Friday, 23 December 2011

A bit of time

just having a bit of time to myself in the library, feeling fairly pleased as most of the festive shopping has been done, early for me.  This is often a nice place to sit and type if you need to feel a bit calm and thoughtful. nice coffee too.

i sent email christmas cards this year, mostly.  i had intended to create something interesting to email, but ended up in a rush just using one of my snowey new year 2011 photos.

in the studio the other day, played around with composing a sort of seasonal still life - vaguely.
using my glass Santa Maria, unfortunately no baby J. 

i have used her to make a mold so that i now have several porcelain front halves of her, thanks to my
ceramisist colleague in another studio, but as yet i have not done anything with them, ideas are coming.  i have done the same with some of my Thai figures - actually the Thai representations of the Hindu characters of the Mahabarata - they have the same story there too, even tho mostly Thais are Bhuddist. (i think).

i have a Ganesh, too, which i will transform into porcelain sometime. i like the idea of all the religions' figurers represented together. 

Santa Maria became important to me as a child growing up in Portugal and then Brazil and later Spain, although i have to say memories of Brazil are more about the hidden things you cant see behind the shutters in the dark house which will get you if you dont behave... 

In Thailand everyone had a Spirit house in their garden, because when you built a house you took land away from the spritis, so you built them a little house on a stilt. you never forgot about them and you could give thanks to them with insence and flowers at any time.

well, a merry Christmas to all, and a happy (which fire festival is this? i cant remember..) (or is it not a fire festival?)  anyway - happy that too!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

when i am scared

 i keep humming ...

'I Whistle a Happy Tune'
 from The King and I


Whenever I feel afraid
I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I'm afraid.

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows
I'm afraid.

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev'ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are

You may be as brave
As you make believe you are


While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows,
I'm afraid.


The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well!

I whistle a happy tune
And ev'ry single time
The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I'm not afraid.

Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far.
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are....

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

November 2011

it must be time to write here again. i have had such a long break from it. from July to November. Leaves turning late and slowly. Bulbs peeking up, confused by the mild weather.

i have taken a big step - for me - and started counselling.  it is some years since i had counselling, and it does seem quite different.  last time it very much felt like being supported, like having someone 'on my side', this time although it is not hostile, it feels more in-depth, perhaps more honest somehow, breaking through my defences - showing me in what way and how i am blocked - and why. it is sometimes quite frightening. i sometimes do not feel i can survive it. when that happens i have to go off and think about whether i can carry on. so far i have decided i can carry on, knowing i could stop at any time.

one of my fears is that i might be too old now, it might all be too late. i might be so set in my ways, so long living in the mists i have created that to come out and see through might be more than i can manage, and i will creep guiltily back into those mists in hopeless acceptance of my non-ness..

i feel ok writing this because i know no-one reads it - except perhaps my friend rivertrain, and i know she can handle reading this stuff.
writing on here is a way of communicating, like hanging a painting in a gallery - you dont know if anyone will see it, or if anyone will relate to it if they do - but you are 'saying' something that you want to communicate anyway. you put it out there. like publishing a book - as Rivertrain has just done! see - Book Launch 

that is all for now. i might write more soon.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

birthday in Fife

 A friend of mine moved to a wee place in Fife a couple of years ago.  I often visit, and this was a special visit being my birthday in full sunshine!  My friend has been looking for a lochan, where apparently you can swim, for some time, and on this day we decided to set out to find it, having first agreed to turn back if the walk seemed too long or boring!  It was about 6.30 when we set off. 
 My sister phoned me from America while we were contemplating the view and local cows! it seemed surreal to speak to someone across the world on a small device, standing in the middle of nowhere, but it was great to speak to her and she doesnt sound at all American! 

 Eventually we arrived at an old steading, where you either turned back because you thought you might be going into someone's farm, or you carried on along the track because there were sounds of splashing and laughter up ahead. Obviously we followed the splashing and laughter.

 and were greeted by this amazing lochan, the local reservoir - fishing by serious men in boats, young boys with nets, people swimming, dogs swimming, a lovely place to hang out, the sun still warm pouring a golden light on everything.

we got back to the house about 9.30, time for a beer and the quickest thing we could find to eat, happy!
a lovely end to the day - until i spotted the sunset
a lovely end to a beautiful day.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

July! and some books

July started with a hop skip and a jump into sunny warm days!  it is less so now but at least we had a good few days to gather in some vitamin D and defence against the winter.
I spent the whole weekend sitting in the sun reading 'A Week In December' by Sebastian Faulks. I wrote:

So as usual with Sebastian Faulks it was a 'good read', with a wide variety of characters, i guess in order to encompass today's LondonI didnt quite understand a lot of the ins and outs of financial stuff but got the gist of it. 
I had struggled with the hedge fund man, his character was used to describe what happened to cause the crash and the states of mind it entailed; struggled as well with the idea that they just get off free - although i knew that - the book brought it more into focus.  whether i can imagine it or not, there are people  who can laugh at others' catastrophes - even be the deliberate cause and laugh.  

I also struggled with the would-be-terrorist character, not that i dont know they exist and why to an extent, but i just didnt want that particular character to go through with it, it almost seemed too unreal that he would, i suppose a device to show how easy it could be.  

I thought how the hedge fund world was so opposite to the would-be-terrorist world.  It could be seen to be the peak of  rampant capitalism and godlessness that seems to be part of the cause of terrorism.  In another light they were the same; unshakable belief in what they were doing even though it caused catastrophes for 100's, 1000's of people - all  justified by themselves. This seemed to be a strong theme.  God and Mammon.  Make of it what you will, Faulks opens it for a good look.

The failed writer a character who the more you learned about as the book goes on the more you dislike him, even though you know his horridness is all due to bitter disappointment.  It seems to give him a strange bravery - misguided, but he is not a completely damned character in the end.
The lawyer who doesnt have much work or money, but loves reading; his character starts off dull and closed off and grey, but unfolds into one of the nicest people in the book as he and the young tube driver gradually fall in love and have an affect on each other.

The wife of the new politician preparing for her huge dinner party; she sees a heirarchy in her circle, well competition she calls it, but heirarchy is also relevant; who 'matters' most, what are the things which count - money, not being fat, being beautiful, having interesting/successful kids, house - interior.. anyway she wants to be 'in there', although she knows she is not near the 'top' - husband's job, an MP, considered quite low on the pecking order.

The pickle magnate and his wife protrayed quite sweetly but i am not sure how realistically, might be a bit patronizing - might not.
There are of course many more characters, and a rich plot even if some of it was over my head.

Next book started is 'The Circle Of Reason' by Amitav Ghosh.  I have had this book on my shelf for some time, collecting his books as i come across them in charity shops.  It is an early book of his, so it will be interesting.  I have read the more recent novels.  I love his writing and his research is extensive so I learn something as well.

The book I finished before was Kieren Desai 'The Inheritance Of Loss'.  another brilliant writer, brilliant book.
running out of steam so now.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Studio move

I moved studio sometime in March, to a smaller space.  I moved from south facing, large windowed light, bright, airy, sunny stuido to a north facing, 'shaded', small skylight windowed studio!  i know, not much sense in it, except that it is now affordable.

Having said all that, it is actually a nice wee space, it feels nice.  When i was deciding whether to move or not, i used to come and ask for the key just so i could sit in it for a bit, it always felt a peaceful and calm and quietly friendly space.  Plus there is a large tree visible through the window, small and relatively high as the window is being a Velux, but it is good to be able to see some green, something growing and changing with the seasons, instead of a courtyard surrounded by buildings with the coming and going of cars.

It does take a bit of time to get used to a new space.  Which particular spot in the room feels right for drawing in, which bit of wall feels ok for painting on, which ... and so on.  I do often lose things because, being a smaller space, storage is more 'compact'.

I suppose if this had been a good warm-to-hot summer i might not have been in much - would have found some (excuse) project to work on which involved being outside.

Last year a boating trip in Loch Lomond involved a visit to a small island which has a tiny lodge on it - anyway long story short - picnics and walks - came across a skeleton of a deer, 'rescued' the skull and brought it back.  someone already had the antlers.  It is quite smelly - but has taken me till now to get around to boiling it, although i think it is going to take more than 2 shots at boiling.  I tried soaking in bleach as well, but still needs more.  What i need now is an implement to hang out the window which i can put it in so it can get weathered.  Anyway, this not being an ideal world thats not going to happen.
It is great how many things i can find to do in the studio 'just before i start work'. 
Use everything - that's what i say.

Bones and gods, i collect. and old maps. i have now got a Santa Maria, a Buddha, a Ganesh, and a collection of porcelain Thai gods which i made, with a ceramicist friend's help.
I used to collect old toy aeroplanes, but i havent been seeing any about recently.
Oh yes and also lenses, i collect them especially from old junk shops, for example old magnifying lenses but not necessarily magnifying.  See, its all relevant to me.

Well this is me in my peaceful studio,
on my laptop,
signing off,
(singing along to Aja - Steely Dan)
love to all
 A corner of the studio

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Spell Against Sorrow by Kathleen Raine

Spell Against Sorrow

Who will take away
Carry away sorrow,
Bear away grief/

Stream wash away
Float away sorrow,
Flow away, bear away
Wear away sorrow,
Carry away grief.

Mists hide away
Shroud my sorrow,
Cover the mountains,
Overcloud remembrance,
Hide away grief.

Earth take away
Make away sorrow,
Bury the lark's bones
Under the turf.
Bury my grief.

Black crow tear away
Rend away sorrow,
Talon and beak
Pluck out the heart
And the nerves of pain,
Tear away grief.

Sun take away
Melt away sorrow,
Dew lies grey,
Rain hangs on the grass,
Sun dry tears.

Sleep take away
Make away sorrow,
Take away the time,
Fade away place,
Carry me away
From the world of my sorrow.

Song sigh away
Breathe away sorrow,
Words tell away,
Spell away sorrow,
Charm away grief.

Kathleen Raine, 1952

i found this poem years ago when i was going through a very sad time.  
I am not this sad now, i just remembered it and thought it was a nice one to share.

i watched 'Eat, Pray, Love' that same day i wrote the last entry.  i thought it would probably be one of those 'all you need is love' or 'everyone can have anything they want' stuff films.  its wasnt tho.  anyway, cut a long story short i liked the woman's general message which went something like :-

be courageous enough to leave everything behind (gulp!)
see everyone you meet on the way as a teacher
see me - see my memory
i cant remember the rest!!!!!

anyway it all made me realize how closed off and couried-in i have become, attached to all the props that give me the illusion of safety and of purpose.

another part of me just says 'accept'.  this is how i am. i have had enough of trying to improve myself for someone else - improve myself to be deserving. 

i have no idea why on earth i am blogging all this - talking to myself? and why not?!

Monday, 27 June 2011

worst summer in living memory

according to Me and a fisherman on Mull - yes, the worst summer in living memory here. it is basically crap.
so i havent done very well with starting to blog again.

questions to self:
are you depressed or just lazy?
are you tired all the time because you are just lazy?
would getting counseling just mean you concentrate more on what's wrong instead of trying to BE POSITIVE?

answers so far:
i dont know.
i dont think so, i find it tiring having to constantly 'rise above' and 'be positive' and cheery.  it feels heavy.
i dont know. constantly on the verge of finding counseling but afraid to as well.
fed up with self.

so there you see, how boring is that if thats what i blog.
so i am tending not to blog again.

lots of love to the one person (probably) who reads this!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I will Try To Blog Again

I will try to blog again.
I seem to have lost the wherewithall for blogging over the last few months.
I have no idea why, really, but perhaps it was just not one of the most important things on my mind..

So, i will start this new phase (hopefully) of blogging with :
It is slightly warmer today than it has been over the past month and a half.
It has rained a lot, been cloudy and windy ever since the end of April.
I will probably moan about this quite a bit because I am fairly bothered by it.
So it is warmer today and the sun actually shone, although it still is not warm enough really.
I met a friend in the National Library for coffee, we sat outside.
I went for a walk with my book, sat and read for a bit in the sun (fleece still on), I am reading Kiran Desai - The Inheritance Of Loss.
It cheers me because her writing is brilliant, and often funny while dealing with quite hard subjects.
I am pleased because Amitav Ghosh's new book has at last been published - his second in his Ibis Trilogy, where The Sea Of Poppies is the first. He is another wonderful writer.
My list of projects is still in list form.  I dont think i have really begun one properly yet.
Oh well actually i have begun one which is to type up my dissertation on the compter as I did it when we had floppy discs and they wont work anymore.  Just so i can have it digitally and then use a pagemaker to put it all together with the images.
well, why not.  All that work, eh? might as well.

Oh yes, also been scanning my father's slides - so many to get through - but now i have almost finished the Thailand early 1960s ones.  some have gone a bit pink and funny.  they all take me back to when we lived there, many memories. I don't think i will ever go back, never go back, really.  too many changes will have happened.  too many memories to get lost in.

My window box plants are being very slow this year due to this weather.
the wee plants struggle on tho, they don't give up.
i bought a deep red pelagonium (what?!! a sort of geranium thingy!) from Homebase in their 'bucket' sale going cheap, rescued it - nothing wrong with it.
Re-potted, happy plant now.

it is cloudy and windy again.

my love and greetings to all.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

another week, another place

i would love to make more time to spend writing interesting and well written, well researched, imaginative blogs.  i wonder if i will manage it this year. 
not so far.
on the train now, passing through such places as Durham and Newcastle, with their amazing architecture - i think to myself i will visit one day and have a look round.  it means we are not that far away from edinburgh, and home.  and that means reality again. 
i have been away for a week. a week in which i learned more about myself which i wish i had not needed to know.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

a new year

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