Blank Spaces

This week I have been thinking a lot about language and communication. One of the primary forms of communication these days is through text or other messaging systems such as Facebook.

This weekend I was in the situation where I was in a group chat with three other people who I went abroad with this summer. Our group chat consisted of random articles of the US elections and funny Canadian things (as two of us are Canadian and two are American). This group chat is only used a few times a month but one of the members abruptly removed herself from the message. All we were left with was a “_______ left the group.”

Automatically I assumed she was either fed up with our group or she didn’t want to talk any more. I based my evidence solely on the social cues of Facebook. Now I feel like I can’t reach out to her again unless she makes the first move.

This situation had me thinking about whether or not we let technology form empty assumptions that take over our choices in relationships. There could be many reasons she chose to leave the chat, but I automatically assumed it was something that I did. I do the same thing if someone texts me without emojis and God forbid proper grammar!! I think they are mad at me when in reality they’re just typing realistically. I am known for throwing in a “lol” or “haha” even if something isn’t funny; I just want to keep the tone happy.

But why do I feel like I need fluff to do that? I certainly do not do that in face to face conversation. I think we rely on social media cues to avoid confrontation. By her leaving the message she did not have to confront us and say whatever was on her mind that made her want to leave. By sending a one lettered response such as “K” or by ignoring people entirely on social media while they can see the “seen @___time” we are avoiding having the conversation. We get our point across without having to take responsibility and explain.

I feel as though social media has created a whole new language of blank spaces. We are left to fill in the blanks, always guessing but never knowing. I think this can be dangerous, it’s a lot like putting words in peoples mouths.

What are your thoughts?

The crack in my heart woke me up again.

It was cold. And raining. I was shaking.

I woke up missing you.

I sat in bed worrying and wondering. Wondering and worrying.

While you probably sat on your front step without a care.

The moonlight kissing your skin, the darkness not even dark for you.

 

But that’s always how its been with us.

I have the darkness; I keep the light.

I bring it all down or bring us to life.

I’m the one on the floor in the middle of the night.

Struggling to breathe.

You’re the one who smiles, always at ease.

 

I stay awake, my eyes dry and strained.

I need a second, a moment, an hour to breathe

I need a second, a moment, an hour to be.

 

Beside the crack in my heart our garden grows.

But I fear the crack and the crack fears me.

We feed each other’s insecurity.

-Kristina Pappas

Two Young Girls

 

Fire is slaughtering the trees.

Mountains crumble to piles of stone.

Oceans thrash with the blood of the lost.

Tears, Screams, Heartbreak.

 

A young girl is blown off her feet,

Floating higher and higher into the clouds.

While an old lady shrieks on the ground.

Knees on the dirt, gravel tearing the skin.

The sound of a heart breaking hissing with the wind.

 

Sunlight burns through the shadows.

Hills roll into the future.

Stars guide the night.

 

Smiles, Learning, Laughter.

A young girl reads for the first time.

While an old lady laughs with delight.

Knees on the sofa, blankets soft against the skin.

The sound of a heart growing whistles with the wind.

 

Hearts crack in the shadows.

Smiles fade with the storms.

Two young girls, two different norms.

-Kristina Pappas

“The Secret Keeper”

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Kate Mortons’s books have changed my life. As a reader and especially as a writer. She has a way of intricately weaving the threads of her stories together: I imagine that if she were to do this, she would be left with a dazzling, beautiful quilt.

My favorite one of her books is The Secret Keeper. The Secret Keeper is classified as Historical Fiction, and it deals with POV switches a

d time jumps. These are the things I normally hate in books. But now I just think I haven’t read a book with these elements executed so seamlessly and interesting as Kate Morton’s books.

The book takes place in England during World War Two and then into the 2000’s. I happened to be traveling in Ireland at the time I read this book, so the images came to life in my modernized Canadian mind. But even as I am back in my homeland I am still equally as captivated by her settings.

The story follows Laurel Nicolson, through her childhood in the most picturesque family, until it isn’t. And then 50 years later now a famous actress, who is unraveling the secrets of her families past. While we learn with Laurel the nature of these secrets we are dropped into the mother Dorthy’s point of view and what her life was like during world war two. The fascinating part of this is you get to see the similarities between 16-year old Laurel and 16-year old Dorothy. Which of course Laurel never knew this when she was 16, she felt like the different one, the special one. But little did she know her mom often felt the same way. Every character in this book is dynamic and has a complex relationship with themselves, the world and each other.

13508607Morton’s language is gorgeous, and her writing flows like a true story. Her dialogue is sharp, and her world building and fact providing are seamless. I cannot sing enough praise about this book.

Kate Morton has shown me what I want to be like as a writer and shown me the historical fiction genre is not one I should shy away from any longer. Kate Morton’s characters also made me realize a lot about myself. I now know that I want to be the type of mother Dorothy was in the book. Which is an odd realization for my twenty-year-old self who never thinks about that kind of thing. Months later I am still thinking about this book, and I’ve eagerly torn through her other books as well which are all amazing. But for me, The Secret Keeper will always hold a special place in my heart.
Please.
Go.
Read.
It………
I promise you will not be disappointed.

(Now that you’ve realized that I’m right and you want to read this book check out the Goodreads profile of it then buy away! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13508607-the-secret-keeper?ac=1&from_search=true)

*I don’t own the pictures.*

Five things you will hear/happens when you are traveling Solo:

 

1. “You can take that table in the corner”: That’s is a direct quote from a waiter at a restaurant I went to in Dalkey. When I requested my lonesome table for one, I was led to the most undesirable table in the restaurant, isolated in the corner. (I didn’t mind, I had my book.)

2. The invisible laughs while you take a selfie. I don’t know about you, but when I’m alone, I feel shameful for having taken a selfie versus when I’m in a group. But you know what I’m only here once, and I want the damn evidence. Just take the selfie.

3. The majority of your Spotify library. Yup, that’s right. When walking through the city streets on your own, your music becomes your form of conversation.

4. When you get lost, it will be the worst thing. You have no one to complain to or to strategize with. ITs just you wandering alone, in the dark.

5. Long gone are the indecisive discussions of where to eat or go to next. You are the captain. You want a bowl of freaking pasta? Then that’s what you are going to get. Want to sit on a patch of grass for hours? Go for it.

*I don’t own the gif.

Literary Mania

I’ve been in Ireland for about three weeks now and from the time I’ve spent in Dublin I have to say my favorite thing about this countIMG_4760.jpgry is the Literary spirit.It’s everywhere, from statues of James Joyce in St. Stephens Green to an exhibit devoted to the life and work of W.B Yeats at the National Library.

I even went on a literary pub crawl, yes you read that right. (It was incredible). But beyond walking in the footsteps of Irelands greatest writers, the literary community still thrives. There are tons of bookstores everywhere! In Canada, we have one main chain, Chapters Indigo, and then each city has its own used or independent bookshops. But Dublin has a variety of chains and types of bookstores such as Hodges Figgus, Easons, Book Value and that is just naming a few. There are tons.

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In Cork, Ireland I discovered my favorite bookstore chain, Vibes and Scribes. They have multiple locations some with new books and stationary, then ones with used books and then one location were purely craft based.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s just so different to feel literary culture everywhere you go in a city. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I must say it’s quite refreshing from all of the war and history museums to be in a city full of writers museums.

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We’re all Caffeine Machines.

Ireland. The Emerald Isle. The land of the rolling hills dotted with wooly sheep and ancient ruins. The beauty of this land awakens something deep within my soul. Everywhere I look is a piece of art from the vibrancy of the grass to the carved architecture of the old buildings.

Before I came here, I had the ambition of blogging about every beauty I found on this island, but I now realize how daunting of a task that is because everything is beautiful here. But there is more than beauty there is a feeling of earthly magic. A feeling as though you are glimpsing in on an ancient secret or looking back into the hardships of the past.

I certainly cannot capture every detail of this Aisle nor do I want to. Somethings you just have to feel for yourself. But I can give insight into some of my personal favorites.

I’ll start with a noteworthy place to visit in Dublin. One thing that North Americans such as myself may find as a shock is the difference in caffeine habits. Instant coffee is something that tends to be very popular here, but it’s one cultural adaptation most people cannot get on board with, this is not to say that there are not some incredible cafes with delectable drinks. I just want to point one out in particular.

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It’s called “Dwarf Jar Coffee Shop” and it is divine. I suppose it is what you would call “Instagram worthy” (you caught me I did Instagram it myself…). The place itself is not huge, but there is space at one of their many round tables or a spot on their window front bar slab.

The extensive menu is featured on rounded chalkboards, while the walls feature art and some books.

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There is a decorative loft suspended over the seating area that looks like an eclectic little living room, almost as if it’s a glimpse into the imagined dwarfs living quarters.

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Now on to the drinks! It was a hot day for my Canadian blood, so I requested my chai latte to be Iced instead of hot even though it was not on the menu. The barista didn’t seem fazed as he gladly fulfilled my request. And let me tell you that was one of the best Iced Chais I have ever had….and I have some stiff competition in that area. Two of the people I was with got drinks as well, a cappuccino and a latte and they too were more than pleased with their tasty caffeine. So if you find yourself on 1 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2 be sure to stop in for your drink fix, no matter the side of the river you’re on its worth it. And don’t forget to follow their rules of ‘Coffeology’.

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