Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Short Story: Hearlumination

It’s the same song, the Ohrwurm of a hundred bored days and every sleepless night. Danced to it at discos, set it as your ringtone, he played it at his wedding and she put it on every compilation tape and mix CD she made for the best part of five years. Fell in and out of love to it, with it.

Every strained lyric, every compressed handclap, every plosive breath and derivative lead guitar riff, they’re all so familiar, too familiar. I contend: familiarity breeds nostalgia and apathy. Viscerality and vitality is replaced by comfort and conditioning, it’s all learned reactions and automatic programmed emotions.

But: on different speakers, different headphones, in someone’s car, you hear, she hears a backing vocal, a bass-line, a phased melody, pushed to the forefront by bad wiring, poor equalisation, and suspect speaker placement.

It is a new calling sound amongst time-wearied notes of remembrance and recognition. It is a long-lost half-sibling, an accidental chance body of happenstance that inspects and dissects everything that was once so beloved.  It's hearlumination. It's hearluminating. And it sings and it shines and it makes you so very happy and in love all over again.

Neologism and story inspired by the following tweet:
Thanks Mic.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A First at the Second Time of Asking

I first went to university in 1996. It didn’t go well. Many games of pooh sticks have been played, yeah?
So anyway, I started again 10 years later in the most low falutin’ of ways. Yep, I traded in some supermarket loyalty vouchers for an online academic course. 
And after six years, five courses, last minute credit transfers, some desperate grant requests and essay extensions, I come to say farewell, it's been a blast, thank you and goodnight Open University.
Now I emerge, older, more cleverer, and relatively unscathed, with a First Class Honours BA degree in Literature. Cor blimey! eh reader?
I owe an awful lot to the OU. The lovely (and I really, genuinely, mean lovely) tutors I was fortunate to have, coupled with the accessibility and anonymity of the online courses have rebuilt my confidence as a student, as a learner.
The courses I have studied have given me a terrific new opportunity, I wouldn’t be blogging on this website if I hadn’t realised, hadn't learned, that actually, you know, I really can write.
As such, come September, I'm off to Cardiff University to take a Taught MA in Creative Writing.
I had an interview at Cardiff back in May, and was offered a conditional place shortly after. I was so shocked to be accepted (it’s a very small course in terms of student numbers), and then spent so long post-offer waiting to confirm my place it all seems a little surreal at the moment.
I’m trying to acclimatise myself by flicking around the Cardiff website, but it feels like I'm cheating on the OU. So I pop back to my alma mater from time-to-time, mainly to argue on the student forums about how and when to use commas.
New adventures afoot – not only this, but I have a slightly new job, and my wife is expecting baby #2 this winter – and in the meantime I’ve taken up running. I know, right? Me, running? Hah!
So thank you, The OU. You changed my life. Ta. I’ll see you for gowns and mortarboards and a cheeky snifter next year sometime.
And bore da Caerdydd ;)
Finally, massive thanks to my wife, the OU widow as she was, and to all the awesome people I met and befriended along the way.
Jamie Woods BA (Hons) Lit (Open) :)