Strangely enough, these days I quite look forward to Mondays.
The start of the week means two days of lectures, meetings, and sitting in a warm library researching the little bits of History that I feel most passionate about. My dissertation this year is based on the portrayal of disabled people in nineteenth and early twentieth century children’s literature; I have the best excuse to read fierce and outspoken articles on disability rights and I can unashamedly curl up in a quiet corner and read some of the books I grew up reading. I also get to learn about people like the “Irish Giant” and the “Wild Boy” of Aveyron, alongside science demonstrations in the eighteenth century (think of the science competition in Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists) and how those episodes in History like colonialism affected the spread and communication of scientific knowledge.
I enjoy learning.
I love studying science and medicine history. I still feel incredibly lucky to have found my ‘niche’ and I still feel incredibly lucky to have been able to study for an MA - an extra year not borne out of illness and failure, but out of having stumbled across what really floats my boat.
So roll on tomorrow. Roll on my next assignments.
I’m taking Monday back for myself.
Love Letter - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
This will probably be nothing like you have ever heard from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds before, but it’s beautiful and it’s lovely and I think you should listen to it.
The video is stunning, as well.
- Not feminism: Oh my God, that woman is wearing make-up and high heels! She can't be a feminist. She's just adhering to the patriarchal expectations of femininity! What a traitor to her gender.
- Not feminism: I hate men! Women are so much better than men! All men are rapists and we don't need their help! Men are just there to oppress us and keep us down! Women are the superior gender.
- Not feminism: You're giving up your career to have a baby? You're being dictated to by a man! That's the wrong choice! You've slept with twenty men? Wow, way to show that you have no respect for yourself.
- Feminism: Women and men are equal. No-one should be discriminated against on the basis of their gender. Women have the right to decide how to live their life, how to dress, what to do with their body and who to love.
It’s more than words on paper; two dimensional, black and white. He spins them into something solid and uses them as weapons, spiky shards of broken letters clutched tight in his fists, the perfect prickly sentence held at the back of the tongue until the time is right to spit it out like fire.
He’s a walking stereotype. Poor dress sense, negative outlook on life. Hipflask poking out of his trouser pocket. Intelligent but demotivated, tumbling from idealism to realism and back again. Sits at the window revelling in gloomy rain and the shiny trails dragging down the glass. Moleskine notebook. Burns, Plath, Yeats. Dusty books and the smell of wood polish; oak panelling; no sunlight.
I miss him.
We don’t fly north. We don’t fly south. We stay put right here. 365 days a year. Year in - year out. The people next door and the floor below and the building next door and the building next door to that. The whole street and the next street and the next street until it seems as if every building in the entire city seemed to join onto its neighbour to make just one vast single building with only a series of walls between you and every other person in the city. Once we were just neighbours now we are friends. We never travelled very far but we went the distance’
I have loved Ryan’s art and design work since I stumbled upon him on the internet a couple of years ago - everybody seems to be doing papercuts these days, but somehow his invoke much more emotion in me than the others even come anywhere close to doing.
Perhaps it’s because of the poetic prose he weaves and twists into the images.
His words make me feel safe. I can’t explain how - but they make me feel safe and normal and sometimes like a small girl again, being hugged by her mother. Wrapped up tight and warm and full of love which I’m too sceptical to believe in at any other time.
Sometimes sad, too.
My parents gave me his calendar for Christmas, and whilst they were saying how nice the pictures were and that I should save and frame them at the end of the year, I couldn’t talk because of the lump in my throat, and I couldn’t explain the lump in my throat so I just nodded and smiled and pretended I was normal. To my parents, his art is pretty. To me it means much more. They will never know exactly what they gave me.