About me: university and dystopia

Hello all, I hope you’ve been enjoying my posts so far. I’m still getting to grips with having a blog, but so far I’m really enjoying it.

I thought it might be nice if I tell you a little more about myself and what my interests are. My full name is Melissa Anne Garrett, I’m eighteen years old (nineteen on boxing day) and I’m from Norwich, Norfolk – where the red arrow is on the map. Norwich is probably most famous for Colman’s mustard, Lord Nelson and the Lotus car company. I’m currently doing a Creative  Writing BA at the University of Greenwich, London. My best friend Shelley Powley has also started a blog, so do take a look at it: https://justshelleyblog.wordpress.com/

Map

Norwich is small and not too much really happens there, but it was a great place to grow up. It felt safe and had everything you could need to live comfortably. My little suburb smelt of manure a lot, and ‘going up the city’ meant a 40 minute bus journey that would never turn up on time. But it was home, and even though I had my struggles there it will always have a place in my heart. Mini Melissa had other ideas though. As a small child I would visit London a lot to see family, and I completely fell in love with the place. That first view of Canary Wharf on the drive in was hope, and leaving felt as though I was leaving home and not returning for another 20 years. I desperately longed for the day that I could live and work there.

Things changed as I got older, as they always do. I still wanted to go to London, but that didn’t stop me from having doubts about whether I was capable of leaving home, whether I could cope with being in the big smoke on my own, if I had the fight to take on a career in novel writing. But then it hit me: I simply had to try. I knew that I would never forgive myself if I let the only thing that makes me happy go to waste. I wasn’t going to be happy in any other job, so when the university applications opened I applied to every London uni that I could.

Uni

I got a text message on the morning of A level results day to say that I’d been accepted at the University of Greenwich. I couldn’t believe it at first… I didn’t think that it would ever actually happen. You see, Greenwich had been my dream ever since I was a little girl. I completely adored the place and would always nag my parents to take me there whenever we were in London. But actually arriving there on the 20th of September this year, that was something different altogether. It felt completely different to how I thought it would. It felt surprisingly flat, and for a time I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I do love it here, it’s beautiful and my course has been a lot of fun, but it just felt different to how I thought it would. Another post about this will be up in a few days time.

Here are a few fun facts about the University of Greenwich:

  • The site where the uni is now was once where Greenwich palace, home to Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, once stood.
  • It was designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren, who also designed St Paul’s cathedral.
  • It was once a hospital and then became the old royal naval college.
  • The university dates back to 1890.
  • The building at the front right is Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • The little white building in the middle is the Queen’s house, a small museum that was built for the Queen consort Henrietta Maria in 1616.
  • Behind the Queen’s house is Greenwich Park and the Royal observatory (my favourite spot in London).
  • I took the picture above after walking on the Thames pathway. It’s a path where you can walk under the Thames from Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs, which only takes about 10 minutes and is really cool.
  • A lot of filming takes place there, including my favourite film

    Les Misérables.  It’s also my favourite book, and I will definitely write a post on why I think it’s so fantastic.

DSC_0465

Pictured are the rose gardens behind the Queen’s house and the Royal observatory, which I took myself yesterday and am quite proud of – normally my phone makes pictures turn out blurry. Greenwich park is incredibly hilly, getting to the top of One Tree Hill always leaves me out of breath. One Tree Hill is to the left of where observatory hill is, and is my favourite place in all of London. The air feels a little bit fresher up there, and you have an amazing view of all of London. It’s a bit quieter there, except for when dogs run up to you, making it a great place to read and write.

Dystopia

Asides from uni, my main interest in literature is dystopia. I liked some of the young adult dystopias, with The Hunger Games definitely being my favourite one. But I feel like I could add something a bit different to the genre.

When my tutor asked us all what kinds of things we liked to write, and I said dystopia, a couple people’s reply was that the time for YA dystopia has passed. That it’s been done a lot and readers are moving on from it. Okay, yes, I too would aim my dystopia at a YA audience, but I have given my novel a historical twist. What do you think of this? I’m already well the way through it, around 2/3 of the way I would estimate, but I’m just interested in what you think about this. My true wish is that I could dedicate all my time to finishing my novel as soon as possible. If deadlines for uni weren’t a factor, I would be doing this. I take whatever time I can to scribble down ideas and write parts of the novel. Maybe soon I’ll do a post about it… we’ll see.

To the people in my class who thought that the time for YA dystopia had passed, I say this:

Only when the world is perfect will dystopia be out of fashion. And I hope I’m quoted for saying that some day.

From the young M.A. Garrett.