June 2019 Update.

Hi everyone, Callum here.

Apologies for the late post. Just had a lot of good stuff happening in the last month or so. And that’s what this update is about.

Before the good stuff happened, I was in a bit of a down mood. Not that I was suffering from depression or anything serious, but I was feeling angry at myself all the time. Thinking nasty things to myself because I wasn’t going anywhere in life. I was stuck in two jobs that had nothing to do with my dream of being a writer.

In short: I was stuck. Until the end of April. That’s when the downward spiral started turning up.

I had written two play-scripts that I was hoping to get published at some point. On Facebook, I saw an advert about a radio station called Sheffield Live that was looking for new writing material. I submitted my plays and, to my delight, they loved it and wanted to record them. I cannot begin to describe my mood when I saw the email response from them. My dreams of being a writer were finally coming true.

I even got to see my play being recorded as well. This was my first play called Still Learning, about two close friends who are going off to live their lives elsewhere and aren’t sure of where they’re going. I’ve attached a link at the end of this post, as its available on YouTube. My other play needs a cast, so we’re currently searching around at the moment (By the way, if you live in Sheffield and you’re wanting to publish something you’ve written, Write Radio is the place to go. Email them at writeradio@sheffieldlive.org about sending in new material).

My second piece of great news came from a new job opportunity in Sheffield. A friend of my parents was the manager of a media company called Fortay Media, and he’d heard of my writing degrees and wanted to give me a three day trial to see if I could work for him.

The result: I was given the role of Creative Content Writer, by which I was given a blog to write about from different clients and then it would be published online after being read through. I also got to do bits of filming for the company as well and a bit of writing content for a website. Of course, I had to leave my job behind at School and Coumes Brook Residential, but that didn’t matter. I was finally doing something I enjoyed.

If you ever need a media company for filming or promoting your company, check out Fortay Media in Sheffield. They are brilliant.

Finally, the last bit of news came from a new drama society I joined called Grenoside Pantomime. Also based in Sheffield, I decided to join them after leaving HSU Theatre Society. They were holding auditions for a pantomime version of Treasure Island at the beginning of June.

I auditioned and, to my surprise, I got the lead role of Jim Hawkins. Another fantastic climb up the ladder of success. And all whilst watching X-Men: Dark Phoenix in the cinema.

As a result of all these good events occurring, my mood began to improve. I’ve become a little bit more positive about my life, and I’m finally a writer. I’ve finished the final planning stages of my horror novel and I’m back to writing on this blog as well. I’m so happy about how good things have been in my life.

All of this goes to show one thing: anyone can make it. I’m sounding cliched here but I’m being serious. If you have a dream and you want it so badly, go after it. Keep going, no matter how tough life may be. I’m finally a writer and I’m glad to have gone through so much to get there.

Expect the unexpected, as my parents and I say. You never know what will be around the corner.

Heres the link to my radio play:

 

Update- April 2019.

Hi everyone, Callum here. Hope you’re all doing well.

Heres a little update on how I’ve been doing for the last few weeks and days as well. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for me, so I’ll be as honest as I can.

During the Easter holidays, I went into a bit of a downward plunge with my mood. I was happy at times, but for those two weeks, there were moments I began to feel sad. About my life, in general. And it scared me at how frustrated I was because, for that time, I felt like I was going nowhere in my life. Like I was stuck. Not even close to my dreams. And it angered me because I felt like I was being ungrateful for all the good things I had in life; Friends, family, employment, a lovely home and a dream of writing.

I’ll admit that my problems are rather small scale compared to what’s going on in the real world nowadays, especially people struggling with far worse mental health problems. But at that time, I felt selfish. Dramatic. Emotional. And I’m being honest here, that’s how I truly felt. I couldn’t enjoy the fun things in life, nor could I be happy about what I was yet to do.

Eventually, I confessed to my friends and family about how I was feeling and they consoled me. They told me that these things do happen and I should talk to someone if I ever feel bad. Ever since, my moods have gone back and forth. There have been times when I’ve been happy and times when I’ve been low on confidence and not felt the urge to do anything. Again, I’m still trying to talk, and wanting to speak to others in an attempt to improve my confidence. But it’s not something that is easily done.

Thats how I’ve felt sometimes. And I know I shouldn’t be hard on myself or be selfish. Because I can behave like that a lot of the time. I can be angry when my confidence isn’t great. But no one is perfect. Not everything in life works out as we plan. It’s just how it is.

So, that’s all I have to say right now. Hope you’re all ok and I’ll hopefully be writing again soon.

 

Trying to Talk.

Hi everyone, just a little update from Callum here.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling to tell people how I’ve been feeling a lot. You sometimes get that with people, who find it hard to express themselves. I was that person recently, keeping a lot of bottled up feelings kept away. As a result, it hurt me so much that I became angry and unable to feel or say a thing.

It took a meaningful conversation with my parents yesterday to make me realise what my behaviour will do one day if I carry on the way as I am. If I don’t think talk about how I’m feeling and remain silent. And I don’t want to be that person. I want to talk more. To express myself. To be a better talker. I know my previous blog post was about how I can express myself through writing, but I also want to talk more.

That’s why, as of today, I will be more honest with people and will take control of my own life. I will try not to be hard on myself and pick myself up whilst I can. This blog post might not attract lots of people, but for those who read it, I’m glad to have said this.

Thanks for reading 🙂🙂🙂

What Writing means to me.

Hi everyone. Callum here.

Today’s post will about why I enjoy writing and what it means to me. It’s going to be a big one because it comes after a sudden return to writing on this blog, as well as some poetry that I’ve written. To begin, I’ll shed some history to you.

When I was a young boy in Primary school, I was always interested in writing. I used to make up stories about Thomas the Tank Engine with my Dad, and how we used to go on all sorts of adventures. Growing up with autism, I used to have an imaginary, make-believe world called Story Land. Where I could enter and talk to people that were in films and TV shows that I watched. At one point, I made up an imaginary film about me meeting several characters from cartoon shows, and I named the idea as “Callum in Cartoon World.”

As I kept on growing, however, my autism drove me to the point where I couldn’t express my feelings properly. That is, to say I didn’t go mute or anything, but I found it difficult to get my point across, something which a lot of people found frustrating sometimes. And it drove me mad. I only wanted to say how I felt, but I could never get the right words out, often saying things that either alienated or made people feel uncomfortable. I’m not like that today, but I still struggle sometimes.

And, that’s where my writing comes in. I have always had a passion for writing because it’s something I personally enjoy. To me, writing is what milk is to cereal; nice and sweet.

But, there’s another personal reason. Because, through writing, I can express myself more. If there is anything that scares or torments me and I can’t muster up the courage to speak about it to another person, then I write it down. Whether it be a personal blog post, or a poem, or even a little written confession, I make sure that I write something down. I have so many things that I want to say and do. But, because I always overthink and panic too much, the negative thoughts are always there. Torturing me. Taunting me for being a coward. I do fight back mostly, but sometimes, when it’s too much and I can’t breath, I write it down.

Sometimes, I suffocate as a result of keeping too much on my mind and for being too hard on myself. And when I write these thoughts down, the cloud lifts a little. And that is where my joy for writing comes from. And it’s one of the reasons why there are so many authors out there in the world. We write because it’s never easy to express what we feel through conversation. Because we’re not always strong as other people in the universe. Because we want to cry out and be accepted and to let the world know that this is us. This is who we want to be.

There’s a little poem that I’ve written that describes what it feels to read and write. It’s called The Other World.

I find myself, floating,

feeling a freedom like

never before.

This world is mine,

to command. Control.

Create. Construct.

 

I can pick sentences.

Mix up stories. Make

A waterfall of imagination.

Like an Eagle, I fly,

never fearing the ground

below me. It has no power.

 

Mixing. Splashing.

Grinding. Crunching.

All my ingredients collide.

 

I could make up a story.

Of a man who went to sea

and married a mermaid.

 

Or a woman driven mad,

by her estranged lover.

Wouldn’t that be dramatic ?

 

With my words, I throw them

and they crash onto the page.

Their prison. My creation.

 

The fog clears, and I stare

at what I have done.

I have found my voice.

 

This is my work. My voice.

This story is mine to tell,

And I am the author.

 

This is what writing means to me and why I love it so much. I write because I have a voice that I struggle to sell. Because there are many days when I feel upset and want to scream out and say what I want. And it’s never easy. But, it is through my gift of writing, that I am able to be brave. To express myself and how I feel. To be the person that I want to be. To finally speak. And, most of all, to be heard and accepted. Through novels, short stories, poems, scripts and plays. They all carry with them a part of my life that I’ve longed to explain to people but have never been brave to.

That is why I write. And so should anyone who wants to. You’ll surprise yourself.

Update (March 2019)

Hi everyone, second blog post of the day.

Just wanted to let you guys know how I’ve been in the last few months. It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything properly on here, so I’ll cut to the chase.

In terms of my writing situation, I have written my third novel. A horror story called The Bolsterstone Wraith, and it’s set in the village of Bolsterstone, where I sing with Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir. The story is that the entire village, including a newly arrived couple are terrorised by a ghost and it’s arrival brings about more horrors. And that’s all I’ll say because you’ll need to read the book if it comes out.

Writing the story wasn’t an easy task. The only horror novel I’d ever read were two Stephen King stories, The Shining and Misery (Both on a previous blog post by me). After completing the first draft of my story, I decided to read more horror books to understand the genre a bit more. Other books included The Amityville Horror, The Woman in Black, a few stories by Edgar Allen Poe, Irish Ghost Stories and Scottish Tales of Terror. I am currently reading a collection of stories by H P Lovecraft and, up to this point, they are absolutely fantastic. Just the way that Lovecraft makes use of tension and other worldliness for his horror stories is fascinating, which acts as an influence to my own horror story and all.

I have also turned to poetry recently, writing about things in my life and sometimes personal feelings that I go through sometimes. I intend to get them published at some point in a book collection. Adding to that, I have also submitted six poems in a poetry competition back in January. I still haven’t heard back from them yet, but I hope to hear their response soon.

As for my second novel, Steel City Sorrows, I have returned to the second draft of editing it. It’s actually much easier this time and I’m enjoying it, although process has been slow due to work and other commitments, but I’m in no rush.

Finally, I have sent off my two play scripts. The first, Someone Else Today (A play about bullying) has been sent off to Sheffield Theatres, but I’m looking into elsewhere for any other publishers if possible. My second play Still Learning has been sent off to the Kenneth Branagh Award 2019, and I’m still waiting to hear back from them.

Thats all in terms of writing.

Outside from that, my jobs are going well (I work at Oughtibridge Primary School and Coumes Brook Residential Home). A bit hard sometimes, but so is life.

Sometimes, I do have personal feelings that I let get to me. This can range from overthinking something to panicking about what my future will be like. As a person with autism, it can be difficult because I don’t always get my point across and can become frustrated as a result. Deep down, I’m trying to be a good person and try to remind myself every night.

One last thing, I was recently in a talent contest called Sue and Paul Trade’s Got Talent. I reached the finals where I sang I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables and You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. I didn’t win, but they offered me a guest spot on a Sunday evening so I’ll be down there singing my socks off, as I love to do.

So, that’s all folks. Thanks for talking the time to read this and my poem today. Next time, I’ll be writing a special post on what writing means to me and many others.

 

Update.

Hi everyone. Callum here.

Just posting a quick update on how I’ve been for the last few weeks or so. Also a little bit of poetry.

For those who don’t know, I consider myself a Christian. I pray to God occasionally, go to Sunday School and work with the younger kids there, and I go to church on those days as well.

However, recently, I have been considering whether I have been a good person/ good Christian. I’ve always had it in my head that a good Christian is someone who does good things, reads the Bible and prays all the time. The ultimate personification of perfection.

I’m not a perfect person. I’m 23 years old, I’m Autistic and I often get angry. I often imagine myself in an imaginary world, where fictional people based on people I know in real life annoy me and try to wind me up. And, as you may expect, I lash out. Talk to myself and get wound up. Say things that I know I should never say. And all the while, I feel that God is watching me. Possibly thinking that I may never change. That I don’t deserve to be in his world.

My parents always tell me never to be hard on myself. And I try so hard not to. It just feels like sometimes, a part of me is trying to put me down. Trying to make me out as a bad person. Almost as if I’m sabotaging myself on purpose. And I know that as well.

Recently, I was told at Sunday School that Christians are never truly perfect. That, in God’s eye, we all struggle to live in his image. That we will always fall and strive to better ourselves. And they are right. We are all full of faults and positive aspects.

I started to feel better after this. Because I know I’ll never be perfect. And I don’t want to be. I just want to be a good man. Someone who tries to help and do as much as he can. And there may be days when I get angry. Make mistakes. Do things that are bad and change my moods. But all that matters is that I carry on.

Writing Process.

In terms of my novel, I’m working on my first draft. Going through the paper copy and editing it. Making notes. As any writer should.

It’s not been an easy one. Like I say, I’m always hard on myself and try to push myself to make the entire story perfect.

The most difficult thing to edit particularly involved Chapter 14. I won’t give anything away but it is a big chapter. One that acts as the culmination of every character arc before it. I had to make sure that the dialogue and characters moved the story forward. Correcting any mistakes and ensuring that it flowed smoothly.

The next three chapters afterwards focused on my three main characters and how they began their development into fleshed out characters; Chapter 15 focused on Scott slowly starting to mature, Chapter 16 focused on my secondary character, Edward and how his character begins a slow descent into a nervous wreck, and finally Chapter 17 looked at how Martha, the wise one of the trio began to open up to her love interest and confronted her issues. The last chapter, in particular, was perhaps the easiest and difficult one to write. Not because I was writing from a female’s POV but because there were certain things that dissatisfied me and needed correcting.

The title of my novel, as you may already know is called Steel City Sorrows. It is set in the city of Sheffield, where I currently live, and I am on Chapter 18 of a book containing 30 chapters. Now I’m starting to get into the hang of this writing exercise, so hopefully, I should have the second draft done before or at the beginning of August.

 

Cracks.

Here is a poem that I’ve written myself. Please don’t steal it or use it for copyright issues. It does belong to me.

Nothing can mend the
Cracks.
They’ve been there for a long, long
time.
You should know.
We created them.
They came when what we had
was lost.
We fought. Our feet battered the ground.
Split. Crack.
The tarmac tore open.
And all we had was gone.
There’s no way they can be
sealed.
You see, we made it happen.
We caused the damage.
It’s our fault.

Nothing can mend the cracks.
No words. No kisses.
No love.

The Doctor and the Spider.

Hi everyone. Callum here.

Today’s blog post is a personal reflection on two heroes that I admire the most. These two heroes are the Marvel Comic superhero, Spider-Man and the science-fiction character, Doctor Who. These are two characters that I look up to and respect for their motives and ideologies.

And this is why.

The Doctor is the main character of Doctor Who. An alien that travels around in space and time, saving the universe from evil and changing his face from time to time. As a massive Whovian, I adore this show so much, because it made such a massive impact on me.

Then, there is Spider-Man. An ordinary teenager named Peter Parker, who gains his powers via a spider bite and later goes on to use his newfound powers to benefit himself. However, when his Uncle Ben is murdered by a burglar that Parker let escape in the past, he decides to use his powers to help others. Ordinary people who deserve to live. Unlike the X-Men or the Avengers, who operate worldwide, Spider-Man acts as an everyday man, helping out because it’s his responsibility.

With that said, I’ll be analysing both heroes and explain why they are my main idols.

The basis of Doctor Who is that the main character goes around saving the universe. It’s a simple premise, but it relates to every good man or woman in the world. Throughout the history of the universe, we have had many people trying to do good in the world and trying to do the right thing. It’s such a relatable purpose. Something that I can understand.

As a person with autism, I have grown a lot since my diagnosis and have gone on to try and help others, such as working with autistic children, elderly adults and now primary school children. Seeing the Doctor go out into the universe and trying to help out where he can is something that gives me hope. Hope that I can one day make such a difference.

But he’s not a perfect hero either. He has faults and weak moments, such as changing the laws of time in The Waters of Mars, or bringing back a companion from the dead in Hell Bent. The Doctor has made many mistakes in his life, and these mistakes make him feel guilt and almost driven to the point of giving up. Yet he still keeps on going. Helping out where he can. Pushing himself forward. This is me as well. I’ve made mistakes, some of which I still have to live with as of today. But I still keep going, because it’s the right thing to do. Because the memories of the past don’t always dictate what a person is like today. How they choose to live their life based on their memories is up to them.

The Doctor makes mistakes. But he does what he does because it’s the right thing. Even if there are bad consequences.

As for Spider-Man, he’s not a saint. At first, he uses his power for fame and glory. To better himself from the nerdy weakling that he originally was. But upon the news of his Uncle Ben’s death, he changes his manta to something wiser. To help others. To use his powers sensibly and not get too ahead of himself. Or, as the quote goes:

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.

Spider-Man’s guilt at his powers costing the life of his uncle is what keeps him going. He goes on to fight supervillains, fall in love, get married and generally keep up the good fight. He saves lives. Fights evil. Risks his life several times. Yet, wherever he goes, he can never shake off the original sin that kick-started his career.

And even afterwards, he still suffers. Peter has to keep his powers a secret from everyone he loves, he gets a lot of hate from other civilians, his girlfriend, Gwen Stacey is murdered by the Green Goblin, he finds out that he was originally a clone, and even died at one point, only to later be revived by Dr Octopus. No matter how much he tries, Spider-Man suffers at every point. Yes, much like his other colleagues, there are times when he succeeds, but because he is an every-day character, he still has to go through many trials to grow into a great man.

Like I said above, I’ve had many losses and victories in my life, and these events are what have defined me for the days to come. There are things that I have to live with, and although they may drag me down at times, I still keep going. Just like Spider-Man, I have to push forward and learn from my mistakes. It’s my job to do so. To do good things and never stop.

Overall, this is why Dr Who and Spider-Man are my main inspirations. Because they do good things, are tested, yet they never forget where they came from, nor what they’re supposed to do. Both are good men that have their limits, but we can still learn from them. It’s easily the reason why Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor is my favourite incarnation of the show altogether. And it’s also the reason why I adore Spider-Man: Homecoming, because it understands the character and helps him mature into the friendly neighbourhood hero that we all know and love today.

And that’s all I have to say today. Please let me know what you think in the comments below. I look forward to your responses.