smoky days/identity theft/operation jo march

hello & welcome to your latest episode of Isabel Cannot Time-Manage For Shit

here is a picture of me trying to eat my glasses


my last post was in september. or october? anyway, since then i’ve done a bunch of dumb impulsive shit, most of which won’t make it to a public blog, & we’ve had a good deal of personal drama. also, uni’s been nuts. now i adore 19th-century russian lit, 17thc lit is fascinating, & creative writing is my OXYGEN, but it’s all sorta come down on me like a ton of bricks & i’ve been scrambling to make my deadlines whilst doing things like, you know, sleeping 5+ hours a night & eating things that aren’t hummus on toast. not that there’s anything wrong with that.

it’s a smoky day. it was even before i crawled out of the rolling stack at five p.m to find it was already all dark. there’s a grain to the air like we’re being shot on 35mm, & the trees are all bare & black & wavery, & everything still smells a bit like leaf-mulch & wet earth, & possibly you can tell i really, really love autumn. especially bonfire night. i slay at apple-bobbing, obviously.

i’ve fallen asleep watching fireworks out of my window for a couple nights running now, because our dumb asses kept forgetting to go to an actual bonfire & now none of us can be bothered to get out of bed (we’re coming down from a waffle house trip). there’s something about norwich on days like this- the arabesques & spires & winged gargoyles, the swaying catkins on the fir trees on the uea broad, the still-leafy lamp-orange tunnel of the avenues in the dark, the grim romance of it all- that makes fireworks seem extra-beautiful. like thrown handfuls of vanishing stars, sliding down the cathedral roofs.

anyway, a catch-up.

-so on friday i melodramatically hacked off my hair. £5 scissors from superdrug & jo scuttling around holding up a smeary mirror so i could get the back. i figured i’d probably regret it- my contingency plan for if it looked terrible was to shave it all off- & i thought i’d at least miss my pretty luna lovegood curls. but i don’t regret it at all. i’m too busy raking my hands through it & buying pretentious hair gel. ever since i was eleven or twelve there’s been a part of me that’s wanted to do this, just grab scissors & get hacking, or at least go to a hairdressers’ to get my hair cut short, but- excepting an appalling dorito-esque haircut when i was eleven & wanted to look like leslie from bridge to terabithia (it didn’t work), & an uncharacteristically sleek bob when i was fourteen- i never did. i’d always kinda wanted a really messy androgynous haircut, but when my hair got long & wavy again i worried about regretting it. i thought it would be a waste to get rid of it because it was pretty, & everyone else seemed to agree. anyway, somewhere around thursday midnight i went to the bathroom & out of nowhere got completely sick of my hair, & even sicker of feeling like i had to keep my hair, so the next day i bought the aforesaid scissors, asked several friends whether they thought i should do it (‘um, no’ being the general response) & after fortifying myself by eating quite a lot of pasta went ahead & did it anyway. (people ask why i didn’t go to a hairdresser. the truth is that a) i had a physical urge that had to be excised & b) i had no idea how to express to a hairdresser that i wanted sebastian-flyte-meets-blue-is-the-warmest-colour hair. i may also still be suffering with post-traumatic stress following the whole dorito incident eight years ago.) i have a long coiled-up ponytail in my drawer next to my unopened gianduja bombe truffles. is that weird? i kind of want to do a nick cave & pin it above my bed.

oh, uh, also i love my new hair.


-the night before halloween, which was freezing, by the way, i caught myself dancing around on my bed to spooky scary skeletons, at which point i decided that this had gone far enough & messaged angus to ask if i could use him to gatecrash the predrinks he was gatecrashing through someone else & bop along to the lcr with him later. an hour later (which was mostly me whining about not knowing which of my six black chokers to wear) we were heading off through a glittering frosty night, marvellously underdressed (angus had rolled up in a green t-shirt & announced he was going as shaggy from scooby-doo; i, velvet-jacketed & demon-winged, was going as myself) to the aforesaid predrinks. about a third of the way into the bottle of shitty white wine i’d brought my memory started going flaky & from then on my recollections devolve into snapshots. angus & i jamming wildly to there she goes, my beautiful world in someone else’s ribbon-strung living room; somehow negotiating myself, through a drunk-typing haze, an lcr ticket from a girl on facebook, which i managed to acquire fifteen minutes before we got there; dancing for hours under a haze of shifting neons, in that kind of nightclub double consciousness where you’re completely beside yourself from the strange lights & the alcohol & time isn’t a thing anymore & yet your blood is pumping & you can feel the music pounding in your sternum & something at the root of your brain feels acutely aware & alive. flailing arms to come on eileen on the steps of the pit, which was a moving sea of sweaty people stained in fake blood & red spangles, & every inch of the floor was crammed with empty vk bottles. scrubbing someone else’s black facepaint off my chin with damp loo roll in the lower bathroom, bullying angus into borrowing my jacket on the walk back when i turned up my street. i was wearing six-inch chunky platform boots & looking up at the stars i felt like they were the only thing rooting me to the ground.

apparently i woke lucy up by clumping in around four a.m, which is actually kind of an early record for me. of course the upshot of this was that i spent oct 31st as grinning, woozy, nauseous trash, swilling ibuprofen with my coffee.

-also, jo & i dressed up as each other for halloween. we bought wigs- the jo wig was called femme fatale on the packaging, the me wig (of course i hadn’t cut my hair then) was gothic temptress, & as jo is really quite terrifying & i’m a massive flirt this was rather uncannily accurate. i wore one of jo’s many floral dresses, plus petticoat, dainty red shoes, pearls (that, incidentally, i gave to her in the summer) & even her little silver watch. she donned my purple trousers, velvet jacket & choker, oscar wilde graphic t-shirt, demon wings, & william blake docs (which gave her ankle scars). the effect was unsettling. we discovered several fundamental truths about ourselves. it’d probably be a great short story idea. i looked sort of like a drag queen, not helped by the fact that i kept manspreading, & jo looked sort of like she’d just stepped out of twin peaks (season two). jo & i occupy very different places on the butch-femme scale. i think we gave several lecturers the heebie-jeebies.

-in re: literary pursuits, i’ve mostly been trying to get my 19th century russian lit module by the throat. at its most intense this involved three sleep-deprived days during which i basically camped out on floor 2 of the library to get through all five hundred-plus pages of dead souls in time to give a presentation on it for my wednesday seminar. there was also the rainy train journey to leicester when i listened to glass animals & read lady macbeth of mtsensk in one sitting. the morning i read the last page of fathers & sons- sitting on a silent study floor of the library- & started uncontrollably weeping, probably confusing/annoying/concerning the people in the booths next to mine. the scribbled, crisscrossed essay i wrote (in a breathless two hours) on pechorin’s androgyny, sitting scrunched up in the russian literature bit of the rolling stack with my boots off. but what, then, is the inapprehensible mysterious force that draws one to thee? why is thy plaintive song heard, why does it resound, unremitting, in the ears, as it carries through all thy length and breadth, from sea to sea? what is in it, this song? what calls, and sobs, and clutches at the heart?

-the other thing i’ve been flipping OUT over is thomas browne’s religio medici, which i read last week for 17th century lit. it’s idiosyncratic & personal & there’s the odd moment of sublimity- like a passage where he talks about metempsychosis which gives me the fucking chills- & it also reads in places as a love letter to ambiguity, to paradox, to the dark spaces in faith that let imagination run wild.

-also: it took me two years but i’m finally catching up on spn. i blazed thru s12 & am one episode into s13. i have, hoo, a lot to say.

-oh, yeah, & jo & i watched the grand budapest hotel last night. i loved it i loved it i loved it. i don’t even want to sort thru my feelings about it yet. but it was dreamy & eccentric & silly & lovely- & yet at the end  there’s a moment where a curtain lifts & all this bitterness & compassion comes through- i thought it was wonderful. ‘monsieur gustave was also the most liberally perfumed man i have ever met.’ ENCHANTING.

anyway, this is the part where… i go the fuck to bed.


00:33, nov. 6 2018





et in arcadia ego

pretentiousness rating: 3 barrels of oak-smoked decade-aged ennui. we’re livin the dream.


hello! it’s been a month!

night’s creeping in at the mo; i’m sitting by my window tryin to prop my eyes open long enough to write this.

-somehow it is late september, & late september is a good time to be in norwich. jo & i’s contra mundum month of grilled peaches & rainy days is now behind us; lucy, will & mantas have moved in. NOIRWICH flyers & shouty notices jostle for space on the pinboard, the “meat drawer” is leaking, no snacks are safe, & bathroom access may be determined only through ritual combat. i am sleep-deprived from reading francis bacon til two a.m, & living off oreos & leftover vegan wok takeout, & i have spent a disgusting amount of money in antiquarian bookshops, & i’m happy.

-this month is like one long, languid golden hour. it’s scarf weather but it isn’t coat weather. the chill in the air is nice & friendly & smells like a deep dark dreamy autumn ahead of us. there’s glossy conkers scattered all over the paths of the avenues, & pink leviathans of cloud when the sun sets, & stars scattered recklessly all over the night with no care for good taste.

-our darling spidery victorian house is becoming slowly more ours. i’ve ordered some pre-raphaelite art posters & we’re going to have a louche little housewarming party with our favourites & a gloomy jazz playlist. i just strung fairy lights all over my room; jo keeps moaning about being cold & then nicking my blankets; lucy’s room is a cave of yogurt pots & history books. as for will, i have initiated a prank war by filling the lining of his peacoat with broccoli.

-we also had a rather hairy saturday a fortnight back. the hairiness began at mr postles’ apothecary, which is a gorgeous early-victorian style bar with antique mirrors & swoony jazz music & deeply recessed leather seats, deserted & dimly glamorous when we went in. the nordic giant at the bar put dry ice in a cup with a silent flourish, & plumes & billows of white smoke slid out of it to trail across the polished walnut surface. cocktails were consumed- cocktails ranging from something involving blowtorched cinnamon & apple vodka to the virulently blue screwball i started out with. we got very plastered & staggered off to gonzo’s, identifiable by one battered, chunky neon sign. you went through a long thin corridor to get to it; it was a cosy, battered space w/ sofas & all sorts of random posters & pictures overlapping each other on the walls & glistening hangings on the backs of chairs, cascades of gold sequins. that bit’s all rather a kaleidoscopic blur, but it was followed by a rather lynchian sequence at a blue-lit indian resturant & a disgraced totter back to maison edric (during which i went into the deserted graveyard at st giles & flopped down onto the grass to jo’s long-suffering sigh). i ended up alone at midnight on the black expanse of the uea broad, drunk-texting lucy: i feel somewhat doolally & i’m broke again & have you missed me & BUNNIES! & luuuuuuuuuuuucy i’m bored taaaaalk to me gosh darn it

-lucy is being sensible & saving her money. jo & i? pah! my favourite unnecessary purchase of the past month is a faux leather backpack with black demon wings. also i now own william blake docs, which is really all i ever wanted out of life. i’m waiting on a velvet blazer in the post, alongside a shit-ton of books & a straight-up black lace fan. i also really want some creepers & the entire collection of beauty in decay books, but i’m trying to restrain myself at least til thursday.

-i’m reading a lot of different stuff at the moment- anna karenina, paradise lost, special topics in calamity physics, some pushkin, & i want to write about them all but my brain feels all gummed up. i think that’s mostly a sign that i need more than five hours knockout time tonight. i’m gonna try & be back in a few days with a post in re: the folding star.

-jo & i have had an enormous amount of fun with movie nights. we take it in turns; her recent suggestions have included paprika, millennium actress, moonrise kingdom, loving vincent, the grand budapest hotel, & heathers. mine have been crimson peak, jane eyre, only lovers left alive, bright star, & (next up) a girl walks home alone at night. all stuff i want to write about. all stuff i’ve been too busy working, or hanging out with people, or ringing up uea to sort out admin bullshit, to do. hopefully that’ll change now.

-uh, wow, this is pretty much just straight blathering. i should post this bullshit & go read some erasmus or something.




“brooding on the vast abyss”

so, i just realised i haven’t posted in eleven days, whoops. i do however have an excuse: i seem, somehow, to have acquired a job. for the past five days i have been working as a paid fundraiser for a charity (which shall here go unnamed), which basically means knocking on people’s doors & asking them for money. the experience has been… mixed. it’s a really cool job in some ways- like at least you’re outside & walking around (my GOD are you walking around) & i’ve had some really nice guys in my group. you talk to some lovely people, too. but it’s also kinda mentally & physically exhausting- you have to be mentally ‘on’ all the time, & if you know me you’ll know that i have trouble being mentally ‘on’ for ten bloody minutes. you also tend to walk about fifteen to twenty miles per shift, so i’ve been crashing when i get home every night. snacks are the key. i’ve been surviving on plums & pecan pie nakd bars.

after my first shift, i wrote: it was nerve-wracking & disheartening & difficult, but at least i got to see the pale evening sky, & the gibbous moon bearded w/ mist, & sea-foam roses in someone’s garden, & the stars above a tiny train station in the middle of nowhere. & that’s true: i’d rather do this than some soulless retail job.

yesterday, though. oh, boy. yesterday was a fucking catastrophe. our train was cancelled (due to someone jumping in front of a train somewhere in essex), so we were late to shift (which meant we didn’t have a break, &, listen, when your shift is six hours of walking around as fast as you can you really, really need a break). five hours later, we were exhausted, we hadn’t got any signups, a woman had been a complete bitch to me. then, just as we got our route very tangled up & were wondering whether we’d knocked this street before, a massive storm hit. i had no umbrella & was wearing a little purple hoodie. r.i.p. for the next hour i was knocking doors in the pitch black with water streaming down my face, holding my rain-smeary glasses between fingers that had gone numb fifteen minutes ago, having to get my group to point out which bits of the houses were the doors because i was blind as a bloody bat.

it took me two trains, fifty minutes’ walking, & nearly three hours to get back to edric, after which i had the longest hottest shower of my life & woke jo up so that i could bitch to her. man, it’s a good thing i’m getting paid by the hour.

in other news:

-jo & i made the best cookies of our LIVES last week. i joke not. the millies’ cookies recipe on bbc goodfood, guys: it’s idiot-proof. if you want lil round cookies that are super soft inside & taste like annie lennox’s voice w/ added chocolate chips, i highly recommend. we made bonfire toffee tea & watched princess kaguya & then howl’s moving castle to cheer us up bc we were both crying our eyes out. listen, i want to live in that film. i just really relate to howl, okay. i too live in a cave full of glittering paraphernalia & exude large quantities of slime when i’m frustrated. (jo claims kinship w/ sophie.)

-i’ve started reading paradise lost, which, DAMN, son. i have fallen unabashedly into the lucifer camp. listen, he’s so bizarrely sympathetic! he’s arrogant & self-sacrificing & remorseful & independent & there’s some GORGEOUS lines on his black-winged flights through the gloomy deeps. i’ll do a proper excerpts post later.

-i’m also reading eugene onegin, which is unexpectedly very, very funny, & also rather moving & beautiful & full of flickering movement & life. the stanley mitchell translation is so good!

-also, listen up, fellow spn dudes: the new hillywood parody. oh my GOD. tears of joyous mirth, my brethren.

-anyway, after the shitty day i had yesterday jo & i are engaging in some hardcore r&r, which means we’re debuting the grimy takeaway down the road & watching submarine. there may also be grilled peaches & red wine involved, & writing, & coconut frozen yogurt.




on heroes

i wrote this in december 2016. it’s still my hands-down favourite of my own poems although there’s probably quite a lot wrong with it.


Now he’s a myth. A half-seen figure

alive in the heart of a green bonfire.

Spangled in glory, silver thread at his seams

edged from behind in the neon of dreams.

Handing out stars like boiled sweets

and the cosmos that tangle like hair at his feet.


He lay down with a spine-bird in a bed of rushes

killed milky-eyed monsters and leather-winged wonders

kissed gods in the snow beneath a bright old lantern

stole a pearl from the devil’s pantry.

Carved faith from seaglass, collected dead flies

and walked on the ocean with flames in his eyes.


And beneath all this, this gorgeous skin

this djinn-dream, this envelope of ancient yarns

he’s thin, curly-haired, with gentle-veined wrists

barely more than a child, barely been kissed

a mole like a moth on the pale of his throat

exquisitely threadbare in that awful coat.


Rode a sheep into a dusty courtroom

wore his flesh like a dancer’s costume

cracked his knuckles, bit his nails

never learned his piano scales

tied his shoelaces all wrong

quietly humming sad old songs.


And his lover explored with whalebone hands

the fantastic clockwork of his lungs.


And now there’s no-one left to remember

how his ink-bloomed fingers used to tremble

lighting a cigarette, or wrapped round a razor

or how he bought violets day after day, but

only to scatter the petals to sea

and stare down a pale horse before taking his leave.


He’s joined the halls of the old ones now

stories without eyes or noses or mouths

last week they lost Gilgamesh’s deathwatch howl

tomorrow Blodeuwedd won’t be flowers or owls.

Details restlessly real as heartbeats

in the unlivable knowledge that our gods are meat.


Perhaps this is how it could end

left with a pit of stripped skeletons

and poking through myth-guts with rowan sticks

and smashing through legends with crumbling bricks.

Perhaps they had mothers. Perhaps they had lovers

and perhaps they had fathers and sisters and brothers

and perhaps sainthood sang in their bones

and perhaps they listened to their sky-ships groan

and gazed into booming and heavenly dark

and shivered with feeling, and shivered with feeling

and peeled down and naked they all look the same

and we’re left with the gorgeously dead and their names

and the cry of the stars and the roar of the moon

and their beautiful faces with their beautiful wounds.


bright young things @ maison edric

i have moved into edric, & my poor dear squid whisperer & i are experiencing true student poverty for the first time in our lives. i am only allowed to go into one second-hand bookshop per week, & she is allowed to buy only one new variety of tea. we subsist on minestrone soup & make a lot of jokes about milk, peppers & cocaine.

-it is 31 degrees over here & i am currently holding a tub of salted caramel ice-cream to my head to try & cool the fuck down.

-edric is a beautiful house. he is very tall & thin & rambling- rather dilapidated- wooden floors, light-filled corridors, two squishy old red sofas in the lounge. we’re slowly making him ours: my catcher in the rye poster in the lounge, a bathroom fully weaponised with bath bombs & rubber ducks, books all over the bloody place.

-my room is the crows’ nest, right at the back of the house, a tiny place which is about 90% enormous bed. it’s like a goddamn island. there’s a big window right by it, so i can see the night sky when i lie down. if i hang backwards out of the window at a certain angle i have an excellent view of the stars. i’m going for kind of a tatty black-n-white quasi-retro thing with it; black posters, victorian photographs (alice liddell, oscar wilde), black bedsheets, my books stacked in piles on my desk & chest of drawers. they also fill up the entire bookcase in the lounge, because of course they do.

-jo’s reading ulysses at the moment (she’s on the aeolus chapter, which is the one i find most confusing, but i’m nevertheless very excited for her) & i’m reading the folding star. we are in constant battle against falling-down posters & the very dodgy oven, which operates according to some dark agenda of its own.

-i have been adopted by a goth moth; he is a huge black velvet creature who keeps hanging around my room, probably attracted by all the black. i can hear him crashing repeatedly into the lampshade right now.

(three days later.)

-it’s a grey, rain-silvered day, & i woke up to a view of the garden all dark & lush & secretive. the garden is very green & overgrown, with a tiny tumbledown shed at the end. sort of ramshackle-dreamy, like the rest of the house. beyond the trees i can see the spire of the catholic cathedral.

-it’s so quiet here at nights. in all the places i’ve lived, & there’s been a lot, it’s never been this still before. i’m used to the buzz of main roads, of surrounding flats. but here it’s just the trees & the creak of the boards & the rain.

-also, my room + rain = some cosy y.a novel bullshit.


-we’re trying to get the neighbours to like us. i’m hoping jo, as the pretty soft-voiced one in pearls & floral sundresses, will be our public face. she’s written a nice note to the teachers who live next door, to which i added a scrawled postscript. i’ve been playing quite a lot of music by the open window, so let’s hope they like antique beat.

-then there’s the little skinny black cat we’ve been trying to lure into being friends with us, who we see prowling round the street; the fairy lights in the trees down the road; the house two doors down, number 67, which i’m pretty sure is haunted, it’s uninhabited, with a pale blue front door & the dead stalks of dandelion clocks overgrowing the garden; the pale stars of water-lilies on the campus lake. i went out for a rain-walk this afternoon in raincoat, doc martens & very little else, & came back with water sluicing off me in streams. it’s easy to feel alive when you’re alone on the norfolk broads getting stormed on.

-there’s also stuff like making blueberry pancakes in the early sun with oil of angels playing in the background, & serious conversations over which bowie posters would look best in the lounge vs my bedroom (verdict: heroes in my room, low & ziggy stardust downstairs), & getting drunk on my bed & wildly bitching about people on our shit list, & talking each other into buying stuffed animals (a blue octopus & a green llama, guess who bought which) in tiger, & me trying to eat a coconut yogurt with a fork when we had brunch in chapelfields. & this morning i nearly knocked myself out with my own hairbrush. i have a goose egg on my temple. it is very painful.

-i have decided that i like it here.

-jo & i have made some crackin banana bread & have plans to watch paprika, so… off i hop.


rivers & rain (& rereading harry potter)

it’s been a breathless & accident-prone week. i have spent most of it rampaging around in rivers. the run-down:

-the past few days have been bright & golden-sticky. the other day my pal/mom friend caiti & i waded up a stream in rivelin woods, in a shady mossy spot of river where the leaves cut out funny shadows on the water. i was in flip-flops & she in granny sandals & we slipped & slid around on the underwater rocks, & splashed each other when we thought the other wasn’t looking, & had a shouty conversation about books, & once, up to my knees in water, i grabbed hold of a branch to steady myself & imparted to her my theory that my friends & i are actually characters in some sort of pretentiously quirky coming-of-age novel. i have stuck fast to this theory for five years now. it would explain everything.

we found a rope swing by a pool of bright water, & took turns on it, & when it was her turn i lay on the forest floor & stared at the clouds, one of which looked exactly like a huge hand with talons, or a piece of monster munch. i had rivers & roads stuck in my head. i thought, it can’t get much better than this; i felt that i had grasped the crackling centre of the universe.

-after a late-night harry potter marathon with ibby & eliza, i felt that i must reread the books immediately. i’m fifty pages into chamber of secrets. i’m enjoying them so much. starting to remember what it was like to read them as a kid, how edgy & dark & weird they felt to me. i keep messaging ibby at funny hours with variations on BABE OMG HARRY AT THE BURROW IS MAKING ME SO EMOTIONAL THAT BIT WHERE HE SEES THE WELLIES BY THE DOOR I CAN’T TAKE IT. ibby is an angel & has been very understanding.

-i have also acquired a job as a Spider Bailiff. what this means is that i go round the houses of the affluent upper-middle-class with my auntie & her magnificent array of cleaning equipment, evicting arachnids from corners & obliterating their homes with variegated feathery things on poles. there’s also a lot of hoovering & loo-cleaning & wiping down irritatingly shiny expensive-looking surfaces & also rich people seem to have serious issues with stacking dishwashers. i spent about half an hour cleaning suspiciously short, curly hairs off a toilet bowl on friday. i’ve been rattling through abbatoir blues on my headphones & trying to think about it as little as possible.

-i also dropped my auntie’s high-end hoover down a flight of stairs the other day. send thoughts & prayers. that hoover is worth more than my monthly rent.

-this ties into the part where i dropped my phone in a river on tuesday, & walked into a lamp-post on wednesday, & showed up to a party barefoot, grinning & soaked to the skin by a thunderstorm on saturday. spending weeks in Writing Mode does terrible things to my depth perception & motor control. there was this one time in year twelve when i got on the school bus with a cornflake stuck to my glasses lens because i was so busy working out a plot point.

(i put my phone in a bowl of couscous overnight, there being no rice in the house. i now keep finding couscous in my bed. this is deeply disturbing given that i didn’t even take the couscous into my room. does this equate to a recurring scene in my novel, wherein my protagonist wakes up from a visionary nightmare with grave-dirt scattered between his sheets? will i meet my final resting place in a coffin full of couscous? can nobody tell me what this means?)

-there’s also the part where i swallowed a fly whilst out running on thursday evening, & coughed it up two hours later. which… isn’t the grossest thing ever to ever happen to me, but it’s a strong contender.

-in more heartening news, ibby, eliza, rachel, robyn & i went to pride yesterday! we smuggled in peach schnapps in a fanta bottle, spread out a blanket, ibby planted her rainbow flag, & spent an hour scrunching up our faces at the waily awful singing of a drag queen who looked a bit like wuthering heights era kate bush, but kept on noisily mangling madonna songs. eventually even the heavens protested in the form of a colossal thunderstorm, & after ten minutes of valiantly huddling under a spindly umbrella we evacuated with a certain amount of relief & went back to ibby & eliza’s, where we marathoned merlin til three a.m & i nearly bust an artery laughing at the two-parter with uther & the troll. gay culture?

-i also spent about forty-five minutes trying to get my bisexual eyeshadow right, so you guys can appreciate it, goddammit:


-speaking of the godawful music (much more upsetting than the evangelist nutter at the gate holding a giant cross with red crayon scribbles all over it & telling us we were hopping the fast train to the inferno), i seem to be some sort of Music Magnet. in second semester, i began to hear opera-singing outside my window (in particular, a rich & delightful tenor trolololing it out) almost every night. i wondered briefly if i was having auditory hallucinations of some sort, since lucy couldn’t hear a thing, but then again she was on the other side of the corridor. when i moved back here, the pub across the road decided what it needed more than anything else in the world was atrocious karaoke every night of the week. mostly this means some very loose johnny cash interpretations & abba renditions that make me sweat. yet in the past week or so i begin to hear- yes- the opera singers have followed me, clearly, & they won’t give up. that tenor is back. sometimes the singing worms its way into my nightmares. god only knows what’ll happen at warwick st. especially since i’m considering saving up for a record player (to enable my hipster soul to take wing as it’s always wanted).

-in light of the fact that a certain ANT BOILER & RECKLESS FOOL will be moving in together soon (saturday! saturday!) i have been gathering Things to Hang on Edric, our house. so far the collection consists of

  • a very cool retro-ish mulholland drive print of diane with a disembodied hand over her eyes
  • some black-&-white postcards i found at a rambling antiques centre, including one of a creepy old monument somewhere, & one of a gargoyle in leicester cathedral (caption: THE GRINNING IMP)
  • fairy lights! they’re all warm & twinkly! like little melty snow jewels!
  • a lewis carroll photograph of alice liddell
  • my melting clock
  • a careful selection of my favourite spn & crimson peak posters; i’m thinking we get a bowie one for the kitchen (jo? i know you read this blog, you gay piece of shit, thoughts?)
  • i may or may not also have started a tacky fridge magnet collection for when we get there but we don’t need to talk about that

god, it’s going to be good to have our own space. our own space where we can sprawl. it’s going to be full of books & music & silly lit students crashing about & watching david lynch movies & fighting it out for bathroom access & honestly just thinking about it sorta warms the cockles of my cold-ass heart.

-i woke up yesterday to the rush & scent of it bucketing it down. the rain fell so hard that droplets shattered on my windowsill & sprayed creamy seashells stacked on the sill, the notebook pile by my bed, my glasses. i moved my books out of the way & let it hit. inhaled. petrichor so strong it was dizzying, & god, i love that word.

winter, 1892 (ish)

see below: an extract from my novel. it’s my birthday & i’m lazy. this is from chapter #25, provisional title: SWEET CHIMING CHRISTMAS BELLS. unseasonable, i know.

it’s a story of dreamy boys & girls, snow, various sorts of unrequited love, & lots & lots of gothic architecture. oh, & there’s airships. & murder. & catacombs. it’s all terribly metal.

artwork’s mine.


A fortnight before the Mawstice ended, Elizabeth caught the train down to Hollowing. It was not like any train she had been on before; it was small and rickety and made mostly of wood; she had to sit on top of a crate of chickens, and kept coughing from the smoke and sawdust. Her hands were red with cold by the time she got off.

The Hollowing station was a single wooden platform, backed by fir-woods; on it Theo waited alone. She registered thin wrists sticking out of a greatcoat- black curls grazing cheekbones- and then he was shaking her hand, getting out of his coat to wrap it round her shoulders. ‘Elizabeth, I’m so glad to see you- but what on earth are you doing dressed like that? You must be frozen- here-‘

He led her out to a snow-rutted road, and she laughed. Waiting for them was a ridiculous outdated pony-trap, at least half a century old; the wheels looked on the verge of crumbling from sheer age. Harnessed to it was a wizened horse that looked no younger than the trap, jaundiced eyes staring out at them, its strawberry coat patchy and faded.

‘I felt absolutely awful harnessing Mary to this thing,’ Theo said, helping Elizabeth in. ‘I felt like a murderer, honestly, but he’s the only horse left. If he starts foaming at the mouth, would you mind us getting out and walking? I’d really rather not have his blood on my hands. Not to feed the rumour-mill, but it’d be tantamount to patricide. Are you comfortable? Do you need a blanket? I can give you my scarf if you like.’

Elizabeth, who was starting to sweat in Theo’s overlarge coat, assured him that she was perfectly fine, and no, she did not need a blanket or his scarf or anything like that.

Theo sat in front, reins in hand, and gradually they jolted off up the hill, into the forest, climbing slowly and painfully. Occasionally he would lean back to shout an explanation on the lay of the land, or enquire after her health; mostly, though, they let the landscape pass by in silence. Elizabeth had visited nearby in the past, and had found it beautiful. They were deep into myth-country. The endless forests housed any number of fey, witches and immortal bears, if the stories held true; the snow fell deep and silent here; and underneath the bright winter air lay the smell of the sea.

She knew from what Theo had told her that the fishing-village of Hollowing lay in a valley, hemmed in by the sea on one side and two hills on the other. The Arkwright house crowned one of these hills, distant enough that the village was invisible from it. The other hill, if scaled, led eventually to the cliffs where stood Hollowing Monastary, childhood home to Melchior Collins.

On this journey they did not pass through Hollowing village, or glimpse the sea; it was several miles uphill until finally, just when Mary’s powers of endurance began to be seriously thrown into question, they reached a pair of iron gates. These Theo dragged open, one by one, putting his entire body behind them to make them move, before driving the pony-trap though and finally pulling up in front of the house.

Staring, Elizabeth got out. The Arkwright house was an ancient block of stone, with a hole in its roof on the far side, revealing struts and the jagged teeth of beams. The windows were grimy, its door a faded and peeling blue. Elizabeth wondered if she was imagining the air of dreamy malevolence that clung to the place.

As Theo wrestled her suitcase away from her with protestations of chivalry, the door burst open and Usher came charging out, heralding them with enthusiastic barks. He danced round Theo first; came to attack Elizabeth with his tongue; went back to Theo.

Amid Usher’s assaults it was a moment before Elizabeth realised that someone else was coming out of the door- a young woman, who leaned back against the doorway, folding her arms, smiling. They went to her, Theo lugging the suitcase. ‘Liorn,’ he said. ‘This is Elizabeth- Elizabeth, my sister, Liorn.’

Liorn looked soft and lovely and invulnerable in a nurse’s white pinafore, tendrils of leaf-gold hair uncoiling round her face. Matching the reasonably tall Theo in height, she towered over Elizabeth, and looked older than Elizabeth would have thought; after a moment she recalled that Liorn was twenty-nine. She offered a hand to Elizabeh, smiling. ‘Theo hasn’t stopped talking about you from the moment he arrived. It’s good to meet you at last.’

‘Oh- you, too,’ said Elizabeth, shaking Liorn’s hand, reddening under a searching look.

They were guided in. Down a narrow corridor; into a dank-smelling room. ‘I doubt that Mother and Grandmother will be appearing today,’ Liorn was saying, ‘but our brother Eamon’s here somewhere. I’ll tell him you’ve arrived-‘ she left the room.

Elizabeth looked around. The room had a certain decayed grandeur to it; an exotic carpet, now threadbare, covering the stone, and delicate, faded paper on the walls, discoloured in places, appearing to bubble in others, peeling a little. There was a strange absence of furniture. One sofa, dark rich velvet, and a couple of mahogany cabinets could not fill up acres of floor, and there were rectangular dark patches on the wallpaper in places, where paintings must once have hung. Cobwebbed candelabras of half-blackened silver stood on the cabinets. A great window of warped old glass let in the winter light; it looked out over blinding snowfields, and the occasional claw of a tree.

Theo, meanwhile, had left Elizabeth’s case in the hallway. Now he stood close to her and smiled, kind and crinkling, in the way she loved best. ‘It’s alright,’ he said. ‘Liorn will like you- and Eamon. I’m so glad you’re here.’

Before she could reply a man shouldered his way into the room. ‘Theo- you’ve brought your friend? Ah- here she is.’ He had to crouch a little to see her properly. ‘Well, you look awfully respectable. I’m sure we’ll do each other fine. Welcome in.’

A huge hand was offered her. She shook it and thought she felt her bones pop.

Presumably this was the infamous Eamon, but he did not look how she had imagined. She’d pictured an elder Theo, slender and rakish; Eamon was a big man, sunburned, crinkle-eyed, his shirtsleeves rolled up to the elbows. Over his arms, creeping up his neck, was an atlas of tattoos in whale-blue ink, delicate as lace. He had Liorn’s blond hair, cut close to the skull. Once he had finished shaking Elizabeth’s hand he moved on Theo, but only ruffled his hair in a way that almost knocked him over.

‘Eamon,’ came Liorn’s voice. She was standing in the doorway. ‘Would you mind taking Elizabeth’s case to her room?’

Eamon left, with a friendly nod.

‘We’re going to put you in old aunt Lettie’s room,’ said Theo. ‘Don’t worry, there’s no Lettie in it now.’

‘He’s trying to scare you,’ said Liorn. ‘It’s been a guest-room for a century and I promise you that no-one has died in it of late.’ She took Elizabeth’s hand. ‘How would you like a tour of the house, Elizabeth?’

‘Oh- yes, please.’

‘You don’t have to, of course,’ came Theo’s voice; he had thrown himself extravagantly over the sofa and was chewing on some sort of root. ‘The only bits you really need to know about are the lavatory and the kitchen.’

‘But it would help,’ said Liorn, ‘if you ever want to find your way to either of those.’

Elizabeth consented; Theo drew his legs up from where they were splayed over the sofa. They set off.



30 questions tag

well, i modified it a little, so it’s actually 28. ibby tagged me on tumblr & i’m crazy busy at the moment, so this is the quickest & dirtiest post ever.

Nickname(s): will calls me a tube of fucking custard about twice a day if that counts

Sign: in jo’s words, i’m a leo-cusp cancer with a very flamboyant mercury, & oh, it shows

Height: 5″5

Time: 09:05

Fave band(s): neutral milk hotel, the real tuesday weld, nick cave & the bad seeds

Fave solo artist(s): emily jane white, regina spektor, david bowie

Song stuck in my head: evanescence/lindsay stirling’s ‘hi-lo’ (it’s really good!)

Last movie I saw: the lost boys

Last show I watched: the x-files

When did I create my blog: in 2015, mostly to contain the overflow of my towering supernatural obsession

What do I post: now, book stuff, blathering about films/tv, personal crap, & i’m trying to post some original fiction too!

Last thing I googled: ‘american cereal brands’. underneath that, ‘how long to burn a human body’.

Do I have any other blogs: an old spn tumblr that i haven’t looked at since 2016, another tumblr i quit a year or two ago that was mostly aesthetics.

Why did I choose my url: when i started this blog, i was writing a novel whose working title was ‘the cobweb queen’. it’s not, like, my weird kingpin name or whatever.

Following: about 400?

Followed by: 255!

Average hours of sleep: at the moment, six, because i keep getting woken up by the fucking dawn chorus

Lucky number: 22

Instruments: clarinet & piano

What I’m wearing: spn/starry night t-shirt, black shorts, ankh necklace, velvet choker, lace gloves

Dream job: Actual Published Author

Dream trip: just drifting around europe- i want to see venice & rome in particular, & i want to go back to the south of france. or that american road trip i’ve been dreaming about for years. i nearly applied for a semester abroad in new orleans, actually, but it’d’ve messed up our plans for domestic bliss at house edric.

Fave food: peanut butter!

Nationality: british

Fave song: two-headed boy pt. 1

Last book I read: a truman capote short story collection

Top 3 fictional universes I’d join: the gormenghast trilogy, neverwhere, the ghibli howl’s moving castle

tagging: i’m going to be lazy & say anyone who wants to

anyway, i need to go make myself presentable for a family lunch outing, so i’ll be back with more nerd crap & irrelevant moaning soon!

writing hell redux

so naturally as soon as something actually clicks in re: A Certain Project my laptop starts being A GIGANTIC PIECE OF ASS

& okay that is partially my fault for knocking a moses sea of water on the keypad yesterday but you know what isn’t my fault? the fact that last night it spontaneously decided to go into flashing purple lockdown mode to install one hundred & sixty-nine system updates! which have as of this moment taken sixteen! goddamned! hours!

hence why i’m posting this from my mother’s mac (I haven’t actually figured out how to scroll down yet, yes, hello, i am a cretin). i have no access to my project notes (yes, a cretin who forgets to back up) so i can’t even write the damn thing in a notebook unless i take the heathen road & skip ahead to write whatever random scene & that’s not really how i operate

just. technology oh my GOD how am i such a dinosaur i’m supposed to be gen z or something

in other news, it turns out that in first semester i made a spotify account whilst drunk. i’m guessing this is why my username is ‘green olive muncher’.

‘can you tell me whether my name at least shows up or whether i am just green olive muncher,’ i pleaded with jo.

‘you are just green olive muncher,’ jo said.

‘oh dear.’

so, yeah, i’m the last person in the western world to discover spotify. i’ve been listening to a lot of regina spektor & nick cave & the bad seeds. mostly writing to bohren’s midnight radio,which is perfect for the grimy nocturnal world of my current thing. i’m also obsessively in love with this beautiful fucking cover of i follow rivers:

i’m meant to be at ibby & eliza’s for a write-a-thon in, whoops, about seven minutes, so i may use the whole laptop debacle as an excuse to get on with that short (?) story idea. if i do i might excerpt it here. i’d like to get some prose out.

writing hell update

so, for whatever reason, A Certain Project is DOING MY HEAD IN

i am hopelessly behind on my wordcount, i can’t seem to find my way out of a Maze of Plot, & i keep breaking off to mope over southern gothic inspo tags & listen to doom jazz

(on the other hand the sun is shining & ibby & i are having a sci-fi marathon on tuesday & i have a short story idea involving old bookshops/stigmata/scary flat-eyed men that i am ITCHING to write IF A CERTAIN PROJECT WOULD LET ME)

(yes of course i could take a break & write the other thing but honestly i need to listen to my Vague Feelings of Obligation in re: writing things because otherwise i would never get anything writ)

anyway that’s my entire life at the moment i have thrown everything else out of the window for THIS GODDAMN PROJECT



pictured: the evolution of a killer