Sunday, 29 July 2012

MeetingLife Journal Project

The Girl.

The human personality is a complex, fragile one. It is beautiful and ugly, endless and finite. A person can inspire and defeat, encourage and discourage, make friends and enemies. I have been downgraded to the lower depths of humanity, grown up in unlikely places with unlikely fellows. I am many things. In 19 years I have seen more defeat, been discouraged and made more enemies than I would like to count.

I am an abuse survivor.
I am a bullying victim.
I am an artist.
I am a student.
I am a friend.
I am an athlete of many sports.
I am a Nightwish, Blind Guardian and Rammstein fan.
I am a Potterhead.
I am a reader.
I am imaginative.
I am indifferent.
I am an insignificant blip of time in the universe, and I intend to make it count.

In the years to come, I will make up for lost time and become what no one believed I would ever be, but what I know I can achieve.

War is a state of mind, and I will win it.
Dexterity is mathematical, and I will harness it.
Creativity is empowering, and I will inspire it.
Peace is music, and I will learn it.
Intelligence is diverse, and I will earn it.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

An open letter to customers,

People suck... Some are cool and worth tolerating, everyone else can fucking suck it. If people didn’t exist, the world would be a happier place because it would not have been destroyed by the territorial nature of humanity. And yes, I am aware that this would mean I wouldn’t exist, but maybe that would be for the best.

Working in customer service, I have seen the blatant lack of respect individuals hold for each other. I have had people call me worthless, incompetent, clueless, even been told that I should kill myself. I CANNOT HELP IT IF I HAVE TO USE THE SECURITY PEN! It’s a blatant security measure which affects you because if we get fake notes, it increases the chances of the store being closed down! We cannot accept swipe cards because they have to be phoned through for authorisation. When I show up for work, I always hope for stockroom duty or closedown because I don’t want to interact with people for the reasons listed above. Here’s a fucking tip for you guys: if you see four people doing nothing in the shoe section and you want a specific shoe, DO NOT SEEK OUT THE PERSON ON CLOTHING WHO IS OBVIOUSLY BUSY; DO NOT CALL HER INCOMPETENT WHEN SHE TRIES TO EXPLAIN THAT SHE IS BETTER AT CLOSEDOWN THAN SHE IS AT SHOES. I do not want to be called ‘lazy’ or ‘clueless’ when I have five kinds of shoes to get from the sodding stockroom already! Have you never heard of patience? Or, shock horror, asking SOMEONE ELSE? You are obviously too stupid and selfish to live if you think that burdening the already-stressed person with “just one more thing” won’t matter because “hey, she’s going to the stockroom anyway!” People like my customers drive me fucking insane. My ideal job is one where I can stay inside and only venture out when I need to. I am an asocial creature unlike other humans – I do not thrive on going out, alcohol, interaction, anything like that. All I need is my computer.

You people make me physically sick! I have seen parents slap their children in my store, heard horrible arguments and witnessed outbursts of incredible rage.

Fuck off.

AG Bellamy.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Runes Shalt Thou Dream

My dream became a reality because, sometimes, dreams ARE reality. Writing has been my dream, my air and my life since I was fve. In writing, I can go to places I've never been before while remaining seated at my computer... and the best part is that I don't have to go out and pretend to give a crap about people like the customers I serve at weekends, I genuinely care about my characters because they are my babies, and my story is my baby.

Ladies and gentlemen, my baby:

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Blog Tour with Jami Montgomery, author of Knight's End

Jami Montgomery is a twenty-two year old self published author from South Texas. She has always loved books and the written word, and has been writing stories since she first learned to use a pencil. Knight's End is her first published work, and she has several other novels in the works.

“Guards! Guards! Come now and arrest this traitor!” At King Donn’s beckoning, four soldiers rushed into the room, swords drawn.
Aston slowly backed away, nearing his window. He didn’t have time to think. In one swift movement, he grabbed his still-packed bag from the floor, pulled his grappling hook from his belt, and leapt from the window, praying the hook would catch.
He almost took a relieved breath when the metal claw caught on the window and he was safely on the ground, his knees taking the blunt of the blow. But he was still in danger; he couldn’t stop yet. He dropped his rope and ran, cringing as the palace bells sounded behind him. He ran as fast as he could toward the stable, reaching them just as Vernon was about to remove Sterling’s bridle. The old man looked up in surprise when Aston came charging in, but didn’t stop him from jumping on Sterling’s back, grabbing a halter from the wall, and riding out of the stable at top speed.
Aston raced into the night, reaching the drawbridge just as it was being closed and jumping his horse across the river. The sound of hooves pounding the hard earth behind him had Aston driving Sterling faster, digging his heels into the animal’s side as his own heart raced with adrenaline. An arrow embedded itself in a tree to his right and he ducked out of instinct. Looking behind him, he saw a man with a bow guiding his horse with his knees, notching another arrow.
Aston cursed, leaning low in Sterling’s saddle and running the horse in a zigzag along the forest’s edge. With a curse, he made Sterling take a fast right, plunging the horse into the thick brush and crashing through low hanging tree branches. He heard men hollering from behind him, upset that they’d lost him in the forest. A couple of brave soldiers followed, but Aston wasn’t too worried about them. These woods took up almost half of Fridel, and he’d grown up in them. They wouldn’t be able to find him now.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

AG Bellamy "dominates" YouTube!

... with a massive 22 views on my very first video:

It was a special surprise everyone oon facebook who helped me reach the first milestone of 100 'likes' on my fan-page:

Enjoy, my friends :D

Saturday, 7 July 2012

How to succeed in customer service

If you are reading this, then congratulations! You have a job in customer service. Allow me to shake your hand, and once again congratulate you on your enlightening new career as a Sales Rep, Assistant, or whatever your company calls you!

Working in customer service is a life-changing experience, and this post is a simple list of the three things you need to remember when you are serving customers!

Number One: The customer is always right!

-          Is the customer asking for a certain product?
-          Don’t have any of that product on the shop floor?
-          Can’t even find it on the store’s system?
-          But the customer insists that you must have it in-store because it’s on the store’s website?

Well, if the customer is always right, then despite all the odds you must have it in-store, so keep looking until you can’t look further, because that customer just won’t admit they’re wrong!

Number Two: Remember, you are a cockroach!

As a customer service rep, you are automatically the scum of the earth, you deserve no respect, not from anyone, not even your parents! You’ve chosen a life of trying to save enough money to make it on your own, and you must pay for it by being treated like the cockroach you are! So smile and take that abuse from the customer who’s trying to get a discount for a shirt they purposely soiled, because you deserve it!

Number Three: What is this ‘thanks’ you speak of?

Don’t expect a customer to thank you for helping them, because you quite clearly have the attention span of a gnat coupled with the grace of a drunken gorilla. After all, you only climbed the Empire State Building of a ladder to grab a jumper the customer wanted to look at in the first place, only to discard on one of the lower rails. Who cares if you nearly fell off twice? It’s your own damn fault for doing your job! You don’t deserve to be thanked because working in customer service, you are obviously no good and deserve to be contained in an environment where you will be seen strangling the customers who annoy you!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Exploring The White Lands of Empathica, or "how I learned to incorporate music into my writing habits"

Music has long been a love of mine, and after years of longing I have finally begun to learn my favourite instrument: the guitar. There are many reasons why I love the guitar: it requires dexterity (which I lack), co-ordination (which I lack), the strings when strummed correctly produce beautiful music, to name just a few. Recently I began to pen songs for my characters to sing – I have formed a small band to be known as ‘Arctic Wine’ in addition to a mermaid – and I fully intend to compose the music for the songs myself. I often find my ability to write relies on how I feel, and there has been one constant strong musical influence I have always thought of when writing: Nightwish.

Originally, this post was going to be about my three favourite bands to listen to while writing (Nightwish, Rammstein and Blind Guardian), but only the Nightwish fandom responded to me in time enough for this post so I decided to make a mini-series about each band, beginning with Nightwish.

Like any fan, I spend a fair amount of time listening to Nightwish and (obsessively) wandering over various fan-pages on Facebook and Tumblr. In fact, it was on Facebook that I discovered I’m not the only one who finds Tuomas and co to be a constant source of inspiration. Nati, from the Facebook fan-page “Soy Nightwisher@ de corazon, mente y alma,” provided me with this short snippet from a story she wrote based on her interpretations of “The Poet and the Pendulum” and “The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove.” The extract can be found at the end of this post.

My favourite character to write has to be Sylvan Dreyfus (nee Markvard Eriksson), a Finnish vampire. He was originally meant to be one of the good guys, fighting for the Organisation and whatnot, deviating from Richard’s original tale where he is a bad boy, but as I listened to “Planet Hell” I thought “Yeah, this guy needs to be a fucking psycho!” Here are my Top 3 Nightwish-inspired scenes from The Noble Angels thus far:

1.      “The Poet and the Pendulum:” Matt is in deep despair after being unwittingly blamed for the death of his mother, the loss of several friends after being outed as gay, losing his father in a suspicious fire, among other things. This song is essentially one of those suicide notes people write to vent their frustrations, and Matt’s mindset as the story develops is heavily influenced by this song. Death, beauty and silence are common themes in Nightwish songs, and it is these three things Matt longs for the most.
2.      “Planet Hell:” Sylvan. The song is clearly satirical in many ways and the one which sticks in my mind is “mankind works in mysterious ways” which parodies the Christian mantra “God works in mysterious ways.” The song makes many mentions of graphic violence, like that of a battlefield. Sylvan’s psychotic nature is inspired by this song for its fast pace and in-your-face vocals. Sylvan is a psychopath through and through, he lives to kill and kills for the fun of it.
3.      “Last Ride of the Day:” While this particular scene has not been written yet, this song has spurred me on to plan World War Three and, finally, Ragnarök. This will be the bloodiest, most depraved scene I will ever write.

I have many friends who read philosophy, and one of whom does her homework while listening to Nightwish. I believe her exact reaction was “Listening to Nightwish + Doing Philosophy = MINDFUCK.” Listening to “The Poet and the Pendulum,” I could not stop crying because of what it is about, and how I would eventually have to take everything away from the world I have created. The music of Nightwish has not given me ideas; it has given me the energy I need to write and the push in the direction my characters need to take.

Nati’s extract:

“I knew that death was waiting for me, but I would leave this world as a loved person, I would be remembered as the poet who was murdered in the White Lands of Empathica.
All I thought and hoped for was to find a beautiful landscape, like the ones that I used to describe in all my lyrics.
I pictured myself between the waves of the ocean, where my soul had always belonged.
While all my life was going through my mind like images from a movie, I felt how the pendulum went through my body.
I remember that the last word I whispered was: ¡Save me! And then I closed my eyes forever.
In that moment, I felt a cold breeze on my cheeks and I knew that all the suffering was finally over; now I was at home, or at least that was how I felt.
When my soul left my body, I found myself on a seashore.
There was nothing more beautiful than seeing the horizon and hearing the sound the ocean waves.
Finally, I could find that landscape I have always longed for.
I looked quickly to the sky, and I saw a crow, an owl and a dove flying with grace towards me...”

Monday, 2 July 2012

Epics, Fantasy and Epic Fantasy: Origins and Analysis of Mythical Monsters

Epic poetry can be traced right back to its roots in the oral tradition. The epic of Gilgamesh is considered to be the oldest known epic poem to date, and over the centuries more and more have been discovered. Homer’s Odyssey and The Iliad are probably the most famous examples, as not many people have heard of the Hávamál or Völuspá, two epic poems from the Ásatrú sacred text, The Poetic Edda. Within these epic poems can be found monsters of mythical proportions: Cyclopes, Hydras, werewolves...

In his documentary, Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters, Tom Holland takes us on a journey where we learn the influence prehistoric fossils had on local storytelling. It is easy to forget that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth because we cannot go to the local pet shop and buy a miniaturised tyrannosaurus rex, nor can we see them in our parks or zoos. The origins of land, air and water-dragons, like the Lerneaen Hydra who was offered Andromeda as a sacrifice, can be credited to the plesiosaur. The structure of the plesiosaur offers its flippers, explaining why modern writers and artists illustrate their dragons with glorious wings, basing their art on the Chinese literature without acknowledging it. Giant elephant skulls found in the Mediterranean by the ancient Greeks helped to spur the myth of the Cyclops, a man-eating giant. The anatomy of the elephant skull is simple: the huge nasal cavity where the trunk used to be was mistaken for an over-sized eye-socket, and the immense size of the skull itself would have had a devastating impact on the puny Greeks who discovered it. As a result, stories were told of epic heroes who would later be recorded by various poets.

My personal favourite wolf lore lies in Scandinavia. The two sky-wolves who both pull and chase the Sun and Moon – Hati and Skoll – are trapped in a perpetual state of catch-22: either they destroy their own cargo and lose all meaning, or they continue on a permanent wild goose chase. However, these wolves originate from a beautiful story, and their role is pretty damn apocalyptic: when they catch the Sun and Moon, Ragnarök will begin. Wolves had long been in mythology and epics before the Norse began to sing and write them. In fact, many of what we now refer to as myths remain the basis of several Odinic belief systems. The origins of these wolves can be found in the need to explain the natural world: by creating reason for the wolves to be in their respective pictures, the epics became a tool for education and worship.