FAIRYTALES FOR LOST CHILDREN
Five years ago I sat down to write my first short story. It was a 2500 word narrative loosely modelled on my own life. Although I had previously written two unpublished, structurally messy novels, this one piece of short fiction altered my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. This particular story was about a Somali teenager who had immigrated to the UK and although discouraged by the unforgiving weather and poverty had found a great deal of solace in exploring his sexual identity away from the prying eyes of his parents and community.
As we mature and grow wiser, our perceptions shift and we begin to fully comprehend the risks we took in our youth and see them not as perilous acts of recklessness but as necessary rites of passage. That is the thrill I felt after writing my first short story because I knew it was the most honest representation of myself up until that point. I was gay and deeply closeted but this small act of putting pen to paper and telling my story freed me up, allowed me to push open the closet door and greet the world outside.
Since writing that piece many things have happened. I came out to my family. I lost my family. I fell in love. I fell out of love. I made new friends, I went to university and I kept writing. In short, I became an adult. It was a stressful way to grow up for sure but each challenging experience was character building, vital to where I am today.
My book ‘Fairytales For Lost Children’ is a chronicle of what it means to be young and endure struggle. It’s about being different, revelling in that difference and forging forwards despite the constant curveballs that life swings in our direction.
At a time when the youth in our collective global community are losing their lives to homophobic abuse and hateful dogma, it is important to remember our shared humanity, the fact that we all ultimately have the right to be who we are, regardless of our gender, sexuality, religious affiliation or racial makeup.
I hope you enjoy reading ‘Fairytales’ as much as I did writing it. And I hope it offers you solace and comfort in the same way that it did for me.
‘Fairytales For Lost Children’ is available to preorder here