This week I seem to have lost track of time and the days of the week have all blurred in to one. So somehow I just can’t help but wonder about time, structure and schedules.
Why is it that I often think I can get things done much quicker than I can? Why is it that I nearly always forget to calculate traveling time, making me permanently 10-15 minutes late, and always rushing? Why is it that I often struggle to just sit down and start- delaying myself with my procrastination? And why is it that when I think it’s time to go to bed I still find myself up and about an hour later?
Of course any psychologist could argue that maybe I enjoy the attention I get by arriving late, or maybe I am constantly seeking forgiveness, which I get when I apologize for my tardiness. Or maybe I am a narcissist who just never considers other people and their needs.
However since every ‘pattern’ is based on what you get out of it, it really doesn’t explain why I (and others like me) inconvenience myself – the reward seems to be negated by the stress it causes. So what is it that makes me struggle with time?
As someone who chose a profession that deals with deadlines all the time it seems odd that this is an area of shortcomings. Even odder that I actually don’t struggle with deadlines – I tend to get my work done on time.
So, as I contemplated this contradictory conundrum I realised that maybe my issue with time has more to do with how I view it. I don’t wear a watch, and view time more through morning, noon and night, no exact hours more a sense of moments. And when I am working I get caught up with what I am doing – looking at word count or page layout or how many corrections I have left – and this makes it easy to just plow on and get it done on time!
While this helps me in my job it also means that in my private time I forget about time too, I don’t check the clock and delay myself without meaning to. Of course this could also have something to do with a lack of self-discipline, enjoying myself in the moment to much to stop or feeling compelled to finish what I’m doing.
Or maybe I simply just don’t want to be early – I mean if being late is wasting someone else’s time, isn’t being early wasting mine? Another thought that needs some timely wondering, but I don’t have time for that today!
Over the past few weeks my tiny back yard has had a frequent visitor – a little, ruffled, sparrow, who tilts his head and pauses for a while.
I have no idea what this feathered friend is looking for, since the seeds I have put out don’t seem to interest him. And he doesn’t linger long enough for me to figure out what he is actually doing.
And I have to say that I have been looking forward to his frequent visits and would love to encourage him to stick around for a while (any tips welcome). There is something so cheerful about the way he cocks his head, chips and flutters his wings that makes me smile – a welcome (if short) distraction from my computer screen.
And hopefully one day, maybe soon he’ll bring a friend – after all one sparrow doesn’t make a summer!
Photographs, like memories, are fleeting; they capture a moment in time and frame it forever. And like memories, photographs invite us to imagine, dream and conjure up stories to help form our identities.
The photo book YU: The Lost Country is Dragana Jurisic’s visual account of her search for her own identity. Born a Yugoslav she sees herself as an exile, a wanderer who has no roots since the destruction of the utopia that was Yugoslavia in 1991.
To help her find a path through a country that no longer exists Dragana Jurisic sought the guidance of the British writer Rebecca West. Published in 1941, West’s masterpiece Black Lamb and Grey Falcon weaves three separate trips through the Balkans into one complete memory of what the Yugoslav identity was about.
Following in West’s footsteps, Dragana Jurisic captures glimpses of these memories through her lens and recreates a fictional version of a modern day Atlantis. The muted palate of colours and hazy, sometimes a little out of focus, contours add to the sensation of memories once forgotten, now remembered, a dreamlike world just beyond our reach.
Punctuating these images with words, a combination of her own and West’s, Dragana Jurisic allows the viewer to enter into the images and gain an insight into a lost world. And while memories may be subjective, just as the creation of photographs is subjective to the viewfinder of the photographer, the memories become real, an objective representation of something nearly forgotten.
YU: The Lost Country challenges the idea of what defines identity and encourages the reader to rethink what they believe to be true, but it does this in a very delicate, subtle way. This understated approach is also reflected in the sophisticated exterior of the book, its canvas cover is pleasant to the touch, and the elegant design invites the eye to linger and revisit. A small issue is the closeness of the print to the edge of the pages; one or two millimetres would have saved the illusion of toppling off the edge.
Not only is YU: The Lost Country an unusual photo book, as it gives more than just imagery and frames the stunning photographs with words, memories and history, it also resembles a time-capsule that stores lost knowledge for generations to come.
Symbols are things that stand for something else, sometimes in very obvious ways, sometimes a little more hidden and sometimes only a select few know what it means. And sometimes one symbol can mean very different things for several people.
But no matter where you look we are surrounded by symbols everyday – some of us even wear them as jewellery or have them embedded in our skin in ink.
As a writer, for me, the most important symbols are letters. Each one holds the key to different meanings and when arranged and rearranged they spell out emotions, ideas, instructions, information and stories.
More than kisses, letters mingle souls.
English Poet John Donne (1572-1631)
After a wonderful weekend Monday morning can be somewhat of a let down, especially when the week decides to start with drizzle and dull skies.
Not wanting to give in to the lull that has settled around me, I am listening to Fleetwood Mac and pretending I am still in the Point dancing in my seat – a long climb up from the stage but with a brilliant view and great acoustic.
The concert was fantastic, the music perfect and I just couldn’t get over the fact that hippie queen and singing poet Stevie Nicks is now 67. The entire band are all well into retirement age (songbird Christine McVie is over 70) but that really didn’t stop them from performing live for more than two and half hours.
It was inspiring to see people do what they love doing with such passion, even after over 40 years, and I was amazed at how the quality of sound and song was a good as ever – even if some of the moves on stage were a little comical, after all a 65 year old Lindsey Buckingham does not leap across the stage quite as agile as he once did and Stevie’s twirling is a little slower and less graceful.
But all in all it is truly amazing to witness enduring talent. Of course Fleetwood Mac has had it’s ups and downs but overall I think one could say they have had long-lasting success – one not many can compare with.
So as I climbed down from my seat up high I couldn’t help but think that everything that goes up must come down. And while that is true it also means that what is down can go up. Hopefully a thought that will help me get my work done this week, always thinking about how the long climb up will be rewarded.
I’m so excited – tonight I am going to see Fleetwood Mac. This has come very unexpectedly, a perfect Saturday surprise.
As someone who has a thing for 60s/70s music this is a real treat, and an added bonus is the fact that the tickets are a gift. A good friend of mine ordered the tickets months ago and due to many reason can’t go herself. And now, this big-hearted person has bestowed the gift of a wonderful night out on me.
Now all I have to do is count down the last remaining hours and get ready to party with Stevie Nicks – one of my all time favourite singer/songwriters- and I am quite sure she will be just as excited to see me as I am her!
I love making myself smoothies for breakfast, there is something so satisfying about all that fruit mixed in with almond milk and some cereal toppings. It isn’t just a very tasty way to start the day but a very healthy one too.
My preferred mix is blueberries with a banana, maybe some strawberries (or other berries), a pear or a peach and some spinach. Yesterday, however, I tried something a little new.
Instead of having an early morning smoothie I decided to have a lunch one, so I mixed it up a bit. I still used almond milk and spinach (fresh but from the freezer) but I added some celery, a kiwi, some cucumber, a small pear and a banana (it just makes for a better consistency).
This yummy green smoothie was not only the perfect mix of sweet and savoury but really refreshing – the kiwi added a bit of zing, the celery a bit of bite and the cucumber made the whole thing crisp.
Now I think that my morning berry smoothie may have a bit of competition!
This year the Irish summer has been very temperamental – low-ish temperatures , cloudy and rainy days interrupt the warm sunny ones. But since today the sun has come out to play I have decided to make the best of this urban summer day.
After a morning spent at the desk I will be meeting a friend in town and hopefully the evening sun will invited us to drink some cocktails outside. And to get myself into the mood I have been listening to some Beach Boys – Kokomo; Fun,Fun,Fun & Good Vibrations are truly the perfect soundtrack to a sunny summers day.
Not so coincidentally last week was the opening of Love & Mercy, a film that takes a look at Beach Boy and musical genius Brian Wilson’s breakdown in the late 60s and ‘resurrection’ in the 80s. Lucky me got invited to a day of Beach Boy fun in the sun with pizza and beer, deck chairs and sand – all which all took place in the very urban setting of Dublin’s Smithfield.
So while summer on the beach may be what we all long for – feeling sand between our toes and the waves against our legs – most of us have to make do with an urban variation – glistening asphalt and packed parks.
But I have decided to make the most of my urban summer and don my sunglasses in style and let the Beach Boys do the rest!