This November, I did something a little crazy.
After a few years of placating my gently stirring curiosity with soothing murmurs of ‘that sounds interesting but I’ll try it when I have something to write about’ and ‘I’m so busy – I’ll do it when I have time to commit properly’, I buckled to internal pressure and signed myself up to NaNoWriMo.
What’s that, I hear you ask? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. On 1st November every year, thousands of people put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) with the goal of writing 50,000 words of an original novel by 11.59pm on 30th November. That breaks down to 1667 words per day, every day for a month.
Is it a slightly bonkers endeavour? Yes. Clearly.
Was it worth it? Yes. Unequivocally.
Do you subscribe to Lenny Letter? If not, you should. Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s weekly newsletter compiles personal essays, interviews, illustrations and creative writing, and covers topics including politics, health, friendship and sex – usually with a feminist angle. It’s always engaging, informative and surprising.
Recently, Nicole Richie (yes, that Nicole Richie) contributed a piece about the impact of fame on her personal identity.
From Nicole Richie’s essay in Lenny Letter
Her words sparked a memory. A few years ago, I had a conversation with an athletic friend about a recent injury he’d sustained that left his future sporting career in doubt. “The problem is”, he told me, “I’ve always thought of myself as the ‘sporty guy’. Now that’s been taken away, I don’t know what my story is any more.” His phrasing stuck with me. As a writer and consummate dreamer, I’m constantly telling stories – about myself, my loved ones, the characters in my head. My mantra is the classic Nora Ephron-ism: ‘Everything is copy”. But recently I’ve started to wonder if the stories we tell about ourselves sometimes do more harm than good.
I recently saw Yerma at the Young Vic, directed by Simon Stone. I’m a little late with this review (the play has been running since late July and recently closed) but it had a significant impact on me, and I wanted to share my thoughts nonetheless.
As Spanish speaker, I was nervous. Lorca is notoriously difficult to translate. His texts are rich with strong imagery and cultural resonances, and the rhythm of the lines heightens the emotional intensity of the language. His plays are beautiful to read aloud in Spanish; even if you can’t understand the words, meaning is conveyed through the flow of consonants.
I needn’t have worried; watching Yerma, I was thrown straight into the world of the play. Despite being written and set in Catholic Spain in the 1930s, it felt unnervingly fresh and relevant.
Bookshops are my happy place.
Nothing delights me more than perusing shelves, reading title after title, pausing to select the ones that intrigue me, to examine covers and read opening sentences, feeling the weight of the stories they contain, taking a moment to appreciate the work that’s gone into each and every edition.
Bookshops are my panacea, the mysterious elixir with the power to uplift, intrigue, excite and reassure. There’s nothing like the familiar sight of rows and rows of Penguin classics to settle my anxious mind.
I took a look at changing depictions of the female form for Londnr Magazine, from Botticelli to Kim Kardashian.
In honour of #Shakespeare400, I had a look at the multitude of things that the Bard taught us about love for The Culture Trip…