Monday 31 December 2012

WTF - How To Be A Teen

'Lads, these steps are actually really uncomfortable. And you didn't even get my head in the photo!' (Thanks for the pic, http://iam-dollparts.tumblr.com/post/38059719612!)


A while back, I was distraught to read a blog post by a girl I've come to know and admire. Upon her sixteenth birthday, she wrote about how she was coming to believe that she was doing adolescence wrong - that she should be:

...doing things.
I feel like I should be sneaking out at night, going to parties, making memories. I feel like I should be buying cheap beer in the supermarkets and hanging out with my closest friends, talking about nothing and everything for hours. I feel like I should be taking lots and lots and lots of pictures in my camera. I feel like I should be lying on the floor of my room, looking up the ceiling, and listening to some sad indie music in my denim shorts and tie-dyed shirt. And yes, I know this is so stereotypical and even a tad discriminative of me, but, it just makes me worry. What if I'm not doing enough?
I want to be able to look back on these years and remember the rollercoaster feel of the time I've had. And I mean, I have made great memories. I have friends and a Friend who I wouldn't trade for anything in the world, and we've had amazing times with each other. But I just wonder if I'm making the most out of my youth. I wonder if this is enough. I'm sure that I would make more memories as I grow older but I'm already half-way through my teenage years and I'm not sure if I've lived in it enough...
As a seventeen year old, and therefore someone older and wiser, I feel it is my duty to set this straight.

That, first of all, is bullshit - that being seventeen gives me the authority to tell you how to be a teenager. Actually, no one really has that authority. And I think it is disgusting that we are given to believe that there is a formula for How To Be A Teen. I mean, it's easy to see why there is such a thing - so we buy stuff, but I'm not going to get into all that. You're sick of it anyway.

If you want to be sneaking out at night and going to parties and drinking beer and taking photos and listening to music on the floor of your room and all of that... if you want to, if it suits you, that is completely fine. What is not fine is that for this writer it feels obligatory, as if there's a mile-long checklist of important tasks that must be completed by the time you're 18 or 19 or 21 or whenever. That's just needless pressure that prevents you from doing what you really want to do with your time. And if you spend your time how you like, that's all that should matter. The only goal adolescents should have regarding their adolescence is getting through it without hurting themselves or anyone else, and emerging as an adult on the other side, even if it's hard to feel like an adult. And once that's done, you've just completed a successful adolescence. Gold star!

All of us who are teenagers now - I really don't want to use the word generation, it's become over-used - are 'doing' adolescence in a much different way than our parents did. With this new-fangled internet that's rotting our brains, for one, which I don't need to tell you about. And it's easier these days to be a person of colour or a girl or LGBT or all three than it was forty or thirty years ago, which is good. There are those that despair because teenagers these days don't have much to rebel against, apart from each other, but conformity years ago was more of an essential part of Being An Adult Person and getting a job and spouse, especially for women, which made rebellion lots more fun! But maybe it's this lack of conformity, set goals, a direct route to being a grown-up, that has resulted in record companies and film studios and retailers trying to put us on their routes instead. And everything is very confusing now.

I just think it's really sad that people who are leading perfectly adequate lives, even really good lives, people who are talented and kind and warm, feel as if they are not doing their life justice for no reason. That's all.

Smarter Than You Because I've Been Seventeen For One Month and Seventeen Days,

Eleanor Roscuro

Friday 2 November 2012

Friends In Real Life - Shaun Meighan

Say hello to Shaun.

This is my friend Shaun Meighan. I have known him since we were both fourteen-ish. That's three years now. I met him through Kilkenny Youth Theatre. Shaun likes playing video games, vlogging, and he builds websites, including Quick Revise, for Junior Cert students, and his personal website, Shaun Plays Games. He is one of the nicest people I know.

Once upon a time a few weeks ago, he tweeted that he'd like to know what it would be like to be interviewed. I volunteered, as I have had some experience in this. After some time passed and we hadn't found a day we were both free to meet, I emailed him some questions. He has given me permission to put his answers, below, up on Apostrophe.

*Describe yourself in five words.

Nerdy, average, nervous, loving, self-sufficient.

*Now we're not fifteen anymore, what is your view on Nerdfighteria? (I have a lot of feelings on this, and I just want to see how you feel, as a person who is not me, but was a Nerdfighter the same time as me. Are you still a Nerdfighter?)

Honestly, I feel that I have outgrown the community. It was great when I was in Junior Cert, it was my only form of expression. Now, though, after TY, I've just grown as a person. Not to offend anyone who is a nerdfighter: it's just not for me anymore.

*Tell me about your website building. How is that coming?

The website building is going good :) I'm teaching myself and am saving for a mac to use a certain program :)

*What five songs would be essential to a Shaun Meighan soundtrack? 


*On your Facebook profile, one of your favourite quotations is 'her past is gone, the present hurts, she has no future'. Why? (I know very well what it means.) (From A Vampire Story by Moira Buffini)

I just really like that quote :)

*Tell me about Ravenclaws. Who are they really? Do you identify yourself as an eagle?

I love Harry Potter, it's been with me since I was six, but I've never really identified with any one house - I see bits of myself in all of them. Also, I'm more of an owl :P

*What would you like to do when you leave school? 

Computer Science, mainly focused on web design and game programming.

*Why do you vlog about video games? (Do you say video games or computer games or just games?)

I say video games :) The reason I make videos on them is because they are one of the best forms of expression that I can think of. They don't tell a story, they let you live it.

*If you could return to a specific era in history, what would it be and why? 

I'd love to live during the Renaissance; all that innovation sounds like heaven to me :)

*How is Quick Revise? 

Quick Revise has been a great learning experience for me. It taught me so much about making websites - and managing them, dealing with a lot of users and trying to make changes while the site was in use. I'd love to do some more work on it :)

*What or who influences your wardrobe?

I tend not to base my wardrobe on anyone, I just wear things that I like. Many of my shirts have video game references because it's a way to start a conversation with people who have the same interests that I do.

*Quick-fire round -

  • favourite book? Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein
  • film? X-Men: First Class
  • band or album or both? Green Day
  • TV show? Dexter
  • website? YouTube
  • place? My bedroom
  • game? Sky Roads (an old MS DOS game, it's awesome)
  • city? Kilkenny
  • interviewer? my good friend Eleanor :P

*Shag/marry/kill - Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine), Miriam O'Callaghan (of RTÉ), Michelle Obama (of the White House). 

Shag Florence, marry Michelle, kill Miriam.

*The colour pink, discuss. 

Pink has a Hex Triplet of #FFC0CB. Pink is any of the colors between bluish red (purple) and red, of medium to high brightness and of low to moderate saturation. Commonly used for Valentine's Day and Easter, pink is sometimes referred to as "the color of love." The use of the word for the color known today as pink was first recorded in the late 17th century.

*What advice would you give to anyone who wants to build websites/vlog about games/aspire to some level of ShaunMeighanness? 

Be yourself. I say that because I am legally obligated to. Seriously, though, don't say "oh I can't do it" or "what if people think it's stupid?" I used to think that when the teacher asked for volunteers to fix the computer. Now I don't need to even put up my hand; they ask for me. That feels so good. To know that you can offer help to someone is one of the best things you can have. My grandfather told me something that has stuck with me my whole life. Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life.

I'd really like to make interviewing friends I have in real life a regular feature. (Me here again.) It's interesting what you can learn about people outside the realms of normal conversation when you ask them random questions and put them under pressure to deliver good answers for you lot, and their other friends who will hopefully read this.

If any of my friends in real life are reading this and wouldn't mind being questioned, or would like to plug something cool they're doing, give me a shout. I've got a Dictaphone, so you're in safe hands.

Eleanor Roscuro

Sunday 12 August 2012

Quote of the Week #76

Alice’s end of the daisy chain kept falling apart. She glanced at Marie’s end. It draped across her lap, seeming to go on forever. Marie’s long fingers seemed lightning quick as she pierced the stalks. Alice’s end was measly in comparison. But Marie was older than her, and so self-assured and confident and so kind to her. And it was her kindness that made her beautiful, because nice people are usually the prettiest, as Marie had said to her once. Or pretty people are usually the nicest. Anyway. Marie was amazing. It was a wonder she would let Alice near her at all.

Bró + Ron - Alice.

Friday 10 August 2012

Making A Debut



I am a member of a superteam. The superteam is called Bró + Ron.

It was all my idea, I'd like to say.

Brónagh is my very fashionable friend who writes Glamour + Grunge. I can barely dress myself on a good day. We write, style and direct fashion shoots under the name Bró + Ron. Rather, I write, she styles, and we both direct.

We've been working on our first shoot since the start of June. It is called The Reluctant Debutantes. Cause we're making our debut, yeah? Clever. Anyway.

It's the first time I've ever done anything like this. Fashion confuses me. But I liked the idea of basing outfits around characters and stories, which is what we've done here. The Reluctant Debutantes are seven young ladies in an alternate Kilkenny, with the marriage market of a hundred years ago. They're not that happy about it either.

It goes online tomorrow at BroandRon.tumblr.com, and I really hope you check it out, and that you like it. We had great fun, from planning and plotting, to writing and styling, and the shoot days were like parties, the best parties I've ever been to. Just eight girls going around the park wearing crazy clothes! And we're already planning the next one...

The Reluctant Debutantes - Saturday 11th August 2012. By Bró + Ron. 

Oh! Forgot to say. I'm Ron.

Ronaele Roscuro

Monday 6 August 2012

Oh Dear Diary, We Fell Apart

They say every teenage girl, or person, even, should keep a diary or journal. A place to record your feelings and secrets, and let out your frustrations.

I started keeping a diary before my thirteenth birthday, and ended (so far) just after my fifteenth. I filled up two ring binded Paperchase notebooks. Those rings would become bended and twisted from being shoved in my schoolbag every day. Scrawls of red, pink, blue, black ink that changed colour with the yellow pages of my first notebook.

All my adolescent angst and turmoil was spent during my First and Second years of secondary school, when I was thirteen and fourteen. Some of that has been recorded here, if you're willing to look or have been around long enough. Those diaries were filled with the usual stuff, like 'why won't anyone be my friend? I can't be that unbearable' and 'I HATE THEM ALL THOSE SELFISH BITCHES'. I'm not quoting directly or anything, that's just the gist. Then there was more personal stuff, like 'I thought I was supposed to be smart, so why am I so bad at everything at school?' I wasn't that bad, really. Just terrible at maths, but the next year I would go from Honours to Ordinary, so happy ending there. But lots of people, a few with letters and initials after their names, had told me when I was in primary school that I was really clever, and then I didn't feel clever anymore. I didn't know what to think.

So there I was, pouring all my problems out into my diary, fulfilling the stereotype. People say that's a great way to look at your problems, out there on the page instead of all muddled up in your head. But after a while, I started to realise the opposite - as I wrote them down, my problems left my mind, and in doing so entered the real world. I could not deny them anymore, for they existed. It made them all the more terrifying and unsolvable, and made me all the more unhappier. I didn't like it.

I didn't mean to stop writing my diary, it was completely unintentional. During the Christmas holidays of my Third Year in school, a month after I turned fifteen, my school opened for about a week for girls doing exams to come in and study for a few hours a day. I went in and each day I would spend the bulk of my time studying and about an hour writing in my diary, but the diary-writing time grew day by day. I'd gotten news of a play I was going to be involved in, and I was so excited, but I had a plan. I wasn't going to just write it in my diary, I would print out the email I'd gotten and paste it in, for posterity! So each day I would hint at it, and agonise over leaving my friends, and become unbelievably excited.

I never stuck it in.

I'm glad I got over my angst back when I was younger, and that it didn't stick around. Of course I'm still worried and angry about things now, but only sometimes, and I know how to deal with it. I know that I have power. And people to talk to. Those days I only had friends outside of school, and while they're great and everything, they're not really that much use to you on a daily basis. (I DON'T MEAN THAT I LOVE YOU)  What I needed was friends in school, and for whatever reason, my own... I don't know what it was, or maybe I don't want to know, but I didn't have them. At the start of Fourth Year, which I finished back in June, I thought 'Okay, I don't need people anymore... but it'd be cool to have them.' I didn't need friends, I just wanted them. And they were there.

I think.

Those diaries are now in a box in the shed, which I refer to as the Archives in my head. Whenever I read them, which isn't very often, I feel sad. But that's only natural.

And sometimes I still want to write my feelings down, or what's happening, down on paper, where I can scrawl, and it only belongs to me. But I don't want to get back into the habit again. I want to leave it behind.

Monday 21 May 2012

Moments of Transition (Year)

February

Today's the first, and this morning I was woken by a nightmare in which Joseph Goebbels was a teacher at my school. It was terrifying. He kept putting me in detention because I have brown hair and brown eyes and chose to learn French instead of Spanish. I can't remember what happened in those detentions, but it wasn't nice. None of the other teachers changed their behaviour, but they treated the methods of Mr. Goebbels as perfectly normal. And there were horrible rumours going around about Mr. Goebbels too, but you could never be sure if they were true or not, because everyone was afraid. When I woke up this morning I was terrified that I'd go into school thinking everything was normal until I had Mr. Goebbels first thing, so I said to myself 'OK Eleanor, let's sort out if Goebbels actually teaches you or not.' I promptly fell asleep and was woken again by my mother.

What does it mean when you dream of a Nazi?

********

September

I'm about to open an envelope. This envelope contains my Junior Certificate results. Everyone else has crowded around each other outside, it's a lovely day, but I ran off behind a wall. This is private, it's mine. For now, at least.

I try to take care as much as I can with the seal. I thought it would be an A4 sheet, not something this small. But where did I get that idea?

And the very first result listed -

English. D.

Ah, shit.

I knew on the day that I wasn't going to get a great result. I completely lost my head, but it's a matter of pride still. It's the first D I've ever gotten for English, because even with poetry, which I'm shit at, I can usually articulate something. I've still passed, but...

I've never really liked 'school English', whatever that is, but I only realised then how much I had let it become a label. Eleanor's Good At English. Which means she's one of the Creative Ones, which must mean she's bad at Maths, because that's how it works, isn't it? If you're creative and good at art/writing, it means you have to be bad at maths or business or science. But I'm not good at English in school. The only thing I can really do is the drama bit, because that's the bit that makes the most sense to me. But that doesn't mean I'm hopeless. Most of the content on my CV is stuff I've written.

Just because I didn't get the mark I had hoped for, but the mark I knew I would get when I finished Paper One, doesn't mean I'm suddenly incompetent. I'm still good at this. I am a semi-competent writer! I got that award, didn't I? That was just one day. Jesus Eleanor, calm down. You've still got ten other results! You haven't looked at them yet!

I scan down the page. There aren't any other Ds. I've got two As, three Cs, and the rest are Bs, including French and History, which I was really worried about. Excellent! Time to join the others and squeal a bit. Lovely.

Although it would be cool to get a C or something for the Leaving. Just to satisfy my own useless pride. And for the points, of course.

********

October

God, I'd forgotten how much swearing was in this play.

My Adult For The Evening, my cousin Eimear, is fidgeting in her seat beside me. She's twenty four, a primary school teacher, and she's my Cool Older Cousin, so I thought she'd be best to bring along to this night-time event in a pub.

But then I remember how I've always been her Baby Cousin Eleanor. And that I'm still only fifteen. And these people in the room, a lot of whom I seem to know quite well, are all older than me, and drinking, and some of them are shifting the face of each other on the projector. And my mother and her mother are waiting for us back home, and they'll want to know everything. And the dancing girl sitting with her friends at the front, the drunk one in the play, is getting a bit louder and a bit louder all the time. And apparently she's my friend.

And I come to appreciate a little bit more how trusting my mother and father must be.

Seems I'd also forgotten how much sex is discussed, and all that business with the condoms and everything.

The drive home is going to be very awkward.

********

March

I have known John Kennedy for one year and two months.

It is a very strange moment when, at Fishamble's Young People's Tiny Plays For Ireland reading, I am introduced to him for the first time. We're both from Kilkenny!

'Actually we do sort of know each other already...'

'Oh really? How?'

And, for some reason, we're standing there nodding and grinning inanely at each other. And I don't know why I'm not saying anything like 'Well, John here wrote a play called Shifting for the Devious Theatre Company back in Kilkenny, and it was completely sold out over it's six night run and received rave reviews, because it really was a brilliant play you know, and it was directed by that man over there in the blue hoodie, John Morton, beside the lady with the long brown wavy hair, no, below that row, and I was assistant director. And that's how we know each other.' That covers it. But we're not saying anything. It's very strange. Why aren't we telling him?

But eventually we say, at the same time, 'We worked on a play together...' Which is also the truth. And it'll do for today, because, and it seems strange, but we don't need Shifting today.

And the well-meaning person who introduced us but whose identity I have forgotten says 'Oh!' and escapes, leaving us to stand nodding and grinning inanely at each other.

********

December

It's the last day of school before the Christmas holidays. Everyone's exchanging cards, and all of a sudden she hands me a wrapped present.

I don't have anything to give her. Just a Christmas card with some song lyrics paraphrased inside, and what good is that if I've done it wrong and she can't understand it? And then she goes and gives me beautiful chocolates.

And they're Lindt chocolates. Everyone loves Lindt chocolates. I'm not the only one who's received them of course, but I can't remember the last time I got a Christmas present from someone that wasn't a relative.

A friend?

********

March

Today is World Book Day, and so a group of us have been entertaining some children in one of the local bookshops. We've dressed up as characters from Where's Wally for the occasion, and it's been loads of fun. Now we're walking down town to get lunch in our madcap gear. (Our madcap gear consists of red/white striped tops, blue jeans, hearts on our faces, and assorted accessories.)

I'm in a group of five and I'm doing my usual conversation thing where I stay on the edge and dodge the kerb and stone benches and listen to the others talk, and one of the girls is fiddling with her super-cute pigtails self-consciously. This girl is one of the kindest, most sincere girls I know, and I don't like seeing her uncomfortable with herself. So I try to tell her to relax.

In my classic, Eleanor Roscuro empathetic fashion.

It doesn't really work, because I haven't mastered empathy and all that stuff, so it's just me telling her that she's fine and she doesn't have to care about what other people think, all that easier said than done stuff, until eventually, a little voice in my head says 'You know what you should try? Paraphrasing that Henry Ford quote that Bill Cullen likes. That'll work!'

'If you think you're ugly or not ugly, you're right.'

'Really? You think that?'

And, oblivious to her body language or the tone in her voice, I do what I always do: concentrate on the words and plough right through.

'Yeah. I do think that.'

Suddenly, we all draw to a stop. There are boys ahead. They've just come out of the nearest boy's school. We go to a girl's school, so we don't know them... We take a breath, brace ourselves, and then carry on, our eyes raking each uniform for a familiar face. There's got to be about fifty, and I don't know any of them. Dammit.

She starts fiddling with her pigtails again, worse than ever, and I tell her to leave it, but she doesn't, and we've stopped talking. This is ridiculous! It's not the Charge of the Light Brigade for God's sake! Yet their attitude is infectious, and I can't help but expect... something.

Eventually our paths meet.

This is what I was wearing that day -


Note - awesome mask. Happy (unaware of camera) face.


I love this mask, and I'm enjoying walking around the street in it. Until it was assumed by a subset of the boys in uniform that since I am wearing a mask, I must be extremely unattractive. Hideous, even.

It could have been so much worse. I know that. But I wasn't expecting it all the same. And it doesn't make me feel good.  I don't know if I was supposed to hear, but it was quite loud, and it doesn't make me feel good. But when I'm older, maybe this will be a part of life. I don't want it to be, but that's not up to me, is it?

And she's still worrying about her pigtails, and she was passed by unscathed, and the one who didn't care was marked down, how's that for irony? And the moment to say something back has passed. And then it dawns on me that I may have called her ugly, in a backwards way. And I feel awful, because I've hurt the feelings of the nicest girl in the year. And I feel awful, because some strangers have hurt my feelings.

And when I tell them half an hour later what they said, when I get sick of the bloody pigtails, no one says anything. We change the subject. When we're older, in college maybe, and it gets worse, we probably won't know how to handle it.

********

February

I'm on a night out!

Well, technically. It could be said. I'm in Kilkenny, at night, and I'm with adults, but nice ones who invited me here, and there is alcohol present, but not in my hand or my gut.

Yeah, I'm on a night out.

I'm upstairs in the Watergate Theatre, at the launch of the new Devious Theatre production. They're going to remake Night of the Living Dead in July. I'd been aware of it since work experience in November, but it only registered tonight. The night is starting to draw to a close. I'm standing beside my older-super-cool friend Alex at the bar. John's leaning over the other side to us, like we're smugglers in one of those taverns three hundred years ago where you'd be sure to find all the criminals singing drinking songs, plotting, and drinking. But instead of planning our next robbery, John is telling us about getting into drama courses, something that seems just as foolhardy and dangerous. Well, it's all for Alex's benefit, she's the one applying this year. I just arrived in the middle of the conversation and quietly slotted myself in. We're both nodding solemnly as John gestures and points his fingers on the bar for emphasis.

The Mid-Term Ball is on Monday. I've no real interest in going - I've had my fill of monster discos since the Junior Cert Results. I've having a great night here. Everyone is so nice. I know most of them already, which is good, and I've even mentioned Gormenghast, and people have listened! And my pretty dress has been admired. That's always good. And there's buns and cake, and they have nice orange juice. And I was invited  and everything!

Apparently they don't look at your Leaving Cert marks in the colleges, not really. Just at what you show them at auditions. Wow.

There's a little voice in the back of my head saying 'It'd be nice to get the points anyway...' and I have a small memory of staring at a page behind a wall. Oh, the Junior Cert English thing. I'd kind of forgotten about that. It isn't such a stab to my pride as it felt like at the time. Hmm. That's good.


********

January

Today is a great day.

I'm in McDonalds on Grafton Street, finishing up my meal with my friends. We've come up to Dublin with the rest of the year to Trinity College. My older-super-cool friend Helena is studying Business and French there, and she was able to point me in the direction of the Drama and Theatre Studies talk that had started as we got off the bus, so after sneaking away from the group (!!!), I made it for the last five minutes. Then I met another older-super-cool friend Ruth who was at the talk and we had a lovely chat. Then I was able to discreetly insert myself into the group, go around the different stands, and then we went for lunch. Now we've got back onto Grafton Street and I'm turning right to go back to Trinity, but the others go left.

'Hey, where are you going?'

'Shopping. We've seen everything there.'

'Oh, okay. I'm going back to Trinity, I'll meet you later so - '

I wasn't expecting them to look that horrified or gasp that loudly. Or to chorus:

'You can't go back there on your own!'

I start to feel a little irritated. Up until last September all I did at school was go around on my own! I'm not desperate for human contact, but I really like their company, and I'm fine going around Trinity on my own. It's fun, and I'm meeting so many people I know, and I could look at the things I find interesting while they do their shopping. It's just thirty seconds up the street. I don't see what's wrong.

'No, really, I'm fine - '

'No, you can't go back there on your own... You can come with us if you like!'

'But... I don't know when I'll get there again, and I've been to Grafton Street before, and I'll be seeing it again at some stage. It's just up the street... I can look after myself!'

I know I shouldn't have said that as soon as it's out of my mouth. I've done it again. I don't know whether to turn and leave, or listen to what they've got to say next. Whilst I'm deciding, one of the group steps forward, not one I'm particularly friendly with. She sighs.

'Lads, it's alright, I'll go back with her...'

NO!

Because I don't want to be 'her', someone that has to be babied and minded, someone that's always getting in the way of everyone's fun! And I'm not, and I wouldn't be, if only they would let me go! But what am I supposed to say? I don't know what to say. I'm stuck now. The others don't look happy about the prospect either, and we all say:

'No, you don't have to, it's fine!'

But she's coming with me now. The other girls look as downcast as I feel. 'Well, if you're sure... We'll see you later so.' And they turn and walk off. We walk silently back to Trinity.

I feel bad about giving her the slip when we get there, but I do it anyway.

********

April

'Anna, why don't we ever do anything Irish?'

We've just filled out our evaluation forms about the last Kilkenny Youth Theatre year. This was something that had occurred to me when I was remarking on how I enjoyed the fact that with Gormenghast, we weren't confused by British slang or place names that we knew nothing about. Instead, we referenced places like the Hall of the Bright Carvings, or the Tower of Flints. Most of the youth theatre plays we read are by British playwrights.

'You mean a play?'

She goes on to explain that:
  1. She really would like to do something Irish, but:
  2. There are very few Irish plays written for a teenage production.
  3. Those that do exist either don't have an ensemble cast or a cast large enough to accommodate sixteen-ish people, or are not very good. Or both.
Which is a shame, because I had been hoping for some to read, but I know Anna spent most of her career working with children and teenagers in theatre, and would know best out of all the people I could ask. I've been reading some of the British ones in the school library whenever there are no seats for me in the canteen, and there are some I love, and some I hate. But I'm Irish. I want to see something Irish.

It just makes me more determined. (Determined to do what? says the stupid voice.)

********

May

It's the last day of Transition Year. It's glorious outside, so we're sitting outside in the grass. We're making daisy chains, and writing on each other, and eating, and chatting lazily.

This is the day I have been waiting for all winter, all spring. It's brilliant. It's heaven.

********

November

I've come to a sudden stop outside the Butler Gallery. There are tourists, couples walking around the park. One passes me, and we smile. The weather's beautiful for a November morning, warm, with a soft breeze, the sort of day I like. And you wouldn't expect to find these many people in the park today, but they're here.

Today is the first day of my work experience with the Watergate Theatre and everyone's been so nice and I've got leaflets of a ballet, Scherezade, to drop into local businesses around Kilkenny and I've been doing that and last week I did work experience with Devious Theatre which was wonderful and I'm so lucky to have gotten what I wanted.

Today is my sixteenth birthday and the weather is beautiful and I'm not in school I'm on my work experience and I know that this year, this year is going to be brilliant.

********

Sunday 6 May 2012

Quote of the Week #75

My mother said to me 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.

Pablo Picasso

Monday 30 April 2012

Apostrophe Mix - April 2012



  • Pegasus - Prelude of Titus
  • The Offspring - You're Gonna Go Far, Kid
  • Franz Ferdinand - The Lobster Quadrille
  • Valora - Extreme
  • Biffy Clyro - The Captain
  • Regina Spektor - Hero
  • Hans Zimmer - My Mind Rebels At Stagnation
  • Pegasus - Gormenghast

Kilkenny Youth Theatre would like to tell you a story, a story of family responsibility and tradition versus personal freedom and choice, a story about a very different place: Gormenghast. Where age-old rituals and traditions govern the lives of every person, where nothing has changed for thousands of years. In this forbidding landscape the old order is being confronted by two young men – Steerpike, the renegade kitchen boy who murders and seduces his way up the social ladder; and Titus, the seventy-seventh Earl, a child who comes to embody the change that threatens the very existence of his home – Gormenghast.


And that's what I've been doing for the past eleven weeks. That is what this mix is about.

Eleanor Roscuro

Sunday 18 March 2012

Quote of the Week #74

Within an hour the morning classes were under way. At an ink-stained desk, with his chin cupped in his hands, Titus was contemplating, as in a dream, the chalk-marks on the blackboard. They represented a sum in short division, but might as well have been some hieroglyphic message from a moonstruck prophet to his lost tribe a thousand years ago. His mind, and the minds of his small companions in that leather-walled schoolroom, was far away, but in a world, not of prophets, but of swopped marbles, birds’ eggs, wooden daggers, secrets and catapults, midnight feasts, heroes, deadly rivalries and desperate friendships.

Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake

Apostrophe Mix - March 2012



  • The Coronas - San Diego Song 
  • Horslips - Dearg Doom
  • Imelda May - Mayhem
  • Royseven - Dance
  • Two Door Cinema Club - I Can Talk
  • Jape - I Was A Man
  • Fight Like Apes - Tie Me Up With Jackets
  • Ash - Burn Baby Burn
Irish music. What on earth is it really? I mean, we have the diddly-eye that everyone else associates with us, then we have The Undertones, Thin Lizzy and Boomtown Rats, then Luke Kelly and the Dubliners, then Gavin Friday and Sinead O'Connor, then the Cranberries, then Westlife and Boyzone, then The Coronas and Royseven, then Republic of Loose, then Lisa Hannigan and Cathy Davey, then Imelda May, then Fight Like Apes, then Two Door Cinema Club, then James Vincent McMorrow, and then back to the Saw Doctors? And that's what we love (well, what I love anyway) about our music - it can be anything. Whether it's about emigration (IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT BLOODY EMIGRATION), war (IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT THE BLOODY TROUBLES), alcohol (IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT BLOODY DRINKING), you know, those 'Irish' things, or about anything else, it always manages to surprise. 

And we can never forget the diddly-eye either. They have the best choruses (Whiskey In The Jar - "Musha ring droma do droma da/Whack fol the daddy-o/Whack fol the daddy-o/There's whiskey in the jar"), everyone knows them, and they're the perfect thing to depress or excite everyone at a gathering. 

I take this from Stuff Irish People Love by Colin Murphy & Donal O'Dea - 

17 - Shouting 'Yeeeeeooow' in the middle of a traditional Irish tune.
 Put a handful of Irish musicians together, particularly in a pub, and as sure as eggs is eggs, as the fiddles and whistles and bodhrans begin to whip up a frenzy of a rhythm, one of the musicians or someone in the audience will be compelled by a rising fire in his or her breast to proclaim loudly 'Yeeeeeoooow!'
Some believe this to be the musical equivalent of an orgasm, others that it is an expression of joy that only Irish music has the ability to evoke. It is even possible, some think, that is is an expression of a deeply buried primordial scream which is given release by the thundering pace and rhythm of the music, such as sa caveman might yell having just downed a wild pig with a stone axe.
Whatever the reason, there are endless variations on the word itself, the most popular being 'Yeehaaayeboyye', 'Yeeeeeeeeeeeeehoo' or 'Yeeupdereyefineting'

There ye are so.

I've put some more contemporary Irish music in this mix, (with the exception of Horslips, but it's just a song that everyone knows), and I hope you like it. I should talk about Irish music here more often!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Eleanor Roscuro

Saturday 17 March 2012

Tiny Thoughts For A Big Week

So there’s this theatre company in Dublin called Fishamble that a lot of people like because they’re quite cool (this sounds familiar to my ears) they like to nurture new writing that's their thing and last autumn with The Irish Times they launched a competition called Tiny Plays For Ireland asking people from all over Ireland of any age to submit Tiny Plays (literally tiny, with a 600 word limit) with the best being performed in March so then I was all ‘Maybe I should try that’ and so I did back in November and I got some help from some very nice people and then I twiddled my thumbs until the Tiny Plays winners were announced and I said to myself ‘Well I’ve got two Tiny Plays now to do what I like with that’s cool’ and then I started doing other stuff

until Monday as I was in the school canteen during lunch feeling bored because I had eaten all my food and they were talking about Ben Lyng and I don't know who he is so I looked up my emails on my phone which you have to understand I never ever usually do in the canteen but then I got an email from Gavin Kostick the Literary Director (oooh) for Fishamble saying that they liked one of the Tiny Plays I had written called ‘The Moneylender’ and they also liked the Tiny Plays of other young things like me so they decided to stage a rehearsed reading of the work of younger writers and that included me.

So I stared at it for a few seconds and most of my brain had gone silent like it does when I get a big surprise but some part of my brain must have been working as I sprang up from my chair and shrieked unintelligibly for a few seconds in a very high pitched voice then ran as fast as I could considering the chairs I had to squeeze past out of the canteen and near the door I nearly crashed into one of the smallest First Years but I apologised profusely so there's no need to look at me like that

And I ran out onto the grass and the fresh air woke up the rest of my brain and I wandered around for a bit and when I resurfaced to my companions I apologised for my lollygagging but I kept it a delicious secret in my tummy for the rest of the day you know that feeling don't you

Because I hadn't told my parents yet and I hadn't told my friends who had helped me with the Tiny Play yet and I hadn't told my English teacher yet and I couldn't go around the school with my phone so I waited

My mother printed out about five copies of the email I got from Mister Gavin Kostick and people have been congratulating me and when they do that it's easy to think they're talking to the wrong person because surely this is not me what did I do?

And that was Monday and now it's Thursday night

It's only beginning to sink in now

Even if it's only six hundred words and will only last a few minutes if that and it's being read out as I have been trying to tell people

because I am extremely very nervous which I think I'm allowed to be but maybe I shouldn't be

but what if someone asks me questions about my Tiny Play that I should know the answers to because I wrote it and everything but I don't know what to say maybe I should read it a few more times and think of some answers

But a Very Important Theatre Company In Dublin like me now and I am young and things are starting have started for me so soon and I have so much time and I'm in just the right place at the right time and I am extraordinarly lucky

And you'll never guess what but Fishamble like my writing and want to stage it and show it to other people who don't know me at all strangers even

That's basically it and it may seem small but it makes all the difference in the world

Actually I haven't booked my ticket for the reading yet

Should probably do that

Yeah

Also thank you to the nice people at Fishamble for including me and thank you to the nice people at Devious       because they helped me with the Tiny Plays and they say I'm on their young writing drive now and it's nice to feel a part of something (well I already did, but it's been said now) and thank you to the nice person who is John Kennedy just because and thank you to my mammy and daddy because they're nice too (not that they're going to read that or anything)

Anyway it's 23:12 and I'm tired. And I wanted you to hear it from me first

And I'll probably have more info soon

Project Arts Centre. Dublin. 24th March. 17:30. It's free.

So I typed this out in some sort of haze, then went to bed and forgot about it until now. The reading is on this Saturday if you're interested. This is what the nice people at Devious Theatre had to say about it, and this is more about the Tiny Plays production by Fishamble, which you should definitely go to see if you can.


And I did get around to booking my ticket.


Eleanor Roscuro

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Apostrophe Mix - February 2012


  • Charlie McDonnell - Chemical Love 
  • Regina Spektor - Us 
  • Ralfe Band - Eloisa
  • Tom Dunphy & The Royal Showband - If I Didn't Have A Dime
  • The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love
  • The Zutons - Remember Me
  • Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love (Live)
  • Charlie McDonnell - A Song About Love
This is the playlist of someone who isn't in love, and who's never properly been in love. Who is a little cautious of it, but not as wary as she was in the past, and, truthfully, a little excited at the prospect. Who hasn't received a Valentine's card since she was nine, getting four that year, all of them wasted on her. Who now knows that there's absolutely no rush, and even though she knew of this earlier, she understands it better now. Who loves herself the most, for how can you love others if you don't love yourself? Who is trying to remember if she should be writing 'who' or 'whom' at the start of these sentences.

Also, Charlie McDonnell. Awesome.

Eleanor Roscuro

Sunday 12 February 2012

Quote of the Week #72

At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.

Salvador Dali

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Discretion Is The Better Part of Valour


Picture found on http://weheartit.com/entry/21164566

Last night, I was leaving a rehearsal chatting to a friend of mine. There was a lull in the conversation when suddenly she turned to me and said 'Oh my God Eleanor, I love your blog!'

A year ago, this would have frightened me to death. It did, I wrote a post about it and everything. The frightening part was that people I knew in real life would be able to know things about me that I obviously hadn't told them, sad things, angry things. I kept thinking 'THEY ARE GOING TO KNOW EVERYTHING.' Now, I realise everything isn't actually everything, but it seemed like a lot, and it was. That was only four people, my own age, but I kept thinking 'What if they tell everyone? What if everyone reads my Musings? What if they laugh at me, what if they hate it, they'll know THINGS!'

My IT teacher just looked over my shoulder as I'm writing this post. Now she knows stuff. She didn't say anything though. She's looking at her computer now. Oh my God what if she's reading my blog right now?! Wait... ah no, it's blocked by the school's servers as a personal website. That's alright then.

I suppose my biggest problem was the lack of secrecy. I am quite a discreet person. I've gotten better since then, but mystery makes a person more interesting, right? Anyway. as my writing has matured, as I have matured, I've learned not to freak out over things as much (even though I still do), I don't whine or rant on Apostrophe, not about personal things, and I've learned to distinguish between being a real person behind this blog that people might be able to relate to and being too real, embarassingly personal. This isn't a reality programme.

Whenever someone brings up Apostrophe in public, whether it's someone I know to read it or a surprise, my heart always stops for a few seconds. Last night, it was a surprise, but I'm better at people knowing about the blog now, so my heart only stopped for one second. Old habits die hard...

It was during the last year that I got more comfortable with people knowing about Apostrophe, adults even. None of my family read it (I hope) but now it's a lot, lot more than four people. Now that my classmates are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon (please, I've been here since Second Year, people) they're starting to follow me. And if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I link to the blog whenever I post something new, and the link is on my profile, so maybe it'll become a lot more public, and I hope I'm ready. I should be.

But back to last night -

'Oh my God Eleanor, I love your blog!'
*heart stutters* '...What? Really?'
'Yeah, it's so hilarious! I was talking to Bronagh last night and she told me about it so I looked it up, and it's so good!'
'Wow, thanks!'
'Yeah, it's brilliant Eleanor. Anyway, see you!'

And I walked on with a grin on my face, safe in the knowledge that I had already deleted the more embarrassing posts some months before.

Eleanor Roscuro

Sunday 5 February 2012

Quote of the Week #71

If you're lucky enough to be Irish, then you're lucky enough.


Unknown, but they're probably Irish and awesome.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Dear L.N.R...


A few days after this blog was created. A post about this event here - http://apostrophe-rules.blogspot.com/2010/01/ive-been-very-sad-recently.html 

At Musings' first birthday, November 2010. Forgot to get any cake.


In which I get the knack of smiling in photos. March 2011.

Insert photo of present self here.


Dear L.N.R...

This is the moniker you like to go by, isn't it? L.N.R. - Eleanor! If I've done this right, you should be reading this just as you're starting your blog, Musings of an Undiscovered Genius in November 2009. It's your birthday soon, isn't it? You're going to be fourteen. Wow.

You're probably wondering who I am, right? I'm Eleanor Roscuro. Sixteen. February 2012. I know, that seems so far away, but it came, and we're here. And I'll be eighteen next year and everything! I know! Amazing! But anyway. 

Listen. Between where you are and where I am now, things are going to change. Huge changes for us, and for the country. I can't say too much, but here's just some tips.
  • Twitter's fun, isn't it? You know that American girl who's followed you for some reason, The Vintage Vixen? She has a blog too. Read it.
  • When was the last time you re-read Harry Potter? When you're done, go onto that website Tumblr and search it. Also: Have a little think about Slytherins. Just because there was a really bad batch of them during Harry's years doesn't mean they're all... evil.
  • Start going to more plays. Even if it looks really serious and boring. That usually means it will grip on your heart in a way you never imagined, and there's nearly always some funny bits. 
  • There's this young theatre company in Kilkenny, Devious or something. When mum asks you if you want to see the play with the poster in green, pink and orange, go. For fun. Also: Just because they're so big and older than you and everything doesn't mean they're scary. Only at first.
  • There's absolutely no need to be some kind of martyr. I know you want to seem professional and everything, but not being a martyr will make you more professional. Funny how that works.
  • If you are unsure about telling mam (or dad) something, it is probably best not to tell them. Imagine it was your daughter.
  • No one's out to get you, not anymore. If you are extremely patient, they will flock to you, but for now, be the kind of person that has loads of friends already.
  • They're not bitches, they're dizzies. It's nicer.
  • Keep writing. On Musings, in your diary, poems and stories, everything. Keep it all for when you're my age and even older.
  • You may have heard of a man named Michael D. Higgins. He's a TD, a really arty one. He's got a few books out too, read them. Remember him.
  • When people laugh at you for boycotting Penneys, don't mind them. Research sweatshops and child labour more.
  • Don't seek out romantic entanglements. Let all that stuff come to you.
  • I know you're secretly in love with that other youth theatre, but they don't mean to upstage you. You'll  get to know them in the end, and you won't even have to leave KYT to do it.
  • I know you love Paramore, but don't let them be your favourite band. Explore. There's a whole world out there (on the internet) you still have to discover.
  • There's nothing wrong with how you look. Keep experimenting with your hair colour and cut, and you're going to lose that weight. How, I have no idea, but it happens.
  • You're going to love blogging. You're going to love theatre, not just acting. You're going to love Kilkenny even more than you do already. You are worthy of all the good things that have happened and are going to happen to you. 
  • Be your own best friend. I know it sounds silly, but you have to enjoy yourself. I'll say it again, it's that important: BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. That's the secret.
I know I'm only sixteen, and I still have loads left to learn, but I feel much happier than I have since primary school. Things are going to be brillliant. 

The most love in the world,

Eleanor Roscuro

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Keeping the Apostrophe

So will this blog last if SOPA gets through?

Or ACTA?

Tomorrow at midday, Ireland and the UK will be signing a bill called ACTA in Tokyo. It's basically like SOPA, but even worse. Like everyone else on the internet, especially those my age, I'm freaking out. I usually download all my music from iTunes (yes, with money and everything) but, regarding here, I'm not really sure what is copyright and what isn't. What if I've accidentally done something on Apostrophe and I didn't know? And then all of a sudden, it's gone? The whole blog?

That would be really annoying.

I've signed all the petitions! At the bottom of this blog, it says 'Copyright 2009 - 2012 Eleanor Roscuro (unless otherwise stated). All rights reserved.' Maybe that's illegal! I have no idea! OK, so maybe as a person on the internet, I should be more savvy about these things, but it was always so hard to believe I was doing anything wrong. I'm so small. And I've been running this blog for more than two years.

I don't know. And this will affect the rest of the European Union too, it's their bill.

Eeek.

Eleanor Roscuro

P.S. I'M FREAKING OUT YOU GUYS

Sunday 22 January 2012

Apostrophe Mix - January 2012


Hello everyone!

New music thing - the Apostrophe Mix! Every month, I will be making a mix of eight songs for your perusal on 8tracks! You can follow me there and listen to the mixes to your heart's content there instead of trawling through posts here. You see, I care. And there'll (you know, there will) be a page where you can listen to the mix for that month here on Apostrophe too. Great!

So, what do we have this month?



And that's eight tracks for January. Next month, there'll probably be a lot of songs about, you know, being single.(Sniff...)

Eleanor Roscuro

Quote of the Week #69

I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.

Stephen J. Gould

Sunday 15 January 2012

Quote of the Week #68

You know I am a damned ODD animal! And as my mother often says, she never has quite yet made up her mind if it is the deil or angel that watches peculiarly over me; only that it IS one or the other, without doubt! (And for my part, I am quite indifferent which.)

Ada Lovelace

Notes To Self



  • When the width of your hair finally reaches the width of your shoulders, it is time for a haircut.
  • When you have read THE PERFECT PLAY OMG for the second time in two weeks, it might be time have a good long think over how it'd fit in the Barn before it's perfect.  
  • When your parents ask you what your 'back-up plan' is for the future, don't stare at them blankly. Don't say 'Do you think I need one?' either.
  • When you watch Stella and the sixteen year old daughter turns out to be pregnant, don't be too smug that the internet is the only place where you are cool.
  • When that webcom that you like Vultures comes back, think VERY CAREFULLY before you decide whether to write a bad poem or not.
  • When you're in a play that has a fandom, don't read the fanfiction. But read the books!
  • Your horoscope, while a little vague, has turned out to be right for the past few months. Heed it.
  • When people at school think a male friend in your locker is something more, don't say yes or no. They may not believe either answer.
  • When you tell someone you'll email them, don't leave it four weeks. They don't like that.
  • No one is out to get you. They don't really want to, and people aren't really that bad.
  • When you find an interesting quote, keep track of it. Put them in one of those little notebooks you've got lying around.
  • You have a lot of dresses. Wear them to the cinema. They deserve to be seen.
  • When you've made a resolution to write a blog post every week, don't suddenly remember on Sunday evening. It's stressful, even if it forces you to be extra creative.
  • A new week is starting! YOU EXCITED OR WHAT
Eleanor Roscuro

Sunday 8 January 2012

Quote of the Week #67

They’re [Slytherins] not all bad. I know I’ve said this before. I think I said it to Emerson - they are not all bad and— well, far from it, as we know, at the end— they may have a slightly more highly developed sense of preservation than other people, because— A part of the final battle that made me smile was Slughorn galloping back with Slytherins. But they’ve gone off to get reinforcements first, you know what I’m saying? So yes, they came back, they came back to fight. But I’m sure many people would say, well that’s common sense, isn’t it? Isn’t that smart, to get out, get more people and come back with them? It’s the old saying, there is no truth, there are only points of view. 

 J. K. Rowling on Slytherins.

SO THERE.

Saturday 7 January 2012

Making Resolutions Is So Uncool





...But that's never stopped me before!

Anyway. I've never seriously made resolutions before. Last year I had the Apostrophe Rules, but two days after making them I got rid of them because they were too... well, ruley. Year before that I had that dreamboard that was just an excuse for some cutting and pasting fun. But this year is going to be different!

  • Get a bank account. But this is so grown-up! And yet, I really should do this.
  • Read one book every month. Yes, I know twelve books in one year is extremely pathetic, but I've just joined a book club, so I have to read a book every month anyway. And that isn't the max.
  • Write a letter/email to someone I admire every month. I'm terrified of this one. But I'm going to do it anyway. You never know, I might get a reply. Now, for some internet stalking.
  • Go to the cinema any time I want. Yes, I know this is pathetic. But it is something I genuinely find quite hard to do. But not anymore!
  • Finish my super-secret play. You know you have to stick something out when you've bought it a necklace that you happened to spot in Claire's one day and is somehow related to a play you're writing.
  • Start researching the Art Movements of the 19th and 20th Century that are on the poster I have in my room. Because I really want to know what Bauhaus is. It's so fun to say.
  • Write at least one blog post a week. Look! I'm doing it! This is my second of the week!
  • Read more plays. Because, as great as books are, plays are just that easier to get into. Somehow, you can imagine things better. Or maybe this is just me. Also, I like plays.
  • Go swimming. This is one of my mother's resolutions, and I thought I might join her in completing it. No harm sure.
Have you made resolutions this year, or are you into that sort of thing?

Eleanor Roscuro

Monday 2 January 2012

Read-O-Rama - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer



I have a little unwritten rule. (We all have our little rules, don't we?) One of my rules is:

You always read the book before you watch the movie. Always!

Do any of you have that rule? It gets a little inconvenient at times though. I have Strumpet City, City of Ember and Breakfast at Tiffany's on DVD staring at me from the corner, but I haven't watched them because I haven't read them! Granted, it wouldn't really take that long to read them, but there's ALL THE OTHER BOOIKS. I HAVE TO READ THOSE TOO YOU KNOW. ALL THE BOOKS.

Or maybe I'm just a little too strict with myself.

Anyways.

I saw the trailer for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, this is it -



And it looks so good! And if this was going to come out in Spring, and if I was planning on going to see it, I had to read the book then didn't I?

Well, yeah. It's a rule. An Apostrophe rule! AHAHAHAHAHA

It's about a nine year old boy called Oskar who lives in New York City. After the death of his father in the 9/11 attacks, he finds a key in a vase in his father's cupboard, and sets off on a quest to find the lock that fits the key. The book also tells the story of Oskar's paternal grandparents through letters which they each wrote to Oskar and to Oskar's father.

The book feels nice to read. I'm not just saying that. Even if you read just a few sentences, you're immediately drawn into this world of inventions and heavy boots and Nothing and Something and daybooks and letters. I think everyone wishes they knew Oskar in real life, I know I do. You can learn so much from him, even if he doesn't share interesting facts with you. (Unlikely.)

So go read the book, and then come back here and we can hope that they do Oskar's grandparents right in the film, because I swear if they mess this up I'll be really annoyed and I won't buy the DVD and then where will they be?

Eleanor Roscuro

P.S. This review of the book is much better than mine, so you can read that too if you wish - http://stuck-in-a-book.blogspot.com/2011/01/extremely-loud-and-incredbily-close.html