Books have always been the one passion I have stuck with since I was a little girl. It was rare to see me without a book in hand.
I would squeeze in chapters in-between classes, and I couldn’t wait to go home to fully immerse myself in the book I was reading.
I have my mum to thank for that. She is an avid reader as well, and we would read children’s books together, moving her finger across the words to help me pronounce them.
One of the earliest books I remember reading was Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Thanks to this book, and the help of my English teachers, I grew to love the classics: Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, you name it.
Throughout the years, my love for books has only intensified. It has become an obsession. Every waking thought is about the book I am currently reading, and the characters flood my mind. I imagine them in different scenarios, how they would act and speak.
They consume me.
Some part of me always knew that I was going to end up studying Creative Writing, no matter how many passions I’ve had, or urges to study something completely different, or the many obstacles I’ve faced.
Writing is always lurking in the shadows, waiting for me.
My mum had gifted me a small notebook with flowers embroidered on it for my eleventh birthday and told me to just write. And I did. I never took that notebook for granted. It contained all my writings, and it spanned years.
I loved flipping through it to see how much I’ve improved, and I noticed that there were recurring themes I enjoyed writing about: family, friendship, and romance.
Some of that writing is embarrassing to look at now; a few are just bad, but one piece did come in handy much, much later.
Me being a naïve little kid, I didn’t realise just how much of an issue living in Egypt came to be for a future career. I have always been a creative person; I would have found studying Medicine or Engineering (which seemed to be the two main professions Egyptians went into) insufferable. I didn’t want that for myself, and neither did my mum.
We concluded that, if I wanted to study Creative Writing and for my sister to get a better education, we had to leave Egypt. We started researching for countries to move to.
By the time I reached Year 10, I was hopeless. Not one country we researched was suitable for us, and I was running out of time. I had to pick my IGCSE subjects for the career I wanted to pursue, and I had to resort to the second-best thing: Graphic Design. It was a relatively new major in a German university in Egypt and I had to be satisfied with the option I had.
But then I moved to Australia.
In January of 2022, I commenced my foundation studies in Art and Design. Because of constantly being put down and unable to study Creative Writing, I made the mistake of studying something I grew to dislike.
Art and Design was a huge toll on me, and it was the type of demanding I didn’t enjoy. It was a toxic working environment and I was dissatisfied. And now, a whole year after I’ve finished my studies, every time I pass the building, I get shivers.
I knew that this was a major I shouldn’t dedicate the next three years of my life to, and after I was done with Foundations, I stepped back, and I was finally, finally, able to study Creative Writing.
How glad I am of my decision that day.
I applied for a bachelor’s degree while I was in Malaysia, and I sent in a reworked version of one of my old writings from that notebook, accompanied by two new writings for my application, and I got accepted a few weeks later!
I have had so much fun this past year with my studies. I have met incredible people that push me to be the best version of myself, I’ve been taught by wonderful teachers that continue to inspire me every day, and my writing has evolved by tenfold.
As I’m sitting down and writing this, I have officially finished my first (technically second) year of university!
I’ve been fortunate this year, and with Busybird Publishing, I feel the luckiest. Because I’ve been searching for opportunities that will bring me further in my career, I sent in an application for an internship position, and it has been a delightful experience.
I have learned so much: knowing how the publishing industry works, how much time and effort it takes to perfect a book for publication, editing and styling books, how Les has a vast knowledge of 80s music that I still need to broaden my horizons about, how Kev has the impressive skill of solving Rubik’s cubes which he has tried to teach me the secret behind time after time, and how Oscar loves his belly rubs and daily walks.
I’ll always be forever appreciative that I was offered this opportunity.
Farida Shams, Friday intern