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A nineteen year old with a camera in rural Norfolk. http://rosajoy.com

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Week 51.52

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces/Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here/Here comes the sun, here comes the sun/And I say it's all right
- The Beatles, 'Here Comes the Sun'

52 Weeks on Flickr

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Week 50.52

I used to talk/With honest conviction/Of how I predicted my world/I'm gonna leave it to stargazers/To tell me what your telescope says
- KT Tunstall, 'Through the Dark'

52 weeks on Flickr

Friday, 20 August 2010

Here Comes the Sun

It had been an awful forty-eight hours, but those of us who were “disappointed” were in the minority.
Jonny said to me, I’ve never seen someone on the verge of tears for so long, but in truth I just felt numb. There were tears at the top of my throat, but it was anger which exploded, when anything exploded.

The night before we had set up the tents in the darkness and the rain, and it had been good. To be productive and complete the task despite the conditions, to make our own shelter from the storm. When we were dry again – dry, but not warm – we sat in the bright glow of the torches and sang. Build Me Up Buttercup and Hey Mr Tambourine Man and Mrs Robinson. Before the torches went out, Jonny played Here Comes the Sun, but instead of optimism there was just the bitter taste of irony on my tongue.

The next day we put our bags under the table in Costa and said goodbye to Naomi for forty minutes or so. It was hot and the windows were bright. I ordered an iced tea with lemon. It had been an awful forty-eight hours and I had only escaped consciousness for three, and I was desperate to, but couldn’t, cry.

I didn’t want the conversation to remind me how, out of all our friends, it had been the two of us who failed to get into our first-choice universities. Jonny sat down next to me with an iced latte and we were silent. And then, over the sound system, ever so gently, came this song.

It has to be one of the most extraordinary moments of my life. Everything in that moment was going to be ok.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Going to the moon: Why A Level results don't matter

Over my right shoulder the water was pink and the Western sky was burning. When I looked over my left shoulder, though, deep indigo was leaching like watercolour into the clouds and, serene in her ascent, the Moon hung cradled in a cool glow.

It made me stop in the middle of the lane. We’ve been there, I thought, and then, I could go there.

Someone like me has decided to go to another planet. Someone like me has designed the rocket and made the parts and built the ship. Someone like me has travelled into the darkness and touched the surface of somewhere which is not Earth. Fucking hell.

But you don’t want to go to the Moon, a small voice told me. My neck hurt from looking up. I thought, You could, if you wanted to, but you’re not that type of person. You want to do other things. Things just as amazing. You want to find other moons.

Moons in literature. Moons in music. Moons in art and in words and in creating new things and in discovering something new and important. Moons which I can go to, just so long as I am here, and I am alive.

I kicked off my shoes. The tarmac was still warm and the small stones bit softly at the fleshy part of my sole. I am alive, I thought, and I am standing on a road which someone planned and built, which carries cars which have engines which let us travel all over the world. They were all created by someone like me and I am here.

Someone has named the birds I can see flitting over the fields. Someone has catagorised them so they can be studied and we can understand how they work. Someone has decided that would be a good thing to do, even though they are nothing like us. Someone like me has worked it out.

Someone has thought they are pretty, and taken a pencil or a brush or a piece of charcoal or a camera, and made a replica. Someone has created a way of communicating without sound, through specifically organised symbols which are called words, and someone has written about them. Someone like me.

Austen and Mozart have made new moons. The things they created are still being discovered, over and over, hundreds of years after they finished them. Chaucer and Shakespeare and the Bronte's and Dickens too. Beethoven and Handel. They all went to the Moon.

A car appeared, and I stepped onto the bank to let it pass. The land was so flat and the sky so vast that when I turned around with my eyes open it was hard to believe that I could not see everything there was to see. I am alive, I thought, and I can feel the wind on my face and the grass under my feet and – ouch – the stinging nettle between my toes. I laughed.

I am alive and there is so much to do and so much of it which I can do. I just need to live. And no letter on a piece of paper, or acceptance by a university, can ensure I do that nor prove I can’t. I can go to the Moon. That’s why A Level results don’t matter.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Week 49.52

Seal my heart and break my pride/I've nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide/Align my heart, my body, my mind/To face what I've done and do my time
- Mumford and Sons, 'Dust Bowl Dance'

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Week 48.52

Gonna turn myself into the grass, and I'll grow/Take this space above my head, and live a little/I'm holding on for finding solid ground/Someday soon
- KT Tunstall, 'Someday Soon'

52 weeks on Flickr

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A serendipitous discovery

Dear Jasmine

So, here’s the thing. The night before I was due to sit my A2 Politics exam I was in a bit of a state. It was almost midnight and I’d crash-revised all day (bad, bad, I know) but before I went to bed I flicked open the internet to find a piece of music on Youtube.

My browser opens a couple of tabs automatically, and one of them shows the referrals to my Flickr account. I noticed the address of a tumblr which caught I hadn’t seen before. “Anythinggeeky” sounded like a blog created with a self-knowing smile, by someone who would fit seamlessly into my circle of friends (the self-proclaimed “nerd herd”.)

It was late, like I said, and nine hours later I was going to be sitting at a desk in a silent room with an A2 exam in front of me, destined to fail. But I clicked.

You knocked me for six. Of finding my photographs you said, “I genuinely feel it’s serendipitous discoveries like that that get you through the harder moments” Mygosh, let me tell you that finding your post, especially at that moment, felt like a gift.

Thank you so much for what you said (especially as you had no intention of my ever finding it.) I had a bit of a sniffle and went to bed feeling a hundred per cent better. The photograph is called “Leap of Faith”, and when you tagged it “hope” you reminded me of the reason I created it in the first place. It was a mixture of the timing and your words, but it really did mean so much to me at that moment. Thank you.

Rosa xx

Monday, 2 August 2010


This is my two-hundredth post, so it deserves to be something special. I’m going to give you this instead.


She feels him take her hand. Her eyes are still on the stars as his fingers thread between hers, skin on skin, bone against bone. The space between their palms feels so hot it almost burns. He tugs her towards the earth.
“You can see them more easily if you lie down.”
They sit. The grass is dewy and cold as she lays her head down, feeling him do the same next to her. Their hands are still entwined.

She isn’t sure what to say, so she doesn’t say anything at all. They lie in silence, caught in their own thoughts, and then she feels her head empty. She can see nothing but the stars and the vast, black vacuum that encompasses them, and as it fills her she feels gravity unclench around her muscles. Slowly she becomes weightless. The air is cold and dry, her limbs limp, and the silence pierces her so deeply that she wonders whether she has been deafened by it.

A throb, subtle but insistent, pulls her back into existence. She blinks, twice, and without turning her head follows the sensation from her shoulder to her arm, to the inside of her hand. It is his pulse, beating inside his thumb, against her palm.

“Did you know that when you look at a star, you are looking back in time?”
She turns her head. “What?”
“It takes years for the light to travel from the star to the Earth,” he tells her, “What you are seeing is a star as it was back then. Some of them aren’t even there now.”
“What do you mean?”
“They’ve burnt themselves out. What you can see is their final explosion, reaching us years after it happened.”
He pauses, and then says, “Their final word. An epitaph of heat and light and flame.”

His attention has escaped gravity; his eyes are lost somewhere above them. She remembers him in the tree, and the urge to pull him back to her leaps up her throat.
“You told me you could prove that some myths are real ,” she says.
He chuckles, quietly, and then takes a breath. “Yeah.”
She waits while his eyes dart over the sky, and then he points. “Orpheus. He was torn limb from limb for worshipping Apollo, god of the Sun, instead of Dionysus. When he died, Apollo put him and his lyre in the constellations.”
He shows her the five stars, and then points to the right. “That’s Hercules, upside down with his club about to strike the dragon. And you know Prometheus?” He launches across her. “There’s Aquila, the constellation showing the eagle which fed on his liver every day, and just above that is Sagitta, the arrow Hercules shot it with.”
She can’t see them, so he points them out carefully and then lets his arm fall to his side.
“Are there more?” she asks, and he nods.
“Orion and Hydra and Pegasus and others. But some of them aren’t up there now. You have to wait for the world to turn before you can see them.”

They lie in silence some more. She finds the stars he’s shown her again and thinks about their stories. Prometheus gave men fire, even though Zeus told him not to. He was punished by being chained to a rock and an eagle was set to feed on his liver. Every night his liver would grow back, and in the morning the bird would return to eat it again.

To punish man, she remembers, Zeus gave them Pandora: the first woman. She scowls at the stars. When Pandora, curious, opened the box Zeus had tempted her with she let out all the evils of mankind. But Pandora wasn’t stupid. She closed the lid before Hope could escape. A weapon with which to fight all the others.

“One day all of this will burn up,” he says suddenly, and she turns her head. “The Sun will explode and take the Earth with it. But there will be stars, ones we can see now, that will still be burning when everything here is gone. They will outlive the human race by thousands of years.”
She doesn’t know how to answer him. In the silence that follows he turns his head to look at her, and there is fire in the white pricks of his eyes.
He smiles. “Don’t they, in precisely the same moment, make you feel at once entirely obsolete, and absolutely infinite?”

She thinks, if he fills her with any more of this feeling, her heart will become so hot that it will surely burn her up. It beats, scalding white against her ribs, as he holds her eyes in his with his pulse in her palm.

He says her name, and then stops.
“Yes?” It is a whisper.
“Do you remember, what I said to you when we met last? About what you have and what they can’t take away from you?”
She remembers.
He turns his head back to the sky and his features are lost in the shadows, so she turns back too.
“When a star dies, it doesn’t just disappear. The gas it explodes – the stardust – gets caught up in solar winds, and sometimes starts to form new stars.”
She is about to ask him how he knows so much, when he says, “Everything in the world comes from stars. Every element heavier than hydrogen was created in the heart of a star. The oxygen we’re breathing was created when a star exploded.”

She can feel it, not only in her lungs and at the back of her throat, but as it spins through her while she lies on the grass with his hand in hers. It sends sparks through her veins and threatens to ignite inside the cavity in her chest.

“Aida,” he murmurs, but she can’t pull herself away from the pinpricks under her eyelids. “You and I are made of stardust.”

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Week 47.52

I will go to the wild woods and stay there the rest of my days/Where no living mortal will suffer my soul to tease/And amongst the wild rowans with red berries all drooping o'er/I'll wait for my true love, yes I'll wait for my true love
- Cara Dillon, 'Jimmy Mó Mhíle Stór'