Sunday, 27 December 2015

To You~ 23 and a few minutes to go.

(Back-story: After an unplanned hiatus, it only seems right that I return to pending letters. To everyone whose letters are still undone, I'll make my way through and back to you. The below was a request sent to me by 23 year old Diksha, who on her birthday wanted to write a letter from her all knowing future self.
Anyone who knows me, knows how time-capsules are one of my favourite things, so here you go, Diksha, Happy Birthday- 24 is one of those golden years. Live it up.)

To You
23 and a few minutes to go Diksha,

Birthdays are tricky animals. 
At first, you want to roll around the floor with them just feeling that special sense of joy radiating out of your being, because it is the day you were made. The day you first said, "Hey world, how's it going?" and the first time you did something that changed everything else. They're the one day in the year which is the peak of a mountain-top, when you want to look both at what lies ahead and the distance you've covered. Some people get whiplash from all the looking, others just fall over.

But I know you'll be okay. You've now done this for 23 years and that should make you an expert at birthdays. 

What can steady you through the day, is our collective wisdom, which I'm about to dispense. Happy birthday you stone-cold fox.

1.  Breathe- This year promise yourself that you will not freak out, or obsess over the shadow of a pimple or what an extra 3kgs might do to a picture. Do not hyperventilate. The pimple will go. The kilos will move up and down as the years go by. Neither has anything to do with how beautiful you look, and you're going to survive it all. Even the wind chill. I promise you.

2.  Let time take time- As it will, whether you meddle with your overthinking or not. But things always work much better when left to their own device. Remember that you've survived, grown and evolved through every mini-crisis that threatened to stop life mid-dance. And this year when a crisis comes around, as the sneaky bastards tend to, acknowledge it and do what you must. 
It will leave and you'll be better for it (also see above: pimple)

3. 24 means you don't have to be 18 anymore: Or 17, or 16. Let algebra be a distant memory. The bullying and cruelty of school can stay there. You shook it off like a gazelle does water after its swim is done. Droplets flung far away and off your beautiful life and body, so you can trample shrubs, traipses through forests and live a beautiful gazelle year. Keep your neck tall and proud, they say it gives you a better outlook. Also, a success of your life will be made even if you struggle with math.

4. Boys: Liking them gets better and liking them gets worse. But take warm comfort in the fact that everyone around you, even the self-assured 28 year olds, those in steady relationships and those blazingly single- neither of them have a clue of the future, of what's to come and whether they're equipped. Take heart in the fact that who you love, will always be just who you love, that will not be the saviour or wreckage of your life (unless you let it).
Oh, and trust me that the boy who today makes your heart feel like a knotted, wet, wrung out shirt, will soon not even cross your mind, until you hear an old song and smile. 
Old songs carry most of the weight of our memories. That's something you should know too.

5. The things you will do: Will make and unmake you in bits, kneading you into new shapes every year. Cocoons that you'll have to burst out of and places of rest where you must stop for a while. So choose them wisely. Always say yes to travel, but know that the most important journeys are often just the ones you take inside. Laugh like you want to, in a twisted grimace if you must, anything which sets you apart from that same non-smile called the pout which everyone from 14 to 41 year olds are doing today. Set yourself apart Dee, you'll understand in a few years why that is the biggest weapon in your arsenal.

6. On being sad:  I remember the last few years and our struggles with depression. I remember friends who didn't understand and those who thought you were self-indulgent. And I can tell you now, that the only one whose judgement and understanding of what you're going through counts is you. So read every book you can, smile every chance you get, dress up, buy minion cakes for your birthday, hoard colourful stationary, make blanket forts out of your 5 year old self's minnie mouse quilt, remind yourself of that winter in Canada and the first time you let a snowflake turn to water on your tongue. Your body is your refuge and your fortress. Holding more answers and wisdom than you know. Fold into your own body when things get too dark, it's where you've always stored the light. It is your surest cure.

7. On love: Oh, the things I could tell you and the things I know. 
Like how much of it you've already got, how much of it waits for you in the future. How kaleidoscopes of butterflies will synchronise somersaults in your stomach, how you'll carry the heat of the inner core of the earth in your round cheeks and how when you're in it you will swear you're moon-walking on a higher frequency (like dolphins), hearing sounds and seeing things your friends just don't. The trick (and I'm not allowed to reveal details from the future: it is the first secret to time travel) is to live out your life like a designed for success supernova would. Those who are always craning their necks trying to spot the alien attack are the ones who most often miss it.

(Side note: No one is out of your league. So those dreams of kissing Chris Evans may not be totally make-believe.
Aside to the aside: Disney songs are always right. Keep a few on shuffle in your iPod. No one has to know and they always do the trick.)

Happy birthday you eerily beautiful, strangely stubborn and deliciously brave girl. 
Your 24th year is a gorgeous, rainbow striped, unicorn shaped piƱata. Take a stick and smack it at its core.

Your future self.

                                                  (One of my fav street art images by Martin Watson)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Words. Strange & Otherwise. Part- IV

Instagram killed the blogpost.
(These past months I've spent more time on @hyperbolemuch than this blog.)

I haven't written here for almost 6 months now, and while I'm now working on all the lovely pending To You, letters, this one was just quicker to put together. As with my earlier posts volumes one, two and three , here is a collection of my favourite sentences. 
Sentences which are almost human when stripped away from stories and left standing by themselves. A few are knock-kneed sure, but well-intentioned humans.  Some have been picked because the words are like fairy lights when strung together, others for the wisdom they're bursting with and all because I love them. 
Which means you shouldn't question any, 
Do I question your lovers?

I've also added a link to each sentence, so you can buy the book if you'd like. There's poetry here too, because I find it creeps into most prose. Especially when someone is really looking.

(This game was a lot of fun the last time around so here it is: If you have a life question, you should pick a number between 1-20, then the quote against that number is the answer to your question.
If not you've met a sentence I love: say hello, and smile). I'll let you read now.


1. "The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.”
~ Susan Sontag

2. “If I had to sum up what he did to me, I’d say it was this: he made me sing along to all the bad songs on the radio. Both when he loved me and when he didn't.”
~ Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

3. Come to the orchard in spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter 

4. "Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why."
~ Kurt Vonnegut

5.“What I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads. It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.” 
~ Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

6. “For a long time, she held a special place in my heart. I kept this special place just for her, like a "Reserved" sign on a quiet corner table in a restaurant. Despite the fact that I was sure I'd never see her again.”
~Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun

7. “The answer is not coming. I have to find an arbitrary point inside the spell of waiting, the open absence, and tear myself away. Leave, with no answer. Move on to the next question.”
  ~Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers

8.“Paper is the strongest material in the world. Things under which a mountain will crumble, you can place on paper and it will hold: beauty at its most intense; love at its fiercest; the greatest grief; the greatest rage.” 
~ Nadeem Aslam

9. " Being with you and not being with you, is the only way I have to measure time."
 ~Jorges Louis Borges 

10."I thought I understood it, that I could grasp it, but I didn't, not really. Only the smudgeness of it; the pink-slippered, all-containered, semi-precious eagerness of it. I didn't realize it would sometimes be more than whole, that the wholeness was a rather luxurious idea. Because it's the halves that halve you in half."
~ Like Crazy (This isn't a book but a movie I really, really love and can't recommend enough).

11." I want to read poems filled with terror and music that changes laws and lives."
~ Leonard Cohen.

12. "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot."
~Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

13. “The night you gave me my birthday party… you were a young Lieutenant and I was a fragrant phantom, wasn’t I? And it was a radiant night, a night of soft conspiracy and the trees agreed that it was all going to be for the best.”
~ Zelda Fitzgerald, Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda

14.“He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine.”

15. “I felt a heat containing the colors of autumn. The dark stone in my heart pulsed quietly, igniting like a coal in a hearth. Who is in my heart? I wondered.”
~ Patti Smith, M Train

16. "You exist by your smile and your presence. You exist for your joys and your relaxations. You exist in nature. You are part of the glittering sea, and part of the luscious, well-nourished plants, you are wedded to the sun, you are immersed in timelessness, only the present counts, and from the present you extract all the essences which can nourish the senses, and so the nerves are still, the mind is quiet, the nights are lullabies, the days are like gentle ovens in which infinitely wise sculptor’s hands re-form the lost contours, the lost sensations of the body. The body comes to life. Quests, pursuits of concrete securities of one kind or another lose all their importance. As you swim, you are washed of all the excrescences of so-called civilization, which includes the incapacity to be happy under any circumstances."
~ Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin

17. “He was becoming unstuck, he was sure of that - his bones were no longer wrapped in flesh but in clouds of dust, in hummingbirds, dragonflies, and luminous moths - but so perfect was his equilibrium that he felt no fear. He was vast, he was many, he was dynamic, he was eternal.” 
~ Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

18. " Aey Junoon-e-Ishq Bata Zara
Mujhe Kyun Tamasha Bana Diya"

~ Faiz Ahmed Faiz (I apologise for not translating this, but there's no way I can without butchering it. For those interested in reading more- try Google translate for an indicative meaning).

19. "I will remember the kisses, our lips raw with love, and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you everything that was left of me."~ Charles Bukowski

20. “That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every word, all of it.”
~ Joan Didion, in her essay Goodbye To All That