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In which I do a New Thing

21 May

IMG_0023I realised recently that it’s been a while since I tried something new. Technically I suppose I’ve tried quite a lot of new things: getting a mortgage, home ownership, assembling wardrobes, waiting in all day for tradesmen who don’t turn up, threatening to sue Virgin Media… But at university I tried at least one new hobby every year, and although I’ve actually managed to commit to the one thing I started since I moved to London (and that isn’t changing) it felt strange to have gone so long without trying something completely new.

Then my friend Katie posted an article which she’d written about parkour and she linked to her blog and I read that and by the end I really really wanted to try parkour. I explained to her that this was the case, even though I have the upper body strength of an overweight jellyfish and no free time, she encouraged me, and yesterday evening I found myself in the Chainstore in East London ready for my first class.

It was intense. We started by running, climbing on a large buoy, getting up and down stairs in ways that I would never have considered before and jumping onto walls. In fact, the whole session involved a lot of jumping, that and swinging off railings and being on top of things (as long as you get up there without using your knees, knees are forbidden). The heights were an issue, but I could definitely feel an improvement by the end of the session.

Of course, now I’ve realised why it’s been a while since I tried a new thing. Because now I want to do it all the time, while also still wanting to do roller derby all the time. Does anybody just want to pay me to do unusual sports?

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New on the Shelf #2

31 Jan

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The latest additions to my bookshelf arrived in the post this morning. I’m particularly looking forward to reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which was recommended to me by a friend, especially as I’ve just registered to attend A-Camp, a queer women’s camp, in June. I’m currently nearly at the end of Paper Towns by John Green, so expect a review of that shortly.

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New on the Shelf #1

29 Jan

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As I haven’t had time to blog recently, here’s the start of a new series: New on the Shelf. These are books that I’ve bought recently and am looking forward to reading. These are the latest additions to my bookshelf, I think I’m going to start on Paper Towns once I’m finished with my current read, Mort by Terry Pratchett.

Book Review: World War Z

24 Jan
World War Z cover (Sergey Galyonkin)

Image: Sergey Galyonkin 

Title: World War Z (An Oral History of the Zombie War)

Author: Max Brooks

I definitely got out of my comfort zone with this book. I’m not a fan of horror in general, and zombies in particular are at the top of my ‘Things Julie Doesn’t Read About’ list. But my housemate convinced me that World War Z was not your average zombie novel and I was certainly pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

The Dawn of a New Era

15 Sep

Image: Flickr (NS Newsflash)

As some of you may know, I’m starting an MA Journalism course at Kingston University next week, in the hope that it will lead to the real journalism job that I’ve been lusting after for as long as I can remember. In celebration of this, I’ve started a new blog, in which I’ll talk about journalism in general, and my MA journey in particular. I’ll be continuing to post reviews and creative writing here, but I’d be eternally grateful if you’d hop over to Destination Fleet Street and take a look at my new project!

Fiction Friday: Two Timing

6 Nov

I know I said that I wouldn’t be doing Fiction Friday this month, but apparently something has happened to my common sense, because here I am writing words that I can’t add to my NaNo word count. *sigh* The prompt this week was: “Your character has lived a life full of excuses and until now has gotten away with them”.


Jay hadn’t intended to get himself into this situation. On the whole, he considered himself to be a decent, upstanding sort of guy. Things had just spiralled out of control recently, and he had no idea how to fix them.

It had all started when he met Laura. It was the first time really that a girl had shown interest in him (getting rid of his braces and growing into his nose had helped), and naturally he had been ecstatic. He hadn’t really expected it to go anywhere though, despite exchanging numbers with her at the end of the night.

Then, not two days later, his lab partner Michelle had asked him out for coffee. At this point, he did feel the slightest hint of a guilty pang, but he doubted that he’d ever actually hear from Laura again, so he’d accepted. That was when the problems had really begun.

At first, it didn’t feel like he was doing anything wrong. ‘New York dating’, one of his friends called it, and although he was promptly berated for knowing such girly terminology, he made Jay feel much better. It was only coffee, only a drink, only dinner. He wasn’t doing anyone any harm, not really.

Two months passed though, and things began to get more serious. The L word started to be bandied around, and Jay wasn’t sure what to do. He wanted to say it back, really he did, but the trouble was that he wanted to say it to both of them. Was that wrong? He consulted with his friends yet again, and this time the vote was unanimous. Even the most laddish of them thought that his behaviour had crossed the line. It was around this point that he stopped discussing his relationship dilemmas with them.

It was around the year mark that he decided that this couldn’t go on much longer. He still didn’t know which of the girls he liked better though, they were so different and he enjoyed spending time with both of them. But dividing his time was becoming more and more awkward, the excuses were becoming more frequent and more creative, and the guilt was a rock in his stomach. He had to choose, and soon.

In the event, the decision was taken out of his hands. He was sitting in a restaurant, holding hands with Laura, when he saw Michelle walk in. He could have run, could have hidden, could have feigned illness and gone home early, but he just stayed, rooted in place. Watched Michelle walk over to them, saw her lips move without hearing the words coming out of them, observed everything as if in slow motion. This whole situation had been a disaster waiting to happen and, perversely, he was almost relieved to have been found out.

His last thought before drifting off to sleep that night was that at least he wouldn’t have to spend so much on dinners out in future.

NaNoWriMo Update: Word Wars and the Durham Write-In

5 Nov

I went to my first write-in today! I’ll admit to being a little apprehensive, more about what the weight of my humongous laptop would do to my shoulder on the walk down than anything else (cannot justify buying netbook just for NaNoWriMo, cannot justify buying netbook just for NaNoWriMo), but I’m really glad that I bit the bullet and went. The write-in was held at The Bishop’s Mill, a branch of Lloyds Bar, so a lot of self-bribery with chips and pudding was going on, which only added to the excitement. I got to meet some real NaNo vets too, including too who are publishing their own novels this year, and one who wrote 500,000 words in last year’s NaNo – if that doesn’t inspire/terrify you, I don’t know what will!

But for me, the best part of the afternoon was the word wars. I discovered yesterday with the Let The Words Flow contest that the best way to motivate myself is by having a challenge (as if NaNoWriMo weren’t challenge enough), and this proved true today as well. To illustrate this, here are some figures:

  • I stayed at the write-in for around two hours, in that time I wrote 1,733 words.
  • During my time at the write-in, I participated in two word wars.
  • The first was for 15 minutes, and I wrote 536 words.
  • The second was for 30 minutes, and I wrote 983 words.
  • Overall, therefore, I wrote 1,519 words in word wars, and 214 on my own.
So if anyone fancies a word war, then feel free to get in touch! Best inspiration ever!