My Favourite Books Shelf!

Hey pals,

I’ve been going on an organising and purging spree recently now that we are all FORCED to be inside. I’ve cleansed my bookshelves and given my favourite books their own shelf, I just wanted to talk through it with you and give you a peek into who I am as a human. Check out my organising videos here.

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This is the shelf! It is one of the minimal shelves designated to books in my bedroom, most of my book reside in the spare room where I have enough shelf space to call it a small library. This shelf also has my Uni Society Award (middle), a graduation plaque present (right) and a cool thrifted glass/crystal holder where I keep some pens I really like. On the far left of the books are my own work! X Marks The Spot is the first anthology I was published in that I was paid for. A personal essay and a poem live in there written by moi! Then the little blue leaflet sized ones were the third year uni open mic booklet with a small snippet of my Grenfell Tower Fire piece that I performed at my last uni open mic before I graduated.

Moving onto the books, We have a selection of mental health focused books that I fell in love with. First, Carrie Fisher’s Postcards From The Edge, I had no idea how iconic Carrie Fisher was until after her death unfortunately but this book was a very interesting dual POV book that also changed in how it was written with each section. It was mildly challenging just because of the experimental the writing style, but it is heavily derived from her real life experience of drug abuse and rehab and working in the industry. Then is the iconic The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, basically autobiographical. An interesting look into mental health care during a different period of time, similar to Girl, Interrupted, I love the film a lot so it was only a stretch that lead me to actually reading the memoir, this one was particularly interesting for me as I have the same diagnosis as Susanna Kaysen, who seemed to recover and even though the memoir is quite dark it did give me hope when I was in the midst of suffering from BPD. Then a book I have never heard anyone talk about online, Lovesick by Coburn. This is about a man who is hired to keep tabs on a rich man’s daughter at college who has an eating disorder. He was meant to get a full scholarship but had a car crash and injured himself before he started and was lost, so this man offered to pay his tuition etc. to go to uni with his daughter and make sure she wasn’t going to hurt herself, etc. He falls in love with her but I think it ends quite sadly and she finds out he was hired by her father. This is based off a real event, I think this was put together by a reporter. Last in this list is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. About two friends who have eating disorders and live pretty recklessly, it’s been a while since I’ve read it so I can’t remember everything exactly but one of them dies, and the protagonist has some kind if psychosis where she keeps seeing and hearing her and keeps getting sicker. This is a very triggering book with lots of explicit details to do with self harm and eating disorder behaviour so I do not recommend this to anyone easily triggered.

The next section are my queer books! Starting with Wranglestone by Darren Charlton, this is a zombie apocalypse adventure story with some mystery elements and our main character is gay. This is the first book I’ve read that isn’t about being gay, it has plot outside of that and it was a great read, you should check out my more detailed review here. Next is Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, this may have been my first queer book read. Multi-POV book showing us a selection of different queer boys and narrated by the gay men of previous generations who had died and did not get to live their full life because of AIDs and the laws we had in place in the Western World. It’s a lovely book with a sad overtone because of the narration but something I really enjoyed and have re-read a few times. I’ll roll these next two into one point, Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda and Leah on the Off Beat. Love Simon was quite an iconic turning point for gay film media production, it felt like one of the first fluffy rom-coms we got to have that didn’t end or involve any tragedy or death. The book is very similar but has quite a different plot so I do recommend reading it if you enjoyed the film. Then Leah on the off Beat is the wlw, bisexual icon version of Love, Simon. Leah felt she couldn’t come out to friends about her bisexuality and then falls in love with a girl who is also bisexual, the representation in this book is impeccable and made my younger self feel seen (even though I read this at age 24). Watch my video talking about Love Simon the book vs. the Film. Next, Beautiful Music For Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills is the first book I’ve read with a trans main character. His name is Gabe and he wants to be a radio DJ and works on a community radio in the dead of night. I do feel like it’s sad and unfortunate that we know Gabe’s dead name in this (because we all know this leads to people dead naming the character rather than forcing them to use the correct name) and there is transphobic related violence later in the book, besides that I enjoyed the book a lot. The last stop on the train is the first female lead queer book I read (but also one of the first queer books I ever read) Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz. Our Bi icon Etta is a badass ballet dancer whose whole friendship group are lesbian women who constantly invalidate Etta’s sexuality, a side of the coin that isn’t often talked about. She also has an eating disorder and is in recovery and trying to find herself and what she wants, she makes new friends who love her for her and not what they think she is. She has a romance with a boy through the book but has visibly had relationships and sex with a mixture of genders and the book does not end with a happily ever after which I appreciated a lot.

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We are in the last section now which is mostly to do with book height! We have the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman, a beautiful graphic novel about Charlie and Nick falling in love and having that fluffy rom-com episodic story. See my other posts about these books here and here and my two videos here and here. Then Melanie Murphy’s first book, Fully Functioning Human (Almost), I relate to a lot of the struggles Melanie has gone through and been open about online: bisexuality, eating disorders, health, anxiety and depression, toxic relationships, etc. This book gave me the strength to break it off with my last relationship I was in and I have to put that book on this shelf for that alone. And finally, Hungry by Crystal Renn is another memoir about having an eating disorder as a model and throwing it round and becoming a plus size model instead. Check out my Non-fic recs video where I talk about some of these. 

A lot of these books entered my life during a time I needed them. They helped me feel like I wasn’t doing this or going through this alone, and that it’s possible to come out the other end (minus a few that ended quite terribly) and generally I have come out the other end. Now I’m just looking for a book about a young person going through a chronic illness and battling all these other things too.

I hope you enjoyed this post and having a little look into who I am and why these books matter to me. Let me know some of your favourite books!

~ Artie

Watch my recent book unhaul on youtube and keep an eye on my depop as I may sell some books there.

Why We Should Help Each Other Get Work

Hey pals,

 

So, I can’t really tell you where this is coming from, except from a recent happening among my family and friends. I said to my family recently that it is near impossible getting a decent job that pays well and has stability, without knowing someone who works within the company. Lots of companies don’t advertise well because it costs, and pretty much all of them will advertise internally, which doesn’t get rid of the problem of not having enough staff. They’re always trying to do you out of money because of your age or experience, or you just wont get the job because of things like this. Yes, even at jobs that say they will provide full training for the role. (This is also a lie a lot of the time.)

 

I’ve heard a lot from people who work full time about people not turning up for interviews they’ve agreed to or ghosting companies rather than just saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’. But the companies still often wont take on people who have a brain and will try their best to do the job properly. Somehow, it’s always the people who don’t have a clue what they’re doing, don’t try to know what they’re doing, and are a nuisance that get the job.

 

If you know your company is about to advertise roles and you have a mate or family member who is unemployed or stuck in a shit job they desperately need to leave, then do what you can to give them a good in? Big them up to other staff (particularly if you know who is doing the interviews) and help them get their application and documents in as quickly as possible, even tips on what to say in the interview…

 

It works the same in the creative world. With everything being online, we miss so many opportunities if we aren’t online at just the right time. So if you see something that would be perfect for a friend of yours, send them the link, or just generally signal boosting is always good especially for opportunities for marginalised people as they are often requested by smaller companies and creators and don’t always have the reach they need.

 

Really we are all in a bit of a crisis where we can’t just climb the ladder of a company anymore, the age of retirement is getting older and older, and the standards for young people are getting higher and higher, no one can stand a job past 6 months because of company abusing their workers and co-workers bullying each other… and definitely not being paid enough to put up with it. And no matter how hard you try to do well, it’s still always your fault. No, yeah, even that. That is your fault too even though you didn’t even know that was a thing. Oh, well that’s your fault you didn’t know… but how are you to know to ask, when you don’t know you don’t know it…?

 

There’s just about a million ridiculous standards that are impossible to meet but we all (unfortunately) gotta make money to… exist. It’s actually a lot easier to get a job when you know someone in the company, so if you already have a job, just lend a hand through the process. You don’t want to see yourself or someone you love going to food banks or being evicted because the government is trying to kill off the poor.

 

Don’t get me started on the government, at least not today.

 

~ Artie

I’m Going To Be Published!

Hey pals,

 

No, my title isn’t clickbait, I’m really going to be published! 6 months after graduating my Creative and Professional Writing degree with a 2:1, I received the info that I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO AN ANTHOLOGY!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a small project and has only been made possible thanks to all the people who backed the kickstarter. We had days to spare and reached the £6,000 goal within a month! You can still pledge (I think? I’m not sure by the time I publish this… if not, then sorry.) PDF copies and physical copies of the book are available along with merch and signed copies etc.

This anthology is a collection of nonbinary writers’ personal essays about their experiences of being a nonbinary person! I’ve very excited to get my hands on a copy and read everyone’s essays and to have a real hold-in-your-hands book THAT I’M IN!

I’m sure there will be an option to purchase the book after the kickstarter closes, I will update everyone on that when I know more. I was too excited about this I couldn’t keep quiet about it!

 

Please check it out and keep an eye on the project! And thanks to India for putting all this together!

 

See you guys next week!

 

~Artie

What I Love About Autumn

I never thought I’d be this excited about Autumn. I don’t like the cold because I can never keep warm and I’m not a huge fan of Christmas looming. But after the longest and most gruelling summer I’ve experienced in my adult life, I’m ready for a bit of chill. So this is my written dedication to what I love about Autumn.

Orange, brown, red, yellow leaves crunching beneath my shoes. Watching them twirl and dance in the breeze as they fall. Wearing jeans and thick knitwear and scarves and hats. Being able to show off my collection of jumpers, a different one every day, I own enough to not wear one twice for at least two weeks. Warm bed socks at home, too thick for my shoes but perfect for lounging. Crawling into a onesie, the only acceptable time of year to wear one. Wearing jogging bottoms around the house without getting too hot. Not needing a fan and being able to use a heater. Sitting by my window, the glass so cold it reaches out and tickles my skin, drinking a hot chocolate, the combination giving me goose bumps.

Seeing the sky turn pink at 6pm, finally seeing the meaning of cotton candy skies. Trading in my beloved iced coffee for spiced coffee.

Halloween festivities, watching films and TV shows about witches, dressing up in costume, carving pumpkins and using the leftovers to cook a wonderful snack. Eating the seeds and remembering the friend who first fed them to me and taught me how to make them.

Reading. Everywhere. Snuggling up in my autumn clothes in a café or at home, reading whatever is taking my fancy. Not quite reading the winter and Christmas books I reserve for December.

Bonfire season. Something I didn’t get to participate in for three years in London for university. Every village and town has their own designated date for a bonfire or firework show all starting from the last weekend of September. Wrapping up in my warmest clothes, walking round the village with friends, cans from the corner shop in hand, maybe stop in a pub or two. Watch the parade of people dressed up and carrying Guy Fawkes, shuffle over to watch the fire being lit and the sparkles scatter in the black sky. Every laugh or breath comes out as a puff of fog. You can’t feel your fingers.

This is what I’ve missed about Autumn.

~Artie