Guest Post # 1 Zainab Abbass

If you are a regular at reading my blog (Thank you, by the way!) You will have noticed by now that I have written about the things that inspire me. From time to time I read other people's Short Stories too, and they, I believe can be most inspiring indeed. One such Short story is from a Young writer called Zainab Abbass, whose story "The voice of a boy who saved everyone but himself" had me overwhelmed by the quality of her writing. Her style is brilliantly detailed, emotive and impacting. If you have some time to spare, do yourself a favour and read her short story here 

and her other short stories are here:

I have asked Zainab to tell my loyal readers something about herself, and asked the question  "What Inspires You". Here is her answer:

Hi, I'm Zainab. I live in a fairly large city in England - while it is fairly hectic, I live on the outskirts where it isn't too busy and a small walking distance from lots of fields and countrysides and nature that I can't connect with. I like a lot of things, but I'm not good at much. I suffer from fingers that are a tad uncoordinated and like to drop things and cause me to drop a grade in sports. I'm not good at anything active, but I enjoy running and walking, especially as it makes you feel really good afterwards. I'm pretty sure there's a lot of scientific evidence to suggest why exercise makes you feel so great, but I can't really quote any because I don't know any! Oops! However, I do like reading, writing, listening to and discovering new music, watching TV series' and movies, cracking bad jokes and feeling. It's weird to say I like feeling, but emotions are a constant reminder that I'm alive and whilst they can be physically painful, there's something about feeling that's really quite beautiful. In such a complicated way that I can't begin to explain it without downgrading it.

I don't really know what I'd like to do in life, generally anything concerning the future has me confused. But I guess I'd like to find a career where I make some sort of good change in someone's life - nothing big or dramatic. Just something that will make somebody feel more at peace, happier etc. I'm never going to a prime minster or the next John Green nor will I ever inspire a generation with my voice/my face/my words. So sometimes, you just have to downsize your dreams. It doesn't exactly impact the mark you leave behind, I think.

So I'll stop rambling on about myself and I'll write. Ben asked me;

"What inspires you?"

I thought about music, art, love, my parents, my older sister, friends, names and personalities of great poets and musicians. I thought about bands, articles, quotes, books, hot cities and beautiful languages. and then I thought "Nothing" and then I left my train of thoughts and went back to normal life for three to four days, hoping that along the way I'd discover the answer around me or within me. So my inspiration was nil when I was asked if I'd like to write this post. I nearly said "Sorry I just don't think I can." and then when I went to type out the message, I completely changed my mind and wrote that "I'd love to!" or something along those lines and it was not a white lie. I really knew I'd like to sit down and do this, and so well I'm doing it. I've stopped forcing myself to think of a witty answer and I've figured out what inspires me. I've figured out what the source of all my inspiration is.

"What inspires you?"

"People. People inspire me, day in and day out. The cashier at my local supermarket and my favorite poet (The king of words - Rainer Maria Rilke). The woman who runs the charity sale every Tuesday and the physicist who's ideas were so bizarre and yet the only part of Physics I could ever even be interested in (Hugh Everett lll, y'all)."

Let me explain further. I could sit and say "Music" inspires me because music is a huge part of my life. But behind the delight of music, there are the artists and the musicians and the producers and the people who run the record company and there are the fans and all the rest of the people involved in creating music. Little pieces of a jigsaw that would be incomplete if just one minuscule piece was missing, if just one person was missing. Without people, there would be no inspiration. And coming to that conclusion really solidifies why I think human beings are the greatest things to be inspired by. We are constantly creating and making and inventing. We make mistakes and learn lessons and produce material for everybody else to enjoy and feel passionate about. With our own minds, we have managed to find cures for diseases and illness' that were thought 100% incurable and through the pain and the wars and the discomfort, we have managed to somehow make it through.

Whilst I could sit here and tell you all about people we've all heard of, of people who have changed the entire world with their way of thinking and their talents, I'm not going to. I'm going to tell you about people you may know, or people you've never met, or people that are similar to people you know yourselves.
The most inspirational people are the one's walking past you on the street. And with no fear of sounding like a sonder, I'm going to tell you about normal people who I still think of today. Who, when I sit around, will suddenly think off and for a pang of a moment, I'll wonder about them:

-The woman who runs the charity sale on Tuesday's raises money for Help For Heroes - a charity that helps aid soldiers at war - and whose son died at war. And after one hazy school day, in a discussion we were having she said; "I can't help him but I can help others." - in a bid of giving back, she helps save other people's sons. To obviate other's from feeling the grief she had so heavily felt herself.

- The blind woman and her husband who suffers from a mental disorder, who every single day, hold their daughter's hand and take her right to the school gates. With the aid of the young girl's grandfather, I presume, who takes care of all three and smiles at every single passer-by and never stops to take a break or rest on a bench. Most mornings, I see them on my way to school and I do a silent prayer for all four, an unlikely group of people who take care of each other because the bond of family is stronger than the bond of any illness or age.

- When I forced myself to go to a Writer's festival earlier this year, I met a 21 year old girl in the reception. She was quiet and spoke in a hushed voice, as if she was afraid of being heard. And her long blond hair was in a plait - and where the parts of her hair intertwine, are pens. About 4 to 8 pens just lining her hair, so she could never run out. I thought that was such an efficient way of never losing pens.

- At the same festival, a girl on stage, carrying out a poetry slam, said a poem about liberated bodies, loving yourself, the act of scarring yourself in order to feel something. And right in the middle, she spoke a line - and this is directly quoted - "I don't have the energy to kill myself tonight." and I thought it was the most powerful thing I'd heard in years. I can't remember how she even looks like but I can remember the moment she said it, how her voice sounded, how brokenly amazing it was and how I can't seem to forget it.

- Recently, during my work experience at the library, a deaf family of three came in. They communicated through sign language and various' noises. My boss did not understand sign language, but 20 minutes the family had been understood and had been given what they wanted and had comfortably left. I don't know how she did it, or how she managed it but I felt a new sense of respect towards her and her years of experience that had led her to sit down and talk without speaking a single word.

- My Literature teacher who has made me see beyond everything - beyond a single letter, beyond a single glance etc. She taught me that the greatest words are the ones unspoken.

- A very close friend who once said to me "Realize that you can't change the unfairness of the world, but that you can change your state of mind." and changed my life, forever.

I guess what I wanted to do was expand on why I think people are inspiring and why if you stop and really see the people around you or the strangers you can get a few minutes with, you'll realize how every single person contributes to the entire world's pot of inspiration. This links back to why I'd like to make just one change - I'd like to be the person that someday, in the future, a person lists as one of the people they found just a tiny bit inspiring.

Hope you enjoyed that! This is the first in a number of guest blogs to come, where I ask my guest writer the importance of writing about things that matter. Don't miss out and don't forget to Subscribe. 


Ben Mathewson.