theholyinnocent: (nabokov)
::tap tap:: This thing still on?

I'm sure many of you have noticed that lj is kind of...well...slow these days. Yes, it bums me out too. But the kids have this thing called tumblr going on, and I have a writing tumblr set up for the time being, until tumblr starts being uncool (God knows how yahoo might screw it up) and I revert back to lj or writing on quill & parchment and sending them via raven for the Lannisters' book club:

The Revisionist

You can be sure it will be updated at my usual snail-like pace! If the spirit moves me I may try to post stories here to lj, but for now my tumblr is the main recourse for the writing thang.

I also have a nonwriting-oriented tumblr: The Enchanted Hunter. (You can never have too many Nabokov references.)

Happy long weekend to all, and a good summer! (Hopefully I will check in again before it's over!)
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"Well now, I suppose you're very happy and all that sort of thing."
Isabel answered with a quick laugh; the tone of his remark struck her almost as the accent of comedy. "Do you suppose if I were not I'd tell you?"
"Well, I don't know. I don't see why not."
"I do then. Fortunately, however, I'm very happy."
"You've got an awfully good house."
"Yes, it's very pleasant. But that's not my merit--it's my husband's."
"You mean he has arranged it?"
"Yes, it was nothing when we came."
"He must be very clever."
"He has a genius for upholstery."

From Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
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Yeah, I know. Long time no blather. I got a little sidetracked, shall we say. But it's summer, and I'm here, and it's eleventy million steaming degrees outside, and there's nothing on TV, and I saw Prometheus and thought it was meh (although Michael Fassbender is the cutest robot ever), so I'm back with more vague promises about writing! Yay!

Recently I took advantage of being sick to finish a certain monkey-on-my-back story, which infused me with a giddy sense of accomplishment (or maybe it was the meds). Actually, it was good, it felt good, and gave me a sense of closure in a way--I feel as if this is the last fanfic story I'll probably do, that I've brought it all full circle (ending in the fandom I started with), my palate is cleansed. Of course, part of my personal philosophy is "never say never" because never usually comes around and bites you on the ass, and I see photos like this, of Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner together and think, what if they had a mad crazy affair while filming Night of the Iguana?

Photobucket

No, no, I must resist!

So on the docket is a rewrite of an old thing I posted yonks ago. And I've been making notes on a WW II novel. Baby steps, baby. Baby steps. Any progress I make will be posted here and possibly on a tumblr. I'm not exactly compelled by the wanderlust, but some kind of curiosity or hunger keeps me going creatively.
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Perhaps writing is really filling in the blank spaces in existence, that nullity which suddenly yawns wide open in the hours and the days, and appears betwen the objects in the room, engulfing them in unending desolation and insignificance. Fear, as Canetti has written, invents names so as to distract itself. The traveller reads and takes note of the names, of stations his train passes through, at the corners of the streets where his footsteps lead him; and he goes on his way with a breath of relief, satisfied with that rhythmic order of nothingness.

~ from Danube, by Claudio Magris
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January First

The year's doors open
like those of language,
toward the unknown.
Last night you told me:
tomorrow
we shall have to think up signs,
sketch a landscape, fabricate a plan
on the double page
of day and paper.
Tomorrow, we shall have to invent,
once more,
the reality of this world.

I opened my eyes late.
For a second of a second
I felt what the Aztec felt,
on the crest of the promontory,
lying in wait
for time's uncertain return
through cracks in the horizon.

But no, the year had returned.
It filled the room
and my look almost touched it.
Time, with no help from us,
had placed
in exactly the same order as yesterday
houses in the empty street,
snow on the houses,
silence on the snow.

You were beside me,
still asleep.
The day had invented you
but you hadn't yet accepted
being invented by the day.

--Nor possibly my being invented, either.
You were in another day.

You were beside me
and I saw you, like the snow,
asleep among appearances.
Time, with no help from us,
invents houses, streets, trees
and sleeping women.

When you open your eyes
we'll walk, once more,
among the hours and their inventions.
We'll walk among appearances
and bear witness to time and its conjugations.
Perhaps we'll open the day's doors.
And then we shall enter the unknown.

~ Octavio Paz (translated with Elizabeth Bishop)
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(Photo taken from New York Shitty.)

I know I haven't been around much lately...chalk that up to the distractions of work, real life, and taking a class and realizing how dumb I am. (I knew there was a reason I always hated school.) Anyway, hoping to post more in the New Year, because, as always, I'm hoping to write more. And maybe it is just a hope, but...it's there.

For now, may everyone has a great holiday and a Happy New Year!

blue magic

Dec. 3rd, 2011 11:58 pm
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We are absurdly accustomed to the miracle of a few written signs being able to contain immortal imagery, involutions of thought, new worlds with live people, speaking, weeping, laughing. We take it for granted so simply that in a sense, by the very act of brutish routine acceptance, we undo the work of the ages, the history of the gradual elaboration of poetical description and construction, from the treeman to Browning, from the caveman to Keats. What if we awake one day, all of us, and find ourselves utterly unable to read?...Although I am capable, through long dabbling in blue magic, of imitating any prose in the world (but singularly enough not verse--I am am miserable rhymester), I do not consider myself a true artist, save in one matter: I can do what only a true artist can do--pounce upon the forgotten butterfly of revelation, wean myself abruptly from the habit of things, see the web of the world, and the warp and weft of that web....for a moment I found myself enriched with an indescribable amazement as if informed that fireflies were making decodable signals on behalf of stranded spirits, or that a bat was writing a legible tale of torture in the bruised and branded sky.


~ Nabokov, Pale Fire
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Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] twbasketcase at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.


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So I didn't get around to posting a summer music mix. But after buying and listening to some new stuff, I got inspired to do an end of summer/autumn beginning kind of mix.

Summer's End, Autumn's Beginning

Track listing:

1. Morning Fog (interlude), Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi
2. Before, Washed Out
3. Autumn Leaves, Bill Evans
4. New York is a Woman, Suzanne Vega
5. Problem Queen, Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi (Norah Jones vocal)
6. I'm in Love with the City, God Help the Girl
7. Memory Divine, Francoise Hardy
8. Market Girl, Headlights (Album Leaf Remix)
9. Moses, Elisabeth Fraser
10. Season's Trees, Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi (Norah Jones vocal)
11. Far Away, Washed Out
12. Honey Mine, Korallreven (Memoryhouse Remix)
13. The Windmills of Your Mind, Dusty Springfield
14. Corcovado, Sarah Vaughan
15. Soft, Washed Out
16. Blue in Green (Take 1), Bill Evans

Notes on a Mix:

1. Lots of tracks from Danger Mouse's Rome and Washed Out's Within and Without, probably my two favorite albums of the season. Rome is a fun concept album, where the artist envisions a spaghetti western soundtrack. To my amazement it makes Norah Jones palatable; she doesn't sound as if she's ready to hit the snooze button. Washed Out is very shimmery; it's like listening to burnished gold.

2. Francoise Hardy has been making music for about 30-40 years now. Pretty impressive. "Memory Divine" is off one of her recent albums.

3. Elisabeth Fraser, however, has not been as prolific. Elisabeth, please make more music! I'm not asking for the Cocteau Twins to reunite, honest! I want to hear you.

4. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fireflygirl for the Korallreven track.

Happy listening and let me know if there are any problems with the damn thing.
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On the lake, the night was very clear, and filled with shooting stars. The mild water sparkled, phosphorescent, around our prow. Fish leaped, shone, and fell again. The shore lay softly, peaceful, half-divined. I was in that as it were tertiary state of fatigue where the nerves and senses lie bared to direct contact with the world and there is no longer distance or matter between the vision and the absorption, where the mind races, recording, lucid but empty, and beauty can become ours through osmosis.

~ from Sybille Bedford’s A Visit to Don Otavio, A Traveller’s Tale from Mexico
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Link courtesy of Manta!
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Another reason to love Community....

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“I Saw the Light”: Johnny Cash singing (lip-synching?) for an episode of Columbo. (RIP, Peter Falk!) The crazed-looking redhead in the background with the other singers is Ida Lupino, playing Cash’s shrewish wife. He kills her, of course, and so Columbo has to figure it all out.

I don’t know why this episode has imprinted itself on my memory. I never liked Columbo that much, but, as the youngest person in our household, I was lowest on the TV pecking order and always ended up watching the show because my sister and mom liked it. Perhaps it was in this episode I had my first realization that people can successfully pretend to be good while being actively, covertly bad?
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“Our spread over the earth was fuelled by reducing the higher species of vegetation to charcoal, by incessantly burning whatever would burn. From the first smouldering taper to the elegant lanterns whose light reverberated around eighteenth-century courtyards and from the mild radiance of these lanterns to the unearthly glow of the sodium lamps that line the Belgian motorways, it has all been combustion. Combustion is the hidden principle behind every artefact we create. The making of a fish-hook, manufacture of a china cup, or production of a television programme, all depend on the same process of combustion. Like our bodies and like our desires, the machines we have devised are possessed of a heart which is slowly reduced to embers. From the earliest times, human civilization has been no more than a strange luminescence growing more intense by the hour, of which no one can say when it will begin to wane and when it will fade away. For the time being, our cities still shine through the night, and the fires still spread. In Italy, France, and Spain, in Hungary, Poland, and Lithuania, in Canada and California, summer fires consume whole forests, not to mention the great conflagration in the tropics that is never extinguished. A few years ago, on a Greek island that was wooded as recently as 1900, I observed the speed with which a blaze runs through the vegetation. A short distance from the harbour town where I was staying, I stood by the roadside with a group of agitated men, the blackness behind us and before us, far below at the bottom of a gorge, the fire, whipped up by the wind, racing, leaping, and already climbing the steep slopes. And I shall never forget the junipers, dark against the glow, going up in flames one after the other as if they were tinder at the moment the first tongues of fire licked at them, with a dull thudding sound like an explosion and then promptly collapsing in a silent shower of sparks.”

~ from The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

{edited to fix typo}
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I love to write, and not speak, and when I write it’s by hand, not on a typewriter. Several factors contribute to this choice. First there is a refusal: my body refuses to speak out loud to . . . nobody. Unless I’m certain that another body is listening to me, my voice gets stuck, I can’t get it out. If, in a conversation, I notice that that somebody isn’t listening to me, I stop speaking, and it is simply beyond my power to leave a message on an answering machine (I don’t think I’m alone in this). Voices are made to reach out to the other; to speak alone, with a tape recorder, strikes me as terribly frustrating. My voice is literally cut off (castrated). There is nothing to be done, it is impossible for me to be on the receiving end of my own voice, which is the only thing the tape recorder has to offer me. My writing, meanwhile, is immediately destined for everybody. Its slow pace protects me: I have the time to dangle the wrong word from the tip of my pen, the word that “spontaneity” never ceases to generate. There is a great distance between my head and my hand and I take advantage of it in order to avoid saying the first thing that comes to me. Finally, and this is probably the real reason, the challenge of tracing words on paper has a truly sculptural jouissance [une véritable jouissance plastique]. If my voice brings me pleasure, that is only out of narcissism. Writing comes from my muscles. I abandon [jouis] myself to a kind of manual labor. I combine two “arts”: the textual and the graphic.

~ Roland Barthes, from this article on his writings and ideas about "paperwork."
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Last week my previous journal style mysteriously disappeared. Sign of livejournal going tits up? {tm Nikki Wade} So I went back to the boring old style.

Now that Todd Haynes is done with Mildred Pierce, perhaps he could consider a movie version of Highsmith’s The Price of Salt? Angst, period outfits, and I’m sure you can work Julianne Moore in there somewhere (but not as Carol, please). Because after all the films I’ve seen lately, I could use a good lesbian movie. “They don’t exist, THI!” you will say. I think you may be right. There are gleans of hope here and there but—well, let me go through my recent experiences with ladies who munch in movies.

The Black Swan Gets a Room in Rome with Tilda Swinton But Isn't All Right )
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We love you, Liz.

moby-book

Mar. 13th, 2011 10:00 pm
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Toward the end of my college days I did the communal living thing with a bunch of various gays, feminists, artists, and misfits. The house owner was a middle-aged English prof at a community college. He was a very intelligent, well-read guy and as I was an English major, our talks frequently turned to books and what I was reading/studying. How he laughed at me as I suffered through The Faerie Queen—good times! One semester I had an survey of American lit class and one of the short works we read was Melville’s “Benito Cereno.” I expressed admiration of the story. And he told me that as far as Melville was concerned that’s as far as I would go, because “women don’t read Moby-Dick.”

It took a while for me to really lost respect for him, but that was the first fissure in the foundation. Admittedly it took me a good long while to tackle the Great White Whale. Other big books kept getting in the way. Middlemarch. Don Quixote (which I never finished). The Recognitions (which I think is the longest book I’ve read, but aside from the bull sacrifice I don’t remember a damn thing about it…oh God, I hope there’s a bull sacrifice in it, otherwise that means I DON’T REMEMBER ANYTHING ABOUT IT). But a couple months ago I finally conquered the Great White Book (there’s a joke in there somewhere about the whiteness of the American literary canon). And finally I get what all the fuss is about.

But Lord, he do go on about that whale. Well, the whale in a general sense. But in such a pure marriage of poetry and prose that it carries you along, as the Pequod carried its crew to their destiny. It is a purely American book, with rough beauty and the theme of the individual—one man’s driven obsession that governs all, overriding common sense, compassion, property, prosperity, and other people’s lives. It’s the illogical, extreme outcome of the free will that our country so cherishes (and there’s a mini-essay about Charlie Sheen in there somewhere, but Little Lord Douchebag has gotten way too much attention lately, so fuck that). Who else but an American could have written it?

Have I mentioned that I’ve already broken my New Year’s Resolution of not using the word “douchebag” this year? And hundreds of times already? Like multiple times a day? Like even at meetings at work (mainly to annoy an aggravating, prudish coworker)?

Anyway, after I finished Moby-Dick, Mrs. THI congratulated me with a kiss and this: “Now you can go back to finishing Proust!” But I think I will save Proust for retirement.

I wanted to write more here, mainly about writing and The Kids Are All Right, but I think I’ll save that for another post. The Girl Scout cookies are calling.

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