Friday, February 05, 2016
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Ugh, the nuts aren't even moving. I'll just poke them with the end of this spoon.
Friday, January 29, 2016
WHO RUN THIS MOTHER?
by KARL HOLMQUIST
- I went to Glasgow (see last post's Photos From A Bus Window) and I did some actual real photography work. The pictures are of families in the snow and you can see some of them here.
- I have been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's podcasts. I thought they would annoy me as her facebook page annoys me (I don't love inspirational quotes) but actually she is wise and funny and there's profanity and advice and listening to her is like listening to your most comforting friend, or a really good therapist. The first episode was her in conversation with a blogger who wanted to write a book (it wasn't me), who thought she would be able to do it once her kids were finally in school (again, not me) but who was stuck and couldn't get going (could have been me, but wasn't). The advice Gilbert gave her was the advice I was looking for last time I talked to someone about my wanting to write and was instead told 'writing is just a hobby for you, stick to what you're good at.' I won't pretend it didn't hurt. But that podcast helped and now I'm writing again and maybe I won't keep writing but I'm going to try because it's not just a hobby, it's something I love and am good at and want to do*
- Speaking of facebook and conversation, I started a facebook page for this blog, mostly because I was bored and lonely and hoping some of you might chat to me sometimes about the interesting things that are on the internet that I might post there sometimes. Also because I heard it was a good idea if I wanted to sell a book one day, I'm not going to lie.
- I also have a facebook page for Bluebird and the Bear, where I will be posting dates for my next trips to both London and Glasgow to do photo sessions. Follow me! Like me! Please!
- I read this piece about why young women should have savings, it is literally the only thing I have ever read that has inspired me financially. My grandpa should have told me about a Fuck Off Fund when I was 17 instead of that 'rainy day' crap, it would have been infinitely more effective.
- This bear looks like my dog and this swear world generator is my new most visited website. (thanks to my friend Marie for both of those, she is good to me.)
- Speaking of ma dog, before Christmas I read Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor. It looks and sounds like an animal training book (which is why I bought it) but actually it's more of a brilliant memoir about Karen Pryor's life's work in animal (including human animal) psychology and how when the Man Scientists told her she was wrong and that she didn't have a PhD and she should do things differently and that she wasn't a real scientist anyway, she said 'hmmm, that's interesting' and carried on doing exactly what she did - brilliantly. I loved this book and her publishers need to re-market it as a fascinating, funny, inspiring memoir/popular science book. I'd read it, again.
- Finally, do you know this 1970 song by Peggy Seeger? It's bloody brilliant and probably the most feminist thing I've ever heard. I have spent 15 minutes listening to it on repeat for my favourite lyrics but I don't have any because it's all fantastic. Eat your heart out Beyonce.
* It's 'Cara's creative confidence gets kicked but somehow she keeps on trucking' week here on Peonies and Polaroids. Thank you for your comments on that post by the way, they were appreciated and it was valuable to hear that I'm not the only one was was Lost in Indoctrination (phrase coined by Emma in the comments). I'm trying really hard to reply to my comment now, to give them the attention they deserve and to spark some conversation so if you feel like replying to my reply to your reply then have at it.
This postwas practise for making notes and remembering interesting things and sparking conversation, also just blogging, because I'm hoping to do more of that in the future, here and elsewhere. Share your best things from the internet in the comments if you feel like it, I'd love to read them.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Monday, January 11, 2016
Yes, I like January and I like this trip very much.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
it's that time after Christmas that stretches into the first week or so of the new year when I think back over the last twelve months and feel inescapably tragic. No matter if it has been a good twelve months or a bad twelve months or (more commonly) an untanglable mixture of the two, the weight of the year past descends upon me and I feel heavy, as heavy as if I were being asked to live it all over again in the space of a week.
This year has been longer than most. We started it in London in a pretty bad way – stretched, sad, exhausted, scared, fairly legitimately tragic. We scrambled and we fought to get ourselves packed and organised and ready to leave the life that was filling our pockets with more and more rocks every day and we did it; after three months of painting and building and planting and crying we stuffed our bags and closed the door, said goodbye to the garden and the home that we had tried to build (some pieces more successfully than others) and handed the keys to our year's work and life's savings over to a bunch of only moderately suspect tenants.
We boarded planes and ferries and planes again - sometimes together and sometimes apart - and fell face first into Nye's parents' arms and home where we lay whimpering and shaking and drinking wine like France had run out of water. It was supposed to be three months but it turned into six, three months being not nearly long enough to recover from the preceding hundreds. I'm still trying to make sense of them but I probably never will, they were six months out of a life otherwise lived elsewhere. They were six months that were purely, intensely, unfathomably their own (très français) thing. Seductive and restorative and alienating and exhausting, they both tempted us with the desire to turn them into our next six years and sent us running for a place we knew better, a place for want of a better word, less foreign.
And so again we were packing our bags and our boxes and our car. Wrapping the speakers and the hard drives in tea towels, stacking the books and squashing the cuddly toys into the spaces in between. Washing and folding the clothes outgrown, the summer things that would in all reality not be needed again while they still fitted and packing them into bags for the charity shop. Dismantling bikes, taking photos from the fridge door, secretly filing a thousand drawings of the dog and the swimming pool into the recycling. Boarding planes alone again with two small, bewildered children and watching my husband drive off, the work of his past few months bouncing along on a trailer behind him. Saying goodbye to somewhere that like the home before it had been so many things to me, both wonderful and terrible. A place that had taught me that nowhere is perfect, that however hard we look a home is never going to be heaven all of the time, that even a landscape gifted to you by the gods can and will turn into a prison of occasion and that maybe it was time to accept and learn to live with that.
Stepping off the first plane into Bristol we stumbled again into the arms of family, again we drank wine and again sighs of relief were prickled with tears of separation while bone deep exhaustion settled over us as we drifted to sleep on the floor. Another plane, another journey alone with little children and we were almost there, desperate to be reunited again with my husband, their daddy who had driven across two countries. Together, in a state of weary confusion and displacement and with the help of my mum whose quiet home we invaded with our chaos, we got ready for the final stretch of our journey and a convoy of two cars trailed slowly through the Highlands, mountains and lochs and deer and sheep leading the way to the ferry terminal, a long concrete strip buzzing with fishermen bringing in catches and seagulls busy spreading their detritus. In the back of one of those cars shivered a small, smelly puppy with ridiculous ears who had been found along the way and collected that morning in an act of hope and serendipity colliding. Ten years of talking about a dog and finally, finally, we had one.
We arrived in the dark, having sailed into the sunset and out of the other side. Driving across the moors in the pitch of a night unlit by street lamps, the ghostly antlers and luminous eyes of red deer, the low swooping of owls and the darting of rabbits from the road welcomed us to their island. The next morning that same road disappeared into the grey of an October sunrise and in our pyjamas we threw a ball in the garden, marvelling at the thick blanket, the rolling tide of mist from whence our new home was peering.
This year has been a long year. We have moved and we have moved. We have rested in a way that we have never rested before, we have quit and we have stalled and we have tried to start over again. We have made the best of what we have and we have worked hard on accepting - accepting decisions mis-made, situations mis-handled, directions mis-taken. We are looking into a new year (like every other damn person) not knowing what will come and being, finally, okay with that, hopeful that this will be one of new starts but that not a single one of those starts will require a boarding card.
I have dreams big and dreams small for 2016, the list is endless but these are some that come to mind; to see more of the people I love, to find a home and put up a picture, to sell my photography but not my soul, to train the dog to walk at heel, to find a mascara that works for me, a pair of jeans that fit and a job that pays me actual money. To hold the newborn baby of my oldest friends and cry quiet tears of joy into his or her soft little head. To learn to drive, make sourdough bread and joint a chicken (not all at the same time). To climb more sand dunes, chase more waves, eat more foods that scare me. To go slow and enjoy it, to go fast and enjoy that too. To fill a sketchbook. To find my place in this endless landscape, to enjoy the space that has opened up around me and allow myself to fill as much of it as I need. To shout less, or at least with a little more direction, to join the library and knit something in the round. The list goes on and always will.
Happy New Year friends. Thank you for being with me this year, for leaving your words of encouragement and commiseration and support. For offering me your tales of failure and your dreams of success. For being there when I quit and being there when I tried to start again. Every word you have left here has been a gift to me, a gift to each other and I hope you know that they are always, always appreciated. As this year ends I wish you all a few moments of peace to think about all that has past, to ready yourselves for all that lies ahead. I wish for at least 30% of your dreams to come true, if not this year then the next or the next or the next again and for those dreams that aren't for you to be let go with all of the grace or anger or dismay that they deserve, for as my Granny says, what's for you won't go by you.
See you on the other side my friends, see you on the other side. x