On night-time thinking

I imagine it like this. During the day, you are standing, you are sitting, you are walking. The thoughts that you often need the most have not yet grown strong enough to climb up through your tangled forest of lungs, and they slip repeatedly down, like a sediment made up of word and feeling and worry, probably to your stomach, where they settle as much as they can.

Then later, when you sleep, you are like a bottle of good wine tipped on its side; that sediment is now able to move, along your spine and maybe even towards your neck enough that you can start to feel it. Lying on your back in the half-light, in the dark, you become aware of the thoughts. They catch in your throat; the past and the future made from grit and sunlight.

Memories clearer than the water they were made in front of. Isn’t that how everything was meant to begin anyway? Islands carelessly dropped into the ocean, from a height so great that they can stay there.


"The best translations into English do not, in fact, read as if they were originally written in English. The English words are arranged in such a way that the reader sees a glimpse of another culture’s patterns of thinking, hears an echo of another language’s rhythms and cadences, and feels a tremor of another people’s gestures and movements."

Ken Liu, Translator’s Postscript to The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin


The wonderful author and journalist Summer Brennan is currently finishing a book for Houghton Mifflin on Victorine Meurent, forgotten art star (and muse of Manet) of 19th century Paris. Her Indiegogo campaign was over 200% funded, and I'm creating a tote bag design which will be one of the stretch goals. I really love freelance projects, because they are often so different to book work, and this difference makes for a bit of a shake-up, fresh ideas in both cases.

The drawings below are small elements taken from Victorine's life, the paintings of her, and I will likely be working these into a pattern as part of the design. I'm quite fond of the parrot.


Shadows Pass Us By

We’ll meet one day,
like a paper boat and
a watermelon that’s been cooling in the river.
The anxiety of the world will
be with us. Our palms
will eclipse the sun and we’ll
approach each other holding lanterns.

One day, the wind won’t
change direction.
The birch will send away leaves
into our shoes on the doorstep.
The wolves will come after
our innocence.
The butterflies will leave
their dust on our cheeks.

An old woman will tell stories
about us in the waiting room every morning.
Even what I’m saying has
been said already: we’re waiting for the wind
like two flags on a border.

One day every shadow
will pass us by.

Nikola Madzirov

If We Were Romantics

If we were Romantics, and possibly some of us are Romantics, we might imagine that there is in our minds, one or two beats before a thought forms itself into anything like mental speech, into phrase or sentence, into an order of communication, something earlier, rougher, more gripped, more frail, more saturated, something that will dry away like the dew or crumble like prehistoric paint as soon as it’s exposed to air, something that—compared to a sentence—is still wild.

Anne Carson