Thursday, 4 February 2016

Tales for Fairies

“You seemed so far away," Miss Honey whispered, awestruck.

"Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings," Matilda said. "It was wonderful.” 

 Roald DahlMatilda

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such an affinity to a particular collection of words before, and I study Creative Writing for a degree; I have seen many collections of words in my travels. Jumbles of patterns and scribbles given a sort of mortality by concepts and tangible things. You can not touch a word, but sometimes you can touch it's meaning, or possibly live it. 
I’m not entirely sure where I should begin, for the subject of dreaming stretches out before me like this wide sky, scattered with nimbus and cirrus thoughts, twinkling stars of ideas and planets of philosophy.
There are day dreamers and there are night dreamers. Sometimes, there are both or none at all. George doesn't often dream in the day, and he seldom dreams at night. I dream every single night and remember up to three of my dreams and then proceed to spend the rest of the day with my head elsewhere too; I must fall into the both category. 
When I was very little, I had such vivid dreams that I sometimes struggled to differentiate between reality and the fiction of my unconscious mind. I would be so convinced I had seen a mermaid, or lived a past life or even had a run in with a zombie; it wasn't hard to see why other kids thought I was a tad odd. I remember once dreaming that my family betrayed me and handed me over to the 'bad guys' who were trying to capture me because I had magical powers; I couldn't trust them for a week. The left over emotions from my dream state could remain in my body and haunt me for days afterwards. Sometimes, I had such traumatic dreams about death of people I loved (often the result of apocalyptic situations) that it would leave me filled with sorrow and grief for days. My dreams have a bizarre power over me that I can't control, and they're so wild, unpredictable and chaotic that they leave me so exhausted and bewildered. When I talk to friends about dreams, and they explain about their dream where they turned up to school naked, went shopping or slept with their ex, I just can't relate. I am twenty four years old, and I'm still having dreams about flying, floating islands and zombie apocalypses. One particular dream I often recall when I want to feel particularly whimsical, I managed to master the power of 'apparation' (see Harry Potter) and transported myself and George to this beautiful, snowy forest in the taiga regions. We stood in this perfectly still and serene forest, everything was silent and the snow flakes glittered as they nestled in our hair. Icicles dangled from the conifers and their branches and we watched an elk mooch through the snow. We were hiding from people that wanted to capture us (often a recurring theme in my dreams, running away) and it was so wonderful to be in this wintery forest sanctuary. 

I don't mind the bizarre dreams at all. Even the ones that stay with me and haunt me. I love that there is a dimension somewhere (albeit in my own subconscious) where I have the potential to fly among the stars sometimes, become invisible or give life to the fairy tales that I loved reading so much as a child. In my dreams, mermaids and selkies can exist and that gives them reality. In dreams so real, so vivid and sharp, it's almost truly living them.
If any of you have been reading my blog for a long time, you may remember the time I announced that I was told by an educational psychologist that I had ADD (Attention deficit disorder) as well as Dyspraxia. It completely explained why I've always found it so difficult to hold a thought, to focus on a conversation if there's a single, minute distraction or why I space out so completely, that I can not even see the world around me. There is only the thoughts in my head, manifesting into visuals and although my eyes are open, they are seeing nothing at all. As a small child, I spent an incredible amount of time staring out of the window, day dreaming. I was listening and absorbing the information the teacher was saying, but for my mind to digest it, I needed to be juggling it with multiple other thoughts too. I needed to not be staring at a black board in the classroom, I needed to be looking at the clouds and watching their drifting, watching the birds catch the wind currents on their wings and treasure the patterns that the rain made as its droplets ran down the window panes in  minuscule rivers.

Although in my life, ADD and my intensive day dreaming has caused me a fair share problems and made me the butt of jokes of some of my primary school teachers, it has also helped me to see the  world the way I do. I look at things so intensely that I often make fantasies of them and I want these fantasies to be celebrated through photographs. I adore fairy tales and although there may be no quaint kingdoms and wish-granting-fairies, it's easy to look at what is there and appreciate the magic in the every day.
Admittedly, I spend time thinking of bushes as miniature forests and imagine little monkeys the size of dandelions swinging through the cow parsley, I often find myself filled with whimsy and a giddy joy when the sky is that beautiful, wintry shade of lilac or the light illuminates and bounces off the wild flowers on the cliffs in just the right way. Little brooks winding down the sides of roads and through gardens, the smell of BBQ's on the beach and the sight of a blow hole through the sea caves; these are the magical moments in my life that make me feel like I'm living in a fairy tale. These moments, the moments of dreaminess where the sea is as flat as a millpond and the fog is dancing on its surface or when the mist rises in the valleys and off the creek; these moments are when I feel simultaneously dreamy and more grounded. Cities make me drift so far inside my head that sometimes I worry I might not find my way back to my eyes. I can go for days or weeks feeling like I'm stuck so far in my mind that my eyes are distant windows playing a old, bad quality recording of the world around me. Crowds, action scenes in movies and confrontational situations are some of the things that trigger my 'spacing out' but thank the stars for the storms because they always bring me back. 

One thing I have always really loved, is how the shells of Mussels look as though they are covered in the Night's sky. Every mussel surface is painted with infinite space. I could look at them forever and ever.

Is it truly healthy to indulge my fantasy world? To encourage treating the world around me like I'm living a life of someone from one of my favourite books? I'm really not sure. On one side, I'm happy this way, only looking at the pleasant and joyful and taking delight in the small and obtainable things but does this make me weak? does it make me unable to cope with 'the real world' or 'confrontational situations?'. Some people believe in dream translation, that there would be some sort of meaning behind the dreams in which I'm always running away and escaping. I'm not sure though, I think dreams are just our brains chewing over all the books I have read that week, the films I've seen, the faces I've encountered and the thoughts I've entertained. They're a picture show, at least that's what I think. Sometimes though, I'm frightened that my dreams feel more real than when I'm awake, when it's been weeks where I've been particularly lost. 
This is when I feel frightened, because I doubt my experiences. I doubt their credibility because things feel numb, anaesthetised, fogged. 

College (High school to the non-Brits) helped me to shape my identity beyond feeling far away. It was here I made my first real friends who always joked about how I was always 'away with the fairies' but loved me for it anyway. Between them, they were writers, musicians, artists and philosophers and their creativity gave me the courage to look at myself and figure out how to translate the world inside my head. It was here that I learned I was a story teller.
Story telling was my identity. My Dad had read to me almost every night and even did the voices and accents. He encouraged my weirdness and stories and I used to wonder why he did that, but now I'm grateful for it. 
It was a twisting path through education to figure out what degree was best for me but stumbling upon Creative Writing (thank you Keren!) I have truly found where I belong. Although I often take photographs to translate the world and give narratives to easily over looked objects, the ability to imagine and communicate my day dreams in written word has helped guide me towards my dreams and focus. 

My dream to be a story teller 
Be it through photographs or prose

People ask me to explain how I see the world the way I do. How I take notice of the little things or come up with far-fetched ideas for stories. It's not that I'm special, or gifted, because I'm not any more extraordinary than a tea pot. We just each have different things that attract our attention and passions, and mine are easily attainable for me. My mentor Abby explained that I find happiness in very simple things and I am exceptionally lucky to be in that position, and also be aware of what makes me happy. Not everybody is. She said I should list these things and make sure I surround myself with them and it's through doing this that I will ground myself, avoid feeling lost and frightened and anxious.

Those are just some of the things that I love and pay attention to every day. The things I think about when I'm day dreaming. These are the key elements that summarise my world and my identity. I do admit, my love of the whimsical and fay often inspires my clothing choices and personal style. When people say I live on a whole other planet, I really don't. I live in this world, but I look at it in a way that I feel like I'm in the fairy stories I loved so much as a child and that makes me happy. I don't need to believe in fairies or mermaids to feel like my life is ethereal in any way, or to be able to tell those sorts of stories. I feel enough fulfilment and magic from a peculiar sunset, a sunlit spot or a wild swimming hole. I love my life and I love looking at the things that make me feel fantastical. I may be a muggle and I may never have received my letter to Hogwarts and I am certainly not extraordinary like the heroes in my beloved books, but my life can be a fairy tale because I choose to make it that way. I choose to notice the magic in the ordinary little things, like a smile from a stranger, two butterflies dancing in the breeze and the smell of meadowsweet by the salty sea. Those things make my fairy tales and although I often get lost in my head and feel very far away, so far away sometimes that I wonder if things are at all real, I feel accomplished and content in my little world, the world we all share and can make ethereal if we want to. We only need to start noticing that all the things which inspired fairy tales in the first place; they are still right in front of us. You need only notice them. 



  1. I love finding beauty and happiness in little things! I have a journal that I dub my Happiness Journal where I write down every little tiny thing that makes me happy, like the sound of the rain on my bedroom window. And when I'm having a bad day I page through it and suddenly feel better.

    As always your photos are absolutely breath-taking. You really do transform the ordinary into something extraordinary!


    Ashley || Sed Bona

  2. I loved reading this Sarah! Also I totally adore your outfit, you look beautiful :)


  3. I think you will be storyteller. I always find your narrative compelling and accompanied by such exquisite photos, one cannot fail to be drawn in. It is lovely to see the tiny details. xxx

  4. Beautiful pics and OMG I love the watercolour artwork!

  5. Such a powerful read, Sarah! Can definitely see your creative roots all coming out now ^__^ I think I can related to this, but only till I was about 17/18?? The the world began to change around me, and things/uni became more demanding and real and if I keep up to 'reality' then it wouldn't have worked out for me. But to that, I always look wistfully back and wished I could've stayed in a more dreamy state of mind longer, and like you, think about stories from the most minuscule of things (which I often did, back then) but can't anymore... I'm glad there are people like you keepin' it going! :) have a lovely weekend <3

    Cherie x
    say hi at sinonym

  6. What a beautiful post. I'm one of those people who never remembers what they dreamt during the night. I do have a tendency to daydream though, but probably not nearly as much as you do! I find daydreaming comforting sometimes though. Just being able to escape for a while and think of other things. And I think it's so so important to notice the little things, and appreciate them. There is so much magic in our world.

    Mimmi xx
    Muted Mornings

  7. You always write so beautifully and never fail to capture my imagination. As I was reading through this post I felt myself nodding along with it, recognising so many of my own attributes - it's fun to daydream and live in that magical world for a while and I don't think it's strange at all. Beautiful post and stunning photos too! - Tasha

  8. There's a little forest near me that's known for blue bells, so many of them in spring and fairy doors in the trees... It's a magical place and when I first visited, I'd imagine myself sitting among the blue bells with the fairies around me, warning me not to step into the witches circle at the top of the forest. I'd insist it was ok because us fellow witches shared a code of entry into any circle as we left it the way it was found. I think day dreaming so super important, even more so as we become a world of technology. When I think of day dreaming, I think of the man who invented the light bulb or the phone. They were once regarded as away with the fairies... And of course, where that is, is a space where amazing things happen. I'm utterly in love with your blog. Xxx

  9. I don't think I've ever related so much to a collection of words in my 26 years of life. You have just described me. I've always been a dreamer, always had fingers snapped (CLICKCLICK!!) in my face because I found my world more enthralling than theirs. I'm a Pisces so am a natural drifter, I had some wizened old lady tell me my fortune once in the back of a crumbling gypsy van and how she described my mind had stuck with me for 10 years: "you don't like the real world because it's not colourful to your eyes, you make your own instead. Even when you know you should live in the real world you overlap it with your own, your view is askew because that's how you like it". I still have the diary I wrote it down in afterwards, but I know it off by heart. I struggle with reality because it's too real, more often than not you have to look for the magic, in my world that's what it's made of. I struggle with dreams however, even at my age I still wake up running round the house screaming because of a night terror. It's embarrassing but that's how it is. However a wise old man once said "For in dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own", some just don't realise you don't have to be asleep.

  10. What beautiful writing and enchanting words - continue being true to yourself and enjoying each moment as part of your own fairy tale life - I don't think you can ever go wrong thinking and living in that way. Thank you for writing such a lovely post. xx


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