Do Beginnings Exist?

I read this really interesting text last semester about beginnings and whether they exist and I still hate myself for waiting this long to write a blog post, but here it finally is!

When we think of a text, we call the first word the beginning. Why? Because without thinking too hard about it, it is the beginning for us. It is where we enter the realm of the characters within the novel. However, is it really the beginning? What if the beginning is the title page, even if it conveys nothing but a few words? What if the beginning is the blurb, since that’s the first time you conceptualise the novel in your head? Maybe it’s the moment you first saw the cover, now that imagery suddenly conveys a lot more than you would expect. It’s actually endless where a beginning even begins.

If you think about the author of a novel, the beginning is very different for them since they are the ones writing it. For them, perhaps the start is when they initially come up with the idea. It could be a fully formed idea or it could just be noticing that man at the corner of the street that stemmed the rest of the characters. Maybe nothing really begins until it has an end in sight, making it halfway through the draft, or when the end is actually known, making it the full first draft.

However, just to make things even more confusing, if the beginning of a novel did stem from seeing the man at the corner of the street, then surely that’s not the beginning because it’s not the man’s beginning? So the beginning of the novel would stretch back all the way to the beginning of the man because without him, the beginning of the novel would never have occurred. But then the beginning of the man wouldn’t have occurred without the beginning of two other people. And so on. And so is it all just an endless beginning, ironically meaning that there is no beginning at all?

This is evident in the way that an author can never really create a novel with no inspiration. It is impossible since they would have to invent everything. Therefore, they are unconsciously inspired by everything they have come across in their life. Their work isn’t new; it’s just a transformed, manipulated version of everything that’s ever existed. Wow, that’s a way to degrade a novel. But isn’t it also true? It doesn’t necessarily make it unworthy, just that it’s had so many influences that it’s beginning can’t be pinpointed, and to me that makes it all the more important and exciting because you know that no one else could have created an exact replica, even if they tried.

What also interests me is that if there is no beginning, then surely there’s no end either? A quote from the text I read said something along the lines of “it takes longer to write about life than it takes to live it, therefore no autobiography can ever end”. I love this sentence because I’ve never really thought of it like this before. It is actually impossible to document our life without using up all our life and more, and we don’t have that more. Therefore, our life can never fully be explained, no one can ever really know everything about you and your experiences unless they were you. If people come into your lives at different times, they only know part of your experiences. Perhaps your middle becomes their beginning. Or their end becomes your middle. It’s like a tangled web of different timelines and you all interweave and dodge each other and share information and there’s no way of knowing where anything began or ended.

But really, does it matter?


real. [poem]

sometimes none of it seems real

the low buzzing in my ear

like in a mechanical world

the drowned out voices


feeling so


it isn’t real

sometimes it can’t be real

it’s like I’m saying these words

and they pour out of my mouth

but I’m stuck in my head

and I can’t really comprehend

if I’m here

if you’re here

if anyone is here at all

and I try to snap out of it


snap out of it

but I’m just a skeleton

walking these lonely streets

trying to find a way out of

this mind

300 Followers!! and a giveaway!

A few weeks ago I reached 300 followers which is a pretty amazing achievement really! For fear of repeating myself from my previous followers posts, I won’t ramble on too much about this but I just wanted to thank all of you who read, like, comment or even just visit my page. It’s crazy that people have somehow fallen upon my old blog posts or found me through comments on someone else’s page. It’s all just a string of connections and knowing I’ve somehow made a difference to someone’s day, even if it means they drank their coffee a minute after they usually would because they were looking at one of my posts, makes me kind of happy. It’s nice to know people are somewhat interested in my thoughts when I’m not sure even I am.

I was also looking at my stats the other day and it seems I wrote around 38,000 words last year on blogging which is crazy! That’s almost a novel! But I guess I always knew my brain processed too many words. That’s what blogging is for, after all.

So in celebration of reaching 300 followers, I’ve decided to do a giveaway. I was originally going to give away 10 copies of ‘The Knife of Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness that I won in a competition, but realising I would have to post them out and that I’m a broke student, it wouldn’t really be possible. However, I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of money to give away one of them because I’ve never done a giveaway before and I’m excited and I want to share books with people and make their day. So this is happening!

Before I go into this, I’m really sorry to say that the giveaway will only be open for UK people, but if you live elsewhere and you’d like to enter for fun anyway, that’d be cool (I’d happily give any feedback). I have also put two options for the giveaway because I know that not everyone likes creative writing and I wanted to be as open as possible for this.

So you can either:

  • Write a poem/short story (max 500 words) from the perspective of a being or thing living within another person’s mind
  • Share your opinion on thoughts of the mind (max 500 words) [what do they mean to you? how accessible are they to others? whatever you want to say!]

Once you’ve come up with your piece, please email them to:

The deadline is: 9th of April 2018

And the prize up for grabs is this! (probably minus the badges I just don’t have another photo) (plus maybe extra goodies if I’m feeling nice)


And I will also share your writing in a post (or promote your blog if you’d rather it stay personal).

I’m really interested in what you guys come up with! And please do share this post or pass on the message if you know of anyone that might also like to take part!

In the midst of life or death. [flash-fiction]

I read this quote in a book the other day: “In the midst of life we are in death…in the midst of death we are in life.” and instantly felt a connection to what it was saying and so had to write something about it… 

We tread through the long string of streets and stairs to places unknown. We let ourselves follow this imaginary line as if we ourselves are tied to a string. We’re pulled and yanked into different directions. Unconsciously. Subconsciously. It’s hard to know where we’re going when we have no control.

But in this moment we feel the warmth of the sun on our backs as if we’re guided by our inner strength and happiness and our own power to defy the universe. But what if we’re not? What if we’re just a mechanical object born to feel like they can feel but they can’t? What if we’re simply the opposite of what we think we are and so are, in fact, a paradox? Would that mean that we’re not really anything at all? Would that mean we’re simply a concept?

When you feel like you’re pushing yourself forward ask yourself, are you really being pulled? Are you moving forward into life and yet simultaneously being pulled by a force outside of you that makes it really nothing of your own doing at all?

Because sometimes I tread through the long strings of streets and stairs to places unknown and I don’t really feel like me at all. It’s like the whole world is moving around me – blurred voices and funny figures – and I’m a ghost between the madness. Sometimes I tread through these streets and wonder if in the midst of life we are in death. Or if in the midst of death we are in life.

‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig [Book Review]

If you’re going to read any book in your life, whether you love reading or not, I would recommend this one. No doubt about it.

Image result for reasons to stay alive

When I first heard about ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ I instantly knew it was something I wanted to read, however like most things, it took me a while to get round to it. When I did though, instead of reading it all in one sitting (which I could have done, easily, because it’s that good), I read parts at a time over the course of a few months. I’m so glad I did this, because it has so much information to take away that you couldn’t possibly store it all into your brain at once.

‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ is the journey of Matt Haig through his battle with depression and anxiety after his breakdown in his early twenties through to where he is now. It’s easy to think it would be a difficult read, one that depresses you in itself, however I was amazed at how well Haig took his own experiences and flipped them to turn mental health into something that should be acknowledged and accepted and most of all, understood.

I think a lot of the time those struggling with mental health problems find it hard to escape their own mind and rationalise things – I know I certainly do. This book helped me make sense of things on a wider scale, and that’s part of the reason why I read it over a longer period of time, because whenever I felt like I was withdrawing into myself or needed some reassurance I would pick up the book before bed. It made me realise that things can be worse but that I shouldn’t minimise my current feelings in relation to it. I think at one point Haig mentions that he saw many signals leading up to his breakdown but that he just ignored them. It made me think twice about not seeking help about anxiety. It made me think that I had somehow picked up this book at just the right time, at the exact time when I’d started struggling more and needed the reassurance that I can do it and that I should seek help if I need to. And I am. I’m working on it. I feel like this book became part of that process for me.

Image result for reasons to stay alive
Excerpt from the book!

What I loved most about this book is that it isn’t the typical memoir. It doesn’t focus solely on Haig’s life in a chronological order. Instead it’s in snippets – parts about his life, conversations with his past self and his new self, self-help ideas, general related thoughts. It’s endless. And I think the idea of snippets also mimics the mind when facing mental health, because your thoughts are all over the place and sometimes they don’t follow a certain pattern they just hit you at random moments in time. Maybe that’s what he’s getting at. Or maybe I just like analysing things too much.

It’s so hard for me to narrow down this book into one review because I feel like I could write an essay on every single chapter. It’s crazy how a book can just make you feel like someone thinks the same as you, and it’s comforting to know that. I really think that this book is so important, especially at this current moment in society, especially when mental health is rising and we’re trying to fight off the stigma. I definitely think there is less stigma surrounding it than there was, because of people like Haig that are sharing their stories and letting themselves be known, however I still think that it’s not entirely understood, even if it is accepted. Maybe it’s too idealistic to think that those who haven’t experienced it could ever understand, but I think Haig’s book is the closest someone could get to it. I really do.

One particular section that really got me thinking was this:

“People often use the word ‘despite’ in the context of mental illness. So-and-so did such-and-such despite having depression/anxiety/OCD/agoraphobia/whatever. But sometimes that ‘despite’ should be a ‘because’. For instance, I write because of depression. I was not a writer before. The intensity needed – to explore things with relentless curiosity and energy – simply wasn’t there. Fear makes us curious. Sadness makes us philosophise.”

As soon as I read this I thought, this is so true. Mental health doesn’t define us and we don’t do things despite having it lurking there, but rather because it pushes us forwards in ways we don’t even know. People always say that pain strengthens you and yes it’s cliche, but it’s also true. When I think back to before I had any experience of anxiety I was a writer but I wasn’t that good of one. I feel like as soon as I had experienced it my writing improved in ways that I couldn’t have expected. Haig is right in saying it gives you an intensity and a curiosity that otherwise you wouldn’t have. Perhaps otherwise, I wouldn’t have continued writing or wouldn’t have ended up creating a blog and sharing my thoughts with hundreds of people (honestly, I still can’t believe it myself). And maybe that’s just how it works – pain becomes necessary for development. We shouldn’t look down on depression, anxiety, or whatever it is, we should look at it and think: this has lead me to where I am now, even if it has been the hardest journey to get here, because without it, I wouldn’t be who I am.

And so I guess I’m passing on this message through blogging about this because I want everyone out there struggling to feel like I did when I turned these pages and realised that there are people who understand and think like you do, even if you think they don’t exist. That there are people who can help you or change the way you think so that you can seek help yourself.

So please do pick up this book if it comes your way! It’s so so important and there’s no way you’ll regret it! If you have any thoughts on it yourself or want to chat about anything, feel free to contact me 🙂

House of Anxiety [Flash-Fiction]

I recently came across this phrase in a book I read: “Should she be rent by this anxiety?” and maybe the author didn’t intend it in the way of renting a house, but it just inspired me all of a sudden, because aren’t the symptoms of mental health a lot like paying rent to a house you don’t want to live in? It just entirely summed up the feeling for me, of being stuck in a commitment you never chose to be in and yet having no way out of it. And so I had to write this. Maybe some of you will understand it too.

I’m stuck in this house and I don’t know how to get out. I don’t know how to move and I don’t know how to survive. When you’re stuck in this house, walls are shaking, doors slamming on good thoughts and it’s hard to stay sane. It’s like I’m paying rent to my suffering. It’s like I’m giving up parts of my life to a game.

When I walk through this house sometimes the rooms are nice. They have a TV to keep me distracted and a comfy sofa. The curtains block out the worries and it’s a peaceful space. It’s almost like a home. But then sometimes the rooms aren’t so nice. Sometimes they appear to be and then the walls are stripped bare of wallpaper. The colour goes and the blankness fades in. It becomes an empty vacuum. In that moment, I can’t pay rent in belongings. I don’t have any belongings that are worth enough. The rent is too high now. It’s getting higher. One day I’ll have to give over my entire self.

For now, I’m walking in and out of all these rooms and the doors slam behind me and the chimney howls. The voices from the TV are drowning out my thoughts but not enough to dissolve them. They simmer.

And I keep paying rent. I keep paying rent for a house I don’t want to live in and I’m fed up. I’m fed up. But there’s nothing else I can do. Maybe one day I’ll find a secret doorway and it’ll lead me into the sunshine. Maybe one day I’ll find a way out and I won’t come crawling back. But I guess I’m scared that if I ever leave this house I won’t like it. I don’t like it here but what if I don’t like it there either? What if I end up in a different house and I pay rent to another suffering – grief, heartbreak, anything that life throws this way. Maybe I’ll end up in a house double the size. Maybe I’ll end up with double the rent.

Do I stay and pay the rent or do I go and risk the future?

Or maybe the only way to survive is to buy the house.

Accept it.

And own it.

A Man Filling Rubbish [Repetitive Writing]

Yesterday in my creative writing seminar we discussed experimentation and one of the things we looked at was repetitive writing. I’ve never tried it before but thought I’d give it a go and share it with you all in case you want to try it too! (and let me know if you do because I’d love to read it)

Figure standing by the dustbin reaching down, lifting up, filling rubbish. It’s a Sunday morning and he’s filling rubbish. Into these bags he’s reaching down, transferring objects, transferring energy like a battery. He’s standing by the dustbin filling rubbish and it’s just him – a human battery transferring objects.

And then behind the wall, standing by the dustbin, but on the other side, a shadow looms. He’s not filling rubbish. He diffuses the battery. Hood up, he emerges from behind the wall and sees the man filling rubbish. It’s Sunday morning and the shadow of a criminal is not filling rubbish.

The man reaching down, once a battery, looks up into the light to behind the wall where the shadow looms. A golden tooth shining from broken teeth, transferring light, transferring energy. He stops filling rubbish on that Sunday morning and watches the man whose shadow looms, who isn’t filling rubbish on that Sunday morning. He has taken the energy of his battery. He grabs the bag of rubbish, reaching down, and runs back behind the wall.

The rubbish man reaches down for no rubbish left to fill. He’s run out of energy – his energy has been stolen. But by his feet lies the golden tooth, shining from the broken pavement, a symbol of his theft.

Reaching down, he picks it up.

There will be no more filling rubbish on a Sunday morning.

Hood up, he walks away.

His shadow looms.