A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Catastrophe

“Losing my passport was the least of my worries;
losing my notebook was a catastrophe.”

Bruce Chatwin


I sympathise.

I have lost my dear little notebook.

I thought I left it at a client's house. I don't think they'd be curious enough to look inside (thank goodness) but they swear they haven't seen it. I am sure I didn't have it when I got home. I may have dropped it. It does have my name and e-mail address on the front, deliberately, partly because I've misplaced it before and partly because I once lost my term's notes on Biochemistry and I now have a habit of labelling such priceless things as notebooks with contact details. (Incidentally, my friend Sian found them for me and I struggled to control myself as I was on the verge of crying with happiness. I don't think I even cried with happiness when I got my degree results, though I would have been fully entitled to).

Poor little notebook. I should have put on a telephone number and said there was a reward for returning it. I am now worried that it is being read for entertainment by the Chavlings (or is it Chavlets? Or MiniChavs?) of York. I am not going to hope the finder has enough integrity to not read it, because if I found someone else's notebook, no matter how I tried I know I'd give in and read it. So I will forgive anyone who reads it, but I so wish they'd give it back. It has... stuff... in it. Apart from anything else, it has some useful phone numbers. And some poems and things. And some rantings. And some stuff I don't want anyone to read (yes, someone as prone to losing things as me should not be writing stuff that I don't want anyone else to read in something as losable as a notebook. Gah.)

My brain is what-iffing like mad.

Anyway, here is one recoverable musing. It is a song I was thinking of using for the love song I mentioned in this entry, only I probably won't because it is far too gentle and laid back for what a 16 year old thinks of the person she's crazy about. I remember it because I was attempting to make up the tune last week and got it stuck in my head. It's meant to be jazzy and perhaps something Corinne Bailey-Rae would sing.

The days are long
There's nothing to do
But spend another afternoon with you
You crack a joke
I give a smile
And find my heart is in denial

Dreaming
Nothing means so much to me
As doing nothing with you
Drifting
There's nothing I'd rather do
Than spend another afternoon with you

You make me feel like Spring is here
Long before the Winter's through
You make me think eternity
Would last a minute if I'm with you

Dreaming
Nothing feels so right to me
As doing nothing with you
Drifting
Nowhere I'd rather be
Nothing I'd rather do
Than spend another afternoon with you


It's supposed to be about the sort of easy friendship you have with someone when you just sit and talk and do nothing together and it's awesome.

Only I can't seriously believe that a 16 year old girl most wants to do "nothing"... :)

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mixed Messages

This morning I had a phone call. It was 8 o'clock and I was still eating breakfast. I was convinced it would be Work, asking me to do an extra call or something, but it was actually a science recruitment agency calling to ask if I was interested in a lab technician job in Selby. £6.40 an hour. Who the heck is at work at 8am?

It's a bit much to be expected to make a decision before you've finished your first cup of tea, so the woman said she'd call back at 8.45am.

I had the Sermon of the Mount open. I never get bored of the Sermon on the Mount. I sometimes wonder if some of Jesus' sayings were really as cryptic as they sound. Did the disciples go away thinking "Poor in spirit? What on earth does that mean?" (John 16:29 might suggest this is the case...) In the Message version he's a lot more lucid but even if I did entirely agree with the interpretation (which I don't. It all sounds a bit tame...) I am not sure that Jesus really meant to say, for example, "You're blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart — put right. Then you can see God in the outside world" instead of "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". I suspect he was being deliberately provocative, causing the disciples to go home thinking "How shall we see God? What did he mean by "pure in heart"? Besides, paraphrases take all the fun out of interpretation.

Also there's this one:
"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat."

Which is a paraphrase of this one:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

I don't think they entirely match, and I like the second one more. I find it enormously reassuring. He promises that anyone who is striving to be holy, justified before God, will be satisfied. There is something platitudinous about Peterson's version. It could mean anything from the NIV version to "God is nice, try him and you'll really like him". It seems a bit fuzzy and feel-good next to a word like "righteousness".

The thing is, I can see the point of having a carefully done paraphrase, as long as it doesn't defeat the purpose of the original text. For instance, if Paul wanted to write some helpful advice to churches, I doubt he'd have wanted it translated densely with lots of difficult words, especially if it was to be read by the young or people who have trouble with reading comprehension. And there is something nice about the way that a familiar piece of text can suddenly stand out:

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage." Matthew 5:13

Anyway, I've become a little sidetracked. A New Revised Standard Version Bible and a copy of Quaker Faith and Practice have been lying around the living room, and when eating breakfast or attempting to watch House on Male Quaker's laptop, I've been known to browse them. Oh, and Quaker Girl oddly possesses a Message New Testament. I've accused her of being an Anglican recently but The Message is starting to prod her into the Charismatic camp. Heh. Though she still reacts vehemently when I sing Shine Jesus Shine. So I suspect she will remain a Quaker :)

But anyway, I challenge you to consider any job offer normally when you have the Sermon of the Mount open in front of you.

It's one thing to very sensibly consider that a more reliable source of income, with regular hours, would be extremely helpful for the future, in oh so many ways.
And of course at times I get rather annoyed with my employers (don't they communicate?).
But there was the problem that a) though they reassured me I would get the job, they wanted me to give in my notice right away. This is because you get a trial shift rather than an interview, and if you're half-decent, you're recruited. But what if I don't like the job? I'm not giving in my notice before I'm good and ready.
b) It is a little in the wrong direction. Not that much, I mean, lab skivvying is not likely to drag me off into a career in Biochemistry because I have a 3rd but I'm not really wanting to pursue science right now, and if I want to apply for Social Work I desperately need more experience.
c) As much as I'd enjoy getting back into a labcoat, I don't think it compares to my job. Definitely as a suitable alternative to unemployment. Will consider it if I'm jobless in Bradford.
But mainly, there just seems to be something rather crass about giving up the job that I still like and that I know makes a big difference to people's lives, for a job I could have done with a Chemistry A-level. And when I say Chemistry A-level, I bet that my A grade makes me over-qualified. Even if, I tell myself, it would leave more time free for societies and volunteering. Even if it brings in more money, because do not store up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy... I could imagine that my employers might understand it if I said I was resigning to take up a graduate position at GlaxoSmithKline or something, but "Sorry, I'm off to be a lab tech in Selby" sounds like an incredibly poor excuse.

Still, if anyone wants to be a lab tech in Selby, do get in touch and I'll give you the details :) Speaking of which, if anyone wants to be a carer in York, my area could do with a bit of help. My people are all nice so long as you're polite and don't mind a bit of swearing occasionally. And can make a good cup of tea. And know when to not to say anything. And can tolerate being called a Cockney despite a continual insistence that you're not actually from London. And can cope with such horrors as being given chocolate and having to turn down continual offers of a trip to Scarborough.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just round the writer's block

I'm baaaack! Aren't you delighted?

I was going to post to say that I found the Job centre website surprisingly useful, only I have changed my mind because that website is hideously unreliable. It does have jobs that look good, but that is if the damn thing will load. There is an agency who want me to come for an interview only they expect me to pay for my own Criminal Records check and then they can't even guarantee work. From my experience with the other agencies I've been registered with, they aren't fantastic. Although working for Grapes Direct was an experience. I stuck labels on boxes of grapes. I realised that Invicta FM is not very good (though possibly not as bad as Minster FM).

It is beautifully sunny in York. I wish this didn't remind me that global warming is happening. And to be honest I miss the April showers.

I have been looking back on my old writings. This can be quite a fun exercise. Some of them are good, making me wonder why I didn't carry on the story, or whether I should write a sequel. Some are just depressing. I looked back at one story, which is full of "pathetic fallacy" * It's set in March, and the trouble is that March weather may not be like that any more. Damned anachronisms. There was also a line that I liked "this dialogue had been repeated so many times it was as strained and stretched as an old tape". A tape? How retro! Once the daughter of someone I cared for (in a professional sense) attempted to teach me how to use a cassette player because she was convinced I was too young to know. Come on, I remember vinyl!

Also there is the just plain rubbish. I added commentary on one of my earliest stories (actually to be fair, it was the fourth rewrite of an early story). It features a young engineer (why engineer I am not certain) who volunteers to be a guinea pig for a time machine, ends up in the Second World War. Only she's in Somerset. Nothing happens. No bombs. No threats. No one cares that the Battle of Britain is on. No one mentions Churchill. No one notices she wears strange clothing, wonders why she has no ID... There is no culture clash in which her modern feminist views disturb or enlighten those around her. Nothing at all happens except she gets back together with her time-travelling ex-boyfriend (who subjected her to "the cruellest break-up in history", which apparently translates to "Could we just be friends?") and they discover that the evacuee is not an evacuee but a child sent back in time by aliens. Yes, aliens. No one discovers or even cares about the motivation of said aliens, although there was a sequel planned in which said engineer's daughter is sent back to the Victorian era by the same aliens, and there is the suggestion that people might try to board UFOs. The story had more holes than an Ed Wood film and wasn't as good.

Sigh. I love writing and I wish I was better at it. It is very frustrating at times. I wish my imagination was a lot better. I wish I could make amazingly vivid characters that come alive... I wish I had the patience to follow through on an idea and not get discouraged. I've got a story in mind and in one bit, the main character is sitting at a piano, and she's playing a number of love songs (she's 16 and dippy about someone) and at the end of her selection she sings one that she composed herself. The plot would really depend on this being a good song, because someone walks in as she's playing. The trouble is, writing a really good love song is hard. They all sound clichéd. They all sound nice at first and then get annoyingly cheesy. They're all "I love you, I will love you whatever, I love you more than life/ice cream (see Ice Cream by Sarah McLachlan), I will always love you, you make me feel good/young/happy/horny, I'll do anything for you, I love you and you don't know it, etc." So I've hit on a solution... if her song is rubbish, the person who walks in will say, "That was a great song... the lyrics need a little work, though."

* Pathetic in the sense of being related to emotion, rather than rubbish. Device used in fiction to compliment the events taking place. Nice sunny day = everyone is happy. Dark and stormy night = something evil is taking place.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Puzzled over Gospel reading

Happy Eastertide, Spring is here, Christ is risen, and I'm updating my blog.

Have been getting increasingly mad with my employers. Also why do I get so little sick pay? I got more for job seeker's allowance! where's the logic in that?

I meant to go to a Good Friday service (I alas did not have time for an Easter Sunday service) but didn't. This might well be because the last couple of years I have gone to rather disappointing Good Friday services. The worst was when the congregation sang "There is a Green Hill Far Away" in a jolly staccato. Argh.

I am puzzled and a bit confused by the Gospels. I reread the Sermon on the Mount recently and though I love the Beatitudes I am a little confused by these verses:

"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery." - Matthew 5:31-32

I'm just not sure I understand the logic. He seems to be addressing men, saying that if they divorce their wives they become adulteresses. Does that matter to them? They've divorced their wives already, for anything from marital unfaithfulness to burning the dinner. What's the point in stigmatising the woman, who, this being centuries before women's lib, will probably want to get married again? I'd just feel a lot happier if he'd said "anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, commits adultery himself, and anyone who marries the divorced man commits adultery." Because if a man chooses to divorce his wife, why should she be the one who is punished?

Also, what is Judas's motivation anyway?

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Job hunting continues

Woo. I put my new CV (Resumé) online last week and have already had two different people contact me. The first one was for a science job agency. I was so delighted and flattered that I pretended to be incredibly interested but was forced to be honest when they asked if I'd be willing to commit to a job (in veterinary science) long term. Probably not.

It might be due to my year in industry that I am rather cynical about jobs in science. I didn't really gel with the people in my office and though I liked my boss immensely he wasn't really that good at management. He just wanted to leave us to it and very very rarely offered feedback. And of course I got frustrated with my degree. But then, I told my careers adviser I was getting a bit nostalgic for science now, and it's true. Reading Bad Science, being geeky about chemistry, and even getting misty-eyed for my Chemistry A-level (in a story I wrote when I was 17, I had a character snapping, "Chemistry! It's fun!"). More importantly, I like to look into things with logic and reason. I think (perhaps ironically) that doing AS-Level (half an A-level) in Psychology actually taught me a good deal about this, mainly because in Psychology things aren't so much "fact" as simply things that work. (Apologies to any Psychologists for the simplification!).

The woman who spoke to me asked me how much I wanted to be paid. I can never believe my luck when people ask that. It's hard to believe that a few years ago I was at the very bottom rung of Pizza Hut, doing the bloody salad bar every bloody shift, and on minimum wage. So I said I wanted upwards of £12000 a year. She seemed amused and assured me that job she wanted to apply me for was £13500 a year.

Why is it that doing a job a ten year old could have probably managed I made £12k but now I have to be responsible adult I don't make nearly that much? Is life just horribly unfair? Is it wrong that I want to help people but would also appreciate a decent wage for doing so? Sigh. I don't want to be an avaricious person. I bear in mind that apparently Rockefeller, when asked how much money was enough, replied "Just a little bit more".

The other person who contacted me did so with a care job, that seems nice except I'd like to broaden my experience a bit and it's basically the same as what I'm doing now... only I'd need a car. I am going to have to learn to drive. This is a pain.

Anyway, job hunting continues. Why do all the jobs I want to apply for want you to phone them? Basically guaranteeing that if you work 9-5 you have to find an appropriate lunch break, or in my case wait until you have a weekday off so you can call within office hours. You'd think they'd have mastered e-mail by now.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ambitions? Fish!

Hi folks! Or folk! or... single lone reader who came in just to ridicule me! You are welcome too, dear reader!

It is Palm Sunday and dear blog I have neglected you. I keep thinking of cool stuff to blog and not blogging it. I even have a post on asylum seekers but it's not finished. Basically, I think the way asylum seekers are treated is inhumane and even the government seem to be catching on, John Reid excepted.

It's also April Fools' Day. Since I work with the elderly and vulnerable, I missed out on this. Though one of my sweet old ladies told me this riddle today:

"Slippery, wet and greasy
When it's in, it's easy
When it's out, it wobbles about
Slippery, wet and greasy
What am I?"

She took great joy in telling me it was a fish!

I am now getting itchy feet and that feeling of needing a new challenge, which is very useful since I'm going to spend some time tomorrow applying for jobs in Bradford. I've re-written my CV and everything! And I'm going to see my careers' adviser, take her a copy of my latest CV and thank her (and her peeps) for all their help. Oh, and finally book that interview skills session I've been meaning to do.

I am seriously thinking of training to be a social worker. Either that or I will be a penniless writer, because I think that would be poetic at least. I've got books out of the library, I've sent off to Bradford Uni for info, and I want to do volunteering again (I loved volunteering. It would be nice if I could do work with children again, they're fun!) I am getting a bit too excited about the whole thing and telling people, "I want to be a social worker!" even though next month I may well have changed my mind and decided to become a mime. Still, it is quite exciting.

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