Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Melancholy Mind: An Interview & Book Review

 

Being a blogger, I'm very lucky that I get to speak to, and interact with people from all walks of life, who have different stories, and experiences to tell me about, and educate me on.

One lovely lady that I've known for quite a while now is Charlene McElhinney. She's a Mental Health advocate, who recently published her very own book called Melancholy Mind! She poured her heart, and soul into it, and as she's a friend of mine, I obviously want to support her, and her successes in any way that I can. That's why I thought I'd do a little interview with her about the book, so that all of you can get to know her better, and hopefully become convinced to buy your own copy! Now, onto the questions...

Hi Charlene! It's so lovely to have you here on my blog today. Why don't you start by introducing yourself?

Hello! It’s always an honour to feature on other bloggers’ platforms; thank you for having me! I’m Charlene McElhinney, I just recently turned 21 years old and I’m from Glasgow, Scotland.

For those who may not know, what inspired you to start writing Melancholy Mind? Were your own Mental Health struggles the main reason, or were there others too?

Melancholy Mind was originally written as part of my college course graded unit. I only planned on writing an anthology of around 5 poems, when I got to 60+ I thought: Why not self-publish a book? I began researching into it and thought it was feasible. Definitely something I could to if I put my mind to it. It was a long and challenging process but I learned loads on the journey and it was ever so rewarding to put my book out there in to the world. Added to this, my mental health struggles were the real reason and inspiration behind the book. I’ve battled with Depression & Anxiety for a few years now and my main outlet has always been writing.

What was the inspiration behind the name? Did you intentionally choose for it to be alliterative or did it just turn out the way?

The alliterative title was intentional. I had always loved the word ‘melancholy’ as I can resonate with it a lot. My mind is always full of depressive, melancholy, thoughts (hence Melancholy Mind). I thought it was short, straightforward and simply effective. It just popped in to mind randomly one time and I thought that’s it, that’s the one.

The book itself is split up into 9 chapters. Were they fairly easy to come up with or did you specifically wish to talk about all the subjects at some point?

As a whole, they were fairly easy to come up with, as it was taking the reader through my mental health journey step by step. The chapters just came naturally. However, the actual content within these chapters was not so easy. I drained myself writing this book. I took myself back through some of the worst times in my life, and put myself back in that mind frame, to be able to produce the poetry. It was a very trying time and I felt like giving up on many occasions but I just soldiered through. And I’m so glad I did. My book has helped me on my down days, given me opportunities and the most important ‘reward’ of all is being able to reach out to other MH sufferers and help them. The kind words, the reviews and the messages have helped me so much and have made the whole journey 100% worth it.

Talk to us about some of the incredible opportunities you have had since the publication date!
 
I've featured in several papers, my local paper ‘The Cumbernauld News’ and ‘The Evening Times’, I’ve been on BBC Radio Scotland (to mainly talk about letter writing but also to plug my book), I’ve received an abundance of messages from people who have took comfort from my book and have wanted to reach out to me to tell me how much it’s helped them, I’ve been featured on so many blogs in regards to reviews of my book and Q&A’s about the background to it (just like this!)… it’s just been fabulous! It’s been 6 months now since I published my book and put it out there in the world and it’s honestly one of the proudest moments of my life.
 
Now that you are a published author, can you see yourself releasing more books? Maybe something other than poetry...?
 
Definitely. I’d love to. It’s just finding the time at the moment. I’ve just started my first year at University studying Creative Writing, Journalism, English & Law and it’s going to be a very time consuming course, for sure. I’m also trying to upkeep my blog and all of my social media platforms as well as letter writing to over 30 pen pals so I do an awful lot of writing at the moment. When I get free time, I tend to like to read or go to the pictures etc, however when a good idea pops in to my mind I take note! I’d love to sit and write a novel. That’s next on my to-do-list. Now that I know how to self-publish, too, it’s something I could see myself doing again!..
 
Are you going to buy Melancholy Mind for yourself? Have you ever heard about it before?
 
Lots of love always,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 
 
 

 
  
  








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Thursday, 17 August 2017

My Love For Milk And Honey


Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you will have heard of the best-selling poetry book, milk and honey. As with everything, I'm pretty late to the party, but now that I've got my hands on a copy, I genuinely do feel like my life is that extra bit better and brighter.

Ever since I was 13, I've been writing poetry myself. Sometimes regularly, sometimes more sporadically if I don't often get the chance to sit down and reflect on things. Although I did enjoy the majority of the poems that I recently studied for my GCSEs, I could never personally connect with them, as they were all quite ancient and about topics that I'd never experienced myself.

Rupi Kaur has without a doubt gone through many difficulties in her life. From the absence of her father, to destructive relationships and questioning her self-worth, you will find something in this book that brings out all of your emotions at once.

This collection of poetry is quite simply a masterpiece. Never before have I read anything quite like it. It's thought provoking, empowering, heartfelt, eloquently written and just completely stunning. Within today's generation, young people deal with so many issues, and sometimes it can feel like nobody else can understand or relate. Imagine how many of us feel alone, lost, misunderstood. Once you have got stuck into this book, that's no longer the case anymore. You feel as though somebody is on your side. Somebody out there gets where you're coming from. It's almost like everything you're thinking and feeling about certain situations in life is being presented beautifully through the power of words on a page. It's quite incredible really.

All 4 chapters focus on a different part of a cycle - the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. If you feel hurt, and conflicted, unsure of where to turn, allow yourself to become immersed within the words that Rupi shares with you. Think of it as though you're talking to a best friend, or your own diary. You will find comfort through the fact that she understands you, possibly more than you even understand yourself sometimes. By the time you move deeper into the book, and get to the healing section, you will find that solace has been born from the sadness that you felt for all of that time. Rupi will soothe your soul, and leave you feeling empowered and able to take on the word once you have put the book down.

With certain things in life, we will never be able to find the words within the English language to express how we feel. I will never be able to find the words to explain how much this book means to me.

It takes a lot of courage and strength to allow the whole world to see the most vulnerable side of you, and so I have the utmost respect for Rupi Kaur. She is 1 in a million, that's for sure.

Have you ever read Milk and Honey? If not, are you going to pick up a copy now?!
 
Lots of love always,
 
 
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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Lifestyle: Top 4 Favourite Reads



Reading is probably one of my favourite things to do in my spare time. I have read many books throughout the years and I'm continuing to do so, but I thought that I would share my current favourites. You may find something that floats your boat, who knows?!

The first book that I would like to talk about is Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale. I honestly cannot explain how much I love this book. I don't want to give too much away, but I'm going to be explaining the general storyline to you, in case you are interested in having a read yourself. The main character is called Rosie Kenning and when her mother dies from a terrible disease, her world is turned upside down. But, what if she is grieving for a mother that was never hers? What if her whole life, up until now, was all a lie? It's probably one of the most emotional, heartfelt books that I have ever read and I honestly couldn't put it down - it's incredibly gripping! I can't recommend it enough!

My next favourite book is The Look by Sophia Bennett. The main character is called Ted and at the same time as her being offered a job to sign with a modelling agency, her older sister Ava is diagnosed with cancer. What will happen? Will she have to choose between fame and family? Its another emotional read, based around family life and having to make tough decisions.

If you are easily disturbed by sensitive subjects, such as suicide and bullying, then this next recommendation may not be the best book for you. It's probably the most sensitive book out of all of my recommendations, purely because it is centred around a suicide story. I don't really know how to explain the story, so I shall use an extract from an online review, which will hopefully explain it to you. 'Clay Jensen received a parcel in the mail. Inside are seven tapes. When Clay presses `play', he hears a voice he never thought he'd hear again. Hannah Baker. She committed suicide. And those who are sent the tapes had some part in her death. But... it's got to be a joke, right? Some cruel, twisted practical joke. There's no way Clay had anything to do with Hannah's suicide. He barely even knew her... But how can he handle not knowing? So he does as Hannah says. He presses play, and he listens. What he hears will change him. Forever...' You may want a box of tissues for this one and I wouldn't recommend reading it all in one sitting, as it can be quite heavy, but it's an incredible book.

Last but not least, I recommend How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. This is probably the most old-fashioned book out of all of them, as it is set quite a few years back and it has a war theme to it. The plot is absolutely excellent and it's written in an understandable, clear way. The only issue would be the punctuation, because there is hardly any at all and so it can be hard to understand at times, but you soon get used to it as the story goes on and you find that there is limited punctuation for a reason. It's a moving novel, and it's been a bestseller too, so you know that it's worth the read!

Which book seems the most appealing to you? Have you read any of them before?

Lots of love,

Jade

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