"I think you're one of those people who write instead of live, aren't you?"
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“I think you’re one of those people who write instead of live, aren’t you?”: Quotations and motivations

My mum has this phrase, "if it's not on the calendar, it isn't happening", meaning that plans and appointments not written down are liable to be forgotten or have something else planned in their place. It's a practical thing, but perhaps also indicative of a home culture that writes stuff down - a home that… Continue reading “I think you’re one of those people who write instead of live, aren’t you?”: Quotations and motivations

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Shakespeare in performance: National Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet” (2020)

In a sentence: Light on Shakespeare's script but big on visual appeal, this dynamic production brings the romantic tragedy to the small screen in a contemporary-feeling adaptation. The story of "Juliet and her Romeo" is the best-known of all Shakespeare's plays. It's an ingrained cultural touchstone, quoted and misquoted everywhere, somehow a pinnacle of romance… Continue reading Shakespeare in performance: National Theatre’s “Romeo & Juliet” (2020)

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Counting books and blessings: March 2021

I didn't feel like writing a mini-essay this week, so instead I've written about some of the lit-related things I've been up to recently. I've read six books this month, something I hadn't done since I was an undergraduate. Even accounting for some of them being slender volumes of poetry, this feels like a kind… Continue reading Counting books and blessings: March 2021

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After “Alaska for Looking”: Poetry Prompt

Alaska for Looking is an artwork by Ryland Stalder which is the text of John Green's novel Looking for Alaska (2005) but with the words rearranged into alphabetical order. Inspired by Alaska for Looking, I've similarly rearranged some other texts in a similar way. a a a do do do fact fact fact fat feed… Continue reading After “Alaska for Looking”: Poetry Prompt

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I fell in love with “Life: An Exploded Diagram” by Mal Peet (again)

I recently reread Life: An Exploded Diagram (2011), a beautiful novel by Mal Peet, and in the process came to the conclusion that it's a literary masterpiece* which I need to recommend to everyone I meet, and discuss at length with anyone who'll even pretend to listen. If I had a class to teach, I'd… Continue reading I fell in love with “Life: An Exploded Diagram” by Mal Peet (again)

Writing Notes on Things

Writing Notes on Things no.8: Sticking googly eyes on stuff

After the seriousness of my last post, today's topic is a lighthearted one: drawing or sticking googly eyes on objects to personify them and create an empathetic response. Maybe a life of lockdowns is getting to you and you've been making your own "friends" from inanimate objects from around your home. You wouldn't be the… Continue reading Writing Notes on Things no.8: Sticking googly eyes on stuff

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Against apathy / trying not to look away / from a broken world

Great art can make us look longer at something, especially where the reality of that "something" is painful or scary, and it's all too easy to look away, stay comfortable by doing so. In this post I share some poems that call on the reader to take notice in the face of what's wrong in… Continue reading Against apathy / trying not to look away / from a broken world

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The wardrobe into Narnia and other impossible doors in fiction and film (feat. The Starless Sea, The Adjustment Bureau, and Monsters, Inc)

For the curious among us, any closed door can create a sense of mystery, as we wonder what's beyond, while many fantasy fictions suggest that a door could lead somewhere entirely unexpected. This post is about fictional doors that do impossible things: doors that connect spatially unconnected places and which don't always lead to that… Continue reading The wardrobe into Narnia and other impossible doors in fiction and film (feat. The Starless Sea, The Adjustment Bureau, and Monsters, Inc)

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2020 Favourites Part II: Books and Ballet, Fashion and Food

Part I of this year's favourites covered film and TV - the number of words devoted to just those two categories perhaps illustrates that this has been a year of screen time. This second part's not screen-free, but at least the proportion of the verbs which are synonyms for "watched" is considerably smaller. Books Surprisingly,… Continue reading 2020 Favourites Part II: Books and Ballet, Fashion and Food