Posts Tagged ‘cool stuff’

Procrastination Station #123

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Have I really not done one of these since Christmas? Well, OK then…

Seattle gum wall

Have you guys heard of the Seattle gum wall? It’s right around the corner from Pike Place Market’s iconic neon sign, and Lovely Boyfriend and I visited it by accident while we were there. I could only get a crappy phone pic, so I liked scrolling through these cool shots on Flickr… US road trip nostalgia!

“If you’re a woman, writer of color or queer writer, there are probably more barriers. Know that. Be relentless anyway. Strive for excellence.”

If you read nothing else from this post, read this: How To Be A Contemporary Writer, by Roxane Gay.

Sleeveface, only with book covers.

A Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem, anyone? (More US road trip nostalgia!)

“The rape joke is that you were crazy for the next five years, and had to move cities, and had to move states, and whole days went down into the sinkhole of thinking about why it happened. Like you went to look at your backyard and suddenly it wasn’t there, and you were looking down into the center of the earth, which played the same red event perpetually.”

This poem by Patricia Lockwood carries a trigger warning, but it’s completely brilliant.

Scottish Book Trust’s Young Adult Team (which includes me!) have just finished work on this super cool graphic novel: “John Muir: Earth-Planet, Universe.” You can read a free PDF copy — and if you’re a teacher, download lesson plans and support materials — right over here.

Speaking of SBT… they were kind enough to feature one of my poems on their site! You can also submit your story of home.

Flavorwire’s “50 Essential Poetry Books” makes a pretty good to-read list, as I’ve only read 14 of these! Hooray!

Are you a female poet? You should submit poems to this cool anthology.

I enjoy the struggle of making a new object to present to the world, a gift made from scratch—whole, unique, edible as bread. And I want that gift to travel well, packed into an old boat on calm water or hidden inside a greased body diving into a blue pool, a sleek arrow that leaves a feathered silence and wonder in its wake. I like moving, word by word, toward a sense of discovery, toward an awareness of self—a curious, energetic, intelligent, sacred, baffling, depthful, heartful self. I work to find my subject, something I can sink my teeth into. I live for that flaring up of language, when the words actually carry me, envelope me, grip me. And all the above is why I read poetry, to hear the truth, spoken harshly or whispered into my ear, to see more clearly the world’s beauty and sadness, to be lifted up and torn down, to be remade, by language, to become larger, swollen with life.

The utterly brilliant Dorianne Laux, everyone.

There are some pretty sweet things listed at Edinburgh Vintage right now, if I do say so myself. A stunning estate ring, an unusual 1950s powder compact, and some classic pearls in their original display box, to name but a few…

I agree with barely anything Caitlin Moran says. But I agree with this.

The Unfollowed Pie.” Funny, accurate.

If the Earth had rings like Saturn. Cooooool.

I am kind of obsessed with A Single Bear on Twitter. The story of the baby bird a few days ago made me genuinely sad.

Just some rather amazing photos of the world.

WORLD! LONG HAVE WE NEEDED THIS ITEM!


This video of a reviewer playing Goat Simulator is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time.


Kevin Cadwallender saying it like it is.


This woman is so excellent. Just watch.

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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!

Procrastination Station #122: Christmas edition!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

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I haven’t done a PS post in ages, but I have still been saving up cool and interesting links to share with all of you. So this one goes out to all the folks who’re stuck in work on Christmas Eve. Have a cheeky gander at this stuff and the time will fly by! Merry Christmas!

The conversation about money (or privilege) is the one we never have. Why? I think it’s the Marie Antoinette syndrome: those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. After all, if ‘those people” understood the differences in our lives, they might revolt. Or, God forbid, not see us as somehow more special, talented and/or deserving than them.

If you read nothing else in this post, read this: on writers, money and lies.

Buildings inspired by books.

You pick one store. Make it an indie. Maybe the one closest to your house. Make sure they have a website. Make sure your book is available on their website. Make sure the store is willing to ship books to customers. Link to your book through the store’s page. Tell the store you are doing this. If you have a big enough following and sales result, they will surely notice in a hurry anyhow. Even if not a single customer finds them through you, they will be happy. They will be happy with you.

from There Are Exactly Zero Defensible Reasons For Authors To Link To Amazon. Teaching you how — and why, though you probably already know — your should team up with indies and save bookselling!

An old train transformed into a bookshop. Yep.

Intellectual Lisa, with her penchant for museums and libraries, is an outlier in her family, in her whole town. But her basic brain power could easily have come from Marge. Although, unlike her mother, Lisa would never put her dreams aside. (Oh, Marge, your life of quite desperation depresses me so. How could you throw so much away, no matter how hot that Mr Plow jacket is?) How did Lisa manage to escape the domestic trap that ensnared her bright, brittle mother?

I am Lisa Simpson. You are Lisa Simpson. We are all Lisa Simpson.

Why we abandon books.

As a child, the island seemed so vast and full of wondrous possibility. Today, it’s just another beautiful, yet remote location. I know there are no mythical beasts tromping through its forests. The people living across the bay on Sandy Hook Drive are just normal folk with lives that are probably as mundane as mine. There is no more mystery, and very few days dedicated to discovery.

On wonder and creativity: There’s Bigfoot in Them Woods

This gorgeous e-book is beautifully illustrated with portraits of, and full of facts about, amazing women who’ve changed how we look at the world.

The images on this page would be unsatisfying to most horror fans, as the hallmark of modern zombie films is now life-like, over-the-top gore. It will serve us better, though, to first explore the origins of this time-honored creature that began as an obscure Haitian folk myth but is now one of our most revisited horror archetypes. It may first seem that history has little connection to our fictional flesh-eating friends, but they have complex origins, too little discussed and too often ignored by historians and horror fans alike: here we hope to provide the first step in the exploration of the phenomenon.

Find out where the shuffling, blood-spattered Walking Dead zombie really came from in Haiti & the Truth about Zombies.

The twenty most spell-binding university libraries in the world.

I find it interesting that the two male heroes of The Hunger Games are so different from one another, and that they embody such different ways of being men. While Gale is the character we might typically think of in a story like this one—a story with plenty of violence, high stakes, and sacrifice—Peeta is not.

This article has uber-spoilers, so if you haven’t yet finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy, steer away. But if you have, read this piece, for it is amazing: Gale, Peeta and Masculinity in The Hunger Games.

Courageous people expose their insecurities for the camera: the What I Be Project is some amazing photographic storytelling.

Atwood is a polymath. She has ideas about how to fix almost everything and takes pride in her rugged resourcefulness – unlike so many namby-pamby authors who wouldn’t have a clue what to do if the lights went out. When she walks down a street, for example, she likes to point out to whomever she’s with what, in the natural world, they could eat, should the need arise. “I just want them to be prepared.”

If you still haven’t read the Maddaddam trilogy, you need to do so right now. (If you have no plans to read it, we can never be friends.) Check out this interview with the sublime Margaret Atwood, and see if you’re not convinced.

You want to read this new poem by Freesia McKee. Trust me.

“My investigation file expanded from one inch to four inches and then to eight inches. The contents included personal data about Moore and his associates, printouts from his website, copies of relevant articles and reams of information on other involuntary porn stars who were featured on his site. I’d found others, and I knew it would be difficult for law enforcement to ignore folks from all over the country.”
Charlotte Laws took on the infamous internet predator Hunter Moore, and, well… she’s a total badass.

Here’s a map of London’s independent bookstores. You’re welcome.

I suspect the vehement dislike of tattoos is really a fear of women’s skin. When a woman makes her own mark on it, she isn’t quite as available to receive whatever fantasies you might want to project on to her. If skin is a screen, and a woman writes on it, she is telling the world (or even just herself) that her own standards of attractiveness are more important to her than the standards of anyone else.

I am violently in love with this Guardian article on women and tattoos. I mean really.

You’ve seen these amazing mother-daughter artistic collaborations, right?

[Beyonce] a work in progress, as are we all. In 2010, she gave an interview saying she was a “feminist in a way,” because she valued her female friendships deeply. Earlier this year, she claimed she was a “modern-day feminist.” Now she is straight up embracing the term in her music and claiming her right to tell women to both bowdown and encouraging them to be self-confident from the moment they step out of bed… in the same damn song! I rock with that because her feminism is complicated, and ours is too. Tell the truth.

I’ve loved reading the various voices rising above the wall of stupid that went up in response to Beyonce’s new record. This might be my favourite.

Life advice from Amy Poehler. Worth passing on!
Speaking of Beyonce: I FREAKING LOVE THIS RECORD SO MUCH.
OMG Watsky. You may have jumped off a lighting rig at a gig like an IDIOT, but I can’t help but still love you.
Cool.

Merry Christmas everybody!!!

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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 #80

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

ONS was gone for a while, you may have noticed. It was the end of term, my camera broke, I went to London for a while, I’m about to move house and am packing box after box after box. It’s also Refugee Week, which means I have been on the road with the Making It Home posse, attending screenings of our films, speaking on panels and reading poems. All extremely exciting! I’ve also been blogging elsewhere — I’m the F Word’s guest blogger for June, so I’ve been kinda cheating on ONS a little. But I have finally had chance to sit down for two seconds and share with you some of the sweet sights from the past couple of weeks.

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The Making It Home gang visited our partners media co-op in their lovely offices at Templeton in Glasgow — yep, they’re based in that building up there (fanciest former carpet factory I’ve ever seen)! Our lovely filmmaking co-ordinators Vilte and Catherine handed out flowers for everyone after we watched the rough cuts of our films.

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On a visit home I helped (well OK, watched) my sister, the craftiest of craftmistresses, make a rainbow-tastic button-covered waistcoat for a fancy dress day at Hobbycraft, where she works her magic. She also made me a fancy bonnet out of yellow cellophane.

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As always, Edinburgh was being totally fabulous, and being away in London only made me appreciate it more. Moody skies, cherry trees like candyfloss, punctuation marks on the sides of buildings.

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The Making It Home tour did a gig in Glasgow, though it was too dark in the venue for me to take any decent photos. However, I did see pink flamingos, hang out under fairylights, and take a silly public bathroom self portrait.

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And yeah, of course, I ate some tasty food. Vegan sweet potato pancakes, made by Lovely Boyfriend of course; and courgette and mint soup with a tofu wurst sandwich, courtesy of Saramago. (That bright orange typewriter, by the way? It’s a resoration/upcycle project I’m working on. When it’s done, there’ll be a post.)

What are YOU loving this week?

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. 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 #79

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

This week, I have loved:

Reading old copies of The International Times
Re-reading my old copies of The International Times. This one’s from their special issue about Edinburgh counter-culture.

MATE
Greenery taking over. I’m on TEAM SPRING!

Vegan brunch 04/05/13! NOM!
Vegan brunch. Always.

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Being cosy.

The Lovely Boyfriend
Hanging out with the Lovely Boyfriend.

Ye Olde Forest Free Shoppe!
Getting FREE STUFF from the Forest Free Shop.

Making it Home book
This brilliant collaborative poem the women of the Making It Home project wrote! (See it better in our forthcoming book!)

OMG for me?  No?  OK :(
This freakin’ massive bouquet of flowers. (It wasn’t for me… it was for my neighbour, but they were out. So I got to look at them for a whole afternoon, and my living room smelled lovely!)

WORLD PEACE MANIFEST YOUR DESTINY
Subtle — but mighty — messages from the Universe.

Secret garden
Secret gardens. (There is A GATE BEHIND THERE! Mysterious…)

Students are SO WEIRD
Hilarious student graffiti. (Seriously: you’ve got a bare wall, a pen, and a quiet corridor… and you write THAT.)

Mascot
Cars who have their own personal mascots.

Sunshine over Granton
& finally, sunshine over Granton. (This amazing sight greeted me last night as I came out of work, exhausted, after my evening class. Thanks, Edinburgh.)

What are YOU loving this week?

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. 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!

Procrastination Station #121

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Happy Lazy Sunday!

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I might be buying a house (I KNOW). One that will need heckof renovating. So I need you guys to send me amazing DIY/home decor p0rn like this and this to inspire me. Check out what I’ve gathered so far!

“We recognize that, in our world, a woman on the road is marked. She has been cut from the social fabric, excised at such an elemental level that when she steps onto the road, she steps into an abyss. And whatever leads up to that choice inspires in us a primal fear. A man on the road is solitary. A woman on the road is alone. This is not cute wordplay, but a radically different social experience.”

If you click on nothing else in this post, click on this article, on why there aren’t more female road narratives. Disturbing, fascinating, beautifully written.

These are super fabby book covers!

Have you guys seen Least Helpful? Really rubbish — and totally hilarious — reviews.

Totally NSFW (not really) hardcore bookshelf p0rn. (And, related: notebook geek p0rn!)

I loved Watsky’s touching post on playing the Fillmore, ambition and keeping on going (NB: links to Facebook).

I know, writers have been complaining for eons about the weight of their burden, and it’s not attractive. But I’ve been around it long enough to know that writing anything good that’s longer than a paragraph isn’t easy for anybody, except for maybe J. J. Abrams. You can’t explain how people do it. Some of the most successful screenwriters, novelists, television producers and rock-opera librettists I know are about a hundred times lazier than I am. They take long afternoon naps, play lots of pickup basketball and appear to accomplish little or nothing for months at a time. And let me tell you, their ideas do not all crackle with scintillating originality.

This is wonderful, and such sensible advice. Now I just need to listen!

The Literary Cat: a Tumblr devoted to cats posing with books. Yep.

Have you seen these wonderful self-portraits of famous authors?

Paper & Salt is super cool: they re-create meals described in great literature!

More stupid things graphic design clients say!

There’s some amazing stuff at the Bitch blog at the moment! I loved reading Five Black Female Musicians You Should Love (I’d only heard of Skin), I Want To Like Hit-Girl, But…, Patriarchy & Game of Thrones (spoilers! But the comments on this one’re interesting, too), and a really interesting take on the new Dove campaign (the video’s at the bottom of this very post! Also read the comments on this one).

Why tea is so magical.

This body language guide from Gala is really rather interesting!

And via Gala, I really liked 22 things happy people do differently and Girl Code Rules. POSITIVITY.

Seeing these portraits of adult entertainment stars with and without makeup was really interesting for me. Totally SFW!

Parents texting. SO FUNNY.

Game of Thrones fan? You must watch these! (Also, Gwendoline Christie ROCKS!)

Glowsticks + waterfalls = beautiful.
A small snippet of Neil Gaiman being fabulous.
Sue Austin is totally inspiring.
That Pulitzer? SO DESERVED.

Have a great weekend!

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. 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 #78

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

It’s been a busy week… so busy that last night I finally ran out of spoons and nearly burst into tears in a carpark, just because I was so, so tired. (Fortunately, Lovely Boyfriend was on hand to give me hugs, ply me with chips and pay for a taxi home.) However, it’s also been a totally amazing week. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been loving…

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Spring finally arriving (properly) in Edinburgh
I love Tollcross in the Spring… loads of daffodils everywhere, the Meadows two minutes away (so as soon as it feels even vaguely warm I can sprint outside to lounge), the Pine Tree Bakery smelling delicious… wonderful.

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Baking, of course
I recently discovered that the magical wonderland that is Real Foods stock frozen sour cherries, which basically made my LIFE. This week I baked the perfect (if I do say so myself) cherry pie, and Lovely Boyfriend and I got into Twin Peaks mode with pie and coffee.

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Hanging out in my sweet flat
Lovely Boyfriend and I are probably moving house soon… I don’t want to jinx it, because we haven’t signed on the dotted line yet, but we’re kinda sorta buying our own house. Oh my goodness. But as excited as I am to have my own place — do a ton of decorating and have a veggie garden (!) and get a dog (!!) — I am also a little sad to leave my crows-nest of a top floor flat in wonderful Tollcross. So I’ve been trying to appreciate it and enjoy it while I still have it. Thanks so much to Kate for making my living room look extra pretty this week!

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Ooh! New tattoo?
My half-sleeve is finally totally 100% healed, which means it’s finally photogenic! This is obviously only a section of it, as it wraps most of the way round my arm, but you get the gist! It’s a psychedelically-coloured Oliver No.9 typewriter with the words O beautiful Garbo of my karma spiralling up from it on an On-The-Road-style scroll. The words are from Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish, which is a contender for my all-time favourite poem ever.

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Hanging out in the Forest Cafe
Forest, I shall miss you too when I move away! (Don’t worry, I’ll still visit for sure.) Pretty much the absolute best place for people watching in the whole of Edinburgh. Also, cool murals with dragons in them.

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Packed poetry readings
The first photo here is of the lovely Louise Peterkin, reading at the Shore Poets Open Night. She was absolutely brilliant, in spite of major technical difficulties, and as you can see, the audience is rapt! The second photo is my all-time favourite, Scotland’s most underrated poet (seriously), the great McGuire, bringing the awesome at the last ever Ten Red.

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My students
Often puzzling, occasionally aggravating, generally excellent. Some of them (I don’t know which) stole this sign, which reads IN HERE FOR HIGHER ENGLISH EVENING CLASS, and placed it on the janitor’s cupboard door. Those pesky kids…

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Filming for Making It Home
But the very, very best thing about my week was this: going out on set with some of the amazing participants from my poetry/film group at Women Supporting Women, to help them on their first ever filming session for Making It Home. We spent roughly five hours together, mostly on the beach under the most incredible volcanic sky, and I’ve never been so proud in my life. They were so confident and able, and such a great team — hard to believe that only a handful of months ago these women were intimidated by an Edwin Morgan poem! I felt like a bumbling idiot as I shuffled along in their extremely professional wake, mostly holding stuff! But so inspired and so, so proud.
There’s still a tiny bit of time left in our fundraising campaign, too: if you want to help these women to translate their experiences into a book that we can give out to the public for free and share their incredible journey, then please click here. Watch our video (bonus! derp-y shots of me), read about what we do, spread the word and, if you can, donate. I’ll love you forever!

What have YOU been loving this week?

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Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. 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!

Procrastination Station #120

Friday, April 19th, 2013

u.f.o.

A poem! By Kevin Cadwallender! At Bolts of Silk! A hat-trick of awesome!

I love Kim Addonizio, and this is SO the perfect book cover for her work!

I am so happy to see some of Stephen Nelson’s work over at Fit for Work — an anti-ATOS anthology you should, by the way, really check out.

Have you guys seen the Books and Nerds tumblr? Wall to wall bookish escapism!

The lovely, lovely Chris Scott (who once told me he’d “be the Testino to [my] Diana” if ever I become super famous, and I plan to hold him to it) recently took this brilliant, smiley photo of great poet and great bloke Andrew Philip. I really like it! Chris’ work is generally great. Check out his Author Portraits and his Flickr for more!

Life in Authoring, you totally get me through the day, SRSLY. I also just discovered Life in Publishing and Life in Small Press Publishing and now have so much less free time.

I’m always fascinated when Caustic Cover Critic points out how often the same images are recycled for book covers. Here’s a sad and elegant lady who seems to crop up awfully often…

…and speaking of covers, I just discovered Lousy Book Covers. Part of me feels super sad for the poor authors, but some of these really are lousy.

Is anyone else as into typewriters as me? If so, you should check out clickthing. It is basically typewriter p0rn.

I believe I have mentioned before that I LOVE DAVE COATES’ REVIEWS OF POETRY BOOKS. LOVE them. His review of The Great Billy Letford (as he should always be known) is an absolute cracker. But he’s at his best when bitchy: “poems to be printed on Cath Kidston merchandise.” DOES CRITICISM GET ANY HARSHER? A review to cackle gleefully at.

Apparently, “dear blank” is something EVERYONE has seen now, but it was new to me, and I loved it!

Two Beat Generation tattoos! Ginsberg and Kerouac! I approve! Also, I have been crushing on thigh tattoos lately and love these.

To be serious for a moment: you should probably read more bell hooks.

How much do you wish you’d been at this party?

Adverts are often better “edited” — some great examples here!

I can has one of these?

It wouldn’t be Friday without CAT GIFS!

Have a great weekend!

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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 #75

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Vegan cupcakes

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

So, I’ve waxed lyrical about this lady a good few times already, but I am going to do it again, because she so totally rocks my world. For Christmas, Lovely Boyfriend bought me her Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World (co-authored with Terry Hope Romero), along with a bunch of cupcake-baking equipment, and I have been cupcaking like a mad person ever since. Those starry babies in the photo above were my first effort: they’re the most basic chocolate cupcake in the book, but they came out beautifully, so I thought I’d get more ambitious. Next, I made the maple and candied walnut variety you see below, as a ‘birthday cake’ for Lovely Boyfriend’s brother. They were so good that he requested a second batch! So, for a family gathering (pressure!) I moved onto pistachio and rosewater (second photo down). These are super cool, because the cake is green and the icing is pink (excuse the weird orangey photo — it’s my kitchen light, not an Instagram filter)! I was kinda flu-filled on the day, so I couldn’t really taste my creations, sadly… but I’m told they were delicious. My most recent offerings were the double chocolate truffle cupcakes you see in the bottom photo. These are a variation on the basic chocolate, but with gooey ganache on the top and a Booja Booja truffle for decoration. FREAKING LUSH. What next, I wonder…? I am officially a cupcake addict!

Vegan cupcakes

Vegan pistachio and rosewater cupcakes

Vegan double chocolate truffle cupcakes

(PS: I made a Flickr set for all my vegan baking — and some of the vegan food regularly rustled up for me by the Lovely Boyfriend — so if you fancy following my spoon-lickin’ exploits, check back here!)

'Heritage Without Borders' Project

The Making it Home Project

I’m really excited that I’m finally able to talk publicly about my involvement with this amazing project! I keep mentioning this mysterious women’s community project I’ve been working for, but I’ve been unable to go into much detail until now. I’m happy to announce that we’ve been able to go public, thanks to an injection of much-needed funds from Creative Scotland. So, what’s it all about?

Poetry is an extremely powerful educational and social tool. It has all sorts of amazing uses — I’m sure that if you follow this blog, I don’t need to convince you of that. Making It Home was born when, a little while ago, the Refugee Survival Trust decided to harness the awesome power of poetry and use it to do cool stuff in some of Scotland’s local communities. They got in touch with Glasgow’s Maryhill Integration Network, Edinburgh’s Women Supporting Women (part of the Pilton Community Health Project), and the wonderful folks at the Scottish Poetry Library, with the aim of creating two poetry-reading groups for women. Through the poems read, discussed and shared in these groups, the women present would explore ideas about home: belonging, nationhood, community, family and everything else the word ‘home’ conjures up.

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed, because I was approached to be the creative facilitator at Women Supporting Women. My group of incredible women have given me a whole new understanding of what poetry is, and what it can do. They’ve discussed poems I’ve read probably hundreds of times, and made me see them in totally new ways. They’ve learned tons about poems and their ever-so-slightly magical powers — and so have I!

Oasis Women's Group Textiles Project

Even better: thanks to the funding injection, the project has grown a new arm. As of early January, the Making It Home groups teamed up with Media Co-Op, a brilliant independent film-making co-operative based in Glasgow. These guys are now working with the groups of women, teaching them how to translate their many, many great responses to the poems into short films detailing their personal journeys. It’s early days yet, but already it feels like a whirlwind of brilliant ideas and inspiration. I’m so happy to be part of the ongoing project, and feel really lucky to be able to witness the creative process behind what will, eventually — we hope! — become a full-scale film installation that all of YOU can come and see and support!

(Both these photos are from the Maryhill Integration Network’s amazing Flickrstream.)

What are YOU loving this week?

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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!

Procrastination Station #118

Friday, December 21st, 2012

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Lovely lovely links to keep you stimulated and inspired this chilly Friday!

Stephen Nelson is just on a roll with his new vispo at the moment! I love these two, and this Zen garden inspired piece!

I CANNOT WAIT to read the debut novel from Sarah McCarry (aka The Rejectionist!). CANNOT. WAIT.

I also really want to read Dora: A Headcase, which may well be in the same vein…

The moral cores of the series are Vimes and the witch Granny Weatherwax, characters to whom Pratchett has returned again and again. Both are feared –Weatherwax’s nickname from the trolls is “She Who Must Be Avoided” and to the dwarves she is “Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain.”

Terry Prachett is a total badass, basically.

In my post the other day I mentioned the GiftED book sculptureshere are some more fabby paper sculptures for your eyeballs to ogle!

Books just never stop being useful. They make excellent insect-homes!

Fan of The Feminist Press? Here’s a cool interview with its lovely founder, over at the City Lights Bookstore blog.

You never know what you might learn about your nearest and dearest if you convince them to be your poetry groupies. I once brought a reluctant friend to an open mic, promising her I’d buy her a pint afterwards. She was so taken by the atmosphere of come-and-have-a-go creativity that she penned her first ever poem during the interval and read it on stage in the second half.

I can’t remember if I posted about this before or not, but hey… along with Harry Giles of Inky Fingers, I helped the great Charlotte Runcie of Toad & Feather to draw up some open mic tips for noobs. Hope it’s helpful!

Can I just say: minature fairy book scrolls.

DO NOT HAVE SEX IN THE LIBRARY, PLEASE.

Have you guys seen these portraits of famous writers “in their own words”? SO COOL!

Walden, or Life in the Woods: UPDATED!

Make a notebook… out of your old coffee cup.

“I wonder what real life wizards think of Harry Potter?” …and other stupid things commercial artists hear from clients!

And speaking of artists… the wonderful Mandy Fleetwood now has a shop! And I particularly love this print, which combines two of my favourite things: tattoos and Joni!

I just jettisoned about 70% of my Facebook friends because of stuff like this!

What if your friends acted like your pets? So funny, so true.

I totally love small builds, tree houses and all other innovative living spaces. So of course, I couldn’t resist including this!

The January issue of Cosmocking is out! Kinda more depressing than funny, though… sadface.

This is one smart seventeen year old.

The evolution of mobile phones (in pictures!) is pretty fascinating.

I am so not a habitual napkin-using kinda gal. But OMG, these!

I plan to look like this when I am 60.


I’m not 100% sure what’s going on, but I really enjoyed this wee stop-motion. Thanks Mandy!


Not as good as the Tumblr, but I still love Texts from Dog.


The Hobbit… BUT WITH CATS!!!


I finally watched Anita Sarkeesian’s TED talk. SHE IS AN INSPIRATION, PEOPLE.


And if you click nothing else in this post, click this. Hilarious, political and important. THIS is how you tell rape jokes, assholes!

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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 #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!

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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!

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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?

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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!