Reading some of Modern Love by George Meredith, and felt inspired.
When I bought the Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, the bookseller told me he found it boring. From all of the controversy I’d heard about this book, and the fact that it was written by the Henry Miller, I didn’t believe him. But he was right. This book was boring, but it was also beautiful. His prose was delicious. Some of his sentences were like eating a piece of candy. The narrative is just like real life- pointless and just a bit boring.
Henry Miller, the American expat, in his prose transports us to Paris in the 1930s. It is still real in his words, a place where prostitutes are plenty, purposes are optional, and words, words mean everything. This is Henry’s story. Henry lives his life and doesn’t give a damn. He writes about writing a novel that is going to change the world in a novel that changed the world. He floats through the street looking no further than his next meal and the next conversation. Conversations with his vibrant, artsy wanderers. Henry’s world is a world I would like to live in- beautiful, simple, obscene.
This book, this captured reality behind printed prose is definitely worth a read. More than that, it gives one courage to go out and be your self brashly. And while Henry may be a misogynist asshole- these women, these prostitutes floating in and out of Henry’s arms, nameless, faceless, just bed warmers- he has a vigour for life that is contagious. That makes you want to keep living even when there is no point, just for one more meal and one more fuck.
List of Things to Do After Reading:
1. Go to Paris and wander hungry
2. Watch Henry and June the film
3. Read his next book, Tropic of Capricorn
4. Drink wine, drink more wine
5. Write a story that is misandrist.
Today, Monday the 29th of April, I attended Garry Mackenzie’s first lecture in his trilogy of lectures entitled, ‘Can Poetry Really Save the Earth’. Garry Mackenzie is a phD student at the University of St. Andrews and the winner of the 2014 St. Leonard’s Prize Research Lectures.
For the first day of revision, and the first day of no lectures, going to a lecture for fun seemed a bit silly, however, I truly enjoyed the lecture. I didn’t take notes. I just sat there on this warm, grey spring day listening to Garry Mackenzie discuss ecocritism and read beautiful lines by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Seamus Heaney.
The next lecture is titled ‘Gardens and Forests: Human Landscapes’ and I am very excited. Mackenzie will be focusing on several contemporary poets and their writings of gardens and forests, and analyzing the importance of the human relationship with his or her environment through the writing of poetry.
And what more, by attending the next two lecture series, it will even be included as a module on your transcript!
Overall, It was very an interesting and well-structured lecture, and afterwards I walked away feeling I had learnt something. Did you know that ‘The Lady of the Lake’ by Sir Walter Scott was written about Loch Lomond? I didn’t. I also didn’t know ecocriticism was a thing.
Whether you are an English Major, a Sustainable Developments Major, just interested in poetry, or want to change the world- come along!
I can’t wait for his lecture tomorrow.
A Shakespearean sonnet for Shakespeare’s 450th birthday
she thinks maybe you don’t just give friendship
hold it until you know it will be hugged
valued at its most priceless price, not tipped
like shit from high ledges to thud, or lugged
with strain and pain, pity received but not
returned. To make it seem worth pearls one must
dangle it like a diamond bright, give thought
to every drop of soul you show and just
give it so slow. Don’t trust the people clear,
a friendship-slut you will sadly appear.
Samantha Emily Evans Copyright 2014
April 21, 2014
Dear Charlotte Brontë,
Happy Birthday! I can’t believe you’re turning 198 years old, and yet your books are still classics. You are one of my role models. Your strength as a female in the 19th century, and your ambitious publishing desires are an inspiration. It must have been so difficult, especially at that time.
I am also in awe of your close family relationship. I can’t believe you and Emily and Anne all became famous and well respected writers, as well as female writers. I am so very sorry for the tragedy of your life, and your all too soon death. You are such a passionate person, at least from what I’ve read. Jane Eyre will always be in my heart and my mind. Your character Jane really resounded with me, the tragicness of her life and her passionate love for Mr. Rochester. I even enjoyed the movies.
The Literary Pixie
Liberty lends us her wings and Hope guides us by her star.
– Charlotte Brontë
2 Days 2 Dinners in Istanbul
This past spring break, I found myself falling in love with Istanbul. The chaoticness connected with my soul, and the coffee cult playing backgammon in the cafes hit a chord within me. I was pretty sure that I was never going to come back to St. Andrews. We, my friend Olivia and I, lost ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the streets, the call to prayer five times a day, the tiny cups of tea, the rich history and architecture, and the fresh turkish cuisine.
Istanbul is often used as a layover on the way to Africa, and thus, here are two dinners not to miss.
Ficcin, located in Beyoglu just off Istiklal CD, is a local turkish restaurant. It has five restaurants all located on the same small side street, and all are filled with people, both tourists and locals. We saw four turkish men taking a photo at their table, and if turkish men think Ficcin is great, then it must be great. The menu was printed on a plain A4 piece of paper in English and Turkish, all traditional turkish dishes. We had grape leaves (we’re obsessed), Circassian meat ravioli in a yogurt sauce, and meatballs on a zucchini mash, a specialty. Everything was fantastic. The grape leaves were delicious. While narrow, they were filled with rice and had a nice cinnamon and mint flavor to them. The meat ravioli in a yogurt sauce came with three bowls of spices to be mixed into the sauce. I enjoyed testing out the spices until the flavor was just right (not that I know anything about turkish spices). The ravioli was cooked perfectly and the yogurt sauce created a very turkish feel to a traditional Italian dish. And if you are vegetarian, they had a potato ravioli that we heard was also incredible. The meatballs with zucchini mash were quite a surprise, as we had never had zucchini mash. It was both buttery and flavorful, and we both decided that had underestimated the zucchini. We were so taken by the food, that we decided to order dessert. I had a quince with milk pudding on top that was fruity and sweet. Everything was so fresh and local, and the price on top of that, made this meal one of our favorites.
Another restaurant not to miss is Dalti Maya. A small, three-floor turkish restaurant in Cihangir with a creative vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free friendly menu, Dalti Maya was a beautiful hole-in-the-wall with such personality. The restaurant front was very small, just a large window, a cash register, an oven with a selection of baked goods. We ordered from the menu, written in Turkish on the chalkboard and in small printed menus in English, and headed up the stairs (there was no seating on the ground floor). We passed through the kitchen on the second floor, the chefs smiled at us, on our to the seating area. The seating area had lovely windows looking out over a square, large pale wood tables with golden lighting and bookshelves. It had a homey, hippie vibe that was emphasized by the tea bar. On the wall there were shelves filled with loose leaf tea and reusable tea strainers with a handwritten note, ‘Make your own loose-leaf tea, just ask us for a larger mug’. Just next to this beauty, was a self-service turkish tea station, with free refills. We sat there in absolute paradise, discussing our perfect dinner party. The food arrived, and it was so very fresh and interesting. We ordered an Armenian specialty that was a garbanzo bean paste with flavors that was very interesting and spicy kebabs that were alive on our tongues. They forgot to bring our salad, but we forgave them. The whole experience had been just too magical, and we left happy knowing that a place like Datli Maya existed in the world.
After these two very different, yet divine, Turkish dining experiences, Istanbul had won over our hearts, by winning over our stomachs.
2 Days, 2 Dinners in Budapest
Over winter break, on my way back from Birthright in Israel (yo- I’m Jewish smakka), I got two beautiful days in Budapest with my friend. I had never been to Budapest before, neither had anyone else in my family. I was the first Evans, placing our flag on the Chain Bridge. Budapest was ‘budaful’, as we kept repeating obnoxiously as we walked down the gothic streets that reminded us of a time when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was the greatest in the world. I fell in love with Budapest, and would one day like to live there. There was so much culture, so much history, so much great food, and it was all so cheap!
I had heard that Budapest was ‘the Paris of Eastern Europe’, but I didn’t believe it until I was there, walking up Andrassy Avenue that looked very much like the Champs Elyse, but sadder. But the culture, the food, the Hungarians- they were very much happy and alive.
You need to go to Bors Gastrobar on Kazcinsky Street for some Hungarian street food and their syrups. Seriously, the menu was invigorating, written in chalk all over the walls. There was so much choice, and everything was so cheap! Our order was taken by a friendly man named William who asked us if we had a ‘name or a nickname’ to collect our order. While we were waiting, we looked around at the pictures on the wall, and realized that the very person who had taken our order, and the other person behind him who was cooking were the guys from the pictures on the wall. There was such a feeling of passion and community in this gastrobar, a group of friends’ endeavor to live their dream. And you could taste it in the food and smell it wafting out onto the street. I had a ‘mojky way’ sandwich- roasted duck liver with William’s pear mix and caramelized onion jam with elderberry- and Sangmin had the borsgdog- homemade onion jam, tomato, spicy white sausage, and cheese. To drink, I had a blackberry pepper soda. There was a pork brain sandwich, but we were too scared. It will always be our one regret.
The next restaurant you need to go to is Nemo. Situated outside the Mammut Shopping Center in a cellar, Nemo is a delightful surprise. We almost walked past it, but luckily we were looking for it. Down the stairs into a white wash fishbowl, we were mistaken for Hungarian’s (telling you how straight up un-touristy this place is) and sat for a bit staring at the menu. Sangmin ordered a glass of lemonade, and it was beautiful. It came in a tall glass with chunks of lemon, lime, and orange at the top. It was bubbly. We ordered the Nemo Burger- a salmon burger- and the cod wrap, although they are known for their Fish and Chips (but we have the number 1 fish and chips in Scotland, so we didn’t bother). They were both devastatingly amazing. After I finished the wrap, I could barely talk. I was just so flabbergasted that it could be this good, and this cheap. The salmon burger was tender and delicious, but the cod wrap, the cod wrap, was a flavorful, spicy, crunchy fish wrap. It was all too much.
That night we walked back slowly along Andrassy to Njoy Hostel, taking in the crumbling brick buildings next to modern McDonalds, the beautiful view of the Danube and the Parliament building.
We said good-bye to the lions, and dreamt of the next time we would be in Budapest.
By Samantha Emily Evans
I will be my own valentine
I will write myself love notes and leave them in places all over my room
I will buy myself beautiful red roses just because I want to
I will give myself seductive chocolate truffles to excite my senses
I will gift myself a teddy bear to remind myself,
That Somebody cares.
I will take myself out to dinner, order red wine, and woo myself senseless
Later that night, I will make love to myself,
Hold myself in my arms
And murmur to myself,
I will always love you.
Copyright Samantha Emily Evans 2014