Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I only just realised tonight that today's Leap Day signals the end of Summer. That really snuck up on me! The very words 'end of Summer' bring up hazy memories of being a kid and having to wave goodbye to long, long days, to running around outside playing French cricket past bedtime, dying from the overwhelming heat but partly revelling in it, too.
Summers as a grown-up aren't so dreamy. I mean, it's hot and sometimes it's smelly, and it's hard to get the washing dry in all this humidity. Nevertheless, this Summer has felt like the first one in Queensland that I haven't wanted to kick and scream the whole way. I'm a winter baby. I was born in August, and I don't know if that has anything to do with anything, but humidity and hotness are so far from my thing that when it gets crazy-sticky, I start thinking thoughts that centre around marrying a polar bear and moving to the Arctic.
The pragmatic and unromantic part of me wonders if the reason I've survived this Summer in Queensland is because, for the first time, I'm in a place with air conditioning. The glass-half-full part, however, thinks that just maybe I've started to acclimatise to this place. I hope so.
Having said all that, though, I'm not sad to say goodbye to Summer. For starters, it's going to be a slow evolution into the new season. Experience has taught me that March can be almost as hot as February. But at the end of it, there's Autumn. Autumn. My favourite season. The nights get cool, the wind gets blustery, and chamomile tea feels less like medicine and more like a treat.
I'll be sad to say goodbye to Summer leaves and Summer colour (hence the photo explosion of Summery bits from the last week or so). But everything else, I can totally part with. Autumn wins anytime.
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Katie -- and it's lovely that your work calls for you to use your photography; when I "have" to take pictures, it sort of adds a sense of urgency and legitimacy to the creative pursuit. Not that taking pictures isn't legitimate on its own merit, but -- you know.
Lauren -- thanks! And thanks for having me today :).
Rebecca Simon -- don't ever apologise for lengthy comments. I LOVE THEM. Your lists made me so happy to read. I love getting to have a peek into what's inspiring the minds and hearts of my friends! The handwritten manuscript exhibit (plus classical music!) sounds amazing. And yes! I'll be delighted to post about literary adventures and cooking fun. Thanks for the inspiration :).
Hannah -- running around in the park in the 8pm sun sounds amazing! Not many more days for it, though. Summer is on its way out...
Un -- it really does look like confetti!
Laura Elizabeth -- ooh, I'll have to check out RadioLab! I actually fully understand how a science podcast can be interesting. I feel the same way about Planet Money. I'm entertained and I'm getting smarter (at least, I feel like I am!).
Sarah -- your take-home exam sounds like an epic effort! Wow. It's always such a relief when those kind of assessments are done, isn't it? Your units this semester sound intriguing, too. I'm studying the Europe just prior to the period you're studying. Together, we'll have a good handle on Europe :).
Samantha R -- some seasons it's just hard to find time to crave out for the little extras, isn't it? I'm feeling that way about blogging lately. I really want to get into it, but the more time I'm away, the harder it feels to come back to it.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
How is your week panning out? What's made you happy this week? What's got you concerned? What are you reading or watching or listening to? And what would you particularly like to see me post about next? I have a few posts in the pipeline, but I'm always inspired by your suggestions, too.
Hannah -- your description of my decorating style is an amazing compliment. Thank you! And maybe one day we will be hanging out on the couch together, sipping cocoa?
Abbie -- thank you! Isn't it fun how refreshing a little rearrangement can be?
Katie -- I agree with your decree. Let's make bunting compulsory!
Sarah -- studying is so much fun! What subjects are you taking this semester?
Samantha R -- it was totally yum!
Monday, February 20, 2012
The Housie got a little mini-makeover this weekend with a cute pine chest of drawers my Mum sourced for me for freeee. Since Mum was also reorganising the study in her own house, my childhood writing desk (which my little brother had been using) got returned to me, too, so I had two new pieces of furniture to find a home for in this fairly small space. I spent most of Saturday shuffling and setting up, but the Housie is kind of amazing. Every time I reconfigure the arrangement in here, I manage to fit more in without making it less spacious. I'm quite in love with this chest of drawers. It's nothing special as far as furniture goes, but somehow it just suits. I've filled the drawers with my DVD and CD collections (with a couple of drawers left over; I'm thinking art supplies) and moved the squat little bookcase usually assigned to this purpose into a different corner. It now houses my Penguin paperbacks, books on wordcraft, and stacks of magazines.
I love that the living room looks a little more spare and maybe a little more masculine as a result (shared and public spaces shouldn't be too girly, right?). My brother Tain looked it all over and told me my house looks "like a library." I'm taking that as a definite compliment.
And my half-bedroom-half-office is reorganised just in time for the return of uni, which has started up again today. It's my final BA semester, which is impossibly hard to believe. Three years has gone by entirely too fast!
I've only got three subjects this time round, since that's all that's left to complete my degree: Creative Non-Fiction, Medieval History, and Themes in Australian Literature. Each unit is appealing to me for different reasons, but I'm especially excited about creative non-fic. Really well-written, true writing is an art form all to itself. I'm keen to learn lots more about it.
Amanda -- sensory overload! I think it was easier to process in real life than it is to look at the pictures.
Un -- yes. It would've been cool to have visited in the early days and then again now, towards the end of the project.
Sarah -- glad you enjoyed the pictures! It was a fun experience to wander through.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
The obliteration room is part of Yayoi Kusama's Look Now, See Forever exhibit at GoMA. It began with the installation of a white living space, consisting of dining and lounge areas, and furnished with the necessities and commodities of everyday life -- chairs, tables, bookshelves, a cd player, potted plants, and a piano.
The obliteration room 2011 revisits the popular interactive children’s project developed by Yayoi Kusama for the Queensland Art Gallery's ‘APT 2002: Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’. In this reworked and enlarged installation, an Australian domestic environment is recreated in the gallery space, complete with locally sourced furniture and ornamentation, all of which has been painted completely white. While this may suggest an everyday topography drained of all colour and specificity, it also functions as a blank canvas to be invigorated — or, in Kusama’s vocabulary, ‘obliterated’ — through the application, to every available surface, of brightly coloured stickers in the shape of dots. [source]Visitors to the obliteration room are handed a sheet of sticky circles and invited to stick them somewhere -- anywhere -- in the room. The result is a constantly-changing installation which slowly builds from a blank and somewhat empty environment into one which is crazy and full of character, developed not by one artist but by thousands. Everyone gets to take part!
In my ideal world, all public art installations would be like this -- interactive, joyful, and relatable to everyone, from children to adults. Of course, that's incredibly limiting, since one of the primary values of artistic expression is its power to be individual. Art need not be significant to everyone in order to be art. But that only makes it more cool to stumble into works like this, ones which are so accessible and so much fun.
Carla -- thanks for loving me in spite of my randomness! And I will love you even though you called them "rock poos" instead of "rock pools" :D.
Mothercare -- it was really a lovely day. So many amazing things to look at, and the best people to look at them with :).
Un -- hee!
Lauren -- the fawn was my favourite part! And yes, I still want to jump into the pictures!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
On Tuesday, I had an incredible Valentine's date with two of my favourite people: my mum and my youngest brother. I'd been drooling over GoMA's latest series of installations from afar for some time, and we finally set aside a day to spend strolling through some of the coolest public spaces in this excellent city. It was a perfect Summer day, made cuter by the fact that girls were wandering around with roses and flowers clutched in their hands and couples were eating their v-day lunches on the grass overlooking the river.
I'll be trickling pictures out over the next few days because I took entirely too many for one blog post. I'm sharing these ones first because oh my. I almost couldn't handle the adorableness, and I mean that in all honesty. You know how sometimes you look forward to something for so long and you are so keen for it that the reality can't possibly live up to the expectation? Not so with we miss you magic land!, GoMA's current installation in the Children's Art Centre. The installation, by Perth artists Pip and Pop, was every bit as perfect as the pictures, and more. I only wish mine (which you can click to see in more detail) could do justice to the work.
Since I was a small person, tiny environments and impossible constructs have thrilled me. I remember staring into rock pools with all their minute underwater decor and feeling this aching sense of longing to be there, to actually get inside and live under there, to know what it felt like to live in this miraculous underwater room with walls of shell and hidden life forms everywhere. I felt the same thing when I looked at pictures of impossible treehouses. I didn't want to just see them. I wanted to live in them. I still do.
All that aching wondering came to the fore with we miss you magic land! In amongst pastel hills and valleys, teeny button trees of frothy nothingness, inch-high fawns and mice, and smiling toadstools, I suddenly very much wished I could shrink myself down and clamber all over the fairytale landscape, maybe even stopping to eat some flowers (I hear they're made of sugar).
More realistically, I wished my little niece Amelia could have been there to see it, too. If we looked inside her imagination, I'm pretty sure this is the world we'd find.
we miss you magic land! is on until the 4th of March. You can see pictures of the installation process at this photostream here.
You all -- I'm genuinely scrabbling for words to find the right ones to reply to your beautiful comments of encouragement and kinship. It's pretty amazing to know that what so many of us experience, we experience together -- even though at times the very nature of the experience leaves us feeling alone. Just as amazing is the fact that you would be encouraged and then bounce the encouragement right back to me. I'm blessed. Thank you, ladies, for your precious comments.
(And Grace, yes, my address is still the same. I'll have to do the Myers Briggs test now. You've intrigued me. I'll get back to you with the results. Love you!)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
If I wrote a history of my love life, it wouldn’t be long enough for a novella.
I’m talking flash fiction here: less than a handful of kind and very quiet guys who paid some small measure of attention to me (sometimes without my knowledge). There was also the occasional bushman-bearded oddball who waxed lyrical about his model train set and offered to buy me Kentucky Fried Chicken, or the rural firefighter with a not-so-secret double identity as a blacksmith. But that’s not even a love life, really. It’d be more accurate to call it Varying Degrees of Interest.
Nevertheless, I love love.
I know that, for single people, Valentine's Day is supposed to be about tears and loneliness. I've had my share of both, but that's not all singleness is about. There's much more to it than that. Call me an incurable optimist, but for me Valentine's Day signals hope. Even at its worst, it's merely bittersweet. This day may remind me of a hope deferred, but it also points me toward the future -- a future that, whether there's a man in it or not, is drenched in love, because God is love.
I wrote some words about this very topic over at YLCF.org. I cried while I was writing this piece (a new first!), only a little bit because I grieved what could have been. Mostly, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for what is, and the half-aching, half-rejoicing hope found in excellent promises. Dear awesome friends who are on your own today, there is SO MUCH GOOD.
Happy Valentine's Day. I mean it.
Monday, February 13, 2012
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Bek Axe -- colours make for happy!
Un -- I'll have to work on my colouring outside the lines :).
Laura Elizabeth -- I'm an instagrammatic fanatic. It's definitely lots of fun :). Yes, The Civil Wars are amazing. Such a great duo.
Elisabeth -- you got MENSA as your notification because blogger knows how intelligent you are :D. I'd love some Winter, so let's trade for a day or so?
Mothercare -- I'll keep updating that writing page as new bits and pieces (hopefully!) find publication.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Here are some random progress shots of my journal-wrecking adventures. It's become my happy little quick-burst-of-creative-fun project. Often I'll do a little bit while I am watching a show with my Mum, or late at night just before bed when I find a random scrap of something that I want to keep, but which I can't see myself making a collage from. Into the wrecked journal it goes!
Meanwhile, Instagram is my new best friend when it comes to quick snaps of the wrecking process. I know that Real Photographers purportedly loathe Instagram shots, but to me there is an odd charm in their fuzzy imperfection. It works pretty well hand-in-hand with the whole premise of the Wreck This Journal idea: aiming more for creativity than perfection.
Outside my window the sky is bright, clear blue with just a fringe of low-hanging fluffy white clouds.
I have been listening to a bit of everything lately. Sometimes I'll be in an enthusiastic phase for a group or artist in particular, and other times I'm happy to put my iPod on shuffle and see what pops up. According to my last.fm account, over the past seven days I've listened to The Civil Wars, Sondre Lerche, Jars of Clay, Newboys, Relient K, Plumb, Josh Ritter, Rosie Thomas, Sara Groves, and Anberlin -- so there's an insight into current (or perennial) favourites.
I have been wearing... sloppies at home and nicies when I'm out. It just makes more sense, when dashing around in this heat, to wear clothes you don't care about.
I am thankful for the rest that comes from trusting in something that's bigger even than the universe, for the underlying understanding that life has a purpose, and that there is some significance and meaning bigger than the horrible stuff that can come and rattle our worlds.
I am pondering romance. It's Valentine's Day next week, and all my bittersweet pink-tinged thoughts have been poured into an article for YLCF which should appear soon.
I am reading The Maze Runner, by James Dashner. I've seen lots of reviews popping up all over the internet and I'm curious to see what I think. I'm only a few chapters in, but I admire the world-building that the author has created, as well as the complete sense of bewilderment. I feel like the prose is a bit overwritten (I like my fiction crisp and spare) but I'll hold off on a full review till I'm done.
I am creating lists and schedules.
I am looking forward to the start of school next week -- my final BA semester!
A picture-thought I'm sharing actually moves! This is my perfect summer sky. I was doing some reading outside (last fling holiday luxuries!). The clouds were moving fast and everything felt summery and perfect. You can hear some birdsong in the video, and I think a couple of bees flit on by.
PS. I just want to give a wee shout-out to any new blog readers who've meandered by. I've noticed the subscriber numbers climbing at Google reader, and I want to thank you for taking the time to read -- especially when I've been less posty than usual. This blog is meant to be a conversation, not a monologue, so it means a lot to me when newcomers join the readership. Here's to you guys!
Laura Elizabeth -- I've been loving the photo-a-day challenge, too! If I'm doing really well, I look at the list each evening so I'm prepared to be on the watch for a photo opportunity throughout the day. It's creatively fun and challening!
Sarah -- it was definitely as yummy as it looked!
Un -- :)
Lauren -- you're welcome. NOW POST MORE.
Joy -- it's a berry compote with a rosewater syrup, and marscapone on top. So good! Oh, and I'm so glad you like the new blog design :). Blessings!
Katie -- thank you! I've done the knocking-on-doors, now comes the waiting (and knocking on other doors in the meantime).
Mrs. Pedersen -- and indeed it was delicious :).
Monday, February 6, 2012
It made me think of Sunday school picnics
and sitting cross-legged on red-checked blankets.
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Laura Elizabeth -- I managed to completely cheat my way out of taking a stalkerish photo of a stranger by taking a picture of a mannequin's head (with a wig on! in a Harvey Norman store, no less!). That felt weird enough.
Mothercare -- :) (your original comment has disappeared...?)
Un -- it's a feeling of small triumph when a book is finished, isn't it? Especially one that felt like a hard slog. What's next on your list?
Hannah -- THANK YOU! Now I can subscribe to your blog and read it hopefully more regularly. Your URL (moreicingplease) is absolutely adorable.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
2. In the meantime -- in case you noticed -- this has not been a Summer for epic bouts of blogging -- nor reading, for that matter. January is usually a book-heavy month for me, but this January I only got three books finished, something of a record low. Restless for change, I did tweak my blog layout a little. It's nothing special, owing to my lack of html and css knowledge, so I'm thinking of it as an interim design. In the meantime, it's clean and there's lots of white, which fulfils my two primary desires when it comes to blog design.
3. While we're talking blogs, I have to tell you that my sister Lauren is now blogging. Definitely go check out her blog, which is like an online version of her: sweet, cute, and creatively inspiring. My motives in recommending her blog to you all are not entirely pure. I'm secretly hoping a fresh influx of visitors will remind her she needs to update more regularly. Hello, kettle? It's me, pot. (Since we're on the subject, I know a bunch of you over the last few months have set up new blogs, started blogging for the first time, or simply introduced me to your blog -- so many, in fact, that I've lost track. If you think you fit into one of those categories, feel free to leave a link in the comments below so I can subscribe to your blog. Do so even if I've visited recently or you think I might know the URL already. It can't hurt!).
4. Right now Instagram is buzzing every day with funny, happy, pretty pictures being snapped in response to prompts from FatMumSlim's February Photo-A-Day Challenge. My favourite thing about a challenge like this is seeing the different ways everyone interprets the prompts; it's like a window into each other's creative pysche! If you're playing along, I'd love to know and follow. My Instagram handle is ohdeardanielle. If you're not taking part, it's not too late to begin. You could start from Day 5 -- or simply take all five pictures on one day. You know you want to.
5. There were five things, but I've forgotten the last. Make up your own happy addition to this list.
Laura Elizabeth -- I think you're right. All that rain did not help dispel feelings of sadness. I'm happy it's sunny again for the moment. I only wish it was less HUMID.
Carla and Alastair -- you're so right, Carla. Tragedy puts some things in perspective, even while seeming to upend the world we live in. PS. Your word verification was excellent :D.
Sarah -- that's so true. If life was all sunshine and rose petals, we wouldn't need Him. And if there was only ever sorrow, how could we bear it? The strange balance, while being so unsettling at times, is really a gift of grace.
Rebecca Simon -- I'll join you in that prayer! Hug your little man from me. It was so lovely to meet him 'in real life' :).
Harri -- your comment made me happy and it made me miss you all at the same time. I was just reminiscing the other day about the Summer we revisited WA for your wedding. It was as perfect a Summer holiday as I can remember. I love you!