Soft-spoken is one way to describe Andrew Marshall. Other words that come to mind are opinionated, driven, brave. He’s someone who believes in looking beyond the rat race, into the limitless potential offered by the pursuit of your passion. Indeed, he lives and breathes his passion for writing and reading; this is obvious within the first few minutes of our meeting. To him, writing is almost an act of retaliation towards the injustices he observes in the world. I chat with Andrew to uncover his journey of becoming the master of his own story. 

“I wanted to become someone I could be proud of”

His childhood revulsion for literature comes as a surprise to me. Andrew describes himself as being disinterested in reading, and living in a living environment that was far from ideal didn’t help. Through the years, he sought a respite – a way to live differently, finding his escape and means in literature. He began to read voraciously, and in the strange journey that literature takes us on – further into ourselves – he began to refine and broaden his perspectives. He wanted, more than anything, to become someone he could be proud of. Andrew’s first experience writing poetry rings cathartic to me, almost purgatory: words scribbled frantically on the bus back home following yet another audition. Since then, he claims poetry has come naturally to him. Stuck in a job he hated, he claims, he used writing as a way to hold a mirror to the pettiness around him. “It was a highly productive period”, he chuckles.

“Kill My Thoughts”

Andrew’s first collection of poems is almost cryptically titled, but hints at the underlying darkness that lurks in each work. When I quiz him about this, he shares that people often comment on the melancholic nature of his thoughts. The title is his response, a way of using the medium to creatively address the ‘darkness’ in his mind. His favourite poems in the collection are ‘The Lady that Intrigues’ and ‘Me as the Phantom’ – inspired by his experiences with unrequited love.

Inspiration all around

Indeed, Andrew’s inspirations come in all shapes and forms. He takes initiative to seek it, but is also receptive to what comes. A fine balance. His content resonates most, he says, with Gillian Flynn’s work. Music is another source of creative fuel. He also heads a group of aspiring poets who call themselves the Night Light Poets – a tight knit community that meets monthly to read and share their individual writing.

A Creative Agenda

What stands out about Andrew is the fervour with which he disagrees with the status quo. As a society, he thinks we’ve placed too high a value on pragmatism, possibly at the expense of following our hearts. Andrew urges that a person’s worth should be measured by more than just their bank accounts. The strong versus weak ideology, he says, creates a system where the people scrambling at the bottom of the social ladder are forgotten, taken advantage of, silenced. In his 3 year long journey of writing and curating the poems in ‘Kill My Thoughts’, his creative agenda has remained constant – to shine a much needed light on the marginalised sections of society.

The Digital Angle

So why go digital, I ask. It’s convenient, comes the prompt reply. With devices all around, Andrew has noticed a trend of more people reading digitally, even in the book club he’s a part of! Ebooks are more affordable, easier to carry around, and purchasing them is a breeze.

From a young boy who hated Animal Farm to a man who reads Grapes of Wrath between meetings, Andrew has come a long way. Here’s wishing him all success with his latest work ‘Kill My Thoughts’, which is available on Amazon, Google Play Books, Kobo and iBooks. Be sure to purchase a copy and support young local talent!

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