Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wasting time

Oh, where does time go? That's exactly what I wondered when I realized I haven't posted here in more than a week! I'm not the only one who feels like this, of course...

Through the beautiful Peonies and Polaroids, I found Alison Provax, who is creating a series of letterpress prints that form The Time Wasting Experiment. She says of the project, In part inspired by tracking 'billable hours' but also coming from the compulsion to always be doing and producing objects. This series is sort of an audit of how I spend my time, but could also be thought of as permission slips to spend a period of time in a wasteful way (maybe recontextualizing a private, shameful activities into something which one tries to get done in a set amount of time).  You can buy the prints from her Etsy shop.

I love the simplicity of these, and seeing all these "wasteful" activities with a timeline attached to them is also a real eye opening. I'm definitely guilty of many of these, and since I'm not sure I can stop, maybe I should start trying to set a limited amount of time to do them.

So what have I been doing? Apart from wasting time, that is... I've been getting used to a new job, new projects, a completely different new way of doing things (in fact, part of my job is coming up with new ways of doing things!). I'm getting used to a new office and new colleagues. It's been almost two weeks and I'm starting to get a clear picture of what it's going to be like, exciting but crazy and stresful times lie ahead!

All this has left me with little energy to do much with my free time, and so I have been wasting my time with lots of movie and DVD watching (guilty secret, I've become obssesed with Brothers and Sisters... should I worry?). I've also been watching lots of Friends and listening to Regina Spektor, two things that never fail to put me in a good mood. And I've finally found a way to post music in the blog, so I leave you with my favourite Regina's song. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

12 months of being 30: On writing

* This post is part of my 12 months of being 30 project, an attempt to record what happens during my year of being 30.

Stacey said it first and Julochka instantly embraced the concept of writing as the new praying. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, because writing is definitely helping me feeling better despite the stress, the depressing weather, and the lack of energy that I told you about in my last post.
I know I haven't been writing here much (Sorry!) but I've been playing with words quite a lot, on my own, and as part of a Creative Writing class that I decided to take on a whim (a creative writing class in English! Talking about leaving my comfort zone!)
Last week, we did an exercise that I found incredibly liberating. We had to write three short autobiographical texts (100 words each), and chopped them up word by word. Then, we have to play with the 300 words and create a completely different text with them. The idea was putting words together without thinking too much about their meaning, but perhaps not surprisingly, most of the people in the class found that the words were definitely trying to transmit something to them. I had so much fun doing this and liked my text so much, that I used it as part of one of my 12 months of being 30 collages.

For the record, my teacher thought that I needed to add some concrete concepts as it was too abstract, but I still like it as it is.

I'm now determined to go back to a routine of writing morning pages before going to work, and sitting down and writing on a stream of consciousness whenever I feel lost or overwhelmed. I'm not sure if writing is the new praying, but for me it's definitely the best form of therapy.

PS. It's my first day at my new job today. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 12, 2009

If September was a month of new beginnings, good changes and hope, October seems to be the complete opposite. The beauty of cool, crisp Autumn mornings has given way to cold, dark and rainy days. This gets me every year, the beginning of a winter in England starts too early and will last for far too long. During the last week I've been fighting a cold and dragging myself to work, as well as trying to finish a couple of translations I volunteered to do, and so I feel tired, devoid of energy and ideas.  I haven't been writing, I haven't been reading, I haven't been art journaling, I haven't been taking photos.  I've just been doing a lot of nothing.

In an effort to get myself out of this funk quicker, I've of course turned to the blogosphere. The new Unravelling course starts tomorrow, and I'm really hoping it'll help me look around me and maybe take photos again. I did the first course Susannah taught at the beginning of the year and it was great, so I'm sure this one will be too.

The Fragrant Muse of course had the best oil for this situation and Cyndy has embarked on a decluttering journey that could be my inspiration. How about dreaming of other places?  I love absolutely everything about this post by Lana

SAS, who seem to be in a hole of her own, posted a quote by Rainer Maria Rilke that maybe exactly what I need: 
 Do not now look for the answers. 
They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. 
It is a question of experiencing everything. 
At present you need to live the question.  

Do you ever feel like this? What do you do? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Corner view: Oxford souvenirs, UK

This week's Corner View theme is Souvenirs of your city. Ah, Oxford! One of the most beautiful cities in the world. What could you take as a souvenir after visiting? What would you remember?

Well, there is the obvious, a postcard of the Radcliffe Camera, which is probably the most recognizable building in town...

Or a postcard of one of the Colleges, like Christ Church. One of the most beautiful buildings in the city, it's now famous because it inspired Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter movies. This is the back building overlooking Christ Church Meadow and my favourite part of the college.

You could get a book about the city. This is, after all, one of the most important Univeristy cities of the world, and it offers plenty of bookshops where to spend a fun afternoon...

You could go for something British... with a twist...

Or you could simply go and enjoy one of the old pubs in town. The Eagle and Child, in St Gilles, is where the writers' group, The Inklings used to meet. Its members included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, so you'd be in good company.

Go to Jane's blog, Spain Daily, to visit more Corner Views around the world.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Books and magazines (or languages and music)

Hello, welcome to the news edition of Cuttings on a blog!

We're discussing Dreaming in hindi at the Hermit Book Club today! I'm starting the conversation:

Dreaming in Hindi is the story of the author, Katherine Russell Rich, while living in India and learning Hindi for a year. But not really. It's mainly a collection of theories, ideas, and reflections on learning a second language.

Come and visit even if you haven't read the book, as we can have an interesting discussion about learning languages and living in different cultures. At some point in the book, the author mentions a Slovak proverb that has stayed with me: With each new language you acquire a new soul. In my experience, and that of the author of the book,  learning a new language is a window into a different world, and speaking a language can make you into a different person, even without you realizing.

On other news, have you seen Stacey's new venture, Music Sandwich? It's a music magazine with a multicultural angle. For this first issue, I wrote an article about the history of tango and the city of Buenos Aires. Oh, how I miss Buenos Aires... Unfortunately, the photos in the article are not mine, because I managed to lose most of them. There are also articles on jazz, electro music, and my favourite section: Sounds like... where you can discover local bands from all over the world that sound like the ones you already know and like. Have a look!