When my mother or grandmother would be like, “Where are you going? You need to be home by midnight.” I was like, “That’s cute. That’s super cute. Because, number one, I’m not smoking, I’m not drinking, I’m not pregnant. My GPA is as close to 4.0 as you can get without actually being a 4.0. So this is rather arbitrary, and I’ll see you when I see you.”

Karen’s blog was one of the first ones I ever followed properly in the very first days when I started blogging. There was this little group of us who’d comment on each other’s posts, developing inside jokes and appearing in little URL’d cameos across Blogger. Karen even got married to someone in that circle (they sent me their beautiful invitation in the mail), and now they’re expecting a baby!

That little group followed me when I moved to Wordpress, and we kept up with each other on Facebook and Twitter as we left our old blogging and commenting days behind. Karen’s the only one now that still blogs (in the “old” way) regularly, and less often than I’d like I pop in to check up on what’s happening.

She’s been through so much, but throughout she’s maintained her sense of humour, her humility, her generosity, and her kindness. I don’t know quite how to express this, but it’s an honour to be known by her, to have had someone like her keep an eye on me as I grew up on these wild Internets. She knew me when I was 17, just a wee baby blogger using way too much coloured text. I’m glad I haven’t disappointed her since. 


There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” - JK Rowling

Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia? The ones where she wears nylons and elegant blouses when she wants to, and short skirts and bright lipstick when she wants to, and hiking boots and tough jeans and big men’s plaid shirts when she feels like backpacking out into the mountains and remembering what it was to be lost in a world full of terrific beauty— I know her siblings say she stops talking about it, that Susan walks away from the memories of Narnia, but I don’t think she ever really forgot.

I want to read about Susan finishing out boarding school as a grown queen reigning from a teenaged girl’s body. School bullies and peer pressure from children and teachers who treat you like you’re less than sentient wouldn’t have the same impact. C’mon, Susan of the Horn, Susan who bested the DLF at archery, and rode a lion, and won wars, sitting in a school uniform with her eyebrows rising higher and higher as some old goon at the front of the room slams his fist on the lectern. 

Susan living through WW2, huddling with her siblings, a young adult (again), a fighting queen and champion marksman kept from the action, until she finally storms out against screaming parents’ wishes and volunteers as a nurse on the front. She keeps a knife or two hidden under her clothes because when it comes down to it, they called her Gentle, but sometimes loving means fighting for what you care for. 

(Source: ifallelseperished, via prawnsofthetiger)


Question: When you were twenty-nine, you wrote that there were two women in you: “one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning, and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, and despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.” How did you master yourself?

Anais Nin: One continually leaps over the negative. I haven’t yet reached a point where I’m courageous every day. And the struggle keeps my diary alive. Now I have a sense of harmony, of integration. I feel free. The two women are there in me, but they don’t tear at each other. They live in peace.

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening […] Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.

I was fifty-five. I’d wanted to be a writer for so long the dream was part of me, like an organ, an extra heart. I woke with it each morning, plots and dialogue spooling in my head. I drove to work with it and fell asleep with it at night. In my mind I was already there. My novels were in libraries and bookstores. Literary awards and rave reviews were framed in my writer’s den. I appeared on Oprah, Ellen and Letterman. I was witty. Skinny too.

Only one thing was missing. I wasn’t writing.

Not that I hadn’t been busy. Two failed marriages. A single mom twice over. I’d supported my family, clawed my way up the ranks from lowly clerk typist to Executive Director of a state agency. I’d put the two oldest through college.

Excuses. All of it.

When our breasts arrived
as a kind of currency, we’d tug
our camisoles low, use
our newfangled bodies to haggle
with the ice cream man. The winner
was the girl who received her chocolate cone
for free, who sucked on candy cigarettes
the same way she wore a training bra.
That summer my pockets grew forests
of hand-tied maraschino cherry stems:
tampered evidence that I might one day be worthy
of kissing. In exchange for rides
on the handlebars of their bikes,
we’d let the boys bite
the beads off our candy
necklaces until the chokers
resembled punched out teeth.
From their slobber, blue and violet
stained my throat where the sweetness
had once been, so I suppose,
Your Honor, I was preparing
for him.

– Megan Falley, “Beginning in an Ice Cream Truck and Ending in a Court Room” (via fleurishes)

(via passade)

YOLO, etc.


Wanting to experience something new is not the same as actually doing it. The wanting is not enough. Place is not permanent.

I keep a long selection of files on my phone: lists, writing notes, full-length essays written on hour-long commutes to the North side. Yesterday, I sat and went through the notes and recognized a longing for thoughts and places and things that no longer exist. 

Growing older is the realization that everything is not possible. Growing older means accepting that what ifs are a given and that things will slip by again and again. 

“You only live once” is a crippling phrase, one that should inspire, but frequently produces dread. It has gained a sense of urgency within the past year. My friend Gabe - a jovial, kind music enthusiast - frequently writes “yolo” in text messages and online conversations. Rather than elicit inspiration, I am reminded of the lack I’ve felt from an early age. 

Age controls. What does it mean to be young? To be young is to be free. But also, to be young is to have options. 

Read this wonderful thing my friend wrote about his childhood in Zambia!


I spent my childhood growing up in both the UK and Zambia. As 90s kids in Zambia, until we got satellite TV around 1999 we only had the one TV channel, ZNBC. We used to come home from school, mess about in the garden until 17:00, then go inside and watch a little film of the national anthem being performed to signify the beginning of that day’s television programming. We then watched reruns of Fat Albert, He-Man, Voltron and other similar cartoons for about an hour. At midnight, after the A-Team, the multi-lingual news and then all the serious programmes, the same film of the national anthem would play shortly before the channel returned to static.

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