Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Apologies and Story

Well, after that dreadful drivel I posted last night I was up thinking for ages while I was supposed to be sleeping. This blog has been an experiment in supposed "writing" and yet I haven't actually written a damn thing. I started this not knowing what blogs really were and now I've realised what I need to do to make this shitty thing my own.

My name on here is Returning Writer. However, what I write is fiction. I've had a pretty exciting life so far, certainly more so than some and yet writing about that is boring and not interesting to anyone - least of all ME. So I'm going back to the beginning and I'm going to start writing stories again and posting them here. If people like them, great, if they say I'm crap then maybe Ill just close this and go back to the drawing board haha.

Here is the first installment. This is a story I wrote for Year 8 English class in England. It's the first and last good story I wrote of which I have a copy. I was 12 or 13.

Notebook murders

The rain beat down on the window as Caroline stared into the black of the night’s sky. Her eyes reflected clearly the stars of the cloudless blanket of darkness. Crystal blue, the iris of her eye seemed to look into the glass of the window. She was absorbed into the glass pane. Thoughts raced through her mind as if running, a never ending line of ideas. A smile slowly spread across her face as her thoughts stopped on one idea. The moon was full; it framed her latest plot perfectly. Caroline moved away from the window and sat in her large armchair. She picked up her notebook and started to write. She gazed thoughtfully into the fire inside the large fireplace, her mind dancing among the flickering flames. They taunted her, wanting her to join them. Caroline shook her head to try to leave the flames, it was not that easy. She moved her head and twisted her body to look again at the window. The soothing rain, still beating on the glass was there to calm her mind. When she felt sufficiently settled, she returned to her writing.
The room was large and very dimly lit. The black shadows moved together along the wall on Caroline’s left hand side. The firelight was all the light in the room apart from a tall lamp stand positioned close to Caroline’s head, in order to enable her to write more easily. Caroline switched hands and wrote with her right as her left hand had become tired. She continued to write in the same printed writing, with every letter perfectly formed and identical to the other letters of its kind that were previously written in her notebook. This writing was completely different from her everyday writing and was reserved for the notebook only. This meant that there was no way of identifying the notebook as hers. Caroline continued to write throughout the course of the evening, only to be interrupted by the fire needing more logs.
The sun cast a line of light across Caroline’s face as she awoke the next morning. It hurt her eyes and made her curse under her breath. She quickly got washed and dressed, ready for the day’s work. She was careful to put her notebook inside the door before she left. She had purposefully hollowed out a gap in the breadth of the door as soon as she knew what she was going to do. She took her time in getting the things she needed for the day so that as she left the house she would not look flushed and hot. Her room looked very different in the sunlight from her open curtains. Caroline walked over to the fireplace where the flames had beckoned her the night before and she begand to sweep the ask and soot away. The fire place looked less mysterious than it did the night before in the firelight, in fact, it looked nothing short of magnificent. A grand fireplace with scroll-ending design that made the fireplace authentic, however, though is was an antique, Caroline had no intention of getting it valued to sell. When Caroline had finished lovingly sweeping out the fireplace, she left the house.
The door locked itself behind her as Caroline walked calmly down the drive. It was a sunny day and a good day for work. As she walked down the main road she saw the main headlines but they didn’t interest her; she could tell you the words without reading or even hearing them. She herself might as well have written the whole article on the murder, the words were taken from her notebook anyway. She pushed the door open to the office where she worked. Caroline walked straight past quite a few people who ignored her as much as she ignored them, she didn’t like to socialize with her colleagues and because of this she wasn’t socialized with. She sat herself down at her desk and flicked the switch on her computer. She immediately started to type what had been put on her desk, word for word without even looking at the pages. She never knew how she did the things she did, she just did them. She usually just used her head. She knew the words on the paper because she could see and read them in her head. Caroline typed without stopping throughout the day until she had finished the work she had been given to finish by the end of the week. It wasn’t much of a pity that she had finished it a week early; it meant she didn’t have to do anything over the week.
Caroline headed straight for number 47 and stopped at the gate. She had to go home for the notebook before she could do her last job of the day and indeed the rest of her life. Number 47 looked dark and foreboding. A perfect look for the last job she was to do. The windows were boarded up and the gate hung off its hinges, unable to lock or even shut properly. The grass was overgrown and the weeds shrouded the path. Caroline felt the sense of doom and disaster and turned her back on the misused house. Her key slid into her own front door easily and Caroline let herself in. She readied herself for the inevitable and collected her notebook; she would need this for later, once her job was done.
Again Caroline found herself staring into the face of hers and Taylor’s doom. She walked to the door and forced her key into the rusty lock. The door creaked as it opened. Silently, Caroline slid into the room, like a snake looking for somewhere to sleep. It was larger, bigger than her own, and dark, darker than she imagined the sky to be out in space; darker than the emptiness that consumed her and Caroline tried to look around. She had been in this house many times and yet the stair case made her feel uneasy today. The black metal steps wound their way into the blackness. They seemed to go on forever. Caroline knew she would have to climb up the old Victorian staircase as she had done so often before, yet she had not felt that familiar tremor of joy as she looked at the steps she had to climb. With her hand firmly clasped to the guard rail, Caroline ascended the stairway.
The one candle that lit the room upstairs cast an eerie glow over the broad back of the man who was to be the latest notebook on the pile. The candle was placed in front of Taylor so Caroline was truly in the shadows. Taylor had no noticed his intruder as she entered his house, nor did he as she ascended the staircase into his library. Caroline slowly advanced towards Taylor, trying not to disturb him until the very last second. She crawled to her intended position, just behind Taylor’s back and prepared herself for the worst. She sat in silence as she slowly polished her knife. This was usually the bit that Caroline enjoyed the most, she felt powerful and she was in charge. She felt as if she were taunting her subject, like talking about them behind their back, as it were. Caroline felt no joy, no satisfaction and yet she felt almost complete. Caroline stood up slowly and carefully. She wanted a good view of Taylor’s face as he saw his assailant before he closed his eyes forever.
Taylor noticed nothing until the gloved hand covered his nose and mouth. The silk glove smelt musty and old. Taylor felt sick to his stomach. He dared not turn round for fear of seeing something he did not wish to see. Unfortunately, as his attacker showed him her weapon, he saw her reflection. Taylor inwardly sighed. He knew there was nothing he could do, she was much too strong for him. She had once told him that if she were to kill someone, she would draw the pain out in front of her victim if they struggled. At the point Taylor had remembered this, the blade ran across his throat, with just enough pressure to split his skin but not cut the oesophagus. Taylor’s eyes closed soon after but not before Caroline had spun him round in his chair. His wrists split as the knife was held at a point where it would collide with both wrists, one after another. When the knife cut into his left wrist, his eyes popped open and as the right wrist was cut, his face went dead. He was only just alive but no one knew he was there and so he would drown in his own blood, both inside his body and outside. Caroline carefully placed the first notebook on his desk for the police to find. That was the only notebook of all the books she had written that would give the police any answers. She took one last look, and left.
On her doorstep, Caroline turned and looked across the world that she knew. She had put the key in the door and unlocked it already. She entered her house looking outside and as she shut the door, she was closing the last chapter of her own book. Caroline turned, looking into the lit fire. She had known that the fire would be lit when she came home; it always was when she finished a job. Again she stared into the frolicking flames. She knew she would be lost if she stared for too long. Without taking her eyes off the flames, Caroline picked up the phone and dialed the police. She told them anonymously where they would find the body and then hung up. The flames were waiting for her, she couldn’t wait any longer. They seemed so free, tempting her to join them, to dance with them, to stay with them…
Taylor was dead when the police arrived at his house but the ambulance was called for medical assistance nevertheless. The constable saw the notebook on the desk by Taylor’s head and picked it up to read. He didn’t bother watching for finger prints as he had been at each of the other murders which had been called the “Notebook Murders”. He flipped the first two pages over as the notebook murdered never wrote on the cover or the first page of the notebook they left. The constable began to read of the crime that had taken place, step by murderous step. Another constable pulled the notebook out of his hands. He closed notebook to look at the front. On finding it identical to the other notebooks he turned to the first page. On the first page, Caroline had written: “The Penultimate Chapter” Nothing else had been written on the first page. It took an hour for the two constables at the scene of the crime to each read the notebook. It took them ten minutes to get the backup at Caroline’s house. Caroline was dead when they found her, sprawled over the dead fire. It was written in the notebook that she would be dead when they found her, although they would not immediately know what she had died from.
Caroline’s life was in that room. As she died, the whole room died with her. The one candle that was lit had gone out at the same time as the fire. The curtains were almost entirely closed and the one stream of sunlight that entered Caronline’s room was that which fell upon her lifeless body.
Her final chapter was found on the glass coffee table. It described the flames, her only friends. It described her empty life before her book and how Caroline had become too involved with her story and of the flames tormenting her. It stopped at the point when Caroline turned her back on the world for the last time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well after about 30mins trying to figure out how to log in here, I have decided I ought to come back more often to keep this account active *sigh* I know I suck.

I don't have much of importance to say today, however, I was finally called for an interview at walmart and might actually start a job by the end of the week. The house is still not sold, nothing else has changed and there's nothing new to really talk about. BUT.

One of my closest friends here in tiny nowhere Florida is my elderly german neighbour. She is fantastically bohemian (an artist) and liberal and generally just great to talk to. I introduced her (and through her half her family!) to the joys of Harry Enfield. After being late to meet her for an outing last week, I apologised profusely, citing my inability to pull myself away from youtube episodes of my favourite sketches, specifically the Kevin The Teenager sketches if you care, and laughed it off as silly nonsense from my growing up. She pushed for details and decided she would enjoy it so I sent the links and she told me today that she LOVES it. Furthermore, her friends and family also loved it! It feels good to be able to recommend something so fundamental to my sense of humour to someone who appreciates it as many of my american friends wouldn't necessarily "get it". however, despite being my favourite person to talk to here, she made me speak in German with her all around Walmart last week - loudly, because neither of us could stay together and we mostly couldn't remember the correct nouns for the foods we were searching (groceries are woefully lacking in the highschool and college exam prep!) so we sounded like morons slowly moving around, switching languages at will and laughing at the silly translations we could come up with. There was lengthy discussion on what "Steak" might be referred to as ("Steak" incidentally) as well as discussions about whether or not she should be referred to as Sie or Du. It was fun and made more so by the silly looks we received for such silly behaviour from two completely different weirdos :)

Also, if you want a laugh, go to and laugh at the outfits people choose. we were the bohemian crazy equivalent of this :) I'm sure I'll have more to stay once I get my job there... ;)

Later, Andy x

(haha get it? you're the only who knows about this! haha)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Interesting fact...

Interesting fact: I spent 18months in Lagos, Nigeria. I met my husband there and what began as a 6month visit from 6th form college in the UK became an 18month life-changing event. Really, given the choice, I wouldn’t have left.

The first week that I was in Nigeria was overwhelming but I loved it immediately. It is a difficult place, volatile and under-developed in many places but for the most part, safe and wonderful to visit and live. Within 20mins of the two places that I lived in Nigeria was the Lekki Conservation Center, a patch of jungle land with paths cut through for people to walk through. There was a crocodile watching stand from where I saw one monitor lizard, a troop of monkeys that were occasionally friendly and even brave enough to go up to groups as my father experienced, though they never came down from the trees for me – my husband would say that’s because they knew I wanted to take them home… By far the highlight of this center was a tree house somewhere in the middle of the area, located HIGH into the tree probably two or three stories up. It was a hell of a climb to get up there; a vertical ladder nailed onto the tree and with a cage built around the upper reaches to prevent accidents, which just made it scarier, and then a small square for maybe 4-6 people. From here you could see for miles on a clear day, you were above the tallest trees imaginable and it felt like you were Tarzan. It was an amazing feeling and an amazing experience, just to be there. I saw many animals while visiting the center, from centipedes as big as a man’s foot, to 6ft long green tree snakes, however the savannah section was always disappointing and we rarely saw a glimpse of anything while walking this arid area.

There was one occasion where my brother was in Lagos visiting my family. He and I took a car and were dropped off at the conservation center to look around and visit. This was the usual wonderful visit but became all the more exciting when the car didn’t come back to get us and we decided to get public transport back to the school grounds on which we lived. White people in Lagos do not take public transport. Locals have a name for white ex-pats: Oyinbo Pepe, basically “white-man, red pepper” ie, burnt guys. Hilarious no? ah the joys. Anyway, for the most part, the locals didn’t see much of the expat community which mostly tried to avoid public transport or local areas so my brother and I jumping on a fully loaded Damfo (think 60s hippy bus with no doors and painted bright yellow) was amazingly funny to them. We squished onto the back seat of this damfo, I might even have had to sit on my brother’s lap at first, I’m not really sure I remember that as clearly as the woman whose chicken was in a cage on her lap and the children who stared at us the whole way back. Even people on the sides of the road saw white faces and pointed and laughed at us being there. It was made more incredible by the idea that, typically, expats don’t use public transport because it was unsafe but of all the time I spent in Nigeria, I never felt threatened while around the locals, not once.

I met a boy through the friends of my brother and he and I struck up a mutual friendship in our admiration of the locals and general awe at our surroundings even though he had lived in Nigeria much of his life. He arranged a trip for us to go to the tiny waterfront home of a fisherman around the back of where we lived when we were first in Nigeria (we lived in two places). These tiny shacks were dotted along the water of the lagoon all over Victoria Island and I hadn’t ever really given them much thought, though I marveled at the tiny canoes the fishermen used to travel from one side of the lagoon to the other. The canoes were basically tree trunks scooped out to fit a couple of people and sat in the water, fully loaded with men and women and boys and girls, just barely above the water’s surface. My friend had arranged for us to take one of these boats, take some line and bait from the fisher man and travel from my side of the lagoon to his family’s dock on the next island over. It was terrifying. The boat sat so low in the water I was afraid of it capsizing every second. The man who ferried us thought I was hilarious and my friend was much more at ease than I was. We made it across the water unscathed and we sat on the little strip of wooden decking dangling our lines over the water, and I caught my first tiny little fish. Someone came out from the house and brought us some cokes and I noticed a flash of brown moving in the garden. My friend’s sister apparently had a pet deer. A deer. It was a tiny little fawn (a special kind of deer that doesn’t grow very big but I can’t remember the name of it) and it was the most adorable and random pet I had ever seen. We spent the whole afternoon sitting under the sun fishing and drinking cokes before getting in a car and going home. It was a great way to experience some of the things the locals did and have fun. I don’t think my friend knew how much that day meant to me… I’m not sure *I* did until later.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Alcohol: A Blogger's Best Friend

Most people consider typing while drunk to be a challenge; a difficult yet amusing experience. Me? My introductory post was made while half drunk and I have tried for the last hour to come up with something interesting along the same tone as my first post, failing miserably each time I start. My conclusion is inevitable: this must only be a durnk blog… yes I typed that wrong… It seems appropriate to leave it in here particularly because the irony is that I’m not drunk.

Well, my idea for today focuses on a frustrating aspect of my life: That no one appears able to be on time to any event and everyone is afraid of any and all sickness, equating a snotty nose with life threatening illness. I take the opposite approach; plan to arrive on time if not early and only the very worst puking will keep me and my kid in quarantine. I’m sure this makes me very unpopular as well, particularly with the current Swine Flu panic in schools and “mom’s” clubs all over America but I simply can’t find it in myself to really give a damn. We did not get the seasonal flu jab, nor did we get the piggy flu vax either, terrible parenting on my part I’m certain (shock) but if we die, at least lots of people can say, “I told you so” and when Brat and I survive the season without illness, *I* will be the one saying “I told you so.” I suspect we will come out of the winter completely unscathed, as will 99% of the rest of the population who currently believe the piggy flu will wipe out most of the pregnant women and young children in the next 3 months (even though the regular flu kills more people each winter than this whole thing has caused in the last 12months). Who says logic is dead?

On another completely unrelated note, I have started applying for jobs in retail for the temporary xmas season. I’m hoping to get some work experience behind me before we leave here and start afresh (again) in California. Unfortunately, whenever I have applied for work before, I haven’t even got an interview and I have no idea why they wouldn’t even consider me… I know when I get into the interview I would be 100% in for the job (who couldn’t love me?!) but on paper I must look like I don’t need the work or something… who knows. Fingers crossed anyway. xXx

Friday, October 23, 2009

Here I am...

So here I am. I’m 24, with no degree, no job and no work experience. I have one child, an amazing 3 year old girl whose independence shocks and amazes me while making me the proudest mother around, and yet, here I sit with nothing more to show for my life than a big clean house (for sale by the way) and my beautiful daughter.

This blog will follow my journey from my current position of stay at home (terrified-of-the-real-world) wife and mother to fully fledged working wife and mother. Over the last 4 years I have obtained my 2 year Associate’s Degree in English Literature through online classes in my spare time. Over the next TWO years I hope to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in English Lit. After that, I hope to find joy in teaching until my husband is out of the Marines (7 years from now!) when I might have a stable lifestyle and finally be able to follow some of my previous dreams.

As things stand right now, we are leaving in 3 months for San Diego, California where we will hopefully have a successful 3 years. We have spent the last 3 years in Pensacola, Florida, finishing school, raising a daughter and coping with married life. Married life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Children are not the joy of life without effort – they are hard work and draining on your patience, smiles and love…. But they are worth it.

On a personal level, I am a UK citizen living in the USA as a naturalized US citizen. Convoluted eh? I am UK born, but I paid some god-awful sum to become naturalized as a citizen, here in the USA. I did it so that ultimately, my parents and possibly brothers could eventually move and live here and be near me and my daughter, however, that goal seems so far off, it hardly seems worth it. I used to be smart and clever and funny… now, I’m not so sure. I feel I am massively out of place here in the military community and in the USA in general. Yet another aspect for me to explore over the coming months of my blogging experiment…