Jon went away for almost a week on a VIP trip to exclusive Champagne Houses with one of our best friends, who was celebrating his fortieth birthday. My mum heroically looked after us while he was away. Jon returned with a happy heart and a full car – we are now fully stocked with champagne for the next decade or so.
My BFF and her husband are going to the Far East – to live – for two whole years. I am excited for them and sad for me, and it was really lovely to be able to spend the weekend and do a proper send-off. The boy prayed a lovely prayer for them before they left, and this made me cry a whole lot.
The boy can now write his whole name – with no prompting. I find this both weird and very exciting. I’m sure we didn’t learn to write until we were five. He also taught me the word ‘halocline’, which was an unnerving experience. My kid is three, and already he’s expanding my vocabulary. This month he went to his first party, and returned deliriously hyped up on fun and sugar.
I celebrated another year of age! I got an art journal and oil pastels as a present (see below), and had a nice chilled-out day at home, with some steak and paleo cheesecake (yum).
My friend Abby gave me this (‘His banner over me is love’), made from pages of John Steinbeck, and sent all the way from America. It sits above my ‘day bed’, where I do my writing, and it makes me happy.
- Circle of friends – I loved this book about three friends growing up together in small-town Ireland and being introduced to the temptations of suitors in Dublin. The film had much of the book’s sweetness. Although the acting was great (Minnie Driver was perfect for the role), the screenplay took all of the shock and twists out of the plot of the book, which was a little disappointing. So – although the film was still enjoyable, get the book, not the film.
- Fair Game – this film stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, about the whole ‘weapons of mass destruction’ debacle and the war in Iraq, based on a true story. I’ve watched a few films on this issue now, but this was really interesting to have the perspective from the secret service, rather than politicians or army. It was fairly compelling viewing, and we sat in silence, a little stunned afterwards. Powerful film, and wonderfully acted. Worth viewing.
- American Idol – this is probably my favourite line-up of judges ever. I am a big fan of Harry Connick Jr’s glasses. I’m rooting for Alex and Jena.
- Revenge – a guilty pleasure.
- Nashville – dear writers: please, please let Gunner and Scarlet sing together ALL THE TIME.
- Musketeers – I can’t wait for season two.
- Found – Micha Boyett (see my review earlier). Brilliant book. Get it from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk
- I also read two pages of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as recommended by Leigh Kramer. The first two pages are really good. It’s really cheap on Amazon.co.uk at the moment.
(Reading didn’t really happen this month.)
- Penny and Sparrow – ten boom. I fell in love with the song Heroes and Monsters (“the moon’s gonna rise no matter what”), when Elora played it for a Story Sessions Write-in and have been searching for this album ever since. Their sound is sort of indie-folk, campfire harmonies, singing wistful tunes. It’s a nice album to blog to. You can’t seem to get it in the UK, just MP3 download on Amazon.com, so I was delighted to find it on noisetrade briefly (sadly no longer there).
- Gungor – I am Mountain. I have learnt that a Gungor album takes about three listenings before it’s ripe, and I still feel like I am getting under the skin of this album. The sound is really fun – a sort of Wild West edge to it, like the Kill Bill sound track, and there are some great rhythms. The lyrics seem to be less overtly Christian than previous albums, and more about trying to seek and find meaning in the world. You can catch them singing I am Mountain, A Long Way Off and Yesternite live on Relevant.magazine.com, which will give you an idea of the album. My favourite at the moment is ‘the beat of her heart’, based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the underworld – it’s just haunting. I love everything they produce, and in many ways this is more accessible and catchy than their second album. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or amazon.com.
Someone needs to remind me just how long an ME relapse takes to recover from. It’s now 10 weeks, and I’m still not back to where I was in January, still rationing every energy-spend carefully, still limiting phonecalls or Skype conversations with friends to 3 per week. I’m starting to wonder whether this is my new normal. Since the suspected labyrinthitis back in October, I also spend much of the day feeling dizzy. It feels like I’m on a boat and have maybe had a glass of wine as well – the walls and floors don’t always stay where they should. (It’s a good job I like wine and boats). Another month has passed with no book-writing, and I am being gentle with myself. The words will come when they are ready to.
This is a ‘collective’ from Story Sessions – a bunch of us are exploring art journalling for the first time. Elora Ramirez, leading the group, introduced me to the concept. This is more like a journal than a sketch book or scrap book – where you record your feelings, but through colour and swirls and ‘found poetry’ and quotes. It’s SO MUCH FUN. I am very musical and good with words, but I am decidedly unartistic, so this is a step into the unknown for me. I am limited to pencil and oil pastel, as I can do that lying down (watercolour requires sitting-up energy, which is pretty scarce these days), but there is something transformative about slowing down enough to colour in a word or phrase, and it is really good for me. I am a massive fan. Here are some pages to give you an idea:
Found poetry – (see pic above) is where you rip a page out of a book, and underline phrases that jump out at you, then make a poem from those phrases, just as you found them. It’s poetry for cheats! Such fun! (This one was taken from the pages of a violent thriller – makes for a great angry-poem). I am lucky to be tutored by Jamie Bonilla, who is the expert on found poetry and makes beautiful things every day from words and colour.
Over to you:
- What were you into in March?
Linking up with Leigh Kramer.