H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Things That Have Happened

In no particular order, some things that have happened somewhat recently...

★ Booked tickets to the Harry Potter Exhibition at the British Library later this year.

★ Visited Manchester Museum and, of course, bought a chunk of rose quartz to add to my collection.

★ Had a wander around Sheffield. It's only a short train journey away, so I'm really not sure why I hadn't visited before.

★ Beatrix was spayed and I was a ball of worry for the whole morning. It went smoothly but we've had a few bumps in the road during her recovery. She's currently doing really well though, which is a relief as she's the actual light of my life, even when she's chewing holes in all my socks.

★ Bought a gloriously sassy Lazy Oaf dress. 10/10 design. And it's a smock dress. Hello comfort.

★ Discovered that both more than one cup of tea and Almond Dream ice cream make me feel very unwell. No idea why, but apparently that's a thing.

★ Scored a 95 on my second MA paper. Two 95s in a row. I really, genuinely don't know how this is happening. I don't have a particularly impressive undergrad degree so if you, like I was, are considering an MA but aren't sure if it'll be for you - go for it, because you can do it!

★ We very sadly lost someone close, which partially explains the quietness in this space. My words disappeared for a while, which hasn't been easy. Nothing about this has been easy.

★ Scored a perfect 100 on my third MA paper. About Shakespeare's Coriolanus, no less! My tutor told me it reads like a published article which I'm not entirely convinced about. But regardless, I've come back to earth with a bump as my next paper is on Robinson Crusoe. And there's really very little to like about that.

★ Have generally been quietly seething at the state of politics right now.

Developed a mild addiction to Eat Real Sour Cream and Chives Quinoa Chips. Naff branding, but I've really missed sour cream flavoured things since going dairy free and these are excellent.

★ Donated around 100 books to my local charity shop. Aside from theory books that will be useful to my studies and good ol' Harry Potter, I'm still not quite sure exactly what constitutes a book that I feel as though I'd like to hold on to, as I donated more than a few books that I really liked. I don't regret a thing though and I hope that whoever reads them next gets some enjoyment from them too.

★ Discovered a new favourite candle. Paddywax Tobacco and Vanilla is everything.

★ Found a fabulous looking book on Greek myth in a charity shop that I'm looking forward to delving into.

★ Lost a good 20 minutes of my life reading about that Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory.

★ I've been listening to a lot of Lorde. Also pretty into Harry Styles' album, not gonna lie.

★ Finally picked up a copy of The Girls. I've been incredibly curious about it ever since hearing about the enormous advance (you go, girl!) Emma Cline got after a bidding war between publishers and I've somehow managed to avoid spoilers until now. It seems like something that would be perfect for a warm, hazy weekend, so I just need one of those now.

★ I got Beatrix a puppy bed and filled it with hay. It was a huge success for the first few days but, as predicted, she has pretty much completely ignored it for the past week. Think I'm going to have to hide some treats in there to lure her back in.

★ Can we just take a second to appreciate the look on Pickett's face, though?

★ I had a birthday and to celebrate my body gave me a brand new wrinkle under my right eye. I think it's probably got something to do with the fact I've been sleeping with the right side of my face smushed into a pillow for at least the last decade so I can't complain really. I've always thought wrinkles add character so I don't mind, but my concealer likes to settle in it so I think I'm going to have to change my make up routine a little. I've currently got my eye (haha, no pun intended) on the By Terry Densiliss Concealer but it's £££ and I'm not sure if any of the shades will work for my ghostly complexion. But, we'll see.

Be back soon!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

To inspirational women everywhere, from me, today, on International Women's Day.

To my Mother who has taught me that, sometimes, the bravery and strength you need to make a change comes with time, but that it's likely that whenever you do take the leap, whatever it is will always be a cocktail of messy and complicated difficulties inside of which is the empowering freedom you have deserved from the very beginning.

To my Grandmother who refused to stop until I believed that, whatever you want to do, it isn't ever too late to start. And I do believe, wholeheartedly. Even though she is no longer here, she was one of the driving forces for me to go back to University and study for my Masters. I'm doing it mostly for me, but also partly for her.

To J.K Rowling for introducing me to Hermione, and Luna, and Ginny, and Minerva, and Molly over a decade ago. Their fierce bravery, unapologetic thirst for knowledge, pure nerve and intense love have stayed with me, and a part of each of them will exist within me for the rest of my days.

To Sue, one of my undergraduate lecturers who taught me to focus on studying for the pure joy and magic the very act inherently possesses, and not for the grade or result that inevitably comes at the end.

To Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Zadie Smith, and Olivia Laing, and Margaret Atwood, and Sylvia Plath, and bell hooks, and Juno Dawson, and Ava Duvernay, and Adele, and Virginia Woolf, and Kate Tempest, and Ali Smith, and Florence Welch, and Patti Smith, and Sarah Kay, and Laura Dockrill, and Susan Sontag, and Sarah Waters, and Lorde, and Daphne du Maurier, and Eleanor Catton, and Katherine Mansfield, and Toni Morrison, and Eimear McBride, and so many other incredible storytellers with powerful, gentle and fierce voices.

To Bee, and Carly, and Laila, and Josie, and Ria, and Sophie, and Dianne who inspire me in more ways than they could ever imagine.

To every single woman. You are strong, and powerful, and wise, and brave, and gentle, and magical, and loved, and worthy, even if, in this moment, you don't believe that you are. You are. You are. You are. For always.


Friday, 3 March 2017

That Green Light.

I'm waiting for it / that green light / I want it. 

For the best part of two decades I've spent a lot of time considering mortality, specifically my own, and there isn’t really any way to say that in a way that isn’t obtusely frank. I don’t know whether there is anything after this, or whether the end really is the end. Moving on to somewhere wildly different, coming back in some other form, or slipping into the warm embrace of an endless silence. An eternal sleep as reward for navigating this messy, complex, beautiful, noisy, overwhelming thing we call life only feels appropriate for those who have had the chance to truly live. And as that is denied to so many, I suppose seeking comfort in an unmoveable belief that there is something more is only natural.

When someone leaves you seek comfort, a signal, a sign that everything is, or will be, alright. And when what you're searching for suddenly becomes clear is it true, merely coincidence, or simply a particular interpretation of something that would have happened regardless through the lens of heightened perception in response to the finality of loss? Who am I to say, really? Because it could be one, the other, or both. And, you know, I don’t even really think the minute details are always of the greatest importance.

But I do know that life is too short and too damn precious to accept that your circumstances are unyielding, immovable, or that feelings of hopelessness will endure above all others. Because you deserve more than that. You have always deserved more than that.

If I've learnt anything this year, so far, it's that it is now strikingly apparent that I haven’t given enough consideration to life. To this moment. To all the moments that have already passed. To the moments that could happen, will happen, and aren’t ever meant to happen. I think of everyone I’ve ever known. Trying to break through the illusions that have formed an opaque cloak over connections I made with people in a time that feels like a lifetime ago to truly see, with new eyes, the connections of now.

I understand now that the eternal search for more will always be fruitless. The power we need to make the changes we want to see are already contained somewhere within us. Sometimes it just takes some time. And it’s frustrating, but it is what it is, I think.

Be the change you need to see.

We are products of everyone we have ever known, every situation we have found ourselves in, and the inner voice we have grown to trust, or doubt, or question. And this means we’re all unique. But we are also the same. We all laugh and cry, hope and thrive, bleed and heal, love and lose. We are also made up of all the things that haven’t happened yet. The difficult, the wondrous, the devastating, the pure moments that are yet to come.

And they will come. Things won't always be the same. And there's beauty in that.

In the end we all had hope, and even though, in that moment, it was no match for the greater force that we will all meet at the very end, we haven’t lost hope. We mustn't lose hope. Because hope is in every sunrise, every shooting star, every breath and heartbeat and tear, it’s in hard work, heartbreak, a smile from a stranger, an embrace from a lover, a dream, a spark, a burning desire.

It’s inside you, even if, at this moment, you fear you’ve misplaced it. It’s there. Right between your light, your talent and your fiercest desires.

And so if you want to, think of this imperfect collection of sentences as your green light. They have been mine.