I made a mermaid! I love mermaids.
My second animation in AfterEffects.
Art, if you loved it, was worth any amount of unhappiness and pain. If you had to hurt someone to achieve those ends, so be it. If the outcome was beautiful enough, strange enough, memorable enough, it did not matter. It was worth it.
I’m a teacher, teaching high school English. I work a lot. Most days I work around 12 hours, and at the weekends I work a lot, too. When I’m not working, I’m generally asleep. Teaching is fucking hard, yo, and it doesn’t leave much time for what I love best, which is reading. I became an English teacher in part to share my utter adoration of books and reading with the kids I teach, and as a result I have no time to read. How’s that irony for you?
But on Friday evening, I had an evening where I told myself I was taking the evening off. I was going to the theatre, and I would take the train there and back to give myself the time to read. I would set off an hour early and buy myself a coffee in a nice coffee shop, and I would read. I wouldn’t spend that time planning lessons or marking books, writing ‘sp?’ in red pen above a student’s ambitiously spelled words. I had a stack of ten books that I have yet to read, mostly piled precariously beside my bed, leaning against my overflowing laundry basket. I don’t have the time to do laundry, either.
I piled the books onto my bed to pick one out and take it with me. Insurgent? Shift? Sequels to novels I’ve managed to squeeze in since December. Or something else, The Book Thief, ready for the film coming out? As if I have time to go to the cinema anyway. I wanted something less heavy than that, maybe some YA that I can recommend to my students. My eye fell on Fangirl, the most recently purchased of these books and so theoretically at the bottom of the pile. I’d never read any @rainbowrowell before, but I’d heard good things about the book here on tumblr and after reading the blurb I couldn’t leave it behind at Waterstones. Not when it was on special offer, anyway. I shoved it into my bag and slipped out of the door, heading for the train station.
On the platform, I cracked the first page open, careful not to break the spine. It made me smile within seconds. I read through the train journey, and the tram journey, and by the time I reached the coffee shop I was 150 pages in and utterly hooked. The main thought that kept running through my head was that Rowell gets it. This wasn’t a book by an outsider who had heard of fandom and was writing about it like a kind of freakshow, look at these people with their internet friends and their social anxiety. This was written by someone who instinctively seemed to understand the internet generation, fandom, fic.
I rarely read fic now, but through my teens I both read and wrote it. It’s how I met elliewriteshere, now one of my closest friends. We created new universes out of the crumbs we were given by the show, and it made us friends even if we were seven thousand miles apart. This book made me feel nostalgic for my own teens, starting university and knowing that I needed my internet friends to keep me going. Without them I don’t think I would have got through my first year of university. I wouldn’t have got through my first term of teaching.
It’s no secret that I suffer from some mental health issues. I take my drugs and remain functional and sometimes I sleep a whole weekend away, but I’m not neurotypical and without the drugs I’m completely dysfunctional. I’ve never seen such a sensitive, nuanced and real portrait of dealing with mental illness as this book. Again, Rowell gets it, or she’s done a hell of a lot of research. It made me feel understood. The best literature does that.
It’s a very tumblr book, this book. I have some 13 year olds I teach who’ve asked me if I’m on tumblr - I lied, obviously. I don’t want them following me on here. But I might recommend the book to them. I hope it would make them feel understood, too.
I read through the interval, rather than joining my companions in a glass of wine. I read through the tram and the train home. And then I got up on Saturday morning to devour the end of the book. It was that sort of book. It spoke to me, and I feel like the least I can do is give the book back to the people to whom it belongs, by which I mean tumblr. This is my recommendation: read this book, tumblr. It understands you, and it loves you.
Nothing will fuck up your twenties more than thinking you’re supposed to have your shit together.
From Tereskova’s tags:
Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear.
Basically the coolest little tool to have as a writer.
This is awesome!!!
“It’s Been An Adventure, Mr. Fredricksen.”
“Adventure Is Out There!”
Someone asked me to post these two companion pieces together so it was easier to reblog them.
THIS WAS NOT OKAY
HE’S STILL WEARING THE ELLIE BADGE
I was just going to scroll past this when I REALISED what it was
I’ve seen this photograph very frequently on tumblr and Facebook, always with the simple caption, “Ghost Heart”. What exactly is a ghost heart?
More than 3,200 people are on the waiting list for a heart transplant in the United States. Some won’t survive the wait. Last year, 340 died before a new heart was found.
The solution: Take a pig heart, soak it in an ingredient commonly found in shampoo and wash away the cells until you’re left with a protein scaffold that is to a heart what two-by-four framing is to a house.
Then inject that ghost heart, as it’s called, with hundreds of millions of blood or bone-marrow stem cells from a person who needs a heart transplant, place it in a bioreactor - a box with artificial lungs and tubes that pump oxygen and blood into it - and wait as the ghost heart begins to mature into a new, beating human heart.
Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, has been working on this— first using rat hearts, then pig hearts and human hearts - for years.
The process is called decellularization and it is a tissue engineering technique designed to strip out the cells from a donor organ, leaving nothing but connective tissue that used to hold the cells in place.
This scaffold of connective tissue - called a “ghost organ” for its pale and almost translucent appearance - can then be reseeded with a patient’s own cells, with the goal of regenerating an organ that can be transplanted into the patient without fear of tissue rejection.
This ghost heart is ready to be injected with a transplant recipient’s stem cells so a new heart - one that won’t be rejected - can be grown.