Tepid rooms, light and dark in equal parts
Light bulbs on, outshone by the shy sun
Dust dancing, rising high, the window is the jail separating me from the sky
Windows propped open slightly, a bee runs past and passes on my room
I can smell Thyme, tea being slow roasted, the heat layers upon heat, my face toasted
Creams and blues and pinks, the walls in the shadows are icy and kind against my cheek, why does summers arrival make me feel so weak.
Books and the act of reading them have always been a great friend to me, I was a wee book worm when I was young, but with the increasingly exciting and visually stimulating world of ze Internet always in my hands I admit that my friend must often take a backseat. I am sure everyone can relate to this issue, where you plan to be productive and enlighten your mind once you get back in from a tough day of 'making it' in work but in reality you just sit on the sofa and start swiping. Instagram swiping for me for I am a married lady but I'm sure Grinder and Tinder swiping provide the same kind of frustratingly addictive distraction. So with this said, I decided to get a grip and start on a journey of rediscovering my love for reading. Below I am going to talk about what I have read, what I am reading and what book I cannot wait to get my filthy Internet addicted hands on.
For Christmas, my hubbie surprised me with two great books including 'I Call Myself a Feminist' which is a collection of short essays written by twenty five feminists under the age of 30. I was really excited to get started on this book because as I get older and more interested in the intricacies of life and politics and experiences that are outside of my own personal experience, books like this for me really are a pathway to becoming the person I want to be. A more enlightened, understanding, passionate person. From start to finish this book really spoke to me and had me totally engaged, there were so many eureka moments reading it in bed where I shouted out 'I feel the same way!'. It puts to bed the condescending theory that all feminists are man haters and talks to women in a way that we can all relate to. We have all had moments I'm sure were being a woman has made us think we have to act in a certain way that is not natural to us, where we have felt that we had to conform to a certain standard or look a certain way and it is liberating to hear these women talk about breaking out of these stereotypes and acting exactly how they want to. It made me want to question everything I have ever been told about being a woman. The book contains essays from a wide variety of women also, from a mix of backgrounds, religions and sexual orientations which just adds to the rich tapestry of the text. I recommend it highly to both women and men as we all need to be feminists to create a society of true equality between the sexes.
"Now and in the future patriarchal attitudes will benefit no one, least of all the men."
Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes
I am currently in the middle of reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran". A book about reading, how apt! I bought this book in a brilliant bookshop in Liverpool 'News from Nowhere'. It grabbed my attention as it is a memoir focused around the transformative power of books set in a place that I am fascinated by. I really love the book so far, it is often a sad read as it clearly depicts the painful lack of freedom and self expression suffered by the central characters in Tehran but it is insightful and often hopeful simultaneously, using the imagery and central ideas used in the western literature they study. One line I love is " I remember Nabokov's claim that "readers were born free and ought to remain free". No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, you will always have the freedom of your mind. Through these banned pieces of literature, the book group are finding ways to be free using their imagination even though they are physically bound by the act of covering themselves up and not acting in ways that may upset the authorities. The book also acts as an account of the Iranian revolution in the 70's, Azar talks of how the country went from being a increasingly westernized country run by a Shah to an Islamic Republic. It is so interesting as I am from a generation who only remembers Iran as a deeply religious country troubled by War. My mum's generation remember it's beauty and freedom and progressive attitudes towards women and education so to see this woman's freedom erode so quickly aswell as the freedom of her colleagues and friends is really sad. I think it will be a book that I will re-read and re-read again over the years as there is so much to take from it, you are immersed in their world once you open up the pages and it is a hard world to forget once it is closed.
So next on my list to read is 'The Lonely City, Adventures in the Art of Being Alone' by Olivia Laing, I bought this on a day where I was feeling particularly morose and kind of fed up with the weather and my surroundings and so this quite mysterious book about being alone in New York really appealed to me. It feels like it is going to be one of those books where not much happens but everything happens if you catch my drift, like one of those episodes of 'Girls' where Hannah wanders off into the countryside and skulks around in a floral tea dress and boots to the soundtrack of some hipster folk band from Williamsburg. It's cover talks about the resisting and redeeming of loneliness and how it is all bound up into a discussion of the magic possibilities of art which sounds just wonderful. I can't wait to dive in.
Over the years, inevitably we collect many things; heirlooms, treasures, gifts, mementos from good times. I collected a few of these types of things together recently and wanted to put them together in a cool way and make a part of my living room. I love really eclectic interiors that tell a story and remind me of different parts of my life so it felt good to put everything together. I bought a copper tray from H&M (amazing, rather cheap interior stuff, recommended!) and arranged them and I'm so happy with it.
The gold, Moroccan tea pots are a family heirloom and add a little bit of an eastern vibe alongside my candles which were gifts from friends. The bowl at the back is made out of a coconut shell and was bought on a hen do trip and the small camel at the front is also a family heirloom which I really need to learn the history of as I am sure there is an exotic tale to be told from this. Together they create such a great focal point in the room and a connection to family and friends which is so important to me to have in my living space.
I don’t understand,
I don’t understand
I don’t understand
How can you rain terror and pain into the life of another soul, to another person who has eyes and a mouth and a heart, who is like you, who is like me. How can you bring people to their knees and bury them alive so far beneath ground that their life is not their own. How can you watch children break in two, seeing their parents killed and their short existence be changed forever? What makes you feel nothing? What makes you feel the fold of a dollar note but not the destruction of a person, what is worth it?
I don’t understand
I hope there is a God, I hope there is a heaven, I hope there is something incredible at the end of the road for the people who have suffered. I look for answers, I look for hope, I look for reasons why but there are none. I look at the sky at night, the sky we all live beneath. I ask the sky please do something, you watch over us all. Please show them something in you tonight that lets them know we think of them.
I don’t understand
I want you to look into the eyes of a woman who has ran, who has ran to save her children, a man who took the weight of the world onto his back to save his family, look into their eyes and feel the despair in their tears and tell me why? Just please tell me why…
Please never be sad or glance down at the floor hurt by life, there is always someone looking at you from afar thinking all you do is right
When you feel unloved or surrounded by a tall, brick wall please do remember there is always more
There will always be someone who thinks you are cool or understands why you do the things you do
Sometimes they may just be quiet and never feel the confidence to tell you
Always know that you are not alone even though it feels that way, there is a circle of friends you never knew you had hoping that you stay
With the smiling dog who pirouettes through the leaves on his way to his favourite park,
I fall hard for the shy smile of a quite man on whom life has made its mark,
For the fizzing spirit of a young child careering wildly round a shop,
Or the struggling teen who worked so hard and finally came out on top,
For the people who show their heart and sacrifice their comfort for others who are in need,
For the brave ones who speak their mind and share their passion and plant a little seed,
For the mother whose every second is filled with love for her children, her beautiful little things
For the ones who open up their arms and do not judge, for them my heart truly sings.
Written by Sophie Brown