green and blue

Take a moment if you can, and imagine that your world was just green and blue. Push your mind further still, and imagine that every person was either green or blue – not shades of green and shades of blue, but just a singular green or a singular blue.

Now imagine that you could see a colour outside of this green or this blue – maybe something in between, or something new altogether. What if you saw yourself as a different colour, or you saw the people around you in different colours?

But “most people” only see the singular green and the singular blue. There is no word to express or describe the colour you see. The people around you are confused because they don’t see what you see. No one has ever been told that other colours are possible, but you’re sure that you’ve found a third colour.

What then? Continue reading

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snakes in the grass

I was going to write a different post this week, but I just don’t have the energy or inclination. Instead, here is a random thing I wrote a while ago, inspired by a friend.


It’s like getting bitten by a snake. If you’ve never met a snake before — only heard about them, never known what it feels like to be bitten and to have venom in your blood — then it’s all theoretical or hypothetical. But now I’ve been bitten, and I know what it feels like.

I also know how to watch out for snakes, to avoid them, and avoid getting bitten.

Still, sometimes you can’t evade them. They find ways.

There is no snake now, but sometimes I wonder if there’s one following me, hidden in the grass …or perhaps it’s just the wind.

Occasionally I find a snake, and I look it in the eye. I watch it, unflinching, waiting to see what it will do. Will it come closer? Will it strike?

But in these moments, I don’t feel very afraid (only a little) because I know how snakes move. Maybe I can dodge it and run away. And if I do get bitten, I know I have survived before — I have enough strength in me to survive.

lessons from tomatoes

I’ve been thinking a lot about gardens lately. Somewhere in Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott uses gardening as a metaphor for life: you plant some things, you look after them, they grow, some of them die, you learn, and then you plant more (or other) things. Gardening is a good metaphor for life because gardens are full of life (hopefully).

A few months ago, a couple of friends of mine went on a road trip. They would be gone for about three weeks, so they needed someone to look after their cherry tomato plants. I seemed the most suitable/reliable candidate, so one week-end they brought two large pots, each with several little tomato plants, over to my place. The only instructions they left with me were to water them every day, and make sure they got lots of sunlight.  Continue reading

read vs write

I had a bit of a random thought the other day about reading and writing. I feel like I’ve written a post about this before, but I can’t seem to find it (not that I looked very hard), so please excuse me if you’ve heard this all before. (*Tangent Alert* It’s kind of like when you’ve told a story so many times to so many different people that you forget who you have and haven’t told, and then you kind of have to decide whether or not you want to go ahead and risk re-telling a story that people have already heard before. I know a few people who do this quite a bit, but they’re such fun to talk to, I usually don’t mind, or I’ll just subtly hint that that story sounds familiar…)

I had a conversation with a friend quite some time ago about the relationship between the love of reading and the love of writing. This particular friend loves to read, and reads a lot. I’m pretty much the same. However, she does not like to write, whereas I clearly love to write (I’d assume most people who write blogs like writing too). At the time, I remember thinking this was a bit odd, but I kind of just accepted it because, you know, “each to their own” and whatnot.

In recent weeks, while discovering new food blogs, and watching cooking shows like “MasterChef” and “Everyday Gourmet” and a variety of foodie shows on SBS, I had a thought that maybe the reading/writing relationship could be analogous to the eating/cooking relationship. Eating and reading both feed the soul. Cooking and writing can be such rewarding experiences that enrich the lives of those who undertake these tasks.

If someone likes to eat, and they’ve had delicious meals prepared for them all their life, I’d think it’d be reasonable for them to be inspired to learn to cook and create tastey dishes of their own. Likewise, if someone likes to read, it would not be out of place for them to be inspired to write – right?

I also reckon that people who love to write would also love reading; just as people who love to cook would certainly love to eat. I’ve never met someone who disproves this, but feel free to be the first. So much of cooking is tasting the components of the dish as you prepare it, ensuring everything is balanced, and the flavours are right. So much of writing is re-reading and editing your sentences so that the text flows as it’s intended. It’s hard for me to imagine someone who loves to write but detests reading (it makes me shudder just to think that anyone might detest reading at all, irrespective of their feelings toward writing).

The more I thought about this, the more I realised that the analogy could be expanded to include so many other things. For example, most human beings like music of some variety, but not everyone has an inclination toward singing or playing musical instruments. We can appreciate music (which also feeds the soul, by the way) without having an urge to sing or pick up a guitar or take up piano lessons. However, I don’t think it’s possible for a musician to not like listening to music. The analogy works, right? And it can probably be applied to most performing arts, and art art like paintings and sketches and whatnot.

Perhaps what determines whether you like both the process and the end-product, or whether you appreciate the end-product with minimal interest in the process – perhaps what it all boils down to is inspiration. It just depends on whether or not you reach that magical level of inspiration, where you’re moved to take action. (Sometimes I feel like I’m pretty easily inspired, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it also means there are a lot of things that I want to do.) I could hypothesise that it might also come down to natural talent or affinity, but things like writing, cooking, drawing, etc can all be practised and perfected over time (although generally people seem to prefer doing things that they’re naturally good at).

One last thing – I think reading makes one’s writing better, and writing can improve one’s appreciation of reading. Likewise, eating can help improve one’s cooking, and cooking is likely to enhance the eating experience. Each pair works synergistically.