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Don't mind me. Just obsessed with the power of names. [Jul. 10th, 2011|05:34 pm]
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"Cities and Names 3," from Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino:

"For a long time Pyrrha to me was a fortified city on the slopes of a bay, with high windows and towers, enclosed like a goblet, with a central square deep as a well, with a well in its center. I had never seen it. It was one of the many cities where I had never arrived, that I conjured up, through its name: Euphrasia, Odile, Margara, Getullia. Pyrrha had its place among them, different from each of them, and like each of them, unmistakable to the mind's eye.

"The day came when my travels took me to Pyrrha. As soon as I set foot there, everything I had imagined was forgotten; Pyrrha had become what is Pyrrha; and I thought I had always known that the sea is invisible from the city, hidden behind a dune of the low, rolling coast; that the streets are long and straight; that the houses are clumped at intervals, not high, and they are separated by open lots with stacks of lumber and with sawmills; that the wind stirs the vanes of the water pumps. From that moment on the name Pyrrha has brought to my mind this view, this light, this buzzing, this air in which a yellowish dust flies: obviously the name means this and could mean nothing but this.

"My mind goes on containing a great number of cities I have never seen and will never see, names that bear with them a figure or a fragment or glimmer of an imagined figure: Getullia, Odile, Euphrasia, Margara. The city high above the bay is also there still, with the square enclosing the well, but I can no longer call it by a name, nor remember how I could ever have given it a name that means something entirely different."
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Writer's Block: The start of something wonderful [Feb. 5th, 2011|05:08 pm]
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What is your favorite opening line of a book, and why?

Oh, this one is easy. "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

I know it's my favorite because I opened One Hundred Years of Solitude while browsing through a bookstore years ago, read that line once, put the book back on the shelf, and then remembered it ever since. I didn't actually read the book until last year, but every time I saw the title of the book mentioned it would come back to me. I think I like it so much for the same reason I like the openings of To Kill a Mockingbird or The Virgin Suicides; you get just a glimpse of the story, you know the story is coming, but you won't understand what the opening line means until you get much further down the narrative line. All of these books double back from the opening line to talk about something else first. I don't know, I guess it's just a style that works for me.
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(no subject) [Aug. 23rd, 2010|07:08 pm]
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On Saturday night I stayed up until 3:30am so I could finally finish One Hundred Years of Solitude. That book is insane. SO MUCH happens. But because so much happens, and so quickly, it felt very dense to me, and I could only take about a chapter at a time. The imagination in that story is impressive, the characterization is fantastic, and the themes are really interesting. I'm glad I never had to study it in class, though; that tends to kill a lot of the enjoyment of a book.

Now I have to choose between Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Book of Lost Things, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. (After I finish reading Mockingjay. Teen lit is delicious and calorie-free.)

Also: with all the time I spend on the internet, and on YouTube in particular, how did it take me so long to hear about Charlie McDonnell? I wish I had a brother just like him, he's so sweet and dorky and funny.
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(no subject) [Jun. 23rd, 2010|06:05 pm]
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I'm really looking forward to the Doctor Who finale.

Very brief, yet cut for spoiler.Collapse )

* * * * *

I've streamed all three seasons of The IT Crowd on Netflix over the past two days. I enjoyed it a lot, and actually ended up loving the character of Jen so much more than I expected. Moss is still my favorite, though.
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(no subject) [Jun. 15th, 2010|04:47 pm]
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[music |"Things I Never Needed" - Grace Potter & the Nocturnals]

Yesterday I watched Tokyo Sonata, a Japanese movie about the secret lives people lead-- or the rash decisions they make-- out of the desperate wish to have a life other than the one they have been given.

Synopsis, and things I liked. Cut for spoilers.Collapse )

I don't know that I would ever watch it again, but I'm glad I watched it once.

When the movie ended, I finished reading the perks of being a wallflower. I read it once before when I was fourteen, but I enjoyed it more this time around. It's easier for me to read about being a teenager now that I'm a bit removed from it.
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(no subject) [Jun. 5th, 2010|08:38 pm]
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My own emotional instability is driving me nuts today. I just typed a long entry and then deleted it because I decided I didn't want anyone to see those thoughts. I've been like this all day and I can't even pinpoint why, exactly.


I just typed a completely different entry about a completely different topic, decided I hated it, and deleted every word. WHAT THE HELL. Really, I think I just need to listen to some music and surf Tumblr for a ludicrous number of hours until I stop oscillating between irritably depressed and aggressively optimistic.

One random fact I'll leave you with: the end of this week's Doctor Who is the most I've ever liked any incarnation of the Doctor. Typically, main characters are never my favorite, but I was surprised to find that his compassion for Vincent actually moved me. Well done, Matt Smith. Thank you, Eleven, for not being Ten.

EDIT - Forgive my continued randomness, but I just thought of one time that the main character was, in fact, my favorite: Constable Benton Fraser, of due South. Yes, he had the typical hero's sense of morality and duty, but in a sort of twisted way that made his character totally screwed-up. He was physically incapable of stealing a chocolate bar, even when directly ordered to do so. Plus he had hilarious conversations with his dead-yet-still-awesome father.

There's Veronica from Veronica Mars of course, but I think in that case it's more of a tie between her and Logan Echolls. And then there's Farscape's Crichton, but on a recent re-watch of Peacekeeper Wars I came to the conclusion that I love Aeryn the most. Come to think of it, those two shows may be the only examples of times when I actually shipped the canon couple more than any non-canon one.

Oh my god, I'll stop now. I know you guys don't care. Have I mentioned my current instability? Really I'll stop now.
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(no subject) [Apr. 29th, 2010|03:22 pm]
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This is almost the end of my second week at my new part-time job.

Already it's hands-down my favorite job that I've ever had. And it feels so surreal to even have a job, because I've been so long without one. I wasn't even nervous at the interview because I didn't really believe that I would be hired. It's made me even stricter about getting my classwork done on time, and when I start making my own schedule next week, I hope to start late enough in the morning that I can get back into exercising daily. This could be the luckiest thing to happen to me in quite a long while. Spring is rocking so far this year.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that I don't somehow screw this up, shall we?

P.S. If I save my next few paychecks, I'm seriously considering buying a puppy. That's how optimistic I am right now.
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doubt comes in with tricky fingers [Mar. 15th, 2010|09:44 pm]
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the devil take this Orpheus
and his belladonna kiss
beautiful. poisonous.
...dangerous, this jack of hearts
with his kiss, the riot starts

I've been obsessed with Anais Mitchell's Hadestown today. The myth of Orpheus has always been one of my favorites, and this reinterpretation is so vivid. In a time of 30's-era-type economic depression, Hades runs a city surrounded by a fortress-like wall which encloses a gold mine and blocks the outside world. Persephone, his wife, runs a sort of speak-easy during her winters underground, where she deals in illicit breezes, leaves, and glimpses of the sky. Eurydice loves Orpheus but his gorgeous singing can't compare with Hades' tempting bribe: her soul in exchange for the cessation of her hunger and poverty. The man singing the part of Hades was perfectly cast.

I know a "folk opera" isn't everyone's cup of tea (yesterday I would have said it wasn't mine either) but you should at least check out "Why We Build the Wall," which is this gloriously, xenophobically ominous call-and-response; also "Epic (Part II)" which posits a theory on why Hades agrees to let the lovers leave his city (Orpheus' plight evokes the king's own memories of seeing Persephone for the first time). Even though alternative-folk isn't my usual genre, this album is more creative and alive than most new music I've been hearing. It's left me with the feeling of wanting to see a movie that doesn't exist.

the heart of a king loves everything like the hammer loves the nail
but the heart of a man is a simple one, small and soft, flesh and blood
and all that he loves is a woman
a woman is all that he loves...

even the hardest of hearts unhardened
suddenly, when he saw her there
Persephone, in her mother's garden
the sun on her shoulders, the wind in her hair
the smell of the flowers she held in her hand
and the pollen that fell from her fingertips
and suddenly Hades was only a man
with the taste of nectar upon his lips
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Yes, I do live mostly inside my own head. [Mar. 7th, 2010|07:39 pm]
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Cut for Chrono Cross nostalgia and rambling.Collapse )

In other introverted news: yesterday I read Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino instead of finishing my coding homework. I love the structure and themes of the book, although the ambiguities are a bit unsatisfying. My sister recommended it to me when I asked her if I could borrow One Hundred Years of Solitude, because I love magic realism and have still somehow never read that classic. Garcia Marquez, you are next on my list, I swear.

I've been getting so nostalgic over things from my childhood. I watched some Sailor Moon episodes on YouTube last week. I also watched (and was surprisingly able to sing along to) the intro songs of all my old cartoons, like Duck Tales, Gummi Bears, David the Gnome, Tiny Toon Adventures...

The good thing about reminiscing about childhood stories/games is that it seems to have reawakened my creativity. I started writing a poem the other day for the first time in months. It was a mediocre poem at best, but that enjoyment of the process came back to me, and I'm hoping it stays for awhile.
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Writer's Block: A rose by any other name ... [Jan. 21st, 2010|04:57 pm]
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How did you choose your LiveJournal username? Is there an interesting story behind it?

So I never answer these things, but I like this question in particular.

My username is actually from a poem I wrote, a line about waking up from "a dream of secret rooms." Which sounds like an awful line, I know, only I meant it literally. The night before, my dream had been unusually vivid, less surreal than dreams are noted to be, and somehow there was an actual narrative structure to it. I felt this driving sense of purpose in the dream which I don't think I've ever experienced in waking life, and the fact that I woke up without locating the hidden room of the spacious house I was searching left me feeling stricken. I knew I would never have another chance at completing that search. And somehow, even though the details inevitably faded, the overall sense of that dream, the ambience of it, came back to me at random moments for several days afterwards.

It also seemed fitting because at the time I created this journal, it was merely a place to post poems, an offshoot of my personal journal what_we_seek. (From the Holderlin quote, "What we are is nothing, what we seek is everything.") I thought the titles complemented each other nicely, in context.
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