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Adieu until the end of exams!

Well would ya take a lookie what we have here?! This little bit of bloggishness has been abandoned since October!

You remember what I said about not having noticed an increase in workload this year? I take it back. All of it.

I am up to my ears in revision and art coursework right now; I will get back to Riot of Prose as soon as I can, but at the moment that’s looking like it’s not going to be until the summer, when all exams are over and I have a bit of time again.

Until then, adieu, my friends! We shall meet again!

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Well, here I am again. It’s been a while. I honestly never meant to leave for so long, but never mind. I’m back now.

So, what happened? I’ll tell you what happened. I started exam year. And it’s no joke.

Not that I’ve noticed a significant increase in homework, I do seem to be spending a lot more time working than not, if you see what I mean. “Quite right too,” I hear you say. “Young whippersnapper…” All I can say is, it makes writing this story and blog of mine dashed difficult, if you get my drift. Guitar, too. I play guitar, but you wouldn’t think it, when you consider that I haven’t had chance to so much as pick up a guitar for the past three weeks.

I’m writing my novel, too – or trying to. I’m sure you know the feeling: where you know what’s going to happen in the narrative, and yet it doesn’t quite come out. Can’t string two words together in a sentence.

I found my old Latin folder, which I stopped using because the sheer volume of the sheets I had for my Latin GCSE were enough to make it creak, which is really not a reassuring noise for a ring binder to make. I have now turned it into my notes for all the novels I want to write. Everyone wants to write novels, don’t they? It takes real dedication to actually do it. A long time ago, my friends and I organized a writing competition, with a deadline seven years later to give us chance to really knuckle down and write it well. Nearly five years on, I am no nearer to finishing it than I was then. It makes you wonder, “Will I ever finish it? Or will I just spend the rest of my life thinking about it and longing for it to be real?”

So, just an update on my life. It’s holiday time next week so I’ll hopefully write a less disorganized entry then.

P.S. Basil Rathbone! How did I never see the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films before this summer?! How?! They are now my (almost) undisputed favourites. If you haven’t seen them, do. It’s worth it. Absolutely amazing.

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October 20, 2013 · 6:31 pm

The Science of Deduction

As I said in the closing line of my previous post, I have been trying to teach myself to practise the Science of Deduction.

I do not ever expect to be much good at it; certainly not anywhere near Mr. Sherlock Holmes’ expertise, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m no consulting detective. Whilst I do hope I will improve at it with practice, in the meantime it is proving a good project.

I have a little black notebook in which I have been writing down everything that might be useful to me in my study of the subject. While Mr. Holmes, with his superior intellectual capacities, may be able to retain all the relevant information he needs in his head, I think that as a mere learner, I will need to write down any references I may need.

I am quite an observant person. I tend to spot things that others overlook. My problem is that I can draw little or no inference from my observations, and I am not sure whether this is due to lack of knowledge or lack of logical thinking skills. Both of these can be improved, over time, as I attempt to train my brain like any other muscle.

Studying this subject seems to me to be the ideal way of training one’s brain, and with exams coming up later this year, I think this is a good course of action!

So. This little notebook is slowly being filled with things that might be useful. So far, I have an analysis of my own hands (my reason for this being: I know my hands pretty well, as one might guess. But if I can prove how I know what I know through a logical sequence from observation, then I can start to apply these techniques to another person’s hands. So far my deductions have been basic at best.).

I also have:

a detailed labelled diagram of the human skeleton

an analysis of different fonts used by various newspapers (with cutout articles to illustrate)

several pages worth of codes and ciphers

a miniature hand-drawn copy of the Periodic Table

a map of the British Isles showing geological features such as mountains and rivers

a map of the British Isles showing roads and towns (this map and the above ^ are on tracing paper and layer over the top of one another)

a note on soil – colour, pH, etc, and what might cause changes in colour/pH etc.

assorted notes pilfered from my school Chemistry exercise and textbooks.

a note on disguises

some logic puzzles
I will probably expand upon these notes in a later post.

And this is just the beginning. There is still so much more to add to it. If anyone has any tips or ideas then I would be delighted to hear them!

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Wordsworth Classics & Sherlock Holmes

This is exciting. My first ever post!

It’s summer again, you see, and as much as I am enjoying the non-enforced early rising, it does mean I have a lot more time on my hands. With each year the summer seems to fly past even faster than the previous one. To be honest, I’m a bit young to be thinking thoughts like that. I should be carefree, foolish, headstrong. And maybe I am, a bit. But I’m not the type to just sit around playing video games. Much.

Anyway. The point is, I decided to finally start writing this blog, because, it being summer, I very nearly have enough time on my hands. If you’re going to continue reading this blog, that’s something you’ll have to get used to. My rambling off-topic, I mean. I once… now you see, there I go again. See what I mean?

I think I’ll just get on with writing the bally thing, shall I?

The Science of Deduction. I really should explain myself. I suppose it really started a few months back, when I went into Whitby on a foggy day out with some friends.

There is a secondhand bookshop in Whitby (Endeavour Books), which sells rare and, well, secondhand books, where I found a Wordsworth Classics edition of The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, complete with The Hound of the Baskervilles. Its pages are yellowed and blotchy with brown mould (which, I hear tell, is hallucinogenic. To me, as someone who has spent a large proportion of their life with their nose buried in a book, this strikes me as significant. It sure explains a lot…), a few of the pages are folded over and the cover is bent back slightly. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful book, containing facsimiles of the stories as they first appeared in The Strand Magazine between 1901 and 1904 with the original illustrations by Sidney Paget, the first man to draw Mr. Holmes wearing his distinctive deerstalker hat. The writing is tiny and in columns, and I must admit that I find it easier to read like that.

It has great illustrations, it smells like nice old books, and of course, it’s a darn good read.

Up until I got this copy, I had only ever read A Study In Scarlet, part of The Redheaded League, and an abridged version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. But I had very much enjoyed the film adaptation with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes, was familiar with the Jeremy Brett versions, and was absolutely in love with the more recent BBC adaptation, Sherlock.

If you have never read any Sherlock Holmes, I strongly recommend that you do. It is not only exciting and intelligent, but also at times endearing and often quite hilarious, particularly the relationship between Holmes and Watson, and the way all the characters react with each other.

As much as people describe Holmes as cold, unfeeling even, it is easy to see the great love and respect he has for Watson, and vice versa. They do care very deeply about each other, although not in a romantic way. It is not for me to destroy the hopes of a thousand shippers of Johnlock, but I don’t think there was ever a romantic relationship between the two.

As exceptionally human and three-dimensional characters who complement each others’ characteristics perfectly, with a strong, mutual friendship, Holmes and Watson are easily my favourite duo of characters.

Again, I ramble. This copy of The Return has not left my side since I first started reading it, but a few days ago, on a day out in a city called Durham (where the Lindisfarne Gospels currently reside!), I entered an Oxfam bookshop, just on the offchance that I might find another Holmes book. There is already a copy of The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes in my house, but it is a very large volume which I could not take in my bag 20-odd miles to school every day, and it does not have the illustrations!

Although I didn’t have very high hopes of finding any, I did. First I saw several more copies of The Return, and then – The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes! This copy has been a lot more well-looked after. Both of my Holmes books were published in 1993, but this one looks a lot newer, and has much better reproductions of the illustrations: larger and clearer, and not as dark or hard-to-distinguish.

Since then, I have been trying to teach myself that precise art, the Science of Deduction.

I’ll tell you more in my next post… stay tuned!

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