Music can do a number of things. It can make you laugh. It can make you cry. It can even help you reach that clarifying moment where you know how much work you need to do to get where you want to be, but you have a deep rooted sense that everything is going to be ok regardless. And maybe I’m having one of those now. The Rolling Stones’ ‘You can’t always get what you want’ (such a cliché I know) is playing and I’m sitting at my trusty iMac, surrounded by the debris of a highly stressful semester. I have about 15 weeks of classes to go and then I’m done. I’m a qualified graphic designer. I’m filled with ideas and pictures of how I want my life to look. The words of hundreds of inspiring authors float around my mind as I contemplate the life that is ahead of me.
But what happens when the music stops? What happens when the choir dies down and you are met with an almost empty and disappointing silence. Maybe you can hear the faint whir of your computer or the neighbours putting the bins out. What if the song ends and you are met with the screaming reality that it is 2am and you really don’t have time to pursue where your head, heart and Mick Jagger is taking you.
What happens is you shut your computer down, Crawl into bed, maybe check Facebook and Instagram a few more times, and you fall to sleep. Knowing full well that the cycle is going to begin again, and at the same time the following night, you will reach a point where you are almost drowning in possibilities and again there is no time at all to pursue them.
I have so many different bands for so many moods. The realm of melancholy safely belongs in the hands of Radiohead, although complimented by the odd track from New Order and The Cure (Ok, let’s face it. There’s a lot of The Cure in there). When I’m feeling moody I hit up the XX or Crystal Castles. Maybe even some Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol. Happy? Try Vampire Weekend or The Shins. Even when I’m feeling a bit down and want to get out of a rut, I can always depend on the words and sound of the late, great LCD Soundsystem. This is my soundtrack. Yes I have one. I have made sure of that.
So I have two choices. I can either go easy on the music, which I am a little uncomfortably dependant on it as you can see, or I can use it. I can recognise that I am the type of person that is largely dictated by emotion and I can cultivate that. I know that my validity and self worth and future plans all need to be rooted in God. As a Christian this is mildly important. And by mildly I mean hugely and ‘if this is not the case I really need to fix some things in my life because I seem to be missing the point in this whole relationship with God thing’ important.
When I sit down at my computer, I can make an effort to invite (well, acknowledge really because the whole omnipresent thing means that he’s pretty much already there) God into that space. And then we can listen together. I’ll roam around Spotify and Pinterest and make a time and space for this dreaming and planning season of my life. I’m 23 years old. And if I go by the lessons that countless novels and TV dramas that I have consumed have taught me (and ok, my parents and numerous sermons as well), it’s the decisions and choices that I make now that determine where my life, and my identity are going end up (although when exactly is this end point? Surely people are always growing and changing? At least this is what I hope).
I’m going to do this. I don’t want to waste my life away on the theory that I’ll figure it all out tomorrow. I love music. I love design. I love fiction. I love my family. I love my friends. I love the better, whole and restored world that awaits us. I love that we have all been invited to participate in bringing that world about. I love the Rolling Stones. I love dreaming. I love hoping. I love possibilities.
So this is where I stand. I’ll check in soon and let you know of the music and the dreams and the ideas that God and I have discovered together.
And now, to Oasis.
For the last few months, and let’s face it, the majority of my life, my room has been a complete mess. I am one of those proud owners of a floordrobe, who drops something on the ground and thinks, “Oh, I’ll pick that up later.”
My room is a separate storage area for plates, water glasses, books, envelopes, pieces of paper with lists on them, packets of now soft chewing gum (so disgusting) and bobby pins. It has always been like this. Ever since I was young, I can remember cleaning my room was one of those jobs that took the whole of Sunday afternoon. This may or may not have been caused by my severe lack of enthusiasm, and the continual discovery of a book that I didn’t even necessarily like, but was grateful for any sort of distraction, regardless of the fact that I found it under a shirt that really did need a wash but never really made it to the washing machine, or the washing basket.
So yeah, I hate cleaning and I’m really lazy.
Over the last little while I’ve really come to understand what the difference between being lazy and apathetic is. And not the nice easy way like reading a fairly comprehensive book on the subject or watching an in depth documentary or something interesting. But by feeling that numb, oppressive feeling where you can’t bring yourself to do anything worthwhile and so you resign yourself to hitting refresh on Facebook for a few hours a night. Yep, I know how to have fun. Every now and then I’ll have these bursts of inspiration, ie. starting an etsy store, but soon after I’ll go back to watching episode after episode of House and feeling lame*. The thought of cleaning my room often drifts through my mind as a practical way of refreshing myself, but of course, this usually ends with me standing up, looking at a stray sock lying on the ground for a few minutes and then sitting down at my computer again.
Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.
Jonathan Safran Foer
is astoundingly relevant to my predicament. I am surrounded by images that used to inspire me, music that I used to frequently rant about, and books that used to give me butterflies of excitement, but I feel incapable of doing anything. My old self, the one who is crazy about design and wants to use it to make a change in the world, seems so distant now and unattainable.
Well, this is rather depressing isn’t it? The good news, or bad news depending on how you interpret it, is that we got a letter from our Real Estate agent telling us that we have a rental inspection today. Resulting in me spending yesterday afternoon cleaning my room. The effects of which are already beginning to take hold on my current melancholic** state. Well that and dropping the subject I hate the most this semester. I feel better. A bit more excited. A bit more in love with design. A bit more alive.
I think I’m going to go home and draw something.
*Not that House is lame. House is fantastic.
**Melancholy is seriously one of the best words in the world. Yes, I am a four on the enneagram.
This is just a little plug, but I opened an esty store tonight to sell some illustrative work!
This is all I’ve added so far, but there’s more to come. My shops name is Little Miss Merricat, after Shirley Jackson brilliant and yeas a little creepy book, We’ve Always Lived in the Castle.
I wish I’d done this sooner! Designing stuff for fun is getting me more and more inspired!
Hello all (yes all you hoards of people who read my blog)…
This may not be the groundbreaking, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll change your life, kind of blog, but I am in the mood for procrastinating and am subjecting all of you devoted readers out there to my ramblings about things that I’m sure will make no sense.
I just spent an extraordinarily long time reading a blog called Food Coma, and no, I am not a big “cooking” kind of person. But I do quite like reading.
And Emma, the author of this blog is rather charming. No, she is not the next Steinbeck or Vonnegut, but she makes me laugh. A lot. And I really love to read, and hear about people who make careers out of the things they love. And plenty of Clueless and Winona references, because I just love Winona.
Anyway. What am I saying?
I’m saying that I am enjoying some parts of my course. SOME. Because Package Design can just go and die. But Branding and Identity is wonderful. I spent hours on PINTEREST last night. FOR AN ASSIGNMENT. Wow.
This is what it looked like. How excellent. And funnnnn!
Hmmm…I should eat/actually do the homework I’ve been meaning to do all day.
But I will leave you with a quote I found in one of my text books that I quite liked the sound of.
Printed materials should be allowed to affect thought patterns, facilitate problem solving, and, in general, penetrate the “life of the mind.”
Elizabeth E. Eisenstein.
Au revoir, my lovely readers x
I’ve done something similar to this in the past on my old blog. I’m going to make it easier on myself and only post this once a week.
These are three songs that I have been listening to obsessively over the last week.
Cannon Ball, The Breeders
The Suburbs (Arcade Fire cover), Mr Little Jeans
1979, Smashing Pumpkins
Feel free to recommend music to me! I’m always interested to hear new things.
‘Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
One Day, David Nicholls
Just finished this book and thought I’d share a paragraph. I think it kind of makes me excited to be alive. And not just because of the ‘Change lives through art’ part. All of it speaks of optimism, having adventures, learning new things, falling down and picking yourself back up again. This way of living seems much more honest and real to what I’m used to. I’m tired of feeling guilty and for not doing enough or not doing anything at all.
I don’t know. These words just took my breath away.
I love books.