Adventures in a Master Degree: My Critical Work. The Wise and Wild Child. Part 1

Right, I promised myself that I would post my University work on my blog. Because this is making me feel like a better writer and to show that doing a Master’s Degree is possible. So for this I got a 58%, which I am very proud of.

Writers Workshop: Term One

It’s in three Chapters, I’ll be posting the rest over the next few days and I hope you enjoy it

The Wise and Wild Child

by Jodie Portugal

Chapter One

Even though the beach was deserted. Sophia couldn’t resist looking around one more time.

At the height of August, the smooth sand and gently warm breeze, would have ensured the miles and miles of coastline, should have been filled with people.

If there were an ocean, she would have spent her days getting a suntan and swimming every day. But there wasn’t an ocean or any people especially anyone who was her age, which she could have been spending her days with.

Everyone had left for the mainland, leaving only the people who wouldn’t go, the few Hotels that refused to close and the reason she was standing there

Instead, she stood all alone and knew she shouldn’t be standing there at the mouth of the cave. The only thing to stand out against the smooth coastline, like a jagged cut in the landscape.

The first time she had seen the cave, she had asked the locals at the hotel if she could explore it.

Yet she got the same reply each time. It was too sacred for “foreigners” like her to enter, but that seemed all they were willing to tell her. Neglecting to tell her the reason why. Even thought she had visited several historical sites and Shrines while stuck on the Island.

She had seen more Jonggo Bell Towers, stood in more Iljumen entrances and spoke to more Priest, then she could remember. Each one telling her “How amazing it was that her Korean could be so perfect” and never looking deeper at her face, to notice the reason why.

After three weeks stuck there, while her sister Julie completed her assignment doing…whatever The Ballard Institute actually did.

Sophia had learned that her sister did live up to her reputation of being efficient and organised and that Sophia, herself had become extremely bored.

So after exploring every inch of the Island, Sophia had come to the decision right in front of her. Now all she had to do was enter, fully aware that Julie could get into a lot of trouble if she did.

Looking around, she could just turn back and that would be it, no one would be the wiser. Yet standing at the cave entrance, it looked so inviting, it almost compelled her.

Taking one more look around she turned back to the mouth of the cave, the wind suddenly causing a strand of her blonde hair, to fly out which she tucked behind her ear.

Switching on the torch she had acquired from Julie that morning, and by acquired took it from her backpack after her sister had left for work.  Sophia finally stepped inside.

Compared to the oppressive heat of the day, the cave felt cold, the only sound was water dripping in the distance somewhere, which gave off an odd echo.

Taking a few steps forward, she lifted her torch to shine deeper into the back of the cave which seemed to stretch out for miles. Sophia took a step forward, all the while trying to ignore the heart beating rapidly in her chest.

Venturing further, her left calf caught against a rock, which caused Sophia to winch.  In hindsight she should have thought better than wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans, she had not to successfully cut into shorts, along with her thankfully old pair of trainers.

A thought which turned to be correct, when her foot skidded on a smooth rock, and almost sent her flying into the rock wall, causing the torch to slip from her hand, which bounced twice on the ground, but thankfully didn’t break.

For a second, Sophia just stood there, with the pain thundering in her left foot, which thankfully passed. She took a moment to look up at the cave ceiling, aware at how high the sound of water dripping was at this point. Retrieving her torch from the ground, she cast her light and gaze into the air and drew a breath.

There, at least, a hundred feet up were stalactites hanging from the ceiling like rust coloured icicles, looking at if they could fall at any moment, and crush her skull.

Something she knew was unlikely, since they had existed for thousands of years, and hadn’t been disturbed by her arrival.

The sight of them, however, made her uncomfortable, so testing her foot on the ground, Sophia noted the ache subsiding, which gave her the motivation to carry on.

For several minutes, the only sounds were her footsteps on the ground, and that continuous dripping water, until she glanced over to the stone wall and stopped. Noticing expertly, intricate carvings cut deeply into the stone wall, which looked familiar to her.

Stepping over to the cold stone, she ran her fingers over the carving, cut apparently by hands, in what resembled old Korean.

Recalling the time her dad had sat her down, with a book in his hands and had decided to teach her about her ancestors, and about the Hanja language, so old it more resembled the ancient Chinese it originated from.

Sophia smiled to herself, knowing that her dad would be proud of her for retaining the information, and made the decision to at least get a photograph.

Stepping back, Sophia reached into her pocket for iPhone noticing she had come so far into the darkness there was no reception, and holding it up; she activated the camera and pressed down.

The light bounced across the wall, capturing the digital image. All of a sudden, the air felt disturbed by a sudden wind, that came out of nowhere with a howl, at it slammed into her, and seemed to pull her further along. The immediate pressure causing Sophia to almost drop both her iPhone and torch, which thankfully stayed in her grip.

Until finally the wind died down, and Sophia adjusted her long hair which had been pulled askew by the sudden force, noticing that she had begun to shiver from the sudden drop in temperature.

Sophia knew, that this should have been the moment she should had just turned round and gone back to the safety of the beach, and forgot all about this. Just return to the Hotel, and that would be it.

“Yeah, that’s it. Just go back”. She said aloud, noticing the echo her voice produced on the rock

Willing herself to remain calm, Sophia thrust her iPhone in her pocket and placed a hand on the rock wall containing the characters to steady herself. Feeling comforted by the warmth she felt. Then she stopped suddenly. The rocks were warm!

Sophia couldn’t explain this, as she felt the heat slipping through her fingers. Perhaps there was a way to explain this, something scientific. Even though she was terrible at science hence didn’t understand how this was happening and wasn’t exactly in a position to question why.

But looking at the symbols, even though she didn’t completely understand the meaning, her curiosity was fired. She had to go on, to see what else awaited her, and she turned and just kept on walking, holding her torch high, her iPhone now safely back in her pocket.

For several minutes, she just walked further, the sounds of the dripping water felt far behind, but she preserved, her hand running over the warm rock like it was a guide.

She had no explanation for it, and within her was the trepidation she still felt. Yet still overridden by her curiosity. Now coming to understand why this cave was so sacred because this wasn’t normal by any stretch of the imagination.

Travelling deeper into the mountain. However, Sophia was beginning to feel confident and more relaxed.

Which was the moment her torch suddenly extinguished.

Immediately, Sophia slapped her hand against it, in a bid to reignite it, but still nothing.

Alone in the cave her panic, which she had been managing to quash with her stupidity in doing this in the first place, begun to rise. Her hands curled around her iPhone in her pocket, which illuminated her face, but it showed no reception. Of course, it had no reception. She had known it had no reception. Why had she even checked?

Sophia, looked behind, to the encroaching darkness, where she had come from and briefly wondered if she could go back successfully. Yet she knew it was futile.

All alone in the darkness, she closed her eyes and willed herself to calm down, counting back in her hand which her mom had taught her to do.

“Ten, night, eight…”

Reaching the final number, and feeling slightly less panicked, Sophia willed her eyes to open. To find the cave drenched in a blue light all around her.

It looked like it was coming from somewhere, as the light, which seemed to start in the distance far in front to her, yet when she turned, stretched all the way back.

The soft blue light that reminded her of the colour of the sea clearly illuminated her way back to safety, but there she just stood trying to make sense of all this and failing. Nothing about this made sense, the light… the carving on the wall, which she couldn’t understand.

“What is going on” she wondered out loud, placing her hand on the carving to find the unnatural heat, in a bid for reassurance which succeeded.

Sophia knew that the sensible thing would be to turn round and just return to the beach, but turning behind her, she just walked forward for a few steps. Her very present fear, now replaced by her natural curiosity. Her dead torch, still in her hand but she didn’t place it back in her backpack, feeling more secure just holding it.

Out of the corner of her eye, just in the distance, she could see where the light seemed to begin and was perhaps the place it originated from. Deciding to continue on her path, almost stumbling over some stones which looked like they had been ripped from their original location, lying scattered on the ground.

Until she came to a smooth cut in the rock, made by hand, which seemed to have been made with care and attention. It did appear clear that this was where the light, whatever it was had originated from. So looking around out of habit, she pressed her way inside.

There was coldness in the room caused by the stones, which had been ornately carved into a chamber, with a high ceiling, which was laced with the strong small of salt.

Sophia looked up and too that the light seemed to come from a place above, which she knew was impossible so far up into the mountain.

Looking around see the light reflect from the rock, producing tiny crystals that glittered across the room, Sophia finally understand what she was standing in, and why the cave was so scared.

“It’s a Shine”, Sophia said to herself. In her time on the Islands, she had seen several, as part of her education when sister Julie had the rare opportunity to spend time with her, but those were nothing like this.

The Shrines on the Islands and there were so many, were filled with colour and ornate decoration. But the only indication of any real effort was the stone table in the centre of the room.

This came up her waist, and stood grander that anything had had ever seen. With graceful cravings in its surface, more expertly made then the cave wall.

Sophia brushed he hands over the serpent-like figures, from Korean mythology, marvelling at their detail, and smoothness. There were some words cut into the legs and table, but Sophia, even though she could speak and read Korean couldn’t understand this.

However, this looked ancient and all she could do was marvel at the detail. Knowing that Julie would be excited to see this, even if that could never happen.

Moving around the table, nearer to the wall, it was then she saw the four objects lying on the ground. Sophia stepped over, and kneeled down on the floor, shrugging off her backpack, and leaving it next to the table, along with her torch.

All were intact, but one which lay shattered into fragments. Like an intense burst of wind had knocked them over. And thinking back over the past few minutes that seemed a possibility. But one lay shattered and scattered across it the stone floor. Its original features were sadly unrecognisable.

Recognising that since this was a Shrine, these objects were gone from the correct place. Sophia picked the intact three up and put them carefully on the table, taking the time to remember what they were.

All of them, she remembered including the one that lay shattered were Kkoktu Statues, each one, at least, half a metre high. Typically used for funerals to protect the dead in the afterlife.

The painted colours had faded, but Sophia could still see that they were meant to be as she picked up the first one, and studied it carefully.  It looked like a Guardian standing fierce and armed with a sword tucked into its expertly carved belt. It looked just like a warrior, Sophia thought and from the mean look in its eyes, it looked poised and ready for a battle, which never came.

Placing him back in upright position, which made a scraping sound when the wood moved against the stone, Sophia then turned her attention to the Entertainer.

In a perfect contrast, he was dressed as an acrobat. His role, since he looked distinctly male, was made with the intention to comfort both the living and the dead in the afterlife. A phrase she had learned from her guidebook.

Placing him upright, Sophia the picked up the Caregiver, this resembled a woman, her face looking maternal and middle aged. Her role provided care and attention as if the deceased were still living, and placing her on the table. Sophia stepped back and realised that something was wrong.

“The Guardians before the Caregiver, the Entertainer after the Guardian,” she said out loud. There were marks on the table indicating where they once stood, as Sophia adjusted them to their rightful places, or as close too.

Stepping back to admire her handiwork, impressed she had remembered so much about Korean funeral rites, she pulled her iPhone from her pocket to at least take a picture.  Sophia lined it up perfect and pressed the shutter down.

Less than a second later, the world exploded into a brilliant light, which spent Sophia slamming into the stone wall, and crashing to the ground.

Looking up, she could only watch in fear as in front of the table, something begun to appear out of nowhere while Sophia tried to move back, but only found the cold stone wall.

Slowly the figure appeared, out of nothingness, in front of her. And all Sophia could do sit in horror, while…whatever it was, begun to solidify and resemble something human.

Sophia’s eyes darted over it, and she could make out the traditional Hanbok garment that was appearing as if it were real and it seemed to be transforming into a human.

Then Sophia begun to realise, that’s exactly what it was, as the face solidified and immediately started to resemble the face of a middle-aged woman.

Sophia eyes darted over, trying to take it all in, and noticed the resemblance to the Kkoktu statue still resting on the table. The Caregiver now resembling a human, yet her colouring was blue like the ocean. Who just looked down at her and just smiled serenity at Sophia, saying the only thing one could possibly say under the circumstances.

“Anyoung hashimnikka.”

The two words, so traditional, so formal and so unnatural, all Sophia could do was scramble to her feet and run.

Diving for the exit, she raced from the Shrine, and just run frantically.

Her heart thumping so hard, everything seemed to slow down, and she stumbled through the cave. Several times skidding on the damp, smooth rocks, and almost fell until the harsh light of the day finally appeared in sight.

Sophia dug her heels in harder, as the warmth of the sun grew closer and burst back into the daylight, and immediately fell onto the sand.

Until this moment, she hadn’t noticed that her knees had been grazed until she felt the dry sand sticking to them, and she just lay there on the sand, struggling to catch her ragged breath.

“Oh god, oh god, oh god” she kept repeating to herself. Had that just happened …what had just happened? What was that? Her mind in turmoil, when the phone vibrated in her pocket, she almost jumped with the shock, as she pulled out her iPhone to see a very familiar number.

“Hi Julie”, Sophia said to her sister trying to remain calm and failing, realising how out of breath her voice sounded. Oh god, calm down Sophia, she willed in her head. Since her sister noticed the agitation in her voice and was immediately concerned.

“I’ve been calling for hours, where were you?” Her sister’s tone reminding her of their mother’s voice.

“Well…well, I went for a walk and forgot the time” Noticing she had been in the cave for two hours…two hours. How could she in there for two hours? She had only gone in a few minutes earlier. How on earth did that become two hours?

“Forgot the time…why have you not been answering your phone?”

Sophia finally saw that her notification had come through now she had reception. Hence, she had seven missed called from her sister.

“Sorry…my phone. I turned it off…trying to save the battery”. The moment she said the words, she immediately cringed. Sophia wasn’t a natural liar and felt certain sure it showed.

“You sound out of breath, where have you been?”

“Well, I…it’s just hot and I got dehydrated,” Sophia said, her lie becoming a bit easier this time.  “Right, remember to drink some water…did you take your water bottle today?” Julie asked.

“Yeah, I did…I got some in my back…oh no”, Sophia breathed as her sister took on her authorial tone once more, “What was that?” Julie asked while Sophia thought quickly.

“Yeah, I got some water; I’ll be back at the hotel soon”. Sophia finished quickly before disconnecting the call, pacing her iPhone on the sand and just put her head in her hands. Her torch that was really Julie’s torch and the backpack…

Glancing back at the cave still scared, still forbidden and currently leaning next to the legs of a table of a Shrine that she shouldn’t have gone into were her things.


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Farewell Alan Rickman

It’s been a bad week to lose your icons, first was David Bowie and then seventy-two hours later, Alan Rickman.

Of all the people, Alan Rickman.

Once again, life’s not fair is it?

Especially not Alan Rickman, who sadly I never met but I have loved since the 1990’s

What I loved most about Alan, is that this was a man who walked away from a career as a graphic designer to become an actor, did it the hard way as a dresser until he got cast in the stage version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Then had to deal with John Malkovich taking his part as the Vicomte de Valmont in the film adaptation. Talk about a kick in the face.

Yet by a strange twist of fate Les Liaisons Dangereuses, got him noticed he went over to Hollywood, for probably no more than shits and giggles and he perhaps he really wanted to see The Statue of Liberty…and got hired two days later for Die Hard.

By this point, he was in his forties, which should be an inspiration to us all never to give up on your dreams. Die Hard, I’ll get to in a second, it was Robin Hood that grabbed me.

It’s strange how some things are so ingrained in your life, that you remember every detail. Like when you’re eleven and it’s your sisters 14th birthday, so it’s her turn to choose the film. When I was young, a trip to the cinema was a luxury reserved only for birthdays.

Along with my mum, We dressed up, had Pizza and sat down to a film that had been out for two months, so the cinema we almost had to ourselves, as we settled down to watch Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

It was the first 12certificate I had ever seen at the cinema and the first film I ever saw Alan Rickman.

From that moment it because R’s favourite film, we eventually got it on video and used to watch it before school and can both quote it.

It’s a truth universally accepted that the British play better villains in Hollywood films, since our natural accents, both contain authority and education, and no one played it better than Alan Rickman

It was funny when I read that Costner was so enraged when he found out that the director was shooting more scene with the Sheriff, so this happened, which I pulled from IMDb

The producers, one of them being director Kevin Reynolds’ longtime friend, Kevin Costner, took over the editing of the film, going to the extent of physically locking the original editor Peter Boyle out of the editing suite. However, they were contractually obliged, under Directors’ Guild rules, to show their cut to Reynolds. He was less than impressed with what they’d done to his film.

Over the years I’ve seen both cuts of the film, the Directors, which I refer to as the “Sheriff version”, and the original. Both are awesome, and he still robbed the film from Costner

Courtesy of that film, for years I thought Nottingham was next to Dover because of a line in that film, since the scriptwriter is worse than geography that I am, and didn’t realise it’s 200 miles away. Not exactly a walk in the Forest, and they detour on Hadrian’s Wall…add 300 miles on to that.

He stole that film from Kevin Costner, which isn’t too difficult when your leading actor, who apparently bothered to try an English accent, but stopped when everyone realised he was terrible, and everyone from Friar Tuck (also one of the greatest actors in this film) steals your scenes, and your own sidekick is being played by Morgan Freeman.

 Robin Hood is a film you can’t take seriously, ever since scene, even the more dramatic like the sack of the hidden village has an element of pantomime about it. Especially since the Celts, looked and wore nothing like that in the 12th Century.

The best thing, however, is that everyone is in on it, apart from Kevin Costner, and no one is playing the pantomime villain more than Alan Rickman. He is a manipulative, comical, bastard who after being given Carte blanche to do what he liked with his lines, used them to his full advantage. He is probably the only actor in history, who after trying to rape his new wife Marion, treats Robin’s big dramatic reveal like he’s the boss reprimanding the work experience!

That film actually cementing the bad guys being British in Hollywood and set the standard for the educated villain. But even though I’m using the word “villain”, at times it just seemed that he was playing an intelligent man, who just knew what he wanted. However to get what he wanted, well he just had to kill a few people.

Now let’s talk about Die Hard, his first ever film which he also stole. Cold, calculating and Rickman, fresh from the stage is treating this like a stage performance, where’s Bruce Willis is playing a guy so jaded who really just hates himself.  But what I liked about Rickman, aside from most of his body of work is that he would do anything. I hate the film Love Actually, and this blog puts it better than I ever could. But he is great in it.

Here is just a quick rundown of my favourite roles

Truly, Madly, Deeply is a film when he may or may not have come back as a ghost. (Debate this in the comments, please) to ruin his girlfriends idealised image of him so she could move on.  And that is magnificent.

Sense and Sensibility is a book I was forced to read and out of the Austen novels, my second least favourite after Emma, but his Colonel Brandon, you,  like Marianna eventually fell in love with him. Proving he could be more than just the villain in the film. His performance, when he falls in love with the young Kate Winslet, felt more powerful then Elinor and Edward throughout the entire film.

Galaxy Quest akin to Leonard Nimoy playing Spock, when he hates being typecasted (something Alan was also concerned about at times) but, in the end, embraced it. Does that sound familiar? But if you haven’t seen the film. Then check it out, it’s a film that celebrates Geeks and Geek culture.

Dogma, a universally sarcastic Angel, who’s seen it all going through a film about the Catholic faith, and how it tests us. While looking like he wants to drink and swallow tequila (just watch it), and going on a road trip with a woman who works at an abortion clinic, a man who was kicked out of the apostles for being black (like everyone was back then).

Along the two stoner antics of Jay and Silent Bob and last but not least Salma Hayek playing a stripper muse. Now I’ve sold you on this film aka the strangest road movie in film history.

However, his last film that I saw him in was A Little Chaos, which he directed, which reunited him with Kate Winslet. He plays Louis XIV of France and she plays his (fictional) gardener Sabine, and of course and once again they nailed their scenes.

This film is a genius because even though, it is viscerally stunning shows us how trapped these people are, by their gender, their place in society. Even the scene with the French Aristocracy of the 17th Century shows us how unhappy these people really are how they have to maintain a facade and as the final shot shows. No matter hard, we work. It’s nothing more than a small blip on the landscape of an even bigger picture.

However what made Alan stand out, what that, unlike some actors who openly care about Oscars and Awards and validation for their performances. He most certainly didn’t. He won a Bafta for Robin Hood and poked fun at himself.

 He took parts that interested him, and looking back aside from Love Actually, An Awfully Big Adventure and Ok Help I’m a Fish, (voice work counts) had never been in a bad film. He loved his wife, family and just doing what he did.

So in concluding my tribute, just thanks, Alan, thank you for all the understated performances, the pantomime performances and we will mourn you, and salute you.

But mainly thanks for Robin Hood xx

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The Release Date of A Twisted Christmas Carol

So, today was Publication Day, and since this is me, it naturally entailed staying up all night, uploading it twice, and having to contact Amazon to delete one of them.

But this is it, my second finished book and just in time for Christmas.

Now it’s over, I feel a bit sad and I know I’m not the only person to feel like this. This one took two years, a hell of a lot of rewrites, and editing and proofreading. But from what I see, I finally have perfection…at least I hope so.

I know that adaptations of A Christmas Carol are nothing new, but what I’ve done is something I have never read or seen, and hope that people will like my original take on the story. Additionally I never realised the story was so short, as only twenty-six thousand words.

But what’s next, well now I can direct my focus on to my Master’s and see what happens next.


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The struggles of a Master’s Degree.

It’s been six weeks since I started Kingston University and this week is reading week so I finally have a chance to catch up on the reading, and the work, and the writing and to start thinking about my finished piece. You know I won’t be thinking about quitting smoking anytime soon, but for one reason the only thing I have on my mind is Virginia Woolf, and her essay A Room of One’s Own.

I pulled this from Wiki, which may explain what the hell I’m talking about

The title of the essay comes from Woolf’s conception that, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”. Woolf notes that women have been kept from writing because of their relative poverty, and financial freedom will bring women the freedom to write; “In the first place, to have a room of her own… was out of the question, unless her parents were exceptionally rich or very noble”. The title also refers to any author’s need for poetic license and the personal liberty to create art.

Well, Virginia, I have a room of my own, the problem is I haven’t got the time to write. Then again as a feminist, what I understood about Virginia Woolf I recall from a lecture back in the day, about Mrs Dalloway. And how dear Virginia was too good for this sinful patricial earth, so walked into the River Ouse with stones in her pocket and passed on like a water spirit.

From what I got from my research, Virginia Woolf had all the above, alas never went to University but took up with the Bloomsbury Set. Took part in the Dreadnought Hoax, had daddy issues, breakdown after breakdown and I get that mental illness is a serious thing and I have every sympathy for her, but she had all of the above and crafted some great books.

However, it’s hard to really against a patriarchal system when it pays for what you want to do. Not what you have to do.

Yes, a feminist critical of Virginia Woolf, the same way I constantly am of middle-class writers.

You can tell by this since I’ve compared myself to Virginia Woolf, is that I am struggling.

Right now I’m a full-time student, a part-time worker currently doing four days a week, to afford said masters, and being stretched at best while currently telling myself that this will help me in the future…and god knows how!

If anyone out there ever feels trapped, this is what it feels like!

The worst thing is, is that I need support. I haven’t  written an essay in ten years, I haven’t really done anything academic and Kingston does ironically provide this type of support, but it’s on a day I don’t have lectures and a day when I’m at work.

This new reality is a lot different from living in Hall’s I tell you, and with regards to me it’s already having a knock-on effect because I am so tired all the time.

Already I’m behind in my writing, and having my work critiqued, which is as painful as it sounds, especially since I’m surrounded by many talented writers who can’t see how their talented, and each time I critique their work, I feel like taping a sign saying “It’s Perfect”.

I never realised how much easier it was in Winchester, since yes I was working forty hours a week, but since they were near to my home, and university, since I worked twenty-four hours over the weekend and the rest during the day so it was easier. Now I have to drag myself home as a shift worker at ten pm each night, and hit the books, whilst praying for a lottery win, or a mysterious benefactor who will take an interest in me.

It worked for Now You See Me, which was less that a mysterious benefactor and more of a…just watch, the film if you haven’t. No spoilers here

Ok, Great Expectations, Pip had a benefactor, and did good things with his life…as memory serves. That book really depressed the hell out of me.

Why do I feel like a mysterious Benefactor would screw me up emotionally, so perhaps just a lottery win instead would be nice?

So we got to Virginia Woolf and my struggles at university but to put a point to this post…is that my book will be out within a week. My stress levels have so increased again.

Be back soon

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Back to the Future, and a Geekling’s Journey

Now I wasn’t going to write this, I wasn’t going to jump on the bandwagon, in which the Internet is full of Geek Pride, and crowing about this day, a day that has taken so long to come round, and now it’s finally here…and now everything in Back to the Future, is now in the past.

Where the hell is my Hoverboard?

God, this film lied to me, I remember as a wee Geekling at the age of nine, seeing the second film and admittedly it confused the hell out of me, with the whole going back and forth between 1985, 2015, 1985-A and then back to 1955…from a different angle!

I also saw the first one when I was five, the year it came out (my parents were cool). The plot was too complicated for my brain, with incest overtones (they were brief, however) and a car I thought was made up until I was about ten. The DeLorean DMC-12 does seem a bit ahead of its time, and ever since that moment I’ve had a dream of going 88 miles in one through a lightning storm…just to see what happens?

I’m going to say here, I’d probably be killed by such an attempt! You have to also give this Trilogy some respect, since the DeLorean DMC-12, would have been a footnote in history. Instead, it’s something revered by the Geek Nation.

I’m also going to say it here, about 1985-A, (the alternative present)the reason Marty’s siblings were not seen, was that his sister, Linda, played by Wendie Jo Sperber, who passed away in 2005 from breast cancer, and couldn’t be in the film because she was pregnant. Hence the reason Dave wasn’t in the film, aside from a deleted scene. Just had to break in to say this, she was a very good actress and was gone too soon xx

However, what I learned about the “ripple effect”, or the codes and conventions of time travel films, I learned from these film, since Marty McFly’ does show some out of character moments, turning someone so adorkable, into to someone who hates being pissed off.

Alternative parenting from George McFly will do that to you, even though Marty really does grow a pair over the course of all three films, and matures. You have to love the Trilogy films just for the character development, of every single person.

Aside from Marty and Doc, who I’ll be geeking out in a few sentences, my favourite character is Lorraine, Marty’s mum, played by the fantastic Lea Thompson who we see in the future, and looks fine, then in the past as a happy teenager, before her 1985-A self, which just broke my heart several times over.

The simple fact that in 1955, George saved her from being raped by Biff, and in this alternative timeline she’s forced to marry him, shows how sick their marriage really is.

BTTF2 really is a red hot mess of a trilogy, but one that works so well, especially since everything happens, because of Marty. But none of the films are about him.

The first: Trying to correct his family, and making us fall in love with the adorkable, George, played by Crispin Glover…his reason for not being in the sequels are a bit dickish, though. He didn’t like the ending for the first film and wanted the same salary as Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Even though I do think suing them, was good for him. I had to acknowledge it here.

The Second: Marty realising how much he’s screwed up, (ripple effect) and loses his father, who he really identified with, and trying to restore everything to the way it was.

The Third: Wild West and Doc gets the girl and my favourite one of the two sequels. Doc meets his soul mate, the fantastic Clara Clayton.

Being only five, when the first film came out, I had no idea what was going on, but just because it has a sequel hook, didn’t mean I wanted a sequel.

I had never had to wait for a film and thought the first was perfect the way it was. I developed a bit of a crush on Michael J Fox, went on to be terrified by Christopher Lloyd in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, and then I found out that there would be a sequel, and I guess I was indifferent.

But when I saw it, I was blown away.

What I’ve always liked about this unintentional Trilogy which never should have worked, is that not a single word is wasted, everything said and done has some consequence later on, from Biff watching A Fistful of Dollars in 1985-A from Marty using the same technique in 1885, which is also a call-back to how Doc survived being killed by the Libyans in 1985. It’s that perfect.

Another thing about BTTF, is that it’s not a big film, Marty goes through time but never leaves his home town of Hill Valley, but it feels bigger than what it is due to the consequences of the story, and that fantastic soundtrack by Alan Silvestri

What really makes these films work, is that you never question the relationship between Marty and Doc, even though Director Bob Gale did offer an explanation, which he was hired to do errands and found Doc has a great music collection because it works so well.

They’re both oddballs, who don’t fit in. naturally they would become friends, especially since in this timeline George McFly isn’t what you could call an attentive parent, and Marty needed a surrogate father.

Lloyd and Fox, work so well together that you just believe everything, over the course of three films both characters grow. Doc, who was a secret badass anyway, but goes on to face off against Mad Dog Tannen and Marty, takes responsibility for his actions, and every film is just perfect.

Well aside from the Hoverboard, 2015-10-21 got so much wrong. Thankfully we are not paying $50 for a bottle of Pepsi; there was no Jaws 19 “Shark still looks fake”, no flying cars, and no rehydrated pizza.

However, they did get google glasses, right and TV’s with video messaging and multiple channels. They also didn’t predict the Internet, but very few did. Aside from Jules Verne! They knew they were going to be off, so just decided to roll with it, and in effect inspired some of the technologies presented in this film. Sadly watching this at the age of nine, I was hoping technology would have advanced a little bit better.

Hoverboard anyone?

But apart from that, this is my favourite film Trilogy for a reason, and that; because of its sharp dialogue, fun lines, tight script and believable relationships between the characters. My only issue with BTTF 2 is that at the end of the film, it showed a trailer for the third one, that ruined the ending…but Doc still got the girl, so it’s all good.

Additionally, was I the only one who never noticed there were two Jennifer’s?

But to finish this, since I had to mark the occasion, everything in Back to the Future that is made possible is done through the actions of one woman. And that is the Clock Tower Lady, played by Elsa Raven, who was so incensed that Mayor Goldie Wilson (who was inspired by Marty to become Mayor, in the first place, and seems like a nice guy) who by giving the flyer to Marty, told him the time the lightning bolt would hit the Clock Tower, producing the 1.21 jigowatts, enabling Marty to go Back to the Future.

But to finish, I have to say one more time

Where is my Hoverboard?


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Cover Reveal and finding a professional editor…again

Ok, so if I wasn’t stressed enough, I have just started my Master’s Degree, which is going well….even though I’ve only had two lectures so far. Yeah, watch this space for that, because yes I know this is going to kill me already!

But in other news and the reason I started this blog in the first place, is that I have finished my second book, yeah me. I did it…ok, I didn’t do it myself, I had a basis to work on, but this is the cover.
Created by David Winterbourne and I think he did a fantastic job.


The second one was my editor, which after Google search led me to, and the talents of James Burford, who works under UKProofreaders on

For what it cost me, oh god he did a fantastic job for what I paid him. Yes, recommending him now since he is brilliant.

After I had sent him my book, and it was back in less than a week, and I was so embarrassed by the mistakes I had made, but he did a brilliant job and so professional since the website is bloody confusing! So after Alison, a friend of mine who is giving it the once over has finished, I’ll be ready to go.

My second book and one I’m very proud of shall be out in a few weeks, so watch this space.


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New Beginnings and a Two Year Reflection

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Allen Saunders.1957

So here we are, two years to the moment since the accident, incidentally a year since I had that lump of useless removed from my breast.

And that’s still causing me some pain too…yeah; really think I need to get that checked out since when I went a few months ago they told me it was “scar tissue”.

Great, more scar irritation, as if the foot wasn’t bad enough.

Looking over the last two years, I can see the cynicism that managed to creep in, especially since my foot is still causing me pain. Even though I’m pretty much desensitised to it, now since that won’t go away and I still have arthritis to look forward too (yea!).

It’s these moments where I think where my life should have been to what it is now. Two years ago, I was so close to Japan and was applying for the Jet Programme. I could almost taste the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park, when this happened and pretty much vetoed my chance of every getting it.

I’ve applied twice, the first time ok I can understand. But even though I speak basic Japanese, have a degree, am a published poet and writer (self), hold two TEFL qualifications…I’m still not good enough. And now they will never hire someone with metal in their foot, no matter how qualified I am!

By the way, it’s on my Geek List and this is the “dream” I’m referring too! I really should put it on the bottom category since I’ve more chance of meeting Michael Rooker (hint drop) than getting that dream to come true.

No wonder I decided to try to change my path, on my own terms, and to quote my mum “Their loss”, thanks mum!

So as you probably guess I’m feeling the anxiety since today, is two years since the accident and by a sheer coincidence this is also the day I enrol at University, although I did go down there already for the Fresher Fair, and the Post Graduate Networking Event, both very awesome, and not because I got lots of nice free stuff.

Kingston does have a good vibe about it, and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy my time there, even though I’m going to struggle to afford it, and have to deal with the stress this will bring.

But it’s a new beginning and that’s what I need, however I’m anxious, because when will I have the time to do this? Unlike the meme there is no one out there “To give me a hug, chocolate and a cheque for five millions pounds”, but if there is and you’re out there, I would be very grateful.

So from this moment, new beginnings and changes and a Masters to look forward too, even though I did learn two days ago that Kingston is in the top five Creative Writing Master Programs, in the entire country…and they let me in!

I know I earned my place, since they saw my work and must have thought I had potential, even though I am dying to ask them why they let me in. But right now I’m trying just telling myself, my own personal mantra.

“I learned to walk again, I can do anything”.

It’s working for me so far, so I’ll tell you how it goes later.


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