Wednesday, 7 August 2013

5 Reasons why I didn't study Chemistry

As much as this blog is a place to show case some of my work and to write about the things that I might be watching or playing, I guess it can also be a place for some readers to get to know me. I'd rather my personality shine through my writing but from time to time a post like this can't hurt right? Right? Is it hurting you yet?

I'm not going to go for an obvious list of facts about me, if you follow me on Twitter you might see some fun facts from time to time (Fun Fact: There are fun facts in this post). Rather I wanted to keep things writing focused and maybe answer a question people often wonder when they get to know me or what I studied.

Maybe it's an Indian thing, but people often look at me with a weird quizzical look on their face when I tell them I studied English Language and Literature with Creative Writing. Today the shop keeper next door looked at me like I’d said the wrong subject and asked “are you sure it wasn't Chemistry?”

No, Mrs. Hayre, it wasn't Chemistry. I enjoyed Chemistry in school and before dropping out of college, it was one of my chosen A-Levels, but I never really loved it. I love writing and there's been a few influences in my life to bring that along. Here are a few of them:

#5: Goosebumps

In, I guess I want to say, 1994 my parents began to buy me Goosebumps books and they blew me away. I had been a casual reader before Goosebumps but once I got started on R.L Stine's mega series of horror stories I was hooked. I devoured these. I distinctly remember one week over the summer holidays where I convinced my mum to buy me three. I just ploughed through them. “Welcome to Dead House”, “Return of the Mummy”, “The Cuckoo Clock of Doom” and “Say Cheese and Die – Again!” were just some of the titles that defined my childhood. I remember one day when I was trapped on a coach going down to a wedding and at the services I convinced my dad to buy me a Goosebumps book. I destroyed “It Came From Beneath the Sink” in a matter of hours, before we'd even reached the venue. I was hungry for more, my imagination began to run wild.

(Fun Fact: When I was younger I wrote a short story where Jack the Ripper's brother stalked someone and was ultimately stabbed in a corner shop by the clerk. Maybe i'll post it one day)

#4: Max Payne

Along with reading, gaming was one of the key staples of my childhood. These started with games like Sonic and Alex the Kidd or Sensible Soccer and Sim City on my cousin's PC (when she let me on!). It wasn't I was introduced to Max Payne that I started to pay attention to the medium as a way to tell stories. The story in Max Payne is nothing to scream and shout about but the combination of interactivity and quality voice acting really pulled me in. Here was a bad ass character who was out for revenge, who narrated the entire game with a grisly film noire performance and could slow down time before the Matrix came out. I was in.

Max Payne really opened my eyes to the different forms of story telling and how powerful an emotional connection and interactivity were to a narrative experience.

(Fun Fact: As a child I wanted to be a wrestler when I grew up!)

#3: Wrestling

Wrestling was big in my family growing up. I was a Hulk-a-maniac and loved Macho Man. I moved on to Bret “The Hitman” Hart and then started chanting for Stone Cold Steve Austin. Yes, they have story lines in wrestling but it wasn't the cheesy plots that caught my eye.

Whatcha gonna do!?
It was more the match psychology and the art of wrestling itself. The more I paid attention to it the more I realised that the actual match had a story and it was told through mannerisms, moves and holds. Often they were typical under dog stories where the bad guy beats up the good guy before he ultimately comes back to win. But ever now and then there was something special. Like Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels in an Iron Man Match. The match went on for over an hour and the story they told was something that I had never seen before. Neither one wanted to give up and it was just compelling. Utterly compelling.

And yes, I know it's “fake”.

(Fun Fact: My favourite scent/smell is Vanilla)

#2: Ridley Scott

Being a big film nut, I watch my fair share of them. Ridley Scott is one particular director that I just have an affinity for. His work always enthrals me and captures my imagination. While I know he doesn't write the films himself, the way he cobbles them together never fails to inspire me.

It could be a simple shot of Russell Crowe riding into battle. Shot from a distance and static it would be bland and uninspiring but shot from a shaking steady cam, close up on his face and it becomes something else entirely. The amount of depth and reality he puts into his worlds just make me want to do this all the more. I want to do this for other people. I want to give other people an experience so tangible that they're lost for however long it is.

(Fun Fact: If I won the lottery I would make sure key members of my family and I were settled and secure. Then I would use the rest to make a school in an underprivileged area of the world so that children there could learn to read and write. Who knows they might write stories of their own)

#1: Lost

It's an odd one to put on the list but it's honestly the truth. Lost, the TV show, is one of the biggest components of why I decided to really start writing. Up until then I just had an interest in it. This show made me act on it. I can hear you saying it's just an underwhelming TV show but Lost is, I guess, special to me.

It came on during a period in my life where a lot was changing but no matter what went wrong or suddenly became different, I had Lost. Every week I would sit down to a new episode and some of the themes applied to me somewhat. Yes it had it's ups and downs but I became wholly invested in a set of characters and I was on the ride from start to finish. I loved every second of it.

Sawyer's mantra of “what's done is done (Freckles)” allowed me to move on from whatever it was that was getting me down and dragging me away from life. Normally I don't become so invested in a TV show. I enjoy many TV shows these days but I don't take life advice from Walter White (that you know of at least...).

It was just the perfect storm of personal problems and escapism really. Escapism is one of the big reasons why we consume any form of entertainment isn't it? I hope to do the same for someone else.

(Fun Fact: People often told me i'd never amount to anything)

So there you go, Mrs. Hayre. Now you know why. 

Hope you enjoyed it.