Friday, 21 February 2014

Stories, friends and random meetings

Where do I start?

I suppose the first thing I'd like to talk about is stories. Stories and friends. This sounds a bit strange, but one of the biggest parts of my life over the past few months has been stories. More specifically, stories on the internet that have led to me making some of the best friends I've known without meeting them in person. Through my love of the Professor Layton games, and the spinoff game for iOS: Layton Brothers Mystery Room, I have discovered a role-play on Twitter of the latter's protagonist, Alfendi Layton. The person behind this account, who shall remain nameless for reasons of privacy, created a story unlike any other role play I have ever seen, featuring not only the characters from the game, but also a host of original characters, each with their own fascinating backgrounds and personalities. The story is currently on its eighth and penultimate chapter, a most intriguing case (Alfendi, for those who have not played the game, is a detective) set in a virtual world filled with danger and excitement. By interacting with the characters I have met two other readers who are just as fascinated as I am by Professor Layton and his world, and with whom I have become very close. Thank you, you guys are awesome. I hope to one day meet you in person.

Talking about this role play leads me on to another topic: the creator's stories on Wattpad. He's written some amazing stories, both fanfiction and original works. They have made me laugh, made me cry, made me want to scream. If he's not a published author within the next ten years, I'll eat my hat. Thanks to him I have been inspired to continue with my own stories, which you can also find on Wattpad: But enough self promotion, it's time to talk about my life outside of the internet. In October I joined a local choir. I had been looking for some social activities over the summer to break the monotony of my dissertation. Unfortunately most of the activities I found weren't running during the summer, so I only managed to join the choir after I had submitted the dissertation. Ironic, huh? Anyway, I joined the choir and now enjoy singing with them every Thursday evening. We had a concert in December and now we have a whole new programme in preparation for our summer concert in July. It includes a medley from The Phantom of the Opera, the Beatles hit All You Need Is Love, the song I Believe I Can Fly, made famous by the film Space Jam, and many others. A few weeks ago I met a girl wearing a deerstalker, and my immediate reaction was "you have an ear hat!" (That's a reference to the BBC show Sherlock, in case anyone didn't know, I'm a HUGE fan. HUGE. I could talk for hours about how much I love it. But I won't.)  We spent ages chatting about it, and then she realised that I had served her one day during my time at Waterstones over Christmas. I'll talk about that in another post. As if meeting her wasn't enough to make me fangirl, I also met a boy called Benedict! I nearly squealed when he introduced himself, then I said to him "you must get references all the time." He looked at me like I had three heads, but then I calmed down and he turned out to be really nice. So there you go! Strange how these things happen.

Lastly, I'd like to spend a bit of time talking about Twitter. I tried to explain this to my mum yesterday after hearing reports of Elise Christie, the Olympic speed skater, being threatened over social media. I think social media, particularly Twitter, receives a lot of negative attention from the press because of the amount of people who are bullied, threatened and even pushed into committing suicide. Of course this is a harrowing issue, but people often forget that there is a positive side to social media, namely fandoms. Briefly explained, a fandom is a large group of people who share an interest or obsession in a particular book, series of books, film or TV show. From what I've experienced, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people, especially teenagers, who struggle to relate to their friends at school, and find themselves under a lot of pressure to get good grades, and this leads to depression, anxiety and all sorts of other problems. I'll admit that I'm far from an expert and I don't wish to offend anyone, but I've seen that so many people have found comfort and real friends through fandoms on Twitter. Perhaps if the media were to focus more on this, and less on the bullying, parents would have a better understanding of why teenagers spend so much time using social networking sites. Of course I understand that there are malicious people on the internet: sexual predators, trolls and so on, and it is important to raise awareness of them and prevent their actions, but it is also necessary to understand how much support young people receive just from people their own age who enjoy the same things as they do. I consider myself a very positive person, and I mostly enjoyed school when I was there, so I often find it difficult to relate to my followers on Twitter who say they hate it or are depressed, however I will always do my best to support my friends and advise them should they ever need it.

Ok, this accidentally turned into a bit of an essay and it got a bit political without me meaning it to, so I'll sign off here before I start waffling.

Megan xxx