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Saturday, 15 December 2018

2018: An Ode to Literature


Literature. That was some good shit. So said the character of 'God' in John Niven's The Second Coming, a book I read recently. (I love Kill Your Friends by the same guy and have Kill em all and Straight White Male on my 'to-read' list). Literature is good shit, one of the best kinds of shit in this shit-filled world. Literature is one of the most important and breath-taking things in my life.

This year I achieved my childhood dream of becoming a published author. I am not and was not expecting to becoming super best-selling. I will build my career over the next few years as I delve deeper into the literary world. I feel my journey has really just begun as a professional author and musician this year, even though I've been working on my craft for years.


Blogging is a lot of fun, and I've had people tell me I would make a good journalist and could consider writing for a paper. My dad actually does write for a column in the Tanzanian national newspaper The Citizen (one of his articles available to check out here: https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/oped/A-CHAT-FROM-LONDON--A-confusing-speech-about-Tanzanians/1840568-4706594-beilri/index.html)

Yabba-dabba-doo
And I shall follow his advice: focus on one thing at a time. Don't get distracted. Maybe I will delve into journalism later in life when I am more established as a writer. But for now, my main love and my main priority is fiction. It's always been fiction. I love music - performing, songwriting and playing - and I love poetry, and I love blogging. But my number one main love is fiction books. It has been since I was a child and probably will be until the day I die.

Over the Christmas period I have been and am working part-time at Waterstones, a prolific bookshop in the UK. I'm hoping to stay on next year as it is probably the best place I have ever worked - not least because I'm surrounded by books. What I hope to do is to continue working there to finance myself and then long-term be able to support myself as an author. I hope to publish two books next year - one of them is a coming-of-age drama that will likely be my next published work. I was working on a satirical novella during the latter part of this year but I've realised it will need more work than I can put into, plus as my first book was YA I figured I should follow the pattern from a commercial standpoint.

This year I have grown so much as a person. It's crazy to think that when I was seventeen I was lolling around in the same bed I'm writing on now getting drunk alone and feeling like the world was crashing down onto me. Now I feel like the world is my oyster. There is so much I can do, so many places I can go with my life and so much to explore. I want to write books, make albums, keep performing music, fall in love, travel, have children - so many things seem possible that used to seem like a daydream.

It's silly isn't it? I want what everyone else wants in life - to be happy, to have a fulfilling career and a loving partner and hopefully cute little munchkins with my DNA. And yet when you're depressed and chronically anxious these things feel so unobtainable, almost impossible. The idea that I could be happy and gladly getting on with my life like a normal person sounds more insane than smashing up glass bottles and getting drunk and ending up in A&E and acting like a crazy person in front of the guys I like.

And yet, if I chip away all of the 'toxic' parts of myself, the traits akin to borderline personality disorder, I'm left with just another human being who is not all that different from other human beings. I don't believe that anyone is 'special' or 'different' or 'unique.' I grew up often being called weird, but I don't really think I'm weird. I am who I am. Yeah, I've got problems, and I've made a fool out of myself on one too many occasions, but who hasn't? I've been through some awful situations, but who hasn't? There's bullying, sexual trauma, self-harm, addiction, parental separation, insomnia and panic disorder in my past. There's probably some shitty stuff in your past as well.

But if there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that life is a circle. It has no beginning or end, it simply spins around. Ever-changing. All we can do is move with the circle as it continues to spin on its axis. I owe most of this to my program in Alcoholics Anonymous, of which without I would not be where or who I am now. 

And with that, here's a list of all the books I've read (so far) this year (listed alphabetically by author -gosh I really am a nerd):

Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale
Ellis, Bret Easton - American Psycho (currently reading)
Hawkins, Paula - Into the Water
Honeyman, Gail - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
King, Stephen - Joyland
Manson, Mark - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***
Martin, George R R - A Clash of Kings
Martin, George R R - A Storm of Swords
Martin, George R R - A Feast for Crows
Niven, John - The Second Coming
O'Neil, Louise - The Surface Breaks (loved it so much I read it twice)
O'Neil, Louse - Almost Love
Salinger, J D - The Catcher in the Rye
Schlossberg, Mike - Redemption (currently reading)
Weingarten, Lynn - Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

I also re-read a ton of Jacqueline Wilson books, Brave New World, The Bell Jar, and read part of Caitlin Moran's Moranifesto and some of Sylvia Plath's The Colussus. And of course, Every Last Psycho and Art is a Waste of Time by Zarina Macha. Big recommends.

Related posts:

https://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/05/on-writing.html

https://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/12/2017-dont-look-back-in-anger.html

https://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/07/first-year-at-acm-reflection.html

https://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/09/the-magic-of-books.html

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If you enjoy my posts check out my novel Every Last Psycho. Available to purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07F44CMNJ