We want to believe that the creative industry operates within a meritocratic framework because it paints a nice picture of reality. But it also happens to be a lie — a harmful one, because it implies that marginalised members of a given industry are the ones to blame for the lack of opportunities, the double-standards, the misrepresentations, the prejudices they face. That BAME authors aren’t getting the recognition and the same opportunities as white authors because they haven’t earned it is a dangerous misconception.

Moreover, there is a tendency in fiction to confuse diversity with identity. People who aren’t part of a given minority community can, of course, write about marginalised characters all they want, but what we, as an audience, really want is accurate representation.

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Stories taught me how to live — I learned from books how people interact, how they think, how the things they feel translate into body language (for instance, a person who clenches their fists is an angry person, and a person who keeps checking their watch is a person who needs to be somewhere else). The questions I’ve had growing up, the answers I’ve revised repeatedly over the years, the lives I’ve lived in the pages of books have shaped me into the person I am today.

I write for children because I know how hard growing up can be. When you are young, everything you feel, see, hear is so much more immediate, so much more vibrant, and as exciting as that sound, it can also be equally terrifying. Your life changes every single day when you are young — at every new fact you learn about the world, at every new street corner you discover; a lake is as big as an ocean, and a walk in the park is never just a walk in the park. I write for children because I want to be there for them. Stories were there for me when I had nothing else.

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i already feel like a fraud every other day, living in and breathing in and feeding on my insecurities and worries for the future. i feel like i will never make anything out of life, never reach my full potential, never become who i am supposed to be, who i want to become.

my ambitions are driven by fear. i want to make something for myself. i want to live like i am capable of living. but i don’t know how. there are moments where i sit in front of the screen or a notebook and all i can feel is the panic welling up inside me, the frustration over my own incompetence, because i can’t get the words to make sense, i can’t get myself to make sense and i want to cry. but, there are also moments where i laugh at my own words, where i think myself a genius because all the plot points are coming together, and in those moments, i can believe whole-heartedly that my ideas are beautiful. but it’s like striking a match in the dark. it flares and flickers out.

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Hello, my name is Boo, and I plan to save humanity from itself.

During the twenty years of my life, I suffered from four different mental illnesses, was handed from doctors to doctors. My life was littered with hospitals, stalkers, physical assaults, more hospitals, media play, and a couple of suicide attempts.

I used to dance and sing, having been misled to believe that to succeed in life, I’d have to beat my way into the limelight. “You’re a fast learner but you are lagging behind!” they said. “Pathetic. Focus.” That was what life was like for years. And school was (“You psycho!”) just as great…

Reality’s more tragic a story than any greek mythology, and I wish I had known that, that somebody had told me something, but instead what did I get? Disney cartoons and fairy tales with princes in shining armours.

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You understand life. How are you able to smile when you understand life?

Tell me how to do it. Because of all the reality, I cannot smile. How should I think? I’ve been exposed to the rawness of life. I’ve become bitter for the ones who are suffering. How do you smile beautifully when you have on your shoulders, this curse of understanding? When you know life? I want to smile beautifully too. But how do I do it when I’m feeling so much sadness for everyone else?

How do I think so that I can smile sincerely while understanding life? There are no sincere smiles, no genuine happiness. There hasn’t been for a long time.

Respect always,
‘Someone Who Needs A New Outlook’