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Write. Dammit. Change.

There are two major things that hold back writers: one, is coming by paid work and two, a massive fear of failure. Both, are completely spineless excuses and I have been guilty of both.

When I started freelancing, I felt like a fraud. I still do. How do you know when you’ve made it? When you start to make a living from it? Is that the answer?

I am a writer because I write. It doesn’t always have to be paid work to make that true and I sure as hell don’t need validation from someone who thinks they know better. I recently read an article that talked about being and becoming a writer. Through the author’s humour he makes this point quite clear, if you want to be a writer, you need to write! And write, I do. I blog and book review. Sure they don’t amount to a pay cheque but I haven’t stopped.

There are two major things that hold back writers: one, is coming by paid work and two, a massive fear of failure. Both, are completely spineless excuses and I have been guilty of both. Sure, I put myself (and my finances) out there when I first ventured into freelancing but ultimately I still withheld my best efforts out fear. Fear of not being good enough. Not being legit enough. As if every editor I contacted would see that I was a bit of a newbie to the business. It’s ridiculous because there is no real price for failure. If anything actually, the price is eventual success as you can’t learn and find success without all that failure brings.

Now it’s not easy to get paid work, especially when you don’t know where to look for it but I’ve learned a few things. I know how to pitch an article and who I need to be contacting and read a lot of books to learn about the process of doing so. I have however, also learned that I don’t like making pitches or even the prospect of generating my own work. I function better knowing where my work is coming from and having stricter deadlines. I worked well in a marketing agency doing the majority of their copywriting. Steady writing, but dull content. But that’s life isn’t it? Nothing, not even the idea of a dream job is perfect. And dreams are a lot of fucking work. If they were easy we would all be doing something ideal. Getting the paid gigs comes with relentless persistence and getting your name out there. This is where I have lacked, but that is about to change. It’s time to take what I have learned and exchange them for new experiences.

Writing is about being real to what it is that you want to write about it and just doing it. I’m not talking about displaying my inner feelings to the world like a teenager, that isn’t the point. It’s about having and opinion and sharing ideas. Nothing reads better than passion too. Writing lively and engaging content comes from passion, research and intent. But I digress.

I am changing the direction of this blog. It will still be about books but it needs much more personal flare and ambition. I am reaching for more. I am a writer because I write, but I need to get my name out there and practice higher quality writing. I may not know exactly what kind of writing work I want to get into but I’m going to start pitching again. I’m also going to start including content on this blog that is reflective of my writing practice and views. Stay tuned for a new name and look.

 

 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Claire meets the love of her life when she is six years old. His name is Henry and at the time of their first meeting he is a grown man. Now, this isn’t as creepy as it sounds!

Well written love stories do exist!

4/5 stars.
Hardcover, 518 pages.
Read from July 11 to 13, 2016.

This is one of those books that kept popping up for me. It has been repeatedly added to some of the top to-read lists, like the “100 Books to Read Before you Die”, which I tend to check once an a while to see how many I’ve read. That was this motivating factor that made me pick up this novel. Though the list hasn’t always provided me with good reading, for example “On the Road“, this one turned out to be a real gem.  I also knew it was popular but had no idea what the plot was about, which is just how I like it.

Claire meets the love of her life when she is six years old. His name is Henry and at the time of their first meeting he is a grown man. Now, this isn’t as creepy as it sounds! Henry has the ability to travel through time, though he cannot control it. It often happens during times of stress and he does not know where he will end up, though usually on a different plane of his own history. Henry discovered he had this ability as a young boy and with his abilities was actually able to mentor his young self. However, this ability is far from a gift as it has often puts him in very dangerous situations.

When Henry time-travels, his clothes do not come with him and this is how he meets Claire. Claire who is sitting in her favourite spot in a pasture comes across Henry, naked. She provides him with clothes and the two of them begin to get to know each other, well, Claire gets to know Henry anyway, as Henry has already shared part of his life with Claire in his present. Claire becomes infatuated with Henry as she grows older and Henry does his best to keep the knowledge of the future from her. Claire worries about Henry and about what situations he will find himself in when he travels naked and alone. She does not know how long he will be gone for and if he will be okay.

As the two of them work to try and determine the cause of Henry’s genetic mutation for time travel, Henry learns something about his future that will shake the love that they share.

Now what was great about this novel is that the plot wasn’t overly romanticized. You know what I mean, the cheesiness that comes with sappy romance plots. I can honestly say, that I enjoyed every bit of this novel because of that. The author managed to pull off a well written love story that didn’t make me want to barf by the end! The author also did a magnificent job with the rotating time frames and narrators.  I never felt lost or confused so the author set out her chapters appropriately. Additionally the book deals with a science fiction topic, like time travel and makes it relatable and realistic. The author doesn’t glorify time travel, in fact she shows us the nitty grittiness of it and how much it devastates Claire and Henry. Time travel brings them together but it also tears them apart.

Overall this is one of the better novels I have read this last year. I would recommend this book to nearly everyone. I mean, unless you’re completely against romance stories. Or time travel. Then don’t. But it’s your loss!

 

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

An important classic, but it doesn’t mean I have to like.

I think Herman Melville would have married a freaking whale if that had been possible. Obsessed a bit? Well this book is about obsession so it suits. An important classic, but it doesn’t mean I have to like.

2/5 stars.
ebook, 684 pages.
Read from June 10 to July 10, 2016.

Alright, this post is late. I’ll admit it. I haven’t quite been able to get back into the swing of things since coming back from a trip home and starting work again. Not much of an excuse but it is what it is.

Man, where to start with this book. I had such high hopes for it and the first couple of chapters I was really excited. However, Melville kept diverting off the main story line and obsessively talked about the intricacies of whales. I wanted to care, but I just couldn’t.

Ishmael is a sailor who fancies a shot a whaling and adventure. He travels over to the Massachusetts and stays in a whaler’s inn in hopes of getting in with a crew. However the inn is short on space and so he must share a bed with a veteran whaler and native named Queequeg. While initially repulsed by the native’s pagan ways and body tattoos, the two men strike up an uncanny friendship. They both aboard the Pequod with the mysterious captain Ahab. Ahab is missing a leg, to which the men and his crew quickly learn was caused by a sperm whale with a white hump. Ahab is obsessed with the whale and is set on revenge. On this journey, men are saved from near death experiences, while some go mad, but the adventure all comes to its climax with the hunt of the infamous white whale.

The best part about this book was the relationship that Ishmael and Queequeg had. The first few chapters about their meeting had me laughing out loud and I thought that I was going to be in for a great read. Sadly, that majority of the book is full of long and distracting chapters about minute details about whales and whale hunting and I felt like I barely got to know these two main characters. Don’t get me wrong, I know why Melville did this, it was because the public knew practically nothing about whales/whale hunting at this time so all of the information he included with his story would have been absolutely riveting for its readers at the time of its first publication. This book also captures a short piece of history of when much of our fuel came from whale blubber. That is why this book is important. But just because it’s important doesn’t mean I have to like it.

All I wanted to read about was what the characters were doing. Every time a chapter about whale trivia came up I felt my eyes glaze over and I quickly forgot where I was in the book and what was going. However, an important theme in this book is obsession so it suits that Melville is just as mad about whales as Ahab. The ending was pretty epic, I will admit that but I’m not sure it was worth the few hundred pages I had to read to get to it.

Overall I felt I would have had more enjoyment reading an abridged version of this book (and I never say that). The writing is good and the plot promises much, but its hard to get past the long essays in between. I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves classics and especially for those who love whales are interested in the history of whale hunting.