Friday, April 30, 2010

A conversation with Emily Dickinson

This is a recent poem that ties together a few of the things that have been swirling round my head and this blog in recent months - Sehnsucht/longing, eschatology and Emily Dickinson.

A conversation with Emily Dickinson

We talk about waiting
while we wait - you and I -
a pack of cards ever
closer to being dealt.

Also, we talk about longing:

How it sits in your lap,
furrowed and soft
like a bruised rabbit’s head

And how some days it’s a
spoon between teeth
resting over the tongue’s
arch, losing its shine
but never its strength.

How at night it becomes
a tree bough desperate
to worship a cool
and distant light.

How it slows to a crawl
whenever you think about it
like blood in a cold climate;
a purple river paralysed.

We talk about longing
like it’s a friend who
calls us too often
always wanting
something we don’t have
to offer.

And we talk about waiting
- you and I- while we wait
for the rabbit to die.

The religious impulses of secularism?

A little while ago I pointed to the March issue of Meanjn.

Well one of the articles by John Potts is up online, and free. It's a pretty interesting look at the way various secular beliefs and practices can end up looking more 'religious' than Christianity itself.

A good read...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hollis Brown Thornton

The bottom two are entirely drawn in permanent marker. Amazing... more here.

The things people say... and the things I choose not to say.

I was back home on the North Shore this week for a luncheon (that's what they call them up there) with my parents and some extended family. There were some classic lines that I feel need to be repeated. Both involve my Dad (who I should clarify, I love and respect).

Dad: When I was a child everyone said comics would ruin us. Well they didn't. Sophie, don't buy into moral panic. Just ignore every moral panic they throw at you. Ignore them all!

*Plane flies overhead without much noise or inconvenience to our conversation, in fact I don't think I even noticed it*
Guest: oooh that's a low one.
My brain: Are you serious? Come have lunch at my place!
Dad: Yes, we get about two of those a day.
My brain: Two. A day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


So Jo (not housemate Jo - uni friend Jo), read about hiring vintage bikes in Melbourne on my blog, and did it! How cool is that? Ahh I'm supremely jealous.

Read her review here in the comments of the original post.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010


My newly acquired Swedish word for having coffee: Fika. Suitably, I had this coffee with a Swede at Single Origin in Surry Hills. It was good Fika.

And here's Sandra Juto's take on Fika.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Because I could not stop for Death

I watched Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanours on Friday, and there was a magic moment where the annoying middle class characters were quoting a favourite Emily Dickinson poem.

Because Allen is mocking them in the scene, it is kind of odd that I would want to join in their conversation by pasting the poem here, because I'm basically condemning myself along with them. But hey maybe if I'm all self-conscious about it this will pass as some kind of ironic pastiche. ohhhhh post-modernism, how helpful you are when I need to get around the difficulties of truth and meaning.

Anyway, to the point - I really do like the poem... and it's a classic. So if you've not read it before, enjoy pondering what kind of a man Death is, really. He's considered one of the great characters of literature.

Because I could not stop for Death
by Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

image: Danny North

Double take

So I bought a new brand of deodorant today, and I did a bit of a double take when I read the advice on the back of the pack (I know, who reads the back of their deodorant... Me ok?)

Because it recommends that you apply it at night, before you go to bed.  That's right... a good 10 hours before you really need it to work its magic.

It's funny how distrustful I am of such advice. I mean, they should know how their product works, but I just don't understand the logic... something about establishing an equilibrium at an even temperature. hmmmm

Should I take their advice? It's quite a risk. After all, this is deodorant we're talking about.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life's Questions: April

I was going to do a Life Lessons for April post, but then I realised I think I have more questions than answers this month. So I'll throw them out there and my wise readers (that's you) can help me.

*How does one go about displaying a tea towel? Should I frame it? How? (in case you're wondering ... it's a tea towel with a Rob Ryan paper cut design on it. I like it enough to never want to use it)

*How many times can you listen to an album before it becomes excessive? I have a few on repeat at the moment.. and when I say repeat I mean I listen to them multiple times a day. Is this bad? Maybe I have an addictive personality... watch out.

*When you're at the swimming pool, and you're in the Medium lane and the guy in front of you's going really slow, what's the etiquette, given there's probably someone behind you too? Do you overtake, dawdle, ask him to move down a lane? I decided to dawdle, and then hovered at the end of the lane to make a bigger gap between us. Hmmmmmm lane politics.

Well that about covers all the big issues in life, doesn't it.

If you too have pressing questions for April, maybe you can put them down in the comments section and we can start a new agony aunt thing. Nice.

Ahh feeling like this blog is completely silly and pointless at the moment, but that's ok, right?


Click to enlarge... you won't regret it.

via Meanjin's post on poets ranked by their beards

Friday, April 16, 2010

Laura Marling

This girl. Wow. Just a hair's breath away from Joni Mitchell. I love the video too.

argh it won't let me embed it. Well, do yourself a favour and watch it on youtube.

More vintage printables

Vintage verses

Don't ask me why I'm so excited about these, I just am. They're vintage verse cards with a winter theme. I found them on Vintage Printable, an online storehouse of vintage images under various categories - all free and out of copyright, so you can print them right out. I can't remember where I read about the site, but it's amazing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Best email subject line ever

"Pretend this is a text message or it may sound abrupt".

True story.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

these days

parramatta road in technicolour

autumn in bowral

the sun setting during a press conference

spindlings of the summer

the film photography on Sandra Juto's blog just makes my heart break

Monday, April 12, 2010

what's lurking in my wardrobe

The world must've gone mad, because Ali's requested I tell you all about my wardrobe. That's a first!

I have to tell you the five things in my wardrobe I wouldn't be without.

This isn't too hard, as I only have about 5 things in my wardrobe. They are:

1. Jeans - so hard to find a good pair. But Kath told me her secret and if you ask me, I will tell you where the perfect jeans can be found....

2. Cardigans - in various shapes, sizes, sleeve length and colours.

3. T-shirts - in plain colours

4. Fun jewelry - nothing expensive, in fact the cheaper the better. If found in Mother's/Grandmother's cupboard even better.

5. Weird retro items of clothing. Like a floral moo moo you bought on king street for $5, or a synthetic anorak you bought in the mountains and now regret...

If you asked my housemate, she'd say scrap that list - anything boring and neutral. But I doth protest. If one starts with a neutral colour palette, one can always layer with colour. No?

So the rules are to link to the person who tagged you, list the items, and tag some people.

I tag Soph R, who seems to know about fashion and i'm sure has had to rejig her wardrobe for baby-ness.

And Christine.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lego laughs

I can vouch for it being a slow news day (night), but seriously guys...

The ABC maps its future with Lego on The Australian website.

Who doesn't love Lego? Grinches.

Honey, I shrunk my hands

Does anyone else think the iPad just looks like an awkwardly oversized iPhone, sort of like how mobile phones from the 80s look ridiculously large and clunky next to modern phones?

It just looks weird to me.

Speaking of touch screens and I-things... I realised I had been rather done over by my iPhone when in a fit of tiredness at work a couple of weeks ago, reached to touch my screen to make something happen, before realising it was not an iPhone, just a computer and couldn't sense my finger tapping on it. haha. Oh dear.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The loaf

so you can tell it's been a productive night at work...

The Loaf

There's a loaf of bread sitting on the back seat of my car.
It's been there since I stopped at the servo
10 hours ago to pay an inflated price for petrol
I should've bought days ago but
didn't because the guage went unnoticed
until it hit the red mark of desperation.

What does it mean that The Loaf is still
there filling its plastic burrow
with condensation, sweating like
it's a living organism because it is,
what with all that yeast to make it rise?

All that yeast, spreading like Jesus
said it would.

The Loaf (his body) still sits on
the back seat of my car. I can say
this because it's Good Friday - or it was two hours ago -
and I'm at work, doing a night shift at the
radio station - away from The Loaf -
sweating in my own way; a living organism
trapped in an office devoid of people,
populated by screens playing
the end of Ben Hur to no one.

The Loaf it sits, away from the wine.

I sit, away from The Loaf, away from the wine.

The Loaf, it sits.

A map of childhood

Have you noticed how as a child, things beyond your daily trail seem completely other-worldly?

How when you stopped at an apple orchard in the mountains at age seven, biting into a piece of fruit so fresh it almost hurt your mouth with flavour you felt like you were in tourist commercial?

And remember when you went on a trip with Girl Guides to a namless country town three hours west of Sydney and you camped by a nameless lake, near a nameless road, under a nameless mountain and it stormed and stormed all night and dropped to temperatures that made your hands go numb and stop working when you needed to pack up the tents the next morning? You returned to that nameless town years later, to live and work. It's called Orange.

Or how you drove with your Dad to watch your brother play cricket on the other side of Sydney where people like you didn't live and you passed a grungy hotel on a stop-start road that streteched for miles, a pub you knew hosted gigs for bands you wanted to like but didn't yet. That was Annandale, where you now go to church.

Or how on your way to another game in another part of Sydney you saw that giant billboard advertising Coca-Cola hanging over the freeway like a little piece of New York and you wondered where you were? That was Kings Cross.

How those years felt like sewing tiny pieces of fabric together from the back seat of the car to make a map that would eventually take you somewhere and how inevitably, as the map joined up, how you would tap at the ceiling above you like some arctic animal coming up for air only to realise how little you really knew.

Or how nothing's really changed.

Friday, April 2, 2010