The writing blog of James Christopher Sheppard. I am a 26 year old gay male from London, UK. Here I present my experiences, poems, thoughts and opinions...

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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Poetry Collection Coming & 2011 Round-Up

So I have been unforgivably abysmal at updating, or even writing, anything these passed few months. I do hope you forgive me- if you have even noticed, that is. I have been devoting all of my time to my job at Tropical Sky where I have received two promotions since joining the company in September. Since then I have been to the Maldives and am now gearing up for a trip to Dubai! It's all very exciting, plus I am now also Co-Chief Copy Writer so I am actually writing for a living. Hooray! I honestly wasn't sure I would see the day.

Great news! I am currently working on a very special project with a good friend of mine, Darren Fletcher, who is an incredible illustrator (see above for an example). We have compiled a selection of poetry from the past four years and will soon be publishing the collection alongside some of his superb illustrations. I am very excited! More news will follow soon. For more information on Darren, please take a look at his website Ghost Heart Studios.

As it's been three months since my last update, there is much to tell; my summery of 2011, my plan for 2012, my final most listened to music of 2011, a travel piece about my trip to the Maldives. If I write all these things here, then I *have* to do them. I do want to, it's just finding the time. From 5th March I shall be living in my shiny new apartment so hopefully I will find the space far more creative than my current living situation (in a room as small as a shoe box in my Dad's house).

Firstly then, let us begin with 2011- the year that has defined where I am now. Of course, most importantly I graduated from Kingston University with a 2:1 degree in Creative Writing with English Literature. I have wanted to write since I was 16, when I found that I could express myself far clearer through words typed or written than any other way. Taking the jump in quitting my job at 23 and moving to Kingston was a scary and life-saving move. I can't help but imagine that I would still be working in retail, going from job to job, being unfulfilled, earning shit money and being made redundant every few months as our high streets appear to be dying. The thing I loved the most about my University life was the learning- which may seem screamingly obvious to some, but may well be completely lost on others (as I'm sure it is with most that attend Kingston). I truly feel a more complete person. I was thirsty for knowledge and was sick of being bored. All I wanted was to learn and expand myself and move on with my life. Job done.

On top of my degree, I met some very memorable characters, some of whom I hope to remain friends with for the rest of my life. I learned how to live with people and found the freedom of being responsible for myself and myself alone completely liberating. Without University it is questionable how long I would have waited to take the same jump in terms of living arrangements. To be blunt, before Uni I was a pussy; I didn't take risks and I was totally bored.

So yeah, the boy that dropped out of college twice and with average GCSE's was 0.7% from getting a first for one of the top Creative Writing courses in the country. Not too shabby. Following University, I opted to move to Hull. There were two options- live with my Mum for a year in Hull or live with my Dad in East Grinstead. I thought Hull would be a challenge- interesting and new. It didn't work out and after the longest ten weeks of my life I got the train 250 miles south, turning up at my Dads with just a suitcase and my lap top. The bed I slept in that night in August 2011 is the same bed that I am sat in as I write this. Turns out sometimes you just belong somewhere. For me, I have no shame in loving the South East- it just makes sense to me. The North is literally another world- and not one I particularly care for. Within six weeks of residing in my hometown, I was employed and it has been non-stop ever since.

Christmas 2011 was the best Christmas in memory. I spent two days entirely with friends, where I received the warmest welcomes and unparalleled hospitality. New Years followed in a similar vain, with a small group of us sat in a circle sharing our best and worst moments of the year just passed. The idea is that you share your worst thing about the year and are thankful that the year is over and also your best and say you will remember 2011 for that best thing. Nothing like a bit of reflection on New Years Eve!