February 2015 | In Delightfully Odd Words

I guess if there's anything I unearthed this month, it's that I never cut February enough slack. It always seems a bit of a 'filler' month as such – but sometimes a filler month is all you need. And, not only did I read some pretty great books this month (my two favourites were All My Friends Are Superheroes and Kafka on the Shore), but I also wrote some blog posts I'm surprisingly proud of.

But, instead of me rambling on (because that seems to be an all-too-familiar drag), I thought I'd describe the month in a couple of wonderful – yet annoyingly underused – words. Enjoy!

A person who reads in bed.
Despite usually being someone who reads anywhere, I spent my February reading hours curled up under my duvet. Reading in bed is simply the best way to read – especially with there being such a fine line between the fiction you're reading, and your soon-to-be dream-filled mind. After hours of schoolwork, assuming the librocubicularist role is the source of ultimate comfort.

Walking or wandering in the nighttime.
I'm a fairly nocturnal being, in the sense I have a penchant for whittling the night away as I potter aimlessly around my room. February was no exception to this rule. I spent a grand portion of the month wandering around my room at these hours, completing mundane tasks like organising my bookshelf and so on. I also write and plan most of my blog posts around these late night hours – it's then that I, ironically, feel the most awake.

Smultronst√§lle [Swedish]:
Considering I'm all too familiar with city life, every trip to the countryside always seems that little bit sweeter. I went on a countryside walk with a couple of my friends the other week to a place we often go together (homemade sandwiches, cake, etc. – yes, it really was that twee) and so this word seems so apt for the trip. 

Uitwaaien [Dutch]:
To take a break to clear one's head; "to walk in the wind".
'Uitwaaien' is definitely February in a one-word nutshell. I spent a lot of February relaxing (mostly by watching Mad Men), but I also calmly organised this blog and so on. Despite the schoolwork piling up, February took a fairly languorous turn – as if it was merely a flickering break before the onslaught of work March will inevitably bring.

A strong urge to write.
In case my blog doesn't occasionally make it evident (or rather, the mere fact I have a blog in the first place), I love to write. And the joyous thing about half term falling in February, is that Sylvia (the typewriter) felt human touch once again. February was a month where I just felt like writing.

How was February to you?
Blog posts written: Book Haul | A Somewhat Eclectic One, Mini Reviews | February 2015, The Joy of Handwriting, On Introversion And Creativity, My Reading Taste
Books read this month: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Franchise Affair, All My Friends Are Superheroes, Kafka on the Shore, 

My Reading Taste

What do I read? 

I read elaborate love letters, addressed to worlds afar, written in golden ink, and signed by another being. I read what's hidden in the crevices of human imagination, and the crooks of reality.

I read about circuses, enchantment and folklore. I read about murder, insanity and suicide.

I read broken books mended by broken people, and I read ageless tales of generations far gone.

I read books that fit the heart-shaped keyhole of my mind. Tales that inspire and exhale originality.

I read tales of heroes and heroines, and stories which include neither. I read words of gritty stardust, written with the ink of a thousand years of influence. And I read the books I wish I'd written.

I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read. I read.

What do I read? I read everything.

Do you, like me, have an undefinable reading taste? Are you all for reading everything? Or is there one genre you love?

On Introversion & Creativity

I'm an introvert.

Now, this doesn't mean I'm antisocial, or unexciting, or spiritless, it just means I'm often content with the company of my own mind. This said, the most accurate definition I've found, is this; introvert: one who focuses on the inner world of thoughts and ideas. And, often, I feel that, if I weren't such an introverted person, I wouldn't be so inclined to spending my days reading, writing, blogging and creating. In fact, I think my introverted nature is the cornerstone of my creativity.

And the truth is this: I love my mind. Of course I enjoy hanging out with my close group of friends, but I equally enjoy spending time with just me, my mind and a piece of paper. I enjoy crawling into the hidden crevices of my mind, and taking solace within the deeply-buried thoughts and ideas; I enjoy curling up under the duvets with a book in hand; and nothing excites me like an hour alone with a blank notebook. And it's within these moments my creativity reaches its peak.

These hours of reading, writing and blogging – where I'm left to enjoy the companionship of my ideas and my thoughts – are wonderful. It makes me wonder why so many adults turn to the quieter children and note, "you always have your head in the clouds" – as if it's wrong to be so entranced by your own imagination.

It's easy to confuse those who talk the loudest, and those who have the best ideas. Introverts, although not as outgoing and, often, not as confident as extroverts, make up some of the world's best creators (due to this deeply introspective focus on the mind). The majority of my favourite authors, for instance, are introverts – showing ideas can be communicated quietly, yet powerfully. To quote Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking: “…remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet.”

So, yes, I'm an introvert. And, whilst I don't intend to discredit or devalue extroverts (after all, a balance of the two is needed), I feel that my inclination towards introversion powers my creativity; being an introvert hasn't quietened me, no, not at all.

Are you a fellow introvert? What do you think about the relationship between introversion and creativity?

The Joy of Handwriting

As I type this post, I’m bundled up in an over-sized woolen jumper with a notebook lying flat across my lap, my laptop on the desk in front of me. These words I’m typing have been written before – in much more personal, albeit illegible, font. They’ve been written in my inked and smudged, inconsistent and scruffy font – a font that no computer can find. And they’ve been written into the notebook that lies on my lap.

This gold-embossed notebook on my lap contains 15 blog post’s worth of hand-made inked scribbles. To the right of my laptop, there’s a pile of letters, a single string binding together the fantastically distinctive hand-written words of my pen pal. About two pen’s length away, a stack of post-its and to-do lists lie on my desk – my own scrawled writing dictating the day ahead.

So yes, I handwrite everything. I draft all my blog posts out in a notebook, I write letters to a pen pal in a generation where letter writing is becoming a lost art, and I ink-out the day ahead.

Why? Because I am madly in love with handwriting.

There’s simply something indescribably perfect and personal and exhilarating that lies within the motion of ink flowing from nib to page. And it’s oddly personal how distinctive handwriting is, isn’t it? I look at my own handwriting, and I love how acutely mine it is; I love how the dots of the i’s are always a little to the right, how the loops of the g’s differ slightly to those of the y’s and how it’s all bunched together, as if I’m worried I’ll run out of space for all these words.

“She may have looked normal on the outside, but once you'd seen her handwriting you knew she was deliciously complicated inside.” – Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot

In short, one of the best decisions I made during 2014 was to begin writing letters to another blogger [Hawwa's blog!]. As like-minded, bookish and arty individuals, letter writing seems to be our natural mean of communication. Receiving an email is wonderful and all that, but receiving a handwritten letter is so much more. They’re indelibly personal; small blots of ink, mid-letter, show where they’ve paused to think of what comes next; faint tea-stained rings, where they’ve reached for a sip of tea; and the endless flow of words shows exactly what they’re thinking. I wish I had time to write more letters. And more time to communicate in a way that seems, in so many indescribable and insignificant ways, mine.

In short, the physical sensation of putting pen to paper – it brings me such joy

Do you handwrite anything and everything? Do you love to write letters? What joy does handwriting bring you (if any)?
Just wanted to point out how gorgeous Hawwa's letters are – see bottom left of photo above!