What’s in a name?

♥ It’s the end of February, the month of love. Or rather, the month in the winter which is the shortest. I gave in my poetry assignment on Thursday evening, and just breathed a massive sigh of relief, after attempting a shakespearean sonnet in Iambic Pentameter and trying to justify handing in a piece of free verse that seemed to be less free verse and more a kind of quatrain. If you don’t know what I’m going on about, I heartily recommend reading Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled to enlighten you (of course, his enthusiasm is infectious and he makes poetry more interesting).

The next part of the course is life writing, and I’ve already attacked the first few chapters enthusiastically. I find it interesting because when I did my MA dissertation, I wanted very much to add my own version of autobiography to the research, and found the narratives the women wrote very interesting and emotional. I related to them, it made me think about what being deaf and a woman is in today’s society. Looking at autobiography in terms of how different people interpret this term is also incredibly interesting. Anyway, after all that gushing, I feel like this part of the course could really go somewhere as whether I want to write about my life so far for myself or for publication (in terms of deafness and feminism), I’m just looking forward to it.

Last weekend Dan (he has given me permission to use his name now…) and I gutted this corner of our room which had become a shrine to the past – the entire family had dumped all their stuff there. It had a feeling of encroaching doom – threatening to take over the rest of the room. Anyway, I’m happy to report that the corner is now fairly clear of mess and unecessary clutter and we can now see the window we have there. Next stop is the bathroom – time to throw out all those odd bottles and out of date things lurking in drawers. The attic room really is like a self contained flat without a kitchen. I quite like it because it is a place to escape to. This is why we’ve been trying to sort out all the clutter and rubbish that gets dumped up here, so we aren’t stressed when we have to work and study. I’m also planning on getting a small sofa to replace the futon which has collapsed after years of being pulled in and out. Ikea to the rescue?

The family’s washing machine has broken down so today has been a washday at the launderette in our village. I don’t mean to say that I live in a village in the countryside, but it’s a village within a borough. I find this really odd but I think that’s because London itself is made up of all these little villages and boroughs and areas all leading into each other. I like it because there is a sort of community atmosphere – we know the names of our neighbours, we know some of the people on our street, and the names of the people in the newsagents and the electronics shop (his name is Dave, I think). The past two days have been lazy days for me after all that poetry stress. I’m very glad that I didn’t have some sort of last minute panic and just handed in some random last minute stuff.

Also, my Mum, Sis and I went to see The Lovely Bones with subtitles. I wasn’t disappointed, it was brilliant, emotional and much much better than I thought it would be. I felt that the essence of the book had somehow been distilled and poured into the film reel. Sure, some things have changed, but I think that the book has a lot in it that might have been too harrowing or strange on screen. It wasn’t overly sentimental or ‘corny’ – it struck the balance between emotion and action.

Other films I have seen and loved or found interesting viewing recently have been The Time Traveller’s Wife (beautiful), District 9 (gory but thought provoking), Dorian Gray (disturbing and unsettling), Adventureland (brilliant and unique). I’ve also seen the remake of Fame! but found it kind of boring halfway through. It’s more of a spectacle and less gritty than the original.

I haven’t read anything since finishing The Time Traveller’s Wife – but I have started to read Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room. Its an odd start to a book (two narratives) but I’m sure I’ll get into it properly at some point!

The other night my Mum, Dan and I were watching Panorama on BBC and it was all about Palm Oil and how the demand for such a cheap oil has resulted in forests being cut down, illegal logging, and the critical endangerment of the Orangutang. It was so sad and upsetting to see these intelligent and social animals sitting in the middle of a burnt wasteland. There was a harrowing image of an Orangutang holding on for dear life on a tree burnt to a crisp, looking out over a black, charred horizon. They get shot and murdered because people see them as pests, when they are in fact our nearest relatives. I think people need educating about things better, they need to see the effect of our lifestyles on the rest of the world. To find out what products include unsustainable and untraced Palm Oil, go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8517000/8517093.stm

I found out about this a while ago when Lush higlighted the problems of Palm Oil and declared that they were stopping the use of it in their soaps and products. I feel good about buying from Lush because they try their hardest to be eco friendly and support all sort of schemes for the well being of animals and the planet. I was very disappointed, for example, with The Body Shop when I found out that Anita Roddick’s claim that they were ‘Against Animal Testing’ didn’t mean that they didn’t test on animals or use animal derived ingredients (this was a while ago though, and it’s illegal for the cosmetics industry to test on animals now).

After the end of poetry, perhaps I’ll be blogging a bit more…♥

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