Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Places to escape to

I've crossed that threshold into overwhelming exam-related anxiety, so I think it's time I harnessed my tendency towards escapist fantasy to create a safe psychological space I can retreat to when the going gets tough. Here's some things I'll be using to help.

The blog Les petites choses de Piou is littered with beautiful photographs like these of the writer's home. I love to imagine one day living in a calm, beautiful, simple home like this. Tactile touches like a nicely textured white quilt cover or glossy, hand-thrown ceramic cereal bowls, not to mention big, fluffy companion animals, are all things I dream about having one day, when these exams are a distant memory and all the insecurities that make me terrified of them have long since disintegrated in the flow of time.

The iPhone app Bloom is a generative ambient music app created by Brian Eno. Tapping on the screen generates coloured circles under your fingertips, which produce gentle, twinkly sounds that vary in pitch depending on their location. If you leave the app alone then it will automatically create variations on the sounds you've already inputted, gently changing the key, rhythm, and order of the notes you created. Its mesmerising beauty makes me feel relaxed and entranced, and it's also a good concentration aid.

Not quite often enough, but occasionally I make myself some matcha in as close to the proper ceremonial way as I can remember. Slurping the lukewarm, bright green tea out of a tea bowl that's designed for cradling in the hands with care, I'm immediately transported back to my tea ceremony teacher's tatami room, and for a few brief moments I can forget my troubles and lose myself in the mindlessness and emptiness of the act of making matcha.

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