A Few Catch Up Words

Saturday, 18 June 2011



Wow, what a week I had, I'm glad I took a break. I have a lot of catching up to do, and here are a few catch up words of my own ...

: : A copy of The Australian Ballet's completed Elegy program was placed in my hands this week, which happens to feature an article by me. It's truly one of the most visually beautiful and artistically compiled programs I've ever come across, I'm so proud to have my words within it:

elegy program

: : Ever since Anabela mentioned my blog here, I've been meaning to pay it forward. Blogs that are more wordy and writerly tend to get sidelined in comparison with blogs dominated by images, so I wanted to return the compliment by introducing you to some of my favourite wordy, writerly and thought-provoking blogs, such as Dada Doesn't Catch Flies, Fluid Imaginings, The Penguin Blog, Spike, Siberian Ginseng, Shake and Tumble, La Vie en Bleu, Groteskology, Coffee and Pie, Field Notes from Fairy Land and Overland Literary Journal Blog. What I like about these blogs is that they make me think, step away from myself, and consider different perspectives and ideas. Not to be all preachy, but I think blogs shouldn't just be about consuming pretty images, but also about consuming thought. But then again, I have nothing against pretty images.

: : I've been spending the past week mulling over the truth of these words:

Spending the evening in candlelight, and maybe by the fire, with no TV, talking, telling stories, letting the lit-up world go by without us, expands the hours, and alters the kind of thoughts and conversations we have.

I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing- their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses.

To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to be done, not a background to thought.

-Jeanette Winterson, "Why I Adore the Night", published in The Guardian on Saturday 31 October, 2009.

: : And more importantly, I've been endlessly comforted by poems over the past week. This poem stood out:

'The Camera Obscura' by John Addington Symonds (1840-1893)

Inside the skull the wakeful brain,
Attuned at birth to joy and pain,
Dwells for a lifetime; even as one
Who in a closed tower sees the sun
Cast faint-hued shadows, dim or clear,
Upon the darkened disc: now near,
Now far, they flit; while he, within,
Surveys the world he may not win:
Whate'er he sees, he notes; for nought
Escapes the net of living thought;
And what he notes, he tells again
To last and build the brains of men.
Shades are we; and of shades we weave
A trifling pleasant make-believe;
Then pass into the shadowy night,
Where formless shades blindfold the light.


Why did this particular poem resonate with me? Who knows, it just did. But reading it over and over again, late at night, in a bed filled with piles of other books and poems, it stood out like a little beacon. I don't really question why something moves me anymore, I'm just curious about the process of how certain words attach themselves to our consciousness at certain moments in our lives.

But tell me, what have you been up to?


Ella said...

congratulations on your article....i'm sure your writing being featured was well deserved :)

i'm off to check out the blogs you have mentioned in this post...i'm all for pretty images (which i think i obsess over far too much), but a blog that explores something with deeper meaning deserves some attention:)

Sanna said...

Thank you for the mention - I see I'm in good company :-)

(I suspect that's also the forst time the word 'writerly' has been used to describe my ramblings...)

Congratulations on your article - it seems you're in demand!

Lyndall said...

It seems like your little break was very productive! Congratualtions on your article too :)

I must admit I am quite fond of blogs that feature pretty images. But I like blogs that are well-written and thought provking too, sometimes it's nice to have a little more substance.

jodeska said...

Hope you're feeling better! I love the words written about darkness and night, food for thought.

I'm in Hoi An at the moment kicking myself over being ripped off by a tailor. Other then that the lanterns are beautiful and we've finally gotten to swim in a beach! (I miss Bondi)

Christine said...

A beautiful poem. I need to be more like you and spend my evenings in bed surrounded by books and poems rather than my laptop. And thanks for the blog recommendations.

Amelia said...

Congratulations on your article.

Thanks for the list of 'wordy' blogs, I hate seeing blogs that are 99% pictures and 1% information.

See Hear Say said...

congrats on your article, a very productive blogging break indeed!

i also love the 'why i adore the night' article.

i have been trying to be productive on my end too, i have so many photos to go through and putting them online..

have a nice weekend hila!

heleen said...

It's great to hear from you, and this seems like a post brimming with positivity and beauty. It lit up my insides, for a while.

That excerpt from Winterson's article is beautiful. I can't wait for long summer nights by candlelight, friends, perhaps a bottle of wine. Whispering secrets, fears, have the night sky soothe your sorrows...

Danielle P. said...

Hila, congratulations on your article's publication! Thank you for your generosity in sharing these fantastic blogs with us; all have been bookmarked and will be visited when time allows.

The Jeanette Winterson quote brought back to mind evenings at the cottage and those quiet, reflective moments spent hypnotized by the glassy surface of the lake in the growing darkness before the generator was turned on. I wish there were such spaces of time in my life now.

Caitlin Rose said...

I certainly feel that sometimes all I do is look at pretty pictures, and then when I leave my house, and talk to the outside world, I feel as though I have nothing to share with them anymore. And then I have to stop blogging for awhile, watch the news, read a bit, that sort of thing. I'll definitely check out these blogs, since school has ended I need some new perspectives on things!

I turned 24 recently, so lately I've been doing a lot of reflection, perhaps too much. So I think that now it may be time to go outside, and step into the light.

If Jane said...

oh bravo bravo!
what have i been doing as of late? trying to die less ignorant...xxn

Tana said...

happy to see you back :)
congrats on the article, the image is so moving!
bon, very productive break :)

Tracey said...

Welcome back, dear Hila.
Your article looks splendid ... what a delightful feature.

And I must send you a million thanks for the gorgeous "why i adore the night" snipped you shared ... my goodness, that speaks to me in so many ways. I shall do some mulling now too...

I've been in organisation mode, trying to get things in order ... but perhaps I'm not quite ready to call my efforts a success just yet ...

Have a wonderful start to the week! :)

Gwyneth said...

Thank you for the kind mention. I will strive to deserve it, as I've been a bit hesitant to blog of late :)

Love the quote about 'artificial' light. It is so true. Candle light is nice for deep conversations: seems easier to make confessions and discuss more intimate things when your face is hidden in shadow.

The above fore-mentioned. said...

Thanks also for the mention Hila.

Great news about your article. Well done on being a super achiever!

Ashley said...

I love that poem too, and I'm glad that there are bloggers like you who actually write about things with some substance.

I know I personally get really insecure if I think that I'm sharing too much, so I tend to shy away from more substantial topics. I'm going to try to get more comfortable writing about what I want to in the future.

Also, I seem to see a lot of the young girls and women kind of balking at the idea of longer, wordier posts, as they seem to view it as being self indulgent. It's unfortunate.

I always look forward to reading what you write! xx

Sally said...

I love that candlelight quote. My recent move left me without cable and I just realized - "wow, I haven't seen Law and Order in weeks - and I don't miss it! I've been taking walks in the evenings and baking!" - etc. Haha. It's the little steps that really make a difference I find.

CloudyKim said...

Woah, I love the quotes about spending time with candlelight or in the dark to converse and think. I have to say that I can still write with lights on, but at night I always find myself mulling things over. I'm more thoughtful because I can't quite look at anything and I'm all snugly in my bed, haha.

Nighttime is my favorite time to listen to music. I feel like it's more private when the rest of the world is turned off while the music blasts through my ears :)

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I too will be thinking of these Jeanette Winterson words for quite some time. Wonderful excerpt. I'm off to read more. Thank you.

naomemandeflores said...

You are so right about thought-provoking blogs! I usually come to your blog to step away from myself and consider different perspectives. It's so worth it!

Camila Faria

hila said...

ella: thanks sweetie! I love pretty images, but like you said, wordy blogs need some love too :)

sanna: my pleasure dumpling ;) you most certainly are in good company. I'm wouldn't say I'm in demand, more like a few offers here and there.

lyndall: thanks! and don't get me wrong, I think visual blogs are substantial too, it's just that they tend to get way more attention than wordy ones, which can be a little unfair at times.

jodeska: I read about you getting ripped off on twitter - karma will get them!

christine: I actually never bring my laptop to bed with me, it just ruins everything and makes me stressed. Only books :)

amelia: thanks! and I agree.

see hear say/laura: I'm loving your photos, especially the melbourne ones - swoon! can't wait to visit.

heleen: oh that's so sweet, I'm so glad this post had such an affect on you :)

danielle: thank you! and 'evenings at the cottage and those quiet, reflective moments spent hypnotized by the glassy surface of the lake in the growing darkness before the generator was turned on' - gosh, I want to be there too!

caitlin rose: you're a spring chicken, I'm turning 28 soon, my reflecting will be filled with some mild panic ;)

if jane: that's a worthy endeavour - not to mention your film :)

tana: thank you sweetheart!

tracey: thanks! I'm in organisation mode all the time these days, sigh ...

gwyneth: yes, shadows aren't bad things, they can be really comforting at times. And of course you deserve it!

the above fore-mentioned/fiona: super-achiever=super stressed, I need to calm down soon :)

ashley: I used to feel like that too, but you know, life's too short to be stuck in self-doubt and hesitation. Also, I personally think we get more secure about these things as time goes by.

sally: I know, I have a feeling I'm becoming too depenedent on my tv :)

cloudykim: I feel exactly the same way, I love crawling into bed, listening to my ipod and just thinking. It's a luxury that often belongs to the night, we don't have 'time' for it throughout the day.

denise: my pleasure, I love winterson too.

camila: oh thank you!