Sunday, 31 January 2010


I don't believe I've mentioned something momentous occurring in my future...
This summer, I'm going to Tanzania to teach children first aid. My life is full of fundraisers right now, and one of them is quite special. I invite those of you on Facebook to have a look at a personal invitation to SHAVE IT OR SAVE IT. This is not a request for you to join or give me money, just for you to take a peek at what is happening in my life and what I want to do with it.

Xiu Xiu - I luv the valley OH

Do you remember forgetting a song? When it slips away into your past? When it boards a steamboat, waves goodbye and sails off into the sunset without you even noticing?
Remember how inexplicably bittersweet and splendiferous it feels to hear it again?

Yesicanuary has been a productive month!

Friday, 29 January 2010


I found this outside where I used to live.

I wrote this in its place over a year ago. I still believe it.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Shining Shadows

Let my shadow disappear into yours
Let me lose myself
under the tall trees
that themselves lose their crowns in the twilight,
surrendering themselves to the sky and the night.

- Pär Lagerkvist (1891-1974)

(vintage silk scarf from Buckingham Palace that belonged to my late great aunt)

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

- from Pablo Neruda's Love Sonnet XVII

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Sublimity & Something Blue

I have talked before about beauty and the sublime, or at least have referenced someone else's words on the subjects; I had a mind-blowing lecture about the pair on Monday that reminded me. According to Longinus, "a well-timed stroke of sublimity scatters everything before it like a thunderbolt" and has the power to fill us with inspired emotion. The power of sublimity fascinates me.
There is a school of thought that sees there being no pleasure without pain. Edmund Burke wrote on the subject and asks what we are afraid of; pain, vastness, obscurity. The powerful, the infinite. All of these "fill the mind with delightful horror, the truest test of the sublime". It is a paradox - we are drawn to pain and terror, and yet we seek pleasure. The sublime is only that because it both terrifies and delights us. A way to resolve this is to see ourselves finding pleasure in fictional or imagined pain, or that the pain of the sublime is metaphorical to begin with.
I prefer to see sublimity as something both frightening and illuminating.
Like a thunderstorm at sea, or real heart-wrenching love.

On an unrelated note, it is Holocaust Memorial Day today. A favourite girl of mine sent me John Boyne's The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and I finished reading it yesterday. Tonight, I want to watch Mark Herman's film, and take a little time to think about what we are capable of as a race - all things bad and beautiful.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Edmund Burke

Monday, 25 January 2010

Still On Fire

I am listening to last month's playlist and contemplating the weekend. We had a terror-ific time down in the the Edinburgh Dungeons, ate more than was necessary or sensible, shopped, sight-saw, drank and danced and stayed up and slept in.
Happy Burns Day; for me, this means haggis, neeps and tatties, a ceilidh and striking a match to banish with fire a chosen secret something for the next year.

Friday, 22 January 2010


No one can explain beauty.
It is a matter of soul, not eye,
and lightens the darkness within
as a rainbow lightens the sky.

Now as the years go by,
a rose is no more than a rose to me.
But sometimes I see in your soul
what to me is a rose in its beauty.

- from 'Buds of Heaven' in Light in the Darkness? by Bill Donaldson

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home

I'm not really sure what beauty is anymore.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Heaven's Stranger

Doing the hippy shake to Eat Skull with my best friend who made it over the border for a visit, just in time to eat barbeque tortillas and take these pictures.

I went to a lecture about Christianity and the Visual Arts hosted by my university, given by John Lowrie Morrison, AKA JoLoMo, a fantastic Scottish contemporary artist. I would say that I see more positives about personal belief than organised religion, but visual arts are something immediately accessible to all. Self expression and having faith in something are so important.

His work is so full of life, almost childishly excited about the brilliance of simply being. Very vibrant and distinct yet always familiar, as if he has painted the houses of those characters you read about in story books once upon a time. All the colours are somehow the way I feel on the inside, and the scenes are ones I want to see myself in, living slowly as the world goes by, with boats and birds and the soft breath of not-quite silence.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Kick Drum Heart

My plaiting skills are improving, my sleeping pattern is not. I have had to, on occasion, turn to the dark side that is caffeine in order to make it through more endlessly fun things like dinner dates and dancing, fundraising meetings and midnight birthday parties on the playpark. My eyes are fluttering shut when they shouldn't, but my heart is quicker than a kick drum and twice as loud.

The Avett Brothers - Kick Drum Heart

Some like it hot
And some do not,
But the important part is making a choice.
Choosing is pleasing;
It is moment-seizing
And a way of talking without using your voice.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


When you are...

there's only one thing to do...

...flip out a few and chow down.

Thank you, Hugh, for the perfect pancake recipe. My homebears were very impressed and I am forever in your debt.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Pathless Woods

I've missed this old city, but I like it when I can't see the forest for the trees.
It will be a while before I can be somewhere as beautiful again.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


The past few weeks have been filled with beautiful things...

homemade treats...

crazily good cooking...

winter wonderland weather...

fantastic friends...

sweet dreams...

light in the dark...

...and the most amazing heart-skipping times.

Friday, 1 January 2010


New year always feels so momentous. This year, it was rung in with a magical full moon, tealights in jam jars, barbequed hotdogs, flying fire lanterns, chocolates, champagne, the dissection of a decade, a little more snow and a whole lot of love.
I'm using the term 'resolution' broadly this year, not making a list and checking it twice. I am simply resolving to live better in all ways possible. I want to make a difference for myself, other people, my country and our planet. It's a resolution revolution. Never mind January, this is Yesicanuary!