Lost Girl

I am obsessed with Peter Pan, and it’s not just because I have a crush on Robbie Kay who played him on Once Upon A Time. It is the entire concept of Neverland. The conflicts between childhood and adulthood, dreams and reality, innocence and corruption, and freedom and responsibility resonate with me more than they ever did before.

As I am reaching my eighteenth birthday, it might seem silly to some people that I’m so attracted to a fairytale. Truthfully, the story of Peter and Wendy never interested me much when I was younger. It’s only now that I’m approaching uni and have to think about earning money that I really understand what it’s all about.

In the early 1900s when JM Barrie wrote the play ‘Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up’, childhood was cut short very early. The ages of the characters are never specifically stated in either the play or novel, but Peter is described as still having all of his baby teeth, and Wendy is just his height. Nowadays, childhood seems to stretch on for as long as possible. In early adolescence, children seem desperate to grow up, unlike Wendy.

Now, at seventeen going on eighteen, I find myself torn between wanting to live my own life in my own house, earning my own money. But, at the same time, the thought of all that independence terrifies me and all I want to do is crawl back into my childhood and hide there forever. Maybe that’s why I love the idea of Neverland so much.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be? Someone turns up on your windowsill and whisks you away on an adventure full of more excitement and happiness than you have experienced in your entire life. Unfortunately, there are laws against that kind of thing now.

But at the end of the day, Wendy makes the ultimate decision and says goodbye to Peter, returning home with her brothers to face the inevitable challenge of growing-up, a feat that Peter was never able to accomplish. And it is so sad. The novel depicts the sadness of it much more than the Disney film.

Peter promises to return every year to take Wendy back to Neverland so that he would never forget her. But he does. Because time doesn’t work the same in Neverland, and although he holds to his promise for a couple of years, he soon leaves her for many years. In that time, Wendy gets married and has a daughter. Then, one night, Peter returns to take Wendy (or whom he believes to be Wendy) back to Neverland for her annual visit. And so occurs one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking scenes that I have ever read. Wendy wakes from her chair in the shadows in the corner of the room and sees Peter standing over her daughter’s bed. Peter cheerfully explains that he’s returned after a year to take her away, and Wendy says that it has been longer than that. It has been years. And slowly, Wendy emerges from the shadows and Peter recoils. She’s all grown-up. In the end, Peter takes her daughter to Neverland, and then her granddaughter, and so on. But he always forgets them.

If that hasn’t tugged on your heartstrings enough, then maybe this piece of information will. JM Barrie grew up with seven siblings. When he was six, his fourteen-year-old brother, David, died. His mother was so devastated that Barrie tried to fill his brother’s place by acting like him and wearing his clothes. In Margaret Oglivy (1896), Barrie described a moment when his mother saw him and asked, “Is that you?”, to which he replied in a small voice, “No, it’s no’ him, it’s just me”. He said that his mother took comfort in the fact that David would remain a boy forever and never have to face the horrors of growing-up and difficulties of adulthood.

This adds a whole new side to Peter Pan, who clearly has similarities to Barrie’s brother. The idea that Peter leads other little ‘lost boys’ to the place where they never have to grow up suggests that Peter makes it easier for dying children to move on. It is a sad but oddly comforting idea.

Peter Pan clearly has many layers and themes that are not as obvious as we thought. It is about more than just the struggle of growing-up; it is about the more complex ideas of life, death and love.

I strongly recommend that you read JM Barrie’s Peter and Wendy. Barrie writes in an imaginative style that is completely unique to him. His use of often surreal imagery creates an atmosphere that you can just lose yourself in. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

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On a different note, my dad now has a blog in which he posts reviews of films, TV shows and books. You can visit it here.

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Rediscovering Old Stories

I started this story about three years ago, and have just rediscovered it. Beware, this hasn’t been edited since I found it. Fortunately, I wasn’t a completely illiterate fool so it’s still readable and hopefully interesting.


 

Promise

Chapter One.

Winter. I hate winter. It is just cold, dark and wet. It is when the sun hides behind the clouds, and the stars have trouble shining. It is when the moon seems spookier and gloomier. It is when it is too cold to rain, and instead the sky decides to fall on you. And then people decide to throw bits of fluffy, but deadly freezing cloud at you so hard (possibly with a stone or compacted into ice) that it gives you a black eye and concussion. I hate winter.

It was Monday 29th November. I woke up in my room which is pretty much the whole third floor. It was so cold in there that I could see my breath, and my teeth were chattering, even though I was snuggled up in three blankets, a duvet and two sheets. Very reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed and forced myself into the luxuriously steamy shower, where I warmed myself up for half an hour.

After that, I dressed for the weather: three pairs of thick tights, two pairs of socks, skinny jeans, a vest, a top and a hooded jacket. After applying a bit of make-up and French plaiting my long, strawberry blonde hair, I tugged on my Ugg boots and leather jacket and headed downstairs.

“Morning, Lydia,” my overly cheerful mum greeted me as I plodded tiredly through the living room. She was curled up in her dressing gown on the armchair, sipping a coffee and reading the newspaper. I envied her so much.

“Morning, mum,” I replied, my voice an obvious contrast from hers. I sounded like there was a thunder storm pouring down on my head. I felt like it too.

“Did you know it’s snowed overnight? I think it still is,” she said, oblivious to my mood.

“I guessed from the frost that lay over me when I woke up,” I replied. She ignored me, and suddenly became engrossed in the article headlined ‘DEATH BY ICE!’ Oh, this was going to be a fun day. Note the sarcasm.

I ate half a banana, and gulped down a glass of juice as my breakfast. I was on a diet. All the girls in my new school were skinny. I wasn’t. But I wasn’t fat. I was curvy. I just felt like I could lose a few pounds, and then I wouldn’t stand out so obviously.

My dad came down the stairs, all ready for work.

“Are you sure your school’s still open?” he asked me. I looked to mum.

“Yes it is. I’ve already rang them and asked,” she said. Dad and I sighed simultaneously. Poor dad had to drive in it without slipping all over the place and creating a domino affect of accidents. I had to put up with huge snowball wars and frost bite. Yes, my school was tiny, but there were quite a few good throwers. And they hurt. A lot.

Dad dropped me off in the school car park, and then drove away as slow as a snail. Almost as soon as I turned the corner to the playground, I got hit with a snowball. Grumbling, I trudged through the thick blanket and made my way to the porch outside the main entrance, where I could shelter almost safely from flying white candy floss. I sank to the dry ground, and wrapped my arms around my knees.

I heard several fast approaching crunching footsteps, and slowly looked up. Stood around me in a semi circle were Ash Jackson, Charlie Opal, Rio Densall, Luke Stuart, and Jayden Skye. In there hands they all held two balls of snow, and on their faces they each held a smirk and a playful glint in their eye. That could only mean one thing.

“Oh crap,” I muttered, before swiftly covering my head with my hands. Instantly, ten snowballs flew in my direction, each bursting into a soft powder as it exploded on me. They were in fits of laughter.

“You freaks, this is my best coat!” I yelled at them, although I knew they were only messing around.

“Why did you wear it today then, you idiot?” Luke laughed. I just frowned.

“Stuff you,” I grumbled. I heard gravelling footsteps getting closer and edged away into the wall. Someone sat next to me. Carefully, I glanced slightly through my hair towards them. It was Jayden. My heart skipped a beat.

“You really hate snow don’t you,” he said. It was more of an observation than a question.

“Is it that obvious?” I rolled my eyes, although he couldn’t see because I was still hiding my face. He chuckled. The sound of his laugh made my legs turn to jelly. Thank god I was sitting down.

“Well, you look cold.” I felt his arm wrap around my shoulders and pull me closer into him. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Jayden Skye – the hottest guy in the whole school – was cuddling me. But then the realisation hit me. It hit me in the form of an icy cold snowball being crushed on the top of my head. I jumped up, shrieking and pulling bits of the white stuff out of my hair. Jay was clutching his sides, choking on his laughter.

That did it. Within a heartbeat, I had two handfuls of snow. I threw them right in Jay’s face, without giving him a chance to be warned. He looked up, surprised and then vengeful. Uh oh. Revenge is bad on anyone, but when Jay got it, it was sure to be painful and much, much worse. I backed away, my hands up in surrender. He took a handful of snow, moulding it into a ball. He walked towards me at my pace, the revenge glinting in his eyes.

“Um, Jay… I wasn’t aiming at you,” I lied. “It slipped out of my hands…” I backed into something behind me, but resisted the urge to turn around. Never turn your back on the enemy. However, this prevented me from backing away any further. And Jay was gaining. A smirk was playing on his beautiful red lips. The snow made his hollow cheeks and pale skin gleam. His shaggy brown hair hung over his right eye. He looked gorgeous. And right now, deadly. This is it, I thought, he’s going to bury me alive in this stuff.

And then the bell went. It only distracted him for a second, but that second that he was off guard was all I needed. I took off as fast as my legs would carry me for the main entrance, and got in to safety. Snow was banned indoors. He couldn’t get me. He would have to wait until break time.

Just as I got through the doors, a snowball exploded on the door frame. Woah, that was close. I turned around and laughed at Jay’s playful-angry face. He followed me inside and we walked up the stairs to our classroom together.

“I’ll get you at break,” he smiled.

“Not if you can’t find me,” I smiled back. He laughed as we entered the classroom and hung our coats up. The other guys, and Ruby and Lily, walked in behind us. They were all covered in snow from head to toe, laughing and messing around. How could they stand to be that smothered in frozen rain?

We had double history first. Our topic was world war two. All through Mrs Kingston’s lecture about evacuation, I kept finding my gaze fixed on the back of Jay’s head. He sat in front of me. His brown hair hung just above his shoulders, curly from the melted snow. His shoulder blades stood out giving the impression of the smooth muscles beneath his black tee-shirt. He was hunched over, resting his chin on his hands, with his elbows on the table.

The lesson dragged on slowly. But when it was over, I found myself wishing it would go on for even longer. Break meant outside. Outside meant snow. Snow meant snowballs. And snowballs meant Jay. Which meant revenge. Sure enough, as soon as the lesson finished, he turned to me with a grin.

“See you out there,” he said before running outside, barely remembering his coat on the way. I sighed, taking my time over putting on my leather jacket and gloves.

I walked slowly towards the main entrance. Luckily, Ruby and Lily were in there, waiting for me.

“So, what was that going on with Jay?” Ruby asked, a cheeky twinkle in her eye.

“Nothing, he just plans to get revenge on me for throwing snow in his face,” I replied.

“Mhm,” she said, knowing that it was actually flirting. But she can’t say anything about flirting. She never stops flirting with Ash, her long term boyfriend. They hardly ever leave each other’s arms. It is rare to find them apart for longer than five minutes.

“I can’t blame you, Lydia, he is so fit,” Lily said dreamily. I looked at her surprised. She was not the type of person to go all dreamy about a boy. She shot an innocent ‘what?’ look at us. We hastily shut our mouths and turned away. She had a good arm on her when it came to throwing stuff. Particularly snow.

“Would you like to explain why you’re hiding in here?” the snobby science teacher, Mrs Garland, asked snootily from the doorway.

“It’s cold…” Ruby moaned.

“It’s wet…” I moaned.

“It’s dangerous…” Lily moaned. Mrs Garland scowled.

“Out,” she pointed a long claw – I mean nail – at the door. Defeated, we went towards the door. And were greeted by a flurry of snowballs. They all missed me luckily, so without a second to spare, I legged it away, knowing that Jay and his mates were following me with flying ice.

I didn’t know where my legs were taking me. I was just trying to get away. However, when I found myself skidding to a halt around the corner, I knew I should have paid closer attention to where I was going. I had hit a dead end. And Jay, Luke and Rio were hot on my trail. Uh oh. I turned to face whatever was coming. Sure enough, around the corner came the three, with Jay in the middle giving me a cheeky smile. They had at least ten snowballs between them. There were three of them and ten snowballs, against one of me with no snowballs. This could not end well. I held up my hands. They didn’t stop walking to me. I stood still.

“Oh god, Jay… what did I ever do to deserve this?” I asked with exaggerated drama.

“Nothing,” he shrugged. We stared each other down for about a minute.

Come on then-

“Now!” Jay yelled and before I could do anything to protect myself ten snowballs exploded in a puff of powder all over me. They didn’t stop there. Somehow they had got closer to me while I was busy choking on the snow, and blinking it out of my eyes. They started grabbing handfuls of it and throwing it at me. They kept doing this until I was drenched in it, like an abominable snowman. They stopped for a minute to laugh.

“Jay,” I said, my voice full of fake innocence, “Do you want a hug?” Before he could do anything, I jumped on him and wrapped my arms around his body. I was surprised he didn’t struggle. Instead, he put his arms around my waist and held me to him. I never wanted the moment to end. But it did. Because Luke had snuck up behind Jay, and pushed him. I found myself sprawled on my back in the snow with Jay on top of me. We stared into each other’s eyes (oh! his amazing bright green eyes), bewildered at what the hell had just happened.

Then people’s laughter snapped us out of it. I pushed Jay, not even realising that my hands had been on his chest. He got up without having to be told twice, and held a hand out for me. I could feel my cheeks were a flaming red, not just from the cold. Blushing even more, I took his hand. He expected to be helping me up, so he was caught off guard. With every inch of strength I could muster up, I pulled him over into the snow while I leapt gracefully to my feet. With a light twirl, and curtsey, I flashed a playful grin at the dazed Jay who was sat on the ground rubbing his bruised tail bone. I looked up to find a lot more people than I had expected, laughing. They were all covered in snow, laughing and clapping at my trick. What was not so great was that most of them had probably seen what had happened a minute ago.

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The bell rang. Everyone grudgingly turned to go, leaving just Jay and I alone. He was stood up now, looking as if he had something on his mind.

“Are you okay, Jay?” I asked him. He shook his head, as if clearing his thoughts, and turned to me with a genuine friendly smile.

“Yeah. You?”

“Yep, I’m fine.” I said, just as the cold hit me. I shivered and my teeth started chattering. Jay looked at me, worry across his beautiful features. He slipped off his big black coat and before I could protest, helped me into it.

“Thank you,” I smiled, a blush creeping onto my cheeks only just after it had gone. He began walking off, not showing any reaction to the coldness. I followed a few steps behind him, eager to get inside to the warmth.


If you like it, let me know and I might upload more chapters.

Which username should my character have?

Here’s a new poll for you guys. So, she’s got her name – now she needs a username. If anyone’s interested, the working title for my book is ‘Fish, Chips and the Internet’.

Thanks, guys!

Which of these names do you like most?

I’m planning a story, and I need your help.

On Disneyland, Fan-Fiction and the Seven Dwarves.

Something that you will most likely know about me if you know me in real life, is my passion for writing. Writing is my everything. It’s one of my necessities of life. If I go a day without writing, I turn into Grumpy from Snow White & the Seven Dwarves. So if I can help it, that doesn’t happen.

However, for the past three years or so, my writing has revolved almost entirely around one single format: fan-fiction. I love it. You can go anywhere with it. Let’s say, for example, that you’re an emotional wreck, sobbing over the final page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you’re not in denial about at least three deaths then I’m afraid I’m sending you to counselling. (Yes, I know it’s been 7 years. Let me wallow in despair, dammit!) But you can’t handle the fact that those characters never got their happily ever after, so you go back and rewrite it. You resurrect those poor souls who lost their lives in the Second Wizarding War and give them the happy ending that they always deserved.

Or, say, you ship (fangirl terminology) Romione or Hinny. They are you’re world, your OTP (more fangirl terminology), your gods. So you take a piece of paper and a pen, and you build their lives in your own words. You tell their story of passionate romance, heart-thumping excitement and adrenaline-filled adventure. And the best part is, they’re yours to play with. Your favourite character speaks the words you write, does everything you tell them to do. Or maybe you prefer Hermione with Draco (Dramione) and it’s up to you to tell their untold forbidden love story. You can even add characters of your own, building them out of nothing and slotting them into the wonderful fictional world that you fell in love with.

With fan-fiction, you can explore the uncharted lands of Middle Earth, have snowball fights in Narnia and play Quidditch at Hogwarts. And it’s not just books! Take a look at this website. There is fan-fiction for everything: TV shows, films, comic books, video games, professional wrestling – there’s even fan-fiction of the Bible (although that’s generally the weird side of the website – best avoided)!

Some people are strongly against fan-fiction, but they most likely have never tried it themselves. It’s understandable if you’re the author. Your writing is your baby. The characters are your children and the setting is your home. Personally, if an author has expressed a wish for fan-fiction of their baby to stop existing, then I’ll stay away from it. But I don’t see the problem. There are thousands of fan-fiction authors out there, and millions of stories. It is illegal to try to gain money through it, but I’ve never heard of anyone attempting it. Fan-fiction is a hobby, a method of writing practise. What better character practise is there than mimicking an already existing character?

And agents are scouting them out, too. More and more authors are being found through fan-fiction. Everyone has to be inspired by something, and as long as the fan-fiction is changed enough from the original that it is unrecognisable, then I don’t see any problem with it. If anything, I encourage it.

Now, my problem is that I have become so invested in writing stories based on existing stories that original writing has become nothing more than an acquaintance to me. For the past year, people have been telling me that I should be writing a book. have been telling myself that I need to write a book. A proper book. A real, original, all-my-own book. But the moment I set myself up with Microsoft Word all ready on my laptop, an idea pops up. I wonder what life was like after the Battle of Hogwarts? I start writing. So if Angelina dated Fred and married George, what if there was another girl who the other twin liked? My fingers fly over the keyboard, rapidly channelling words that flow from my brain to the virtual paper. How exactly did James and Lily end up together? And before I know it, there’s another first chapter of a new Harry Potter fan-fiction.

A few days ago, I was offered a solution to my problem: motivation. A deal has been made. If I have a book published by the end of next year, I’m going to Disneyland. And would you look at that? No ideas. Blankness. This was almost a week ago and only today have the seeds of an idea begun to form. Scene one of my future novel is complete. From here, it’s onwards and upwards.

Disneyland, I’m on my way.

Feel the Words, Become the Words.

Why is it that when I actually have time to write something, I can never get into it? I’ve got this idea for a story, but I just can’t get the words out in a way that is readable. I’m going back to college next week and I’ve got a 1305830 pieces of homework to do, but I swear to Merlin if I don’t get this done I’m going to go crawl in a hobbit hole somewhere, staring at a blank piece of paper and sobbing uncontrollably.

Planning things is so much easier than writing them up. Gah!