Posts tagged thoughts
Paradox Sketches: Change?

During the times of Charles Dickens, between 15% and 20% of the population in the UK was living at or below the expected subsistence level in food. That meant, nearly a quarter of the population were skipping meals or reducing the quality and quantity of their food. Alongside that, 10% of the population experienced severe food poverty where even charitable donations couldn’t stop those families experiencing abject hunger.

Shocking. And rightly so. It’s an example of historical poverty which fits perfectly into the image of Dickensian times. But there is also another set of statistics that I’m reflecting upon.

The UK news recently picked up on a UNICEF report, highlighting that in the UK, 19% of children under age 15 live in a family where they experience food insecurity (skipping meals or reducing the quality and quantity of food). Alongside that, 10% of children under the age of 15 live in a family experiencing severe food insecurity. Hunger. Beyond charitable donations.

Today. Right now, as I craft this post.

I wrote Paradox for many reasons; one of them is my belief that the Dickensian landscape of poverty and social injustice is still around today.

Dickensian poverty is ugly. It’s ugly because it’s blatant. In my face. And yet how often do I move on, justify inaction or give myself enough excuses to ignore what is in front of me? The harsh reality is that 'The Twins’ of Paradox are real. I walk their Paths on a regular basis.

‘Wish you were(n’t) here?’ That’s the tagline of the book. A question. Continually asked. Of myself. My answer determines what happens to The Twins. My answer determines what happens to my heart.

Paradox Stamp.jpg
A Carol Type of Success


To all you creative dreamers out there.

Charles Dickens paid all expenses for the production of A Christmas Carol. He expected the initial profit to be about £1,000, but because he insisted on expensive bindings and illustrations, the first 6,000 copies brought him £230. The earnings for the following year - £744.

It may not have produced a triumphant monetary return, but the Carol became a story which changed the world.

Andy Smithymandickens, thoughts
Opening lines

Writing an opening line is like putting down on paper 'two plus two equals five.' The rest of the book attempts to prove that equation.

Andy Smithymanthoughts
Hijacking your eyes

This doesn't just apply to film makers. I think it's a goal for many writers, including myself, to craft a connection between the observer and story, such as the one below. 

Andy Smithymanthoughts, video
From "I don't have time" to "That's not my priority."

I love how these four words have held a mirror up to my weakness. How often have I flippantly used that statement and unconsciously communicated a priority on how I am shaping my life? Family, friends, spiritual health, work, writing; every area continues to reflect itself in that mirror.


"Recently, I’ve tried to stop saying, “I don’t have time.” It insinuates that I’m a helpless victim to the all-powerful stream of hours that mightily passes me by. It’s easy to adopt an “Oh well” attitude to what you’re giving up. It authorises my apathy.

Instead, I’ve replaced it with the phrase, “That’s not a priority.” Suddenly, I’ve taken control of my own decisions. I’ve taken responsibility for what I do and don’t do. I’ve added clarity, condemnation, and encouragement, all in 4 short words."

(Dan Mall: I don't have time)

The Bard Lives On.

Whether 'the bard' was just one person or a collective of artists, the influence upon language still amazes me.


(A Selection of phrases we use today that were made famous by Shakespeare.) 

All that glitters is not gold. 

All's well that ends well. 

Beggar all description. 

Brave new world. 

Break the ice. 

Refuse to budge an inch. 

Catch a cold. 

Cold comfort. 

Come what come may. 

Dead as a doornail. 

Eaten me out of house and home. 

Elbow room. 

Faint hearted. 

Forever and a day. 

For goodness' sake. 

Foregone conclusion. 

Full circle. 

The game is afoot. 

The game is up. 

Heart of gold. 

Household words. 

In a pickle. 

In my heart of hearts. 

In my mind's eye. 

Knock knock! Who's there?

Laughing stock. 

Love is blind. 

Melted into thin air. 

Milk of human kindness. 

Naked truth.

Play fast and loose.

Pomp and circumstance. 

Pound of flesh. 

Seen better days. 

Sick at heart. 

Something in the wind. 

A sorry sight. 

Star-crossed lovers. 

The short and long of it. 

Too much of a good thing. 

Wear my heart upon my sleeve. 

The world's my oyster.

Andy Smithymanthoughts
Adventure, it is all in the look.

There is a great short story by Neil Gaiman that places the reader in the middle of a conversation between a mother and her grown up child. The eavesdrop focuses upon the sibling discovering crazy adventures which their father went upon before he died. They are so fantastical it gives the impression that the mother must be struggling with reality. It's a brilliant story found within Trigger Warning - a book I would highly recommend. 

What stands out for me is the opening lines.


In my family ‘adventure’ tends to be used to mean ‘any minor disaster we survived’ or even ‘any break from routine’. Except by my mother, who still uses it to mean ‘what she did that morning’. Going to the wrong part of a supermarket car park and, while looking for her car, getting into a conversation with someone whose sister, it turns out, she knew in the 1970s would qualify, for my mother, as a full-blown adventure.

Neil Gaiman: Trigger Warning (Adventure story)


I like the idea that adventure is found within how I look at things. Too many times I focus upon the Hollywood blockbuster moment within my life, putting all other paths to one mundane side. But adventure is all around. It's just a matter of looking, then throwing myself fully into its unknown. 

Andy Smithymanthoughts