Friday, August 22, 2014

I think instagram might have ruined blogging. It's so easy and immediate, whenever I think of something that I might want to say here I realise I've already said in small drip, drip, drips on instagram. I don't know that everyone who reads here also follows me there (@caratakesphotos, just so you know), or the other way around, so I'm not actually sure how much I would be repeating myself, but I do know that this blog is starting to feel somewhat... redundant. And yet, I still feel the urge to put it all in one place, to tell stories that are more than just one picture, one caption, to hope for replies that are words, not a dozen small (but undeniably gratifying) heart shapes. I wonder why I care about repeating myself, I repeat myself all the damn time in real life. I tell the same stories, offer the same observations, make the same jokes. If they're funny once then they're going to be hilarious twice, right? My poor, poor friends. I miss what this place used to be, the community, the feeling of having created something. Instagram is fun but it feels like twitter, each picture another drip into the constant running stream of other people's updates, stories, observations, jokes. Earlier this week I had dinner with a group of  seven women, six of them women who I met through blogging, five of them women who have become my primary real life social group in the last few years and of course talk turned to how we had met, when we met, what we used to blog about. It made me nostalgic for blogging as it once was, but also grateful that my social life has (primarily) moved off-screen. One of my friends mentioned how naive we were, seven years ago when we all first 'met'. How we spewed forth our thoughts and our dreams and offered up our lives in total, unabashed detail to the internet, believing totally in our anonymity. 'Those were the days' I thought, and simultaneously 'dear god, we were idiots.' Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this. I think I just wanted to say hi, that I haven't forgotten about you/here/this/whatever it is. That I still want to write and talk and share with you here but that I'm not quite sure how/why/when/what. I'm aware that my blogging has become increasingly about Not Blogging. Which is fascinating reading, I'm sure. I also wonder why I would keep writing blog posts when I've almost entirely stopped reading them. Does anyone read blog posts any more? Doesn't everyone find them almost universally insufferable? Questions questions. In the meantime, happy weekend. (Remember when we used to wish each other a happy weekend every week? And a happy monday? And just a happy happy happy? God, we were annoying.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

our brightest lights

'What platitudes then can we fling along with the listless, insufficient wreaths at the stillness that was once so animated and wired, the silence where the laughter was? That fame and accolades are no defence against mental illness and addiction? That we live in a world that has become so negligent of human values that our brightest lights are extinguishing themselves? That we must be more vigilant, more aware, more grateful, more mindful? That we can’t tarnish this tiny slice of awareness that we share on this sphere amidst the infinite blackness with conflict and hate?'
Russell Brand, on the late, great Robin Williams.*

It was with such sadness that I took in the news this morning that Robin Williams had committed suicide. I can't think of a single actor that brought me more joy as a child, who starred in films that moved me as much as Good Will Hunting or Dead Poet's Society in my adolescence. (Or creeped me out as much as that one about the guy working in the photo lab, but I prefer not to think too hard about that one.) 

In lieu of words of my own I ask you to read the above Guardian piece by Russel Brand. It's everything I wish I was capable of writing. I also ask that if you are suffering... please hold on. Please tell someone. Please.

* It still confuses me that Russell Brand is one of the most eloquent, moving voices of our generation. RUSSELL BRAND? The first time I read one of his pieces I thought it was a practical joke. I mean RUSSELL BRAND. Come on.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Creeping on our friends.

7.30am this morning. My bedroom, just awake. Discussing our visitor.  

Ammie: "I'm going to crap on Sophie" 
Ammie: "I am! I'm going to crap on her!" 
Me: "Amelia, you certainly are not." 
Ammie: "I will do it quietly." 
Me: "No you won't, that is not a nice thing to do to people." 
Ammie: "But I want to crap on her and see if she is awake." 
Me: "Ammie, do you mean 'creep up on her'?" 
Ammie: "YES! Creep on her." 
Me: "Okay, go and creep on Sophie."

Monday, July 07, 2014

Stupid Thoughts That End With 'maybe we should have another baby?'

'I have exercised regularly for a year yet my stomach still always looks 3-4 months pregnant. One of these days someone is going to ask me when I'm due. If I were actually pregnant when this happens then it wouldn't be quite so awful.'
'My belly is so wobbly and nothing makes it go away. If I was pregnant and didn't eat much then the baby might use it up and afterwards I would be thin again.'
'I don't love my body. I've never loved my stupid body. Wait, that's not true. I loved my body when I was pregnant. . . ' 
'I miss crafting. It would be nice to make something again. A human something.' 
'W&P are total bastards to each other. Having another sibling might unite them. Or alternatively give them someone else to be horrible to. Either way, they might lay off each other for five damn minutes.'
'I still want to be Mrs Weasley. If I'm ever going to have seven children then I need to up production.'
'I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, if I spent another few years solely dedicated to keeping a person alive then I wouldn't need a plan for a bit longer.'
'My sister-in-law is having a baby any day now. I'm jealous because a) I liked being pregnant and b) she's going to have a cute baby that everyone will adore and I want one too.'
'IVF sucked. It would be nice to get pregnant naturally. It would also be nice to carry just one baby, and give birth just once of a morning, and have just one newborn.'

And then, every single time, as if maybe some part of my subconscious is trying to tell me something...



*I know, I know. I had twins, I'm not infertile. But it took four years and IVF and my inner voice has a flair for the dramatic, okay?

** And then I looked through pictures of W&P's first year for one to go with this post and my ovaries exploded all over my seat and I had to have MORE BABIES RIGHT THIS MINUTE. (remember how cute they were? Before they learned to throw punches.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

On really needing to pull oneself together.

Brooks Salzwedel

You know when someone asks you to do something that you don't normally do and you say 'okay' because Why Not? (and you need the money) and then it gets to the day before and you are on the verge of vomiting and you cry actual tears and wonder if there is any way you can get out of this because YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND WHY DID YOU AGREE TO THIS AND OHMYGOD IT'S TERRIBLE AND YOU'RE PROBABLY GOING TO DIE and then on the day you leave super early and you walk very very slowly like a dog on the way to the vet or a seven year old due at the head teacher's office and you feel physically sick all of the way and the rain is dripping on you and your phone dies so you can't actually be sure where you are going and you get hungry and the only thing that you can find to eat is a £12 sandwich which turns out to be half a sandwich and so now you're still scared and still hungry but you also want to punch whoever came up with stupid fucking Le Pain Quotidien and their stupid fucking half sandwiches and then you finally get there and you have to start doing what you're so scared of doing and you're still a little bit shaking and kicking yourself for ever agreeing to it in the first place and wait, what is this? You're enjoying yourself? And you're having a good time? And you're actually quite good at what you do?

Yeah. That.

Friday, June 06, 2014

monkeys, babies, creative blocks.

Everywhere around me people are having or are about to have babies and I had this lovely idea that I was going to knit something for them all. HA! The one that came first was the lucky one, he got all of my knitting mojo and then I decided that if I was going to put that much time into making something then it was going to be for me. I'm giving like that. So now I'm making myself a scarf, at the rate I'm knitting it should be finished by winter 2016.

I made the kid a monkey. Everyone I showed it to was surprised, the people who had seen my hot water bottle cover were the most so. "It looks like a monkey," they said. "An actual monkey." I took the opportunity to practise my modesty by quietly smiling and offering a demure shrug but inside I was shouting 'DAMN RIGHT it looks like a monkey motherfuckers.'

I really wanted to keep him, I'm not going to lie. But then I also really wanted to show off a) how much I care about the new baby and b) what a genius I am, so I packaged him up with a bottle of whiskey, some books, a set of ear plugs and some mini eggs and posted him off to be puked on and thrown in puddles.

We met the baby for the first time last week and he's kind of adorable. I spotted the monkey sitting on a shelf and I briefly considered stuffing it in my bag and taking it home but then I looked at the kid and I looked at the monkey and I looked at the kid again and he gave me this ridiculous, gummy, whole-face-creasing-up smile and I thought 'Fine, I suppose you can keep him. For now.' Then later, when he schnuzzled his nose into that gap between my boob and my armpit and fell fast asleep, I briefly considered sticking him in my bag instead; the kid for the monkey seemed like a fair swap. Then I remembered that I'm done with babies. They're nice and all that, but I'm done.

Sometimes when I'm feeling creatively stuck (all the time at the moment), when my photographs don't look right and my words come in the wrong order, if at all, I have this urge to make another baby. If you like making stuff, objects, then babies are pretty fulfilling. While it can be a pain in the ass getting the project off the ground, once it's ticking away you don't need to put much work in. The end product is, from a technical point of view, likely the most impressive thing you will ever make from two ingredients. Spending time with an actual baby helps to add a little perspective to that genius idea though, helps to remind you that while you might end up with a very nicely constructed craft project, the end result is a bit more of a commitment than the photos your struggling with or the words that just won't come.

I think that maybe I need to learnt to sew. Clothes seem like the next most impressing thing you can make, after people. Then again, maybe I should just stick with the photos and the words, as infuriating as they both are. I stuck the kids out from two and a half through to three and a half and they seem to have come out the other side of that shit-fest (literally) of a year so maybe the words and photos will too.