beautiful monsters: January 2005 Archives

January 23, 2005

Is that coal genuine?

Wow, this site has something for everyone! Pendants containing actual coal extracted from the boilers in the wreck of the titanic. Or earrings of genuine charcoal from the fires of cave-artists in 2000 BC, with charming citrine accents. Or perhaps a rare asteroid shatter cone. Or a fulgurite – a piece of glass formed when lightening strikes sand. Maybe a lunar soil stimulant, whatever that is. Or how about a Geniune Early Cretaceous Age Ammonite?

Yup, I know where I’m doing my Christmas shopping next year… Though I’ll probably only be able to afford a Finger Boil Pen. Still, it's comforting to know that even my pen will have been reviewed by qualified scientists and educators, and no matter what size the set, information sheets are always included. Neat.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 10:16 PM | TrackBack

homeless and unemployed

I had no idea flat-hunting would be so hard at this time of year. People are practically queuing in the streets just to look at places. Everyone says “we’ll call you” but I guess they never get to page ninety-something of potential flatmates. To make matters worse, everyone wants someone 25+ and professional. No one cares how mature I might be, or how good I am at cooking, or anything. I’m already ruled out because I’m a couple of years too young and I don’t have a nine-to-five job. What’s up with that? Does a profession automatically you a better flatmate?

I’m so lucky to have friends who can put me up for a few days… but I’m getting sick of living out of my backpack. And I keep wanting things (books mostly) that are in storage.

If you hear of any non-professional flats, let me know. I’ll probably settle for almost anything at this stage, but my dream place would be:
A BIG room
With morning sun
Wooden floors
No pets or smokers
Close to town or a good bus service
And a view.

I’m also on the lookout for a profession.

Meanwhile I’m still doing the poetry course. No idea what I’m going to write about this week… it was so much easier in the last poetry course I took, because we had exercises. They were a great way to break through the terror of The Empty Page, and often we ended up with unexpected treasures.

Also I think back then I actually had a life. It gave me something to write about.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 05:59 PM | TrackBack

January 20, 2005

old movies, new movies, movies to come...

The place I’m house-sitting has Sky. I’ve never watched so much TV in my life. I even watched the Sound of Music. The children are such atrocious actors! Thankfully kids seem to be getting the hang of it these days. Thomas Sangster is just the coolest.

I’m beginning to feel as though all the movies have the same ten actors, reshuffled and re-dealt between the movies. The same faces over and over. Honestly, how many movies can one girl be in?! It gives the characters a strange resonance.

Finding Neverland was very cute, and had one of my favourite actors (because she was half of the first lesbian kiss I ever saw that was a revelation for me). Kinsey had consistently great acting, and pretty scenery from my home state. Saved! was funny and irreverent, and my, hasn't that Home Alone boy grown up?

I can’t imagine what Peter Jackson will do with The Lovely Bones

Posted by Fionnaigh at 12:33 AM

January 06, 2005


12 hours till class (8 of which I plan to sleep through) and all I have is a few scraps of lines, none of which I like. Part of the problem is that today seemed like a great time to start rewriting my Costa Rican saga. I'm tempted to hand in one of my old poems, because otherwise, this is all I got:

the trees
grow more tangled

smoke leaks
from small tears in the skin

the jungle grins

firelight in her mind, she feels
every bone on the road
to San Carlos

Tips on “how to write” from the latest Listener:

Owen Marshall: “To those people who say that writers are born, not made, my reply is yes, but a good many more are born than you might think, and in most cases their progress can be accelerated, and chances of achievement increased, by writing courses.”

Bill Manhire: “People who think they know everything are tiresome. Poets who think they know everything are even worse. This is why it is so dangerous to begin writing with a fixed idea or theme.”

Margaret Mahy: “I find it helps to read aloud to myself what I have written. There I sit, once again muttering and declaiming, picking up stumbles, repetitions and flat statements, which, once heard in the outside air, don’t say what I thought they were saying when I wrote them down.”

None of this really helps with the assignment for tomorrow. However the fact that all of these writers have surnames begining with M is somewhat reassuring.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 10:34 PM | TrackBack

molten myrrh

Excuse the sudden lack of pictures. It may be because I haven’t given Orcon any money… I’ll try and do something about that. Soon.

So today was the first class of the Iowa Workshop, and the coordinator, Megan, seems entirely nice. Though she did threaten to wear the same pants all semester (her luggage got stuck in LA). We did the weirdest exercise – we were given a poem in a language we don’t speak, and we had to sound it out, try and turn it into recognisable English words, and then make a poem out of it. I was given one in German, by Rilke. It ended up as:

I am molten
myrrh flows freely
Prague in white, ruined.
Tie ribbons in the fountain, stunned
by loss, may Christ forebear.
Distant verse, swim through winter glass
oak wine tears
feed this ragged clear worm
I grin in spangled ruins
tin shines under light
fear knows I’m swollen.

Yeah, I know, it doesn’t make much sense. It made even less before – I took out a few words that just wouldn’t fit.

I’m in the first group getting workshopped, and we have to write a poem by Friday. As in… tomorrow. Arrrgh! No exercise or anything, just “write a poem.” I have no idea how to start. I can’t remember how to write. I’ve been trying an exercise where you cut a page of writing into pieces, and rearrange them randomly, and then, without adding words but crossing out some, you make it into a poem. It hasn’t really turned into one yet:

Mario lit a bottle of pineapple wine, smoke leaked between the trees
We crouched beside the shack - I don’t think he noticed my small tears

Beni whispered a few times and jerked off beside me. I lay, listening to the shack creak. When the first birds woke I pretended to sleep, wrapped tightly, wind and animals snuffling outside. I waited.

Finally he seemed to lose.
The jungle grinned. Firelight in my mind.
A tangle of trees in the largest potholes.
Beni and his arms.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 01:28 AM | TrackBack


Eduardo has challenged poets to post a page from their notebooks. I think it'd be much more fun to see actually pictures of the pages, but hey, my scanner is packed up and my camera is out of batteries, so I'll just go with the general flow (maybe they all have electronic notebooks?) Mine seems a lot shorter than some of them... it's because my notebook is quite small.


Boys an’ beans boys an’ beans, boy knickers boy knickers beans beans beans.

I went to kindergarten and I did a painting. A dragon. But there wasn’t much yellow. Only a little bit. I’m gonna see Kyra tomorrow, but she won’t push me. She might be bigger now. I’ve got boy knickers. They’ve got cars on them. There wasn’t much yellow. Only a little bit. I need to get some more yellow. There’s strawberries out there!

You shake light particles
from your hair
fine dust
raining over us.

A new study by a pair of theorists in Sweden describes how swirling clouds of atoms could slug down all nearby light, making them as black as their astronomical cousins.

has broken free
and hurtles aimlessly
through time

the breath of stars
that have long since faded

the gentle corralling of rays

Tiny tornadoes within wispy clouds of gas, they would snag photons through their remarkable ability to slow light pulses.

a fluid flow can drag light along with it.

We can linger a thousand times
weight is as solid
“An aesthete is unsettled at so much grace, a believer communicating with his god, a philosopher overtaken by a memory from his reading.”

Let us discover a new road to Damascus

Posted by Fionnaigh at 01:05 AM | TrackBack

January 03, 2005


Carla has a wrap up of historic earthquakes, some of which caused tsunami. Apparently, though, some of the biggest tsunami aren't caused by earthquakes at all.

Pre-human-history there were sometimes mega tsunami caused by the collapse of volcanic islands. They’ve worked out that a certain kind of volcano is built of very porous material that the rainwater soaks into, combined with walls of hardened lava that act as dams. Apparently if you take a mountain filled with water, and then add the heat of an eruption, the water pressure builds up and the mountain falls apart. There’s one that they reckon will collapse sometime in the next few hundred years. The volcano is called Cumbre Vieja, the island is La Palma, in the Canary islands. They have no idea when it might collapse. They can predict that initial wave heights will be 900m. These would drop to 50-100m by the time they reached the African mainland. 15-25 meter waves would hit the east coast of North America 8-9 hours later.

The highest tsunami wave ever recorded was caused by a landslide in Lituya Bay, Alaska in 1958. A wave more than 500 m high stripped trees and soil from the steep walls of a fjord. It dissipated quickly upon reaching the sea.

There's a theory that the great flood (present in the bible and stories from other cultures) may have been a tsunami. And of course the theory that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a mega-tsunami caused by an asteroid.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 11:03 AM | TrackBack

January 02, 2005


If it faced east, and was slightly closer to town, Eastbourne would be perfect. I love having sea and bush within walking distance. These pictures were taken on the way to Butterfly Creek, which is just over the hill from here. I’m not sure why it’s called that… if it was in Costa Rica it would be because there were a thousand different kinds of butterflies, including a blue morpho fluttering over the water (they look much shinier when you see them in a spot of sunlight by a waterfall in the jungle…)




I’m so nervous, I’m starting a poetry workshop on Wednesday, and I don’t think I can remember how to write… I wrote so little last year, just a few essays, maybe three poems the whole year. What if I can’t think of anything to say? At least I know a few of the people in the class, which makes it less scary… also means I can’t recycle old poems cos they’ll know. Damn.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 04:40 PM | TrackBack

January 01, 2005

born again blog

Did you miss me? I missed y’all. I’ve missed having this space to write in. Not that I have much to say. I just want to check that my writing muscles are still working. I’m leaving comments off for now, because I can’t face them, but all nice people should feel welcome to email me…

New Years is usually chock full of hopes and dreams and resolutions, but this time round I’ve been fighting back the tears. I just don’t feel like there’s anything to look forward to.

The past twenty-four hours have been nice though, I’ve been in the company of some of my favouritist people in the world… but I’ve also been aware of all the people I’ve lost touch with. I’ve been so damn lonely lately.

One of the (many) suckful things about depression is that it’s really really hard to reach out to anyone. You’re alone and scared but you just can’t face anyone. And if you do manage to reach out, or if someone reaches out to you… I always feel like all the energy has been sucked out of me, even opening my mouth to talk is hard, and I never have anything to say, because it’s too hard to get out and do anything that would be worth talking about. So I always feel like the worst company ever, and maybe I’m sucking the life out of the party and everyone just wishes I’d go home…

It also makes for tedious blogging.

If you’re thinking “here we go again”, well, so am I. For a while there I really thought I had the right cocktail of drugs and things were going to be ok. It’s devastating to feel the blackness surging back. I feel so tired, I don’t know how I can possibly keep my head above the surface this time. I can’t keep coming back to this place, every time it feels harder.

There’s always someone who will remind you that it could be worse and you should be grateful, which doesn’t help, it just makes you feel guilty as well, but yeah, it could be.

I only knew a couple of people who were in the tsunami-affected area, and they’re ok, so for me it’s one of those incomprehensible faraway things. I wish I could do something though. Well, I could give money, if I had any. Maybe next week… I help will be needed for some time to come…

I’d quote a poem at this point, but all my books are packed away in boxes, along with most of my life. So I’ll just recycle this passage from a picture book that I had when I was a kid. It used to scare the hell out of me… but this bit is nice.

Life is always stronger than death. Jiya will feel when he wakes that he can never be happy again. He will cry and cry and we must let him cry. But he cannot always cry. After a few days he will stop crying all the time. He will cry only part of the time. He will sit sad and quiet. We must allow him to be sad and we must not make him speak. But we will do our work and live as we always do. Then one day he will be hungry and he will eat something that his mother cooks, something special, and he will begin to feel better. He will not cry any more in the day time but only at night. We must let him cry at night. But all the time his body will be renewing itself. His blood flowing in his veins, his growing bones, his mind beginning to think again, will make him live.
“He cannot forget his father and mother and his brother!” Kino exclaimed.
“He cannot and he should not forget them,” Kino’s father said. “Just as he lived with them alive, he will live with them dead. Someday he will accept their death as part of his life. He will weep no more. He will carry them in his memory and his thoughts. His flesh and blood are part of them. So long as he is alive, they, too, will live in him. The big wave came, but it went away. The sun shines again, birds sing, and earth flowers. Look out over the sea now!”
Kino looked out the open door and he saw the ocean sparkling and smooth. The sky was blue again, a few clouds on the horizon were the only sign of what had passed.

- from The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck

Posted by Fionnaigh at 09:19 PM | TrackBack