a friendship story

This year our friendship is a painting.

In school, we were a novel, a lengthy one,
page after page of twists and turns,
filled to the brim with minutiae.

At uni, we switched to short stories.
That many words just couldn’t travel the distance.

Every so often I slipped a poem in there –
for when our hearts needed a catch-up.
(Even if you found them hard to read.)

Here and now, there is this painting.
Our painting.

It may seem unmoving, but don’t let the quiet deceive you.
Stop, take a closer look,
let my heartbeat guide you beneath the surface.

I promise one day we will become a novel again.
Perhaps even a trilogy.

But for now, leave me to my brushes
& wait.

-A

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

With Valentine’s day looming on the horizon, the TTT tag (by The Broke and the Bookish) is proud to present the All-Inclusive L-O-V-E package!!! That’s right, whether you have The Notebook ready on Netflix, celebrate Galentine’s day or think 14 Feb should be banned, this list has got you covered.

Top Ten Books on Affection:

  1. for the commitment-phobe – Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a philosophical exploration of love, monogamy, commitment, i.e. relationships in all their different shapes &sizes; with the backdrop of the Prague Spring. This book packs a punch!
  2. for the modern cynic – Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her doesn’t romanticize love &offers a fresh perspective on relationships through the unique voice of the womanizing main character, Yunior.
  3. for the (slightly more empowered) Bridget JonesIt’s Not Me, It’s You! Mhairi McFarlane is revolutionizing the “chick-lit” genre. No cliché desperate single gals, her books are funny, easy reads perfect for a bit of light entertainment.
  4. for the friends-we-all-know-should-be-together – Cecelia Ahern’s Love, Rosie brings you the classic will-they-won’t-they love story through e-mails, texts, letters, etc; whereas One Day by David Nicholls takes place on the same day over twenty years.
  5. for the un-romantic – Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides = obsession presented as love. A group of boys worship 5 sisters, illustrating how women can be sexualised to the point where they lose their individuality as persons.
  6. for the lovesickThe Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is about misguided &unrequited love. It has college graduates and 1980s US, if that’s your thang.
  7. for a good ol’ teenage love storyAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. This YA classic/ guilty pleasure will throw you back to your first teen romance. &it’s set in Paris
  8. for platonic love – Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is an ode to sisterly love. Clever writing, clever characters &a clever plot twist.
  9. for the historical rom-com – Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night has twins, cross-dressing, romance &comedy. What more does one need?!
  10. for some self-love (not like that!) – Rupi Kaur’s poetry collection milk and honey discusses falling in &out of love, loving others &yourself, heartbreak &healing. &it’s bloody brilliant!!!

-A

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ABOUT MY PLACE IN THE WORLD

I was born right into the centre of my parents’ universe
there, safe, I felt over the moon

but as I started expanding – they called it growing into myself –
floating around, bouncing from space to space

as I grew more angular, rougher, edgier
I was told I had to look for my place in the world
a spot I would snugly fit into, a room of my own..

They said everyone has one. A place.
That I, too, would find one. That I just had to  k e e p  l o o k i n g.

 

I have spent 20 years with binoculars in hand, a compass hanging from my neck.
They should have given me a chisel instead.

-A

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

This wonderful tag, created by The Broke and the Bookish, will hopefully be a fairly regular feature on my blog. This week was about the past &I decided to go for books I love that are also evocative of that era (rather than my 10 favourite time periods).

Top Ten Historical Settings I Love:

  1. ANCIENT GREECE – I grew up reading Greek mythology so this era holds a very special place in my heart. Mythology by Edith Hamilton & The Penelopiad by Margared Atwood are fabulous starting points.
  2. 1920s Paris – oh the things I’d do to live during this era… Paris + jazz + the best minds of a generation… What more does one need!? A Moveable Feast by Hemingway
  3. Post-WW II America, i.e. the Beat Generation, i.e. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked
    -Allen Ginsberg “Howl”

  4. 19th century America for the transcendentalist movement. Reading Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s essay on Self-Reliance figuratively blew my mind in high school!!! PS. Those notions also inspired Chris McCandless (Into the Wild).
  5. Late 19th century UK – the gorgeous insightful awe-inspiring prose of Oscar Wilde is more than we deserve. Certainly more than the society deserved back when one of the most brilliant minds in the world was persecuted due to society’s toxic views. Not to go on a rant or anything.. The Importance of Being Earnest
  6. 17th century France because no one does witty observations/sarcasm/intelligent insults/comedy like Moliére.
  7. 19th century Russia – so. many. greats. & also the lives of the Russian upper class & the politics etc. etc. Russian literature will have something for every reader. One of my personal favourites is The Idiot by Dostoyevsky.
  8. Europe between World Wars – this book suggestion is probably the opposite of what you were expecting – funny, heartwarming, in a picturesque setting. What are you waiting for?! Go, pick up My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell right now!
  9. WW I (The Great War) because some things should never be forgotten. All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque
  10. The French Revolution cos liberté, égalité, fraternité baby! Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is on my TBR list.

-A

book blog newbie tag

I found this lovely tag by loveandotherbookishthings &without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Why did you start this blog?

Not gonna lie, I’ve tried my hand at blogging before but between then and now, I discovered the magical world of BOOKTUBE! I knowww… *hides in shame for not knowing about it before* Eeeeenyhow, that led to bookstagram and bookish tumblrs and of course, book blogs!!! &then, after drooling over books all over social media, ding-ding-ding-ding, I realised I, too, could and should have a go. Which brings us to now.

2. What are some fun & unique things you can bring to book blogging?

Whoa whoa whoa, wait a second, no one told me book bloggers have to be fun AND unique… After spending three months on trying to become unique enough to fit in, you’re telling me I have to entertain you as well?! Who do I contact about a complaint???

3. What are you most excited for about this blog?

Ummm, my hundreds of thousands of new followers of course… Duhhhhh. Let’s not f@!k around here people, no one is buying this whole ‘pleasure of simply writing out my thoughts’ bollocks. We’re all in it for the fame, amirite?!

4. Why do you love reading?

Really?? Not even gonna dignify this with an answer.                                                           OK, I couldn’t resist – education, escapism, entertainment. In that order.

5. What book or series got you into reading?

GREEK MYTHOLOGY by the Stephanides Brothers. That is all.

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Popsugar 2015 reading challenge

  • A non-fiction book – Lena Dunham “Not That Kind of Girl
  • A memoir – Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb “I Am Malala
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book – Harper Lee “To Kill a Mockingbird
  • A funny book – Mindy Kaling “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
  • A book with magic
  • A book based on a true story – Cheryl Strayed “Wild
  • A book that became a movie
  • A book published this year – Anna Smaill “The Chimes
  • A book by a female author – Jeanette Winterson “The Gap of Time
  • A book written by someone under 30
  • A popular author’s first book – George Orwell “Down and Out in Paris and London
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before – Graeme Simsion “The Rosie Project
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet – Paulo Coelho “Adultery
  • A book a friend recommended – E. Lockhart “We Were Liars
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read-list – Karen Joy Fowler “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book you started but never finished – Eleanor Catton “The Luminaries
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A book that came out the year you were born – Jeffrey Eugenides “The Virgin Suicides
  • A book with more than 500 pages – Kate Atkinson “Life After Life
  • A book with a number in the title – Emily St John Mandel “Station Eleven
  • A book with a one-work title – David Nicholls “Us
  • A book with a colour in the title
  • A book with antonyms in the title – Anthony Doerr “All the Light We Cannot See” &
  • A book that was originally written in a different language – Milan Kundera “The Festival of Insignificance
  • A book more than 100 years old – Jane Austen “Sense and Sensibility
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book set in a different country – Jeffrey Eugenides “The Marriage Plot
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  • A book set during Christmas – Stephanie Perkins “My True Love Gave to Me
  • A book based entirely on its cover – Marie NDiaye “Three Strong Women
  • A book you can finish in a day – Nora Ephron “Heartburn
  • A book that made you cry – Hanya Yanagihara “A Little Life
  • A play – William Shakespeare “The Winter’s Tale
  • A banned book
  • A book based on/ turned into a TV show
  • A poetry book – Charles Bukowski “The Pleasures of the Damned
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book that your mum loves
  • A book from your childhood – Lewis Carroll “Alice in Wonderland
  • A book with a love triangle – Francesca Segal “The Innocents
  • A book set in the future – Howard Jacobson “J
  • A book set in public school – Charlotte Mendelson “Almost English
  • A book of short stories – J.D. Salinger “Franny and Zooey
  • A trilogy – Helen Fielding “Bridget Jones’ Diary“, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason“, “Mad About the Boy
  • A classic romance – Jojo Moyes “Me Before You


*this list has been slightly modified & I have taken certain liberties with interpreting the challenges, but hey, it makes sense to me!

my most important friend

I saw a friend today. A friend I hadn’t seen in person for over half a year. And someone asked me if I thought X was going to be my BEST friend for always. I am not a fan of the term and I answered “whether X is my ‘best’ friend or not, X will always be my most important friend”.

I don’t believe in soulmates but I do think some people are more compatible than others. If most of the people you meet in life sooner or later become no more than mere passers-by, then with a select few you can sense from the outset that you’ve made a life changing connection; you know that they are special.

This is not a love letter, for love is fickle and love can be selfish, love can leave without a moment’s notice and love can burn and scar and devastate and consume you. And some people are too important to lose to Love.

This is an ode to Friendship. Well, an ode in the most artsy 21th century kind of sense because there is no rhyme to it, nor really reason for that matter. (HaHa!) No, this is just me taking the time to remind myself that I am fortunate enough to have found someone who makes me less selfish, less self-absorbed, more caring, stronger and determined, makes me want to be the best version of myself. This is Friendship in its purest, most unadulterated, uncorrupt, kindest, best form – X is my most important friend.

After all, it is rare to find someone whose compliments sound truly genuine, without a trace of jealousy or a hint of falseness; someone whose criticism doesn’t sting because you recognise it as nothing more than f r i e n d l y advice; who can reference things they hate because you love them; who understands you on a deeper level, the way you need people to understand you, without even having to really explain. X is always just there.

Not like a safety net, but like a reminder that someone who didn’t have to has chosen you, who sees you with all your flaws and doesn’t need you to be anything more than who you are and who will still support you, be there for you, love you unconditionally. Not like a parent loves their child, always wishing they would do just a little better, make a more sensible choice for their own sake; nor like a lover loves their partner, idolising, only seeing the good bits and slowly smoothing out their unique, rough edges; no, love the way only a most important friend can love you – the real you, all of you, always. x

goodbyes

it happens every year. another school year or university semester is over, someone moves away, you decide to leave your old life behind – no matter what the cause, for one reason or another we have to say ‘goodbye’. so we tell ourselves that it is not forever; that you will stay in touch; that you’ll call or write every day.. and then the day turns into a week and the week turns into two months and before you know it, you’re only left with the hazy but fond memory of someone special once being in your life.

do you ever stop and wonder what happened to them? do you ever tell yourself you’ll call them tomorrow and instantaneously feel guilty because you know that you’ll be just as busy tomorrow & the day after that & the week after that & so on until you have new goodbyes to occupy your thoughts?!

i feel like i’m swiftly becoming sort of an expert in goodbyes. i no longer trick myself into thinking i’ll be able to play just as big a part in their lives as i did before, i won’t be able to talk to them weekly, & i may not even hear from them for months at a time. but that’s okay.
perhaps all we need to do is admit to ourselves that space is just as important as time when it comes to relationships and friendships. if your best friend is thousands of miles away, you make new ones, people who you can see every day. it doesn’t mean that you no longer need the old friends or that you’re somehow ‘cheating’ on the ones who are further away. all that really matters is that wonderfully familiar feeling you get when you actually see  t h a t  person again in real life. once reunited, it feels as though not a day has passed and all the missed skype calls and the unanswered facebook messages won’t matter.

this is what i’ve learned, that no matter how much time passes, with the right people, the ones you want and need in your life, goodbyes truly aren’t permanent. so i no longer try and pretend that it’s not happening and i let myself be sad for a moment, because no matter how many times you’ve said it, a ‘goodbye’ will always hurt the same. and that is okay! because the day will come when we shall meet again, and until then:
Farewell, old friend! Arrivederci! A bientot! x