…because friends can’t review you

Writing became an important part of my life when I turned ten and started keeping a journal. It didn’t take long until fiction dominated my life, and I would spend a great number of my teenage years hiding in the bedroom, writing. There have been many attempted novels until after my bachelor degree. One of my short shorties made my tutor laugh so hard, he told me to develop it. My stories never really struck me as humorous, and it took me a while to see the black humour that made people laugh. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve read too much Bret Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski, but somehow that short story became a chapter in my novel. You may call it dark – up till now none of my close friends have been able to give me a clear opinion on the themes and underlying meanings of the book. It’s like they’re too scared to talk to me about it, and yet it would mean a lot to me. I left it too late, but I’m seeking for professional critics/reviewers to review my book. I understand that this is how it’s supposed to be, as nothing can be any more objective than this. However, the thought of being misunderstood and torn to shreds is kind of daunting. But doesn’t this happen to every single writer? Better be torn to shreds than not get noticed at...

It was never meant for us

Humans have the tendency to associate their five senses with memories. You hear a song and think of a place and time. You smell a particular scent and think of a person or a feeling. Every day we think of something from the past, because ultimately that is who we are. With that influence we try to resuscitate that memory and transform it into something new. There is this need to relive the past, not necessarily to make it better, but to feel at home and understood again. It could be a comfort zone or something. This is what it is when people talk about being born into the wrong era – a time and place where they don’t fit in and cannot adjust to contemporary customs, i.e. social media. Growing old is another possible explanation to all this. I am completely aware of what reality is. It’s something that doesn’t go away, even when you stop believing in it (P.K.D.). And it’s the awareness of it in the back of your head that will always leave a bad taste in your mouth. People no longer understand each other. They don’t listen, or there is a language barrier, or they hear what they want to hear. Blinded by capitalism and politics, misunderstood within the world of immigration and multiculturalism. It’s endless. The truth is we’re no longer trying to understand anything, because people don’t get on. How is this going to end well? These five senses that we have are enough to make us living creatures. What ultimately makes us human is our conscience – some form of cognitive voice teaching us what is right and wrong. That voice has been teaching us for centuries that life is more than just survival, but what we learn is all the same. Only our personal perception of things defines our personality and makes us different from one another. And that’s why humans don’t get on. And we’re not just territorial like the moose; we want power above all. More and more of it. Sometimes I just can’t help but think that we’re just an experiment. And I don’t know how we can still prove ourselves worthy. I have a childhood memory of writing in my old bedroom. I remember taming my conscience with pure creativity of the...

Five Questions picked for Paula

Why are your favourite male authors accused of chauvinism? – I don’t know why. But then again, I don’t see or analyse stories with an eye like that. Over fifteen years ago, when I first discovered these authors, I was a very angry person – with no ways of channelling negative emotions, except for listening to heavy music and reading books that described characters being chopped up, hearts being violently broken, etc. I was basically reading about arseholes just to try understanding them. Yes, the victims were women for the most part, but I viewed them as people. We are all victims in one way or another, even if you choose not to be. I’m not a feminist that analyses fiction with a gender approach, not like that. It gets too one-dimensional. Why are my top favourite authors men? I named a few on my website because I love their technique of storytelling. One aided my anger management by imagining my former ex being tortured for the pain he inflicted on people. The other writer had a semi-autobiographical style, which had a huge impact on the way I write today. You create a fictional character, dump your thoughts and feelings on them and see how they handle them. And voila, they handle it better than you – learn from them – they happen to be your alter ego. Your alter ego is often the better half of your mind or your dark side that nobody knows of. Anyway, that way you’re not hurting people for real, but you’re tackling your problems – on your own. You’re bringing across a new form of honesty that a lot of people cannot handle sometimes. This is how storytelling should be, especially for those who are unable to express their feelings in a way that people get it. Sometimes you have to feed a little bit off the dark to be able to understand yourself and the world around you. It doesn’t mean I agree with everything they say or write. It’s not like you’re going over the top like Cioran. It’s just that if you don’t go to your own personal dark place, you won’t ever understand happiness, and you won’t ever find peace. And yes, you can use this as a motivation to write. Why the hell not? Know your limit is all I can say. Oscar Wilde is the only one that knows the beauty of words and the power and passion that comes from them. Every choice of word that he uses has a purpose and the ability to...

#Selfie

I can’t help but think of some friends out there that are lonely. Happy, exciting pictures don’t actually say anything, especially if it’s in the style of a selfie. That used to be a thing in 2003. I remember that well. It started with MySpace and all, but then the ten- to fourteen-year-olds began taking it over. And later Justin Timberlake did us a favour by buying MySpace and it was no longer about selfies and fake profiles. Speaking of which, I created a fake profile, too, once, because I was trying to remove my stalking ex from my life. I created an imaginary friend from Iowa – a fellow NIN fan by using a piece of NIN related artwork as a default picture. There was so much you could do on MySpace. It might’ve worked a little bit, I was actually expecting hate mail going to that fake account, but luckily that never happened. But back to selfies, people don’t really do that anymore, at least not excessively. What makes my friends’ selfies stand out is that they are by themselves. Their smiles feel like they’re 50% for real. I don’t know where the other 50% is. They look older, too. About thirteen to fifteen years ago we used to take group pictures. There used to be a photographer that was not on the picture but on other ones. This is how things used to be and should be. Don’t take selfies alone! At least get someone to take a picture of you while you’re admiring a tree or want to capture the background of where you are. The era of selfies started pretty much fifteen plus years ago. Now if you look back don’t you think it’s pretty sad? I feel sad when looking at mine. It’s the same with how smartphones have started to dominate our lives. It’s sad, and you wonder what will come next? I’ve got to admit that I have become a shitty friend in the last few years. I used to value every single friend that I had because I never had any until my late years of adolescence. As a loner and late-bloomer I had the time to get to know myself better, so that was fine. I’d learnt to live with myself, be productive and creative when alone. I wasn’t shutting anyone out, because there was no one. My family was busy with other stuff, which was fine. That gave me space. So when the Internet began to take over communication, I made virtual friends. No one will ever understand...

Sunset at 18:23

Why am I me with this conscience that doesn’t want to be? At least I think it doesn’t want to be, as it needs a constant reminder that it’s there, whether it wants to be there or not. It’s similar to having your head in the clouds (because reality is draining). You just don’t want to think or do anything, speak no word, react to nothing – just nothing. Creative introverts cannot handle the ordinary life cycle and yet they are caught in it. Everything and everyone has expectations of them. Yesterday your conscience was that of a child’s and today you’re wondering whatever happened to it? It used to be more creative, angrier and more honest. It’s when you didn’t have control over your feelings. Now that you have control, it seems like you’re letting your creativity grow up by paying rent and bills, which constitutes responsibility. And isn’t responsibility supposed to bring stability and make you a decent human being? Yes, all’s good, except that one morning you will look at yourself in the mirror and wonder whether you’ve ever created anything that mattered to people. So what do you do? You spend ten years writing something that turns out to be Heart Like A Hole, you rack your brains over a short story that you named Silicon Dreams, because that’s the best you can come up with for now while the story isn’t really coming along. The idea is there, the set up is there, but what else? Can’t play God anymore? Well, of course not, because there is no God in fiction writing. The story is already there – you’re just figuring it out. It’s almost like a fucking game of chess or a puzzle. There are endless ways, moves and pieces – more than you can ever take. I’m not saying that what I create should matter to anyone unless they choose to. You don’t impose. That’d be selfish. Presenting your art is necessary, though. I remember my tutor used to say that writing (or art in general) is all about exposure and that’s what you want. Unlike others, I am not scared to expose anything. I’m only scared of not being able to express myself – especially before the sun goes down. It’s like there is never enough time to let everything out that needs expressing. How do people become wise as life is happening? Do you have to grow old for that? What phase of adulthood am I in when I’m trying to find out when my life actually began? (I.e., the...

Heart Like A Hole – Publishing process

I self-published my book as an eBook version at the beginning of June using Draft2Digital, which has been a very good and user-friendly platform! I’m very pleased I found them after a long time of research. If you are looking to self-publish your eBook, you should give them a try and check the results for yourself. After another month of formatting and design editing, I finally published the paperback version of my book using Amazon’s KDP and Ingram Spark. Amazon was very straightforward in terms of uploading your book and cover design. They also offer templates that you can use, or you can use your own front cover, but you can choose the spine and back cover design if you don’t have one. Once you uploaded it you can download a PDF proof as well as order a proof copy before submitting the file. You have to cover the print charges, and they will send you your proof copy within a week. One thing I noticed about Amazon’s print services is that the quality is top, but the actual trim/cut varies. It’s printed in different locations in the States. I’ve had two proof copies printed; the first one was printed in South Carolina and the second one in Kentucky. And although I’m pretty sure that I’d centred the title and name on the page, it seems that the alignment is always different on each print. But I guess that’s just Amazon. I also ordered ten author copies and at least three or four of them were trimmed pretty poorly and that even affected the interior look. So I’d like to apologise in advance if that is the case with your copy. If you’re not happy with it, do let me know. The other publisher, Ingram Spark, was, by far, the most complicated publishing system I’ve ever used. I’m not a designer but IS needs you to have it all done and ready to go: The interior text as well as the artwork. And the guidelines were so basic you might as well have been a superstar in formatting and InDesign. So I what I did for the artwork was, use my Amazon design, but I had to tweak around a lot to make sure it was 300pi and perfectly sized as per the instructions. I’m almost ashamed to say that it took me a good extra two to three weeks to get it right. My first proof never arrived, either. The second one did, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality of the artwork. Despite following their instructions,...