• Favourites,  writing

    Flash Fiction – “The Window”

    405 words. (trigger warning – mental health & incl. potential illness)

    By Danielle Mcdowall

    FEBRUARY: The night was dark, it was cold, and there was a fog outside. She sat calmly looking out the window again. It was the last night of the month and a man was walking down the road with a dog, a puppy perhaps, it was hard to tell from the distance that she was stood.

    LAST DECEMBER: It was 6 pm and dark. She looked once more and there was a figure on the floor, the person’s face wasn’t visible but whoever it was looked out of place. Who was it & why was he or she there? She fell asleep easily and looked once more when waking up, she looked at her watch it was quarter past 3 in the morning and there was another man, older & stockier stood there facing her window, hiding his face.

    The woman was living alone and started to question her sanity.

    “Am I imagining these figures?”
    “I am alone in this house and I have no one to call”
    “Should I confront them? Or deny they turned up?”
    “…and if they even exist, why are they here?”
    “Do I know you from somewhere?”

    LAST MARCH: she looked out the window once more and there was nothing but cars and concrete. Was it all in her mind? had she created these images? or was it too much vodka? she didn’t drink.

    LAST JULY: she looked out the window at a blank canvas. What that was once there, stood still. There no movement. Silence except for a black cat running silently across the road, looking for a mouse. The birds sat on the roof, ready for the morning. All that was there, had vanished.

    “Will they ever return?” she asked.

    “Did they ever exist?” she asked again.

    LAST SEPTEMBER: she was alone, the TV had broken and there was no-one to call.

    “Is there anybody out there?” she cried.

    There was no reply. There was a silence, in the deep dark room, she started to look outside,

    “Maybe I can find a friend from the outside of this house.”

    “No one knows me”

    LAST OCTOBER: She needed her meds. She had stopped taking them. She was not alone. She was where she belonged. Safe. The voices in her head didn’t exist, or the figures outside. The silence was deafening but she was finally at peace.

    “They don’t exist, I DO”

  • Books,  REVIEWS

    [REVIEW] Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen

    One woman’s journey through Mental Health.

    Once I received this book I set about reading it. It only took me 2-3 days to finish this book because not only is it a short book but interesting.

    It is an autobiography; about the author, Susanna Kaysen’s few years spent within a mental institution (famous for housing Sylvia Plath) on a teenage girls wing.

    The reason I picked this book up was that I had already watched the film (with Angelina Jolie, Brit Murphy & Winona Ryder) which made me fascinated about how close to the book the film was.

    The film was brilliant, I wondered if the book was too? Yes, the book lived up to expectations and gave a more detailed account you are unable to get with a film.

    The first thing this short novel showed me is how honest the author is; we really get inside her head and she explains well what is going on around her and her emotions.

    The 1st person works well with the 3rd person throughout because we get the feeling that we are experiencing it with the people involved. As far as I know, the names have all been changed but each person has their own identity which makes you want to learn more about them.

    “Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little bit crazy

    Would I recommend this book to a friend? Honestly, I would recommend this to anyone that has a keen interest in mental health. It is very thought-provoking and makes you question yourself at times!

  • Books,  REVIEWS

    [REVIEW] Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher.

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    The real reason for reading this amounts to hearing all about it and seeing adverts related to “Netflix” tv show tie-in. As you can imagine there will always be comparisons to TV vs Book, but it depends on which way you watch/read them.

    The book is written in 3 ways: past, present, and narrator. The ‘looking back’ past is thoughts by Clay,  and the Present is the same. However, the Narrator (of the tapes) is, as the boy Clay listens to them, voiced as if you were listening to her; Hannah Baker.

    I’m sure you have by now heard of the basic storyline. The boy Clay receives a shoebox full of numbered cassette tapes (ask someone from the 80s for a definition!). It is recordings from the local girl from school who has just committed suicide.

    I  still reading the book right now but basically, page by page, I am turning off my sympathy for Hannah. I also don’t really care enough about Clay to emphasise with his on-going monologue and thoughts. Hannah comes across as being obsessed by little irritating things – so much that you want to roll your eyes at her and mutter something like “that’s life” and similar sayings that you hear, as you’re growing up.

    The book comes across as slightly immature and unless you can stick to hearing about silly, immature teen life I would recommend avoiding this. The more you read the more you get drawn in. I would recommend this be on the English Lit list for teenagers to read for GCSE’s as it has very interesting themes that SHOULD be discussed in a class session.