Escapism: through books, #spon content and meditation apps

I read an article about anxiety among pop stars in the social media generation last week. You can read it here. I liked it cause I think it accurately captures the zeitgeist (wow, I sound like my old drama teacher) in that yes, we’re all conscious of having a political and #woke conscience, just as those generations did before us with punk and whatnot. But social media – for teenagers coming of age now – has formed part of their identity, and we’re now starting to see that in the pop landscape.

In the piece, the writer identifies two types of Gen-Z’ers on social media, the ‘fame-hungry narcissists’ and the ‘hyper-aware over-thinkers’. If like me, you strongly identify with both, how do you find your place on the internet? If you’re aware that having a presence on social media will do wonders for your ‘brand’, but also know that spending too much time trying to expand this network isn’t something that comes too naturally (preferring to spend your free time reading or mastering the art of a paper aeroplane), do you decide to take steps away from this dopamine-fuelled activity and ditch the smartphone altogether? (This is clearly the the hyper-aware over-thinker stepping up the mic.) I’ve had a dream twice within the past week or so where I snap my phone in half and it crumbles into ash. I then wake up and reach for my phone to see if anybody’s texted me.

Something that intrigues me is the increasing number of people monetising their lives by just, like, travelling around the world. I’m fascinated with travel bloggers and how they use social media (yes, that thing you just tweeted a pic of your Wetherspoons round on) to fund their ‘adventures’. I wish it was as blissful as it looks but I don’t buy into it. Even more so after I watched this Vice News clip about these total #vanlife phoneys (please watch it if you have 10 mins and marvel in how messed up reality can be faked online). Millennials are more into travelling and ‘experiences’ than buying a tonne of nice stuff, apparently, so travelling the world as an influencer and getting paid for it seems like a pretty obvious way to do life, and with the inclusivity of the internet (so long as you have a Wi-Fi connection and, surely, a senior figure in your life who can bail you out of bad situations) it seems more possible than ever.

But is the content the top travel bloggers are making really that interesting? I’m always trying to find interesting things to read about travel, as everyone’s travel daddy Bill Bryson once said  in an interview: “A basic error with travel writing is assuming everybody’s interested. You have to work from exactly the opposite assumption: nobody is interested. Even your wife is not interested. You have to somehow make it so that they become interested.”

When I read that, I laughed out loud. I felt like I’d just been given the best advice about writing about holidays or trips, in that no-one cares about the ‘Today I visited this church. Wow, it was so pretty!’ kind of vibe. I’m not slating enjoying a holiday and writing about it (obviously!) but my favourite pieces about travelling are always the ones that show travelling for what it can be: rare moments of wonder and feelings of unbelievable freedom – interspersed between long bus journeys, waiting in stuffy airport lounges, finding your companion unbelievably tiresome (even if you’re travelling solo) and maybe – just maybe – small pangs of homesickness (…you can take the girl out of Peterborough). That’s why I could read Bill Bryson’s books over and over, his petty moans about the irks of travelling make the experience so much more enjoyable to read (and sure as hell beat the #spon posts from the #vanlife elite).

I am so close to finishing reading John Waters’ travelogue about hitchhiking from his native Baltimore to San Francisco, and it’s one of the most original book structures I’ve ever come across. Before he ventured off on his trip, he spent a few months imagining the best possible thing that could happen – and the worst case scenario – which form the first two-thirds of the book. So, the first 200 pages give the weird and wonderful Pope of Trash – director of cult films Hairspray and Pink Flamingos – the ability to show off his endless, no-holds-barred imagination (the ‘Best Trip’ is so heartwarming because you’re so happy everything’s worked out so well for him, and the ‘Worst Trip’ actually made me retch while eating a mushroom omelette as we meet a gruesome character who picks up near-dead roadkill and collects the creatures in her car). It makes for such a hoot of book! Here’s the link to buy it. Or watch this video. (Or ask your local library to order it in!) Also, while I’m talking about holidays and trips, our next Girl Chat episode (landing next Wednesday, April 18) is about holiday romances. Check out the all the ones preceding it here.

I’ve digressed hugely: back to the phoney #vanlife-rs. Perhaps it’s the cynicism of the person typing, but I’m sceptical of influencers and wonder how satisfying their ‘jobs’ really are. This, by the maker of parody Instagram account Deliciously Stella is interesting – as it was her idea to satirise the whole movement, but she still got sucked into the allure of free stuff anyway. I would love to think that I could travel the world on an all-expenses-paid trip as a travel blogger with #hashtag revenue streaming in, but not at the expense of missing all of the opportunities immersing yourself in another culture brings by having my head glued to my phone. Bryson again, in Neither Her Nor There: “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”

Something not totally evil about technology though: I’ve used the Headspace mediation app every day for the past three weeks (21-day streak, holla!) and it’s already made a huge difference to how I deal with my often extremely busy mind. There have only been benefits so far, which have weasled their way into all aspects of my everyday mundanity: dealing with 3,000 unread emails at 9am, coping with the petty but way valid stresses of sharing a house (and kitchen) with several people and, well, getting back into the habit of writing again.

At the time of writing this, it’s 8:30am and I’ve managed to write almost 1,000 words already – before my ‘working day’ has even begun. I woke up in a rotten-as-hell mood this morning (disclaimer: there’s a 90% chance I have glandular fever, sigh) but I took 10 minutes to listen to the Headspace dudes’s familiar tones, grabbed my laptop, and wrote the post you’ve just read.

For those who deal with anxiety as frequently as you brush your teeth, clarity of mind is not to be scoffed at. There are 10 free days before you have to subscribe: something I got way too pissed off about (capitalising on meditation seemed as icky to me as, like, the standard £15-a-session yoga classes everywhere in central London) but after four or five days of not subscribing in protest after my trial, I felt myself spiralling back into a pattern of negative thoughts. I was curious to see if the next 10 days would feel as good as the first did. In fact, they got even better, so now I’m telling you about it.

If you’re a student, you can get Spotify Premium and Headspace for £5 a month, (sign me up to a degree course already, purely for the discount). Btw, although it might seem it, this is definitely not #spon content.

Anyway, I’m all out. Until next time!

Follow me on Twitter @taralepore

On not having constantly brilliant moments, and why that’s OK – 23/03/17

I’ve hit a bit of a low point during the past month or so, something I can now admit to with conviction (which means I must be coming out the other side). The reasons behind it I won’t disclose, but I felt compelled to share my experience of waiting for a bad period to pass, because being ‘strong’ or, like, going for a run, haven’t felt like viable (or at all possible) options. I began to come out of a drawn-out mopey period last week while I was washing the dishes. It sticks out in a blur of a week because I forced myself to remember how it felt, and it was only then, after days of feeling nothing, when I began to regain control of my thoughts and moods. I was washing up day-old plates looking out to the many back gardens I can see from my kitchen window, where a cat was licking itself clean on top of a shed. I could have been standing there for 10 minutes, just staring, although it was probably just a few seconds. I remember thinking ‘I’ve never felt like this before’. Or at least, not for a long time anyway, not since I was 16 years old, struggling at school, and kicked around the place just trying to get by every day. What did I have to worry about at 16? Well, nothing I suppose, in the same way I’ve got nothing to worry about today. Of course, there’s always minor things going on: money worries, relationship doubts, friendships drifting; although these things shouldn’t encapsulate your whole life and make you afraid to leave the house. But sometimes they can, and it’s really very hard to explain why. Mental health’s a difficult thing to open up about; you can’t see negative feelings, so will people even believe you? Will they care?

It’s also a hard thing to write about, because when I feel ready to form a sentence about tangled thoughts in a coherent way, I’ve usually come to resolve a tiny aspect of it. I can now detangle and rationalise how I felt and get it down in a way that half makes sense. But of course, when you’re at the bottom of the slump, nothing makes sense. I’ve been unable to write anything of any worth for weeks and although that sounds melodramatic, it hasn’t felt like it. I didn’t care. I’ve been feeling lousy, not in in a loud, hysterical kind of way, but in a very different way altogether. No energy, no desire to do the things I know that’ll make me feel better.

I think that’s the problem I have with dealing with spells of depression as I’ve grown older, I know exactly what would help me to feel better (getting out of bed before 8am, going for a run, showering, putting on a killer outfit to meet friends), but actually going through with any of the above is so out of reach, despite how routine it might seem when your mind’s being kind. Ellen Scott touches on this in a brilliant article posted on the Metro last week: ‘[Telling me to go for a run to fix my depression] is a reminder that I’m failing to do something everyone else finds simple, that I can’t do something that could help.’

And despite its immeasurable benefits on your self esteem, the endorphins released from exercise are more of a quick-fix mood boost than a long-term solution. Definitely – if I feel up to it – it can help, but it’s not always the answer and can make me feel worse about myself. It’s the horrible feeling of helplessness, knowing that getting your body moving will help give your overwrought mind some balance, but you’re stuck within yourself and your body and mind aren’t working in sync. So you just sit and maybe read and try not to feel, and think about perhaps having a shower (but then probably don’t).

It’s not as simple as doing something that might have worked before either – your circumstances might have changed since your last really low spell, so how you’re going to deal with it will have to change too. Perhaps once, your mental health hack was to pencil in some me-time where you could bob around in your own company, away from other people; but now you’re in a position where you need to surround yourself with others and feel more connected to your friends. If you have a bad day, but then those bad days merge into a string of bad days, and carries on into a bad month, you’re not going to feel that great about yourself. But as you’re already feeling shitty, beating yourself up for feeling bad and not your best self isn’t going to help you get out of that rut. It’s OK to feel quiet and tired and go through a bad patch without wearing make up and trying to put your game face on every day. Instead of constantly being angry at how you feel (‘Why do I feel so fucking awful! If I don’t buck my game up soon, how do I ever expect to achieve anything!’ etc) maybe try accepting that you’re not always going to be 100% fine with life every day of the year, and it’s a feeling that will soon and gradually pass.

I feel much better now, (the looming thing I was so dreading has passed, my friends are awesome, I’ve been extra kind to myself). I started reading fiction again, something that, in hindsight, helped me to crawl out of the hole a bit. I guess it makes sense, when you’re spending a lot of time with only your own thoughts for company – reading a book gives you another voice to listen to. And what joy at finding a sentiment within its pages that feels so right for how you’re feeling at that exact moment, and having that moment all to yourself (rather than seeing it’s already been retweeted hundreds of time). Ah, you think, someone knows exactly how this feeling-I-can’t-quite-articulate feels, and they knew how it felt in 2007, when they wrote this book. That always gives me a bit of a hope, if just for a second. It also makes sense that getting nose-deep into a book is a good way to spend time on your own, because people have been doing it for hundreds of years. Books are great if you crave company. My friend and I used to joke in A-level English that the only reason Tess of the D’urbervilles was considered a classic was because people’s attention spans in the ‘olden days’ could get through 600 pages of Hardy. Sorry if that’s sacrilege and it’s actually a really great read or whatever, I just lost interest four pages in and there was no going back from there. Anyway.

Spending less time in real company and more time scrolling through social media will rarely make us feel better if we’ve hit a bit of a slump and have been holed up inside with unwashed hair for three days. Ways to get around this: Switch off your phone, read for a little while, prioritise dental hygiene, try to leave the house today.

Writing this hasn’t helped me discover anything, really, I just had to write some words down to make something out of what’s been a pretty mopey fortnight. I feel like there’s lots of shareable/wannabe-viral ‘girl power’ posts on the internet that make you feel a little inadequate when you’re feeling down, rather than providing solutions to miserable moods. While the intentions are probably good, there’s less people going ‘I’m struggling right now… but that doesn’t mean I totally suck’. It’s unrealistic and boring to have constantly brilliant moments. Bad feelings will pass, let yourself feel how you have to feel for a little while and I promise, it won’t be forever. You’re doing fine; you are enough.

Here’s something suitably Neil Young to sum up the above:

This week’s rack round-up – 29/01/17

In a weird, flu-induced haze in TK Maxx a few weeks ago, I decided that what I really needed was an organiser for all the piles of magazines and papers that were accumulating on my desk, rather than what I really went in for, which was new pants. The only paper organiser I could find instore was adorned with glittery butterflies, which I was kind of into, but was subsequently won over by the above rack with its gloriously tacky-not-tacky London skyline. The less stuff that’s stored in it, the more [landmarks] you can see, which is kind of a metaphor for life. If anything, these fortnightly posts might inspire me to keep my desk tidier. The rack is there for things to be in easy reach at any given moment, so it’s an apt representation of things that I’m currently into reading/listening to/consuming in all its forms. Welcome to the first instalment of this week’s rack round-up!

1) Been reading… this (glorious) copy of The Fader!

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Oh, Fader, how I love thee – thee who I can pick up in various vintage shops for free! What a seriously gorgeous-looking magazine, though. The quality of the paper, the heaviness of it, *breathes in smugly, nose-deep in the spine of the most-perfect perfect bound publication*. I picked this up in the Covent Garden branch of Rokit – the last in the pile – and now I’m doubting whether it was actually free for the taking. Oh, well. Whoever’s copy of Fader I stole, thank you. The interview with Girlpool by Patrick D. McDermott is one of the best things I’ve read about a band in ages, clearly trying to suppress a fan-boy admiration for these two teen queens of nursery rhyme grunge. You can read the entire thing here (thanks, internet!) – it’s kinda long, but bookmark it for later. Me and my mate Chloe saw Girlpool a couple of years ago at End of the Road festival and it was the highlight of the weekend. I didn’t realise that they were the same age as the both of us at the time, which now just makes me even more heart eyes for everything they’re about. Share the love with me! Like this YouTube video! Now!

There’s also a great feature about faith and what it means to yung thingz today. Everything with the world has gone batshit crazy and I’ve often caught myself thinking about faith of late (particularly over Christmas). Here is that feature for you to read/bookmark/print off etc.

2) *Also* been reading… this book from the School of Life series about how we can exist in cities without losing our collective shit.

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I’m not going to write at length about this (yet), because as you can see, I’ve been busy furrowing through it flagging up its golden morsels of info about how one can best get on in, and with, the city. I’ve been a Londoner now for six months and I love it so much, but as with all relationships, it requires work. Anyway, I’ll write something longer about this when it’s not a Sunday and I don’t have to get to the supermarket before 4pm. City life, amirite.

3) Been listening to… this: over and over and over and over and over. 

fullsizerender-2If a film were to be made following me mooching around in my bedroom over the past three months, this would be the soundtrack. Not the soundtrack in the sense of the album’s politically-charged and so-very-important messages, but the soundtrack in the sense that it just would be on in the background. Seriously, there’s a button on my CD player where you can repeat an album over and over – I don’t know who I wrote that for, perhaps those born post-2000 – and it fills me with an enormous sense of comfort to press that button after I hit play, snug in the knowledge that it’ll be playing as I’ve been tackling monstrous to-do lists. I’ve just graduated from a really intensive fast-track diploma (in journalism! Please hire me!), and the last few months have essentially been an uber-sized task in time management. The way each song flows into the next, how the chord progressions resolve, the way he sings about God – the album was like a lullaby (and sometimes not even ‘like a’, but rather an actual one, having to play it quietly through my phone in order to sleep). Please, for the love of the world, spend your Sunday listening to it. Its themes are particularly pertinent at the moment, when one has to truly ask ‘What [the fuck]’s [really going] on? Read more about the album in this Pitchfork review, here.

Thanks for reading!

T.A.L x

On making busy happen because otherwise you’d be, er, so ‘not busy’, and why it’s okay to sit and wait

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Bathers at the European Health Spa in St. Petersburg, Russia National Geographic | November 1973

On my to-do lists of recent, writing a blog post has always meant to have been at the top, but instead shoved to the bottom for something *more important*. Since I last wrote, I’ve been working 37 ½ hours a week, in a production of King Lear, moved house, and was in Pilton, Somerset, coincidentally at the same time as Glastonbury Festival was on. And luckily we came across some tickets (about three months ago) so went along. It was alright.

For all the blog posts I haven’t written over the past month, I’ve written one thousand in my head. I’ve hit an unfortunate point recently where everything seems to have fallen into place, for the first time in a while, and I’ve hit an unsettling comfortableness.

Comfortable as I’ve been doing all things I really enjoy, but unsettling because I haven’t allowed myself the space to really enjoy them i.e Taking Too Much On Than You Can Deal With Right Now.

The last month has been full burnout, and at times I felt like all I was doing when I wasn’t doing anything was sleeping, only to wake up and CRACK on through to-do lists again. But hey, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, not by any means.

When I was little, I would spend whole days during the summer holidays sitting by the phone, making everyone call me the ‘telephone lady’, and answering every phone call with “Hello, you have reached the Lepore’s household. How may I help you today, ma’am?” I like to be useful. And yet I am the laziest workaholic ever.

In the past couple of months I’ve been trying to up my productivity, with much dismay. I’ve had to completely stop watching the television, and try to cut down my internet time so I can do all of the important and necessary things in my spare time, such as phoning my mother and pruning my bonsai tree.

I want to do so much, and I want it to happen to me now. Why is it that I keep looking at job vacancies online, when I’m five months into a job I’m really enjoying? I’ve been going straight from work to rehearsals then home, to pack my things into a box to move house – but OMG Tara, why haven’t you started on your play yet? You said you’d have a first draft completed by the first week of August! God, you suck!

Being at burnout stage forever makes you have endless wars with yourself. Never being good enough, putting too much pressure on your tiny mind: Oh god! I’m so busy! I can’t do anything!

I had a huge brain vomit the other day when I couldn’t work out if ‘You’ was spelt like that. The Y looked weird and intrusive. I’d been sleeping for five hours a night.

When I feel like I couldn’t possibly write another paragraph, learn a new song, or go anywhere ever again when I have to interact with people – I have to force myself to ask why I wanted to start this in the first place.

Everything I have ever done as a hobby started out as a thought that excited me so much just before I went to bed. I once got so excited at the prospect of performing a one-man version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I got up in the middle of the night and performed it to myself in the conversatory. Now that’s passion.

But being a true burnout makes one devoid of any passion. A lyric I go back to again and again and again is David Bowie’s “My brain felt like a warehouse/It has no room to spare/I had to cram so many things to store everything in there” from Five Years on Rise/Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

I mean, my god. I wouldn’t ever go to ‘warehouse’ as an adjective to describe the ol’ noggin but like, of course I wouldn’t – because I am NOT DAVID BOWIE. That just sticks with me a lot. Cramming things into a WAREHOUSE. There sure is a lot of things in your brain, Mr. B!

I’m obviously not comparing my simple, small-town mind to that of His Holiness, Davey B, but yes – that lyric – followed shortly after by “I never thought I’d need so many people.” Guh. I digress. I know what I meant initially, but I just fangirled too hard, too fast. Listen to it.

Perhaps I just try and keep busy all the time because I am determined to sustain my interest in ALL THE THINGS. I think part of me feels like because I’m not a student, I have to occupy my time with lots of interests and hobbies, to help make up for a lack of degree.

For creativity to be able to flourish, you really need headspace. Quality headspace, long walks, galleons of wine. Ha ha. Although maybe that is what you need.

I took a book out of the library three months ago and have renewed it FOUR times. If it keeps giving this much, I will eventually buy it.

The book is The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy, by Michael Foley. Obviously I took it out because of the title, which is brilliant, but it makes for a mixture of very interesting reading to be ingested in snippets, lest you’re some philosophy square who knows about guys called Nietzsche and Jung.

The whole book is quotable, obviously, that’s why it made it as a book. The Loss of Transcendence chapter is one that’s been bouncing around this big old warehouse over the last few days. He opens the section talking about Our Lord Bruce Springsteen, and how at a huge stadium concert of his, the people sitting nearer the back seemed completely indifferent and uninterested. I was all, but, this is The Boss! I don’t believe that for a second. But then of course I can. The problem is, myself especially included, the more you do, the less bothered you can become about it.

Mr Foley:

“Constant exposure to entertainment has left many incapable of sustained interest, never mind transcendence.”

If we can’t sit still, shut up, or stop wanting things, are we missing out on some of the most important things in life? Truly experiencing things – rather than experiencing things and subsequently uploading them to Facebook, or experiencing things vicariously through other people’s Facebook pages?

Having a self-destructive streak (albeit a small one, closer to a strand), this said something to me:

“The paradox is that the most intense experience of the self is the loss of self.”

We spend our whole week agonising over how our hair looks, our jobs, what our ‘purpose’ is, how you will make sure you save more money next month – i.e A constant will to improve oneself, and then go out and get absolutely blotto at the weekend. It is only human to seek a true, real sense of self and satisfaction, only to want to feel nothing at all on a Saturday and dance to Rocky Horror on the kitchen table.

In order to achieve a more natural, non-narcotic feeling of transcendence, it takes time, and dedication. Be busy, do lots of things, but know they will take time to pay off. You can’t have it all now. You just haven’t earned it yet, baby.

Jeffrey Lewis’ song most wonderful song ‘Time Trades’ is all about doing stuff that takes TIME but will be so worth it.

Foley continues:

“Skill must first be acquired, slowly and frustratingly. There is no immediate gratification. Indeed, there many never be any. But when the skill becomes automatic, the miracle may occur.

“The activity seems to become not only effortless but autonomous – to take over, to assume control, to be running itself. So the musical instrument plays itself, the sword wields itself, the poem writes itself, the dancer does not so much dance as permit music to enter and take over the body.”

So yes, busy yourself, and enjoy it. Just don’t expect the rewards to come by as quickly as your weeks are going. It’s only when we take the time to reflect and become conscious of what we’re working hard on, and possibly wait for however long it will take – without succumbing to the need for immediate gratification – will we truly reap the rewards.

I want to do things properly, with genuine feeling. I want to stop reading books with my laptop open. I don’t want to miss out on all the proper stuff in life cause I’m too busy working on a gazillion things, rushing them, and never speaking properly to my mother. Or tending to my bonsai tree.

Further reading:
Rookie’s Krista Burton wrote this about the joy of things that take TIME.
http://www.rookiemag.com/2015/07/literally-the-best-thing-ever-decades-long-projects/

Mike’s book. Really worth your precious minutes.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Age-Absurdity-Modern-Makes-Happy/dp/1847396275/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438117815&sr=1-2 

Auf wiedersehn!

T.A.L x

the past 7 days – spent in Limbo, spiralling boredom, and art galleries

Some pic, Tumblr, 2015.
Some pic, Tumblr, 2015.

I’m in a good mood right now so am eager to write- thus providing the internet with a totally false, happy-go-lucky, carefree version of myself (which only really is evident for around 20 minutes in a 168 hour week.) So enjoy this you guys! (As I typed this, my speakers broke.)

I’ve had a strange old time this week where I have been under a horrific spell of self-loathing and doubt- that culminated in…nothing of value or use to me.

I wrote a blog post a few days ago basically called…”I’M IN LIMBO AND I AIN’T GOT A SAT NAV” documenting my existential crises of the past 36 hours with a lot of corrosive self pity and shameful put downs.

Feeling a little inbetween (see last post) has blossomed into a huge, weighty, dragged-down feeling of being totally in the realms of absolute limbo. (I googled “in limbo” after writing that, as I am often struck by these fancy phrases that we use in daily life so casually. In limbo! Language is silly, and weird.)

Some of my favourite definitions found (one’s I am relating to):

 

  • To be in Limbo basically means you are subject to circumstances beyond your control that prevent you from doing something.

YES!

  • a place to which persons or things are regarded as being relegated when cast aside, forgotten, past, or out of date

er…yeah YUH!!

 

  • in the Middle-Ages, the Church told people that if they didn’t pay some money to the Church, they would go to purgatory (Christian word for Limbo).

So at least now I know WHY I’m in Limbo. (I never used to put my money in the collection basket.)

 

I feel totally unworthy of things I’m applying for. I know that I’m not really, and I can do it, and I am so capable *exhausts self of hopeful self-affirmation.* I feel stuck in where I am, and I need someone to give me a shot. Maybe I need that someone to be me, and give MYSELF a shot to be more positive and not hold that metaphorical gun to my head every time I begin a new application form.

I didn’t publish it because a) I was in Limbo, with no Wifi, DUH- and b) there’s already too many negative, self-deprecating things on the internet, in my journal and in the world. I know I am feeling really anxious and need some time away from this endless stream of babbling consciousness when I write a sentence that is totally incomprehensible and lacks any sort of cohesion. Usually getting unnecessarily frustrated or upset; I usually cure it by reading a book, of any kind (i.e Princess Diaries 2), like : “Hey! Words do go together!” THUS, my faith in writing is restored and I leave the computer for a bit to go do something SO unrelated, like make banana pancakes, just to, chill, and like be, y’know? (I’m tired.)

Anyway, Saturday is my favourite day as I get to go to London and do some acting classes, so I usually end up coming home feeling pretty inspired and ready to add ANOTHER book based on Stanslavski’s ‘system’ & ‘toolkit’ to add to my Amazon Wishlist.

Currently, I am amidst huge, mounting to-do lists expecting a lot of me daily. They usually begin with SHOWER!!! – which says a lot about my lifestyle. I’m getting a few invitations concerning interviews for workshops and jobs I’ve been applying to which makes the dire process of online application forms and deadlines seem a little more tolerable.

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Meanwhile + ALSO: Last week, I went into town a few hours earlier than I needed to for three reasons. It was a Thursday, I’d a) had another rejection email from a drama school and needed some time spent thinking alone, b) broke one of my nails and needed a repair ASAP, c) planned to go around CV dropping, cause, like, money, and like, money.

On the way to do none of these things, I walked towards our local museum and was wonderfully surprised by the exhibition that had replaced the huge, yellow, swirling inflatable thing that had greeted me on my last visit. (It was eerily noisy.)

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Last autumn I went to a playwrighting workshop set up by Metal Peterborough, an Arts Council funded platform for local artists- where we spoke about the tricky process of beginning to write something proper for stage. I wrote about it here, I think.

I saw some of the winning scripts this week, at a rehearsed reading night, also at the Gallery. Part of me regretted not trying harder at creating something for the project (I initially struggled with playwrighting a lot more than I thought I would)- but the standard of the work produced was so touching and funny that I’ve decided to have another go at it. (I think the key with writer’s block is to begin with a pre-exisiting idea rather than a blank page. Jean Luc-Godard said…*adjusts tie and clears throat with a smug facial expression*: ‘It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.’) Anyway.

The workshop and playwrighting project was in conjunction with the group’s project of last year – ‘Metal Billboard’ – which culminated in the exhibition I saw last Thursday at the museum. The Billboard artwork posed 10 questions, combined with 10 artist’s interpretations of the given text.

  • What happens next?
  • Are migrants not humans?
  • Are you worth it?
  • What’s an Artist worth?
  • Why do animals exist?
  • Can you Fall up?
  • For how much longer do we tolerate mass murder?
  • What role does love play in economics?
  • What is necessary here?

(how about THAT  to clear your writer’s block!!)

In September of last year, 10 of these billboards were up around the city, my favourite being the ‘What Happens Next?’ piece, above above, that is stuck ABOVE my bed (so many aboves) which is probably the reason why I struggle to be able to have ‘lazy days’ at home- as I’m constantly reminded that I should be trying to answer that question.

Combined with this was the ‘100 Journals’ project, which was utterly captivating and eye-opening- I’ve been keeping diaries and scrapbooks for a long time and love nothing more than to nose through other people’s lives.

Unfortunately, as is the nature of journals – people (including me in a ((metaphorically)) double padlock kind of way) tend to keep them secretive. Stumbling across this collection of OTHER people’s journals, just lying there for me to read ON A RED CHAIR WITH LEOPARD PRINT CUSHIONS – I mean ????!!

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Isn’t it a lovely, simple idea: people keeping a collection of their supposedly mundane and everyday thoughts in a cheap notebook which is then displayed in an art gallery for everyone to read. It was nice to realise that there were people living in my city who were just like me, but due to the anonymity of the project, I had no idea who they were. Which is nice really, as they could be anyone.

I have to go, but thanks for reading.

I am working on a few pieces on paper at the moment which I will type up here if I get a free hour or two. (I usually have a free hour or two. Or three.)

All my love,

T.A.L

x

 

having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card – 15/10/14

I am writing from my local library, somewhere I have come to love really too dearly since all of my friends moved away to make it big in bigger cities. Obviously, being a total nerd – quite surprising for those who would see me as a cool, hip young thing with an icy persona, I probably would live in the library – so comforting is it with it’s books, CD’s, DVD’s and internet access. And magazines! You can actually loan out MAGAZINES from the library! I will never have to spend another penny again in my life, which is comforting, as I only have about 14 of those at current.

Caitlin Moran wrote a lovely piece about how libraries are the “Cathedrals of Our Souls” – which is so lovely and true, commenting on the fact that it really is the last places on our high streets where we are still a citizen, rather than a consumer. I also didn’t realise I could use a computer here; obviously I’d seen people on them before but thought maybe that was part of a super deluxe package of being a library member. Alas, here is a free for all. Hooray for libraries!

Meanwhile, I’ve just been back at my former school to return books from THEIR library (a definite recurring theme here today) and was very kindly told since I obviously liked the edition so much (it was a lovely, tatty old version of Le Petit Prince) I could keep it and not pay a fine! Plus my old French teacher signed it for me with the message “meilleur voeux!” Best wishes!

Also, I was told if I wanted to help with the production, I’d need a police check- so am going back for my CRB check tomorrow – l o l x 10000. Is this what adulthood is?

Going to see Gone Girl tonight with Momma. Things are alright, and I think I’m okay at the moment. Began my Gap Year Diploma at Central School on Saturday and it exceeded all expectation- I am very excited to fully commence. Reading everything I possibly can about drama school, and nearly finished my application. Now comes the challenging job of finding suitable audition pieces again………

Sorry that this was such a diary post, but I haven’t had a pen for the last 2 days (only lip liner, and there are tooooo many journal entries in my notebook writing solely in lip liner- and that madness has to stop sometime.)

Write soon,

T A L x

“I have a lot to learn & I’m starting tonight”

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I am feeling pretty excellent today, not in a really loud and shouty way (actually, I am always doing things in a particularly loud and shouty way) – yet I mean I was able to come home this afternoon and sit in a very cool room in my underwear and listen to the whole of First Aid Kit’s ‘The Lion’s Roar’ and Paul McCartney’s ‘Ram’ and not feel frustrated or hungry or crave a cigarette etc, instead just listening to the layers of instruments and thinking, ‘Yes. This is not bad at all.’  (BTW: My dad listened to The Lion’s Roar last night from start to finish and claimed it was the best album he’d heard in 10 years, apart from Fleet Foxes, well, duh.)

It was around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and after ringing a couple of friends I padded about the house for a few minutes, thought to myself ‘Jean Paul-Sartre once said, Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do-‘ and progressed to sit about just as Sartre would want. It reminds me of the time I auditioned for Drama Centre & the little old man asked me what I knew about existential writers (with a smug little smile) and I just said that quote, and smiled. I can’t remember if my audition slot was around 3pm, but my, what a line if it was. I wonder sometimes how I didn’t get a place.

I’ve just got back from a walk with my mother, which is very rare. We only walked the public footpaths around where we live but she still claims she’s never walked it before. When I said, ‘Seriously! I always walk round here.’ – or pointed to a riverbank where I once sat and read Beth Ditto’s autobiography in a whole afternoon (true story), she simply said ‘No you didn’t. Don’t lie’ and carried on walking, complaining of her hay fever and suffering her bad case of hypochondria. I love her very much but I think sometimes it is hard for us to be open with each other. It must be hard to see me growing up as I’m her youngest, and I think my incessant chatter about travelling and my gap year and continuous weekends stumbling home drunk (usually at 7am) is making her miss her youth a little. Still, she rocks and is my rock etc etc.

Meanwhile, I am luckily back into writing in the most frequent way for months; aiming to write for at least half an hour a day- with many of those half an hours spent scribbling, ‘HmMMM??!! What shall I write today??!?’ and then BAM!! Half an hour is up and I am a writer.

Also: reading:

‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ by Hunter S. Thompson, something discovered on the endlessly delightful Brain Pickingsimage (1)

 

 

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Most delightful dedication ever written. Bob Geiger, I love your work (for reasons that need not to be explained here.)

 

 

 

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Greatest chapter titles.

 

 

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& Ralph Steadman’s iconic illustrations (which are sooo tattoo worthy.)

Listening to lots of things, also:

 

 

 

Finally, photo (1)

 

I promise I am done now. Thank you for reading, and for your patience.

X