Bookworm Minds in the Real World



As a bookworm, people often accuse me of living in a world so completely far away from human reality that they’re not sure whether I’m real or not. Which reminded me of…


“You’re wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.” Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Do we have to conform to the world’s expectations for a semblance of normality? Must we keep our authentic (creative) selves shut away tightly in a little box so that we can feel suppressed and suffocated till the day our bodies expire? Or can we just be. Be.

You be you. Me be me.


Art via Pinterest


Being free is a basic human need. Ideally, we should be able to feel free whether we have family duties, are in a relationship or a part of the working environment. Ideally. But people are always chaining and shackling, stifling others from expressing who they really are. Perhaps it’s a human thing. The desire to control or tame another. The desire to stay in safe spaces and never really feel alive. Maybe it’s fear. Bookworms tend to have an ability to subvert that though. Our imaginations extend to all sorts of weird and wonderful corners of this world and others, which lets us be a little more elastic than the average person. We welcome those spaces for others and ourselves to find and free ourselves. And if we happen to bring out the weird in each other, well then perhaps that is a part of our authentic selves too.


Studying Children’s Literature, particularly through a psychoanalytic lens, gets all sorts of strange remarks from the ignorant and jaded shell-people of this land who zombie lurch through their lives. “Grow up. The real world isn’t a book or movie kid. That glass is empty.” Yeeeeah…unfortunately, as Goth as I can sometimes be, I can’t let go of my imagination. To me, imagination is inextricably linked to possibility and that beautiful thing called hope. It’s the essence of who we are. Living the humdrum life, we tend to forget to nurture it. We forget to dream. And we forget where those dreams can take us if only we’d open ourselves up to the little sparks (magic or energy?) calling our names. Pleading with us to find our potential. A potential that each and every one of us has.


I like being a cartoon character. Or walking through my life like I just stepped out of a movie or tv series. I like structuring my deadlines according to building a DIY Millennium Falcon that has the Jedi fate balanced in my hands.

I wasn’t procrastinating, I swear!


I like having my imaginative abilities to get me through the boring, the real or the just plain bland.

Sometimes life is full of suspense.


Sometimes it’s funny. Brain and mouth often not connected.


Sometimes it’s a little…dramatic.


But mostly…it’s just super fun. Especially if you actually have a tiara and don’t mind the stares while you’re drinking your morning cup of coffee.


And did I mention how badass it can be? Like when people don’t respect personal space in queues. #petpeeve


So if you’re a bookworm or you have a colorful imagination, DON’T let anyone belittle you for it. You don’t need to conform, and you definitely don’t need to be like everyone else out there. Be yourself. And if you believe you have super powers that just haven’t been unleashed yet…well, as long as your particular type of crazy isn’t harming anyone then just go with it. Be the person who changes lives and makes living fun again. And maybe you’ll find others out there who remind you to take the rainbow instead of the train. 😉

Dylan: “You’re really gonna carry my bag? You’re that girl?”

Jamie: “No. I’m gonna change your life. I’m THAT girl.”

Friends With Benefits

Neil Gaiman : A Love Affair of the Imagination

“Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’

Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘… Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly.”
― The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

It’s no big secret that I’m thoroughly mesmerized by all things Gaiman. I think I’ve made it pretty clear in many of my blog posts. I’m fascinated. I’m intrigued. I definitely have a major fan-girl crush going on there too…but let’s NOT be creepy for once. 😉


The other day, in one of my tutorial classes that I teach, a student genuinely showed concern as to why someone as “fun” and “smart” (their quotes) as moi is single and seemingly fine with that. But how do I explain to people that my imagination craves something more? That my creative side won’t allow me to settle for the first strapping, young gentleman that dares to venture through the thicket of thorns and awaken the sleeping princess. Honestly, I’d probably wake only to send a few curses his way about disturbing the excitement and enchantment of  my adventures in Dreamland. You see how human interaction (with me), dating or non-dating is a complete FAIL?


Cue Neil Gaiman. A most bizarre hero (and reason for my slackening attention span in most males) that pawed his way into my head and heart a couple years ago. I’ve honestly never been the same since. Reading Gaiman is like finding portals appearing in my reality. Portals to my inner Wonderland. If he wasn’t already married, I think I’d be plotting adult-napping so that I could keep him in my personal library and have stories fed to me everyday.  Of course I’d keep him well supplied with tea (I’m not culturally inappropriate after all) and have an endless supply of mythical stories of my own to keep him from getting bored. These are things that I honestly contemplate in my day. So you see how impossible it would be to answer my students’ questions without coming across as a recent escapee from a mental ward. There is no substitute once your creative buttons have been pressed.

Oh, did I mention Neil Gaiman loves cats? You had me at meow.

neilgaiman (1)
Via The Cultural Cat Blog

I thought I’d write a post, not to make my craziness known, but to expand on the deep love that Gaiman fans experience. There seems to be a mad rush to read and re-read American Gods before the television series starts painting out visuals to the original words. People tend to refer to Neil Gaiman as the ‘rock star’ of current writers, others call his following ‘cult-like’. Some are in agreement about his unmistakable contribution to literature, others are perplexed by the worth of his writing. To the second group, I can only say it’s a case of unraveling your unconscious. Gaiman gives readers one of those lovers’ boat rides that you find at fun fairs or theme parks. As you hold your lover’s hand and your boat moves across the gentle waters, entering the cave, you’re suddenly aware of something more than the fluttering of your innocent heart. There’s something lurking…at the corners of the boat…in the water…inside you. And that is what Gaiman does to people that respond to his words. He lifts veils to the Other Side. He punctures any sense of psychological resistance one may have towards all those creepy, crawly things sitting hunched over his stories. Sitting hunched deep inside you.

dark sonnet
Via Neil Gaiman tumblr

My Master’s thesis attempts to psychoanalytically analyse Gaiman’s Children’s Gothic Literature (Coraline, The Graveyard Book). So I get to spend my days swooning over Gaiman books at coffee-shops while gaining deep psychological insight into the human inclination to positively respond to his writing. I’m finding a pattern between Gaiman’s texts and creative impulses…but that’s another blog post for another day.

You can leave the lovers’ cave in one piece, slightly annoyed at the perception of being invaded…or, you can leave fragmented and glued together with bits of magic, in the knowledge that glitter will be falling off you every step hereafter. He imprints on his beloved readers. He offers them everything they’ve ever silently wished for but could never find in the physical plane. He’s a psychical mastermind. A dream-catcher of words that leaves the reading encounter littered with fairy dust and monster droppings.

I dare you to tread a path into his world and not find something that jars you a little. Something familiar. Something unfamiliar. Something you’ve always quite never unknown. Or have you? 😉

Weekend Book Recommendation: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

graveyard book

For writing advice from the man himself, visit his website  When I finally do pursue my PhD in the Land of Dreams (his current abode), you can rest assured there’ll be plenty of Gaiman posts in my search to get my favorite copy of Coraline signed. That and plenty of open-mouthed gawking.


A Bookworm’s Life Through the Amélie Lens.

 Time hasn't changed anything. Amélie still shelters in solitude 

          and asks herself silly questions about the world or about this town.


One of the problems with being a natural born bookworm is the delicious snare of introvertism.


I wonder sometimes if I would ever trade my elaborate imagination (that more often than not gets me into trouble) for a sociable, rational mien. But I was never one to walk the dusty brown road rather than hop onto the crocodile-shaped glitter bus that spews out marshmallow treats.

  Amélie's only refuge is the world she makes up.

        In that world, vinyls are made the same way as pancakes, 

         and the neighbour's wife, who has been in a coma for months, 

         just decided to do all her sleeping at once.

So here I find myself, at the dawn of 2017 battling monsters (most of my own making) and preparing for an impossible quest that would put even poor Frodo to shame. But mostly, just trying to keep myself from falling down the rabbit hole. When you have an overactive imagination or FPP (Fantasy Prone Personality), life can be très hard.


It can cause you to lose friends, lose love and most often than not, lose yourself. Most things just never match up to the yumminess you’re capable of manifesting in your head.

amelie6And even when things do look promising, you never trust that it’s real or going to last…so you run faster than the gingerbread man (hoping you’ll be able to convince yourself those really were coffee-stealing ninjas that needed to be slayed.) You keep yourself on the other side of a looking glass, waiting for imaginary friends that never see you. Or have their own friends…people that unlike you have both feet stably rooted in reality.


Here is where books come in to save the day.  Books (as vehicles of the fantastical) allow you to create a world from scratch. It lets you be in charge (not of the words written but the images, sounds and interpretations your mind can conjure)…without any nasty reality checks. It gives you power where reality can often render you powerless.

The outside world seems so dull 

          That Amélie prefers to dream her life until she's old enough to leave


Good books can satisfy your creative impulses and provide you with the equality of eccentric that your heart craves. It can soften the loneliness one can feel when you’re the only one wearing rainbow-hued sunglasses sprinkled with magic dust.


So like young Amélie Poulain in Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, we dig through the mundane and cruel to find a land full of possibilities. A world of wonders. Where things are marvelous and people are kind: where ambiguity makes perfect sense and we need not be godmothers of the outcast or Madonnas of the unloved.

amelieAs we let our minds build alternative worlds we find fantastical versions of ourselves that can’t be trapped or broken. Lies lose their sting and life gains a music box heartbeat.

Perhaps we find a tasty jar of hope.

Imagination is the introverts drug. It keeps us alive when our bodies and minds feel the pull of institutions that threaten to turn us into societal corpses. It doesn’t have to be a curse. It’s our freedom.



Experiential Advertising & The Faraway Tree #lovewhatyoudo

Dying for some proper sleep but my creative portfolio is due this week. Here’s a sneak peek into the current life of a copywriting student.

I’m working on an idea for Experiential Advertising (an interactive approach to marketing that allows advertising to be more personalized and to connect with audiences/consumers). Since I’m all about them books and reading, I decided to play around with reading spaces for children. Why not transform the reading space in public libraries, book-stores or schools into an indoor tree-house? This idea stems from Enid Blyton’s children’s classic The Enchanted Wood series which tells the tale of a magic tree with different lands circulating at the very top. Kids can climb a small staircase to a specialized tree-house reading room and when they’re done they can exit via a Slippery Slide similar to the one in Blyton’s stories. It’s fun, it’s interactive and it adds to the imaginative experience stimulated through words.

What do you think? Do you have kids of your own or little family members? Are you a teacher working with children? Does the idea work for you in terms of developing the child’s creativity and experience with reading? Branding and advertising should do more than just sell people things (in my personal opinion), it should enhance our realities and improve them while adding positive dimensions to humanity. Perhaps I should stick to drawing vampire faces on my coffee cups instead? 🙂

Darth Vader

Reading Space Concept © Kamalini Govender 2016.

The Magic of Reading & Writing.

Artwork by Goro Fujita

Just a little reminder (in case the world is proving too chaotic right now for you) how powerful words can be. I’ve always believed that books make the greatest gifts because they are so much more than just pages with words. They are the gift of imagination, creativity and adventure. Writing tip for today: write from the heart. No filter. The heart and the imagination are closely linked. When a person uses their mind to imagine gorging on turkish delight, winning a golden ticket or climbing a tree to a new land, they are freeing themselves of physical restraints and impediments. They are traveling. They are learning about friendship or what it means to be a better person. Or sometimes they are given slices of a life that makes them appreciate the one they have in reality. No matter what comes out, you’re letting someone slip into pools of magic.Alternate realities.And you are giving them possibility. Possibility is the older, more reserved sister of hope after all. And hope is never a bad thing…