It’s no secret that I’m a major Rihanna fangirl, but I think this video has taken me beyond normal fandom into the realm of pseudo-creepy infatuation. I’ve watched it about twenty times in the past couple days and it continues to, for lack of a better word, thrill me. There’s an unexpected beauty in the imagery–the tiny diamonds spilling out of a rolled joint, the pair of horses running free through a gorgeous valley, the ardent grip of tattooed hands slipping from each other–that belies the danger of love that feels like a drug. “Diamonds” reminds me of “We Found Love,” but where the latter seemed to acknowledge that such a love is a double-edged sword, the former seems to revel only in the beauty, the feeling in the moment that you’re alive and that nothing can surpass that high. I continued to be impressed by the trend of pop stars releasing music videos that are cinematic to the degree of high art, employing gorgeous cinematography and a focus on nuanced details that speak volumes without saying a word, and “Diamonds” is a great example of that.
I stumbled across a photo essay on Mother Jones a couple days ago that took my breath away: photographs of children around the world and their bedrooms. James Mollison began this project as a way to engage the issue of children’s rights, and over the course of a few years, he had a collection of photographs of children, aged seven to fourteen, and their rooms that spanned 18 different countries and a diverse range of cultures and socio-economic statuses. His stunning and unsentimental photo series is now collected in a book titled “Where Children Sleep.” Of the project, Mollison says:
“I found myself thinking about my bedroom: how significant it was during my childhood, and how it reflected what I had and who I was. It occurred to me that a way to address some of the complex situations and social issues affecting children would be to look at the bedrooms of children in all kinds of different circumstances. From the start, I didn’t want it just to be about ‘needy children’ in the developing world, but rather something more inclusive, about children from all types of situations. It seemed to make sense to photograph the children themselves, too, but separately from their bedrooms, using a neutral background. My thinking was that the bedroom pictures would be inscribed with the children’s material and cultural circumstances, the details that inevitably mark people apart from each other, while the children themselves would appear in the set of portraits as individuals, as equals, just as children.”
As a child my bedroom was a personalized sanctuary to me, and even now as an adult, I continue to regard my bedroom as a space that represents who I am as an individual. I don’t have the same posters of Hanson that I had on my wall as a tween in Michigan, but every detail of my room has been carefully curated to reflect my personality and project an aesthetic that’s in keeping with my identity, or at least the identity that I choose to present. It’s fascinating and sobering to observe how much that is not the case for most children around the world, and to put the idea that, as Mother Jones puts it, “wherever a child lies down at night is not so much a retreat from as a reflection of the world outside” in perspective.
To see more of James Mollison’s photos from “Where Children Sleep,” click here.
As you may have noticed, it’s been quiet around here for a while. In the past couple weeks, I’ve found myself in a season of life that is solidly transitional across the boards: I left the job that I loathed for an unpaid writing internship that, several weeks into, I continue to be ecstatic about; I started working part-time at a restaurant (a first for me) and haven’t yet gotten used to being on my feet all the time and having a work schedule that’s never the same from week to week; and after much relational turmoil, I am settling into the life of a single lady for the first time in about four years. It’s these transitional periods in my life that remind me how much I am a creature of habit, and that life changes of this magnitude take a great deal of time and concerted effort for me to adjust to. It’s something I’m constantly working on.
All of which is to say: I’m starting to find my rhythm and get comfortable in the chaos that is my life right now, and I plan to start up blogging regularly again, starting today. I’m working on redesigning my blog with one of my web designer homies and I’m really excited to unveil it (hopefully) soon! Thanks for your patience, friends, and for your continued readership.
Last weekend, my brother Judson came up to Seattle to visit me and climb Mt. Si with me (cross it off the list), and boy, was it a time. We woke up at 6:00am on Sunday morning and trekked an hour out to North Bend (after consuming a couple McDonalds breakfast sandwiches, of course), where we found ourselves at the foot of a mountain of imposing height. It was cold and misty so we started out the hike with our coats on, but as we slowly ascended the crazy-steep grade, we began shedding layers really quickly until both of us had our sweaters tied around our waists like goons and Judson had the pantlegs of his jeans rolled up (who wears jeans on a serious hike? Come on!).
It was a really arduous and intense hike, but when we reached the top, my brain was yelling “Worth it!”: there was a thick mist hovering over the rock ledges and even though I couldn’t see much through it, the altitude, and the feeling of power and disbelief at knowing how high you are above everything, was palpable, and we climbed over jagged rocks and crevices to stand up against what, from the outside, looked like the abyss, and it wasn’t scary. It was incredible. I’d definitely like to hike Mt. Si again in the summer, when it’s clear and you can see green for eons, but I’m glad that my first climb was through the mist. It was more timely and applicable to my present existence that way.
It took us about four hours roundtrip, and after waking up early, saying hi to every hiker and their dog on the trail (no complaints there!), feeling dizzy from the elevation change and getting our muscles wrecked by a mountain, we were exhausted and famished. So we returned to Seattle and ate some monster Elliott Bay subs, and all was right with the world.
I am absolutely in love with this video by Young Dreams. The slowed pace is so visually captivating and almost dream-like, as if everything is unfolding in three-quarter time, and the song itself is a perfect complement to that dreaminess. There are so many stunning scenes of the beauty of youthfulness that are punctuated by a dark violence, and that dichotomy gives the video layers of deep complexity that are simply riveting. I just keep watching it over and over again and it continues to leave me a little breathless each time.
“Your imagination must, to some extent, be found in a realm beyond reason because it begins with imagining a future reality: the self that you might become.”
– Richard Schoch, The Secrets of Happiness