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I dreamed I was in Mongolia again. A dim hotel where the light was like two waves of honey meeting across a rumpled bed, and the courtyard was cavernous with shadows. Outside the cold air smelled of coffee and metal, and all through deserted precincts there were closed shops behind screens that the wind rattled. It was early morning, or else the sun never set there. I was waiting for someone but they never came. Each night I went back to my hotel room, where a rhombus of orange light slid slowly across the wall.
open the seven seals, let out the seven beasts
26 August 2011 @ 10:28 pm
Today I successfuly defended my thesis and got my doctorate. Too exhausted to leap around as ridiculously as I'd like, but still, FUCK YEAH. xD
open the seven seals, let out the seven beasts
11 May 2011 @ 05:55 pm
Day 15 – Your dreams
When I was little - three or four - I started having recurring nightmares about a creature that stalked me through the house. I called the creature The Fox With a Beak. It lived in my father's study, and it had a lean, hungry look to it, like an aging, ragged fox whose muzzle narrowed to a dangerous point. It always stayed very close to the floor, usually moving along the edges of rooms. Once it appeared crouched along the top of the door frame in my bedroom. It never attacked me, or chased me. It just crept, and watched. It was the most terrifying thing in my young life.

At some point - I think maybe when we moved house - I stopped dreaming about it. I didn't really think much about it until I was around sixteen or seventeen, when I had the dream again, although my memory of this is much more vague and the details are a little different. But I was older, and starting to think about who I actually was and wanted to be. I took on the fox with the beak as my symbol or totem or whatever you want to call it. I think of it as representing knowledge maybe, or creativity - the sort of power that comes from knowing your own mind. That kind of knowledge is very scary to a child, because it means giving up your safety and becoming responsible for who you are, but as a woman I find it very empowering.

This is also the reason that my favourite poem ever ever is The Thought-Fox by Ted Hughes.
open the seven seals, let out the seven beasts
20 April 2011 @ 08:44 pm
I've been reading a lot of really good reviews for A Game of Thrones, but I have to say, after watching the first episode, I wasn't massively impressed. Now, this is coming from someone who thought the book was so poorly written they couldn't get through it, but I normally love fantasy. With both the book and the TV series though, I haven't been able to suspend my disbelief. It seemed a little lazy to me - oh hey it's fantasy, let's have some vaguely-kinda-sorta medieval Villagers In Cloaks wandering around a grim northern castle in the mud, usually carrying baskets of apples, or maybe chickens. Surely they can do better than that. Also wasn't keen on the barbarian savages being played by dark skinned actors, and the girl in peril being bleach blonde, but that goes without saying.

I think the problem I had with it - and have had with a couple of hyped books recently, most notably The Steel Remains - was that the world building was patchy at best. I think fantasy, good fantasy, relies very heavily on a compelling and fully realised sense of place, and the complexity that comes with that just wasn't there. Hence me not really being swept up in it. I will be giving it a few more episodes, though.

A quick entry from That Really Long Meme:
9. Your beliefs
Belief is such a loaded word. It annoys me in a way that it's become associated almost exclusively with religious issues. But I can sum up my beliefs with regard to that kind of thing pretty simply:

I believe that the universe is awesome enough, and mind-blowing enough, and meaningful enough that religion is utterly superfluous.
open the seven seals, let out the seven beasts
12 April 2011 @ 05:08 pm
5. Your definition of love
This is an interesting one for me. The last couple of years my definition of love has changed completely - and I certainly don't view it as having the same importance as whoever put together this meme. I was with my last partner for ten years. We met when we were nineteen, at university, and moved in together soon afterwards.

Since we broke up a couple of years back I've realised that I should have broken up with him years and years ago. What's shocking to me is that it didn't even occur to me to do that, not for a second. The idea of breaking up, of being separated, didn't appear on my radar, because relationships, I thought, were about compromising and working through things together. So I accepted and I compromised, and so did he, and I got into the habit of compromising. It's a dangerous habit to have.

The Not-So-Gory DetailsCollapse )Now, I'm reluctant to enter into a relationship. I've had a few close calls in the last 18 months or so, but both times I backed out. I love the freedom of being single. I love not having to worry about anyone's career but my own, or anyone's happiness but my own. I love being able to decorate without catering to anyone else's taste. I love being selfish. I love flirting with someone I'll never see again. I love how much richer my existence feels. I love how much promise life has these days. I love feeling new.

I'm not in love, and I don't want to be. So my definition of love - at the moment - is that it's just one of many states that have both pros and cons, and nothing more. And it makes me happy to be able to say that.

Meme StuffCollapse )
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11 April 2011 @ 07:53 pm
I'm in a rambling mood, so have some memage, pinched from lyras. I'm positive there's no way I'll post every day (which may or may not be a relief), so I'm lumping some of these together.

1. Introduce yourself
Oh hey. >_>

2. First Love / 16. First Kiss
My first love was a holiday romance. I went with my parents to Tuscany for the summer when I was fifteen, and while I had been to Greece and Paris a couple of times, it was the first time I'd been on a long holiday abroad since I was 11 or 12. We stayed in this apartment in a big, slightly run down but rather fancy villa in the countryside. I remember my bedroom having these big marble pillars and feeling as though I was in Wings of a Dove or something - it was quite unlike anything I'd experienced before, because our house was an old farmhouse and while a bit rambling, it was anything but glamorous.

snip!Collapse )

3. Your Parents
When I was nine or ten, I took delight in telling the parents of my friends what my parents did. It always produced a reaction. "Mummy's an artist, and daddy's a poet," I would say. In actual fact my mum was a graphic artist and my dad, although he is a poet, earned his living as an archaeologist. These days my mum is a retired primary school teacher and my dad works for the Welsh archives - climbing about on inaccessible hilltops in all weathers gets a bit much by the time you're middle aged, I suppose. I get on pretty well with both of them.

A random bit of weirdness: my mum is really into researching our family history, and has traced it back to the eleventh century or something ridiculous. A while back she found out that a few hundred years ago, in a completely different part of the country, one of my dad's ancestors and one of her ancestors both lost their spouses to the plague, happened to meet, and got married to each other. WEIRD.

The meme for reference, in case you want to do it yourselfCollapse )
open the seven seals, let out the seven beasts
15 March 2011 @ 07:53 pm
I've seen a lot of links to aid organisations you can donate to, but I wanted to pass on this link to a list of charities helping animals caught up in the disaster.
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21 February 2011 @ 08:59 pm
Hello, flist, I am alive! I really need to update more often, I'm a horribly boring blogger. Ah well!

1. Links!2. Today I went to my favourite yarn store and found spider silk yarn. I couldn't afford it (it was, obviously, obscenely expensive) but oh man, I wanted it. Even though thinking about how it was made had me all shuddery.

3. Books read in January and the first half of his month. Depressingly few, because I was working hysterically on my thesis.
  • Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon, Jonathan Stroud
  • The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard
  • The White Road, Lynn Flewelling
  • Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
  • The Steel Remains, Richard Morgan
Any recs? I'm on a fantasy/apocalyptic kick, as you can see. I was massively disappointed with the Atwood, it really annoyed me, though I did finish it. It was basically a book which relied solely upon the OMG PERIL OF RAPE for momentum where both main characters were concerned. Also, painfully 1990's "futuristic" acronyms which were probably meant to be tongue in cheek but mainly made me feel embarrassed for her. This will teach me for starting a book with high expectations.

4. random knitting picCollapse )
open the seven seals, let out the seven beasts
23 January 2011 @ 02:15 am
Just sent off my PhD thesis. I'll probably do one more draft of it, but for the moment (until tuesday or so anyway), it's done done done and out of my hands. I'm actually shaking a little bit. I haven't had a proper night's sleep in longer than I'd like to think about. Maybe I'll finally be able to get some knitting done. Or, you know, go outside like a normal person.
open the seven seals, let out the seven beasts
17 January 2011 @ 01:51 pm
In eleven hours of work on my thesis today (and technically last night), I have managed to write three paragraphs. In my efforts to avoid actually looking at the word document I have open, I've managed to organise a date and have a fairly major psychological breakthrough.

I am now procrastinating with things I've procrastinated about for the past year. I am truly a master of procrastination. Think (fingers crossed) I'll be done this week though.