‘Elle’s Ecrit, Ils Parlent’: RN Soul

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! Welcome back to another ‘Elle’s Ecrit, Ils Parlent’. Today I’m chatting with Syrah from RN Soul. Syrah is a nurse, and she covers nursing on her blog. As a new blogger, it was very exciting to interview her!  

Ellen: You’ve recently started blogging. How are you finding it so far? What is your favourite part?

Syrah: Yes, I began my blog towards the end of 2018. I have always written, it is just a part of who I am. For about ten years I helped co-own a writing community website that has since been taken down. Writing blogs is a completely new format for me. I am still evolving my voice and niche, but have determined that I want my “nursing” blog to [reach] beyond nurses. There are many experiences that we all share and it is great to use things that are specific to nursing.

E: What is your favourite post on your blog?

S: I’m torn because every time I write a post I try to share a piece of me within it, hence the name RN Soul. I would have to narrow it down to the post I am currently writing about failing nursing school. To be clear, that did happen. It isn’t a ploy or gimmick like you see sometimes. However, within that failure I was able to grow as a person and a nurse in a way that I would never have had I not failed. I became a better person and nurse because of failure. So is it really a failure? The post is about changing the perspective of failure. I also love ‘The Ugly Christmas Sweater’ because it was not something planned but written out of a vulnerable state. It was very scary for me to post it too. I’m proud of myself for having the courage to do it.

E: I really enjoyed reading that post. Did you find it difficult to write about your feelings?

S: Thank you very much! I did find it difficult to write, but also necessary. The things I share in that post about my brother are the reason why I started this blog: as a means of coping. I don’t want to use my platform in a way to [gain] sympathy or play the victim, but I do want the experiences I have had to hopefully help someone else. When the holidays came up, I went into a spiral of emotion that blocked me from producing more than two sentences of a blog post before deleting it. The grief became my own block, and in that I was able to identify the need to share, to a small extent, my story. This allows me to identify for myself, and in turn others, ways to cope and how to survive the holiday season. I hope it helped others, but truly it helped me.

E: Are your family and friends supportive of your blog?

S: I haven’t really told family about it so that way I can [discuss] sensitive subjects without [worrying] about what it will do to them emotionally. The few friends I have told have been supportive.

E: What are your future plans for your blog?

S: I really want to try to get more consistent with my posts. I work anywhere from 52-65 hours a week as a registered nurse and have home obligations to tend to. Thus, getting into a consistent rhythm with my posts has been very challenging; however, I am beginning to find a groove and [I] am hoping that it will continue to progress. I would love to reach more people by increasing my subscribers. December has so far been my best month by exponential numbers. It has been very encouraging. My biggest goal though is to help people through this blog. I am also considering writing a second blog once I have the consistency down with this one. If I do it, it will be food only. Whether or not I actually pursue it, we shall have to wait and see!

E: What age were you when you decided to study nursing?

S: I went back to college when I was 30 to pursue nursing. I honestly avoided being a medical professional with a prejudiced vengeance due to some horrific experiences of neglect and abuse by nurses I had witnessed. My experiences made me prejudiced, but I learned that my experiences did not have to be the norm.

E: Why did you decide to study nursing?

S: I became a nurse to take care of my brother. I was a registered nurse for approximately six weeks prior to him passing.

E: If money was no object, what would you change about the healthcare system in the USA? 

S: The entire set up. We have everything set up to where healthcare is outrageously expensive and many people cannot afford it. My health insurance jumped $50-60 per month in one year. It is a highly controversial perspective, but I feel the quality and accessibility to healthcare would greatly improve nationally if we had a national healthcare system like the U.K. or Canada, the great thing is if we could all agree on this, we could take what works and what doesn’t in other countries who have national healthcare to develop a system that would work well. I’m also a big [advocate] for in-home care as opposed to long-term care facilities and believe that the overall costs would be higher initially, but save a lot of money over time due to the decrease in ER visits/hospital stays. It would also improve quality of life. I could go on.

E: Where do you find your inspiration?

S: It is hard to pinpoint one thing as to what inspires me. My inspiration comes from life, experiences, things I’ve seen, things I’ve done. It can be driven by an emotion, or it can be very rational. I just try to make sure that whatever I have to say has relevance, preferably breaking past the medical profession to be relevant to anyone who reads.

E: What is your favourite quote?

S: ‘Attitude is Everything’- Ramtha.

I loved interviewing Syrah! I hope you all check her blog out, and give her some support! If you enjoyed reading this post, make sure you read the last ‘Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent’ where I interviewed Chloe from Chloe Chats. And if you’d like to be featured, you can sign up here!

You can find Syrah on Twitter and Instagram! Her username is @RNSoul.

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Book Review- ‘The Madman’s Daughter’

Hello again! I know this is going up quite late, but that’s practically my life story. I spent a while deciding whether or not to post this review, so I’m going to upload it before I overthink it, and change my mind. So, here’s my first book review. I hope you enjoy!

Confession- I don’t read very often. Of course, I read books for uni, but I rarely read for pleasure. I’ve recently discovered I can use the Kindle app on my iPad, which has all the books my mum has downloaded. I’ve been happily working my way through them, but this review is about the first one I purchased- The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd. I should probably warn you that this review is a bit of a novel itself, so be prepared!

The book is a modern adaptation of H.G Wells’s book The Island of Doctor Moreau. I’ve been studying this in English, and I stumbled across this on a list of adaptations. I decided to wait until after my exam to read it, which was definitely a wise decision. After reading reviews, I did not have high hopes. Most criticised the story as being slow in places, and having an overpowering love story. The ebook was only £2.99, so I decided to give it a shot.

Oh my goodness. From the moment I picked it up, I could not stop thinking about it. I’m writing this post a week later, and it’s still playing on my mind.

The book is told through the perspective of sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau, the daughter of Henri Moreau. Moreau has been experimenting with vivisection, and has been banished from English society. After he leaves, Juliet’s mother passes away and Juliet is forced to work as a maid at a medical school. She discovers a page of her father’s work, and tracks it to an inn. Inside she finds her former servant Montgomery. He is accompanied by a strange man called Balzather. Montgomery tells her that her father is alive, and he is continuing his work on an island near Australia. Montgomery plans to travel back to him soon. This information overwhelms Juliet and she runs back to the medical school. After an incident with the Dean of the school, Juliet convinces Montgomery to take her to the island. On their travels, a castaway named Edward Prince joins them. Together they travel to the island, where they meet the peculiar residents and uncover Moreau’s dark secrets

Although I thought the novel would be a lighthearted tale, I was wrong. The love story does distract a little bit from the heavy theme of vivisection, however the book is still graphic and contains uncomfortable scenes that will make readers squirm. At the start, there is a particularly graphic scene with a rabbit, where Juliet cuts its head off. ‘Common Sense Media’ recommends it for ages fourteen and up, which I would agree with.

My favourite thing about this novel was that it was narrated by a female character. Girl power is definitely an important aspect to me! In the original novel, there is a lack of female characters, so to see a strong female that can handle herself is refreshing. I also thought that the narrator in Wells’s text was irritating, as I found him pretentious and idiotic. Juliet does make stupid decisions in Shepherd’s novel, but I still prefer her to Prendick.

The character of Montgomery also differs from the one Wells creates. We see more of his emotions in Shepherd’s, but the main difference is he is not an alcoholic. I would have liked to see more of a reliance on alcohol woven into the tale more, but this is simply personal opinion. The character of Moreau is also similar, but in Shepherd’s story he is more of a villain. His cold, calculating manner is clear in both texts.

Edward is also new to Shepard’s tale. He has some characteristics of Prendick, but a different backstory. For me, his backstory let the plot down a little. It was too close to a certain vampire novel that will remain unnamed. I understand that the purpose of it was to show the different possibilities of vivisection, but I would have preferred if his story was different. In saying this, I thought the way Shepherd uses Shakespearean names was a clever touch.

There are obvious cliches in the book. As a creative writing student, I know the difficulties of avoiding cliches, yet some of the ones in this book were a little too much for me. By far, the worst one was Juliet literally fanning her face when she witnesses Edward bathing.

I have many unanswered questions about this book, namely the ending which I’m clearly still not over. At the time it made me scream, and I’d like to apologise to any neighbours that may have thought I was being tortured! I won’t mention them here as my main question contains a massive spoiler.

This book is the first of a trilogy, and all of the books are based around classic gothic fictions. The next book is based on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and the third is Frankenstein. Although I haven’t read the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, I’m definitely excited to read the next one!

Overall, I’d recommend this book. It is a more modern tale of Wells’s famous text and it is definitely a good way to switch off for a little while. It is not the most challenging story, so if you’re looking for something to surprise you, this may not be the book for you. There are twists but they are easy to guess, although I didn’t see the ending coming at all.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, and I’m sorry it’s been so long! If you’ve read this book I would absolutely LOVE to have a chat with you about it. Also, any other book recommendations will be appreciated, I’m always looking for new stuff to read!