Moods, Rhythms, Prose…

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If you had of told her at eight, all chubby cheeked and wide eyed, that she would trace the lines of that bubblegum pink globe, she was fascinated so much by, in a self renovated van, I wonder what she’d of said? Actually, I wager she’d have been a little more forthcoming than her weary sixteen year old self, listening to playlists that tore at the angst in her heart and left her fragile, curled up on a single bed in a purposefully darkened room. That teenager would have laughed with all of the menace of an aged sinner and turned back to the lyrics where such impossibilities were painted with pretty plausibility. And then again at nineteen when just stepping out of her dorm room terrified her, I bet she would have cried at the impossibility of such bravery.

Yet, there she goes, turning up another dirt track, in a country wherein she can’t speak the native tongue but communicates with smiles and waves, with a grateful nod of recognition toward the locals in the streets. At the end is another broad leap into another vast unknown. The rigid levels of a raging waterfall, the steady opening of a vivid lagoon, the stirring depths of the vast sea. She’ll do it though, take the leap I mean, the threat of it will curdle her stomach for a second but she’ll do what she does so well now and silence the doubt. See, she conquered the demon, that was herself all along, back when that demon was her only companion. They grew to know each other and she learned to love that careful loathing, she accepted the demon’s chiding, it’s haughtiness toward the safety of innocence and instead let it push her to embrace a life void of that expected purpose.

Now, she charters her own explorations, talks to people with shaky confidence but makes friends for life, she tries new things with a perspective that is uniquely her own and laughs at all those who never thought she’d board that first flight. Her soul ebbs and flows, her ambition the most wayward tide and it’s catching. Her smiling tales wrapped in golden imagery, snaps of coves and foreign faces, words etched in a tattered notebook, all memories to conquer her own doubts when they rear their head once more. She lives for herself and the loud mystery of our world and that is the fiercest action of all.

If there was one daydream I could make a reality right this minute it would be this one. Do you have any idea how much van renovations cost though? It’s mental! One day, when I can actually drive (because that might help things just a wee bit, ay?) and have the funds. 

Light, love and wild courage, N x

Obsessing Over: Ruins…

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Flashback to Latitude festival in the summer of 2012. Me and my mate are exhausted from the heat and all of that walking and dancing. The girls tented up next to us are an energetic bunch, the stench of weed and the instrumentals of glass bottles and tipsy laughter are in abundance for three days and three nights. It’s nice though, that sound of youthful living. What’s nicer is the album they play on repeat. It’s an album I’d not heard but the lulling, haunting, nymph like vocals are enchanting. I find out on the second evening that it’s a band called First Aid Kit, a band that had played earlier that day, whom I had completely skipped out on. Regrets.

Since then I’ve been continuously wooed by the mystical, folky tones of the Swedish sisters and this most recent release is stunning. STUNNING. Like, I want to live inside their voices. Is that really weird? It is, isn’t it. But how else can I explain it? Their sisterly bond is evident even in the harmonising pairing of their voices and the lyrics are so rich. There’s something very timeless in the way they reminisce in elements of the seventies but still manage to put a spin on the folk and grooviness to make their stuff relevant modern pop.

The lyrics are the “simple” sort, love and heartache. But every track is so individual, with little snaps of different genre’s, twisting harmonies and just raw talent to be real with you. Rebel Heart is haunting from the intro and that last verse is so tragic: ‘Nothing matters, all is futile’. I stopped the album half way through the track, it was midday, the sun was out and I was all optimism and light. This song needed twilight storms and an open heart to fully be felt.

Fireworks was the first track to really get my attention, it’s all building layers with the catchy lyrics and set up of a ballad. It’s got that ‘single’ kind of vibe, instantly likeable and full of the good stuff. But my favourite track is either Distant Star or Hem of her dress.

Distant Star holds some of my favourite lines, that second half of the first verse:

‘Your mother she’s an actress
And we’re all putting on a play
There’s some conviction, pretend it’s all real
Try to ignore how sad it all feels
Yes try not to break her heart if you can”

It’s maybe one of the bleakest on the album, so much longing and dwelling in the words. There’s something in the tone of their voices that just suits those emotions.

Hem of Her Dress, is partly up there simply for the unexpected ending. Like Distant Star it carries a bitterness through the lyrics ‘You say you’ve found yourself, Oh, in someone else, And she makes you forget about the rain’ but there isn’t a chorus or a traditional lyrical composition. I like that it kind of sounds like a massive outpouring, very unfiltered. Almost like they’ve gotten drunk, loosened their tongues, gotten all the shit out in the open and then distracted themselves with a drunken sing along at the end. It’s brilliant.

Post writing this, I came across a track by track analysis on a site called Consequence of Sound and thought I’d include it for all my fellow lyrical babes out there. It’s the girls themselves giving a run down, so super insightful. As for this post? Just accept it at this point. My blogs become a bit of a mess of stuff and I’ve resigned myself to just posting what matters to me in the moment. I thought this album was pretty and I wanted to talk about it.

Light and love, N x

Moods, rhythms, prose…

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The last post like this was simply titled ‘inspiration’. It was a way for me to utilise the mood boards I make when I’m overwhelmed by everything leaving impressions on me. But I had an idea! I’m mesmerised by us women, our different quirks and how we, and the things we pour ourselves into, express who we are. So I thought why not create a character from what I collect, incorporate the ever changing facets of who I am and what’s interesting me and combine it with the scribbles I accumulate whilst people watching and the moods and scenes the images paint. It’s one of my most expressive tools as a writer, to look at an image and unravel it, paint the backstory and give the subject life. And seeing as it’s International Women’s Day (All the love to my fellow chica’s) I thought it was the perfect time to post one. Let me know what you think.

She is a solitary creature this one. A myriad of musings painted by her features, a whisper of a smirk, an appraisal in the subtle tilt of her brow, defeat in a minuscule hunch of her shoulders. With gentle grace she pours admirable patience into the life she so desperately needs to surround herself with. Potted palms in every corner, every room of her home a conservatory. Her existence is measured in shades of evergreen, sage, olive. In the yard she tends the soil with bare hands, dirt beneath the bitten nails, the glue to bound what anxiety unravels. This is her way of encouraging life from her breaking. A way to purge the loneliness, the doubt and in turn find budding shoots from this mangled suffering, the ugliness blooming into something to sooth, something she can nurture.

The seeming meekness is just an introverts protection though and if you were to spy, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, between the shutters of the bay windows, then you would see a damsel of independent certainty. The record player crackles out folk melodies, that she spins to, lulls the plants into a gentle sway with her lofty tones and fairytale whistles. She’s barefoot and grazing the carpet, in just a shirt, hair a mess atop her nymph like face. The smile is foreign, unleashed from its confines in the security of home.

The off balanced wooden bookcase behind her has life etched into it, with splits and cracks in the white overcoat. On it, the spines to manuals of varying botanical topics are visible in no particular order, interluded by vintage spray cans and a picture frame of pressed daisies. The walls are white, the carpet a light hazelnut, the only colour injected is from leaves that boast unique patterns and budding blooms of whites and muted pastels. There are no ornaments, no personal photographs or trinkets, everything is precisely there to benefit her work, her pleasure, her purpose. Around her, love thrives, her patience and maternal core a focused thing, a rare thing.

Love to all my green thumbed Goddesses, N x

 

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Words on my Mind: Kindness…

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We’d escape into the evening in just our pyjamas, climbing over the broken gate to the neighbours yard where she’d stand in her doorway clutching her tea. Our parents would wander out soon to investigate as we jumped through twilight skies to catch fireflies. They’d of course slip through our fingers and twirl away in the moonlight. In my mind they were tinkering a laugh and playing along with us. They were trickster fairies delighting in our young hearts. Maybe none of it was in my head. “Don’t hurt them, dance with them. Be friends.” She’d say, a kind smile on her aged face.

In the morning we’d stretch out bronzed limbs in the same garden, weeding flower beds and following her lead as she tells us to encourage the flowers to bloom with kind words and gentle hands. As a teenager she would stroll passed me in the square, my vulgar hands ripping at the leaves of a bush. “Remember kind words, encourage them to grow. No one likes a bully.” I smile and it isn’t taunting, it’s reminiscent of golden days and soft hours chasing magic in every corner of her yard. Now the summers are long and lonely, cinema dates with friends and afternoons with my head buried in books.

Today I pass a garden over run in natural bliss, somewhere in New Zealand, magic manifested in colours and blossoms that I can’t identify and I smile and whisper “You’re beautiful, keep blooming.” As I hurry on past. It’s spoken spontaneously, barely a thought before it’s a phrase but it loops around me for the rest of the day. If a kind word can encourage the plants to grow, imagine what it could do for a human.

N x

Inspiration…

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I’m such a visual person and I’m constantly making these daft little moodboards, I lot of it has to do with me living on a backpackers budget and having limited space for clothes. I love style but have to do what I can with a handful of pieces. This is my way of indulging in that side of my interests. I’ve included a wee mixtape too. There are a lotta old tunes on it, I’m not much into listening to new releases right now but instead I’m taking comfort in the familiar tracks I can belt out in the shower. Maybe you’ll find a few gems in there anyways or maybe rediscover an old favourite.

P.s. The new MGMT album though. Still not fully convinced but there are some refreshing as hell, interesting, sounds in there. Not that I’d expect anything less. Opinions? Anything I should be listening too?

All the love, N x

Bookish Bits: John Green

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I simultaneously love and hate ‘Turtles all the Way Down” It’s a masterpiece built up of poetic language and intricately created characters. It’s also my new favourite Green book and thus I forgive him for the extended absence. For a minute there was a worry that his words wouldn’t imbed themselves quite so deeply as they had done during my lonely, self discovering, teen years but I needn’t have worried because the soul he’s so evidently woven through passages of unfaltering craftsmanship could appease the readership of any age. There is a philosophical tone throughout that wriggles in the brain as Green presents us with common Greeny themes: Growth, identity, relationships. There was no slow building, no half there chapters or quick fix sentences to bring down the tone of the words, every thing was carefully structured. And this is why I hate it.

I write often, I have to write often, it’s how I deal with a whole host of rubbish catapulting through my head. But nothing I write matches the brilliance of this. And it’s this book that hits my creative self the hardest because it’s always the characters that I give my devotion too. Building them through mood boards and poems, quotes and photographs and art and cities. Every person I write will have a whole background, pages in my scribble notebook dedicated to different elements that make up a personality. But Holmesy is just so solidly presented, such a relatable dialogue, that I lost myself so purely in the narrative of the novel.

‘”I was so good at being a kid, and so terrible at being whatever I was now.”‘ TATWD

Before, I’d marvelled at the mystery surrounding the women in Green’s books. My favourite novel of his has always been Paper Town’s and I’ve read everything he’s written. Margo was this marvellous enigma that I intended to be when I was fifteen and reading the book for the first time. It was when my longing for escape truly started. I re read it so often but never wore it out. I loved that ‘unfulfilling’ ending everyone got so hung up on, actually I thought it was perfect. A long road trip, a long journey and then? A mundane destination. Brilliant. In a lot of my earlier journal entries you can tell in the try hard quirk of my writing that I was trying to become this figure of unattainment and attraction, just like Alaska and Margo. I was encouraging myself to be poetry without really taking into consideration that the narrators were male teens, a perspective I was always going to be detached from. There was this brutality to the female figures, one that reminded me of the boys in The Virgin Suicides, peeping in on the lives of these girls and creating their identities for them based on the fragile grasp they held on their own identity, based on that awkward stage when puberty hits and everyone’s giving into that new urge, driven by the idea of sex and the new appeal of their once completely neutral peers.

“Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.” PT

So Turtles impressed me more in that the narrative is female. And not only female but a teen female suffering at the expense of her mental health. There were passages that broke me, where I had to step back and just breathe for a minute. As difficult as The Fault in Our Stars often became to read and as distraught as Looking for Alaska may have made me, the hurt reading this novel was on a new scale. When Holmesy battles with herself and asks to be free of her torment? That was troubling. If you’ve ever lived as the victim, at the hands of yourself, whatever category of illness that might be, then the punch is there in these raw lines. It’s such an important topic to explore, especially in young adult fiction.

“You just, like, hate yourself? You hate being yourself?”
“There’s no self to hate. It’s like, when I look into myself, there’s no actual me—just a bunch of thoughts and behaviors and circumstances. And a lot of them just don’t feel like they’re mine. They’re not things I want to think or do or whatever. And when I do look for the, like, Real Me, I never find it. It’s like those nesting dolls, you know? The ones that are hollow, and then when you open them up, there’s a smaller doll inside, and you keep opening hollow dolls until eventually you get to the smallest one, and it’s solid all the way through. But with me, I don’t think there is one that is solid. They just keep getting smaller.” TATWD

I’m not sure, however, what it says about Green, that all of his female characters seem to be suffering. Perhaps that’s the analyse-everything-in-the-book-and-tear-it-apart mentality I developed studying literature but it’s still on my mind writing this a week after finishing the book and I feel like maybe I might want to look into it a little more closely. Or maybe just the representation of females in young adult fiction in general.

Regardless there is power in the writing here, there is power in expressing the many faces of teen mental health, and there is power in taking six years to make sure you perfectly do your creative pursuits justice. Kudos to Green and his new modern classic, ay?

Let me know your own opinions on the book! I know I read heaps of differing perspectives on goodreads and I’m always keen to hear new opinions.

What should I read next?

All the love and blissful vibes, N x

 

Books for a youer you

Hello there lovely folks,

January has hit once more and with it come unmanageable, unrealistic resolutions and this overwhelming sense that we have to change or start anew. We don’t. You can quite easily go on as normal and ignore the whole cliche New year, New you vibe. In this post I’m focusing more on the self love, self realisation topic. I scoured by bookshelves for titles that made me feel empowered or had me reaching within and embracing or enhancing, the already pretty splendid, me. There are no diet guides here or cringe self help books but instead, three diverse types of literature, each with a little something to inspire you, as an individual, this year.

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Cut out the Bullsh*t

Sarah Knight ‘You do You’

It’s all in the title really. The perfect New Years read to give you a bit of a self worth reminder, especially after a season that’s all about giving and socailising. Knight has a bit of a reputation already and though this is the first of her books that I’ve read I’ve seen quotes and references to her earlier two publications all over social media. She’s a no fuss chick with wit and charm that never falters throughout the whole book. I’m not an avid reader of the self help variety so I went into this one a little apprehensive. But the content was honest and the author isn’t unrelatable and detached like a lot of others in the genre. The section on reclaiming the word selfish (pg. 62) was one I was particularly on board with. I read it a few times because it resonated so well:

‘Why spend time you don’t have, with people you don’t like, doing things you don’t want to do?’ Yes gal! ‘You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.’ That’s one hell of a New Years goal.

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Dig Your Wild Side

Nikita Gill ‘Wild Embers’

My next pick is a poetry book by one of my most beloved modern poets, Nikita Gill. The pieces in this collection are rich in feminine mystery, empowerment and self love. Her poems embrace myth and magic and the wild woman is ever-present throughout. Gill rewrites fairytales in which the female characters are not done justice, she gives them a purpose and personality more admirable to the modern woman. Like Knight, her work is everywhere online and I scouted her out after falling head over heels for one of her shorter works ‘Wolf and Woman’. I went from wanting to be a woman in a Gill poem to feeling like I was one by the end of the book. It’s the most fitting choice for a January read, to encourage your own faith in your gender and identity. All of the love for this one.

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Choose Your own Journey

Carolyne Faulkner ‘The Signs’

And last but not least is an astrology book. I know this is a bit of a controversial one but it’s a topic I’ve always found captivating. If the new year isn’t a time to dig deeper into your own identity and your own possibilities then when is, hey? ‘The Signs’ isn’t some mediocre horoscope book either. It’s a guide to reading deeper into your stars. In the first chapter it introduces you to your birth chart, breaking up each element so it’s easier to digest. All of the jargon and complexities come out when you start looking this deeply into astrology but Faulkner is ace at taking it back a step and making it easier to decipher and fun to dig into. She isn’t a rigid believer that everything is dead on either, instead she encourages you to partner your stars with your intuition to make your own decisions about what is presented to you.

‘The map will provide the clues to help you find your personal treasure chest, but you have to navigate your own journey and take responsibility for your own decisions.’ pg. 9.

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So these are my top picks for January, the books I’d recommend most. If you have any of your own please link them below, I’m putting together my 2018 ‘To Read’ list and I’m open to pretty much anything.

What do we think, should I keep on posting book reviews here? I’m having a little experiment with content to try and cover more of what I’m passionate about. It would be great to know which are your favourite type of posts on the blog.

All the love and groovy vibes, N x