Four Seconds

This was his life now. Replaying those moments over and over again in his mind. It was nothing less than exhausting.

These re-runs had become a natural part of of his existence. Empty without them. He didn’t know how to function in a world free from it – the guilt that lingered through every part of his day, like a bad smell that wouldn’t come out in the wash.

They were there – when he brushed his teeth, when he waited for coffee to brew, when he stood on the platform fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. They were always there – when he lay awake at night, when he stood aimlessly on a rainy pavement, when he cried himself to sleep.

Those four seconds.

One, it emerged from the bushes quickly and immediately bolted into the middle of the road. Two, he had tugged the wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it. Three, he hit her right side with such a force that she disappeared immediately under the van. Four, she was forever lost to a sea of grey tarmac.

Three Chapters

The beginning. Nothing. A vast sea of nothing, so overwhelming it cannot really be described. And then, just like that, there is something. This is – you. There is an empty case where your heart will grow. It starts to vibrate with a force, the force of everything and everyone that went before. Their energy is now yours. This is your body, your glow, your liquid, your home. This is where you are, now. This is your world and you can do anything with it.

Life follows. Your heart now drums. You find yourself in this bluey-green chamber, a space that is simultaneously empty and crowded. Day follows night and night follows day and you come to realise that this is how it is. This is where you are, now. Other specks of light come and go – they struggle to navigate but illuminate your spaces nonetheless. As time moves forward most of them fade to black. This chapter seems both the shortest and the longest. It can ache and relieve, burn and embrace, evaporate and be still, all at once.

We finish at the end, a most complex and unusual place. A place dictated by silence, a place in which the loudest of screams cannot be heard. There was something and then, just like that, there is nothing. Energies escape the body like worms that scurry around in the soil, searching for a new place to live. You no longer belong. That was – you. There is nothing. All that is left to do is drift.

Thinking About Late Night Reading

This week I’ve been doing little sleeping and lots of late night reading so thought I’d share my current reading list with you in case you were looking for a new book.

Recently finished and whole-heartedly recommend:

  • Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton
  • The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
  • Essential Essays by The Minimalists

Really tried but just couldn’t get into (sorry):

  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (I recently learnt that this is my dad’s all-time favourite film so wanted to give the text a try first… I’ll have to try the movie instead)

Next up and packed ready for my holiday reading:

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • Jaws by Peter Benchley
  • The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
  • Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
  • When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

Thinking About Analogue

Reading.jpg

After spending a month purposefully detaching myself from social media, I’ve decided to take my blogging in a brand new direction.

I’m going to be writing a more substantial essay soon about what my tech-free month taught me but in the meantime wanted to share my new photography strategy with you all.

My creative process has always embraced my desire to disconnect from modern-day technology and our constant need to be online. I write poems and create art using typewriters and become absorbed in an un-perfect and un-rushed process that cannot be free from mistakes. Over the last few months, film photography has also found its way back into my life and I ended up spending a lot of my digital detox getting to know my Kodak Colorsnap 35 Auto (c. 1964).

During our evening walks round our local area, I’d take one thoughtful photo on my Kodak and then he’d remain in my bag for the entirety of our outing. I’d await getting my film developed with anticipation, cherishing the original experience itself whole-heartedly, it cementing a place in my memory free from filters and hashtags. The month ended with me enjoying my thirtieth birthday smartphone-free, wandering around Copenhagen hand-in-hand with my fiancé, not taking a single digital photo or updating a single social channel.

After my month free from feeds and phones, I’d fallen in love with my analogue camera and everything it symbolised – getting lost in a creative process, taking things slow, focusing on the moment, appreciating quality over quantity. Experimenting with analogue photography had allowed me to finally seize a concept that I’d spent my entire life striving for… SLOW. I decided that I wanted my blogging – my sharing with the outside world – to focus on creativity, value, quality and most of all, me actually continuing to remain present in life itself.

On 1st May 2018 I decided to live a life less digital and committed myself to only posting un-edited, un-filtered analogue (film) photography on my blog and Instagram. I’ll continue to scan my typewriter poems and artworks (and take clear, digital photos of items sold on my shop) but will no longer capture or share moments of my life using digital cameras or smartphones, and I won’t make alterations to any of my photos with apps or software.

As a digital marketer and blogger I’ve spent almost the entirety of my adult life doing just this – curating and modifying content in a particular way so that it’s best suited to each platform and audience. It’s taken me a long time to stop, step back and ask… when did so much of my time become about presenting my life to others in a way that doesn’t actually reflect how it really is? When did I start spending more time cropping and tagging, and less time breathing and living?

The photo at the top of this blog was taken a few days ago, on a Fujifilm disposable 35mm camera. It was an incredibly warm day but I sought shade beneath a nearby tree which drew my attention because of its autumnal colour. We aren’t used to seeing such fiery oranges in springtime and so these fluttering red leaves stood out boldly in the yellow-green wash of a rapeseed landscape.

Sometimes nature appears to write its own rules, no matter what else is going on around it.

Thinking About Sun-Printing

Sunprint Paper

As the weather continues to roast my skin (in a good way), I decide to take advantage of the sun as a creative tool.

I haven’t experimented with sun-print paper for years and had forgotten how fun it is! Today I have created four artworks using nothing but sun and the paper provided that’s designed to change colour in bright daylight.

It’s so simple – you place the flower or leaf (or whatever) on the sun-print paper, leave it for a few minutes in the hot sun, rinse off with water and once dry, you are left with beautiful, blue imprint of your chosen object.

As you can see above I’ve captured the shape of (in order): bluebells, a bunch of lavender, aster and flowering rapeseed. I’d like to buy some better quality paper in the future and try to achieve a real dark blue with white imprint which is how it’s supposed to look. If you have no idea what sun-print paper is, ask Mr Google, he’ll give you a proper guide or at least something more useful than I have.

I am also glad the weather has been so kind because I have been taking some time off work these last few weeks. Creating sun-prints and new typewriter pieces in the spring fresh air is pure heaven, I wish I could do this everyday, but when I return from my holiday (commencing on Saturday, woohoo) I really need to get my head back in the real world. As much as I’d love to spend my day with the bluebells it doesn’t help pay our mortgage.

But, you never know, maybe one day it will. Master the best technique in the perfect conditions and you never know what kind of colourful print you’ll leave on the world.

In very off-topic news, after achieving the impossible and actually getting tickets to Biffy’s acoustic gig in Birmingham this September, this is currently on repeat in our house:

Thinking About Tea

FMN

Today’s blog is brought to you via a lack of tea because we’ve run out of milk and I’m house-bound waiting for a delivery so cannot rectify this problem.

So, I will keep my caffeine-less and consequently witty-less post short and will tell you just two important things.

Number one, my online shop is now open and I’m listing my artworks on there quicker than the sun is disappearing behind these grey clouds. Shameless plug… but, if you can’t plug yourself on your own website, when can you?

Secondly, this song is just magnificent, so please place it in your brain.

Good day.