Weekly Ramble #83

Okay so things are actually looking really good right now which is both weird and oddly satisfying. With everything I have thrown at this year in authoring and blogging just short of the kitchen sink, it might have worked. Seeing plans come to fruition albeit successfully is a somewhat liberating feeling both personally and for the wider world. Its also rather new territory. We’re not there yet, but just days from this year’s epic conclusion for me…

Authors and creators have a place in this world, even if said world does appear to be falling to shit, rising back to better and then down to shit again. Riding that wave has presented those who want it with an opportunity and a learning curve. That opportunity is something I fell ass first into and since dusting myself off and trying to get back up, several hands of several truly wonderful supportive people were there to pull me towards somewhere I’d never imagine; satisfaction in this constant battle to get your work read as an independently published author.

People have actually taken on my work, they have responded to those efforts, there are even those, although just a handful that have pre ordered a book that represents all of my story telling efforts up to this moment. This is such a far cry from efforts previous feeling like they fell on deaf ears. People are out there and they have my back, this is both heart warming and emotionally gratifying. From the dramatic ride of high’s, lows, reversions to zeros and everything in between this next book resonates that journey and reflects everything I’ve ever been through. The characters who are a diverse range of souls are going to have to band together in order to find some kind of resolve, like me finding you, loyal reader, a supporter and ally in this deal whom I am nothing without. It’s complicated, fun, surprising and now satisfying – all words that I use to describe this wider journey, the latter only really appearing recently.

Of course I’m not done yet, and perhaps I never will be, maybe that’s the secret. Marathon runners are always looking to better their PB and maybe that’s what I will always look to do, except I’m chasing the words, trying to get better, trying to get home. Either way recent times as an author in 2020 are worth smiling about, there isn’t much to be happy about these days, perhaps I’m lucky and the satisfaction will wear off, until then wish me luck, although that’s only a portion of the path to success. Consistent, creative content is what has really driven it, along with my work being accepted into open arms of those who have supported me. Thank you and bring on next week, the most important book release of my life.

‘I know every mile will be worth my while. When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong… ‘

Weekly Ramble #80

They are going to knock down my old high school. This is a fact that I have recently learned which is both bitter and sweet at the same time for me. This year has presented many opportunities for deep reflection, time on our hands will do that and it’s sometimes important to revisit things with the eyes and mind you’ve grown into.

Many people over the years have relayed or recalled their school days as either mostly positive or straight up terrible while others stand somewhere in between. I’m still processing today that the school I went to and the experiences I had may have been of the worst possible persuasion.

The truth is, that place took years for me to fully recover from. During those years after, I came to realize that there were normal people in this world that you could mostly trust, share real conversations with and generally function as a person alongside. So was it really that bad you ask? And my response would be, yes.

Not only is the concept of high school a mostly regressive thing to me; throw together a bunch of hormonal kids all at different stages of being hormonal, drill into them conflicting information about how important preparing for the future is and then top it off with a pressure to fit in and also succeed.

If you combine that with the environment I had to endure you would most certainly agree and the ecosystem that I weathered and survived was socially hostile, violent and toxic. It was a place that I could never truly fit in or let alone dare to be myself. Today we celebrate being ourselves. Inclusion is celebrated and still a noble cause worth fighting for. Back in that place, you couldn’t wear certain clothes, listen to certain music, think a certain way or even look at someone the wrong way without being punished for it and sometimes that punishment was violent. If you ever thought of stepping outside from the current and flow, you were targeted by a stifling mob culture of kids.

Head down, voice quiet and just bide the time. This was the only method of survival in that place I knew how to adopt and even then you weren’t safe. Perhaps that is why wherever I have gone since, I’ve survived. My invisibility strategy was enough for me to stay mostly unscathed physically and for the most part I went through this journey without being noticed. As for today; I’m not remembered probably by most who I shared those narrow packed corridors with. They were people who I had nothing in common with and many of the less desirable types had socially peaked at 16, I guess I could live without being remembered by the likes of them.

The teachers, who didn’t help but as an adult I know now they couldn’t help. Many of them couldn’t relate and were probably horrified by the fact they were trying to answer their calling in life at such a place. They were trying to function and survive themselves in what was an every person for themselves environment. Over the years I was there (5 – trust me I was counting), the place became more and more unstable over that time. A combination of worse schools closing locally and a change in leadership interrupted the order of things. Now you had younger kids fighting older kids, and sometimes these younger kids would win which just spun the volatile environment around some more. A wider level of ‘Gotham’ style chaos began to ensue. There was no safety. There was fighting everyday. No wonder I took the world of working in my stride, the sensation of it was both refreshing and liberating. The civility of it, a culture shock to begin with.

Anyone going through the struggles of high school, or anyone who has been through it, you are not alone. And it does get better. Leaving it behind is both weirdly sad and happy all at once. Being a writer means I am seasoned at compartmentalizing and putting thoughts away. There is no trauma now, but I can still explore old memories to cope and reflect. There may just be a hint of bitterness because I never went to the prom by choice, or even had many decent memories of that time, let alone any true friends.

I no longer represent the shy, quiet, keeps things to himself kid, that was just a survival mechanism. Over the years I learned to socially come out of that defensive shell because the toxic environment of those narrow corridors has long gone. As that confidence grew and whatever that place did to me faded, I began to do everything in life that I would get punished for in that place. From the music I now listen to and embrace, to even the hairstyle I adopted just two years after that place’s grip on me faded. Some of this stuff I do is to stick my middle finger up to the fact I couldn’t do it back then. Everything I have aspired to be was once just an escape from that place, and now I am who I envisioned to be, well and truly and without the school that I survived.

Now I’ve learned the place is being knocked down I’m able to take a long breath of relief because even though on the 25th of August 2005 I vowed to never return to those corridors in physical form, I will never be able to now, for definite. Since I left, the place took an even bigger downturn before half re-branding. Now that brand looks to fully absolve itself perhaps from such a shadowy past with new modern building beside the proposed playing fields which will serve as simply a grave of the days I struggled alongside so many others.

After reading this, you’ll see Open Evening – my debut novel in a whole new light because that story highlights the social struggle of high school; something that came from my own personal journey. I fused that element of what I knew and fashioned it into a story for some and a statement for others. Maybe I knew all along while I walked through that place, one day I was going to get these fuckers back, and the book did. Like always for me, the writing says everything I never could.

It became both therapy and reflection for me as a writing experience with an element of realism among the actual monsters that jumped out from beyond the unknown. The school burned down in that story, and now in reality it’s going to fall for real.

Good riddance.

Swinging Sanity by N.F. Mirza – Review

A brave expression of feeling through poetry that is both thought provoking and inspiring… 

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To convey deep personal thoughts and feelings through poetry and then release it into the world is an incredibly brave thing to do. That’s exactly what this collection is. It starts with a poignant and deep quote from Edgar Allen Poe about the subject of insanity which immediately sets the tone of embracing anything but the ordinary with pride. Throughout readers will be treated to meaningful and quite inspirational quotes from the likes of Charles Bukowski and Sylvia Plath.

From self harm, depression, anxiety, loneliness, love, individual suffering and pain to everything else that centres around our sanity, you’ll see it represented here without any reservations and with honesty – something the world needs to talk about more. The many poems and verses that make them up are full of emotion and can be related to.

‘Just Like a Drop of Water’ stood out and I found ‘A Long Wordless Day’ spoke to me along with ‘Those Enchanting Nights’ amongst many others.

For anyone who is a fan of immersive poetry and for those looking to take on a read that is different but also very honest, I recommend this book. It tells a story while also being inspiring.

5 Stars – I really enjoyed this one! Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon. Be sure to follow the author’s Stoner on a rollercoaster blog here

Weekly Ramble #50

Weddings can be an incredible thing. I should know, I’ve been to 2 in the past week. Both of which were for some of my best friends and people I know. Whatever your outlook on love and togetherness all reservations and opinions of such are reunited when you see a couple who mean the world to you get together. Sometimes it takes a wedding to truly realise that two people are meant for each other.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become a person who cares less about my own success and more of a person who cares to see others do well. Perhaps that’s me being the connoisseur of stories, seeing real characters in this world answer to destiny and succeeding.

In fact there is nothing more in this world that I want than to see others achieve success and to find themselves. Of course love can be a huge part of that for many of us, but there are folks out there who are yet to find such things and can still be happy. Perhaps happiness like love is in the eye of the beholder.

Being just a few days removed of my own brother’s wedding I am starting to process how special that day was, not only for him and his now wife but for the family and friends that were part of it. Families have a way of drifting apart for whatever reason but life is too damn short and sometimes it takes something like a wedding to reunite old memories and acquaintances. Family, friends and love is important to us all, it’s what makes us truly human.

I think I nailed the best man’s speech. They laughed and enjoyed my words which were from the heart. There was emotion, laughter and fun – not just in my speech.

In a world where many of us all have our own struggles, it was days like that which make it all worth it and you probably know the saying by now, ‘love is all you need..’