Category Archives: Life Lately

tumblr, sign, art, curiosity

The word creative is a word once heard rarely, now wildly thrown around. Artist. Creative.

I have previously discussed how we are glamorising failure more and more, missing the step between learning and comfort. Which is where I pause and say, there is no comfort in art.

What I mean by this, is that it is being frequently understood that creative people need reassurance, because the world is large and social media makes it appear even larger. It feels as though our art, the thing we seek comfort from, could be lost in a flurry of a Trump Twitterstorm. A repeated tweet on feeds we've all seen tells us to encourage the art we enjoy seeing, make the author know you dig their blog post or comment on a photographer’s latest work than simply like it. Give feedback; likes and dislikes, but criticism most importantly as no creative person is above improvement. Don't be scared to say your thoughts, because we want to hear it. 

In fact, it’s something they are wanting most; comments on improvements, which piece worked, their style – is it successful in projecting their meaning or are you getting lost under the swap between italics and the bold?

However, this does delve into a small tangent of an issue when concerning encouragement and your creative friends. And that is that not all of the time do they need your reassurance that their art is good. Sounds a little complicated, and a little contradictory, right? By this, I mean, you may feel that the encouragement is encouraging, but to them it can come across as disparaging. Not all of the time, but it can be sometimes. Good for too long, means their art has swirled itself into a ball of something I call ‘comfort art’. The art that makes you, the reader and recipient, comfortable. And the creative has settled down into a bundle of comfort art and lacked pushing themselves forward to grow and mature their art the way, deep down, they desire to do.

You can’t comfort those who do not wish to be comforted.

When I say this, I mean the language that renders the recipient of the conversation mute. The ‘don’t worry about it’ or the ‘don’t put yourself down’. These don’ts, they make the creative flutter down to a subdued nod. Their fight or internal struggle with creativity has been boiled down into a ‘don’t’. They no longer can attempt to solve an issue, like writer’s block, nor praise themselves when they exclaim they have written something of possible substance. They have been silenced by a ‘don’t’ masked as encouragement. It is illogical to tell someone not to put themselves down or not to worry about something; the worry will happen, as will the bouts of confidence. It's natural to feel a way if circumstances dictate.

For example, if I as a writer am feeling like what I am writing is rubbish, there is a strong suggestion I am indeed writing rubbish. I, as a person and a writer, am able to fully gauge exactly how well I am doing or how badly. By telling someone not to be of worry or of doubt, you are making them feel as though they cannot feel this way. Almost as if you are telling them off, like a teacher or a parent and thus, making these feelings feel something like a misdemeanour.

"Give feedback; likes and dislikes, but criticism most importantly as no creative person is above improvement."

Moreover, telling this specifically to a female creative, can be seen as not only disrespectful but also dismissive. Dismissive, by this I mean, running through the same vein as seeing an issue as trivial. Already oppressed by a patriarchal society, the last thing we should be doing as a collective is censoring and evaluating a woman’s emotions. There is no need to weigh up an issue as 'deserving' of your attention, fully. Or deserving of more than an easy 'don't worry about it!'. Not to simply glaze over an issue, the way we all can sometimes do. 

Especially in a field widely dominated by men. To say ‘don’t put yourself down’ is as if to say ‘don’t say that’. It is censoring. It makes it seem as though, for a continuous use of the previous example, I am rubbish at writing but ‘at least I am giving it a try’. And it sounds, and comes across, as condescending.

"By telling someone not to be of worry or of doubt, you are making them feel as though they cannot feel this way."

It makes it seem as though my confidence comes under question because I am a woman, not because I am a writer. With this, it puts forth the idea women are insecure, especially about their ‘hobbies’, thus making such a thing trivial. I must be insecure and so need a ‘girl boss pep talk’ when really, I am evaluating my work and realising I am making progress. Good progress. And it is more than ok for me to share this and say so.

"I am evaluating my work and realising I am making progress. Good progress. And it is more than ok for me to share this and say so."

I think at such a deeply politically fraught time, the use of which words we use is coming more and more under the question. The consideration we now put into what we say can be argued as being too PC, as people can no longer speak on certain subjects in fear in causing over offence, usually from a place lacking the education on whatever subject they might wish to chat about. And yes, that is completely understandable. Myself included, as I’ve found myself being educated over subjects I was previously unaware of.

"The creative has settled down into a bundle of comfort art and lacked pushing themselves forward to grow and mature their art the way, deep down, they desire to do."

However, let's be real. No one likes comforting words that sound a lot more like a dig. And we all know how insecurity can worm its way into our veins and make a home behind our lungs. It goes deep, especially in younger women. We’ve been told time and time again how to behave, how to look and how to simply be. There's no need to add more. Don't you think?

The last thing we need is our art to be condensed down into something below. This really is mainly about being aware of how the other person feels when you give out advice or pep talks; not about how good you feel giving them. Are they really pep talks, if you’re brushing over their issue with your assumption of their talents? Let them talk. Art isn’t easy.

And insecurity can be infectious, if a worry is dismissed.

Lou x


Slow Sundays are...

The creak of bedsprings. The hiss of the coffee percolator. The feeling of arms around your waist, duvets wrapped around your waist, jammies tangled up to your waist. Sluggish subway journeys; faces telling of late nights, great nights, date nights. Speckled around the carriage are faces hungover, pale and chugging fizzy juice. Faces made up with slicked back hair for an early morning shift. Faces bare and faces smiling. Couples with hands locked together, a gentle brush of a thumb across the back of a hand. That is a slow Sunday.

Sundays are for being slow, at least every once and a while. Sundays are for warm croissants, fresh coffee beans, the crinkle of newspapers and the feel of soft pyjamas. Sundays are for taking time to s i m p l y  b e.  To catch your breath after a long, hectic week. Sundays are for slow music, like Florence and the Machine, Banks or Bombay Bicycle Club, Sundays are for open mouth kisses, morning after kisses, brunch greeting kisses, in between laughing kisses.

It's a day of lie-ins and sleepy starts. Breakfast in bed, long hot showers, baths to read or catch up TV, bubbles soaking into skin, When it's sunny, Sundays are for long walks, take away iced coffee, sundresses with bare legs. Soul cleansing pilates classes, easy runs to clear your head. When it rains (and it pours in Scotland) Sundays are for pyjama runs to the corner shop for the papers, or sticking an old childhood movie on. Rainy Sundays are for comfy clothes, walks around local art galleries, museums or a trip to the cinema. They are for meeting friends, for hanging out alone, for warm home-cooked food or takeaway Chinese.

Sundays working on a bar means something a little different, however. It means take away coffee cups still, but the coffee hot to wake you up. It means choosing the music for the day, something slow like smooth jazz, Florence and the Machine, Banks. Even Harry Styles crooning Ever Since New York softly into the afternoon. It means alcohol can't be sold before half 12, by law, so the open goes luxuriously slow; cutting lemons and limes with satisfaction, each piece even and perfect for later gin and tonics, tangly and refreshing. Or cold, dripping Corona's gratefully received.

It means newspapers splayed across bar tops, singly loudly to yourself, dancing around as the lights go up. It means regular faces giving greeting before their regular order, soda generously poured, Love Island discussed and berated,. It means when hungover Kinder Buenos are tactically hidden, text messages to friends desperately sent, a 'God I really need crisps, fizzy juice or some sort of hippy green juice health hazard right now'. The smell of beer never any less musty, but instead of welcoming, it's repelling.   

When stressed, Sunday bar opens are the cure.

 

Everything slows gratefully down, the possibility of a rushed evening peaking round the corner. But the open is a pat on the back, or hair ruffled by a parent, making you feel shrunken down to a child in an Adult Costume. The sort of warmth created when parents are affectionate while you're at home; helping out with the dinner or doing the dishes. It's silent pride at completing small tasks and its discussing politics with colleagues. 

Sundays are for being alone, just for a little bit. It's relishing in the alone - quiet smugness and exaggerated prep, testing out draft coke and pulling the first foamy pint. Sundays are sometimes your Saturday or your Monday. They come in all shapes and sizes, different moods and different livelihoods.

Sundays make you think, make you stretch, make you ache. They can get you moving or hold you stand-still. They make you melancholy. They make you ecstatic. They can feel numb around 4pm; a sort of restlessness that nothing can fix, an itch, a demand for more but the more never known. Sundays demand the most from, you. They demand the least from you. They're your end-of-week, start-of-week, middle-of-the-week.  They're revered for their fondness of avocado toast and poached eggs, smug Insty brunch pics that lead to the inevitable FOMO. They're for wicked hangovers and the day-after dirty martinis.


DRESS LIKE A RAINBOW, DON’T GET TOO LOW

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Certain behaviour can occur when one wears a lot of colour and embraces age. Now 21 might sound young to a lot (and old to a faithful few) but this girl has been getting mellow and dressing in more yellow. … Continue reading

Welcome to the next chapter of #Predicaments, otherwise known as The New Era. A place to indulge in the low-brown pop culture, ease into high-brow think pieces, wonder in disbelief over disillusions and sigh over fine tailoring. Relish in escapism and revel in fashion tales. In short www.predicamentsoflou.com is going to be a manifestation of my own thoughts and pearls of wisdom, odes to girl-bossery and a corner for contemplations. The interior and exterior of myself. #Predicaments has been a place i've found solace, however this satisfaction for writing has grown from this little bubble of Blogspot and transformed into what you're reading on now.

 

The Main Mood's Of Lou; serious I-think-this-is-modelling-right? face and laughing like a loon. 

As frank as I always am with you, I must confess how negligent i have been with my previous Internet corner. And although some would argue I am not obliged to explain myself, I feel explaining will help me understand as well. Does that make sense? I often fear my rambles are just long monologues of stream of consciousness that wiggle to their own desire of direction, rather than circling back to a conclusion. Anyway, I digress. This past year I've hd the opportunity to write as a columnist at my university newspaper, The Strathclyde Telegraph. Which has been un-fucking-believable.  And every month I would sit down and write. About anything and everything, forcing myself to think of subjects not relevant to simply me, get out and think about what university students as a whole would be interested to read. Because we always want to read the things that we're pulled towards, an itching in our soul saying 'hey this might help us with X'. So I wrote about body image in winter, the stress of deadlines, the fear of failure among a manner of things. Stuff we individually might knock off or toss aside because we think it's too 'understandable' it therefore lacks in value (spoiler; it doesn't). I wrote in a way I'd want to read it, as the no bullshit friend who straight talks you back to sense after the third breakdown that week. I stopped using the 'I' because I didn't want to talk about me anymore. And I think that's when I started to crumble, just a bit.

You see, around my second column Donald Trump was elected President. And then later, he became President and in this period of two months (how was it only two months?) there were a lot of think pieces and a lot of jokes on SNL and a lot of panic. Nerves were wearing down, and for good reason. And it was sort of like my Twitter feed had erupted like a volcano and there were so many tweets of horror and then later, of sarcasm and then Teen Vogue started to boss it, so hope started to bloom. And the #Womensmarch brought me to tears, because things started to feel very possible again and the power of women blew my mind away. Through all of that, I became overwhelmed with third year university coursework and deadlines, juggling classes on top of a job, on top of a social life, on top of simply having time to b r e a t h e. Not to say I didn't have a social life before, but it's sort of magnified and there are so many more people in my life, who I adore and make me laugh, especially at work where it shouldn't feel like escapism so much, but it does. I took some time out of the headspace of a writer because I needed to just do my thing, take a break from stuff I didn't feel the 'need' to do. Because i never want this to be brought down to a mind-numbing obligation, because if I'm to claim the title of Writer I should be doing it through the want to create, nothing else.  And I've adopted this new thing of having fun, for fun sake and only fun, which I'm going to write about because I think now more than ever we've got to get out of our heads and have fun... Have I said the word fun enough?

Anyway. As you can appreciate dear reader, life has been a bit of a whirlwind since I turned 20; I'm not writing to you as a 21 year-old who feels a lot like she's 19 again, in the best way. Third year university has been so many things, I can't think of the words to do the madness justice just yet, and it's not even finished. But what I can say for now is that I have been struggling to decide if my voice is 'enough'. If what I think should be expressed in more than 140 characters and how important it is to get a piece 'right'. How important words are and how conscious I am of everything I say, the gravity it possesses, or lack thereof. I guess you could say that fear people talk about, over doing the ~thing~? I got that, for a while.

But I had also grown out of the space I was occupying. The new #predicaments is a space big enough for everything I want to do and want to say, dare I say it 'worthy' of my words? Well I'm not the person I was when I began blogging, so I think I can have the self-assurance my words have grown in strength the same way my sense of self has. Actually I don't think - I know. And I'm getting (got?) over this budding fear of everything and anything between 'perfect' and 'justified'. Our political and economic climate is a shaky one and the 'woke' celebrity is something increasingly demanded, so this has created a domino effect across all creators, even someone as small as myself. But we're to kid ourselves if we think anyone knows everything. We can't just go and create villains out of everyone, especially ourselves. It's like attempting to find water in the desert, to believe somewhere there are people who have answers and manage to say the most perfect things. We're all just doing whatever we need, and want, to do to keep going. Whatever your religious beliefs, the idea of a deity living among us, able to save us as frankly appealing that sounds, isn't one that will aid us. There's no black and white answer to things, it's all grey. And there will never be one size fits all, for now. But that doesn't mean we have to punish ourselves for not sorting it all out at once. It takes a while to find matching socks after a wash when they all look the same. We can take the time.

I've taken the time. And I'm ready to speak again, on the high-ranking and the trivial.

 

Welcome to The New Era; Predicaments of Lou.

 

I hope you enjoy it.

Lou x