The Sprinkled Pepper Diaries Archived
Wednesday, January 31, 2007 A few words about the spirit ()

The spirit is something you think of a lot, if you’re a prospective Steiner Waldorf teacher (especially if it is the end of the January of the first year and you have to write an essay about it, and you have to do it soon). Even so, it is not something I usually talk about a lot with my friends (save for the ones who have to write the same essay, that is). It’s just not the sort of thing that people refer to casually in a conversation, is it? The spirit. When was the last time you thought about it? And what is it, anyway? And while we, collectively, struggle to answer that question I can’t help but come back to something Ian said to me a few months ago — without meaning to, almost. (Ian is the exception to the ‘I don’t talk about the spirit with my friends’ rule.) He said that sometimes it happens, between two people, that everything that could be getting in the way is lifted and it feels like two spirits touching — or something along those lines, anyway. It was a beautiful picture, clear and strong and true, and it brought memories of all the times when I have felt this tumbling down. All those times when the light that made somebody who they are shone through, like the sun cutting through the clouds or a star pointing the way above a forest. Taking me by surprise, every time. Taking my breath away. And giving me a glimpse of who we are and where we’re going.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:42 pm [say something]
Tuesday, January 30, 2007 Colours (, , )

Once upon a long ago a boy took me for a walk on a beach somewhere in the middle of England, where the sea was brown — nearly as brown as the sand, it was. The rest of the day was blue and red against a grey background of clouds and winds and middle-of-winter blues: those were the colours of the buildings and of my hat and of my heart, and, on the bus ride home, of the blurry world outside the raindrop-stained windows. And in its own quiet, understated way this day became one of the best things in my life — a little like watching the rain from that train station shelter in Kalmar was (what I called ‘the living equivalent of a poem’ back then) but mostly like nothing else in the whole wide world.

Last Sunday I took the same boy on a walk on the other side of the river from here in an effort to bridge the gap that not talking for most of the time in between had created. The sea was a hundred different shades of blue, and, when we came back, my heart was a hundred different colours too.

And so now I am as in love with Dawlish as I was with Cleethropes all that time ago. And, somehow, this is all that I could have asked for.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 5:30 pm [say something]
Monday, January 29, 2007 Reason #24 why you should like the Lucksmiths (, )

(Reasons 1 to 23)

Someone once told me (in Stockholm, on a bench, as dusk was ever so slowly falling all around) that the Lucksmiths are the quintessence of life. I must have laughed, and thought it touching –and, I suppose, rather true– and that would have been the end of that, were it not for days like today. Days when I spend the morning listening to them (each new song bringing forth a torrent of memories and feelings, all of them making the world look full of possibilities) and then I spend the afternoon nostalgic for the morning and all the while I wonder whether they have, after all, managed to distil at least half of the essence of life.

And then bottled it in a song, preserved forever and ever for the likes of me and you.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 3:52 pm [say something]
Wednesday, January 24, 2007 And still, I hate January #2 (, )

And then Martijn left and Pipas came and they played in Athens and 67 people bought a ticket to the show which meant that not only did we not lose any money but we made €15 and had the best weekend of our lives up to then — and, quite possibly, in general. It was really the end of an era even though at the time it felt like a start, and what a perfect one it was too: a dream come true, and one that turned out to be better in reality too.

It is hard to describe, even harder to explain but I remember standing on a rock overlooking Athens in the wind as the sky gently turned pink and purple and blue and the weekend was beginning to end, and the feeling I have about that moment is that even if we had discovered the treasure at the end of the rainbow just then I wouldn’t have been surprised, I would have just bounced or clapped my hands.

Somewhere, I have a brilliant photo of that moment, with all of us standing above Athens under bright blue windy skies and looking very happy, but it is locked somewhere in the hibernating computer so I can’t share it with you. You’ll just have to imagine it.

(Lupe has been remembering it too. — and I think that that boy Pixie must have been doing so too because he finally got round to finishing that video he was filming for all weekend long.)

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:10 pm [someone said this]
Monday, January 22, 2007 And still, I hate January #1 (, )

Two years and a few days ago I woke up at 5 a.m. next to Martijn who didn’t, because he hadn’t really fallen asleep in the first place, and he asked me:

“When do you think we are going to get married?”

At that time we had been together for just about three months so it was a bit of a crazy question. Still, it was uttered matter-of-factly, much like one would say “when is your friend Will coming over?” But that’s Martijn for you. Plus, it was 5 a.m. and I was half-asleep and therefore not thinking clearly, so I just replied equally matter-of-factly the first thing that came to me:

“Next year?”

And so it happened that we got engaged: completely unceremoniously but still rather sweetly, at an ungodly hour of the day.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 9:44 pm [4 people said all this]
Thursday, January 18, 2007 Even if I say so myself (, , )

Martijn has often said that the golden rule of blogging is never apologise for having been quiet — or something like that anyway. It is true that there are few things that are as boring as bloggers’ excuses and explanations, but even so, I want to say something that sounds suspiciously like an excuse or an explanation. When I am not writing it is more likely that I have too much to say than that I have nothing to say. Having too much to say means I need to write a long entry; writing a long entry means I have to be in the right mood and find the right amount of time; and those two tend to not come together very much. Having nothing to say, on the other hand, means I can idly sit down with the laptop and write ten lines about any old random thought that has happened to catch my fancy on any given evening.

On a completely unrelated note, tomorrow we have to go for a short walk and come back with a small story about two or three things that we really saw having a conversation with each other. Things that are alive are preferred but we are not forbidden from using the odd fencepost or bus ticket. My first reaction when I heard this was along the lines of “oh god no, not more stories” and “that sounds hard” until I remembered I have already written one of those:

“Ever since colours have had names, the days of the week have had colours and me, I’ve had a reason to be.”

So I went back and read it and I marvelled at myself for ever having forgotten about it in the first place — and I nearly fell in love with it, too. It’s not as well written as it could have been, by any means (I remember I was in a terrible rush that evening) but even so, it’s pretty good.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 9:30 pm [say something]
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 Overexcitedness (, , )

I seem to be up to a million things, lately, too many things, and it is driving me crazy, and… you don’t care, do you? Because I don’t either. What I wanted to say is that one of these things seems to be rediscovering the Chills’ ‘Heavenly pop hit’ and listening to it a lot. I only thought of it because I was feeling positive (along with positively overexcited — in fact it seems that overexcited has become my default mood, but never mind that) and wanted something positive to sing along to. And you can’t get much more positive than that:

Each evening the sun sets in five billion places
Seen by ten billion eyes set in five billion faces
Then they close in a daze and wait for the dawning
But the daylight and sunrise are brighter in our eyes
Where night cannot devour golden solar power
Once we were damned, now I guess we are angels
For we passed though the dark and eluded the dangers
Then awoke with a start, to startling changes
All the tension is ended, the sentence suspended
And darkness now sparkles and gleams

I used to feel like this, once upon a time — that “once we were damned, now I guess we are angels”. Honestly. It only lasted a few weeks, two or three or so, but I remember it clearly as one of the best times in my life. Perhaps singing this is going to bring it back. It is true, after all. Daylight and sunrise are brighter in our eyes, and we did pass through the dark and eluded the dangers. It is even quite possible that we have awoken with a start to startling changes. It would explain a few things…

Like why the darkness suddenly seems to sparkle and gleam.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 8:45 pm [someone said this]
Sunday, January 7, 2007 Aurora (, )

Sometimes I love the world so much I think I am going to cry. Do you know what I mean? It only takes two sips of wine, an unbelievably exciting weekend, an empty flat and the Pines covering a Cat’s Miaow song, and I am about to burst from… from… something. I don’t know what, but it is good.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:21 pm [say something]
Saturday, January 6, 2007 Turning (half-)English (, , )

I was walking down Portobello Road this morning afternoon, moaning under my breath about the tourists. Apparently, I am not a tourist anymore. And the proof? Not only did I, without having to think about it, say ‘sorry’ whenever I so much at touched a stranger, but I felt offended when they didn’t say ‘sorry’ back.

That is from the same girl who found all this sorry-ing a little ridiculous three months ago. You’ve got to laugh.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 2:36 pm [someone said this]
Thursday, January 4, 2007 Questions (, )

What do you do when all you want to do is lie on the floor, with all the lights out, and listen to music, but instead you have to write an essay on the implicit and explicit values of science? It it wrong of me to want–to expect– to be able to forget about the essay and do what my heart is asking for? And, if it is not wrong, how does one ever achieve anything?

I understand we can’t always get our way, of course I do, but then there’s a lot to be said about following your heart and what it needs. And right now I need a lot of quiet, space, and time.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:31 pm [2 people said all this]
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 The big things, the little things and happiness (, , )

A while ago a girl I know split up with her boyfriend of six years. They did it amicably, deciding to remain best friends and give it another go after he had sorted himself out and become a little happier about things. That lasted a few days: until he got a drunk, that is, and came round in the early hours of a Sunday morning, breaking her door and a neighbour’s window while shouting some less than pretty things about her and her friends, who live in the flats above. I met a few of those people a couple of days after that, and they were, understandably, sad and shaken. They were also really and truly shocked, amazed that such a nice boy could do that sort of thing. Which made me realise something: I was not. Of course I was sad. It is always sad to hear how people can mess up their own lives because they can’t control themselves. I was also angry — the words ‘stupid’ and ‘bastard’ came to mind immediately, as they do in such cases. But I was not shocked.

And how could I be, really. I’m rather used to this thing. Not that anyone has ever broken my door but I’ve seen plenty of emotional outbursts of this sort, in fact I have grown up with them. Not only my childhood but pretty much all my life up to now has been punctuated by this sort of incident. Whose main recipient I often was. First my dad, then my brother, then the boy Constantin (also known as the Previous Significant Boyfriend) and now, of course, Martijn have made sure I wouldn’t forget what verbal violence is. Or how angry a man can be. Or how nasty he can get when angry, and how stupid. By this I mean how many things he doesn’t really mean he can say— and how they can become true after a while if he says them often enough. I have to say that I am all too used to this. By now (I am twenty five, nearly twenty six) it has become something I deal with rather than something that comes upon me like a thunderstorm. Something that, upsetting as it may be, exists outside me not inside me. Something that, in time, will stop, go away. The sun will come out again. But I digress — or, rather, I am jumping ahead of myself here.

That thought hit me hard this summer. I am used to this — and what this is, what it is called these days, is abuse. ‘I’ve been abused’ is a hard thought to accept, even when the reality of it is glaringly obvious, as it has always been. It becomes harder when it hits you at the same time as ‘this is happening to me again, it is still happening, it has always been happening, what is going on here?’ I am still not sure I have the answer to the question. What I am sure about is that I am going to shoot the first person to imply that this is a choice I am making, and that I am making it for a reason. Extra bullets thrown in for anyone who implies I don’t know better (one bullet), I don’t love myself enough (three bullets) or that I must have done something really nasty in a previous life and now I’m paying for it (too many bullets to count). I do believe in reincarnation, by the way. And in the fact that we make choices. And that there is a reason for the things that happen. I just think that sometimes these things are beyond our reach and understanding. And that they’re not as simple or straightforward as some people seem to think. And –finally– that we’re not as much as into punishing ourselves or teaching ourselves lessons the hard way. But I really do digress. I was saying that it is hard to accept that you have been abused. And it is, perhaps, harder still to understand how you can feel both that, and a princess.

It is hard. But it is also comforting, reassuring, and, well, inspiring. Because while anyone can abuse you no one can make you a princess if you aren’t one. And while my fears could have come from outside there are other things that could only have come from inside, from me: my faith in the world, in its inherent goodness, regardless of everything; the fact that I fought back, fought for what I believed in even when I was tiny, refusing to believe my dad when he said that everything and everyone was horrible; my ability to bounce back, and, occasionally, eventually, and truly, be happy. It made me proud of myself to realise all that, and it makes me prouder still to write it down. I was a magical child. I brought these things with me and kept them alive through some really dark times. And now that I’m all grown up I only believe in them more.

But I digress again. This post was supposed to be about happiness. I was going to talk about something that all this bouncing back has taught me, something that watching that girl trying to pull herself back together in the days following the breaking of her door, and that is: there are two kinds of happiness, the inside one and the outside one, and they are both important. (The inside one comes from knowing that all is well in your world; the outside one, from experiencing things that make you feel that all is well in your world.) Just as are there people who have told me “if you are happy with yourself, nothing can put you down” and people who have told me “living in a nice flat is not going to make me less sad” — and, much as I could see where both of them where coming from, I disagreed with them both. Knowing that all is well in your world (or some sort of more realistic approximation thereof) is indeed a very powerful thing, I have discovered that as I slowly approach it. But I have also discovered that it won’t help you if it is 3 am and your husband is shouting all sorts of things he doesn’t mean, and he can’t seem to stop himself for hours. And the only thing that will help you get through the next day when everything seems shattered to pieces is the sunshine, a new book and cooking your favourite dinner. The little things. I am an expert at bouncing back. Two days and one good night’s sleep later I could smile again. Three days and two nights’ sleep later I was bouncing around the flat, singing along to the Fairways. (The Fairways are great, by the way.)

Some days I wonder if it is good to be like that. Some others I know I wouldn’t have survived –emotionally– had I been any other way. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to be this way. Others, I think it is a priceless skill which might help me achieve great things one day. But I digress. All I am trying to say is that you should take care of the little things. Do not disregard them, they matter more than people give them credit for. If you can’t have the big things, if the world is –temporarily or otherwise– looking like a menacing, unfriendly place and nothing seems right, keep the faith and focus on the little things. And the big things will come along.

It works. I tell you.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 12:09 am [2 people said all this]
Monday, January 1, 2007 Wishlist (, )

When other people make resolutions, I demand.

[I don’t see the point of making New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s not only because nobody sticks to them. Not even because they tend to be a reminder of what you don’t like in yourself, and I think we could all do with liking ourselves a little better. It’s just that January is such a random time to place the beginning of the year. My years start around the third week of September, a time ripe with plans, ideas and resolutions; alternatively, Spring Equinox would be an acceptable time for new beginnings too (not least because it is three days before my birthday). But January? What were the Romans thinking of?]

  1. A glockenspiel
  2. Books
  3. More books
  4. New shoes
  5. Stripy socks
  6. Some new clothes would be nice, too
  7. The perfectly-titled Magic Whispers new album
  8. The Pines compilation
  9. A little more money, so I can buy all the ones above
  10. A new friend or two, preferably in the area
  11. Better sleep
  12. The sun to come out
  13. To find out why my cake failed
  14. To find my voice
  15. Some sort of indiepop action in Devon
  16. To redesign this blog

This, by the way, is a mix of things I want now and things that I realise might take a little more time to happen — in which case getting them within 2007 would be nice, and much appreciated. (The sooner the more appreciated, of course.)

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 4:30 pm [say something]