Monthly Archives: April 2010

Books need homes too

One of my first and most vivid memories is of my parents saying “a book will always be your true and constant friend”. I must have been about three, sitting in my father’s lap and reading a book about butterflies, or about chocolate rain and the boy who ate it all; or about roger bear. The latter was a rather bizarre book about a bear about whom all I can remember is that he begins to drown and goes ‘glug… glug… glug’. I have not been able to find that book or any information about it anywhere else.

Anyway, what my parents said back then stuck with me. I have never been able to give away any of my books. I even kept all my old school text books in a box in my parent’s basement. How do you give away your true and constant friend?

I love books, perhaps even more than I love reading. I love to wander into second-hand bookshops, especially in London, and smell the old and yellowing pages. I love how it feels to buy a book. I love the first page, getting to know it, becoming accustomed to the way it speaks to you. I love book covers and blurbs.

And I love keeping books. I have in excess of 300 books and I keep many of them in a lovely wooden bookshelf I had bought on sale. I keep them in alphabetical order and separated into sections, such as ‘fiction’, ‘non-fiction’, ‘poetry’, ‘critical theory’, ‘reference books’, ‘drama’, and so on. It’s the one of the few things I am anal about. My life may be a mess but it wouldn’t matter as long as my books were in order.

I think a big problem with children today (and I don’t mean to generalise; nor do I mean to sound condescending) is that many of them don’t have this love of books. I know that not everybody from my generation has it either, but this fascination with the paper, with the ink and the font, with the weight and the smell, the story, the metaphors – it is being replaced by other educational tools. By software and by e-readers. No, no, no! Don’t take the simple but profound pleasure of books away from our young. It would be a sin.

Teach them books are their true and constant friends. Teach them to make a home for their books in their room, and for the stories in their psyche.

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My best friend is leaving

Hannah and me backstage at the first Burlesque! Burlesque! show at Chiaroscuro, Valletta, in December 2008.

About eight years ago, when I was still idolising Kurt Cobain, wearing torn, unmatched, striped knee-high socks and torn up jeans, I came home from school one day to find a friend request on the now defunct deadjournal, where, in true angsty goth fashion, I vented my little heart out. The request was from somebody called ‘necrogrrl’, who was also from Malta, who was my age and who, on her alturl website, said she took books to nightclubs and posted photos of herself holding candles in a cemetery.

I was intrigued, so I accepted her request and we passively followed each other on deadjournal, then livejournal, and occasionally made comments on each other’s thinly-veiled allpoetry angst.

She went to the same sixth form I did, but we didn’t really speak, though we met each other at metal gigs and out in Paceville on the weekend.

Then, at University, we took English together. And that’s when we really started hanging out. We discovered we both loved books, obviously, but also shared the same sense of humour, taste in films, clothes, discovered belly dance together. We went to France together twice and spent numerous nights watching weepy movies and eating pizza.

On Monday, Hannah will be leaving Malta for good. She’s relocating to Dublin. I’m happy for her, but I am going to miss her something terrible. At least I’ll be visiting Dublin an awful lot.

And, really, as cliched as it sounds, and maybe somebody should cue the swelling music, true friendship can’t really be dented by distance.


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Greek salad with a twist

See, I warned you that there would be quite a few food posts on here, and here is the first one. This is something I came up with myself one evening, when my parents were coming over for dinner. It proved pretty popular, even with my 17-year-old sister, who’s pretty fussy about her food. It’s sort of like a pizza but ends up being eaten like a taco salad. I do apologise for the not-very-good quality of the photo. I took it with my mobile phone.

How you make it:

On a cold, flat surface sprinkled with flour, roll out a ball of puff pastry into a pizza-base shape and thickness. Lightly brush a beaten egg over it and pop it into a preheated oven at 190 Celcius for five to ten minutes, or until it’s slightly browned.

In a bowl, toss about 10 halved cherry tomatoes, one block of crumbled feta cheese, half a cup of chopped green olives, one or two cloves of minced garlic, fresh pepper and some fresh basil. Put the salad on the puff pastry base and put back into the oven for another three to five minutes.

Et voila. It makes a nice accompaniment to fresh fish or seafood, or as a shared starter.

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I am fascinated by beginnings, by introductions. There is nothing quite like the first page of a new,empty notepad – the hesitation

before your pen scratches at the paper, leaving your mark, marking your territory. That blank page: so clean and so rich with possibilities.

Nothing quite like the first page of a novel, as its words jump off the page and into your mind (into your heart if it’s really good), introduces itself – ‘Hi, I’m a bildungsroman, and you and I are going to be great friends.’

So here’s mine.

My name is Davinia. I was born in 1987 in Malta, Europe. I am a sub-editor for a major Maltese newspaper. I am also an actress, a musician and a writer. I am an incurable bookworm, so I graduated University with a degree in English (literature, theory, linguistics). I cannot help but smile when people recite Shakespeare, and my favourite poem is The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot.

I live in an apartment with my partner, Andrew. We probably consume more coffee than we should and watch too many TV shows.

I take photos of things I find either beautiful or funny, and I sometimes draw when I’m alone (though I’m not particularly good at it). I am a tribal belly dancer, and I also dance like no one’s watching quite often, especially when no one is watching.

I have the travel bug, and have travelled extensively. I have not, however, been to Asia. This is why Japan, Thailand and India are on my list of places to visit, along with Australia, Hawaii and Canada. I would also love to take a road-trip across the US.

I like to cook, which is why you’ll probably see quite a few photos of food here. I also have too many clothes for my own good.

I promise to update this blog regularly, and properly.

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