Literature Girl

home reading list reviews portfolio journal stream links about


Something diary-esque. Thoughts on books, photography, and some other stuff strewn in.

2024/01/16 — 20:03

Reading: The Bible, The Lord of the Flies

Watching: Kimi ni Todoke, The Most Reluctant Convert, Lost in Translation

Playing: Persona 5 Royal

My (eight-year-old?) monitor finally took its last breath a few days before Christmas, so today I finally bought the bullet and spent the ~£250 on a new one. In regards to how monitors go apparently that's very budget-friendly. Alas.

Thinking about money makes me worry about the fact that I didn't accept the computing apprenticeship I was offered last year, since it would have come with no student debt and I already had the perfect software development company lined up to do it through. I'd already done a good chunk of work experience there, and loved the environment and staff. In the end I chose a theology degree over it, which the younger me would have scoffed at. ('How impractical!') When I thought about working as a software developer I liked the idea of the pay and the job perks, like the flexible work environment and hours, but the work itself never made me happy. I think that means I made the right choice. Choosing a job I'd be miserable in for the sake of some more material luxury didn't seem worth it.

The main downside to teaching (which is what I plan to do) seems to be the unpaid hours, but I might find better working conditions if I move overseas. I don't really want to move, but things will play out in time, I suppose. I keep telling myself it's better than choosing a job I'd hate.

A coworker recently asked me for a commission of their pet, which is the first time anyone has ever asked me to do a commission for them. Admittedly, I've never really offered, but that's largely because building some kind of online following seems to necessitate the use of a platform like Instagram or TikTok, both of which I find mind-numbing and exhausting. Their design perpetuates bad habits. Looking for customers(?) in places like church seems far less daunting and tiresome. To grow a significant following on platforms like Instagram, users seem to need to produce content daily, if not more, which for most artists is simply not feasible and would likely lead to burnout.

I wish I knew of better platforms for sharing and selling art. Maybe some exist and I'm just not aware of them yet.

On another note, I've been using a very simple method to track how 'productive' my days are lately, using a key including all of the tasks I deem productive enough to be valid. The aim has been to do three a day at minimum for a 'productive day', that four is very good, five is excellent, and to avoid anymore lest I oversubscribe myself somehow or pay little attention to the other tasks. It's been working well, and it's a good indicator of what I'm lacking (for example, I was in a reading slump and it encouraged me to snap out of it).

It also makes it easier to visualise goals and my achievements. It's a lot easier to say 'do one drawing a month' and encourage myself to do it this way, rather than simply giving myself the vague goal of 'draw more'.

2024/01/05 — 10:15

Reading: 'The Problem of Pain' by C.S. Lewis

Watching: Kimi ni Todoke, 12 Angry Men, Nightcrawler

Playing: Persona 5 Royal (finally)

I don't usually watch many new films nowadays, since I usually tell myself it isn't particularly productive (I tell myself I should be creating rather than consuming), but there are a lot that I have downloaded on my computer from whenever I used to watch movies regularly. 12 Angry Men is one among a few (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Shawshank Redemption, Mary and Max, The Man from Earth, The Prince of Egypt, The Before Trilogy, et cetera) that I find myself rewatching rather frequently. I never feel unproductive after watching them, since they provide me with so much to think about.

One of the reasons I love 12 Angry Men so much is because it takes place almost entirely in one room, allowing the great (more subtle than usual) acting and dialogue writing to shine through clearly. From one relatively simple concept (that is, the deliberation of a jury), viewers are prompted to think about so many profound questions: the dangers of democracy and also its triumphs; whether or not narrow-minded, stubborn and misguided people can truly be encouraged to think critically and look past their prejudices; whether or not it is naive to hold hope in humanity; how one intelligent and well-spoken person can shape the minds of many; the dangers of not taking a stand and following the herd; the dangers of allowing ourselves to fall prey to hopeless cynicism; the power of collaboration — and so much more. This thought-provoking nature actively discourages mindless consumption, stirring up an act of creation in viewers in the sense that they are encouraged to actively construct their own opinions based on the arguments they're provided. That's why I think it feels so rewarding to watch.

The Man from Earth is another film of this kind, and so is My Dinner with Andre. Sure, extravagant cinematography has its place and can add a great deal to a movie (for example, in Her), and films with lots of different settings do provide a different and often valuable kind of experience, but I find these one-room films often offer me even more food for thought that far more visually-impressive films do. The focus goes almost solely into the script-writing, and it pays off immensely.

On another note, I also watched Nightcrawler a few days ago, which was fairly enjoyable, but I don't find myself with much to say about it.

P.S. I'm finally playing Persona 5! It's a lot more fun than I imagined, although I haven't got far in yet. The gameplay flows far better whenever exploring palaces and engaging in combat than it did in earlier games in the series (Persona 3 Reload please make Tartarus less insufferable...), and it's a lot more dynamic. Everything used to be super repetitive. Other titles might have more memorable characters or themes (I'm not sure yet), but so far I'm enjoying this one. It's common for people (especially teenagers) to be called naive for trying to make a genuine change in the world and fight against injustice, which seems to do nothing but perpetuate inertia, so I'm finding this theme refreshing.

2023/12/28 — 18:07

Reading: 'Tennis Lessons' by Susannah Dickey

Watching: Kimi ni Todoke

Playing: Minecraft (childhood throwback)

Since I'm trying to be more consistent with updating this site, I figured I'd add a kind of diary/log page, since writing less coherent shorter-form content is often less intimidating, and I'd like to keep track of my general activities anyway. Lately my days have been kind of blending into one unintelligible blur, and I haven't been as active or productive as I should be. Shirking my reading duties and university applications. Alas.

Today I decided to go for a walk around the countryside and suburbs where I live with my bridge camera, but there was very little I felt was noteworthy enough to even take it out for. Maybe I'm just not attentive or inventive enough; I saw a cool cat, but I didn't want to seem like a creep, and it was directly in front of someone's window. Carrying around a camera where I live certainly isn't common, and people jeer so often that I felt out of place and uncomfortable. Something to get over, I guess.

When I came home in the afternoon I sat down to start reading Tennis Lessons, and by the time I had looked out of the window again hours had passed and it was pitch black. The beginning of the book really captured me, because of how it progresses through each year of the protagonist's life gradually, and the fact that it's such a gritty and raw portrayal of girlhood was refreshing. It doesn't censor itself, which always appeals to me. Admittedly, the writing grew a bit duller and failed to capture me as much in the later stages of the book, and at times it felt like it was trying (and failing) to be as poignant as it would have liked, but certain passages did really stick with me. Teenage girl angst and melancholia galore, albeit in a more realistic and less tacky way than a lot of the other books I've read. Plus, the subject matter hits fairly close to home, so it's interesting to read. The whole book felt quite Schoolgirl-esque. I have a soft spot for tumultuous adolescent streams of consciousness.

Also, the author was raised in the same country as me, so picking up on all of the colloquial references was entertaining. I didn't actually pick up this book knowing the author was Northern Irish, so it was a pleasant surprise to read about gifts from Debenhams, A-Level exams and trips to Newcastle. Such direct references to the experiences of my childhood aren't things I'm often (if at all) able to find in the media I consume.

It felt nice to finally sit down and read a book from cover-to-cover in one sitting again. I haven't done that in a long time, with how busy the school year and work have been. It's more an issue of prioritisation and energy levels than time, though, admittedly. I feel like I'm sifting through nonsense a lot when I read lately, but this book was a nice find. The strangeness the protagonist feels they possess even reminded me a bit of Convenience Store Woman, which I love.