Okay, yes, this post was scheduled. Right now I’m probably – literally – leaving on a jet plane. But I figured that as close to the end of my time in England as possible, I should say something about what I’ve learned living here.
If – unlikely – you follow my other blog as well, and have seen this post there, don’t bother reading this one too. It’s all the same stuff.
However, there is a lot of stuff, so I’ll have to categorize.
So, without further drabble from me, in my two years in England I have learned about…
- A nice character is rarely or never played by a nice actor.
- You can get yourself into a lot of angst by assuming otherwise.
- Some of the big blockbusters really are all they’re hyped up to be.
- Qui-Gon dying in The Phantom Menace still gets to me every time.
- The Battle of Geonosis in Attack of the Clones still gets to me every time.
- Obi-Wan losing Anakin in Revenge of the Sith still gets to me every time.
- The carbon-freezing in The Empire Strikes Back still gets to me every time.
- The movies Lord of the Rings are really good. Not always true to the books, but good.
- Back to the Future II is really corny in 2015.
- Hiccup has a lightsaber in HTTYD2! How cool is that!
- Even a sky-blue Mary-Sue self-insert, given two hang-ups and a hobby, develops as an independent character surprisingly quickly.
- Collaboration can be very satisfying, because it gives you another author’s idea of your characters and settings.
- Kicking ideas back and forth with another writer is incredibly good brain-food.
- A muse is not necessarily a figment of your imagination. I seem to have two in real life – one of whom isn’t even talking yet. (Or is she?)
- Coffee is to traumatic/cathartic/beautiful stories what vanilla is to chocolate cake: not necessarily necessary, but it sure improves the flavor.
- If you have tearstains and coffee stains in roughly equal quantity in your ideas notebook, it just means you’re using the notebook right.
- There is a big difference between a kid who writes because they were told to write and a kid who writes because it keeps them sane.
- Every idea has potential – it’s just that some have more than others.
- You have to put yourself into your writing, or you’ll never get anything back out of it. Sure it hurts. It’s worth it.
- Your mother will worry when you show her the extremely excellent and finely-crafted torture scene you just finished.
- I don’t really care what anybody else thinks of my clothes.
- Or my hair.
- Weird is cool.
- The Star Wars socks I got for Christmas are very cool.
- An op-shop/charity store is not a junk store. It is a store selling unique and quirky items only available (read: visible) to the discerning.
- If you wait long enough, and look hard enough, you can find anything in op-shops.
- Uncool nowadays or no, Billy Joel made some very good songs back in the day.
- So did ABBA.
- A girl can like Billy Joel and Tchaikovsky, Flanders & Swann and Keith Green, without being a contradiction in terms.
- Music composed for movies is not always a lower quality than music composed for the sake of being music. In fact it’s often better.
- I still think that You-Know-Who has a wonderful singing voice.
- Sometimes less really is more.
- Someone who tries to change you before they’ll think about liking you isn’t a friend; they’re a wannabe reformer.
- Email and Skype rock.
- Sure, attachment leads to fear of loss, but that’s no reason to avoid attachment. Accept that the loss will eventually happen, then go with it.
- “Friendship is a mess worth making.” – Chris Bennett
- Whoever said you had to be friends only with people your own age was an idiot.
- “Darling, you will find friends in the unlikeliest places – if you only take the trouble to look for them.”
- Knowing you’ve got a limited time in a place forces you to actively go out of your way to make friends with people, instead of idly hoping for whatever God happens to send your way.
- Rachel, Grace and George; Nat and Lucie; Aunty Muriel, Uncle Terry, Caitie, and Jono; Josh and Sarah – I’m really going to miss you. Who said family means blood ties?
Life in General, that:
- Biking in the rain without a coat means you get a free shower, and clear streets to go really fast on. This leads into my next point, viz.
- If you earnestly seek for good in any person, place, item, or situation, you will not go unrewarded. There’s always something.
- Giving up, when it’s blatantly obvious to all that no satisfactory outcome will be reached, is not quitting; it’s conservation of resources.
- Around nice people, if you must swear, do it in Huttese or Bocce.
- Nobody I’ve met in this country can pronounce my surname correctly straight off.
My close family, that:
- Dads with a sense of adventure are absolutely priceless.
- Favorite uncles who make trans-world phone calls to numbers I didn’t know they had, at strange times, for no apparent reason, are much appreciated and brighten the day no end – you know who you are. Brainiac to you too.
- Mums who can have long philosophical and theological discussions, in the middle of making pizza, really exercise one’s powers of logic-on-the-spot.
- Brothers who answer to character names, ship names, gun names, etc. and still let you bounce ideas off them afterwards… well. I love you, pal.
- Sisters who play piano by ear can be remarkably useful if you want the music for a tune but can’t afford it.
- Grandmothers… words fail me. Only one of ‘em reads this, so I’ll take the opportunity: you’re awesome. Thanks a googolplex. Granddad too.
- I am definitely not a Roman Catholic.
- I am definitely not a Pentecostal.
- Otherwise I’m pretty flexible.
- I’m not sure I know exactly who God is or how a lot of stuff about Him works, but then, I’m not sure anybody else does either, including the professionals.
- I know perfectly well that the Force is not God, but I think the analogy holds good in a lot of areas.
- These Muslim extremists are crazy.
- A lot of these Christians are crazy too.
- I’m not sure I didn’t waste my first ever General Election vote.
- They let me vote in the local-body elections here. Awesome.
- The British Government is nuts.
- The New Zealand Government is nuts.
- Passports are way too expensive for the amount of use you get out of them.
- The Phantom Menace is largely a political thriller. Nobody ever notices this, and then they complain it’s boring. Work out that you’re watching a clever parody of this-world politics, and it instantly becomes fascinating – and worrying.
While that’s by no means all, I’ve now wasted your time for 1055 words, so I think I’ll leave it at that.
Thanks for reading.