Where Are All The Young Writers?

This is a serious question. I’m actually asking.
Where are the writers that are my age and published in books? Or even magazines?! I subscribe to Writing Magazine and in the four months I’ve been receiving it I’m yet to see a winning story or poem from someone of my generation. It’s always 30 years+ and I’m just wondering why or at least how comes? Maybe people my age just don’t read the magazine and I’m just a bit overly nerdy for my age? I definitely feel as if the magazine is targeted for an older audience, it’s laid out like a typical woman’s mag (don’t pretend you don’t know what they look like!) all pretty pastels and stock photos. The winning, published stories are sugary dealings with divorce or trouble in the garden, which is slightly disheartening for someone who doesn’t really write in that style. I do genuinely enjoy some of the advice and it’s nice to stay up to date with the world of writing. Similarly, I attend a weekly adult education course wherein I’m the youngest one there and where my work often gets critiqued as ‘brave’ and ‘fearless’ in its subject matter. I sometimes find myself falling down a generation gap.
With these being the main writing influences and the guidance I have in my life I’m left wondering, where the hell are my generation? Where’s my representation?

In all fairness I do know where most of them are, you can find all the 20-somethings you want on sites such as Thought Catalog or Buzzfeed, writing airy articles about how to live every moment because one time some one they knew died or how we’re not actually the worse generation of all, we’re just getting a bad rap. Or they’re on Tumblr writing excellent pieces of fan fiction. Or just tapping away on their own personal blogs. I have to wonder if that’s all we’re destined for.
And! I have a vague idea why we’re on the fringes of the writing world – technology. We’re the ones who grew up on the internet, saturated in information and now armed with unlimited digital platforms in which to get our voices heard. We have TOO many ways to get our voices heard, it’s pretty overwhelming. Especially if you’re like me, slightly (read:very) bookish. I’m a big softy for the physicality of a book and not just in a Pinterest kinda way. Maybe that’s why I write better with pen & paper and insisted on a relic of a typewriter from Santa this year. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I’d like to see something in print
When I dream about being published, it isn’t online, it isn’t on an ebook, it’s something very physical, a book I can show my children and insist becomes a holy heirloom in the event of my death. The same magic just isn’t passed on with: ‘tell them to check my blog out….*last breath*’ But because digital space is pretty much free and accessible it becomes the go-to. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing at all (on my blog, which will get shared across multiple social networks…) and in all fairness at least it’s still writing in the purest sense. It’s just not my vision for myself as a writer.
Plus, I’d love to have someone of my age who’s really out there absolutely smashing it in literary circles, being given awards and recognition and free champers. Someone to aspire to in the field I’m in.

More serious questions!
Maybe people in their 20’s are just not successful in being published? Does becoming a writer require you to be at least 30?
I see many more 20 somethings make it in the film & television industry and it’s a bit of a head scratcher, is putting pen to paper to form a collection of poetry or complete a novel really such a ‘grown up’ and together’ thing to do? Harder than penning a series or a film?
I feel like it may be seen as a life experience issue – obviously because we’re too busy pretending to be students and getting into the groove of full time work as well as beer time to have anything truly important to write…right? RIGHT?
Well, not in my opinion! I have life experience falling out of my fucking pockets, I’m tripping over all the shit I’ve had to deal with. And you know what? Sometimes I just feel like writing about it. And I feel like it matters that I write about it, and one day I would very much like to see it in print. One day within the next 7 years if I’m honest.

Is it too much to ask to see a best selling, or at least popular, writer of my age? It may very well be my own stuck up graduate way of looking at the world, but I want to see literary 20 odds, I want to see poetic 20 odds, I want to see clever, thoughtful novels from 20 odds. I would very much like a literary voice of my generation, at least then I would know which direction to aim my own voice when it settles down.

A letter to my 13 year old self.

In the spirit of all the things that are turning 10 this year, things that were and still are a huge part of my life, music, films and friendships, I became a bit retrospective and nostalgic. And whilst having a bit of a drunken conversation with the boyfriend we got on to the subject of what we’d say to our 10 years younger self, it turns out I’d say a lot. I still carry a huge chunk of my teenage years with me and I felt that 13 year old me might actually appreciate knowing a little about her future. Also in being the best years they were 100% my worst (so far) and while young me handled it beautifully in her own way, I doubt she would’ve minded a heads up. So, here it goes…

Hey!
I’m sorry to interrupt, I’m fairly certain I know what I caught you doing. You’re either watching Moulin Rouge and singing along or watching Queen of the Damned and quoting along. Or you’re doing neither of those and you’re sitting by your coke can CD player (RIP for about a years time) listening to your Dark Side of the 80s CD and reading IT. And right about now you probably have no idea how much of an impact all of those things are having on you, yep, right now. I’m speaking to you from 10 years in the future and I can assure you that you still know every.single.word to QOTD, you still own that very CD and you have that same copy of IT surrounded by so so so many other Stephen Kings in your very grown up flat.
Yep, you have a flat now. It’s not painted all black like you were probably expecting but I think you’d like it. There’s a lot of Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, Halloween decorations up all year round and Snowball…some stuff just never leaves you.
I know I’ve probably caught you off guard, so I’ll get to the point. There’s a lot that’s about to go down for you, and hindsight being 20/20 I feel a heads up wouldn’t be the worst thing. While I can’t exactly remember when you started to feel all angsty and bad all the time, it’s about now for you. I have some bad news, that’s not a phase and an awful lot of people will try to tell you that it is. Nope, sorry, it’s ten years later and I’m feeling worse than ever in that respect. But I have a lot of good people around and that helps (some you’ve met so you’ve got to look forward to!). So for the meantime enjoy what you can, because its these memories that will make you laugh uncontrollably in the future.
I have some bad news, mum will always have the worse taste in men (I think we know that by now) but stick with her and just batten down the hatches, you will both be okay. Speaking of mum, you’ve got another 9 years of volatile relationship ahead but I need you to remember that she is the coolest mum ever, she lets you stay out, takes you to gigs and has never ever pressurized you into doing something you don’t want with your life. You become a pretty creative (if off beat) adult because of the freedom she gave you and the memories you made in that freedom. It’ll also become apparent that even 10 years later and despite living in separate houses you will still need her to come fix shit for you. So don’t fuck it up.
I have good news! Give it a few months and you’ll meet dad! Everything in your life will fall into place! You’ll understand yourself and you get to see your super wicked extended family again! Enjoy!
But remember, you’re meeting the most important man you’ll ever meet, so enjoy it, text him constantly (you do) and do not get nit picky, without too many spoilers, you’ll regret not holding on to every single thing he ever told you. Because (bad news) it won’t last forever and in about 2 years shit is gonna get real hard, you live through it though, and sometimes that’s just the best thing to hold on to.
You’re also hanging out with a girl called Rachael (you’ll learn to spell it eventually), whether you’re walking home with her yet or not (we really can’t remember) hold on to her! You’re probably not sure about her but I swear it’s 10 years down the line and she’s still your absolute rock. (Don’t tell her that I told you, but woah does she have some stuff in store!) You’ll get used to her awkward sense of humour and dress sense I promise! You’ll need her around for supplying the booze and fags for the next few years as well- just saying. ūüôā
You’re most likely being bullied for being a little goth chick at minute, they’re calling you a witch and stuff in school? Well monopolise on it. Keep being snarky and giving it back, some of them douchebags don’t make it to 20, and you do!
Oh and this goth things a phase?! Enjoying proving everyone wrong! Sure you’re not as dedicated but damn you have style.
Also feeling a bit ‘weird’ by your peers standards? Well that never goes away, but you learn to own it. I can’t tell you the exact moment we stopped giving a shit what people think, but you do. And boys find it attractive I swear! The guys that are spitting at you at the minute will one day be hitting on you at a club and you get the satisfaction of telling them no. Hold on to that for the meantime.
On to your favourite thing….MUSIC! You listening to Bright eyes? MCR? Brand new? Guess what! You still listen to them! And you get to see them live! Your day is coming!
You’ll one day see Blink 182 covered in tattoos with a beer in your hand and you’ll feel so so sooooo smug.
You will be going festivals, waiting at stage doors and be dancing so so so hard and it will be awesome! You will be that really cool older girl at the gig who looks fearless and confident! AND I’ll tell you a secret, those 16, 18 year old who you so look up to suck so bad. They have no fucking clue what’s going on. And how do I know? ‘Cos I was one. You’ll be one and it feels nowhere near as swish as it looks. And one day near the end of the impossibly far 2013 you’ll be that epic girl at the stage door talking to the younger people, sure, you’ll be pissed and telling them the hard facts about bills but damn you’ll be coooooool and they’ll look up to you in the same pathetic way you do.
You know that housework that you can’t stand? Well fucking tough. Because that and more is the price of being an adult. In 10 years your Saturday mornings will be centered around scrubbing the loo. But do you know what? There’s also a lot of alcohol. You’ve probably already got drunk at Mum’s mates party, where you mixed every drink in the beer tent together when unsupervised and thinking that its the coolest shit ever. Well I’m sorry but it’s not…unsneaky, non-paranoid alcohol is the best (It won’t and do not let this knowledge stop you!) The fact I can legally walk into somewhere and purchase alcohol is something that continues to baffle me…the weightlessness of knowing that no one can tell you no is very liberating, so just you wait.
Ah, I have to say it really don’t I? BOYS!
You know that obsessive tendency that’s kinda nerdy and sad towards celebrities? That never goes away. Not ever. I’m 22 and still as nerdy (if not nerdier) about celebrities. Its our burden to bear.
Boyfriends! In 2 years you’re gonna meet a singer in a rock band and hes gonna get stuck with you for 7 years (and counting) and you’re gonna do some pretty epic stuff together. Like share a flat and own a cat! You’ll look back on you now and think how pointless it all was, especially as you starting counting boys amongst your best friends and realise they’re just boys
Overall, I’m looking back at you, you with no idea of the absolute pounding you’re going to take in the next few years, to tell you that hey, we did it. This is me waving from the other side telling you that you’ve got SO MUCH AWESOME to look forward to! And that you’ll stop looking like a potato and get a waist in a few years and it’ll rock. Oh, and your hair? Try to remember what colour it was because you will not be seeing ever again by the looks of it.

Lots of Love
Older, wiser, drunker
Chantelle

P.S. You may have seen an advert the other day for a new show called ‘Supernatural’. WATCH IT. IT WILL LITERALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Anyone Remember when I had a Blog?!

It’s been a while!

Stuff most certainly has happened, although apparently I have had no inclination to come on here and bare my soul.

Sure, ideas have come and gone, I had a whole review of Doctor Who planned, a couple of poems itching to be shared with the web and even ranty times when I could’ve bashed all my frustrations out on here.

BUT! Then moving happened, I’m suddenly pressed for time in between attempting to feed myself, keep the place clean and not bursting into tears. Oh, and Christmas. Glorious Christmas which involved a panic attack in Asda and a drunken stumble that my knee and thumb still haven’t quite recovered from.

Little things like blog keeping, giving a shit about how you dress for work and if you get there exactly on time tend to fall haplessly by the wayside when getting out of bed in itself is bloody difficult. 

Something I’ve not quite firmly got a grip on about this whole ‘standing on your own two feet thing’? Shit stacks up. There is allllwaysss stuff to do. It gets somewhat suffocating, like that scratching-at-your-shirt-collar-loosening-your-tie kind of suffocating. My heart rate is going up just thinking about it….so apologies for my absence, blog (and anyone who avidly reads it..anyone? No?) but sometimes life just strolls right on over and trips you up. Of course sometimes it trips you up and you end up watching all 15 hours of Lord of the Rings/Hobbit AND a season of Hannibal in a week, but then again, sometimes that’s necessary.¬†

In my other defence (my other other one being sometimes I’m just a lazy overwhelmed shit) I have been working hard at my writing class and actually making progress! So a whole 2000 word short story did get agonized over in my somewhat hiatus! Woo! But other than that not a lot has gone down in the writing stakes.¬†

And! If it makes anyone out there feel any better, I’ve hardly read anything as well!¬†

In written form I know that this all stinks of some depressive relapse, and it probably is. 

Holidays are haaaard, being independent is haaaard, being paid minimum wage in a job that takes up most of your day is haaaard. And I’m not even trying to be a whiny ‘millenilal’ (or whatever).

Sometimes people just fucking struggle. I don’t deserve a rallying cry of sympathy or charity, I’m just trundling through life the best I can. And mostly, the best I can is getting shitfaced on the weekends, not crying in work and watching TV with the little family I have set up (boyfriend and cat, if anyone is curious).¬†

All in all, I just felt that the blog might’ve needed some sprucing up, some updating at the very least and a vague (probably to-be-unfilled) promise to update more. I will absolutely promise to try my best. And that’s all anyone can really ask.¬†

On Being A Nice Feminist

bill

I’m getting a bit tired of the ‘feminazi’ craze being banded about the internet of late.

I don’t know if I’m noticing it more because I’m actually engaging in blogs around me and reading sites like Jezabel a lot more often. I know the stigma attached to the word ‘feminist’ has been about since Sufferage but this new wave of attacking people for their opinions just seems overly contrived and totally recycled.

The word ‘feminazi’ is generally applied to conjure up the image of a butch, dungaree wearing female actively ¬†chasing men down and hacking off their penises. Cool, if you wanna do that, do it.

As per the internet though, it’s used in a derogatory way to try and silence the girls getting a bit uppity with something that someone else deems irrelevant or unimportant. I’m talking the Robin Thicke debacle or the Abercrombie douche, women get disgruntled…’oh you fucking feminazis!’ is being heralded all over the comment threads.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like and respect people who do shout their opinions from the rooftops and believe so fervently in what they believe. I like some of these so-called ‘feminanzis’ -Carol Ann Duffy and Andrea Dworkin fight the good fight, I just don’t agree with everything they say. I have a very pick and choose belief system and you know what? I’m not hurting any one with it, so I’m okay with that.

I’m a pretty much each to their own kinda gal. I have things that offend me and things that seriously don’t (Things that offend me: British TV bending over backwards for Americans. Things that don’t: The word ‘cunt’, embrace it people! Your fear gives it power! – to name only two.)

All my reading on current social events such as the ongoing violent sexual imagery in music or ‘slut-shaming’ has lead to feel the need to outline my own views on being feminist, especially in a modern society where we (the women!) have the vote and the choice to work…is there anything else for me to be mad about?

Yes. Pretty much.

My whole feminist ideal is can’t we all just get along?!

It’s pretty basic. But it’s fundamental and pretty much echoes how I live my life. I’m overly polite (spoken about before) and I’m also quite liberal minded and don’t tend to engage in politics on an active level.

caitlin

But stuff pisses me off. This whole blog is about the stuff that pisses me off.

On a gender based level here’s some stuff that pisses me off:

  • Assumptions. Please, just cos I have a vagina don’t assume I’m stupid, that I don’t like Batman and I really like make up. I also have a huge thing about people judging me based on my name, Chantelle, here in the UK conjures up some properly Page 3, air head blonde imagery to most people. Then I kinda rock up in my Nirvana t-shirt and blow everyone’s minds. Assumptions! You don’t know me, please don’t judge me.¬†Similarly I work in a male-orientated environment, and it’s often assumed that I want to just sit pretty on a desk being nice to clients all day…I don’t.
  • The fact that I still surprise people. I like stuff! I get really interested in stuff! I’m pretty smart about stuff! Please don’t look at me like you’re surprised I can string a sentence together when you engage me in a conversation about, say, books. Equally, I probably disagree with you on an educated level, but isn’t that the magic of OPINIONS and people (women!) having them?!
  • Cat Calls. I don’t appreciate being called and whistled at in the street. I also work in London and there’s some proper creepy addicts lurking in the back alleys. I’m wearing a dress to feel pretty today, not to gratify your eyes. I don’t find it complimentary, I don’t see a woman wearing something I like and rudely whistle at her, similarly I don’t see a good looking guy in the street and grab their butt. NOT A COMPLIMENT GUYS, basic social practice here.
  • This extends to touching. Please don’t grab me in a club and do not! DO NOT! randomly stroke my tattooed arm. It’s weird, ergo, you’re coming across weird to me. Ask me about it, fine, I like a compliment as much as the next guy but touching? No.
  • Rape and it’s fall out. Male politicians telling me what rape is. People denying that male rape and abuse exists. Everything that’s wrong with rape, really.
  • The abortion/contraception debate. The fact that the woman’s right to choose is still consistently under fire in deeply unsettling to me and is the only thing that could bring out ¬†the so-called ‘feminazi’ in me (meaning I will get all up in yo face passionate about it)
  • The bullshit representation of women in the media. Self explanatory.

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See? None of that is about hating men.

I actually quite like guys. I get on with dudes pretty well. I don’t in any way think I’m better than men. I just want my opinions and choices respected as much as theirs.

For me its all about judgements and pre-conceptions. Try to be nice to people (and not touchy feely weird) and I’ll get along with anyone.

I think for me, feminism is a way of articulating the feelings of being different, and then growing older to realise that I’m not only viewed as ‘different’ for my interests but for my gender as well.

Also girls are pretty kick ass. We produce people from our nether regions! We’re generally prettier than dudes! We suffer pains every single months in order to further the human existence! We write some damn fine poetry , novels and journalism! We’re smart! Be nice to us! Be nice to everyone!

Could Everyone Do Me A Favour?

…And stop asking me what I plan to do with my life?

This question comes in many guises: ‘so what are your career plans?’, ‘if another job comes up will you take it?’ ‘have you been writing lately?’ …all of them equally annoying.¬†

And I’ll let you in on a secret, the reason these questions are so annoying? Because I don’t have a fucking clue what I want to do with my life.¬†

Seriously, not a single freaking idea. 

I’m currently in a entry level, bottom feeding job in the film industry where I spend an inordinate amount of time on BuzzFeed (..and WordPress), am pretty much left to my own devices and occasionally have to move some stuff from one place to another. It’s cushty but hardly fulfilling. And I’ve NOTICED THIS. I do not need this reiterated to me on a regular basis.¬†

I’m just over the moon I no longer work in a retail job where I had actually fantasies about mowing everyone in the store down with a chainsaw. I spent the year after graduation so focused on doing ANYTHING other than work in a supermarket that I didn’t actually make long term plans.¬†

I left university with the simple goal of getting the hell out of Sainsbury’s and moving in with my boyfriend. I have now accomplished both of these goals. Shit. Now what?¬†

In all honesty I have no real inclination to stay in the film industry, but really no inclination to do anything else. Fuuuck.

For the last 6 months I’ve been counting my lucky stars that I made it out of the last 3 years alive (touch and go at points), in a relationship, with friends and a job to boot.¬†

Now I’m kind of hugely stuck.¬†

I don’t know what I’m good at, I don’t know what kind of career I can apply (if any) of my skills to.¬†

At the minute I’ve taken to answering that question¬†with a shrug and nonchalantly going ‘I’m still young’. Which in all fairness I am, but I still want to be on my way somewhere…anywhere…in a direction I want to go…but I don’t know where I want to go…ARGH.

Cue existential crisis. 

So if you see me, chances are I’m internally weeping at the fact I have no direction, purpose or prospects, so please, please, pleeease do not ask me what the hell I’m thinking of doing with my life.¬†

I honestly do not know. 

 

 

(Please leave your suggestions below…)

Feeling My Age.

I know I said I was signing off. Well it’s hard okay? Apparently I’ve got good at this routine thing. Consider yourselves lucky.

Also something’s got my goat of late.

I’m getting old.

I know this blog is primarily about random stages and occurrences in my life that prove the clock is ticking away before I reach what is known as ‘adulthood’ and the tiny baby steps it’s taking me to get there. Well this week I’ve taken leaps and bounds.

It starts at Reading Festival.

We pitch tent, wait patiently drinking to get some neighbours then give in and decide to get our ‘Over 18’ wristbands. This is more for the convenience of my companion as she’s child height and baby-faced. Well, queuing for this was a depressing experience in itself. There were actually people in line who needed¬†these bands, all looking fresh faced from A Levels and impossibly young. None of them have had the luxury of the worse days of their lives at University, coming out looking all haggard, sleepless and frail…wankers.

So, yeah, total bloody bummer. At least the guy at the counter got asking about my tattoos, something I’m glad I’m old enough for.

We head back to the tent.

Our campsite had been besieged by 16 year olds. Seriously 16 YEAR OLDS. They’d just got their fucking GCSE results. I can’t even remember getting my GCSE results. Little Fuckers.

We spent the rest of the weekend smelling their weed, hearing them ‘score’ beer and listening to their general immaturity.

God I sound old even to myself, but that’s how it felt.

On the other hand it was immensely gratifying that we had booze on demand and were actually old enough to remember the bands older songs. That, and we were sure enough of ourselves not to give a fuck what anyone thought of our dancing/singing (a reassurance that only comes with age) and we got to turn finding people of our own age into somewhat of a sport.

Me acting my age…clearly.

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When I returned from Reading, back at work and feeling like fucking shit, ¬†just randomly scrolling through Buzzfeed, I come upon this article….

http://www.buzzfeed.com/melismashable/36-facts-about-pop-punk-that-will-make-you-feel-old

SWEET JESUS. The clue was totally in the title and I took it hook, line and sinker. I brought this all on myself. But man, that was MY era. I brought those CD’s, I went to the shitty underground gigs and snuck vodka in in Fanta bottles COS I WASN’T OLD ENOUGH TO BUY IT.

I dreamed about dating those guys when I grew up, I in no way accounting for them growing up as well.

Time, what a cunt.

As a by product of this article, I was recounting a time I met Taking Back Sunday at ¬†VIRGIN MEGASTORE. As these words came out of my mouth my sheer mortality came crushing down on me. THAT DOESN’T EXIST ANY MORE. IT IS NOW STUFF OF LEGEND. Dear god.

Moving doesn’t really help these ageing feelings either. I now own all manner of grown up paraphernalia such as a microwave, an ironing board…AIRERS. I’m feeling pretty nostalgic for the days of CD’s, contraband booze and hanging out with guys who skate.

I’m entirely positive that I’m not part of the first generation to experience the feeling of crippling detachment and fear from the next, (‘the kids these days’ etc.) but I am completely positive that previous generations did not have this much internet and this many memes to shove it their face. I’m trying to actively avoid tumblr. There are 15 year olds on there¬†just¬†discovering Supernatural, as well as kids who love bands so much they’re stalking the heck out of them on Instagram (?!) with the kind of conviction that comes with being that young…while all I had was Myspace. (I will still totally and truly marry Ville Valo and get my heartagram tattoo, if only out of honour for my 13 year old self)

While its not bothering me to the point of crises (honestly), I am constantly reminding myself that its not all awful. I can drink wherever and whenever I want! I have control of my finances (for better or for worse)! I’m actually skinnier! I can wear what I want! I can’t get grounded! My opinion is taken seriously in every day conversation! I probably look super cool to these youngsters!

So many pros.

Signing Off and Moving Out

Its been a while since my last post and there’s been several major developments in my life.

Apparently it’s what happens when I stop blogging. Shit goes down.

Firstly, I’m getting a poem of mine published in December! ¬†I entered a competition back in June, a random competition I found through a Google search in a moment of sure fire self-confidence, then heard back saying I’d been shortlisted, ¬†yet didn’t make the cut. Fine by me. I’m just glad they liked my stuff. Then a couple of weeks go by and I receive a letter in the post notifying me that United Press have selected my work for another anthology instead. So yeah, that was good news ūüôā

Now I’m a published poet I think it’s only right I walk around in black roll-necks, chain smoke and drink nothing but black coffee. Prepare yourselves for a constant air of aloofness.

Secondly, I went to Norwich for a holiday. Nice place, good charity shops.

Thirdly, me and my partner have finally secured a flat together!

Almost a year of saving and the first property we view is perfect, in a perfect location, accept my little bundle of nightmares (cat), is large and delightfully quirky. 

Moving day is in precisely 17 days, 4 of which I’m at Reading Festival, getting off my tits boozy and moshing. So I’m signing off for a bit, It seems a shame that I was just gaining readership and a habit with this blog, but a first proper step towards growing up needs to be taken.¬†

And in all honesty I will be over here pulling my hair out and trying to fit all my books into boxes. 

So for the mean time, I’m signing off. As soon as the computer’s set up, library is in order and the first beer has been cracked I’ll be back and let you know if we all survived.

In the meantime, here’s Cas helping me pack.¬†Image