Short Forms of the Written Word

I’m not gonna lie, I found the title for this post a little tricky. Basically the premise for this post is that I want to share some short doses of fiction, prose and poetry (even some magazines) that I have really been enjoying lately. Throughout this lockdown I have found myself wanting to read but as soon as I start reading, I have the niggling voice in my mind telling me that I should be doing something more productive or spending my lockdown time better. This thought has made me a little torn between wanting to be uber productive but also not having the mentality to truly fulfil such tasks. I think we’re all in the same frame of mind and the state of the world is just mentally draining right now. Because of this, I have found myself drawn to shorter forms of writing not wanting to get too stuck into a chunky book in fear that I’ll lose momentum half way through and never want to revisit it. So, I wanted to share those here today.

Poetry

Bit of a broad one I know but I have been finding poetry in general to be super calming before I go to sleep. In particular, I have been absolutely loving Lang Leav’s work. So far I have read Love Looks Pretty on You, Lullabies, & Sea of Strangers. Lullabies is entirely poetry however the other two have been both poetry and prose which has been a really nice mix. When I say prose, it has been short and digestible prose so it’s an easy-read. I have also really enjoyed Flux by Orion Carloto and Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell. I do have a variety of others too but those are the ones that definitely stand out in my mind.

Short Fiction

Faber Stories have a collection of cute little books, each a different story. I had a few for Christmas presents and bought quite a few before the lockdown so I think I stocked up at a convenient time. The little books are a convenient size for when life gets back to normal. I actually read my first one on a train to my last doctors appointment in February, and have since read more. They serve as easy, bitesize pieces of fiction to get lost in for a while. Two that stick out in my mind are Mr Salary by Sally Rooney and Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath.

Pamphlets

For the past year and a half I have really enjoyed the Candlestick Press Pamphlets. They have a huge variety of topics but each pamphlet focuses on one particular genre or subject such as Tea or Scotland, etc and then it will either have a bunch of poems about that given subject or a mixture of poems, short fiction and prose. My favourite so far has been The All Night Bookshop by David Belbin. While it is a piece of fiction, the pamphlet also has a selection of poems about books to accompany it. It was a such a magical story and I really can’t recommend it enough. The thing I also love about these pamphlets is that they come with an envelope, a sticker and a blank bookmark for you to scribble a little note on to send someone with the pamphlet inside. I have sent quite a few, the most recent being the pamphlet with poems about grandparents to my Granddad, who loves poetry. I also really love that each pamphlet donates money to a chosen charity near that subject, so for instance the one about dogs donates to Dogs Trust while the Christmas Lights one donates to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. They’re a great little thing to lift someones mood at any given time but especially now when we can’t be together, we can just pop one of these in the post to a loved one.

Miscellaneous

Now, I say miscellaneous purely because I can’t really group this section in any other way. I have recently been loving digital magazines, specifically Betty Magazine which I believe available through online pdf’s for a limited time only. I do have physical copies of a few of these but I love the idea of having digital versions which I can always revisit. The imagery and articles are just among some of my favourite content. Popshot Magazine is a great source of short fiction and poetry too if you wanna stick to strictly poetry and fiction. I have also really enjoyed reading the first issue of The Coven Magazine. This has made for an interesting read during lockdown. I always enjoy audiobooks but lately I have been pulled to podcasts more. Like books, I’ve been trying to digest shorter formats of everything; trying to take breaks to address my mood and mentality in this crazy time. I have been absolutely loving Queens Podcast -if you looked at my Spotify queue right now you would see a list of their episodes that I’m working through.

Let me know if you have any other forms of short fiction too.

Cheerio for now!

things I’ve found solace in | isolation edition

I started self-isolating mid March due to pre-existing health conditions and while I am used to spending a lot of time at home because of my health, I think there’s something very different about not being able to leave your home because of an epidemic than just simply from chronic health conditions. Because of just how much time I spend at home already, I have a variety of go-to’s which always work however, this obviously isn’t the usual circumstances. Since being in isolation I have found some new features that I’ve come to rely on through this time and wanted to outline a few of the specifics below incase they can help you.

First of all, how can I not mention Emma Hills isolation vlogs. When it comes to hauls and content such as that on YouTube I’m not interested, but certain peoples vlogs I eat up so quick! Emma Hill is one of these people. I love her vlogs as it is but there is something so raw and interesting about vlogs at the moment, when we’re all in the same boat and struggling to pass the time away. In this sort of situation people true colours come out and I think there’s something really refreshing about connecting that way. Not with sponsorships or plugging social media handles but just connecting with one another in a way that encourages and helps people through these days… the 5B’s help a hell of a lot too!

Another person who’s youtube content I have really been loving right now is Kate La Vie. Her weekly vlog vids are always welcome with open arms in my subscription box; and miraculously, she’s someone I can handle hauls with. Her home is an endless source of inspiration and she just radiates such a positivity about her, even on those days when you can tell she’s maybe having not so great a time, she still seems to have an upbeat energy to her. I also love the content on her blog too.

I always love seeing Orion Carloto’s instagram content. Her sartorial aesthetic is so satisfyingly pleasing that it makes my heart flutter a little bit (is that sad to say?). Her Youtube content is great too, although few and far between. But what has really helped lately is her book Flux. Flux is a short book of poetry in a variety of approaches including hand-written notes and diary entries too. It’s so alluringly deep that you can’t help but keep turning the page. It also is a great starting point if you’re only just getting into poetry.

I think poetry in general is something that I have found myself feeling quite drawn to right now. I have been spending my evenings curling up with a book of poetry to try and divert my mind for the current state of the world. I find it so soothing to unwind with it and a tea before I go to bed, and if truth be told I don’t think I would be able to have an evening without it now. While I love reading in general, poetry has a lightness to it. The experience depends entirely on the reader. You can either analyse each stanza, reading between the lines for hidden meanings, or you can simply enjoy the musicality of the words chosen by the writer. My evening reading usually falls into the latter, deciding to enjoy the words, imagery and emotion that it gives me; which I find so helpful when trying to unwind.

And of course, in the state of affairs the world is facing right now, I found Alice Catherine’s post incredibly grounding for my anxious thoughts. I have always found solace in her posts, naturally gravitating to her words and advice but I found this post in particular extremely helpful.

I think that’s enough to mention for today, but no doubt a ton of other things will come to my mind later on so stay tuned for another post of this kind coming your way. Stay safe.

Cheerio for now!