Friday, 5 February 2016

Prison Talk


How are you?

I've done this before, shared some of the things I read for research. (I love a bit of research!) Right now it's all about women's prisons in the UK, mainly in the 80's and 90's but also present day. It's a fascinating topic, but not that much has been written about it. (Orange is the new Black might be a popular TV series but I'm not sure it's the ideal background material for my next play ...)
When Amazon tells you a used book is in Very Good condition it apparently means it comes with all the pages. (Not necessarily that they're attached to the actual book.)
Two of the books I'm reading are A Woman In Custody and From The Inside. They are both true stories written by women who spent time in the British prison system in the 80's and 90's. Every woman's experience is of course personal, but what seems to surprise many is the care and kindness some members of staff show. Remand centres and prisons can be very harsh and restrictive so every gentle word, generous gesture and moment of understanding is precious. (You don't need to be in prison to appreciate any of those things ... ) Many women are extremely vulnerable when they are taken into custody and being treated with respect and dignity seems to make a big difference in how they behave towards themselves and others. It also affects how they look at the future.

I've only just started but look forward to learning more. If you have any tips on books or articles I should read or videos I can watch, do get in touch!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

White lace and beaded shoes

Guess what, I went shopping for a wedding dress today! No, no, not for me (good heavens) but a dear friend of mine is getting married this summer and we went out to find her something very very nice to wear.
It was a treat, watching her try on the different dresses. I remember trying on my mum's wedding dress when I was about 10 years old, and already then it fitted me quite well. I was never one of those little girls who spent hours planning their weddings, barbie dolls at the ready, but I do recall playing out wedding scenarios with the kids next door on hot summer days. I didn't call the shots back then and I'm sure I ended up marrying my brother.
My mum and I also had a phase when we'd watch those reality wedding programs on TV together. (Come on, at one point it was pretty much the only thing on Finnish TV, foreign and domestic. It had to be super cheap or super expensive. Either the bride had to be in the dark or the groom. Brides battled it out amongst each other and everything had to happen over a weekend. The surprise wedding dress never fitted ... ) I would get so annoyed with the Bridezillas who made a huge fuss over absolutely everything and made sure they spent at least twice their maximum budget and then had to remortgage the house. Of course I know they probably got picked for those shows because they were divas to begin with and most brides keep their emotional meltdowns within reason, but wow ...
"My" bride didn't cause any kind of drama at all and we found a gorgeous dress! I felt honored to take part and it's always fun when you get to do something a little out of the ordinary. Now I just have to find a dress for myself, keeping the location in mind. Its going to be wonderful but hot!

I hope you have a joyful weekend!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Fashionably Late

Happy New Year, folks!

(Is that still allowed, three weeks into January?) I've been a bit lazy, haven't I? Not much happening on the blog recently. But really, it's the opposite. In the last couple of months I've been so busy, both with work and that thing called a personal life, there hasn't really been time to blog. And maybe not the need either? Who's interested in the nitty gritty of my life anyway? (If someone at this point is shouting me! me! me! then thank you, I appreciate it.)
London making itself pretty in pink a late January afternoon.
I do miss doing the odd bit of blogging though, especially about the writing part of my life, so I'm looking forward to getting back to it, even if it's not as regular or as often as the blogging gurus say is necessary. And those of you who aren't particularly into writing, don't worry, I'll be doing other bits and bobs too. Why not let me know if there's anything particular you'd like to see more of?
if I wrap some fairy lights around my head, will I look as wise?
Until then, here's to a new year, 2016, and all the potential it brings. Let's make it a good one!


Monday, 2 November 2015

My inner architect (could use some training)


How are you? I hope everyone transitioned into November without too much hassle.

I've been doing some drawing lately. (But you're supposed to be writing! I hear nobody scream ...) It's okay because it's part of the writing. I find it very helpful to to know my characters' surroundings. If they're in a flat, what's the floor plan like? Where would they go? How would they move? Not only do I draw the space that would actually be visible on stage, but all the other spaces too. It helps me visualize the story better and therefore (hopefully) make it more detailed and grounded. I also enjoy it. I'm not very good, nothing is to scale, Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs would take one look at my work and tell the camera team to go home, but then that's not the point.
2-bed, open planned. If only it was as easy to build ... 
Studio flat. Might come with a crazy landlord.
I'm not trying to do the set designer's job. I'm only using the drawings to support the writing process. If the plays ever get produced I'm certain someone much more qualified can look at the texts and come up with several great ways to stage them. It's always exciting when innovative set design can give a production that extra layer. But in my head, right now, this is what it looks like. Or at least, this is what it looks like when I tried to draw what's in my head ...

I hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Crazy colours and the everyday


How are you?

A few people have now asked why the blog's been so quiet lately, so I thought I'd pop in and let you know I'm fine and well. I'm just busy with things that aren't that interesting to read or write about. I have a new part-time job I'm learning the ropes for and my playwriting is in a phase where I'm just trying to reach a first draft. And then we'll see if it goes beyond that or not. (Oh the mystery of theatre.)

The most exciting thing I can show you (which for most of you isn't exciting at all) is a very colourful, double sided pot holder I finished the other day. As many of you know, I get a little bit yarn-crazed this time of year. What I actually wanted to make was a blanket that's also a mermaid's fin, but my yarn budget doesn't really stretch to that so I worked with some left over yarns instead. I originally bought these to make crazy socks for a friend. Like I mentioned before, the knit has two layers to avoid nasty burns and to give the slightly colour-shy users a less "in your face" option as well.
Not my best work, but it was fun. And I now have some free space in my yarn bag. 
That's it for now! I will return, I promise, I'm just struggling to know what might interest you and the internet. Call it a blog-crisis if you like. But considering all the other crisis one can have, it's pretty lightweight ...

Have a great week!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

A Writer's Date

Stephen King wrote in his book On Writing "Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough."

King is right, writing can be lonely but I am extremely lucky to have friends who also write and with whom I can work. Lotta and I used to have plenty of writing dates when I first moved to London, we'd just meet up in a coffee shop or at each other's houses and write (and drink cups of tea and gossip). At some point we both became quite busy daytime and we couldn't meet up as often but today we put everything else aside and got back to business!
One half each means double the goodness. 
No, not just eating cake. Although cake can be important. We spent a good chunk of time quietly working on our own pieces before spending an equal amount of time brain storming a new project which popped up somewhat out of the blue and slowly began to take form. Why do new projects always feel so much more exciting than the ones you're already working on? I don't know if it will ever see the light of day, but it was still fun to shoot ideas back and forth and to do it with an actual person! (Not just inside my own head.) 

So that was the main part of my Saturday, being social while still getting work done. I hope you've had a great day too!


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Dozens of carcasses in my bath


How are you?

Living in an all Finnish flat means the occasional odd tradition, like the autumnal crayfish party. I'd never actually been to one before but my flatmates are fans and decided it was time to introduce local friends to this Nordic crayfish and schnaps fueled dinner. The critters (the crayfish not my flatmates) spent a few hours defrosting in the bath ...
... Before ending up on the expertly decorated tables. There were also printouts of traditional songs that are sung throughout the dinner followed by sips of schnaps. The songs in Swedish were slightly less expertly translated to English by google translate. Who knew a bad translation could be so funny?
 I was a moderately rubbish participant since I'm not a big drinker and I don't eat crayfish but it was still good fun. The non-Finnish guests really got into the singing and learned several more or less appropriate words in the process. And it's always a major plus when you can leave a party and just walk up the stairs to your own bed. (When's teleporting actually going to be a thing?)
So that was my Saturday evening, a new experience which includes plenty of cracking, twisting and sucking. I hope you had a good one too!