Gotta love a bit of Shakespeare 

Hi! 

Look at me writing two blogs within 2 days😊 Fingers crossed this streak continues!

I was disillusioned with Shakespeare for so long – mainly because it had been improperly taught to me and forced down my throat from the age of 7 when I couldn’t really comprehend it and the complexity of his writing. It wasn’t until I was in my final year of University doing a Shakespeare module where I fell in love with good ol’ William. My lecturer was so passionate and taught his work in a way that was digestible, understandable and most of all, enjoyable. I finally understood why he was a big deal in the literary world – his prose, poetry, descriptions and language are just sublime. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a few plays I don’t like ***controversial opinion upcoming*** like Romeo and Juliet (🤤). Why this one you ask? Again I’ve been forced to read, react and perform this since the age of about 10 over and over and over again. I think by the time I was 14 I was so sick of it. I mean once again, don’t get me wrong, I’ll watch Leonardo DiCaprio in all his 90’s cute glory at any given point in the day, but the play itself I just can’t bring myself to enjoy reading. Maybe I need to bite the bullet and give it another go…maybe.

But I will say this about Shakespeare. All his plays are strongly rooted in terms of genre – whether it be tragedy, comedy or history – and his characters are widely flawed, human, and real. That’s what makes his play so memorable and so contemporary at the same time. There’s a reason why he’s stuck in the public mind for over 400 years. His plays, while written in the Elizabethan era, are so adaptable and transferable for any time period or actor.

Coriolanus is my favourite play of his. It’s classed as a tragedy, but like so many of Shakespeare’s plays there’s overlaps with other genres. It’s so witty (I think anyway), and relatable especially in these recent times. I was lucky enough to see Tom Hiddleston’s performance at the NT which was incredible (and he’s super hot too🙊). Please give it a read if you haven’t! 

Ah Shakespeare, you keep on doing your thing❤

xo 

All kinds of cliches

Hello☺

So nearly 2 months on from this blog post, have I managed to change things? Well…yes and no. So far I have:

  1. Utilised my time more effectively in the mornings on my commute into work by reading more🎉
  2. Taken a notebook around with me everywhere as well so that I can jot down all my ideas and thoughts. I’m actually loving this one! Just writing down my ramblings on paper made me realise how much I miss the simple act of putting pen to paper.

Aaaaand that’s pretty much it🙈 Although 2/5 from my list isn’t too bad I guess. I’m still a little annoyed that I haven’t been able to implement the others, or even get a start on them. Work has been super hectic this month and I’m really hoping after this week everything dies down a heck of a lot so I can invest more time into my writing and reading even more.

I did come across the below quote by Stephen King recently that really made me snap back into focus and realise what it is I’m passionate about. Writing has always been something I’ve never been 100% comfortable with. I mean don’t get me wrong, I can write a damn good essay, but that’s pretty much it. Facts, opinions and a strong solid subject. But writing for myself has always alluded me because I think I’m just not good enough. That my writing won’t be as inviting or intriguing as some of the amazing work I’ve read by my favourite authors, or my peers. But it’s this kind of thinking that’s held me back, and probably holds a lot of people back. Doing something (whatever it may be) for the sake of others, whomever they may be, won’t allow you to reach your full potential. Do whatever makes you happy for you. After all, you’re going to be the one investing your time and emotion, no-one else. It needs to make you happy.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ― Stephen King

As a lover and student of literature, I know it’s been buried deep within me to write a novel or something one day, even if it’s just for myself and no-one else. I would love to devote more time to it if I can. Hopefully this blog will inspire me to keep on going.

xo

Manchester <3 

Hello everyone, slightly different theme for today’s blog.

Today’s a pretty sombre day for me as a Mancunian. Last night some absolute tool thought to senselessly attack an arena full of children, young people and their parents/guardians.

22 innocent people died and it makes me sick to my core. I just can’t comprehend how someone walks into a place and decides to cause so much suffering, whether on a whim or with a calculated plan. Neither one is justified no matter what. When I woke this morning and heard the news of the devastating attacks I felt almost violated in a way. Manchester is my home. I was born and raised here. How dare somebody come into my city and attack my fellow Mancunians?! I won’t stand for this, and I never will no matter where injustice might lie. But this was personal because it a struck so close home. I may not have known those targeted personally, but I feel connected to them. 

But then today Manchester did what it does best. As a city, as a community, as loving and peaceful city folk we drove out in our thousands to commemorate those who’d had their lives taken from them. We came out in our thousands to say not today! You won’t break us today nor will you ever! We will never succumb to hatred or fear. My hometown shone it’s brightest over the last 24 hours and it makes me proud as hell to call myself a Manc.

“The thing about Manchester is that it all comes from here❤” – Noel Gallagher 

xo

Making time for reading, and yourself

Hi 🙂

Well it’s been a while hasn’t it! To quote Rihanna ‘work, work, work, work, work, work’ has been the bane of my life for the past few weeks. And it’s only gonna get worse *cue tears*

I hate it when my days get filled up with so much work that it affects my own personal time, as I’m sure many of you do. So much less time to do the things I love – like reading or writing. Buuuuut *cue fanfare and megaphone* NO MORE I SAY! A work life/personal life balance is key to stop you from imploding, so that’s what I’m gonna make a conscious effort to do. And *fans self excitedly* I’ve even come up with a list of things to implant that will hopefully help me get that balance back:

1) Make time for reading on my route to work – instead of sleeping (😁) on the tram/bus whip out a book and utilise my time wisely.

2) Carry a notebook with me at all times so I can jot down any ideas wherever I am. 

3) Put aside at least an hour a night for reading/writing so that I’m not just sat in front of the laptop/tv/my phone until I’m in bed. Clear my mind 😌

4) If I have to stay late/bring work home with me plan my time more efficiently so I’m not procrastinating (this one’s easier said that done but I’m gonna try!) 

5) Talk about literature more. With anyone, family and friends. I really miss having discussions and just chit chat about books so much so that I’m setting up a book club at work.

This week was mental health awareness week and really made me think about my own mental health and wellbeing. It’s so important to make time for yourself and to give yourself and your mind the time it needs to rest and recuperate. Work should NEVER EVER take up so much of your life that it begins to affect your health physically or mentally. I think it’s so important to take even just something as small as an hour for yourself and do something you love – paint, draw, create, read – whatever it might be. 

Take care of yourself.

xo

Calling: all romantics

Hello there my fellow romantics 🙂

I feel like that word gets a lot of flak nowadays, ‘romantic.’ You tell people that you’re a romantic and they give you that pitying sort of look and words to the effect of oh, bless you. You’re so naive and idealistic. The real world doesn’t work like that.

Oh boo to you.  

So I may have watched a few too many films set in New York or London where people meet and instantly fall head over heels in love (Serendipity, I’m looking straight at you), or read books full of brilliant heroines and dashing heroes. 

But sue me. I can’t help it. Escapism, naivety, innocence, call it what you will, I say it’s a kind of hope. From the first time I read Pride & Prejudice I was hooked. Not because of the romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, but of the way Austen doesn’t allow it to be the be all and end all for her characters. It’s something to be incorporated into a life to make it stronger, not to define it or make someone weaker. Austen’s characters, the intensity with how she writes them, and the life she pours into each one of them and her plots make them so relatable. So I guess I could blame Jane Austen for my so called ‘unrealistic expectations.’

So give me more romance. Give me all of the corny, cliche, idealistic stories. I’ll gladly take them. I’m not saying I’m an optimist (if anything I’m a realist), but in this world of cynics and pessimists we could all do with a bit more love to shine a light through the despair of it all ❤

xo

 

 

Where are all the non-white, non-male authors?

Hello 🙂

With an undergraduate degree and an (almost) masters in English, it’s safe to say I’ve read a looot of literature. But the funny, and ridiculously laughable thing is, it wasn’t until I was in my 3rd year of doing my BA that I was hit with the sudden startlingly clear realisation of oh shit, the literary world isn’t just restricted to straight white male western European authors. 

My day of enlightenment happened when I had to find an author and one of their plays, for one of my modules, and argue why they should be included in the syllabus. While I was researching that’s when I noticed it. A crippling lack of novelists, poets, playwrights that weren’t white or straight or male or European (or American for that fact). My happy little literature bubble had burst 😦

I mean, I was obviously aware of the fact that the literary world didn’t become wispy vapours disappearing into the night once you left Europe, but in my mind it diminished severely in quantity, and if there was other literature out there, it was *gulp* primitive in quality. As a British born Pakistani you’d have thought I would’ve been more aware of my literary heritage right? Nope. Right from primary school up until university I had been kept in this strict sphere of straight white, British, Irish, American male authors (with the odd female or coloured writer thrown in to ‘keep the balance’). I remember this intense rage of you lied to me! sitting there in the library surrounded by said authors.    

The removal of so many types of authors, playwrights, poets, novelists from women, to people of colour, to transgender, those of different cultures, to LGBTQ, (the list goes on and on), is a failure and tragedy of the literary world. We are better with them than we are without, and we need to make a conscious effort not to exclude but to include. As a society we will be richer for it. It’s a reason why I seriously believe so many people are disillusioned with literature. If you only provide one style of writing or model of what an author ‘should be,’ how can you expect to appeal to those who don’t conform to those so-called norms?

So please get out there and discover different authors and literature, or write your own! I promise you, you will find something to fall in love with.

xo

Why literature?

Hello to anyone reading this 🙂

I decided (on a work whim) to try my hand at writing about what I know best – FYI its BOOKS 😀 (or at least I like to think so anyway), and before I knew it I’d set up this blog (eek). As it’s my first blog, I thought I’d start off with why I love literature. Let’s see how this goes!

It’s a hard question to answer really. There’s not a definitive answer because, like to many people, it means so many different things (but definitely dependent on my mood!) For the LONGEST time whenever people asked me but why do you like to read so much? my reply was just oh, well I find it interesting or you know, it’s just something I’ve liked to do since I was a kid. 

But to us bibliophiles it’s so much more than that. It’s the smell, the feel of the book in your hand, the excitement of starting and immersing yourself in a new story with new characters and lands you never knew your mind could conjure. Most people don’t understand purely because it’s something they’re just not that passionate about, and that’s fine. They’ll be like oh yeah that’s cool if you try to explain it.

I found a quote a few years ago by Lynda Barry and Susan Kirtley in their absolutely brilliant comic strip novel Girlhood through the Looking Glass(definitely recommend, it’s ace!) that as soon as I read I was like this. This is it.

“But paper and ink have conjuring abilities of their own. Arrangements of lines and shapes, of letters and words on a series of pages make a world we can dwell and travel in.”

That quote for me sealed it. I was like this is how I can explain literature to people, to include them in my passion rather than push them onto the sidelines just because they won’t ‘get it.’ They don’t have to understand it, that’s completely fine, I’m not psyched about maths or engineering or any number of things that thousands of people are passionate about.

The point is to let people see your passion, whatever it may be, and to not shy away from it. Embrace it. Let the world know this is something you love.

xo