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Tuesday, July 29th, 2003
1:06 am
[the front door jams against a large pile of junk mail and pizza menus, but a few hard shoves and I'm inside. It smells dusty in here]

Wow, I haven't been here in a while. It seems like a bit of a waste to have two journals when I hardly ever write anything. Tonight seems like a good time to let the Black Rabbit come for toxicbunny. (I never really felt like a toxicbunny anyway. It reminds me of my old job, trying to think of an unused name in the two minutes of my boss's fag break, surrounded by cute pictures of lab animals).

bluedevi is where I'll be posting from now on. I started it as a writing journal, but now it's an any-old-crap journal. See you there, I hope.

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Monday, June 2nd, 2003
12:43 am
arachne, I’m working at Great Ormond Street all this week and have proper lunchbreaks (sfx: Hallelujah Chorus). Could I take you up on your camera offer, and if so, whereabouts do you work? And what days? Thanks to the rest of you who have offered cameras, too. Belated thanks because I’ve not been offline this much since um, 1994.

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Tuesday, May 20th, 2003
3:00 pm
Hmm. Could any of you Londoners lend me a digital camera? I'd like to take pictures of my mono auction calligraphy pieces before they leave me to go to their new homes...

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Monday, May 19th, 2003
12:04 am - First bookcrossing success!
I was sitting on a bench in the Tate Britain, scribbling (results are up at bluedevi, for my sins). Beside me, close enough to keep an eye on but not close enough to obviously be mine, was a copy of Snow Falling On Cedars with a piece of paper stuck to the front saying “Free Book! Please Take Me Home!” People went by, peering in a puzzled fashion. I would have to leave and go to the rendezvous in the cafe shortly. I was feeling maternal towards the book and didn’t want to leave it alone, imagining it lying at the bottom of a dustbin. At five past four, just as a disembodied song floated through the gallery, a couple came by and stopped by the bench. I stared down at my notebook, pretending to be engrossed. The woman, thirtyish, brown-frizzy-haired, picked it up. Yes! Open the cover, I willed her, with my eyes fixed on the opposite wall. She opened the cover. I heard her reading the bookcrossing label to her partner. ‘Isn’t that nice?’ she said to him. She put the book in her bag and they strolled on, laughing. As soon as they were out of sight I did a silent air-punch, then gave the book a little wave goodbye.

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Thursday, May 1st, 2003
10:30 am - a-Conjuring Summer In: progress report
Thunderstorm this morning. Must try harder.

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Wednesday, April 30th, 2003
4:16 pm - Missing
I've been looking for Margaret. Since mentioning her in the 1993 bit of my last post I've been wondering what's happened to her in the eight years since we left school.

So I've googled, rummaged and registered on reunion sites, but there's no trace. She's million-watt clever, she was quite geeky when I knew her, you'd think someone like her would be all over the web, but no. Admittedly she has a quite common surname. Someone in those pages of google results could be her, but they're mostly just lists of names, you can't tell.

Back then we didn't know about the net. We got our fandom fix by post, in a paper newsletter called The Federation Times. So I can't even guess at aliases. I know what she was interested in back then (Star Trek, ambient music, Bret Hart the wrestler) but there's no telling if she still cares about any of those things. She went on to do chemistry; she always missed her home in Virginia. Someone with her name has just been made a member of the Chemistry Society at the University of Virginia. But there's no staff search feature on the site and I'm none the wiser. Only one person from my old class has registered on Friends Reunited, a mousy girl I was unwillingly paired up with on school trips.

She mightn't even go by her full name now; she might be Meg or Mags or Maggie or Daisy. Well, Daisy is unlikely.

Now that I can't find her I'm all the more curious. My misfit status made me part sad, part angry. She was just angry. It made her study till her eyes bled. Her brilliant marks were driven by a desire to show them all, to laugh in their faces. I wouldn't be surprised if that momentum sent her burning through her first degree and into an illustrious academic career, but I hope that at some stage she got to let her hair and her defences down and let her stiff shoulders relax. I hope she found bits of the world she could trust. I hope she did get to go home, and that it was still her home when she got there.

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Monday, April 28th, 2003
12:49 pm
Went to see The Werkmeister Harmonies with verlaine yesterday. It was weird. Very, very weird. I thought it was about music, but it turned out to be about a whale, a sinister circus midget and a young armchair astronomer with an army of uncles. It made David Lynch look like 'Ant and Bee and the ABC'.

'Let's trash the local hospital and thump the patients.' 'Why?' 'Because the circus midget says so, silly!'Collapse )

There followed a very nice dinner, since there were no playgrounds to be found. The only problem was that I'd left my phone at home. By the time I turned the corner towards home I'd convinced myself that in the hours I was out of contact, everyone I knew would have had life-altering experiences they needed to talk about or crucial events they needed to arrange, my family would all have died and assorted houses would have burnt down.

Sorry to anyone who was trying to get in touch. But so far it seems there was no death or arson. (Except in the film, for very little apparent reason.)

Tonight I will mostly be making a complete idiot of myself at karaoke.

Oh, and I always knew instant coffee was evil.

Why am I so talkative today? Maybe I can feel freedom coming on.

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10:08 am - small pleasures (as seen in Amelie)
The gust of wind that lifts my hair as I walk along a tube platform alongside a train which is disappearing into the tunnel

Candlewax solidifying on my fingertips

Putting my nose into an old book and sniffing deeply

Flicking the pages of a book - both the sensation and the noise it makes, fluttering or flopping depending on the type of paper

The top of Canary Wharf peeping into sight and ducking away again on a bus ride up and down the hilly roads around my house at night

The way writing from a metallic pen looks on solid black areas of a photocopy

The sharp, clean rattle of the ball in a brand-new bottle of Tipp-ex

Music from several different directions synchronising perfectly for a moment


So what are yours?

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10:06 am - "So what attracts you to the leisure industry, Mr Murphy?"
There's a girl being interviewed for my job right behind me, in the middle of the open-plan office. She's soft-spoken and has to compete with a churning photocopier, sales folk on the phone and Justin Timberlake on the radio. Poor thing.

This is riveting. It can't be often that you get to eavesdrop on a whole interview process. It could only happen in a ramshackle office like this where there's nowhere else to do it. Interview bingo! (e.g.: she just said she's a perfectionist, I score a point.)

[Update, 4pm: There have been three more perfectionists and one pedant. And one girl who said her biggest weakness was not being able to express herself very well in words. Oops...]

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Thursday, April 24th, 2003
4:48 pm - Time wins 11-5
I thank you. I like time best too. As various people have said, when you're in any sort of official job it's in far shorter supply than money. 21 days of freedom a year still seems barbaric to me, but then I was in school/college for 21 *years*, so no wonder.

So that'll be a week off after I leave here, living on my unused holiday pay and pretending I'm a full-time writer, then.

There are dozens of things I want to do. My god I can't wait. It can't possibly still be two-and-a-bit weeks. I mean, this day has lasted at least four hundred years already. I think I know why the Sloth guy in Seven chewed off his own tongue, just to have something to do.

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2003
4:55 pm - Question
All else being equal, which would you choose: a week's extra time or a week's extra money?

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4:53 pm
The most exciting thing that happened today was realising I'd picked the nail varnish on my thumbnail into the shape of the UK and Ireland.

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Friday, April 11th, 2003
10:20 am
My boss is putting an ad for my job in next Monday's Guardian as I type. So if anyone wants it, you know where to look. :)

Ooh, it's all so exciting.

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003
7:51 pm - Update 2
Yup. My horrible feeling was right.

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Tuesday, March 25th, 2003
1:30 pm - "You hear that, Mr Anderson? That's the sound of inevitability."
When I was a kid I read and re-read a book called "Midnight is a Place" by Joan Aiken, about child labour in carpet mills during the Industrial Revolution. It had fantastic, sombre full-page illustrations. One of them in particular stuck in my head and actually gave me nightmares. It showed a small child ('the snatcher') at work. Apparently newly woven carpets had to be rolled out on a pressing-floor and then be pressed flat by a fifty- or sixty-foot-square slab of iron, which would be raised up into the ceiling by hydraulics and then let fall. The snatcher's job was to dash out on to the carpet-pressing floor while the press was being raised, pick up oily snags of cotton that would ruin the carpet if they got pressed into it, then get back to the edge before the press fell on her. In the picture, she is a tiny figure, running flat-out, pigtails and pinafore flying, and the press is massive and menacing and horribly, unforgivingly square, plummeting out of a shadowy vaulted ceiling.

The point of all this? I can't find the picture online, but if I could I'd post it here, with arrows on it saying "This is me" and "This is my print deadline".

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Friday, March 21st, 2003
2:20 am - song of the moment
We are born alone...Collapse )

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Monday, March 10th, 2003
12:32 pm - That reminds me
Years ago I donated about half my collection of sci-fi and fantasy books to the Trinity College Sci-Fi Society in Dublin. There must have been 150 or so. But at the time there were constant threats that the society was going to lose its room and the library would be dispersed, so I circled the page number on page 77 in each book, thinking that if I saw any of them in second-hand shops in the future, I'd be able to check if they were once mine. I don't know what's happened to the library. (cheerfulcynic might?) But if a book should ever fall into your hands with a mark on page 77, it might have once belonged to me.

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11:55 am
This sounds like great fun: Book Crossing. There's a quote from the site in verlaine's journal as well, explaining what it's all about.

Saw it in the paper at the weekend and wished I'd thought of it. I've signed up - somehow, despite all the press coverage, I managed to get "devi" as a login name, when I thought I'd have to settle for something like "spacedogdevifromdublin149".

Now I'm planning to raid second-hand shops, just to get books to leave in random places. Or subject-matter-related places (someone left a copy of "The End of the Affair" on a bench on Clapham Common that features in the book. How cool is that?) It would make my day to find one. It's just like the present hunts my dad used to set up for me, only it's not one house and garden, it's the WHOLE WORLD!

Books want to be free. Obviously. In Ankh-Morpork they're so restless that they have to be chained to the shelves, but I think all books are like that, secretly.

current mood: over-excited

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Friday, March 7th, 2003
11:05 am - Bored now
Bored, bored, very bored, b*yawn*ored, as bored as an extremely bored thing wearing a boredsuit in Boredland.

Too busy to slack off and do something else, but everything I have to do is extremely dull. And my friends list is very quiet. Somebody tell me something interesting? Please?

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Thursday, March 6th, 2003
3:36 pm
(Bugger, syleth's already answered these while I was doing it, but I'm going to cheat.)

From natural20:

* What does perfection feel like?

Smooth, almost frictionless, slightly warm.

* What colour is flirting?

Iridescent - changing colour when you turn it in different directions, like magpie feathers, except it's sometimes pink, sometimes blue, with the occasional flash of bright red that you're never sure you actually saw once it's gone.

* What does a soulmate sound like?

Something deep and resonant, like a bell or a cello.

* What's the smell of Independence?

Cold, frosty air full of oxygen.

* What does a safe place taste of?

Horlicks.

And mine:

What's the taste of creativity?
What's the texture of regret?
What colour is wisdom?
What is the smell of isolation?
What is the sound of self-destruction? (thanks to Ultraviolence)

Answer mine, make up your own, pass it on, you know the drill.

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