Why Do I Write?

Sometimes we need to go back to the beginning. To understand why we started to do something, so we can appreciate the journey. I have been creatively blocked for a while and most of the art I have created has felt forced. I decided to take a short break from writing poetry and posting it to Instagram, not because I don’t adore the community on there, because I do, but because I had forgotten my roots, my reasons for writing. I started to question why I write and it led me to find some of my old poetry, poems and stories I wrote as a young child and teen.

When I opened up the dusty Pokemon tin that lives in a drawer beneath my bed, I smiled at the stack of paper that had been folded neatly, hidden away in a box for nearly two decades. This is where it truly began for me as a writer. I started penning down poetry when I was 7 years old and stories at 10 years old. One of the first poems, that I managed to find, was about a dog and it was written when I was 8 years old.

A sweet poem with simple rhymes. Although I am quite impressed that I rhymed “food” with “intrude” at such a young age. Once I knew how to rhyme, I was unstoppable. Many poems followed. I was a unique child. I even knew it at the time. I always felt different, I was compelled to carry a notebook and pen and write, sketch, doodle anything that lived inside my innocent and growing mind.

I always say to people, even now, that I didn’t choose poetry, it chose me. Whenever I feel uninspired or want to give up writing altogether, I remind myself that some things are much bigger than me. The universe wanted me to be a writer. It wanted me to be a storyteller. I must continue. I must write. It’s in the innermost parts of my soul.

As I grew up, my language and themes naturally evolved. I would write about the seasons, dreams and what I can only describe as puppy love. Rhyming couplets, dotting my i’s with hearts. I did have a chuckle at some of the things I found. I was drawn to a poem titled Dreams, that I penned when I was 11-years-old and felt a warming sense of nostalgia, remembering a positive little girl that believed in the beauty of her dreams and had not yet been broken by the upheaval of this calamitous world.

Life is like a balancing beam, if you fall get up again.

— advice from my 11-year-old self.

At 12 years old, I was more ambitious than ever to pen stories. But no one knew it. Everyone saw a shy preteen who liked to perform on a stage to grow her confidence. But I kept the writer part of me hidden. I became self-conscious, as most teenage girls do. I didn’t believe in my talent. But in hindsight, reading this work back with adult eyes. There is clearly talent emerging…

The sky is griddled with pink and grey. Black rain falls. Moonlight filters through the trees. Each blade of grass glistens, spiked by frost. The breath that escapes me is dazzled. Like a stone falling in a pond, circles and circles of love ripple through me.

— excerpt from Descriptions (aged 12)

By 15 years old, I had written many stories and poems. A lot of them were typed at this stage, as like most teenage girls growing up in the early 2000’s, I was glued to a computer screen. But, I found this short story, a poignant tale of a daughter visiting her mother’s grave. I guess my love for melancholic stories and using emotive language to draw the reader in started here.

My throat was dry like the ancient stone walls surrounding the church. I knelt down, holding back the tears. The pain of guilt overwhelmed me.

— Excerpt from a short story (15 years old)

Now I fast forward, to now. At 28 years old. I have a published poetry book Darkness & Light, which is a ten-time bestseller on Amazon. 4.5k followers on my poetry page on Instagram. A successful collaborative poetry project called First Line Poets and an anthology on the way. I am proud of myself. Despite the setbacks, the obstacles, the years that passed by without putting pen to paper, I truly found my love for writing again. I think we always find our way back to things that are meant to be.

So, I fondly tucked away these poems and stories back into my childhood memory box. They have given me the push I needed. To keep moving forward. To keep writing. To keep carving stories and writing my truth. The moment that my pen stops moving, I lose the essence of me, who I really am. I am a writer, a poet, a storyteller. Stories live in the marrow of my bones. It is up to me now, to write them and share them with the world.

The Fault In Our Stars Film Review

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The Fault In Our Stars is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent and witty teenager living with terminal cancer. Her parents encourage her to attend a cancer support group and it is there that she meets to love of her life Augustus Waters.

Hazel and Augustus embark on an ambitious journey to grant Hazel’s only wish, she wants to know how her favourite Imperial Affliction ends. After contacting the author and taking a life changing trip to Amsterdam, the two fall in love and enjoy every moment they have together.

I read the novel shortly before the film release, but knowing the contents of the story did not spoil the film adaptation for me it only enhanced the emotions I felt as I turned the pages of the heartbreaking novel. I often feel an aching disappointment when I watch film adaptations of novels I feel emotionally attached to but in this particular situation, the film amazed me with it’s similarities to the book. John Green stayed clear of the typical cancer clichés and approached the story in an original way, the film also achieved this.

The film is sombre in places but the balance is restored with lots of laugh out loud moments between the cute on screen couple. The chemistry was electric between Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort and many readers will agree with me when I say that they are the perfect Hazel and Gus.

The plot of the book and film isn’t anything exceptional but the story is character driven and the beautiful simplicity of young love pushes the story forward and keeps you on the edge of tears from beginning to end.

The Fault In Our Stars is a roller coaster of emotions and it explores the honest, funny and thrilling moments of being alive and in love.

Five Stars!

‘Now Is Good’ Film Review

 nowisgoodNow Is Good is an inspiring film about a teenager fighting Leukemia, you will definitely be reaching for the tissues.

Based on the novel Before I Die by Jenny Downham, this film may be packed full of clichés, but I think I can make an exception for this film. I read the book over a year ago and no book has ever affected me in the same way since.  A story that will make you feel enlightened with tears of joy and tears of sadness. The story follows Tessa (Dakota Fanning) a seventeen year old girl who makes up a bucket list of things to do before she dies. Refusing anymore treatment, Tessa decides to love every single moment of the life she has left. Making her way through her list she finds something that isn’t on the original list – love. The handsome next door neighbor Adam is exactly what Tessa needs to fill her last months with joyous moments. She realizes that the little things in life are more important, like talking to your brother, holding your father’s hand or simple lying next to the one you love.

I felt so connected to the characters in the book and expected to feel the same way with the film. However,  I felt that the film lacked the same connection. This often happens when books are adapted into films. However, the moments in the book that made me cry translated perfectly to screen. Each character has their own way with dealing with Tessa’s illness. Her father is ‘cancer obsessed’, seeking an answer to try and take all of her pain away. Her mother is quite a selfish character, too wrapped up in her own life to care about her daughter. When Tessa needs her mother the most she pulls through but I still disliked her character.

What I loved about the main character Tessa is her attitude. She doesn’t let cancer change who she is. She is witty, confident and optimistic for the most part. Knowing what was coming didn’t affect the way I watched this film. Sometimes it isn’t the ending that needs to be a surprise, it’s the moments leading up to it. Even though this film was heartbreaking, I felt a sense of joy when it ended. The film is uplifting and makes you realize how short life really is.  A true gem. I would definitely watch it again.

Rating – 5 Stars