Writing To Keep Busy

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog, and a lot of things have happened. The two jobs that I applied for in a local museum here in my very own city of Derry-Londonderry were rejected. Needless to say I was down for quite a while about that, pouring endlessly over the application forms I filled out, looking for any small detail that would have shed some light onto the fact that I didn’t even get an interview. Being unemployed is starting to get more difficult by the day. I relish in the opportunity to do little odd jobs. For example I was on BBC Radio Foyle again last Thursday and Friday, and this gave me a reason to get up in the morning.

If you would like to hear me on BBC Radio Foyle then just follow these links HERE and HERE.

Keeping myself busy is the one thing that helps to keep me moving forward. One minute I’ll be looking for jobs and then the next minute I will be cleaning the house, or writing, whether it be non-fiction or fiction.

642 things to write about

I made myself smile last night. I have a book, 642 Things To Write About by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and it is packed to the rafters with writing prompts to keep your creative mind active. They even help to eliminate writers block. I don’t really know why I took to writing last night, usually I have to be in the mood to write before anything happens, but maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t in the mood last night that made some magic happen. I penned three things last night that I never thought I would, and I feel like sharing them.

writing


Prompt 1: You wake up by the side of the road lying next to a bicycle, with no memory and no wallet. What happens in the next hour?

(NB: I don’t know why but I made this story about a man)

The next hour was a total blur. He picked up the bike, which he could only assume was his, even though he was wearing no helmet or knee pads, and started walking down the eerie, deserted road. As he walked, he patted himself down and could find no wallet. There went the last hope of finding out exactly who he was, and where on earth he could be.

He kept up a steady pace walking beside the bike. He was wary of riding it, for fear it was what had gotten him into trouble in the first place. Deep, dark clouds started to spread across the sky, covering it like a heavy blanket. He picked up his pace, noticing that he was entering an industrial type area. Clearly the buildings were all closed and devoid of people, because each chain link gate he passed were locked up tighter than a bank vault. As fat droplets of rain started to collide with his forehead, he spotted a glowing sign up ahead. It was a petrol station by the look of it. He jogged towards it with the light weight bike in tow as the heavens started to open.

By the time he reached the petrol station, he was drenched right through, his teeth chattering with the chill. He deposited the bike at the entrance and walked through a solid wave of heat. The light of the store burned his retinas and the smell of petrol lingered in his nose as he made his way towards the counter. A portly, older woman was rummaging behind the till, and when she caught sight of him, she gasped, clamping her hand to her overly painted mouth. It was only then that he realised that his face and hands were burning with pain, and shards of jaggy pain were shooting up his back. He must have looked awful.

On the counter, a little out of sight, sat a wallet. He grabbed it and searched for the driver’s license. He pulled out the laminated card and stared at the photograph. He strained up to see his reflection in the mirrored sign behind the portly woman’s head and realised that the road burned face that stared back at him was identical to the image on the license. He glanced back down at the card in his hand as the woman made to call for medical help and read the name on the card.

“Carl Jameson,” he said out loud, not even recognising the name, or the sound of his voice.

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A Happy Turn of Events

It’s funny how the world works. Sometimes it is best just not to question it, and enjoy the things it throws at you.

Last night I had a pretty bad night. A miserable mood had gripped me in its foul little clutches and I was feeling the effects of being unemployed a little too much. Normally I can keep these feelings at bay, but last night, the thought of waking up and facing another day of pottering around the house with nothing to do filled me with despair. I will admit it, I was close to tears. Thankfully I had the loving comfort of my mother, and the loving, sweet, kind words of my better half to calm me down (along with a gaming session of Skyrim) to calm me down enough to sleep. Tomorrow would be a new day.

skyrim

Waking up this morning I could tell my mood had lifted, and I knew it had just been a weird faze. I didn’t have to physically drag myself out of my bed, and I was able to eat my gluten free, cardboard tasting breakfast. My father had message to do in town, so I decided to tag along, allured by the chance of a free lunch.

free food meme

As I waited for him to complete some business in a shop that i think sold electrical goods, I got a surprise phone call. It was BBC Radio Foyle, looking for me to come in and do the newspaper reviews on Thursday morning. I was elated at the prospect of doing this again, and agreed to it. Agreeing to this little job also means that I have agreed to a 6:30am wake up time, as I will have to be in the studio for 7:00am on the Thursday morning. Happy turn of events, part 1.

Happy turn of events, part 2, comes in the form of a chance meeting with an author. Whilst Christmas shopping with my father, we went into Easons for a nosy around and it just so happened that Cathy Kelly, an author that my mother is a big fan of, was hosting a book signing. I plucked up the courage, grabbed her latest book, and got a signed copy for my mum. Talk about the world’s best Christmas gift. A big bonus was the fact that Cathy Kelly was the sweetest woman ever, and was a joy to talk to. I feel honoured to have met her, and can’t wait to give her book to my mum.

Cathy Kelly and Me - 01/12/14

Cathy Kelly and Me – 01/12/14

To conclude my happy turn of events, I finally enquired about a gluten-free event that I had been told about a couple of weeks ago. I’m pretty new to the whole gluten-free thing, and haven’t even gotten a proper diagnosis yet, but at the moment it seems to me that avoiding gluten, wheat and oats is keeping me in an element of good health. I was nervous in contacting the person who was organising the event, but upon chatting to her I was reassured that I was welcome to come along, and that talking to people with similar dietary issues as myself would be a step in the right direction, even if I am working off a hunch.

So there you have it. It’s a funny old world we live in. I went from having a pretty terrible night, to having a pretty damn decent day all round. I met the lovely Cathy Kelly, I have the prospect of meeting new people at the gluten-free event, and I will be on the radio on Thursday! Tonight I’m going to bed with a smile.

Job Opportunity Rain Dance

You just never know what is going to come up do you? Job opportunities can sometimes be fleeting, or come in waves at random times. Often they are like a great drought, leaving people thirsty for anything that comes their way.

Thirsty work
At the moment I feel like I’m in a drought, but my rains dances seem to be having some effect! In the past couple of days I’ve heard whispers, rumours, of jobs that could potentially be coming up in the local area. Sometimes I think I just dreamt this, but I’ve heard that the new Siege Museum that the Apprentice Boys are developing will be announcing jobs in the coming weeks. Honestly, what could suit me better?

siege_mainUpon reading this news, ideas immediately sprung into my head about what I could potentially do for the Siege Museum, if I were to get a job. There are so many possibilities, and the history of the Siege of Derry in 1689 is just fascinating. It’s also a really gory piece of history, and if told right, will have the kids rapt with attention and giddy wonder. In my experience I’ve found that talking to kids about the gorier things in history, really gets their young blood pumping for more information. I remember when I was working in the Workhouse Museum (may its dormant halls be filled with ghosts) I loved talking to the school kids about the different living conditions within the Workhouse. Telling them that there was only one bucket between 100 people to use as a toilet in one dormitory always made them express their feelings of grossness!

One girl even asked me how they would clean the buckets every morning when they were taken out to the cesspit, and I thoroughly enjoyed telling the kids just how they would have cleaned the bucket! When the kids left, they all thanked me for the fun time they had. Talk about feeling big headed after that.

downtown-logo-wht
Another opportunity has just presented itself to me; actually it presented itself to my dad in a fleeting piece on the radio. As soon as dad heard about the opportunity he came straight home and told me all about it. Downtown Radio are apparently looking for people for their Foyle Studio, so I rang Downtown, got the email address I needed to contact and well…I have to go and meet them on November 26th! I’m not too sure if it’s an interview of sorts, but as long as I get to go down and tell people how passionate I am about the city in which I live, I’m happy. I’ve spoken on the radio before, as mentioned in a previous blog post of mine, so I’m nervous about meeting them, but not as nervous as normal. If it’s a position where I have to speak on the radio, great! If it’s a position where I would be behind the scenes, researching and what not, that’s great too.

My Advice

When in a job opportunity drought, do a rain dance, and hopefully something will come your way.

Hello Radio!

This morning has been a busy one already. In fact it has been a bit too busy for someone who is currently out of a job. Surely I should still be in bed right now, watching re-runs of Frasier on Channel 4+1, but no! I am up and about, and have even been out of the house since 6:45am!

coffee-meme

What was I doing I hear you ask? Well this morning I was on the radio. That’s right, the radio. Over the past couple of months I have appeared on the radio a number of times, and for those times I was always “Heather, from Uproar Comics.” I always had an official sounding title and people knew I was there because of the business I was in. Today was a different matter however. Today I was just “Heather, a local blogger.” I was on the radio just as myself. Little old me, not affiliated with any company, any more…at the minute. It felt a little liberating.

What was I doing on the radio I hear you ask? I was on the Breakfast show on BBC Radio Foyle, and I was doing the review of the day’s headlines in the newspapers. It was all thanks to a friend, who was looking out for me. Sadly she was unable to review the newspapers this morning, as she normally does, and she offered my name up to take her place. I was flattered and when I got the call to come onto the show, I jumped at the chance.

nervousness

Nervous wasn’t even the word for what I was feeling all of last night, and most of this morning. When I dragged myself up out of bed this morning at 6:30am, I wasn’t in the best of moods. The house hadn’t heated up yet, and I was in no mood for breakfast. I left my house with an empty stomach, and it is true that when you are nervous, empty tummies are a lot sorer than full ones. My stomach was in absolute knots.

The people at BBC Radio Foyle were really lovely, and they provided me with everything I needed. All I had to do was choose a couple of headlines from the newspapers, review the stories and end on something a little more light-hearted. Simple.

As I made my notes, I could feel the time quickly slipping away, almost as if it were water running down a drain. I could hear the different segments of the show in the background, and when I heard a particular segment, I knew I was going to be next. One of the producers of the show came and collected me from the waiting area, and as we walked down towards the studio, I couldn’t help but feel like I was on some sort of death row, walking steadily closer to my doom. I greeted the presenters, they told me what was going to happen, and sooner than I would have liked, I was live on air.

onair-1

I was only on for about 5 minutes to start, but that 5 minutes felt like a lifetime. I talked about the relevant headlines, I chatted amicably with the presenters and I even got them to laugh. I stumbled over a couple of words, due to the crippling nerves I was feeling, but somehow I kept the worst of it at bay. Once my section was completed, I left and waited to do the second around.

The second time round, which was roughly 45 minutes after my first segment, was a lot easier. It flowed better and I managed to talk about different stories too. I ended my final segment by talking about the Belfast Film and Comic Con, definitely a topic close to my geeky heart. I wasn’t able to go to it, but a close friend had attended, and I’d gotten the lowdown from him the day before!

So not too shabby for an unemployed blogger such as myself, I do feel like I’ve actually accomplished something today!

Would I do something like this again? Definitely! Will I be as nervous the next time? Definitely not!

If you would like to listen to my little stint on the radio you can listen to the show on the BBC Radio Foyle website HERE. (I start at around 45min and then again at 1 hour 45 minutes!)