Writerly Wednesday – Some of the Random stuff I Know About the Victorian and Edwardian Eras

Did you know that

I recently graduated from college and it would be quite the understatement for me to say that I have a lot of feelings to process–nevertheless, we’ll just go with that. One of these emotions is the wonderful feeling of absolute relief. The nature of senior year is that you rush rush rush and then, by the time you settle in enough to breathe and look up at your surroundings, it is completely over. One of the reasons that senior year is so exhausting is the required senior thesis. As an English major, we are required to write a 20-25 page senior thesis. In hindsight, this doesn’t sound too terribly scary since I have written hundreds upon hundreds of pages worth of academic papers.  But, believe me, it is terrifying.

One of these emotions is the wonderful feeling of absolute relief. The nature of senior year is that you rush rush rush and then, by the time you settle in enough to breathe and look up at your surroundings, it is completely over. One of the reasons that senior year is so exhausting is the required senior thesis. As an English major, we are required to write a 20-25 page senior thesis. In hindsight, this doesn’t sound too terribly scary since I have written hundreds upon hundreds of pages worth of academic papers.  But, believe me, it is terrifying.

For my thesis, I chose to study the Neo-Victorian and Steampunk genres. For my own sake (and yours), I will avoid even discussing what my argument was or what the paper itself entailed. Personally, I don’t want to ever think about it again. What I do want to talk about is it all the random things I learned while researching for my thesis. You see, part of my thesis project was writing a novel wherein I represented and combined the two aforementioned genres. In doing so, I learned so much about the Victorian period. Some of which is really weird.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…

The Victorians had arsenic in their wallpaper. The arsenic was apparently used to keep the wallpaper color bright and unfaded. Victorians used to get sick and take small trips to the seaside for their health. After a few days away they would get well (because they weren’t unintentionally killing themselves anymore) and then they would return back to their arsenic infested homes. In one instance, a baby actually died from chewing on a piece of wallpaper.

 

The Victorians used to think that very white bread was healthiest and freshest. Don’t ask me why. Bakers use to add plaster, and other chemicals, to their dough to make it whiter in color. What is worse, is that the millers, use to add the same chemicals to their grain to make it last longer. They could make their product go further if it had some additives in it. Add to that the fact that the baker would then also add in chemicals and you have a pretty terrible health situation.

 

The Victorians used to put radium on things to make them glow.They would have working women paint the faces of watches and clocks so that they would glow in the dark and would be easily seen. This was a new fad in the era. It was more or less the equivalent of the glow in the dark star stickers people stick on the ceiling as kids–except, of course, those aren’t dangerous. The girls painting these clocks would often lick the paint brushes they used so that they could make the bristles stick together in a way that made painting the numbers a little easier. In doing so, these girls unintentionally hurt themselves. They ended up with radium jaw. This is already absolutely terrible, but what is worse is that the factories knew that this was a risk and did not tell anyone! Ah! Instead, when their workers began getting ill, they spread rumors that the girls had sexually transmitted diseases. Pretty terrible if you ask me. 

It is absolutely terrifying how much stuff these people were using that they shouldn’t have been. It definitely makes you reconsider what we use in our daily lives. Anyway, this isn’t really a typical Writerly Wednesday. I thought it was some interesting things that I learned while researching for my last novel and thought I’d share.

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.

Story Time Saturday – That One Time We Played Hide & Go Seek: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a very large group of college students.

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The college students in question.

It was Friday night and they were incredibly bored. Their university, although fair of campus,  possessed only one stoplight and lacked sufficient entertainment. Everything closed at 10 pm, save for the Walmart and the Cookout, both of which were at least a twenty-minute journey from their place of residence. And so it was decided that they should busy themselves in some other form of merriment. Since Netflix had long ago lost is luster, they turned their fickle attentions to a new wonder–the convocation center.

 

Since the gym was used for serious athletic prowess, they knew better than to be seen sullying such a place with their own meager skills. They decided instead to explore this new territory in an invigorating game of hide-and-go-seek. They waited until late at night after all had left, then they set out.

Since the gym was used for serious athletic prowess, they knew better than to be seen sullying such a place with their own meager skills. They decided instead to explore this new territory in an invigorating game of hide-and-go-seek. They waited until late at night after all had left, then they set out.

After a few rousing games, it was decided that they should play sardines. For those of you who have lived this life and yet never experienced such a game as this, let me explain. Sardines is a game in which one player hides away and must be found by every other player. Once found, the finder must then hide alongside the original player until all, save one, are hidden. The name originates from the cramped conditions of the hiders, resulting in an experience similar to that of canned sardines.

Rules were set out. It was said that the players should avoid hiding in offices, places shut tight behind already closed doors, and all bathrooms. The hider was chosen and the game began.

The convocation center is a maze of circles, one on the main floor and one on the basement level. The Gymnasium sits directly in the center of the circle and can be entered from many different entrances set along the path of the outer circles. Although seemingly simple, this structure can become confusing to a newcomer. There are many hallways branching off of the main circle these often lead to many smaller wings of the gym. These hallways are often begun by swinging doors set within alcoves of the greater walkway. It was one such alcove which our initial hider chose this night.

Slowly the players gathered. In order to remain unseen from the walkway, they needed to press against the door for which the alcove was created. This gathering continued for some time, as sardines is not a particularly fast game and the gym is not a particularly small place.

Some stood, some sat. Nearly half a dozen players had gathered when they heard it, the sound of footsteps. A somber hush fell over those hiding–for the object of this game is to remain completely out of sight.

Without warning, the inside door of the alcove was hauled open and the hiders were laid bare, not by one of their friends–but by a complete stranger. Much to their surprise, it was a boy–clearly just trying to exit the men’s basketball locker room. He laughed and the group of embarrassed girls scrambled away, hastily trying to explain themselves. ‘Twas quite mortifying. Needless to say, from that moment onward, they were quite careful about when they played games in the convocation center–lest they be caught once more.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading my incredibly anticlimactic story. 🙂

Also, that’s a picture of Ellen perched on a vending machine like a bird. You are welcome.

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.

Story Time Saturday – Adel

I will go ahead and say that this blog post is more for me than it is for readers.

I don’t remember much about my freshman year of college. It often comes to me in the smallest of ways, no more than a snippet of a memory–an inside joke or a sweet note. I kept a blog on Tumblr of my entire college career. I was a lot more dedicated about updating it the first three years and a little lazier about it towards the end, but I have them nonetheless. They are mine and I am very thankful for the gift of social media. I may not remember it myself, but I can scroll through my Tumblr and see the moments that shaped my experience at Gardner-Webb. I can see when I became friends with people and, sadly, when I stopped being friends with people. But that is a post for another day…

Today I want to talk about one particular memory, taken from my own mind and not the blog. I can quite vividly remember the moment I met Adel.

At Gardner-Webb University they have this torturous program called University 111. It is a requirement for all freshman.  Perhaps it wouldn’t have been quite as terrible if I wasn’t such an anxious introvert. Anyway, it’s more or less a class where you learn how to be a college student. They teach you so much, and also absolutely nothing. They don’t warn you about how much you’ll grow to hate CAF food. They don’t tell you how hard it is to make it to that 8 am and not just stay in bed. They don’t tell you that you’ll definitely spend more time watching Netflix than you will studying for any of your classes. They don’t tell you that most of the people you meet freshman year probably won’t stay your friends. And they make certain to leave out any and all information regarding what to do when you eventually fall in love with college life and have to leave. What University 111 does is put you in a room with ten to fifteen complete strangers and make you pretend to get along and like each other until you actually do. Now, I will go ahead and say that I did not stay friends with anyone that was in my University 111 class, in fact, I can’t remember any of their names. But, it I met one of my best friends through one of the group building events that University 111 forces you to do.

Adel. 

I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor of Marissa’s dorm room watching her paint. Marissa would become my roommate the following year, but at this point, we were just new friends. She is incredibly artistic and was busy preparing for her University groups activity at October Fest (an indoor Halloween festival that Gardner-Webb hosts every year). They had to run a booth and give out candy to the hundreds of kids that would be coming for the festival. Their theme had to do with princesses and they were giving out paper crowns.

There was a knock at the door and in came a girl who I’d never seen before. I don’t remember if she introduced herself or not, all I remember is that she had the thickest accent I’d ever heard in my life. Hungarian–although I didn’t know this at the time.

Adel looked down at Marissa and I and said, “Ayeneegum.”

It was clearly meant to be English but she’d said it with such force that it was almost frightening. Her thick accent made the words blend together until it sounded like one long sound. Naturally, we were confused, Marissa, less so than myself since she seemed to know this girl and I most certainly did not.

She was asked to repeat herself and again she forcefully said, “Ayeneegum.” When this was met with blank stares, she spoke again, “Ayeneegum.” This time she snapped her teeth together for added effect. Marissa and I exchanged an uncomfortable look.

One of us asked, “You mean gum? Like chewing gum?”

Adel rolled her eyes as if we were complete idiots and said, “No, gum.”

“It’s like a candy…”

“No.” Adel grabbed the waistband of her athletic shorts, pulled the fabric taut before letting it snap back against her hip. “Gum.”

I remember putting the dots together and grinning. “Oh! You mean elastic?”

 

Turns out, that is exactly what she meant.

And that is the story of how I met Adel.

 

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Adel getting sharpie tattooed by Marissa our freshman year.

 

I could go on and on about her and how funny, and sweet, our friendship is. Of the people I met freshman year, Marissa and Adel are the only two friends who have remained with me. They are, perhaps, some of the friends I hold most dear to my heart because I have known they the longest. They have known me since I was still learning who me was. It’s crazy how much has changed since that day in Marissa’s room. I don’t know how the heart decides to love someone or why it does, but I most certainly love my friends.

edit 4.jpgOn Tuesday morning Adel will fly back to Hungary and I may never see her again. I don’t want to think about it, but I don’t know how I can avoid it. It is happening whether I want it to or not. For four years I have had a clock on my phone set to Budapest time so I know when I can message her. For four years I have read every text message she sends me in her accent. I have been her teacher, her editor, and her mom. She calls me “mum” and has for as long as I have known her.

 

And she is getting on a plane and leaving. I know that my heart is going to break in a whole new way on Tuesday. Adel has always wanted to know why I haven’t included her in any of my books. I have a tendency to write people in, or their idiosyncrasies, unintentionally. She wants to be in a book and I want to write her in, but I know that I cannot do her justice. I can’t explain who she is on a page–I’m trying right now and failing, I can already tell. I don’t know how to express the kind of person that she is. I can’t perfectly capture her accent or her odd way of speaking. I can’t describe to you just how easy it has become to understand her. The way she talks is natural, normal and I love it. I love her. She is one of my best friends in the entire world. And I always want to tell her that I can’t write her in because no one will believe me. An agent or beta reader would accuse me of being stereotypical or misrepresenting a group of people. But Adel is just that unbelievable. She is not ever Hungarian. She is absolutely insane.

She is often more naked than she is clothed. 

She eats mayonnaise on her pizza.

She always swaps out her middle finger for her pointer finger whenever I do something she doesn’t like. 

She’s never eaten at a Tacobell. 

Her American alter ego is named “Elizabeth Happy” and she calls herself that whenever she wears makeup. 

She can’t say the Hungarian alphabet because it is too long. 

At Christmas, we play Santa Claus and leave candy in her shoes. 

Her laugh is always forced, then turns real. 

American curse words never really sound as harsh when she says them. 

She taught me how to say “hide and go seek” in Hungarian and I would tell you what it is but I actually have no idea how to spell it. 

She loves the One Direction song, “Steal My Girl” because she usually can’t remember the words to American songs and instead sings, “Na Na Na” to the tune. It actually works for this song. 

She once rode around campus hanging out of the passenger side window of Katie Pie’s car. 

She cries whenever she hears the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic. 

She is currently road tripping across American and by the time she leaves on Tuesday she will have seen more of my country than I have. 

Our group of friends often joke about how she is a mythical creature. She isn’t real. She doesn’t exist. But she does–and I am so incredibly blessed to have known her.

 

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One of our senior pictures. From left to right: Shay, Me, Marissa, Adel, Lili, Sydney, Kayleigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I don’t think she ever did find the elastic she was looking for. 🙂

 

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Be An English Major – With Star Wars

We love what we do. I don’t know that the history or science majors dislike what they do necessarily, but you never really hear them trying to recruit other undecideds to join their group. In the English department, and I can only speak of mine, we are an inclusive bunch. You don’t know what you want to do with your life? Oh, you should be an English major! You aren’t sure about that business degree? Oh, be an English major! You have a cold? Be an ENGLISH MAJOR! We want everyone to get to experience the wonderful classes and literature that we have over the last four years.

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We have the best class discussions. Although the topic may be Science-FictionLiterature we are constantly on the lookout for plot ideas and they come to us in waves. We joke about “what if” and spout plot twists without thought. We can turn any conversation into a genre conversation. We have deep feelings about Hamilton and Harry Potter. We are not afraid to color outside the lines, letting our class discussions go where they will in an effort to figure out exactly how we feel about a text.  Every discussion can and probably will reference something from Star Wars.

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We have the best people. My peers, even my teachers, are going places. Sometimes I sit in class and listen to my fellow English majors talk about their projects and I just know I’m in the presence of a future best-selling author. That’s so cool. Looking at your classmates for not just who they are now, but who they will be in ten years. I’m not sure any other major, aside from perhaps theater, really puts you in a situation where you feel that way. As an Engish major, you are constantly on the brink, or perhaps sitting next to, greatness.

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We aren’t competitive. Okay, so again, I can only speak of GWU, but I know our department is this way. We are always in support of each other’s writing career. We want our friends to do well, there is enough space on the world’s bookshelf for all of us. We follow each other on social media, talk easily and freely about our writing projects, get equally uncomfortable when we have to workshop with one another and celebrate each other’s successes. The only thing we compete over is who can make the wittiest comment.

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We are all weird together. We can laugh about dragons and witches and faeries. Plots and ideas are always taken seriously. Harry Potter is everyone’s favorite book series and if it isn’t it soon will be. We all have our own favorite author and we fangirl/boy over them constantly. We get overly excited when we find out that other people have read and love the same series as we do. We all equally love and hate workshop. We watch the same TV shows, play the same video games, critique the same movies and over analyze absolutely everything in between. We all have the same dream, we will just accomplish it in creatively different ways.

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.