Wasted by Nicola Morgan

My head is still reeling. I finished reading Nicola Morgan’s Wasted this morning. Usually, I don’t have a chance to stay in bed and read in the morning, but today, by chance (or luck), I had the opportunity and decided to take it. I didn’t toss a coin to decide; I just did what I wanted because I could.

Much has been said about chance, luck and predicting the future with reference to this brilliant story. I don’t think so much has been said about guilt, but this is also an important factor. Jack has found a method of coping with his feeling of guilt over an event that occurred when he was very young. His method of leaving decisions to chance, of tossing a coin, is unhealthy and only hides the guilt which shouldn’t be there at all. He couldn’t have known what his actions would cause.

We’ve probably all felt guilty at some time. I know I have. I’ve even felt guilty about decisions that have caused harm only to me. But now I realise that I couldn’t possibly have known what my decisions would cause.

Wasted is a YA book, which perhaps explains why I was able to read it so quickly. But I suspect I’ll be thinking about it for a long time, and that’s a sign of a good book.


Feeling Lucky

 Me and my backpackThis post is going to be different from its predecessors. I’m going to ramble on and see where it takes me.

I’m back from a three-week trip that was interesting and mostly enjoyable. It was enjoyable because I met a lot of people and, despite all the difficulties, I like to be with people. It was interesting because I made it so. Because I asked questions and also partially opened the blinds to let others see into my world – the good parts and the bad parts. And it brought home something I discovered before: that most people have problems, and it’s only when you’re open about yours that you get to hear about theirs. So, opening up has at least two advantages. It lightens the burden on you, and it helps you to realise that you’re not as strange and different as you thought. You look for similarities, you share your own experiences. You feel better yourself and you hope that you’ve helped in some way.

This probably all sounds obvious to you. But it doesn’t to me, because I’ve spent too many years locked inside my walls with the blinds fastened. Opening up still feels unnatural and therefore difficult. But it’s worth it.

I’m feeling lucky. Lucky to have some wonderful, understanding friends. Lucky to have a lovely, loving family. And lucky to have won a book: Tania Hershman’s The White Road and Other Stories. I hope my luck continues. Maybe I’ll win a short story competition, or find a literary agent, or both….