Letter #7: Underground Cave Exhibits, Little Libraries, and Subreddits
(Or, What I’m Nuts About This Week)
Hi there! I’m back with more research!
Here I shall present my findings of interesting tidbits this week. Scroll below for art exhibits in magical Danish cisterns, little libraries, sugar biscuits, and subreddits.
I will always find something cute, interesting, weird, or all of the above to obsess over for at least a few hours (usually longer, but that’s the bare minimum) as I research the heck out of whatever has struck my fancy. As usual, I spent a while researching each topic on this list. (Scrolling through reddit threads and Etsy results and trying food stuffs does count as research, in my opinion. If you’re gaining experience and knowledge about the topic, it’s research to me).
So I happened across a picture of the inside of the Cisternerne (an underground art exhibit that is part of the Frederiksberg Museums in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark). And boy, oh boy, was I instantly hooked. I mean, just look at this picture:
Photo credit: Andreas Omvik
Look at it.
Super neat, right? Eerie and beautiful?
From the descriptions I’ve found of the place, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
One of the opening quotes that cycle through the website’s front page (I refreshed a lot to read all of the quotes, okay?) phrased it beautifully: “Cisternerne in Soendermarken are the underground’s most disconcerting locality: so decisively do they belong among Copenhagen’s architectural wonders” ─Carsten Thau, Professor of Architecture. And this other one is exactly how I imagined the place would be from seeing pictures of it: “Descending underground to Cisternerne, feels like arriving in another world” ─Kunstkritikk.
The current exhibition features Tomás Saraceno’s “Event Horizon,” which is only accessed by BOAT. Yes, you view the current exhibit by boat in an underground cave. How cool is that? According to a quote from Jyllands Posten on Cisternerne’s website, “Tomás Saraceno has transformed Cisternerne into an underground water basin dominated by both grim darkness and breathtaking beauty.” And that seems like an apt description for previous exhibitions listed on their website, from Jeppe Hein’s “in is the only way out” to Christian Lemmerz’s “Andante” to Hiroshi Sambuichi’s “The Water.” I had lots of fun scrolling through their past exhibits!
You can find more info here:
(Side note: I also just thought it was really sweet that someone from the Cisternerne responded to every single review on TripAdvisor’s site to thank them for reviewing the exhibitions: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g806262-d5257023-Reviews-Cisternerne-Frederiksberg_Copenhagen_Zealand.html.)
Man, I want to go someday. Why is the world full of too many cool places? Like, honestly, the world can be really awful, but there are still just so many amazing things about this rock in space that I love.
Though I’m not the biggest fan of the word “wanderlust” (it just doesn’t have the nicest ring to me, but I like kind of weird words, so eh), I can definitely tell when I have a case of it.
And I do. I want to experience so many places and cultures and, as far as I can tell, that’s wanderlust.
According to Merriam-Webster, wanderlust is specifically “a strong longing or impulse towards wandering,” while Dictionary.com defines the term as a “strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.” Collins gives a very apt and very simple “a great desire to travel.”
(Yes, I must always consult multiple dictionaries. I’ve gotta see the different ways the writers/editors define the same word. It’s for research.)
Hold on, can I use a synonym I like better? Collins lists “itchy feet” as a synonym for wanderlust and I kind of love that. I’ve got a case of the itchy feet that can only be cured with travel!
Wait, wait. During the course of writing this, I found a new word to add to my Favorite Words List (it’s already too long, guys): peregrination.
According to Dictionary.com, the noun means “travel from one place to another, especially on foot” or “a course of travel; journey.” It’s listed as a synonym to wanderlust and while I like the sound much better, it doesn’t convey the same meaning, so I’ll still probably keep just using wanderlust or possibly “itchy feet.”
Anybody have any better synonyms in English? Pretty much every synonym in the English language I found described either restlessness for something or described a journey, not the wanting to journey. Not both. I got either the “wander” or the “lust” but not the “wanderlust.”
So I turned to other languages. Michele of The Intrepid Guide has a wonderful article with examples of words in other languages that really get at the heart of wanderlust. Check it out here: https://www.theintrepidguide.com/travel-words-that-describe-wanderlust-perfectly/. Some of my favorites include “fernweh” (a German word that is basically stronger wanderlust, a little more like homesickness than a desire) and “sehnschut” (another German word which pretty much is an exact synonym for wanderlust and makes me very happy).
I also love the Greek word “eleutheromania” (referring to the desire for freedom) even though it isn’t really a synonym but a travel-related word, in that it comes with the freedom to travel.
I was going to talk about other things besides words. Come on, focus.
Sugared Biscuits Exist?
So I was today years old (as of the night I wrote this) when I found out that apparently biscuits (the bread, not the cookie) can have sugar on top of them? And it makes them infinitely better? I got some store bought “sugared biscuits” and oh my gosh, I can’t imagine how good they’d be homemade and fresh out of the oven. I will be trying.
Little Libraries of All Shapes and Sizes
I finally got to visit the library again for the first time in well over a year! As usual, I walked out with way too many graphic novels and craft books. But very happy :) It’s the library, after all. How can you step foot in a library and not be instantly either at peace or overcome with excitement (Mr. Bennet, my poor nerves!) at the sight of all those books? And the quiet as dozens of people of all ages sit with their books? And those cute receipt printers that emit those charming little screeches? It’s glorious!
Anyway, here’s me nerding out some more about libraries!
I’d heard that the amazing, the incredible Neil Gaiman had written an apology (the “defense of” meaning, not the “oh sorry” meaning) for libraries years ago. I finally feasted my eyes on the full illustrated essay and it made my heart so happy. Here’s a link for the version I read, as illustrated by Chris Riddell: https://www.theguardian.com/books/gallery/2018/sep/06/neil-gaiman-and-chris-riddell-on-why-we-need-libraries-an-essay-in-pictures.
Okay, so I’ve always been obsessed with little libraries since I learned of their existence some time ago, but I’m back on the little library kick. If you haven’t seen or heard of them before, here’s the Little Free Library’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/littlefreelibrary/, along with the #littlelibrary tag: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/littlelibrary/. I also stumbled across this catalog of little libraries: https://www.instagram.com/littlelibraryadventures/. You’ll find plenty of adorable examples there! :)
Basically, there’s a cute little library box on a street corner or in a park or a residential area. The tiny library functions as a… well, library. You can take a book and return it, or do a “take one, leave one” kind of deal. Just to encourage reading and get books out there!
From the not-too-hefty amount of research I’ve done into this, I’ve found that Todd H. Bol built the first official Little Free Library in 2009 and the libraries have been expanding ever since. I haven’t had the chance to inspect any of these libraries in-person, so I don’t know if every little box like this is from this organization. From what I’ve seen in some pictures on Instagram and Pinterest, not every single tiny library is affiliated with the organization. Some people just build them and put them up in their yards the way it seems like Little Free Library started out as well.
Also, I’m working on compiling some quotes about the importance of libraries, reading, and words in general, so there’s more to come :)
Next up… my journey into Reddit!
I’d dabbled in poking around Reddits for the last year or so, but I hadn’t hopped on a ton of subreddits until the past week or two. Here are some charming new (to me!) subreddits I’ve stumbled across. I’d also highly recommend checking out the top posts of all time on each subreddit listed, because they’re super cool! (Some of the links are already filtered to the top posts because I just loved them so much!)
Cute animals and other sweet things to cleanse your eyes from all the discouraging news out there: https://www.reddit.com/r/Eyebleach/top/
All things amigurumi (cute knitted/crocheted animals and the like): https://www.reddit.com/r/Amigurumi/
Everything crochet-related: https://www.reddit.com/r/crochet/
Crochet for all the bros: https://www.reddit.com/r/Brochet/
If you love yarn, this one’s for you:https://www.reddit.com/r/YarnAddicts/top/?t=all
All the knitting things: https://www.reddit.com/r/knitting/
All kinds of assorted crafts: https://www.reddit.com/r/crafts/top/?t=all
Yet another crafts subreddit that makes my heart happy: https://www.reddit.com/r/somethingimade/top/?t=all
Everything embroidery: https://www.reddit.com/r/Embroidery/top/?t=all
Cottagecore vibes! Nature, softness, romantics, simplicity, earth tones: https://www.reddit.com/r/cottagecore/
While I do enjoy IKEA’s minimalist looks, I love me some cozy spaces crammed with cushions, books, and cute knick-knacks: https://www.reddit.com/r/maximalism/
Cozy places and things: https://www.reddit.com/r/cozy/
I know, a bit of a hodgepodge, but that be my brain. There’s always something vaguely wordy, dorky, and cozy bobbling around in there and here it is this week!
See ya next time!
Happy reading and best wishes for the week ahead!
Works Cited (MLA 8th):
Aldrich, Margret. “10 Little-Known Facts about Little Free Libraries.” Little Free Library. https://littlefreelibrary.org/10-little-known-facts-about-little-free-libraries/. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.
“Cisternerne.” Cisternerne. https://cisternerne.dk/en/ Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
Gaiman, Neil and Riddell, Chris. “Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on why we need libraries – an
essay in pictures.” The Guardian, Guardian News & Media Limited, 6 Sep. 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/books/gallery/2018/sep/06/neil-gaiman-and-chris-riddell-on-why-we-need-libraries-an-essay-in-pictures. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
Imeka. “Cisternerne: Frederiksberg, Denmark.” Atlas Obscura.
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/cisternerne. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
Michele. “28 BEAUTIFUL TRAVEL WORDS THAT DESCRIBE WANDERLUST PERFECTLY.” The Intrepid Guide, 4 Aug. 2016. https://www.theintrepidguide.com/travel-words-that-describe-wanderlust-perfectly/. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
“Peregrination.” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/peregrination. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
Smith, Danny. “Build Your Own Library at the First-Ever Little Library Festival.” SmithsonianMag, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 May 2016. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/build-your-own-library-first-ever-little-library-festival-180959017/. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.
Smith, Harrison. “Todd Bol, whose Little Free Library brought books to the street corner, dies at 62.” The Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/todd-bol-whose-little-free-library-brought-books-to-the-street-corner-dies-at-62/2018/10/21/7ae2cf64-d53b-11e8-aeb7-ddcad4a0a54e_story.html. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.
“Wanderlust.” Collins Dictionary, Collins, https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english-thesaurus/wanderlust. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
“Wanderlust.” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wanderlust. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
“Wanderlust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wanderlust. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.
Omvik, Andreas. Cisternerne, https://cisternerne.dk/en/. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.