Tag: the sunday currently

The Sunday Currently Vol. 6

Feel a bit gross today – could be a cold catching up or the leftover effects of Friday night (more on that later), so will save my usual rambling for the currentlies themselves!

Reading

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the first in a series of historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell/the Tudor court in the times of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. It feels like a long time since I’ve sunk my teeth into some good complicated fiction, the last one being Haruki Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Is this a good time to confess that I’m not the most avid reader of literary fiction? Actually, my fiction reading overall is significantly lower than what it ought to be — something I hope to fix this year.

Anyway, Wolf Hall is engrossing, the sort of book I look forward to savoring in snatches of the day. It’s not the kind of book I could power through in a couple days, though I’m a fast reader. Mantel’s writing is beautiful and fluid, and takes you through dimensions of time and space and dreams in a few short sentences. One second you’ll be caught deep in a haughty cardinal’s confidences, and the next you’re drifting through the mythological origins of Britain where shapeshifters and kings of prophecy reigned. That’s probably why I can’t read it quickly; it takes awhile to ground myself again and remind myself of the complicated cast of characters, as well as what is actually happening.

I highly recommend it, and am looking forward to going straight into the next book, Bring Up the Bodies.

Writing

This is kind of cheating, but last week I started a short story set in the South Pole. It took a lot longer than I expected to finish (and was rightfully chastised for not hitting the deadline, huhu) due to getting caught up in researching Antarctica and the specific project my character was to be involved in. The project itself is called the IceCube Neutrino, designed to track the faint traces of the Big Bang as they crash into pure, unsullied Antarctic ice deep underground. The story is going to be a lot longer than expected (I’m thinking 6 or 8 thousand words, rather than the original 2) but we’ll see.

Cooking

The kitchen is more or less in order! I have my cast iron casserole (not Le Creuset, but one from Sainsburys which people on the internet claim is just as good), an awesome chef knife, and mixing bowls. Last weekend I cooked a risotto-paella hybrid, which is something my ex boyfriend’s mother made once and I have never forgotten (though hers tasted infinitely better). It’s basically risotto parmesan with paella toppings. I also made a beef minestrone soup (so good on cold days) and chocolate chip banana bread, which when eaten with clotted cream ice cream feels like winning X Factor.

Today I cooked a chicken roast dinner, but because I feel ill I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted.

Feeling

Very under the weather. Not sure if it’s because I’ve finally caught the cold that’s been sweeping through my classmates, taking them down one by one, or because of Friday night which, to summarize a thousand words, went like this:

I’m too old to be partying like it’s 1999. But it was a 90s theme party (note the wall decorations) in what looked like someone’s basement (but wasn’t), and they filled the wine glasses up to the brim, so of course horrible and amazing things were going to happen. The days of bouncing back from a hangover in time for drunk brunch are long gone.

Needing

To sit down and really sort through my goals for 2015. Because there’s only 11/12ths of it left. Lolcry.

Clicking

This article about a woman whose writing career is sponsored by her husband is a must-read. I commend her for her honesty – it’s far easier to pretend that successful people get by on their own merits. In no way does this discredit writers who have to juggle family life and jobs with writing, and in no way does this say that you have to be supported to be a writer. I think it’s saying that if you have privilege, acknowledge it. It’s no crime to be lucky, but dangerous if you pretend your success is independent of the fortunate circumstances of your life.

My truth is, at the moment, similar to hers. I am where I am not because I’m a good writer, but because I’ve had the incredible good fortune to have parents who subsidize my dreams. It’s super annoying when others with even more opportunities whine about how they got to where they are solely because of hard work. Oh, so it had nothing to do with your connections or surname or family money?

sure-jan

It seems like a slap in the face to people who actually did get to where they are without any of those.

That said, some people get their foot in the door faster than others, or can choose from more doors, but at the end of the day everyone has to work hard to get to where they want. There’s no one path to success, so why pretend yours is something it’s not?

Perhaps I’ll leave things on that rant…might try to get more tea in me before calling it a night!

[EDIT]

I didn’t really want to leave things on that rant…so here are Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for Work. We are kindred spirits, and for anyone who knows the feeling, this is for you!

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments. #writers #amwriting

A photo posted by Bea Pantoja (@dalagaproject) on

The Sunday Currently Vol. 4

This feels like the first Sunday in awhile that I’ve not had the pressure of a major assignment (though the feeling is an illusion, as I have a big paper due on Friday). It was also the first day that I’d experienced a Christmas dinner in London, and the two combined made for a very enjoyable day.

There were Christmas crackers waiting at every seat when we got to the pub. I’ve never had a Christmas cracker before. You cross arms with the people next to you so you’re each holding onto the ends of a cracker and give it a tug. With a great pop, the cracker splits and out tumbles a variety of things you’ll use once and never again: a crown made of colored tissue paper, a little toy (mine was a plastic hairclip; Matt got a paperclip, and others got eyepatches and star cookie cutters), and jokes and riddles. Everyone puts on their crowns and tests their friends on their riddle lore, and when it’s combined with enough booze it can be great fun.

On a side note I seem to have drunk more in the past few weeks than I have all year. That fact combined with the swiftly chilling weather has led to a less than desirable amount of sniffles, zits, and general deadness behind the eyes.

Our dinner was in a pub tucked into an alleyway that led straight to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which has not stopped being beautiful no matter how many times I’ve seen it. After dinner we circled around and saw a portion of the dome illuminated through tree leaves like black lacework. Our last view of St. Paul’s for the night came from the other side of the Thames, in front of Tate Modern, where the cathedral unobstructed and bright as the moon..

In three days I head back to Manila (!!) and I’m so excited to see my family again. I’m going to do my best to see as many friends as possible but I’m only there for two weeks. If it’s difficult to coordinate a get together normally, imagine the task at Christmas when everyone is dealing with their fair share of family, extended family, balikbayan family, and all else. Never mind budgeting 3 hours just to get anywhere! (I’ve been sympathizing with people who have shared their travel and commuting woes this season).

Anyway, on to the Currentlies:

Reading

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry. I’m slowly making my way through this book but every time I read a few pages I always feel guilty about the lack of structure in my life and poor self-discipline. While not every artist followed a stringent ritual, many of the most prolific ones adhered to a schedule that would make Phineas Fogg feel ashamed.

For example, did you know that Gertrude Stein could only write half an hour an day? But much of the day was devoted to thinking of what to write for that half hour (often by driving around fields staring at cows — and it had to be the right cow. I’m not joking! Then again I never did care for Stein’s work). Also, Stein relied heavily upon her partner, Alice B. Toklas, to do the household and admin work, a trend that runs commonly throughout the book.

Aside from a fastidious routine, I’m learning that to be a productive artist I must also: pretend the real world does not exist and hope someone is willing to go through hell and high water to give me my “creative space”; rely heavily on some substance, whether it be cigarettes or alcohol or worse; eat simple breakfasts (HAH NO THANKS); be in possession of a spacious country retreat; commit to working every day, even if nothing gets produced.

I’d love an updated version of this book with more true-to-life and diverse examples (aka, not dead and white).

Writing

Christmas shopping lists, mostly, though I have a big paper due on Friday. I don’t know how I’m going to get that done.

Listening

This afternoon, I listened to a semi-complete orchestra of senior citizens perform a string of Irish ballads and Christmas carols in the bar. Currently I’m listening to some vintage Maaya Sakamoto: she was a Japanese voice actress-turned-singer (aren’t they all?). I’ve learned that my music tastes haven’t evolved much beyond high school, so I listen to the same songs for years and years. Like this one, from 2001:

Cooking

Not much these days — I haven’t had much time to cook! Whenever I’m mildly hungover though I’ll cook a huge breakfast — scrambled eggs and shredded fried potatoes. It’s all just a grand excuse to shovel as much cheese as I can into my system, even though cheese is terrible for me.

Thinking

A lot lately about the role of social media and how much we should let it control our lives. Not too heavily — perhaps I’m just annoyed by the sudden influx of people on my feeds complaining about how people judge them for their social media activity and how what they post doesn’t say everything about them.

To some extend I agree: as a person who loves Instagram but also loves privacy, it would be hypocritical of me not to agree that social media doesn’t say everything about a person. At the same time…the loudest critics I’ve heard tend to be highly active on social media and are smart about leveraging it and their personal assets when it suits them, but the moment they’re criticized for it it’s all, “OMG you don’t know my whole life story okay?”

I don’t know! Basically, I believe it’s a safe assumption and common knowledge that people have more varied interests than what they choose to make public, but if you’re so worried about what people think about you based on social media, maybe you should revisit how much you rely on other people’s opinions of you — or what you post on social media.

Smelling

Fresh laundry.  We’re doing as much as we can before heading to Manila. This has resulted in accidentally doing wools on the Sports Intense setting and dyeing all of Matt’s white shirts blue (damn you cheap Adventure Time T-shirt!).

Hoping/Needing

To get everything I need done by Wednesday.

Wearing

Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Orgueil after a long period of neglect. It does transfer a bit and needs some touching up, but it’s such a gorgeous color especially for Christmas dinners!

the-sunday-currently-03

Wanting

To find nice but affordable decoration and furniture for our new flat, which we’re moving into the first week of January! I won’t be able to do much to it until I’ve seen the place again and once we have our stuff in, but I’ve started Pinning ideas.

Loving

Miso soup. Just the thing for icky sicky feelings. I saw a suggestion online to add a poached egg and noodles to miso soup, and thought this was a brilliant solution — until I realized that that dish exists, and it’s called miso ramen.

Feeling

Reflective. This weekend we went to Matt’s house to meet the family before Christmas, especially his new baby nephew. The baby was only 2 days old when we went, and I got to hold him for a little. I was terrified — that my arm wouldn’t support his neck, that I was dirty and grotty from the train, that he’d be uncomfortable and upset, that I would drop him — but it was a wonderful experience. I wouldn’t say that it switched my maternal instincts from 0 to 60, but perhaps I have a better understanding now of the “magical moment” that mothers describe. At least until the babies learn to cry and say no and run around, haha.

I wish my siblings would have kids that I could be a cool Auntie for – so I can hand them back when they need changing!

Eating

For today’s Christmas dinner, we had a 3 course meal at the pub: chicken liver pate with chutney and greens, lamb with lentils and roasted potatoes with vegetable sides like cabbage and brussel sprouts, shredded red cabbage, and carrots and parsnips, then profiteroles filled with Bailey’s cream. Aside from a few glasses of prosecco I had a chenin blanc then a pinot grigio. All delicious.

 

Original Sunday Currently

The Sunday Currently Vol.3

Regent Street Christmas Lights

This week and weekend were particularly busy – a sharp contrast from the week prior. Classes resumed again but this time with a sense of urgency – we realized there were only 3 weeks until our first major presentation. The deadlines loomed, the reading piled up, and on top of all that, our murmurs of dissent about certain things started to swell and tumble over themselves, rolling faster  and gathering momentum until they became more shouts than murmurs. But all of that feedback was gathered up by our class representatives (who must be commended for extracting and translating diplomatic versions from what must have resembled a textual bloodbath). We’ll find out what happens next.

On Wednesday my creative writing piece was workshopped, and I was terrified about how my story, which was a bit experimental, would go down. It actually went pretty well, and I’m thankful that they gave me insight into the reading experience – what was acceptably confusing, what was not, what needed improvement. I’m slowly discovering that realistic fiction is not my forte: I need to at least dip my toes in the mythical and fantastical world for it to be decent in any way. Perhaps to strengthen this skill I need to be more observant of the world around me, and track the little details that make a scene fit into place.

Later in the week a childhood friend came to visit from Singapore. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her, except for a chance encounter at a birthday party in New York three years ago which barely counted…so besides that, maybe eight years? We tried a restaurant in Hoxton called Beagle, and the next morning she took us on a tour of the Google UK office.

It’s easy to see why, once you’ve seen their offices, people would deem you crazy for leaving Google. Their building is in Holborn, and the offices have fantastic views of South Bank and most of central London. More cafeterias than I have fingers, each table bearing a mixed fruit bowl and pitcher of cucumber-mint-strawberry water, fully stocked with every snack you can imagine and an extensive menu of global cuisine — all free, obviously. There’s a machine just for squeezing fresh orange juice, or a juice bar if you need something more elaborate. Then: a library done up in soft mushroom shades, wallpapered with tiny reading nooks. The library also hosts the UK office’s nap pod, a machine that slowly encloses half your reclining body in soundproof slumber, eliminating all distractions from your 30-minute power nap. They also have a full gym (with a view, of course). The perks are unfathomable, but at the end of the day what matters is that you are content with where you are and what you have.

Though I wouldn’t mind more of those falafel snacks.

On Saturday, Matt and I went to the Hyper Japan Christmas Market. I recapped this extensively so I will spare you any repetition. But I didn’t get to take a picture of my “haul” yesterday, so here it is:

Hyper Japan Christmas Fair 2014 Haul

Today I met up with classmates in Chinatown for dimsum and sightseeing. We wandered around Soho and dropped into Muriel’s Kitchen for afternoon tea and pastries, then followed the crowds to Regent Street to watch the Christmas lights that were strung across the buildings flicker to life for the first time (this year, at least). The event was co-hosted by Emma Bunton (Baby Spice of the Spice Girls for you younguns!) who is now a DJ at a radio station, and though we were too far from the stage to see her, I realized this was the closest I had ever been to a Spice Girl and enjoyed a few feels.

The lighting itself was a bit anticlimactic: I expected the Christmas lights to come on piece by piece, like a wave of magic sweeping over the entire Regent Street, and then a gentle layer of fake snow to fall gently from the sky. Instead they all lit up from a single switch, and we didn’t get snow but there was a fireworks display. British people love fireworks and use any excuse to light them (but I have still never seen a spectacle that rivals the Manila sky on New Year’s Eve). After the event it started to drizzle, and by the time I got home an hour later it had grown into soft, steady rain.

I know this is basically a journal entry and not at all in line with The Sunday Currently format, but I had other things on my mind I suppose. To keep true to the series, here are some select currentlies:

Reading

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I never realized that I had this free on my epub reader, and it’s a book I’ve been meaning to read. It’s one of the most masterful uses of language I’ve read in recent memory. The ending truly deserves its title as one of the best endings in literature.

Cooking

This week: cheese-stuffed meatballs; a baked egg with mushrooms, pepper, and onions; creamy tomato pasta bake with chicken (okay, I used a mix for the sauce.

Needing

To stop being so negative and focus on being more positive. Honest to god, I was a much more positive person a couple of years ago and a bit more laissez-faire about life. Now I fear that I’ve become a bit more…hateful. It’s not at all who I want to be. And I think a big part of being more positive isn’t to just imagine positive things, but to practice a more accepting and kind attitude towards others.

Wanting/Wishing

For my brain to be calm and centered and focused and not want to write 100 different things. I made a list of all the things I had more than a marginal interest of writing (aka things that represented works in progress): YA fantasy, experimental fiction, creative nonfiction, and narrative nonfiction. What the hell?! I yearn to be one of those people who knows what they want to write, and aren’t distracted by other forms. Those tend to be the kind of people that get shit done.

 

11/30 NaBloPoMo

The Sunday Currently Vol. 2

As Sundays go, this was largely uneventful. We stayed in and made last-ditch attempts at various obligations: him cleaning, me reading for school. I gave up mid-afternoon to make “easy” scones, then Addams Family Values came on, then I needed a snack, then we had to make dinner, then I thought I should probably start up again but now I’m feeling a bit sleepy and what the hell, it’s 8:40PM?!

Though today is not the best example, I’m quite happy with how this Reading Week went. I have found a sense of structure where I was floundering before, and if I did not accomplish much for school necessarily, I fixed up other areas that badly needed attention.

Reading

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, a memoir/essay collection by Haruki Murakami. I just finished it tonight. He reflects on his experiences in life via his journey as a runner, and how his writing intersects with running. Basically, have a sense of discipline and do things because you want to, not because anyone tells you too.

It’s very good and a fairly easy read (unlike most of his other works). I’m a latecomer to Murakami – I’m a latecomer to most of what you would deem “great English literature” — my secret shame as an English literature major. I suspect this book, which I started months ago, has played a quiet influence on my decision to start running around the park. But I was more influenced by my frequent need to literally run for trains and buses, and to not collapse in a sweaty expired heap afterwards.

Writing

A tentative schedule for my major project. I decided that I wasn’t going to do the creative writing option that I think most of my classmates are doing. Instead, I may attempt to self-publish my #romanceclass novella and evaluate the process. We shall see. If you’re interested in what I happen to be writing it with (great transition, Bea), I wrote a post earlier today about my fountain pen collection.

Listening

Lorde’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” It was featured in the new Assassin’s Creed trailer.

Cooking

Pat suggested adding a Cooking/Eating portion, and I wholeheartedly agree. I baked scones! I used this recipe, and it is the first time I have made scones where they actually look and taste like scones. Not sweet enough though, despite what The Guardian says – I think next time I will add an extra tablespoon of sugar. That might be my downfall, as tinkering with precise measurements in baking is not recommended, but oh what a sweet downfall it will be.

Okay, the sweet issue is probably my fault. It calls for caster sugar, which is finer granulated sugar, so my measurements were off to begin with. I also didn’t have any chocolate on hand, so I chopped up some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Malteser Teasers (which are amazing, guys, like Maltesers but like smashed with a hammer and melded into a chocolate bar with more chocolate).

For dinner, we made sausages and mash with an onion gravy. Sssshhh: Along with some heated milk, butter, and sauteed leeks, I added a dollop of clotted cream into the mashed potatoes. It made it extra tasty, but extra bad for you. YOLO.

Thinking

That I ate way too much today.

Smelling

Myself and regretting it. Really, really need a shower.

Wishing & Hoping

That combining these two isn’t considered cheating. I’m drawing a blank for the more touchy-feeling portions of this Sunday Currently. But I am wishing and hoping that whatever is causing my skin to go bonkers goes away soon — unless it’s my delayed puberty, finally here to make recompense. In which case, come on in, have a seat. But you better have brought the boobs, too.

Wearing

Yoga pants because I thought I was going to run today LOL.

Wanting

To have a neat desk free of clutter, but two seconds after I sit down it immediately looks like a disaster. A quick survey of the scene before me: stacks of notebooks, pens strewn everywhere, 2 bags of potato chips — one opened, one new. An empty glass of water. A Burberry lipstick. An iPad and a camera. Three dying stalks of lucky bamboo. More notebooks. Keys, his and hers. Kleenex: used and new in box. A flyer for Zumba lessons around Brixton.

To add insult to injury, somewhere at the bottom of this haphazard stack of notebooks is Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. It apparently has some great tips; I wish I could find out what they were!

Needing

To go to sleep so I can wake up at 6:30 tomorrow.

Feeling

The pressure of finals assignments lurking around the corner of November. And also the pressures of NaBloPoMo — I’m already behind!!!

 

7/30 NaBloPoMo

The Sunday Currently Vol. 1

The Sunday Currently is a series that captures what you are doing and seeing, and how you are feeling and thinking, within a small sliver of your precious weekend window. It has also been around for yonks, but I came across it today through Carina’s personal blog. (“I came across this through Carina” should be an Autofill setting, given how many times I’ve used it).

Even two weeks ago, I might have dismissed this series as some daft thing, my frustrations borne out of burnout on the blogs I was reading at the time. Everyone’s wearing Topshop and smelling Jo Malone candles and feeling blessed all the damn time, anyway – same shit, different day of the week.

Obviously, this thinking reflects more upon me than those bloggers (no one in particular, but you know the type). Being too cynical, too angry, too unsure of oneself becomes a handicap when you go on the Internet, which is part of the reason I’ve cut back somewhat on my online activities. The only thing worse than being a Bitter Betty is listening to one.

But we’re going to be okay, at least for the time being. What inspired me about Carina’s post is in how sincere it was. (All her posts are lovely and earnest, so if you only read her beauty blog, I highly recommend you follow Nothing Spaces as well). I always forget that sincerity can be a more powerful force than sarcasm or derision. Not that sincerity equates to positivity and eternal sunshine all the time – sincerity can be clumsy and mean and strange and horrible, but at the end of the day, sincerity is brave.

You can’t hide behind the shadows of your own insecurities. When someone asks you how you’re feeling and what you’re wishing, as they do in this series, sincerity commands that you answer truly and honestly – for your own sake, and not for your readers.

Goddamn. This is why I can’t do series and tags and other such things. I get distracted and end up writing something completely unrelated, which is as organized and eloquent as a coughed-up hairball.

Apparently The Sunday Currently is supposed to go up at 12:00PM EST (12:00AM Manila, 4PM London I believe – daylight savings time sends my internal timezone converter all out of whack). It is currently (currently!) 8:53PM Sunday night, already pitch-dark: the curtains drawn over the windows, the candle snuffed, an office lamp and the glare of the laptop screen throwing dim yellow light over my disaster of a desk.

Now onto the real currentlies…

Reading

The Content Machine by Michael Bhaskar – a book that ruminates on the theory of publishing. What does it actually mean to publish something, and what sort of conventions define the industry? (Are you still with me or did you nod off?) It’s for school, obviously. The biggest lesson so far is that my comprehension skills have degraded quicker than wet tissue.

Writing

In my journal, still, though I am making an active effort to post more on the blog. This is the first weekend where I actually thought that writing for the blog was possible again. Coincidentally, it’s also Reading Week – aka, no classes save for one.

What I should be writing: my creative writing assignment on structure. This early in the week, though, the fire under my ass merely tickles with a soothing warmth. What is deadline? Fetch me more beer! *Thor laughter*

Listening

Leighton Meester’s new album, Heartstrings. Leighton Meester is actually a talented singer, and this album is full of the sweet, lyrical, folk-pop songs you’d find in Mandy Moore’s later albums. It’s a far cry from her sexy pop stuff (which might please some & disappoint others). My favorite track: Dreaming, followed by LA and Blue Afternoon. Seriously, Dreaming is so lovely.

Bonus: a beautiful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams by Leighton and Dana Williams.

 Thinking

Of how to spend this week off school in a productive way. My natural inclination is to stay in bed marathoning Parks & Rec, even though I just did that last week. The grim solution surfacing is that I’m going to have to not just get out of bed, but out of the house. Drat!

Smelling

MUJI Jasmine & Black Olive candle. It’s only £3.50 but it also comes in a tiny little tin, so I alternate this between a bigger, cheaper, and generally more basic candle.

Wishing

For greater clarity and purpose.

Hoping

That what I plan to do with this blog — not that I really have a plan — will make me fall in love with blogging again.

Wearing

A bright yellow Zara sweater and American Eagle Outfitters jeans. Until last month I would only buy jeans from American Eagle Outfitters. I love their skinny stretch jeans, even if they make my butt look so flat they appear concave.

Loving

Calamine lotion. I’ve been having prickly-heat types of rashes all across my upper back (sexy times!). I’m still trying to determine the cause, blaming everything from dogs to fallen leaves with an agenda, but in the meantime good old calamine has been the only thing to soothe the discomfort. Matt keeps calling it chamomile, like: “Why do you need me to go get you chamomile, I’ve got some in the pantry and I don’t want to put on pants.”

Wanting

To be better with finances. Always and forever. BUT ALSO, really really wanting this Seven Seas “Writer” Notebook made with Tomoe River paper. Which directly contradicts the first point.

Needing

More self-discipline. But seriously tho, that notebook is mine.

Feeling

Hopeful. I don’t want to speak too soon (which I always, always, always do, whatever), but I’ve overcome the biggest mental block when it comes to this blog. I’m not sure exactly about where things are going, but I definitely have more clarity now. Reducing my usage of Bloglovin helped a lot (seriously, scrolling through the Popular Posts there just makes me feel so sad). Applying discipline to other parts of my life – like my health – helped as well. I spent most of Sunday doing some blog tidying. The new categories and homepage represent small visual changes, but feel like significant improvements that inspire me to write.

 

The Sunday Currently was started by Siddha Thornton

2/30 NaBloPoMo