Waking up feeling totally empty. The utter madness of feeling full lively rich with life one day and feeling so empty the next has me by the throat. One day i am believing in dreams and magic and there’s a spark that comes with it. One day i am lying in bed thinking what’s the fuck’n point. And i know for sure this is it. Until i trip on my book of words on my way to the kitchen to get a coffee. Book of words. Words collected from stories and poetry that i love. Words gifted to me by brilliant writers so that one day when the heart is heavy, like today, i’ll read them and find myself again.
In my last day of class this week we talked about things that are in our Feminist Tool kits. A Feminist Theory class in case you are wondering. A class i enjoyed. As we sat around a feminist table and discussed what tools we have to enable us fight for equity music came up quite often. Not for me though. i will tell you about my toolkit some other time. Today let’s talk music.
i must admit i am not your typical musical person. i like my music selectively and so i always find it hard to answer people when they meet me for the first time and ask: what’s your favourite kind of music? Uuum…uuum. Many reasons for that. However, despite this i have music that always takes me back to a specific time in my life. Why don’t you grab yourself a coffee and headphones and i will tell you about music and times of my life.
I look to you by Whitney Houston takes me back to when i spent a few years in Antalya trying to learn Turkish and failing miserably. A friend actually introduced this song to me as she used to play it during breaks. Lifted our spirits some. If we didn’t have a good tongue foe Turkish we had Whitney to sooth our ears in between lessons. Those were pretty difficult times and so every time i play this song a wave of melancholy engulfs me.
How will I know by Whitney Houston reminds me of a love that could have been many years ago. No this is not our-song-kinda-song. It is just some music i used to play a lot at a time when one of my old uni friends was into the idea of being more than friends. And i didn’t even know that is what he felt until years later. That i just happened to be playing this song a lot then was just pure coincidence, or was it?
Adele’s Someone like You brings me a warm feeling. The taste of honey. Anytime i play this song i am back home. it is 2012. it is only a year before i leave and everything changes. i am surrounded by family. People i love and who love me. We are gathering around warm delectable meals, laughing and joking around. There is a timelessness in the air. We could be here for the next hundred years and nothing will change. But that’s not how life works, is it?
You Said by Sara Mitaru absolutely breaks my little heart. This reminds me of unrequited love. i am loving someone and they are loving me, at least i think they are. But every now and then they would go off grid on me. Of course then we didn’t have WhatsApp; it would have been worse. Anyway, that was the first time i ever opened up my heart to someone and that is also the first time i tasted the bitter taste of heart break. A physical pain that moves from your heart to your body to your soul to your being. Dark.
Tasha Cobbs Fill Me Up reminds me of when i made a strong resolve to never do anything that i don’t want to do. When i gave myself permission to say no. i heard it in a friend’s car and i went home and looked it up. A good gospel number.
I end with Dunyayi Durduran by Cigdem Erken. A song that has the promise of tomorrow. A song that asks for the world to stop now and start again next year. That is how i felt in Antalya when i thought i couldn’t take it anymore. It is sad but also hopeful. There is nothing as uplifting as the promise of tomorrow.
Music and the times of my life. i still have more songs for next time 🙂
Until next week.
Hello book people!
Here are some of the books that I have been loving recently. Some of them are books that have been on my TBR list for ages but I have finally gotten down to it.
I begin as I must (quick fact: I picked this line from a beloved film and I use it all the time) with Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. This was a recommendation from a friend. Based on how my friend was raving about him, I knew I had to read Kazuo. This particular story is a journey to the past based in England. Btw, Kazuo just won the 2017 Nobel prize in Literature. I am looking into his other work: The Remains of the Day, I hear it is great.
From Kazuo, we move swiftly to Hilary Clinton’s new book What Happened. It is a reflection, an explanation, a conversation. I especially like the wording of the title- very appropriate. For those of us who were (and still are) rooting for Clinton, this is a must-read. Hang on, I think even if you are not a Clinton supporter this would be a great read. Highly recommend.
Next we have two books by Toni Morrison. A Mercy and God Help the Child. I have just finished reading A Mercy today. A moving book, telling an important story on slavery and written in characteristic Morrison style. I especially like her use of language poetically to weave important questions in text without screaming the questions at you. God Help the Child is equally well written and resonates with these quote I love from Pam Leo:
“Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhoods”
You know if it is a Toni Morrison book you have to read it so grab yourself these two. Oh and Beloved if you haven’t read it already.
Let us end this list with magical words of poetry by the brilliant and very talented Rupi Kaur. You know Rupi, right. She gave us Milk and Honey couple years ago. In her recent release, The Sun and Her Flowers, she invites us to step out in the sun, look around us, see all the flowers, the people, the past that has made us who we are. Reading this collection of art, her words evokes a longing in me, I want to know all that has made me the person I am now, the beautiful (flowers) and the not beautiful (still flowers). The Sun and her Flowers is also broader in scope covering a wide range of topics. If you love words and all the power they yield; go get The Sun and her Flowers.
What are some of the books that are keeping you cozy and warmed this Fall?
My friend and i are at the bookstore on a Friday night. i am looking, reading, smelling books when i chance upon Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. Okay, i will admit. i was drawn to this book by the title. i like lyrical titles. Something about this title. So of course i bought the book.
Rain. Sweetness. Bride. Brooklyn. Queen. Booker. Here, this is the richness of naming that Morrison gifts us in God Help the Child. Naming characters is like giving life to said characters. What every writer does while creating magic. i am always naming my short fiction after my lead characters who are women. When i started, i didn’t set out to gender my titles. It sort of just happened; and i am glad it did. I digress. I loved these characters.
A major theme is childhood and how childhood can fuck us up all the way to adulthood. But within this theme are other important themes. Racism. Sexual violence. The main character, Bride, and the man she comes to love and (not) know are both dealing with issues that happened when they were kids. Issues that have shaped the adults they have grown into.
i am not one to like and indulge such issues as violence when they are written. Often times i will actually skip those parts. Because they have some energy to them. This time though i read through the gory descriptions of abuse in Morrison’s book. i know it has to do with my class texts. We are reading some pretty heavy stuff now in my class. And every week we sit round a table, the eight of us and tear these readings apart. We walk the (dark) journey with the writers and ask ourselves questions and more questions. So expect to find violence here. And when you encounter it ask yourself where this violence sits. How can a mother, Sweetness, turn her heart from a daughter, Bride, because the child is born not black black like herself?
As is usual with Morrison, her language in this book is beautiful. Poetic even. A language that you want to hug you through a crisp November night. The characters are also very well developed. Even when they sneak in and out of the story like Sweetness does, we have a clear picture of who this woman is.
The story weaves between the past and the present; by doing this Morrison reminds us how our childhood matters. Reading this book reminded me of this quote by Pam Leo that i love. Let us raise children that won’t have to recover from childhood. I am still recovering. The plot twist towards the end of the story will shake you and show you the extent to which we will go to find acceptance and love.
A great story. Thought-provoking. I would have loved to see more of Booker’s writing because the few pieces shared in the end were gorgeous.
Highly recommend this read. Truly, God Help the Child.
Couple days ago i was in Vancouver. Just passing by. Clearly without enough time to do anything. Didn’t help that one of the days it was pouring buckets. Spent that day jet lagged, sleeping, reading and sleeping some more. Yea, not what you want to be doing in a beautiful city like Vancouver. So with just 24 hours and with a rested body and mind i hit the streets of Vancouver. Haha. Not really, but you get the point.
i start, as i must, with food. A friend of a friend was so kind and sweet to take me out to dinner. Her and her family picked me up from where i was staying in Burnaby and off we went in search of good food. We went to Isami Sushi. Now, i am a big sushi head and i was excited. We have quite a variety of sushi spots here in St. John’s and i wanted to see how Isami would compare. Didn’t disappoint. Loved it. It is owned by Japanese people and most of the wait staff are Japanese. Only thing I tried and did not like is the matcha tea. The sushi was great. The service great. Recommend.
After dinner we, of course, went for dessert. My friends asked if i was up for dessert and of course i said yes. Always have room for dessert 🙂 We headed to the best, I mean the BEST, dessert spot i have ever been to. You have to go to La Foret. It is newly opened. Has the best decor ever. It is a warehouse-converted-to-a-bakery type of thing. Absolutely cool. And i guess because it is somewhat new, with a cool crowd to match. Went on a Saturday evening and it was packed. Don’t let the crowd put you off; it is very spacious. With high ceilings and large paintings. An industrial vibe to it. i had a chai latte and an assortment of desserts that we shared and loved. Even as i sit here in cold St. John’s bundled up in layers against the cold November, i can taste the desserts we had. How can you not not visit La Foret when you are in Vancouver?
My host was so sweet and asked me to join her and her friend for some dancing. Of course i said yes. Not because i am particularly any good at dancing or because i love dancing but because you have try everything when you get a chance. Plus she said it is a soul music kinda night over at the pub and i love soul. i was sold. We headed down to broadway, to a pub that i cannot name. Paid a fiver and let the music take us. It is everything i imagined and have seen in films. haha. Yes, i am setting a story right there in that pub. Soon as we got our seats my host and her friend hit the dancing floor. The dance floor. That dance floor was full of 50+ old people i’d say. They fucking killed me. Danced one song after the other. i sat there watching them thinking what fun these people must have had in their 20s. Not even kidding of all the songs they played (there was a live band) i only knew ONE song! Haha. Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars You know the way you suddenly come alive when your jam plays; i was up and dancing to Uptown funk. False. i sat there amazed at how these folks could dance for a whole 3 hours without stopping. In my defense, and my friends will be surprised by this, i was asked for one dance and i said yes. Killed it! Haha. Not really but it was good fun to get to dance because i hardly ever do. As i walked out of the pub and into the night i told myself that will be me in say 40 years? i will never forget the energy in those old people. May you have such energy in your youth and in your days of old 🙂
Finally, the short Vancouver visit ends with food. You can tell i am big on food. haha. Love trying the different foods a city has to offer. I was super excited when my friends told me there is a Turkish restaurant close by. You know it. i had to try it. i went online and checked Anatolia’s Gate and their foods. Man, was i looking forward to some Turkish feasting! i was planning on having cups of Turkish coffee. The one thing i regret is not learning how to make Turkish coffee when i was in Turkey. Anyway as plans always do when you are travelling, mine changed and i didn’t get to try Anatolia’s Gate. But i am going back to Vancouver next year in Summer and this will be my first stop. Can’t recommend it at the moment, but if you are a Turkish food lover go try it and tell me what you think.
Woke up the following morning after a night of ‘dancing’ to catch the bus out to Penticton. I tell you all about my Penticton visit here.
What are some places in Vancouver that i should see next time?
Hiya good people! How about we head to Penticton, BC for a little holiday. What do you in one week in this gorgeous place?
First off, wine tasting. Yes, this is wine
country people so the first thing you should look to do is wine tasting. I guess this is what I was most excited about. All that wine. But first the vineyards. This was my first time in a vineyard and it blew my mind. Just seeing where all the wine originates from. Simply amazing. There are hundreds of wineries in Penticton. Not even kidding. Every few blocks. First we went to Mission Hill and it fucking killed me. This winery, my host told me, looks like a monastery. And she was right! It is grand. No other way to describe it. There are sculptures dotting the entrance. Which I think is apt given that you expect to see meditating monks draped in orange. You must go to Mission Hill.
We then went to Tinhorn Creek Winery for wine tasting. Now that I think back to this wine tasting I want to lol. I am not a wine expert or connoisseur I am more of a wine enthusiast which means I am still learning the different finishes and what wine is best paired with what so when I tasted the pinot noir and the guy asked what I thought of it I paused for a minute, savoring the wine and with the hallowed voice of a legend said: smoky, smooth. Haha! I also had my first taste of gewurztraminer- a sweet wine- and I loved it. Probably not as sweet as ice wine but still sweet. Of course I have since done a quick Google run on wines for when I visit a winery again. I also came home and bought myself an Okanagan wine since I couldn’t bring any wine home with me.
The land of orchards. Penticton is coloured with orchards. If you go in Fall and you should; there are colours everywhere. A neat work of art. They have cherries, peaches, grapes and apples. Only apples I know are the ones I buy from the store. Imagine how excited I was when I learnt we were going apple picking! There’s an art to it and I mastered it in seconds…haha! Okay, it is not any complicated. It was fun getting to hear about the different kinds of apples and best of all eating juicy apples straight from the tree. Pure bliss.
Skiing. Okay, okay not really. It was barely
Fall when I visited. Anyway, I went to Apex just to see where the great snow sports and fun happen. About 40 minutes away from the city. The drive up there is beautiful. There was a thin layer of snow. But still gorgeous. I sat in the car and imagined myself going down those slopes like mad. Btw, I have never done anything like it so it would be a first and I promised myself I would do it next time when I visit.
Dining. I had the most delicious Indian I have ever had in my life in a small eatery tucked in a corner in town. You might actually miss it but don’t because the food is amazing. If you are into fine dining go to the Hooded Merganser for the view and the food. I had pesto penne and I loved it. The view is bewitching. My hosts tell me that this place is usually abuzz in summer. If crowds is your kinda thing then alright but if not maybe try it in Fall or Spring. Further afield an hour from Pentiction is Kelowna, this is where you have to go for sushi. Just by the Asian market is a sushi place- you can tell I was so hungry for sushi I forgot the name of the place. A neat little place with gorgeous decor and kind friendly waitstaff. Okay, now that we are talking about foods lemmi tell you about the delectable meals my host had for the week that I was there. OMG! I had seconds every time. So good. If you ever read this Cathy; you are fucking amazing and your foods are amazing.
See the city. The view of the city by the Penticton sign is just gorgeous. It is a little hike up there so a good thing to do after a good lunch. You can see both lakes; Okanagan and Skaha from up there. The other point from which you can see the city is from the mountains. You can hike up there, take you hours, or like me you can have a kind host take you up on their quad bike. This was my first time on a quad and I loved it. Even drove it for a minute before I had my host (hi Greg) screaming for dear life (haha! Ok, ok, that is a stretch but I was terrible at it) Up the mountains was the best view of the city. I took a picture of it, sent it to my best friend with the caption: this is where we will retire. I am serious btw.
Games. Watch ice hockey. Now, I have only
watched (and played briefly in high school) field hockey but never ice hockey. It is the most Canadian thing you can do. Go see some hockey.
After watching hockey, I was then introduced to curling. Never before in my entire life have I ever see such a strange game. Curling. It includes throwing stones on ice. My hosts tried to explain it to me, I sat there nodding and watching thinking wth is this? I really can’t explain it. You gotta see it though. Pretty fascinating.
Clearly a week ended too soon but it was enough for me to fall hard for Penticton. I am already planning my next visit. Thanks to my wonderful friends, Cathy and Greg, who graciously hosted me, fed me amazing food and introduced me to their beautiful family and their gorgeous city. I adore you.
the city has the newness and the familiarity only a strange city can have. i am amazed by the openness of it. standing here i see all the way. i could stand anywhere and i’d still see all the way. it reminds me of the city that i called home between ’07 and ’13. but even that city doesn’t come close to this city. we walk. it is a thing we do, you and i. we let the streets have us. we get Indian in a hidden nook. by far the best Indian i have ever had. we walk some more. evening finds us in a quiet coffee shop with chai lattes. from the terrace we watch the sun go down. by far the best sunset i have ever seen. i reach for your hand. honey. i hear you whisper. or i imagine it. must be the sunset.