There are moments when everything changes: liminal spaces, seconds where the stars align and times when life changes completely. As a journalist, I am privileged to have had a ring-side seat at occasions that have made history, and met individuals whose lives have been changed in an instant.
The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing contains stories that exist within and emerge from those borderline instances. Published on July 20, by Reflex Press, it’s a collection of almost 50 flash pieces that explores the fragility and force of human interaction and those fleeting moments that upend our familiar experiences.
From my book’s first story, Sarajevo Rose, to its final piece, Bijihuanu, my debut collection of writing invites readers to far-off places, reimagining worlds that continue to exist long after the news stories have become old.
It offers a window into experiences that may seem far-removed from our every day, but in fact focus on what connects us as human beings: love and hate, anger, fragility and power, loss and desire, safety and fear.
The places I invite my readers to range from the banks of the Amazon to the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, from the bright lights of Times Square in New York, to the airport roof in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, and many locations in between. Some of these are places of peace and safety, others of conflict and civil unrest. Some are venues where our expectations of calm or chaos are turned upside down.
The characters who move through the pages of The Thin Line are people who are often pushed to extremes, individuals we may admire or loathe, who remind us that at our most base level, we are still animals. And by painting people with animal characteristics, I feel like we sometimes see them even more accurately.
In my life, I’ve been lucky to use words for my work. As a journalist, I shared people’s stories. In my other writing, I am inspired by and pay tribute to some of the amazing people I have met around the world.
But for a long time, I struggled to find the words myself to articulate experiences closer to home. I stayed silent for years about a serious sexual assault I experienced. So too about a separate abusive relationship. I also struggled for a long time with the dynamics that disempowered me and others I worked with inside the media industry. For someone who often found words easy, my silence flew in the face of reason.
Writing allowed me a way to find words to process my own experiences, to journey back to places I had been and move forwards in recovery, to start to unpick the inequity and injustice of the world I had been conditioned to accept. I crafted stories about characters who had been silenced, who had assimilated for their own immediate safety, who had been hurt and who had triumphed out of trauma and tragedy.
I am fortunate and grateful to have finally been able to excavate those words, to show that wherever we are in the world, there are moments that disconnect us and those too that unite us in shared human experiences.