All things come to a beginning

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dear Mr Cartwright

I'm halfway through your "The Promise of Happiness" now - and eager to continue reading later today. A family: mom, dad, Juliette, Charlie and Sophie - all struggling with life. The oldest character is frustrated because it may have already passed by (did I marry the wrong person? Why are all of our friends old and fat and burnt out? When did I turn into someone I look down on when I see them walking down the street? Why can't I make myself less helpless?). The youngest one is unable to dig her heels into the ground and keeps floundering - the wrong friends, bad habits, self-destruction. Another is about to tie the knot with the mother of his child, and already feels a resentment and physical disinterest for her usually reserved for long-married couples. And without exception, everyone feels guilty and inadequate, like they should be able to do better at life, to meet expectations more, to fill their own shoes properly.

No matter which stage of our life we're in or which turn we're about to take, it seems we always look over our shoulder to what should have been or straight ahead to what might be - we yearn and claw and hang on tight until one day we see the back of the train diminishing against the horizon and find ourselves alone on the platform. Why didn't we board? Why did we simply stand there, gazing at our own deformed reflection in the darkened window?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Turning a page

"Theater aan Zee" is not just about theatre - there's a caleidoscope of things going on, against the deliciously clichéd backdrop of the Belgian city of Oostende. And it was one of those rare artsy events that gives art and culture a good name. I have phases where I couldn't care less about plays, poems or performances. Where I look at it as a waste of time, money and energy and something only a shamefully wealthy part of the world can indulge in. As an upper class self-referential self-congratulatory useless get the picture. But not so this weekend! This weekend I saw young people with undiscovered (luckily not for themselves) talent, I saw photos that made me want to be a photographer, actors who made me want to take to the stage and heard about books that make me want to rent an isolated cottage and dig in.

1. The book to come - the panel raved about this one, could be worth a read.

2. The book I read on the train ride over. Love this writer - his work is a bit postmodern: a lack of linearity, multiple perspectives, unanswered questions, loops and repetitions and surreal characters who always turn out to be one and the same person and consistently have red hair, broken bodies and very creative ways to consume strawberries. Sensual, sensuous, books to drown in.

3. The book I bought this weekend and have started reading this morning on the bus. I've read "Leading the Cheers" by the same author, but this one looks to be even better. I was going to go to the library on Saturday instead of the book store (I needed to get my hands on some books, I was getting so desperate to find new material at home I had actually started in "Roots", the Kunta Kinte book. 'Nuff said), but predictably I didn't get there til 5.30, after closing time (I love how it's open on weekdays and closed all day Sunday. God forbid the library staff would have to work on days where other people actually have time to come in and browse). So off to the second hand store it was - looking for familiar names, fair prizes and promising covers.

Art isn't silly. Like so many other things, it's about having the courage to dismiss what you don't like, regardless of current "taste", and following your personal preferences. Follow your gut and you're bound to be satisfied.

On track

What an incredibly satisfying weekend. On Thursday I went to the opening night of a new exhibit with a girl I've known since I was about 4. The next night I bartended at a birthday party. It'd been close to a year since I last found myself there, but the beers, free champagne and anything-but-virgin mojitos flowed through my hands surprisingly smoothly. Having fun coworkers, an awesome DJ and generally good mojo definitely helped.

Saturday was all about bringing the Toronto feeling home. I went shopping, found a cute pair of 80s style pumps in a second hand store, and met up with a good friend for lunch at a new place called "Nosh". The owners are Belgian-American and have done an amazing job at recreating the North American diner atmosphere: muffins, bagels, smoothies, coffee on your table before you've even uttered the word, lots of small talk, laughs and pats on the back and a general easy-does-it demeanor. Good times - I think I may have found my new Future's Bakery! More shopping in the afternoon, more friends, and then I hit the town flyering for AmuseeVous. People were surprisingly friendly (especially older people and men, I have to say. Women can be pretty damn cold. The prettier the colder and more snooty, in fact. Shame) and by 8.30 - just as the sky was getting overcast - I had distributed my stack of flyers, went home, kicked off my shoes, and settled down with a big kettle of tea.

Yesterday, I trained it up to Oostende for "Theater Aan Zee" with my friend Eva. A beautifully sunny day by the seaside, some culture - with some Vero Moda and H&M thrown in bien sûr - and hours of chatting with a girl who offers a delightful combination of sarcasm and sincere concern.
These past few days were a breath of fresh air and truly the first time in a while that I felt happy, relaxed and...well. In the words of Acda&De Munnik: "Als het vuur gedoofd is, dan komen de wolven". It is of the essence to throw a new log on the fire once in a while, and to watch the beautifully unpredictable sparks. I had somehow dozed off into hibernation, forgotten what I'm about, and what is at my fingertips waiting for me to be picked up. Friends, trips, food, books, clothes, socializing, culture, music, train rides. I can find everything I need right here in Belgium, and more.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kroniek van een aangekondigde rammeling

Drie dagen geleden, Leuven. Sofie komt even langs om post op te halen.

Papa: "Zeg eh...laat niet met uw voeten rammelen, he?"
Sofie (stopt met sms-en): "Hoezo?"
Papa: "Oh, ik weet niet, door mannen die sms-en ofzo"
Sofie: "Ach papa, gerammeld wordt er sowieso, heb ik de indruk".

Profetische woorden! But it's all good. Everything's so much clearer now. En mijn voeten weer stevig op de grond, right where I like them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Opinion piece

"About five years ago I was checking my email in a cybercafe in Sydney. Being nosey, I began sneaking discreet peeks at my neighbours' computer screens. On my left, an American backpacker was writing to a man she'd met in India, debating whether they should arrange to meet again and take their relationship further or whether they should leave it as it was, as a Bogart-and-Bergman we'll-always-have-Dharamsala memory. On my right, a man in a turban was writing to a woman not his wife about how his wife did not understand him. It struck me that everybody on the net is sitting alone at a computer screen, and many of them are wishing they weren't alone, while also, often, in some deep way, preferring that they are alone and being nervous of the alternative. Sit someone at a computer screen and let it sink in that they are fully, definitively alone; then watch what happens. They will reach out for other people; but only part of the way. They will have "friends", which are not the same thing as friends, and a lively online life, which is not the same thing as a social life; they will feel more connected, but they will be just as alone. Everybody sitting at a computer screen is alone. Everybody sitting at a computer screen is at the centre of the world. Everybody sitting at a computer screen, increasingly, wants everything to be all about them. This is our first glimpse of what people who grow up with the net will want from the net. One of the cleverest things about MySpace is the name".


Caught between 12 en 42

One of the best things about having finished school and started working - other than the delicious clichés of the life of a young professional (BO issues with fellow passengers on public transportation, sharing a house with friends and having to face them when you come home at 8 in the morning, writing blog posts on your work computer) - is having my nights wide open to reboost my social life. I have no papers to write, no books to plow through, and instead: plenty of bars, barbeques and belated friend encounters. Sitting down after a movie with a friend the other night, she zinged one of those statements that makes your bone structure click: "I've gotta say, you're the only person I know who's both a 12-year old and a 40-year old".

It's not the first time someone's told me that, I think actually Alli was the first one to blast "You're a 40-year old trapped in a 20-year old's body!" at me (over the phone, when I hesitated to pack my bags and leave for a backpacking trip uh, like, right now). And it's so true it makes my eyelids flutter.

The 12-year old in me enjoys building sand castles, watching glamorous ladies on tv and magazines and thinking about how one day when I'm all grown up I'm going to be just so. I listen to the pop music channel, get too carried away when it comes to Boyz 'n Men (they played that "Til the end of the Road" song on the radio the other day, MAN, 1992 is way underappreciated), hide out in my old room at my parents' house, playing around with scrapbooks and photo albums, think sleeping in a tent or on the floor is fun & adventurous, and try to overcome all kinds of awkwardness and insecurities as best as I can.

The 42-year old in me takes things far too seriously, feels an immense pressure to do better than average, thinks a lot about money & how not to lose it, is hopelessly cynical and defensive when it comes to men, listens to the jazz and classical channels, reads "Teach yourself [insert language/skill/instrument/kitchen appliance]" books voluntarily, is incapable of irresponsible actions and gets giddy only after half a bottle of wine.

And yet, I like to think I'm taking a decent shot at the middle road too. And somehow, the right people know - or will learn - how to deal with the bipolar age issue. Hang in there, I'll grow into my personality eventually.

Monday, July 23, 2007

When other people say it better

"Dat zit meer vanbinnen dan vanbuiten. Je ziet het niet altijd, het knagen. En ik voel het meer dan dat zij het doen, denk ik. Wellicht beeld ik me regelmatig in dat er aan me geknaagd wordt, terwijl er in werkelijkheid alleen maar iemand wil knabbelen"
Uit -

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's in your eyes (part trois)

I haven't come up with a name for it yet but for now I'll call it the "Public Transportation Rating". Your PTR refers to your desirability as someone to sit next to on the bus or train. I have a very high rating. It happens regularly that out of all the empty seats, people choose the one next to me. I don't take up more space than my own seat, I'm usually reading and minding my own business, no loud music blasting out of my head phones, I try to monitor my BO, I'm a young woman...and all of that put together apparently makes me entirely non-threatening to the average passenger.

And more than anything, the fact that I'm white, blonde and blue-eyed. I took the bus home Friday night, rush hour, pretty packed, and sat down next to a black man. I looked around and noticed that the four or five empty seats left in the bus all just happened to be next to the four or five black passengers on the bus. As the bus drove on, more and more people got on, looked around, got visibly uncomfortable...and decided to stand. In that little space in front of the doors. I couldn't believe my eyes. The absurdity of having four, five people choosing to stand up for a good half hour when there were available seats in front of their nose - it was such a blatant rejection of human beings, I felt like bursting into tears. I was embarrassed and frustrated, but too much of a coward to say anything. Fuck. I'm not claiming Rosa Parks status or that I'm free of prejudice or racism myself, but it's been a day and I still can't wrap my head around what I saw.

"De culturele diversiteit van ons land, als we ze goed beleven, is een geweldige troef", aldus koning Albert.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Felices y comieron perdices

Hardcore cynics - you know who you are, it's a big part of why we're friends - who think life ends after the "I do" part, take a look at this: Lieve and James, who married last summer, are embarking on a South American adventure in Ecuador. They'll be working with a non-profit organisation called IntiSisa and will be keeping a blog. I started my Canada blog a few months prior to take-off too, so I'm cool posting the link a bit early:
For those who are impatient for Far Away Adventures - and can read Flemish - a group of TV Brussels reporters is driving 11000 kilometres, all the way to Beijing in 5 weeks' time. They're keeping people back home in the know via
They're hoping to come out of this
* alive
* with an excellent travel documentary under their belt
* able to donate the cars & a hefty sum to charity
Sometimes I think the surest way to happiness is climbing up a hill. On the steep side. "Simple" is not a bad word, au contraire. It's "easy" you want to look out for. If you see it heading toward you, do a quick shoulder check left & right and get your ass to the other side of the street.

Feast your eyes

After having passed a nuit blanche, I sleepwalked myself through the day yesterday. I think I may have been a wee bit hungover too, reading made me spontaneously nauseous. So instead of checking my regular pit stops yesterday, I spent some more time on the photo blogs (I know, isn't my job stressful? I may need to start considering vitamin supplements). They continue to stun me. Check out:
- (local prodigies) - recently a spin-off came into being for the Antwerp region. Both of these are very much about celebrating the beauty and sometimes absurdity of the day-to-day urban environment.
- (Downtown Toronto throughout the seasons, with some travel pics from Europe)
- (pics found on the street, hidden in old pieces of furniture or left in library books, a treat for the melancholic soul)
If you're more of a moving-images kinda fella or gal, I recommend coming down to the botanical garden this weekend for one of three previously discussed movies. It may not be dry, but it's sure to be cosy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Inner voice

I sat down with a coworker for lunch yesterday, and embarked on what I thought was pleasant conversation about all sorts of things: how train station neighborhoods always seem sketchy, how awkward encounters with bums are, his girlfriend's career plans, stuff that's happened to friends of ours, and the food on our plates. A good twenty minutes in, we're talking about how some people are the life of the party while others never say a word. He goes: "You know, sometimes I kinda like when no one says anything. I mean, I don't think it's necessary to constantly be talking over lunch. We're all in the same office all day anyway, so on my break, I want to just finish my plate and chill, nice and quiet. Especially when it's busy". I was very relieved to hear him add that last bit, because as of now things are super calm what with everyone being on summer hiatus. I smiled and said "I'll remember that once September rolls around" and we had a laugh about it, but I still felt a bit self-conscious about having chatted so much when maybe he'd been looking forward to a quiet lunch. I haven't been here long, we don't know each other that well, it seems to me that a silence would have been awkward at this stage. So I made conversation.

Then very early this morning, I'm sitting in a car - passenger's seat, bien sûr. I know they call it the "dead man's seat", which, you know, I'd feel a lot more comfortable with something like "rainbow seat" or "kitten lying in the grass on its back seat" but I guess you have to just go with what's on the buzz table, even if that table has been set by morbid car constructers, still my favorite seat by far - in the early hours, driving along a gorgeous sunset, past foggy fields that almost make you think Belgium can actually be quite pretty, with just the right kind of tune on the radio. A bit groggy from festival jetlag after roaming the streets of Ghent all night, but otherwise feeling excellent. And not saying a word.

I try not to ramble on. I also try not to kill the mood by being silent as the grave. But anything in between that, it's a tough balance to strike. I don't even want to think about all the time, energy and brain cells I've wasted fretting about "should I call? Should I email? Should I send a text? Or just say nothing?" - to talk or not to talk, to say or not to say, to go all contortionist and overanalytical or do just do what you feel like and not give a hoot about whether you might come off as too eager/loud/quiet. Bah.

Luckily, you don't need words to connect to people, as demonstrated on These pictures and drawings took form at the Cactus Festival - I didn't notice anything like this going on when I was there, but then, I was probably too busy chatting about what bands I wanted to see and how you can't just make up new rules in the middle of a game.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Angry faces

Doctors Without Borders (AZG) launched a new campaign a few weeks (months?) ago, with messages in a bottle as a motif. During the four-day Werchter music festival they extended their campaign, and gave people the opportunity to express their anger at the injustice in the world as far as access to medical care and poverty in general are concerned. A "best of" selection of every festival day is now available on

Maybe it's me, but the large majority of these festivalgoers end up half-smiling in their shot, looking wide-eyed, surprised or just plain confused. Turns out people, especially those who are enjoying live music, are really bad at making an angry face. That might just be the best news I've heard all day.

I dare you

- "So, how come you're single?"
- "I don't know!"
- "Isn't it just that you're scared?"

An online relationship test I did a few months ago threw this at me: "Maybe you aren't cynical. Just a little cautious. Either way, you've managed to keep your head on your shoulders. You do have a little bit of misanthropy going on up in there, but hey, when you build your solar powered cabin in the woods everything will be fine [...] Your best seduction move: be your honest and insightful self. A straight shooter (even a slightly damaged one) is a fine catch for anyone". Cautious? Misanthropy? Slightly damaged? True, true and true.

I still refuse to make a project out of it. Last night, I even crossed out a ripening Amélie plan. You know the kind. Writing a sweet note, making an arts&crafts kinda gift, playing off an inside joke, sliding something into a mail box or underneath a door, picturing the moment when they'll find it, frown, grin and fall for you a little more cause you're, oh so different and original and whimsically adorable. Been there, done that. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with that approach per se, and god knows i'd appreciate in someone else, I'm just...kinda done with it. I don't know if it works. I don't know if it's not one of those myths girls hang on to cause it makes sense in their minds while guys couldn't care less about scrapbooks, cards and mysterious clues. And, most importantly, I don't find it very sincere. You're not really doing it for the other person, but to show off your own personality, are you not? I could be entirely wrong, but to me having to try too hard to "hook" someone is a red flag in and of itself. Aren't things supposed to flow naturally? If you have to stop the other person in their tracks and spell it out for them, using all sorts of intricate, creative, elaborate methods, doesn't that say enough about where you stand? Shouldn't it be a matter of spending time together, plain & simple?

Hey, I'm single, no rational reason to take my word for it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Silent Revolutions

You know that "Do one thing every day that scares you" mantra? I went there. Boy, did I go there. I signed up to be a guide at an art exhibit of abstract art right here in Leuven. It's on all summer, in Tweebronnen as well as the Botanical Garden (Kruidtuin) and I'm currently plowing through all the info I've found & have been given on the 13 artists. Page after page of bios, interviews, profiles and I'm Sharpie-ing my way through all of it in fluorescent blue (Can ya tell I'm not done being a student? The idea is that groups can sign up for a personal tour, after which the organization tracks down a volunteer who's available and willing to slip into her Chancart t-shirt (remarkably cute for being green).

I might die a little bit the first time I get a group of visitors handed to me. But it's something I want to try out - I've been kicking around the idea of working in a museum setting for a while now, so I figure this is a good way to get my toes wet. 13 artists, slightly more pieces, set up throughout the two sites. Some I think are phenomenal, like the Christoph Fink travel inventories. Others, to me, cross the line from abstract & quirky into "Jesus Christ, are they serio...oh, you're the artist? Hey, look, about the laughing and the pointing and the fishhook eyebrow and the mimicking a nasal huffy socially maladjusted French person, I didn't mean anything by that. No, really, that's art face. I can't help it. It's how I deal with the overwhelming depth of your...Oh man, don't make me say "piece"...piece". I'm working on finding something sincerely positive to say about each one - betcha I can do it.

In addition to the exhibit, the Silent Revolutions team is organising a few sideline events. July 21st through 23d, SR is joining forces with Cinema Zed in showing 3 open air films in the botanical gardens: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (genius, could watch it a million times, one of those movies that always seems applicable and relevant and strikes the perfect balance between tough and tender), "Little Miss Sunshine" (only one I haven't seen, supposed to be awesome and really, can you ever go wrong with Toni Colette?) and "The Village" (Saw this when it came out, the fact that I, who never ever catches on to these things, had the plot figured out within the first 15 minutes means either my popcorn was sprinkled with crack instead of salt OR the movie jusn't wasn't very cleverly done. On the other hand: Joaqui-hee-heen Phoenix. Yum.) So if the abstractness is a bit too "Wait, so you're saying it's the ambivalence of meaning or the absence of ambivalence?" for you, come in to watch a movie & take a look around. No tour guide telling you where to go & what to see, just a walk through the worlds of 13 creative minds. Worth your time, I promise.

Double cross

Hey you. So, I saw you at the festival a little while ago. I know! When it comes to live music, we cross paths. Granted, you probably go to half the gigs out there, but still.
It was good seeing you there, it had been a while, huh? You sort of half-looked at me and marched on, in a way that still makes me give you the benefit of the doubt and lean more towards "shy" than "arrogant prick". I'm going to be at that party next week that I'm sure you got invited to also. I'll be happy to get you a drink - nothing major, no hour-long conversation, I would simply hand you a drink, shoot you a smile and hope for more than that lame semi-glance you do. What do you say?

Give me sum

It's been a long time coming, but summer's finally creeping around the corner and throwing my neck of the woods a bone. All it took to get ready yesterday morning(s) was a sun dress and some flip flops, no need to bother with layering, straightening, covering, blushing or brushing. Even though my days are spent at the office, or maybe exactly thanks to that fact, I'm making the most of my nights & weekends. Watching bands on stage with my feet in the grass, flipping through extra thin newspapers with no supplements til September, building a sand castle surrounded by a shark infested moat, showing an ecstatic 2-year old the joys of a waterhose on a hot day, stacks of plastic beer cups, brides & grooms walking out of City Hall, looking up at the lanterns swaying over a chilled out street party, sitting out on a patio with some wine, knowing he'll spontaneously hand me his sweater when the early morning chill finally sets in. I'm living the traveling adventure by proxy, reading friends' emails and tasting the exotic thrills through their stories. And for now, that does the trick just fine.

Friday, July 13, 2007

No one's gonna lose this fight

My former roommate Tina & her friend Leigh-Ann stayed with me for a couple of days, good times, and inevitably the "When are you coming back to visit?" question popped up. I'd love to touch down in Pearson again... From the looks of it - with thanks to DailyDose, one of the most scintillating photo blogs out there, sober and modest in all its professionalism - the city's going to take some getting used to. The ROM on Bloor St. has finally opened, but apparently SAM on Yonge St. is out of business. No more browsing the racks on my way to Eaton Center. Pleased to meet you again, Toronto. I hope to see you soon.

Monday, July 09, 2007


I graduated yesterday, for the second time. Results were great for me and mine, and it was good to see some of my former profs again and catch up with them. It hasn't sunk in yet that - as is - I won't be part of the university scene anymore. But it's been a good ride, all six years. I learned, I met, I grew, I traveled, I accomplished. And the school's seen me off with a nice handshake: the internship that I got to do as part of my last programme was a big factor (next to skill and a whole lotta luck) in landing my current job. It's a good feeling to be invited back somewhere, to be welcome any time, to know that you left an impression the first time around that made people want to see more of you. Whether it's continued friendship, a second date, someone folding back the still-warm bed sheets on a Sunday morning, getting through to another round in a job application obstacle course, being asked to come back has got to be one of my favorite compliments.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

It's in your eyes (part deux)

I took the train to Brugge this weekend to go to the Cactusfestival - super packed, so I spent the entire ride on my feet in between carriages. I talked to a bunch of Spanish backpackers, a Belgian girl who spent a term in Madrid on exchange and hopes to graduate in September, an American tourist with a set of massive suitcases and a lady with two kids who hadn't taken the train in ten years. Consider me corrected.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mark my words

It boggles my mind how the family sitcom continues to work. The middle-class home, the overweight boorish dad, the stay-at-home MILF, a doofus teenage son, a sassy daughter and a precocious third child, a few obnoxious family members/neighbours thrown in, marinated in a blend of stale jokes, rusty stereotypes and tasteless repetition. One of the laws of tv, I guess: certain frames and set-ups can be trusted to work, regardless of how many times they've been used already. Fixed patterns, a predictable order of events, formulas. The A-Team coming up with a disguise for Face. Baantjer talking to his bartender and finding the solution to his case. Hyacinth being barked at by Onslow's dog. René saying "You stupid woman!". The Friends cast sipping coffee and acting constipated and self-centered. And of course, Carrie sitting behind her laptop and voice-overing "But I couldn't help but wonder...". One of those screen shots I particularly liked was the one going "Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?". In that episode, Miranda feels guilty about not enjoying her own honeymoon and they get into how-much-of-what-we-do-is-inspired-by-social-pressure. "Should" is a good one, but I think "could" deserves a spot on the list too.

Now that I'm a working girl and officially done school, I have my nights free for socializing - the only books that pass through my hands these days are fictional and may or may not have a shirt-bereft Fabio and a quivering damsel in distress on the cover. I've been out for drinks pretty much every night so far, and catching up with people I hadn't properly sat down with in ages. And it's on one of those nights that "could" dropped in on the conversation. What you could do. What could happen. The exact context was feeling frustrated at not being able to show people what I am capable of, at under-achieving. I quote: "People can't see what you could do". What an awesome phrase. No matter how many utterly brilliant ideas and plans take place inside your skull, they remain invisible to everyone else until you act on them. Until you communicate them, ask for advice, take steps in the right direction, put your money where your mouth is. There is nothing wrong with daydreaming, doodling and fantasizing, but in the end, isn't the actual doing ultimately more rewarding?

Speaking of which, a girl I went to university with is saying "I do" today at Leuven's city hall. I'm off to an open air music festival straight after work & spending the weekend at the seaside. I had some reservations about the invite at first, but soon decided to just go. It's a minuscule commitment compared to hers - but at 23, I feel far more comfortable with mine.

It's in your eyes

I've been busing it up to (and back from) work for a little while now, and have been indulging in people watching. I think the most noticeable quality on Belgian buses is a general skittishness. Both those passengers who get on and walk down the aisle as those already sitting look slightly frightened, a bit nervous or, at best, completely vacant. Sitting down next to someone when there are two empty seats is not done. If the bus is packed and you have no choice, fine, but then you're expected to move as soon as the crowd thins out. Forget L.A., that movie "Crash" about how people fear physical contact - especially cross gender & cross race - could just as well have played out right here. No one speaks up, but people on cell phones yell their lungs out. No one looks up, but everyone watches everything. Using air, space and headphones all the passengers isolate themselves and try to navigate around each other as disattached as possible. God forbid two bubbles would collide - and pop.

The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall

"There were five colours in the tattooing pallet, and a limited archive of symbols to cover the spectrum of life and death. Five colours to capture all the joys and sorrows of the world and hold them down against a piece of body. Red, brown, yellow, green, black. Five colours to say everything that could be said. And what Cy suddenly wanted, more than anything in the world right then, what he wanted was that missing blue, primary and resistant to the trade. Blue that was unstable and misbehaved when left in skin. Blue like the sea that had taken his father. Blue, for his mother's sake, and for the true colour of every bereaved and bloodless heart when it is collapsing"

Sunday, July 01, 2007