Monday, 30 July 2012

The Ending That Should Have Been

It's a well known fact that my favourite movie of all time is Francis Ford Coppola's version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. My heart just melts when I watch it. (Incidently, my husband HATES the film.) BUT I can't watch it the whole way through. I stop it right when the men walk into the asylum, "saving" Mina. (Saving her, my ass...) We all need our little illusions in life and that one's mine. In Wondra's World, Dracula and Mina get to live happily ever after. (Forever and ever and ever, etc.)

I was watching Dracula one night last week, a little bit tipsy and a little bit sleepy, and I fell into this sort of half sleep/half daydream fantasy about the movie. The ending that played out for me that night was far, far better than the one I was suppose to be watching.

When I woke up, it was like someone had lit a fire under my ass (as my mom would say). I had a vision and I had to see it through. 24 manic hours of writing, three drafts, and two betas later, I had "my ending." And this is it:


And you know what? It makes my heart melt. :) 

I've decided to call it Part 1 because there are so many places for Dracula and Mina's story to go - and because I won't rest until Van Helsing and Harker die in horrible, horrible ways! 

I don't normally get a lot of comments for my writing on FanFiction.net (I've been told it's because my writing tends to be a strong "M" rating and does not appeal to the masses.) but I had the greatest comment from someone for TETSHBP1: 

"My favourite of all I have read about Dracula. I love the prince and Mina, they are soul matter, the perfect couple."

And that person goes on the list of people who deserve great big, sloppy kisses from Wondra! :)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bingo!

In December last year, my husband's grandmother had a serious stroke. You can imagine how we felt... The year before his mother went into hospital and was diagnosed with cancer at about the same time. It didn't look good. It was so bad, in fact, that his father flew all the way home from China. We were getting ready to say goodbye.

But Jay's nan, Dulcie, is AMAZING. One day the doctors were saying that she was completely paralysed and had brain damage and the next, she was sitting up talking. What a fighter!

She spent a few months in hospital before she was independent enough to go home but now she's back in her own house, living by herself. There are still things she can't do, and her right hand still has no mobility in it but the fact that she's still with us at all is astounding.

Dulcie has been wanting to go to her  local welfare club and play bingo for several weeks now but has been worried that she wouldn't be able to cope. Jay and his brother got together and decided that we would all go and make a family outing of it.


My husband with his brother and his grandmother.

It was a long trip for Jay and I - at least a half an hour in the car. His brother and his brother's fiance live just around the corner from his nan so it was easier for them. Jay's brother also brought one of his best friends and Dulcie's sister came along as well.

The Beddau welfare club is an old, run down buiding that needed a face lift about fifty years ago. All the other people there looked like they probably remembered exactly what it looked like back then too! I was the youngest person there by about a decade. My future sister-in-law said that the average age there had to be about 65. 

I've never played bingo before. Not outside of elementary school, anyway. They play a strange form of bingo here in Britain. The cards look strange and you yell "house" instead of "bingo." Not that I ever got the chance... I didn't come anywhere near winning! But Jay's brother and his fiance did!

There was also a singer performing. He was okay, even though he subjected us to Neil Diamond songs and thought that Josh Groban was an Irish singer. At least he was in tune.

I couldn't believe it when I came back from the bathroom and found Dulcie up on her feet dancing with her sister!


Even though it wasn't the most happening place, we all had fun. Dulcie said she had a great time - and she put away a fair bit of beer too! We hope that we can get together and do it again at least once a month.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

School Time Wondra

My registration and financial support have all been sorted out for my next year of study at the Open University. I can't recommend their distance learning program enough; it's been possible to fit around my crazy life and the "tutors" (professors) that we have have been so helpful during stressful periods.

The government here in the UK is pretty amazing in their support of adult learners.  For two classes that would have cost me almost £1500, I only have to pay £400 and the Open University have helped me spread that out through the school year.

My next two (and hopefully last!) courses are going to be A230 Reading and Studying Literature and EA300 Children's Literature. Reading and Studying Literature is my required class and Children's Literature is my elective. After these two classes, I should have my BA in English Language and Literature.

I had some difficulty deciding on an elective this year. The past two years, I chose The 18th Century Novel and The 19th Century Novel as my electives. That's some pretty heavy reading. I have to be honest, I'm surprised I made it through them! I wanted something a bit lighter this year. Creative Writing was one option and it was the one I almost went for. There are reasons I decided against Creative Writing. Hopefully I can share some of this with you in a few weeks' time.

Children's Literature seemed like a good choice. It seemed like it would be a bit of fun - and a bit more light-hearted than my last two electives! Watch... It'll probably be the hardest of the two! Lol.

I logged on to the site today to check if my results for this year's exams were available (still waiting!) and saw that they've put up assignment due dates for next year's classes. I'm trying not to think too much about that!

The required reading lists have been up some time. They look like this:

A230 Reading and Studying Literature:

Oroonoko, Behn, Aphra
Wuthering Heights, Bronte, Emily
The Sign of Four, Conan Doyle, Arthur
Dancing at Lughnasa, Friel, B
Dubliners, Joyce, J
The Emigrants, Sebald, W G
The Lonely Londoners, Selvon, S
Othello, Shakespeare, William
Candide, Voltaire
The Duchess of Malfi, Webster, J

EA300 Children's Literature:

Little Women, Alcott, L M
Voices in the Park, Browne, A
Junk, Burgess, M
Coram Boy, Gavin, J
100 Best Poems for Children, McGough, R
The Other Side of Truth, Naidoo, B
Tom's Midnight Garden, Pearce, P
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Potter, B
Northern Lights, Pullman, P
Swallows and Amazons, Ransome, A
Mortal Engines, Reeve, P
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Rowling, J K
Treasure Island, Stevenson, R L
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, Taylor, M

Luckily, I have two books already from the lists (Wuthering Heights and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone). The rest I've been trying to get from sites like readitswapit.co.uk and bookcrossing.com. The hunt is not going well, I'm sorry to say. I've only managed to get two books so far from swaps (Othello and Northern Lights); most of my swaps have been rejected. (I've had 25 declined already!) Time is ticking on and I'm worried that I may have to just go and buy the rest. I really hope not, though, considering our financial situation. I could use my grant money when it arrives but then I'd have to wait until both classes were well underway and the thought of being that far behind makes me twitchy.

Oh... There are two assingmed movies as well: Metropolis and Peter Pan. Also, my husband has Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Case Book so I can see us sitting down to watch The Sign of Four together. And you know I don't need any excuse for a Harry Potter marathon! (But I'll take it when it comes along. Lol.)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

And one night, with the inlaws...

The relationship that I have with my brother-in-law has never been one that could be described as "healthy." Or "friendly" for that matter. We have never really liked each other much or gotten along - which is just fine because we don't have to see each other much. But yesterday was the anniversary of my mother-in-law's death so we couldn't exactly avoid him - or come up with some excuse when he asked us to go out for a few drinks.

Was I thrilled? Not exactly. The plan was to have one drink and bail. But it didn't work out that way. After the first couple of drinks, I decided if my rich-ass-brother-in-law was buying, there was no reason I shouldn't have a few drinks.

Three hours later...

We had a good 45 minute drive home after all this - which, according to my husband, is not all that fun when a Wondra is sitting next to you expounding on why "buh" is the best sound in the English language. (And also making up songs with "buh" in them.) Also not good when you've thrown back six or seven rum & Cokes in under three hours and you need to visit Senor El Bano... Which lead to this conversation the morning after:

DH: "You peed in my car!"
Me: "Did I tell you that I needed the bathroom?"
DH: "Yes."
Me: "Did I ask you to stop at the services?"
DH: "Yes."
Me: "Did I ask you nicely?"
DH: "Yes."
Me: "Did you stop?"
DH: "No."
Me: "Then I peed in your car."

And who says alcohol makes you throw logic out the window? Lol.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday the Thirteenth.

I won't lie to you, my life has not been an easy one. Not since I was diagnosed with Severe Depression six months ago - Maybe not ever, thinking back on my youth. Lately, though, I have been struggling. I have been struggling to find happiness in the seemingly endless drama of my life, struggling to keep my head above the murky waters of mental illness, and struggling to find meaning in this brief whirlwind called life.

To say that it has not been easy is an understatement of epic proportions.

But every now and then something happens that makes me stop and reevaluate everything I think I know and feel. Sometimes it's a Big Bad and sometimes it's no bigger than a dew drop and no louder than a whisper. Today, it came in the form of a small piece of paper.

I have some strange hobbies, I must admit. But I also have some pretty lame ones - including collecting postcard. (One step above collecting stamps, right?) You don't have to tell me what a geek I am, it's a well documented fact.

There's something about postcards that tugs on my heart strings. Every postcard is a moment in time. Someone, somewhere, stopped what they were doing long enough to choose a card. I've never seen anyone buy a postcard without careful deliberation. Just the word "postcard" conjures an image of giggling friends - or lovers - playfully perusing cards in a little tourist shop and THAT, there, is the moment.

Like a vampire, I feed off of those moments, savour the taste of experiences lived that will never come my way. Unlike a vampire, one day - probably sooner than I would like - I will move on from this life but those postcards will remain. Those MOMENTS will remain, frozen in time for another sad, struggling person to cherish.

I didn't mean to go quite as far as I have... I only meant to say that I collect postcards but my thoughts ran away with me. And the reason I mention it is that I was standing in the hallway at work today, talking with an old friend, when a boy from my department came up to me. He told me that he heard I collect postcards and he handed me a postcard he brought back from his holidays. That. That was the moment that made my whole world stop.

Now... This boy and I are not friends (friendly but not friends, you understand). He did something kind for apparently no reason and without expecting anything in return. Just because. I don't know what meaning I'm meant to draw from that but I won't pretend it didn't move me.

A moment of someone's life, freely given... There must be some kind of magick in that?

Monday, 9 July 2012

To the girls...

I don't know if I've ever shared this with any of the girls mentioned, or how old it is, but I found it while looking for some important documents....

To Drew, who taught me how to make believe
with dancing and the magick we would weave...

To Rae, who stood by me through the years
through life's changes and adolescent fears...

To Jess, who showed me different is good
although we never did what we dreamed we would...

To Katie, who was the sister I wished I had
when times were good and when things went bad...

To Amanda, who never forgot about me
your friendship ran deeper than most could see...

To Bristol, who could always make me laugh
with a sense of humour that spoke to my darker half...

To all the girls who touched my life in some special way,
Thank you for making me the person I am today.

As you can imagine, it brought a tear to my eye - and it still does. We're not girls any more but the sentiment is the same. Thank you for being there for me. I love you all. :)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Wondra's To Read List

I've been trying to arrange swaps through readitswapit.co.uk for the assigned books for my courses next year and while I was at it, I thought I may as well have a look at the pile of books waiting to be read.


Okay... PILES of books.

That's a lot of reading! And a lot of typing!  Luckily, I had help from Dylan.


Okay... Here is my To Read List for (the rest of) 2012:

1. A Passionate Performance, Eileen Putman
2. At Knit's End, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
3. Bad Girls Don't Die, Katie Alender
4. Be Still My Vampire Heart, Kerrelyn Sparks
5. Bitten & Smitten, Michelle Rowen
6. The Black Knight, Connie Mason
7. Blood of the Wicked, Karina Cooper
8. Blue Moon, Alyson Noel
9. Caleb (The Shadow Wranglers), Sarah McCarty
10. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod (1), Heather Brewer
11. Cloaked in Red, Vivian Vande Velde
12. Crave, JR Ward
13. Dead in the Family, Charlaine Harris
14. Dead Sexy, Amanda Ashley
15. Deadly Little Secret, Laurie Faria Stolarz
16. Die for Me, Amy Plum
17. Edge of Twilight, Maggie Shayne
18. Entangled, Cat Clarke
19. Fan to Pro, Steven Savage
20. Fantasy, Christine Feehan, etc
21. Fantasy Lover, Sherrilyn Kenyon
22. Fifty Shades Darker, EL James
23. Fire Study, Maria V Snyder
24. Game of Thrones, George RR Martin
25. The Hellion and the Highlander
26. In the Thrill of the Night, Candice Hern
27. IT, Stephen King
28. Linger, Maggie Stiefvater
29. My Love Lies Bleeding, Alyxandra Harvey
30. Never Cry Werewolf, Heather Davis
31. Northern Lights, Philip Pullman
32. Othello, William Shakespeare
33. The Outlaw Demon Wails, Kim Harrison
34. Paradise Lost, John Milton
35. Poison Study, Maria V Snyder
36. Rebel Angels, Libba Bray
37. Romancing the Stone, Joan Wilder
38. Ruined, Paula Morris
39. Schindler's Ark, Thomas Keneally
40. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Ben H Winters
41. Sex Spells, Stella Damiana
42. Shadow Kiss, Richelle Mead
43. Sirensong, Jenna Black
44. Sleeping with the Fishes, MaryJanice Davidson
45. Stray, Rachel Vincent
46. Taming the Highland Bride, Lynsay Sands
47. To Wed a Wicked Prince, Jane Feather
48. Torment, Lauren Kate
49. Trickster's Choice, Tamora Pierce
50. Trickster's Queen, Tamora Pierce
51. The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, Stephenie Meyer
52. Twice Bitten, Poppy Z Brite
53. Ultraviolet, BJ Anderson
54. Vampire and Werewolf Stories, Alan Durant
55. Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight, LJ Smith
56. Vampire Heart, JB Calchman
57. Vampires are Forever, Lynsay Sands
58. Wicked, Gregory
59. Wicked Nights, Nina Bangs
60. Warlord, Elizabeth Elliott
61. Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night, Kresley Cole
62. World War Z, Max Brooks

And the sad thing is that I could easily add another 62 books that I WANT to buy. I may have a problem?

You can click here to read the books I've already read towards my goal for 2012 (80 books).