Barbara Sher

“”Now” is the operative word. Everything you put in your way is just a method of putting off the hour when you could actually be doing your dream. You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating.”

Vyacheslav Legkobit

A Ukrainian artist who illustrated the most beautiful children’s books. I have a particular weakness for folk art; just look at those colours!

From the book Everyone likes to draw (so long as they can draw like this…).

First five images courtesy of http://kickcanandconkers.blogspot.com, final three courtesy of http://myvintageavenue.blogspot.com/ (both very lovely blogs, most worthy of perusal)

Funny Women

I came across the following from an open-call for an ongoing female writers’ series called FUNNY WOMEN. Keefe and I are clearly kin.

My Debilitating Anxiety Decodes My Unread Work Emails, by Jessica Keefe.

When you send me an email, don’t think I don’t know what you’re really saying.

“Hi.”
This sounds friendly at first, sure. But the curt punctuation confirms that the sender is actually pretty pissed off about GOD KNOWS WHAT. I devote the next three hours speculating, pouring over everything I’ve said and done near and around this person in the past six months.

“Great. Thank you!”
This person doesn’t care about me enough to elaborate upon her general feelings of non-hostility towards me. Bitch.

“Thanks.”
This person–probably from HR–smirks with disdain as he writes this email, like my Granny does when she tells me that the fish tacos I convinced her to order at On The Border are “very… different.” Why do I have this effect on people???

“Thanks in advance.”
Why exactly am I such a piece of shit? I wonder if it has something to do with my obsessive personality. Whatever the reason, this person–probably someone recently promoted and proud of it–is sure sick of it. I spend the rest of the day not working, obsessing over this instead.

“Did you put that file on the server?”
This person obviously finds me, you know, just generally boring and awful.

“Could you re-send?”
Do you ever think maybe YOU are the boring and awful one?!

“Hello again…”
Oh, dear god. I am starting to grate on this person. I am the worst, ever. I am inept, careless, clueless. I am caught in a loop of my own elaborately constructed failure.

“Please liaise with the appropriate department.”
This person wishes I’d shove it, immediately.

“Please advise.”
I am disgusting.

“Let me know.”
Everyone knows I forgot to shower this morning. The baby powder that I’m using to conceal my greasy roots smells like a Koala Bear Kare Baby Changing Station in a Wendy’s bathroom.

“See you later.”
Oh, so I should just fuck right off, should I?

“Best,”
No one can’t not wish someone the “best” in an email, so I can’t really assume this means anything positive.

“See below.”
Fine. I’ll just drop dead already.

“Love you.”
Just because one measly person loves me doesn’t mean everyone else in my office/apartment/parents’ house/old college dorm/that Wendy’s bathroom isn’t sitting around talking about what a jackass I am. I need to grow up and get real.

“Cheers.”

Who’s the dick now?

 

The above is also a particularly apt illustration of what I might look like were I to work in an office, as opposed to in my bed. It’s a tough life.

Libraries

The college library, whether ornate or modern, digital or dusty, is in many ways the epicenter of the college experience — at least for some students. It is at once a shining emblem of vast, acquirable knowledge, a place for deep discussions and meetings of the mind, and of course, a big building full of books, which, as far as we’re concerned, is exciting enough. Colleges and universities are understandably quite proud of their libraries, which can be a selling point for prospective students and donating alumni alike, and they often become the most well-designed and beautifully adorned buildings on campus. To that end, and perhaps to inspire your studies a bit, we’ve collected a few of the most beautiful college and university libraries in the world, from Portugal to France to Boston.

(Via Flavorwire.com – 25 most beautiful college libraries)

I can’t help thinking that most of these will be an absolute bitch to clean…

Beniecke rare book and manuscript library, Yale, CT

 

Biblio Sorbonne, Paris

 

Biblio Coimbra, Portugal

 

Codrington Library, All Souls College, Oxford, England

 

Duke Humphrey's Library, Oxford, England

 

Fischer Fine Arts Library, Pennsylvania, USA

 

George Peabody Library, Baltimore, MD, USA

 

Harper Memorial Library, Chicago, IL, USA

 

Old Library, St. John's College, Cambridge, England

 

University of Salamanca Library, Spain

 

Pontifical Lateran Library, Italy

 

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland

 

University of Michigan Law Library, USA

 

Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, England

 

I’m feeling the Salamanca Library, myself, although I did notice that the Harper Memorial Library is the only one with even remotely comfortable-looking chairs…

The rest of the top 25 can be seen here:

http://flavorwire.com/240819/the-25-most-beautiful-college-libraries-in-the-world

 

Minna Thomas Antrim

Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.

Much as I hate constantly catching colds (although I think that has more to do with my housemates’ lack of basic hygiene standards – I can’t wait to show you the latest offence that occurred in my kitchen), I really love this season.


Skoob books

Ah, Skoob. One of my favourite places.

Earlier this week, I found myself in need of contact lenses. Unlike most sensible people, I have decided to keep my prescription with a dispenser based absolutely nowhere near my current address, rather than with the optician less than a minutes walk away. The reason? Skoob.

Faced with impending blindness (no joke, I’m a -4.5), I hopped on a bus, and made my way back to my old stomping ground in Russell Square. Opposite the station lies the Brunswick Centre, and if you scurry around to the back entrance of Waitrose (Oh, how I miss thee), you’ll find a sign pointing you down a set of stairs to the underground cavern that is Skoob.

Uniting two of my favourite things – books and second-hand shit – Skoob is a bibliophilic magpie’s wet dream. It is, quite simply, a vast, slightly chaotic (there’s no database – if you want it, you’ll have to find it) basement nest made out of second-hand books. Personally, I love the lo-tech approach: I’m all about the hunt, me, and the thought of what treasures I might happen upon have kept me coming back, despite no longer living 5 minutes away.

On this particular visit (in which Lady Fox had to remind me to buy my lenses, such was my second-hand book driven mania), I picked up the following gems: Peter York’s Dictators’ Homes and Paola Gianturco’s Celebrating Women. 

Essentially, Dictators’ Homes does what is says on the tin: shows pictures of the homes and interior design tastes of some of the world’s most infamous dictators. I remembered this book being reviewed in the Guardian a little while back, and finding it hugely entertaining in a very uncomfortable manner. It didn’t disappoint, and I spent a good hour flicking through, marvelling at the sheer gall of some of these people. The Marcos residence was a particular highlight.

Lady Fox found Celebrating Women. I’ve yet to go through it properly, but, to be honest, it had me at the concept: a photographic exploration of festivals celebrating womankind.

I love books. Picture books, fiction, non-fiction; it’s all good. I have far too many as it is, but the minute I step into Skoob, well, all good sense gets left at the top of the stairs. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever left there empty-handed.

Skoob can be found at no. 66, The Brunswick. off Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AE, or online at skoob.com.

Nearest tube is Russell Square, and they have step-free access for those who need it.

 

The last poem I loved

Kuan, the wife of the great Yuan painter Chao Mengfu, wrote this upon hearing her husband was to take a mistress.

Parting
By Madame Kuan, translated by Bruce Lee (yes him!)

Who knows when meeting shall ever be.
If might be for years or
It might be forever.

Let us then take a lump of clay,
Wet it, pat it,
And make an image of you
And an image of me.
Then smash them, crash them,
And, with a little water,
Knead them together.

And out of the clay we’ll remake
An image of you, and an image of me.
Thus in my clay, there’s a little of you,
And in your clay, there’s a little of me.
And nothing will ever set us apart.

Living, we’ll be forever in each other’s heart,
and dead, we’ll be buried together.

Chao Mengfu didn’t take the mistress.