These are things I’ve liked a lot recently:
Novel Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.
Blog post by Brandon Knoll about colouring our own lives.
Illustration of a ‘black cat on black furniture‘ by Felicia Chiao on Tumblr.
Bear illustration by Little Oil on Tumblr.
British sitcom Upstart Crow.
Is the EU serious about coming to a deal? David Robertson raises some concerns.
Song on a CD bought from a charity shop recently: Why Does It Always Rain on Me? (Travis). Even before I figured out the culprit, it was in my head all the time. 😀
Another song: One Last Chance (James Morrison). I’ve had it a while, but only just started paying it attention.
Last but not least… from personal experience I would say there’s a great deal of truth in this article… I wish I’d read it when I was 16. 🙂
There is so much going on, all of the time. For instance, you might be sitting quietly at home, painting a picture. The TV likely isn’t on. Nobody else is in the room except a cat. The trees sway outside, the sun shines, somebody is parking a car outside and walking away.
The dishwasher hums, a pigeon barrels past, and — imitating autumn leaves — a pair of butterflies slip sideways. Less pleasantly, a spider investigates a hoverfly in a corner of the window. When you notice, you’re glad you’re not that hoverfly, and are torn between pity, disinterest, and a desire not to think about such things.
You choose between different but similar shades of pink on your iPad, attempting to paint them in the right places with a rubber-tipped stylus, and think to yourself, “This isn’t very well designed. How can I draw fine lines with a rubber-tipped stylus squeaking across the glass? Would I be better in another app with a higher zoom? Why do I USE this app?”
Instead of acting on these questions in your mind, you continue to paint in that same awkward app with the same squeaky stylus, thinking about all sorts of different things.
For instance, you’d like to read Cadfael again — it would be nice to read it now. Or perhaps Elizabeth Goudge? On the other hand, it would be fun to watch Inspector Montalbano on TV, or the Fiddler on the Roof DVD you got for your birthday.
You won’t do any of these things because you want to get on with your painting.
You should email S… she’ll be wondering if you’ve disappeared on her again. You… leap off the sofa all of a sudden and trap a small spider in the folds of a tissue. “Go sit over there,” you tell it. “I don’t want you running around on me or accidentally getting crushed.”
S saved your life… you got trapped beneath the waves. Does this mean you belong to her?
Notifications pop up.
Facebook is the worst, pounding away inexorably… “you’re ignoring us again.”
Tumblr says there are five things trending. (Only five?)
Tumblr staff reblogged something you’re not interested in.
Pinterest says there are things you’re sure to love and a pinner who’s your long-lost twin.
Your trolls miss their leader, and there’s a new quest with gold to be won.
Mo Farah loses out on gold in his final track race.
Someone has written a WordPress coffee post.
YouTube has recommendations.
Your sister uploaded photos on Flickr.
Flipboard thinks you should read this article about Brexit.
Do you know this person on Facebook? No?
Police are looking for a jogger. Got him. Let him go. Still looking for jogger.
Drat, wrong shade of pink… wrong palette. Switch down two trays to the inner ear pinks… perfect. Imagine a double-decker bearing down on you — aargh. Imagine living in the dust and turmoil of such a busy city.
What might your life have been like if you’d got the other job somewhere else? Would you be a different person?
As for for the recent drama… what did you do wrong? Was there a misunderstanding? You will do this, that, the other thing… no, you don’t know what to do. You’re lost. But nothing matters, really. Life flows on.
You don’t feel like painting this bit… it’s too difficult. But you must, because you really want to finish this picture. Just put a blot of some sort here; you can paint over it later if you have to.
You drew a horse when you were 14 that looks something like this… perhaps this is your natural painting ‘style’, ha ha. You weren’t able to blend with fibre tips, and this app is not a lot better.
If you were one of Cadfael’s ‘monks’… or in a nunnery, really… would you have been allowed to do artwork? Most likely not. You’d be doing everyone’s washing, scrubbing the flagstones, fetching water. Wonder what it was like in those days? Maybe much like now. You worried about other people and other people worried about you. Spiders lurked in the window and entertained flies.
Your thoughts swirl around, and you don’t always know what to think about anything….
You’re good at this… no, you’re awful… no, more like something in between, and it’s changing all the time. It depends if you like this sort of thing. You wouldn’t win awards, but it’s OK.
For years you would hold a belief about somebody else, such as, “She’s terrible at photography”… then one day get a shock and think “actually that’s kind of good.”
As I keep reminding myself… people don’t stand still. They’re not statues. While they experience life, their thoughts fluctuate, and the things they think they know things about imperceptibly develop and change. People and things develop and change around them, even if it seems still and peaceful with nothing going on.
The next time you glance up, the fly has gone from the spider’s parlour, but it has been replaced by a baby snail. Perhaps it was all the ‘think pink’ energy in the room, though black jagged shadows would be more apt…
I can feel the year’s end approaching.
I assume this would be over and above basics such as food, fresh water, shelter, blankets, a couple of changes of clothing, etc. If Little Witness was on board with me, he would have to be one of the items, as I’m not leaving him to sink beneath the waves.
Second, I’d want a fully-charged iPad so I can tell somebody I fetched up on this little island… no I don’t know the co-ordinates, but we were on our way to some place… sorry, I thought I heard a noise but it was just a coconut dropping. Let me move out from under this palm tree. OK, bye.
While waiting in comfort for help to arrive, I would study the environment and wonder about the other three things I really should have with me.
A good book would be a boon. You would think my Kindle would be suitable as it has a fair-sized library on it, but battery power on this island is a non-renewable resource. I would be better off with a long and engrossing paperback… perhaps The Memoirs of Cleopatra (Margaret George) or a Lymond novel by Dorothy Dunnett. The first Hornblower book would be a good choice from a nautical point of view, or (better yet) the full set of Aubrey-Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian.
Are you sure I can’t have them all? Dorothy Dunnett then, as it’s years since I last read any.
The six volumes follow the life and career of the charismatic Francis Crawford of Lymond, the younger son of the Crawfords of Culter, members of the landed aristocracy of the Scottish Lowlands. Brought up according to the Renaissance ideal of an educated autodidact, he is a polyglot, knowledgeable in literature, philosophy, mathematics and the sciences, a practitioner of all the martial arts, a spell-binding musician, a talented thespian, and a master strategist with a genius for imaginative tactics.
Two more items?
A stationery set. I insist that counts as one item and will include paper, pens, pencils, ruler, eraser and sharpener. Then I can blog to you about what it’s like sitting on a desert island waiting for somebody to come. I wouldn’t be able to publish my adventure till later, but it would give me something to do. If there are colour pencils in there too, I could draw geckos and beetles, pretending I’m a female version of Stephen Maturin.
How many items is that? Four. I need one more.
A nice big chunky bar of chocolate comes to mind, refusing to be dismissed, especially if I can keep it cool and the ants don’t get to it. I’d eat it slowly while reading the Dorothy Dunnett novel, and the rescue boat would arrive just as I polished off the last piece.
Provided no lives were lost, that would be a good day.
‘Today,’ said Lymond, ‘if you must know, I don’t like living at all. But that’s just immaturity boggling at the sad face of failure. Tomorrow I’ll be bright as a bedbug again.’
― Dorothy Dunnett, The Disorderly Knights
If you notice comments and ‘likes’ from me appearing on progressively older and older blog posts you’ve written, I’m not prowling. It’s just that I discovered blog post notifications have been sneaking into a separate Gmail mail folder which I never realized I had. A few random blog posts still appear in my main in-box, which is why I never wondered why I wasn’t hearing much about the blogs I followed. Everybody goes quiet for a while, right?
Anyway, this ‘social’ mail folder (which I didn’t personally set up) has a huge number of notifications, going back months, and most likely years. Gah!
Still catching up. Anything you regret posting, better delete it now. I’ve got to about…ohh… 1st February 2016.
Worked on a seamless b&w texture design in ArtStudio, which has ‘offset’. It’s for a brush in Procreate. I’m not sure it’s going to be any use, but who knows… might be the best brush I ever made. I’ve been rapping myself on the knuckles for not doing the design in Adobe Ideas (smooth vector pens) and copying it into ArtStudio for offsetting. There’s a lot of space (a 500 px doodle is becoming a 1800 px doodle) so I’ve been doodling all day!
It’s quite fun, though I slowed down a lot and started turning it into a mountainous landscape when I’m supposed to be doing variegated texture. It’s a little like a Chinese pen & ink panel. I even put a long winding wall in.
I made eggs and bacon pots for supper… my first attempt ever at baking eggs. It looked quick, and you don’t have to brave the gas hob. Mum was enthusiastic and said the eggs were tasty. She agreed with me though that I should cook the bacon first, next time… I was hit with griping pains just before bedtime!
Was reading more of the ‘being wrong’ book today (by Kathryn Schultz). She says being wrong leads to a form of existential crisis. That moment when you suddenly disagree with yourself (or wonder how you came to do what you did) is an uncomfortable and confusing feeling. Yesterday I was thinking how ‘wrongness’ (both mine and everyone else’s) leads me to feel ill-at-ease most of the time. I don’t breeze through life with confidence.
Apparently it’s hard to remember the specific ways in which you were wrong. I believe that’s true… all your mistakes are lost in the comforting fog of distance. You start to feel it wasn’t you responsible for the stupid stuff, but someone else. I bet I’ve forgotten more stupid things I did than I remember, though I remember plenty.
(1) Believing Pete when he said we should always trust and be honest with each other.
(2) Thinking I knew what the Space Needle was (and not checking first).
(3) Putting something on the database after being told not to, and screwing up the whole thing.
(4) Writing letters instead of studying.
(5) Making wrong moves in games, sometimes realizing half an instant later that I did the very thing I meant NOT to do.
(6) ‘Unsubscribing’ from spam mail (before I knew better).
(7) Choosing the yellow dress instead of the blue and then trying to rationalize my decision.
(8) Mis-hearing or misunderstanding people, sometimes not realizing till much too late.
The author says there’s no such thing as “I am wrong,” as you don’t know you were wrong till afterwards. And then because you are now right in seeing that you were wrong, you are free to forget your little lapse as quickly as humanly possible.
I find though (maybe it’s just me!) that you sometimes know you’re wrong even before you do it… usually when running a risk. Like when I ate the bacon… I knew it was underdone and I shouldn’t touch it. But I’d gone to all the trouble of cooking it, and had looked forward to it… didn’t want to admit defeat.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
PS: Just got this email from Amazon: “As you’ve shown an interest in books, we thought you might like to see a selection of titles trending with our editors and customers.”
I had to read it several times before I understood. ‘Trending with…’??
Talking of mistakes, they forgot to change the customer reviews on their Daily Deal page for two days running. The ‘how to draw’ book I bought had a review about how it was wonderful for anyone wanting to know more about economics.
Nice to know it’s not just me who messes up. 🙂
The place is littered with bits of paper, old envelopes folded over, small notepads, even postit notes… these are what we write to each other on.
Today is Halloween. Without even thinking, I was wearing a loose black skirt decorated with beads. Kind of witchy. Mum came home from somewhere, and made me turn round. She plucked a yellow postit note off my skirt — it said, ‘The eve of all hallows.’
Thanks for the memo….
One of the things about having fallen out of blogging for so long is that WordPress has changed a lot, and I don’t quite know how to use it any more! I’ve been slowly finding out. The last time I created a blog post, it made tag suggestions and gave me the opportunity to add them. It also invited me to choose from the ‘most used’ tags, and when I clicked on the link, this image came up…
It didn’t take me long to work out that this isn’t a list of common tags on the WordPress site… this is my OWN cloud of tags!
The word ‘trivialities’ is unsettlingly huge. On the other hand, ‘grumbles’ is surprisingly small. Perhaps I just forget to add it most of the time…
I wrote the following post on Tuesday, then got icy feet. 🙂
Been snowing for a few days now. Gets thicker and thicker, but I’m not rushing out to photograph it! Looks kind of dull in the immediate vicinity. Me, I like bright colours and skies with visible clouds…
Funny how a whole load of unknown works by a certain artist has arrived in the news. I was scratching around for a good title for my ‘Not a Picasso’ wallpaper, but decided against it. Went for a more boring title instead, mostly because the only link between my wallpaper and the other title is that I put Paloma Picasso perfume on, and the wallpaper promptly went bad. That’s my private joke, anyway, and I couldn’t expect the rest of the world to understand it without knowing the story.
My keyboard is breaking down… the backspace key is particularly unresponsive! But I have a spare keyboard; I should attach it. I’ll probably do it the next time I have to hammer the backspace key into the desk…
Found some of our recent ‘conversation notes’ which were waiting to go into the recycling bin:
Mum: A little baby tomato has been born!
Me: Tell the little baby tomatoes they don’t have much Summer left.
Mum: Better play some music to them.
Me: I saw someone in town carrying his SLR camera by the strap so that it dangled by his walking feet as he crossed the road. I can’t imagine being so casual with my cameras!
Me: I think the wallpaper site has a split personality — the ones who post pics and have fun (rather be kind than right) — and the ones who want more serious pictures with people saying “I would have cropped in closer and paid more attention to the rule of thirds.”
Mum: “What weird people.”
Me: “They’ve been to photography classes… they’ve been taught all that stuff.”
Mum: “Oh I see.”
Mum (looking misty): I played with Justin Rose once when he was a boy — perhaps 14.
Me: He still looks like a boy.
Me: I can’t stand cognitive behavioural therapy — and they’ve roped it into the Calorie Bible. “Are you really ready to do it? Have you thought about the implications of your decision?” Bleugh.
Mum: Serves you right for reading all the small print.
Today Mum asked, “what’s for supper?” and I said “there’s a little prawn cocktail in the fridge.”
“It’s too old.”
“Oh — I had some for lunch, and I’m not dead yet.”
“Lunch wasn’t long ago…. you might die later.”
“Oh, I suppose you’re right, I will die… but not for a few years yet.”
Still ticking away. 🙂