Josh’s Book

Josh Ritter has written a book! Two of my favourite things merged together… To be perfectly honest, when I heard I wasn’t sure whether to be so happy and dying to read it, or to be super jealous. But I figured that he is 34 and I am 21 so I have plenty of time to catch up with him! The book is called ‘Bright’s Passage‘ (I really love the name – especially as the character is called Harry Bright) and you can download the first chapter here. I think I am more excited for the language and the actual writing rather than the story, but I am very excited for the yarn, too. It’s due for release in America, at least, in June. I can’t wait to get my hands on it, and then the next time I have the pleasure of going to see him I shall bring it with me with the hope of getting it signed and one of those smiles.

In a strange way I think I would actually call Josh my favourite writer already, I love his lyrics so much. It’s definitely his gorgeous lyrics that make him my favourite.

The very first Josh Ritter song I heard is called ‘Bright Smile’ (appropriate?) which I think was in 2005 -although the album was from 2003 -and I’ve actually never heard him sing it live. I’ll leave you with a lyric from that:

If she’s your only one, then she is also mine,

Just pin your heartbeat up against my heartbeat

And you’ll see how well we rhyme.

Actually here is the video too ! He has a lot more impressive and amazing songs and I’m not sure this is my favourite but I will always have a soft spot for it, enjoy!


Keeping one’s place

What is your stance on bookmarks? I enjoy a nice bookmark. I am always stashing them away, promptly losing them and then finding them all over the place. I hate when I abandon a book part of the way through because I’m just not enjoying it (It rarely happens – I see that as giving up!) and thus sacrifice a trusty bookmark that has been keeping the place, not to be discovered again until I am having a clear out and have collected up unread books to take to charity.

I’m not one of those people who shouts at others for folding down the corners of pages, though I do feel guilty if I ever resort to this, incase one of these people are watching. However, come to think of it, I really dislike when people splay a book out, face down, to keep the place. Breaks the spine and leading to shedding of pages. I lost the wonderful “A Million Little Pieces” AND “My Friend Leonard” – both by James Frey to this treatment. *ahem* sister did it *ahem ahem*

I had a quick look around my room for both proper bookmarks and other things that I have been keeping pages and was vaguely entertained to find a Nandos receipt among

Bookmarks and things I have been using as bookmarks...

others slips of paper and cardboard that happened to be close at hand at the time. My favourite bookmark is the Winnie the Pooh one that declares “No one can be uncheered by a balloon.”

A friend put me on to this website: A girl who works at a used bookstore documents the ‘personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things’ she finds in the books here.

Sometimes I push my bookmark out of sight in class so that people can’t observe that no, I haven’t read the last 30 pages of this week’s book, but I will try to hide my surprise when the ending is discussed.

I love the fact that people put secrets into Postsecret books in the bookshop, it would be really special to find one. The strangest thing I have ever found in a book is an apparent suicide note written on the inside back cover of a copy of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde that I got from the Central Library while still at school.  I always write a wee line or two in books that I give as presents, because I love to look back on things like that myself, or see it in a second hand book.

A thought: They travel through the pages with us. They are our promise to come back.

Deep Breath !

I can barely look, but I am going to put the link to this – my still new blog on twitter now. Maybe. I have prattling away to myself for just over a month now. Well, myself and my boyfriend I believe. (Hi Michael!)

A hand model!

I’m not proud of it yet, and I don’t even have an idea for my next post – I actually don’t really want to do this, but I will have to sometime and I kind of promised myself (and my handful of followers) that I would give the link in my 1000th tweet.

I was told recently that blogs should be specific – for a purpose; photography, music, politics… mine isn’t, but all my favourite blogs seem to be a mixture of fun and interesting life stories, book and film reviews, photos, updates on how the new book is going, etc. I think I am so nervous because the blogs that I follow are SO good. Everyone has to start somewhere, don’t they?

I am not trying to be a lick, I promise… but these are the blogs I visit most oftenest and by which I have been inspired:

Claire Allan A Derry girl who writes a great column for my local paper and who writes books AND who is super lovely…

Keris Stainton Love keeping up with a writer’s journey and seeing all the pretty and inspiring photos and thoughts.

Fluttering Butterflies I have to fight the urge to buy a large portion of the books Michelle reviews…

(I think all 3 know  each other… I feel a bit creepy.) (Also I just worked out how to do that snazzy link thing…yay!)

and it all started with Dooce, I think.

I hope you enjoy the few wee pieces I have posted already and here’s hoping for lots of inspiration! Wish me luck…

Thank you for visiting!

Standing up for letters

My little sister Sarah (aged 7) received a lovely card from her friend Ellie last week. Ellie moved to England at Christmas and Sarah was very sad. It’s hard to know what to say to a child in that situation – I daresay it was my bright idea to exchange addresses. Ellie seems to have learned joined up writing since she left! Sarah was very happy, and got to go to the bowling alley as promised by Ellie’s Mum.

(I think Ellie’s Granny still lives here so hopefully they will still see each other from time to time.) It is probably because the girls are too young to have mobile phones or email addresses that they have written to each other. It makes me glad. I hope for both their sakes they continue a correspondence, something for them both to work at, to look forward to, and a lovely way of keeping in touch.

Anyone who knows me will be rolling their eyes now at the inevitable, but I think there is a lot to be said about writing a letter. I actually ask people to write to me all the time, and so far only two people have taken me up on it. It’s just the best feeling getting a handwritten, personal letter. Bank statements and bills just aren’t the same at all. It’s a lost art, and I love the idea of love letters, and the fact that a letter is something you can keep forever, and read over when you are feeling sad – a comfort to people of days gone by who moved far away from home and had no other way to communicate…a way of making new friends, keeping old friends, to pass on news of births and deaths, engagements and marriages, funny stories, sad stories, words of comfort, love and words of home.

My drawer of letters and collected writing paper for writing back!

When participating  in National Novel Writing Month last year, I took part in a postcard exchange and now have 10 postcards from Poland, Japan, Chicago, Australia, New York and other places stuck up in my Belfast bedroom.

Am I alone here or does everyone love a good piece of post?

Shall we bring back letters?

Passing of my Passport

It’s difficult to keep up with the regular blog posts! Phew…I need to step my game up. I’m still learning, go easy on me.

Me in 2006, on the cusp of 17!

So, my passport is about to expire in April 2011. It’s a “Over 3, Under 18” passport that was valid for 5 years. This means I was 16 going on 17 when I got it. Off the top of my head that passport took me to Medjugorje in 2006 with my youth group of the time, Lourdes in 2007 with same group, Lancaster to visit my auntie who was studying there for a year in 2008, my first ‘proper’ holiday to Salou with Mickey summer 2009 and Gran Canaria for two weeks of holiday fun last summer, 2010.  All bringing back a little flood of interesting, happy, funny, sunny and sad memories and trips which shaped me in some ways.

I’m not someone who has huge aspirations to travel the world, but I enjoy an adventure when I can get one, and applying for a new passport, this time my first proper “Standard 10 Year” one, as an adult (and paying the 80 Euro myself, worse luck) has got me wondering where the new one – and the next ten years – will take me. Usually the future frightens the living bejaysus out of me- it took me two years to think of a degree to apply for, please don’t ask me what I am going to do after this! But there is something that makes me smile in thinking of the airports and hotels, people and places, fun, laughter and experience that are mine to be pursued after I am equipped with this new little book.


So, a little thought behind the name of my blog.

Life : I want to write thoughts and observations on life as I go along, and to keep it optimistic as much as I possibly can.

Lyrics: I am a sucker for lyrics. I love them. You’re going to be hearing ALL about him but Josh Ritter is my favourite singer/songwriter/artist ever, and it’s mostly because of the lyrics. The man is a lyrical genius, I tell anyone who will listen. I actually cried on first listening of his latest album, at a gorgeous song called ‘Lantern’.

Lyrics can also incorporate general writing…Writing a book is the only thing I have ambition towards in life, and I don’t do much writing at all, so here I am getting my practice on!

Lemoncake: I will admit that I got the idea from Aimee Bender’s new book ‘The Particular Sadness of Lemoncake‘ which I have not yet read, but am looking forward to! My Lemoncake can be anything fun, and I also think it has a very cute ring to it.

The first three books of 2011

Before my January exams had even finished, I couldn’t help but start devouring a book or two that I had happily recieved for Christmas. First up was Room by Emma Donoghue.

The book seems to be everywhere at the minute, and incase you didn’t know, it’s about a young woman who has been kidnapped and shut up in a room for seven years. She bears a son, Jack and the story is told from his point of view, age five. He watches TV but doesn’t dream that any of it is real. He is settled and content in his 12 foot square world.

It’s difficult reading at times, his innocence contrasted to the horror that is actually going on is unsettling.

As Sarah Crown from The Guardian reports in August 2010 “To say Room is based on the Fritzl case is too strong,” she (Emma) says firmly. “I’d say it was triggered by it. The newspaper reports of Felix Fritzl [Elisabeth’s son], aged five, emerging into a world he didn’t know about, put the idea into my head. That notion of the wide-eyed child emerging into the world like a Martian coming to Earth: it seized me.”

It really is a riveting read, giving you plenty to talk and think about…

These were the next two – An Abundance of Katherines by John Green and I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (The author of The Book Thief) I apparently need more practice at book reviews but I can highly recommend both. The John Green offering is funny – I am still using insults from it, sitzpinkler (German: literally, man who sits to pee.) And I am the Messenger is very original, touching, intriguing. I think it hooked me with the fact that Ed the cab driver’s next instruction comes written on a playing card that is posted to his shack. I also loved that his old dog is called The Doorman. Differences are made to lives.

Hopefully 2011’s further reading isn’t limited to tedious eighteenth century works. It’s looking hopeful, otherwise!