Month: July 2015

London Haunts | The South Bank

Summer in the city is not my ideal mode d’être, but spring in the city – that I’ll take. I adore those brisk, breezy noons where the world feels brand new again and even amidst the steel and glass of the metropolis, the air smells like soil freshly sowed.  Those days when scarves must be fastened tightly around the neck to keep out the wind, the season unfurling slowly and deliberately, the release of a tightly coiled spring. This particular Saturday feels a lifetime ago, though it was only the beginning of May. A rare weekend day in the city with a pair of oldest, dearest friends. Raised on the periphery of the capital, the South Bank was our go-to downtown hangout as teenagers and I still hold a soft spot for the place – for its pleasingly familiar mélange of brutalist architecture, cultural offerings and excellent coffee. It’s easy to forget in the haste of moving from A to B, weekday woes and commuter chaos, that we live in a world-class city. The South Bank always reminds me of that. (photos) with a D5100 and 35mm lens …

Poem For The Weekend #37

“I wrote ‘Ever’ as a kind of self-punishing exercise after thinking about the perfection and tragedy of Lear’s line ‘Never, never, never, never, never’—uttered as he realizes his daughter Cordelia is dead. It’s a line that pierces the soul (and is in perfect trochaic pentameter). So I thought about how I might, in a sonnet, play on that line as Shakespeare riffed on a theme in his sonnets. The speaker of this sonnet is in denial about loss—her shock prevents her from being able to speak it, and leads her to obsess over the concept. And who can really speak loss?” — Meghan O’Rourke Never, never, never, never, never. —King Lear Even now I can’t grasp “nothing” or “never.” They’re unholdable, unglobable, no map to nothing. Never? Never ever again to see you? An error, I aver. You’re never nothing, because nothing’s not a thing. I know death is absolute, forever, the guillotine-gutting-never to which we never say goodbye. But even as I think “forever” it goes “ever” and “ever” and “ever.” Ever after. I’m a thing that …

Dispatches from Bavaria

The first instalment of likely plenty of incoherent ramblings about our recent visit beside the Danube (and more!) Eleven days into July we left for Bavaria. A taxi before the sun, a dawn-soaked plane ride across the Channel, a wait at the bus stop where we smeared sun screen across our already freckled forearms, and a train ride through fields of sunflowers and solar panels. Upon arrival in Regensburg – my old home, my childhood best friend, my city soulmate – a stroll through the Altstadt, a history tour by Rudi, before a sleepy drive up the hill to Lappersdorf. It was a light-speed tour: Altstadt, Lappersdorf, a garden party overlooking the Bavarian forest, Regensburg, Stadtamhof, Danube, Munich. Three nights, three different beds. It’s a little blurred, like the hazy feeling of watching buildings flicker beyond a rainy car window, but here’s just a few snippets I hope to remember. Sunflowers from the train window, yellow scythes slicing across the sky. The lustrous crimson redcurrants, glimmering in the sun, our stained fingertips and rosy lips. …

Weekday Wisdom | Debbie Millman

“I recommend the following course of action for those who are just beginning their careers or for those like me, who may be reconfiguring midway through: heed the words of Robert Frost. Start with a big fat lump in your throat, start with a profound sense of wrong, a deep homesickness or a crazy love sickness and run with it. If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.”  – Debbie Millman (via brainpickings)

The Death of Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” – Anne Lamott “Write more blog posts!” my sister said to me the other day as we ate our tea together over Skype, 5000 miles apart. Her well-meaning exclamation made me realise I’d stopped posting the sort of fun, everyday, spontaneous snippets that used to characterise this teeny online space of mine for fear of not living up to the blogging ideal, of seeming unprofessional, of not being perfect. I’m a clandestine perfectionist, often feigning disinterest or shelving ideas entirely for …