Maleficent sketchesMaleficent, for me, is one of Disney’s greatest villains. I think one of the best descriptions of her came from tumblr (a picture I can’t find now) that the entire plot of the movie comes down to one simple fact: Maleficent had a strop about not being invited to a party.

quite distressedIt’s a detail that made it into the new film, sort of. On the whole, I’ve only seen positives about Disney’s 2014 release of ‘Maleficent’ but after deciding to write this blog post I’ve stumbled upon a couple of disgruntled bloggers who miss the old Maleficent. There is a certain lost charm to a woman who curses a baby because she wasn’t invited to said baby’s party. But what was lost was replaced with other charms.

For example (the second scene only becoming cuter when you found out little Aurora is played by Angelina Jolie’s own daughter. Am I right?):

Both characters exist as separate entities. Somehow, Maleficent hasn’t changed in my head the way Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West) did when I read Wicked. Maybe because I loved Elphaba and disliked the film witch. Wicked also felt more like a remake, or at least a story that stayed true to the original story so closely both Elphaba and the ol’ Wicked Witch were one and the same.

‘The Skull Collector’ by David P. Singer-Carter

the skull collector

I haven’t blogged properly in ages, I do apologise. Blame the combination of working in retail at Christmas time. But, what better way to start the new year with a new story! I’m always on the look out for stories with fairytale-esque themes and this definitely floats that particular boat.

So, a quick run down of the plot: This is a story that reads like it could be for children, but will scare adults more. A little girl is sold to a sinister man called the Doll-Maker. In exchange for the promise of being reunited with her parents who are dead, the little girl agrees to steal skulls for the Doll-Maker. There are monsters, magic, evil, friendship, and innocence all wrapped up in this story, which is what immediately made me think ‘the Grimm brother’s would have loved this’ when I read it.

There’s something rather fascinating about the lack of names, too. The little girl, the Doll-Maker, the Violinist… Only the periphery characters are given names, which almost turns the convention of naming your main characters on its head. I cannot count the amount of conversations I’ve had with people that centre around this statement: ‘He/She suits their name, don’t they – can you imagine them being called something else? Weird, right?’ It’s a bold move, denying the reader of a name. It means more words on a page each time the character is mentioned, and more distance between character and reader… But it works with fairytales. And it works here.

I think, ultimately, what it comes down to is that this ‘distance’ works when the story in question has an edge of darkness to it. Creepy works best when the reader can’t guess exactly what is going to happen, and I had no idea where this story would conclude or how it would do so (and satisfyingly at that.)

I wrote a much shorter version of this post here on the book’s amazon page. If you’d like to see it, have a look at the book itself, find out more about Mr. Singer-Carter, click anywhere on this red, italic-y sentence ^^

Love this…

so prettyI have no idea who wrote this, I found it on tumblr the other day, but it’s so beautiful. I really like the idea of the princess not wanting to leave her tower. A really imaginative piece.

Although, after some searching I found this page. Have tried to contact them to ask if it is, in fact them who wrote this, but tumblr just comes up with an error page for each option (eg. Twitter.) Still, beautiful, beautiful writing whoever the author is :)

The writer title

I started writing this blog post a few weeks ago, wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it, and thus let it float aimlessly in ‘drafts’ for a while. This is, apparently, the story of my writing-life at the moment. Anyway, this post’s focus is on this question:

When someone asks you what you do, do you say you’re a writer?

┬áChances are, if you’re a writer with writer friends you’ve asked or been asked this question at least once in your life. I’ve recently found myself thinking about this. It’s a question composed of a confusing tangle of yet more questions. For example, there is what I have affectionately started calling ‘the writer title’ debate, which in essence questions what a writer is – Is everyone who writes a writer, or just those who do it professionally? Is writing something you merely do, or is it who you are? And if it’s who you are, does that mean the art of writing defines you as a person?

Like I said, confusing tangle…

Right now I’m thinking about this question in relation to a specific area of my life. I’m graduating in December, and I’m not going back to uni this year which means for the first time in 6 years, I’m not a student. Suddenly, I have the time to write. I no longer have to use my stories as procrastination – they have served as the perfect distraction from essays, mind maps, reading, research, and tutorial preparation. Now I’m suddenly swimming in time and I’m not using it productively.

Most of the time, this is me:

forgettingI’ve always identified as being a writer, but if anyone ever asked me ‘So, what do you do?’ I would always answer: ‘I’m a student.’ Now I have to reevaluate, not only what I do with my time, but what I’m not doing with it. What was once used for procrastination is now being neglected, because I don’t have anything to avoid, except actually writing the stories I spend most of my day thinking about.

As for the writer title, everyone has their own beliefs, and I’m sure I’ve babbled on the subject myself at some point already in this blog (I have scrolled up and down multiple times and I can’t find it, even though I’m about 99.9% sure I already blogged about it. Maybe I just thought about it. Or dreamed it. It’s sad, but my dreams really are that boring.) I for one would never say ‘I’m a writer’ – I’m much more likely to say ‘I’ve just finished uni’ or ‘I work in H&M part-time’ – and not because I’m embarrassed about writing like I once was.

Once, saying something like that would make people – my family – laugh. Y’know, that age old response of ‘everyone can write’ or ‘that isn’t even a real job.’ After years of studying it, I’ve started feeling less uneasy about embracing the pretend people in my life, to accepting I’m one of those people who leans against the wall at parties and thinks ‘I could totally be in my room right now with my pjs on, a cup of tea beside me, writing.’

What I do know is, it’s okay to be mildly anti-social, to watch the social butterfly from afar and think of them as a foreign entity. But by the same token, it’s also okay to be a writer and not write, to take the time to find your footing again. My life has tumbled and rearranged itself into something I haven’t been yet, and that’s going to take a little time to get used to.