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The writer formerly known as "bookloverblue"
Hello there, folks! How are you all on this fine day?
I am a proud nerd-in-training, bookworm, wannabe Renaissance woman and English graduate. I'm also a hobbyist writer, and I post my pieces here. My nom de plume is "Little-Red-Hat", or "Red" for short. I welcome comments and polite constructive criticism. My main genres are humour, satire, parody/pastiche, science fiction and some mild horror.
I'm no great painter or picture-related artist myself, but I like to let others on deviantART know how much I appreciate their artwork, and that's another reason why I'm here.
Aside from writing and literature, my interests include the theatre, acting, geek culture, steampunk, travel and learning other languages.
If people thank me for a favourite or reply to one of my comments, I do tend to say "You're welcome" - I just see it as good manners!
Comments on my profile are always welcome and appreciated. Also, I do NOT consider thanking me for a favourite as spam in any way, so don't be shy!
BLOGS, PROJECTS AND OTHER MISCELLANY
Thank you for your earlier correspondence on the topic of “Letter to My 26 Year Old Self”. Thankfully, I still remember a few of the subjects you raised in that missal, as I appear to mislaid the letter itself. I have turned my room upside down in the effort to locate the notebook it was scribbled in, and have since found pretty much every piece of crappy fiction I’ve composed since I was twelve, but gosh darn it, that one letter continues to elude me. So, this response will be from memory. Apologies for that.
As I recall, I wrote that letter whilst I was at sixth-form college, meaning I must have been somewhere between 16 and 18 at the time. So, somewhere between 10 and 8 years ago… my God, where does the time fly to? Due to the number 26 being so prominent in your life, you’ve always held a weird belief that your 26th birthday would somehow be special – that it would hold some sort of significance. Hence why you chose to write a letter to yourself when you turned that age as opposed to the quarter-century of the previous year. Well, that day is getting close at hand, so before the rush and hubbub of celebrations, I've taken some time out to reply to you.
I’m trying to picture you in my mind. Blonde frizzy hair, pale unmarked skin. If I was to tell you that you currently sat here as a redhead with a tattoo on each wrist… not rub-on ones, either, I mean ACTUAL tattoos… then I can imagine your reaction would be one of complete denial. For a start, you’re terrified of needles. There’s no way you’re letting a tattooist near your arm with one of those humming metal spikes. Well, you will, and you have. You’re a regular blood donor, too. One of many fears you will do your utmost to conquer.
(Incidentally, don’t worry about how Mum will react to the tattoos. She now has two herself.)
You ask if I got into university… how my teaching career is going. Well, you did get in, and you got a first-class degree, but here’s the thing – it wasn’t in teaching. Oh, don’t get me wrong, that was the plan. You got onto the course and did two years. But you weren’t happy. You were far from happy. By the time you are “politely asked” (or rather, sat in an office in the middle of a nervous breakdown being made to sign a piece of paper) to take a year out to get your head in a better place, you’ll be giving serious thought to one solution. The permanent solution.
Thankfully, before you do anything utterly, utterly stupid, your mother, in her wisdom, will ask if you’ve ever considered doing an English course instead. You’ll look at the syllabus and feel like a kid in the candy shop. One quick meeting with the department head later (R.S – may he be forever blessed), and you’re straight into the second year. Phoning a certain ex-lecturer with the news will feel like a victory… but the greatest victory of all comes on your graduation day. Because, in your heart, this is what you wanted all along. You gave teaching a try because you thought it would make your family happy. Maybe it would have done. But, my dear, what will make your family happiest of all is simply seeing you happy. When they see your despair during the “dark period”, they will try everything to bring you back to normality. But in the end, little one, the choice must be yours. Follow your own path.
On the subject of the “permanent solution” – don’t you ever, EVER consider doing something like that again. When you finally brave the tattooist’s needle, the first etching will be a simple semicolon: its location on your wrist marking the pulse, the heartbeat, the flow of life. Sometimes, you can end a sentence, but instead, you just put a semi-colon, and carry on. It is the mark of the covenant, a commitment to your promise to survive and prosper. Your life’s story is far from over, my child. Live on, and keep writing it.
I see through you like cellophane. I know what career fills your dreams at night, and it’s not teaching. It’s librarianship. Well, you’re getting there. You’ll need a Masters to cross that final bridge, and you’ll have a couple of not-so-great jobs for a year or two, but right now, you’re a library assistant. And you are LOVING it. You love the work, and you love the people. Happiness you would not have known if you had stayed on that miserable path.
Then again, your feelings are not entirely due to your surroundings. You’ve always been the nervous type. The doctors have been wrong so far, and you are right. It’s not exam nerves or women’s troubles. It’s a mental illness. One that can be treated with medicine.
Now, you’ve seen that word, and you’ll be having horrific visions of sedatives and being locked away in an institution somewhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. It will take persistence and a few doctors’ visits, but finally, you find someone who’ll listen. Yes, you’ve tried talking cures and behaviour diaries, but these won’t work for you as you live a relatively stable life. Your issues are not behavioural, but chemical. Basically, the hormone factory in your head doesn’t produce enough happy stuff, so it tops it up with adrenaline to try and compensate. You’ll be given a tablet to balance things out – and it will feel like a miracle. OK, you’ll still have panicky moments from time to time, but on the whole, you’re doing a lot better now. Stay strong.
You ask about marriage and children. Well, that’s still a long way off. You’ll lose your heart to a fair few imbeciles over the coming years – people who don’t deserve your kindness or your love, nor indeed your time – but right now, you’re with a kind, caring man with whom things seem to be working out well. You want them to work out, too – you’ll do all you can to make sure they do. You’ve no children of your own, but he has a sweet little geekling from a previous union who’s part of the whole relationship package, and rightfully so. Luckily, she’s a good kid, and she seems to like you. Do your best to make them both happy.
On a related note – friends. Get new ones. The current ones suck. People who only want to spend time with you if you’re footing the bill are not friends. They are leeches. Vampires. People who bore you to death, and never change the conversation topic despite you asking them to, aren’t ideal friends either - even if they mean well. You think they’re the only friends you'll ever have or deserve. You are wrong. You are worth so much more. Cutting those losers off will hurt at first, but in hindsight, it’s one of the best decisions you ever made.
When you finally do discover groups like the Yorkshire Geek Alliance, and find true friends, you’ll cherish every moment you spend with them. They will actively want to spend time with you, and yes, while you’ll still help with the bill on some occasions, they will be happy to pay their way too. Fair and equal. Heck, you’ll even help start a group to meet like-minded women. Yes, you! Little Miss Always-Left-in-the-Corner!
True, you’ll have disagreements and silly fights over nothing – all friends do – but most of the time, it’ll either be in jest, or will never escalate into anything serious because both parties know it’s not worth it. Part of the trouble is you’ll be around like-minded people. You are a perfectionist who likes control over a situation. Sit in a room with several other perfectionists who also like control over a situation, and hey – there’s bound to be some friction. It’s like moving ornaments on a mantelpiece: you’ll all like things in a slightly different place. Well, just put the bloody ornaments on the side table, talk things through and compromise. However, when you combine your skills and aren’t at unintentional loggerheads, you’re a great force. Cherish that. Use your abilities well.
The year leading up to this birthday – beginning from your previous one – has been something of an Annus Mirablis. You’ve got a job you adore. You’ve found love. You are thriving and happy. Now, I have no idea what the future holds. An Annus Horribilis may well be on the way - for God's sake, Donald Trump just became the President of the United States – but you are strong. You’ve made it through the darkness already, so you can make it through anything.
I love you, little one. Hang in there. Happy times are coming – I promise you.
PS: To answer your final question - yes, Doctor Who is still on. Tennant’s still your Doctor, though. He’ll ALWAYS be your Doctor.