Posts Tagged ‘universe’

Things I Love Thursday #62

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Things I’ve loved over the past seven days.

MY WEEK…
…which looked like this:

The Mermaid and the Sailors

Hooping in the Meadows

Barter Books, Alnwick.

Our rental

One of my all-time favourite things:

Whitby churchyard

Lovely Boyfriend

Sunset over Whitby

Kitties!

Whitby in the dusk...

♥ Hawking the second print-run of my book ♥ Hula hooping in the sunny Meadows, learning some new tricks ♥ Visiting Barter Books, one of the UK’s biggest second-hand bookstores, and one of my favourite places, natch ♥ Going to pick up our supposedly-bog-standard ‘economy’ rental and getting a brand-spanking-new jet black Fiat 500 ♥ Paddling in an incredibly warm North Sea ♥ Visiting a major literary landmark and saying hi to Dracula ♥ Lovely Boyfriend being lovely ♥ Hanging out on the beach til late with beers and waves and a sunset ♥ KITTEHS ♥ One of my all-time favourite towns: Whitby

Honourable mentions: Um, this! This this this this this! // I finally finished The Book of Men — I’ve been reading it slowly, savouring each poem. It is incredible. // Goes without saying, but… the sunshine. Oh my goodness, the sunshine. // Driving. I forget how much I enjoy it. Hooray for roadtrips! // Good sleep. Nuff said. // Lovely Boyfriend choosing to make his computer game avatars female. SERIOUSLY, this makes me so happy // Lending my flat to friends and coming home to find they’ve tidied up and left snacks! // Plotting big exciting future travels and possible mega life decisions // Tea, as always // Getting back into doing Wardrobe Remix. So good for my sporadic phases of BDD.

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!

Things I Love Thursday #59

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

child nightmare

A bit of a heavy post this week, perhaps. But what I’m loving right now is activism.

If you’ve been paying attention to the links in my Procrastination Station posts, you might have got the general gist that I’m a bit of a feminist. You’ll certainly have got that gist if you follow my Twitter. If you’ve been my Facebook friend for a while, you might also have seen one or two angry feminist rants up there, too. Maybe — if you’re a real die-hard fan of mine — you’ve even spotted out my little-used feminist/political blog, Girl Poems. And yes, it’s true — I am a feminist, and more than just a little bit.

It’s happened quickly. Had you asked me two years ago, I’d have said HELL YES I AM A FEMINIST, but I wouldn’t really have been able to tell you all that much about why. At that point, I hadn’t really woken up to the massive discrimination that still comes with identifying as female. Then I had my “click” moment: I watched Jean Kilbourne’s “Killing Us Softly 3.”

As the women on my training weekend this past weekend (which I’ll talk about in a moment) pointed out, when you get your “click” moment, it’s like coming out of the Matrix. You start seeing misogyny and discrimination everywhere. You start realising that things you say and do — things you’ve always said and done — are really not cool. You see that you have friends — really good friends — who are part of the problem. You get really, really, really angry. And other people get really, really, really angry with you.

Over the past two years, since watching Jean Kilbourne, I’ve kind of done a DIY women’s studies degree in my spare bedroom. As well as teaching and reading for my PhD, I’ve also amalgamated a pretty huge collection of academic feminism textbooks, pop feminist polemics, women’s anthologies and women’s studies tomes, and read them hungrily. I follow more feminist/political blogs than I do poetry and writing ones. I’m no longer lazy about this stuff — as well as identifying as feminist I am also trying really hard to be a good trans ally, to rid my students’ (and, sometimes, my colleagues’) vocabulary of homophobic language like “that’s so gay”, and I’m also trying extremely hard to stop being ableist (I’ve only recently realised how gross my use of the word “lame” to mean “rubbish” really is). In terms of the kind of feminist I am? I want intersectionality so badly. I try as hard as I can to check my white, cis, able-bodied privilege, though I’ll admit, sometimes fail. And I am way, way pro-sex (ask me some time about my plan to kick the shit out of the sex industry’s status quo. Seriously).

Twitter has become my safe space. I post anything I like there, and I’m generous with my use of the ‘block’ button. I’ve also built up a sweet network of feminist Twit-buddies of all genders, which is really nice. But I’ve still felt bad about not doing enough. Not talking about this stuff enough. Not trying hard enough to exercise change. Not explaining myself properly. Not really making a difference.

So this past weekend, I went along to Scottish Women’s Aid’s all-weekend “Stop” training. The “Stop” campaign, or Together We Can Stop It, is about recognising that domestic abuse affects everyone, but that — as one of my training-mates put it — we can all affect it right back. It is designed to spread the message that domestic abuse is disturbingly prevalent, and that it’s so not OK, as well as aiming to provide everyone everywhere with workable ways to tackle the problem. The training weekend took me and seven other smart, angry young feminists and taught us how to become Community Champions: we’re now qualified to go out into the local community and help SWA and the “Stop” campaign to spread the message.

The training was a truly amazing, eye-opening and inspiring experience for me. Because I’ve taught myself all this women’s studies stuff, I’ve never been in a space before where everyone just ‘got’ it. There was no mansplaining, no ‘explain yourself to me!’, no ‘what about the men?!’, no arguments about how you can’t be feminist if you’re white and Western, or if you like sex, or if you’re straight, or if you’re a trans woman, or blah blah blah blah. There was no ’stop being hysterical!’, or ‘nobody really cares about this!’, or ‘it’s just a joke, lighten up!’ No one in the room said anything was ’so gay’ or referred to another person as ‘a total retard’ or suggested that ‘girls who dress slutty ask for it.’ There were no rape jokes; no one wanted to whine that Julian Assange or Roman Polanski are awesome, stand-up guys and so great at what they do and therefore everyone should forget about the fact that they raped women and hey who says they even did it I mean these stupid women make shit up all the time. I’m wary of using this word because I know it makes some people queasy (feminists included), but it felt like sisterhood.

There were a lot of opposing views in the room. We talked about tons of issues around and outside domestic abuse including intersectionality, classism and general feminist stuff. We had heated discussions. We disagreed about things. But we all got it, we were all working towards a common goal: to make women’s lives, which are so often hard and frightening and downright depressing, better. In two days I learned so much about women, about feminism, about society, about activism and about myself. It was utterly fantastic.

Now, come to my comment thread and ask ‘what about the men?!’ I dare you.

Honourable mentions: Bare Hands Poetry. Thanks a million for taking one of my poems, loves! // Working on editing together Creatrix. So many great submissions, so many difficult decisions. Watch this space for a post about it. // Being in a play! OMG! Come and see me at the Traverse, in “Dear Glasgow.” // The second printing of my book has landed — let me know if you want to buy one! // Real Foods. Greatest grocery store ever // The lovely Lovely Boyfriend. Better than all the other boyfriends combined.

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!

(Photo credit)

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Things I Love Thursday #54

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Last nights beautiful special dinner at David Bann. BTW I've had better

Stuff I love this week.

Lovely Boyfriend getting old
Last weekend, Lovely Boyfriend turned 27 whole years old, which gave me an excellent excuse to turn the whole weekend into one long parade of cool stuff. I spent my Friday off building a birthday tent in the living room, for example: LB and I have a long-running joke/tradition of tent-building indoors after I scoffed at the idea of winter camping and flatly stated that the only way he’d ever get me to sleep in a tent between the months of November and April would be to build said tent inside my flat. This tent was built in the middle of the living room and was festooned with balloons, bunting and fairy lights and filled with presents. It was an excellent venue for cake-eating and movie watching, and I was pretty sad to finally take it down on Tuesday morning. I was also brave enough to cook LB, an accomplished chef, a fancy dinner on Friday night, and miraculously I managed even the choux pastry without a hitch!
The rest of the weekend was spent taking in some heavy-duty bookshopping; the newly-revamped National Portrait Gallery; cupcakes from Bibi’s; a screening of the fantastic “Apart Together“, followed by a somewhat awkward audience discussion!; bento boxes and veggie sushi at Tang’s; Sunday brunch at the nom-tastic veggie heaven that is David Bann’s (pictured); a mega West Wing marathon (we’re well into series four and I’m slowly changing my mind about Amy Gardner!); and pints and craic at the Brew Dog Bar. What presents did I buy him? Among them were a tea-and-chocolate hamper from the world famous Betty’s, the super fabulous Middle Eastern veggie cookbook Veggiestan, Four Tales by Philip Pullman and a signed copy of Alasdair Gray’s Collected Verse. I know, I know — he’s a lucky boy.

Gifts from the Universe.
After the ups and downs of 2011, I was in need of a boost at the start of the new year — some kind of omen to suggest that maybe in 2012 things were going to get a bit better. And holy cow, did January knock my socks off in terms of positive goings-on! At the start of the new year, my poem Male Privilege won the Mookychick 2011 FemFlash contest, which handed me a few very-handy-indeed post-Christmas quids, as well as a subscription to the frickin’ excellent BUST Magazine. I was approched from all sides to read my work at all manner of cool literary later-this-year events, including March’s Literary Death Match Edinburgh and Trashed Organ’s forthcoming Belonging Fest. After a handy nudge from a super-cool Edinburgh feminist and live literature promoter (you know who you are), I started proper plans for a mega-exciting poetry event to celebrate International Women’s Day (more info soon). Towards the end of the month received a very lovely acceptance email from Popshot, which is pretty much my all-time favourite literary journal (even more so now!), to say one of the poems I sent them had been picked from over 3,000 submissions to grace the pages of their “Power” issue, out in April (squee!). Finally, just as January was drawing to a close, I received some hyper-exciting but still-top-secret writing-related news that just dropped a perfect, shiny cherry on the top of the whole Excellent January sundae (I’ll tell all soon, promise!). I’m also ahead of schedule with my PhD thesis and, for now, my supervisor seems pretty happy with me. Thanks, January! February: bring it on!

Honourable mentions:
Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner — such a sweet, sad, happy, wonderful, original first novel. Read it, everyone. // Book-buying sprees with Lovely Boyfriend — so much new poetry to consume! // Talking with baby-boomers about how their generation made the best pop music ever // Getting my teeth into this semester’s new classes // TED Talks — the greatest classroom resource of all time, bar none // Twitfolk, and their hilarious, aggravating, oh-so-useful fabulousness // Oulipo — look out, poetry, this is about to be My New Thing // Lie-ins, early nights, naps, and all manner of excellent natural sleep! // Croissants // This song.

What are you loving this week?

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One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via claire@onenightstanzas.com. NB: I am physically unable to reply to non-urgent stuff unless I have a free afternoon and a cup of tea in my hand. Please be patient!

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