How To Write Without Actually Writing Anything Ie Tips On How To Procrastinate

Because I am the expert and I am sharing my hard-earned wisdom 😉 You’re welcome!

#1 Daydream!!! This is a great one, because you can literally spend hours doing this without achieving anything (and yet you will feel creative and emotionally fulfilled… in your head at least. Don’t skip this step- it is essential so that you can hit your procrastination goals!!

#2 ALL THE RESEARCH- especially if it is irrelevant to the book at hand. For instance, are you writing a thriller set in Wales- then it’s the perfect time to look up the weather in Zimbabwe! Or are you writing a historical novel about Maoist China- time to look up the most popular cheeses in the world! Because why not? There is a subreddit for everything and someone has got to read them- it could be you!!

#3 Listen to inspirational music. This will put you in the mood of writing… even if you don’t actually pick up a pen. At least you got in the right mood!

#4 Watch ALL the Youtube advice videos- particularly samey ones on the same topic. I know I love hearing the same advice over and over (and never following it). I also find they can be really helpful at psyching yourself out of even trying.

#5 Put on the TV to drown out your thoughts (and impending existential crisis).

#6 Call all your family and friends and acquaintances to tell them you have a great new idea for a book- because nothing kills time better than talking about something rather than doing it.

#7 Find all your old stories and stare at them until they dance off the page (no, you’re not going crazy, you are coming up with ways to make them better- I promise… though maybe you should see someone at this point).

#8 Make notes on all the things you need to be doing- you can even write this in your planner if you’re feeling extra conscientiously unconscientious. Don’t worry if this feels dangerously close to doing some work- you will methodically ignore this plan day by day- just make sure you put your plan somewhere prominent so that it can haunt you for all eternity.

#9 Write pointless blog posts (masquerading as humour) that give bad advice no one really needs… like this one!

And that’s all I have for today! It’s surprisingly easy to procrastinate and get nothing done- you can do it too if you put your mind to it! And if you’d like to share more stellar advice on how to make no progress, feel free to leave it in the comments! We could all use the help!

Tales of a Haunted Comment Section – A Spooktacular Short Story!

Hope you all in enjoy my silly little Halloween story…

“Hello peeps! I’m logging on bright and early today!” I write- then cross out that line, because it seems far chirpier than I truly feel in my pyjamas and under-caffeinated state. I sigh. My eyes flick over the screen of my wordpress cooking blog, The Hungry Dragon. It’s all grown a bit… stale. The ideas just aren’t coming like they used to. I wanted to share a whole load of seasonal baking recipes and fun posts for this October… but it just hasn’t happened. I guess I’ve lost my touch.

Still, I’m grateful to see the orange notifications sign ping for the first time in a while. Clicking, I see an avatar I don’t recognise.

Huh. Well, that’s an odd introduction, but it’s always good to make new friends!

I buzz back a reply: thanks, how so?

My fingers hesitate on the keyboard. Before I can reply, there is another line:

Okay, that’s too far. And not particularly funny. A little part of me wants to slam down on the keys and tell whoever this dolt is to piss off… though truthfully I know there would be little point. They could just create another profile and harass me that way. Swallowing my irritation, I log off and go to work. I’ve no time to deal with stupid internet trolls.

*****

Slouching into my chair at 17:32, I’m not exactly in the mood for… wait what is that? “Activity seems high on your blog today”. No shit sherlock- there seems to be a new comment on every post… and all from the same (clearly hyperactive) troll.

My fingers twitch; my face heats. This has gone beyond a joke now. I wish I was genuinely a fire-breathing dragon, cos I’d take some serious pleasure in barbecuing this sod. Instead, I have to resort to my least-favourite blogging tool: the block button. I hit it with a teeth-grinding thud, hoping the jerk on the other side of the screen feels the force of it.

A new notification pops up almost immediately. 

“What the…?”

The gravatar’s grin seems to grow, laughing at me.

“This isn’t funny,” I splutter to myself.

“What do you want?!” I scream at the screen- even if it is not as if it can hear me.

I slam down my laptop lid. The pings keep coming. And coming. I want to swipe the thing to the floor, yet instead I curl in a ball and wait for the darkness to take over the room. The pings keep coming. Surely it cannot go on all night? I hug my knees into my chest and wait.

*****

Darkness creeps around the room. A sullen silence has settled around my desk. I think it’s finally stopped- though I do not have the courage to go and check.

This is ridiculous, I chide myself. How can I be scared of my own computer? There has to be an explanation- and I’m not going to find it cowering in my room, afraid of my own LED screen. I will not go quietly. I am a dragon after all… well, in a manner of speaking.

I whip open my screen and click on write post before I can chicken out.

I hit post and open a new tab to google how exactly I can get this loser taken down. A new ping chimes in, as if on cue.

I finally breathe again.

My heart stutters; the screen flickers. Shadows appear in the reflected light. Squeezing my eyes shut, I try to block out the way my blog chimes with activity. The way the computer crackles with life. I just want to log off and shut down. Because this isn’t happening. This isn’t.

All the cables in my head have been fried, hearing rustles where there shouldn’t be and a subtle scythe-like slashing coming from… behind me. Shit.

I take one last gasping breath as the screen goes black. The pings- mercifully- have stopped. But then, so does everything else.

Taking a Whirl into the Wizarding World at the Warner Bros Studio Tour!

Hello all! As I mentioned recently, I went and had a magical time at the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour! And since I had a truly wicked time, I thought I’d invite you all to hear all about it. So grab your Hogwarts acceptance letters and let’s take a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

But before we get started BE WARNED: there will be dragons!

Of course, I will be breaking the Statute of Secrecy, but to confundus you a little bit, I won’t be telling this in the exact order of the tour. Rather I’ll be going in narrative order… which is why we’ll be stopping off at Diagon Alley first! This enchanting street was more wondrous than I ever could have imagined!

Yet, in order to enjoy all the delights Diagon Alley has to offer, we may need to steal away to Gringotts Wizard Bank. Here, I had deep aparecium for the craftsmanship and vision of the set designs. It was truly awe inspiring.

Now we are well equipped, we’d better hurry to Platform 9 ¾ and climb aboard the Hogwarts Express…

… so that we can ascendio up to Hogwarts 😉

Jokes aside, I was truly stupefied by how *charming* everything was!

I was bombardo by beautiful details everywhere I turned…

And totalus impressed by all the props.  

I even got to try my hand at flying and playing quidditch 😉

Yet not everything was fun and games- because things took a dark turn once we headed inside the Forbidden Forest…

I mean just look at that face!! 😉 But the drama was far from over- and there were some big surprises in store (don’t watch the next clip if you don’t want to see spoilers!)  

Once all my mischief was managed, I took a well-earned break, having some butterbeer and fulfilling my lifelong dream of getting a Chocolate Frog (because of course I wanted a collectible card!!!) And, as if by magic, the card I got was the one I would’ve wanted most in the world… Roweena Ravenclaw!

And that was my journey into the world of Harry Potter. I hope you enjoyed reading all about it- I know I enjoyed writing this! It really reminded me how much I enjoy the story and sparked some nostalgia 😊 I can tell you this won’t be the last you’ll be hearing from me about the Boy Who Lived!

Why Libraries Matter

I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages, but found it hard to start, because of course libraries matter, ISN’T THAT OBVIOUS?! Yet, a lot of the time libraries seem to go under the radar… or worse, when they do get attention, it’s for terrible reasons (ie experiencing ruthless cuts). But working in a library during the pandemic has made me acutely aware of just how vital libraries are. Seeing how much people have missed being inside and feeling that spark of joy being back, I understand more than ever why libraries matter so much. And it’ll be my pleasure to share some of those reasons with you now!  

#1 Libraries are a hub for the community. Anyone can join the library and use its resources. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re there for- everyone’s welcome 😊 The are a beautiful (bookish) sanctuary from the outside world! Which is especially useful for shy bookworms 😉

#2 They provide place to work. Granted, this has not been quite the same for a lot of libraries in the last year, but libraries generally provide study space, wifi and computer access- all of which is so important if you’re from a low-income background or struggling to find room to work. I know this was really significant to me as a teen and a young adult. Libraries make such a difference for so many people.

#3 FREE BOOKS! I mean, you knew I was going to put this in here, didn’t you? 😉 Because what is better than free books?! I know I could never feed my bookish addiction without the library. Every year the number of books I borrow goes up. And it’s looking like the same is true for everyone that’s been borrowing at a rate of knots during the pandemic. Plus, it’s not just a great idea to borrow for leisure, because there are plenty of educational books too! You can learn about everything from knitting to ancient Chinese philosophy to law!

#4 Oh, and while we’re on the topic, there are other free resources. With a library card, you can get access to online resources like Borrowbox, Libby/Overdrive and more! You can also get access to online subscriptions (like Which) and a whole host of other things. Personally, I’ve missed out on these in the past, because I didn’t know they were there… so if in doubt, just ask! (Particularly in the pandemic, when libraries have been offering freebies like lending DVDs).  

#5 They provide fun activities– particularly for children. Obviously, this has been scaled back and mostly online because of that thing-that-happened-in-2020-which-we-won’t-talk-about. BUT these are due to come back with a vengeance soooo watch this space (/check your library website 😉)

#6 Finally, and my personal favourite, you can get ideas about what books you might want to read! Lots of library staff can tell you what’s new, what’s exciting and what you might like based on your taste. One of the biggest perks of the job for me is finding books that readers will love- I always enjoy this question- and actually wish more people would ask!!

And that’s all I have for now! Though I’m sure there are plenty more reasons I missed! What do you think? Are libraries important to you? And why? Let me know in the comments!

Mid-Year Monkey at the Movies

Hello all! As promised in my monthly wrap up, I have some mini movie reviews for you today. There’s a little bit of the good, the bad and the ugly here (in that order) so sit tight, cos we’re in for a bumpy ride!

Carrie Pilby– charming, quirky and a lot of fun, this was thoroughly enjoyable. While it had indie vibes, it embraced classic storytelling. The character arcs were beautifully done- showing that even if Carrie is a genius, she doesn’t know everything after all. It also went further, showing how pain can reverberate across the years. All credit to the writers and actors, cos this was a super fun story. I’d happily rewatch it!

Rating: 4.5/5 bananas

The Woman in the Window– there are lots of angles through which to view this film: voyeuristically curious about the scandalous background of the author; from the perspective of a reader who read (and maybe even enjoyed) the book (like me); or just as someone who likes watching a good thriller. Yet none of those angles will make this film any more enjoyable. Because this film shows up all the shockingly awful decisions in the book. Without the flashy writing, the story just doesn’t seem to work. It’s convoluted, it’s poorly signposted and it’s all over the place. And none of the fancy camera work changes that. Even with modern technology, you can’t beat the likes of Rear Window (which this poorly tries to imitate). What made for an entertaining read (pre-authorial baggage) made for painful viewing.

Rating: 1/5 bananas

The Dig– eh- this wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good either. While the performances are good and the story decent, I found this forgettable. Mostly, because no one has a character arc. NO ONE. Either the protagonists or the people around them should change… but that’s not the case in this film. The protagonists have static arcs. The vague antagonists- who oppose the main archaeologist over class- continue to do so by the end. The only reason I was engaged in this movie was because Sutton Hoo is interesting- yet I don’t see why this couldn’t have been a documentary.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

Mary Queen of Scots– boy-oh-boy this takes liberties with history. It goes too far in my book, presenting Mary’s Catholicism as a marginalised belief… when it was the conservative and powerful position. To make matter worse, her faith is also portrayed as tolerant, having her say things like “we all go to the same heaven” and to a male character “you would make a lovely sister”. Even Queen Elizabeth I is oddly sentimental. It’s all in the name of woke feminism- which does not make for a logically coherent historical drama. But who cares about that when you can score brownie points, amiright?! In fairness, the history is *bonkers*. Looking up what actually happened kept me engaged throughout the movie- and damn, if they’d just gone with that, it would have been an excellent film. The problem is, they tried too hard to make Mary a flawless heroine, when she is better suited to the role of a tragic Shakespearean figure, whose fatal flaws are her undoing. BUT NO- the movie has to insist her dismissing every councillor makes her clever. And that it’s somehow everyone else’s fault when they turn against her. Oh and it’s also great to be compassionate (even if it costs lives). It’s funny, because the film is designed to be anti-English, yet to my mind, all it did was show how useless Mary was as a leader (even while carefully glossing over Mary’s plots to take Elizabeth’s throne, somehow trying to make her seem conciliatory). The juxtaposition of her rule with Elizabeth’s doesn’t help to make a case for her reign. This is exemplified in the scene where Mary and Elizabeth meet (which of course is entirely made up). Mary calls Elizabeth her inferior and says “I’m your queen”- to which Elizabeth takes off her wig and says “your gifts are your downfall”. Frankly this makes no sense- 1) because there’s NO WAY Mary could have said that to Elizabeth and lived another 20 years and 2) because the logical response would’ve been “says the woman who’s just lost a kingdom”. She didn’t lose the kingdom because she was pretty FFS- she did so because she didn’t know how to rule. It’s just so ironic that this is the best case they could come up with for Mary Queen of Scots. If they hadn’t been trying so hard to be woke and refusing to acknowledge a female character’s flaws, this could’ve been a damn good drama. Ultimately however, as much as I enjoyed how it was shot, the acting, the history, it was a colossal waste of time. 

Rating: 2.5 bananas

That’s all for now! Have you seen any of these? What did you think of them? Am I being too harsh? Let me know in the comments!

The Restorative Power of Reading

In the past bizarre (and frequently terrible) year, reading has kept a lot of us going. Whether it’s through escapism or giving me much needed life advice, books have proven their power to keep us going. I know for myself books have been a great escape.

For me, opening a new book or even starting a fresh chapter has been like pressing the reset button. It doesn’t matter which head I’ve stepped into for the time being- it’s a relief to see the world through a different lens. Because books don’t just lower stress levels- they frequently act as a handy Guide Out of Hell. They may not be able to slay a dragon (try throwing one at its head and see how far it gets you) but they can offer some good tips 😉

Books are educational in a million different ways, teaching us everything from empathy to philosophy to practical skills… and beyond! It’s the one leveller we have left when it comes to education, because it’s still an affordable hobby (make use of your libraries people!!) A simple pen to paper can restore balance to a human mind. It can give our thoughts a moment of harmony.   

Reading is a refreshing pastime. It doesn’t simply take you away- it gives you plenty of souvenirs. Trinkets you carry around for years, maybe without even knowing it, until at last you look in your pocketses and there’s the one ring… Okay maybe not that last bit! Yet reading does remind me every time that when you discover a new story, there’s no knowing where you might end up.

And yes, this is an indulgent post to write about 😉 I’m sure it will not take much to have bookworms agreeing that reading is a wonderful hobby- but every so often we just need to celebrate reading for all that it is.

Do you agree? Has reading helped you in the last year? Share your thoughts in the comments!

6 Years of Blogging?! Time for a (Re)introduction to the Orangutan Librarian – Inspired by Bookstooge!

That’s right I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR SIX YEARS!!! THANK YOU to all you AMAZING PEOPLE who have stuck by me and WELCOME to everyone that’s new! To celebrate, I thought I’d do a post so you can all get to know me better. I was inspired by the Most Magnificent and Beneficent Bookstooge’s Introduction post last year- which will tell you everything you need to know about his holiness, the great purveyor of excellent reviews and eclectic posts. I *tip my hat to you sir*!

Now let’s jump into this…

Some quickies to start: I’m a girl and a primate and I work (full time!!) in a library. It was a long road getting there… but that’s another story. Oh and evidently I love dressing up for self-portraits 😉

I love to read (evidently) and tend to read 100-200 books a year.  My favourite books are mostly fantasy and classics- though thanks to blogging I’ll read pretty much anything these days (including things that I never thought I’d enjoy, like non fic, historical fic and contemporary). The one genre it seems I’ll never like is Horror. But it’s hard to pin these things down, since I’m a MASSIVE mood reader.

And in case you were wondering more about my bookish obsession, I have a degree in English Lit and Classics (I swear 95% of my personality is book related). Fun fact: coming to the end of my degree in 2015 was what finally pushed me to start blogging. I just knew there was going to be a literature-shaped hole in my life and needed to fill it pronto!

Like every other humanities graduate and book blogger, I’m also into fiction writing. So far, I’ve written 6 full manuscripts and shelved 3 of those. What remains is a trilogy about ambition… and we’ll have to see what becomes of that 😂 Right now, I’ve finally started working on something new (a YA retelling).

I do occasionally veer away from talking about books- sometimes I talk about what I’ve been upto lately and include some movie recommendations in my monthly wrap ups. Although, as I’ve recently confessed to having terrible taste in TV, I do wonder if you’re going to take those seriously 😉

As you might be able to tell from all the monkeys, I like painting. You can check that out on Instagram (where I haphazardly post).

In the last couple of years, I’ve also started practicing yoga and am insanely into it. My sister and I went to disco yoga- and it’s opened me up to this amazing form of exercise and stopped me being so frazzled!

Speaking of my sister, the Monkey Baby sometimes delights us all with her presence. Although, mostly you’ll have to find her on other platforms, doing her thing.

Oh and most importantly I love discussions- so the comment section is always open! Unless you’re writing something like “I want to chop you up and make monkey stew out of you”… actually I’ve freed some comments from spam that are almost as aggressive. So, be safe in the knowledge, you’ll always get free reign to speak your mind. It may be my blog, but I’m not queen bee, just queen monkey 😉

And that’s all for today! Hope you enjoyed that! Please (re)introduce yourself in the comments! 🙂

Do I have terrible taste in TV and does it matter?

Well, the short answer is yes I probably do, but no it doesn’t matter.

You see, I’ve long come to the conclusion that I have weird taste when it comes to TV. If it looks bad, then I think “finally some good shit”. I just know there’s a higher chance I’ll enjoy it if it’s laughably awful. I like everything everyone seems to think is bad (eg Winx, Emily in Paris). Not because I think they’re masterpieces (I know they aren’t) but because I like my TV to be at the pinnacle of escapism… and bad shows often deliver that.

Good shows can offer some kind of commentary on the real world and most of the time I’m not here for that- sorry! For instance,I never made it through the likes of Breaking Bad, because I just didn’t want to watch 4 seasons of someone selling drugs and dying of cancer. I don’t like when TV is dark and depressing with no relief (or lacks dragons).

It doesn’t help that I have the attention span of a goldfish when it comes to the small screen. If it fails to grab my attention within the first 10 minutes, I’m gone. And I regularly quit TV shows after a season or two. This is partly because of limited time, but mostly because I used to waste time obsessively watching shows I hate (now, because I’m a creature of extremes, I’ve veered in the opposite direction).  

I’d like to say that this means I only watch TOP QUALITY shows that are worth my time… yet a lot of the time I seem to stick to the same awful stuff. I am happiest watching the shows that get no critical acclaim and that every reviewer on the internet resoundingly call “trash”. Now, there could be interesting reasons why the shows I like get overwhelmingly negative attention (they’re often ones aimed at a young, female audience) however, I won’t delude myself into thinking a lot of these are better than they are. Most of the time, the shows I’m addicted to simply aren’t very good.

And ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Because why should anyone suffer through something they’re not enjoying, even if it’s technically better quality? Of course, there are benefits to immersing yourself in something that stretches your mind, yet for me TV is about frivolous fun. For the time being, all I want to watch is light fluff where I can switch my mind off. For me, escapism is important and helps me relax. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Whether it’s TV or books or whatever else you use for entertainment, we can engage with whatever we like. It’s not going to hurt anyone if you only like fun, escapist stories. And it’s not going to ruin someone else’s day if you crave something a bit silly. Taste isn’t just subjective- it’s pretty damn harmless.

Does anyone else think like this? Do you sometimes question your own taste? Let me know in the comments!

No Shade for the Shadow and Bone Adaptation!

Like everyone and their mother, I’ve been bingeing this series. And like most people, I’ve been absolutely loving it.

It’s the best kind of adaptation. Taking the source material and enhancing it with some big changes, it’s truly a delight for fans (and newbies) to the Grishaverse. I have to confess, I was never a huge fan of the original series, yet really fell for the follow up duology Six of Crows. The prospect of seeing them in later series was what made me so excited about this show. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait so long, as this manages to weave the new characters into the older story (giving us scenes I didn’t know we needed!).

Having the Dregs, absolutely improves upon the narrative. Not only do they add oodles of personality and plenty of great new scenes, but it’s also fabulous to have more of their backstory on screen. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the casting is perfect! I can’t imagine these characters any other way.

In terms of the original characters, my favourite is (*drumroll please*) the Darkling. Yes, that’s right, I’m #teamdarkling now. Not because I want him with Alina, I’m just happy for him to take over the world and cover it in darkness 😉Barnes does a brilliant job, bringing intensity and charisma to the role. And showing the Black Heretic’s backstory made it all the more powerful.

I’m still not keen on Alina. For all the commentary on her being more assertive in the show, I just don’t see her having much agency. She’s always reacting to something or being pushed along by the plot. I don’t care about her enough- even now. Yet I can say that I’ve come round to her with Mal… if only because I find them equally boring.

What I appreciate *far more* was the gorgeous effects. The costumes/sets/cinematography all help to bring the Grishaverse to life. The Fold in particular was done so well. I took a breath with the crew as they went inside. It’s terrifyingly tense.

This is definitely one of the most enjoyable adaptations I’ve seen in a long, long time. I did see this being compared with Game of Thrones… which is frankly bizarre. It’s nothing like GOT- and it’s not trying to be. It’s not grimdark and it’s not adult (and it’s not going to have as disappointing an ending). It is, however, a fantastic YA fantasy show. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m probably going to rewatch it 😉

So, are you a fan of the Grishaverse? Have you watched this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!