THIS SEASON’S SOUNDTRACK.

 

 

This is it I guess, the mighty move. I remember counting down the years, the months, the week and now  I find that I’m counting down the days and the hours. My life has been neatly organised into boxes that have been labelled accordingly using my new label-maker. They’re all towered up high in the spare bedroom across the landing but I try to not look at them too often as it is a little overwhelming. My stomach is full of butterflies and I feel a frequent buzz of anxiousness; the good kind of nervous, the exciting kind, the kind that fills you with adrenaline and makes you feel like you could fly.

untitledThis Saturday I’m moving to university, heading down South towards the coast. I will be moving from my little town in the Cotswolds in exchange for the sweet sound of the ocean and salty air. To compliment the change of scenery and new adventures I have compiled a playlist that will carry me through the following months. Each track has a specific mood or event in mind and will act as a fail safe for this Autumn as I settle in to my new environment and attempt to adjust to any change. And a one, two, a one, two, three, four…

The songs I will run to on crisp, Autumn mornings: The Arena by Lindsey Stirling (anything by Lindsey Stirling!)  Hanuman by Rodrigo y Gabriela, Life Itself by Glass Animals , Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked by Cage the Elephant


 

The ordeal of unpacking: Guillotine by Jon Bellion , Paper Heart by Love in October, Daddy Lessons by Beyoncé,  Bubbly Colbie Coilet


The songs to study to and see the sun go down to: Shadow of the Wind by Kagu, The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams, Coming Down: 8AM Departure by The Perishers, Those Sweet Words by Norah Jones, Somebody Else’s Child by The Vaccines, Californication RHCP

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Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat: Are We Ready? by Two Door Cinema Club, Polarize by Twenty One Pilots, Shiver by Walk The Moon,  A Little Party Never Killed Nobody by Fergie,  Carry Me by Bombay Bicycle Blub, I Am The Resurrection by The Stone Roses, One Dance by Drake, This Is What You Cam For by Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna.


Songs to get down (and a little dirty): Dangerous Woman by Arianne Grande, Acquainted by The Weeknd, Crazy In Love by Beyoncé (side note: edition from the 50 Shades of Grey ST), Hot by Avril Lavigne, Fast and Slow by The All American Rejects, Undisclosed Desires by Muse


Exploring the new environment on my bicycle: Les Jours Tristes by Yann Tiersen , Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John, Wildfite by John Mayer, Wetsuit by The Vaccines, Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root.  These Streets by Paolo Nutini


Getting nostalgic and making mates: That Don’t Impress Me Much by Shania Twain, 9 in the Afternoon by P!ATD, The Pina Colada Song, No Scrub by TLC, Love Yourself by Justin Bieber, Back To Black by Amy Winehouse and then of course anything by Whitney Houston is a given.


Here goes nothing…

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THE SHADES OF YOU: CHRIS.

It 10:30am and Chris has ordered his Americano. Today he opted for decaffe with a splash of milk after recently discovering it was the coffee making him jittery and he still  doesn’t feel brave enough to tackle the alternative (and elaborate) sounding concoctions on offer. Like myself, he orders his coffee in a to-go cup even though we’re sitting in; the logic behind it is that it keeps the drink warmer for longer and fingers curl around the paper cup perfectly.

Despite it being his day off work he was awake at 7am, spending the first few hours of his day ploughing through his summer project for his 1 year foundation course in Art and Design at Oxford Brookes come September. The project is on ‘heirlooms’ and although hardly inspiring and painfully dull, he trudges on anyway. The unfortunate reality is that in order to be in a position in which you can make a living by creating pieces that you’re proud of you really do have to start from the bottom; like an internship making coffee at Vogue. We all have to start from somewhere; Chris knows this is his somewhere. He follows this up with a bowl of shreddies accompanied with the first of several coffees as he gets the lo-down on the current position of Team GB in the Olympics.  A quick scrub up and wash down and here he is with me.

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When I asked his to tell me his idea of an individual’s ‘ordinary’ day he describes someone who works a standard 9-5 job. Somewhere between the blur of waking up and getting to the office they might drop their kids off at school or perhaps walk the dog. After a busy (but not necessarily bad) day they have dinner with their family before kicking up their feet and watching reality TV until the sun goes down and it’s time for the whole process to repeat itself until the weekend roles around.

“Do you think it’s bad to live a life filled with these days?” I challenge. As if Chris can read my own thoughts he says”it is not the way in which we spend these ‘odirnary’ days which makes them bad but merely our expectations of what we hope to achieve on a day-to-day basis that leaves us wanting more.” We constantly want to inspire and be inspired, make  a change or be part of one, leave our mark. Admittedly this is easier said than done.

Chris recalls a little tale he once heard of a man who was walking on a beach one day throwing starfish that had washed up onto the sand back into the salty water. The man was not disheartened by the seemingly never ending amount of fish in his path, continuing to save each one. He was eventually interrupted by another man who asked him why he bothered if he knew he couldn’t possibly save all the starfish from dying? ‘Who was he saving?’ The man responded by picking up another starfish and placing it back into the sea before saying “I might not be able to save all the starfish, but I saved that one.”  Take what you will from the story but Chris interpreted it imply that the small changes we make on an ‘ordinary day’ are as important a those much larger made less often that often go unnoticed. We don’t need to do extravagant things all the time to make a difference.

Chris continues that it’s not uncommon in careers, especially ones that  reply on imagination, determination and lots of luck like the creative industry, to find yourself in a rut. For a long time much of what you do is determined by those around you which can make you question why you do it at all. What is it all for? Who is it all for? Chris sometimes finds himself losing sight of what made him want to do art as a full time job in the first place and he must make himself remember the story  of the starfish and promts himself “to fake it until you make it.” Rather than a measly project on ‘heirlooms’ I ask Chris what his ‘dream’ career would be, if he could do anything, if the world really was his oyster… “Like any other artistic person I want to earn money for my family and I by creating things I love and am proud of but I realise that is a long shot.Aside from that I would have loved to have done some of the set designs for Jurassic Park or illustations for the new Harry Potter graphic novels, something along those lines.” Until then he will continue to make pieces, whether they excite him or not, earning his keep through his part-time job at M&S and small commissions always with that end goal in mind and eyes on the prize.

Chris goes on to say that down the line it is irrefutable that he’ll most likely do a job he likes and is happy to go to most of the time but there is bound to be bad days where he’d much rather hit the snooze button that leave the warmth of his bed. He may not always be able to do work that he’s passionate about, but hopefully he will more frequently than he is now, perhaps he can even fork out a yearly holiday for his ife and children with it, who knows? Unlike many young creators today he’s aware of the competitive nature of the industry and has no expectation to be the next Van Gough or to travel the world all willy-nilly. Chris remains in love with his art but also reasonable and confesses that so long as he remembers why he fell in love with art in the first place and on those (hopefully) few and far between bad days he can come home to complain to his family, Chris is perfectly happy living an ‘ordinary’ life.

(Chris actually did the web design for this blog and painted a water colour image for my Grandad’s birthday on request. He does have a red-bubble site that he’s hoping to work more on once the heirlooms project is over but has not had the time recently. He does commissions on request and, being very talented across the board, can pretty much create anything you like be that a sketch, illustration, web design or water colour.)

Youtube channel with drawing machine videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChristofsCreations

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christofscreations/

(There are more images of Chris’ work on his Instagram page so please click on the link above. Contact him if you’re intrested in any commissions.)

 

AN INTRODUCTION TO: THE SHADES OF YOU.

I have dipped my toes into many different genres of literature since starting my blog and I’ve really tried to to  focus on my ability to write decent poetry (albeit still trying) as well as short stories. However, there remains several areas of literature which I’ve yet to venture down, one of these being journalism. Journalism is something I’ve shyed away from a little bit as I felt like I didn’t really have anything intresting to say or anything that I was overly passionate about that I felt I would like to write about and want people to read.In a society so invested into the lives of others (nosey parkers!) it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find something captivating and meaningful to read and write about.

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Recently I read a really cool article  in the latest issue of Marie Claire (OK I admit I only bought it because it was on offer for £1.99 and I was going on a long bus ride.) The article was on a woman who began teaching young girls ballet from the streets of Brazil as a way of keeping them out of danger, turning to violence or prostitution. Reading her story about how she grew up in Brazil alongside how she expanded her teaching was really admirable and reminded me of how journalism can be exciting still despite much of it being diluted with trendy new diets and the intricate love lives of the rich and famous. In my eyes journalism is no longer relatable or about the lives of ‘real’ people. Sure it meets the needs of it’s target audience; the mum who just wants five minutes peace and quiet with her up of tea as her baby naps, the pensioners looking for cracking holiday deals or the man looking for this weeks show times on ITV1. Nonetheless, I think journalism needs to try to celebrate the ordinary rather than push for all of us to expect the extraordinary only to be left disappointed when out day-to-day life doesn’t parallel that of Brad and Angelina.

The vast majority of people you walk past in the street are teachers, doctors, sale assistants etc. They go to the co-op every Monday evening to do their food shop, they are always rushing to get the kids ready for school in the morning and consequently choose a black instant  coffee over a sustainable breakfast. These people work 9-5 jobs, pay their bills, have good days and bad days, they cry and they laugh; they live beautifully ordinary lives. Daily life isn’t glamorous, some new adventure doesn’t come along all the time and most of us won’t change the lives of those outside our social circle and you know what? That is OK.

We need to celebrate the ‘ordinary’ and accept that leading a ‘normal’ life bombarded with highs and lows, exciting trips and hours glued to the office chair, money troubles, family arguments are all part of the equation. The over documentation of the lives of celebrities through social media (i’m looking at you Instagram!) have caused us to expect an abundance of adventure, travelling, out-of-this-world opportunities, all while we’re making our mark . Despite being all well and good (I’m not saying don’t strive to always better yourself and challenge your capabilities) but for the most part we only really impact the lives of those around us and cannot afford to do exotic things all the time amongst the chaos of working, having a family, making relationships work. Consequently, we’re left feeling incomplete, all too often questioning our0′ purpose’ and resenting that our lives thave turned out to be a lot more lack-luster than we wanted.

In reality the ordinary is blissful; it’s both amazing at times and utterly shoddy at others, it is exciting and exhausting, mostly intresting but occasionally dull. It is full of heartbreak and butterflies, rainy days and days where the sun shines so bright it’s blinding.  Leading an ordinary life is under-rated and deserves more acknowledgement. it’s through this new series ‘THE SHADES OF YOU’ in which I intend to do just this; celebrate the lives of the ordinary people around us.

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I want to talk to people from a variety of different ages, social groups, walks of life, people with different hopes and dreams who have tales of both success and disappointment. Despite all their differences all the individuals share one common interest; they all live wonderfully ordinary lives. For some a cup of these people a tea and five minutes to themselves is the best moment of their week meanwhile for some it is coming home to their dog or waking up to sunshine. Most have settled for a job they like rather than love because it allows them flexibility to have a social life and look after the kids whilst just about covering the bills and a little extra on the side here and there if they play their cards right.

THE SHADES OF YOU is all about getting to know the simple lives led by those around us, appreciating and loving the normality of them The footprint they leave behind may not be as large as those we read about in texts books or watch in documentaries but that does not make it any less vital. There are more than seven billion people on this planet right now and we’re all different and most of us are gloriously ordinary.


 

 

THE BOOKS THAT MADE ME.

Born: 16/06/1998

1998: NEW BORN

  • Guess How Much I Love You
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Peter Rabbit (This actually terrified me at the time)

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1999: THE FIRST STEPS –

  • 5 Minutes Peace and Peace at Last (my mum was often praying for this herself  so I think I ended up being read this all too often as she could relate to the mamma elephant in the tub!)
  • Where’s Spot?
  • Whatever Next (probably what quick started my interest for astronomy and my desire to travel the world)


2000: THE TURNING OF THE CENTURY AND NEVER, EVER SHUTTING UP –

  • We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (I still sing the rhyme now whenever I walk through any type of woodland area; the song sure does stick)
  • The Smartest Giant In Town (this inspired this poem many years later)
  • Room On The Broom


2001: A CHANGE OF SCENERY –

  • The Mr Men Series (it was around this time that my Dad started reading me bedtime stories and the Mr Men. I distinctly recall Mr Tickle, Mr Bump and Mr Chatterbox being the favourites. I’m no ashamed to admit that even to this day, occasionally when I am feeling rock-bottom and need to regress, my dad does still treat me to few chapters before shut eye. However these days the books we read deal with bigger problems than cartoon characters who are ticklish)


2002: STARTING NURSERY, THE TIME FOR PLAYING IN SANDPITS, FINGER PATING AND SHOW AND TELL –

  • The Tiger Who Came For Tea (to this day my all time favourite children’s book.  I’ll most definitely be reading this to my kids in the future. This story had such a huge impact on me that even spoke about it in my personal statement fro university)
2003:STARTING BIG SCHOOL, TRYING TO MAKE FRIENDS AND LEARNING TO DOT MY i’s AND CROelmer-bprod61040418.jpgSS t’s –
  • Elmer
  • The Rainbow Fish
  • (I think it’s safe to say I was attracted to books with bright colours, pretty pictures and images which I could touch. The different textures just baffled me and I learnt that I HATE HATE HATE felt)


    2004: A PEAK INTO POETRY –

  • Dr Zeus EVERYTHING  (e.g. Green Eggs and Ham, Cat in the Hat. I fell in love with the strange stories and the quick-witted lyrical nature of his works. This was my first insight into the world of poetry; it seems I’ve been hooked ever since…

2005: ENTER THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN MY LIFE –

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, BFG, George’s Marvellous Medicine (basically Roald Dahl ANYTHING!) By far Mr Dahl is my favourite children’s author and even one of my favourite authors OF ALL TIME. I love him. I love his humour, his quirky stories, his bizzare imagination.  Whilst I was introduced to this wonderful world of his in 2005 I still read his stories and watch the adaptations often. One day I promise to do a post devoted to the magnificent man himself as one mere paragraph is not enough to cover all bases.

2006: MY FIRST FAD –

  • Lauren the Puppy Fairy (I became OBSESSED with collecting the ‘fairy’ books. There were a GAZILLION of these bad boys lurking on the shelves of book  stores. The short stories that followed the lives of different fairies with different powers were short ‘n’ sweet allowing me to escape the present day into my own fairy-tale.  Alongside my best-friend Saffron I collected about seventy of these books before finally giving up. With the benefit of hindsight, this was probably a good idea of my part as there are too many books in this collection to even fathom now with new ones still being written (my bank account is thanking me i’m sure.)

2007: FLEEING THE LAND OF FAIRIES AND INTO INGO I GO –

  • The Ingo Series (I loved these books with every bit of my heart, in fact I still have them today although they are on loan to one of the girls that I babysit.) Helen Dunmore’s beautifully descriptive writing style combined with the eeriness and page-turning plot had me captivated. This series has been re-read many a time and not once have I not enjoyed the wonderfully weird world of memaids and mystery.


2008: CONSUMED BY COMFOMITY

  • Goodnight Mr. Tom
  • Adolphus Tips
  • Basically lots of World War/historical fictGTLogo_Cover.pngion books recommended by our teachers. Whilst I did adore these books, they were set texts to read and during this time I didn’t really read much for ‘pleasure.’ No, not because I fell out of love with reading but merely as I didn’t want to seem ‘dorky’ if you will. Whilst I realise this sounds stupid ten year old me was far more concerned with wanting to have friends and fit in. Sadly this meant ditching the wonderful world of literature for the advice columns on boys and horoscopes in Girl Talk and Shout.


2009: ABSOLUTE MAYHEM

  • Holes (a book passed down from my brother and probably the only book he’ll ever pass on as he doesn’t really read much. I still find it cool that the characters first name is his last name but backwards *STANLEY YELANTS*)
  • The Twilight Saga (I binge-read this on a holiday to Northumberland and recall reviewing all the books in a A4 Journal for my teacher. My mum and I bonded over how we both fancied 23 year old R-Patz and I spent much of my time day dreaming bout being a vampire much to my embarrassment.)
  • This was the year I also started secondary school and much like the previous year, reading took a back seat to my desire to be cool. Despite my sacrifice I never quite succeeded in reaching this status however and probabaly would have been better off just reading anyway…


 2010: YEARNING TO BE A WIZARD

  • Harry Potter.
  • Harry Potter.
  • Harry Potter.
  • This was the year that I was introduced to the wonderful world of wizardry and boy was I OBSESSED. I re-read and re-read. I re-watched and re-watched. I had to own every piece of merchandise as if it was a way of proving my devotion to the franchise. I even created my own Facebook page in order to interact with other ‘Potterheads.’ Looking back, the whole fad was slightly scary and sad but at the time I didn’t care and I was happy in my little bubble of magic and mischief. Despite no longer being as addicted as I once was Harry Potter will always hold a special place in my heart. Always.


2011: A SPIDER IN A WEB.

  • This was a difficult school year yet again and I was still very much trapped (willingly) in the spider’s web that was the potter fandom.
  • I struggled a lot with friends and remember spending a lot of time in costa after school on Wednesdays with my mum crying over bitchy girls and arrogant guys.
  • However, one BRILLIANT thing that did come from this year is I began to realise that English might seriously be the path I venture down in the future. The idea had always been in the back of my mind but became something I was constantly toying with,.
  • I really enjoyed my English lessons that year for two main reasons A) I fancied my teacher and B) we read Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Whilst absolutely heart wrenching and  devastating I found the writing style so mesmerising, so poetic. The author was able to get me to relate to the character Bruno despite never having gone through any of the experiences that he did. At times the book filled me with warmth and made me feel all mushy and gooey inside and at other times it has me balling my eyes out and screaming over the injustice of the whole thing. Truly a masterpiece.

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2012: CLASSICS AND PRESTIGIOUS NOVELS ONLY PLEASE:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Great Expecations
  • Peter Pan
  • Lord of the Flies
  • After realising that a career in English was something I’d most likely end up doing I became a bit of what I call a ‘bookish snob.’ I refused to read anything that wasn’t a classic, hadn’t won an award or wasn’t quoted in a film. I closed my mind and shut myself of from my beloved world of fantasy and YA and instead waltzed about with my nose in the air and eyes glued to a variety of crticially acclaimed stories; some fantastic like Peter Pan but some also a REAL SNOOZE like Lord of the Flies. Thankfully I quickly snapped out of this pretentious phase of mine as began reading for pleasure soon enough *wipes forhead I relief.*


2013: AMERICAN LIT. ALL DAY, EVERYDAY AND A SUCKER FOR SHAKESPEARE.  

  • Of Mine and Men, The Great Gatsby. The Grapes of Wrath, Little Women
  • Romeo and Juliet, The Twelfth Knight,  Hamlet tumblr_lz7ikccWI21rp32b4o1_500.png


2014: 19TH CENTURY CENTRAL:

  • Persuasion, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Tennyson’s Poetry
  • Frankenstein
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Alice in Wonderland (really?!?!?!?!?!)
  • I studied Victorian Literature for AS and so obviously the majority of the books I read during this year were books from this era both for purpose and pleasure. A handful of the novels that I read I didn’t exactly ‘enjoy like Bleak House by Dickens or Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad which both had me snoozing away. It was most likely  because I read them towards the end of the course I was so fed up with the repetitive themes of Victorian texts rather than the fact that they were ‘bad’ books. Nonetheless they’re certainly not ones that I’ll be re-reading in the foreseeable future.
  • On the other hand many of the books I read during this year have made their way to my list of top twenty. Surprisingly I enjoyed the lovey-duvey stuff written by Bronte and Austen with their strong female rpotgaonists and chivalric men. I dream of meeting my very own Captain Wentworth or Mr Darcy one day, one can hope right?
  • Frankenstein also became one of my ALL TIME favourite books. I’ve since recommended it a dozen times and re-read it about half a dozen however I’m yet to find a film adaptation that I think is adequate.


2015: THE YEAR IF BIG DESCIONS AND THE BIRTH OF MY BLOG

  • The Bell Jar
  • Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Love Letters’
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • 1000 Splendid Suns + The Kite Runner
  • All My Punny Sorrows
  • I Am Pilgrim
  • This was a year of diversity and decisions. I read a lot of different books from different genres, different time periods and from different perspectives. I read some of my favourite books this year and this was probably my favourite year reading-wise.
  • I also really developed my writing style, creating this blog, entering competitions, doing some work for some projects – It was all very exciting.


    I honestly cannot wait to see what the rest of 2016 has in store as I await my A2 results and flee from the nest that has had me cucked up for so long i’m beginning to feel suffocated. Whether I hated them or loved them these are a short snippet of the books that made me and often the very books that saved me.

 

 

 

SANDY TOES AND SALTY KISSES.

I spent the last view days in Folkestone with my best friend for a much needed bit of R&R. Sadly, the week passed much too quickly and I’m finding myself missing the hypnotic sound of the waves in the background and the warmth of the sun kissing my face as I look out across The Channel. Despite it having been the hottest day of the year so far on Tuesday I have come back with no more colour to my pasty, white skin than when I left; Saffron however turned a lovely shade of brown. *insert green-eyed emoji*

BeFunky Collage.jpgWe visited Canterbury  Cathedral which was captivatingly beautiful and full of exciting history about Thomas Beckett (can you tell I’m the daughter of a history teacher?) I think it is safe to say that I fell head-over-heals for Canterbury, thouroughly regretting to not look at it for a option for UNI. There were an abundance of small cafes, independent shops and small side streets that lead here, there and everywhere. The place literally screamed “LAUREN, LIVE HERE!”

BeFunky Collage

If you know me, you know I’m a fan (perhaps a slight understatement?) of Alice In Wonderland and rather coincidentally there was a pop-up AIW afternoon tea shop on. Saff went for the ‘standard’ afternoon tea with what included what seemed like a life time supply of cakes that said ‘eat me’ on them and the CUTEST pot of tea I have ever laid eyes on. Is it sad that I even took the paper plate home with me just because it was so darn pretty? I opted for a combination of 2 cocktails that left me feeling rather dandy, despite it only having been 3 O’clock. I was on holiday so I think I can be excused right? Right.

We also walked the cliffs of Dover, something either of us have been eager to tick of our Bucket List for a little while now. It was difficult to say the least, last minute building works making us have to take unexpected detours (thank GOD for Google Maps), harsh winds and seriously steep climbs. Not to mention Saffron grew uneasy by the mere metres we were walking from the cliffs edge, despite signs saying ‘DANGER OF EROSION.’ Nonetheless, the view from the top was so rewarding and defiantly worth the gallons of sweat produced, funky looking do’s and sore thighs afterwards.

I miss the tranquillity of the seaside, the smell of the salty water lingering in the air, the rush of adrenaline that coursed through my body from the biting cold water brushing over my feet. I miss Saffron’s BABE of a Grandma who let us stay with her and taught me how to play Wizard. I miss the quirky café on Steep Street that we went in every day because we fell in love with the charm of the place and the strawberry smoothies. I miss the cobbled and uneven streets. I miss reading my book whilst sipping on my tea at the crack of dawn on the porch. I miss the whole pace of life there, it’s a lot slower, a lot calmer. I miss spending so much time with one of the most treasured people in my life, sharing moments of both comfortable silence and spending hours on end talking about whatever.

Fortunately Saffron and I have agreed that we will return very shortly and now it’s just a case of nagging at her to agree a date with her grandma for us to return to what feels like a second home already.

 

 

LETTERS FROM HIM.

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Her fingertips guided themselves over his name which he’d signed off the letter with, admiring each cursive vowel and the perfectly dotted i’s. She pressed her nose to the paper, desperate to smell his cologne through the potent ink that to her surprise still lingered. He had not written this letter with any intention of saying goodbye but merely as an ‘I miss you’ during his travels in Kuala Lumper.Writing

He had tried his best he said, to convey the sheer beauty of Malaysia’s capital, though he himself admits that his efforts remained flawed as no words exist that could do justice to the picture that presented itself before him.  He told her of the sky high buildings that seemed to go on endlessly beyond the clouds and how these buildings lit up amber and royal blue as of they were fire and water mingling together. He mocked how Malaysian men and women were even smaller than he had anticipated, perhaps the scale of their surroundings making them appear more like figurines in a doll’s house  rather than people.

There was a picture attached to the top right hand corner which he had taken as he laid beneath The Petronas Twin Towers, dreaming of her and wishing with all his might that she might just all of a sudden appear lying next to him if he could shut his eyes and clench his fists tight enough. The towers reminded him of the two of them; proud, protective, purposeful. The buildings, whilst weak and hardly captivating alone, represented a whole great deal more together. They stood for prestige and independence, power and longevity, but most of all they stood for beauty.

She thought of how his travels we not supposed to have stopped there, underneath those towers. He was due out to Beijing just the next day on his sixth month long mission to ‘find himself.’ He had always wanted to explore Asia, become apart of it’s landscape, learn it’s history, live with it’s people. She had never fully understood why . He claimed it was for his latest novella – background research you know? Nonetheless she remained convinced that this was merely a masquerade for the sense to discover some meaning, some understanding.

A tear fell from her cheek onto the paper, smearing the black ink in which he had written that he promised to be home soon. She wept often about how he must have felt in those final seconds. How fast has his heart been beating? Was his vision made blurry by the saltiness of his own tears? Did he show fear or did he keep a brave face for the mother and child who sat terrified in the seat beside him? Selfishly she had hoped that she was the last thing he had thought about in those final moments. She hoped he had tried to remember the sweet smell of her perfume and the softness of her kiss. She hoped he would miss her quick-wit and delicate touch. She hoped.

The most painful part was not the chill that came from the empty space in the bed next to her, it was not the memories that the photos around the house drowned her in. No, it was not the silence that had been swapped for the childish laughter that had  echoed once within these walls. She longed to be suffocated by the smell of him; a harsh mixture of tobacco and whiskey. She yearned for the warmth of his touch, the comfort of his hum, to hear his voice utter her name. Yet, these were not the most painful parts.

She needed answers most of all. What had happened to the man she loved and why? How? Where did his body lie? Was his resting on the ocean bed or had become part of the earth in ash? Sadly, there were no explanations; no justifications. Only the cruel reminders from the media and the emptiness he had left behind was all that reminded her it was real.

She folded the letter that she had read one thousand times over and over, slipping it back into the envelope and taping it up as if she had never even read it. She kissed the seal delicately and desperately, as if she were kissing him for the final time. By the phone with her laptop on the table top and BBC news coverage of the story on repeat would she remain, waiting for explanations… .

 

 

 

 

MY SINCERE APOLOGIES.

Would you believe me if I told you how sorry I was? How it pains me to think I left you here to rot? How overwhelmed with guilt I am that I seize up every time I put fingers to keys? Well you should. Life has been busy lately and continues to be so, I can’t make any promises or commitments right now as that would be unfair on us both. Honestly, it’s not you it’s me. I’m just so busy and can’t make any commitments right now; I can’t afford to be tied down.

I needed to go and organise the discombobulated thoughts that circulated my brain and made me so dizzy I felt sick to my stomach. I needed to sort my shit out, clear my head, get my priorities in check which was focusing on getting through exams to get out of this small town full of small minded people who only let me dream small dreams. Whilst ‘my shit’ isn’t entirely sorted it IS better; manageable if you like and I think can cope with that.

Now I can’t tell you when exactly, but I vow not to be gone long this time. My head is drowning with inspiration and excitement it’s both suffocating and the most wonderful feeling you could imagine. This was just to let you know I’m alive, I realise I’ve betrayed you and abandoned you. However that was then and this is now and all I can do is beg for forgiveness and hope that you can take me back.

Yours, forever and always.

Lauren,

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just a little reminder.

AN ODE TO MY MUM.

There are no words in the dictionary, that can describe just how grateful, how lucky I am to have you as my mum, someone who is all loving and so graceful.

There are no metaphors or similes that exist, that can thank you for teaching me,how to love and always be compassionate, the way a person should strive to be.

There are  no rhyming couplets, that can possibly allow me to show, just how very beautiful you are, and how much everyone adores you so.

There are no strong enough emotive words, that I could successfully use,  to indicate just how stupendous you are, how you scrub away my blues.

And so, there remains no powerful poem, that I could even attempt to write,  to say thank you and I love you, despite still trying with all my might…

MATRILINEALITY IN MOSOU.

I watched this short documentary the other day when it popped up in my YouTube subscription box and boy did I find it fascinating. The combination of the unusual and unheard of topic of Mosou women that the video focuses on, compounded by Broadly’s beautiful and heart-warming filmography  led me to spending two hours reading about Mosou, passing the link on to several friends and family members.

The Mosou community are a small population of around 40,000 people living in more remote Chinese provinces, close to the Tibetan border and high in the Himalayas. Many who know of this place know it as the ‘land where women rule.’ Despite living in a society that focuses a lot more on gender equality than it did years ago, the concept of women being ‘more important’ than men is foreign to me. The society can be described as ‘matriarchal’ but this does little to communicate the complexity of their organisation of their community.

In Mosou women are head of the households, they receive any inheritance, they are the ‘breadwinners’ and the grandmother (Ah Mi) is the most respected and important member of the family. It is the role of the women to provide food and income for the family, usually through farming as their culture is mostly agriculturally-based. Women learn the ways of weaving, how to cook and clean, how to feed and look after livestock. They’re allowed several husbands and participate in Tesese, also known as ‘walking marriages.’ They may have one partner in their lifestyle with whom the have a child, or several companions and children with all of them but them men rarely live in the same house as the women none-the-less . Whilst we Westerners may find this somewhat ‘promiscuous’ the practise is considered the norm within a Mosou society.

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To me, this sexual freedom and dominant position if women in Mosou is completely foreign and bewildering. I have grown up in a society that is still to an extent fighting for gender equality. Whilst by law we are seen as equal, it is not uncommon to still here stories on the news about men being paid ore than women for the same jobs. It is not unheard of for women to be approached at bars and despite saying NO being pursued. It is not considered horrific that in debates at school with boys I am told to “go and make them a sandwich” when they cannot come up with a response. In fact the other day I even got told I “throw like a girl” and It made me confused as to why that was being used to insult me? I am a girl!

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I sometimes wish our society was a little more like that of Mosou and not in the way in which I think women are superior to men, but women are seen as important and respected fro their role in society.