Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

Procrastination Station #138

Friday, December 5th, 2014

1384605

IMPORTANT THINGS OF THE WEEK:

One: I am running an all-female fiction writing course and if you’re a self-identifying woman, I want you to come along! You can get all the details here, and sign up here.

Two: Tomorrow is UK Small Business Saturday. Please support small businesses by giving them some of your Christmas shopping custom! Related: I have a small business. I am also having a pre-Christmas sale right now!

Three: I am reposting this Danez Smith poem, because it is important. Really important.

OK, here’s the rest…

If the rhythm of your prose is broken, read poetry.

…and nine other very smart pieces of advice from Hilary Mantel.

Hey! The great Ryan Van Winkle is teaching an online poetry course and it looks great!

Bad reasons to start writing poetry. (Wait, there are good reasons?)

Sometimes I’ll literally turn my face away from the keyboard as I type, trying to access my unconscious a little more. Like if I don’t look, I can fool it into coming out of its cave.

Kim Addonizio is still the best.

Scottish Book Trust has called for every child in Scotland to have a library card. Proud to be a SBT staff member!

Looking for somewhere to submit your short fiction? Look no further.

Paddington stows away and deliberately avoids the immigration authorities on arrival. He is in formal legal terms an illegal entrant and as such commits a criminal offence under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971. It is an offence punishable by up to six months in prison. If or when detected by the authorities it is more likely he would simply be removed back to Peru than that he would be prosecuted, though.

Paddington Bear: illegal entrant. Read this, it is important.

Did you write a love letter to a library for Book Week Scotland? You still can!

This is a lovely tribute to the great writer and activist Leslie Feinberg… and here is another one.

Yes, more people will buy the new Coldplay album than will read Kathleen Jamie’s next collection. Yes, poetry will remain a passion for a relatively small portion of the population. I also know that poetry is the great survivor, the Keith Richards of the arts. It was there at the dawn of civilisation – it has to be a toss-up between poetry, music or painting for what was the first art form early man took up – and it will be there at the end. When there are only a few humans left sitting around a campfire, they will amuse themselves with rhymes and word games, for poetry only needs a voice, not even a pen and piece of paper. I find this apocalyptic vision weirdly comforting.

Here’s Be The First To Like This editor Colin Waters saying very smart things.

Really weird ways to promote your book.

Bim Adewunmi’s Crush Of The Week is Quvenzhane Wallis, because she is basically the best human.

When black people are protesting in Ferguson and across America, they’re not protesting against white people. Maybe this seems obvious, but it’s worth stating. In fact, in the case of Ferguson, the protests weren’t (primarily) about one white cop. Black communities are ultimately protesting systems of injustice and inequality that structurally help white people while systematically harming black people. Just because you’re white and therefore generally benefit from those systems doesn’t mean you inherently support those systems — or need to defend them.

Because some people need to have the obvious stated at them in order to understand Ferguson.

The body acceptance community is still too focussed on “pretty.” < -- this is really great.

Movie posters made better by Mark Kermode quotes is also rather excellent.

In case you scrolled past the last video, here’s another poem by Danez Smith. F*cking watch it.

Sorry not sorry: I love Larkin. Check this out.

Here - Philip Larkin (HD) from Classlane Media on Vimeo.

This is from that Paddington article. Watch, then share. Care about this, I beg you.

29 November 2014: Detainees Protest at Campsfield House IRC from Standoff Films on Vimeo.

& finally, here’s Key & Peele ripping it out of that gross “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” song!

Have a great weekend!

*

Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

ONS Featured Magazines: Amelia’s Magazine

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

amelia's magazine
(Photo credit)

What is it?

Amelia’s Magazine was printed biannually for 5 years from 2004-2009 across 10 issues, but it is now an online publication described as “the place to come for exclusive articles on the best underground creative projects in the worlds of art, fashion, music, illustration, photography, craft and design.” Amelia is a passionate promoter of all things creative and has been working for ten years to bring brilliant, original content to both print media and the interwebs.

Why feature it?

We’re rapidly approaching the 10-year anniversary of the creation of Amelia’s Magazine. And to mark this auspicious occasion, founder Amelia Gregory wants to do something super special. Enter the Amelia’s Magazine Kickstarter: an exciting campaign to produce a truly beautiful, ambitious and one of a kind print book featuring artworks, writing and, well… magic. Here’s the campaign video to give you a taste:

Why should I back this?

OK, for one, it’s going to be an amazingly beautiful book and I know that I, for one, want to have one of these babies on my bookshelf. Two, for your money you get to help create a publication that will promote the work of artists and writers at every stage of their careers — and a linked three, you’ll get to discover many brand new exciting names you might not otherwise have come across. Four, Christmas is a-comin’ and if you’re anything like me you know about a million people who’d just love to have something like this to unwrap when Santa visits them. And a not-unimportant five, if this book comes into being, it will contain at least one of my poems! Is that in itself not reason enough? *pauses to buff nails*

What should I pledge?

I am a great believer that no individual should ever feel pressured into giving up their money, so you should give whatever you can afford to give. It might be that that is not money: if you’re trying to choose between backing this Kickstarter and making sure you pay rent this month, then stop trying! However, if you can’t afford to give you can still support Amelia and her amazing book by sharing the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or any of your other networks.
If you can afford to give, then hooray! You should definitely check out the rewards Amelia is offering for the various pledge options. I was blown away by how generous they are — your average Kickstarter-er is far too keen to offer only symbolic rewards, in my humble opinion! Amelia’s are far from that: for a mere £20, for example, you get a free copy of the book delivered to your door before Christmas!

How can I find out more?

First and foremost, watch the video and read the information on the Kickstarter page. But also, make sure you check out the project’s hashtag, #TWWDNU (that which we do not understand, the theme of the book). On that hashtag you can get a sneak peek at some of the amazing work being produced by visual artists to help make this publication extra-specially-gorgeous. You can also use the hashtag to spread the word about why people should pledge to back this great project.

So what are you waiting for! Go give!

*

Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #87: what I did on my holidays.

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Cake dome + triple chocolate ganache truffle cupcakes (#whatveganseat)

1. Baked some tasty vegan treats.
The above cupcakes are triple chocolate ganache truffle cupcakes and yep, they’re totally vegan. Dark chocolate sponge with chocolate ganache in the middle, chocolate not-butter-not-cream frosting, and a Moo Free truffle added to the top for good measure! The rather beautiful cake dome was a Christmas present from the loveliest Lovely Boyfriend. Though it looks like a vintage one, it’s new, but it is made out of 100% recycled materials! Amazing gifting, methinks.

The aforementioned LB requested “a gigantic mince pie” for Christmas dinner dessert, so I duly made a full-size 9-inch diameter mince pie with rather delicious boozy mincemeat. I had some scrappy little bits of rolled shortcrust pastry left over, so I used them to make these: the world’s ugliest mince pies. They obviously still tasted great, though!

Ugly mince-pies I made from scraps of leftover pie crust.

2. Had some even tastier vegan treats made for me.

I think I may have already mentioned here that Lovely Boyfriend is the best vegan cook since Isa Chandra Moskowitz, yes? Well, over our winter holiday he’s had even more time than usual to cook up a storm, so my belly has been extremely happy. Lots of people have been curious about how the heck you even do Christmas as a vegan — the answer is, the same as everyone else. You eat lots and lots of extremely tasty stuff! This was our Christmas morning breakfast:

Christmas morning breakfast: scrambled mushroom tofu on a sesame bagel, and champagne :)

That’s Isa’s own tofu scramble with a Lovely Boyfriend twist: a Christmassy spice mix featuring lots of rosemary, and extra mushrooms. All on a sesame bagel and served with champagne, because Christmas.

I didn’t get a pic of our Christmas dinner because it seemed rude to be a food-snapping hipster blogger in front of our guests (also I was too keen to just SCOFF IT), but again we are indebted to The Great Isa. We had a version of this stuffed seitan roast, with a more traditional sage-and-onion type stuffing to make it more Christmassy. Plus all the usual roast potatoes and veg type stuff, and then my uber-mince-pie with vegan ice cream and these to finish. Delish!

3. Received many amazing gifts.

I couldn’t really do a gratitude post at this time of year without thanking everyone who bought me gifts over the festive period. Thank you, amazing people of my acquaintance, for giving me so many thoughtful, useful and beautiful things. I especially want to thank the folk (a lot of you this year!) who shopped local, supported small businesses like mine, bought secondhand, and/or made charitable donations in lieu of presents. You rock.

Everyone thought this would be a good gift for me!

I also love that so many people got me gifts that are so ‘me’. (This seems to happen a lot, so I hope that means I’m easy to buy for. Or perhaps I am just easily pleased!) This vintage typewriter calendar was clearly an obvious choice… and now I have one for home and one for work! Perfect!

4. Met the newest member of the family.

My parents have always been cat people. Seriously: their house is full of cat-related stuff. Cat mugs, cat ornaments, cat coasters, cat Christmas tree decorations… they really like cats. So they were devastated when their faithful furry friend Beatrice went to the great cattery in the sky back in 2012.

BENNEH.

After a period of mourning for “Little Bertie,” as she was affectionately known, I was extremely excited to hear that they’d decided to rescue a new fur-baby. World, meet Benny! He’s been part of the family for nearly three weeks now, and he’s a super cute, slightly eccentric TOTAL BABE. As you can see, he knows exactly how beautiful he is and loves having his photo taken.

My parents' new kitty, Benny!

Like me, he’s also a stove-worshipper. Smart kitty.

5. Bought a lot of books.

I know, I know, so what’s new? In short, I made the mistake of going to Bookcase Books in Carlisle while on my New Year travels.

Bookcase Books in Carlisle.  Place of dreams.

I’ve blogged about this place before. The bookshop occupies two big townhouses that have been knocked together, and there are books in every room, including the two basements and the huge attic. You can also buy the artwork, paintings and oddities (I found an antique book-press I so wanted) which are displayed in the various corridors and staircases. There are over thirty rooms full of books here. It’s AMAZING.

Bookcase Books in Carlisle.  Place of dreams.

Hours of book-browsing fun, and only an hour on the train from Edinburgh. Just sayin’!

6. Did a lot of plotting.

I love New Year, perhaps even more than I love Christmas (and I really love Christmas). I’m very good at saying “yes” to things and ending up super busy all the time, and very bad at pausing to take stock. So during that between-Christmas-and-going-back-to-work lull, I try to do as much mental stock-taking as I can.

Happy 2014!

There’s always a lot of journalling. This year, I’ve been reading posts like this and thinking about ways to make new year’s goals and resolutions (which I always make, regardless of how uncool everyone says it is) that are meaningful and will last. I prefer to set new year goals — a list of things to achieve — rather than make resolutions, because goal-setting feels way more positive than ’stop doing this thing you do because you like it,’ and ‘do more of this thing you don’t do because you hate it,’ etc. (For example, this year I’ve got ‘find a yoga class I like,’ rather than ‘do more yoga.’) But I have also committed to a couple of “higher resolutions” (the big stuff), which I hope to work on all year.

[One of them is: get better at being sociable. I am generally bad at making new friends, especially with women (this article, the part about rejection, rang so true with me). I have this assumption that most of the people who hang out with me only do it out of some masochistic form of politeness. I'm sure you'll all agree that that mindset is pretty toxic and needs to go. It's been with me a long time, but this is the year I intend to at least begin to cut that shit out. And the other big resolution is a secret for now, because I don't want to jinx it. If I manage to keep it, then all should be revealed in due course.]

Finally, I also use New Year as a time to think about the past year, and what I achieved. Every life coach/internet guru/mindfulness blogger and their dog is keen to point out that saying thank you for the good stuff in your life makes more good stuff happen. So that’s why I write Things I Love Thursday posts (still), and it’s also why every year I write a ‘in [year], I…’ post. Usually I have to go through my old diaries, Facebook updates, and blogposts to recall what I did. So much good stuff gets instantly forgotten and I’m always gobsmacked to revisit it… which is another reason why this process is useful.

If you haven’t done any 2014 plotting or 2013 revisiting yet, try it! The year is young! I highly recommend it.

What are YOU loving this week?

*

Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #86: Christmas in Edinburgh

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

1384548

1384549

1384558

1384560

1384561

1384566

1384567

1384569

1384571

1384573

1384574

1384578

1384593

1384596

1384598

1384605

1384607

1384609

1384610

Happy holidays, all!

*

Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #74: Christmas & New Year edition

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Skelelove
While I was home for Christmas, I stayed in my sister’s room. Her interior decor is super cool!

Christmas times

Christmas times

Christmas times
My parents always decorate the house in a sweet, traditional way. The decorations are a big part of Christmas for me!

Christmas times

Christmas times

Christmas times

Colours!

Christmas times

Christmas times

Christmas times
My mum is a teddy bear collector — they’re perfect if you need a cuddle!

Happy New Year from One Night Stanzas!

*

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]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #73

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Glitterowl

Sparkle.

Scruffy presents

Festive typewriters

Cute cards (thanks!)

Best self-portrait ever?

So happy I didn't sell this.

Vegan mince pies!

2012 journal... nearly done!

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]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #72

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Beeswax

The amazing GiftED book sculptures at the Scottish Poetry Library.

I’m guessing that, since you’re reading this blog, you like books really quite a lot. Therefore, you’ve probably heard about GiftED, the series of sculptures made out of old books and gifted to various literary landmarks around Edinburgh. But just in case you haven’t, here’s the lowdown: over the past eighteen months, these beautiful, intricate book-based paper sculptures have been popping up in places like the Central Library, Filmhouse Cinema and the SPL itself. Nothing is known about the uber-talented creator of these objects, except that she’s a lady. Oh, and she’s on a valiant one-woman crusade to save libraries and keep people reading. In other words: this person is my heroine.

GiftED has been on tour around Scotland over the past few months, much to the delight of every bookish Scottish person ever. It’s just ended its run with a few days on show at the Scottish Poetry Library, and I was lucky enough to be able to go along twice to see these ten wonderful pieces on show all in the same space. Here are some photos of just a few:

T Rex

T Rex

After two visits and I-don’t-know-how-many circuits of the exhibition, I finally, painfully, picked a favourite — and it’s the T Rex. As with all the sculptures, every time I looked at him I saw something else: the words interlaced between his jaws, the tiny men in the page-forest trying to take him down, and — my favourite part — his wee tail sticking out of the back of the book! Magic.

Dragonbaby 2

DRAGONBABY!

I also loved the dragon-baby. I thought it was such a nice physical metaphor for a book being born! He’s super cute, too. On my first visit to GiftED I was accompanied by the ladies from the women’s community support group I’ve been working with, and they were utterly enchanted by the whole thing. A few of us spent a while speculating over whether the dragon is nestled inside a real egg or not — is it an ostrich egg, maybe? It looks so real, we just couldn’t be sure.

Casquet

I love the words that are carefully highlighted inside the gramophone… “towards dark.” This sculptor definitely has a penchant for the eerie and unheimlich!

Lost in a good book

Lost in a good book

This was the one my group picked as their definite favourite. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing poetry and the ways in which it can be used to help us understand the world, work through difficult times, celebrate happy times, etc. Many of the ladies in the group had never read a poem before in their lives, and therefore were understandably nervous at the start. But they saw this sculpture and loved it. One of them said, “that’s how I feel about books now — like you can be sheltered by them.” Result!

Poetree

Poetree 2

This — the Poetree — was the first sculpture, the one that started all the (totally deserved) hype. The exhibition (and its accompanying promotional book) contained an illustrated guide to making your own poetree! My favourite instruction: “inconsistencies add charm.” A good motto for life, methinks.

Teacup

“Nothing beats a nice cup of tea (or coffee) and a really great book.” She speaks the truth! If you want to see the other sculptures (and er, much better photos of the ones featured here!) you can head over to the photostream of the wonderful Chris Scott, who, quite rightly, has become their de facto official photographer!

003

Having an ethical, hopefully-Amazon-free Christmas

I don’t want to sound too judge-y here, but you guys… is it me, or has Christmas become a time for assholeish behaviour? This assholeishness is weird, since Christmas is supposed to be all about being selfless and nice! It seems that, at Christmastime, some people become weird Mr-Hyde-type versions of themselves as far as all things greed and consumption are concerned. Christmas is the time of year when we do things like stuff a bird into a slightly bigger bird and then stuff both those birds into a slightly-bigger-again bird, roast, and then scoff so much of the resulting Frankenbird that for the rest of the day we can’t do anything more taxing than occasionally nibble the edge of an enormous Toblerone. We spend a bazillion pounds each on a bazillion presents, usually from massive high-street and internet conglomorates who dazzle us with their sparkly TV ads (if I see that goddamn awful Brad Pitt Chanel No. 5 ad again I may smash Lovely Boyfriend’s beloved UberTV to bits). We buy presents for people we don’t even like because we feel like we have to. We send 1.5 billion Christmas cards TO LANDFILL for chrissakes. Sorry to sound like the world’s biggest Scrooge, but it’s effed up, y’all. It’s time to OCCUPY CHRISTMAS!

OK, maybe that’s a bit radical for the moment. But still — this year I have been trying to stick to the following Christmas rules:

– Buy second hand wherever possible
– Buy local wherever possible
– If you can’t buy local or second hand, at least buy from an independent business or charity org
– No sweatshop labour
– No animal cruelty
– No waste
– No Amazon purchases

I’m now pretty much finished with my Christmas shopping, and I know I’ve broken my rules a bit already. For example: I bought a box of chocolates for some of my workmates that I know has dairy in it, so animal cruelty (*cries*). I can’t go into more specifics right now without giving away what other presents I’ve bought, but I might do a re-cap post-Christmas and evaluate how I did! In the meantime, I’m doing crafty, waste-free stuff like wrapping my gifts in old brown paper bags and pre-used wrapping paper (see photo above — I’ve been saving all year from birthdays etc!) and making present tags out of last year’s Christmas cards (see photo below). I’m feeling super righteous, very crafty, and really unusually rich for this time of year as a result!

002

The new issue of The Edinburgh Review: #136, aka No Shouting Out.

This isn’t just making the list because I have a review in it, but, well… I have a review in it! This is my fourth contribution to The Edinburgh Review in twelve issues, and I’m really happy that they keep accepting my work! I love the publication, especially since Alan Gillis took over the role of Editor-in-Chief — he’s doing fantastic work. Look how pretty this issue is!

004

My review is on Kerry Hardie’s most recent collection, The Oak & The Ash & The Wild Cherry Tree. Hardie is hands-down one of my all-time favourite poets ever ever ever, so needless to say, my review is pretty glowing. You should all seriously buy this book straight away, because it is brilliant. It’s about ageing and death and nature and birds and skies and trees and memory and it’s GREAT! Get it, get it one and all.

005

Want to read more? Well, you’ll have to buy The Edinburgh Review, then! Except the issue’s so new, it seems to be not-available-online-yet. It will be, though — keep an eye on the site. There are a million other (better!) reasons to buy a copy too, of course — Hannah McGill has a GREAT short story in here, and the fantabulous Jen Hadfield has written a highly right-on review of William Letford’s Bevel. Hey, why not go the whole hog and get a subscription?! So worth it, trust me, and they’d love and appreciate your support for sure! If you’re in Edinburgh, you can also keep an eye out for the issue in bookstores, including the wonderful Word Power.

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]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #71

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

So yeah, TiLT took a break… I was that lethal combination of sick and busy. Sad trombones. BUT! A ton of lovely stuff happened in the intervening period, so yay! Here is some of it.

Flowers!

Working with wonderful women
I just finished work on part of a creative project with a local women’s community support group. In the interests of confidentiality, can’t get any more specific about it than that, but I can say that I had an incredible, emotional and hugely rewarding time working with these amazing women. When I was initially approached about facilitating this part of the project, I have to admit — I was kind of scared. I’d never worked with participants like these before, and I felt wholly unprepared for what might happen. I also felt extremely excited about the aims of the project, though, and knew that my involvement could potentially be something to be proud of. So I gathered all my courage about me and said yes.
Fast-forward a few months and I am gutted that this part of things is all wrapping up. I’ve had some of the best, most revealing discussions of my adult life over these past few weeks, and learned so much from the incredible women I was teaching! What’s more, I’ve had a whole ton of fun and laughs in the process. In a lovely but rather emotional final session, my wonderful group presented me with the bouquet of flowers above, along with some tasty chocs and a card. The card was filled with sweet messages thanking me for my presence and hard work — although in fact, all the hard work was done by the ladies themselves! Thank you, wonderful women of the world… you know who you are!

Where Rockets Burn Through

Where Rockets Burn Through: Contemporary Science Fiction Poems From The UK
HOW FREAKING GORGEOUS IS THIS BOOK? Seriously! It’s been months now since I got the exciting news that I’d be having three (or five? One’s a series of three) poems published within its pages, so I’ve been extremely impatient to get my hands on it for a good while now! Last Thursday night it was finally launched, at a brilliant event at Blackwells, one of my favourite places. Yours truly got up and read some poems (thanks a million billion zillion to the uber-talented Chris Scott for managing to photograph me not wearing my usual pug-chewing-toffee reading face!), alongside a glittering array of great poets — I particularly enjoyed hearing from Pippa Goldschmidt and Andrew J Wilson, Andrew C Ferguson’s poem about John Knox and the fishwife, and Jane McKie’s spellbinding moon poem. They all have several works in this lovely book, which would make a fantastic Christmas present for the geek in your life. I mean it!

My poem in Where Rockets Burn Through

Want to read more? Buy the book!

At the launch of Where Rockets Burn Through

Major props to Russell, the editor, Tom, who runs Penned in the Margins, and the fabby people from Blackwells and beyond who organised the launch. There were sci-fi fairy cakes — here’s young Leon getting extremely interested in one! — and space travel survival kits on every seat! It was a great night, and as you may have gathered by now, it’s a great book! Buy one, buy one — support a great press, a ton of fabulous poets, and this exciting poetic genre!
(PS: I’m extra excited about this book because it’s the first major anthology I’ve ever seen published by an English publisher where Scottish poets make up the majority of contributors. More like this, please!)

Advent calendar

Advent!
For some reason, I am extra-super-excited about Christmas this year. I feel like a little kid, counting down the days! I’m hyper-prepared… almost all my Christmas presents are bought, I know exactly what I’m going to bake for the big day (very important), and I’ve even bought myself a festive starry onesie (YES) to wear on Christmas morning for maximum present-opening cosiness. But the cherry on top of the festive prep cake was definitely my fabulous sister rocking up to my house on December 1st, bearing this amazing gift — a hand-made advent calendar! She knows it’s kind of tricky for us vegans to find a chocolate-y advent calendar that’s cruelty-free, so she took the stress out of it by just making one for Lovely Boyfriend and I. Each hand-sewn pouch is stuffed with dairy- and egg-free treats, and as the month goes on, the goodies get increasingly exciting! She is truly the best sister in the whole wide world.

Advent calendar

Honourable mentions:
Vegan cooked breakfast a la Lovely Boyfriend // Getting my Christmas shopping SORTED without any stress, largely thanks to Etsy // MY NEW ONESIE. Seriously you guys. So cosy. // Book Week Scotland. I loved their events at the Mitchell Library last weekend. // Cute stuff on Tumblr (you’re welcome). // Balsam tissues. They are a life-saver… or at least, a nose-saver! // Lovely folks on Twitter // People who exclaim to me that my shop contains “the perfect gift!” for someone they know.

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]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Some thoughts on gift-giving and One Night Stanzas

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

eco gift wrap DIY - as seen on Design Sponge!

Over at Shakesville, one of my all-time favourite blogs, blogmistress Melissa has this to say about being a blogger and asking for gifts/money:

“Asking for money is incredibly hard for me. I hate doing it. I hate doing it so much, in fact, that there are times I’d actually rather be shit-broke. Part of it is just an innate aversion to asking for anything; part of it is that those threads always end up being extremely upsetting, for reasons that I imagine are evident to anyone who’s read any of them.

[...] Women’s service work, whether it’s mothering, elder care, volunteering, philanthropy, social work, employment in any “pink collar” profession, or social advocacy, is gravely devalued, frequently to the point where it is unpaid work altogether.

And when I don’t ask that my work be valued by the community, I’m feeding that narrative; I’m implicitly saying, “It’s okay to expect this from me. It’s okay to feel entitled to the product of a woman’s work for nothing in return.”—and that makes me feel even worse than asking for money does.”

In the four plus years I’ve run it, I’ve never really asked for money for One Night Stanzas. Sure, in the early days I posted the odd only-half-joking “wishlist”, and until someone tried to steal the image for my painstakingly-designed ‘donate’ button, ONS also had a tip-jar on the sidebar. But I’ve never actively asked for gifts or done anything to make you guys feel like you have to pay to read. It’s worth noting that I’ve also never attempted to make cash off the blog in other ways — I have done a grand total of one kind-of-sort-of-sponsored post in my entire four plus years as a blogger, and I’ve never, ever run ads here. I blog because I like it. Because I’m gobby and have lots of thoughts about stuff. Because the internet scares me and I want a corner of it that’s really safe for me to be — a space that’s just mine.

That said, Melissa did get me thinking. I’ve been hard at work in this space for over four years and it’s not just an echo chamber — although I’ve been moving more and more towards a ‘comments off’ policy here over the past little while (it’s just so much WORK, you guys), I know people do follow, read, enjoy what’s here. Therefore, why not ask for a little recognition? It’s just asking, right? It feels decidedly un-British, but hey, I’m going to do it anyway. So if you’ve read and liked/laughed at/been inspired by/shared the stuff I’ve been putting here over the past year or so*, then why not read on? I’ve included a few very small, very cheap ways that you can give a little something back to One Night Stanzas this festive season.

Buy my book.
You might already have it, but you can always give it as a gift to someone you know who likes one of the following things: poetry, old ladies, typewriters, books, Star Trek. For it has all those things and more inside its pages. There are only three copies left so this is the last chance you’ll ever get to buy one (except maybe in charity shops in years to come). They’re only four quid plus P&P. Read kind things smart people have said about the book — and then rush to buy a copy — right here.

Buy one of the books I have edited.
Sadly, the wonderful — even if I do say so myself — Skin Deep: Poems on Tattoos and Tattooing is now sold out. But! You can still buy one of the two Read This Press titles still available. The first of the two is Chris Lindores’ brilliant debut pamphlet You Old Soak. These are poems about drinking, awkward social interaction, walking around Edinburgh at night, and drinking some more. This book had a limited printing of 150 copies and each copy is uniquely hand-embellished with real red wine stains! Again, only four quid, and available here. The second of the two is the anthology Starry Rhymes: 85 Years of Allen Ginsberg, which contains poems from such superstars (seriously) as Ryan Van Winkle, Tracey S Rosenberg and Colin McGuire. It received a glowing review from the lovely Chris Emslie at Sabotage, which you should totally read. Again, your copy will be one of a tiny limited print run of 140 — every copy was painstakingly handmade! It’s only a fiver and it’s perfect for the Beat Generation enthusiast in your life. You can grab a copy right here.

Make a donation to Scottish Women’s Aid, or help someone living in a refuge
Earlier this year I completed training to become a Scottish Women’s Aid Community Champion, and the work I’ve done with SWA since has been one of the best things about my year. They’re an extremely deserving organisation whose staff, paid and voluntary, all work their socks off to make the lives of women in Scotland and beyond better, brighter and happier. The more donations they get, the more cool projects they can run — check out the recent I GET IT campaign, designed to get young people talking about what makes a healthy relationship — and the more difference they can make. You can buy me the Christmas present of a donation by clicking right here.
If you prefer, you can buy a real present for a woman or child who has been the victim of domestic violence or who is houseless at Christmas for some other reason. John Lewis has a gift list (number 522953) that allows you to buy a gift and send it straight to a woman or child currently living in a refuge. (NB: when picking gifts, bear in mind that most folk are likely to get things for babies. Bear the mums and older kids in mind, too!)

Buy something from Edinburgh Vintage.
Edinburgh Vintage is one of the many various things I do to keep the wolf from the door, as my gran would say, each month. I run it out of my spare room and most of the time, love it (occasionally — like recently, when an Etsy scam buyer swizzled me out of a gold watch AND the money it cost — not so much). It would be a big and much-appreciated deal to me if some of you fine people were to help support this little venture. There are some really nice bits and piece on there at the moment that, in my humble opinion, would make great Christmas gifts — and buying secondhand means unique presents that’re great for the environment! My picks might be this blue enamel coffeepot, which I am totally keeping if no one buys it by Christmas; this totally unused Estee Lauder cosmetics/beauty bag; a sleepy white kitty or a grey Beswick one for the cat-lovers in your life; this novelty wintery jumper, and maybe this amazing antique harmonica (I’m not a musician but this is one covetable little item!). Whether you decide to buy or not, I’d still super-appreciate it if you’d just have a browse (NB: I have a sale section AND a final clearance section)!

Buy me a present present.
If you’re feeling extra-super-generous, you can buy me an actual gift. I never expect anyone to actually do this, but it has happened very occasionally in the past and I’ve always been bowled over by the loveliness and generosity of my readers! So if this is an option you want to go for, you can check out my Etsy favourites (the first page is a lot of bling jewellery I’m keeping an eye on for my some-day lottery win… skip past that for the cheap second hand books and geek paraphenalia!) or my Amazon wishlist. I also get Christmas cards yearly from some ONS readers which is super super super lovely. If you’d like to Christmas card me, drop me a line to claire[at]onenightstanzas.com and I’ll let you know where to address your envelope to (by the way, die-hard readers… I no longer have the ONS PO Box I had for the first couple of years, so if you’ve saved that address, get in touch for a new one)!

If you do any of these things this Christmas, I will seriously love you forever. I will also double-triple promise to continue writing at One Night Stanzas, so this is srs stuff! There’re only twenty days to go now til the big day, so I think it’s no longer too premature to say this: Merry Christmas, ONS readers one and all!

*(If you haven’t, you can just look at these cute photos of a polar bear.)

*

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]onenightstanzas.com. 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]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)