Thursday, 30 June 2011

Digging up old drama

Two things are colliding in my life. Ok, so the word ‘colliding’ is perhaps too strong. Maybe ‘coinciding and making me think’ is more appropriate.

The two things are this: I am e-mailing with an Italian friend who is studying Norwegian and is getting ready for her year abroad in Bergen; I am reading a book by Nietzsche.

Actually, I can’t be bothered to write this post right now. Consider it a taster for what is to come, and enjoy these photographs collected from various blogs I follow:

5623956421_129358cc02_b     1Holiday4part5 (1)


Shake Me Away

Off to another job interview today. I am sure this will be my last because it’s so disheartening to consistently be rejected for six straight months (that’s how long it’s been, yup) that I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. Ahh, just kidding. C’est la vie.


The main annoying thing about the fact that I haven’t found a job is it means I had to downgrade my summer holiday plans from camel-hiking in Jordan/rainforest-camping in La Reunion/teaching English in South America/island-hoping from here to Iceland to… a few days in Prague (where I’ve been twice), a few days in Munich (several times a year since birth) and two weeks in Spain near and in Barcelona (at least five times)where I’ve been many times. Nowhere new. I’m not trying to brag but I jsut wanted to use my gap year for gap year stuff! Exploring.


Ah well, like I said, ‘c’est la vie’. This has become my motto.


But the job interview is in Shakeaway, a place I’ve wanted to work since I was 13 so I knew I’d forever kick myself if I didn’t at least turn up.


Seriously though, I just want 2011 to be over already. 2010 was too good. I should have seen this coming.

Monday, 27 June 2011

A Man’s A Man’s A Man’s A Man For A’ That

Imagine my glee when I found out that Paolo Nutini (of A Pencil Full of Lead fame) has covered one of my favourite Burns songs. The combination makes me feel like I could jump from a mountain and not fall. I’m not patriotic by nature but this song makes me extremely happy and grateful to be Scottish. Open-mouthed smile


A few days ago I applied to volunteer in a hostel in Oxford in the Summer. I reckon it’ll be a no, but if it is perhaps I’ll see if I can find something to do in Scotland.

Friday, 24 June 2011


Ok, so perhaps saying that my college* ‘rocks hard’ is a bit of wishful thinking, but it seems to seriously just have the best alumni. Or rather, the alumni most suited to me which is even more awesome.

In addition to J R R Tolkien, Rita Chakrabati, William Morris, Philip Pullman and Alan Bennet who all studied at Exeter College Oxford, as I shall too, let me announce…

Neil Blair 

(J K Rowling’s literary agent!)



*for all you Americans, a ‘college’ is something specific to very few Universities in the UK, such as Durham, York, Cambridge and Oxford. Though you get your degree and study at the University, you live in, socialise and meet your personal tutor in your college so it’s basically your home. The comparison of Oxford University being the United States of America, and each college being a state is the most accurate one I’ve ever sen.

Freud makes me remember my dreams: Irony!

Do you remember when I simultaneously sated two desires by simultaneously telling you about how I started to keep a dream diary and write in some weird anachronistic tone? Well, I just realised something quite funny to do with that and I thought I’d share. Because that’s what this blog is for: sharing. And caring! Anyway…

One of the things I was told in the guide to remembering dreams which I downloaded* is that in order to better remember your dream the next day, you should sort of engage your dream muscle (my words) before you go to bed by re-reading the previous night’s dream. I would say just re-rad one of the longer or more vivid dreams you’ve had, because I’m still quite erratic and sometimes the dream account of the previous night is just ‘Ellie was texting me that she was in the bath that she preferred MSN to Facebook chat and I was using her laptop to message her back’. Yep. That’s all I remember from that night. However, sometimes when I’m really good at remembering my dream I write like six pages, and they help me remember better.

Sorry for the ramblings. I promise I’m going somewhere.

So, I’ve told you about how it’s important to engage your dream muscle in order to remember your dreams. Well, I’ve realised that sometimes when I wake up and can remember practically nothing it’s best to go read something super-academic and complicated, because for some reason that seems to engage the same part of my brain! So I’ll be three pages into my latest set book from Uni and – BAM! a flood of memories hits me. Then of course I reach for my dream diary and scribble down everything I remember as it comes to me, not even bothering too much about chronology.

What’s funny  about all this (weird funny not ha ha funny) is that at the moment my ‘latest  super-academic and complicated set book from Uni’ is something by Freud who is obviously LORD AND MASTER of dream stuff. The irony (because I am aware that that doesn’t on its own constitute irony) is that this book has nothing to do with dreams. He talks about pretty much every freaking other thing – daddy complexes, the pleasure principle, primary narcissism – but not dreams, except that they’re part of our imagination. Thanks, Sigmund.

Well, I find it funny that Freud makes me remember my dreams even though he’s not talking about them.

FUN TIMES. I totally didn’t just write this to distract me from eughhhhehhehhehehheheheh reading list. I did finish Effi Briest though! Pretty sad book, but not as bad as I’d expected it to be.

I feel like this:




*The ‘guide’ h is really short – only a two-page PDF – and you can download from this therapists' webpage here. This therapist is great because she reviews every episode of In Treatment with the eye of a real therapist. It was fascinating reading, also because she often talks about the differences between Freudian and Jungian ideas but in a totally not self-serving academic way which is great since that’s my favourite kind of way.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Garden Party, it’s on me

You must have heard Joanna Newsom’s 81, and if not I recommend you go now. At first listen it appears very feminine (not usually my style), but once you listen to the lyrics and appreciate the Spartan arrangement of the harp, I think you’ll love it.

Somewhat inspired by that song, and also inspired by various other bloggers, I made a little video. Music by me. Que’est-ce que vous en pensez? // What do you think of it?

This outfit is what I wore today during my TopShop interview; they told me to wear ‘anything I like’ but to ‘bear in mind TopShop is a fashion retailer’. I hope I did ok; well, I like what I’m wearing! The interview went quite well, I think, though obviously I don’t really know. The first part was a group interview where we brain-stormed what people expect from TopShop, how to sell items of clothing according to their features and benefits, and what the perfect shop assistant is like. Then we were told to go find an outfit to fit a particular brief (mine was girl-who-has-recently-been-dumped-goes-out-on-the-pull-with-her-friends), and finally was the interview with relatively normal interview questions.

Not totally normal though; I was asked what my biggest fashion faux pas and my favourite animal are, but nothing about my previous work experience or questions like “How would you deal with a difficult customer” or “Tell me of a time where you’ve had to work in a team to solve a problem.” O.o To each is own. I’d love to get this job.

We’ll see!

Joanna Newsom’s 81

Monday, 20 June 2011


I know I should stop ogling my blog design but I can’t.


I was supposed to read three chapters of Freud’s ‘Civilization and its Discontents’ and of ‘Effi Briest’, as well as working through a chapter of ‘Teach Yourself Norwegian’ and one of ‘Learning Icelandic’. I’ve done one and a half Freud chapters, and a hell of a lot of blog-ogling. BAWWW.


I have a job interview tomorrow at Topshop. I don't think I’m going to get it but I’ll try my best.

In the terrarium

Have you noticed? Can you have missed it? That’s right, a new blog design has landed! I distinctly recall saying I had no idea why I would ever want a change, but it turns out that seven months is long enough (updating the header wasn’t enough). I needed a change, for inspiration’s sake, if nothing else! The colours weren’t exactly uplifting – just really sombre, and moody and sort of murrelsome*. That is not in any sense of the word a word, but somehow it describes how that blog design felt to me. I loved it, and still do, but – HEY -- SKELETONS!

Enough of dwelling on the past! Hey! Skeletons! Skeletons, dried flowers, rocking chairs! Extinct  carnivorous marsupials, vintage dressing tables, bell jar terrariums! What more could you want?


This new blog mixes the macabre with some more vibrancy, which ain’t nothin’ bad. I decided against the first (middle) colour scheme (which you can see in action here on my blog design tester page) because I did want something less soporific. I’m interested in what you think of the result. Is the colour scheme too mixy-matchy? Is the eye attacked by the clashing designs? I like the clashing. It’s like listening to Minor Threat and Pearl & the Beard at the same time. Which is something I would like to do.


As you can see my new blog ‘subtitle’ is ‘in terra(rium) incognita’.


The reason I picked that name is probably way too complicated, but it draws on the old phrase ‘terra incognita’ which refers to uncharted parts of the world, though now that everything is charted, it refers to uncharted areas of other fields of research. To me, it refers to the fact that Thule (another world for Iceland, and the origin of my blog name) remained ‘incognita’ for a very long time, indeed that is one of the things which drew me there to that easily overlooked island. I sometimes feel like Iceland: remote, unlike anything else, sometimes overseen yet unexpectedly explosive and troubled, beautifully complex, ruled by nature, creative and full of impossible dreams,  always changing (literally), full of oddities and fucking awesome. So many parts of myself remain uncharted and this blog is a way of charting them.


The terrarium part stems from the fact that the blogosphere is a utopian microcosm of society, often prettied up and improved upon (which is not a bad thing – if you can present to the world your ideal self, you are constantly affirming to yourself that you can be and already are that ideal self), just as a terrarium is a little bit of a whimsical, idealised, tightly controlled natural environment. I record so much of my life here that it is like my own personal terrarium.

The image was taken in the same time and place as the previous banner:

06 width 950 WARM

Dancing on bouncy moss during 11am sunrise yoga in the peaks of Iceland. Probably one of the happiest moments of my life.


This font has remained because I love it so much. It’s called Two Turtle Doves.

The other font is a mixture of  two fonts called Rough Typewriter and Mom’s Typewriter.



I think a part of me want to justify this design because I spent the last four hours doing this. Life, who needs a life? Time management, what’s that? What do you mean, ‘prioritisation’? You can’t just invent words, you now. You’re not George Bush. I had a lot of fun doing it, and this is my paltry form of art. I can’ paint or draw, but I do one mean blog design. I’m also pretty awesome at photo collages. Anyway, the sleepiness is getting to me and I’m going to toddle off to bed now. Hope you like me blog.


*I found out after googling this word that murrel is a type of fish. Oh well, it’s still a nice word. And shag is a type of bird so not all homophones need to have the same meaning! And hey, it’s a Himalayan fish. Doesn’t that impress you? A fish from the Himalayas!


Friday, 17 June 2011

I once was a young fool like you

I gave in. Everyone needs a hipster hat. And I love this one, so I got it even though I thought I’d never find a hipster hat I’d like. but I do. Odd side effects though.


Not as in it makes me grow a moustache, but as in it makes me odd.

I applied to some more jobs today (Disney Store, West One, Topshop, The Entertainer, Anne Harvey) but to be honest I’m not holing any hope. If I don’t get a job, perhaps I’ll go do some HelpX work in the Shetlands.

Who knows?

I sure don’t. I’m just going to keep on teaching myself lucid dreaming, playing piano, writing songs, eating too much cake, reading foreign poems I don’t understand and wearing my fucking awesome hat.


Monday, 13 June 2011


The other day, I was thinking about my one-time dream of being an author. Well, is it a one-time dream? I certainly wanted to do hat more than anything until the age of 13, where I decided I wanted to be a rockstar more than anything. But author was always there, patiently, waiting in the background. After all, isn’t a lyricist a writer?


In fact, that’s the story of my dream of being an author: patience and subtle inclusion. I have a lot of friends who are looking to write a novel this year, or the year after… some people, with the helkp of NaNoWriMo, have even managed. Not I. Anything I write know will be half-baked and artless, and since I know I can do better, I will wait. I know that at this stage in my life, I’m not good enough; I haven’t read enough, I don’t understand the craft of a beautifully constructed plot intuitively, and crucially I haven’t got enough life experience. The people you meet, the hobbies you have, the places you go all inform how you write. Even though I would prefer to write fantastical books for children and young adults (not a realm which demands great profundity and realism) my experience isn’t enough. I haven’t had kids, for a start. Or a boyfriend!


All my life I have been blessed with far-reaching patience. I was never stressed about having a boyfriend in school because I know that eventually I would find someone. And equally, I never really worried that my time is up for writing, or that the fact that I can’t construct a plot means I’m not a good writer. I am confident in my ability to phrase myself well, to write with grace and, on occasion, humour. And it’s not a lack of ideas which is stopping me: characters and scenes present themselves to me so often that iI have to carry a notebook with me which I regularly empty. Some of the best books have come from dreams, or moments on trains – others have been years in the womb. I hope mine will be a bit of both.


As usual, I finish this blog with the sardonic thought: “Oh yes, you NEEDED to know this.” I must admit, I’m struggling to break out of the egocentricity a blog can tempt into.

But now I’m hungry! Breakfast time!


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

In Theory

Thank you, I really appreciate the comments. But I really don’t want to talk about it, especially not with the internet.

Oh, it’s such a witty play on words, isn’t it? I’m watching In Treatment, so I named this post In Theory. Get it? Not yet? Oh wait, there’s a bit missing :D

I’ve also been looking at a website called Jung at Heart, which is interesting to me as it’s run by a psychotherapist who reviews every episode of In Treatment (a show which televises a psychotherapists’ week with his various patients in a non-dramatic way, almost like a play in its simplicity) from the point of view of a trained therapist. I’m surprised at how interesting I find psychotherapeutic theory!

Enough blah blah blah. She wrote about this emotional/psychological phenomenon that humans would rather be bad (i.e. to blame for their sin, their troubles, their failed relationships) than powerless.

“Most of us would rather be bad than weak, rather be responsible for the bad things that happen, the failed relationships, than to accept that we cannot control the world and others. Because if I believe I am bad and make people treat me as they do, that means if I work hard enough, I can change and in changing, change them too. But to know that I am weak, that I have no control over other people and their behaviour places me at the mercy of forces beyond me and means I am unable to make the world be as I wish it were.”

Interesting stuff! Not sure how much it applies to me, since I’ve not yet experienced any upheaval in my life I could blame myself for… and I’ve always (rather oddly, I suppose), prided myself on my ability to forgive bot myself and others, utterly.

Look at this, closely: It’s brilliant!


I think this picture is hilarious, and … vaguely… relevant? It’s form artdungeon, and I love the way she depicts the Harry Potter series.


*if you’re struggling to fin the humour, Santa doesn’t know where to put Snape on the bad/good list!

Monday, 6 June 2011

in Therapy

I just wrote a whole blog which ended with ‘Do NOT respond.”

I then realised it probably wasn’t something I should put on the internet.

Instead I’ll give you a little anecdote: A few weeks ago I was on the train. I put down the folding table in front of me and found some folded up pages of typescript. A cursory glance told me it was a story. I spent the next few hours imagining that I had discovered a few pages from an author’s preliminary manuscript. Perhaps I could contact the author. Perhaps it was a little glimpse into his soul, or his imaginarium. Private; he hadn’t meant for it to be found. Or read. Or thought about.

At the end of the day, I curled up in bed and unfolded the pages. It was a dull and detailed account of a poker game.

Life is shit.

I thought about it for a while though and came to a different train of thought. I don’t only write my diary to be read. I’m never leaving anything on a train, diary or not. I’m surprisingly private – some of my friends say uptight. I don’t mind sharing as long as I can choose who I share with. I can tell people I’ve known for ten days about my nationality complex, but if any of my years-long friends even discover a fanfiction I have written, or an essay about Hinduism, I would feel very uncomfortable. ANrgy, even, that it was not in my control what they knew about my mind.

I shouldn’t have posted here about deep dark problems, and I won’t again. The internet is no a void, it’s full of people, people I know, people I do not want to talk about my indiscriminate thoughts with.

Sorry that this sounds so bitter and defensive; I always intend to write something light-hearted. I don’t know why my blogs always come across so dark and angry when I’m pretty sure I’m fine at the moment. Perhaps I’m not, but that’s not for you to know.

xxx F