Making Sense of Our Emotional Turmoil Through Fiction by Nour Zikra
A little over a decade ago, I wouldn’t have been able to write a single word of this blog. I was thirteen years old, awkward, and spoke minimal English, having just immigrated to America with my parents. At school, my English teacher assigned us a summer reading book: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. On my break, I burrowed myself inside this coming of age novel, understanding just a portion of what I read. And yet, the story called out to me. Stargirl, the girl at the heart of the novel (though not as the main character), is a nonconformist; her name, which she chose for herself, is a symbol of her independence and her courage to stand out. She stands by who she is without an apology. It is through this story that I first fell in love with books and writing.
Stargirl is, of course, a mere book. It’s a small 208-page young adult novel that can be read in a single day. But the reason it resonated with me and drove me mad with passion for books is the emotional depth it offered.
I remember finishing this novel and rushing to my ancient desktop computer. The seconds ticked by as the screen came to life. My cursor clicked on the Microsoft Word icon, and I began putting words on electronic paper. They were terrible words; the nonsense of a thirteen-year-old who was still learning the English language. But I wrote those words down anyway, wanting to capture the emotional depth I’d discovered in a tiny novel. To this day, I have yet to stop.
Fiction books have a wonderful way of twisting our insides. We get to witness heroes fight for the greater good and families come together to heal. Illnesses and tragedies are laid out for everyone and anyone to weep over; they provide us with raw emotions while simultaneously embracing us. Fiction books, though they can sometimes be fantastical in nature—full of dragons, space exploration, and magic—help us make sense of our emotional turmoil. Perhaps, it is fiction’s ability to distance us from reality which allows us to connect with characters on a purely emotional level.
For a thirteen-year-old girl who had yet to figure out where she fit in, reading Stargirl gave me the sense that I was understood. Since then, fiction has not ceased giving me a better understanding of my own feelings, whether through books I read or books I write.
About Nour Zikra
Nour Zikra graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in creative writing. She is a YouTube host of writing advice and humor series. Born and raised for the first decade of her life in Aleppo, Syria, she moved to America in 2004 and currently resides in Orlando, Florida. When Nour is not writing or reading, she makes kissy faces at her turtle, binge-watches shows on Netflix, and endlessly decorates her writing space.
Visit my website and blog: https://www.nourzikra.com
Subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly writing advice and writing skit videos: https://www.youtube.com/NourZikraAuthor
My urban fantasy novel, Divinity Falling, is currently on presale and comes out on October 1st.
Add Divinity Falling to your Goodreads shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46509357-divinity-falling
Buy Divinity Falling on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Divinity-Falling-Nour-Zikra-ebook/dp/B07TTPYMB2
Buy Divinity Falling online at Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/divinity-falling-nour-zikra/1132234280?ean=9781733194051
Find my book in a bookstore near you: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781733194075