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, 1 November 2017

Dear November

Lately I have been sending all blog-related emails directly to the metaphorical shredder without even pausing to open them. It was just by chance that I saw the renewal email for this domain and for the first time ever, I paused to question whether this was something else I would purposely run away from this year. After spending the best part of nine months actively turning away from commitments and responsibilities that don't stir something in my soul in a way that I have yet to find adequate words to explain, I'd say I'm pretty much at expert level. Maybe I took the fact I even saw the renewal email at all as some sort of sign. That's probably not true. I don't know. I've sort of stopped looking for signs, instead just doing things that feel right in the moment because if this year has taught me anything, it's that none of us can ever know how many moments we have left. Maybe I'm just being reckless by denouncing the concept of regret altogether, I don't know. But I think when a new perspective or way of living life feels right, it's probably best to just go with it and see what happens.

Regardless, here we are.



Hello. Hi. So, I am probably the most depressed I have ever been, if it's really possible to quantify such a thing, which sounds flippant but I think it has to, otherwise it feels too heavy to carry, you know? Somewhat confusingly I am also currently probably the most academically fulfilled I have ever been. Are the two related? I hope not, but they probably are a little bit. Escaping into gender theory has been an outlet and I've developed a bit of a passion for championing women in literature who still get a lot of unnecessary flack from old middle-class white guys. And I'm still doing some freelance writing here and there, which is really great despite never feeling as though anything I write is ever quite perfect.

As for other things, well, I've been drinking a lot of Alpro coconut chocolate milk. That stuff is A+. Glossier lured me in with their pared-down approach to makeup and it's already love. I've been listening to a lot of Lorde (yep, I still cry every single time Hard Feelings/Loveless plays) and I've just rediscovered my love for Sons of an Illustrious Father. Fave tracks at the moment are Loveletting and Armageddon. I got a new tattoo and as soon as I find the last bit of courage needed to deal with the pain I'm pretty sure I'm going all in for a large-scale something on my chest soonish. I've been rewatching all the episodes of Raising Dad I can find on YouTube. And I was pretty into that vampire filter on Instagram for Hallowe'en. I can't do make up, but if I could I'd be tempted to make that my new look.



As always, I don't really know what this is. But, I suppose, it is what it is, whatever it is.

We can do brave things, together.

See you soon.
xo

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Perception of Unimportance, the Danger of Comfort, and the Elevation of Thinkers

There is so much going on, in our own private spheres and outside of them, resulting in a culture of finding it almost too easy to dismiss the minutiae as unimportant, irrelevant, or pointless, even. But it isn't. If something matters to you, it matters. If you need to write it down, you should. Even if it sounds silly. No, especially if it sounds silly. There is a power to writing things down that cannot be replicated in any other form, so often providing the perspective we need to process and to properly digest whatever it is that has been stumbling around our minds.



My mother has a photograph of me, I must be about 5 or so, wearing a silly white sunhat and grinning gleefully surrounded by the tiny buildings of what I think must be Wimborne Model Town. It's a photograph I can't look at for too long because there's something very disconcerting about it. Photographs are already split seconds in time that can't ever be relived, and seeing myself then surrounded by a model village trapped in its own time warp is, strange. The perfectly manicured greenery, the beautifully maintained facades. It's very Stepford. Very empty.

These thoughts were prompted by an article in The Paris Review entitled The Model-Village Preservation Society, although it's something I have thought about a lot since moving to a small village in the midlands that isn't even remotely picturesque. I would be purveying a distinct untruth if I said this place feels like home, not because it's not picture perfect, but because it feels a little bit like living in a time warp. No one would rush to make a model of this village, but the absence of diversity, the questionable views now aired somewhat more freely following the abomination that is Brexit, the desire to hold on to a past which, although is seemingly etched in so many memories, probably didn't ever really exist.



Consequently I am reminded that comfort can be a dangerous thing, especially when it is at the expense of development and of acceptance. There is a dignity in change that largely disappears in the stubborn longing to hold on to something that wasn't ever real. Not really, at least. And there is a sadness in choosing not to open a door that can lead to something more, in the name of protection or preservation. Because what is really being preserved and why is it more important than progression?

In his diaries John Quincy Adams berated himself for his ignorance of things he felt he already should have known, but there is undoubtedly a beauty in seeking out knowledge even if, in that moment, we think it's something we should already have known or we aren't quite sure what to do with it, or quite what to make of it. The older I get the more I believe that the refusal to form an opinion on everything is a profound act of self care, but the refusal to contribute to the elevation of the voices of thinkers, particularly marginalised voices, is, essentially, the exact opposite. Steinbeck's dairies are a reminder that even the most accomplished writers and thinkers can be plagued with uncertainty, and this doubt, this profound challenge must only be magnified by the wildly uneven playing field which writers of colour, LGBTQ, and feminist voices still face.

And so while I could detail that during the rest of the month of August I would like to complete the reading for my next assignment (on Milton's Paradise Lost and Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, if you were curious), to stop slacking on my skincare routine, and to visit Newstead Abbey, instead I want to remember that while it may seem small, or pointless even, not to ever underestimate the power of a single comment, share, or retweet.

After all, even the smallest things shouldn't ever be overlooked.

xo

     
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Monday, 14 August 2017

Ink, Fluorescence & Fog


F L U O R E S C E N C E   A N D   F O G

Hello and thank you for joining me amongst these digital cobwebs and layers of dust so thick you can  so clearly write your name in. This blank page feels like a challenge and so I suppose it finally feels as though my urge, although perhaps need is a more accurate word, to write here is beginning to return. I have already written and rewritten these words countless times. This tentativeness and uncertainty comes from the knowledge that blogging now is very much about consistency and niches, metrics and optimisation, numbers and professional imagery, all of which are both legitimate and understandable in their own ways. However, I also know that I simply do not possess either the talent, the energy, nor, in all honesty, the desire to compete at that level. And I finally, truly, think that's okay. It's okay if nobody reads. It's okay if this is just me, rattling around between these margins. It's peaceful and safe. And after all, it is what it once was, in the beginning.

Feeling things, really feeling things, sometimes isn't so easy, you know? And sometimes feeling things comes a little too easily. Too quick to process, too confusing to comprehend in that moment. Sometimes this means revelling in those fluorescent moments and other times it means figuring out how to fight through the fog. In the past I have been told these kinds of writings are too 'woe is me' and while that was never even anywhere close to my intention, I see now that I simply didn't have the right words then. I didn't have the ability to compose sentences that accurately represented the physical act of progressing through the motions of simply trying to figure things out. And, honestly, I'm not sure that has changed. But we're all doing it. Every day. We all have things. Thoughts. Difficulties. Stuff. Although I'm not sure it's quite true that nobody knows what they're doing, I do know that I don't. I also know that I'm okay with it because perpetual uncertainty seems to inherently be part of who I am and a lot of the time it's pretty rad not really knowing what's going to happen. And so although putting such an ethereal state of feeling into words, into tangible sentences and paragraphs is really fucking difficult, it feels... time? Like, it's time to write this stuff down properly. It might be the right thing to do and it might not be, but the same can be said for a lot of things.

So, here I am. This, lo-fi and imperfect, can't ever be everything, but it won't be a supercut.



M E L O D R A M A

It is probably unsurprising to learn that I'm still listening to Melodrama. On repeat. Quite frankly I'm relieved this love affair isn't over yet because I'm nowhere close to being ready to let go. Every time I listen my body seems to find a new line to spontaneously burst into tears to which, I think, is both testament to Ella's talent but also to my own ability to hold on to something so allusive that I clearly need to work through. Or at least pinpoint.

Current Melodrama favourites:
 Writer in the Dark
 Liability (Reprise)
 Perfect Places

L U S T   F O R   L I F E

Lana's work always seems to present itself to me as a bit of an enigma and it's something I cherish, wholeheartedly. I would be lying if I said I didn't appreciate almost every form of instant gratification, but there's something distinctly alluring about being encouraged to pause and to really mull things over. It may always take a few listens but as soon as I begin to get it, everything unfurls and I'm immersed in a distinct blanket of nostalgia and haze. Sometimes I think the best way to listen is after dark, with headphones and tucked underneath your favourite blankets. Lust for Life, at least to me, is glassy and syrupy, melancholy and sultry. And that description relies too much on cliches that don't even begin to accurately capture Lana's unique way of seeing, but it's all I've got right now.

Lust For Life favourites:
 13 Beaches
 Cherry
 Beautiful People Beautiful Problems

'It's never too late to be who you want to be, to say what you want to say.'

I N K

After thinking about getting a tattoo for at least a decade, I actually did. Ideas for designs have naturally come and quietly evaporated in that time, however the desire to choose to make a piece of art permanently a part of me has only grown. I keep finding myself starting sentences with "it's mostly not this deep but...", which I think means that, to me, it probably is that deep. It's a cliche but life is short and I think new experiences present the opportunity for us all to understand a little but more about ourselves.

I don't deal in regrets, to the extent that I now try not to even acknowledge the concept. That doesn't stop my methodical decision making process, which is both a blessing and a curse, and I can't shake my tendency to ruminate over things for excessively long periods of time. But while I could have made this decision ten years ago, gone to get that tiny anchor on the side of my wrist that I really wanted and used to think about a lot, I didn't. I'm certain I would have loved it and would still love it, but that almost feels like another life and I honestly have no idea what that version of Jennie would be doing right now. Not that a tiny anchor would have changed really anything at all, but that singular decision probably would have impacted many others.

Regardless, this version of me has experienced this transformative process at a time when, honestly, I think I really needed it. And if needed isn't quite the right word, at a time when I am wholeheartedly open to the process of appreciating everything a single decision can bring.

D R E A M Y

Following advice from my tattoo artist it's now pretty safe to say I'm hooked on Dream Cream from Lush. I haven't really explored Lush very much, but now I'm wondering if I've been missing out? I'm not really one for bath bombs, but their shampoo bars look interesting. If you have any recommendations or favourite Lush products I'd love to know!

S A S S Y   M E R M A I D   M A G I C

I haven't been reading a lot outside my MA, mostly because my time management has been ridiculous, but one of my favourite recent reads has been Aurabel by Laura Dockrill. It's a sort of sequel/companion novel to Lorali, which I read last year, and it's sparkling and smart, fresh and utterly glorious. It's got sassy, super resourceful mermaids aplenty and sometimes that's just what you need, you know?

DT Pouches // DT Coin Purses


D R E A M   T E A M

It's no secret that I'm more than a little bit in love with Dianne Tanner's work and after eyeing up this dreamy pouch for a little while I decided to make it mine. I don't like carrying too much around with me if I can help it, so this is perfect for the essentials and as I've used it every day so far, I think it's probably one of the best purchases I have made all year.

W O R D S

I have taken on some more varied freelance writing projects and although I would be lying if I said it's something I think I'm good at, I am everlastingly grateful for the opportunities and for the knowledge I am gaining in the process. Thinking about the path I'd like to take in the future, I have decided that if it is within my possibilities I would like to pursue a PhD. I really have no idea if it is within my abilities to shape a proposal that is good enough to be accepted, but time will tell. I still have over a year of my MA left, and I think a lot of my questions will be answered in that time.

F U T U R E   I N K

They say tattoos are addictive and I think there's probably quite a lot of truth in that. I'm not naive enough to believe I won't ever have any issues ever again, but I haven't had a single negative thought about my body in a little while and I don't think it's a coincidence that the last time I inspected every inch of myself in the mirror was the day before I got my first tattoo. Since that day I have instead been marvelling at the ability of my body to heal itself and to accept something that I have chosen, in spite of those hours of discomfort the process necessarily required. There's a lesson for my mind in there somewhere and although I'm not quite certain what that is yet, I do know that I look (mostly) the same but I feel so different, which is unexpectedly exhilarating and even more empowering than I ever could have hoped for.

P O S T   P L A Y L I S T :

☾ Perfect Places - Lorde
★ 13 Beaches - Lana Del Rey
☾ Praying - Kesha
★ Goodnight and Go - Imogen Heap
 River Song - A Fine Frenzy

See you soon.

xo

     
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