“I have breathed in deeply all the honeysuckle-perfumed air, the sunshine, the snowdrops of winter, the carouses of spring, the primroses, the crooning pigeons, the trills of the birds, the entire procession of soft winds and cool smells of frail colors and petal-textured skies, the knotted snake greys of old vine roots, the vertical shoots of young branches, the dank smell of old leaves, of wet earth, of torn roots, and fresh-cut grass, winter, summer, and fall, sunrises and sunsets, storms and lulls, wheat and chestnuts, wild strawberries and wild roses, violets and damp logs, burnt fields and new poppies.” – Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin
Gingerbread Whisky Cake with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Milk Chocolate Ganache. It sounds like a mouthful, and make no mistake – it is. It’s cake that demonstrates my adoration for the flavours of the season. A cake inspired by the new fragrance from the Christmas collection at dusk – Gingerbread. It wholeheartedly embodies everything I need this season to be and more. Warmth. Heat. Sweetness. Spice. Exuberance. Drunkenness. Laughter. With each feeling embodied in a single, dulcet, slice of cake.
“This is why blind Orpheus praises love and why love gouges out our eyes and why all lovers smell their way to Dover. That is why innocence has so much to account for, why Venus appears least saintly in the attitudes of shame. This is lost children and the deep sweetness of the pulp, a blue thrumming at the formed bone, river, flame, quicksilver. It is not the fire we hunger for and not the ash. It is the still hour, a deer come slowly to the creek at dusk, the table set for abstinence, windows full of flowers like summer in the provinces vanishing when the moon’s half-face pallor rises on the dark flax line of the hills.” – Robert Hass, an excerpt from ‘Praise.’
‘Inch by inch I conquered the inner terrain I was born with. Bit by bit I reclaimed the swamp in which I’d languished. I gave birth to my definitive being, but I had to wrench myself out of me with forceps.’ – Fernando Pessoa, an excerpt from The Book of Disquiet.
Today marks my birthday, twenty-two on the twenty second. That’s eight thousand and thirty days lived. And a further million ways to have grown. There are a hundred things I fear. Least of all age, most of all myself. And a thousand ways to be loved and left. The only thing I know for sure is that life’s reliable in its unpredictability. And all I’ve ever desired is that I continue to feel it’s warmth. To hear the rustle of fallen leaves during the autumn eve. To inflame under the heat of sun. To wilt beneath the blanket of night. I demand to be in accord with the highest of feeling, to drink poison from the fragmentations of moment that re-assemble themselves into new day.
‘I love the autumn-that melancholy season that suits memories so well. When the trees have lost their leaves, when the sky at sunset still preserves the russet hue that fills with gold the withered grass, it is sweet to watch the final fading of fires that until recently burnt within you.’ – Gustave Flaubert, an excerpt from November
I haven’t sat down to write for the longest while. It feels as if I’m afraid of the whisperings within before I even start, serpentine in their hidden malignity. Asphyxiated by the desire for completeness, the scattered and fragmented impulse of inner weeping’s that exist purely to strangle the contours of my split soul. And it’s with my own two hands that I do the strangling. I’ve always considered mess to be beautiful. Mess of consciousness? All I ever demanded of myself is that I never truly wake to it. And now the forest is on fire, created by my ache for finality that built the stone that cultivated the wood and inflamed my second skin. And when then the ashes clear and reassemble themselves into new terrain, I breathe myself again into a new wild.
“Mine is a heart of carnelian, crimson as murder on a holy day.” – an excerpt from Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead
I have always allowed myself to dream. It’s the only thing I know how to do well. The world is dark, as dark as night. With rare moments of illumination. But more often than not, those come few and far between. The weight of my insurmountable past chokes and stifles. Like the strangler fig, devouring one breath and consuming the other. The more you fight the more it constricts. And so, I release. Even flowering can happen in the dark.