something transformative by Philippa Moore

“I did not know what I was doing, and what I also did not know, facing my computer screen and a white wall, slowly turning pale, was that I was becoming a writer.

Becoming a writer was partly a matter of acquiring technique, but it was just as importantly a matter of the spirit and a habit of the mind.

It was the willingness to sit in that chair for thousands of hours, receiving only occasional and minor recognition, enduring the grief of writing in the belief that somehow, despite my ignorance, something transformative was taking place.”

 - Viet Thanh Nguyen in this article.

anzac day, 1949 by Philippa Moore

We remember nothing. Maybe for a year or two. Maybe most of a life, if we live. Maybe. But then we will die, and who will ever understand any of this?"
- Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to The Deep North

The photo above is from my vintage photo collection, and was a gift to me from my friend Erin. On the back is scrawled in pencil, "Anzac Day 1949". Only four years after the end of the Second World War, when the horror of it all would have still been so fresh.

What did these young men see? What did they endure? And what happened afterwards, what sorts of lives did they go on to live? I look into the eyes and faces of these young men, too young, and can only imagine.

Photographs like this can hold hundreds of stories. I hope all of them got the chance to be told, and remembered.

the chaos of what we are by Philippa Moore

"......what I think you discover when you write stories is in the end you're just there to reflect what truth you can find in this life, not to try to pretend how life should be lived. I don't even know how to live my own life.
"In a novel you're allowed to open yourself to the chaos of what we are. It's hard to admit all the contradictions we're made of. We may believe this thing one moment and abandon it and believe the opposite the next. We can believe one thing, act another way and say a third.
"What you discover as a writer is you're not one person. There's an infinity of people in you, some much more admirable, others much more despicable."
- Richard Flanagan

35 things to do before I turn 36 by Philippa Moore

Goodness, come May I am well and truly in my MID THIRTIES.

When the hell did that happen?

In my head, I'm still that 26 year old who left Australia with a backpack strapped on and so much hope and excitement in her heart.

So much has happened in those ten years. So much that I had to write a book about it

When I first arrived in London, this bustling hive of a city where even going to shops and taking the tube to work was a giddy adventure for a while, I had so much I wanted to do I didn't really know where to start, so I just dove in head first. I loved living like that.

But as the years have passed and my life here has undoubtedly become more domestic and started to grow roots (not that that's a bad thing), it's been very easy for things to pass me by and to put things off until later when I might have more time, money or energy. I feel like a madwoman sometimes, mentally possessed by ideas and projects and things I desperately want to do and get off the ground, and physically surrounded by detritus of my mental chaos, books, letters, receipts, plans, everywhere.

I want to get a handle on things. I want to recapture some of the free-spirited fun of my twenties, but start feeling organised and like I have a plan, as would befit a woman in her mid-thirties. Gulp! 

No matter what age I have been, I hasten to add, I have yearned to be organised, socially useful, present and making the most of things. So with that in mind, I've come up with a few (well, 35) things to do in the next five weeks that will contribute greatly to that feeling! 

So, here we go. 

  1. Declutter my phone - back up, organise and delete photos; back-up poems written in notes, etc
  2. Run 10k (either on my own or with my running group)
  3. Write more letters
  4. Make a wedding album (finally!) 
  5. Read an Edith Wharton novel (I know, terrible!)
  6. Plant my cavolo nero, courgette, radish, french beans, kohlrabi and tomato seeds
  7. Keep blogging
  8. Keep meditating
  9. Become a member of Kew Gardens
  10. Declutter my study and reorganise my bookshelves
  11. Get another parkrun PB
  12. Buy some smart and comfortable work shoes that I can wear in spring, summer and autumn (I'm covered with winter shoes!)
  13. Treat myself to another oracle deck
  14. Get a haircut/colour
  15. Pitch that *top secret thing* to *you know who*
  16. Get my favourite (broken!) statement necklace fixed/restrung
  17. Get a trolley to keep my makeup in
  18. Get a pedicure (well overdue!)
  19. Learn how to make a potato fondant
  20. Clean out my tea cupboard (and treat myself to some new ones!)
  21. Subscribe to the London Review of Books
  22. Organise my vintage photo collection
  23. Find another yoga class (and start going regularly)
  24. Book our anniversary holiday
  25. Call the ATO (boring but necessary)
  26. Buy a new teapot
  27. Go out for dumplings 
  28. See a live comedy show
  29. Redecorate and declutter bedroom
  30. Go to the National Portrait Gallery
  31. Go to Maltby Street markets
  32. Take a hiphop or Beyonce style dance class
  33. Finish my current journal and start a new one
  34. Buy a new jacket in a bright colour
  35. Try a new restaurant 

If I manage to do all of them, it's going to be a fun and productive month!

heart in two places by Philippa Moore

We brought this drop dead gorgeous Tasmanian pinot noir back from our trip last year, and had kept it at a balmy controlled 13 degrees in our wine fridge since. We had a few things to celebrate this weekend so we felt it was as good a time as any to crack open the Pooley. With a Bee Gees album spinning on the record player and this wine in my glass, I half expected my dad to walk in from the garden. Such is life, with your heart in two places, in the blossom of spring and the bramble of autumn. 

I hope your weekend is full of delicious things.