Saturday, 27 November 2010

Personal and Direct

I still have no internet at home so I guess that's it for a while. I think that might be a good thing anyway, as everything has suddenly become too complicated and my mind is not reaching out in interesting or productive ways.

To anyone who reads this that I owe a letter or a phone call to, or anyone who feels I'm being distant - I'm sorry. What I'm doing at the moment, it feels like all I have the energy for. I don't have anything else. I feel like I cannot maintain smiles long enough to be polite, and I can't see the point sometimes in holding back my feelings. I think I'll be out of this someday, so for now I'm just going to hide away and hope that I don't ruin friendships by saying the wrong things or by not being there enough for people.

To anyone who loves me (in any capacity of that word) - please take care of me. I am grateful, even though I'm terrible at showing you that.

Monday, 6 September 2010

New place

New place with no internet.

I have returned to writing in an actual paper diary for a while. It is quite satisfying in a way, as I don't have to consider who might be reading it, and I can be mopey and whiny if I need to be (which is the worst thing in a blog). But there's no way to hyperlink in a paper diary, and I could not embed into it this beautiful video made by someone I work with (whom I have stalked after hearing that she had a blog, I hope that she does not mind):

Thursday, 26 August 2010

In Review

Nothing here for a while. I've been too busy...sometimes with good things, but often with work. I have been thinking a lot about what to put here, and in my head I was compiling a list all week of good things and bad things, that I'd planned to make into a post. But somehow, I cannot bring myself to write them down now, or work them into something whole and cohesive. The feeling of what I had wanted to say, combined with how I feel now, is conveyed quite well in this song, so yet another thank-you to the Beautiful Girl for it. I have already listened to it about 5 times today, it is so good:

Friday, 20 August 2010

Any fool can get into college. Only a select few can say the same about Amanda Jones.

Thankyou to J for the link to this blog, it will cheer up my working hours no end.

Also, I'm loving Some Kind of Wonderful. John Hughes is my personal God, no boys are ever as charming and no girls are ever as beautiful as he makes them.

Keith Nelson: You can't tell a book by its cover.
Watts: No, but you can tell how much it's gonna cost you.
Keith Nelson: Wow, I never knew you were so deep.
Watts: You want shallow, call Amanda Jones.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


It's so easy sometimes to not tell people how you feel. I am trying to be open and honest with people who mean something to me.

There are definitely people I can't talk to about these things, which makes me feel awful, but as often as possible I am trying my hardest to tell people how much I care about them.

I think I would like to find a way to be honest with everyone, but it is so difficult for me to risk being hurt by people. I want to be better than that.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Goodnight money

For unimportant reasons, I was reading the Wiki page for Goodnight Moon, which is not a book I ever remember having as a child. It contained a link to an article about the little 9 year old boy who'd been left the royalties from the book (and many others written by Margaret Wise Brown). The article is one of those pleasingly clear and well-researched ones that make you genuinely interested in a topic which sounds quite boring on the surface. Thankyou Joshua Prager.

Ok, so yes, this is my third post of the day...

Today, aside from apparently being on the internet a lot, I went to get some cheap back-to-school rubbers from Smiths and came back to carve some stamps from them. I really like the bird and twig - it's two separate stamps, neither of which came out that well under the pressure of trying to line them up on an envelope.

I also bought a bigger piece of lino to carve something larger from, but I prefer working with the rubbers for now as they're a little easier to carve and more forgiving.

Time lapse

Thankyou to the wonderful Steve Alvarez for having this on your blog, it made me smile within seconds and I watched it three times through back to back:

Saturday, 14 August 2010


Oh, this is such a beautiful blog. I think I want to be a printer.

We were at John Rylands last Christmas and they had a demonstration of a huge old printing press. We all got to use it to make really beautiful pictures.

I think the process is just so great, even for the simple single-picture things like in the video below:

I love this video, it's interesting even aside from the subject matter, it's really old but it has a sort of pre-powerpoint section which made me smile:

The type of letterpress that I'm really interested in is this, with all the lovely coins and furniture etc:

I really really want to work here:

Or maybe here, where they even cast their own type:

Friday, 13 August 2010


For anyone who isn't cool enough to know already (where have you been?), this is a lino-cutter. In fact, this is pretty much the one I have:

These are the sorts of things you can make with one:

I am aware that the hole in my plan is my inability to draw, but I will just have to get my talented and generous friends (you know who you are) to doodle things for me to trace and cut out into a stamp.


So it turns out that what I really needed was a day trip. I went to Oxford today - ostensibly for work, and feel so much better for it.

It wasn't really the Oxfordness of it, as much as it was the change and the inspiration.

I went to a craft shop and got some stuff I've been wanting for a while - a lino-cutting tool and some ink. I need to spend some real time on this to get the hang of different techniques, but I did a first bit of experimentation today:

I'm not convinced the ink is right, but it will do to get started with. I really love having a new craft to get buried in, I have quite a lot of ideas about what sort of thing I want to use this for, so I'm sure I'll have more pictures on this soon.

I also got what is probably the best ring in the history of the universe:

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I thought about deleting all of this, but veracity prevailed

I read the entire of Wallflower last night, and this evening I went to see Inception. I think this may all be too much for someone who already has a lot of confusing things swirling round their head.

I have been left feeling like I am on the brink of figuring something out, while simultaneously knowing that the feeling is a sham and I that do not know anything at all.

I did realise one thing today...or rather, it crystallised in my mind even though I've understood it in some way for a while...all of my confusion and feelings of uncertainty boil down to my need to control everything....It's weird that I've known that for so long, but today I had a feeling that something in my brain went Eureka. I don't really understand the feeling, but I can trace a lot of it back to a good talk with the beautiful girl recently, who is the exact opposite and exact twin of me at the same time. She is my mirror, in every sense of the word.

I need to keep working this over, but I feel like something good came together in my mind and I can put it to use.

On a more clearly positive note, I looked in the mirror tonight and realised that in spite of everything, I almost always find myself to be beautiful. I wonder if everybody feels this way? I don't think I mean this in a conceited way, I am certainly very negative about other aspects of myself, but I want to really hold on to the good feeling of almost always being able to look at my face and find it beautiful.

Here is something, more real and external - all day in work I have been singing this. It is inappropriate, but I love it so much right now, almost as much as I actually love stationary and lists:

I wonder if I should be less honest on here?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite

I have been sort of wanting to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower for quite a while, but I thought I'd left it too late to really appreciate it. However, the beautiful girl read it recently and I ordered it from Amazon on her recommendation. It arrived yesterday, which turned out to be just in time.
I got home today with this crushed and worried feeling built up inside me. It comes from lots of things, and it's been lingering for a while, but today while walking home from work the whole mess of it started to spill out and I felt kindof out of control.
I didn't really want to indulge the feeling (as it would have been so easy to do), and lose a whole evening to turning the same stressful issues over and over again in my mind. So I ran a bath and pulled out Wallflower to try and get carried away by it.
As the beautiful girl warned me, there are places where it seems a little tough to take and unbelievable. But honestly, it's wonderful. It takes me back so clearly to those feelings I'd forgotten of learning about life for the first time. I can actually feel the infinity Charlie writes about, I had let it get so distant from me and I hate that.
I hate that I'm so far away from the honesty he has. I remember being 16 and telling a boy that I liked him, even though I knew he didn't feel the same way, just because I thought it would be worth it to give him the good feeling of knowing that somebody thought of him that way.
I would never be so open these days. I feel like all I have is a jealously guarded handful of scrounged together happiness, and I'd fight to the death before I'd consider giving any of it away.
If I was 16 now and looking at my grown-up self I'd be so unhappy.

I think I've made too many compromises and protected myself too much. I think I want to find a way back from that, to feel a moment where I would swear that I was infinite.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Bat flight experiment

This is just an experiment to try making a jumpy animation of bat flight from some warping in photoshop. I like it for a starting point. It looks a lot better than I thought I'd be able to make it.

Cartoon me

More photoshop playing. I've not been up to much else today, just trying to figure things out and making a couple of pictures for people.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

My first adventures in Photoshop

I'm trying to learn Photoshop, and a friend set me a challenge so I could have a purpose to my playing. He said I had to meet a President.

It's definitely not great from a realism perspective, but I still like it. I figured out a lot of tools while doing it, my next challenge is to find out how to blend the quality of images.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


No new photographs for a while, how rubbish of me. Here are a couple from Easter, when we went for a walk in some woods...I do have pictures of the people I went with, but they didn't look as good as wood and fungus:

(hmmmm, quality ruined by the enlargement, meh.)

Sweet Blue Babies

Thank you so much to Max for this recommendation. I did get this edition as well, but mine has a different cover with lovely marbled paper. It arrived in the post today.

The language of it is wonderful - so clear and honest.

This paragraph stands out to me today from Consorting with Angels

I was tired of being a woman,
tired of the spoons and the pots,
tired of my mouth and my breasts,
tired of the cosmetics and the silks.
There were still men who sat at my table,
circled around the bowl I offered up.
The bowl was filled with purple grapes
and the flies hovered in for the scent
and even my father came in with his white bone.
But I was tired of the gender of things.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


No more house viewings necessary, I found a great place today, with a man who is going to be in the Olympics - which must be good.

To celebrate, here is another picture of me and my lovely brother, who is being kind enough to help me move. I think we're in Amsterdam here, a year or two ago. I am the one on the right, moving faster than the speed of light.

In other news...there is no other news. But here is a link to something someone reminded me of recently. It is truly wonderful, and must be seen to be believed.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Something Happy

As an antidote to the feeling of my previous post, here is one of my all time favourite photos. It is of me and my brother, and the world's bubbliest bath:

(wonder if I can still pull off an all-bubble outfit?)

On the theme of photography, read this (thanks Simon for the link)

Growing Up is hard to do

I have about twenty million house viewings this week. I know they're all going to be the same - a small room in a not too nice part of town because that's all I can afford. But then what would I do with more anyway? Move in the imaginary boyfriend and the never-to-be-conceived kids?

I came on here to write something interesting and at a sort of distance from my real life, but nothing comes to mind. I don't really need to complain, I'm just in that sort of mood at this moment in time. I'm trying to get back into writing and struggling with it.

Last night was nice - a spur of the moment movie and takeout at a friend's house in town. That sort of thing makes life pretty good. I just feel like I'm not quite doing enough with myself at the moment.

I'll try harder.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Old Spice / New Spice

Thanks to Nathan for these truly wonderful links. I thought I loved the old spice guy, but new spice is just so much better. Watch the top video first and then the parody below.


I have laughed and talked so much this weekend that I have lost my voice. It has been wonderful.

Just when I was starting to feel that Sunday sadness in my belly, I came across this magical book by Dallas Clayton. Below is a little example of its loveliness. You can read it for free here.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

If I had a car I would drive away from here and keep driving. Not because I don't like this place, and not because I have anywhere else to be, but because the movement of escape is the only thing that feels just right to me.

This is why I don't have a car.

Castles in the Sky

I dreamed of this years ago. Somebody took the dream from my head and put it in the sky.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Writing and Hair

Thanks to The Rejectionist for this cool site - it analyses your writing and tells you who you're most comparable to. I got Margaret Atwood, which is a nice compliment, but looking at Tea Berry-Blue's research into the site, it would appear that the person responsible for the coding may not be lovely sort of person you might hope.

Apart from generally procrastinating on the internet and watching 9-5 today, I have also finished One Day by David Nicholls (it's not without fault, but I did cry buckets at the end, which was exactly what I needed), and dyed my hair a shade of red that made the water I rinsed with look like a river of blood. Not sure that last part was the best idea ever, since I have to give a presentation at a very important sales conference with work in a couple of weeks. I need to look important and respectable in a way that blood-red hair may not quite enable me to do. I'm hoping that if I team it with a lovely green vintage dress, I will look charming and memorable, which is about the best I can ever hope for.

Later, I will be baking cookies for a party at work and doing some more crafting. All in all a lovely weekend, but it is conspicuously missing any time spent writing. I cannot even consider writing anything without shuddering with revulsion at the thought of my output. I think I may have to ease my way back into this with a resurrection of a fiction journal.

More Crafting

I have previously made a purple cupcake purse using this tutorial, found via Whip-up.

It started to look very tatty after rattling around in the bottom of my messy bag for over a year, so I made a new one. It's a little bit more grown up...maybe 25 is too old to be making cupcake purses, or maybe I just needed a change:

This is the first crafting I've done since moving down here. I couldn't bring any of my craft supplies with me, and I've been feeling a little lost without them. Luckily when I was down in Devon recently with my HLP we found a lovely little craft shop, where I got the heart ribbon (amongst other things). Then today I went to investigate the only craft shop in this one-horse town and found it was actually far better than I thought it was going to be. Sure, it's nowhere near as good as my favourite places back home, but it is still really good. I got everything else needed for the purse, including the lovely button there.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Loving this.


Dear Bacardi,
Up yours!
Sincerely, Who am I kidding, I'll be back

Dear girlfriend,
Please forgive me. I just bought a ring. I'm afraid to give it to you, because I know eventually you will die, which will break my heart.
Sincerely, sir.

Dear Scooby Doo,
Please don't ever go away. You are the best dog I've never had.
Sincerely, Basking In Nostalgia.

Dear all of my friends,
Please stop getting married and having babies..we are in our 20's!
Sincerely, Single lady that is glad that at least I can get drunk and slutty at your wedding.

Rejectionist joy

Today was Wednesday, but it felt so far from Friday that it might have well as been Monday. Check out the Rejectionist for a way to let the Monday feeling out.

I'm going to take a bath, with every nice smelling bubbly soothing pink thing I can find thrown in. If only someone would rub my feet, I think I could get back to feeling alive again.

Also, I just found this today, and I keep switching between loving and hating it. Either way I'm really impressed with it, why don't I have the marketing budget to get Snoop?

Monday, 12 July 2010


I have lots of things to write about - so many lovely things have happened recently. But later, OK? Just not right now, if that's alright.

For now:

"To write one's first novel is not just to learn how to tell one's own story as if it were someone else's. It is at the same time to become a person who can imagine a novel from start to finish in a balanced way, who can express this dream in words and sentences." Orhan Pamuk, intro to Paris Review Interviews 2.

I am in no way that person.

Monday, 28 June 2010

I bet those golden tickets make the chocolate taste terrible

The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is on, and it is just such a spectacular film. Why did anyone ever think it would be a good idea to remake it? The film is truly magical.

Anyway, I was coming here to get down all the details of this weekend. It has been the loveliest time. My dad and his girlfriend came down to visit me. It's a four hour drive, so it's a lot for them to do just for two days, but it was such a great time that it felt like a full holiday.

They came in time for lunch yesterday, we had a picnic in the park at the end of my street, and since it was the hottest day of the year, we were all melting after a while. We went back to their hotel for a swim, which felt so refreshing. We went out for dinner and had huge burgers before coming back to mine to watch a film. Today we went for a walk through a big park near here, and played badminton there. Then we had another picnic for lunch in the park down the street from my house and played frisbee (badly on my part). In the park you can hire a row-boat, so we did that while a brass band played at the edge of the lake.

It was a perfect weekend. Well, I did get sunburned, right through my factor 50, but it was still worth it.

It seems to be the time for seeing my favourite people at the moment. On Wednesday, my shower-partner returned from Hong Kong and we had sushi and cocktails. Tomorrow the boy is coming here. Then next weekend I'm off to Devon for a few days with my almost-twin. I just need to see the beautiful girl soon and it will be complete.

On a different note, is this not the most awful statistic you've ever heard?:
"There are 72 million children out of school across the world. That's more than all the children that are in primary school across Europe, USA, Canada, Australia combined."

How can that be possible? Join 1 Goal if you want to see something done about this.

Friday, 25 June 2010

New ways of looking

I really like this video. I think it's very effective - there are lots of things that it's easier to put to the back of my mind rather then really look at. But this made me look:

If It's Hip, It's Here

This is not the usual sort of blog I like - it's very specific, based on design. But it's definitely worth a look, there are some stunning images on it.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Subway Signs


I wish I were home right now. I've just read this and I want to escape to the wild surrounds to go swimming.
I'm going to have to go back soon and do some wild swimming.

Today, I'm loving this photo essay, especially the 4th photo down.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


Also, take me home and let home be this life and a place where I can wear these wonderful glasses:

Royal Ascot

I went to Royal Ascot yesterday, it was a very lovely day trip. I went with a group of people from work, and though it was very nice, I think next time I'll go back with a few friends or family members. There isn't really much to do apart from bet (which I do incredibly badly) and watch the races. It really is all about the socialising.

Oddly, one of the most amazing parts was going to the toilets. I went (foolishly) after the Queens Jubilee race, as did every other woman at Ascot. The toilets were down a little path, and there were hundreds of cubicles in one giant tent-room. All of the ladies there crammed into the tent, chattering with their friends, with their little feathered hats and head-gear bobbing. It was like being a battery-farmed chicken. It had that odd sensation of being something totally new - something that I've never experienced before. I love that feeling.

Additionally, I did make all of £3.60 on a horse that came in 3rd, all of my other bets lost as though they were doing it to spite me. And I managed to get very sunburned.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Smiling in the shadows in the sand

Is this the best photo of all time?

I think it might be. It is the exact feeling of Summer, and being young and carefree, of loving and being loved.

Friday, 18 June 2010


I miss everybody today.

Don't be sad, I mean that in the sweetest way.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

100 posts

To celebrate turning 100 (in post terms), I've changed my whole layout. It was triggered by wanting to have a wider main post section so that my images could be bigger, and the template I had didnt allow that. Also, I've been making minor changes for a while, that haven't really satisfied what I want this to look like....And clearly, books, books, books.


I'm feeling happy at the moment, and I just want to go with that and express it in a way that will hopefully stand out from the tangle of despondent and confused posts on here.

I've been loving this today (via):

And also, I have to reblog this (via someone sweet and anonymous), it made me smile...and want a pug that I will name Puglet:

Monday, 14 June 2010

Yet more art

This weekend, The National Gallery. I always, always forget how much I love this place. I got there early so that it was nice and quiet. I had no purpose in mind, just a quick scout around to see if something caught my eye.
Straight off I was in a room full of Canalettos. He was one of the first artists I truly fell in love with when I was in Italy. He has such particular lines and he entirely captures the feeling of being in Venice.

Then on through the 1700-1900 rooms, full of all of most the wonderful things you'd ever want to see on a Saturday morning. A whole room of Rubens made the visit perfect.

The evening was football, which I actually enjoyed, though I think it was more the company than anything else.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


The word for what I feel is homesick, but really what I miss is something that no longer exists. I want to be this little girl who doesn't even know what it means to be afraid and who cannot even imagine falling without being picked straight up.

Friday, 11 June 2010


Today, work was nothing but meetings. Even though they're part of my job and things were discussed or information was disseminated in the meetings that needed to be so, I still felt like I was wasting time I could have spent doing real work.
A good thing that came out of one of the meetings was that I found out about the publication of this book. I feel it will be too popular for me to rustle up a copy from somewhere at work, and I'm sure someone would notice if I got the warehouse to deliver me a book that's totally unrelated to my job. Maybe I will have to purchase it, with actual money...perhaps I should just set up an account with work - let them hold back some of my wages to be spent on books, rather than going through the dance of them putting it into my account, me withdrawing it, and then giving it straight back to them. It's like being at Blackwells all over again. I think the book trade is bad for me.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


I am loving this right now. So much of it is getting hearted.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Anxiety Girl

This is a picture of me, miraculously drawn by someone I've never met:

Dreaming of being a Functional Freak

Thanks to the Rejectionist, I have found my Ten Commandments, as given to humanity by the incredible John Waters (excerpted from here). I really cannot choose which one I like the best, which I guess is the way it should be with Commandments. I shall dedicate my life to following them all equally.

Monday, 7 June 2010


This has been a week of free phone calls. I've had long talks with lots of the people I love, and I don't feel so bad about being far away. I think I'm understanding the benefit of breaking out on your own, even if you love the things you're breaking away from....of course, I'm cheating in my breaking away - the is a fraction of my old life that I've brought into the new, but in a different way from before.

I think I'm just starting to feel entirely in control of things. Staying in the same place you grew up in and living with the same people you always have done - it lets you divest some of the responsibility for your life and actions to them. It's not a bad thing, but it takes going away for you to find out how all of those parts of yourself work properly.

Also, down here, I'm near to the heaven that is Ben's Cookies.

I ate about a million of them this weekend (real number more life three and a half), and even now I'm wishing I had brought some back from London with me.

The museum for this week was the British Museum. I mostly went for the Enlightenment gallery, because the collection culture of the time still interests me so much. I also went through the Egyptian, Asian and African galleries, and mainly just felt curious about what all that stuff is doing in the British Museum rather than museums in the countries to which it actually belongs. Particularly that applies to the Egyptian stuff, there are these huge room-filling sculptures which used to guard temple gates - they are amazing but so out of place trapped in the controlled environment of the museum. I can certainly see that there would have been an argument for that sort of thing before air travel and the internet, but now I'm not so sure.

One thing that was really interesting there was in the Enlightenment room, it was in the section on collections. There were several examples of the plumage of Birds of Paradise, and next to them was this:

Europeans first became aware of birds of paradise in the sixteenth century, after merchants returned from Indonesia with prepared specimens known as 'trade skins'. These skins were made to display the birds' fabulous plumes, and had the feet and wings cut off. As a result some Europeans thought that the birds did not have feet and spent their lives floating through the air, drinking dew and never touching the earth until their death. It was because of this that they were called birds of paradise. One species was even named Paradisea apoda, meaning 'the footless bird of paradise'.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Consequences consequences

I love this painting so much. I don't recall ever seeing it prior to standing before the original in the Palazo Pitti. It isn't the same in reproduction - in real life it's as though a huge wind has swept across the canvass and stirred up the paint. I want to go back and stand in front of it again.
I feel smaller away from it. Back home, in my father's house, I have a postcard of it stuck to the wall by my pillow so that the first few seconds of wakefulness make me feel wild and full of war.

Also, today I have been reading City Boy, which is interesting but impossible to love. I liked this in it though:
"No one is sincerely interested in writing a journal that will never be published...If a writer has the desire to communicate by writing and be heard, then he necessarily cares about seeing his work into print. I suppose its the difference between masturbation and making love - the real writer wants to touch another person."

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

New Boots

Also, another wonderful thing from this weekend - I got new boots!

I love them so much. They make me miss wearing my hiking boots everyday a little less, and they are so beautiful on. I feel as though I am striding everywhere with immense purpose.

Where the streets are paved with gold

Much as I hate to admit it, I really enjoyed being in London this weekend. Certainly, part of that was due to the presence of the beautiful girl and a certain boy, but the city itself did not seem as awful to me as always.

I feel that the boy tricked me somewhat with Primrose Hill deliciousness:

But there was also the loveliness of the Tate Modern. I don't like the way the collection is laid out there (it tries to do far far too much), and there was the usual weekend business (especially the annoying children so well described by But, amongst other things, there was a lovely Calder mobile which took me right back to the entrance of the Guggenheim in Venice:
(Arc of Petals - Calder. Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice)

And there was also a delightful little room of strange and sweet drawings. It contained a collection of Marcel Dzama drawings:
(Marcel Dzama Last Winter Here, 2004)

The same person who did the artwork for this wonderful album:

And in the same room were some Dave Shrigley drawings, which were really surprising and great (this one was my favourite).

Then there were the books. So many lovely books. I got Wilson by Clowes (signed and all too lovely) and McSweeney's Quarterly Concern 13 from Foyles. Then yesterday we went to Henry Pordes and I experienced an awful Sophie's Choice of just too many good books.

Too wonderful.

Friday, 28 May 2010

deadly, winking, sniggering

Firstly, I love this description: "…the summit of sex—the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Everything that he, she, and it can ever want… a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love," - it's the prettiest thing anybody ever got sued by Liberace for.

Secondly, I'm reading (amongst other things) City Boy by Edmund White. I sat down in the park on the way back from work to read some. He was describing the way he'd get home from his crappy publishing job and furiously write in the evenings: "I forced myself to write plays and novels during the evenings after work - anything creative as a break from the torpor of an imagination-killing office job."

I do not write any more. I am just one of many people I know who no longer do the thing they used to be young and crazy for. I have other friends who no longer write, some who no longer direct plays, one who no longer composes music....Are we all just taking breaks from those parts of ourselves, or are they gone for good? Can you really set down something so important and never be able to find it again?

I do not feel like the same person as the one who used to write. My hand does not rush with ink to the page and even my thoughts do not fold and fit themselves around creative ways of expressing things any more.

I feel as though nothing is true enough, and nothing stays still in the same place for long enough to be described. I cannot tell any stories because I do not believe in any of them anymore.

Sometimes though, like today while I was blowing along in the enthusiasm within this book, I feel a glimmer of steel fishing around in the darkness for me. I can still summon the hope that it will hook firmly through my flesh and pull me out into a place where I am so alive that I can believe in the lies of fiction again and find them wonderful.

It is too late and I am too drunk on this feeling to censor myself, this is my naivite in full force.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

This week

I feel like my laugh is a little louder this week and my voice is a little stronger. I've spent the late evenings in the garden with my housemates or on the phone with friends.

Mornings are daunting still with another whole day to spread itself out hour by hour ahead of me, but plans are forming around the edges of my weeks and I feel able to look towards them.

I wish all the voices on the phone were people really here. I wish a lot of things in the evenings after work.

Next week will be better I think.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Not looking

I keep trying to think of things to write here, but shying away with the excuse that nothing has happened worth writing about recently. But really, I just can't bear to look too closely at my life at the moment.

I have moved to a new job in a new town and I just have to keep moving because the ends of the evenings alone in my room are so sad that I grit my teeth against them. All of the people I love are elsewhere, and though I like my job and the people there, that can't be my life. I am not this meek lonely person, I'm sure that I used to believe that I could conquer the world, but now it seems as though getting by has become enough.

I can't think of a way to fix this.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Old and New

Same sheets on a different bed.
Same clothes hung on a different rail.
Same person with the same old intentions of being someone different.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Crying Wolf

As usual, I am wasting my day off by wandering around on the internet. Sometimes that feels like the worst way to waste time because it is so unfocused, but in the moment, I am always interested by things I come across.

Here's an article I've read this morning. It's from the New York Magazine a couple of years ago, and it's written by Naomi Wolf about Harold Bloom, who was a lecturer at Yale while she was a student there. She uses an odd phrase, 'sexual encroachment', to describe an incident from over 20 years earlier in which he put his hand on her leg. Reading the article, there certainly were many cases of sexual harassment of others that she came across in her research, but her own situation entirely failed to elicit my sympathy. She described a meal at her house with him which ended with his hand reaching out to rest on her inner thigh. She got up and vomited and he left, with no other interaction between the two of them ever occurring.

I wanted to feel sympathy for her as a woman, but I just think that she's making matters worse. She details the ways in which she has, over a couple of years preceding the writing of the article, tried to somehow get Yale to acknowledge that they were accountable for the action.

I can't bear the way that she portrays herself as someone betrayed by the university that somehow should have protected her. She is making a passive victim of herself by blaming a grand educational entity for putting her in the proximity of Harold Bloom. She was the one who agreed the have him over for a candle-lit dinner at her house, and though it wasn't exactly gentlemanly for him to reach over to touch her leg, he didn't pursue anything when she made it clear that the romantic-looking dinner was not what he thought.

I certainly don't think that it's right for men to push themselves on women, but I don't believe that the university had anything to do with it when Bloom 'sexually encroached' upon Wolf.

I think that a number of the other people mentioned in the article are far more worthy of coverage than Wolf's fear of some big bad man touching her leg. Unfortunately, the actual tales of people being harassed and even raped by their professors were relegated to anecdotes that were somehow intended to bolster Wolf's claim that the university should have fired Bloom for touching her leg.

Women can be powerful and strong, but they cannot do that if they run to others all the time to blame them for not being controlling enough. I actually think that it's fine for students and professors to be close and have relationships if they should choose to do so. But a student would be a fool to not expect that to have an effect on their reputation in the academic circle they hope to run in. You make your own choices, that is all part of sexual empowerment. It does nobody any good if a woman runs to some daddy-figure as soon as a man shows interest in her.

Well, winter's gonna end, I'm gonna clean these veins again

I am almost, but not quite, ready to return to this.

I thought earlier that I was finally back in a place where I could come to the page brimming with ideas - it's that feeling of running to find a pen before you forget the thing in your head and it's replaced by something else that's wonderful. I had a fleeting glimpse of that sensation earlier, and it's coming on the heels of a few days of feeling sociable and alive, but it didn't stay. I can't get any good feelings to stick around these days. Everything gets quickly swallowed up by worrying about what I'm doing with my life.

I watched An Education after the feeling had gone away. I borrowed it from work, and hadn't known too much about it, just watched it on a recommendation. But it turned out to be the best of films and the worst of films for me. There's a section when she's talking about how everything in this country is so flat and lost in its own dull self, and it's just how I feel. It is all too easy to get lost within this society, and to start to believe that jobs and marriages and families and money are all that matter....I really thought that everybody was just going along with this model because it was for the best and after a while it would start to feel good - a little like learning anything, it's hard to begin with but in the end it's worth it. But suddenly I realised that I was the only one faking it, and I just wanted to cry because I realised that I've been the only person holding me down. I have just been too foolish until now to understand that everybody is doing all of those things because that's what they want to do, and if they don't make me happy I should just go off and do any other thing in the world.

In An Education, that whole idea is ruined a little because the girl seems to only have the choice between a man and an education. There's no other way for her to be happy it seems....Everything is so diametric in this society, everything is always portrayed as a matter of one path or another - forks in the road like babies, marriage, university etc are made out to be a one or the other thing, and it's been making me sick to wander around in the wilderness without even a path in sight.

Well, no more. I'm just going to choose to do the things that I want to do and not fret about whether they're the right steps along some imaginary path or not.

Linked to the idea of getting back into this blog is getting back into writing in general. I was on the train today, going along the beautiful Hope Valley line in the sun, and thinking about writing and how it makes things more real to me.....maybe not real, but significant. When you look at something, you're viewing the whole of it, and appreciating it based on how you feel at the time. I think that a closer examination maybe comes with taking a photograph. When I take a picture, I spend time thinking about the composition of a scene and how all the parts of it fit together. But writing is the closest of all - you make the thing again for yourself, and to do that you must know it through and through. There are these trees in that area which are rust coloured all along one side of their trunks, and it is only when I really try and describe that in words that I come to fully appreciate the beauty of it. I am inside each speck of colour and shaft of light that makes up the image of the rusted tree, and I notice all of the shades of the scene because I need to find the exact right words to describe them. The wrong words ruin a description, whereas looking at something lazily doesn't ruin anything because you don't even notice you're doing it.

I don't have this all clear in my head yet, but that is the essence of what I was thinking today about writing. And obviously, I've only described my thoughts from the point of physical descriptions, but that's only because my thoughts sprang from looking at these pretty, rusted trees.

I can only hope that things are clearer soon...though there seem to be so very many things to get clear and never enough time to think enough about them.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


A friend of mine got married this summer, the reception went through the afternoon and into the evening. One of the many lovely things she had to decorate the grounds of the place she had the reception at was a labyrinth lined with jam-jar lanterns.
Before the wedding, a few of us got together to decorate the lanterns, but I could only stay to do one. I got a taste for making them and did several when I got home. I was in the midst of a pickled onion addiction at the time and so I had plenty of large empty jars to cover in glue and tissue paper.
I've not posted the pics yet so I thought I'd get some on here. I did make 5 or 6 jars, but I've only taken pics of the ones I took to the caravan last time I stayed. They photographed really well, I especially like the one with the foil confetti stuck between the layers of tissue.

Friday, 5 February 2010


Oh oh this is the most wonderful blog in the history of the universe. Yes, this is my most geeky thing - an absolute love of bookshelves and libraries. I spend a little bit of most days book-shopping, but that's usually work related. I only wish that my department looked as beautiful as some of the libraries on the blog. But there's really only so much you can do with science books.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Diversify Your Reading

Following up from a previous post on diversifying my reading, I've also been recommended this site which collects together 'blog reviews of books by authors underrepresented in English-language publishing today.' It looks like a really good site so I thought I'd pass on the recommendation.

Another thing to recommend is a new exhibit starting at the Imperial War Museum North soon. It runs from 6th Feb to 13th June. It's called Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin. It looks really interesting.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Deforestation of Madagascar

Can anybody who reads this please follow this link to a very important article about deforestation in Madagascar. The governmental instability caused by a coup that occurred about a year ago has allowed logging take place at an unprecedented rate. Recently the new head of government (Rajoelina, who took the country by force in the coup) has legalised the export of rosewood - very old trees which form the backbone of the little remaining primary rainforest.
If you read the article and feel that you want to do something, there's a link at the end to Climate Ark, who will e-mail a protest letter from you to 79 recipients who are all implicated in the deforestation of Madagascar. You can personalise the letter if you want to, or just send a well written stock one they've created for you. It goes to 'President' Rajoelina as well as all the relevant embassies, the UN, the financiers, the protectors of the parks and so on.
It's only five minutes and it's really important.
Catcher was one of the first books I ever loved. Sadness today.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Travel by books

The Rejectionist is still crusading to bring to light the racist actions of major publishers. As part of their most recent post on the issue they put in several links to sites promoting books by and about people of colour. For some reason though, a lot of the links were aimed at YA readers so I asked for something similar that's meant for adults. One of the comments led to a really great blog - the author's 2009 wrap-up post made a map of the world and all the countries in it that she'd visited through books that year.
It's so easy to read in a very narrow vein, you want to read books similar to other ones you like and you're friends with people who have common tastes. But I'm going to be doing some more travelling by books this year and try to read outside of my norm.

Excellent photoblog

This photoblog is so incredibly mixed, I love it - it's a total view into the creator's life. It has some absolutely amazing photos. I've been hearting like crazy.


I really wish this video was sarcastic, but I'm pretty sure it's meant seriously. If the word 'iPad' was replaced all the way though with the words 'world peace', then maybe their reactions would be appropriate....though possibly not even then.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Giving away Intimacy

Go here, quickly, for Jenn Ashworth is giving away copies of her novel, A Kind of Intimacy. Hurry on down to her blog and get your own lovely free copy. I'd go too but I already have a copy (of course), and mine is signed in purple, scented ink...maybe if you ask nicely she'll do the same for you.


I've just been perusing Alphadictionary's 100 most beautiful words in English. It's a lovely list, just nice to sit and read the words aloud. What's interesting about it though, is that from just a very brief scan through I can see a couple of French words and one Italian word, and one that drops almost directly from the Greek.

That's not a bad thing at all, it's probably what makes the language so very beautiful - all those different sounds each with their own incredibly precise connotations. I'm working my way through the Paris Review Interview books at the moment (I now have volumes 1 to 4, joy of joys), and one of the recurring themes is the beauty of the English language and how wonderful a language it is to write in. Chinua Achebe was discussing his writing, and he said that he writes very particular things in his own Igbo dialect, but for most things he uses English. There are particular feelings and emotions that his particular Igbo dialect can convey, and things it can't.

What I found most difficult when learning Malagasy was its simplicity. That sounds ridiculous, but I did actually find it very hard to express myself in a language with so few words. I kept feeling as though something was missing. There's no verb 'to be', there are no plurals, and there are just genuinely very few words. The word lava means tall as well as long. Ambony and ambany are the words for up and down, but they also mean things like high and low, and top and bottom. Tsara is beautiful as well as good, ratsy is bad as well as sinful and evil. The hardest thing is that verb tense is denoted by the first letter of the verb, therefore nandeha, mandeha, and handeha are the past, present and future forms of the verb 'to go'. Verbs are learned in the present tense, but I'd try to remember a verb and all I'd know was that it started with an 'm'.

Malagasy is most closely related to a group of languages spoken in Borneo, and it has some influence from Bantu languages and Arabic, but that was a very long time ago. The most recent changes in Malagasy have been in the past couple of hundred years, with some slightly altered English and French words, but really it's stayed the same for an extensive period.

I really liked learning Malagasy, and it has a huge number of interesting compound words that made me think about the meanings of words (my favourite being masoandro, the sun, which literally translates as day-eye), but I couldn't live forever without the complexities and subtleties of English. I love words, their sounds, the shapes they make as you roll them around in your mouth, and the way they fall beautifully onto pages. Mellifluous most of all.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Black Passport

Thankyou Steve Alvarez for the link to this video. It's possibly the best book trailer in the entire world, up there as one of the best videos I've seen on the web. It's for Stanley Greene's new book Black Passport. I have to warn that it's pretty brutal and contains scenes of nudity and violence, but on the upside it's absolutely breathtaking. It's like being strapped into a chair and forced to see what the world's really like. The video is so well done that I just want to make everybody watch it, and I will look them in the eye afterwards and we will all know that we know.

PS crochet

PS for anyone like me who has always wanted but failed to crochet, Meet me at Mikes has a series of posts about how to crochet. There are so far 10 parts of the series, taking you right through from the very start to making a granny square.
This will be the very next craft thing I try, the posts look really good and I've wanted to crochet for ages. It's apparently easy, but my feeble previous attempts have all looked like a ball of yarn that's been attacked by a cat.
Try, try and try again.

Spanish flour

These are two more photos of the abandoned flour mill near Granada. The light wasn't right...a little too bright. It would have been better coming on to sunset - longer shafts of deeper light would have been beautiful. But still, the angles of the (whatever that is that's left behind) are wonderful. The buckling of the floor, the tumbling down of the ceiling beams - the place had an incredibly inspiring feeling....and also quite scary to walk around.