letter to ________ {mary oliver}

You have broken my heart.
Just as well. Now
I am learning to rise
above all that, learning

the thin life, waking up
simply to praise
everything in this world that is
strong and beautiful

always---the trees, the rocks,
the fields, the news
from heaven, the laughter
that comes back

all the same. Just as well. Time
to read books, rake the lawn
in peace, sweep the floor, scour
the faces of pans,

anything. And I have been so
diligent it is almost
over, I am growing myself
as strong as rock, as a tree

which, if I put my arms around it, it does not
lean away. It is a
wonderful life. Comfortable.
I read the papers. Maybe

I will go on a cruise, maybe I will
cross the entire ocean, more than once.
Whatever you think, I have scarcely
thought of you. Whatever you imagine.

it never really happened. Only a few
evenings of nonsense. Whatever you believe--
dear one, dear one--
do not believe this letter.


In which I soliloquize about reading...

It's been ages since I last posted. I was traveling in the spring and this summer I've been reading like mad. It's been delightful, reading again. When I was eleven I spent almost all of my time reading, but as I got older the frequency with which I read entire books dropped. It wasn't that I wasn't reading, but it was articles, textbooks, references, and such; not the kinds of things you put down on booklists or find yourself thrilled by.

However this summer I've started tearing through books again. Novels, history, sociology, and pedagogy mostly; it's made me deliriously happy. Really. My new favourite thing is to wake up before the sun has risen, make myself a latte, and then curl up in a winged armchair and read while the morning sunlight begins the pour in through the windows. Immersing yourself in a delightful book while the room slowly fills with sunlight feels like ascending into nirvana. Because, if you're really absorbed in the book, you aren't really paying much attention to the sun, you're just vaguely conscious that the longer you read the more the entire world seems to be improving around you.

I've also taken to using the Kindle app. on my iPad. It's shocking, I know, and if you're a book aficionado I understand if you feel somewhat obliged to shun me, but you must hear me out. Physical books will always hold a place in my heart (unless of course they're paperbacks, which are horrid and I hate).

However, my affection for books has more to do with their containing information that I want, than that they are antique, tooled leather, paper holders. I don't buy books because they're pretty, or musty smelling, or satisfying to hold, I buy them because I want to read them. While a Kindle will never make shivers of glee run up my spine, the fact that I can carry a couple hundred books around in my purse makes up for the lack of gilt edging.

I still buy physical books, but now I can read Les Miserables in my room in hardcover, or spontaneously in a coffee shop when I find myself with fifteen spare minutes I didn't expect to have.


Why Girls Like "Bad Boys"

It's an age old question. The timeless lament among boys and men as they watch the "love" of their life falling into the arms of an openly lewd scumbag. A "bad boy," who will never be able to truly appreciate her; who doesn't even care that she has "six different smiles," notice that when she rubs her right arm it's because she's feeling insecure, or that the necklace she's always wearing is special because it was her mother's.

Maybe he even puts her down in front of people and then laughs about how embarrassed she looks. Maybe he disappears without even shooting her a quick text, and she gets frantic with worrying over him.  Either way he doesn't deserve her.

But there she is, her hand is on his arm. She's laughing at his jokes, jokes you don't like that she gets; and if you even dare to say something she instantly jumps to his defense. So you're left in the dark, wondering why she never noticed you, standing, waiting, and always there for her

This post is a brief and partial explanation as to why. It isn't complete, nor is necessarily true to everyone, it's simply what I've observed and read on the matter. 


Date a girl who reads {Rosemarie Urquico}

Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.


{the flowers of spring}

The first crocuses of spring are beginning to poke their heads inquisitively out. I've never particularly cared for crocuses as flowers, but the sight of them brings back fond memories. One or two of them would always bloom in the garden right in front of our house.

When I was little, my mother would always keep a sharp lookout for them. At the sight of their first blossoms she would drag all of us children outside, point them out, and then have us link arms and skip around our driveway singing Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Flowers of Spring" from "The Mikado."

"The flowers that bloom in the Spring,
Tra la!
Bring promise of merry sunshine!
As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la!
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la!
Of a summer of roses and wine,
Of a summer of roses and wine!

And that's what we mean,
When we say that a thing,
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the Spring,
Tra la la la laha! Tra la la la laha
As welcome as flowers of Spring,
Tra la la la laha! Tra la la la laha!
Tra la la la la la!"


{new favourite quote}

“I want to be a character, I don’t want to be defined, I want to change, everyday…I want to be silly, I want to be wonderful, I want to prance instead of walk, skip instead of run, I want flowers, lots of flowers, I want to write until the words mean nothing to others, but everything to me. I want to be enigmatic and magnificent. I want my aura to be gold; I want to wake up with the sun and with a smile…I want books, lots and lots of books, I want to read all day, completely let go, let my imagination run wild. I want to grasp life with both hands and not let go, I want to be magical and pretty…I want to watch Breakfast At Tiffany’s until I know every line. I want to be compassionate and considerate, and I want to make other people smile. I want to make them proud.”
~Victoria Hart

{the o.k. plateau}

Yesterday I was reading an article on mental athletes by the New York Times, it was a fascinating subject and contained so much information that I could probably write a whole series of blogposts about it. However, there was one section in particular that caught my attention and that I wanted to share.

In the "Secrets of a Mind-Gamer" (an article with a somewhat off-putting and tawdry introduction that will only make sense if you read the article in entirety) Joshua Foer explores his journey from journalistic curiosity to competing for the United States Memory Championship. As he related the steps he took, he tells of how he disappointed he was when he seemingly hit the plateau of his memorizing potential quite early on,


The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite

A new sunbeam has arrived in my life in the form of Jessica Kerwin Jenkins' book "The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite." This book gives me the same sort of thrill that a collection of leather bound books or midsummer morning sunlight gives me. It's pure happiness wrapped up in a red hardback with gold gilt tooling about the cover.

In alphabetical order it explores the histories of lovely, frankly inconsequential, things that make life twelve times better. Beginning with "aerostation" and ending with "yes," Ms. Jenkins explores the exquisite. As explained in the introduction "the word exquisite comes from the Latin verb exquirere, to search out, or to seek. It means uncommon delicacies, carefully selected, and the kind of beauty that can "excite intense delight or admiration." A definition that is exquisite in and off itself.

The Encyclopedia sits beside my bed and even when I don't have the time to read it, the mere sight makes me happy.

"I am not shy....

I just don't like to talk when I have nothing meaningful to say."


I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way. {sandbury}

{the carla bruni effect}

I have to admit, I have been intrigued by former model and First Lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, since I first heard of her visit to the UK decked in grey Dior. I scoured the internet for pictures, read dozens of articles commenting on her precision in styling and incredible success (in spite of a scandal that was attempting to blazon her as salacious before she even managed to put her ballet pumps down on English turf).

It is more than a little impressive how successfully she has managed to navigate the European fashion waters, particularly among European royalty. Maintaining faultless taste without ever doing the unpardonable of outshining or out dressing the settled Royals is no small task.  One of the many reporters who covered Ms. Bruni during her visit to England commented on how scrupulously she avoided stealing anyone's looks or colours, while still dressing in a manner that was stylistically flawless and entirely respectable. Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com, said: “With all eyes on her today – some of which are inevitably going to look for any excuse to be critical - Carla Bruni was perfectly demure, her tiny matching hat and rounded collar an elegant reference to Jackie O."


{love by dickinson}

"I had no time to hate, because
the grave would hinder me.
And life was not so ample I
could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love; but since
some industry must be,
the little toil of love, I thought
was large enough for me."

{photography via kiss the groom}
{xxii by emily dickinson via bartleby}


{new look: bcbg max azria pre-fall '11}

. . . thanks to a glamorous little side project I discovered BCBG Max Azria's new pre-fall collection, which I promptly fell head over heels in love with. What  I love about it is the use of svelte, classic lines and colour. With the current heavy emphasis on subdued colours such a camel, the addition of colour to  outfits tends to be limited to bright tights, shoes, headbands, and purses. But Max Azria shows here that bright colour can be included in the clothing themselves without the danger of being too overwhelming. 

I was far from enthusiastic when Vogue and Marie Claire announced months ago that camel is the new "it colour." But this new line has shown me that there is a classic and interesting way to wear it, and I must admit my curiosity is piqued enough that I may just try it.

{patterson maker}

Patterson Maker may just be one of my favourite new websites. It's full of beautiful pictures and quotes and links to an endless supply of new websites to discover. 


{via thnxthnx}


{quote: Maggie Jackson}

"Technology is the key to understanding our world, but it is not the full story. Instead we must ask, how do we want to define progress? We are adapting to a new world, but in doing so are we redefining "smart" to mostly mean twitch speed, multitasking, and bullet points? Are we similarly redefining intimacy and trust? Are we so enamored of our alluring surface gains that we are failing to stem or even notice the deeper, human costs of these "advances"?
 We may be getting expert at pushing buttons and wiring our thoughts with bells and whistles and tracking two virtual enemies across a screen, but [we're] losing the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex world: deep learning, reasoning, and problem solving. We may be getting better at juggling three people simultaneously over a screen. . . but forgetting that what we need more than ever in a time of growing mistrust and seemingly expendable relations is honesty, unhurried presence, and care."
Distracted by Maggie Jackson, pg. 22


{in a library}

"A precious, mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

{iced beauty}

{donna karan spring campaign '11. Marcelina Sowa in D&G, 
Metta Metalworks, and Adrienne Landau. via fgr}


{Personal Statements}

I'm writing a personal statement right now and it has me quite peeved and at loss with myself. After years of teasing my father over his inability to narrow his focus onto one particular subject I find myself in similar straits. For while I've managed to narrow my subject matter into a one page statement, I sound like a hedonist who has no concept of anything but instant gratification, and I am having trouble with finding a means by which to clarify that in a concise manner.