about 5 books as thats all I have at the moment. This is in no particular order. There may be spoilers to these novels down below, so forewarned.

Paper Towns by John Green

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Synopsis: After an all-night adventure, Quentin’s lifelong crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime.

I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but I didn’t like this novel. After reading it, I just felt like it was a waste of my time. I thought, “why did I read this?”

The mystery behind the character Margo, drove the story. I loved the concept of this mysterious Margo. No one knew the real Margo and Quentin was one of the many people who saw her as almost an angelic figure. Throughout, I was interested in who the real Margo was. I didn’t care about the rest of the novel. The rest didn’t hold my interest that much. The story was mainly to discover the real Margo. Now, when you find Margo, thats when the story was ruined for me.

I hated it.

I dont care if Quentin ends up with Margo in the end, or if they get a happy ending. But, I hated Margo at the end of the novel. Now, I guess it was John Green’s intent to show the real Margo, behind all the mystery and I guess I just didn’t like what I found. Overall, I felt the book was uneventful. After I finished it, I asked myself why did I even read this?  It just wasn’t for me.

 

The Vampire Diaries The Return: Nightfall

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Synopsis:

To save the two vampire brothers who love her, Elena Gilbert sacrificed her life.

Now that a supernatural force has brought Elena back from the dead, all handsome, brooding Stefan wants is to keep her safe. But when he is lured away from Fell’s Church, sleek, powerful Damon seizes his chance to win Elena over, unaware of the danger they’re both in. A malevolent being has infiltrated the town and is growing stronger. Able to possess Damon at will, the creature is also drawn to Elena and the new power she has acquired. But it’s after more than Elena’s power: It thirsts for her death.

 

I loved L.J Smith’s works. I read most of her Vampire Diaries books and loved her Secret Circle series. I loved the shows that are inspired from her works. But dont be mistaken. The book series is nothing like the tv show. Sure, the tv show is dark and sexy, but the books are sexier and more f***ed up. But I loved them. I’ve always loved dark stories and I liked L.J Smith’s writing style at the time.

However, I never finished the series. Why? This book is the reason.

I dont remember much of this book, except for one part. It was a scene where, Elena and Damon are running away from Damon in a forest. They come to a clearing and whenever they try to leave the clearing, Damon prevents them from leaving, using his powers. Then Damon forces Elena and Matt to have sex in front of him, while he watches.

Now, I was a young teen when I read this. This scene shocked me. I actually still remember this scene to this day, years after reading it. I thought I stopped reading the series after that, but I found a bookmark in The Vampire Diaries The Return: Shadow Souls, which means I continued onto the next book in the series. I’m surprised I didn’t stop reading after that scene. Come to think of it, I’m surprised I didn’t stop reading the series sooner, because it has so many of those types of scenes, such as Tyler almost raping Elena in the first or second book in the series.

 

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

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Synopsis: 

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

My sister loved this book. She begged me to read it for ages and then I finally read it. It wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t great. It didn’t wow me, or hold anything special for me. I hardly remembering it to be honest. I remember picking up the sequel in O’ Mahoney’s and I loved the blurb of it. It got me interested in the story. But I didn’t realise it was a sequel to If I Stay.

It was good. It just wasn’t for me. No shade to Gayle Forman. I actually the writing style in the novel. It was just…I dont know. It didn’t captivate me, like other books did. Now, I can barely remember the novel.

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Synopsis: Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

This was a book I started and never finished. I started the book, got through two chapters and put it down. I just couldn’t get through it. The premise of teh story is fascinating and I really wanted to read it. But I couldn’t. I didn’t like the way it was written. I just couldn’t get through it. I tried a second time, when I had to read the book for a college module. Same thing happened again. I guess I just dont like Ishiguro’s writing style.

I loved the film though, with Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield.

 

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

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Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

I ended up reading this book, before watching the film. I love dystopian novels and I wanted to see how they would take this. Again, this novel didn’t really wow me. There was no real explanation as to why this war started. It is left up in the air. Daisy’s love story in the novel and movie was with her cousin, which I’m sorry. I’m not into incestuous relationships. They are not close cousins but still. It was an interesting novel, but not my cup of tea. I liked the ending though, where she finds the cousin and he is completely shell-shocked. He cant speak or interact. He cant remember Daisy. It is traumatic when you see him like that. Other than that, I wasn’t a big fan of it. I wasn’t a big fan of the film either. I only watched it for Saoirse Ronan, fellow Irish queen.

 

I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post. I want to know what you think. Are there any books you didn’t like? What about the books I mentioned? Have you read them and did you like them yourselves? I respect and love most of these writers, but sometimes, even the best writers come out with some bad novels. Thats all part of the process.

 

 

New project and college – A Work in Progress #3

Hey, I’m back with another update on my novel.

And….

Its not going well.

I havent written a single word on my novel and it frustrates me to no end. The problem is, I’m still stuck on the planning phase. I will be hitting a year of planning in November, and I havent written a single word.

Here what you need to know about me: I never plan anything out. When it comes to my writing, I come up with an idea and run with it. I dont stop to think, and I just write. It has usually worked out for me. However, after I took the creative writing class in college last year, I decided that I would plan this novel out. I shall sit down and think about it. This novel is so important to me. I wanted to do it right. But now, I feel unaccomplished.

I want to write it, but I dont have the nerve or inspirational drive to do it.

And now….

I have a new idea for a completely different project. The one thing I hate most of all about being a writer, is that your brain never stops thinking. It never stops imagining new possibilities to create. I dont want to move onto this new project without working on my novel. This novel is my baby, and it isn’t coming along as easily as I had hoped.

Plus, I’m back in college. I have finished my undergraduate and going into my Masters degree. I’m moving up in the world. But that means I’ll be working on my thesis next year, and I wont be able to write. I want to succeed in my academia and writing will affect that.

So….there it is. My life has become a little hectic lately. My novel has frozen in place, and this new project is eating away at me.

The new project is going to working on poetry, instead of a novel. I said I would never write a poetry book. Well, guess what. Its happening!!!! I have written a few poems already. Why not do two projects at once??

Write poetry, as well as, write my novel. Mhmm…but I dont have the time. We shall see, I suppose.

Thats my most recent update on my projects. I’m excited to be doing something new, by planning out a poetry book. However, I want my full attention on my novel and my studies. It has been difficult. I hope it will turn out well. Sorry for the short post today. I just felt like updating you on my progress. Since I’m back in college, blogging will be a little more difficult. I intend to continue blogging while in college. It shall be my escape during the tough days of college, however, I may miss a few days. So be patient with me. I will have something posted…eventually.

Things that make me happy

I felt like doing a more personal blog post. I havent done too many personal posts on my blog, besides my poems. So I wanted to just write about the things in life that make me happy. I got the idea from Emma Blackery’s video “Things that make me happy.” Here is a link to it:

I thought it was a really nice blog idea so here it goes. The things that make me happy would be:

Tea

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First things first, I must talk about the love of my life: Tea. Very Irish, I know. But it is true. I adore a cup of tea in the mornings, before I start my day. Tea is my vice and a necessity. Coffee keeps other people awake, whereas I drink tea to stay awake. I know, there is not much caffeine in tea, but it still keeps me awake. It makes me happy and I cant imagine my life without it.

Writing/Reading

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This is an obvious one, but I love reading and writing. I place them in the same category, as you cant write without reading. Reading was what got me into writing, and if it wasn’t for books, I wouldn’t be writing today. I wouldn’t be writing a novel, and I wouldn’t have started this blog.

Kingdom Hearts 
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I think I might have mentioned this in a previous blog post, but Kingdom Hearts is my favourite game series of all time. Kingdom Heart 2 is my favourite game of all time. Its just…so good. I played the first game, when I was 11 years old. I had no interest in playing it, when I got it for Christmas that year. I didn’t like the cover of the game and it didn’t look cool. But I was bored and decided to play it. Im so happy I did. It was a convoluted but enthralling story. The characters are fantastic, and it has childhood nostalgia through the appearance of Disney characters in the games. However, it is not just a kids game. The story is so dark, so deep and sad, that itll leave you heart-broken towards the end. Kingdom Heart 2 is my favourite game, because of its darker storylines, such as the games intro. Playing these games brighten up my day, no matter what age I am. Now, Kingdom Hearts 3 is releasing soon, and Im so excited. Cant wait for the next instalment.

Dogs
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Always been a dog lover. Always will. I have grown up with dogs. They are so loyal, so kind and loving. How can you not love dogs? My favourite type of dog is a husky. Currently, I have a dog that is a cross between a Labrador and a husky, so my love for huskies is because of him. His name is Casper and my other dog is a cocker spaniel, named Milo. I love them to bits. I hope to get my own dog, when I live out on my own. Ill get my own husky, raise him and love him everyday. Cant wait for that.

Halloween

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Halloween is my favourite holiday. Christmas is amazing too, but I have a soft spot for Halloween. I dont trick or treat anymore, but I celebrate Halloween in my own way. I find the holiday a very comfortable day, but spooky at the same time. Last year, I watched the remake of the Evil Dead for Halloween. It was great. I have fond memories of Halloween, such as watching Monster House with my dad, going to school parties dressed as a witch and playing dunking for the apple. Its a fun holiday and Im delighted when it comes around every year.

Hot Chocolate (when done right)

In recent years, I started to love hot chocolate. However, I am still very picky on where I get my beverage. When I was a child, my mother used to make hot chocolate from the Cadburys chocolate powder or Aero chocolate powder. That made me hate hot chocolate for a while. But since going to Stanzas and other poetry readings, I get a cup at the cafés where the events are held. Some were good and some were bad. My favourite hot chocolates are from the cafes in Limerick, called Hook & Ladder and Insomnia. Just add whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate or a flake to dip with and I’m happy for the rest of the day.

Watching indie/any movies

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I love watching films. That was my thing, before reading took over. I wanted to become a film director. Thats how much I loved films. Just the feeling you get when you curl up on the couch and watch an amazing movie, is just so nice. Recently, I started watching more indie movies, instead of just blockbuster films. I love them, as they look more deeply into humanity, than blockbuster movies would. A good example would be Clouds of Sils Maria. This film focuses on an older actress played by Juliette Binoche, who is asked to act in a remake of a play she did when she was a young actress. This time, she is to play the older character in the story, while a new young actress plays her original role. The film explores the feeling of time passing, the differences in creative opinions and how that can destroy a relationship. This film got me into watching more artsy, indie films, as I was interested in films that creatively look at human life and human emotions, films that dive into deeper topics and give a real look at the issues of humanity. They are fascinating to watch and I may do a list down the line of indie films I recommend you watch.

Stanzas

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I have said this so many times, but ill say it again. I love Stanzas. It was the place that made me more confident in sharing my writing. It is such a welcoming place, for so many young writers. And even if youre not going to perform, it is just a nice place to chill, have a cup of tea and chat to new people. I made so many friends at Stanzas and I’m so grateful for what this event has done for me. I still go today and I dont see myself stopping anytime soon.

My family and my friends

And of course, the last thing that makes me happy is my family and friends. I have been through a lot these past 20 odd years, and I have to thank my family for being there for me throughout it all. I’m proud to say that I have amazing parents and supportive sisters, who I wouldn’t trade for anything. I love them to the moon and back. Always.

As for my friends, I havent had much luck with friends. People are very fickle and selfish beings, as I’ve come to understand these past few years. But I have a select few, who I trust immensely and I’m very lucky to have them. They have to put up with a lot of my crap, so I’m very thankful to them for that.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Let me know what makes you happy in the comments. Id love to know. I shall talk to you in the next post.