Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I am determined to have a white Christmas. I'll make it snow through sheer will. None of this sunny and 40 degrees crap. Here I am trying to read about "cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal...The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like smears upon the palpable brown air" and it's practically March outside.
Besides, you've fucked me over enough this year, universe. You owe me this at least.

London Snow

When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled -- marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
'O look at the trees!' they cried, 'O look at the trees!'
With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken.

Robert Bridges

Monday, December 20, 2004

falling into theory

I had a very odd dream last night. I was discussing, or deconstructing, that "Ants Go Marching" song with my History of Literary Criticism professor. Seriously. It was very in depth and abstract. I was going on about the subversive pacifist subtext of the work, how the parody of Civil War-era patriotic propaganda was a subtle critique of militaristic conformity. I remember using the word "facistic." (Is "facistic" even a word?)

This is very worrisome. I think this semsester has fried my brain.

I'm going to curl up with chapter 8 of Jonathan Strange (Norrell is just about to raise poor Miss Wintertowne from the dead!), and leave you with Frank O'Hara's "POEM," which is about as frazzled as I am, but in a funny way.

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

Thursday, December 16, 2004

"I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them."

Happy Austen Day! My favorite author is 229 years old today. Ideally I would spend every December 16 re-reading my favorite parts in her novels, consuming copious amounts of tea and cake, dancing a set or two, and watching Persuasion for the umpteenth time while knitting and cross-stitching (Jane brings out my femme side something fierce). But she had the very bad manners to be born right in the middle of finals, so I'll be studying and packing instead. Bah humbug.

But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero[ine] in her way. Northanger Abbey

Hey, I only modified it just a teensy bit; and I'm still waiting for the universe to back Austen up on this.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Passions Between Women: British Lesbian Culture 1668-1801~Emma Donoghue

I really didn't think it was possible to increase my admiration for Emma Donoghue, but I was wrong. I love her even more now that I've read her scholarly work. I was delighted to find her a sharp, frank historian as well as a fine novelist; her research is as rich and vivid as her fiction, her prose is just as passionate as the women she describes, full of wit and humor too.
Passions is a scholarly, meticulously researched book, but it's emminently readable and brings the 18th century to life in all its debauched glory (and trust me, I had Queer Theory this semester, it is possible for a discussion of lesbianism to be dry and boring).The frontispiece is a reproduction on an illustration of Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, "Phoebe initiating Fanny in the brothel." Fanny holds up her skirt and looks on curiously as Phoebe quite explicitly puts her hand between Fanny's legs, a coy, knowing smile on her face. You can tell right away that this is going to be a fun and frank discussion of what lesbians did in the 18th century, refreshingly devoid of academicese (thank you jesus!). Evidence of real, lived lesbian culture at this period is fairly sparse--how do you prove two women had sex 300 years ago, when even the word "homosexual" wasn't coined until the 1890s?--so Donoghue deals with texts: newspapers, pornography, poetry, gothic novels, letters, plays, court documents, diaries. How did people talk about "women like that"? How did those women talk and think about themselves and their relationships? Was it all restricted the ostensibly asexual romantic friendships of upper-class women? Donoghue reveals a colorful and complex picture of how the 18th century viewed (or tried not to view) lesbians, bisexuals, spinsters, cross-dressers, butches, and bluestockings. This book is filled with such stories--women who passed successfully as men and married other women, queer pirates like Anne Bonney and Mary Reed, lascivious nuns, and tons of gossip and rumors about aristocratic Sapphic societies. Even Queen Anne makes an appearance; she seems to have had something hot 'n' heavy going with the Duchess of Marlborough. Personally, it's a much-needed antidote to the overwhelming, relentless pressure of the heteronormative culture I've been taught. All the Great Literature I read and study and love is structured on some variation of boy-meets-girl, the promised bliss of heterosexual domesticity that women are supposed to be genetically programmed for; where any intimacy between women is trivial, just a dry-run for the real relationship with a man. Donoghue's work gives me a sense of location in history and society; see, I can say, I'm not just an aberration, there were other women like me, though they lived their lives differently and thought differently than I do.
I said Passions was refreshingly devoid of academicese, which is true, but academics can never seem to resist inventing elaborate metaphors, and Donoghue ends her introduction with a pretty funny, somewhat tongue-in-cheek analogy for her work.
Tribady, an activity that is rarely discussed, provides a stimulating metaphor for the business of doing history. The researcher is not so much penetrating the past to find what she wants as making contact with it, touching the surface of her present interests to the details of the past; the more she touches, the more she will become sensitised to the nuances she is exploring. This friction between centuries can bring us a sense of intimacy with our foresisters, as well as great pleasure, and laughter when things fail to fit. Passions Between Women is primarily intended to get the stories to the women, so that we can all take part in this never-ending act of tribady that is lesbian history. (24)

Historical research as a form of lesbian sex. I love it.

(P.S. Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is the complete works of Emma Donoghue. Thanks).

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Well, I have lost you; and I lost you fairly;
In my own way, and with my full consent.
Say what you will, kings in a tumbrel rarely
Went to their deaths more proud than this one went.
Some nights of apprehension and hot weeping
I will confess; but that's permitted me;
Day dried my eyes; I was not one for keeping
Rubbed in a cage a wing that would be free.
If I had loved you less or played you slyly
I might have held you for a summer more,
But at the cost of words I value highly,
And no such summer as the one before.
Should I outlive this anguish—and men do—
I shall have only good to say of you.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

I love the wild and wonderful things Millay does with a sonnet. She can make them flow so smooth and rhythmically, almost like a prose poem or ordinary conversation. Not even Shakespeare quite manages that, but then he's stuck with his Elizabethan thees and thous and dost and whatnot, so he has a harder time of it.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Because I ought to be studying

and because this meme never gets old for me.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Indeed, he said, I am strongly of opinion that they ought not to hear that sort of thing. Plato, busily banishing poets from The Republic. Critical Theory Since Plato, 3rd edition, ed.Hazard Adams (now that is a cool name) and Leroy Searle.

I'm also being unproductive by listening to the Beatles' Let It Be album, finishing Book XVI of Tom Jones, and reading Yeat's "The Lake Isle of Innisfree", which is my poetic equivalent of comfort food.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

I once heard a recording of Yeats reading it; usually I avoid listening to poets reading their work, because the opening lines of Prufrock have been forever ruined for me, but Yeats has this rich, sonorous Irish voice, like ocean waves.

I'm also watching bunnies act out "It's Wonderful Life" in 30 seconds, and laughing my butt off.

End-of-the-year meme

All my papers are done, and I have nothing to do but pack and do a bit of studying for finals. Hence all the posting.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?

Dear god, I don't even know where to start. Participated in political protests. Ate sushi and octopus. Started drinking (moderately, don't worry). Traveled around a foreign country. And lots of other things besides.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

About the only resolution I ever make is to not buy any more books until I finish the ones I already have. I failed to keep it this year, and I will fail to keep it next year I'm sure.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, but my aunt and uncle adopted their fourth from Korea.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My grandmother, in July. When I go I don't want to go like that, sickly, pitied, and not much loved.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

Quite a lot. A job, if nothing else.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 25. The March for Women's Lives in D.C. There were lots of other Big Important Moments but their specific dates don't really matter.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Besides coming out and not having the sky fall, finding my place here, with a good group of friends.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Do we really want to get into that again?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Well I haven't read it yet, but I'm betting Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell will be my best purchase. Either that or Byatt's Little Black Book of Stories.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My friend's. And my parents', they've been trying really hard.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Well my brother proved himself worthy of the name Shithead. And heck, she ain't reading this anyway, so L. I can't believe I got dumped for a man. How cliche is that. And she didn't even have the guts to be frank with me.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Books, where else?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Not much, really. I think I spent most of this year in a mild state of panic.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?

"Are You Gonna Be My Girl?", Jet. Just the first thing that popped into my head.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
both and neither. Wiser, I hope.
b) thinner or fatter? thinner, I think, which is not good. I haven't been eating or sleeping well.
c) richer or poorer? about the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I wish I'd taken more risks. Which surprises me.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Crying. I don't think I've cried so much in my life as I have this year; I'm usually too stoic for my own good. I don't even cry at funerals.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

With The Clan, looking after the little ones, as I always do.

21. Did you fall in love in 2004?

No. Believe it or not.

22. How many one-night stands?

Ha. Aha. That would be funny if it weren't depressing.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

The Daily Show.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Shithead. But I don't really hate him, I'm just very unhappy with him.

25. What was the best book you read?

Sugar and Other Stories, A.S. Byatt.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?


27. What did you want and get?


28. What did you want and not get?

Sanity. Stability. Some sense of direction.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

A toss up between Les Choristes and The Watermelon Woman

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

22. I did nothing at all, which was very nice, and I bought Melissa Etheridge's new CD against my better judgement. That's what I get for shopping based on sexual orientation.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Some sort of queer community would have been really great. I'm fucking tired of isolation.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?

Wow, I really don't put that much thought into my fashion choices. But these last few months have totally revolved around the Big-Ass Dyke Boots.

33. What kept you sane?

Poetry. Written words are the only thing that ever keeps me alive.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

How much time have you got? Rachel Stirling, Jena Malone, Scarlett Johansen, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Parminder Nagra, Cate Blanchett, Sophia Myles.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election.

36. Who did you miss?

L. S., my oldest friend. I came out to her over the summer and I haven't heard from her since. And K., but I'll get to see her over break I think.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

J and R. My feminist gals.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004

Take risks, even though they won't pay off. Be as honest and genuine as you can, even though it will bite you in the ass later.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year

Actually, I think Ferlinghetti's "The World is a Beautiful Place" is best; it's got a bit of a "Life sucks and then you die" attitude, which is not actually where I'm at, but the contrast of simple joys and relentless sorrows is pretty acurate.

The World Is a Beautiful Place
The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don't mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don't sing
all the time

The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind some people dying
all the time
or maybe only starving
some of the time
which isn't half bad
if it isn't you

Oh the world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't much mind
a few dead minds
in the higher places
or a bomb or two
now and then
in your upturned faces
or such other improprieties
as our Name Brand society
is prey to
with its men of distinction
and its men of extinction
and its priests
and other patrolmen

and its various segregations
and congressional investigations
and other constipations
that our fool flesh
is heir to

Yes the world is the best place of all
for a lot of such things as making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies and wearing pants
and waving hats and
and going swimming in rivers
on picnics
in the middle of the summer
and just generally'living it up'
but then right in the middle of it
comes the smiling

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Hours

Julia returns, with Mary in her wake. Here then, once again, is Mary--Mary the stern and rigorous, Mary the righteous, shaved head beginning to show dark stubble, wearing rat-colored slacks, breasts dangling (she must be past forty) under a ragged white tank top. Here is her heavy tread; here are her knowing, suspicious eyes. Seeing Julia and Mary together, Clarissa thinks of a little girl dragging home a stray dog, all ribs and discolored teeth; a pathetic and ultimately dangerous creature who ostensibly needs a good home but whose hunger in fact runs so deep it cannot be touched by any display of love or bounty. The dog will just keep eating and eating. It will never be satisfied; it will never be tame.
"Hello, Mary," Clarrissa says.
"Hey, Clarissa...How are you?" Mary asks.
"Fine, thanks. You?"
She shrugs. How should I be, how should anyone be, in a world like this? Clarissa has fallen so easily for the trick question...
"Going shopping?" [Clarissa] says, and does not try to hide the contempt in her voice...
Mary says to Clarissa, "I couldn't do it without help. I can face a cop with tear gas, but don't come near me if you're a sales clerk...It's stores, it's the whole thing, all that shit everywhere, 'scuse me, that merchandise, all those goods, and ads screaming at you from all over the place, buy buy buy buy buy, and when somebody come up to me with big hair and gobs of makeup on and says, 'Can I help you,' it's all I can do not to scream, 'Bitch, you can't even help yourself.'"
"Mm," Clarissa says. "That sounds serious."
...Fool, Mary Krull thinks. Smug, self-satisfied witch.
She corrects herself. Clarissa Vaughan is not the enemy. Clarissa Vaughan is only deluded, neither more nor less than that. She believes that by obeying the rules she can have what men have. She's bought the ticket. It isn't her fault. Still, Mary would like to grab Clarissa's shirtfront and cry out, You honestly believe that if they come to round up the deviants, they won't stop at your door, don't you? You really are that foolish.
...Briefly, while Julia's back is turned, Clarissa and Mary face each other. Fool, Mary thinks, though she struggles to remain charitable or, at least, serene. No, screw charity. Anything's better than queers of the old school, dressed to pass, bourgeois to the bone, living like husband and wife. Better to be a frank and open asshole, better to be John fucking Wayne, than a well-dressed dyke with a respectable job.
Fraud, Clarissa thinks. You've fooled my daughter, but you don't fool me. I know a conquistador when I see one. I know all about making a splash. It isn't hard. If you shout loud enough, for long enough, a crowd will gather to see what all the noise is about. It's the nature of crowds. They don't stay long, unless you give them a reason. You're just as bad as most men, just that aggressive, just that self-aggrandizing, and your hour will come and go.
...Mary lingers a moment behind Julia, allowing herself a view of Julia's broad, graceful back, the twin moons of her ass. Mary is almost overwhelmed by desire and by something else, a subtler and more exquisitely painful nerve that branches through her desire. Julia inspires in her an erotic patriotism, as if Julia were the distant country in which Mary was born and from which she has been expelled.
"Come on," Julia calls cheerfully over her shoulder, over the synthetic orange brilliance of her backpack.
Mary stands for a moment, watching. She believes she has never seen anything so beautiful. If you could love me, she thinks, I'd do anything. Do you understand? Anything.
"Come on," Julia calls again, and Mary hurries after her, hopelessly, in agony (Julia does not love her, not like that, and never will), on her way to buy new boots.

Michael Cunningham

The first time I read this passage, I thought "Ha! Bug-eyed radical freak!". And now I read it and I see so much of myself in it. When did I turn into Mary Krull? Because I have, somehow, right down to the combat boots and tank top, and I'm not even sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. When Mary, full of contempt and disdain, calls Clarissa's complacency foolish, I agree with her completely. I've got a chip on my shoulder, and I think I'm justified in that.
But I'm still of Clarissa's mind, too, suspicious of "causes", wondering if all this isn't just reactionary theatrics. Wallowing in self-pity and moroseness. I'm just as bourgeouis as Clarissa; isn't this something of a posture, a bit of a show? Am I just a poser? Will I look back on myself in college and laugh at my pretension?
I've been thinking of this a lot lately, along with the Audre Lorde quote I have up. How does one deal with, not just anger, but rage? It's there, below the surface, and it's mobilizing and energizing, but it's destructive too. It keeps me going, moves me to work and agitate and try to create change; and it's painful, spiteful and corrosive, it eats away inside and burns others, people I care about. How do I harness it, use it, turn it into something positive? How do I keep from being consumed by it? Will I ever be rid of it? Should I even want that? Doesn't anger mean I'm still alive, I still give a damn?
It's that image of the ravenous, feral dog that scares me.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

this made me so happy

The Favorite Poem Project

It's a pretty simple idea: Americans talk about their favorite poems. There's a video project, where people recite their favorite poem and explain how and why they connect to it. Everything from Anna Akhmatova and Milton to "Casey at the Bat." A construction worker finding comfort and inspiration from Walt Whitman, a Boston working-class white guy reciting Gwendolyn Brooks, a Cuban-American Marine explaining his affinity for W.B. Yeats. And Supreme Court Justices and CEOs and students. You have to see the video of the Jamaican immigrant reciting Plath, when he closes his eyes and says "O love, how did you get here?" you can feel it, he gets this poem, absolutely, it's stunning. It's made me think about the poems that are important to me, and why. I predict several posts on this theme in the near future.


Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
and how the wind doth ramm,
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm,

Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Ezra Pound

I never thought Pound would ever condescend to parody; but it's pretty funny, especially if you know the tune

Friday, December 10, 2004

# 479

She dealt her pretty words like Blades—
How glittering they shone—
And every One unbared a Nerve
Or wantoned with a Bone—

She never deemed—she hurt—
That—is not Steel's Affair—
A vulgar grimace in the Flesh—
How ill the Creatures bear—

To Ache is human—not polite—
The Film upon the eye
Mortality's old Custom—
Just locking up—to Die.

Emily Dickinson

Thursday, December 09, 2004

"You must not be cleverer than your elders. It is not polite."

"Septimus, if there is an equation for a curve
like a bell, there must be an equation for one
like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a
rose? Do we believe nature is written in
numbers?"Thomasina Coverly: Young, innocent, and just the
littlest bit smart-mouthed. Her mother
declares her prematurely pert; her tutor knows
she is a genius. A fairly ordinary teenage
girl, with a crush on Lord Byron and a love for
waltzing... and also a phenomenal mathematical
and scientific talent, encompassing
determinism, the laws of thermodynamics, and
fractals. From Arcadia.

Which Stoppard Protagonist Are You?
brought to you by Quizzilla

(stupid blogger. won't show the link. Go here )

They ought to have put in the rest of that exchange:

THOMASINA:…Do we believe nature is written in numbers?
THOMASINA: Then why do your equations only describe the shapes of manufacture?
SEPTIMUS: I do not know.
THOMASINA: Armed thus, God could only make a cabinet.

I could quote this play all day long.

CHLOE:…The universe is deterministic all right, just like Newton said, I mean it’s trying to be, but the only thing going wrong is people fancying people who aren’t supposed to be in that part of the plan.
VALENTINE: Ah. The attraction that Newton left out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Public Service Announcement

Get your Word Document or PDF copy of Lynne Cheney's lesbian romance novel here. We need to preserve these women's texts for historical and literary posterity. Sisterhood is forever!

Yours Truly is going to print it out; if I manage to survive reading it I'll nurse my traumatized queer psyche with The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica (yeah, the clerk gave me a wierd look when I bought that alongside Jonathan Strange).

delusions of grandeur

I always come up with impossible grandiose plans for my reading over breaks. I can't seem to help myself. Every Christmas I read Dickens' Christmas Stories, and The Dark is Rising (because it just wouldn't be Christmas without the forces of evil trying to take over the world. Besides, every time I hear "Good King Wenceslas" I think of Will and Merriman travelling back in time and reading the Book of Grammareye). This year I'd been planning on also reading Austen's Sanditon and Other Stories, because I've never read all of her juvenilia, and following it with The Jane Austen Book Club.
But then I bought Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell over Thanksgiving, because a) my family is completely ignorant about books, at least IMHO, and I wouldn't get it for Christmas anyway and b) it's the perfect kind of book to read late on a winter's night. I had visions of myself holed up for weeks with blankets, tea, cookies, and 800 pages of Regency magical realism, and believe me, right now there is nothing I want more than to retreat into the comforts of literary escapism. Plus, it's a gorgeous book and I haven't bought myself a nice hardback in forever.
So, I figured Jonathan Strange, Dickens, and Susan Cooper, plus I'd try to sneak in a little Jane Austen if I got a chance.
And then I thought, ooh wait! I've only got three more volumes of The Sandman left! And who knows when I'll get a chance to read it again.
And then there's the reading I didn't quite accomplish for my Early American Lit class, like Charles Brockden Brown's Ormond, which, judging from class discussion, is one freaky-ass piece of early American gothic, complete with incest, serial killers, and cross-dressing women, and I don't want to pass that up. And Irving's The Sketchbook, which in addition to old favorites like "Rip Van Winkle" and "Sleepy Hollow", has a few Christmas stories.

So that's Sandition and Other Stories, the Jane Austen Book Club, A Christmas Carol, The Dark is Rising, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, World's End, The Kindly Ones, and The Wake, Ormond, and The Sketchbook. Oh, and I'm in Book XV of Tom Jones, so I may or may not get that finished before break.

See? Delusions of grandeur.

Monday, December 06, 2004

You know you're having a rough time when you start writing in the second person

It's a whole distance/projection thing, you think, but you never took a linguistics class so you're actually just pulling that theory out of your ass. It's been a rough week. And month. And semester. And year. And you're ready for it to be over, time for a fresh start. You know that feeling?
You're worn out. Because you've had enough shitty experiences in your college career to discover that when they talk about heartache, they aren't being simply poetical, but in fact quite literal. In your less melodramatic moments you puzzle over the idiosyncracies of your native language, and the fact that an emotion that you ostensibly feel in your brain should manifest itself physically around your breastbone area. It really does hurt there.
It hurts, in fact, like hell, especially when someone you used to care about has gone, and it dawns on you that everything they told you was bullshit. You feel incredibly stupid for a) falling for it and b) taking so long to realize it. Said person was a good friend, or so you felt, and you had something, so vague it wasn't even classifiable, but it was something, briefly, over the summer, and it was nice, while it lasted. She was, at any rate, your first kiss. Which, when you're 21, is a big deal. And having spent the previous four years in an increasing state of numb depression, the kind where you don't feel anything at all, where you can't find any reasons to literally get out of bed in the morning, where you find yourself idly wondering if second story windows are high enough to do the trick, after years of feeling like that, you were amazed at the capacity for happiness you had. It was, not very serious, but very nice indeed.
But it didn't work out. It came as a surprise, and hurt a bit, naturally, but you understood her reasons. You tried to salvage your pride, having made a bit of a fool of yourself. But it was okay. You got over it, and stayed friends, and when she moved away you didn't think much about it. You couldn't help wondering what exactly you did wrong, but you didn't dwell on it.
And then several months later she finds someone new. A guy. At least you think she's seeing him, you're not entirely sure, at least it certainly sounds that way, and at any rate you're shocked at your own reaction. You didn't expect it to hurt this much. You're confused about why you're in so much pain, because it's not as if you still want to be with her romantically, you don't even begrudge her the new relationship with said guy, you genuinely hope she's happy, but you still feel like you've been punched. The way she seems to feel about him; that's how you felt about her. You come to realize that if, indeed, she is in a romantic relationship with this guy, then it means that everything she told you over the summer was bullshit. It wasn't shyness and emotional stress and bad timing; it was you. This lovely person came into your life and said, oh wait, on second thought, nevermind. You feel like she led you on; you're pretty sure she didn't mean to, but she did just the same.
Which, after all the incredible stress of the current semester and past four years, is just the straw that breaks the camel's back. It triggers all your internalized homophobia, and you're staggered by the depth and intensity of your own self-hatred. You have wonderful friends, there aren't actually enough superlatives to properly describe them, friends who sympathise and comfort and do their best to support you. You put your blog on hiatus. You decide not to write to her. You try to avoid reading her blog, and fail. You revert to your old defense mechanisms, avoiding and ignoring your problems, mainly because you're a coward. You're not angry, just hurt and tired of dealing with shit. You don't want to be in school anymore but you don't want to go home to your family that loves you on conditional terms.

You don't know how to talk to her about this. You're not sure if you should. Since you're not sure when you'll ever see her again, you'd like to keep in touch, but you also want to be honest. The one thing you don't want is to keep feeling like every time you talk with her, she's just being nice to someone she used to know.

You hate yourself for being a melodramatic dyke. And for being a dyke. And for being yourself.

You post cryptic quotations from Plath. Finally you post on your blog (which used to be about books, and has disappointingly devolved into general bitchiness and whining) in order to get it over and done with, because the strategy of not-dealing-with-it hasn't worked so well, and you have finals coming up. You're tired. You're ashamed of handling personal matters in such a round-about and public way, but this is the best you can do at the moment.

You hope she'll respond. You hope you haven't made a horrible mistake, that you haven't fucked up once again and made an ass of yourself. You've made a bad habit of that lately. You are, more than anything else, scared, of everything.

You follow up said self-indulgent and soap operatic post with a non-sequitur, noting that you are now linking to one of your afore-mentioned wonderful friends' livejournal (see right).

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Mad Girl's Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunder-bird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Sylvia Plath

Now returning to your regularly scheduled hiatus.