4 Bullet Journal Tips for Beginners: How To Start A Bullet Journal +BuJo Spread Ideas

4 Bullet Journal Tips for Beginners: How To Start A Bullet Journal +BuJo Spread Ideas

What is Bullet Journalling?

Bullet Journalling is a fun, therapeutic way to customise how you organise your time and interests. For those who do not know, it is a diary/ journal that you build for yourself using your own unique themes and keys.

What do you need for Bullet Journalling?

To start a bullet journal, you need a journal, this is usually dotted or plain though some people use lined journals. Along with this blank journal, you will also need some pens, markers and colouring pencils.

4 Bullet Journal Tips

1. Get Inspiration
Watch YouTube videos and use the internet for inspiration and drawing tips. If you’re not too creative or prefer function over style, use stencils and adapt what you have observed to create the right spreads for you.
2. Personalise
Create bullet journals that reflect your day to day activities, helps track your goals and matches your personality and needs. This will increase your usage and genuinely help you organise.
3. Perfectionism
It is easier said than done but avoid perfectionism and panicking about the layout, neatness and focus on the the functionality aspect of the bullet journal.
4. Enjoy and have fun
Focus on enjoying the process and working towards developing new skills such as organisation, creativity and a commitment to personal development

Bullet Journal Spreads (One)-April 2020

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Bullet Journal Spreads (Two)



LAST YEAR- JULY
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Bullet Journal Spreads (Three)

LAST YEAR- JUNE
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A Simple Tool To Track Creative Writing Opportunities

A Simple Tool To Track Creative Writing Opportunities

This blog post will provide you with a free Excel worksheet that allows you to organise your creative opportunities in one place. You can see the status, deadline, priority, level of progress, requirements and notes all in one place. This fully functional worksheet is a free download.

This worksheet has four main tabs which are: the writing opportunities log, the completion rate tracker, difficulty and intensity tracker and performance tracker.

Continue reading “A Simple Tool To Track Creative Writing Opportunities”

How to Start a Skincare Routine: ft Procoal London | AD

How to Start a Skincare Routine: ft Procoal London | AD

Investing in my skin used to be something I thought of as vain or shallow, not because of the benefits and the healthiness of the skin but because of the ways products are promoted to make us feel younger and prettier. It wasn’t until recently that I started to see skincare as part of wellbeing. Another aspect of this was that I didn’t know where to start or which products would work for my skin. If you are thinking about embarking on a journey for affordable skincare regimen. Here are five essential types of products that you can try in order to look after your skin:

1. Facial Scrub

 

This scrub can be used by men or women. For me personally, it exfoliates well and allows me to cleanse my face quickly and efficiently. I like the minty smell and doesn’t require too much as it exfoliate my dry skin. However it can be used for any skin types. It includes ingredients such as Calendula Oil, Allantoin and Activated Charcoal.

2. Cleanser

A good cleanser will leave your face feeling smooth and clear. I like to use my exfoliator brush to scrub my face then rinse it off with warm water.

3. Toner

I use a liquid toner by pouring small amounts onto a cotton wool pads and cleaning around my face and neck to achieve clearer skin.

Continue reading “How to Start a Skincare Routine: ft Procoal London | AD”

An Analysis of Maps by Doug Hoekstra

An Analysis of Maps by Doug Hoekstra

Carrying maps we move
through battlegrounds and trails,
roadways, displays and
museums built of alabaster
on swamps in cities marked with
European names

Following blue lines, red circles
street signs and highway markers
compass points and scale
measuring distance between places
and distant constellations
that will one day disappear

Slipping into another form
catching glimpses of the future
cherished and held in
our collective past, pressed
between magnetic pages
reframed and then…reclaimed

Pulling on my sleeve, he’s
always looking up, always,
even when I lose my way
in all cardinal directions
and happen upon a clearing
beyond my imagination

Where lightning grows quiet and
waterfalls rise and
colors disguise and
the reversal of time
senseless with meaning
–– perfectly cast together

Analysis

Stanza One

Maps is a poetry in which I believe is a metaphor for a journey which is the purpose of a map- to help navigate people from their current location to their destination. Initially it takes us through battlegrounds and trails which is a juxtaposition. This juxtaposition is contrasted to be active and passive. Then, the adventure softens up through the third line of ‘roadways, displays and museums built of alabaster’ This soft imagery of beauty is stark in the sense that the write lets us know that it is built on swamps. This is a poignant metaphor with historical connotations. Since the battleground signifies war, and alabaster signifies the archaic and we know that these cities have ‘European Names’. We can then infer that this journey is a walk through history.

Stanza Two

The next stanza is a walk in the present. We can infer this through the use of the neutral and simple descriptions. The red and blue lines are centred around public transport maps such as train stations and subways. In the fourth, fifth and sixth line of the poem, we know that this person yearns for something more. The line ‘measuring distance between places and distant constellations that will one day disappear’. It highlights that this person is a day dreamer comparing his gaze to something that is far away.

Stanza Three

The third stanza embodies the message of the poem. The ‘slipping into another form’ phrase highlights the variety of maps . The phrase catching glimpses into the future suggests that maps are for places we haven’t been yet. Hence the catching glimpses of the future. It is evident that we are unaware of it. This is then contrasted with the past places we have been and treasured so that we’ve pressed the magnetic pages, reframed and reclaimed it.

Stanza Four and Five

The penulitmate and final stanza gets personal. We get a sense of youth or someone young. This is infered through the line which states that the person is short enouhgh to pull on the subject sleeve and is always looking up. More importantly, it seems to be something similar to a promise. It states that the should the subject ever lose way and reach a place (clearing) beyond imagination.

In essence, the journey will fit perfectly together in a place where lightening grows quiet, waterfalls rise and colors disguise and there is a reversal of time. This can be looked at in two ways:

a) Positively: Through an idyllic nature-centred lens
b) Negatively: The journey becomes a place where what is hoped and imagined is contradictory.

So this begs the question of whether the map is a journey of the past, present and future?

What do you think the map signifies?

Thank you for reading!

Mind, Body and Soul: A Brief Guide to Self Care

Mind, Body and Soul: A Brief Guide to Self Care

The mind, body and soul are key areas of focus when it comes to self care. This is because they intersect. I find self-care to be an important message that people need to remind themselves each day. It cannot be shared enough. I see a lot of inspirational content on Instagram, Twitter and even here on lifestyle blogs that are very moving and it makes me happy to see people appreciate who they are and how they can be even greater! One thing I would like to dispel is that self care is not just about losing weight or dieting or even drinking slimming tea (thank God!).

To me, self care can be defined as:

The condition of loving yourself so much that you choose not to compromise your health and wellbeing.

Here are seven ways in which you can actively practise self care: Continue reading “Mind, Body and Soul: A Brief Guide to Self Care”

Book Review: Eye Level by Jenny Xie

Book Review: Eye Level by Jenny Xie

Eye Level is a short poetry collection written by Jenny Xie published this year. When reading any poetry collection, I am always curious to find out how the title formalised and look for links between the poetry and the title. This intersection was revealed in the poem Ongoing which states “She had trained herself to look for answers at eye level, but they were lower, they were changing all the time’ 

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE TITLE?

The title is very simple yet metaphorical. To me, eye level means seeing the ordinary and not actively looking to see the deeper meaning. It embodies the readers perception on subject matters of the poems which are open and metaphorical but to the reader, they also have the choice to see the semantics or read the piece at ‘eye level.’ or even both!

Continue reading “Book Review: Eye Level by Jenny Xie”

What Origami Taught Me

What Origami Taught Me

To the sceptic, origami is folding paper. To the rational, origami is full of instructions. To the idealist, origami is a movement. But to the creative, origami is the vision that is created by diligent hands. – Hannah Williams

This Thursday, I had the opportunity to participate in an Origami class hosted by Toshiko called the Happy Origami Wonderland. This experience was sponsored by Indytute which is an online platform allowing you to purchase experiences such as origami classes as gifts that you and your loved ones can participate in.

Now, I went into this class completely oblivious to how difficult origami can be. However, it was fine because most people in the class were beginners just like me. The class is a two person experience so my sister came along and we had fun bonding together over this workshop.

Before I delve into what I learnt in the class, I would like to take a moment to appreciate the culture of the art-form by pointing out what I learnt about origami:

  1. I understood the meaning behind the crane as a symbol of hope. In fact, one thousand cranes was the exact number in the Japanese culture.
  2. There is a specialist origami paper which is much softer.
  3. Origami can be therapeutic. There is also mindfulness origami in which the tutor also specialises in.

In addition to learning about the culture and history of origami, I also learnt about myself from taking this class. Here is what I learnt:

  1. Be a doer and not a watcher: I noticed that because I was anxious, I began watching rather than doing which in turn made it difficult for me to keep up. So after being helped by the wonderful teacher, I was able to get back on track with the class.
  2. Practice:  When I completed the final piece of the flying crane and it looked fine, I settled for that and didn’t push myself to try again or even practise/ perfect what I have already made. This is a completely complacent attitude and to get the full experience, it was important that I personally try to practise and not leave what I learnt at the workshop.
  3. Ask for help: Don’t be embarrassed to ask others and the instructor for help. It can be simple questions but as long as it needs answering they are VERY valid.

Overall, origami is an activity that requires the ability to listen carefully, follow instructions and solve problems through intuition, common sense and even to some extent team work especially in a group.

Here are the pictures of the Crane and the Japanese Maple Leaf made in the class

 

Origami Gif
Here is a GIF of my patterned origami crane (bird). It actually flies!

For more information on this Origami class or other available workshops, please feel free to visit:

Website: Indytute

Twitter: The Indytute

Also, check out the instructor Happy Origami Wonderland on Twitter and Instagram for class information and lovely origami creations!

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty Five: No Longer Collecting Thank You By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty Five: No Longer Collecting Thank You By Hannah Williams

I am collecting all the thank you I have ever received. I’m gathering them up to burn it and have it cremated. From here on hence, I don’t use them anymore. Or rather I’m not allowing people to use it on me.  I have crossed the ocean for you and seared my feet amongst volcanoes. If the extra mile was required, I have traveled to space. Should you require a coat, I have bought you the winter collection. Yet, all I earned was your thank you. If you bought me a card, even worse, you took the time to reflect on everything I did for you and condense the worth into a fragment of the trees. Now you’re just taking oxygen away from me. I have too much thank you from being passive when I thought I was kind. If thank you was a sword, I have been stabbed in the back too many a-time. Its just words you pluck and you don’t mean it true. Your thank you are formalities and not because of what I do. Or rather what I did. I’m leaving you alone to wallow in your so-called politeness. When you’re done with the eyeservice take the ‘you are not welcome’ as my kind-heartedness .

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Don’t Call Us Dead By Danez Smith

Book Review: Don’t  Call Us Dead By Danez Smith

Don’t Call Us Dead is a poetry collection which I found quite heavy to read due to the depth and intensity of the topics. It varies from a range of issues such as the police brutality, what it means to be black in America and discusses the endemic of HIV.

What do you think of the title?

The title is cemented in the first poem summer, somewhere which states ‘please, don’t call us dead, call us alive someplace better.’  This summarises the political climate of what it means to be black in America.  To simply put it,  I believe the title is a juxtaposition or a bitter-sweet comparison exploring the contrast of death and life. Continue reading “Book Review: Don’t Call Us Dead By Danez Smith”

An Analysis of Bitter Waters Translated By Shash Trevett

An Analysis of Bitter Waters Translated By Shash Trevett
Bitter Waters (Translated by Shash Trevett)

See these lines on my upturned palm.

They are the rivers of tears
that have washed my face.

They are the rivers of blood
that have washed my land.

Flowing first in trickles, then streams
and then in torrents:

they are the swells of voices
that have cried out our shame.

They are the swell of voices
that have cried out our shame.

They lie etched on my skin,
coursing through the creases and ridges

to pool into stories and tales.

I shall tell if these
for the generations to come.

See these hands all twisted and bent. 

These are the scars I bear 
instead of children.

O Motherland, look not to me
 for your warrior.

Bitter Waters exudes the themes of conflicts, bloodshed and some form of political instability.

Form
This poem is written as a free-verse to reflect the overflow of emotions almost like water. There are no rhymes which reflects the intensity and seriousness of the poem. The free-verse can also be reflections of chaos where the events or conflict reigns without amendments of order or justice.

Imagery
The line ‘see the lines in my upturned palm’ almost embodies the meander of a river which is very easy to imagine should you look at your palm. The line ‘ They are rivers of tears’ that have washed my face’ consolidates the imagery of water. This is further intensified by ‘They are rivers of blood that have washed my land’  The imagery of water continues with the phrases ‘tickle’, ‘speech’ and then ‘torrents’ to illustrate the build of chaos and the intensity of the issue. Then we are left with the final water imagery where voices pools into stories and tales.

Final Thoughts
The final line ‘O Motherland, look not to me for your warrior’. I like this line because its powerful. I say powerful because the writers tells the motherland not to expect fighting, strength, ardour or even patriotism.

Why I Write Haikus?

Why I Write Haikus?

Writing haikus has been a simple yet complex process because I am aware that the English form of haikus is very different to what constitutes as a haiku in Japan. This is because sentence structures and syllables are quite different in these two cultures. Yet, the universal essence of nature as the topic of an haiku inspired my haiku album ‘What Nature Said’. In this blog post, I explore my creative process and provide samples to the album so here goes.

What is ‘What Nature Said About?”

What Nature Said is an eighteen track haiku album which explores the literal and metaphysical aspects of nature.

Why did you write ‘What Nature Said?’

I wrote ‘What Nature Said’ because I find writing haiku’s therapeutic and enjoyed the creative process of writing. I have always appreciated haiku and enjoy writing haikus in a way that is personal yet enjoyable to me. The passion I had for writing these pieces is what inspired the project.

What did you enjoy the most about the ‘What Nature Said?

I enjoyed the creative process of writing, recording and producing this album all by myself. It really allowed me to develop life skills such as decision making, creative skills such as recording and editing and career/ business skills such as marketing.  Yet, I will never stop learning even after this haiku album.

Can we get some snippets?

Yes. Below are three samples of my haiku pieces along with the lyrics:

Poverty

A hand that never 
labour. Yet clings to prayer, 
asks for starvation.
On Dreams And Memories
A lucid mirage 
Faint elusive memories 
Reason redundant.

Where can we find out more?

Please head over to Bandcamp for more information.

 

What Nature Said- A Collection of Short Haikus by Hannah Williams (Audio Version)

‘What Nature Said’ is a short collection of audio haikus written, produced and created by Hannah Williams. Each piece explores the various facets of nature on a literal, metaphorical and metaphysical sense. ‘Cherry Blossom’ explores the vivid imagery of colour whilst ‘Lavender’ explores the intersection of plants and healing. ‘Daisy Chains’ is a playful piece exploring naivety and simplicity of the youth.Other eclectic’ pieces includes: ‘Grass’ ‘Autumn’ ’Rain’, ‘Sunrise’, ‘Seaside’ ‘Waterfall’ ‘Silver Lining’, and ‘Flames’. The more poignant pieces are ‘Soil’, ‘Language’ and ‘Speech’ centred to reflect the political state of land and linguistics. Then of course, the musings on books in ‘A Potential Wasted’ and perception of destitution in ‘Poverty’ as well as the conflict between reality and imagination in the piece ‘On Dreams and Visions’. Overall, this collection is bound to make you ponder and bring you closer to nature with its relaxing sounds, soft meditative tone and soothing lyrics.

£0.99

Please feel free to share, comment or let me know what you think?

Thank you for reading!

An Analysis of ‘The Silver Swan’ by Anon

An Analysis of ‘The Silver Swan’ by Anon
The silver swan, who living had no note,
When death approached unlocked her silent throat,
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sung her first and last, and sung no more:
Farewell all joys, O death come close mine eyes,
More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.
                                                                                                                   Anon

‘The Silver Swan’ is almost a metaphorical poem which explores the themes of beauty, elegance, death, pride, fear and arrogance. In fact, we can substitute each of these themes as the subject of the poem and it would still be applicable and relevant. These are some of the key lessons I got from the poem:

  • Elegance, beauty or attractiveness doesn’t alway equal intelligence.
  • Death shouldn’t be the point of regret or courage or even bravery. It should be done in life.
  • Pride and arrogance can be rooted in no substance or talent. Almost an aesthetic rather than functionality.

Poetic Techniques

Oxymoron: In the first line, we have the word ‘living’ which is contrasted with death in the second line.

Contrast: In line four, we have the words ‘first and last’ in the same line which even extends further to ‘no more’. This illustrates the stages,  phases or rites of passage that the swan embarked on. Likewise, the strong comparison between geese and swans complements the line fools than wise.

My Reflection On The Piece

There are various lines which prompts questions and deep thought. For instance the line:

When death approached unlocked her silent throat

This emphasises a lesson (if you will) that on the verge of death shouldn’t be when you say/do the things that you have always wanted to do.

Another line which raises questions is:

Thus sung her first and last, and sung no more:

This begs the questions of why didn’t she sing before? Was it pride? Did she think she was too elegant to sing? I believe it could be a combination of different things such as fear, realisation or even a form of epiphany.

Please comment below on what you think the swan is a metaphor for?

Thank you for reading!

 

 

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty Four: Of Who We Are By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty Four: Of Who We Are By Hannah Williams

What do you say to me?
When you’re done selling broken dreams?
Whilst tears fall down my cheeks like bitter streams.
In my search to redeem what could not be fixed.
Instead of the tepid truth,
You make promises on rainbows that didn’t form after the rain.
Your deception got me dancing on clouds.
It got me wishing on stars.
My reality reaching towards some distant planet- perhaps mars.
Your deception took us that far.
Instead of revelling on the authenticity of who we are.

 

 

Prose/Short Story: The Telling Gaze Of A Caged Bird

Prose/Short Story: The Telling Gaze Of A Caged Bird

Solitary is bitter to starving souls searching for freedom but freedom is what I have always dreamt of. A world where I can sing with the wind and join the chorus of flocking birds singing in the dawn. A life far greater than being a caged bird. I am having the serenity to accept the things I cannot say. I am hoping the Jones will do the same. They tell me too much. In this countryside manor by the lake, there are five caged birds and I’m just one of them. The other four share surnames and are species of the same.

Monday

At 7.45pm Mr. Jones sits in the library watching me in the corner of the room next to loud oak clock. I find solace in the corner as I’m shielded from his jokes whilst he sips on rum and coke. Infused with whisky breath and just when he runs out of punchlines, he confesses by proceeding to tell me his job is clinging on a prayer. Oil is just not as lucrative as it was. Volatility is the thief of riches. I couldn’t help but see, a man who nursed his wounds and numbed his soul with alcohol. He leaves at 9.30pm that Monday.

Tuesday

Mrs. Jones comes back from the local brunch at 2pm dressed in the polka dot dress and black stilettos. she rearranges the flowers in the room. Now all she ever does is decorate. She used to work in the city and now settles for a life in the countryside. I saw the fear in her eyes when she cleaned my cage. She told me caged birds are safe. Perhaps that’s why she never left because she felt safe here.

Wednesday

Thomas Jones came today in search of a law book. He is falling his Tort module. He practices daily on the same speech. How he doesn’t want to seem ungrateful nor cruel. He didn’t really want to go into law school. I saw the tears he holds back just on the fact that he cannot talk to his dad. Then he looks across the window and see his fort. How the adventures outside bought him joy.

Thursday

Kimberly Jones feeds me treats. She’s kind, patient and sweet. I like that she always acknowledges me. She reads to me her favourite books verbatim. I get on with her the most. I’ll never forget the day she sang to me and I couldn’t help but sing too. Melodies melting the metaphysical. Yet, she has no friend at school. She asked me not to tell anyone. So, I won’t tell you too much. If only she felt comfortable enough to open to her parent.

Friday

All hell broke loose and the Jones got scorched. Mr. Jones lost his job at 10.25am. He came to the library to cry. Mrs Jones sat next to him telling him it is an opportunity and a blessing in disguise. All he could comprehend was the house, the car and the lifestyle. He shouted. She cried. I stayed silent pretending to sleep but I was the caged bird that knew everything.

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty Three: Imagine By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty Three: Imagine By Hannah Williams

Imagine a garden
An elusive garden.

You walk past the willow tree
It reflects your silenced state.
Yet you do not cry nor smile.
You did that on your first visit.
I did both on my second.
This is together is our third.
The wind knows our names.
Yet it dares not trouble.
Petals fall beneath your feet.
With no reverence of them
You step solemnly.
With the shroud of your voice stripped.

Solemn sounds are now stolen.
I have seared your silence.

Across the wooden bridge
With an effervescent lake beneath.
I saw the bilingual beauty
Of flora and fauna coexisting.
So, I walked across,
Wading by the waters.
You could have warned me.
Yet I know, in a world with no words.
Actions design the fate.
I died in that lake.
Why did you take the bridge?

Imagine this open space
An elusive place.

Where the Bird of Elegance walks
Asking you to take one of its feathers.
Promising you it will give you a voice.
A voice that makes you speak up.
It is not about your accent or pace.
Nor about dialects and sociolects.
Rather a voice of your own.
Articulated in speech and tone.
Fanning out its feathers
Take one for your shroud.
Let your words walk like the Bird of Elegance.
Parade the prose like a peacock.

Which feather did you pluck?
What did it mean to you?

 

The Children’s Society Writing Competition- What Does It Mean To Be Awkward?- (Character Ideas And Writing Prompts)

The Children’s Society Writing Competition- What Does It Mean To Be Awkward?- (Character Ideas And Writing Prompts)

The Children’s Society has launched a campaign known as Seriously Awkward.This competition seeks short stories inspired by the awkward stage most sixteen and seventeen years old experience.  But what exactly does it mean to be awkward? When I searched for the synonyms of awkward, the dictionary gave definitions such as difficult, stubborn and obstinate. These definitions are indeed wrong but it can often appear to society in this way leading to labels and stereotypes. One thing everyone including myself can be mindful of is looking at situations and people with a compassionate gaze irrespective of their ‘awkwardness’ or differences.

Here are three situations where the compassionate gaze can be practised:

SCENARIO ONE: SUSIE SMELLS
Susie attends school every day. This is not what her school classmates observe- what they notice is her smell. She doesn’t smell very fresh. Nobody knows why and they can never comprehend why she cannot attend to her hygiene.

Compassionate Gaze: Susie lives in abject poverty. A house with regular leaks, little or no hot water and an expensive gas bill which her parents struggle to pay due to their low incomes combined. Susie showers sporadically.

SCENARIO TWO: MYLIE THE MIGHTY
Mylie is a quiet girl. She can be quite moody and a little short-tempered. She bottles up her emotions too much and waits till she reaches a breaking point before she retaliates. Every day in the mathematics class, Joe keeps calling her names. One day, she decided to throw a stool at him out of anger.

Compassionate Gaze: Mylie has some anger issues triggered by domestic violence she sees her mother experiencing. She doesn’t tell anyone and keeps the pain hidden. Her anger builds. She  cannot afford therapy sessions and the mental health waiting list keeps growing making her wait longer.

SCENARIO THREE: MORGAN THE MISGUIDED
Morgan finds it difficult to integrate so when he found bad friends with whom he  became very loyal. A gullible young man thinking he has found a family and community.

Compassionate Gaze:Morgan lacks the guidance  he needs. His mother works night shifts struggling to pay the bills. So when the boys on the estate promises him an illegal  job which makes more money than his mother, he takes the risk with the potential that this illegal occupation could kill him either by the gunshot or the stabbing of a sharp knife. 

By no means are the compassionate gaze excuses or an absolute representation of what people in similar situations go through. These characters whom are purely fictional just offer us an insight into the lives of those experiencing the awkward stage. It is imperative to think with a gaze that sees the compassionate side of things which is better than formulating misconceptions. A little bit of a compassionate gaze makes the world a better place.

Please feel free to use these ideas as inspiration for your entries either as a piece of character development or perhaps the essence of your plot.

You can register to submit your entries here

Or submit your short story directly here.

Thank you very much for reading.

***This blog post is in partnership with the Children’s Society.

An Analysis Of ‘A Guest May Come’ By Vojka Djikic

An Analysis Of ‘A Guest May Come’ By Vojka Djikic

A Guest May Come by Vojka Djikic
(Translated by Chris Agee)

Hold on tight to me
And we’ll find the way home.
There the fire’s still burning
And in the corners
Book lie open
That ought to be read
And the garden’s there to dig
The roses to prune.
Thus it was said
When we mend the roof
And paint the red door red
A guest may come

When I was reading this piece, the biggest question that came to my mind is who could the ‘guest’ be? I gathered that it may be someone important because in certain traditions the host prepare the home when receiving a special guest by ensuring the house is clean. It seems that perhaps this is what is going on in this poem. However, on second reflection, the guest could be a season like Spring. The main giveaway to this is that roses are often pruned in spring in which is mentioned in the eighth line. This reinforces the interpretation that this piece could be about spring cleaning. Another farfetched interpretation is applying these words to death. When reading it from this view, it gives us a different perspective.

Poetic Techniques

No Rhyme
The use of rhyme is quite minimal in this piece although we get some rhyme with words like said and red. Nonetheless, the lack of rhyme helps the reader to take the poem more seriously.

No Punctuation
The lack of punctuation in this piece increases the pace and intensifies the issue. If read in this pace, then perhaps the reader can feel the pressure, anxiety and disorder the narrator faces.

Narrative
The narrative of this piece is quite active. It tells the reader what to do through sentences like ‘Hold on tight to me’ and ‘we’ll make the way home’. Then the piece goes on to list the things that needs to be done such as books in the corner that lie open but ‘ought to be read, ‘ a garden there to dig’, ‘roses to prune’,  ‘roof to mend’ and the quite humorous line  of ‘paint the red door red’. This narrative can even reflect a relationship where the wife is giving her husband a long list of chores just before the guest arrives.

I enjoy the various dimensions of interpretation this poem exudes and I hope you enjoyed reading my analysis. Thank you very much for your time!

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty One- Broken Tears By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Forty One- Broken Tears By Hannah Williams

A droplet of despair
Dripping from once-dried tear ducts.
Flowing frequently
A flimsy attempt to hold them
Piece it together
Patchwork the pain.
Sew it silently.
With the excess crochet it
Turn it into a commodity
Then sell the once broken tears to the tradesmen at the stall.
Tell them you’ve got an ocean you’ll be bringing in the fall.

 

Book Review: You Took The Last Bus Home by Brian Bilston

Book Review: You Took The Last Bus Home by Brian Bilston

This collection titled ‘You Took The Last Bus Home’ by Brian Bilston is a funny collection of poems. Although this style of humour is quite distinct. Its almost based on punch lines and borderline dry jokes/ mixed with office humour. Nonetheless, I found the irony and the goofiness of the poems amusing because it did make me laugh.

What was my favourite piece in the collection?

My favourite poem in the collection is ‘For We Shall Stare at Mobile Phones’ which light-heartedly focuses on the increase usage of mobile phones and its effects on ‘attractions’ that will ‘close’ due to the attention in which people pay to their phone. This piece ends with a paradoxical line which was ‘This poem was sent from my iPhone’. This marks a very humorous end contradicting the message on the usage of mobile phones.

What did I  think of the whole collection?

The collection was very interesting to read and I believe those that appreciate experimental poetry will really enjoy this collection. It features poems with unique structures like heart-shaped poems, upside down poems (I do not know the technical word for this) and even poetry written as Venn diagrams, organisation chart and excel spreadsheets. If you are interested in exploring various forms and shapes of poetry, you may find this collection as an interesting point of reference.

Concluding thoughts

This collection receives a three star out of five due to the ease of reading and the delivery  of the content is simple to understand. However in some instances, I felt that the reader had to do the work and by that I mean some of the experimental poems requires deep thinking on how it should be read which creates an active and alert reader throughout the piece.

 

Sunday Stanza: Poem Thirty Nine- Dear You By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Thirty Nine- Dear You By Hannah Williams

Sunset and sunrise can be as beautiful as hellos and goodbyes.
At each instance, it doesn’t matter if your heart skips a beat or your stomach gets butterflies.
Each sleepless nights invites days which will bring you closer to the sweetest lullabies.
You may have been chained but know your ankles have power to break shackles.
You may have carried the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Tilt your neck and it will fall off.
You may have lifted your eyes to the mountains and saw giants.
Fix your eyes on the valley and pick three stones.
Amidst it all keep going.
For your feelings and fears are not your reality.
Dear you,
All you have been through makes you true.
So rise above it like a sunrise.
Let the fears dim like a fading sunset.

 

Book Review: Between Clay and Star (Various Writers and Translators)

Book Review: Between Clay and Star (Various Writers and Translators)

Between Clay and Star is the first major poetry translation book I have read and much to my surprise, it was quite pleasurable to read. The title is taken from a line of Liliana Ursu ‘Harmonia Mundi’ which reads’At the border between Clay and Star…’

The variety in this book was amazing. We had a spectrum from Ethiopian poets such as Reesom Haile to Tamil poet Shash Trevett and Romanian poets Liliana Ursu.

I enjoyed the exposure to different types of poetry. In fact, reading these poems made me more aware of the importance of translation and how it is imperative in discovering less known voices. Or perhaps simply voices which are not accessible to the mainstream but prominent in their own rights and countries.

Here are some of my favorite lines in the book:

Hugo Claus in 1965-
Give them this day our daily napalm and later our canned food and later our prayers
Shash Trevett in Bitter Waters

O Motherland, look not to me for your warrior.

Reesom Haile in African Anthem-
A shower of colours
To catch her eye
A garment of light
Across the sky
Reesom Haile in Poverty
I have nothing
Taste it with me
If we share,
We can bear
The worst poverty
Ana Blandiana- Self Sufficiency

Always in the air, hanging-like a fruit from 
Its tree, like an arrow from a bended bow,
Like words from its etymology. 

These powerful imagery embedded with the topics of the poems made it really enjoyable. Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 because it was a worthwhile read.

Three and the half stars

Thank you for reading!

My Week At Tŷ Newydd (Writer’s Retreat In Wales)

My Week At Tŷ Newydd (Writer’s Retreat In Wales)

Last week, I attended the Tŷ Newydd Emerging Writers Programme. This took place from the 4-9th June 2018. This experience has really shaped my perceptions on writing and if anything it has encouraged me to keep writing. Without further ado, here is my reflection on the experience.

What did I learn on this course?
I have learnt about some of the various writing styles, the different ways in which you can approach your work and the editing process as the course explored these aspects. In fact, one of my goals was to learn how to enhance my writing style and learn how to experiment with other style of writing. This course has provided me with the tools to do so.

What were some of my fears or reservations about the course?
The performance or more specifically the reading sessions. I was a bit anxious about sharing my work but everyone was really supportive and encouraging so I felt more at ease when sharing.

What are some of the key highlights?

  • Conversations: I had some really interesting conversations with my peers, the facilitators and even managed to speak with a really famous welsh poet who gave me lots of brilliant advice and insight into poetry.
  • Food: The meals at dinner were absolutely delicious and you can help yourself to seconds  (which i did).
  • Information: I felt more informed about the world of literature and creative writing after attending this programme. Although it was in Wales, I was still informed about opportunities in London.

How do I hope to use what I have learnt?
I hope to encourage myself  by practicing these writing techniques and developing the building blocks either by writing leisurely, on this blog and perhaps even entering short story competitions in the long run.

Overall, I had an excellent time, our tutors were incredibly funny and incredible too. I sincerely wish everyone I met all the best.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Book Review: The White Book by Han Kang

Book Review: The White Book by Han Kang

 

The White Book is a short collection of prose which exudes the writers meditation on the topic matter of all things white. Throughout the book, we get a consistent imagery of white such as paper, snow and flowers. Although the book is well written, I did not enjoy the book and developed a love-hate relationship when reading the book. However, I do believe in a constructive review. Therefore, I should add that perhaps through translation some of the essence and authenticity of the book may have been lost.  Yet, I admire the poignant imagery, choice of words and the writing style. It truly is a well-written book. Below are my thoughts and commentary on ‘The White Book’.

What are some of the key themes of the book?
Aside from the key theme of the colour white and its association and representation, I believe this book deals with emotions, death, loss, trauma, memories and culture.

What is your favourite line from the book?

From the segment titled Small White Pills [The White Book (2016)]:

‘…if you could add up all the pills she’d ever taken, what  would the total be? How many hours of pain has she lived through?’

In my opinion, this line is reflective of the significance of medication in mental health. It highlights the effort and sparks a realisation of the emotional aspect of medication and attempts to quantify it.

Choose a short piece in the collection and attempt to explain it. 

The piece in which I have chosen is Sand. Please find the extract below:

Sand from The White Book by Han Kang (2016)

And she frequently forgot,
That her body (all our bodies) is a house of sand.
That it had shattered and is shattering still.
Slipping stubbornly through fingers.

This piece begins with the alliteration of ‘frequently forgot’ which emphasises the fact that we should not forget almost as a persuasive device. The repetition of the word ‘that’ aids our understanding of what the writer wants us to remember which can be summarise as we are:  a) sand and b) broken. This bleak imagery doesn’t end there. It takes the alliteration a step further through the use of ‘slipping stubbornly’ to emphasise our fragile and inevitable fate. We are dispensable no matter how we fight ‘stubbornly’ in life.

Rating

Four Stars

Final Thoughts
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book but I believe it is important to mention that this is okay and realise that not every book you read you will enjoy. You should read this book if you enjoy prose/ poetic prose. You shouldn’t read this book if you don’t enjoy meditative and reflection pieces.

Thank you for reading!

5 Real and Honest Quotes Written By Me

5 Real and Honest Quotes Written By Me

I‘ve always loved quotes and find inspiration and wisdom in them. So this afternoon, I have decided to sit down and reflect on some of the quotes that I have written and would like to share with the readers of my blog. I hope you like them or find it thought-provoking.

1. There is no can’t or can.It is either I choose to or I choose not to.
2. Family is everything. Everything is anything. So in anything family is still everything.
3. The deception of a lie weighs deeper than the consequence of the truth. 
4. The true spirit of boldness is to say what you mean, how you mean it and not overthink on how people will take the message. At the end of the day, it is the message for the people and not pleasing people for the message. I don’t want to give people what they want to hear. 
5. Precaution is sometimes paranoia and paranoia is sometimes precaution.

23 Things I Learnt In My Twenties

23 Things I Learnt In My Twenties

It can be very difficult going through your twenties because you are becoming a young adult. It involves figuring out your likes and dislikes and navigating through the world with your identity. This can often result in mistakes. However, I realise not everyone’s twenties can be this way. Although, I must confess that mine are full of mistakes. I wish I could lie to you and say that I wouldn’t change it for the world because it has made me who I am. Yet, the truth is that I would totally change it.  I would totally change the past but I cannot because it has already been written as a part of my history.  Upon this reflection here are twenty three things I have learnt in my twenties.

  1. I cannot change the past but I can manage the effects. 
  2. Death doesn’t discriminate by age
  3. Love begins with accepting yourself
  4. Have a passion, hobby or interest- these are very important.
  5. Avoid situations that can haunt or hurt you in the future
  6. Your health comes first.
  7. Work hard in everything as you do not know what each opportunity may bring.
  8. Family is everything. 
  9. You are your own role model everyone else is inspiration. 
  10. Maintain healthy relationships.
  11. Appreciate everything you have. 
  12. Learn and try new things. 
  13. Step out of your comfort zone. 
  14. Your happiness starts with you and is dependent on you. 
  15. There are people out there whose sole ambition is to tear people down.
  16. Always try to maintain professionalism at work.
  17. Not everyone’s life is as perfect as it seems on social media.
  18. Nice people do not finish last. 
  19. Smiling isn’t a sign of weakness and a frown is not a signal to be feared.
  20. Making mistakes are important but learning from them are just as important.
  21. Age is not always wisdom. 
  22. Having a faith, belief system or values are important. 
  23. Be the best version of yourself, always. 

Thank you for reading!

What lessons have you learnt in your twenties?  Please feel free to share in the comments section!

Five Activities You Can Incorporate In Your Alone Time

Five Activities You Can Incorporate In Your Alone Time

In my teenage years, I have certainly underestimated the importance of alone time as I thought it was cooler to be around people. However, the older I get, the more I realise how important alone time is. After all, if you are not spending time with yourself, who will spend time with you?

In the hope of inspiring others to spend quality time with themselves, I am writing this post to share some ideas. I hope you can pass this on to someone you know or perhaps incorporate it into your alone time routine. Continue reading “Five Activities You Can Incorporate In Your Alone Time”

Sunday Stanza: Poem Thirty Two- The Glass House By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Thirty Two- The Glass House By Hannah Williams

Look at my glass house but don’t throw stones
For sticks and stones may break my home.
This fragile abode with a transparent gaze,
Often leaves people amazed.
So you see my in’s and out.
A glass house is like a vase.
Prized.
Fragile.
Ornamented.
Look deeper and you’ll see my fears.
For I was a fool to build my years on a house so easy to break.
This is my mistake.

 

An Analysis of ‘Harlem Hopscotch’ by Dr Maya Angelou

An Analysis of ‘Harlem Hopscotch’ by Dr Maya Angelou
One foot down, then hop! It’s hot.
Good things for the ones that’s got.
Another jump, now to the left.
Everybody for hisself.
In the air, now both feet down.
Since you black, don’t stick around.
Food is gone, the rent is due.
Curse and cry and then jump two.
All the people out of work.
Hold for three, then twist and jerk.
Cross the line, they count you out.
That’s what hopping’s all about.
Both feet flat, the game is done.
They think I lost. I think I won.

Harlem Hopscotch is a powerful political piece of poetry which explores issues of poverty and struggle in the disadvantaged area of Harlem.

Title
The title Harlem Hopscotch suggests a distinct game exclusive to the province of Harlem. However, once we read the entire poem, we get an understanding that this poem is applicable to any disadvantaged area. In this piece, Harlem is a symbolic place used as an example of poverty.

Theme

Mentality: This poem highlights the mentality of people in disadvantaged areas in the first stanza. This is the mentality that everyone is for themselves as indicated in the line’ Everybody for hisself’. It also highlights the awareness of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. This is the neutral viewpoint of ‘Good things for the ones that’s got’. This is an almost good for them attitude which translates to now I have to concentrate on myself.

Absence: In the second stanza we understand that in such an environment there is absence or lack. This is centred on resources like food and money.

Struggle: It helps highlight issues within disadvantages communities namely people ‘counting you out’ meaning not realising your worth and potential. The writer makes a light gesture that ‘that is what hopping is about’. Could this refer to the grind and hustle despite the hardship?

Poetic Devices
Rhyme: The use of rhyme helps make the deep and poignant message much digestible for the reader.

Conclusion
Overall, this piece is very insightful and I commend the writer ability to discuss an important issue in a light and playful manner.

 

 

Book Review: Helium By Rudy Francisco

Book Review: Helium By Rudy Francisco

Helium is a short poetry collection written by Rudy Francisco. It explores various facets of life such as love, mental health, race, acceptance and people. Although I came across the book on the Button Poetry website through their mailing list, my attitude towards the collection was very blasé. I didn’t give it a chance until today when I went into my local bookstore and decide to purchase and read the book. Based on this, I can say that I enjoyed reading the collection and I am very glad I gave the book a chance.

What did you think of the Title? 

Personally, I do not believe the title represented the book.  Although it may be a metaphorical representation as we know that helium is an element. Perhaps, this collection represents the various elements and aspects of the poet’s life which are weaved into the poems.

What are your first impressions?

I was really impressed with the poets ability to describe simple things so vividly. The style of writing in which Francisco uses is very clear, descriptive and imaginable. I was open to the others poems and must admit I found myself smiling and revelling each one.

What do you think the writer’s technique are? 

I believe the writing style of Francisco is one that is relatable. The reader can grasp the clear message of the themes that the writer discusses. The ability to make poetry comprehensible is definitely a great skill to showcase and have as a writer.

What are your top three favourite quotes from the book?

  • ….remind yourself that you are human (From the Poem Instructions).
  • I have a solar-powered confidence and a battery operated smile. (From the Poem My Honest Poem)
  • I am learning that a person who only knows how to fight can only communicate in violence and that shouldn’t  be anyone’s first language        ( From the Poem Rifle II)

What are your top three favourite poems from the collection and why?

1. Accent- This poem explores accents by comparing it to cooking. 
I enjoyed the poem because it is a different and interesting way to look at accents.

2. 'My Honest Poem' is almost like an autobiographical piece exploring the writer's life. 
I enjoyed this poem because it was personal and made me feel at ease reading the poem.

3. Rifle II is an informative piece which talks about how an artist is musical making instruments from guns. 
 It was something that I have never heard before yet this piece made me aware of this in a poetic way. 
I was educated on something that I didn't know about.

Prose/Short Story: Why She Left You

Prose/Short Story: Why She Left You


The lunar light shone bright on her under that icy winter moonlight. She felt the light. She felt it. It warmed her heart and seared away the sorrow. In that moment, she felt peace. The breeze blew her hair and the cold caressed her lips. The lips too stiff to speak up for herself.
She looked out the window wondering when you will come home and whose scent will you bring with you. Some days, you brought seasons, I could have sworn I smelt spring in you. The fresh scents of daffodils and tulips. An array of spring but it wasn’t my scent. You bought another woman’s essence into our matrimonial home.
You have been doing this for years. With the knowledge that she loved the player who was too immersed in playing games. You knew her courage was weak.
But tonight… tonight? Tonight she conversed with her heart and she knew what to do. She didn’t want to do it. She really didn’t. She didn’t want to leave. But she did. Although her courage and strength was dried up. In fact, it was drained. You drained her like spaghetti in a sieve. You took the life out of her. You took her time. You took her love. You took her identity. She lost herself all because she was trying to keep you.
So each night when you went out, she practised positive affirmations and built her worth. Although you tore her self-esteem, trampled it to the ground and used it as rags.
She learnt to wash it, iron it and sew the rag into a patchwork quilt. She did that on the night she left you.
She left because she realised she is only responsible for herself. She realised her happiness was not rooted in you.
She left because she realised there is a world of opportuniities for her to realise her potential and be who she always wanted to be.
She left because this choice will lead her to the discovery of her happiness.
Unhappiness ate her up inside. It then left a bitter ulcer in her stomach and she vomited the bile of venomousness.
Yet in the name of the sickness of love, she realised that she could be healed.
The victory in her leaving you had no closure. No notes, no letters and certainly no explanations.
She left you to search your conscience for in your hearts of hearts you knew.
You knew the reasons of why she left.
When Carmen left you.

 

Book Review: Kingdom of Gravity by Nick Makoha

Book Review: Kingdom of Gravity by Nick Makoha

Kingdom of Gravity is a poetry collection written by Nick Makoha. This collection explores a range of topics such as war, poverty, the effects of guerrilla leaders on Uganda. Through the writer’s deep and poignant imagery, the reader gets to understand the dark aspect of Ugandan history.

  • What aspect of the poetry collection did you enjoy the most?
    I enjoyed reading Beatitude the most as it was a piece of poetry which I could imagine vividly. I enjoyed analysing the piece on my blog which can be found here.
  • What aspect of the poetry collection was the most emotive?
    I consider the poem ‘Killing Craft’ to be the most emotive aspect of the collection. The topic was heavy as it details a naive boy who smokes marijuana, killed his father, has a ‘river of AIDS’ flowing through his blood. The explicit reference to the ‘boy’ life is quite poignant. In fact, if you are sensitive and unable to stomach gory details of the harsh reality which this poem is centred on, then this is not the book for you.
  • What are your top five quotes in this book and why do you like them so much? 
1. Presidency can buy you celebrity.

This is the opening sentence in the poem ‘Highlife’ which is in the book. This line is quite relevant in both the developing world and the developed world . Also, as a president you will be well known either for good or bad reasons.

2. When the bodies disappear, discarded like the husk of mangoes

This is the opening sentence to the poem ‘Beatitude’. It paints a realistic image of neglect and how life is easily discarded in those conditions.

3. When the sun abandoned me, the sky was an iris of black glass
Nights kept me sleepless;

This was the opening line in ‘The Bee’. It is a paradoxical imagery which  paints the turmoil in a gentle beautiful manner.

4.  When the hills were on fire, there were no angels to guide us.

This line is from ‘The Second Republic’. It paints a faith based imagery in which the situation is so bad that even divinely entities cannot provide any support.

5.  Even a rock stays by the stream to curve its edges.

This line is from the poem ‘Legion’ . I believe it portrays the importance of foundation and ability to be rooted somewhere or perhaps, the harshness of events which help shapes our identity.

  • Who should read this book?
    This book should be read by adults due to the high emotional intelligence this book requires. Also, if you have an interest in the political climate of Uganda and its past, you will find this book interesting. As someone who is not Ugandan, I believe it is important to learn about other countries and gain awareness on its history. On that basis, I enjoyed reading the book.
  • Rating: Four stars

Four Stars

  • Final Thoughts

This book has been insightful in terms of writing styles. I enjoyed reading in this style of writing but found the topic to be quite dark and sad. This book may not be for you if you are emotionally sensitive. Overall, I thought it was a good read.

 

 

Sunday Stanza: Poem Twenty Eight- The Financial Crisis By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Twenty Eight- The Financial Crisis By Hannah Williams


The world has felt your wrath before.
We felt your violent shake and your ravenous storm.
We give new names to old gods.
You were once the Latin American Sovereign debt.
Then you reincarnated as the Asian crisis.
Before you plagued us in all hemispheres and revealed your self as the Global Financial Crisis.
We know your nature.
We know your will.
We saw your guise.
Nonetheless we were none the wise.
You came bearing presents.
Your gifts were derivatives.
To change the narrative of risk.
We accepted it with open arms and flooded the market with your benevolence.
We didn’t know you were lingering in the air.
Junk bonds became butterflies.
And if only credit rating agencies clipped its wings.
Maybe they wouldn’t fly.
Nor flutter beautifully.
Or maybe they saw butterflies and called it moths.
These moths ate the garnishing garments that hid the secrets of finance.
Then the academics saw beauty in ashes.
Formulas which will change the dynamics of how to price.
Then they called it gold.
And the bankers were completely sold.
If only they saw its journey with hindsight.
But you did. And you were lurking, waiting and hungered for this disaster.
Amidst it all, you cheered them all.
On. On. On.

Sunday Stanza: Poem Twenty Six- Name Power By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Twenty Six- Name Power By Hannah Williams

An unjustifiable criteria
Determined by a crooked line
Spewed out to split the equator into two.
I’ve heard the names one half calls the other.
To make it better the cunning half changed the terms.
Less economically developed replaced poor.
Regulation replaced corruption
Grass root movements replaced unemployment.
Parallels living in contradiction.
So the oppressed South asks the oppressing North.
Why do you give the same inconceivable acts new names?
Call the rose by its name.
For in the power of names,
Hides your solution to each change.

Sunday Stanza: Poem Twenty Two- The Stages of Negativity By Hannah Williams

Sunday Stanza: Poem Twenty Two- The Stages of Negativity By Hannah Williams

Lost. 
In the deep sea of my own desire.
In the fortitude of peace my soul longs to retire.
Hope is the song my voice wants to acquire.
Inhaling the laziness of my acts as I respire.

Toxic
To the progression around me.
The doubtful thoughts of my mind roam free.
Let my thoughts just be.

Doubt
Can I really do what I say I can?
What happened to actions? What happened to plans?
Hope my dreams does not have a life span?
I did what I could – I ran!

Action
I’ll just do whatever it is
Slowly but surely and I certainly will win.
The bubble of negativity is starting to fizz.
Discarding my thoughts of failure into the mind’s bin.