If I want to do one thing in life, it is to live bravely. I want to be remembered as a brave person. I want to get stuff done. I never want to do things because I am scared. If the options are to do a thing or not do a thing, I want to say fuck it.
Fortune favours the brave.
Sometimes it takes a reminder to be brave, to remember what I am here for, to focus on my creative life and not get dragged down by all the little stresses and the other stupid, boring shit. It's important to hang onto these things and remember the person you are supposed to be.
So, today, I have been making plans. I have been reading about Patti Smith and Vali Myers and Jean Genet...and the other brave souls who inspire me (in my own small way, obviously). I have been thinking about how I want to be, and how I want to be remembered. The things I really want to do.
I have been listening to this song, which never fails to make me dance like a woman possessed.
Is it normal to get stupid celebrity crushes when one is a 34-year-old adult? Just asking for a friend.
Most of my crushes these days tend to be on inspiring women. And dead artists. Oh, and I *do* spend an unholy amount of time fantasising about what it would be like to be best friends with Nigella - we sit around her kitchen table, I chat to her while she cooks, and the conversation gets increasingly filthy the more wine we drink, then we probably end up having a kitchen disco and eating Nutella with our hands at, like, 5 in the morning... Anyway.
Still, I have been spending a lot of late-night post-writing time recently watching Brooklyn 99 on Netflix. I have liked Andy Samberg ever since Celeste and Jesse Forever (which, IMHO, is a really great film*) but this was overshadowed by the gigantic girl crush I have on Rashida Jones. Seriously, I love her.
She now has competition, as I now also love Andy Samberg a ridiculous amount. He is funny and has a lovely face (literally my only requirements - the bar is pretty low these days). Also, the fact that he is real-life married to Joanna Newsom absolutely delights me. I remember reading an article once about how teenagers like their pin-ups to be single so that they can project themselves into the blank space of the girlfriend role (this is why boyband members aren't supposed to get girlfriends); but after A Certain Age, this reverses and we like men who look like good husbands (which is why older ladies all love Paul Newman and why I went right off Johnny Depp when he broke up with Vanessa Paradis).
If the goddess that is Joanna Newsom thinks Andy Samberg is good enough to marry, then he must be pretty great. So, while I admire his face, I kind of like to imagine the two of them at home - you know, eating eggs, listening to the radio, brushing their teeth. Not weird at all, right? Totally normal.
*I remember reading a terrible review of this film when it came out, saying 'people don't talk like this in real life' - which is ironic, because I swear I have almost LIVED that movie and it was so close to my experience of real life that I found it genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Maybe I'm not a real-life person. Who knows?
I've been meaning to post this for a few days now. It's been a funny old week. An up-and-down week. A hurry-up-and-wait sort of a week.
Anyway, last week I was very lucky to attend the lovely book launch for my friend Sara Barnard's wonderful new book Beautiful Broken Things. I was also extremely lucky, as Sara and I share our brilliant editor, that I got to read the book in proof form a while ago (things like this absolutely delight me).
It's a gorgeous book about the intensity of female friendship - something that I can hugely relate to. You know, that feeling of having a new friend and it being even more exciting than a new boyfriend (apparently this is a teenage thing, but I still experience it today). Crucially, in this book, the premise is: it's not boys who have the power to really break your heart; it's your best friends.
The book also holds a special little place in my heart for being set in Brighton - and my favourite adopted home town is really brought to life in beautiful and perfect detail. So, it was fitting that the launch took place in Brighton - and I was wildly excited to be in the Brighton branch of Waterstones AT NIGHT! Drinking a glass of Prosecco, no less. It was pretty awesome.
There were even Toblerone-flavoured Shakeaway milkshakes (read the book and this will make sense, as if there needs to be a reason for Toblerone being in a milkshake).
It was a lovely night for a really special book. And for some reason, today especially, thinking of Sara's book puts me in mind of this song - a long-held favourite for me.
I'm in pieces, can no-one see it? I am stronger on the outside, it's easy when you know why. This feeling sad, it's not so bad. I've got friends who lift my spirits, I've got songs that no-one hears...
This morning has been a nice morning. Working at home, being productive, sunshine, a cup of tea and a jug of daffodils on my kitchen table as I type.
Then I read this, and found myself sitting and crying at the kitchen table as the kettle boiled and boiled. A break-up letter written by Simone de Beauvoir, to Nelson Algren. Maybe not a sad crying, not any more, but a recognition that still caused a physical reaction.
"...My heart is a kind of dirty soft custard inside... I am not sad. Rather stunned, very far away from myself, not really believing you are now so far, so far, you so near."
"Anyhow, you gave me so much, Nelson, what you gave me meant so much, that you could never take it back. And then your tenderness and friendship were so precious to me that I can still feel warm and happy and harshly grateful when I look at you inside me. I do hope this tenderness and friendship will never, never desert me."
This is something I have been thinking about lately, anyway - perhaps with the benefit of some distance. Perhaps feeling like this after time has passed is lucky, in which case I guess I am lucky. I have pictures on my walls to prove it, things that are only mine through a kindness that was all the sweeter for being entirely unnecessary. I still like to look at the things that made it real (was it real?), if only sometimes. Is my face still there, is that house still there, did it really happen..?
Then the post came through the front door, and with it, a card from one of my very best girlfriends. A card that made me laugh, and then made me get on with making the tea.
I had a lovely night out with my BFF to watch Hangmen (like everyone else in the world, OF COURSE I have a huge crush on Martin McDonagh). It was even more amazing than I expected. Dark and funny and clever, and properly brilliant.
Yesterday, I went to see A Woman's War, the Lee Miller exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Again, it was incredible and highly recommended. What a brilliant and fascinating woman. I am slightly obsessed.
In other news, I would also recommend reading Station Eleven, So You've Been Publicly Shamed, and my friend Sara Barnard's wonderful Beautiful Broken Things, which very excitingly comes out this week.
In Netflix recommendations, Force Majeure made me feel very bleak but in a clever and fascinating way, and then We Are The Best! cheered me right up. It is truly lovely.
Today I was listening to this song (the proper PJ Harvey version from 4-Track Demos) and the image of Juliette Lewis singing it in Strange Days came into my head. I remember watching that film as a teenager and thinking she was SO COOL. Of course I had to find it and watch it again, and I still think she's pretty cool.
Maybe I'm in a 90s film sort of a mood. Since going to see The Hateful Eight I have been staging my own little Tarantino retrospective, in order. I hadn't seen Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction in years and years (and Jackie Brown not since I went to see it underage at the cinema!). I had forgotten how absolutely brilliant those films are. I love them.
And right now this has obviously reminded me that I really want to re-watch Natural Born Killers to take the Juliette Lewis coolness full circle. Mallory Knox was a teenage idol of mine (aesthetically speaking, not in a murdery way) - I once went to a fancy dress party as her, complete with long blonde wig, leather trousers and bikini top combination and a huge fake scorpion tattoo. My friend Russell made a very convincing Mickey. I still think it's a great look, I must admit.