Friday, December 31, 2010

The last post of the year

I will not be making any New Year’s resolutions. I gave up on that a few years ago because it made me even crazier than I already felt. The psychic equivalent of trying to squeeze my size 12 hips into size 8 skinny jeans. I don’t do that in real life, I have no illusions about my size 12-ness and I abhor skinny jeans. So why do it to my already overworked, overwrought, oversensitive psyche? 

There is something about this time of year though that makes millions of people feel the need to magnify their dissatisfaction with themselves and their lives and feel the need to fix it. All because of a date on a calendar. A date that is merely a number, an attempt to mark the passing of time which if you think about it, is like marking the sky with a grid. Marking all of space with a metal grid. You might as well try and lasso a cloud or keep a crocodile as a pet. 

I know it’s practical – to have calendars and diaries and planners. But you can also take things too far. I've tried not to be judgmental about this.  I mean, I know some people need to be shouted at and demoralised so that they can do what they want to do or need to do.  But I can't help it.  Do you even know anyone who has ever stuck to their resolutions or talk about them or remember them or give a flying monkey's testicle about them past January? Actually, it gives me hope that people don't stick to those resolutions. It gives me hope that there is something in our human natures that will not bend to something imposed upon it so unnaturally.

So the mocking continues. 

Enter reverb10. Now that it is nearly over, I can safely say that it has confirmed my suspicions and fears. It really was as insipid and facile as it seemed. If I had felt uncomfortable with New Year’s Resolutions before, having seeing the Future Tools that the team had to offer, I now see them as practically toxic. Not only have they benevolently offered us the tool of How To Create Your Personal Manifesto – a process that is more lengthy and complicated than a mortgage application (honestly – who has the TIME to dick around like that?) to ‘tools’ to help you MANAGE your New Year’s Resolutions.  Those pesky things! Who knew they could become so unruly, so willful? Maybe it’s just the witch (or the Darkness, if you prefer) in me that can’t help but see all of this as terribly desperate and controlling. Trying to nail down every ounce of uncertainty in life, every glimmer of the unknown and bring it into obedient submission. Stamp on those dangerous sparks before they catch and become an inferno. I understand something of that because my Inner Control Freak is freakin’ strong and smug.  But it doesn't stay smug for long, because life has a way of reminding us that it is not a straight line to be drawn with a ruler.

If some of this resonates with you but you still feel a need to take something with you into the New Year, then take this:

In some countries, the year isn’t actually 2010 on the verge of becoming 2011.  In Thailand for instance, it is the year 2553.  And their New Year begins in April.

“There is always something beyond what we know.” – Ernesto Neto (Brazilian artist)

"The wind will carry us..." Noir Désir – Le Vent Nous Portera (This is a link to a song on Spotify)

If you still feel the urge to make a list or create a solid shape out of those filaments of uncertainty, then at least try to go easy on yourself. Ditch the manifesto and write a moanifesto instead. Here’s mine:

A Moanifesto

Out of respect and awe for the Unknown and for the vastness and richness that is life,

-I will not waste time trying to lose weight or wondering whether I should give up bacon or getting myself into an exercise regime. Rather, I will enjoy my food and enjoy yoga because it makes me feel good and not because it is good for me.

-I will not endeavour to make any pragmatic or sensible decisions about “my future”. It follows that I will NOT at any time sit down to think about where I want to be in five years time. Or consider a job because it offers a pension scheme. Or try to improve myself in any way that would make a life coach or wellness consultant proud or happy. If I attempt any such moves, I authorise the minions of the Unknown to bitch-slap me.

-I WILL rant and use bad language.

-I will continue to start projects and do most things in a haphazard manner. I will become the epitomy of doing things willy-nilly.

-I will waste time.

-I will watch too much TV.

-I will stage wrestling matches (and pick alleyway fist fights) with my inner control freak and sometimes, I will win.

-I will try my damndest to annoy the fuck out of guilt so it leaves me the hell alone.

-I will not make any rules.

-I reserve the right to break the rules.

Now, don't make the mistake of trying to stay up till midnight to see in the New Year.  It's already happened in some parts of the world anyway, so you're too late.  Just go to bed, or get drunk or stoned and forget that one second after midnight, you are suddenly supposed to be a whole new person living a whole new life.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

30th December ~ 275 word diary

Woke up this morning with a boulder of sadness on my chest and a dire need for a haircut. Obviously my hair didn’t become dire overnight but my need for having it chopped did. Thanks to errors in cinema listings, I had time to kill before The Kids Are All Right and wandered into a tiny salon in Chinatown. While the scissors snip-snip-snipped away and I wondered what memories my hair held and whether they would be lost to me now, the hairdresser starting speaking to her colleagues in such a tone about my hair that I started to feel guilty, as if my hair was a child or pet I had neglected for too long. She was so surprised at the length and thickness of it, pointing at the pile on the floor for me, as if hair on the floor was something she didn’t see everyday.

But even I was shocked. Because it looked like a small animal was curled at my feet. There was more hair on the floor than there was left on my head. I smiled sheepishly and said, “It’s been 3 months, since I last had a haircut.” She nodded and smiled and continued snipping. It seemed I was forgiven. Then I counted again. Not 3 months, but 8. 8 months. But I didn’t want to tell her, to correct myself. I didn’t want to seem too eager to defend myself. When I left the salon, they all smiled at me, as if patting me on the back for having done the right thing. “Not so heavy now,” my hairdresser said as I said goodbye. Not so heavy now.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My year in books

Books I read in 2010 (in the order that they were read)
(abandoned books not listed)

The True Deceiver – Tove Jansson
Brixton Beach – Roma Tearne*
The Griffin & Sabine books – Nick Bantock
Diary – Chuck Palaniuk
1000 Journals Project
Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
The Vagrants – Yiyun Li
The Locust & The Bird – Hanan Al-Shaykh
The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak
The Girl Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson
Stitches – David Small (a graphic memoir)
I Haven’t Dreamed of Flying for a While – Taichi Yamada
Saving Fish From Drowning – Amy Tan
The Sookie Stackhouse novels no’s 2 – 10 – Charlaine Harris
A Touch of Dead – Charlaine Harris
The Shiniest Jewel – Marian Henley (a graphic memoir)
One Day – David Nicholls

*I don't like to pick favourites for books, but I'm picking this one because even though I read it very early in the year, the story is still colourful and vivid in my mind and still moves me when I remember it. 

~

Most recently abandoned: The Diary of Anne Frank and Middlemarch

Currently reading: Stephen King’s Under The Dome


Most recently bought or received:
A History of Love – Nicole Krauss
The Hand That First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell
Our Tragic Universe – Scarlett Thomas
Mrs Fry’s Diary – Mrs Stephen Fry

Currently Top of the Wishlist:
The Hare with Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal
The Alexandria Quartet – Lawrence Durrell
The Devil at Large – Erica Jong on Henry Miller

29th December ~ 100 word diary

It's been 3 months since I had a Jake-free night out. Looking at my diary entries for the whole year tells me that I had 10 nights out in total. Actually this isn’t bad and a vast improvement on the year before. I had aimed for one night a month and I’m not far short. But there’s never been a gap of 3 months between outings. Illness, bad weather and the onset of winter have been to blame. Well, I still have 2 days left to add another evening to my tally. Or an afternoon, or even a whole day.

28th December ~ 100 word diary

Paul's brother and family came over on a rare visit for xmas lunch. They’re not far away and yet they hadn’t been to visit since Jake was one month old (and not for lack of being invited). It makes me think of barriers we create around things we don’t want to do, how it can start with a wisp, a vague feeling of resistance which then becomes wall-like habit and then how-things-have-always-been. Or maybe there’s something underneath it all, something true which finds its way to being expressed despite familial bonds. Maybe some wisps were always meant to be bricks.

Monday, December 27, 2010

27th December ~ 100 word diary

Eating: spaghetti with baby plum tomatoes, chorizo, feta & basil drizzled with chilli oil. Watching: the cat toy with a knitted Mexican finger puppet. Reading: Stephen King’s Under The Dome. Listening: to Jake’s toddler belly laughter – how it fills and floats and lifts you up and feels pure. Revisiting: old favourites on Spotify – Laura Veirs’ Carbon Glacier (my favourite of all her albums) and Rachel Goswell’s Waves are Universal which I will always associate with a certain train ride from St Ives to London and a sense of serenity mingled with anticipation, of something just beginning, the tremors of possibility.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

26th December ~ 325 word diary

Something odd happened yesterday. There was a moment, while I was rolling out the spiced cookie dough, listening to Richard Hawley on 6music that I felt so happy and at peace, so all-is-right-with-the-world despite its many problems and grief, that I even exclaimed, “I LOVE Christmas!”

Because it’s traditionally been lonely and over-stressed, I’ve hated it for years. This has lessened with having Jake. There’s nothing like having a child to show you how to celebrate. But this was beyond that. This wasn’t just about family and the coming together of those magical elements that make up Christmas. This was about being in the moment, all day, and how those moments made up one simple, flowing gorgeous day. Listening to the Christmas songs I love, realising that the best ones are tinged with sadness, I felt how true happiness is not about banishing sadness or grief, but embracing it in that bittersweet way.

So it was somehow fitting that it was our last Christmas with our neighbours from across the road. They are leaving in January. E & her father are going to China for an indefinite period and E’s mother is staying in Kent, where she now works. They are leaving their London flat for good. We won’t have them as neighbours anymore. Jake won’t have his friend from across the road. They won’t be at nursery together. We won’t be able to look out our window and see their friendly faces waving back at us. They are a big part of why I love living here. And now, they’re leaving. So our time together yesterday was heightened, the way spices, sharp and hot on your tongue bring tears to your eyes but flavour to your tongue, all the way down to your heart. Just by being together, sharing food, laughter, watching our children play together. Holding the sadness in the midst of the happiness, holding them in each palm, just letting them be.




Taken by Jake


Saturday, December 25, 2010

25th December ~ 100ish word diary with a bonus Christmas post

I was still in bed when I heard Jake rustling presents under the tree. Paul told him they were mine then went into the kitchen. The rustling continued. I came downstairs and found Jake clutching one of my gifts. “Got present for you Mummy!” he said. He was more thrilled when he saw he had presents too! On seeing the Duplo, “It’s BRICKS!” and the baseplates (one in each colour) immediately became trains. I got a moving story written by Paul, about an orphan doohickey named Theo who receives a present from his parents from beyond the grave. Santa dies in the process, but we won't focus on that. 

~

And now, a few more words. In the spirit of Christmas, I’m going to respond (briefly) to today’s reverb10 prompt. Especially since it’s not a bad one.

Photo.

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Prompt Author: Tracey Clark)


I’m posting this because it was taken by my 28 month old son. Judging by the length of these paragraphs, it’s only worth about 195 words, but why waffle on for a thousand when you can be more succinct. Anyway, I like it because I look genuinely happy and it’s one of those rare photos in which I don’t look hideous. I don’t think myself hideous, but I am not photogenic. I also like it because I like to think its how Jake sees me and that he has managed to capture it, in his simple toddler in-the-moment-joyful-authenticity.

It was about a week ago and we were in the kitchen. I was about to make lunch, he was on the counter rearranging my spice rack. I’d just snapped a photo of him and he asked for the camera. “Want take picture of Mummy, okay?” He held up the camera, smiled, said, “Say Cheese!” I couldn’t help but smile and he took it. So I also like the photo because it captures how he makes me feel. Happy, joyful, lucky to be alive, lucky to be part of his life, lucky to be his Mummy.

And on that note…Merry Christmas everyone. Love and peace to all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

24th December ~ 100 word diary (the one where I make sense)

Maybe spending half of xmas eve tidying, storing & reorganizing Jake’s toys wasn’t such a great idea. Cos I’ve spent half the day in a furious frenzy and I still haven’t done any baking for tomorrow. Here’s where I decide to focus on the positive or have a meltdown. How’s this? Trying to explain to Jake what elderflower cordial was, I said at the end of an inadequate explanation, “Does that make sense?” Thankfully he nodded, grabbed a wooden spoon and said, “Yes please. Jake want make sense. Mummy Jake make sense ‘gether? Shall we do that?” Yes we shall.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ahhhh, warmth and fuzziness

Our tree angel with natural halo ;-)

Our family on the tree, courtesy of Jake


Jake's "triangle" which looks to me very much like a xmas tree
So, a tree on the tree



Spot the cat


23rd December ~ 150 word diary (the one where Santa gets naked)

So Jake met Santa and didn’t freak out. When I went to collect him from nursery, Santa (who was Cockney and had an earring in one ear) was still there handing out presents. Jake watched him with a mixture of awe, confusion and suspicion. When I asked him what it was like meeting Santa, he thought about it and said very seriously, “Says ho ho ho that one. Ho ho ho.”

Today when he woke up crying, I showed Jake a lovely card we received entitled “Santa’s Full Monty.” Santa, Russian doll like, goes from being fully dressed to naked (with bits discretely covered) in four steps. It calmed him down but I now wonder what he must be thinking. Santa is a man who dresses up funny, hands out presents to children and also sometimes takes his clothes off. Oh dear. Good preparation for the world at large then.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

22nd December ~ 100 word diary

Jake's at nursery right now!  They said he could stay for the afternoon because Santa’s popping in with presents for the children. UNEXPECTED FREE TIME!!!! I managed to get most of the groceries we need for xmas. I can now start baking THE cookies. I got a few treats for Jake and his friend E who’s coming over xmas day. And I found exactly what I was hoping we could get for Jake (megablocks and duplo to bump up his collection) in the charity shop for £4.50 (would cost upwards of £40 new). Oh dear. I’m getting excited about xmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

21st December ~ 100 word diary


Cutting out stars and colouring them with oil pastels. Cutting out shapes and listening to the Smoke Fairies album Through Low Light & Trees on Spotify. Absolutely gorgeous. Jake loves it too. When I switched to another album, Jake said “NO! Want that music!” And now he is lying on the floor, belly down, pushing a train across a track, listening with his whole body, his eyes and arm move with the train and the words and the rhythms of the music and I see him in his own world, inhabiting himself fully. I hope he never loses that ability.


Monday, December 20, 2010

A word about Goddesses...(I hope I don't make you puke)

Reading Elizabeth Marie's response to THAT reverb10 prompt, the one about "healing" written by a 20-something self-styled "Goddess Leoni" (I kid you not) got me thinking about real wounds and real Goddesses. I remembered the black-faced tongue protruding picture of Kali that a (very wise) friend sent me a few years ago and decided to find out more about her.

I've always been aware of Kali but never knew much about her. To be honest, she's always scared me. Well, maybe not scared, but she's always seemed too strange and inaccessible. Like she doesn't and cannot belong to me, but only to those of her culture. Like I could only lay claim to her if I was Indian or Bengali. I don't believe such things anymore, just like I no longer believe that I can't be Thai. So maybe it was the right time for me to rediscover her. Because I suddenly felt like she was there for me to discover.




The images I found of her, dark, fierce, huge tongue protruding, severed heads round her neck, standing on the body of Lord Shiva (who threw himself under her feet to stop her killing frenzy during battle) no longer seem strange or distant, but disconcertingly familiar.  Seeing them was like experiencing a glimmer of recognition.  What was even more surprising was reading that this Goddess of Death, this Dark Mother Goddess, has devotees who consider their bond with her to be intimate and loving, like the bond they have with their own mothers. This is what is foreign to me, the idea of a warm, intimate, loving motherly bond. And yet, Kali appeals to me. This quote I found on one of the sites about Kali is what ultimately pulled me in:

"My child, you need not know much in order to please Me.
Only Love Me dearly.
Speak to me, as you would talk to your mother,
if she had taken you in her arms."

The "if". If she had taken you in her arms. Love me and talk to me like your mother, IF she had taken you in her arms.

And so I feel welcomed. Embraced. Reading that, I wanted to make her my own, wanted to sit at her feet and be held and let her know the true darkness in my heart. After all, who would understand better than her? When I'm in one of my foul moods, feeling torn up from the inside out with frustration and fury, Kali would not tell me to go draw a rainbow sprinkled with glitter or heal myself with makeup and candles. She is the Goddess of Death & Destruction. And yet, she holds her arms out like a mother, a true mother. And in her, I find an unlikely place to rest my head. And maybe even my heart.

20th December ~ 100 word diary

Right now, Jake is cutting a piece of paper with scissors. Earlier, he was turning a box of melba toast into a train. The other day, he ran giggling through the house with a tea towel in tow, and every day uses a giant roll of wrapping paper as a vacuum cleaner. He’s much more fastidious about vacuuming than we are. I also made him a salt dough train. I thought it was crappy. He looked at it and said, “Oh, v nice this train, v happy this train.” We’re not buying xmas presents this year. We don’t need to.


Salt dough train.  Made by Mummy, painted by Jake.


What we've been up to...

Jake & I have had a very busy week...


Rearranging my spice rack while I bake mint chocolate cookies
 
Making salt dough

Kneaded into a lovely ball
 
Stopping to brush teeth, an important step in making salt dough


The baked salt dough faces Jake made with very little help
They are Daddy, Mummy, Jake

The salt dough bird I made following Geninne's bird ornament tutorial
It collapsed in the oven and came out wonky
 
All our creations, cooling off after baking

A few days later, we painted them with a poster paint & pva glue mix...

Painting our creations - Jake paints his faces

And then repaints them all green

The cat I made with a bit of leftover salt dough




The bird ornament, painted, varnished and somehow strung up on the tree
It caused so much cursing and swearing to get it
to that "hanging" stage that it is now known as The Effin' Bird

In the middle of all the creating, we also went out in the snow




And made a snowman with Daddy...

...complete with a goatee and pubes (Paul's idea)

And Jake played with his friend from across the road
 
And we built another snow...creature



All in one week!!  See what not doing reverb10 can lead to? :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

19th December ~ on which the 100 word diary makes its return

So after shouting at my toddler for trying to snatch the Pritt Stick out of my hand while glueing his be-angelled image onto red card, and hinting at Paul that I need some time to myself, I get said time to myself and what do I do? Eat leftover Chinese in front of the computer while they are upstairs laughing and screaming together. What I’d really like for xmas is to get what I want without feeling like a cow. Okay, I also did some writing, which I claim is important for my existence. Still feel like a cow though.

Some toilet humour in the absence of further reverb10 posts...

As you may have gathered from the lack of further reverb10 posts, the one decent prompt I last mentioned was a blip and I have now let go of the idea of maybe going back to it.  However, without reverb10, my blog suddenly feels adrift, lacking in direction and purpose.  A friend and I are cooking some ideas to create our own writing prompt blog, but in the meantime, this lack of purpose post-reverb10 disturbs me.  In an attempt to remedy the situation, I thought I'd share some anecdotes with you, on the joys of life with a toddler... 

The other day, I was in the toilet and Jake followed me in.  I never get to go to the toilet without being watched anymore.  Jake asked me, "Mummy are you doing poo?"  I said, "Not poo darling, wee."
A few moments later he said, "Mummy, are you finished doing not poo?"

~

Yesterday, once the blizzard had subsided, we went out in the snow and built snowmen and had a snowball fight.  When I was hit by a particularly big one, I inadvertently did a little wee in my pants at the moment of impact.  Naturally I felt the need to share this information with Paul and whispered it to him (not very quietly obviously).  Just as a couple of strangers were walking past, Jake piped up, "Mummy do wee wee in pants?" enunciating each word perfectly.   That'll teach me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh my noodles, is there hope for reverb10 after all?

I'm not coming back to reverb10.  At least I don't think I am.  But I did want to post about two reverb related things that actually made me feel tingles in my stomach and goosebumpy on my skin.  I know, it's hard to believe, but here you go, you can judge for yourself.

First, I stumbled on Elizabeth Marie's blog and was humbled and inspired by her take on yesterday's prompt, which when I read it, I thought "I'm glad I'm not doing this anymore," and when she read it, came up with excellent writing:

http://sidneyport.blogspot.com/2010/12/reverb-10-one-in-which-i-capture.html

http://sidneyport.blogspot.com/2010/12/one-thats-merely-blip.html

Second, today's prompt was written by someone who ISN'T a New Age consultant or guru of any kind, isn't selling anything and is an editor at Harper Collins.  You know what else, the prompt didn't suck.  It almost makes me want to resume doing reverb10 again.  We'll see.  Maybe I'll post as and when the mood strikes me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

reverb10: Appreciate (That's it, I'm outta here)

Appreciate.

What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

(Prompt Author: Victoria Klein)

~

Ok that’s it. I give up. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t fight the relentless deluge of New Age exhortations to better myself. I don’t have the energy. I barely have enough energy to be civil to my partner and spend time with my toddler without being distracted by idiotic vomit-inducing prompts by people I would not seek out for help or inspiration under other circumstances, so why do it now?  (And yes, I have now given up on my shiny dream that any of the prompt authors will be writers whose work I might actually like or want to read.)


Do you know what did it for me? It wasn’t finding something to appreciate - believe it or not, even I am able to appreciate more than one thing in life. No, it is the arse-twitching New Age code that requires us all to BE GRATEFUL. A bit like making a child say thank you for a hideous scratchy jumper it’s been given by an ancient aunt, because heaven forbid that aunt should be offended or have to deal with a child's honesty. When I was a child, being ungrateful was one of the worst things you could be. It was on a par with the gravest sins in my mother's eyes: being unladylike and talking back (or having a mind of your own).   

This is the same thing. Express your gratitude, fake it if you have to, otherwise, you will offend God or the Universe or whatever Superpower provides all the things that you want and need in life. And underlying it all is a belief that we need to do this because we don’t really deserve it. We don’t deserve to be happy, we don’t deserve to feel fulfilled or at peace or have love in our lives or win the lottery or own a home or be successful or admired or have 25,000 gazillion followers or facebook friends, so we have to make ourselves jump through a series of hoops posing as spiritual rituals or ways of betterment, the modern day equivalent of sacrificing a few virgins in exchange for a good harvest. And I think its bullshit. There’s nothing wrong with feeling thankful. It can even feel good to do good things or better yourself because you genuinely want to. But start making gratefulness compulsory, or a step in a plan to guaranteed affluence and bliss, and any natural feelings of thankfulness that might have arisen will start to turn into a resentful burden of obligation.  Not only that, your face will turn to shiny plastic and you won't notice.

Now that you’ve read that are you thinking, Oh my god, how can she say that? Now god’s gonna strike her down with cancer to teach her a lesson.  Well if you did, just think about it. Do you really believe that if you aren’t grateful enough, then you deserve whatever bad shit the Universe has to throw at you?  If you do then maybe you need reverb10. As for me, I’ve had enough.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Because I want smiley things on my blog again...

reverb10: Action

Action.

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

(Prompt Author: Scott Belsky)

~

I checked today’s prompt with the same sense of dread that I check my bank balance. I only dared to look at it squinting through my fingers, because even though I managed to work through yesterday's nausea with the help of laughter tinged with hysteria and a dancing skeleton, even his charms wore off a little too quickly and I was left feeling sick for having responded to the prompt at all. (It was only Jake's continued singing of "Dem bones dem bones dancing bones" which got me through the day.)  As I watched truly good writers and people whom I respect bow out of the project (Skippedydoodah and Turtleturtleturtle), I wondered whether I’d crossed a line by not doing the same. Maybe even taking the piss out of something that awful is in some way an act of self-betrayal. Maybe engaging with it at all was the equivalent of seeing a steaming pile of dog poo on the street and deciding to dance in it instead of avoiding it.

So today’s prompt was going to be the deciding one for me. The slightest whiff of excrement (or partially clothed self-adoring self-help celebrities) and it would be the end for me.

I’m cautiously happy to let you know that my stomach is grateful for the distinct lack of foul smell wafting from today's prompt, and for the fully-clothed and inoffensive author photo. Enough to ignore the link to another book being sold and not taking pot-shots at the author’s ‘Action Method.’ (I'll even resist researching the method in order to draw comparisons between it and wanking.  That's a form of "self-love" for those of you not familiar with British slang.)

Having said that, the ideas that I want to make happen are not things that I want to share. They are at that delicate, light-shy pupa stage of development. So this is something I’ll be working on in private. 

In the meantime, my next step is to enjoy my day with a decidedly more settled stomach.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

reverb10: Body Integration (this prompt was truly a gift...thank you)

Body Integration.

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

(Prompt Author: Patrick Reynolds)

~

I knew it. All these years I’ve had a suspicion that Mrs Koumas was hiding something. Yeah, she got us to dissect frogs and stick our fingers inside pig’s hearts, but I always knew there was something she was keeping from us, something she’d left off the curriculum. At the time, I thought it had something to do with the breeziness with which we covered the chapter on sexual organs. But now I know the truth. And now, so many things are starting to make sense.

Like, why my brain keeps insisting on walking three paces ahead of me, or why my tongue keeps diving in to other people’s lunches, or waking up to find my lungs spattered on the ceiling and the bedclothes (pulmonary alveoli are a bitch to get out of the sheets), and dragging my torso down the stairs in the mornings to find my legs, dead on the sofa, where they’d snuck off to watch bad TV in the middle of the night. And don't even get me started on my backbone. 

Why didn’t anyone ever tell us of the need to integrate? Were they worried we wouldn't have the guts to do it?  Well, it’s a gross oversight. It should be taught in all schools, everywhere, the earlier the better. Otherwise, it is left to the few earnest and caring souls, or to use the proper term, wellness consultants, like Patrick Reynolds, to spread the word.  Thank you Patrick, for enlightening me. I mean, I didn’t even know how close I’d been to NOT BEING ALIVE.

I don’t know about you, but the trickiest bit for me is keeping track of all the different PARTS that need integrating. So for the past 24 minutes, I’ve been working strenuously at finding a way to keep me nice and cohesive. I can tell you straight off that superglue doesn’t work. It made me a bit too cohesive with my clothing and furniture and toilet paper. (Even chanting at the same time didn't help.)  Cello tape is also ineffective. I just kept attracting dust and my limbs kept seeing it as a challenge to break free. The secret, I happily discovered, is to use the power of your mind to generate the power of distraction. What you have to do is find something for that unruly disintegrating body of yours to do! And nothing says integration like the power of dance.  (Stay with me, it's for your own good.)

Now, you might find it hard to keep up, but with a little bit of practice, I am sure you can do it. We can do this together.  If you have any children in the house, I advise you to get them involved too. It’s for their own good. Ok ready? Just let the words into your mind and your body will soon follow.  Here we go...

One, two, three…all together now…

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones.
Doin' the skeleton dance.

The foot bone's connected to the leg bone.
The leg bone's connected to the knee bone.
The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone.
Doin' the skeleton dance.

The thigh bone's connected to the hip bone.
The hip bone's connected to the backbone.
The backbone's connected to the neck bone.
Doin' the skeleton dance.

Shake your hands to the left.
Shake your hands to the right.
Put your hands in the air.
Put your hands out of sight!

Shake your hands to the left.
Shake your hands to the right.
Put your hands in the air.

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.......wiggle your knees.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones.
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones.
Doin' the skeleton dance.

For those of you requiring visual instruction, a wonderful video can be found on youtube here.

Now, you might get peculiar looks when practicing integration in public places.  Workplace practice could be especially problematic, unless you are an elementary or primary school teacher.  But remain true.  Be a strong and radiant ambassador for integration and make the world a better place.  All the doubters will thank you in the end. 

I just have one more thing to say about today’s prompt and the photo that accompanied it (which for those of you who don’t get the emailed prompts had the added benefit of a shirtless Patrick Reynolds staring off into the distance in a gaze reminiscent of Christ bearing the world’s burden on his big strong shoulders. Perhaps that is why his shoulders were bare. Or maybe he's just wondering where the bottom half of his body has gotten to.  I’d love to share the photo but I fear I would be infringing copyright law. Of course Jesus doesn’t seem to mind having his image plastered all over the place, now there’s a generous bloke, but one needs to be more careful with modern personages in this age of the media, especially with anyone honoured with the suffix consultant). Anyway, what I wanted to say was this:

Sam Davidson, all is forgiven.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Must...

somehow make time for this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/dec/10/twelve-tales-for-christmas

A series of podcasts where writers read & discuss their favourite short stories.  One each day until xmas.

reverb10: 11 things

11 Things

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
(Prompt Author: Sam Davidson)

~

Oh wow! 11 things on December 11th for 2011. How neat!

Ok that’s enough of that. It sounded wrong, didn’t it? You see, being all twinkly and jolly just doesn’t suit me. The funny thing is, if I’d been doing this last year I probably would’ve been responding in the way that the prompt authors intend. I’ve been a goody two-shoes for most of my life, doing what I’m told or what I think people expect of me in order to get that pat on the back/head and be accepted into the fold and then promptly forgotten for being so obedient. Apparently it was all in a desperate and futile attempt to gain my mother’s approval. A habit I have only been able to let go of this year. So really, it’s a breakthrough for me to write in the way that I have been – saying what I really mean and not being afraid to do so. (I know, I know, that almost sounded like the kind of emotional confession one might have heard on a talk show but fear not, I am still very much here.)

So, this project is not what I expected it to be, but it has certainly got me thinking. And just because I’m not writing in the rose-tinted style that the reverb10 team seem to prefer, it doesn’t mean that I am not also baring my heart. (I write this in response to Gwen Bell’s comment on my Party post.) I’m just not being quite so obvious about it.

Ok, so on with the prompt. The first thing I thought of that I wanted to eliminate, not in 2011, but in the moment that I received the email with the prompt (along with a photo of the author) was this: your face. Not YOUR face, but Sam Davidson’s face. I just don’t like it. Maybe that isn’t fair, but it was my honest first response.

Then I clicked on the link provided that inevitably took me to a book on Amazon. At first I was hopeful. (And I still live in hope that the prompt authors we were told we would be surprised by might include "real authors" with names like Dave Eggers or Barbara Kingsolver...it's my shiny dream, please don't take it away from me.)  Anyway, I clicked and was hopeful.  Maybe it’s not a self-help book, I thought. After all, it’s got a grey cover and has a picture of a trash can on it. This appeals to the wanna-be minimalist in me. I’ve never been able to rid my life of clutter. Maybe this prompt wasn’t going to be so bad after all…

So I clicked to look inside the book (because I like to know where the authors are really coming from), and I was not vomiting. One of the chapters in his book even talks about getting rid of extra cheese. And another even suggests getting rid of his very book. I almost started to feel cheerful. Then I saw the title of his concluding chapter. He has three words for you. “Find your passion.” That's when I let go of the straws.  I should have known really, because of the three words he mentions in the prompt: “change your life.” I have three words too. Oh not again. I’m now adding passion to the list of swear words I try never to use (the first one was fashion – hey look, they rhyme!)

Oooooh, I feel a list coming on.

11 things I will not be saying in 2011

1. I have to have this, it’s so fashionable / hot / NOW.

2. I am not dossing about, I’m trying to find my passion.

3. I’m giving it my all.

4. I’m giving it 110, or even, 111%

5. Doing ______ has changed my life.

6. You should try _______ , it will change your life.

7. The mileage on this is amazing.

8. I just found the most wonderful insurance policy.

9. I think I’ll take up running.

10. Let’s start saving so we can send Jake to an exclusive private school.

11. Aren’t the LibDems doing a wonderful job? It’s such a shame I didn’t vote for them in the last election.

~

On a more “serious” note, I did consider making a list of 11 “things”* to eliminate from my life (see footnote for the dizzying array of “things” I could select), but 1) the word eliminate makes me think of taking a crap and 2) I find it too calculating and premature to try to name 11 “things” to get rid of during the whole of next year, not least because the number 11 has been picked out in such a nauseating way, but also because it will feel too much like “things” I must force myself to get rid of, so I’m not going to do it. If and when it feels right, I’ll do it for my own reasons and not because some stranger who knows nothing about me or my “passion” tells me to. (It’s ok, it’s still 2010, I have another 20 days to bandy these words about).

As for my life, I'm perplexed as to why it's referred to as if it is something independent of me (see prompt, above and replace the words your life with your pet, for example...now that could be an interesting exercise).  I’m also utterly sick and tired of hearing about all the wonderful things I can do to change it. I’m 38 years old, the past is gone, the future is yet to come, and presently, I’m sitting in my pajamas, typing. The present is all any of us have to work with and life itself constantly changes in its flux and flow. So, to me, taking a breath – that is “life changing.”  Answering “yes” to my son when he asks me, “Mummy, are you happy?” that is “life changing.” Tasting every sip of my Earl Grey tea, that is “life changing.”  Going to the bathroom to take care of my bodily functions – yep, you guessed it, that’s “life changing” too. Speaking of which, off I now go, to change my life. I predict that it’s gonna smell great.

* thing (from Dictionary.com)
[thing]
–noun

1. a material object without life or consciousness; an inanimate object.
2. some entity, object, or creature that is not or cannot be specifically designated or precisely described: The stick had a brass thing on it.
3. anything that is or may become an object of thought: things of the spirit.
4. things, matters; affairs: Things are going well now.
5. a fact, circumstance, or state of affairs: It is a curious thing.
6. an action, deed, event, or performance: to do great things; His death was a horrible thing.
7. a particular, respect, or detail: perfect in all things.
8. aim; objective: The thing is to reach this line with the ball.
9. an article of clothing: I don't have a thing to wear.
10. things,
a. implements, utensils, or other articles for service: I'll wash the breakfast things.
b. personal possessions or belongings: Pack your things and go!
11. a task; chore: I've got a lot of things to do today.
12. a living being or creature: His baby's a cute little thing.
13. a thought or statement: I have just one thing to say to you.
14. Informal . a peculiar attitude or feeling, either positive or negative, toward something; mental quirk: She has a thing about cats.
15. something signified or represented, as distinguished from a word, symbol, or idea representing it.
16. Law . anything that may be the subject of a property right.
17. new thing, Jazz . free jazz.
18. the thing,
a. something that is correct or fashionable: That café is the thing now.
b. that which is expedient or necessary: The thing to do is to tell them the truth.

—Idioms
19. do / find one's own thing, Informal . to pursue a lifestyle that expresses one's self. Also, do / find one's thing.
20. make a good thing of, Informal . to turn (a situation, experience, etc.) to one's own profit; benefit by: She made a good thing of her spare-time hobbies.
21. not to get a thing out of,
a. to be unable to obtain information or news from: The police couldn't get a thing out of him.
b. to fail to appreciate, understand, or derive aesthetic pleasure from: My wife likes opera, but I don't get a thing out of it.
22. see / hearthings, Informal . to have hallucinations.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Moon Lotus winners...

Since there were only three commenters on my giveaway post, I'm gonna send postcards to all of you.



Thanks for entering.  I'll be contacting you for your snail mail addresses soon!

reverb10: wisdom (give me strength...)

Wisdom.

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
(Prompt Author: Susannah Conway)

~

Anyone else feeling the urge to self-harm in the face of such relentless urging to self-help? Only when I was going through the worst relationship of my life did I want to gouge my eyes out as much as I do now. And that’s what this is starting to feel like – getting into a relationship that seemed like a good idea at the time, but, with every passing day, feeling more like I unwittingly accepted an invitation to join a cult.

I went through a period in my 20’s when I’d just abandoned religion and was looking for something to replace it, something less damning, less blind and rigid, more truthful, joyful, real. I spent a few months reading new age and self-help books on numerous subjects which I have since blocked from consciousness. Thankfully I didn’t find what I was looking for and am much happier for it. But now I am having disturbing flashbacks.  I’ve since guarded my suspicion of self-help gurus rather fiercely and I haven’t yet found any evidence not to.

If I’d known that reverb10 would turn out to be SUCH a schmaltzy lovefest of self-appointed self-help gurus, I would have run the other way. I had such high hopes of being challenged as a writer and a person. And in some ways I have been, but it remains to be seen whether those challenges will ultimately be enriching.

So I am wavering. There’s a fine line between sticking it out to see what’s still to come and wasting my time. I do, after all, have other writing I want to do. For the moment though, I’m still on the sticking it out side of the line (though the perusal of the websites of the prompt authors to come do not give me any hope), if only because I hate to be a quitter but also because I feel the need to dig my heels in and rebel (or throw a tantrum) against the all the cheese that is oozing out all over the shop. If I’d had any doubts about the extent of the oozing, reading the reverb10 team’s three favourite posts from the project so far (links were emailed to us this week) completely extinguished them. All three posts were full of gushing admiration for the reverb10 team and how wonderful the whole project is. If they are going to continue in this vein, they really ought to be providing us with sick bags.

And now to today’s prompt. I find it, in a word, facile. First because, if anybody knew they were making a wise decision when they were making it, then it follows that they can only have believed that it panned out for the best.

Second, I don’t believe anyone but the grossest narcissist makes decisions thinking that they are wise. (And I am not talking about the use of the word wise to describe a thrifty purchase or some such act.) You can delude yourself into thinking that your choices are full of wisdom, or you can desperately hope that they are, but that’s not the same thing. I’m inclined to believe that you can only see wisdom in retrospect, and furthermore that you can only hope to call it wisdom after a lifetime of dedicated, true and mindful inquiry and practice. And even then, you would probably not be rushing to label yourself or your decisions as such, though others might. Do you think any of the people that have been held up as wise over the years have done so – Confucius, the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, to name a few?

I also don’t believe decisions or the decision making process is that black and white. Even if you sit down and make a list of all the things you must decide, there is a backdrop of angst-ridden uncertainty and grey thorny emotion (or at least there is for me), behind all the ones that really matter. Also, every act, thought, desire, decision is interlinked with ones that have gone before (as well as all the might-have-been's and weren't-meant-to-be's) and once actions or decisions are carried out, they go on to affect and be affected by the countless acts and decisions of others. How can you single one out and name it wise? And why would you want to? Whatever you describe your actions to be, they remain what they are.  You aren't the only judge.  Can you truly see and know the full repercussions of your actions?

Finally, if it were possible at all, I don’t see how reflecting on a wise decision is supposed to be helpful, except as an exercise in public self-congratulation. Wouldn’t it be a better learning experience to reflect on an unwise one instead?

So here’s one of mine – the decision to continue to participate in this project. Will I end up regretting it? Or can I reverse it from an apparently unwise decision to at least a not-as-bad-as-it-could’ve-been experience? Perhaps I can. But there's only so much schmaltz a person can take.  And at xmas time to boot. Please oh please let me be proved wrong about my gut-wrenching suspicion that the 25th day prompt will be about how Santa Claus really does exist and how he’s there every day of our lives and not just for xmas.

I'm clearly going to have to fortify myself with large doses of darkness and depravity. Fassbinder or Lars von Trier movie marathon anyone?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

What's this?

Today, Jake saw a picture of Santa Claus and asked me, “What’s this?” Inwardly, I panicked slightly. But then I remembered he’s still only 28 months old. So I answered, “Santa Claus” and with that he was satisfied.

Later, pushing him on the swings in the playground, I thought about what to say to him about Santa when he inevitably pops up again. “He brings you presents on xmas day if you are good,” just doesn’t sit well with me, not least because the one thing I don’t ever want to do to Jake is lie to him, not even about the small things. But I didn’t come up with anything better and pushed the worry aside for another day.

Then, some friends on facebook posted a link to this post on the blog Parenting beyond belief.

I like his point of view but I still can’t imagine myself pretending that Santa is real.  I can, however, present it as a story that a lot of people tell. I would do that about religious beliefs anyway, so why not Santa. And when he’s older, he can decide for himself whether to believe it or not. Is it so farfetched an approach anyway, given the many characters and stories, not least in advertising, that children are bombarded with these days? Why should Santa be any more real than Shrek?

Taken by Jake


I really love this photo taken by my 2 year old.  I see in it his firm stance in the world, little feet and all, and I'm so proud.

reverb10: Party (oh good grief...)

Party.

What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Prompt Author: Shauna Reid)

~

Disclaimer: Due to the continuing cheesy self-helpness and/or annoying inaneness of the prompts that have been emerging of late, I'm being forced to respond in the only way that I know how short of abandoning this project altogether. If things don't change soon, I will be renaming it Things That Make My Arse Twitch.  If you are averse to cynicism, bitterness or bad language, don't bother reading any further.  Go read something dull and inoffensive instead. 

~

I think it’s fair to say that, for much of British & North American society, the word ‘Party’ necessarily and automatically means alcohol, bad music, more alcohol and acts of idiocy fuelled by as much alcohol as possible. Calling them shenanigans, I suppose, is a way to make them appear more charming than they actually are. This is all in the name of “fun”, and anybody who does not partake in such activities is viewed with great suspicion and cast out with mocking more fervent than that shown for any religious or political cause. For there seems to be no religion more feverishly practiced than the religion of “fun”, except of course Consumerism.

I don’t drink and the gene for small talk skipped me over. According to some, I'm a (GASP...wait for it...GULP) Party Pooper.  It's true.  I don’t do parties and I wear my badge of social outcast with a touch of pride. There is little worse than being the only sober person amongst a hoard of drunk party goers, convinced of their own charm, sex appeal, intelligence, talent for singing, sense of humour, happiness, love of all mankind and invincibility while under the influence of alcohol. Perfectly likeable people with whom I’d normally be able to hold a cogent, interesting, thought-provoking conversation become babbling strangers.  Also, herd mentalities scare me. People behave differently when they are gathered in groups. Even without the inclusion of alcohol the word group makes me shudder. 

I prefer to be with lucid people on a one-to-one basis. I prefer to enjoy music of my own choosing at a reasonable decibel. I prefer not to have to clean vomit or red wine out of the carpets of the flat I’m renting. Even these days, now that I’m older and the parties I may get invited to no longer involve vomit or shenanigans, I find it hard to be polite when faced with inanity. When I don’t like someone or something, it’s very clear. I’m no good at fake-smiling and pretend-liking and faux-flattery. I cannot talk about the property market or mortgages or designer furniture like it’s the be all and end all of my existence.  Honestly, I find farts more amusing.  So I have a tendency to be silent – which is the worst possible thing you could be at a Partaaaayyyyy. Because everyone suddenly feels the need to draw you in or ask you if you’re okay with a look that confirms their suspicion of your mental illness. Not that I’ve had a great deal of experience of this because, thankfully, I haven’t been to a Partaaayyyyy in a long time.

It’s a “nice” attempt at inclusivity for the prompt author to also word it as a “social gathering” and to write drink instead of booze, but I know what she really means, not least because it’s not a glass of Ribena she’s holding in her photo.  (And let's not even get started on the phrase "rock your socks off".  Even my arse is cringing at that.)

But even if I'd been fooled by that, I could not be fooled by the instruction to write about the clothes. In my mind, this cannot be justified in any way (fashion is the only swear word I try never to use) unless it refers to fancy dress – and anyone that I would want to socialise with knows that the only fancy dress that really counts is one that involves a small child and a costume made out of cardboard, string, toilet paper and cut-up pairs of old pants.

So I’m betting Shauna's definition does not include any of the “social gatherings” that I have attended this year, all of which included children (GASP!), yes, NUMEROUS children UNDER THE AGE OF 3, complete with sticky digits, mucky chops and loud voices, running around with gleeful abandon, some of them barefoot, many of them also naked or clad in nappies, OUTDOORS, in a PARK, being allowed to be themselves and feed themselves (the food was laid out on the ground and later demolished by pigeons) and climb into slimy fountains and splash each other and then fall over in sand and come running to embrace the nearest adult they belonged to for comfort kisses and cuggles. Which is a shame, because I actually enjoyed one or two of those this year. In fact, they are probably the best “parties” I’ve ever been to. And not a glass of booze or designer frock in sight.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Eeeeeek!!!

I've signed up for another project!  No need to panic though, I have until May to complete it.

I came across this website via Geninne's blog.  The Sketchbook Project is no longer open for participation, but The Fiction Project is. 

The Art house Co-op is based in New York, but for most of the projects, anyone from anywhere in the world can take part.  Once you sign up and pick a theme or have one assigned at random for you, they send you a notebook to fill based on the theme (the fiction one combines writing & art) by the deadline.  You then send it back, all the books go on tour and are then entered into the Brooklyn Art Library for the public to look at.  You do have to pay an entry fee but it isn't much, the project is entirely run by two people and solely funded by these fees, they receive no other funding, and what a fantastic opportunity to get your work out there. 

You have until the 31st March 2011 to sign up for The Fiction Project.  Anyone care to join me?  Let me know if you do!!

reverb10: Beautifully Different (or things that make me want to puke)

Beautifully Different.

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

(Prompt Author: Karen Walrond)

~

I do not like this prompt.  In fact, I posted a response to it earlier that was a tad cynical and defensive. Then I decided to check Karen Walrond out, to see where she was coming from, and I felt sheepish about my first post (which I originally deleted but have decided to add to the bottom of this post.)  Because she seems genuine and I'm grown up enough to admit that the defensiveness is possibly because thinking in the way that the prompt asks brings up all kinds of difficulty for me.  Things I could probably fill a book with.  So I'm going to sit with this difficulty for a while and see what it has to say to me. 

I don't know if I will necessarily find or try to find what Karen asks us to.  I'd prefer it to find me.  Who can say what makes a person beautiful anyway.  Eye of the beholder and all that.  Also, I like not knowing what it is that "lights people up".  Knowing might alter it somehow, or make it disappear.  And I'm inclined to believe that the not knowing is the magic of it, the best part of it. 

Also, some things that light some people up can make others scowl.  Friends have told me they love my laugh (raucous) but my mother hates it.  Some people like my twisted sense of humour, others not so much.

In the meantime, in an attempt to get into the spirit intended by the prompt, I leave you with this photo of me as a buck-toothed 10 year old with my cheeky 7 year old brother. 



~
On second thought, I've decided to add my previously deleted post to this one.  Whatever it is, it's what I felt at the time and do still feel.  Here it is:

Here are my reactions to this prompt, as they occurred:


1: Oh Puke. Fingers down my throat GAG. Sphincter muscles working overtime in extreme ARSE TWITCHERY, second only to hearing James Blunt croaking out THAT friggin “tune”.

2: Seriously? Even my therapist wouldn’t ask me to do this.

3: Paul’s just gonna LOVE this one.

4: What else have they got in store? Surely there can't be much more of this. Are all the prompt authors going to be people with books to sell?

5: Ok, cynicism aside…what do I really think?

a) This feels just like an exercise to make unconventional / sidelined / overlooked people feel accepted.

b) As one of those people, my urge is to stick two fingers up and say Bog off, please don't patronise me.

c) I’m not fond of blowing my own trumpet. Doesn't mean I don't have one. So there.

d) What makes a person beautiful really. Eye of the beholder and all that. Sometimes, it’s something you’re not even aware of that “lights people up”. I'm inclined to believe that the not knowing is the magic of it, the best part of it.

e) If you look hard enough, you will find whatever it is you’re looking for, whether it’s there or not.

f) Maybe I’ll post a photo of myself as a bright and sparkly child. I had a most unique overbite.

g) True beauty speaks for itself. It doesn’t need an ad campaign or a PR consultant.


At heart, this prompt seems to be about self-esteem. But self-esteem comes from a place of unconditional acceptance and love, not from a list of things you can name that make you beautiful. To me, making such a list only serves to solidify superficial social prejudices. No matter who you are, whether you are or feel unique or different or ordinary or plain, you deserve happiness and you deserve love. Okay. Enough now. If I don’t stop, I shall disintegrate shrieking like the much maligned and terribly misunderstood Wicked Witch of The West.

reverb10: Community

Community.

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

(Prompt Author: Cali Harris)

~

The warm colours are areas of existing community
the blues & greens are areas I'd like to develop or break into.

Monday, December 06, 2010

reverb10 ~ Prompt six: Make (and a giveaway)

Make.

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
(Prompt Author: Gretchen Rubin)

~

Apart from the drawing I made for yesterday’s prompt, the last thing I completed was a piece of embroidery, my first, based on a drawing I did of Jake’s first pair of shoes. I stitched it on a linen napkin square (bought cheap from Sainsbury’s), using black 6-strand embroidery floss.

Since then, I have been occupied with making lotuses. I’m currently working on two, a piece of lotus stitchery and a commissioned A3 drawing, a larger version of the Tangerine Moon Lotus listed in my etsy shop.




In progress...

In the run up to xmas, now that we have decided to follow the “Giving not Buying” spirit of xmas partly inspired by this post at Zen Habits, I will need to clear some time to make some gifts which I naturally can’t write about here.

The great thing is, I’m always making something or wanting to make something. The ideas are always there. In fact, the less time I seem to have, the more I want to make!

In the spirit of giving and to celebrate the joy of making, I’d like to give away 2 sets of 2 of my Moon Lotus postcards (image below). If you’d like to win them, just leave me a comment by 5pm on Friday 10th December, UK time. I will then select two names at random and aim to post the cards out on Monday 13th December, all being well. If the winners are not in the UK, I cannot guarantee that they will reach you in time for Christmas. Good luck!

(Please comment & enter the draw or I will be forced to send these postcards to myself ;-)


Sunday, December 05, 2010

reverb10 ~ Prompt 5: Letting Go

Let Go.
What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
(Prompt Author: Alice Bradley)

~

Ok, this is starting to feel like therapy. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m already in therapy once a week and it’s hard work and even though I also want to dig deep to reflect and reverb, I also want to enjoy it. So at first I was resistant. But then I let go (see what I did there) and gave in to my need for play…


~ Letting go,
my "enigmatic" semi-blind contour self-portrait,
(Pen, ink & picnik)
Upon further reflection, this ended up being a rather joyful exercise. In addition to making the above drawing, I also made a list of things I’d let go of, things I no longer needed. Because they’d been weighing me down. But I don’t want to share the list. Except for one item. One thing I let go of this year, even if means having to let go of it every day, several times a day. The notion that I cannot…