Q1. What do you like to do in your free time?
Oh, so many things! I’m a creative and a romantic. I adore my family, my husband and my closest friends. I’m happiest when I’m with them – sharing deeply, reflecting honestly and enjoying’s life’s small pleasures like art galleries, beautiful cafés, wholesome food and sunsets on mountaintops. I’m an introvert at heart and a huge bookworm who loves learning. I’m constantly looking for inspiration and I love to run. I could pass countless slow mornings and afternoons baking, playing guitar and singing. Anything loosely related to the art of creating – in word, in song, in image, in making, in community.
Q2. Where did you learn how to take and edit photos?
I’m an entirely self-taught photographer. Not long before I left Sydney for my year abroad in Paris in mid-2015, Dickson gifted me a beautiful mirrorless camera that we affectionately named Oliver :) If you know anything about me, you know that I never do anything half-heartedly. So, off I went – reading every resource I could get my hands on, learning the ins and outs of my camera and taking every opportunity to capture the stories that I found myself drawn to. I have to say, Europe provided me with the most beautiful classroom.
In terms of editing, I’ve had an interest in graphic design ever since I was eleven or twelve (seriously!) and taught myself how to use Adobe Photoshop. I’ve since also learnt my way around Adobe Lightroom and the advance of mobile phones has also made it so easy to take photos on my iPhone and also edit them professionally in VSCO Cam and other great apps.
I love taking, editing and curating photos and I’m enthralled by the way they can be paired so beautifully with prose and poetry.
Q3. When did you relaunch your blog? Who designed your blog header?
I relaunched as ‘Courtney Mielle’ in July 2018.
And I did! I sketched out the floral design, painted the details with watercolour and then did the lettering with ink – all myself. I scanned it onto my laptop and then optimised it for web usage. I actually originally created and used the design for our wedding stationery and I loved it so much that I couldn’t help but give it a place of honour in this little online home of mine :)
Q4. Aren’t you a lawyer? Why did you start a blog?
Indeed! If you’ve spoken to me during the course of my studies, you’ll know that I had a slightly turbulent relationship with the study and practice of the law, ha. I love the reading, the writing, the learning, the analysing, the creative problem-solving. But as someone artistic and imaginative, it’s sometimes a fight to stay above water in an academic and professional environment that’s infamously marked by an intense pressure to perform and a skepticism about what justice truly is. I’ve made peace with a lot of that since then and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to start my legal career in the human rights and social justice sector fresh out of university. I love working in this space so much.
I’ve never seen my art-making and my legal education/work as mutually exclusive to one another. In fact, I’ve found them to better each other. I started a blog because I wanted to create a space for my writing, my photography, my recipes…everything! The art that transcends the professional and the leisurely; the beauty that is found in it all.
Q5. Tell us about Dickson!
Oh gosh, where do I start? He’s the kindest person I’ve ever met. He is brave, strong, intelligent and gentle. He loves Jesus and has a heart built firmly on His. Dickson also works as a lawyer, is a perfectionist and has a rare ability to love people exactly where and as they are. He’s the steady to even the most irrational of my thoughts and worries, and he is so sensitive to the emotions of others. He can be goofy and punny and he loves basketball. He’s just wonderful, he’s my safe place and I’m so deeply in love with him.
Q6. What are your favourite books?
This is such a hard question to answer finitely, but here are some notable favourites that came to mind (in no particular order). I’m drawn to the same things in books, in films and in theatre. I’m a sucker for rawness, technical artistry and heart-wrenching comments about humanity.
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer) – You’ll be laughing at the start of a sentence and crying by the end of it. Not just crying, but gasping for breath because you’ll think your heart has physically broken under the weight of so much emotion.
- The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde) – You’ll not read a play so filled with pomp and smartarse-ery, it’s genius. Wilde is the king of Victorian sordid wit.
- To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) – Atticus Finch is one of the best characters in literary history. Scout’s lessons will become your own, whether you like it or not.
- Fugitive Pieces (Anne Michaels) – I remember this book for the sheer beauty of its poetry, rather than the cohesion of its storyline. There are passages written with an astounding degree of delicacy and gravity, which are made even more potently beautiful by the darkness that undercuts each word.
- The Book Thief (Markus Zuzak) – Colour and light and words and perfection rolled into one and thrown upon the heartbreaking backdrop of Nazi Germany. It’s a stunning walk through grief and hope’s corridors. It was never going to fail.
- Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) – There’s an deep wisdom and heartbreaking frailty to this subtle dystopia. It’ll leave your heart aching and longing for more. It has deep resonances with injustices that are rife today – you’ll witness lives being taken away from people who don’t even realise what is being taken from them, people who don’t understand the value of their existence, people who don’t know they have a right for more.
- The Great Divorce (C.S. Lewis) – I’m drawn to anything written by Lewis and this book is no exception. He draws out the threads that weave together human spirituality and motivation in words so profound and wondrously heavy with truth. In it, you’ll find glimpses of yourself and, ultimately, God’s great story of salvation.
Q7. Why do you believe in Jesus?
There are SO many reasons I could give, but I’ll just share a couple of things here. Above and beyond the science and the history, I believe in Jesus because I know Him. I’ve met Him. In the Bible, in my own experiences and in the lives of loved ones. I believe in Him because He lived and walked on this earth, gave His life and rose from the dead so that I could become a daughter of the King and sing His praises forever. I believe in Him because in His kindness, His words and His steadfast love, I can understand the brokenness of this world and I can understand the yearning voice in my heart that tells me that we were made for more than this. I believe in Jesus because He shows us where home truly is.
On another level, I’m very passionate about ancient history (specifically Greek and Roman) and my studies were always dotted with historical records (many of which were from canonical non-Christian sources) which complemented so much of what I was reading in the Bible. To see God’s fingerprints spread all over the chapters of history and ultimately bringing about the salvation of the world in a show of His radical, unconditional love and justice is the most incredible thing.
I’d love nothing more than to sit down with you over coffee and chat more about this :)
Q8. Is ‘mielle’ your middle name?
Nope! But it’s so very close to my heart. I’ve explained its origins in greater detail here.
Q9. What happened to ‘Of Postcards & Ink’?
For those of you who don’t know, I blogged regularly on Of Postcards & Ink in 2015 to 2016 while I spent a year living and studying abroad in Paris, France. It was a space for me to document, share and reflect on my experiences with family and friends, and it was a space that grew me immensely as a creative.
I’ve decided to keep those posts available for you to read, even though I cringe a bit at the way I edited certain photos back then! My style has definitely evolved, but I’m learning to embrace the growth. To embrace where I once was and where I’m going; to remember and to marvel at the way that God has been at work in every season of my life :)
Q10. How can I contact you?