What Literature Means to Me

Since I started my Masters programme, I have gone on a journey to delve into as much literary texts as I possibly can. Part of my course is to look at Literature and define it. What is your own definition of literature? Do you only see elitist literature as part of the canon of literature? Can only a select few of works by writers, such as the Brontë’s and Austen, be considered a part of canon? What counts as literature?

literature

This a big question in literary academia and it is quite contested. Literary critics/theorists argue that certain significant works will be considered a part of this grand literary catalogue. However, this becomes elitist. The literary canon consists mainly of classics and works that critics deem exceptional within the literary world. An example of an elitist work would be Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. 

pride and prejudice

Austen’s novel became influential for its time. I read somewhere that many male readers believed Pride & Prejudice to be women’s literature. Therefore, they didn’t take it seriously. However, Austen’s work places a new perspective on her current society and how it treated women. Moreover, she created the progressive character, Elizabeth Bennet who subverted societies thoughts of women at the time. Pride & Prejudice is up there on the elitist list of literature. However, can a series like Harry Potter, be considered elitist?

harry potter

Harry Potter would be considered popular fiction. However, does it discredit it as an influential book? As of February 2018, the books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have been translated into eighty languages. The books have touched so many generations of readers. But it isn’t considered elitist. However, what a critic will think is exceptional, you may think its tripe. Therefore, the literary canon becomes subjective and the question of literature comes into question. To me, literature are works that really grapple you, works that amaze you, leave you speechless and change your view on the world.

I dont consider popular fiction, or elitist fiction when I read. I read what interests me, and what grabs me as a reader. But more importantly, I read something that teaches me something. I want a novel that doesn’t provide me with all the answers. I want to be on the tips of my toes when I read a novel, and many things to be left up to interpretation.

I had a conversation with my Gender & Sexuality professor, about this topic. She started to compare two novels: Asking For It by Louise O’ Neill and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. Both are well-known Irish novelists and both books portray similar scenes or themes. Asking For It delves into the trauma of sexual assault and the continued assaults made to the victim by society after the event. According to my professor, O’ Neill’s novel delivers a simple story with an obvious message behind it. It starts a conversation, but it doesn’t create new avenues to explore that. Whereas with Conversations with Friends, you have to read between the lines to explore the full extent of the story. The narrative is not taken on face-value. You must read further into the plot thats given to you.

And thats what literature is.

Stories that leaves you with more questions than answers. Stories that make you return to the same characters over and over again. Stories where you take away something different each time you read it. Literature insights so much emotions and intrigue. It is a beautiful form of art and knowledge. Ill find a place in the literary world. It’s my home and that’ll never change.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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.

Why I Started Writing

When I started planning more blog posts, I realized I never talked about the beginning of my writing journey. You have to start somewhere 😂

My first memory of writing, was when I was eleven. I wrote a fanfiction based off my favourite game series, Kingdom Hearts. It was SO BAD!!! I tried to pretend that the whole novel idea wasn’t a carbon copy of my favourite stories. The character’s names were altered slightly from the main characters in Kingdom Hearts but it was obvious that they were still those characters. Instead of meeting Disney characters, my characters met Harry Potter characters. I cringe inside, just thinking about it. I learned then, I should create my own stories (mainly because my parents told my eleven year old self, that you would be caught for plagiarizing with my Kingdom Hearts based fanfiction).

 

Image result for kingdom hearts

However, I learned from that first fanfiction. My parents claim I started writing even earlier than eleven years old. Thats impressive.

But I seriously started writing my own novels when I was thirteen. I remember that age because it was when I was a huge fan of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books and I started my own vampire series (dont judge me!!)

But I actually feel like the story could have been interesting but I stopped writing, when I started despising the direction of my main character.

I planned and wrote many mini novels, as I didn’t know how to plot a real novel. I wrote them into my school copies which would have been around 150 pages in each. It was wonderful to have that avenue to escape. I found joy in my writing at that age.

I could make up brand new characters and place them in worlds I never dreamed of. It was wonderful, until other people got involved. My writing became a reason for people to play around and manipulate. Its really hard to explain, and I may talk about someday. But after a while, I had to hide my writing hobby from everyone. I wrote in private.

But, I hated that. I did love the privacy but I wanted people to read my stories. I wanted feedback on my work. So I set up my own Wattpad account. I know!!!

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I’m not going to tell you the name of my Wattpad account because it is too embarrassing. I dont want you to see that. However, Wattpad gave me an opportunity to share my stories with others. Also, I met many other people who shared my passion for writing. Some wrote short stories, others wrote poetry. Everything was at my disposal on Wattpad.

It was the only place where I felt I belonged. I was accepted as a writer on this website. I followed and read so many stories, that helped with my writing. (I may actually make a blog post about my favourite stories I read on Wattpad).

However, when I entered college, I found a new home for my writing: Stanzas.

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I have talked about Stanzas in previous blog posts. It holds amazing events for writers of all ages, to come and perform. This became my new home where I met so many other writers my age and I didn’t feel alone when it came to my writing. I made lifelong friends from Stanzas and they helped develop my writing skills. Since then, I’ve gotten a couple of my works published in Stanzas chapbooks.

Since then, I have kept writing in doses. Attending an English course in college, I never found the time to write. My blog helped with that.

 

Writersblockwhat gave me further practice, outside of college.

With my blog, I am attempting to further my writing career. Along with that, I am sending my works out to different publications. I am trying to better myself in my writing and hopefully, make a career out of it someday. It may be wishful thinking, but I’m going to try.

Thats where I stand, at this present time. I hope to see you in the next blog. Talk to you later x

 

Just Thinking (Update)

Things are looking up.

 

I got excellent results in my college exams and that means I get to do my masters in September. Also, I recently got a job so I am feeling much better after my last blog post. Everything seems to be going well. However, I feel stuck. I am being told I need to go down one path for my career. You need to get a “real career” in order to have a great life. Start a family, get a home and then pursue your dreams. What does that even mean? Get a “real career”?! Does it mean for me to become a lawyer or a teacher? To follow the status quo and get a job just for the sake of security or what society deems a “real career.”

I want to have a career that is creatively stimulating. I just dont want to be stuck in a job that I dont want. And I feel like my plans for the future are going down that route. I watched the film, Still Alice and this scene resonated with me:

 

Recently, I feel like people are telling me what I should do with my life and a lot of their advice makes me feel nauseous. These future plans that are not my own. I just want to get out, get my own place, live my own life, instead of being told what to do.

One of my new years resolutions for 2018 is to send my work out and get published in magazines. I want to try and get published, establish myself in someway as a writer. That is my dream. I want to work as a full-time author which is an undesirable job. “You wont make money out of that”, “What if you are not good enough?”

Well I want to try. My journey is starting this year. As I work on the most important novel I have ever worked on, I am going to start sending out my work everywhere. I cant have this mentality that this wont work out if I dont, at least, try.

Thats what has been happening with me. I hope you are all doing well. It has been a bit of time since I last posted. The review took up too much time, so I decided to just post this. Let you know what has been happening with me. I shall have the review up in a few days. Thanks for being here. I appreciate it. Talk to you next time.

The End of an Era: A Work in Progress #1

Today, I submitted the last round of work I needed for college. I’m officially finished college. 4 years has really gone by. I am excited for this new path in my life, however, I am also sad. It is the end of an era. Ill be saying goodbye to the good old days, to the friends I made these past 4 years and see where life takes me. 4 years of my life gone in a flash. Ill miss it.

But when one doors closes, another opens. Now that I have finished my last year of college, I can now start my novel. It has been a long time coming and I am so excited to start this new task. From now on, I shall post every couple of weeks or so with updates on my novel: what progress have I made? What struggles I have been facing and any advice I can give to any aspiring writers who wish to do the same?

Image result for writing

 

My novel has been a long time coming. The original premise for the story came when I was in my 5th year of secondary school (high school). I started developing and writing the story during my last year of secondary school, at the end of my teenage years. However, the novel became a project of my own anger. Whenever I looked at it, it reminded me how much I hated what it was, what it represented. So….I put it on hold.

 

I knew I would come back to it down the line, when I was less angry and became more mature. The renewal of this idea came to me last October or November during the time I was doing my FYP. I really wanted to go back to the drawing board and create a new story off the same premise. Whether itll work or not, that remains to be seen, but I feel like this novel may be the one I have been wanting to write. All my other novels have always felt like I was writing it for entertainment reasons. There was never a purpose or meaning to it. Its not that I didn’t like my other novel ideas. I love them and I want to start them again. But I just felt like they had nothing to offer to me in terms meaning or influence. I wanted to write something that would mean a lot to me so I can inspire myself further and inspire other people (if anyone will ever get to read someday).

And I feel this novel is it.

Since November of last year, I have flushed out the central characters of the story. I have their backstories, motives and personalities. The plot, itself, needs more planning. I have certain things that need to happen in the story thought out but I need to fill in the rest of the blanks. However, I had to stop before I could do that due to college work (look at my “On Hold” post). Now that I have finished college, I can start up the process again. I hope to keep you updated with my journey and I hope you stick with me as I go on with this novel. I probably wont tell you what the novel will be about, but Ill give some details about it along the way.

First detail: The novel will be set in Limerick City, Ireland.

Image result for limerick city ireland

Image result for limerick city ireland

 

Image result for limerick city ireland

 

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I hope to see you in the next post. I might post a couple more blog posts this week since I have more time on my hands. We shall see. Talk to you next time.

On Hold

Writing has been slow. Actually, I lie. It has not moved at all. I have been passionate about this novel idea for the past several months. However, I have been unable to buckle down with my pen and paper to write it down. Begin this journey that I have been dying to do. But everything gets in the way.

 

First, my final year project (FYP).

 

I got the idea for my novel in the cusp of writing my FYP. I had no time to stop my project to write this idea I have. So I pushed it off. I have been taking down notes and slowly planning my novel. But I didn’t plan that much. My FYP took up all of my time, my energy and my passion. If this project is meant to be the major part of my final grade this semester, I will work my hardest to get the best grade I can. So 99.9% of my attention has been on my FYP until I submitted it on March 1st.

 

Second, the last half of my college semester.

 

After my FYP was submitted, i took a week of rest where I could relax and enjoy the peace. However, that didn’t mean the work stopped. The rest of the semester came and the rest of the assignments came with it. Essay after essay after essay have been piling on and I haven’t had time since my FYP has been finished. Ah well, the work has to be done and I don’t have long left before I am finished for the semester.

 

Lastly, my final year of college.

 

I cant believe it has been 4 years already. It went so fast and met so many incredible people. I only have 2 weeks left in college and 1 more exam, then I am finished. I am graduating and that is an odd sensation or fact to comprehend. Life will go on but Ill miss those college days. I truly met some amazing people and I hope to keep them in my life as we all achieve success in our careers. So it has been a strange year for me as my college days come to the end. I hope to be back to do a Masters next year but it wont be the same. My focus is currently working hard to get the best grades so I can continue my studies in my Masters degree.

My novel has been put on hold until I can sort out my college first. I will be finished in 2 to 3 weeks so I hope to start up my novel then. I hope to finish my planning and start writing very soon after college finishes. I hope to have you on this journey with me. But for now, Ill post more stuff on my blog. Word on the novel wont come until the summertime. Stay tuned for the blogs I will be posting for the next few weeks and let me know what you think. Until next time, I hope to see you there.

I’m Back

To all my blog readers, I am back. Sorry I have been gone for a while. Why, may you ask? Partly because I am terrible at keeping a blog schedule and mostly because I have been writing my FYP. In your final year in college, you have to write a 9,000 to 13,000 word project on whatever topic you want. Should be fun, right? It was partly but it also involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Due to this project, I have not had the time to read and write for pleasure and that has been rough. I am proud of my project but I guess we will see when the results come out (crying on the inside).

However, I am now free. My project has been submitted and I am finally free to read, write and blog. I felt like restarting my blog again because I am about to embark on something that I am really looking forward to: writing my first proper novel. I have written a novel before, not a very good one and I haven’t laid my eyes on it for years. But this current project I am working on is near and dear to my heart. This story I feel will be the story I am most proud of. I think I have found what I want to write about. And since I have finished my FYP, I am planning on starting this journey of writing this novel and I am taking you along with me. Unfortunately, I won’t be sharing any of the story details on my blog, but I will be sharing the story behind the making of this novel. I will let you know the ups and downs while writing this novel, any tips I can give about writing etc. I shall also start up my old series again of favourite authors, among other things. I have a lot to talk about that I haven’t got a chance to. I am glad to be back. I hope you can stick with me throughout this journey and I intend to keep a proper posting schedule this time. Okay, I shall see you in the next post x

History

Wars seered into the memories,

Of the wounded, the broken and the warrior,

Or someone who possesses all three.

History makes up the past,

Spirits become mended,

And warriors rewarded with peace.

But sometimes, it seeps out

Of the pages of history books

And plague the present.

New enemies who produce the same horrors,

Or old enemies coming back

To break open old wounds,

Resurface memories rather left buried!

Why must history repeat itself?

Why endure the same horrors again,

Just with different players?

Who can be trusted?

Who will fight for the peace that was built?

And who will rather hide until the worst is over?

Time changes the warrior,

But it does not change the fate of war.

Will the warrior come out unscathed this time,

With just old wounds reopened?

Or will new wounds be made,

Lives lost and peace shattered?

Which shall it be?

I guess we will have to wait and see!

Emotional Block

Strange! For once, my writing isn’t helping me. Let me explain. Recently, I have been having a lot personal problems lately. And I could always turn to my pen and paper and that writing will let it go away. That my feelings will escape from my heart and onto a piece of paper. The burden is gone. I have let my feelings out. I don’t have to keep it bottled up. But not this time. Recently, I was feeling down and I ended writing my first prose in months. After writing, I didn’t down anymore. I actually felt nothing! Just a numbness. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and watch a movie with hot chocolate. This has never happened to me before. I could always rely on my writing to get me out of a funk. I guess this time I am having more of an emotional block, than writers block. I rely a lot on my emotions for my writing. I guess I am feeling too much to even process what I am writing! Honestly, I don’t know. I just found it strange.

Anyway, hope ye are having a great weekend. Sorry, I haven’t been updating recently but ill try and get another post up soon enough. Until then, have a great week.