“Grandfather Sea has new eyes now”

The water is a mirror, I’m scared to break the surface,
but our boat just glides through the waves like it owns the place.
On the sea surrounded by sleepy gulls and my grandmother’s handwriting was not where I thought I’d spend my evening, but I’m glad I’m here.
My grandad is steering, like he always is.

Grandfather sea, the saltwater man.
I’ve written poems about him before, said he is like the ocean he grew up next to;
only now do I understand how right I was.

He’s not made of salt water so much as shaped of it,
unpredictable and stormy, wondrous and wild.

I look at how he grips the steering wheel, trained hands that know how to navigate rocks and isles and deep velvet oceans.
It is in his fingers, his eyes, his back,
like riding a bicycle is in my legs.

I used to compare him to the sea;

His heart forceful like the waves, voice quick like sea foam, all excitement and loud words and dark coffee spluttering in a coffee maker.
Now I see the ocean in him, in the pull of the currents towards his home.
I see the sea in how he glides through the ripples, I see the waves in his mind as tension in his hands.

He looks at old horizons with new eyes, navigates charted waters without her telling him where to go.

The water is a mirror, I’m scared I’ll break the surface,
but his surface is one i’m just starting to chip away at.

I went out for a little trip on the fjord with my grandad the other day, and had some time to reflect as we were … driving? We talked about stuff you can only talk about when there is water all around you, and we sat in comfortable silence, silence that felt like home. It all made me think of a poem I wrote about my grandad in my first year of uni, and how both my voice and his focus has changed a lot during the course of those three years, and especially this last year; a year filled with permanent changes that have affected all of us. All of this reflection resulted in this work-in-progress poem! I hope you like it!

Have a wonderful day,

-Andrea

WWW Wednesday June 27

Time for another WWW Wednesday, this wonderful challenge hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words!
I’m still really enjoying these, and I hope you are too, so let’s get started:

I just finished
Longbourn by Jo Baker

I know you’ve seen this picture before, as I wrote about this book a couple of WWWs before. On the original post, a couple of people left some curious comments about this book, and so instead of the blurb, I thought I’d put in a little mini-review here! If you do want to read the blurb, though, it can be found here.

The pacing of the book feels a bit slow and from time to time I was so infuriated with the various characters the reader gets to follow, but as a whole I really, really enjoyed this book. It didn’t have that “stiff-ness” that I’m struggling a bit with in Austen’s books (a time-thing, I know, I’m aware people wrote very differently in the 1800s than they do now writing about the 1800s), and I enjoyed the descriptive language and how Baker uses dialogue to show the character’s relationships and social statuses. Also great to get the Bennet family’s situation put into perspective by seeing the story from the servants’ perspective. On my many attempts of getting through Pride and Prejudice I’ve always enjoyed Lizzie’s character and how she doesn’t care about what people think of her, but while reading from Sarah’s point of view, I get how Lizzie’s free-spiritedness caused the servants a lot of extra work (i.e impossible-to-clean muddy underskirts and torn boots after the walk to Netherfield). Great book; a good historical read that can be enjoyed by anoyone, avid Pride and Prejudice fan or curious beginner.

I’m currently reading
TimeKeeper by Tara Sim

I may have been a little bit snobby about ebooks a couple of years ago, but this year I’ve really started using them. I one hundred precent retract and apologise for my snobbiness. Ebooks are wonderful! The reason why I’ve started using them are because my bookshelves are so full it’s not even funny, ebooks are a bit cheeper than physucal books, and a lot of the books I’d like to read aren’t as easily available here in Norway as they were in the uk. I’m of course not ever just gonna stop buying and reading physical books, but I’m excited to start using ebooks as an alternative to always getting the physical book.
When it comes to this specific book, I stumbled upon it and was completely captivated by the promise of a steampunk clocktower romance. I’m here for it.

Blurb:
An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.
A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.
A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.
A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

Next on the list is
Dammyr by Victoria Kielland

I have no clue what this book is about, but it’s  set in my hometown, in a “part” of town (Dammyr) I used to walk through almost daily. I’m intrigued to read about my home from the point of view of someone else, to see the town I know so well described and fit into the plot of a novel. Plus, the book looks really pretty.

Blurb:
It doesn’t have one, the cover’s really minimalist with only the title and the author’s name, plus a little embossed rose, I think? The back is empty.

So that was this week’s WWW! Sorry this post was a bit wordy, but I hope you either found some books you’ve read or some covers that peeked your interest. As always, please feel free to leave your WWW posts in the comments below, or fire any sort of book related comment at me. I love talking about books, and last week’s WWW post initiated a lot of great book conversations with lots of lovely people, which I absolutely loved!

Hope you have a wonderful day!
-Andrea

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

It’s finally here; The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt!
Okay, I know it’s not “finally” for you, as I haven’t really told you about this, but I’ve been planning this post for ages.

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt is quite an old challenge, created by TheLibraryOfSarah, but I’ve never done it before, and thought maybe this post could work as a loose recommendation post, to remind you of books you’ve left forgotten at the back of your bookshelf, or maybe the covers will make you curious and eager to try something new? I also hope this post can work as a reminder to myself about what these books mean and why I keep them around, that they’re not just a static collection on a shelf, but items I cherish.

This post’s gonna be a long one, so go make yourself a cup of tea and hit that “Continue Reading” bar and lets have a good chat about some books!

Read More

WWW Wednesday June 13

Wednesday again already? Where did this week go?
Work, really. That’s where this week’s gone. But work I thoroughly enjoy, though, so no complaining here!

But yes, time for another WWW Wednesday; this wonderful thing hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Anyone can join the WWW Wednesday! All you need to do is answer three simple questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading
Longbourn by Jo Baker

Even though I’m not doing all too well with it, I’m still attempting to finish all of Jane Austen’s novels in 2018. Maybe reading this could be the push I need to get started again!

Blurb:
“If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d more likely be a sight more careful with them.” In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs.

I just finished
Nærmere kommer vi ikke by Monika Steinholm

Last summer I started working shifts at a library, and this year I’m doing full weeks of shifts, enabling me to really get into the routines and the work. I enjoy it a lot, and one of the (many) reasons why I love it so much is that it gets me into reading Norwegian books again. As much as I love English literature and the English language, there is a certain kind of charm and comfort in a really good Norwegian novel; a novel such as this one.

Blurb: (translated)

Jens is scared of making a fool of himself, scared of water and scared of blood. Edor is dating Beate and he’s practicing new skateboard moves, skinny dipping with Celia and swimming further from shore than he ought to.
The only thing Edor is scared of, is how Jens makes his stomach flutter.
A novel about all-consuming love, painful and wonderful all at the same time. A love everyone can recognise, whether they’re gay, straight, bi or just a little bit queer.

Next book on the list
Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton



A poetry book I’ve had on my shelf since my first semester-third year poetry module, and keep telling myself I have to get on reading. There idea of the pink ice cream front contrasting the heavy subject matter fascinates me, and I’m excited to put it on this list to keep myself a bit more accountable and actually read it this time!

Blurb:

Sunshine is the new collection from Next Generation Poet Melissa Lee-Houghton. A writer of startling confession, her poems inhabit the lonely hotel rooms, psych wards and deserted lanes of austerity Britain.
Sunshine combines acute social observation with a dark, surreal humor, born of first-hand experience. Abuse, addiction and mental health are all subject to Lee-Houghton’s poetic eye. But these are also poems of extravagance, hope and desire, that stake new ground for the Romantic lyric in an age of social media and internet porn. In this new book of poems, Melissa Lee-Houghton shines a light on human ecstasy and sadness with blinding precision.


I really like doing these WWW Wednesdays and would love to read more of other people’s WWWs! If you’re doing a WWW this week or has done some before, please feel free to leave the link below, I’d love to have a look!
Also, I hope you don’t mind that some of the books won’t be in English from now on! My bookshelf is a mess not organized by language, and some days just call for a Norwegian book, as other days need an English one.
Once again, would love to hear from you about your WWWs!

Have a wonderful day,
-Andrea

“I said there’s no getting rid of me now to which he replied I’ll hold you to that”

and when we’re fifty-three
we’ll have a house with a sea view and a stove top kettle.
There’ll be a cat called Steve
and you’ll put on red slippers to fetch the newspaper.
I don’t know where we’ll be,
Portreath, Marrakech, Porto,
all I know is that I’ll race you to the cupboard every morning
and you’ll hide my glasses every evening, we’ll make every day a game.

And when we’re sixty-two
we’ll sleep naked like starfish in the middle of the bed
and your heavy hands will follow my wrinkles,

trace the stories in my worn thin skin.
For the one million and thirteenth time,
I’ll stroke your balding head,
and go in for a kiss
but lick your nose
instead.

And when we’re seventy-four
I’ll smack your butt in the kitchen,
as you take out the turkey,
and our daughter of forty-three will sigh and tell us
get a room,
so we’ll sneak away to the pantry,
and steal kisses by the roast potatoes.

And when we’re eighty-one
I’ll ask you if you love me
and you’ll say
nah, you’re just handy to keep around,
so I’ll stick my tongue out at you,
and you’ll put your hand in mine,
that space that’s made
just for you.

(An edited version of an old poem, picture from Pixabay)

-Andrea

Journal #6

AFAC29B9-6BB3-4A6F-B409-DEE8A8EFDE38They say everything comes alive in spring, but I believe summer brings out the best in us. I’m sat on a veranda enveloped in the smell of roses and foxgloves, nursing a mug of strawberry tea, wondering how a warm drink can feel like a cold treat in this heat. Blue tits and flycatchers have been flying around me all morning, gliding from pine to spruce to silver birch. They’re small reminders that no matter what happens, the chatter of birds and the flapping of small wings will always sound like home. A couple of ants are walking in an uneven line along the stem of the peonies. In contrast to the skittering ants, my book is moving at a slow pace and it’s just the way I want it right now. I wonder how many days like this you get in a year. Days where the sun is awake and the clouds are busy somewhere else, and the breeze is playing around your feet and you have nowhere else to be. Summer has hit our little part of the world, and it’s charging batteries that’ve been empty for too long.

-Andrea

“I Think I’m Dreaming” again and “Intimacy in the age of social media”

Two posts in one day, I know, I’m sorry.
You see, in my last post I was talking about these two pieces I’ve handed in and gotten back, and I just wanted to share them with you!

This is the creative piece I had to edit so much, called “I Think I’m Dreaming”.
Like I said, it’s a sci-fi, speculative type thingy, and I had a lot of fun writing it.
You can find it by clicking here!

The picture will hopefully make a little more sense after reading the piece.

The second piece, which I don’t think I’ve talked as much about before, is a reflective essay. The main essay title we got as part of the assessment was “How We Live Now”, and then we had to make our own under-title. I ended up writing an essay about how social media has changed our way of being intimate, pros and cons of being able to stay connected with anyone anywhere in the world, and asked the question; Has social media made us incapable of forming and maintaining intimate connections?
It was a really interesting essay to work on, and I’d love it if you’d check it out!
You can do that here!

Okay, that’s all for today, I promise!
Thanks for taking the time to read these posts and maybe also the pieces.

Have a great day!
-Andrea

Tricking Motivation Pt.3

And now we’ve reached the end of this mini-series; how to unblock your mind if you’re feeling stuck while writing.

We’ve looked at how to find the motivation to get started, how to stay focused during long sessions, but what if you’ve settled down in your designated workspace, you’ve got your writing music on, and still find yourself stuck? Maybe it’s a creative issue, like where to take a plot or how to handle a character or maybe you’re struggling with finding the right angle for an essay question or finding relevant connections in your resources and references.

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There is a key-phrase for this post, and one phrase slithering like a red thread through this issue of being stuck; change of scenery. If you stay staring at your computer screen, in the exact same place, on the exact same word document, you’ll most likely stay right where you are on your problem, but with a little change of air, you might see some solutions start appearing. Read on for some ways to find this change whilst working!

7. Go for a walk

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Leave your computer where it is, leave your documents and notes and research behind and get outside. Walk through town, have a wander through a nearby park, do a little hike if you live and work near some woods. Getting out, feeling the wind on your face and breathing some fresh air might help you see your issue in a new light, and even when you’re not actively thinking about it, you’re processing the issue in your head, subconsciously working with your problem. I always find an essay feels less daunting and chaotic after a little walk, after you’ve seen some people and heard some bird chatter. You don’t have to go too far either, just a stroll around campus might be enough if you’re on a tight schedule or just not feeling a long walk. Try it, maybe you’ll be surprised!

8. Have a shower or a bath

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This point is quite similar to the one above; take a break and just think about what’s got you stuck, without staring at your screen, actively trying to solve it. Let the warm water wash over you and let yourself relax completely. Then put on some comfortable clothes, tie your hair up, put on some moisturizer and pamper yourself a bit. Make yourself a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate, and get back to your writing or your work, and have a look at it with fresh eyes. This has helped me so many times and might be my favourite trick to get going again when I’m stuck.

9. Change up your workspace

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Pack up your stuff and move to a different space. This does contradict creating a consistent workspace, but if you’re really stuck, it might not be enough with just a break to clear your mind, you might need a new workspace altogether. Grab your laptop and your notes and get comfy in a cafe, in a park or just in a different part of the library. The new people surrounding you, the new smells and sounds and different impulses, might help jolt your brain out of whatever rut it’s stuck on, helping you find that new angle or the solution to that plot-hole.

And last but not least, a point that spans over all three posts in this “Tricking Motivation”-series;

10. Write with someone else

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If you’re stuck, if you’re struggling with keeping your focus and motivation or if you catch yourself whittling time away on your phone, collaborative writing may be the solution for you. Working with someone is very useful for writers for a lot of reasons. First of all, writing is often quite solitary work, but having someone to bounce ideas off of, to brainstorm with and to workshop sentences and pieces with, can both make the process of writing quicker, more productive and more fun, and it will most likely lead to a better product. Working with someone also means that you have someone who keeps you accountable for how you spend your time. They can catch you if you start drifting off before the designated break time and they can help you keep your eyes off your phone and your fingers on the keyboard. This is, of course, as long as they’re not the one drifting off or distracting you with chitchat and cat videos. I do believe everyone’s been both of these people, one or two times before.

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So, there you go, three posts about how to find motivation, keep focused, and get back on track when you’re stuck. This was my first attempt at a scheduled “article-esque”  mini-series on this blog, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot! Looking forward to writing more posts like this in the future. Hopefully, you found some of these points helpful, either as a reminder of something you already knew or as easy solutions you’ve just not really thought about before.

Thank you so much for reading these “Tricking Motivation” posts, and I wish you all the best for your writing sessions in the future.

Question of the day: What do you do to get your brain going again when you’re stuck?

-Andrea

 

Tricking Motivation Pt. 2

More motivation talk! Hopefully, yesterday’s post was helpful to you, even though I’m aware none of my tips are in any way groundbreaking. It’s always nice to be reminded of things we already know, though, so view these two posts as gentle reminders to not eat and work in the same space and to take a breath if you’re stuck.

In today’s post, I wanted us to have a look at how to keep motivated when you’ve first started writing, so basically, this is more about focus than motivation. Sometimes you need to just buckle up and move into the library to do what you need to get done, and long sessions of work can be tiring and unmotivating. When you’ve found your designated workspace, you’ve got all your notes and research ready and you have your schedule/deadlines in front of you, how do you stay focused on the task at hand?

4. Listen to your “work music”
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A lot like finding one place to work can help kickstart your brain, finding one playlist or a type of music that you only listen to while working can help keep your brain in “work mode”, for as long as you need to focus. Personally, I always put on this video/music, when I need to stay focused.

I don’t know why, but there is something about this that makes me forget that time is even passing, and that might be the point of having a playlist to work to; it has to make you disappear into your work and help you not get distracted by every single sound around you.

5. Make sure your phone is out of sight

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I am an avid smartphone user with no desire to completely cut my phone out of my life. I appreciate how social media keeps me connected to my Norway friends when I’m in England, and my England friends when I’m in Norway, and I frequently use it for study purposes, with for example translation programs and online journals. However, after reading this article about how “the mere presence of a cell phone can distract you by diminishing your attention span and cognitive ability, even without using it,” I tried out just putting my phone behind my laptop screen or computer monitor while working, and it made such a difference. By not having my phone next to me I didn’t feel the need to check any social media apps once during my work session, and it did make for a more focused session. After trying it once I started incorporating it into my work habits, and I can honestly say that it has changed my focus while working for the better.

6. Keep your breaks sacred 

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Of course, you need to spend more time actively working than you spend on a break, but breaks are very important in a balanced “study diet”. Schedule short breaks throughout your working session; I like to work for twenty minutes and then give myself five minutes to just sit back in my chair and stare out the window for a while. Whatever intervals work best for you, remember to be productive during work-periods, and properly relax during your breaks. Working like this will most likely let you keep going for longer, instead of just powering through hours upon hours without letting your brain rest at all.

Question of the day: How do you stay focused during long sessions?

-Andrea

Tricking Motivation Pt.1

Motivation is a funny thing that often rears its head at the most inopportune moments, like on a long car journey or at 1 AM. Motivation does not care about deadlines and timetables, it’s doing its own thing

Of course, we should all be doing our own things, and following your heart should always be encouraged. Motivation doing its own thing, however, is not awfully helpful when you’re getting close to the end of the semester and are desperately trying to meet all those deadlines that pile up. As I have now officially handed in the last assignment of my BA, (stay tuned for a post about the last stretch on that piece!) I figured it would be time to share how I’ve tricked myself into feeling motivated (when I really didn’t want to work) these last three years.

This post will be split into three parts, and in this first part, we’ll just have a look at some easy ways to find (or make) motivation before you start writing.

1. Make yourself a workspace

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My number 1 tip for how to be productive and get started with what you need doing, is to have a designated workspace. It might be difficult to differentiate between workspace and relax-zone, especially if you live in halls, where you eat, sleep, relax and try to get work done, all in the same room. Choosing a part of your desk that is for working only,  finding a cafe you never go to for anything but work or a spot in the library, will often help kickstart your brain if it’s a bit sluggish and work-shy. Personally, I cannot work in my room. For this, the library has been my saviour these last three years. The amount of time I’ve struggled for days with assignments at home, only for the words to flow out of my fingers the second I’m sat by a library computer is ridiculous, but at least it means the work gets done. Having a designated workspace also means that you can take proper breaks by leaving said space, and I’m all here for the most productive breaks, as this means you can get back to work again quickly!

2. Make sure you have all your notes ready

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Oh, how I’d love for my notes to look like this (I’m aware the notepad is blank, but I appreciate the aesthetic, okay?), but I’m pretty sure no one’s desk ever looks this clean while working. A girl can dream, though.
However, what I’ve found to be useful while “faking it ’til you’re making it” in the motivation department, is to make sure you’ve got all your notes and research ready before you start typing. Find all the books you need in the library, print out those essays (you can always plant some trees later), highlight and colour code your notes if you need to – just have it in front of you. Flicking through stacks of paper is less likely to have you switch your internet tabs to social media, something that might be tempting if you’re looking through online research while working. Also, colour coding makes you both look and feel prepared, which is never a bad thing.

3. Set your own mini-deadlines

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I “found” this skill while working on my BA dissertation this year; make small, in-progress deadlines for yourself throughout your projects. There is almost always a correlation between the deadline and the workload; if your uni lecturer or teacher or whoever is assigning you work has given you a long time to finish a task that most likely means you need that time. Make deadlines for yourself, like when you want the idea fully formed and finished, when you want the first 500 or 1000 words done, or when you want your first draft complete so you can spend the rest of your time just reworking what you have. Making yourself a schedule with small deadlines as you go along can make a big assignment or piece of work seem a lot more manageable and easier to get started on.

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Of course, these tips aren’t just for finding the motivation to finish assignments; it’s for getting all kinds of work done, for revising or studying, and for any sort of writing in general.

Question of the day: How do you find motivation when you need it?

-Andrea