At Time’s Mercy

Dear Autumn,

Time flies by so fast.

When you’re a kid everything seems to drag on forever because you’re still so young and the time is such a huge portion of your life. when you get older, though, everything passes by in a flash. The year seems to last for just a second. I can remember Christmas 2015 like it was yesterday and now it’s almost Halloween 2016(!). Spooky. A lot can change in a year but when you live in the moment it feels like nothing will change, like it’s impossible for anything to change. And by the time next year comes around, you look back and you realise you have actually been through a lot. You’ve had so many experiences that have shaped you as a person ever so gradually. It’s quite remarkable. It’s like the person you were a year ago doesn’t exist now but it is still you.

You’re a combination of all your past selves from this lifetime.

I’m a combination of the 6-year-old girl who moved abroad with her family for a couple of years to live in the rural south of Spain. I’m the girl who would always stand at the edge of the playground waiting for other kids to invite her to play with them. I’m the 10-year-old who used to brush her frizzy hair upside down to make it big because she liked it that way. I’m the girl who used to be shy and quiet and reserved because she felt like she didn’t fit in. I’m all of those selves and that makes me, me. There’s nothing wrong with that. They form a part of me and each one is just as loved as the other. They are me and I am them.

But why then, at some points does time seem to drag?

Like at work when everything just gets on top of you and you just can’t think straight. And then at other points time just whizzes by. And above all, probably the cruellest of notions; why does time fly fast when you’re having fun? It’s quite unfair really. If I was having fun, I would want time to go by really slowly so I could have more fun that time would allow. I wish that you could pause time like you pause the television. Just to savour the moment and live it in its entirety, cherishing every second of it. That would be nice. Time doesn’t care for the wishes of others, though. sometimes time likes to sprint, and sometimes it likes to take a leisurely walk along the promenade of a sunny beach. It quite ironically lives life at its own pace. What a nuisance. Does time know it is playing games with us?

Photo Credit: Rachel Crowe


What is Art?

Dear Autumn,

What is art? Is it something beautiful or something intriguing? Or somewhere in the middle? Art fascinates me. It inspires me. But why is art always thought of as visual, like a painting or a drawing? A piece of creativity that you can prove is art. When you think of someone who is artistic, you think of someone who uses colours and mixes them into their own representation of the world. Artists are creators, but not all creators are artists. Does that then mean that artists are superior? I concur, I think that art is subjective. Not everyone likes or dislikes the same work of art. I think that art is in almost everything, though, even in things that seem inherently uncreative like writing because everyone can do it. Not everyone can paint, draw well or take good photographs. You cannot argue, however, that there is not skill in writing.

You can only tell if a piece of writing is good or not if you actually read it, and reading takes more effort and patience than looking at something. Otherwise, to the untrained eye, it looks like a bunch of words. There is no room for error in a visual representation of art because mistakes are easy to spot. But I think that art is a synonym for skill. Art is a weird subject to talk about, especially when sometimes what is considered art, really shouldn’t be. For example, paintings of squares. A 5-year-old could paint that. And those paintings of squares go for a lot of money. I don’t know, I guess it could be considered #aesthetic, but I don’t really see the appeal. Paint it yourself if you really want different coloured squares up on the walls of your home. It’s ridiculous. You could splatter paint on a page these days and BAM *art*. I don’t understand. But maybe art isn’t meant to be understood. It makes no sense.

What is art to you?

Autumn, there is one thing I know for sure. You are art itself. You are the canvas on which nature can paint. The morning mist caresses the trees, blessing them with soft golden brown hues, vibrant purples and cherry reds where every leaf is a flower. But you are not just visual art, you are also felt by the senses and deep within our souls. Autumn, you are the scent of cinnamon on my morning coffee, the smell of rain on the ground and the sickly sweet taste of caramel. You are the sound of fallen leaves crushing under my shoes and the warmth of a coat as the cool breeze brushes against my skin. You hold emotional power, autumn, and it feels wonderful. It feels like a grand finale before the year is up. You feel like home. Maybe, after all, home isn’t just a place with four walls… it’s a sort of fondness and understanding. And I like it that way. It’s special. Autumn, you have been hiding away all year round and now you are free so don’t be timid about it. I find myself breathing you in more than usual, in an attempt to fill myself up with what seems like a dream.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Pendleton

Creative Writing and Coffee

Dear Autumn,

University started again on Monday and I’m just finally glad to get back into the swing o things. I even went to a fresher’s event. Yeah, can you believe it? I had A LOT of fun. I was debating whether or not to go out and I’m happy I did. I think if you keep giving excuses then people will stop inviting you to things because they just give up. I haven’t been out all summer so it was nice to let my hair down for one night. I can be social if I really try, which is rare for me. I have fun when I do so I don’t know why I don’t do it more often. I think I’m lazy, that’s why. It’s effort. That sounds really bad, doesn’t it? Everyone is just so far away from me.

Autumn, why am I finding it so hard to write? It’s like all my ideas have disappeared and it’s kind of frustrating. Maybe I’m overthinking it. I just need to calm down and b r e a t h e. I think my brain has been frazzled and it’s still fairly fragile from the alcohol I drank on Monday night. Do you think that’s a valid reason? Let’s go with it anyway. At this point, I’m just trying to write absolutely anything to get myself out of “writer’s block”. One word at a time, eh?

I like seeing the page fill up with words and sentences. Blank pages are daunting. It seems that if I have a lot of writing on one page then it is easier to write more, but whenever I start a new page: BOOM, my mind goes blank too. There’s probably a psychological reason for it. I can’t call myself a writer if I don’t write. I need to train my brain to keep the words flowing whenever I want them to so I don’t find it difficult. I’m writing on the bus and even though my handwriting is pretty bad, the bumps in the road are making it 100 times worse.

I’m going to my first meeting at the creative writing society tonight which I’m SO excited about. Even though it’s really late in the evening and I live an hour away. Should be good. I wonder how many people will be there and what it will be like. At least it gets me out of the house more often. And I think it will be nice to have people who will support my writing. I’ll probably get the chance to read other people’s work too and we can encourage each other. Not everyone writes in the same way and I think it will be interesting to read different genres and styles and it might give me a chance to try something new. It’s always good to challenge yourself and improve your work. And maybe I’ll make some new friends. Look at me being all social-like. Who knew? I literally can’t wait. My only concern is what time I’ll get home but that’s a minor issue.

Autumn, do you know what’s really funny? Well, it’s not funny as such but anyway, the amount of people drinking coffee at the train station is insane. Why do people do it? Aside: I feel really ill – headache, sore throat, cough, the lot. I just wanted to tell you guys. So carrying on with my story, do you think people do it because they see other people doing it? When they see someone with a coffee it triggers the coffee centre in the brain and they go “oh yeah, I want a coffee too”. Or do you think that people who get the train are simply predetermined to love coffee. It probably doesn’t help that there is a Costa and a Starbucks opposite the train station, or that on both train platforms there’s a café. Sneaky, really, but smart.

I think there are two types of coffee drinkers. Those who drink coffee when the weather is cold. That’s rational and understandable. Then there are people like me who drink 4 coffees a day regardless of the weather. There is no in between. I would say I’m addicted to coffee but when I don’t drink it I don’t get caffeine withdrawal so technically I’m not. I don’t depend on it. There are times when I know I probably shouldn’t drink coffee like on boiling hot days but I do anyway because it’s just so nice. But yeah, it’s ridiculous how many people buy a coffee before they get on the train to somewhere, most likely work. And I get that work can be a drag sometimes but is coffee really necessary? Maybe for some people. I don’t feel the effects of caffeine anymore because I’m used to it. It doesn’t make me feel more alert or more focused. Autumn, do you think that is the purpose of coffee? To help you feel more awake? Because it’s not working.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Thomas

New Beginnings

Dear Autumn,

Another day has passed and it is finally my first day in 3rd year at university. After 5 months of sitting at home bored, my life is getting back into a routine. Hooray. I cannot wait to get back to learning psychology. It will be interesting, if not a little tough. Someone told me that 3rd year is easier than 2nd year but somehow I do not believe them. I mean, how can it be easier? In reality. But maybe if I don’t overthink it like always, I’ll get by without a hitch. Hopefully anyway. I hope a lot these days. I think it’s an integral part of being in your 20s, hoping, because really, we don’t know what we’re doing. We just go with the flow most of the time. It’s pretty rare for a 20-something year old to know what they’re doing with their life, and I guess it’s a little comforting to know.

I officially start my first module today – evolutionary psychology and I can’t wait. I’ll be able to see my friends AND start learning again. Seriously, I think my brain has quite possibly shrunk over the summer with the amount of learning it has not been doing. It must have shrivelled up. Being a recluse does that to you. Although, unlike most of my classmates, I’m probably the only one or one of the few that has a blog or has consistently written since 2nd year ended. It’s a nice thought anyway. I think I’ve wanted to go back to uni for about three months now. After the second month if summer it just got silly. I need to use my brain one way or another, otherwise, I’d just go insane.

I did do a few things I wanted to do, though, like learn how to Jive. Absolutely brilliant that was. Still is. And I never want to stop. So even though my summer didn’t go exactly as planned *cough* Madrid *cough*, I got to do different things which I ended up liking even better. Life is like that isn’t it? Sometimes when things don’t go to plan, it’s for the best. If things don’t work out then maybe they weren’t supposed to in the first place. There’s really no point in worrying. Most of the time you’ll be glad, happier even, that you didn’t do what you originally planned. If I went to Madrid for the whole three months, I wouldn’t have learned to dance, gone on holiday with my family or carried on with my blog (shock horror!). I don’t know how different my life would be right now if I stayed in Madrid but I like my life the way it is and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Oh Autumn, do I really have to go out tonight? I’m not the most sociable person ever and tonight I’ll be stuck in a big room with loads (over a hundred) of other uni students drinking alcohol. Fab. It’s not my kind of scene but I want to see what it’s like just for tonight. And maybe I’ll have fun. We’ll see. I haven’t been out partying in like forever but I won’t be on my own – I’ll have my friends there at least. My real friends anyway. Turns out the people I thought were my friends last year are in fact not. Not anymore. We drifted apart somehow and in some ways I’m ok with that but I’m also kind of taken aback by it.

To be honest, it’s probably because of my asocial nature. I like socialising, but I also like being by myself most of the time. I’m sort of in the middle of introvert and extrovert because I feel like I don’t fit neatly into either. But the word “friend” does finish with “end”. They can do what they want, I don’t particularly care anymore. I’ll still talk to them if they initiate it but otherwise, goodbye friends. I’ll find my own people.

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

Autumn Sun

Dear Autumn,

It’s not very often you get to see the sun rise unless you’re a morning person and wake up when it’s still dark. I’m not a morning person but I had to wake up early. The colours in the sky make this morning that much better and endurable and make it so worth it for me. I do love experiencing the sun rise. It has a light and airy feel to it as the bright sun pierces through the pale pink and blue clouds as if to say “rise and shine, mortals, and embrace the day”. How nice of it. It’s making me realise that I should get up this early more often and go out to take some photos. Red sky in the morning, though, as they say, is shepherd’s warning. It’s deceptive. I wonder why that phrase was invented because I look up to the sky and all I can see is an ethereal beauty. Nothing to be warned about. It’s very bright and I can’t look directly at it but oh, it’s magnificent.

We’re too busy with our day to day lives that we never really take the time to look up – only ever what is in front or next to us. It’s a shame really because if everyone were to look up at the sky, all their problems and worries would be put in perspective. I do like living in a town where all the buildings are small and the greenery en masse. But I have to stop and wonder what it would be like if I lived in the city where life is constantly buzzing and never ending and all the buildings were skyscrapers. Would I feel boxed in and claustrophobic when I’m so used to trees, fields and wildlife? I can imagine so. Being unable to see the vastness of the big blue above could turn out to be miserable. Life would be crazy.

I love the sun. With every rise and fall brings the promise of a new day – a good day. It’s what keeps us all going. And along with it, the fact that more or less everything is absolutely fine, as Derren Brown so wisely said. That’s exactly what I needed to hear, Autumn. Today will be a good day if I want it to be and I desperately do. If you keep saying it to yourself the eventually it will become true for you,and you’ll never have to worry about every little thing again. Can’t let the sun down now, can I? It is too early in Autumn to see the trees in their golden brown magnificence, it’s more like a cold summer. The leaves will change colour gradually, so I probably won’t notice when they do. One day, the trees will be green and the next, orange and yellow. You blink and everything is different.

The weather changed so suddenly and fiercely from summer to Autumn that I had no time to prepare. It’s the time of year that every day begins cold and by midday, if you’re wearing warm clothes, you might get heat stroke. Well, that’s an exaggeration but you catch my drift. And it’s probably only true of England, but that’s how I like it. Autumn, you are definitely the season my soul connects with the most.

Photo Credit: Colin McMurry