Author: Alexandra

What I’ve Read – January-March 2018

How’s your bookish year going? Mine isn’t half bad. I’ve read a variety of genres, and a decent mix of ebooks and paper books. Shall we dig in?

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I started the year by finishing Galbraith’s Career of Evil. Good mystery, more backstory, awesome thriller points – the third in the Strike series comes highly recommended from me. Cuckoo’s Calling was rather twee, Silkworm was full of grotesque. Both enjoyable (especially Silkworm – I continue to be amazed by J.K. Rowling, it takes balls and talent to write that shit), but Career of Evil is the best one so far.

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My First Easter Service

For a self-professed (and, well, baptised) Orthodox Christian, I really haven’t been an active participant in church life. This Easter I had my first full service. I came a little late, after The Holy Fire had arrived and was shared amongst the believers. Stayed until the very end, though admittedly I wanted to go home somewhere close to 3 a.m., because my very comfortable yet still heeled boots were causing me pain.

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This picture, taken in the low light of the church, may fool you into thinking that it’s got four lampada candles in it. In reality it’s just one. It’s standing in the corner and reflecting off of the church’s walls.

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Aside from staying awake for the service itself, I also kept vigil over the candle holder above. During big services people come and go, and many of them want to light a candle, so candle holders get filled really quickly. The are women, workers of the church, who keep an eye on these candle holders and take out the candles that are close to burning out. I’ve been asked by one such lady to keep an eye on this candle holder – I stood right next to it. It sounds like an easy enough job, and I’m not saying I was overwhelmed, but it was a new experience. I needed to make sure that all the candles were upright, or at least not melting the nearby candles nor dropping wax on the floor. And as mentioned above, I needed to make sure that the ‘older’ candles were taken out to make space for the new prayers.

Closer to the end the lady who asked me to help her took care of me as well as she could. She gave me a piece of cloth to wipe my hands with – the candle holders are heavily oiled to ease the cleaning of them, so my hands were covered in oil. She also made sure that I didn’t leave the church without a burning lampada. It’s a tradition to take the Holy Fire back home with you.

As I exited the church, I saw the amazing view of hundreds of people with candles and lanterns and baskets standing in front of it, waiting for their kuliches (special Paschal baked goods) and Easter eggs to be blessed by the bishop. Unfortunately, my battery was giving up by that point, and my phone wouldn’t let me take a picture.

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I didn’t buy a kulich this year, nor did I dye any eggs, so my Easter breakfast looked like that. Two sandwiches with butter, cheese, and marmalade, a cup of black tea, and a tiny cup of cottage cheese. And, well, some sweets.

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My “proper” Easter breakfast came eight days later – today, actually. I finally bought a kulich, and I had a chocolate egg remaining. Still no dyed eggs, though. I’m sure this oversight isn’t as gross as my other ones, so the merciful Lord will forgive me.

Christ is Risen!

What Would You Write If No One Read?

sauron

I don’t have that big of an audience. Some of you probably subscribe through some RSS reader, a couple of people visit the site, and there’s almost 60 subscribers on Bloglovin, who probably hit ‘mark as read’ more often than not.

I’m not whining.

The other day I wondered how an audience affects what I do. Here, there, on Instagram, at work, in life. It used to not affect me much – or perhaps I was blissfully unaware that it affected me in any way. As a result I wrote better, I wrote more often, I wrote about a variety of themes. I took endless photographs and shared them in a timely manner. I wore things that I liked and put on eye shadows that I liked without constantly looking over my shoulder.

A blank page never scared me before.

My opinions never scared me before.

Or is it – my own blankness never scared me before?

Let’s not get philosophical.

Whenever I sit down to write these days, I write with an audience in mind. And I’m not thinking about people who come here because they, the poor souls, love what I do for some reason, no matter how rarely and how poorly I do it these days. No, I’m thinking about people who come here to dig some shit on my existence. Who want to look into my pants, into my plates, have a laugh at my wrinkled shirt, my hot water bottle, my overcooked boiled egg. I’m not making this list up, I can’t make this list up, this list is so ridiculous, I want to spit in their faces and step on their necks, and forgive me, Father, for I have sinned, and I am sinning right now.

Back when my main blog was on alexandrabrovco.com, I was much angrier, much more closed off, but on the other hand much more vocal. Nowadays I am not as angry, maybe a bit more open – but also much more depressed and much more silent.

What would I write if no one read this shit? What would I write if I were not afraid for my paycheck? If I didn’t care for an intrusive colleague? If I didn’t care to tread carefully, to conform, to comply?

There’s nothing new in my identity crisis. Corporations and open space have ruined us all.

I’ve been writing on the internets since before it was profitable. I think it was 1996 when I first started some odd-arse online diary. I know that in 1999 I’ve been writing daily, and Blogger and I have been in separable since February 2002. My first domain, homo-urbanicus.com, will turn 12 this year. So I’m old, and weathered, and should know better.

This current incarnation of my blog was started on consumerism, and I am not sure it’s where I want it to go. I still want to write about beauty and make-up. I still entertain the idea of having an outfit diary – even though the last time I’ve been clothes shopping was almost exactly a year ago. It’s not for the lack of wanting to do it, though. I need a new pair of pants (and I mean underpants, not trousers) like five months ago. I just can’t set my finances straight, and shit keeps piling up, and I try to not spend any money on non-essentials until I pay off at least some of my debts.

Cheers to that.

You have no idea how many times I sat down and opened a post-new.php, a blank Evernote, a Notepad, a Google Drive Doc, or even an email draft in my inbox to– I don’t even know to do what exactly. To write? To convey? To unblock? To get some ideas? To straighten my thoughts? To crawl out of depression?

What have I become? I resolved, long time ago, to either write the truth or not write at all. Is the truth so daft empty useless blank pointless incomplete tiring busy old untruthful that I chose not to write at all?