Category Archives: Vivika’s Musings

Now what?

Looking back on 2022 there seems to be a collective agreement that it was a real bastard of a year. Pardon my language but sometimes there aren’t any polite words to adequately describe it.

There were a lot of changes. In the UK there was a change in monarch for the first time in decades. Many people here, myself included, can’t remember any other king or queen. Whether you’re a royalist or not it is a part of history. War broke in Ukraine, COVID continued to ravage the land and Downing Street became a bit like musical chairs. All the while people were expected to maintain that stiff upper lip as prices for everything soared and people couldn’t heat their homes properly. I’m not going to delve any more into that. I’m sure that there’s nothing I can say that any sensible person hasn’t already considered. My point is, there were challenges. Then it got me thinking that every year has it’s challenges. Some are easier, some are harder but all in all it is what life is.

I would much prefer to think about 2022 from the angle of having faced those challenges. Some of them we are still to bring an end to. However, it shows how resilient we are. Whilst those larger issues plagued us we battled our own demons and we pulled through. We nursed, we adapted and we pushed on. 2023 is now here like a beacon of light. I don’t doubt there will be challenges this year too but we have this. In our hands lies the ability to make this the greatest year yet despite the hardships.

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For as long as we’ve existed we’ve sought out animal companions whether it was to assist in hunting or to offer a unique friendship and connection. In this modern day I hear a lot of people discuss support animals. Just by having a furry buddy beside us can relieve anxiety. Despite the obvious gap in communication most of us feel an intense bond with our animal counterparts.

For most of my own life I have had a variety of pets. I had a cat named ‘Simba’ when i was a girl that I adored. I had a dog named Ricky who had a memorable personailty and for most of my adult life I’ve kept guinea pigs. The pair I have at the moment, Buddy and Coops, are adorable and never fail to make me smile.

Lately my brother and sister in law adopted a collie pup named Gio for their family. The amount of joy the dog has brought to their house in that short space of time highlights how important the presence of pets can be.

What does your pet bring to your life?

Stoker Circus

“You’re going to have the best day.
We’re going to take all your troubles away.
We’re going to laugh and sing.
You’ll smile at everything because Stoker Circus is on its way.”

Based in the rural region of the city Stoker Circus originated in the country of Levinkrantz. The have existed for centuries and their grand striped Big Top now resides in Allford (also known as Alford).

It is truly a spetacle to be seen with top acts including the trapeezy easys, strong man Otto and a freak show not to be missed! A day at Stoker Circus is fun for all the family and you can even try your luck at the carnival games.

It’s all fun and games until you realise you are missing some valuables. The Stoker family are also thieving scoundrels. What may or may not have escaped notice is when the Stoker tents are pitched there tends to be a spat of home invasion robberies in the area. Have you had a lizard woman crawl in your window? Has a freakish little man named Freddy knocked on your door telling you your cat has been run over?

Despite it’s terrible reputation and the lack of morality among its perofrmers, Stoker Circus does have it’s qualities too. One of its most famous performers, the legendary escape artist Adrien Stoker, was considered a war hero. He was a theiving scoundrel too but he did put his skills to good use and saved hundreds of lives during the Levinkrantz blitz.

So step right up for a show you won’t forget.

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Character Profile: Irvine Stoker

“You can’t’ trust a Stoker, mucker, not a single one! There are no exceptions.”

Name: Irvine Stoker

Age: mid fifties

Occupation: Circus performer/ ringmaster


Irvine is old enough to remember what life was like in the old counry of Levinkranz before the great blitz caused the circus family to flee. Second son to legendary escape artist Adrien Stoker, who famously helped save hundreds of lives when the bombs dropped. Irvine didn’t take after his father much in that sense. The feaer of war taught him that in order to survive you have to be completely absent of scruples.

Irvine is a lively man who through his vibrant persona and tall, insectile physicality cuts a memorable figure. He is the ringmaster of the Stoker Circus and as such he resides in the striped Big Top. People don’t come to the circus like they used to so Irvine has many nefarious deals going which include home invasion robberies.

Irvine doesn’t choose to be a bad person. Weighing up costs and benefits does. The highest bidder will always count on his complete loyalty (until more bunce comes along!)

In the Shady City of Coldford he ranks as one of the most despicable men you could hope to meet but for the right price perhaps he can lead his circus to do some good as his father had.

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The Kingdom of Ashes

There once was a king, mighty and bold.

He was a beloved sovereign in a kingdom of gold.

He kept a watchful eye. He was fierce and fair.

But a monster with ill intentions was cruel enough to dare.

The king had three prince sons, brave and strong.

But their cries were the monster’s favourite song.

He snatched them, seperated them and inflicted pain.

The triplets with crowns would never be the same.

Of the three there was one wise beyond his years.

There was another with strengh, who ignored his fears.

The third was free spirited and refused to break.

Together they fought for their kingdom’s sake.

The King was put to death but the sons did survive.

Whilst the princes remained, the kingdom could still thrive.

The monster was defeated, showing its true horrific form.

From the ashes the kingdom was reborn.

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The triplet princes of City Main found themselves in the clutches of the most Hellish prison imaginable. Dare you take a look behind teh bars of Coldford Correctional, aka The Boss?

The Deadly Sins

We all have our vices. Some are worse than others but as human beings we are far from perfect. I read an interesting article the other day which questioned why atheists don’t indulge in their darkest desires since they don’t believe in a God to offer them moral teaching. It was concerning to think that the presence of some kind of almighty was all that was keeping people from hurting one another. When you think about it, the presence of deitys has been the reason we’ve been hurting one another throughout our existence. Still to this day, arguments over who’s God is better leads to the deaths of hundreds. It got me thinking, is the fear of an almighty a good enough way to keep people following a code of morals?

Fear is no way to hold anyone in line. There are many people who know it’s wrong to hurt others or treat people a certain way without believing in God. There are many strict believers who are perpetrators of the worst crimes. Take the Magdalene sisters for instance. By definition they were righteous, Holy nuns but the way they treated the girls in their care was in no way moral. I’m not an atheist. I consider myself a spiritual person just not necessarily a religious one. I don’t always make moral decisions because I’m a flawed being the same as everyone else but our morality is something that is deeply rooted in us. We treat each others well because our natural being knows that is how society should work.

Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Pride, Anger, Envy, Sloth are considered the deadly sins. I guess this is because to indulge in these particular attributes makes you a bad person by any moral standards, relgious or otherwise. Show gratitude for what you have and you’ll never be greedy. Explore your urges in a respectful way and you’ll never be cried lustful. Treat your body well with the fuel you give it, never become gluttonous. Know your worth but not at the expense of others. Remember we are all on our own journey and our paths differ so you can’t compare your own to that of someone else. Sloth? Well, that just makes good sense.

All in all, folks, it shouldn’t take fear of the repercussions of a God to form your morality. We should treat each other well because we are all human, we all have our sins but we also have this beautiful capacity to help one another.

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My hero

We all need some inspiration. We all need someone to look up to. What do we seek in our heroes? I guess we look for someone who embodies the best elements we wish to see in ourselves. We look for a hero who can show us what it means to be braver, kinder, stronger or better in some way than we generally consider ourselves to be. You may find this in superheroes. It would be easy to when the media is so saturated with them. We may see it in public figures who have some qualities we look to emulate or are doing work that we find admirable. Heroes of all kinds inspire us to do our best and reach for a goal.

You might think heroes are something for children to look up to. I would argue that it’s not just young people who need the inspiration. Adults would do well to find someone to look up to. It could be someone younger too. Take Malala Yousafzai for instance. She is a truly inspirational girl who fought for the rights of others like her to have an education, something I took for granted to a certain extent. Her fearlessness in pursuit, despite her youth, is to be admired. She is a hero in a lot of respects.

For some a hero is someone who lived a long time ago but their impact is still felt such as Sophie Scholl, another young activist. Along with her brother, Hans, she resisted the Nazi indoctrination that was surrounding her. She boldly took part in distributing anti nazi leaflets. The reason her actions still resonate is because of the danger she knew she was putting herself in but still she continued. Eventually she paid the ultimate price for it but she believed there were more important matters.

We live in an age where it is so easy to be bombarded with the evil that is present in the world. There are so many bad people out there it would seem. I dare say there could be stories told about the people I have mentioned that wouldn’t place them in the best of lights. They are only human after all but if you find something in them or anyone for that matter that inspires you then embrace it. On the days you are finding it difficult to find a hero then take that as a cue that it’s you who is to step up. You can be the hero if you need to be. We all can. We can find inspiration and we can inspire.

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Why do you have to be that way?

I’m going to be blunt here because as you will find from the content of this particular post that’s just how I am. Ever since I was a little girl I have always been made out to be some kind of freak because I tend not to go about things the ’normal’ way. The other kids were, I guess, expected. When you are growing up you don’t know much about the world and you are learning so I can see why I was seen as being somewhat unusual by my peers. That wasn’t just it though. Adults were much of the same opinion.

What made me so freakish? What did I dare to do that was so unconventional? Nothing really. It was a curiosity I had about the world around me that others wanted to curb. They said they were concerned about me. After all, curiosity brought about the demise of the proverbial cat. I wanted to visit museums rather than playing with the other children. I wanted to read books rather than take part in party games. For that I seemed off and weird.

As I grew up I continued on that trajectory, caring not one bit about what others thought. As an adult I was considered strange because I had no interest in having children or getting married. To me marriage is an outdated concept that has no real place in modern society. Sure, there are plenty of people who love being married, are excited to be married or can find happiness in that kind of partnership but it’s just not for me. As a thirty something woman with my own independent life I don’t see any way a marriage could improve my current existence. I’m especially close to my little 11yo niece and my 3yo nephew so they are all the children I need.

I guess the point of this rant is to urge you all to live your life the way you want to. Do the things that make you happy despite what society might think is appropriate. I’ve grown up people thinking I’m a freak. Embrace that freakishness because odd things, atypical hobbies or out of the ordinary life decisions don’t make you any less valid than the most conventional of people. What would the world be without that varied tapestry?

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Dinner for Four

It’s an age old question that seems to be important to a lot of people. You most likely would have been asked it in your life in some shape or form and that question is, ’if you were to invite anyone in the world (living or deceased) to a dinner party who would those guests be?’

I like this question because to me it highlights the human want to connect with others, no matter the barriers. It shows we like to connect in an intellectual way. The purpose of this exercise is to show who you would like have around your table for the purposes of hearing what they have to say. A dinner party, by nature, is a way of sharing discussion and opening up. Those you would chose to sit around your table says a lot about your personality. So for the purposes of this discussion, my pick of dinner party guests would be as follows:

Charles Dickens

Not only is he one of my most favourite authors and a huge inspiration of mine, he was also a critic of the moral evil that was present in Victorian London. He used satirical writing to bring attention to these injustices and he was effective in doing so. This undoubtedly influenced writers who came after him to approach their work with the same boldness. I know that certainly was the case for me. From what is told he was a kind hearted, intelligent man who paid close attention to what was going on around him and for that reason having a chat with him would be an opportunity I would hate to miss.

Harry Houdini

Escape artist, circus performer and spiritualist debunker. Houdini is already an admired figure of mine so he would naturally make for an exciting presence at my table. I would love to ask him all about his escape acts and his performances. His thrill seeking presence would keep things lively and I’m naturally engrossed by people who have a performance flare. He spent a lot of his later career debunking spiritualists. Discussing this could make for a lively debate. Also, after some wine has flowed and bellies were filled he could grace us with a demonstration of one of his tricks.

Anne Frank

If there is ever a girl with a story to share at a dinner table it would be this one. She lived through great adversity and it was of no fault of her own. She was just a young girl who had no control over the devastation that was arising around her. She already had a fascinating story to tell as is evident in her famous diaries. Learning about this young girl’s remarkable experiences from her own mouth would have the discussions going on well into the small hours.

Those are just some examples of the fascinating figures I would invite to my dinner party. Given the opportunity to reach out to anyone, who would you choose? Funny? Inspirational? Intruiging? What would you look for in your dinner party guests.

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