June and new beginnings

May disappeared in a thick mist.  Sunny days came and went, and I preferred when it rained.  I love the sound of heavy droplets incessantly pattering against the tin roof of our building.  Lucky to be on the top floor.  I lit candles, different colours for different purposes, while I sat in my jammies and wrote profile after profile to bring in a little spending money for summer.

The city is still a mess.

bus stop

Now my work is finished, and yesterday I finally found my flow again when I spent the afternoon in Jackson, Mississippi; 4,000 words pouring out of me rekindling memories of guns and swamps and sleazy strip clubs.  Still, I feel weak and shy, a hermit recluse sensitive to the daylight.  But I must come out of my hiding place now.  A long holiday is coming up – a month with various family members – and it excites me as much as scares me.  Better start packing; we’re off tomorrow night.

Last weekend we went to visit our dear friends in Kidderminster.  We went on a steam train along the River Severn and life feels very different up there, among woods and wildflowers.  Perhaps we are beginning to plot our escape.

train01train04train03train02train05

Read a blog post today.  It was nice, it had the usual message of ‘let things fall apart, that’s how they come together again’ sort of message.  But there was a particular passage that tickled me and I wanted to keep here for a later day.

“I know mountains grow because of their fault lines. I know lakes turn that gorgeous shade of turquoise because of their silt. I know jewels are formed under pressure. I know trees can grow through rocks, and rivers can break canyons …

I know the earth smells fabulous after a hard rain, and I know she breathes. I know out of the destruction of forest fires, new and stronger ecosystems can emerge. I know there is life in the deepest depths of the ocean and her tides can soften stone.” (Jacquelyn Taylor)

It will be good to get away for a while.  I’ll go breathe in the German mountains and swim in the Swedish lakes and completely refresh myself.  I will nurture my relationship with my book, offering it its due time and respect.  I will regain my strength and stop being such a sorry-ass wimp.  Once I accept that I’m a wimp and that’s okay, maybe then I will finally stop being one.  Ain’t that always the way?

 

Ambles and frolics

Last weekend Mike and I went for a long walk in surprising 16 degree sunshine.  Life went in a blink from drizzly winter’s end to blazing summertime, with exuberant dogs splashing on the riverbanks, posh people gathering over fro-yos and bottles of Pinot in Richmond, black-haired teenagers smoking weed and kissing on benches, and rustic riverboats covered in flower pots and drying laundry floating past, leaving behind a scent trail of barbecues and beers.  I climbed onto a seemingly abandoned wreck and immediately got told off by a river hobo.  We walked for five hours from Kingston to Barnes, and finished with a golden and well-deserved pint after the sun had set over Kew Gardens.  Turns out the Thames is a hella lot longer than one might think.

IMG_3417rsIMG_3463rslondon dogIMG_3632rsMike upon Thames IMG_3623rs IMG_3667rs

Though I’m fairly certain I would be a happier, more confident person if I lived in a sunnier country, I could never be without the seasons.  I’d love to always be skipping around in flowy dresses and flip-flops, but there is nothing quite like the relief of spring and people flocking outside to soak up the long-awaited rays.

Now the cloud cover is back, and I’m snuggled up on the sofa with Mike and coffee and fairy lights.  Mike practices Swedish (“kvinnan läser tidningen … flickorna dricker mjölk”) while I write.  There’s nothing I love more than the sound of a clicking keyboard, effortlessly shaping thoughts into words.  I just wish I could find a direct link to the creative muse, so that I could open the download stream and get into flow at will.  My book seems to be trapped in a pressure cooker and I’m scared to remove the lid, so instead I read others’ stories to see if I can replenish my creative dam and avoid stagnation.  As a clinical people-pleaser, it’s a significant effort to wash away projections and assumptions and just write how I want it to read.  “Gotta get to the center… Run off with a dancer…”

Otherwise I mostly spend my days in useful writing sessions and inevitable pint o’clocks with Zoe at Dial Arch, and having a writing companion is immensely helpful.  We read and review each other’s work, vent our frustrations, share stories and ideas, and justify each other’s drinking.  What fortunate timing.

Thursday fizzies

When life is miserable, it’s okay to spice a Thursday with some gin and sparkling lemon water. Now I’m gently tipsy, have finally put on some laundry and the dishwasher is empty, and The People’s Key is rattling through our flat.

Work is dragging on and I’m not sure how long it will be before I find a successor to claim my threadbare secretary throne. Every day I’m dreaming of faraway locations and unfathomable adventures, or just of simple pleasures such as spending a day at home with our French press and the steady clickety-clack of my keyboard. Yet every day I find myself, inescapably, pressed up against sweaty strangers on the DLR, shuddering beside sniffling zombies on the District Line, and sighing forlornly before a screen which is shouting at me, ‘same shit, different day’.

This morning I started reading Getting Stoned With Savages, where the author is trapped in the horrific daily grind of Washington D.C.’s banking world, when he realises that he is not a “soft Italian leather shoe man” but a flip-flop man, and escapes to the silent, white beaches of Vanuatu. I can’t help but think that everyone would be better off in flip-flops, sipping coconut water under a cordial sun.

Mike and I went to Greenwich for a spontaneous date night. Mike was cute as ever and I had butterflies in my hair. Greenwich, true to form, had nothing much to offer, and after considering various menus and meal prices, we ended up in our much-trusted Wetherspoons, where fresh-faced students were catching up after a long Christmas break.
mike

mike

mike

kajsa palsson

kajsa palsson

kajsa palsson

wetherspoons