Year: 2015

Ex Libris | Someone

Ex Libris | A series featuring recent reads. Written by? Alice McDermott In a nutshell? Ordinary. Extraordinary. The debrief? Marie, the book’s protagonist, is the ‘someone’ of the novel’s title – at first meeting, as ordinary a woman as that pronoun suggests. But, says McDermott, there’s something “contrarian” about books by unremarkable women about unremarkable women – in this case, a Catholic Irish-American girl growing up in Brooklyn. The book is deftly written in sparkling prose, switching elegantly and without structure between periods in Marie’s personal timeline. In so doing it quietly charts a lifetime’s worth of love and loss, from the ache of disappointment to the all-encompassing splendour of joy. I’ve read it twice in a year and I’d read it again in a heartbeat (once I’ve worked my way through McDermott’s entire canon, that is). Should I be blessed with a daughter one day, I’ll be lending it to her too; Someone is the perfect coming-of-age novel, a masterpiece in perspective and in womanhood, replete with the poignancy of growing up. Buy or borrow? Buy, underline, re-read, lend to every woman (and man) …

Poem For The Weekend #43

I love all films that start with rain: rain, braiding a windowpane or darkening a hung-out dress or streaming down her upturned face; one long thundering downpour right through the empty script and score before the act, before the blame, before the lens pulls through the frame to where the woman sits alone beside a silent telephone or the dress lies ruined on the grass or the girl walks off the overpass, and all things flow out from that source along their fatal watercourse. However bad or overlong such a film can do no wrong, so when his native twang shows through or when the boom dips into view or when her speech starts to betray its adaptation from the play, I think to when we opened cold on a rain-dark gutter, running gold with the neon of a drugstore sign, and I’d read into its blazing line: forget the ink, the milk, the blood— all was washed clean with the flood we rose up from the falling waters the fallen rain’s own sons and …

Wreaths Of London

One of my favourite things about Christmastime in London is the abundance of wreaths; by mid-December almost every other door in the capital is adorned with a halo of evergreens, dressed with red and gold ribbons, stunning confectioneries ranging from the painstakingly handmade to the cookie-cutter supermarket variety. I love them all, regardless, and the way they bestow much-needed greenery and festive cheer beneath December’s ashen skies. Above just a few of my favourites from weekend walks around our neighbourhood, mad dashes to the underground station (far too often made late for work by my duty to photograph each and every beauty) and strolls past the flower market. I’ll surely miss the doorknob orbs of mistletoe, holly, ivy and velvet come January, but for now, I’d simply like to wish you and yours the happiest of festivities – may you be far from the internet, tucking into good grub, surrounded by loved ones, with hope in your heart. Merry Christmas!

Weekend.

“We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter. . . Recording the details of our lives is a stance against bombs with their mass ability to kill, against too much speed and efficiency. A writer must say yes to life, to all of life: the water glasses, the Kemp’s half-and-half, the ketchup on the counter … We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.” – Natalie Goldberg The lovely, eloquent Melissa (if you’re not …