Author: mattclark99

Starting Again.

Around two years ago, I started this blog, and to be honest, it’s changed dramatically since. It was originally called ‘TheMattClarkBlog’, which was (quite frankly) boring. It had lame articles that got between ten and two hundred views, which I still don’t know how.

Fast forward two years, and here I am, writing this. I’ve had thousands of views so far… in total, I mean – not on a single post (imagine that!), around thirty or so followers (of course, thank you to everyone for following and reading thestuff I post now and again), and I’ve changed from writing articles to creative writing and book reviews.

But I suppose that one thing I’ve realised is that things change. People change.

I’ll use myself as an example. Around a year ago, I went through a period of depression and social anxiety, and… I was in a dark place. Very dark place, which I didn’t think I’d be able to get out.

But things change. And now, I’m feeling better (thanks to my antidepressants), I feel like I’m able to function fully now… I don’t know how to describe it.

So I’m reading through my old writing, and while it helped me get the help I needed, there are two thoughts going through my mind at the moment. 1. “This isn’t me. I barely recognise this anymore.” and 2. “Why would anybody want to read this?” Because to be blunt, it’s either depressing or rubbish.

So I’ve decided to start again. I’m just going to delete everything I’ve written so far on this blog. Again.

Sure, I’m changing history. I’m effectively deleting my “older self”
However, I’m not happy with what I’ve written for the past year, and I want to start again. Clean slate.

What will I write now? I don’t know – reviews, satirical articles, maybe some of my writing and mental health stuff. Essentially the same stuff… but I want to be more consistent, and my content to be more professional and light-hearted.

Thank you so much for supporting the blog, and hopefully things will get better too :)

Matt.

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The Boy in the Woods.

Eyes.
You feel them.
Every time you go through the woods.

Oh no…
Your paranoia has taken over again.
You look around.
Once.
Twice.
Three times.
Your anxiety levels have risen.
Your heart rate has doubled…

Sigh.
There’s nothing there.
Like usual.
How could you be so stupid?

Shaken up, you continue walking.
You’re still listening to that song by The Chainsmokers,
When you feel the eyes again.
Only this time… they seem… closer.

Then,
You feel something.
On the back of your neck.
You shiver.
Is it wind? you ask, before turning around.
That’s when you see him.
The boy in the woods.

Is your mind playing tricks?
You don’t care.
You’re spooked.
You run as fast as you can.

You’ve been running for minutes now.
You slow down.
Phew. You’re safe.

But then you see him again.

And that’s when you realise,
That nobody escapes,
The boy in the woods.


I have no idea what this was :D
I thought about this earlier when I was mid panic-attack; I was walking in the woods and I thought there was someone watching me.
So I thought I’d play on the idea a bit.
Hope you guys enjoy :)

 

A Personal Victory Of Mine :)

I might sound like one of those teen diary blogs for this post, but please bear with me for this. What just happened today was honestly amazing.

So a couple of months ago, I was going through some of my old messages on Google Hangouts, where you can chat to whoever you want on there who has a Google+ account (and yes, I still use Google+). And when I was around fourteen, I used to have a lot of conversations with people around the world. Seriously, I would spend more time on there talking to them than my actual friends. However, I stopped after a while because… I just stopped using it.

So just because I was bored one day, I thought I’d go through some of my old messages again. For shits and gigs.

After going through hundreds of ‘Hi’ comments, I eventually came across these old conversations that I had with a girl called Anna, from Maine. I remember when we used to talk to each other practically every single day for a couple of years, and we always used to flirt with each other.

So I hadn’t replied to her in about two/three years, so I thought I would reply with something like ‘hey’ or ‘do you still remember me? :)’ because I just wanted to see if she would ever reply.

Also, with my social anxiety, I thought this would be a great challenge for me, to try and get back in contact with my friend after all of this time. I was really worried at first, as I didn’t think she would ever remember me, or want to talk to me anymore. But after thirty minutes of debating with myself, I sent the message. What’s the worst that could happen?

I will admit, I had completely forgotten about the message after a week. To be honest, it’s been years since we talked and I had honestly thought that she had moved on.

Until today.

I honestly couldn’t believe it – she ACTUALLY replied to me! I was so shocked! I don’t know how she came across the fact that I had messaged her two months ago, but it was a great feeling.

Like, you have to imagine that this was the first time that I had properly spoken to her since about three or four years ago. At that time, I would have been around fourteen, and she would have been twelve or thirteen? It was crazy.

And even after all of this time, it feels like I only spoke to her only a few weeks ago. It was a surreal feeling to experience.

Literally, it couldn’t have gone any better. We started talking about college (or high school in the States), University, what we wanted to do in the future. We even started talking about books, and reminiscing about some of the messages we used to send each other.o

I suppose that this was a personal victory of mine, too. My last couple of months hasn’t been too great, to be honest. My anxiety has got WAY worse, I’ve thought about suicide to the point where it’s become normal, and now I’m still feeling the side effects of my antidepressants. But with this, I can actually feel proud of myself for overcoming my anxiety this one time, and I feel great at the moment because of it :D

And it just goes to show that if I can talk to someone across the globe for the first time in years, why can’t I talk to my friends who I haven’t spoken to in a couple of days? Just something to think about.

Book Review: Crime Song by David Swinson

*I won Crime Song in a recent Goodreads giveaway, so before I start my review, I’d like to quickly say a massive thank you to Hodder Books for running it and allowing me the chance to read this book 👍*

Synopsis:

Frank Marr was a former cop in the D.C. police after he was forced into early retirement due to his drug addiction. Now a private investigator, he takes on a case close to home – to spy on his cousin Jeffrey as a favour for his aunt, who suspects that he was dealing drugs. After a long night of surveillance in a nightclub, he returns home to find that his house has been burgled, and his possessions have been stolen – his laptop, his flat-screen TV, his turntable, his vinyl and CD collection and his .38 revolver. At the crime scene, a body has been left on the kitchen floor, and it doesn’t take Marr long to recognise who it is. It’s Jeffrey. In Crime Song, Frank Marr unravels the mystery towards what happened to his stuff (and Jeffrey), taking him deeper into a network of thieves, crooked cops and drug addicts, in a mission which could get him killed.

Review:

Crime Song is different to most crime thriller novels that I’ve read recently. It’s more of a “let’s cut the bullshit out, and get down to BUSINESS”, one man solving a case with virtually zero fucks given. Like some nitty-gritty crime series that the BBC would show (just without 99% of the swearing)

The pacing of this story was really good – everything didn’t happen at once, nor did it become so slow that it became unbearable to read. It was right in the middle and was consistent throughout the entire story.

The main character, Frank Marr, was also easily likeable, despite his flaws, such as his drug addiction and saying ‘fuck’ every other sentence, which was annoying to read at first, but you get used to it eventually.

The side characters were pretty interesting too – even if they have their flaws like Marr, I noticed that I started to feel empathy and anger towards them at the end. I suppose that being an ex-cop himself, Swinson knows about this stuff well, and how good people can get themselves involved in bad situations, and his previous knowledge as a cop really showed in Crime Song.

I think that’s why this book stood out for me – it’s not just a simple case of finding out “who dunnit?”, it actually goes much deeper, and if it wasn’t for exams, I could have easily finished it in a day or two. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and now I need to read The Second Girl in the near future too.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Review: Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Honestly, I wish I had found this book earlier.

The first time I had heard about Reasons to Stay Alive was in my Creative Writing class. We all had to talk about a book we had read recently (mine was Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan), and someone in our class spoke about this book, and immediately, I knew I needed to read it ASAP.

In this book, Matt Haig talks about his own personal experience of having suicidal thoughts, social anxiety and depression, and as someone who deals with these issues myself, I felt like I could have used this earlier. It explains depression and anxiety perfectly; it is so easy to understand, unlike most self-help books out there, that anyone could read about it.

But I suppose the main reason why I loved it was because I could relate to 90% of the book. As a man who is going through a dark time at the moment, you start to convince yourself that you’re the only bloke with mental health problems, even if people say otherwise. I don’t know any guy who’s suffering from anxiety and depression like me, so to read this and actually think “Wow, people were actually telling the truth…”, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

Not only was it relatable, but it was funny (which for a self-help book, I was pleasantly surprised), and inspiring. As Matt Haig said: “Words – spoken or written – are what connect us to the world, and so speaking about it to people, and writing about this stuff, helps connect us to each other, and to our true selves.” And after reading this, it’s made me inspired to write about my life too.

Now, obviously, it hasn’t cured me. I’m not “myself” again, I’m not perfect. And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect it to. However, I know that I will re-read this book in the future, again and again. This book will be my religious text for the next few months, even years, until I can finally get better… if that day ever happens.

Rating: 5/5