Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The edge of love.

Open a pathway through the slow sad sail

Throw wide to the wind the gates of the wandering boat

For my voyage to begin to the end of my wound.

We heard the sea sound sing, we saw the salt sheet tell.

Lie still, sleep becalmed, hide the mouth in the throat,

Or we shall obey, and ride with you through the drowned,

Dylan Thomas.
Images from The edge of love,

Monday, December 28, 2009

The stuff of dreams.

Mr Nielson better known as Sid, and I were strolling along, taking in the excitement of the Christmas shoppers in our local mall. You could feel the last minute frenzy, that seems to panic everybody, as the 25th of December draws near.

'There is a lot of stuff in the world', Mr Nielson said sagely.

I nodded gently, in my all knowing way, allowing Mr Nielson better known as Sid, to continue.
Thus encouraged, he went on, warming to the subject, (as he is wont to do), and soon we were having a perfectly, lovely chat about the material world as we know it.
Mr Nielson recognises, that the more people become caught up in the desire for more and more things, (or stuff as Mr Nielson like to call it,) the emptier they feel.
Mr Nielson calls this 'stuffology'; a modern day ailment, with only the most meta-physical of cures.
Of course, Mr Nielson does not complain when said 'stuffologists', come into his store, looking to add a few pretty jewels to their collection!

In truth, I am not unfamiliar with the affliction.
Any girl worth her salt, knows how to collect a thing or two, for goodness sake! My own malady, finds its fullest expression in the stuff of art and books, one of the most chronic forms of the condition!

There is a lovely joy, in finding beauty in a collection of special things, that each add to the whole.
And there is something quite magical, in the way in which grouping things together, can create an order, and form that would otherwise be absent.
Even Mr Nielson knows, that sometimes more is MORE!

xxx elle

Love the difficult.

What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it.

In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.

Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: There against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.

Rainer Maria Rilke ( Selected Letters)

Where the sock things are.

It's that time of year when Witeka, the char goes home for a month to visit her family in the Eastern Cape.

And thus, one early morning, but only when forced to... you venture into the bowels of the laundry room to unearth the year's secrets.

It takes a few days at the very least, to get the room looking like it did at the same time last year.

When I am at last spent, there are piles of freshly ironed laundry, a shining floor, machinery that gleams inside and out, and....

At least a basket full of single socks!

One of lifes unanswerable mysteries...remains unsolved.

xxx elle

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All I'd want for Christmas...

If I celebrated Christmas...sigh,

I'd want a few of these around my Christmas stockings!

No wonder that Valentino has such a big yacht!

xxx elle

You can't keep a good girl down!

It didn't take long for Leslie Oschman of Anthropologie fame, to move on to interesting and new things in the world of creative possibility.

Not content with the extraordinary achievements, of the covetable lifestyle brand, she helped to establish, Leslie is now commissioning artwork, on the retro pieces of furniture she has sourced.

It's a reinvention of that Bloomsbury penchant, for adding a lick of paint to everything and the kitchen sink! Just the inspiration needed, to brush up on a bit of furniture of my own... And I'm liking that dog a lot too!

xxx elle

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Of wings and things.

Found on the beautiful novels and writings by Maggie May.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some good things to know.

My friend Danielle found a yellowed old book on a dumpster on the streets of Manhatten. As a beautiful young songstress struggling to sing a siren's song in NYC, the words in that book were like a message sent especially to her, from some kindly angels above.

Wise enough to know when her muse was calling, Danielle held onto the little dishevelled book, and lent it out to others needing comfort and inspiration.

It found it's way to a shared friend in her hospital bed, who showed it to me.

I love its very 80's, pop psych sincerity.
Its kindness.
And best of all, its old fashioned sensible home truths.

Here are some for you:

* Everything you need to be happy is inside of you.

* The purpose of life is for you to grow into the best Human Being you can be.

* Change is inevitable, so stop resisting and surrender to life's flow.

* All obstacles are lessons in disguise - honour them and learn.

* Your mind creates your experience of reality, so make your mind your friend.

* Fear will steal your aliveness - make your courage bigger than your fear.

* All relationships are your mirrors and all people are your teachers.

* You must love yourself before you can truly give or receive love from anyone else.

* True freedom comes from how you respond to life and not from what life does to you.

* Whatever the question, LOVE is the answer.

The day after reading this list in that little old book with my friend, I found myself unexpectedly standing in front of the 2009 edition in a bookstore!

You can buy one too. Not a literary experience by any means, but a little wisdom goes a long way in a busy world...
Secrets about life every woman should know by Barbara De Angelis

The joyful leap.

Every child knows how to express real joy. Unbridled. It will make a child laugh with; shout with; jump with joy.... And the body knows how to store that joy, sending it into every cell and every atom like a little missive looking for an envelope.

Open it up wherever you can, seeking joy in small things. And when you find it, let your body remember. An undiluted child's joy.

Find joy with and in one another.

Share. Witness. Jump.

Your soul will be grateful.

Images from Fine Little Love

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dinner is served, Madam.

'I like to have my morning newspaper ironed before I read it. I like to have my shoes boned before they are polished. I like to sit in the back of the car, and be driven. I like beds to be made, dishes to be washed, grass to be cut, drinks to be served, telephones to be answered and common tasks to be dealt with invisibly and efficiently so that I can devote my time to major decisions like the choice of wines at dinner...'

Of course, Peter Mayle was speaking tongue in cheek, when he enumerated the many delightful ways in which the toil of others, can make our own lives immeasurably more comfortable. At least I hope so, since I haven't actually read the whole text ( Acquired Tastes) and am indebted to A Super Dilettante for quoting it! And whilst I may involuntarily sigh at the doubtless pleasures of such a daydream, the wiser voice in me is alerted to a fall from grace.

Being perpetually served is I think somehow, bad for the soul.

I live in a post colonial, after-apartheid corner of the earth, in which such fantasies are entirely possible. For the price of a pair of good leather boots a person could, if they were so inclined, procure for themselves on a monthly basis, a manservant to attend to all manner of bothersome duty. Born into such circumstances, a young child could be forgiven for taking on the mantel of archetypal prince or princess, from a very early age. And that is quite an expectation to live up to.

In fact, even the most humble households, can find a humbler soul to do their bidding.

It's the nature of the beast. There are so many, so desperate to find the salvation of employment, that no amount of legislation will protect them from exploitation, and some homes number more servants then family members!

Something tells me that it is better to serve, then to be served. Although I also suspect that when done properly, there is a sacred space for the act to be reciprocal.

So. I'll cook for my own family, do my own shopping, fetch my own children and make my own bed!

I draw the line at washing and ironing!

There are some things a girl should be allowed to pay for! And every now and then a good wallow in a plush hotel room, will be worth a scuff to the soul!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Kindness blooms
even in the soil of happiness
it will take root and spread itself
measure for measure towards the rising light.

You don't have to watch the grass fade,
bleached by loss and pale from pain,
to feel it sit beside you on the journey home.
Don't have to take a wrong turn
and find yourself lost,
before you see it coming
wedged between the parcels on the train.
You must not wait for it to find you in the dark
clickety clack of the track
but seek it out now,
making place for it like an old friend
even as you feel your breath warm the glass pane,
looking out through clear glass
alive and glad already
for the kindness by your side.

Don't wait...you don't need to!
xxx elle


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future disolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
Between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
that passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out of the window forever.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters
and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the ground of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye