Wednesday, 30 November 2011

great places

Today is your day. 
You're off to Great Places! 
You're off and away! 

You have brains in your head. 
You have feet in your shoes. 
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose. 
You're on your own. And you know what you know. 
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go. 

Dr. Seuss: Oh, the Places You'll Go!

winter winter winter

Dear December,

Please bring us the same kind of snow we've had in Helsinki for the past two winters. I won't mind you making my trains late or sneaking into my boots or clouding my glasses. Just bring us a cold white wet blanket and those red cheeks.

Please help me find my calm this Christmas. I swear I'll try my very best to do my Christmas shopping and fretting in time. I'll open my ears and my eyes for everything you want to show me, snowflakes and Christmas lights and delightful jazzy Christmas songs.

Speaking of which. There's this one Christmas song that always always makes me cry a bit. Because it promises things like next year all our troubles will be out of sight and faithful friends who are dear to us will be near to us once more. So, yeah. That. 

Thanks ever so. And I'll see you tomorrow. With all my advent calendars on the ready and my corny Christmas playlists on standby. 

Yours daily and nightly and ever so rightly (for the next thirty-one days at least), 


Monday, 28 November 2011

good night

(This was supposed to be a post with links in. 
But what do you know, I haven't found much to link to this past week. 
So have a gut-punching, spine-tingling, mercurial poem instead.)

I wanted to write "stay" 
on your sides, surround 
your bed with oceans 
of salt. 
I hope he folds you 
into a fox, loves you 
like a splintered arrow, 
brandishes the kill 
of your lips. 
May the bouquet 
of your hips wither. 
May the wolves 
forget your name. 

J. Bradley

Thursday, 24 November 2011

thursday words

Rain, rain, exams, rain, rain.

Also my hand hurts from knitting too much.

I'm a bit how do you words right now as you can see, and amazingly uninspired.

But actually being uninspired and kind of lazy allows for some little delights: I've been dancing a lot lately, silly little dances while waiting for the toaster to ping or the water to boil or while drying my hair. Also I've been listening to musical theatre soundtracks rather a lot and singing staccato versions of Good Morning Baltimore while brushing my teeth. So it's not all doom and gloom, as they say.

I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe it's not so bad to make a habit out of making a fool of yourself in private. (And who knows, maybe I'll go public with my act one of these days, windmill kick my insecurities in the face.)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. 

A.A. Milne

Monday, 21 November 2011

monday links (manifestos, lullabies, strangers, paris)

Another Monday, another set of things that make my pulse speed up.

Roberto Farruggio takes the most beautiful photos. 

Nude in Your Hot Tub, Facing the Abyss (A Literary Manifesto After the End of Literature and Manifestos) by Lars Iyer is something everyone inclined to write should take the time to read. ("To say that literature is dead is both empirically false and intuitively true," he writes, and opens your eyes.)

A truly incredible song for any dreary morning.

Is 2011 a year that will change the world?

"Grab hold of the nearest stranger. Don't take the stranger's hand, God knows where that's been, but grasp their arm, firmly. Don't let go until I tell you to." Miranda July on strangers.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


(Reading Brideshead Revisited and Lolita and listening to this.)


Just a bit of Marc Johns for your Sunday morning.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


According to Facebook, it's snowing somewhere in Helsinki. Winter is here, at last.  

Laudatur is Latin and means praised.

It is also the highest grade for the Finnish matriculation exams. I got two of 'em yesterday for my two autumn exams. I'm quite pleased, I must say.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

things i know but don't yet understand #4

It's a sad day when you find out that it's not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you. 

Lillian Hellman 

(I know I should be braver and face disappointments with a head held high 
and never ever give up but keep pushing until I succeed. 
But what if I'm not built that way, what if I'm not built to endure? 
How does one become brave after eighteen years of day-to-day cowardice?) 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

this is not the most uplifting of posts, i'm afraid

These past few weeks, insecurity has crept back in after a long holiday. The crippling kind of insecurity that stops me from doing anything. (Writing a blog post, having a conversation, laughing at myself, handling criticism.)

There is literally nothing I can do without raining a storm of unduly harsh criticism on myself. My insecurity has made itself comfortable in my chest, squeezing out all the hope and the air and leaving me heavy and slow. It's constant abuse from myself. (And insults from yourself are the worst ones because you can always see your own faults clearer than others.) 

Of course we're all insecure, all the time, at least that's what I've been told. But this is cruel insecurity, more like self-loathing, and the worst thing is this: I thought I was over this. 

I honestly thought I'd never have to endure this again. This constant fragility, the tears that are always far too close to the surface. This fear of going outside, because strangers looking at me is simply too much to bear. I'm eighteen for pity's sake, shouldn't the worst of this be over already? 

And this time around, I don't know how long I can endure this for. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, but really I never realised how lucky I was to live without this feeling.

(The worst thing about this is the apathy and the fear. The shaking hands and racing pulse and the please-don't-look-at-me feeling at the back of my head. 

Almost as bad is the lack of empathy, my lost capability of listening to anyone because of being so endlessly stuck in my own pathetic misery. All I seem to be able to seek from people is reassurance of my own worth, which is ridiculous, because nobody can give me that. Not if I can't find it myself. I detest having to write about this again, to have to return to a topic I've gnawed bare. My apologies.) 

Monday, 14 November 2011

monday links (street musicians, tears, line breaks, hogwarts)

I must say, my finds this week are spectacular. Honestly though. I'm so excited about all of these.

(Also: I'm on a huge book binge right now, after a self-imposed dry spell due to all that studying. Currently I'm halfway through Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and accompanying that with Vladimir Nabokov's lectures on the novel. Also on my bedside table are Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety and Chuck Palahniuk's Choke. I'm also rereading Keats's letters to Fanny Brawne because they are undoubtedly the greatest love letters ever written. )

And after this geeky display, on we go with the links.

Julie Lansom's photography is simply stunning.

The upcoming documentary about the  making of the final Harry Potter films seems set to make us all cry. 

An amazing article about a street musician, expanding into a meditation of what art really means these days and how it should be presented.

Weekend, a new film by Andrew Haigh.
(This. Just. You know?)

Sometimes a poem comes along that makes me physically ill, the words hitting my lungs like punches. 
So read this. At least for the truly excellent demonstration of a line break, 
so good it would make the most solid prosaist cry and dig out their hidden lyrical endeavours for a review. 

Saturday, 12 November 2011


A weekend, thank goodness. Still no snow, but new winter boots and cutting up old maps for a school project. And lots of shits and giggles. I'm rereading (or maybe rerererereading) Salinger and Jansson and Nabokov to prepare myself for winter. Any wintry book recommendations? (Anything involving snow, ice and/or moonlight is most welcome.)

(Maybe I just don't know how to live properly, or how to be young either. I thrive in this melancholy in-between of autumn and winter like no other season. The sun sets after four in the afternoon and evenings are painted over with a brush of muted tiredness. Summers especially make me feel woefully inadequate, with my endless lack of spontaneity and heavy suitcase of what-ifs. My mother calls me a child of winter, not only because I was born in February, but because I'm so at home in the long months of snow.) 

Friday, 11 November 2011


(Sometimes when I'm tired down to my bones, I reach out for Katherine Mansfield's 
The Garden Party or F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby or Virginia Woolf's 
Mrs Dalloway and, despite their literary merits and stunning depth, choose to 
focus on the sparklingly expectant feeling of getting ready for a party. 
Because there are few mornings as hopeful as the ones before parties.)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

a confession

(I really do wish it were Christmas already.)

Monday, 7 November 2011

monday links (shakespeare, skeletons, nostalgia)

I'm feeling a bit blue and waiting desperately for snow this week. Thank goodness for all the glorious distractions, such as friends, tea and Jane Austen. And short films, essays, jazz. Here's for a week better than the one gone by.

Mourir aupr├Ęs de toi is a beautiful animated short film by Spike Jonze, featuring a lovesick skeleton, a brave young lady and a certain bookshop in Paris. 

Recently I've been reading a lot of the Paris Review. Two of my favourite things this week: O. and I, a study in adulation, jealousy and growing up, and Francesca Mari on homesickness.

In case you're already in the mood for Christmas, there's this

And finally: the new film Anonymous explores the theory of Shakespeare not being the true author of his works. If you, like me, burst a vein every time somebody brings up these far-fetched and frankly quite boring theories,  here's an excellent article to fatten up your arguments: Wouldn't It Be Cool if Shakespeare Wasn't Shakespeare? by Stephen Marche.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

things i know but don't yet understand #3

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Siddhartha Gautama

(So here's how it went: I was supposed to write a post on how bored I am with inspirational quotes and how empty and insipid they feel right now. And then I stumbled across this and the words hit me right in the guts and 
the tears dripped off my chin before I even realised I was crying. 

Maybe I'll save the intended post for later.)