Wednesday, 18 November 2015

On the lighter side: the roommate tag

This is a roommate tag list of questions I found on Youtube. I have tried to write serious blog post after serious blog post, but nothing else will come out of my brain as the Week 9 blues, essay plans and presentation traumas swirl in my head.

I’ve therefore poured myself some wine, wrapped myself in a blanket, and called on my housemate to help answer these questions…

Me and Jay

Me and Abi


1)      Did you know each other before you lived together?

We did before this year, because we were in the same halls last year. Before that though, we had never met.

2)      What did you guys think of each other initially when you first met?

Me: You were inebriated when we first met, so I thought you were quite silly but also very… worldly. Over the few days I saw you were quite independent.  

Abi: When I first met you I thought you were really nice and Catholic, and a lot more serious than you are. Before we actually met, you’d commented a lot on group facebook posts for Uni. You told me that you weren’t an axe murderer which made me think you were an axe murderer. You never baked us the cake you promised.

3)      How long did it take until you guys became friends?

Me: Most people in the flat were quite good friends within the first few weeks. I take a while to open up to people and you gave me space which I think made me want to be friends with you more. We had some nice late-night chats in the kitchen and hall, and I think we knew each other pretty well by the first couple of months.

Abi: We must have known each other pretty well by December because we agreed we would live together.

4)      What do you guys usually argue about?

Me: I don’t think we argue much really, because we respect each other’s space and can both sort of do our own thing. Abi does sometimes tell people secrets by accident when drunk, but I’ve not been annoyed because there’s not usually any harm done.

Abi: Um…nothing.

5)      What is the one thing that really bothers you that your roommate does?

Me: Nothing really roommate-wise, she’s quite tidy and pays bills on time etc. She did become a bit of a militant washing-up-supervisor, but that was pretty needed if I’m being honest.

Abi: It’s annoying that she encourages me to sit in the living room until 2am every night. However, the same could be said for me.

Me: Actually, she does eat a lot and stay thin, and this makes me eat a lot… without the thin part.

6)      Do you guys both have the same passion for makeup?

Me: I don’t tend to be that passionate about makeup but I like the fact that I live with a girl so we can dress up and prepare for nights out together when I do happen to be in a girly mood.

Abi: I think I’m slightly more passionate, and I wear more but think she has better skin. And she doesn’t have an eyeshadow pallette and makeup brushes on her Christmas list like I do.


7)      What does she think of your blog.

Abi: I like her blog. I wish she updated it more.

8)      Who spends the most time getting ready in the morning?

We’re both pretty quick actually, though I guess having separate bathrooms does help.

9)      What was something you didn’t know about each other until you became roommates?

Me: I hadn’t realised how tidy Abi was and how much she liked things being clean, because all we had last year were our bedrooms and communal areas and Abi’s room was always a bit of a pit.

Abi:  She actually has a really busy life. I don’t think she did as much last year but at the same time there were so many people in the flat we wouldn’t have known anyway. But now she’s not here except at night time. Sometimes not even at night time.

Jay (our other housemate): I didn’t realise how much Abi left her work to the last minute.

Abi: My essay plan that was due yesterday I started last week!

Jay: OK I’ll amend that. You do your work at really odd times and in odd places. Olivia does that too. Like in the kitchen

Abi: How much time Jay spends with his boyfriend.

Jay: Can I get out that wine from the kitchen? It’s been there ages.

Abi: No they’re all disgusting and half open.

Me: Jay I feel like… I don’t know, it’s Wednesday night and I have a presentation tomorrow. I feel like we shouldn’t get “pissed”.

10)   Do you guys sometimes get fed up of each other by seeing each other too often?

Jay: I feel like I need to make time for you guys, because I don’t see you all that often. I look forward to coming home to spend time with you.

This wine smells worse than it tastes…maybe.  

It just… stinks.

Abi: Oh my God.

Jay: It smells like mould doesn’t it?

Me: Can I smell the wine please? I’m wrting all this down by the way. This has turned into a script—

Abi: NO. It’s MY buzzfeed quiz.

Me: So do you get sick of us Abi?

Abi: I’m doing so badly at this... Er, no. I don’t not at all.

Me: Yeah, I’m not sick of you guys. I feel like none of us are here enough. Which is nice.  


11)   How do you avoid tension while living together?

Me: There’s not too much tension. By now

Abi: I got 8! Em, we… um, we just sit. And don’t really do much. Is this doing much? I don’t know.

Jay: We make cups of tea for each other.

Abi: Yeah, offer each other tea. That’s how you know you’re on good terms.

Jay: Like Olivia made a cup of tea earlier and didn’t offer us one.

Me: Oh my god that did happen!

Abi: Yeah.

Me: I’m so sorry…

12)   What’s one rule you guys have while living together?

Me: The washing up jar. 20p for every dish left for 24 hours.

Abi: We don’t have any other rules, except alternating who puts money on the heating and writing it down.

Me: We’re not like regular mums, we’re cool mums.


13)   How do you deal with sharing a bathroom?

Me: Well Abi has her own downstairs.

Abi: I’m fine with that except when SOMEONE blocks it and doen’t unblock it.

Me: I do blame assorted boys for all the skidmarks on the toilet.

14)   Do you make separate dinners at night?

We usually eat separately but if we’re both home at the same time we might cook together/cook for each other. We’ve had three or four house dinners so far this year.

15)   Nationalities?

Me: Do you remember when a potential landlord asked this?  Don’t think that’s legal. Well anyway I’m Irish and everyone else is English.

16)   Do you use your roommate’s things without asking?

Abi: Yes. Although not yours. Actually there was something of yours that I used but I can’t remember what it was.

Me: Fair enough. I think I do if people have said that I can use it in the past.

17)   What are your favourite things to do with each other?

Me: Hm?

Abi: This. (Sit and watch TV).

18)   What happens when one person gets sick?

Me: I don’t know, I guess they get sick. Maybe I’ll make them a cup of tea or see if they want me to get them anything. Mostly I’ll just assume they want some peace and quiet.

Abi: We all forget.

19)   Have you thought about having a pet or pets?

Abi: Yes we’ve thought about it. I want a cat but we’ve just never done anything about it.

Me: I’m worried about a) getting permission from the landlady and b) how to divide up the cat when we leave.

Abi: It would be mine.

20)   What is the funniest thing you’ve done together?

Me: This year a nice roommate moment was when Abi and I removed that weird cocoon thing from the bathroom wall.

Abi: Putting the drying rack in the attic.

Jay: What?  

Abi: Other housemate had a drying rack in the room (which we’re not allowed) so we hid it in the attic. You can’t tell him what we did. It was really scary.

Me: Jay?

Jay: Em, I know it’s not really house-related, but just you dancing on a table in spoons.

21)   Has being roommates helped or hurt your relationship?

Me: Well if we hadn’t lived together last year we wouldn’t really have a relationship.

Abi: Helped.

Jay: *nods vaguely*

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Writing about not writing: The Now

This blog is for writing. And for the past while, not much of that has been going on. I am reminded of this every time I check Facebook which informs me "Your fans are missing you, Catherine Ann Minnock." Well I'm sorry, fans, such as you are. In addition, Twitter--where only my penname resides--became rather panicked and asked me if I had changed emails, which I'd imagine is the social media version of British Gas sending you angry bills and trying to confirm you are "still at this address".

 Like much of the internet, this blog is not a true reflection of my life but rather a mere fragment of a fragment of a pen-name. In actual fact, there has been rather a lot of writing going on.

Writing of emails. To my Student's Union about the society of which I appear to have become co-founder and co-president. Less interestingly but no less frustratingly, to HMRC about changing my tax code.

Writing of essays. Formative work that is supposed to "form" and shape my further, important work, but for which I am not allowed to use anything related to my further work, because Literature is helpful like that.

Writing and editing and correcting of articles upon articles for my student's newspaper. Tentatively, I wrote my true opinions last week and tried to incorporate everyone's view and not just the most popular at University in my piece. As a result, there wasn't the angry onslaught I'd expected (or hasn't been as of yet), just a lot of people with various viewpoints congratulating me on my balanced, "forward-thinking" writing. One more step toward the whole thing becoming a bit less scary, I feel.

All in all, creativity and quality of writing are becoming less curtailed by an innate need to be liked. Not because I no longer have that need (though as I grow past adolescence into the pseudo-adulthood that is student life, it has begun to wane somewhat), but because I am more open to writing and creating what others may not necessarily agree with or enjoy. I no longer feel that one blog post, article or  indeed essay gone awry (like an example described by my seminar leader last year as "borderline offensive") isn't going to ruin my entire life or career.

Art grows and changes just as people grow and change. What I write now will probably not reflect who I am in five years' time--in fact, I very much hope that it will not. But I feel at this stage I am old enough and unwise enough to be able to look at things I have made and think, "I do not feel this now. But I felt it legitimately and completely at the time, and it was recorded and shared... and if just one person identified with it or took something from it, then that means at the time those feelings were worth writing down. They were relevant and worthwhile."

I probably won't say that. I'll probably just say, "Oh, God, CRINGE...", or whatever else passes for appropriate slang in 2020, when I no doubt will be just as down with the kids as I am this very day.

To dismiss things now because I may regret them, or not feel them again, or change my mind, would be like burning every photo of myself in case I later decide I don't like the haircut I have, the clothes I am wearing, or the friends I am with. For better or worse, we cannot just burn experiences.

So there's much more honesty now in everything I write: every email, every newspaper feature, and every zine produced as part of my publishing society. In fact it's toward zines (printed prose and pictures for me, all sorts for everyone else) that a lot of focus from this blog is sadly being diverted.

My current project is an interesting one. It's about my body and how I have felt toward it--and in a way you can't get more honest than that. However, note that I use the words "have felt". There's a lot of emotion in this project, from being persuaded to think negatively about my appearance at quite a young age, to being alarmed about what my body can go through, to a rude awakening that when it comes to what I should and shouldn't do with my body, sexism and oppression are alive and well.

I'm finding writing what I felt rather than feel is quite a difficult thing to do. It's hard to remember sensations along with events, hard to remember quite how affecting everything was when "grown-up" me inevitably plays it down. Which is why I suppose this is important: me, writing, now. Whether it's just a Facebook message to a friend after a long day, an article I felt apprehensive about publishing or even this rather chaotic blog update, it is all mine. It is how I am feeling. Now.