“Starry nights at sea”

I swim through quiet waves of evening,
enveloped by lazy currents.
I am not afraid of the water.

As a swallow graces the surface, droplets falling from its wing,
I think of all the lives lived by this fjord before me.
Women wrapping their shawls tighter around themselves,
waiting for sails on the horizon,
for fathers, for brothers, for husbands to come home.

Young boys who went to sea, much like I went to university,
clenched fists and starry night-eyes,
who learnt that nothing can quell an unforgiving ocean,
not even the children who challenged the shallow shores,
those who never returned to their mothers’ lullabies.

Their stories are in every rock, in every seashell.
in every tide that swallows the docks.
Stories of islanders who read tomorrow in the skies,
who knew that red clouds predicted weary storms
the type that could orphan their children and starve their homes.

The water still cradles me, there is salt in my ears,
my hair flows like jelly fish tendrils around my shoulders.
I have no doubt that all the souls lost at sea,
the stories and the children and the ocean
are resting
in these waters.

-Andrea

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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

Journal #8

Shakespeare wrote about a Midsummer night’s dream, and on June 23rd (in Norway, at least) we celebrate midsummer night’s eve. Not the longest day of the year as I’ve always believed, but one day past the sun turning; when the night is one minute longer than it was the day before. We celebrated yesterday the same way we’ve always done, and I spent the day pondering how traditions stay the same, how we appreciate the things we’ve always done; my own midsummer night’s dream.

I dream of what I’ve always seen on an evening like this, of bonfires and burnt popcorn, of dogs off their leads and children learning to swim. I dream of grey haired locals playing saxophone from the back of a truck and gulls swooping down to peck at waffle crumbs left on the ground. I dream of shoes put away to dip our feet in the water and the taste in your mouth of knowing that you have all of summer in front of you, endless possibilities for tan lines and sun burns and morning teas on the veranda. I dream of post cards sent and letters received, breakfasts with the ones I love and skype calls with the ones I miss. My midsummer night’s dream is of those nights that never end; when you bring blankets and lanterns and candle light out into the garden, to watch sun sets and sun rise, when you watch the bats soar and smell the jasmine flowers, when life is floating and there is nowhere you need to be.

Midsummer’s night is a night when you remind yourself of how strong nature’s forces are, that we’re all part of nature, and in later years, that we can’t control it no matter how hard we try. On midsummer night’s eve we gather our families and celebrate that we’re out of the cold winter months and that we’ve got all of summer ahead of us. We sing songs passed down to remember that those we have lost are always with us, in the wind and the trees and the stars.
It’s a day where you pick wildflowers and put them under your pillow and where you’re grateful for what you have, what you’ve lost and what you’ve yet to gain.

We are a family of four, and my favourite time of all, is all of us together around the table outside. Yesterday, we sat there for the better part of three hours. There was tea, there were blankets being shared, words floating through the air. There is nothing you can’t talk about when it’s past midnight and it’s warm enough to never go to bed.
My midsummer night’s dream is a wish for many more eternal light like this one.

-Andrea

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

It’s finally here; The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt!
Okay, I know it’s not “finally” for you, as I haven’t really told you about this, but I’ve been planning this post for ages.

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt is quite an old challenge, created by TheLibraryOfSarah, but I’ve never done it before, and thought maybe this post could work as a loose recommendation post, to remind you of books you’ve left forgotten at the back of your bookshelf, or maybe the covers will make you curious and eager to try something new? I also hope this post can work as a reminder to myself about what these books mean and why I keep them around, that they’re not just a static collection on a shelf, but items I cherish.

This post’s gonna be a long one, so go make yourself a cup of tea and hit that “Continue Reading” bar and lets have a good chat about some books!

Read More

Journal #6

AFAC29B9-6BB3-4A6F-B409-DEE8A8EFDE38They say everything comes alive in spring, but I believe summer brings out the best in us. I’m sat on a veranda enveloped in the smell of roses and foxgloves, nursing a mug of strawberry tea, wondering how a warm drink can feel like a cold treat in this heat. Blue tits and flycatchers have been flying around me all morning, gliding from pine to spruce to silver birch. They’re small reminders that no matter what happens, the chatter of birds and the flapping of small wings will always sound like home. A couple of ants are walking in an uneven line along the stem of the peonies. In contrast to the skittering ants, my book is moving at a slow pace and it’s just the way I want it right now. I wonder how many days like this you get in a year. Days where the sun is awake and the clouds are busy somewhere else, and the breeze is playing around your feet and you have nowhere else to be. Summer has hit our little part of the world, and it’s charging batteries that’ve been empty for too long.

-Andrea