Saturday, 27 August 2011

My Boy Builds Coffins

Today's very random song is by Florence and the Machine . I think I'm going to make this my last random song themed blog post and seeing as I started with a Haiku I'm going to finish one. I also had no clue what else to write with that title as a theme! So here it is...

My Boy Builds Coffins

The last resting point
he carves in contemplation
of who will lie here.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Blank Page

Today's song is Blank Page by the Smashing Pumpkins. Missed a day so guess that is fitting in with the whole blank page theme...

When faced with a blank piece of paper I'm often tempted to doodle. I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about doodling and how it's a really good creative outlet/relaxer for when you feel like producing some art but can't quite be bothered to focus properly (or can't focus properly because you're in some 'important' meeting). It reminded me of a doodle I kept from years ago which turned into a bit of an elaborate drawing (which is above). I dated it on the back so I know I drew this when I was about 14 and I think I could actually draw a whole let better then than I can now! Supposidly you need to keep drawing to get better and I don't do enough these days. If I could go back to study something full time I'd love to go to Art School. I remember my art teacher encouraging me to think about applying but my bro was already there and I thought one art student in the family was enough (particularly because he is 110% more talented than moi!). I was also kind of worried that if I tried to formally 'study' art it would take the fun out of it.

I think doodling is probably the art equivalent of 'free writing' where you're supposed to just disengage your brain and let your pen form words. I've tried that before and it's quite hard to get into the 'zone' but once you stop overthinking it's quite cool to see the bizarre sentences it produces.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sometimes... today's song by My Bloody Valentine.

This is kind of a vague title which I guess makes this post easier in some ways. 'Sometimes' is a word which evokes feelings of wistfulness or nostalgia. Which is quite appropriate really as when I was in the Arches Cafe Bar this evening I noticed a woman (crazy woman) in a wheelchair who used to frequent the GFT Cafe Bar when I worked there many years ago. She used to come in with a tray attached to her wheelchair demanding cake in a very loud voice, always wearing a baseball cap and always telling staff members that they looked like some famous person who they had no resemblance to whatsoever. This evening in the Arches she had a massive pizza on her tray and was positioned at the bar while she ate. I also saw her (or more like heard her) in the audience at a play I went to one night in the Arches and she laughed really loudly at the most inappropriate bits.

Seeing her this evening made me feel a bit nostalgic for those days when I worked in a job where I had little responsibilities and got to meet lots of interesting people and sometimes lots of crazy people,and got to play my own CDs behind the bar. I still get to meet some interesting and crazy people in my present job (in fact the crazy is on a whole other level sometimes, with massive cuddly toy rabbits making appearances and I also had to interview a client right after he peed himself - an adult client, bleurgh). Sometimes I get bored with 9-5 routine though and I guess that's why it's important for me to do creative things outwith work to add some variety. Sometimes I think it would be great to be able to write full time, maybe go to some nice cafes, go to the cinema in the afternoon... but in reality I think I'd fritter away the day doing pointless things (and probably eat too much chocolate) I think sometimes the busier I am, the more I actually do (so the more I actually write).

That's what I'll tell myself anyway to feel better about those dark mornings that are approaching when it feels like I'm making the commute to work in the middle of the night and when I get home all I want to do is crawl into bed and forget the world, only for it to start all over again the next day... I hate winter, you'd never guess eh? Sometimes I wonder what it would be like living in a country which has no proper winter...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Today's song is Drown by the Smashing Pumpkins.

Once upon a time I nearly drowned but this isn’t what this blog entry is about...

I was struggling to think of something to write around the theme of ‘drown’ and then remembered a conversation I had many years ago with a passing stranger. (Some of the best conversations I’ve had in life are with random strangers who seem to just appear to tell me interesting stories). He talked about a near death experience he had where he nearly drowned. During the experience he fell deep under water and ‘was brought’ to reside in a lighthouse (I love lighthouses!), which he described as a waiting ground for people to pass over or return to life. A woman came to fetch him and told him he had to go back and wasn’t to pass over. Later in the guy’s real life he met this same woman and she told him that she recognised him too, even though they had never met in ‘real time’ before. They both took part in regression hypnosis, (if you want to know what this is, then look up a book called Journey of Souls- which I had strangely just read a few months before meeting this guy when it fell off a bookshelf in front of me). During the hypnosis session they discovered that they had met in many past lives and he said they became best friends in this life.

I kind of like the idea of meeting someone in many lives (if you like them- not so great if you have to endure an annoying twerp 50 lives over). I met another random stranger at a writing thing earlier in the year and had an interesting conversation over dinner with her one evening. She told me she’d lost her mother when she was a teenager and when she had her own children one of her daughters started saying strange things when she was about 3. The daughter said to her one day: “Isn’t it nice how you now get to be my mummy?” And pointed out a window of a flat over to old buildings saying she used to ‘work there’ and said the windows reminded her of her old school. She also demanded to know “who the characters in her life were going to be”. The aforementioned book Journey of Souls talks a lot about how we get to choose certain people to come into our lives and that we’ll usually recognise them (on a subconscious level) which could explain why you sometimes feel an instant like or connection to people you first meet. You never know... I asked this woman if she’d read Journey of Souls and she said she had. She brought up memories of a period I went through in my early 20s where a lot of weird synchronicities,(look up Jung for an explanation of that one), occurred in my life. She reckoned it was because my mind was free from clutter of study at that point, I had a low demand job and was going out socialising out with creative people a lot, so my mind was more open or something.

I like to think that there’s something a bit more than just the black and white of every day existence and love coming across people like that who tell me bizarre things! I’m still not sure I’m sold on the idea of reincarnation though; it seems a bit of an exhausting concept...

Monday, 22 August 2011

Living is a problem because everything dies...

...this is my random song of today by Biffy Clyro; nice cheery concept which I don’t want to get too philosophical about.

I think ‘Living is a problem’ is the mantra of any plant which spends any significant time in my flat. My friend bought me a sunflower growing kit and the photo above shows that one is indeed growing and so far surviving...I’m determined to actually get it to flower! I love sunflowers and it would be really cool if this one successfully beat the odds of my tendency to either over water or starve the things. Hopefully I’ll soon be able to post up another picture soon with it in full bloom.

One of the downsides of living in a flat is the lack of a garden (unless you count the bit of space out the back where the bins are kept). The prettiest garden I’ve ever seen was the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver (photo below). I’ve mentioned this before in my blog but it was so great it deserves another mention. It was such a beautiful sanctuary in the middle of a city and I could have sat there all day. Not quite the same as the park along the road from me... but maybe if I close my eyes I can imagine this place instead...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Creation Lake

I'm trying an experiment this week,(or maybe for a few weeks, depending how much time I get to write), where my blog posts are going to be inspired by the first song which pops up on my MP3 player random shuffle. Today's song is Creation Lake by the Silversun Pickups.

For this entry I decided to attempt a Haiku (been a while since I've written any poetry) so here it is:

Creation Lake

Scattered pink bloom floats;
a discarded summer cloak
fading in moonlight.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


The Painting above is ‘Spring’ by William Kennedy, one of the Glasgow Boys who moved to Paisley

I saw my current hometown, Paisley, in a new light this weekend after visiting the local museum, owned by Paisley Arts Institute. The museum is currently housing an exhibition of paintings by artists collectively known as “The Glasgow Boys.” I’ve seen some of their work before in the Kelvingrove but was unaware that the group had close links to Paisley, with a couple of them living in the town and studying at Paisley’s School of Design in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The Paisley Arts Institute was formed in 1876 and provided a venue for sales of ‘The Glasgow Boy’s’ work. The Institute is still going strong, running various drawing competitions, and is recognised as a leading exhibiting body in Scotland.

Within the current collection on display were several paintings of old streets in Paisley; it was fun trying to figure out what now stands in place of long forgotten buildings. It struck me how vibrant Paisley must have been during this period, with the Coats family just one of the wealthy art collectors based there around that time. Also on display were the famous Paisley Pattern shawls. The Weavers were a well read and radical group, which included the poet Robert Tannahill, and were involved in the ‘Radical War’ of the 1920s.

It’s sad to now walk down Paisley High Street and be faced with rows of unoccupied shop fronts (and a burn out flat which the Council haven’t even bothered to board up.) It has such potential; the Abby is a beautiful building and the Oak Shaw area is really pretty. The local Arts Centre is a place I consciously want to support and utilise – I’ve been to a few plays/dance performances there and attended Life Drawing Classes during the year. Sometimes with Glasgow being so close by it’s easy to forget to look a bit closer to home. I hope the Council start to do more to encourage the growth of new business and invest more into the local community to keep the culture alive.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sadako and the paper cranes

One of my friends invited me along to an Origami workshop yesterday in the Mitchell Library to learn how to fold a paper crane in memory of a girl, Sadako Sasaki, who died as a result of effects from the atomic bomb which hit Hiroshima in 1945.

When Sadako was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 12 she spent her remaining months in hospital where she folded hundreds of paper cranes and her friends and family brought them to her as gifts. In Japan there is a legend that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes that your wishes will come true. They also believe that Cranes live for 1,000 years.
After her death Sadako's classmates campaigned for a Monument, to honour not only Sadoko's memory, but also the other children who died as a result of the bomb.
This resulted in The Children's Peace Monument being built in 1958 and all of the paper cranes made at yesterday's workshop will be sent to the Monument in Hiroshima.

I was really rubbish at folding my Crane but thankfully an expert was on hand to help! The story was really sad but knowing hundreds are still folding paper cranes in her memory (and no doubt across Japan hundreds are folding cranes in memory of lives lost in the latest Nuclear/Earthquake disaster) adds a bit of hope and simplicity back into the world.

Getting Lost

Thought it was about time I updated my blog - didn't realise unitl I logged in that it had actually been so long since I last posted.

The past couple of months have been filled with the usual day job humdrum, a fun trip to London (where I got to meet a wax version of RPatz and failed to recognise Michael Stipe in the flesh at the Tate Gallery until I googled him when I got home and realised yes, he is quite small and old looking now with dark rimmed glasses...)and the biggest event was being bridesmaid at my brother's wedding in Arran and acquiring a sister in law!

More and more I find myself seeking new places, new experiences and new people as I find this then adds to my writing and sparks off half formed ideas...or just helps to take me out of that boring 9-5 frame of mind. Just stepping off the tube in London and going down the escalator to sounds of a really good busker (it's been a while since I've heard a really good busker in a city) wakened up my senses to something new, something different.

I also love being by the sea so staying in Arran for a long weekend of sunshine was so relaxing and it felt like I'd escaped to a little paradise island for a while.

The past week I've been off I've enjoyed getting lost in my own head, getting lost in my writing and music and films and books and I also did some sketching when I was in Perth (church windows are not the easiest of things to draw). I feel lucky to love all those things; to have the ability to evade reality for a while and daydream.

I finished my young adult novel during my week off and am now in the process of going back to the start and doing the edits. I felt a sense of accomplishment finishing it but am also a bit deflated and sad as I'm leaving behind characters who have been wandering around in my head for the last 10 months or so. Maybe by the time I've finished the edits I will be gladly showing them the door...