1. Eyewitness, The Guardian
Playing cricket in Kabul, by Mauricio Lima
The Guardian's Eyewitness is my single favourite iPad app. While most newspapers have simply rehashed their websites' layout and content, The Guardian took a different tact. Each day, a stunningly beautiful photograph is featured, providing insight into what is happening in any one corner of the world. It is one thing to read about an event, natural disaster, political situation or way of life; it is another to see it so clearly that you feel as though you are part of it.
2. Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of the Car is a Horrifying Mistake. Is it a Crime? by Gene Weingarten
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, this Washington Post article stopped me in my tracks. Parents forgetting their child in the backseat of their car is a devastatingly common occurrence (15 to 25 times a year in the United States); one which results in a tragically avoidable death, with absolutely no intent behind it. These horrific mistakes made by otherwise loving, attentive parents are a reflection of our busy, selfless modern lives; each of these parents were distracted by millions of thoughts running through their heads, multitudes of responsibilities weighing upon their shoulders. Who are we to judge these good people? Why do we feel the need to? I think people find it disconcerting to accept that no wrongdoing took place in these situations. Helplessness ensues when we realise that an innocent child was killed, and nobody is to blame for their death. Without redemption or justice for this lost life, it is almost impossible to shake that awful, raw, empty feeling in the pit of our stomachs.
3. Forever Love, by Leila Koren
My boyfriend Andy introduced me to this gorgeous wedding video. Jeremedy, one half of the duo who wrote and performed the feature song, also heads one of his favourite "Aussie hip-hop" bands (I don't know which one, perhaps somebody could enlighten me!) The song was his wedding present to the blissful couple. (He is the groomsman with the hair.)
Although I do want to get married one day, the idea of an extravagant white wedding doesn't sit
right with me. Not that I would ever deny anybody the pleasure of having the wedding they want - whether that is in a beautiful old church or a simple registry office; wearing a princess dress or old jeans; with a thousand guests or two. It's just that the sweet simplicity of this wedding makes my heart sing; so, deep down, I just know it is what I want for myself.
4. Permission to Quit the Low-Rent Experiences, by Sarah Wilson
As my loyal readers would know, I just cannot collate a best-of list without including one of Sarah Wilson's insightful blog posts. This particularly lovely one urges us to allow ourselves the freedom to drop those niggling obligations that we really don't want to do, and to take up things that may seem silly or frivolous, but secretly delight us. It is inspired by a blog post by Danielle LaPorte, of White Hot Truth. One of my favourite "permissions" that Danielle gives us is to "check your email whenever the hell you want". I always feel guilty for reading my emails first thing in the morning, and often throughout the day, because I have been told so many times how inefficient and needy it is. As Danielle says in her latest post, 7 tiny big life shifters: Screw it. I LIKE to check my email first thing in the morning. It doesn't mean that I'm a distracted workaholic, it means I'm an excited Creative who loves her friends and new friends and what she does with her day. I feel better now!
Permission to... Eat dessert first.
5. Throwing Away the Alarm Clock by Charles Bukowski
my father always said, "early to bed and
early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy
it was lights out at 8 p.m. in our house
and we were up at dawn to the smell of
coffee, frying bacon and scrambled
my father followed this general routine
for a lifetime and died young, broke,
and, I think, not too
taking note, I rejected his advice and it
became, for me, late to bed and late
now, I'm not saying that I've conquered
the world but I've avoided
numberless early traffic jams, bypassed some
and have met some strange, wonderful
one of whom
myself—someone my father
(via The Writer's Almanac)
"I look up at the sky, wondering if I'll catch a glimpse of kindness there, but I don't. All I see are indifferent summer clouds drifting over the Pacific. And they have nothing to say to me. Clouds are always taciturn. I probably shouldn't be looking up at them. What I should be looking at is inside of me. Like staring down into a deep well. Can I see kindness there? No, all I see is my own nature. My own individual, stubborn, uncooperative often self-centred nature that still doubts itself--that, when troubles occur, tries to find something funny, or something nearly funny, about the situation. I've carried this character around like an old suitcase, down a long, dusty path. I'm not carrying it because I like it. The contents are too heavy, and it looks crummy, fraying in spots. I've carried it with me because there was nothing else I was supposed to carry. Still, I guess I have grown attached to it. As you might expect."
— Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)