Monthly Archives: December 2011

I Don’t Understand Why I’m Not A Superhero

I’ve begun to notice a theme to my reading, something that has never truly happened before.  Before, it was haphazard, Thoreau while out, teen romances before bed, schoolbooks in between.  Lately, however, everything I want to read is an epic fantasy.  LOTR while out, The Obsidian Trilogy at home, Wheel of Time still unfinished and now a lust for Narnia, all while On The Road sits, a bookmark forgotten at page 61 and Vanity Fair reproaches me from the living room bookshelf, still unopened since bringing it home from the secondhand bookstore in PA over the summer.   Rarely, if ever, do the genres of all the books I’m reading line up—it sort of defeats what I’m going for in my reading, which is variety and depth.  But I can’t help it right now—something about my life makes me long for the unknown, the undiscovered, the elemental struggle between good and evil in which it doesn’t matter if you agree or not, you’re all on the same side essentially.  There is no miasma of dread or anxiety, nobody is questioning their place in the world, or if they are, it’s just a plot point to add interest before they end up saving the world.  Things might objectively suck more than they do in the real world, but goddamnit if they aren’t simpler.  I want that simplicity.  I long for it with the intensity of a crazy cat lady for a husband, and it scares me.  I can’t have that simplicity, because there are no magic rings that threaten to take over the world, and no matter how well I plan, Demons are not going to try to destroy all living beings.   Sometimes, I wish they would, because those problems are so much easier to understand than the political and economic mess that we call the world, flavored with the social and financial pressures of everyday life.  But no matter how thoroughly I try to throw myself into their worlds, my rent is still due and my job still expects me to show up, and nobody ever asks me to save the world.  I hope this is just a phase, because I don’t know if I can deal with this despair for the rest of my life.

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Stealspiration

This here is the image on my desktop.  I’m not really sharing it for any other reason than I really love it, and I felt like it reflects my personality.  I’m going back to to watching comedy specials and enjoying my vacation now 🙂

Oh, and here’s the full version of the quote which I chopped up for my own selfish purposes:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery. celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to. –Jim Jarmusch

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Monday Night Poetry

Song of Myself #48

I have said that the soul is not more than the body,

And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,

And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s own self is,

And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his funeral drest in his shroud,

And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,

And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod counfounds the learning of all times,

And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero,

And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel’d universe,

And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.

And I say to Mankind, Be not curious about God,

For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,

(no array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and about death)

I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least,

Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.

Why should I wish to see God better than this day?

I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,

In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass,

I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign’d by God’s name,

And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe‘er I go,

Others will punctually come for ever and ever

–Walt Whitman

 

*Emphasis added by me in the hopes that the line will burrow its way into your heart the way it has mine.  If I could work that line into my next tattoo in a discreet and cool way I’m totally going to.  That is all.*

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Readers Bill of Rights

I’ve (it took me five tries to type that word, BTW) come across a few different versions of the “Readers Bill of Rights”, and I thought I’d show you two of my favorites as well as my own personal hybrid of Rights.  Also, this is my second post in one day, so I won’t feel so bad when I don’t post at all for the rest of the weekend.  So there :-p

1 ) To NOT interrupt my reading in public to tell you what I’m reading or how I’m liking it–I’m reading because I don’t want to talk to you, asshole.

2 ) To judge the shit out of the characters in my book, or fall in love with them, or want to punch them–in other words, get just as emotionally involved with them as I do real people.

3 ) To like characters more than real people.

4 ) To scribble all over my books, whether or not the scribbles have anything to do with the book.  It’s my book, asshole.

5 ) To reread any book I want, whenever I want.  See rule 4.

6 ) To read hardcover, softcover, or eReader.  I love them all, and being a digital copy doesn’t make the words different.

7 ) To read trashy romance novels, epic fantasies, beat poetry, and Eurpoean classics.  At the same times.  Because they feed different parts of my soul.

8 ) To read things in a language I’m not fluent in, just because I love how it sounds.  Even if my pronunciation is terrible.

9 ) To create drinking games to go along with my books, and encourage people to play them when I loan them said books.

10 ) To see the movie version of a book and sit in the middle of the people I’m with, so I only annoy THEM with my constant critique of how the book is superior.

11 ) To engage in spirited debates about which authors and series are better than others.  Which is a polite way to say that I will judge you and expect you to be able to defend your terrible tastes.

12 ) To be as passionate as I have the energy to be about books and reading, and to surround myself with people who will understand, uphold and feed this passion

Did I miss any?

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Date A Girl Who Reads

I don’t really have this “reblogging” thing down, but this post from Nona Merah, which I stole from a friend on facebook, is just too good to pass up.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

– Rosemarie Urquico –

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Craving Comfort

Rereading books: something lazy people do to avoid delving back into their To Be Read (TBR) piles, or something true book lovers do to more thoroughly enjoy their lives?  I think everyone knows where I stand on this issue.  Sure, I have a TBR pile that if it was physically put into one stack would easily reach the ceiling of my apartment, if not higher; a lot of them are dense classics that it’s going to be an intense amount of work for me to get through, too.  But that doesn’t stop me from rereading both The Obsideon Trilogy and On The Road.  Why?  Partially because I’m lazy and my TBR pile looks like a lot of work, and we know how I feel about work (in case you forgot, I hate it).  But it’s also because I crave books the way I crave food.  A scene starts playing in my head, and I can’t help it—I have to devour the book it’s contained in.  Books that I’ve read before are the literary equivalent of fried chicken with five cheese homemade mac and cheese and collard greens made with ham hock—comfort food that I can’t resist if it’s dangled in front of me.  In unrelated news, I just made myself incredibly hungry.  Seriously, though, the idea that I get to hang out with ‘people’ who never change, who I can predict even as I’m learning more about them, is irresistible to me.  My ever-growing anxiety makes it more and more difficult to actually hang out with real people because I can feel them judging me faster than I can convince myself that I’m being paranoid.  The people in books, however, never judge me, and are always reacting exactly the way I expect to situations.  They never disappoint me.  It’s a comfort to me that in this stressful and unpredictable world in which I struggle to survive, the characters in my books will always be true to me.

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Monday Night Poetry

 

Are You Drinking?

 

washed-up, on shore, the old yellow notebook

 

out again

 

I will write from bed

 

as I did last

 

year.

 

will see the doctor,

 

Monday.

 

“yes, doctor, weak legs, vertigo, head-

 

aches and my back

 

hurts.”

 

“are you drinking?” he will ask.

 

“are you getting your

 

exercise, your

 

vitamins?”

 

I think that I am just ill

 

with life, the same stale yet

 

fluctuating

 

factors.

 

even at the track

 

I watch the horses run by

 

and it seems

 

meaningless.

 

I leave early after buying tickets on the

 

remaining races.

 

“taking off?”  asks the motel

 

clerk.

 

“yes, it’s boring,”

 

I tell him.

 

“if you think it’s boring

 

out there,” he tells me, “you oughta be back here.”

 

so here I am

 

propped against my pillows

 

again

 

just an old guy

 

just an old writer

 

with a yellow

 

notebook.

 

something is

 

walking across the

 

floor

 

toward

 

me

 

oh, it’s just

 

my cat

 

this

 

 time.

–Charles Bukowski

 

 

 

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I just finished The Two Towers, and I must say I’m not sure how I feel about Frodo’s death-that-isn’t-really-death.  Poor Samwise Gangee (who is my favorite character, like a quarter inch above Aragorn) was completely distraught and convinced his master was actually dead, and I must say, despite knowing that Elijah Wood appears in all three movies, that I was a bit distressed myself.  Once Sam learns that Frodo is simply stunned, not dead, however, I got kind of pissed off.  How dare Tolkien play with my emotions in such a way!  I’m a loyal reader, not some crazy groupie you tell lies to so she’ll get off your dick! Also, how dare you put poor Sam through that!  He’s so loyal, and funny, and wise, and you made him think he was going to have to finish the quest on his own!  How rude!  More than my anger on my own behalf and on behalf of Sam, however, I was kind of annoyed as a reader.  It’s a bit of a lazy way to inject some pathos into your story to make the reader think that a major, beloved character, is dead, never to return.  It’s even lazier to kill that character off, and then decide that they aren’t really dead because you need them to wrap up some plotlines.   And it’s kind of overused, as well—Rahvin kills Aviendha and Mat, but their deaths are undone by Rand; Harry Potter dies at the hand of Voldemort but comes back thanks to his own selflessness; Sleeping “I’ve-Got-More-Looks-Than-Brains” Beauty and Snow “I’m-Too-Beautiful-To-Die” White both appear to be dead at the apex of their stories, only to be revived by a kiss from a beautiful prince.  Even Jesus isn’t really dead, and we all know that’s The Greatest Story Ever Sold.  Give me a break, get some new material.  Like most things, however, a good thinking session on the elliptical gave me pause.  Because while I think it’s overused, and sometimes seems like a blatant manipulation of my emotions as a reader (ahem, Wheel of Time); I sometimes like it.  Obviously the Bible and various fairy tales wouldn’t be the same without them.  I think Harry’s Jesusesque sacrifice and subsequent awakening was a perfect beginning of the end for Rowling’s series.  Now, in fairness to Tolkien, I haven’t finished Return of the King yet, so I may still change my mind on his laziness/intentions as a writer in regards to Frodo’s fake death.  I might have to post an apology to Tolkien in a few days when I officially finish the series.  But for right now, he has a lot of work to do to impress me in Frodo’s case. 

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