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

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Some words at a difficult time.




There's something about stepping off the train at Manchester Oxford Road station that somehow always feels like going home. It's not even 9am but people are already exchanging bright 'hellos' and 'how are yous?', genuinely interested in listening to the answers, whatever they may be. I'm no good at small talk but Mancunians always know exactly what to say. Bleary eyed faces making their way into coffee shops for their first cup of liquid energy. Cheery calls of 'good morning' from the booksellers in Blackwell's as I'm scuttling in through the doors just as they open, eager to browse the shelves of inspiration and knowledge.

There's something special about the way the early morning sunshine illuminates the University buildings. A hub of diversity and tolerance, each one filled with students with a desire to absorb knowledge from the very walls of buildings standing tall and proud and welcoming. I listen to stories about eccentric academics who have graced the hallways. I don't study with UoM but I can't seem to still the desire within me to join someday, sometime, somehow.

Every second spent within this very special city teaches me to be more compassionate, more open, and more curious. To live without limits, and to celebrate life. The good parts, the difficult parts and, perhaps most importantly, the seemingly insignificant parts.

Take more photographs, capture more memories. Take note of the way the light falls through a window. The way you felt when you finished your latest book. How the smile on a loved ones face brightens up your whole universe. The birds tweeting, marking the start of a brand new day. Because our new days are not limitless.

Pick your battles. Try not to worry too much about insignificant things. Nourish your body with the food it craves. Nourish your soul with music and film, literature, theatre and laughter. Be brave and reckless. But also try to be safe. Tell someone you love them more than you've ever loved anything before. Film yourself lip synching to your favourite song. Be generous with your time and your heart, but don't you ever forget about yourself. Take a new class; yoga, or piano, or learn a new language.

Chase your dreams, and if you don't know what your dreams are just yet, keep moving forwards until you find them. They're there somewhere, I promise. But they won't come to you. When you find them, never lose sight of them. It won't always be easy and you might feel like giving up, or that you don't deserve to reach them. But you do. Prove you're resilient. You deserve the world.

Let yourself feel, truly feel. It's okay to cry, and scream and shout until your lungs ache and your throat is sore. But then, let things go. Keep moving on, but know not to let go of the really good things. They don't always come around too often. Say yes, but not to everything. Be a fan of things, unapologetically. It's cool to love things, to tend to your passions and celebrate them wholeheartedly. If you love it, it's not silly. It could never be silly. It's perfect.

Stay up all night talking on the phone. Take naps. Sleep under the stars. Run until your lungs burn and your legs refuse to take another step. Say goodbye. Reconnect. Grow. Celebrate change, consistency too. Trace the palm of your loved ones hand with your fingertips. Sit in silence. Dance the night away. Learn how to be your own best friend. Try not to take anyone or anything for granted.

Choose kindness, tolerance, and compassion. And never stop learning.

You are more than you know. More important and valuable and insurmountable.
I just wanted you to know.

xo

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!
xo

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.

xo