After an hour and a half of reading my novel draft, making notes, and doing research, my eyes look like that. I take breaks to look out of the window of the coffee place, noticing how many people seem to mutter to themselves on their way to the subway. I try not to audibly exclaim over how good my chai latte is. Sometimes I feel weird about things like writing “chai latte” on my blog, but you know. Life.
I’ve been scribbling corrections and notes in my little novel printout, but not as many as I was expecting. If I’m being honest, I find it a little strange. This is my first novel – everything I’ve heard has made me believe I’m supposed to think it’s junk, put it away and never look at it again, shudder when I think about it. I mean, I know it needs work. I need to develop certain characters and delve more deeply into some things. But I actually like it. I don’t feel I need to forget it ever happened.
If I can’t sleep, one thing I like to do is to look at webcams of cities where it has just turned morning. Sometimes nobody is out of bed and sometimes people are already having long chats outside in the dark. Sometimes the spaces look so eerie without people.
I always feel like I should preface this by saying “I’m not some weirdo,” but can it be weird to watch the world wake up in public spaces?
Anyway. Here are my favourites from last night/this morning.
I also enjoy these ones, from Dublin. I’ve been looking at this site forever, for years, I think! I used to dream of going there, to visit the Not to Worry! store.
I finished this book on the way back from Montreal. It was the first time I’d ever read it (I know, I know). It was found in a laundromat by a family friend and given to my mother. Look at the gorgeous cover! Old book design is unmatched, in my opinion.
Old books are great, especially when they’ve been used by a student in a mixture of relevant class notes and future invention ideas.
I almost didn’t want to give this back to my mother when I returned from Montreal!
My parents used to live near the beach, when there was a racetrack across the street. Now, houses are there, painted in too many colours. We walk slowly down the boardwalk and my mother points out trees to my father – “This one is so big now!” She tells me that when she was my age, when everything was new, she dreamed of living in the little building in the last photo, just her and her dog and the beach and the lake.
When I was growing up, we called it The Beaches. Now it’s unfashionable. Now it’s just The Beach. But I can’t do it. Just like I will say “SkyDome” forever, until nobody remembers what I mean.
An oil lamp from Istanbul, a present from my brother. In the background are buttons with the Berlin “walk/don’t walk” symbols.
My old Goose on a Moose print and various old photos of my mother and Finland.
I’m not really a fan of Doris Lessing’s fiction, but I love her as a writer. If she catches me not writing, she shakes her finger at me and tells me to get moving.
A dusty plant given to us by friends, and an old monster made by Suzen a long time ago.
This 1945 penny was in my change from the grocery store a few months ago. I’m not really a monarchist, but I love history and I like to imagine the way the world was when this coin was new. It’s also fascinating to me to have a coin with a different monarch on it (it’s been just one all my life). Remind me to bore you one day with the story of why George VI is facing left.
Until I took these pictures, I never noticed how I’d unconsciously grouped things together – items that remind me of traveling; items with the same colours; items from friends. I also feel a small amount of shame at how sparse my writing area is, especially my four corkboards. The fourth one has just one thing on it! I need some inspiration, I think. So many of the blogs I read are by people who produce tangible things – illustrators, artists, photographers – so their spaces are always so obviously visual. I suppose I could put up things that evoke feelings or ideas – and to some degree I have, but I’m wary of things ending up corny.
There are certain sounds that will be comforting forever: slippered feet on that creaky floor, early morning radio debates, water being poured into a kettle, screen doors sliding open. I stretch and kick the metal footboard as I had done every morning, and before I am fully myself I forget the last nine years have ever happened.