free love and magic mushrooms

To be born into a time that is other from now,

If we’d be given a chance, or fate had been different;

Two souls colliding just years either side.

When you think that this rock has been hurtling through space

For billions of years, then thirty years past

Is nothing at all, just the blink of an eye.

And then there would be no worries about Twitter

Or the fact that I still don’t know how to turn on

The torch on my phone. I wouldn’t be worried

About my digital footprint, just who I will dance with

And which flowers will adorn my long, flowing hair.

I’m a person born later than than my soul needed be,

An alien in a world, too busy for me.

I have just started listening to the audiobook ‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I read ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ by the same author, a couple of years ago. I feel in love with Taylor’s writing, predominately because of when she set her novels.

Both of these books are set in the seventies and they are so rock and roll and glamorous. I loved them so much that I almost feel like I would rather be there than in the here and now. I know that not all of us could be in rock bands like Daisy Jones, but I feel like it’d still be better than living in 2021.

I quite fancy myself living as a free spirited wild child, eating magic mushrooms and dancing around a field with others dressed in linen, crochet and flowers.

I have always thought that I don’t belong in this time. I never carry my phone because I hate it and people look at me like I must be mad. I don’t understand why everyone wants to be contactable 100% of the time. If I’m out, I want to be free from any distractions and yet people seem to get really angry about that.

And what are the chances of being born in any one time period? Humans have been gracing the surface of the Earth for millions of years and it seems like the luck of the draw as to whether you are born in the 60’s or the 90’s.

I’m looking forward to the rest of Malibu Rising and dreaming of what life could have been like if I had been born a mere thirty years earlier.

Much Love

Rachel xx

inside the charity shop

man in bus
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He told me to meet me inside the shop,

The charity shop, on the parade, right by the ASDA

Where the kids loiter in bunches, like bananas in blazers,

Waiting for men to buy them cigarettes,

Swinging on the railing as I slide through the door.

The bell tinkles solemnly as I search through the gloom,

Touching the racks of velveteen skirts

And ballgowns that once hung in wardrobes of rich

And powerful ladies who now lie in state,

With powdery white faces and purple rinse hair.

The thimbles and wine glasses sparkle in sunlight

As I breeze through the aisles searching for him,

And puzzles with pieces that crept from their boxes,

Line up on shelves too low to see.

The book shelves that line a wall at the back

Have called out to me as I brush past the shoes,

Their spines like rainbows that spell out the words

Of hushed secret messages he’s sending to me.

But I know he’s not here, I know he won’t be,

I hoped that our history could be sewn in between

The stories that scream out in the weightiest quiet

That bears down on all who slip in to see

What they can find in that old musty shop.

reading on the right day

Does anyone else love it when you read something and it is set on the day that you are actually reading it? I was reading yesterday and the character mentioned that it was 1st May and it made me feel deliciously content that I was reading on the same day.

I also love when writers set something on a very specific day and I can remember exactly what I was doing at that moment. Anything that was set when the Twin Towers went down is one example of this. Everyone remembers where they were and what they did on that day and I like to remember my life running parallel to the characters that I’m reading about.

There is a book called One Day by David Nichols and it is set on 15th July every year for twenty years. Most years I can’t remember what I was doing on that day, but my son was born on 16th July so when the story reached that year I couldn’t help but remember that I was in labour as the characters were living through their own stories.

I have heard that people make pilgrimages to some of the key locations in that book, every 15th July. I love that the date is so special to so many people who love the book and every time it rolls around I do think about Emma and Dexter and their story.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the reasons why we do it

person in gray skirt
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To find our riches and our fame,

The love for us will roll from lips

Of strangers, friends and family

All hoping they can bathe in light

Emitted from our regal bodies,

Casting warmth to toast their fingers,

Palms turned up to take in heat.

But what will happen when that fire

That rages in our bodies dies?

Will they turn away, bundled in their coats,

Shaking heads at what a disappointment we have been?

We have to do it for the fun of it,

The simple joy of having done a most fantastic thing.

We mustn’t do it for the love, the adoration

Or the Facebook likes. That will sap

The peace we crave underneath the fame.

I was reading Matt Haig’s Notes On A Nervous Planet and there was one of the notes that really stuck out for me. It was about our need for ‘things’ and I know that it is something that I struggle with, looking at what other people have and wishing that I had it too.

However, he made a really great point that wanting can also be seen as lacking. It is fine to want something; I guess that as humans we are programmed to need some goals and there would be no point in working if you couldn’t treat yourself once in a while. But that feeling of needing a new pair of jeans means that there is something lacking somewhere else in us.

It’s something that I’ve known and understood for a long time, but it did make me stop reading and take a moment to think about the message. I think it’s something that we all need to stop and think about sometimes. We are at our happiest when we are just being, so I know that this week I’m going to spend a bit more time enjoying the moment.

Much Love

Rachel xx

is there a book that was written about me?

pile of assorted title book lot selective focus photographt
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There is a writer somewhere near

That heard my story on a silent wave

That wafted through a window gaping wide

And whispered neatly in his ear.

My story did inspire his hands

That tapped away at clicking keys

And came together bound in leather

Into books that sat on shelves

And made the people laugh and cry,

To feel my human soul just sigh.

I sometimes feel like books were written for me and then less frequently there are occasions when the book seems to be written about me. I’m reading one of those at the moment, and I feel like it’s the sign of a good book; when the words speak to you on such a level that you really believe your story entered the writer’s psyche.

I wonder if the writer does sit at their desk and there is some magical spirit like substance that permeates their room, giving them an idea that is so close to your own story that you have to pause while reading the words, just to catch your breath.

I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert a couple of years ago and she talked about writing a story that didn’t work out for her. And the day she decided to give up the story, she visited her friend, Ann Patchett. She hugged her friend and sat having a lovely coffee with her, never mentioning the story that she had decided was a failure.

A couple of months later she spoke to Ann again and Ann told her that since their last meeting she had been writing a story and she described the exact plot that Elizabeth had been working on. It was as though the idea had just bounced from one writer to the other.

So, if these creative ideas do just bounce around the atmosphere, surely our own life stories are out there to be grabbed and written down? To me, that’s quite an incredible thought.

Much Love

Rachel xx

when it’s all just too beautiful

Oh, it’s frustrating,

That little niggle that finds its way

To hook on you

When beauty gets too much

It takes your breath away.

I should be feeling blessed

Not green with envy like I am.

I’ve read some amazing stuff recently and it brought to mind a quote that I saw somewhere on the internet. I do find myself just having to stop for a while and just reflect.

It’s an amazing thing, and I should feel so lucky and blessed that I can read something that has such a profound effect on me. But the problem is that all I seem to feel is jealousy. I hate the person who wrote something so amazing; something that I know I’d never be talented enough to write.

All I can think about is my own stunted language that sits in my latest Google Doc. It’s like lumpy custard that I feel like everyone is turning their nose up at. Meanwhile, everyone is salivating over the custard from M&S that has all of those lovely little vanilla flecks in it. And the fact that I’m using custard as a metaphor for my writing is rather telling.

One day I’ll have something that I’ve produced that will be silky and sweet. But for now, I’ll just enjoy what other people are producing in spades and keep working at what I love. I’ll get there one day. After all, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Much Love

Rachel xx

when you feel a toe curl coming on

It starts with images that feel

Wrong to taste, a bitter tang

That hurts the tips of tongues

And then it scratches at the brain

Warning that there’s something wrong

Something less than perfect swims

Through our bodies to our toes

Where muscles curl in fluffy socks

The sign that life is full of hot

And heavy moments meant to be

Private, unseen by our curious eyes.

I’m reading a book called My Dark Vanessa. It’s incredible. I would even go as far as saying it’s one of my favourite novels ever… and I’m only just over a hundred pages in.

The story is about a girl who is fifteen and she falls for her English teacher. However, it is much darker than just a story of a harmless crush; because the teacher encourages it and he is three times her age.

The author goes into real detail as to what the two of them get up to and it makes for a toe curling read.

I just wonder what it is that makes us, as humans, feel this horrid feeling. I just want to cringe, curl up in a ball and close my eyes and ears. I think it might be the fact that it’s something I know is wrong, or something that we shouldn’t be privy to.

I say that it’s a horrible feeling, but yet it becomes compulsive; it’s like an addiction that just needs feeding. Perhaps, it brings up all of the memories of those embarrassing crushes we had on teachers and what would have happened if something would have happened there.

It’s fascinating reading and it’s brought up so many uncomfortable feelings and thoughts; something that I think is sometimes important to feel when we read.

Much Love

Rachel xx

P.S can we also just take a moment to appreciate that cover. It’s just so beautiful that I would love to frame it once it’s read.

bookshelf envy

Their perfect spines all lined in rainbow

Colours, red through to an indigo.

I wonder where we’ll go when they

Are peeled apart like autumn leaves,

Crisp and cream and full of life.

I wish that I could have that wall

That’s stacked from floor to high ceiling

But all I have is two or three,

All my favourites, may I add.

There are a lot of clever people on the TV at the moment. With us being in a really bad place with the virus, but also having a vaccine, there are a lot of experts being interviewed.

Normally, I try to switch off because they scare me, but I’m always transfixed by the bookshelves behind them. All I want to do is read the spines and wonder if they have inhabited the same worlds that I have. When I see a book that I have read, I get super excited.

I’ve always done this. When I was younger, my mum always bought interiors magazines and rather than looking at all of the soft furnishings and beautiful kitchens, I would look at the bookshelves.

I think it’s the true mark of a book lover when you are more interested in the bookshelves than the people. I am most definitely an addict.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

sending out a few nice reviews

I really hate the fact that as a human race we love to complain. I, myself, love a good moan every now and then. However, I’m always far more likely to moan than I am to praise, especially since the internet makes it so easy to do it anonymously.

I’m not very good at complaining face to face and I’ve been known to eat cold food and not say a thing just so that I can save myself from the awkwardness. I’ve sometimes marveled at the people who can shout about things that they don’t like. I know that it makes people feel bad, but I sometimes wish that I could yell, just to let it all out.

My strength comes in my ability to write the scathing review on a website. I can feel all of the evilness seeping out through my fingertips and it feels like a relief.

But I never seem to write nice things about people. I can think them, but I very rarely go to the trouble to write out a nice review. So I do want to start being a little bit more proactive in the nice things that I dish out to the world.

I finished reading a book last night and the author had written a letter in the back. I always love to read the acknowledgements in books, so I duly read the letter too. It basically said that the author loves to hear from people who have read her book, that it makes her day.

Normally, I would have read that and thought that an agent would pick up all of the messages and the writer would get given a few of the nicer ones. But as I read the letter, I got the feeling that it was very genuine. I imagined the author opening lovely handwritten letters and keeping them all in her office to read when she feels down.

I know that’s not the way things happen these days, but I wanted to let the writer know that I did enjoy the book so I Tweeted. It only took me a second but I like to imagine that she got a little bit of happiness from reading it. Even if I gave somebody ten seconds of happiness, surely that’s enough?

So I’m going to make a bit more of an effort to send out some nice stuff into the world. I’m going to write a nice review, or an email and if I’m feeling really brave, I might compliment someone face to face.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

the bench in front of the bookshop

assorted books
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I’d often sit on the lonely bench

In front of the bookshop, the one in town

With colourful displays of women’s fiction

And books for kids, filled with pictures

And adventures that I would never have time

To take part in myself. And I’d look at those tables

Out in the front, with books that have sold

In the thousands, the millions and been optioned

For TV and film with Leo DiCaprio in a starring role.

I would look at it like a sweet shop for kids,

Just wanting to touch each of the covers

And then I would wish that I had my place on those shelves,

My own little book with my name on the front

And a sticker that says ‘signed by the author’

And people would hurry inside to get hold

Of a copy of my work that I’d poured in my soul

And everyone would love it and critics would say

It’s the best bloody thing written this century.

I sit on my bench and sigh as I remember

That is not true and probably won’t be,

So I pull down my hat and tighten my scarf

As I move from the bench, already looking

Forward to the time when I can return to my bench

And live out that fantasy just one more time.