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  • a place to which persons or things are regarded as being relegated when cast aside, forgotten, past, or out of date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

 

Inbetween Days – 20/1/2015

John Baldesarri- I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971. This piece really struck with me because...SIMPSONS.
John Baldesarri- I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971.
This piece really struck with me because…SIMPSONS.

So, there I was, minding my own business, having a nothing sorta day when suddenly The Inbetweeners came on television, and something really touched me about the fragile nature of the human condition and the delicate relationships withi…. EDIT: Just kidding! I wouldn’t do that to you.

I feel as if I’m in a bit of an inbetween currently- but I don’t mind too much. At least not too much of the time anyway. I’d consider myself a generally outgoing, sociable creature, but I sometimes feel best at home, on my own in my room, drawing on my knees with felt tip or reading the same books I read when I was 13. I had a bit of a freak out last week when I realised the life I am currently leading is essentially that of a day off sick from school, but EVERY DAY, which is, like, so dreamy, but also: YOU CANNOT JUSTIFY TOAST AS A PART OF EVERY MEAL.

Something I have observed though, having given my brain a chance to cool down over the past couple of days, is that some of us don’t feel like we’re accomplishing anything unless we’re totally burning out. There is a sort of satisfication in total exhaustion, like *Oh, my little body is aweary of this great world, how will it survive if I ever take a day off from perfectionism and do a Ferris Bueller?* Take some time, if you need some time! The world will keep spinning, babe. Anxiety is so not the new black, and when hitting a bad spell of it, e v e r y fucking thing can feel like such a life changing decision.

I know I’ve hit a bad place when my mind is whirring through every bad-case scenario ever, all of the consequences of every decision I’ve made, and then, oh, I’m at the front of the queue and I begin to speak but don’t recognise my own voice, so speaking sounds (or as a medical professional might say: FORMING WORDS) becomes really difficult for me- and so commences the bouts of low self-esteem. For someone who has a shitload to say all the time, my stammer (which is infrequent but has persistently been part of my life since I was young) can feel quite devastating at times. In high-pressure scenarios especially (interviews, auditions) if I feel like a separate entity from my body due to a bad week, a lot of self-inflicted doubt, or a particularly condescending individual, finding my voice can be difficult. More often than not I struggle the most when tired or stressed, and then comes the frantic search for a synonym with a different consonant, but never quite being able to say the word you mean, thus sounding so-not-verbose, or whatever the opposite of verbose is (See, synonyms just ain’t my forté)

Anyway, that week has blown over now, and I am feeling much more like myself. I know I am in a much better place because I am out of bed by 8am, have applied for two jobs today and am writing this blog post. Interestingly, furthermore to what I’ve already said about ‘feeling 13 again’ *sigh*- it has not come totally without advantages. There is a fear of returning to the habits of our former selves, especially when we’re constantly striving for self-improvement. However, as long as I don’t return to any negative, self-inflicting natures of my younger years, surely it can only be a good thing to regain some of the aspirational ambition I had 5 years ago?

For example, I used to write a lot more when I was that age, but now I just…er..don’t…have the time? (I have a lot of time.) I mean, yes, I don’t have like, SEVEN unrequited crushes to write lengthy essays on – (these days, I tend to just draw huge, wobbly smiley faces on every page as a reference to my current beau) but I miss that feeling of just creating stuff as a form of release. I filled a scrapbook from the ages of about 12-16, it took me FOUR YEARS but I still filled it right to the end.

Some things are nice without deadlines. The immense sense of accomplishment once finished took me by total surprise, because I had no pre-conceived ideas of what it should look like, I just did it for fun.
Perhaps the best thing about this year ‘off’ has been the ability to have 24 hours totally to myself to read what I want, write what I want, listen to what I want. Truly things that I want to do right at that moment, not on a syllabus, not syllabus-related, not something that might make me look good on my personal statement. Sixth form totally starved me of enjoying learning, although I tried to at the time- but I felt really empty of positivity.

They say old habits die hard, I was (maybe still am) in a harmful cycle of perfectionism, comparison, pessimism. Feeling sorry for yourself is the easy way out of most situations, but self-pity can be so corrosive. This pattern can become so commonplace, but even changing your routine in tiny ways can slowly change your perception, which is a form of self-improvement that is more patient and more rewarding.

Repeating positive affirmations when you wake up could make all the difference, i.e “Take what you need from today”, or “You are totally shit hot, talented, and one of a kind and you must not settle for anything but the best” – whatever, each to their own.

This post totally didn’t turn out as I’d planned, but now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say anyway. I didn’t even realise I wasn’t talking about whatever I’d wanted to say for the last 40 minutes, so maybe the above is more authentic. Whatever. Who even cares? I’m gonna get a beer.

All my love,

T.A.L x

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”- Audrey Hepburn

“Can I write a piece about you now that you’ve made it?” – A review of Belle & Sebastian’s new record!

(Caitlin Moran said something once about if you want to be a writer, you must learn how to be a writer on a treadmill, lest you will die from eating biscuits. I feel the same applies to a gap year.)

A still from the band's new video, Nobody's Empire.
A still from the band’s new video, Nobody’s Empire.

Hi hello hi! I haven’t written for around 2 months, but I’m back today for a specific reason- we have had the new Belle & Sebastian album unleashed to us, and I couldn’t help but take a listen, in the same way that I can’t help but eat another biscuit. It’s called Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, which we so do, and it’s released on Matador next week. I feel guilty, and ashamed as J pre-ordered the LP for me for Christmas, but I still couldn’t help but take a listen. In a way that a New Year often promises a feeling of fresh starts and beginnings, it seldom does compared to the excitement behind a new album, especially when it’s their ninth studio album, and the previous 8 have been highly regarded as ‘my jam.’

I saw them play in Paris, Halloween 2014, where they played some of the new material- much to the approval of myself and Ella, and these 2 or 3 European guys who we befriended for the night, quietly discussing beforehand which was our favourite B-side as we sat on the ground in our cardigans so we were near the front (we weren’t in cardigans but let’s just create the twee dream.)

The album opens with Nobody’s Empire, and although not initially loving it, I now really really rate it, especially as an opening track. I think I wasn’t listening to it at all at first, I was just playing it as background music, tossing my hair back like ‘Zzuuh, nothing will ever beat The Model, or whatever.’ But then I played it, thought about it, listening to the lyrics along with the lovely Marx-and-Engels-y piano, and decided I was into it, really hard. Essentially, an autobiographical song about the frontman of your favourite band, is the best thing ever in a fangirl sense. The song talks about Stuart’s struggle with ME, dealing with a chronic illness, lying in bed feeling all useless,

“I was like a child, I was light as straw
When my father lifted me up there
Took me to a place where they checked my body
My soul was floating in thin air”

Very cool. A great opening choice, it reminds me of Thunder Road, the notorious opener of Born to Run by Springsteen, with it’s storytelling-y, piano-y beginning, into a big sounding, life affirming sound as the song builds and builds. Also he sings, “If I had a camera I’d snap you now, cause there’s beauty in every stumble”, which makes me swoon- BECAUSE I AM ALWAYS STUMBLING, METAPHORICALLY AND PHYSICALLY.

Track 2 is called Allie, supposedly the female perspective in which Stuart writes from for this album. I can’t possibly comment on this track as it opens with Stevie, ‘ba-da-da’ing, which is too much for a fangirl. You’re just like, OMG! It’s Stevie! And he’s ba-da-ing!

Anyway. What I can disclose about this song, what I like about it, is the same old, trusted B&S formula- which is all like, ‘Angry girl gets angry about things and we sing about it with pretty 60’s melodies and instruments.’ It just works, “You made a list of all your heroes & you thought about what they went through/ It’s much harder, much darker than anything that happened to you.” I can relate to that, I’m ashamed to admit. That frustration of being a teenager and wanting anything ANYTHING to happen to you, no matter what, it’s just something that will trigger you to move out, or write a song, or get a haircut. Kind of wanting to pursue the *ahem* struggle of something to get a story, if anything, out of it- but then in reality just sitting around in your pants eating Wotsits watching Netflix. Adolescence.

Next up, The Party Line! This is the first single released from the record, so if you haven’t heard it already, you probably already have in H&M or something. (I’m not denouncing them as sell-outs, I did actually hear this in H&M, and internally squealed, bopping my head in a nervous, twitchy sort of way for 3 minutes, probably looking like I’d shoplifted something.) I totally hated this song when I first heard it, and mourned the loss of my band- before the curse of the fangirl hit and I was like- HEY!! GUYS!! CALM IT! IT’S JUST A DIFFERENT DIRECTION!’ I thought it was too repetitive and tinny-sounding, and nothing *sigh* like Judy and the Dream of Horse *sigh*, but then I got over it, and now it’s my alarm. It dances me out of bed, every day. Favourite line goes to: “Where were you when I was king in this part of town?” I love the idea of fallen popularity, the more local the better; being ‘famous’ within the teenage population of your hometown. Just for wearing a cool leather jacket, shaving your head, etc.

The Power of Three is lovely, and Sarah is singing. The Cat With the Cream has some lovely, beautiful melodies with some sacred sounding strings. Enter Sylvia Plath is a total mess, and sounds like the Pet Shop Boys, but hey, I’ll probably love it by next week. The Everlasting Muse is a fantastic load of fun, with a Greek sounding chorus, a sound favoured by me and my friends, who happily danced to Zorba the Greek and Dominick the Donkey, on repeat for a long time on New Year’s Eve. Before I get quoted on that, it doesn’t sound remotely like Zorba the Greek, but hey, I am not equipped to write serious, proper album reviews. It just reminded me of NYE. This is a first listen, OK, guys.

Perfect Couples has the perfect (lol) Sympathy for the Devil sounding introduction, before it explodes into BASICALLY THE BEST PARTY SONG OF 2015. Maybe not a party party song, but the song to play as you set out the cheese before the party. It could so be in a musical. Oh, a Belle & Sebastian musical. They played this in Paris to a background montage of a very stylish, very choreographed scene of a living room party. It was all just très cool, bèbè.

The next song, Ever Had a Little Faith?, was so perfect for today, and is good, old fashioned B&S, with lyrics so perfect for rainy bus journeys, “Something good will happen, wait and see/ Do you spend your days second guessing fate?” & “Drop your sad pretence/ You’ll be doing fine, you will flourish like a rose in June.”

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Aural proof new albums provide more hope than a new year ever could. (The last 3 tracks also exist for you to stream, along with all the above tracks I’ve spoken about, but I have a to-do list the length of my leg. Also, with my ideal album at 35 minutes, the running time of just over an hour is too much for my ears and their poor stamina)

Stream it here:

In other news, I’m glad Christmas is over, spent 4 nights  in 2 different hotels in the past 7 days, was in Dublin last week, am in London twice this week and in Cambridge at the weekend to see First Aid Kit, again. Things could be worse.

Thanks for staying with me, if you did (which if you’re reading this- you did! So like, uh, thanks!)

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

Things and more things – “It’s October 3rd”

Mini Paradise from Above my Desk with a Photo- Emma Dajska
Mini Paradise from Above my Desk with a Photo- Emma Dajska

I must make this post as short/or as a fast- as I can, as it is one of those beautiful, early-day in October sort of days where the sunshine is lazy and you can wear a jumper and drink tea whilst soaking up the warmth.

I’ve been offered a place on the Gap Year Diploma at the Central School of Speech and Drama! How grand. I may have wrote that in my last post. I literally have no idea what I post on here, no real recollection, and people say like “Oh yeah! I read that on your blog!” and I cringe deeply, in horror and regret ever saying words, ever.

The course should hopefully be very helpful for my application to drama schools again this year (if I EVER get round to it) – and really, REALLY hopefully be a good investment and starting point for me as a serious, professional actor-er in the long run. I plan to write about my drama school audition experience this year on here, as I’ve read a few and they can be very reassuring and helpful.
I feel very positive about me as a creative person right now, with the promise of this and new writing opportunities – and I can only thank certain people (particularly him) brimming with endless-optimism, general romanticism for life and genuine belief in me for that. I am very lucky, and grateful for First Aid Kit and their latest release for instilling literally ALL hope and resilience that us young lay-deez can essentially do anything, if we’re Swedish and have a sister.

(OH YES, we saw First Aid Kit last Wednesday- very very quickly, it was breathtaking – and I cried for the VERY beginning to the end, and then some, and spent a LOT of money on Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. A LOT.)

I am enjoying gap year life a lot more than I thought I would. Yes, I have to write nightly to-do lists just to ensure I get out of bed in the morning, but I am reading a LOT, (finally getting through the reading list that catastrophically built up in my stressful last year at school) – I can eat lunch, or brunch, or both, and then have a pre-dinner before dinner (bliss)- I can go for a run at 2pm, or 11pm, watch films, watch make-up tutorials on YouTube, read plays, scrapbook for HOURS, it really is a utopian lifestyle for me, the born-again, totally-devout procrastinator.

I have so much more to say but I’ll save it for my long-suffering journal pages. My mum thinks I’m getting too skinny, so keeps ‘treating’ me by leaving chocolate in the fridge to (her words, not mine) ‘fatten me up.’

I have to go now, there is a KitKat Chunky put in the fridge before I started writing- which should be perfectly chilled by the time I click Publish.

Enjoy the sunshine, mamasitas.

All my love, TAL. X

It’s not impossible/unfathomable/unusual ~~& *future plans* & a catch up

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Good afternoon! Being off school for the next two weeks, I firmly told myself in the mirror that I must aim to be out of the house by noon each day, and, being 12:03pm as I write, it is nice to be like ‘Fuck you, me!’ It has helped with meal times though, I have been known to wake at half 12, have some breakfast, and then immediately follow it with some lunch because ‘well, it is lunchtime.’

Anyway, things are good! I have 3 days off now with no school or work, and I’ve treated myself by finally emptying my Amazon basket and turning it into a real delivery that will turn up at my doorstep in a couple of days (if I have sufficient funds, fingers crossed.) It wasn’t much anyway, just things I’ve wanted for a while, including Pink Martini’s, ‘Splendor in the Grass’, Godard’s Au Bout De Souffle (which I have literally wanted for over a year) and some iron on patches- great conversation starter, especially with cute boys with floppy hair in pop-up bars.

There is a lot going on at the moment, I’ve decided to take a gap year (an involuntary one, of course, thank you drama school) but no, actually it seems like a really good thing for me right now, and I finally will get to s
ee my beloved Europe- still young, blonde and unaware of danger. This blog might begin to slide towards travel writing/hoping/dreaming etc, I want to go there so exciting and with the highest expectations that I will have to fulfill as a matter of necessity. Yes, I have such a romanticised view of it, which derives from too much teen trash novels- which means I have too much of a romanticised idea of pretty much everything.

I am probably going to Interail it all, and am particularly excited about travelling through Italy, where my dad’s side are from. If anyone’s been through this all before, please get in touch! I want to know the best places to go, eat, drink, dance etc.

This wasn’t supposed to be a post about this, but I guess that is what it’s now become. I really must leave now though,  I have to meet a friend about a little upcycling business we’ve started up (you will no doubt be hearing about this too!)

Write very soon, I promise. (Setting myself up to fail, as per.)

P.s Glastonbury line up half announced, next 3 months have POTENTIAL!!!!!

Tay x