Against fuzzy thinking

You might not recognise this woman, although you might also think she looks like a cross between Agatha Christie and Katharine Hepburn and is therefore somewhat familiar. She’s actually the author who took the pen name Rebecca West and covered the Nuremberg trials, wrote the first novel about shell shock (whilst WW1 was still going on), and later the definitive history of the Balkans in English.

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She also taught herself Finnish because she thought she might want to write about Finland, and a biography of St Augustine because at the time there also wasn’t one in English and she wanted to read one.

In her 80s she was interviewed for the Paris Review by Marina Warner, And was as sharp, and sometimes dismissive, as ever. If you can’t find that interview directly, then this summary of it, and more broadly of West’s intellectual clarity, is excellent – and a good introduction to a blog worth reading for itself too.

Vast distances

Vast distances in my heart

I cross all day. I go home at night

and wait for you. Loneliness now

has a shape, a purpose.

I think of train stations, domed

ceilings, pigeons, old houses. Places where time

has been emptied.

Sue Sinclair “Love Poem III”

Dreamy clouds

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love how these plates by John Burnett Stuart (sold by Emery House) look like clouds, like a cream-swirled pudding and like ink dispersing in water. Perfect for summer parties…

South Asian super girls

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There’s already been Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, but this book – published by the charity Pink Ladoo (that encourages south Asian mothers to celebrate the birth of their daughters and push back at prejudice that ladoos (sweets) should only be gifted for a boy’s birth) looks equally good. I’m guessing there’ll be a hefty amount of intersectionalism around anti-colonialism and feminism too.