Pets don’t come with instruction manuals but owners don’t need one to decode their furry friends’ emotions. As I tiptoe down the stairs at 6 in the morning and I nestle on the sofa between my dogs, I know that Ottie’s tongue showering my face is a sign of affection and Portia’s head in my lap signifies comfort and trust.
Recently I have felt a little overwhelmed by the myriad things that come across my plate every day. All of it manageable – but in all honestly – I don’t think I am making the best use of my time. Somehow, my end of the sofa seems to have contracted – and I want to address it.
More than anything – I want to clear out the expectations I have of myself so that I can look around with clarity.
Fear is padding around on little cat feet in the lives of too many people I love.
The first email I opened on Tuesday morning was from camparigirl. We’d had a conversation a few nights before about managing the disquiet we felt about a future that suddenly seemed so unpredictable and malevolent.
“Let’s embrace the possibility of possibility”, we’d agreed. “Look outward with optimism. Can only help. We’re all going to die at some point anyway – may as well live until then.”
Do any of you have a drawer like this? It’s in my kitchen, it’s the second drawer down, I use it every day: it always looks like this.
Things get stuck inside other things, things get put in the wrong way round, upside down, unconfined, out of order. Things lie against the grain. Sideways on. I can never find what I want for looking. And it drives me bananas.
Shea Glover is an 18-year-old student at a performing arts high school in Chicago. She created an independent art project around the idea of beauty – asking her fellow students to allow her to take a photo of them. When they wondered why – she simply replied: “Because I am photographing things that I think are beautiful.”
I saw this on pintrest the other day and thought it was worth a share. A reminder, as the the end of year and holidays approach – that we should take as good care of ourselves as we do of the small creatures we love. Now I am off to take my pooch for a walk outside. Have a happy weekend.
I thought I would end this week with some wise words.
camparigirl and I have both written about the impact the Patti Smith concert had on us. For her it was to get out of her head and back into her youth – a reminder that challenges could be overcome. For me it was clearing out the cobwebs and sketchy dragons that have been lurking in my mental bat-caves.
One of the effects of our time in New York was that it turned down the noise in camparigirl’s mind. Dampening it to a soft burr: one she could tolerate as we tramped the streets of Manhattan. At times, though: the hum would amplify from white noise to an audible crackle, a sharp blast of feedback. I would hear it happen – and watch as the din changed the way she interacted with the people bedevilling her on the phone. I saw how it blurred her immediate environment and telescoped her in on a possibility – one that made her soul shriek and holler.
One we never named.
I’m writing this from a sofa in Brooklyn, at 10.29 am, still in my pyjamas, after a breakfast that included steel-cut oatmeal with honey and berries and a giant mug of hot sweet coffee. Camparigirl has been bustling around the apartment with the vacuum cleaner (we’ve been here four days) and I now hear the sploshing of water – which means she has a mop out too. All of which makes me smile.
campari&sofa was created on another sofa, in Rome, three years ago. And, while we Skype every week and email all the time: we haven’t hung out together since. But the scene in our rented apartment in an almost-hip part of a suburb over the water from Manhattan, just proves that the more things change the more they stay the same. We could be right back in the eternal city or even further back: in our little flat, in Stockwell, living directly above the northern line – 25 years ago. Here’s why: