edited photo from weheartit
Favourite revisited books
Any Human Heart – William Boyd
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
England, England – Julian Barnes
Anything by P G Wodehouse or Sophie Dahl
A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
Favourite book quote
What a smug, moralising bastard he was. He wore ethics the way tarts wear make up.
– Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot
Favourite book store
My trusty iPad
Hello you whippersnapper of a little thing,
In the next few years of your life you are going to experience many many changes. Some good, some bad, some joyous and some sad. I hope these words will help you through the ups and downs gracefully and that you continue to hold your head up high.
You are going to be doing a lot of moving around very soon. Be thankful of your present friends and never forget where you are from. Mum and dad will be with you for as long as they can. Which will not turn out to be very long, so savour your moments together and be thankful of them. One day you will wake up and realise your parents are human too. Though you look up to them and take their words as gospel, you will soon see that they too can be fallible, vulnerable, hopeless and lost. Be strong for them and for yourself, for when the day comes for you to part with them your heart will break.
J and R are always going to be the pesky older brother and sister to you. They still are today, very much so. You will love them to bits and tear them to shreds whenever your moods take you. Fair enough. But never forget they are family and they love you too. Soon, almost too soon, all three of you will grow up and fly your separate ways.
Don’t take things too seriously. We are all here for a short while, you might as well laugh and love and enjoy the ride. Your penchant for rigid rules will exasperate many and drive away more than you wish to. In a few short years, you will have a dog. Your ordered world will be turned upside down and you will love it. Right now, you are young, so be young.
You were never intended to be a Pollyanna doll. Treasure your mind more than you value your looks. Love your friends not for how they appear but what they stand for. Beautiful things are not always bountiful. Neither are the plain and obscure necessarily virtuous. That chubby awkward boy you kissed and held hands with behind everyone’s back not so long ago will turn out to be one of your best friends. The girl who you always looked up to because of her pretty dresses, porcelain face and beautiful stationery is still the same – pretty dresses, porcelain face, beautiful trinkets and nothing else. Would you have ever guessed?
Very soon you will find yourself friendly with a lot of boys. At one point you will distinguish yourself as someone who only has male friends. Because apparently girls are frivolous, shallow and unbearable. Don’t be a beetle. When you look around at my age, you will count yourself incredible lucky to have good, true, female friends. They will laugh with you, cry with you, share your clothes but not your shoes (I might as well break it to you now, your feet will stop growing very shortly). Most of all, you will help steer each other through life with strength, integrity and bundles of giggles along the way.
You will have the good fortune of finding school easy, both academically and socially. You will make a swag of friends and come to think of yourself as being on top of the world. This triumphant wave, like all others, will come to a crushing end sooner than you expect. Respect and humility will be the hardest lessons you will learn but also the most rewarding. One day, you will realise you are no worse and no better than anyone else in this world. Don’t worry, your true friends will be waiting for you at the end of that road.
Your idea of happiness and how your life should unfold will change over the next few years. Don’t berate yourself for steering off course. Embrace the here and now and always do the best for yourself and your peers.
Like you, the rest of the world will grow and change too. At one point down the track you will feel as if the world has changed for the worse and you will despair. You are lucky. For you will soon find kindness in the most unexpected of places. Hopefully, these people will inspire you show kindness to others.
The man you end up loving resembles nothing to your imaginings now. He is no Prince Charming but he will be kind, patient, true to his words and generous. You will feel a better version of yourself because of him and for that you will always be grateful. You will also cry happy tears one day when dad pats you on the back and say, ‘Your mother would have liked him very much.’
Have a hobby. Is that mum cooking in the kitchen? Why don’t you join her?
Before you head off. Don’t forget, we all live and die in medias res. For the moment, make sure you live out the story that belongs to you and only you.