Untaught Perception

And I’m wondering: would I be able to teach you to perceive the world in poetry, to express wheeling galaxies in terms of ducks on the river in the morning, grey but glinting if you quint your eyes just right;
could you learn to see the pattern of ferns sprouting from rusty floor grates equalling supernovae and the force of volcanoes on distant worlds, learn to map out energy trailing sparks behind your eyelids as lightning flashing through time, catching it in letters fleeing memory in the fragment of a moment it takes from resolving to write to putting a hand in motion, syllables dissolving into colliding, multi-coloured stars at the mere attempt of speaking them into existence outside the lattice of unspoken metre, their rhythm felt solely through through thumping hearts of ideas waiting to find forms that fold in origami dragons around the creases of connected strings of paper, wound up into endless loops of multiverse concepts fanning out into all possible lines, breaking in impossible places, in all of them at once, while staying whole, tangled into cassette tape knots when lined up for enunciation, unfurling into multidimensional peacocks’ tails displaying the grids of sliding consciousness, scaling liminal walls into soaring states of lucid wakefulness, sitting still in tower tops as new math appears, numberless but filling the gaps in pages upon pages of sky, falling into wandering cellars, moving sideways, on angled planes shining in moonlight desires of tasting strange beaches on asteroid resorts, imperceptibly ambling into gemstone-bright trance of repetition, words and words and words, and
worlds and worlds of metaphors, two-sided, shining and new but all used up until dulled to boredom and not so new altogether when you turn them around, a copper penny under a stumbling tongue, twisted around branches of disappearing corridors full of suns, purple and green and yellow and impossible rainbow darkness, and stumbling feet as you search for paper, keys, anything to capture your descent into

lines, too flat to hold what you see in mosaic vision

Storm Song

Storms, green, and electric blue,
the sound of waves, sounding,
crashing against eardrums,
rocking the rocks of cortex shores;

storms, storming forts,
carving their way in red and blue,
colours colliding, coalescing,
melting into sounding caves;

storms, staccato against stalactites,
reverberation of neural reverence,
echoing in hollow bone,
music, down into the marrow.

Favourite Friday: Ye Banished Privateers Songs


Another Friday, more obscure music you might not know yet. Today featuring the pirate band Ye Banished Privateers. I met them first when after the second day of a festival they sat at the crossroads and serenaded the visitors home with “All for Me Grog” while toasting with their tankards, with the police on security duty looking a tiny bit confused and also amused.

Annabell – A song I hated in the beginning, then came to love it and started singing it many days in a row. A melancholic story of a difficult life. Also, interesting Video.

Louise – An instrumental piece with awesome fiddling ladies.

Cat o’Nine – Fun one, telling the story of a sailor with certain inclinations.

I Dream of You – A love song?

Gangplank – The title says it all. Throw’em in the sea!

Bottle of Rum – The obligatory song about rum.





Favourite Friday: S. J. Tucker Songs

I’ts been a long time since I last did a favourite Friday post, but I decided to put together a list of my favourite songs by S. J. Tucker for you to enjoy.

As Me Anything

Cheshire Kitten (We’re All Mad Here)

Ravens in the Library


April Fool’s Day

Glashtyn Shanty


Sorrow’s Song (Child of Dying Stars)

Manticore’s Lullabye

Kashkash, a nursery rhyme

Dream of Mississippi

Do you want me do to more favourite Fridays again? I have a few more musicians to make playlists like this one, and I could also tell you more about art, crafts, and books.

SciFi/Space Soundscape (Creating an Atmosphere with myNoise)

What is better than reading or writing about space? Immersing yourself in a matching atmosphere while doing so. Put on lights that reflect the mood of your literary adventure (or academic endeavour) and turn on sounds that carry you across the cosmos. Listening to music can be distracting, especially if it contains lyrics, but how about a gently rumbling Warp Drive or electric winds humming in tune with the fish tank on your space station?

I bet most of you have heard (of) noise generators online by now. My favourite one is myNoise*, which has a lot of really cool features. If you donate a small amount, you get some more, like stacking several sound generators in a convenient mega generator. But even with the free version you can listen to more than one generator at the same time, you just have to wait a bit in between starting them.

If you love Star Trek and science fiction or space in general, there are some generators you might enjoy in particular:

I like to pair one of these with Distant Thunder (Thunder and Rain), Church (Beatae Memoriae/All Souls’ Day; I disable the sliders that have voices), and occasionally Cat Purr*** (Furry Friend).

There is also a huge amount of technical noises if you enjoy this kind of environmental sound. I’m more a fan of combining space-travelling ambience with natural sounds, like the aforementioned thunder and rain, or a Japanese garden, water flowing in a cave … it gives me a sense of calm anticipation, like exploring the vastness of space and a serene/solitary planet side at once – or sitting in the arboretum/experimental garden of a spaceship, reading, dreaming of rainy days. The feelings I get from these combined atmospheres can range from carefree relaxed curiosity (great for studying) to sweet aching loneliness in the face of a cold, dark stretch of empty space and feeling like none of my friends understands the way space touches me.

Three other reasons why I love myNoise:

  1.  All the generators have nice descriptions, e.g., about the recording process, the intended atmosphere, … and warnings about negative effects on some (if you are sensitive, check the descriptions first on generators from the “Brainwaves” section!
  2. When a user comments on a particular generator, their current settings are saved as well and you can click on the blue heart next to a comment to listen in.
  3. The “animate” feature, which somehow randomizes around your current settings so you can listen longer without tiring.

When you want to return or look back to your home planet, you could check out the generator called Planet Earth, which “relies on a subset of the Golden Record tracks” (and sounds quite chaotic when all sliders are turned on).

What is your favourite generator? Do you use music or soundscapes for creative writing or painting? I’d love to see your art!

Safe journey.

* This is NOT a sponsored post (though I would definitely accept sponsorship from this cool page …), I just really enjoy the generators on that page because they help me focus at work and stay relaxed in the office cacophony.

** Names in brackets are the ones you’ll see on top of the generator itself after clicking on the respective link, sometimes they are different from the link labels in the overview page.

*** Leave a comment if you get the reference ;)

Capoeira Update: May 2017

The promised update on my capoeira practise!

First things first: I’m getting closer and closer to a freestanding handstand. I’ve practised pushing off the wall a little and try to balance my weight before going back to the wall or the floor, as well as stopping right before my feet touch the wall. The wall is great to take away the fear of falling over with too much momentum. On a good day I can hold my balance three to five seconds. In addition I started practising without the wall, both handstand and underarm stand. I’m not yet able to get into a totally vertical position because I’m scared of falling over, but it’s much better than last year, so with building some more strength in my core, arms, and shoulders it should get even better soon.

I had a lot of colds this winter (and right now, because it’s still cold and wet outside – the shops display summer bikinis while I wear half-gloves and my warm, rain-proof anorak) and missed many classes, so I was thankful for the cheap, thick yoga mat I had bought on a whim. When I felt good enough I did some stretching, warrior poses, or even push-ups and planks. The worst was the month-long cough that caused me to lose a lot of core strength because I could do no crunches or similar exercises at all. I regained most of it by now, but my way to a six-pack has to start at zero again.

My knees hurt more than usual when doing lower movements like esquivas and rolés, so I have to be extra thorough with warming them up. I’m trying to loose a little bit of weight to take some stress off my joints (I’m not really overweight, but not in my ideal personal range for intense physical activity either) and eat even better food. I’ve learned to make yummy Thai curries and stir-fried noodles with lots of vegetables.

Some random things I’ve learnt/done: I went to an angola workshop with a friend and learnt a cool way to turn around on one leg – I don’t use it in real games, but it’s fun to throw into the mix in when we do warming up games without kicks. Last week or so I found a video tutorial that included a simple but cool transition from queda de rins to a turn (by extending the lower leg and crossing the upper one over it, standing up with the back to the other person, and then stepping around), which I started to use in slower games. On Wednesday I didn’t play in the roda because I was exhausted from the beginnings of my current cold, but I got the chance to sing two songs (with some help) while the others played, which made me really happy and a little proud.

Work in progress: slowing down/stopping in the cartwheel, getting back into doing more and different push-ups, the aforementioned handstand, not getting angry at myself when I have a bad day*.

If I feel well enough for training tomorrow I’ll try to start learning playing the atabaque in the music part of class. I tried the basic rhythm on my djembe already :)


*Sometimes I use my needed breaks to do sketches of capoeira movements, which is a nice way to spend time in class without feeling totally disconnected or useless. You can find some of my sketches and doodles on instagram.


Arame Making

Last weekend we cut wire from a discarded car tyre (there was a huge pile of random trash in our street, again) to make arame (wire string) for my berimbau – my old wire snapped a few weeks ago while stringing.

Tools/materials: Carpet knife (not the best choice, a decent serrated knife would have been more effective), cut protection glove, gardening gloves, pliers, sanding paper, trash bag.

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Might sound like a weird way to spend a Sunday afternoon while nursing a headache, but it made me extremely happy and also a little proud. As a friend told me, there are many capoeiristas who have yet to make their own arame. I might not be a very good capoeirista (saw a video of me playing for the first time last week, looked horrible), but I’m pretty motivated right now. A little too motivated, maybe, my body is not happy right now. I’ll elaborate on that in one of my next posts.

The arame is not perfect – too thick wire – but good enough for practising at home.

Ding dong dong.

Berimbau Stringing

On Monday I finally made some progress with stringing my berimbau! The bottom third of the verga is very thick, so for the last week I had been struggling with it, despite trying different angles and techniques. But after practising for a while, using the method a friend had shown me, I was able to bend the verga far enough to string it so tight that there was some space between biriba and arame to move a small stone back and forth a little.


I think it should be a little tighter still, because the cabaça sits a bit too high (not visible in this picture, as it was taking at an angle from slightly above) and I would like a little bit more space to move the stone. But it made some nice ding-dong-dong sounds already :)

Learning to Play the Berimbau

So today was the second time I had the chance to practise playing the berimbau, after I was allowed to hold one for the first time two weeks ago. I have a lot of trouble holding even a very light one due to problems with my finger joints (mostly the metacarpophalangeal joints), but today I managed to play at least for a few moments without any cheating. Last time I had supported the berimbau by leaning it against my forehead, which worked for me but weirded out some people, so today I heeded the advice of a friend and just kept the cabaça against my body most of the time instead of moving it back and forth, producing only muted sounds but not having to worry about the verga wobbling around in my hand all the time. 

I was also very happy when I discovered I have already internalised São Bento Grande de Angola far enough to sing along the chorus of a few easy familiar songs.