It’s a little late, but nevertheless, here are a few of my favourite things from July!
Over the weeks, I visited Manchester with work, was knocked out with a mystery illness for a good few days, attended a wonderful family wedding, struggled a bit with my mental health, and wrote a few poetry submissions.
Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of time for blogging; but I still got a couple of posts published!
Most of all, however, I made my way through a few books and lots of articles. It was a bumper crop in July.
You might, therefore, be unsurprised to see that most of my favourites for this month are various words that have inspired me. Get ready to do plenty of reading!
‘How To Keep Writing When You Feel Inadequate’ by Ayodeji Awosika
I love browsing through Medium a couple of times a week – I’ve found some real gems over the months. This is one of them. At the time of reading, I was struggling with my own writing and feeling incompetent; in fact, I was on the verge of giving up. This was a good tonic to that.
‘Other People’s Kids…Do I Really Have To?’ by Elizabeth Day
I am a big fan of Elizabeth Day’s writing, and this was another excellent essay. In this piece, she writes about her changing friendships with those who have children. It’s quite pertinent for those of us at the age where friends are growing families, and we seemingly have to know if we want children or not right this minute.
“I feels to me as if there’s no effort made in the other direction. There’s vanishingly little attempt to think about how many things I might also be juggling, as if my career is merely optional seasoning on the main meal of life; as if my childless status means I’m forever knocking back martinis and running off to nightclubs at a moment’s notice.”
It’s a great, honest piece that speaks on behalf of so many; well worth a read if this sort of thing has been on your mind, or if you are concerned about how things change as you get older.
Just Give Me A Cool rink Of Water ‘Fore I Diiie by Maya Angelou
I’m making a point of reading more poetry; after all, reading is an important part of improving your own writing. Maya Angelou is a giant in the world of words, so she was the next writer I plucked from the shelves of my local library.
As with any poetry collection, there were some pieces I enjoyed more than others; but overall, I fell in love with her work, and I am sure I’ll be reading more of her poetry very soon. Favourites of mine include Artful Pose, America, and A Conceit.
John Cooper Clarke on Desert Island Disks
I love Desert Island Disks. Of all the podcasts, it’s surely the bread and butter; a staple, a must-have, a classic for a reason. I delight when a new episode arrives on my phone. I listened to the recent episode featuring punk-poet John Cooper Clarke, who is a riot to listen to and a man with plenty of intriguing stories and ideas.
One of my favourite statements of his was this one:
“[Baudelaire] didn’t do anything other than write poetry and schmy around, aimlessly, schlepping from one coffee house to another…and I thought, wow, the life of a useless flaneur can be yours, by virtue of poetry. That was the life for me; the life of an idle boulevardier.”
Food for thought!
‘Why Going To The Cinema Alone Is My Favourite Form Of #Selfcare’ by Kayleigh Dray
I adored this article! Solo cinema trips are one of my favourite things and I’ve always found them liberating. Kayleigh articulates this feeling so well – I almost wish I’d written this myself.
‘Stop Complaining and Start Writing About What Matters’ by Anisa Nasir
Another great little piece I stumbled across on Medium. I’m always thinking about the limitations and risks of bringing personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences into my writing. People tell you to “write what you know”, but what if what you know could go down poorly with your readers, and earn you a few enemies?
Anisa Nasir urges us to accept that you can’t please everyone with everything you create, and it’s motivated me to be a little more personal in the future. Here’s to being brave, and caring a little less.
I know, I know. I’m very late to the party. I started watching Mad Men a couple of years ago, but got a little bored around the middle and left it. I got back to it in July and sped through the rest of the episodes, not remembering what made me give it up. It’s nice to finally know what everyone’s been raving about!
[Gifted] Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams
You’ll know by now how much I admire Laura’s writing; I’ve read each of her books so far, and followed her career as a columnist; so when Avon books offered to send me a copy of her third book – and first work of fiction – I jumped at the chance. It is the perfect romantic comedy read; a real modern-day Nora Ephron-esque story of missed chances, fate, and realistic love in modern-day London.
It also happens to be the most millennial, ‘woke’ love story I’ve read. Well worth reading, especially since it’s finally available in paperback, audiobook, and download!
Stranger Things, Series Three
What can I say? I am often so dubious about sequels, but had no need to worry about this one. This is a show that maintains its strength as it goes on; it’s still fun, freaky and so nostalgic. I don’t usually say this, but I am genuinely hoping for a fourth series. No spoilers!
Living the Dream by Lauren Berry
This book has been on my TBR list for years, and I finally got it out of the library last month. It was an easy read, and a story that has been told a number of times; twenty-something creatives trying to find their big breaks in the city, navigating complex relationships, milestones, and uncertainty along the way.
Nonetheless, it was very enjoyable, relatable and well written. Definitely a good book to read if you feel alone in trying to find your way.