My Desert Island Tomes

island

‘Go out.  You’ll get square eyes from all that reading,’ was a mantra I heard throughout my childhood mainly because my idea of having a great time wasn’t to cause trouble (ok, sometimes it was but only when it involved climbing trees and crawling through my wild meadow pretending I was a spy) or to play with Barbie dolls (that I didn’t own anyway) but to hide in a quiet corner with a book and disappear into fantastic worlds, make friends and embark on great adventures.

My books have always been my closest friends and they made me the person I am today.

The kind of person who will happily go home to read if she gets bored at a party.  Or, at said party, hide in a corner with a copy of 1984.

The kind of person who would rather write her blog than go shopping.

And the person whose handbag weighs a tonne as there are at least two or three emergency books in there.  Just in case Armageddon kicks in and I am stranded in a post-Apocalyptic world full of lizards running the show.  I don’t mind as long as I have something to read.

All throughout my adult life my books have been my morning cigarettes and my nightcaps.

I am what I read.

Inspired by Desert Island Discs and the recent literary edition of Stylist I have compiled a list of my own Desert Island Tomes.

It wasn’t an easy choice, the list could stretch into infinity and back, so here are those very important books that shaped my life:

  1. Emily Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily’s Quest)  – Emily Starr was my closest friend when I was a child.  A little girl brought up by her aunts dreaming about being a writer and one day achieving that dream. She was the one who made me believe that writing can be a way of life, a vocation that I could and should pursue.  I used to go for long walks with my shaggy dog Gapcio and have long discussions with Emily, dreaming up new lives, plots and tribulations, drawing to myself an odd look here and there. (more…)

Disco Inferno

disco loveIt is an early spring and the evening smells of cherry blossom and burning rubbish. Feeling tall and pretty in my 13 year old scraggy body I run across the park past a few dog walkers and regular drunks. On my way to my first ever disco night.

A home-made botched haircut stays put with half a can of my mum’s ancient hair spray. A string of fake pearls bounces off my (thankfully still flat) chest. My tights are sprinkled with red nail varnish dots to catch those persistent runs. Every few meters or so I have to stop and put a piece of cotton wool back into my brand new red patent leather shoes. I love them so much I don’t mind the agony and blisters.

I sneak into the dining hall decorated with a narcoleptic disco ball and worn-out garlands from last Christmas. The air is muddled with teenage sweat and cheap deodorant. I check my hair and stop in the doorway. Girls, all giggles and smeared lipstick, huddle together on one side. Boys, all attitude and gel in hair, play football with an empty Coke can on the other side of the room. A few balloons hover in the middle.

As soon as Sinead starts wailing about “seven hours and fifteen days” the floor fills up with awkward fumbling and first stolen kisses. A string of hopefuls queues to the Pretty Girl with Long Curls. What I lack in hair I make up with my je ne sais quoi. I strike a pose. I imagine therefore I am Cindy/Linda/Claudia.

Nothing.

The only odd one out – the Dumbo Ears Boy supports the wall next to me.

He will do.

I glance at him and he starts inspecting the sole of his shoe.

My cheeks burn.

The drunks in the park burst out laughing when I run past them.

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Do you remember those awkward times? I would love to hear your stories!

I am linking up to  Once Upon A Time over at Older Mum (In A Muddle).  I am delighted to be joining her for a walk down the memory lane!

A Wild Meadow

Hello everyone

Still enjoying my time in Sweden.  Ah the sun and the pastries!  I know I said I would take a break from all the blogging madness but I have recently dreamt up this post.  So here it is – a quick walk down my memory lane for you while I’m away.  Oh, and before I disappear again to chase some elks – there are some great Sweden inspired posts in the making so watch this space!

DoodleBuddy

There is a wild meadow a five-minute walk away from my parent’s flat.  It doesn’t seem to belong to anyone and you can see it in the neglected long grass and half dead shrubs hiding remains of a drunken party.  Empty bottles of vodka.  Old newspapers used as a seat or cover (or both) from rain and cold.  An old decaying building that used to be a petrol station. Its dead eyes boarded up, its face scarred with an occasional graffiti of male genitals.

This is where I used to play hide and seek with my best friend, crawling on the ground, knowing my dirty knees and torn sleeves would get me into trouble later. The overgrown bushes and grass hid exciting secrets and treasures.  A lonely boot missing its laces.  A broken umbrella. A baseball cap.

This is where as an eight year old girl I took my puppy, Gapcio, for his first proper walk.  Over the years spent exploring the meadow, Gapcio never tired of digging up molehills and showing unrequited love to an occasional hedgehog.  And this was where I took him 18 years later for our last walk before he disappeared in my dad’s car.

The meadow witnessed hours of me and my friend coming to grips with our teenage angst while sitting on a fallen tree, overanalysing failed dates, drinking cheap beer and choking on cigarette smoke.  During summers a group of secret naturists took over our hiding spot to scorch their wobbly bellies in the high sun.

This is where I came to say good-bye to my life in Poland before heading off into the unknown eight years ago.

One year I brought a former boyfriend back with me to introduce him to the meadow and its magic. He looked at the grey blocks of flats rising over the city in the far distance, the weeds and dead trees around us, dried out bones of a dead bird he had managed to avoid stepping into and the abandoned petrol station building with a fresh graffiti of a gigantic penis on its front.  My heart swelled with pride.

“So, this is the meadow I told you about”

He took his time taking in all the beauty before muttering something about perfect hiding spots for criminals on the run and dodgy drug dealers.