Archive | March, 2010

Things I Love

29 Mar

Right, so I had actual complaints that I just didn’t get around to this lost Thursday! Which actually made me feel fabulous, so thanks. I have so much to be thankful this week, so much to absolutely love, so here goes:

<3 Drawing Parties with the most amazing people in London. I love eating popcorn, sharing colored pencils, sketching people out as fuzzy animals and mermaids.

<3 When beautiful movie stars take me out to dinner and there is champagne, even when I don’t drink it because I am trying to be healthy and good. But I love girly chit chat, I love laughing so hard that my sides hurt as very loud guitar music is played, I love group flirting with under-age waitstaff, I love walking through the streets of East London at night when it shimmers.

<3 I love the nanny mafia and how you can trust and count on the people closest to you to always take care of you and have your back, even when there is some bad shit going on. I love that I can call people up at a moment’s notice and they will drop whatever they are doing to help me out. And I love that I would do the same for them as well.

<3 I love my friends and how generous and amazing they are. How we don’t argue or fight, we just get lost and wander and smile and don’t even care about anything but being with each other…because we have fucking AMAZING adventures.

<3 I love the Tube. Sorry, I totally do. I love sitting on it for long periods of time, people watching, smiling, listening to my ipod.

<3 The Rentals. What a great band. What a great soundtrack to my very happy week.

<3 4am, the rain, a strange place: magic. I don’t want anything else, I don’t need anymore.

<3 Love without sex makes me feel warm like nothing else. Friend Love is indescribable and I can’t fathom why things should have to change…they don’t.

<3 My first football game. My first actually finished beer. My first footie scarf. I cheered, I laughed, I drank beer out of a large plastic cup and had a great time.

<3 Mexican eggs.  I still think Nigella is a slut, but I should thank her for reminding me that this is one of my favorite foods.

<3 This song! Fuck it makes me want to bounce around and kiss random people ;) I love the Futureheads!

<3 My wifey! She gets a special shout out because she is so fucking cute. Go my little G!

<3 Short skirts and leather jackets and multi-colored cows and having a fucking great laugh.

<3 more letters, that show up every day and have the heart stamp of approval all over them.

<3 Kate Nash’s new song

<3 The book: Everything is Illuminated. Thanks Steve for giving it to me, I finally got around to reading it this weekend and I have to say, it may not have been the most appropriate book for my travels (as it made me really sad and a bit angry), but I read it all and it didn’t kill me :)

<3 I think you are a bit of all right !

<3 getting my stuff back and starting a pro-scotland revolution.

<3 the travel bug!

<3 getting the fuck out of my house and the smile lines it causes.

<3 ‘if you weren’t my friend, I’d give you one! You’re hot!’ This is just what you need to hear when you feel hot and sweaty and really really drunk and a bit sick.

<3 Gin in pint glasses. Which means I fell off the wagon, but I prefer to think of it as I JUMPED off the wagon. It was awesome.  Nah, it was rad. ;)


<3 also, I miss nick something terrible. I know he’s in china being super awesome, but I still wish I could speak to him everyday like normal. Life without having someone to share it all with is less fun. After all, if you can’t make a drunken phone call and describe your day, it’s like it didn’t happen.

<3 top secret missions! spy adventures!

Let them Eat Cake (that they decorated themselves)…

22 Mar

Brilliant and beautiful…

a make your own cupcake bar!

Throw away all those extra words…

20 Mar

Since I have returned from NY, I have made a conscious effort to be more self involved. I am pretty sure that isn’t how most people go about enlightenment, but I did realize that I needed to spend more time and energy on myself, rather than on others. This meant that a few people received brisk text messages and emails from me (mostly they were hard to write, one gave me such a thrill that I did wonder what on earth I had been doing speaking to this person in the first place) and this is how I cleared my social calendar.

So today, for whatever reason, I woke up at 4 am. That is incredibly early. It’s so early that people in America were still awake and I managed to waste the first two hours of my being awake talking to people on MSN. That was silly, but good, because I was all interneted out by 6 am. And then I sat down at my desk and started to re-work my novel, which has been laying around, unhappily untouched for several months now. Which was extremely silly, because it is finished. By finished I mean, all of the chapters, plus a few more, that I had outlined originally have been written. There is a beginning, middle, and end. Plot, climax, dialogue. Oh, snap.

But all writers know: just getting that all done does not make a piece finished. It just means that you are now onto the next stage of writing, which is editing. This is maybe my least  favorite stage of writing. This is because it involves re-reading every single line you have written, out loud, maybe with a funny voice here and there, and being ruthless. But I discovered a very happy fact: Letting a manuscript age in a drawer, as somebody famous once said, I am sure, is the best way to get over my biggest writing block, which is my love of my own words.

All through college and university and even most of my writing jobs, I was writing on a really tight deadline. So, I would get an assignment and start my research, take my notes, sketch out my papers or stories. I was never the sort to put a paper off to the last minute, I was always a very meticulous student. But I wouldn’t leave myself much time to let a paper simmer– what student does? You have so many papers to write, even if you start each one the day you get it, you are still working on a tight schedule. So my editing of all my papers and stories took place very very soon after my writing them. And so, even when I knew I needed to cut a paper by 200 words (or worse still, 1,000!), all I could see was how achingly beautiful my sentences were. I have a lot of ego about the beauty of my prose. My main problem is that each of my sentences do tend to be very well crafted, but they don’t always flow into the next one very well or advance the story or point of the paper in any way. As Mr. Holdstock says: line by line, you create something lovely, but as a whole, the thing needs help. Ouch. But true. And so editing was always a bitch: how do I know what to cut? I love each sentence independently, so how can I possibly cut any of them, just to make ‘cohesion’, that foul little word used by editors.

But editing is like packing: easier to do if you let something sit in a drawer long enough. And by this I mean, when I move, and I move a lot, the first things to go into the trash are the things I haven’t looked at in months. I just started packing up my things the other day, in a fierce rage of having too many things and feeling weighted down, and it was incredibly easy to look at a lot of things and go: well, I haven’t used that in MONTHS. I don’t even remember why I bought it or why I thought it was important. I won’t pack that to take to Istanbul, so why do I own it now?  In the end, I have far fewer things in my room and I am very happy about all this.

In my novel? Well, I haven’t looked at it in ages. And I forgot why I told Holdstock and VanWinkle why I had to keep this chapter or why it was incredibly important that this scene appear in a certain spot. In the end, I am chopping and splicing my novel as though I were Dr. Frankenstein, just checking to see if it would actually be better to have an arm coming out of the forehead. I am even experimenting with cutting in pieces of my other, partially finished, novel. It’s like a crazy laboratory in here today and I am loving it.

So, my new literary advice: forget about what you are writing about. Leave it for a few months. Go and get an all-consuming hobby, like doing everything on the “101 Things to Do in London Before You Die” list.  Go on a mini break to your home town for a month. Be too social. Feel like everyone around you is doing so many more creative and wonderful things than you. Feel a bit overwhelmed. Have a sort of breakdown where you become a hermit that bakes cupcakes. Then tuck right back in. Well, at least do steps 1 and 8. Just try and enjoy yourself in between and don’t beat yourself up too much, because we can’t all be productively creative every day.

Things I Love Thursdays (late)

20 Mar

Tonight I am watching lectures on Academic Earth. I curse V for showing me this site, nay, informing me that I would have to watch the 26 piece lecture series on the Philosophy of Death, if I wished to be an educated woman and, although this bit was only implied in his cranky tone, to remain his friend. And there is a big part of me that wants to remain on good terms with my exes, so I settled in this afternoon to watch an ‘episode’. I ended up watching 4 lectures from the very amusing and interesting Professor Shelly Kagan from Yale and now I am trying to watch a lecture by the very intense (but loveable) Michael Sander of Harvard about The Morality of Murder. Yes, he’s made the subject loveable. But I wouldn’t trust my opinion, after all, Silence of the Lambs and Rosemary’s Baby are my go-to comfort movies. I know, most girls would pick Bridget Jones and some Ben and Jerry’s, but that’s just having another sad girl cry with you. I watch Rosemary’s Baby on a bad day and I end up thinking, well, it could be worse: Satan could have raped me last night.

All in all, so far today has been a really strange day. I got up very early, did some Tracy Anderson mat work ( I know Miss B!  You want me doing yoga. But I don’t want to have to hum inner peace. I want to listen to some pretty nice music and bounce around until my arms hurt so much that I want to cry. It makes me feel like I accomplished something) and then got dressed up all pretty, because right after I took the boys to school, I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. I pretty much love Kensington, all those white houses and perfectly manicured shrubbery and Georgian chairs visible through the open dining room windows that overlook wrought iron balconies, settled above you like peacocks’ nests. And in the museum, which is absolutely stunning, I looked at a lot of beautiful art (including an entire wing of actual wrought iron), but mainly I looked at dresses. I had hoped there would be more than there was, but as I enjoyed my salmon and egg salad sandwich in the garden, where a very adorable gay boy, perfectly turned out himself, and his mother, stopped to compliment my dress, I felt very satisfied. I guess they thought I was wearing a dress from the museum itself, as they had these dresses on sale in the gift shop:

Other things that satisfied me today were:

discovering that not only does Boots now carry Naked juice (which I love!), it is also in the meal deal. I didn’t even know you could buy it in the UK and it was a pleasant surprise at Waterloo Station today.

finding out that you can make money from your skills if you just look around hard enough and push yourself in a new direction. 

I have some great exes. Obviously, things didn’t work out for whatever reason, but when I am having an awful day, they are still some of my best friends and still people I can really turn to. Plus, they are always telling me about cool things like Academic Earth.

Cornflakes. One of the boys demanded that their dad buy it the other day and now we have it in the house, which is great. I had forgotten how much I love cornflakes with strawberries. hmmm. I notice, I am thankful for cereal a lot…

sweet letters flung across the ocean.

baking days with M.

Julia Child’s Life in France, which is making me very happy to read on the tube, albeit it very hungry and confused about vegeteriansim… It also made me watch Julie and Julia and I have to say, I don’t think that there is any reason to hate the blogger Julie Powell. People seem genuinely displeased that she a) made money off her blog (which smacks of indie rock kids whining that people can now buy their favorite bands CDs at a real store) and b) that she isn’t a sweet person, instead she is a very strongly opinionated liberal who swears a lot and had an affair (to be fair, her husband had one too). But what does that have to do with having a cute, quirky cooking blog? And why, if she never meant to make any money off her blog, did she need to watch her political ventings? It’s a blog, it’s self-absorbed in its definition. And did we all forget that Julia was a pretty liberal woman in her own right? I guess a few decades after the fact we can white wash Julia, if we want to, but why? Anyway, I liked both the film and the book and have been cooking up some interesting things myself lately.


17 Mar

“The secret of life,” said sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall, “is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. & the most important thing is — it must be something you cannot possibly do.”

Even Dutch Pedophiles Are More Focused On Their Long-term Goals Than I Am

17 Mar

Oh, god, could it be true? Probably. I was, once again, reading other people’s blogs today, while I was half thinking about how I really needed to start focusing on what I am going to do after London and after I travel. I was focusing on this huge decision by reading about celebrity gossip, how to make a lemon meringue pie (Easter is coming up after all and my mother always makes one on Easter), and checking my email. To be fair to myself, I was a bit tired from going on a very long walk with Emily, all the way up to Hampstead Heath, around it, and back home again. She runs. I do not. You can imagine what I looked like. Ahem.  So anyway, there I was procrastinating, thinking about doing some writing, probably.

And then my phone rang. And then I got a text. And then another. And then I remembered that I am going to the opera tonight and so I had better pick out something to wear and wash my hair and put my contacts in and suddenly, I was overwhelmed. And pressed for time. And I knew that I wasn’t going to get any writing done today at all because my social life is eating my professional life. Which is very confusing to me, because when I lived in Edinburgh, I got a lot of writing done. I was always writing. I wrote in my bed, I wrote at the kitchen table, I wrote on the couch while the girls I looked after watched The Simpsons. I think this is because the truth about Edin-burgers is that they are innately lazy and enjoy a good self imposed exile and so my social life was never so all consuming. Despite Edinburgh taking no more than an hour to walk from end to end (I lived in Leith and worked in Murrayfield and it took me an hour to walk or 20 minutes on the bus, and those sections of town are pretty darn far removed) and yet, no one will travel farther than 20 minutes walking time to see someone. In the winter (8 months of the year), they won’t travel more than 5. So, this means that when I moved to Edinburgh and lived in Tollcross and a boy I was dating lived on Easter Road (20 minute bus ride) we were in what is considered to be a “long distance relationship”. It did not end well for us.

But in London, people generally allow that they are going to spend at least 40 minutes getting anywhere and so they don’t really mind meeting up any day of the week and no one really plans that far ahead, calling you up last minute to do things.  So all of a sudden, I have a lot less free time. Although, another issue is that surely, I would rather be out of the house right at 7pm so that I don’t get reeled into reading the kids a bedtime story. (For some reason, lately they have been trying to convince me that ‘Beano’ is a book. It is not. And I do not read stupid comics, and I most certainly do not read them aloud). So that means all the times that I used to spend curled up in my bed, writing away happily, is now spent in dark rainy streets, using up all the money on  my oyster card to get away from suburbia.

So anyway, during my time procrastinating, I read, who else, but Penelope Trunk. I often time think that while she’s sitting at her desk, pondering what sort of article she should write that day, that she thinks of me and creates something in that vein. Which is what she did yesterday: she wrote an article about how not having any long term goals makes it impossible to get any work done because you aren’t sure if any of the work you will be doing will be valid for anything and so you get stuck and you stop. And in my case, you socialize. Partially because I have been told over and over that knowing people and having contacts is a really wonderful way for you to advance your career, but mostly because it is so easy and so fun to just hang out. It’s so easy to leave the house and relax, and trust me: you don’t know job stress until you realize that for 6 hours of your day, you are listening to children scream at top volume. Or worse still, talking non-stop for an hour straight while you are walking slowly in the cold, your fingers going numb and your brain on fire…

Right. So as you can see, I clearly have had my mind eaten away by this job as of lately and it’s actually making it hard to focus on my long term goals. And apparently, while I am sitting here, flummoxed and confused, drinking gin and tonics in Sloane Square, Dutch pedophiles are plotting out how to legalize having sex with twelve-year-olds. That’s right, they formed a political group. And they are campaigning for office. And then deciding that campaigning is taking away from their LONG TERM GOAL of legalizing pedophilia, so they stopped running for office to focus on making the general public aware of and sympathetic to their plight.

I’m bemused. And devastated. I’m actually less organized than child molesters. Although, let’s face it, I should have known that all along. After all, child molesters are always really planning ahead and doing all sorts of crazy hard work to organize themselves, from building secret basement dungeons to buying up all the cotton candy in three counties so that they can lure the child beauty pageant winner that they have been stalking and photographing for the last two years into said basement dungeon. They really do plan ahead. I bet they even have to-do lists where they prioritize all the really important things in their lives. I also bet they are very capable of packing light on vacation because they have already narrowed down what is really important to them and never need excess baggage. Lucky bitches.

I, however, do not have such a straight forward long term goal. I do not know, deep down, that I want to do something so badly that I have organized my life, my political affiliations, or marital status to reflect this goal, nor would I stage a battle with the law to be able to do that thing. While I don’t think I want to ever see these crazy Dutch people succeed, I do admire their dogged single mindedness. I admire their ambition. I admire their organization. I wonder if they have a productivity blog?

Although, probably, if they had one, they would, like most people who have productivity blogs (and there are A LOT out there) they would tell me to pick a goal, focus on it, and cut out all the social crap. I mean, they would spend 1,000 words saying that and also add some things in about having notes on your wall urging you on to your goals and making charts with star stickers as well. But basically, they would say: stop being so damn social. So that is my new long term goal: to be less social.  I bet hermits get a shitload of work done.

Light Casting Day!

15 Mar

Oh wow, so today is lightcasting day, which is a phrase coined by this amazing guy Chris, over at Soul Garden. Lightcasting day is pretty much my favorite day out of the month, because it always seems like it’s breeding such hope and possibilty and because I get so focused on it, I feel like I always manifest something good. Just last month, over V-day weekend (last lightcasting day), I got so much more than I ever even thought possible, which is amazing.

My friends Becca and Nils also do lighcasting, although with a slightly less focused bent than me (ahem. Dancing with champagne is fun and all…ha!), and can I just say, I am terribly proud that today they are actually working their little red carpet butts off for a film they did recently. But I was trying to explain it to a ‘real world’ person and it was a bit difficult to say exactly what they should be doing. Then I remembered an article that helped me get into it, from Gala Darling. She writes:

The basic lightcasting formula is to sit down somewhere undisturbed, engage all your senses & just visualise what you want for as long as you can, then let it go. Detach. Don’t think about it any more. Don’t worry about it not coming to you — think of it as ordering a meal in a good restaurant. You tell the waiter what you want, then just wait, always knowing it is on its way, & in the meantime, you talk to your friends, check your phone, observe the scene & enjoy the present moment. This is the crux of manifesting; you just gotta believe that it’s coming & stop looking for “proof”. Just know.

And that’s what I do, basically. I demand. I tell the universe that there are no ifs, ands, or buts, what I ordered is coming to me, thank you very much or I am going to speak to your manager. You can read the rest of her detailed “how to” here, at Lightcasting Day!

I also always do at least a few rounds of EFT  (this page is great, it has loads of videos) beforehand too, to really focus on clearing out the dead weight in my head before I put the new, better ideas in there. EFT sounds zany (aka completely insane), but I was skeptical at first as well, until I used it to get over motion sickness, sort of as a test to see if it worked. It did. So now I use it pretty often and I see good changes. I have had friends use it against their eating disorders as well, and it seems to work for those who use it regularly, so I like to recommend it.  Gala did another great page of helpful tips as well, which can be found here, Gala’s EFT.

So, wishing you loads of love and light and love! <3 <3 <3

And watch this video. Because this song is AMAZING. Aseop Rock is one of my favorite hip hop artists, but Daylight is pretty much an amazing song, even if you don’t like hip hop. I once dedicated the lyrics to my darling Rhea and, as I recall, she loved it. It’s a song about getting up and getting on, and it’s a positive, yet aggressive spin, which is how I treat my lightcasting. Plus this homemade video is a nice one.  Hope it inspires you bunnies!

A Bad Choice Can Be the Best Choice

13 Mar

There are a lot of bad choices to be made, every day. And I have to admit, I usually veer towards the worst choice available. I think that a lot of that comes from my main intention in life, which is to be happy in the moment. And people that are happy in the moment are grasshoppers, which as we can tell from that old fable, leaves you a tad cold and hungry in the winter. So, I don’t have a lot of foresight going on when I choose my actions. Luckily for me, there are a lot of ants in the world and so usually someone helps me figure out the bad things and I have started to have a very fatalistic view on life, one where I believe that loss and failure come along to clear a path for better things.

And according to my hero, Penelope Trunk, this may well be a key trait as to why people are successful, while others are not. She says:

Everyone, please shut up about your biggest failures. I hate when people write about their failures because they always write about how they pulled themselves up, or what they learned. And really, then, it’s not a failure, is it? It’s a learning opportunity, or a chance to shine. Failure is something you did not overcome. You did not learn from. And most people are too embarrassed to write about it. High achievers don’t have failures because they can learn from everything.

I think that’s pretty genius, especially since I rarely think that when I mess up that I’ve failed. I sort of think, Well, clearly that wasn’t the right thing to be doing. Let’s try it this way. Fatalism to me, is not sort of giving up and trudging along, but perpetually believing that the right thing for you is going to show up if you knock on enough doors. So I knock on every single door I come along. Which is probably why I have had a  million and a half jobs. I got my first job when I was 15, writing a newsletter for a monument company. ‘Monument company’ is a beautiful euphemism used in the death industry to say ‘we sell grave stones’. I interviewed cemetery owners and funeral home directors and researched pieces on how to properly clean granite and how to choose the right structure for your mausoleum. When I turned 17, I was still working at that office, but had a weekend job as well, working at a huge indoor amusement park, where I ran the bumper cars and hung out with my friends. I still, to this day, have no idea what idiot at corporate made the oldest manager at the place 21 and then proceeded to hire only high schoolers. We ran that place into the ground, eating free candy, watching movies during our shifts, and making out in laser tag. It closed shortly after I graduated, due to bankruptcy. Of course. At 18, my boss at the monument company sent me away for CAD training and when I returned, I worked for her full time, selling ‘monuments’ and using my artistic flair to design them on the computer. Pretty soon I was managing the second location. And then I was doing my under-grad degree and I worked in bookshops, at the dining hall of my university, as a waitress, as a barista, at the GAP, at GNC, as a camp counselor, as a cleaning lady, as a secretary, as a file clerk, as a girl who scans things at an insurance agency. As a graduate student, I worked in a clothing store, did an odd bit of editing, and worked as a ‘Bunny’ for my friend’s club night promotion. After that, more temp work, kitchen work, teaching, being a Writer-In-Residence, selling men’s shirts, and, of course, nannying.

And the main reason that I do all these things is because I want to be able to travel, drop everything quickly and run off for weekend adventures with friends, and have plenty of time to write. Or bake cupcakes. Because while I feel like all these jobs hae taught me a great many things, I think it’s what I spend my ‘free’ time doing that really defines me. I’ve worked with kids with dyslexia, I’ve baked bread and cakes for homeless shelters, and I write. My friend Al, really soon after meeting me, said he loved to write, but if no one paid him to do so, he would give it up without a second thought. He said that he felt that if no one read his writing, then what was the point? I remember sort of looking at him strangely. I know that a lot of writers I know do feel defined by whether or not they get published or noticed, but at the same time, most of them would be writers even if they were the only ones who ever saw what came out of their fingertips. While I feel an absolute glow when someone asks to put one of my pieces somewhere, because, duh, it would be crazy not to be happy when someone understands and likes what you were trying to say, I guess I come from more of an Emily Dickinson school of thought. Write it, love it, stick in a desk drawer.  The way I write is like how I get tattoos: secret, small, unseen by the average person.

And I think that’s good. Because, as Penelope goes on to say:

There is no finish line, there is no gold prize. There is only living with yourself, day after day. So each day needs to be a small triumph so you can pat yourself on the back before you go to sleep.

So,   I can sit down and write ten things that I loved about my week, that’s a triumph. And whenever I sit and spend an hour at my desk and I can enjoy re-reading what I’ve written: triumph! And when my cupcakes get gobbled up by homeless guys who feel really special that someone baked something specifically for them: triumph. When I manage to not get lost going someplace complicated to get to: uber triumph. And yes, of course, there are some days where just getting out of bed and not smothering people in their sleep is the biggest triumph of all.  I can’t say that getting a story published or landing a cool job is a triumph, because again, like Penelope says:

Our big moments — where we can change the world — come because so many other people have helped us, and luck has come to us. But our small moments, when no one is watching and no one cares and the only thing that makes us try again is an unreasonable belief that we can get what we want for ourselves — those are the triumphs that we do all by ourselves.

Things I Love Thursday

11 Mar

Wow, that week went by so fast, I can’t even believe it! So many great things happened this week…

<3 Getting lost in Brick Lane with the incomparable Miss Emily, dressed to the nines, looking for the Jail House Party! But in the end, we found a cool bar instead, where a film was being shot, and we got to be extras and chat to some cute actors!

<3 Saturday was the day that never happened and all sorts of secret adventures went on. I felt very Alice In Wonderland, if Alice wore head to toe black, leather riding boots and gloves, and snuck around Mayfair with a glint in her eye. Beautiful sun and Buckingham Palace made it the most beautiful day.

<3 Sunday was a day of parties: A and G had a housewarming party where I brought cupcake kebabs and chatted with a slew of interesting people who were all dressed up all pretty and drinking tea and eating cake. The boys made a tea cake with tea icing (think sugar + earl grey tea= the most dense cake ever) and G made a mess of BBQ type foods, including a lovely pepper tart for little veggie me! And then it was Deb’s party and I loved loved loved that!

<3 Butterfly prints to hang on my wall.

<3 Sweet boys cooking me dinner.

<3 Excitement about going to the opera!

<3 suit shopping.

<3 Joe’s Juice Bar on Regents Street.

<3 Being surprised in HMV

<3 going back to all the best places.

<3 baking book club! I cannot wait to go!

<3 brand new friends that are super adorable!

<3 Nil’s bundt cake of amazingness. He is the king of baking book club! And I want the recipe.

<3 raw vegan brownies. I just made some and I am mad impressed with how nicely they came out.

<3 the way the bathroom smells after a shower/bath. All warm and cotton-y, with the sunlight streaming in.

<3 My Life in France by Julia Child. I’m hungry and happy the whole time I’m reading it.

<3 Love letters in French.

<3 make-believe.

<3 changing my mind.

<3 countess bathory on ITV (I’m still pretty goth. sorry!)

Hyper Love and Birthday Wishes!

9 Mar

This past Sunday was one of those glorious days in London that makes you insanely happy: bright and sunny, despite being icy cold, full of amazing people. One of those amazing people was my friend Deborah.

Her birthday party was this Sunday evening and honestly, if you have ever wanted to walk into a room and meet twenty or so perfectly-wonderful-spectacular-in-every-way people, Deb’s house on this night was the place to do so.

Morgan, her wonderful boyfriend (and otherwise charming friend of mine) had organized an amazing gift for her, that I, being out of the country, had not had a chance to participate in: a multi-media dvd/cd/booklet of music, art, poems, stories, and film made by all of her friends who would be at this party and presented in a most exciting way (a bit of performance art which surprised and hushed the crowd!). There were also a lot of cakes and cupcakes and delicious thai green curry and a lot of smiles all around.

Because I wasn’t able to participate in Deb’s present, due to my being out of the country at the time (It’s okay Morgan! You’re a star!) I’d like to make her a little present here. It’s not much (but I promise, I did make her cupcake kebabs!) but for an artist, sometimes a little extra exposure is just what a girl needs. So here goes:

Deborah Pearson, who has a delightful blog of her own at Confessions of a Young Playwright, is a pretty genius young thing. She has won numerous awards, including being named one of the prestigious stage 100, an annual list of power players in the UK theater.

As a girl who lost her heart in Edinburgh, Debbie means a lot to me, since she founded the Forest Fringe Festival in my beloved Forest Cafe, which is an experimental theater festival during the big August Festival that overtakes Edinburgh every year. She wanted a place where artists could make whatever art they wanted without having to focus on money. And she totally did it: it’s free for everyone, the artists and the audiences. And she started doing all of this while she was attending Edinburgh University. Ta-dah! You can read about this in more detail here: Post City Article!. Or you can read a quick interview with her here: 5 Questions: Debbie Pearson and see a quote from here her in The Guardian.

So this is sort of my love letter to another great North American girl. She’s been a bit of a hero, a bit of role model, and a lot of a friend who helped me leap before I looked and gives me a lot of faith everyday that if you do what you love you can never be sad. And in that spirit, I would like to dedicate a list to

“How To Be More Debbie Like in 5 Easy Steps”



1. Smile all the time.

Deb has this huge smile that she uses most of the time. She makes everyone around her feel instantly happy and at ease, which makes it a million times easier for her to talk them into doing things or teaching people (or sometimes Italian children).

2. Speak softly.

I’m sure that Deb yells. Probably. But I’ve never really heard her do so out of anger. In fact, it took me a long time of knowing her to even realize that she ever felt stressed because she keeps her voice soft and with an even, soothing tone. Only after being around her for a long time can I see on her face when she’s getting a bit flummoxed. I think I got very confused at first as I grew up  in a loud Italian household, where you yelled even if all you wanted to do was ask for the salt, and she’s a sweet Canadian, but she is patient and calm under pressure and this is what makes her a tremendous leader. Leaders should always be brave in the face of danger, and she certainly can do that.

3. Surround yourself by people you love and love you.

Don’t waste your breath on anyone else, it’s only wasting your time. Deb cultivates the most beautiful friendships and it’s a lesson to us all. On Sunday I saw lots of people I already knew, but also met a bunch more of Deb’s friends who were brand new to me. And while everyone was very different from each other, while conversations ran the gamut, their was an eerie similarity that everyone shared: they were all absolutely adoring of Deb and she was absolutely adoring of them. They were all friends that you could count on for anything and everyone wove in and out of each others lives fluidly. There was not a single person there who was not warm and friendly and interesting to talk to and it was clear that every single person in that flat that night loved Deb and was willing to work hard for her. And the best bit? She gives it right back. Which brings us to number four…

4. Be willing to work hard for people, because in exchange they will be willing to work hard for you.

Deb loves to say she is a procrastinator, but I would give my eye teeth to be able to procrastinate as productively as she does. She is always doing a million little projects and she is always trying to incorporate her friends as much as she can. And while a lot of people are always looking to see what they can get out of any given situation, Deb is a lot more altruistic than that: she always wants to see what greater good can come out of any situation. I think that’s why she’s getting as much credit in ‘the straight world’ as she does: she’s not greedy or selfish so people want to do nice things for her.

5. Take the time to enjoy every single day.

Whether she is reading War and Peace just because she really really wants to (even though maybe she has been told she should be doing more with her day) or strolling through a Sunday market or eating cakes out of the box from Louis Hungarian Bakery because to get a plate would just be less fun or spontaneously deciding to make a curry for lunch and watching a few million episodes of Arrested Development with me and Morgan…she’s always enjoying her day to the max. Because life is more important than work, even if you are doing what you love, because having adventures and being with friends is what is going to influence every aspect of your life and work. It will make you cheerful, it will help build up that support network of friends, it will fuel your creativity, it will give you memories that will make you smile when you are far away from home.

DSCF2905 Deb and Me

DSCF2908 Cupcake Kebabs!

group! Pulls Shapes!DSCF2928 Open presents!group2 So fancy fancy!


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