January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
‘Women have expressed their will with mountains in mind: Henriette D’Angeville, on climbing Mont Blanc in 1838, carved her motto into the ice: Vouloir, c’est pouvoir. (To will it is to achieve it.)
October 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
A couple of days ago, this song shuffled on to my iPod as I was walking home from work. I haven’t listened to it for a very long time. Since I’m-not-sure-when. Whenever I hear it I am instantly transported to my 18th year, when I was desperate to escape my home town and leave for University.
In those days I would take a walk every evening. Looping the empty suburban streets of my home I would turn up the music in my ears safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t even see a car pass most evenings, let alone another person.
I haven’t felt as close to that determined in quite a long time. Determined to move, knowing that nothing is perfect, you can’t wait for it to be so. Sometimes the best thing is to make the first move and let the rest follow.
Yesterday I resigned from my job and today was my last day. It served a purpose but I have spent weeks arguing my worth – in quite fiscal terms- and I am quite confident that there are better places for me to be right now. And as much as I love Cardiff, it’s not helping. The tumult of the year here has made the last four months quite unsettled. That’s when I stopped even having the structure of even four hours tuition a week. Full-time work has helped, but it’s still peaks and troughs. A landscape already engrained in struggle. So, I quit. I’m going on holiday for a week. There are few plans except to switch off the phones and cwtch for my last week in Wales.
I have a job planned but not quite confirmed and by next weekend I should be in London. If not? Well, let’s not shit ourselves. Such swiftness and decision seems entirely appropriate as things have been stuck for some time. The uncertainty feels freeing. Bright Eyes is proving an apt soundtrack once again.
The parting words from a beloved co-worker today were: ‘go and be brilliant’. I told her I’d be trying my hardest.
October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
A week ago on Saturday I cycled a marathon. More or less. Given that a 25 mile jolly through the southern section of a cycle path through along the river Taff and saw a few detours along the way, I’d say it was safe to assume that we hit the 26 point-something mark somewhere along the line.
Lush, green, Welsh scenery both flew and dragged by. Industrial pipes wove across the river, mossy viaducts towered over us peeked out in the distance. In typically Welsh fashion, most people greeted us as they passed, even the ponies. I purposefully took no photos.
For the past week, the sun has shone unseasonably on our fair, green isle. Yesterday I did morning Yoga in the park with seven strangers, sweating and laughing and stretching together without a care for the very wet grass sticking between bare toes, or the bemused early morning walkers watching us.
This afternoon, the wind swept in a thick, white blanket of cloud and October welcomed itself in. None of the sunshine of the past couple of weeks has been captured by my camera and the moment to catch it has passed. In putting my camera down did I stop looking or did I just stop trying to present what is already there.
Part of me feels nervous that I may have shut my eyes, but other parts of me have looked more directly at the unfolding of the last of the summer. Soaking it up without need to document what’s been happening so precisely.
In the single click of the camera, everything seems at once easier, perfect looking. Quite often, images leave my camera looking perfectly framed, when in fact their composition and beauty (I’ll admit that it happens) are entirely accidental.
That click does not lie. That moment and it’s serendipity are true. But the space around it left out. The unsaid that surrounds the photo remains silent and with words, there is more space to fill, more imagination in silence. You can write silence.
So much can be captured with a click and the magic of training yourself to keep looking, if even through a lens, has been lifesaving to me. But at the moment, words are the way to inch into the uncertainty that I can’t accidentally frame with good colour and light.
October 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Cleaning your desk is not the same as keeping your desk clean – Cairene MacDonald via
October 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
In the past week or so I’ve written a lot. Well, started a lot of posts. And, evidently, not finished them. Eventually, I went back to paper to write the things that are too nonsensical even to write here. Which is when you know it’s bad.
This week has seen surges of movement in my life. Surges forward, which I will write about soon enough. But bile was building and building and stopping anything positive being written about the progress being made. Last night it came to a head and I lost my shit. Again.
This morning, the first of October, an indian summer was still sitting sweatily over Cardiff. I headed to the park, early enough to catch the last of the morning’s mist before it was burnt off into a late summer haze. But part of me also wanted to run with other people and not be so alone. Knowing that the race would be happening again this morning, I knew there would be people there, following their own demons around the river in laps. Knowing also that I would probably also be mistaken for a runner again, I kept my eyes to the floor, or the mid-distance ahead.
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to articulate what’s wrong. Or anything at all. Not being able to write out even the most ludicrous thoughts that travel between your ears. The thousands of half-started sentences that cannot exorcise what I need them to, even if only in the instant of writing, instead prove that I am stuck. And with no way to write myself out of it, no way to write myself into a better story yet, I instead decided to at least start with what I know.
This morning as I ran, I repeated to myself the only thing I could say for certain. I echoed with every step forward: I do not accept this. I can relapse and relapse. Get worse and worse. Worry that I have given up. Worry that I don’t have the energy to keep trying. But at the bottom of it all, I at least have resolve. I do not accept this.
While I avoided the gaze of the volunteer stewards and focused wholeheartedly on my new mantra, I calmed down a little. And by the time I had come back to the present enough to glance at another steward as I passed, I realised that they were clapping as I ran. Whether they knew what race I was running or not, a complete stranger was egging me on.
September 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
As I start to ready myself to move house, perhaps even city, again, I start to wonder what you (An outsider, that is; Perhaps even you) could learn from the little piles of debris that I have accumulated. There are things that I can try to erase by tearing into tiny white ribbons and things that don’t seem to matter enough to hide.
The most telling are the notes that I write to myself, varying from:
‘Now it came to it, I was seized with a great fear… that these wings were in themselves a kind of physical deceit; intended for the show and not use, like the beauty of some women.’ – Angela Carter, Nights at The Circus.
Two adjacent pages in the same reporters notebook. I guess that’s representative of what you will find here. Whatever makes sense at the time. I can’t apologise for that, but anyone who bears with it is very welcome here.
In any case, a large record of the last year of my life went in the bin this evening. It’s kind of liberating.