“On not fighting nightmares”

Written in August 2017

On nights like this
I press my back up against the wall.
I let the edges of my bed indent my skin,
the space is too small for my limbs and your nightmares.

If you’d let me, we’d stay up all night,
and I’d paint galaxies on the back of your hands to remind you how inferior nightmares are.
But I cannot wake you or make the swirls in your breath go away,
so I shrink further back, I give you space.
There is nothing I can do to make it better.

Instead, I place soft fingers on your back
and write bright letters on the dark ceiling,
for you to see in a dream.
I turn to the moon for spelling
and to the stars for punctuation,
and wait for morning
in silence.

-Andrea

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March Wrap Up

Hello, you!

I’m trying to come up with fancier names for these monthly wrap up posts, but for now the titles are what it says on the tin!

I know we all say this, but where did March even go? Just a minute ago I commented on how February blew past without me noticing and suddenly it’s April. I can also proudly proclaim that I only fell for one April’s Fools joke yesterday, which for ‘lil gullible me is a new record.

However, as March has waved goodbye, here’s my monthly video; little snippets and tidbits that I’m hoping to look back on one day and go “oh, I remember that!” Loved ones were hugged, many mugs of teas were drunk and new challenges were faced head on. March was a good one.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day,
-Andrea

WWW Wednesday, 6/03-19, Welcome back, Creativity

Hello and welcome to another WWW Wednesday!

I’m feeling creative these days, and thankfully, there are a lot of projects I can channel that creative energy into. I’m working on a cross stitch piece for a workshop I’m a part of, I really want to write again (I’m just not sure what), and I’ve just gotten my hands on some exciting new books. So what better time to do a WWW Wednesday post!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, and anyone can join the fun! All you have to do is answer three simple questions (“The three Ws”):

-What are you currently reading?
-What did you just finish reading?
-What are you planning on reading next?

I am currently reading:
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Cathy and I went to see this play broadcasted at the Cinema in Winchester last winter, and I loved the intrigue, the confusion and the strange and wonderful characters. Yesterday I found it for £2.50 in a little Swanage book shop, and I’m working my way through it now. So far very good!

Blurb:
Variously melancholy, lyrical, joyous and farcical, Twelfth Night has long been a popular comedy with Shakespearian audiences. The main plot revolves around mistaken identities and unrequited love. Both Olivia and Orsino are attracted to Viola, who is disguised as a young man; and Viola’s brother, Sebastian, finds that he is loved not only by Antonio but also by Olivia.
While offering broad comedy, Twelfth Night teasingly probes gender-roles and sexual ambiguities.

I just finished reading:
The Hat by Selima Hill

This isn’t the sort of poetry I usually read just for fun, but we had another one of Hill’s books, Jutland, as a set text for a poetry module last year, and I do really like her style. It’s playful and witty and truly bisarre. I think I’ll have to read it again, though, to really get under its skin!

Blurb:
Selima Hill’s latest collection, The Hat, is a disturbing portrayal of a woman’s struggle to regain her identity. Her story emerges through a series of short poems, often related to animals: how she is preyed upon and betrayed, misunderstood, compromised and not allowed to be herself. Like all of Selima Hill’s books, The Hat charts ‘extreme experiences with a dazzling excess’, with dark humour and surprising combinations of homely and outlandish.

Next, I’ll be reading: 
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

A reread of an old favourite; I love Neil Gaiman’s books and the strange worlds he creates! I read this the first time when I was fifteen, and keep coming back to it, for the rich character gallery, the edge-of-your-seat moments and the biting dialogue. Chris Riddel’s beautiful illustrations are also a reason for why this book is a work of art.

Blurb:
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.

So these are my reads right about now. How about you, what have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these, and if so, what did you think? And if you’ve got a WWW Wednesday post up today, pop a link in the comments and I’d love to have a look!

I hope you’re having a wonderful day,
-Andrea

“Old Harry Rocks”

Written on the 21st of October, 2018.

The hillside is full of sheep.
They graze the grass we walk on, they don’t mind the steep slopes
and the cliffs.

The villagers call it a mountain, everyone else calls it a hilltop.
I want to call it an adventure.
Everyone we meet are prepared with hiking boots and walking sticks,
we are armed with sneakers and half a sausage roll.
This wasn’t where we thought today was gonna lead us.
Four hours up and four hours down,
we scale steps carved into the hillside,
past trees that have grown into each other
to seek refuge in numbers
from the sharp sea air,
gusts coming in from the northern sea.

Beneath us, Swanage wanes away.
The bay grows smaller and smaller,
until you could fit the entire town between your thumb and ring finger,
lift it up and put it in your palm.
Maybe that’s what I’m trying to do;
Lift Swanage out of its little nook between the hills and the unforgiving ocean,
nestle all the teacups and barefoot walks along the beach
into the crook of my neck,
keep it there to remind myself of the times I’ve felt like I belong here.

I clutch your hand in mine,
feel your nails against my skin.
In front of us, the terrain evens out.
Two chalk rocks stand side by side,
broken away from the hillside, they hold each other up.
They’ve been standing since long before the town came to be,
just as the town will be here
long after I have left.

-Andrea

WWW Wednesday July 11, Poetry On the Beach

Wednesday again! This has been a reading heavy week, but all the books I chose to put in this post were books I brought along to the beach; small book-friends that fit in a beach-bag or in my pocket. There’s been lots of beach reading in between work shifts, and this week’s been pretty poetry heavy, so get ready for some poetry on the beach!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, and anyone can join. All you need to do is write a post about your three W’s, and the three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you just finish reading?
What are you planning on reading next?

I am currently reading:
Our numbered days by Neil Hilborn

Okay, both the “current read” and “recently finished” in this WWW are rereads, but they’re such wonderful books that I find myself reaching for them again and again and again and they deserve to be mentioned here at least once. Our numbered days is a book like that just keeps growing in my hands every time I read it, and this time’s no exception. I feel like raw is such an overused word when it comes to talking about poetry, but Hilborn’s voice is just that, raw and funny and sarcastic and wise, all at the same time.

Blurb:
“When you’re dumb enough for long enough, you’re gonna meet someone too smart to love you, and they’re gonna love you anyway, and it’s gonna go so poorly.”
Neil Hilborn’s debut collection, Our Numbered Days, is funny and mad at itself for being funny. It’s sad, and it thinks that’s also funny. It’s smart, even when it’s calling itself stupid. It says “Love me” while insisting that loving it is a bad idea. Our Numbered Days is like playing mini golf on a first date: it will be embarrassing at first, but, it swears, you’re gonna love it.

I just finished reading:
No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay

This was the first “proper” poetry book I got after moving to England and getting into poetry, and you can see from the somewhat battered cover that it’s been a loyal companion since.I had seen videos of her poems around the internet for a while, but got her book to use as a reference for a poetry essay, and fell madly and desperately in love. This collection has kept me company on many a train journey, and held me through many a homesick night. Like with the last book, I’ll just let the comments from the blurb talk for themselves.

Blurb:
In her powerful debut collection of poetry, Sarah Kay navigates a decade’s worth of writing to present us with a book that combines new poems and beloved favourites. Both fresh and wise, Sarah Kay’s poetry invites us to join her on the journey of discovering herself and the world around her.
Sarah Kay is a fearsomely open and generous talent. In this collection she will give you moments so intimate and beautifully rendered you will come to know them as your own. An unalloyed joy from beginning to end.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda


Next book on the list:
Helium by Rudy Francisco

I’ve had this book for a couple of months but still not read it, so it’s definitely next on the list now that I’m in this “poetry on the beach”-mindset. I really enjoy the way Rudy Francisco performs his poetry, his voice and how he holds himself in front of an audience, and so I’m excited to see how all of that “translates” onto the page!

Blurb:
“Rudy Francisco’s powerful collection Helium is full of the kind of clear-eyed, hurtful moments that make the best poetry, no matter how difficult they are to render as music: all the merciful questions, all the rejoicing and letdowns that come from family. All of the knots of honesty and near honesty that bump against us with abandon at this time when truth is a thin thing. Helium cracks open what it means to be human and vulnerable in America, when liberty is a pliable and dissapearable thing. These poems should be read and reread like an antidote for now.” -Adrian Matejka

That was my WWW post this week! Better late than never, at least it’s still Wednesday even if it is quarter to 11 in the evening.
If you wanna talk books; please hit me with any sort of book talk in the comments!
Blue was apparently a color theme for me this week, do you find that you tend to react for books in some sort of colour code?
And I know I keep saying this, but I still really enjoy the community feel around these kinds of posts, and so please post your WWW Wednesday post in the comments so I can check it out!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!

-Andrea

 

Writing cliches: The Ever-growing Tea Collection

A well-known cliche says that writers drink a lot of hot beverages, and if we are to believe the writers’ blogs’ homages to steaming coffee, that’s very true. Countless instagrams of pretty mugs, neat notebooks on coffee tables and writing dens with window sills filled with old coffee-cups, tells us that no writing can ever happen without a cup of something warm next to your laptop.

Originally I thought I’d try and steer away from this cliche; that I wouldn’t mention tea or anything like that in my posts. However, as my veins are basically flowing with equal parts blood and strawberry infusion, this did not work all that well, and my mugs have started popping up in images here and there.

That’s why I figured today I’d just live the cliche I am, one hundred percent, and take you on a tour through my favourite teas; the brews I need to wake up, to write, to curl up on the sofa.

So make yourself a good cup of something you really like, and let’s get started!

Andrea’s Ultimate Tea Tour (with overly enthusiastic and staged summery pictures)

Twinings’ Pure Peppermint:

I don’t drink coffee, but I need a cup of this every morning. Either as a five minute moment at the kitchen table before I face the world, or as a cosy treat in a travel mug on the 06:35 bus to town. Just boiling water, no sugar or anything, preferably in a big, “open” mug so the taste really gets to do the “swirly thing” that tea needs to do.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Lipton’s Blueberry Muffin and Infusion’s Turkish Apple Tea:

I’m always here for a good fruit tea! The blueberry tea in the picture is one I drank buckets of on camp as a youth leader for the first time, and every time I drink it I still think of that wonderful weekend a good 6 years ago. It’s also just a really really good tea. It smells and tastes more like muffins than blueberries, and it’s got a really round taste.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

This Turkish Apple tea is also a really good fruit tea. I found it in a tiny tea shop in Camden, where the lady running the store spent almost 45 minutes telling me about and letting me taste and smell all of the teas she had in the shop. Such a good time!! It’s the strongest tea I’ve ever had when it comes to pure taste, and it’s made out of dried apple and pineapple and other fruits. It also smells divine.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Both of these teas do need a little bit of sugar for the taste to really get through, but they’re both the ones I always serve people who say they don’t really like tea. Most people end up surprising themselves and loving them!

Twinings’ Camomile&Honey and Picklecombe’s Lavender Honey:

Okay, so I’m aware that that jar of honey is not tea. But it is Lavender-infused honey and deserves an honorable mention here! It’s also really good in tea, and on its own in warm water. The proper star of this section though, is the Camomile&Honey tea from Twinings. I’m usually not a fan of camomile teas, but the honey is the overpowering taste in this blend, and it’s so warming and soothing. There is no better tea to curl up with after a long day.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Dorset tea’s Strawberries and Cream and Twining’s Glow:

Strawberry tea! My two favourite teas are both strawberry teas, and I always have to restock them when I’m visiting Harvey in Swanage as that’s the only place I’ve been able to get my hands on them.
The Strawberries and Cream one is a hug in a mug – warm, cozy, comforting and sweet. It also turns bright red, something I greatly appreciate. The countless shirts I’ve stained with it, however, really don’t. It’s the perfect companion to an evening in with your favourite book and fresh bed sheets, and I’ve always got a couple of extra unopened boxes waiting in the pantry.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

The last strawberry tea, and the last tea on this list, is Twining’s Glow. It’s a green tea with strawberries and aloe Vera in it, and it’s one of those teas you feel healthy after drinking (I know that’s not a thing, but the feel is definitely there). Much like the earlier mentioned Peppermint tea, this doesn’t need anything added. It tastes strangely like strawberry lipgloss (only so much better, of course,) and is the perfect cup in the morning, if you want something with a bit more taste to it.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Well, that got longer than planned! Thank you so much for listening to my ramblings, I can get really passionate about tea, as you might’ve understood. There are of course a billion more wonderful teas, but these are my everyday essential beverages. (Also, I don’t know if I really need to say this, but just to be safe, this post is 100% not sponsored in any way, I just really like tea!)

Do you need any hot drinks to function?
Are you a coffee or a tea person?

Have a wonderful day,
-Andrea

WWW Wednesday July 4

And it’s Wednesday again! Norway’s so warm right now, so all the time I’m not at work I basically spend at the beach with a book. Life’s pretty great, to be honest.

I am at work today doing shifts at the supermarket, and so this is the perfect day for another WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words , and anyone can join. All you need to do is answer three simple questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading
Hamlet by William Shakespeare

A bit like with Jane Austen, I’ve always really liked the idea of Shakespeare, but never really gotten through any of his plays. Norwegian schools also don’t set away all that much time for Shakespeare’s works either, and so it wasn’t before I got to England and met some very enthusiastic Shakespeare fans that I really got into his plays. In February, my really good friend Cathy, brought me along to see my first play at the Globe and I’ve seen (and loved) the film version where David Tennant plays Hamlet. Now I’m reading Hamlet in Norwegian, and the translation is wonderful! So sprightly and playful, not heavy and long-winded like I expected it to be. I’m loving every page so far!

Blurb:
“Å være eller ikke være, det er problemet.
Om det er mere edelt av et sinn
å utstå skjebnens slyngekast og piler,
enn ta til våpen mot et hav av plager
og ende dem ved motstand? Dø, å sove –
og ikke mer, å si med en søvn
vil all vår hjertesorg ta slutt og alle
de tusen slag naturen har å by på
og kjødet tar i arv – det er en slutt
vi inderlig må ønske oss.”

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d.”

I just finished
Villskudd by Gudmund Vindland

Last year I discovered that I’ve got a very big soft spot for books set in Scandinavia in the 60s, and especially books about the LGBT community in the big cities at the time. So if you’ve got any recommendations for this (rather small) niche market of books, please throw them at me!
There is something about the language used, the characters that always seem stereotypical but then defy all those stereotypes, the places I recognize but depicted several decades ago, before I was born but not even that long ago. I really enjoyed this book, because it was such an unapologetic love story from the protagonist to himself, if that makes sense. It showed young gay men finding their way, really screwing up and having each other’s backs. It also had a lot of hope and good laughs, great humor and fantastic pop-culture references. A very good book!

Blurb: (Translated)
In Villskudd we get to know Yngve, who is gay in late 60’s Oslo. “This book is a little piece of Norway. A tale of a young Norwegian’s journey across the earth; a song of his doubts and his beliefs, his insecurities and his struggling desires, of shame and infamy and the dream of becoming someone.” (“Villskudd”, 29.02.16, http://www.skeivtarkiv.no)

Next on the list
Sky chasers by Emma Carrol

I’ll buy anything with hot air balloons on it, any day. Not entirely sure why, I just love the aesthetic of them soaring through the skies, especially since I have absolutely no idea how they work and so they’ve kind of kept that air of mystique around them! I bought this book purely because of the cover, and I’m really excited to get reading on it!

Blurb:
Orphan Magpie can’t believe her eyes when she sees a boy swept off his feet by a kite… or something that twists and dances in the wind. She goes to his rescue only to find herself dangling in the sky. The world looks so different from on high and suddenly Magpie knows what she wants – to be the first to fly in a balloon above the King and Queen of France.

Have you read any of these? What are you reading right now and how are you liking it? And how is your relationship with Shakespeare?

I really appreciate the community feel around these www Wednesday posts, and would love to read some more! Please drop your link in the comments, I’d love to check it out!

As always, have a wonderful day!

-Andrea