Archive for November, 2012

Featured poem, ‘Fun With Therapy’ by Heather Bell

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012


Fun With Therapy

The problem with poets is we like
to sound more interesting than we
are. The poet goes to therapy and says
she has been skinning herself

alive. How interesting! How probable and
dark! The poet writes long letters

to the therapist in which she says

her skills are in high demand, such as

tilting men, finger to head, toppling
them over. Poets like to take it too

disease themselves. No one is ever truly

that lonely, the therapist tells
her. The poet

writes a list of possibilities: tomb
herself into

the house like a pharaoh, disappear. The

is a supermarket, she says. The cat
refuses to come
home. How beautiful and weird! How
humble of

her to acknowledge she has gone off the
deep end,

so early in the game. Here she sees a
sky of clouds in the blot. There she
sees knuckles and a wad of flesh. The
therapist evaluates

the situation like it is a police report:
woman’s face is a tight shiny surface of
worry. Woman’s hands keep moving over
this disappointment. Woman

says she hasn’t told the truth for years
and we have to believe her.

Heather Bell’s work has been published in Rattle, Grasslimb, Barnwood, Poets/Artists, Third Wednesday and many others. She was nominated for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize from Rattle and also won the New Letters 2009 Poetry Prize. Heather has also published four books. Any more details can be found here:

Want to see YOUR poem featured on ONS? Read this post first: submission guidelines are at the bottom. Good luck!


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #70

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

 Bookcase 3 -in Carlisle
(Photo credit)

This past weekend I spent a lovely weekend in Wetheral, visiting my mad-but-wonderful family. I had a great time popping tags with my sister in Carlisle’s excellent charity shops, saw lots of cute animals (Wetheral Animal Refuge is always on my must-visit list whenever I’m down there), visited my lovely Gampy (grandpa), enjoyed a family wine-drinking and pizza-scoffing get-together, and drank gallons of tea. However, one of the biggest highlights of my trip was mooching — and spending more money than I really actually have — in Bookcase, Carlisle’s biggest and best book shop.

the bookcase carlisle
(Photo credit)

According to the website, Bookcase has over 250,000 books in stock, spread through thirty — yes, thirty — rooms. Occupying two fancy townhouses, the bookstore is like a massive — and very elegant — labyrinth, with room after room lined from floor to ceiling with books. It doesn’t matter how obscure your particular subject is — I’m convinced you could find a book on it somewhere in here. Their feminist section holds more volumes than an entire feminist bookstore! This was my second visit to this place, and although I found rooms I hadn’t realised were there the first time, when I finally found the rest of my party again they spoke of rooms I still hadn’t found. You could literally spend days in this place. I could quite happily live there (they have tea, too). If you’re ever in the Lake District/Cumbria area and you’re even vaguely interested in books or bookstore-mooching, this place needs to go on your bucket list! Oh yes — they’re also on Twitter!


George Watsky
As you all know, I need no more reasons to love George Watsky, yet he just keeps getting more and more excellent. He posted the lovely status above a couple of weeks ago, and I screencapped it. I read it again this week and it made me grin.

Ooh, new tattoo?

Daydreaming tattoos
I know what you’re thinking — it really hasn’t been that long since my last tattoo was inked. And yet, I get lovesick for something new quicker and quicker with each new piece. I have a big sketchbook in my house full of half-sketches, doodles, ideas, and some final drawings which now live permanently in my epidermis! This is one of the more-finished designs that I’m really thinking seriously about for The Next Big Thing. I’m not happy with the lettering on the paper scroll (it’s a quote from Ginsberg’s Kaddish), but otherwise it’s basically good to go under the needle. What do you think? Comments box!

Honourable mentions:
People who stick up for you when they don’t have to // my best friend getting a fabulous new job — and the celebratory drinks and chat that followed! // these crisps OH MY GOD // Kat Dennings. She is the coolest and the beautifullest and I love her // my totally weird and eccentric immediate family and all their weirdnesses and eccentricities. Did you know my sister has her own pet t-rex and he has his own Facebook page? // New series of the Big Bang Theory — I love this show in spite of myself // this coffee pot, which I am absolutely keeping as a present to myself if no one buys it by Christmas // Lovely Boyfriend, always // The Forest’s vegan chocolate and beetroot cake

What are YOU loving this week?


You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Stop presses! I am going to read some poems in some places!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg!

Hey you guys. I know this basically never happens now (and — sshhh! — I actually kinda like that), but I am going to be reading Some Poems in Some Places over the next few weeks, and I just, you know, thought you might be interested in knowing about it. If so, read on. If not, go and make a cup of tea, or hug someone, or look at this cute panda, or do all or none of those things.

Shore Poets
Sunday 25th November 2012, 7.30pm

Henderson’s at St John’s, Edinburgh
I recently joined the Shore Poets committee, and I must say, I am loving being a part of what must surely be one of Edinburgh’s longest-running poetry nights. This month, my Shore Poet job is to read a set of poems, and I’m super looking forward to it, as this is my first proper poetry gig since before the summer. I’ll be guinea-pig-ifying the audience and offering up some hopefully tasty new poems to see what they make of them. If you fancy being part of this experiment, then come along! Doors open at 7.15, it finishes before ten (so you get to bed early), there’s cake for sale, and indeed a raffle where you could win FREE cake. If you don’t fancy the idea of listening to me waffle on, you’ll be happy to hear there are other, most excellent poets and some music. It’s a damn fine time and it costs a measly £5, or £3 for students.

The Edinburgh launch of Where Rockets Burn Through: Contemporary Science Fiction Poetry From The UK
Thursday 29th November 2012, 6.00pm

Blackwells, Edinburgh
My motto always used to be “never knowingly anthologised,” ’cause no one ever seemed to want me for their “young, upcoming, exciting poets!” type anthologies. I kinda liked the motto, actually, but then some people asked me to be in their anthologies and offered me some money, and you know, I’m a starving poet so OBVIOUSLY. And although I lost my motto, I did end up getting five poems placed in this badboy, a collection of stellar (har!) science fiction poetry from across the Universe UK. I will be reading those poems alongside some other very cool people (Jane McKie! Andrew C Ferguson! Pippa Goldschmidt! I’m exclaiming their names ’cause they’re fabby!), at this lovely free-to-attend launch. There’s a Facebook event here to tell ‘em you’re coming. There will PROBABLY be free wine. There will definitely be fun and frolics. I promise!

Book Week Scotland Pop-Up Festival
Saturday 1st December 2012

Mitchell Library (Cafe Bar), Glasgow
I’m really happy to be reading at the Book Week Scotland Pop Up Festival, which promises to be a day-long cavalcade of literary delights. It starts at 10am and goes on til late with all manner of cool and quirky stuff going on. My small role in all of this will involve sipping tea and reading some poems in the cafe bar with my fellow Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award recipients. This will be happening sometime between 4pm and 5pm. I’m extra psyched because we’ll be joined by the World’s Greatest Compere (really) Ryan Van Winkle, without whom no poetry show is quite complete. Seriously, it’s worth the train fare to Glasgow for a glimpse of his beard alone. Here’s the Facebook event. Please do come along and sip tea with me!

Want me to come and read at your event? I MIGHT JUST SAY YES! Catch me in the comments box or use the email address below!


You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

30 mostly-serious ways to get warm this winter by spending (nearly) nothing

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Chevron Scarf knit with Socks That Rock

My last post was kind of a heavy one, and I am DETERMINED not to end up with another massive gas bill next spring. Therefore…

Make your own draught-excluders. I just made one this weekend out of bits and pieces of fabric I had floating around the house. You can even just make one with one leg from a pair of old tights, knotted at both ends.

Dance wildly in your living room. If you’re too embarrassed to dance wildly, get on Youtube and find a tutorial for actual dance steps. Charleston is a nice easy one.

Support your local library. They need you! They (hopefully) also have central heating! That you don’t have to pay for! Some even have coffee shops in them!

Ditch your car. It too is expensive. Go for a brisk walk / run / cycle.

Sorry to get all Gala Darling on your ass, but… go through your clothing. Dig out all your thick socks, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, scarves. Practice putting together pratical outfits that make good use of layering! My current fav: layer one is leggings, thin skirt, long-sleeved top. layer two is a frock, layer three is a cardigan and a wooly scarf…

…you could totally take this concept to the extreme. Make a video of you trying on every t shirt you own.

Volunteer. Charity shops always need more folk in the run-up to Christmas, as do The Samaritans, homeless shelters, animal shelters and most other charitable organisations. You get to be in a warm place, give back a little something to society and it looks fantastic on your CV.

Hug more.

Have a campfire. Why do people think this is a summer-only thing?

Quit chucking things away. Paper, envelopes, magazines, cardboard, wood, and even some food waste can be burned on your aforementioned campfire. If campfires aren’t your thing, get this stuff put on Freecycle — other people are trying to heat their houses, and anyone with a multifuel stove would probably be happy with the free kindling! Anything made of fabric can be used to sew curtains or a quilt, or stuff a DIY draught excluder. You should also take up mending things. There really is no excuse to chuck away a jumper that has a hole in it when you can learn how to darn in minutes. The internet can help you fix pretty much anything.

Go vegetarian, or even better, vegan. Your carbon footprint will shrink dramatically, and I bet you any money the amount of energy you use to prepare food will also decrease.

Do as much of your daily work as you can in bed. This is your excuse. Take it! Grasp it with both hands!

Did you know that November is not only Movember (keeping your upper lip warm while raising money for charity!), but also No Shave November. If, for you, No Shave November is not just ‘business as usual, then,’ November, consider it! Cultivate your own cosy fur!

Move your furniture around. If you’ve got stuff in front of your radiators, the stuff will soak up the heat they give off.

Drink water. Hydrating yourself helps circulation which keeps you warm. True.

Build a blanket fort. I just Googled this and it actually does appear on some energy-saving websites as a genuine way to save on heating bills! It’s also lots and lots of fun to do. I am a veteran blanket-fort maker and always try and out-do my last effort.

Adopt a kitty. They’re like tiny cute hot water bottles.

According to this website, “turning your thermostat down just one degree can cut your energy consumption (and your bills) by 10%.”

Buy some ugly-but-thick curtains from your local thrift shop… if they’re too ugly you can always use them to line your existing curtains (NB: as long as they’re long enough, curtains beat blinds hands down for keeping out draughts).

Find a coffee shop that does free refills. Grab a book. Go there.

My gran used to swear by shrink-wrap window insulating film

…you can also insulate your windows with bubble wrap! I plan to do this in my spare room, where barely anyone ever goes anyway.

Take a long bus-ride. If Lothian Buses are anything to go by, buses are always toasty warm, and there are plenty of good people-watching opportunities to be seized!

Candles. Seriously. When I lived in a one-room, totally-unheated studio I used to light a ton of candles and they’d actually heat the place.

Did you know you lose the most body heat from your head and feet? Therefore you need: a) good slippers and b) a wooly hat. I hear your local thrift shop calling.

Take inspiration from Cat and learn to crochet.

Apparently, this stuff really works.

Get a hula hoop. Choose carefully. Now challenge yourself. Learning tricks and improving is addictive and it most definitely keeps you warm!

I recently discovered that leggings are magical. I have always loathed and cursed tights with their terrible rip/ladder/hole tendencies and their stupid uncomfortableness. I also, until recently, shunned leggings because people say mean shit about those who wear them. However, I have finally got hip to the legging groove and oh my goodness: they are super thick, warm, comfy and you can get ones that make your legs look like Marc Bolan. Everyone should get on this: menz included.

Door sweeps are pretty bargainous.

& finally, I’ve heard that putting chili powder or cayenne pepper in your socks makes your feet warm. Anyone want to try and report back?!


You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Procrastination Station #116

Friday, November 9th, 2012

sock love
How much do you love this photo? Made me smile.

Check out this visual poem by Stephen Nelson. A good reminder to keep an eye out for weird and wonderful things when we’re out and about!

Hey! I’m reading at Shore Poets this month! Come along…?

Speaking of wonderful things: Regina Green self-published a lovely collection of poems here!

Calling all DIY book-binding enthusiasts! This is the coolest idea!




The Lovesong of J Alfred Capslock wins all the internets.

I love everything about this photo.

Want to record the things you’re grateful for, the way I do with my TiLT posts? You can download your own Gratitude Journal, FREE, here!

Secret tunnels! Ornate giltwork! Plush armchairs! Real trees growing on the shop floor! Check out the world’s most beautiful bookstores… and be prepared to drool!

Tracey S Rosenberg — who by the way has a book launch happening next week! — is hosting her own National Rejection Letter Month in place of NaNoWriMo.

Caustic Cover Critic investigates yet more rip-off book covers. (although, is also rude about Margaret Atwood. Boo!)

It has been incredible to watch people come together in the wake of this storm, to see neighbors support one another, to have complete strangers ask me in line for the ATM if I am okay, if my family is okay, if my house is okay. A lot of people here are not okay. A lot of people have lost so much, and a lot of people still do not have power or water or homes, and another storm is coming.

The Rejectionist’s short but moving response to Hurricane Sandy is really great.

OMG, this might well be the coolest DIY ever!

I have done almost all of these things. Guess the rest are about to catch up with me! (via)

LOVING this synopsis of The Wizard of Oz.

I’d really like to buy these posters for the college I work at.

My wonderful and talented friend Sally was the official photographer for the Edinburgh International Festival this year. Her photographs of the fest can be viewed at her exhibition, FRAMED, on now at The Hub, Edinburgh. Please do go along!

WIN: Tammy Baldwin (WI) is also one of them, defeating popular Republican Tommy Thompson in the Wisconsin Senate race, making her both Wisconsin’s first female senator and the first openly gay member of the US Senate. Said Baldwin: “I am well aware that I will have the honour to be Wisconsin’s first woman US senator, and I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member of the United States Senate, but I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference. But in choosing me to tackle those problems the people of Wisconsin have made history.”

Liss has made a great list of the various things that were won on Tuesday night apart from just the Presidency. Makes for some happy reading.

This DIY advent calendar is such a good idea! Especially for us vegans, who can’t easily find chocolate ones in stores!

Gum-voting is a super cool, if slightly gross, idea.

[A]s sex workers we also face deep-seated stigmas which mean that if we don’t disclose to you our stories of tragedy and the demeaning experiences we have faced we run the risk of not being believed by you.

This is what we call “tragedy porn”: A desire in the feminist movement to hear tragic stories of hardship from sex workers, and when we don’t tell them, we face the accusation that we are covering up the “truth” about sex work.

This is brilliant. I wanted to applaud at the end. (You need to scroll down.)

OH THE SCHADENFREUDE! White People Mourning Romney is JUST TOO GOOD!

Having taken a bunch of really quite unfair shit from Etsy buyers lately, I kinda needed this post about running your own business while depressed. (via)

I would like this car, please.

Lovely Boyfriend just got an iPad, which is far too high-tech for me! Might try to persuade him to mod it up with one of these! (Thanks Graeme!)

This is absolutely freaking brilliant. It’s hard to critique education without making teachers feel like crap, so well done Mr Godin!



If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #69

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

WTJ: Scribble Wildly
Just a few of the things I’ve loved this week. This illustration makes the list!

Patrick Green’s “Melodrama.”

I’ll admit: I was worried. Patrick Green got in touch with me a while ago to say his new album, Melodrama, would be released on band camp in early November, and would I review it? I said sure, why not. Then I hit ‘play’ on Notte, the album’s first track. A spooky, breathy sound echoed out of my speakers and a tiny part of my brain wondered what I’d let myself in for. Would I like this album? What if I didn’t? That’d be awkward. Then a growly, almost-heavy-metal-style bassline kicked in and I thought, really awkward. But then…

Then, at 45 seconds in, the various disparate elements the song had been slowly layering one on another kind of… clicked. Patrick’s vocal line came in. I started tapping my foot, realising I was listening to a song that sounded a little bit like what might happen if The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Hollies got together to make a record. In other words — damn good.
I listened all the way through, and found there wasn’t a single track I didn’t like. That’s not the sort of praise I hand out lightly — as a vinyl aficionado, I know that “there’s not a bad track on the album” is an expression that’s usually reserved for only a precious few records. Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True, for example. Now, I’m not suggesting that young Patrick is any Elvis C or anything… but really, genuinely, every track here is great. I have favourites, of course: track two, ‘Halo,’ has a whole ton of stuff going on, but manages to be spare and haunting at the same time. (It starts with a vocal line that’s reminiscent of 1960s male vocal groups like Herman’s Hermits and the aforementioned Hollies, before morphing into something more contemporary… I thought of Turin Brakes, briefly. And then in the middle of it all you get this guitar line that sounds almost like something from an Old Western.) Probably my absolute favourite is ‘Other Worlds‘, which is much more contemporary — fans of Bon Iver, Jose Gonzalez and Broken Records will dig this track. But I also love the closing track, Lifespan, which has a sweeter side than some of the others — threads of Aberfeldy and Belle and Sebastian run through this sunny little song.

Every track has a thoroughly different feel to it — every track on this short-but-sweet album is working hard to do something interesting with it’s three-or-so minutes. That’s so rare these days, when big albums are released by big artists who waffle on in press releases about how This Is A Reinvention or This Is Me Being Original or whatever. Melodrama is chameleon-like, surprising and really enjoyable. Go listen to it now. All of you.

(You can check out more of Patrick’s work at his Bandcamp homepage, talk to him on Twitter or like his Facebook page.)

Christmas giftie things at Edinburgh Vintage

OK folks — whether you’re already excited or just totally in denial, Christmas is most definitely coming. The annoying TV ads have begun, which means it is definitely time to at least start thinking about what you’re going to buy for your loved ones. Personally, I am in the ‘already excited’ camp, and because I am super organised, I bought my first Christmas present way back in AUGUST. Yep, you heard me right! Anyway, for other organised folks, here’re a few suggestions for possible gifts from my very own lovely Etsy store, Edinburgh Vintage. Hope you like!

For sale right now at Edinburgh Vintage!
Lock & Key gold plated heart charm bracelet

For sale right now at Edinburgh Vintage!
Two for Joy novelty vintage bunny ring tray (oh, that amberish-looking necklace? Also for sale!

For sale right now at Edinburgh Vintage!
Owl Always Love You pair of real alabaster owlets (are you an owl lover?)

For sale right now at Edinburgh Vintage!
A History of Song antique 1930s Sonny Boy harmonica

For sale right now at Edinburgh Vintage!
Sleepy kitty porcelain ornament from The Cat Shop

For sale right now at Edinburgh Vintage!
Miss Scarlet stunning kick-flare vintage coat

What are YOU loving this week?


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

“How much does a tattoo hurt?” and other tattoo virgins’ frequently asked questions

Monday, November 5th, 2012

New tattoo!

So as you know, I recently got tattooed for the seventh time: the highly capable Alec Benjamin, currently of Red Hot + Blue Tattoo in Tollcross, was kind enough to make my upper left arm considerably more awesome. (The design is a hamsa / Hand of Fatima / hand of protection.) Now that I have a few bits and pieces of ink on me, I’ve started to get questions about tattoos and tattooing. My un-inked students will spot one of my tattoos and ask about it, or I’ll tweet about the latest on my tattoo wish-list and get a question land in my @ box. There are lots of questions that are repeatedly asked by nervous tattoo virgins, many of them sensible. I wanted answers to these questions, too, when I was a quivering member of the inkless club! So here are my thoughts. Hope they’re helpful!

My chest-piece, inked by Roberto Seifert during his guest stint at Tattoo Zoo, Victoria, Canada

How much does a tattoo hurt?
This is by far the tattoo virgin’s most burning question — and quite right too! It was my most burning question when I was pre-ink, too. Unfortunately, it’s kind of impossible to answer. The pain level varies from person to person: some folks apparently feel pain completely differently to others, so what was excruciating for your just-tattooed friend may be fine and dandy when it comes to your turn. Also, the amount of ouch varies hugely depending on where you get your tattoo. Areas that are notorious for being painful include the ribs, feet and fingers. In general, beware of anyone who tries to compare tattooing to something else for you — “it’s like a bee sting” — or worse, the people who try and stab or pinch you to show you what it feels like! It really is different for everyone.
To be honest, my usual answer to this question is “not that much.” I’ve now been tattooed on my chest, neck, both legs and my upper and lower arms, and the pain level was much of a muchness… and really pretty OK. Think of it this way: tattooed people go back again and again and again to have this stuff done to them. How bad can it be?

Aren’t you worried they’ll look ugly when you’re old?
Not in the slightest. I think this is something you worry about pre-tattoo, and then you get your tattoo, and suddenly it’s not important anymore. This question is in the same bracket as “but what if you want to get a good job?” The answer is the same — and mind-blowingly simple — for both. If you’re genuinely worried about either of these, just put your tattoo somewhere where you can cover it up with something — clothing, a watch, a scarf, your hair, whatever. And if you’re still worried about it, maybe you just aint meant to be tattooed.

Getting Violet, my mermaid, inked by the fantabulous Hilary of Electro Ladylux Tattoo of Vancouver, Canada, in summer 2011

How long does it take to heal a tattoo?
Depends on the tattoo. The smaller and simpler it is, the less time, generally… though I know a dude who has a full sleeve and reckons it healed in one day (NB: he’s lying). But all tattoos go through roughly the same stages. Firstly, it’ll be brand new and kinda shiny and sticky and generally feel a bit gross. This is because it is essentially an open wound, hooray! But you should not be afraid to wash it and moisturise it and keep it happy. I kind of think of a new tattoo as like a graze: immediately after it happens, it’s kind of painful and you don’t much like putting clothing over it, because it’s tender. But then within 24 hours it starts to heal a little and that stuff all feels a bit better.
The next stage is the initial scabbing stage — gross, but necessary. This is the part where you think, ‘whoah, my tattoo’s healing super fast!’, because these big bits of scab seem to be wiping off all over when you put your cream on. Do not be fooled! Next comes the itching stage, probably the worst part of being tattooed. Forget the pain of the needle, and fear the itch! HUGE DEAL: you cannot scratch a tattoo. You cannot peel off a scabby bit. You have got to let it itch and you have got to let the scabs come off in their own time! In the meantime, all you can do is lightly slap the tattoo, which sometimes (sometimes!) alleviates the itch a bit.
Finally, you’ll get additional scabbing, where much smaller, finer bits of ink come off and your tattoo really starts to show through. By this time you’ll probably be fine to touch the tattoo, wash that part of yourself as you normally would in the shower, and even wear abrasive fabric like wool over the tattoo. At this point you should still moisturise, but you’re nearly healed, hooray!
These stages can last days or weeks, by the way. My mermaid took over a month to heal — my little bit of Latin on my right forearm? Only about six days.

My ampersand, inked by the wonderful Jason of Red Hot + Blue Tattoo in 2011.

Doesn’t being tattooed open you up to discrimination?
Folk walk around with this notion that as soon as you get large, visible or multiple tattoos, your life gets much harder. You’ll never get a good job now! People will think you’re violent [men] or a slut [women]! People will question your intelligence/social background/how you were raised etc etc etc. Newsflash: heavily tattooed people have responsible jobs. Alec, my aforementioned tattooist, is literally covered in the things (he even has some on his face) and he used to be an IT teacher. I’ve got a fair few, plan to have more, and I’m a college lecturer. Look at Melissa Kakoulas — she’s an incredibly successful lawyer. Some employers, like the Metropolitan Police and HMV, have a bee in their bonnet about tattoos — but frankly, if they’re that intolerant of difference then do you really want to be working for them anyway? In my experience, folk don’t bother too much about them, as long as none of them are really offensive and you’re willing to try and cover them up if required. As for people who draw conclusions about your sexual proclivities, background or intelligence based on your tattoos? Hooray! Those people essentially just posted a big sign over their heads saying I AM A TOXIC HUMAN AND YOU WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH ME. I always like to know where I stand.

Boy's new ink!
My bestie Leon’s most recent tattoo, based on this poster, done at Tribe, Edinburgh

Don’t you regret it?
I never have. I’ve had a couple of tattoos now — the Hamsa included — done on a bit of a whim. I’ve never regretted any of them. I can’t speak for anyone else, but here’s the weird thing about mine: after a surprisingly short time, I stop seeing them. You know how you don’t really notice, say, your elbows or what colour your eyes are when you look in the mirror? My tattoos are like that, too. They’ve just become part of the landscape. I did have a wobble when I first had Violet the Mermaid inked (see photo futher up this post), mainly because she was my first colour piece and much bigger than the others, but also because she’s topless and has a bit of a saucy bum. But after a couple of weeks of “oo-er I do I really have a naked lady on me?,” she just became… part of my leg. Now, the main times I notice her are times when I buy a pair of trousers or a skirt or a pair of boots that hit just the right part of my leg to show her off. And then I think, “Violet looks awesome!”
I know a lot of tattooed folk and never met anyone who regrets any of their tattoos. I think that’s probably because none of the people I know have ever walked into a parlour and picked some random pink butterfly off a flash sheet and gone, “that’ll do.” If you put some thought into it and make sure it means something to you, that’s a fairly good start. The actual design of my hand of protection — which I vaguely sketched for Alec and then he improvised with — was done on the spur of the moment, but I’d been thinking about a hand of protection and why I wanted one for several months. As long as it’s a meaningful act, you won’t regret it. I think that probably goes for most areas of life!

Any questions I’ve missed?


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #115

Friday, November 2nd, 2012


Har! Brilliant lateral-thinking literary Halloween costume idea right here!

It’s pricey, but this is one of the coolest notebook ideas I have seen in quite a while!

And speaking of notebooks, here is a list of cool crafty bookish DIY projects for you to try, if your weekend’s looking empty!

We have forged something beautiful together,
in spite of all the darkness.

I love this beautiful, autumnal poem from Kerri Ni Dochartaigh.

IF YOU CLICK NOTHING ELSE IN THIS POST, click here for some WTF sci fi book covers. Amazing! (Thanks Adam!)

This passive-aggressive note got the English teacher treatment! (I also love these grumpy Halloween ones!)

I do not understand—I will not understand, I refuse to understand—why rape has to be on the table for every story with a female protagonist, or even a strong female supporting cast. Why it’s so assumed that I’m being “unrealistic” when I say that none of my female characters are going to be raped. Why this “takes the tension out of the story.” There is plenty of tension without me having to write about something that upsets both me and many of my readers, thanks.

Things I will not do to my characters. Ever. is great great great. A must-read for novelists.

Also fascinating: Saeed Jones on writing the second chapter.

These author-quote illustrations are pretty fabby (though, as with everything, Needs More Women & POC).

The wonderful Captain McGuire WROTE A POEM ABOUT BROCCOLI, you guys!

Looking at [the word 'fat'] as a neutral descriptor also steals its ability to insult. “You’re fat!” “Your observational skills are stellar!”

Everything Liss writes about fat acceptance is always so spot on. The above is from this post.

I had an article posted at xoJane! Everlasting squee!

I love Ruth’s photos of dewy, early morning plants and spider webs.

Next week I’ll be reviewing Patrick Green’s new album, Melodrama. Get the jump on my review by listening to the album in full here!

There’s three main reasons men (or anyone) don’t cook: Not caring what they eat, thinking someone else should cook for them, or not knowing how to cook. All three have different solutions and not one is “baby him along like you’re trying to convince a timid puppy to go out in the snow.”

I so love The Pervocracy’s monthly “cosmocking” of Cosmo. This month is particularly excellent.

Here are some fantastic photos of what President Obama has been doing to help with the Hurricane Sandy aftermath. And here is an article on why he’s a great (GREAT!) president (NB: go ye not below the line, there be assholes). Finally, in President-related news: this. (via)

Want to make your own colourful bird wings? OF COURSE YOU DO.

“Six people battle to save hedgehog trapped in crisp packet”? That’s my kinda news headline.

Food is lots of things. It’s comfort, it’s calories, it’s communion, it’s history and tradition, and it’s fucking yummy. Two things that it isn’t is GOOD or BAD (unless, you know, e coli). And you are not a good or bad person for eating.

21 Things To Stop Saying Unless You Hate Fat People WINS ALL THE INTERNETS.

I love everything in this amazing Etsy shop.


Guys, please support my lovely friend Hannah, who’s doing Movember even though she’s a girl!

It was close, but I think this has to win cat gif of the week.

Look at this amazing time-lapse of Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City — check out 1:02 when the power goes off!

Lindy West at Back Fence PDX from Back Fence PDX on Vimeo.

Lindy West remains my heroine.

This is GREAT.

So is this.

Have a great weekend!


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #68

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Some stuff I’ve been loving lately.


Cute kitty cats! (Internet, meet Mollie.)

Delish vegan carrot and coriander soup, made by Lovely Boyfriend
Delish vegan carrot and coriander soup, made by Lovely Boyfriend.

Leon making his Halloween costume
Halloween costume making nights!

Pumpkin carvery!

Lovely Boyfriend is awesome
Lovely Boyfriend’s BADASS zombie-Christopher-Marlowe costume.

Insane family portrait...
Insane family portraits!

Edinburgh Vintage
Lovely new stuff about to appear at Edinburgh Vintage.

Vegan cake, always
Cups of tea and vegan cake.

Honourable mentions: coming across amazing DIY life-hack ideas like this one // Shore Poets: October. I just joined the Shore Poets committee! // Kicking through autumn leaves in the Meadows — so many on the ground now // Lovely Boyfriend taking me out to dinner at our favourite restaurant, and getting sat at “our table”, where we had our first big, nerve-wracking, super-cute date! // the incredible effort EVERYONE at my Halloween party went to with their costumes… sadly due to camera fail I could not photograph them. Sad trombones. But… memories // Getting my vegan advent calendar in the post, OMG! // Mega cute animal-themed jewellery // My sister’s brand new Etsy store! I keep going and clicking on it. Proud sis // My hot water bottle. And slippers.

What are you loving this week?


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!