Showing posts with label Friday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friday. Show all posts

A poem for Thursday (and Friday links)

I haven't been here much this week. I guess I've been distracted, finding it difficult to find time to wrap words around thoughts, feeling like a half-formed idea all week. But I'm happy for a long weekend and will share some links with you today instead:
- Seamus Heaney's North
- The full moon, eclipse that just passed. Perhaps I'm in the wake of it. A churn of things new and old.
- It Will Look Like a Sunset
- "Artists put down their brushes and stole my objets trouves, my staple guns and glue guns." - Simon Doonan
- Dutch Masters flowers
- Tumblring

And a poem, by Frank O'Hara.

To Jane, Some Air
Now what we desire is space.
To turn up the thermometer and sigh.

    A village had gone under the water
of her smile, and then, quickly, it froze clear
so that the village could know our whereabouts.
And had you intended it?

I found a string of pearls in the tea bags
                               and gave them her
with what love?

            With the love of the camelopard
for the camel, for the leopard.

                                   Oh space!
you never conquer desire, do you?

You turn us up and we talk to each other
and then we are truly happy as the telephone
rings and rings and buzzes and buzzes,

    so is that the abyss? I talk, you talk,
he talks, she talks, it talks.

                                   At last!
You are warm enough, aren't you?
And do you miss me truly dear, as I miss you?
    I don't think I'll return to the zoo


A week of unexpected things, progress of sorts, I suppose.

My mind was cast home for many little reasons, but this post is about one of my favourite places at home that I've always kept a little to myself (unintentionally, I guess I never thought to share it when I had visitors). And it's nice to have a place that you keep to yourself so that when people come and go, as people do, and it changes the places you saw together, there are some things still selfishly unaltered.

I've been looking forward to the weekend since Wednesday, feeling Friday ought to be closer all the time and now it's here at last and there's a dinner at my favourite local with a lovely friend tonight. More links:
- Sleep as resistance
- We are all very anxious
- Car of my dreams
- I love this bracelet

Still inspired by Doreen's, I'll shop for plants on the weekend instead of buying flowers. I'll sleep and watch Hannibal, the only TV show worth watching if you ask me. I'll pick through some pages of my book. I'll keep my eyes wide open.

Happy weekend!


There’s a new moon in Aries this weekend.

I always feel the full moons more than new ones, sometimes finding myself fragile and volatile for days in the build-up to them. When the moon's new, though, I'm lifted from that that wax and wane, a moment of respite and clean slate, a new year in miniature. The winter has been long and difficult, the weather, the feelings — it all weighed heavily. So this new moon feels in particular like a chance to draw a line under all that (seriously, how many more -15C days can there be?!)

I'm one of those people who does favourite things over and over. I can eat the same dinner for nights, I listen to songs and albums on repeat for weeks until they become so entwined with that time that whenever I listen to them, it's like uncorking a bottle of perfume. I reread certain books over and over (Unbearable Lightness, Middlemarch, Great Expectations, The Moon and Sixpence among my favourite rereads) and my bookspines are often cracked on a poem I reread even though I know it by heart and the words form in my mind before my eyes meet them on the page.

I've often thought that this joy I get from routine and repetition is connected with feeling generally unrooted. Or, perhaps it's because I'm always slightly nervous with new things. When things feel part of me rather than just being on a page or in the world, there's a sense of belonging, of melding with the material, that I don't get from things brand spanking new. But I never thought of it as childlike.

Sometimes, though, I bring routine and repetition to a deliberate halt. I've told you already I'm not going home this year. And this abstinence, it's making me see home and homesickness differently again. This intriguing evolution of my relationship with place, with the place I'm from. And Felicia is in Ireland right now and it's funny: I have this sense of ownership when I read her posts. My Home. My Turf. But knotted up with this feeling of letting it go, not needing to be there... I guess it's not the book I need to reread right now. But I also know it's there on the shelf, and I'll reach for it when I need to.

New moons are a good time for thinking about what should end and what should be embraced and what might be worth pausing to look upon differently... a good time to think about what you really want and need, whether that means going back to something old and familiar, or thinking about a new and perhaps scarier prospect.

Happy weekend, you guys!


Just some links.

- On repeat: Days of roses
- Zadie Smith, Leanne Shapton and Georges Simenon in a new Five Dials
- Contortions
- A letter Beckett wrote the year I was born
- I love it when these two bits of home land in my mail (there's a special St. Patrick's Day offer!)

Happy weekend!


You know that moment when you take a deep breath before launching into your story and then you decide it's too much to say and you're not quite ready and perhaps you don't have the words? So you just shrug or shake your head or say something pat or altogether different. That's been me all week.

Maybe next week, or next month, or next year, I'll be able to write the post I can't today. But I don't have it in me yet. And, in the meantime, it feels like I've nothing much to give to anybody here or in the real world.

So, just some Friday links so:
- My blonde and blurry selfie
- We should love material things more, not less
"...remedying our troubled relationship with material possessions is no easy matter. One knee-jerk response is to cultivate a sort of blanket disdain for consumer goods. I catch a whiff of this in my own inverse snobbery about my battered, second-hand bike, or my disdain for designer clothes – a hangover from childhood Christianity, which historically painted the material world as corrupt and in opposition to the soul."
- The Wild Ones
- "Amn’t I with you? Amn’t I your girl?"
- Hermes delights and some beautiful shelving


The weeks are speeding up and my mind is starting to wrap itself around the concept of spring. Fractions of it appear in small moments every day and even stepping out into -15 yesterday held a faint promise of a finale.

This winter has been long, but also especially stagnating. Last year, I had much more on my plate — so much freelance work and also many more schemes cooking. And it feels of late that I'm not up to much. So I hear about people taking classes and figuring things out and feel a little apart from that kind of engagement. Which is all to say, that I've become a little bored with myself.

I'm not going home this year so jumped keenly on reading this: On not going home. But I found that it didn't quite capture the experience for me. I don't think that I've "made a home" here in Canada, but that "Home" is Ireland. Rather, I think of concurrent concepts of home; both entirely possible, each desirable in its own right. One I inherited, the other I fought for — both powerful connections. One now a present-tense life and the other etched on my bones. Maybe it speaks to the wonderfulness of Canada that these feelings do not compete in me, one does not threaten the other. My sense of home is as much as introspective ideal as a geographical one -- so that both the phenomena and noumena of place are really distinct from my own feelings of home and of belonging. I wouldn't be me without either home. I don't intend to try to be.

Some other links: Normcore fashion. I don't really blog fashion week posts, but I do follow the shows vaguely. Etro and Dries were my absolute favourite. I don't have a tattoo, but I think this one is exceptionally beautifulAmanda Brooks on The Selby might be my favourite yet.

So... A new month and a new moon looms and it's the perfect time to commit to something. A new look perhaps? A new skill of some kind? The all-too-frequent recommitment to health and fitness that never really seems to take steady and firm hold? I'll think about all of that this weekend...

Have a good one, everyone!


Sometimes, I forget how renewing the small feats of adulthood can be. Going to the dentist, getting one's eyes checked, deep-cleaning that one cupboard. Although we're in an age when to-do lists are ridiculously romanticized, we don't dwell much on the actual doing, the completion of things.

But those acts are little reminders that we're still alive, and that we're going on. They're investments in a future we assume will continue to unfurl, the bi-annual teeth cleaning, the annual check-up. Each one marks an investment in a future we can't be sure of. This week I went to the dentist, and made another appointment for 6 months from now.

Last Friday, I learned that my friend Acacia passed away.

Acacia, like so many of you reading, was a person I only knew through blogging. So, although I didn't think I would write about this today, it makes sense that I would mourn her here. It was here we met and became friends and each other's followers. Although she was going through so much, she felt that this was worth her time. And this week, when most things have seemed a little sillier, a little more meaningless, I've reminded myself that Acacia never thought that, even when she was angry, and tired, and dying.

These online relationships we have, where you wait for the next post to pop up in your reader, or a tweet... there's something presumptuous about them. We nearly arrogantly expect them to continue, to be constantly updated and refreshed. And online presences sometimes seem more certain, more solid than real people in all their naked fragility. It's a beautiful optical illusion, how deprived of sense data to the contrary, it's easy to imagine continuity, even permanence.

But life relies on some of this arrogance too. And what are we to do? Live in the shadow of full uncertainty? Not make the next dentist's appointment? No. We must go on.

So, another Friday, another weekend to enjoy. Happy Friday!

Friday & Valentine's Day!

I have a friend who sometimes tells me it makes her sad that I'm single. Sometimes, it makes me sad in the same way, so I can't feel fully mad when she says it. Other times, I want to tell her about a life suffused in romance. How I love flowers in vases by Frances Palmer. Reading, rereading, rerereading this letter from Ted Hughes. Listening to this song sometimes.

How yesterday, I walked to work thinking the whole way about horses and I barely took in anything else, just thinking of the smell of horses. And those days when I just love my apartment and Toronto, the home I've made from scratch by myself. And objects that become so intertwined with who I am that they no longer seem like material things. Those dogs that look like they got all the awesome parts from a bunch of other dogs. Or when I see an Irish wolfhound and think, you're a wizard, you're a wizard, you're a wizard.

Even the days when work was hard but I did my very best and on the way home, I smile at people and there's something that makes them all smile back and the whole city just feels good. Or using Granny's china. Having a name that makes this my song. Lou and Laurie's love — all theirs and not at all mine, but it still makes me feel so much. The bad movie I watch when I need to cry. The feeling of crying when I need to.

The magic of words on pages, shapes of letters conveying meanings and feelings across time and space and from one mind to another so wholly disconnected and all so ineffable. When my sink is full with flowers. The way I can write a post I'm not sure of, but then somebody emails or DMs and says what I hoped. Old Irish houses, the tragedy of them, the beauty of their tragedy. Making friends laugh, laughing with them. Hugs on demand. Cake, fucksakes!

Thinking of the sea. Thinking of riding horses by the sea. Thinking of rain-wet wool and wild eyes and flushed faces. This poem, again and again... oh, Seamus. The gentle souls and wild souls and lost and lonely souls that have crossed my path. Endless crushes. Roses and rose jam, rosewater, arctic roses and rose tea. Still loving all the people I've ever loved. Forever. That being okay. Even the pain and occasional drunken wishes.

The places I go when I'm asleep that I don't remember when I'm awake, but that colour the world for me. The full moons and the new moons, the wax and wane of it... 

You see? - A heart bursting even if I'm alone. And a happy Valentine's Day.


I'm sure if I looked back on my blog, February is always a low month. I'm maxed out on winter, lacking the will to push out into cold days, but sick of staying in too. Still, I think there's value in these cycles, and months of low energy and introspection have their place too. There's something about February that feels very boiled-down. It's a month when I feel less enchanted by frippery. It's a month with space to think and say things I might not think and say if there were light and easy distractions at hand.

It's been a recurring theme here that I wanted to embrace my own mutability. I've mostly expressed that as a very internal thing. But part of it is also understanding the ways I'm connected to a world that's mutable too. February's melancholy is part of that external mutability and I think it's important to acknowledge it (and also not to mistake it for something it's not, something I alone am feeling). I know it will lift, certain as I know the days will get longer and that soon I'll sense movement in the ground again. So right now I'm trying to listen to what February has to say to me.

Some links: A Read.Look.Think. from Jessica. Especially romance.

I wrote a post around Christmas about longevity and love. About how lasting shouldn't be a measure of depth always. I still believe all that. And yet... endless love. And I guess even after love is ostensibly over, I don't really stop loving. Because there's a difference between the events of friendships and relationships ending and those feelings being put away for good.

This weekend's major priorities amount to $10 roses and the first pages of a new book.

Happy weekend friends. And thank you for all your recent comments and support, especially on my last post.


I had a Friday post written. Something reflective in the way you like me to be, with links to things I’ve read this week and musings on some of the ideas that lay therein, an Instagram photo to break it nicely up.

Then I read Steve’s advice column for this week and decided to just shut the fuck up. Because when somebody writes something so true and beautiful and good, the thing to do is just let it fill up all the space in between us.


The weeks feel very long right now, don't they? Even though the weather was so much milder this week, the paths more clear and walkable, I feel the weight of winter bearing down on me. I booked today off early in the week knowing somehow that I wouldn't summon the strength for five days and I'm so glad I did.

My mind is craving greenery like some kind of tonic. I'm sitting here sipping a green juice from a new local juice shop (it's making me immediately happier, I can feel it behind my eyes). And I just bought three new plants; a calamondin orange, sago palm and ruffles anthurium. Between these and my coaxed (I hate saying forced!) daffs, my spirits are lifted.

Jessica wrote this beautiful post about motherhood and we all fell a little more in love with her. Did you feel the moon this week? I wondered if it was why I seemed so overwhelmed, even dizzy at times. As always, The Sphinx and the Milky Way had a wonderful moon post. One line will stay with me for a long time... I wrote it down in my journal and I suppose combined with Jessica's post I thought differently about everything. It was simply: "Be your own Mother" - it's still sinking in what that might mean for me.

I've been a terrible reader lately, watching one after another of you finish the Goldfinch while my page-turning has slowed and slowed. But there are some releases on this list that promise to hold my attention. New Barry and Tóibín this year are in particular exciting for me.

I think I mentioned before how I find paintings of interiors often more inspiring than photographs; the level of abstraction and the lack of product specificity makes these images about atmosphere more than product lists and precise measurements. These ones are especially good.

Finally, the very talented Mark wrote a piece about Twitter regret and this piece about "Doing What You Love" was much shared. I'm not in full agreement, but I do think there's an unspoken privilege to DWYL sometimes, though not always. Food for thought, perhaps.

Happy weekend, friends!


Happy Friday! I hope 2014 is off to a good start for you. It's especially frigid here in Toronto (knocking me off my mountain woman pedestal!) but extreme cold is conducive to other pleasures and my apartment is feeling like a cozy refuge these last few days.

Aside from my one sweeping resolution, I've resolved to taking better care of myself. Last year was so hard on me physically. I wrecked my body with overwork and exhaustion, a lazy diet and letting exercise slip away. On New Year's Day, I was the clichéd shopper at Whole Foods, buying green juice and kale, grapefruits and stocking up on Vitamin D. I already feel a little better, if only for the pleasure of taking hold of something again.

Of the seen and said things this week, I loved rereading this piece by Liam Heneghan, The ecology of Pooh (of course he had me at Pooh, but there's much more here too). Also on Aeon, I loved this video about Voyager's Golden Record as a Valentine.

Ben's little books and illustrations (gosh, he's such a talent) reminded me of the importance of recording these days. I do have a soft spot for Instagram and, of course, this blog is a record of what I'm reading and thinking. But both these things are missing the tangible artifact and looking at Ben's pictures made me pang a little to create something tactile.

Although I've been back at work this week, it feels like today is really the last day of the holidays. A slow exhale then.

Have a lovely weekend.


It's Friday already! I was sure I would blog more this week...

It's been so lovely walking to and from work most of this week and that novelty is still taking hold. At the same time my former life in Don Mills seems like such a surreal and distant thing. Memory is such a tricky thing. Yesterday can seem farther away than something that happened years ago. Ten years of steady routine can recede faster than one standout day.

My wreath was made and hung on the door last weekend, the first of the Christmas cards were sent and received, the year fast coming to a close. And I find myself disinterested in the gift guides and the wrap-ups, even the best book lists. I guess it's that time of year when it all seems like too much churn, too much grabbiness. And I sometimes see my own grabbiness in it too and it becomes anathema to me.

I'll be spending Christmas this year in the mountains. These mountain paintings by Conrad Jon Godly really evoke those early memories of living in the mountains. I wonder sometimes if I miss Alberta because I've been missing that feeling of being swept off my feet.

There's something beautiful to me now about opting out of the city for Christmas, of watching snow blow off a peak behind a frozen mountain lake and holding my friend's baby, wee Marcel Bourelle, in my arms. I'm counting the days!

Have a happy weekend!


Oddly, this week went along. I felt like I was fumbling, drunken, through my days with no sense of the usual arc of a week. Not in a way you'd remark on as unpleasant, just a little unsteady, a little confused. But here we are and it's Friday and I can feel my roots sink deeper — a chance to ground myself once again.

I loved reading this piece about Irish literature's books of the dark. It's something I've always felt - most of all in Beckett. And indeed I see it as more characteristically Irish than the usual twinkling manifestations that are thought of elsewhere.
"Patrick Kavanagh, in his stark poem "Dark Ireland", wrote: "We are a dark people, / Our eyes ever turned / Inward / Watching the liar who twists / The hill-paths awry". In a slant way, he exposes a genre of writing that is concealed in plain sight, what might be called the Irish book of the dark. It comes out of the persistent tendency of Irish writers to occupy the shadows of the mind, often pushing the English language out of shape in the process."

As if to prove the point, I turned to read this by Colum McCann and reached this wonderful line.
"All the stories he wrote walked themselves into the dark."

Though I would also say there's levity in darkness, which is in itself a lovely turn, to allow both to occupy the same space. In all the Beckett productions I've seen, this is a fragile tension that involves not only the players but the audience too. Often, the audience has broken it, by straining too much for the punchlines and not settling into the silence. Next weekend I'm going to see the McKellen / Stewart Godot. I'm hoping to feel the light and the dark.

For now, a happy weekend to you!


It's been a while since I did a Friday post, but I have some links to share with you this week.

First, Kevin Barry's Paris Review interview. This, I loved: "My suspicion is that feeling escapes from people and seeps into the stones of a place."

And page 22 of the new Five Dials cut me to shreds.

I loved this Irish Times article about a swimmer (and the video here, which is as Gaeilge, but gorgeous). This woman exudes a lovely wisdom:
"Describing her love of the sea over lake swimming she talks of her difficulty in finding “the pulse of the water – there’s no heartbeat in the lake”; on the challenge of ice swimming she describes building her courage as “everything is as life allows”; and of managing anxiety she explains that “you can’t swim the fears of tomorrow”."

Helen's blog post (the last paragraph!) and tweets have me missing my past life in the mountains. These paintings too.

But even here in Toronto there are moments it cuts through. And our city's scandals can't counter the beauty of the moon this week, waxing each day to fullness. Last night, I left the office and walked in that strange suburb, just to keep eye contact with its friendly gaze. To bask in the pink halo that encircled it, to feel my limbs loosen and my head clear.

And this, this too. Read it right to the end. To have such grace.
"I had gotten to walk with him to the end of the world. Life – so beautiful, painful and dazzling – does not get better than that. And death? I believe that the purpose of death is the release of love."

Have a gentle weekend, friends.


First, thank you all so much for your comments on my last blog post. I read them all, but didn't find space in my days to respond (I will, I promise!) In particular, please read Sarai's comment as she presents a really interesting counter to my perspective. Ultimately, it's not where I land, but her argument is certainly something to give pause to and consider (thanks Sarai!)

I also read this by Colm Tóibín early in the week. There's a gentleness in Tóibín's writing that I adore. His a voice full of home to me.

My Dad would often burst into poetry the way others might burst into song. Reciting poetry changes its texture in a very special way — not just by sharing with others, but even just for yourself. Those feelings, so introspective, are given voice to, literally. The structure, the cadence, the weave of the words becomes more salient. The shaping of the lips and tongue around the words; it all becomes sensual. There are some poems I just love because I love the feeling of forming their words, love the sound of my own voice making the sounds.

I also enjoyed this read from Aeon not only for the animal angle, but also this new-to-me concept of "mutuality of being."

"Mutuality of being refers to a special type of relationship, one that overlaps with friendship but has its own distinct qualities... Mutuality of being, he writes in What Kinship Is — And Is Not (2013), comes about when people are ‘co-present in each other’. More than just spending time together, the individuals involved remain emotionally and cognitively taken up with each other’s lives even when they are not together."

I think I expected my fresh start this week without really letting myself recover from the weeks preceding it. I found my dreams hungover with old worries. I had a lot of sleep in me still. I have today off work, though. I think it will be a good weekend.

I hope yours is too!


I feel like I'm barely here these days and I miss it. It's been a reminder of just how much I like to play here, to noodle words and collect lovely things, to share ideas and melancholy notions, poems and schemes.

It's not only that I don't have the energy or time right now, it's also that I don't quite have a sense of myself outside of all the work to be done. Like the muscle memory of just being me has been forgotten. I know it will come back... I'm in the final leg of this project now. And I know this is a lot about me clinging too tight, as I do to things that I care about against all reason. But it will be done soon and I'll find my way back to normal.

I read this over on Toast Travels last week. Evie Wyld was a new-to-me discovery only a month ago and now I strain for every new thing she writes. And did I already share this video of Kevin Barry? I've watched it a few times now. Classic. Oh! And this gorgeous piece made me cry at my desk last weekend.

The flowers I arranged on Sunday evening were the happiest thing to come home to each night this week. I mostly missed their slow fading but at the same time, they were the only thing measuring the march of my days.

I'm happy for Friday. Wishing you a lovely weekend!


When I lived in the mountains, I learned each season like it was a new language; the peculiar winds that blew down from the Rockies, the angled light across foothill scrub, the vapour-thin, hot air of summer. And it took a full year before it became familiar. And then when autumn circled around again, I recognized it and felt at home. I could look to the sky and say, a Chinook is coming.

Small things matter a lot to me and these small things make a place home.

Last night, I walked home and looking at the ginkgo trees thought, this is the last shade of green they go before they go yellow. The changes so minuscule you doubt that you could really know that. But I trust some animal part of me reads these signs, has learned this terrain, has staked out this territory and knows it viscerally in detail that I don't always articulate.

When change is in the air these senses really tingle. Summer's beating heat or winter's scalding cold numb me. But my whole body awakens with the minuscule changes of transitional seasons. The sky, the air, the light, the rain, the movement in the earth, the way sound moves through thinning or thickening air, the unfurling, the falling. The straining for what's to come.

Have a lovely weekend!


Just dropping in to say hello and happy weekend!

What I thought would be a super-short week turned into a strange medieval form of torture. But I'm taking back today and just returned from the flower market. This arrangement was inspired by one in the Flower Recipe Book -- a book I bought many months ago, but this is the first time I remembered to look at it before I went to market.

TIFF is on right now and it always turns Toronto into a bit of a circus. It's changed so much in the 10 years since I lived here and I miss when it felt more down-to-earth. But there are some films I would love to see, most notably The Sea.

I'm also starting to feel really excited about some fall reading. And fall temperatures. And the stretched light of fall. And the cashmere and the whiskey.

Also notable:
- Toronto darlings Horses Atelier opened an online shop.
- We can all buy a Carly Waito print!
- Read.Look.Think. and welcome to sweet Sunday!

Happy weekend, everybody!


I had a very work-weighed week. So much so, that I've just been fantasizing about sitting still, falling into one of those veiled gazes where no object is in focus and the world becomes an impressionistic blur. I have today off and am only permitting lovely things.

But this morning, my heart was broken by the news of Seamus Heaney's death. It always seems strange to me (phoney of me even) to have strong emotional reactions to the passing of people I didn't know. But I've caught myself shedding tears today, thinking of favourite poems this wonderful man planted in me, lines memorized that conjure my soft and rugged home. Two favourites here and here.

I think because I'm so worn out and down, I've been extra fragile (a few of you commented on it in this week's posts - thank you for caring. Sometimes it feels like you're more in tune with my feelings than the people who physically surround me). Hila's piece over on Meanjin also moved me incredibly. Indeed, it is one of my favourite pieces that Hila has written, so I hope you'll check it out too.

And other than that, I found gentle salves in images like these and this simple, perfect lookbook. I also rejoined Instagram because other lives are sometimes easy, pleasurable things to wallow in and my own long days seem a little more bearable when they surrender a pretty picture.

Finally, if like so many bloggers and blog-readers, you fetishize the list, add this to yours: Mark O'Connell's list about lists.

And also, have a happy (long, I hope) weekend!