The final class meeting for session one. We had a literary scavenger hunt throughout central London. We ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, luckily, we came in second place!
After the scavenger hunt, a group of us went with Dr. G to a pop-up exhibition of graphic designs that helped create the Harry Potter cinematic universe, it was really cool to see all of the little details that went into creating the films.
On the way to campus, we ended up at the National Gallery Museum!
After returning to campus and doing my laundry, a group of us went out to find a pub showing England in the world cup and to celebrate for those who were only staying for the first session. Eventually, we ended up at the Toyshop, which we had gone to for the cocktail night. After the game, there was a live band that played until close.
I slept in for the first time in what felt like months, then went to the library to work on editing some photography with Jeff. After that, Sydney, Caleb, Jeff and I hunted down Abbey Road and Baker Street.
We took the bus back from central London during rush hour, it took forever and I think I fell asleep. The day ended with all of us plus Ally and Carter watching Back to the Future in my kitchen.
I took another lazy day. I slept in, finished a movie and watched five episodes of Brooklyn 99. Said goodbye to some good friends. Hung out with some good friends; we fed the birds and narrowly missed being attacked by some swans and geese. Then, Sydney made dinner for all of us. I also finally beat level 47 of Mr. Bean, which I had been stuck on for over a month.
Caleb, Sydney and I took Jeff out for a goodbye brunch.
Afterward, we dodge a crowded bus, walked through a park, found a weird Santa toy and ended up feeding the birds again. There is a duck that will eat out of your hand. Sydney named her Stacy.
The first day of class for session two. I’m in a writing class titled Hidden London. We explore the city and works about it and then write about London. This class has a bit more demanding workload than the last one, but it still seems fun. Tyler and I grabbed a table in the library after class to work on final papers from the other class and homework from our new class. I said goodbye to Jeff. Then a group of us went to see Oceans 8. It was okay.
Had class and spent some time in the library. Then went on a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour with the social programme. This one was a bit better than the one that I went on in my session one class.
Happy fourth to all of my friends and family across the pond! My class went on an excursion to the White Chapel area of London. If you’re ever in the city and want to look at some awesome street art, check out Brick Lane.
We also visited the White Chapel Gallery, which was doing an exhibit on Dead Negatives of the Great Depression, focusing on photographers who shot for the FSA.
After class, I tried some charity shops in search of clothes that won’t cook me in this odd heat wave (I packed for chilly, rainy London, not 80s-90s, sunny and droughty). I also went grocery shopping, as I had no food for breakfast. Pray for rain.
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Six years ago Susan Arnold began writing her first novel Blue Vigilante which she just self-published.
Arnold, a 2015 graduate of Clarkston High School, explained the series began in her eighth grade English class at the junior high school.
Her teacher, Robert Albee, gave the class a short story assignment.
“As we were writing, I struggled keeping the short story short,” Arnold said. “Mr. Albee, after grading the assignment, told me that he could see there was so much more potential to the story. I just kept writing and writing and turned the short story into a four-novel-long series. The writing journey was crazy.”
During the writing journey, Arnold takes readers into the world of Marybeth, also known as “Bat.”
In Blue Vigilante, Marybeth chooses to join the most feared gang in America, Black Bullet, in a rash revenge-fueled decision, Arnold explained.
During her initiation, she proves herself to be an amazing fighter, the best the gang has ever seen. She quickly works her way up the ranks to third in command.
When she witnesses a ruthless murder during a gang fight she is faced with a moral choice, leading to the decision to quit fighting for Black Bullet. But making the decision isn’t as easy as she thinks.
“As third in command, she knows too much to simply stop fighting and she isn’t old enough to drop out of the gang, so the leader, Trigger, decides the only way to solve the problem is to kill her,” Arnold explained.
Arnold finished the first book only a few months ago and mixed in writing with being a full-time student, learning how to drive, working a part-time job and that was before she graduated from Clarkston and went on to Northern Michigan University.
“Not to mention that I matured and that changed my writing voice,” Arnold added. “Though I wish that I could have published Blue Vigilante sooner, I’m glad I didn’t. If I had published the book as a 13- or 14-year-old, the pace and tone of the book would not match the rest of the series.”
She added writing the book wasn’t the hardest part or publishing – it was editing.
“It’s a constant back and forth battle between writing and then polishing, cutting and rewriting. I’ve edited and reread BV so much, that I practically know it by heart,” she said.
Arnold enjoys Blue Vigilante because it’s the first book and series she wrote and a project she continued working on.
“I have a stack of written works I started but never finished,” she explained. “Blue Vigilante captured my imagination enough to make me stick to it.Also, I think entire idea of the plot is something that hasn’t ever really been explored before, which makes it very interesting.”
The target audience for Blue Vigilante is young adults, but Arnold added anybody would enjoy reading it.
“As long as they’re mature enough to read it,” she said. “This book involves a gang, which means violence, drinking and drugs. I wouldn’t recommend the book for kids under 12.”
Arnold is attending Northern Michigan University and pursuing a master’s degree both in English Writing and Photography.
Blue Vigilante is available online.
~Staff Writer Wendi Reardon
Hammock (n.): a bed made of canvas or of rope mesh and suspended by cords at the ends, used as garden furniture or on board a ship
Hammocking (v.): to hammock
Recently, I’ve noticed a very growing trend: hammocking. I first heard of it about a year ago. I first heard of friends hammocking in May of this year. I first started hammocking a couple weeks ago.
When I was younger, and I found out that a friend had a hammock, their backyard was the place to be! But now? Me, a college kid, hammocking? I’m serious. Though it sounds childish, or like I’m a cruise boat passenger, hammocking is now one of my favorite past times.
It’s relaxing. I get a lot of reading done. I get studying done. I can take a nap. I can go alone. I can go with friends. I can put my hammock up high or down low. I can layer with friends or we can be separate of people.
There are many types of hammocks, apparently. There are woven hammocks, there are rope hammocks, and there are nylon hammocks. There are brand name hammocks, like ENO, which I have (I binge spent on that one), and there are off brand, like OuterEQ (which pretty much all of my friends have).
But, honestly, if you wanna pick up a new activity that’s super chill, I’d get a hammock.