Boxing Day Reading

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, now it’s time to sit back and relax, grab that turkey sandwich, and maybe a few of the following will help get you through until it’s time for a nap. Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking Julian Jaynes was living out of a couple of suitcases in a Princeton dorm in the early 1970s. He must have been an odd sight there among the undergraduates, some of whom knew him as a lecturer who taught psychology, holding forth in a deep baritone voice. Read: http://ift.tt/1GG2bPP Dispossessed in the Land of Dreams Sometime in July 2012, Suzan Russaw and her husband, James, received a letter from their landlord asking them to vacate …

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A letter to my 15 year old self

Hey Gordon, Nice hair, how much mousse did you use this morning to get that look? Impressive. Enjoy it (it won’t last, but you won’t care). It’s a big year for you, even though you don’t realise it yet. Events will happen around you and this will set the tone for the next decade. You will flounder around without really thinking ahead, you will act badly and selfishly, you will have a lot of fun. You don’t have a plan for the next few years as you approach adulthood, you don’t really know where your life is headed, and no matter who tries to help – the guidance teacher at school, your parents, your friends (more on them later) – …

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Weekend Reading

A few of the following are hard to read, please note there may be triggering content. The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude The house, in a quiet part of Mexico City, had a study within, and in the study he found a solitude he had never known before and would never know again. Cigarettes (he smoked 60 a day) were on the worktable. LPs were on the record player: Debussy, Bartók, A Hard Day’s Night. Read: http://ift.tt/1QeX8v2 There Once Was a Girl My parents have a small framed photograph of E and me in their upstairs hall. We must be 6 or 7. We are smiling in someone’s backyard, our heads damp from running through a sprinkler, …

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Apples don’t fall far

I recently met up with my very pregnant sister for lunch during which she recounted the story of a recent shopping trip. My parents are buying her a pram as a new baby present and so went along to check out the prams and, after a few stops, my sister, her partner, and my Mum all start to feel some shopping fatigue. But not my Dad as it turns out he was the most excited of them all about this purchase. This doesn’t surprise me at all. These days, prams are wonderful pieces of clever design allowing them to be multi-year, multi-use items; they are in every essence a clever gadget with lots of clever features. Designed to be operated …

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Murmurs

Wings pull at the air as they launch themselves at the sky. Tiny black spots against the dipping glow of the evening sun, soaring higher and higher, cajoling and sniping as the nervous energy builds, pulling them up, up, up.. Viewed from a distance the birds coalesce; the shape shifting from blanket to ball, a liquid mass pulled by invisible forces. In the air they seem one in thought and movement, wheeling and diving, governed only by instinct and the common heartbeat of their motion. On the grass below a couple stand, hand in hand, their gaze held by the swift curves of the flock overhead. More birds arrive, racing from bushes and trees, diving into the wheeling and spiralling noise. Soft …

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Weekend Reading

Commuting = reading time. Here are some of the best things I read this week. ‘Star Wars’ Strikes Back: Behind the Scenes of the Biggest Movie of the Year It is a bleak time for the Republic. It is a period of great struggle for the entire planet, and not only is the dark side winning, it’s no longer clear any other side even exists. Seriously, you guys – Earth is messed up. Just ask a polar bear, or an almond farmer, or a GOP debate moderator. Read: http://ift.tt/1N8CneN Arts & Culture Read Is it OK if you don’t know where you stand on Syria? A poll by YouGov found 1 in 4 women don’t know if they support Syrian …

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NaNoWriMo Reflections

I’ve been blogging for a long time, I keep an occasional diary – in Day One, a wonderful journal app – and have even shared some (very) short stories here. As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy the process of writing and I’ll admit that NaNoWriMo has always intrigued me. In its 16th year, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has flitted in and out of my radar for several years now, with some friends partaking, and I even got close to entering it about a few years ago but decided to get divorced instead. However, with time on my hands I decided to try it this year, I figured that I’d manage to write 1667 words per day, if not more …

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Winding Down

The end of year is approaching and thoughts turn to Christmas, Hogmanay and 2016. Every year the run up to Christmas feels the same; it always seems sudden, always a little too fraught, too full of worries that the gifts are good enough, that the days are fun enough, that the food is tasty enough and so on and so forth. Tis the season to worry? But no matter how hard we worry, no matter how much we plan, that perfect Christmas never quite comes to pass, does it? There’s always something you’ve overlooked, or something that doesn’t quite go right, waiting in the wings to show you up or disappoint you. Of course I’m old enough to know that this is …

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Weekend Reading

Late because I’m an idiot and set the wrong publish date…  The news this week has been, well, I’m not sure I have the words to describe how I feel about a lot of it, grim, unsettling, horrifying, tragic… I’m not sure I even have the words to express myself appropriately here. Still, the world spins on and the following (mostly) distracted me this week. 100 Women 2015: Return of a topless rebel In 2013, Tunisian feminist Amina Sboui left the country after publishing a topless photograph that caused a scandal across the Arab world. After two years in France, Amina is back in Tunis – with a new plan to stir things up. Read: http://ift.tt/1llXS4c After decades of defeat, …

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A whole lotta not very much

It’s amazing how little you can fill your time with when you have nothing all that much to do, or at the very least no workplace to attend everyday. Looking back over August, September and October, and even the first couple of weeks in November, before I started my new job, it was a whole lot of nothing. OK, that’s not strictly true, I have managed to keep up with my Goodreads challenge and should manage to finish book 24 before the end of the year (currently a third of the way through book 23 – Wuthering Heights), and I did also complete NaNoWriMo after several years of promising to do it and not even managing to start it, ohhhh …

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