‘How to Stop Time’ by Matt Haig: cyclical optimism

This book made me cry on the train there and back again.

train 1 of 2 where i cried

I’d previously read Reasons to Stay Alive, Haig’s non-fiction book about his own experiences with depression. Suffering from mental illness or poor mental health often produces more introspection, more obsession with both ourselves, but also makes us question why it is everyone around us seems content with trundling on, ignoring the end of all things and the fact that no one really knows the point of our existence.

Bit overwhelming.

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Doctor Who: i’m enjoying it and that’s nice.

No one is more surprised to see this post than I am, believe me. I have been outspoken about my opinion of Doctor Who, and what I saw as its gentle decline from a show I was thoroughly engaged with online and offline into a show that I no longer enjoyed. I made gifsets and read conspiracy theories about Moffat’s intense story arcs. I remember the frustration over the inexplicable extra floor of Amy’s house. I even watched a countdown timer for the entirety of that Saturday leading up to the series 6 finale. But gradually my interest has lessened and I’ve become increasingly disconnected with the show.

This won’t be an academic essay nor an unbiased review. This is just a run down of my relationship with the show over the seasons, and a lot of that does depend on my headspace at the time as well. Besides I got to hand in my dissertation last week (!!!!!) so I’ve been having some time off. Not really feeling like doing more formal analysis just now. So strap in for an incredibly informal look back at Doctor Who from my perspective.


Continue reading “Doctor Who: i’m enjoying it and that’s nice.”

Get Out: the fantasy of justice


I’m late to the party, and yes, this is another post about something people have already raved about. But I finally saw it on Sunday and had to talk about it. Get Out is a tense horror grounded in the real world but managing to balance realism with hypnotism, brain transplantation and ‘the sunken place’.

Art by Jermaine Rogers (jermainerogers.com)

Continue reading “Get Out: the fantasy of justice”

Currently: 13th

(via Netflix)

I say currently, I watched this last week, but it’s obviously still with me now.

13th, directed by Ava DuVernay (of Selma-directing brilliance) is a powerful, intense and emotional documentary that manages to get you angry and move you to action without draining you. The information is presented in simple terms, explained by experts and eyewitnesses whilst the numbers slowly tick by, in blacks, reds and greys, setting the tone for the film: one of complexity and violence. The film is named after the 13th amendment to the US Constitution that declares the end of slavery unless a crime has been committed. This loophole leads to the high, high numbers of incarceration of black people and the perpetuating of a narrative that regards black men as violent and dangerous criminals. Racism is entrenched in the US’s political system and this film makes a clear case for that whilst also avoiding too much hopelessness.

My explanation is nowhere near as well done as DuVernay’s so I recommend you just stop reading and watch it now if you haven’t done so already. And as soon as I finished, I watched the featurette with DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey which only made me appreciate the film even more. At this time in politics, and in particular the precarious relationships between US politics and media and race, this film is a strong statement, quietly presenting facts and statistics and opinions from both sides in an unbiased way. As a white Scottish woman, I cannot understand what it means to be black in the US but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t learn about it.

The film and the featurette with Oprah are both on Netflix so easily accessible! Also you should follow DuVernay, she’s great! I mean, look at her twitter handle, that’s how you know someone’s good.


Jack of some trades

There must be people like me out there, the ones who haven’t found something to which they’re passionately devoted. We have not discovered our true purpose in life, our calling. The theme of our blog, even. Rather, we’re interested in lots of different things across genres and activities and flavours; it’s as though tiny hands are grabbing at each part of us, yelling “devote your time to me! Spend time on me! I’m worth that! You’ll become the greatest (insert activity here) there ever was!”


I’ve started learning to code. I’ve read and watched classics and contemporary. I’ve listened to so much music. I can draw. I can bake if I choose and I can cook (sort of). I have phases only about the condition of my hair. I’ve forayed into the land of exercise, swimming and running and yoga-ing sporadically. I love learning about the sea and space and nature documentaries pile up on My List on Netflix. Climbing up hills and walking by the beach and visiting cities and travelling fill me with joy but I love being home and a routine keeps me right.I love seeing friends but time alone does me good, and my family and my boyfriend are important parts of my life too. I’m sure many people share these feelings and probably more.

Sometimes it can feel as though there’s too much and yet excluding any of them is a sad prospect. I’ve mentioned this before but I feel a great pressure to choose. To choose my interests, my career, my living situation, my future, all of these things hang in the balance. And although Plath’s fig tree metaphor from The Bell Jar is a bit of a cliche now, there’s a reason for that. I feel like specialising means I will miss out on a lot of other things. Focusing on doing one thing at any time is difficult because those hands reach out again and whisper in your ear in a wheedling voice, “you should be paying attention to me instead. You’re wasting your time. Think of everything else you could be doing with this time.”

(How great is the word wheedling by the way?)

This is fine, I guess, when it’s something like hobbies that I’m not really committed to (shockingly enough). But it often gets in the way of actual university work and with my dissertation looming, and by looming I mean it’s just standing on my head now, jumping up and down yelling “you’re shite!” over and over, I really need to be able to put everything else aside and focus on one thing at a time. Trying to clear your head is tough and requires some self-discipline which, just to clarify, is not the same as beating yourself up. Usually I just have to clear my desk, make a cup of tea, argue internally with that wheedling voice and negotiate a truce, telling it that yes, I could stop reading this text and go make a Caramac cheesecake but then I’d have to go and buy Caramacs and that’s not a very effective use of my time right now, okay?

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. If this blog seems chaotic, disorganised and a bit like Scrubs when JD daydreams and then says something aloud about it and everyone’s confused, that’s pretty much me. Every day. All the time. So it seems appropriate that I’ll just talk about whatever I’m focused on at that point. I think this is the way to combat indecision: don’t decide. Just do stuff and see what happens.

Isn’t that an eloquent note to end on?


Currently: The Animators

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (2016)

I’m enjoying this book a lot. I’m not very far in but the characters are engaging and I’m excited to read more. It’s the first time in a while I’ve read something and identified so strongly with a character or a paragraph without in any way trying to find myself in it. I went into this with no idea what it was about beyond the blurb, two animators form a close bond in college and in life afterwards. I thought, great, that’s a story I haven’t really read much about. The two woman so far are distinct, well-defined characters with nuance. Sharon, who was lost in college and didn’t know what she wanted, feels so real to me.

So far, this paragraph resonated with me: 

And I think a lot of people would feel the same way. Coming to university with vague notions of a career you might like to pursue can be tough when it seems as though you are surrounded by people with concrete plans and dreams they strive to achieve. You’re terrorised by the fear of committing to anything in case you’re not any good at the thing. I’ve never read anything that captures that catch-22 situation so well; reading it felt like the author has lifted it from my brain.

That’s good writing. Just a short post to say, I’m reading this and I like it. You should read it too! (Also this was published in 2016 but I borrowed this from my local library! More on libraries and how great they are soon.)