Saturday, June 30, 2007

Creative Writing

“What on earth goes on in that house next door?” I moaned to Mr Man one night.
“With all that banging around they could be hiding a body under the floor boards for all we know!” I joked. Then thoughtfully I added: “You know, I should write a story about that…” And in my teens I probably would have, but I just don’t seem to have the creative energy any more.

School will be breaking up soon for summer. It was about this time of year in my final year at junior school when I started writing a story about a little girl called Elizabeth, who lived in a haunted house. It was obviously meant as school work originally, but when the school term ended I took my unfinished story home with me and continued writing throughout the summer holiday. In September I started a new school with new teachers, and when I showed my story to my new English teacher he encouraged me to continue writing it, even allowing me to write it during class time instead of having to do the assignments given to the rest of the class. I don’t even remember what happened to that story now; one of the many pieces of creative writing that was lost many years ago.

Throughout senior school this same English teacher was always positive about my writing and I often received top marks for short stories or scripts that I had written, which is ironic considering the low grade I received in my English exams.* Part of the problem was probably the fact that, although I liked writing, I didn’t like reading. I felt that reading was the death of creativity for me; my head would be filled with someone else’s story, someone else’s imagination, and not my own. Besides, it was boring.

When I reached my fifth and final year in senior school history seemed to repeat itself and once again I started writing a story, a script this time, which wasn’t to be completed until after I had left school. A friend of mine who had stayed on in sixth form took the finished script into school one day, to show my ex English teacher. He returned it with a simple message: “Get it published”. Unfortunately I never did, and then one day when I was having one of my “moments” I threw it away.**

That was about 18 years ago now. I’ve asked myself many times why I don’t feel able to be as creative anymore.

Do the pressures of life just eat away at our imagination? Do we get too wrapped up in the “real world” to play “pretend” in our minds? Maybe my expectations are too high now, and I fear failure, which in turn stifles creativity? When I was younger I just enjoyed the experience of writing; who did I need to impress? Only my English teacher if I wanted good marks, but to be honest I didn’t care about school marks. I just wrote for me.

I need to get back to that; writing for me. There are several things in life that tell me I need to do it - often when I am reading or watching TV I feel “dissatisfied” with the outcome of the stories. In these circumstances one of several things will happen:

  1. I’ll predict the ending, leading to the over used joke in our household where Mr Man asks: “How did you know that?” and I reply with “I wrote it”

  2. I’ll get frustrated with story lines not being developed properly and end up wishing I had written it.

  3. Or I’ll just get bored and stop reading or watching the thing altogether. (Or a combination of all three)

So you see, I need to write a story – for me. For the satisfaction. I can choose my characters; I can choose my ending. What better indulgence is there for someone as spoilt as I am?

*There were only two teachers who ever seemed to appreciate my writing; he was one of them, and the other was when I was schooled in Wales for a brief period.

**I’m not a hoarder and I have these moments when everything has to go in the bin, and then I spend the rest of my life regretting it. I wish now that I had kept a copy of everything I had ever written.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Brutally Honest Personality Test

I just strolled over to Catherine’s blog and I found the results to this personality test she had taken hilarious, so I couldn’t resist taking the test myself. Being as indecisive as I am, I found some of the questions quite hard, and to be honest there were times when neither option applied to me – like: who is better looking, Bill Gates or… some other incredibly ugly bloke, I can’t even remember his name.

Anyway, this is my result. The funniest thing is that it’s actually true! You won’t believe that as I glanced through the list at the bottom before taking the test I thought to myself “I’m probably a clown”.

Your Score: Clown- ESFP

53% Extraversion, 33% Intuition, 20% Thinking, 33% Judging

Congratulations. You are the buffoon of society, the class clown, the general funny guy/gal. Your purpose on earth was to serve as entertainment for the rest of us sane ones. We're laughing with you and at you. Some people would kill to be as funny as you. Other would rather just kill you.

You're spontaneous, fun-loving and optimistic. You're all in all an idiot.

You wanna know why? It's because you would rather have fun than concentrate on your duties and obligations. You act before you think. You talk before you think. All in all, you don't think that much at all.

You did terribly at school, didn't you? You were the class clown. Paid no respect to the teachers or to your fellow students. Paid no attention to your school work. And look where you are now... starting to regret your decisions?

Get down to earth. Find a real job and start taking care of your responsibilities. Sure, people love you, but they don't love you because they like you. They love you because you make them laugh. They love you because they can always look at you and say "Well, at least I did better off than him or her!"

...but at least you're funny, right?


If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less negative way, check out this.


The other personality types are as follows...

Loner - Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving
Pushover - Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging
Criminal - Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving
Borefest - Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging
Almost Perfect - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
Freak - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging
Loser - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving
Crackpot - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging
Sap - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging
Commander - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving
Do Gooder - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging
Scumbag - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
Busybody - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging
Prick - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving
Dictator - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Link: The Brutally Honest Personality Test written by UltimateMaster on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

So there you have it. It’s slightly depressing knowing that my finest quality is my sense of humour when I know damn well I’m not even that funny! I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the percentage of each aspect of my personality totalled more than 100%... and I’m supposed to be the one with no brains!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Today’s Top Tip

Don’t forget to add detergent when you put your washing on.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

It was a sad day when the chip shop at the end of our road closed. It had been there for at least 30 years from my memory, maybe longer. Strangely enough, I actually lived in this very same road when I was a child. My Mum used to see me across the road and then after I’d got our fish and chips I’d wait by the lamppost for my Mum to see me back across the road again.

The little row of shops that has stood there for so long is now being knocked down, to make room for more flats.

“I forgot to get a loaf of bread when I popped out for loo roll last night” I said to my Mum on the phone today.
“Can’t you just nip to that shop?” she asked.
“What shop?” I asked, confused.
“The shop at the end of your road” she replied.
“Mum, that shop hasn’t been there for the whole time I’ve lived here, and I’ve been here for 10 years in August!” I replied.

My Mum’s often a bit scatty, but where on earth has she been for the past 10 years?

“I’d heard that the chip shop was closed, but I didn’t know the shop had closed as well” she said.
“Mum, that shop hasn’t been open the whole time I’ve lived here!” I laughed. “They’re knocking that row of shops down now to build flats” I continued. “Anyway, was the chip shop run by an Italian family when I was a kid?” I asked.
“No, it was an Indian family. Don’t you remember the shop?” she replied.
“The chip shop?”
“Don’t you remember it?” she asked again.
“The chip shop Mum. Not the shop. The chippy
“Oh I thought you meant the shop”

Blimey, it’s like visiting an old peoples home. I wouldn’t mind, but she’s only 57.

“You could do with a shop there really” she continued.
“Well, I know, but it isn’t going to happen now is it? They’re knocking it down!” I swear she’s a few chips short of a bag herself sometimes, bless her.
“I know; it’s a shame…”

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Life on Mars

It’s like nowhere you’ve ever been before. Everyone seems to know each other, and they all stand around in little groups chatting. The locals speak in a strange tongue, with words including ent, kent, shent, wunt, gooing and gonna. The elderly folk greet each other with “Er yoo or-roite me dook?” the literal translation of which is “Are you alright my duck?” This is a local expression which means something like “Hello my friend. How are you?” Strangely, there are no children to be seen anywhere.

It’s the local supermarket on a Saturday morning.

Oddly, the atmosphere is quite relaxed. There is no pushing or shoving; no shouting or screaming. I walk around wondering if I am in a dream. There is an orderly queue at the bakery section of people waiting to have their freshly baked loaves sliced. A slightly younger generation of shoppers quietly sing along with Dionne Warwick as they go about finding their goods of choice. The non offensive atmosphere is almost eerie. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time?

I get to the checkout and I start putting my shopping onto the belt. It’s at this point that I realise that these Saturday morning folk have some bizarre superstitions. Apparently it is incredibly bad luck to allow two peoples shopping to touch.

The woman in front slowly turns her head to look at my shopping. She’s not really looking at my shopping; more the gap in-between her shopping and mine. I look up at her and she quickly looks straight ahead. I continue to unload my basket and I sense that her eyes are turning towards my shopping again. She shuffles uncomfortably and then impatiently looks to see if she will be served soon. The belt moves and the shopping starts to wobble. She is starting to inwardly panic. Did our shopping touch? A divider becomes available and she quickly grabs it. She sighs with relief. So do I; I don’t know what would happen but judging by the reactions of the woman in front it must be something catastrophic. Naturally then, when the gentleman behind me starts to put his shopping on the belt, I do the same. I hold on to my bottles of pop to make sure they don’t roll towards this mans shopping.

I finally make it safely to the checkout. Oh great; it’s the miserable bloke who tries to read my signature upside-down. Now I know this isn’t a dream. I anticipate a more true to life, stressful ending to my shopping trip.
“Would you like any help with your packing?” the old man asks. I only have a few items.
“Er…no. Thank you.” I stammer nervously. I hand him my card and he barely glances at it.
“Enter your pin please” he requests.

I don’t believe it. I got through the whole experience stress free. A smile breaks out across my face as I walk back to the car. I get in the drivers seat and close the door.

Damn. I forgot the potatoes…

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Say Cheese

I ate my cereal with gone off milk today. I have a stinking head cold and everything tastes gone off, so I thought it was just me. But no, the milk is off. My tummy told me so.

Despite having this dreadful head cold, fever, aches and pains all over, belly ache, and watery poo; I couldn’t get my loving brother to fetch a carton of milk for me (he made some excuse about having to work 12 hours every day this week), so this evening I dragged myself out, with Mr Man in tow, to the local 24 hour supermarket.

I hate shopping at the best of times. It makes me want to kill people:

I hate shoppers.
Why do they always have to stand or leave their trolley directly in front of the shelf you want to look at? And have you noticed that if you try to get to the shelf from a different angle they move so that they are still blocking your way? They walk incredibly slowly and sway from one side of the isle to the other so that you can’t pass them, and then they stand around and make you feel like you are in their way. The whole thing makes me feel so stressed that I can’t think straight until they have gone.

I hate shop workers.
They do the same thing as the shoppers but with their huge cages full of boxes. They burst through swinging doors with them and nearly run you over. They block the isles and leave boxes lying around everywhere. They stand there looking at you, and they make you feel rushed because you’re obviously in their way while they are trying to do their job. The whole thing makes me feel so stressed that I can’t think straight until they have gone.

I hate the shop.
Either they’ve sold out of whatever it is that you want or they don’t stock it anymore. Those loyalty cards that they give you are so that they can keep a record of what you buy on a regular basis, so that they can stop selling it. They change everything around in the shop so that you can’t find anything that you want and have to spend more time in the store feeling harassed by shoppers and workers. It’s not unusual for me to abandon my trolley and walk out of the store in sheer frustration. The whole thing makes me feel so stressed that I can’t think straight until I have gone.

I hate the noise.
The noise of those flippin’ cages being dragged along is absolutely deafening. I can’t think straight with the constant mindless chatter of the workers, and the incessant bleeping of the tills. And as for those self service tills… I want to smash a brick through the screen to shut the stupid voice up:
“Please scan your first item please scan your first item please scan your first item please scan your first item…”
Ok! I've scanned my first item already! Damn you, just shut up you stupid worthless piece of...
I’ve actually put my fingers in my ears whilst waiting in a queue before now.

I hate the journey there and back.
On the way to the supermarket tonight I saw an RAC van which had stopped at the side of the road. In my rear view mirror I noticed the car behind me indicating to over take both me and the van, because obviously I didn’t want to over take the van myself; I wanted to drive straight into it.

On the way home was another numpty van driver approaching the same round-a-bout as me from the right. I decided I had enough time to pull out, but then had to break as this person decided to take a short cut by going the wrong way around the round-a-bout. That’s one way of cutting down on fuel consumption I suppose…

Of course on the way home I have the added stress of being able to hear my shopping falling out of the bags and rolling around in the car.

I hate shopping. I really hate shopping.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I had no inkling at all. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I wasn’t worried, neither was I hopeful.

Mr Man, on the other hand, was impatient for an answer. Saturday night I took a test, but the faint blue line which threw me into panic wasn’t even visible to Mr Man with his glasses in another room and with poor night lighting. He was satisfied enough to get a good nights sleep.

I, on the other hand, was awake for a good deal longer, worrying about how he would react once he realised the truth.

I had to confess my concerns to him the following day, and after the initial shock and panic had worn off he seemed fine. The line was very faint though, and I needed to be sure. I took another test this morning… actually I’ve taken five in all over this weekend, and the only test to give a positive result was the first one I took, which was what started all this confusion in the first place.

So, I had a plan…

In the good old days women used to wait two months before consulting their doctor.