28 June 2009

Life baffles me sometimes...

(photo from here)

Sometimes I wish I were a more simple person.  I know that along with that simplicity would be a lack of intellect, a lack of my staunch morality, a lack of my artistic soul (necessarily tortured).  However, sometimes I still wish that I could be the type of person who was just...satisfied.  I push people until their noses are pressed against their limits, and they resent me for it; I love intensely, from the very beginning, and I flow where my passion takes me; I always want more and better and therefore I am inherently dissatisfied with what I see; I leap where I should be taking baby steps.  I sympathize with Katie (K-K-K-Katie), but remember, Katie is left for the simple girl at the end...Do the simple girls always win?  Do people not want to be around the complicated girl?  Can't I just be simple for a day and try it on for size?

Wendy: I think you have, Peter. And I daresay you've felt it yourself. For something... or... someone? 
Peter: Never. Even the sound of it offends me. 
Peter: Why do you have to spoil everything? We have fun, don't we? I taught you to fly and to fight. What more could there be? 
Wendy: There is so much more. 
Peter: What? What else is there? 
Wendy: I don't know. I guess it becomes clearer when you grow up. 
Peter: Well, I will not grow up. You cannot make me! 

"If I push too hard it's because I want things to be better, I want us to be better, I want you to be better. Sure I make waves you have I mean you have to. And I'll keep making them till your everything you should be and will be. You'll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much!"
~the way we were~

"You're always begging things to love you as if you were a beggar for love. Even the flowers, you have to fawn on them - You don't want to love - your eternal and abnormal craving is to be loved. You aren't positive, you're negative. You absorb, absorb, as if you must fill yourself up with love, because you've got a shortage somewhere."
~d.h. lawrence, sons and lovers

24 June 2009

Oh, literary humor...

I've been writing a lot about literature, I've noticed, but that's because I'm waist deep in graduate school and have noticed that I write so much more articulately than I speak!  It's like my blog is my chance to have a do-over for all of the inane comments I make in class.  Today in class I mentioned McSweeney's, which is an incredible literary magazine edited by Dave Eggers.  I believe that it's released quarterly, but the website is updated almost daily with clever, hilarious writing that both celebrates and satirizes the inner literature dork.  Here is a little snippet:




- - - -


(SLATER enters the living room of the perpetually dark three-bedroom house he sublets with ZACK and SCREECH. He wears flared warm-up pants, a neon spandex tank top, and horn-rimmed glasses, and his hair is tied in a ponytail.)

SLATER: Did you do the Milton reading for our Early Modern seminar, preppy?

(ZACK sits on a futon under framed posters of T.S. Eliot, John Cheever, and Bret Easton Ellis.)

ZACK: Just because I'm writing my dissertation on the anxiety of influence of Tender Is the Night on Richard Yates's midcareer short fiction doesn't mean I'm a preppy, you medievalist.

SLATER: Yeah—and Screech isn't a dweeb for studying the intersection of science and the gothic novel during the 18th century and its relation to Pynchonesque paranoia.

(SCREECH crawls out from under a mountain of library books, simultaneously reading an academic book on leeches and a heavily dog-eared copy of Gravity's Rainbow.)

SCREECH: Hey, is someone talking about me?!

(A loud, impatient knock at the door.)

ZACK: Here's an Austinian performative utterance: "Come in!"

SCREECH: Technically, "I am coming in" would be the performative utterance, or illocutionary act.

(SLATER smacks SCREECH on the head.)

SLATER: "I am hitting you." How's that for an illocutionary act?

SCREECH: According to the Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, pretty accurate ... and hard!

(JESSIE opens the door. She's clad in a black leather jacket, her hair is cut short and jagged and is dyed blue, and she's chain-smoking Marlboros.)

JESSIE: (Excitedly.) I'm so stressed; I have two papers due tomorrow; I need some whiskey.

ZACK: Jessie, you're not back on those caffeine pills, are you?

JESSIE: No, why?

ZACK: I want to give a few to Nerdstrom; I need him to be sharp: he's writing my application to the Fitzgerald conference in Maryland for me, in exchange for being introduced to some girls in the sculpture program at the next Graduate Council mixer.

JESSIE: Ugh, Fitzgerald. You boys and your reverence for dead white males. What chauvinist pigs.

SLATER: Oink, oink, mama. And I mean that in the most Orwellian and neo-Freudian senses.

ZACK: As Henri Bergson might say, "Time-out!" Can you two ever have a conversation without it devolving into a dispute over phallologocentrism?

(LISA pokes her head in the window, struggling to get through with her Afro.)

LISA: Salaam alaikum, brothers and sister. My Shakespeare study group meets in an hour—what can I say about othering and the male gaze in Othello?

SCREECH: Well, Stephen Greenblatt argues that homosocial tensions in the Globe Theatre may have contributed to—

ZACK: No, you homophone—the male G-A-Z-E, not G-A-Y-S.

(KELLY joins the group. Her ripped T-shirt reads "FREE MUMIA.")

KELLY: Are you guys busy?

JESSIE: "Guys"?

KELLY: Sorry. I could use your opinions on the title for my colloquium presentation: "Disco Balls and Lyricless Synthesizer Music: A Situationist Critique of the Prom in Post-Vietnam Literature."

ZACK: Who cares? It's happy hour at the Max—let's toast to Bacchus like the Lost Generation 2.0 we are.

SLATER: I hope we don't run into Department Chair Belding there.

JESSIE: That guy is so creepy—I still can't believe he joined an accelerated Ph.D. program at Stansbury, followed us all out to Berkeley, and somehow politically maneuvered to become head of the English Department.

LISA: He's such an imperialist oppressor—a Kipling without conscience. And no fashion sense at all with that tired, leather-patched corduroy jacket from 1973.

KELLY: He always hits on me by reciting the same Marvell poem and asking if I want to work with him on an independent study—gross!

SCREECH: Compared to him, I'm a regular Dom Juan!

SLATER: Yeah, what a knavish, elf-witted coxcomb.

(They repair to the Max. After several pitchers of PBR, ZACK sleeps with KELLY [the audience oohs] and asks her not to tell anyone, SLATER and JESSIEget in a fight over gender essentialism before sleeping together [the audience oohs again], and SCREECHunsuccessfully attempts to woo LISA with his postcolonial reading of The Tempest before dropping out and returning to Bayside High to teach ninth-grade English.)

22 June 2009

For liberty

I don't know if it's that I've been reading The Awakening again and that I keep sensing feverish emotions blowing over me like the mist from the sea...but lately I've been feeling restless to the point of anguish.  Tonight in class I could barely keep still.  I felt like a bird's wings were beating against my skull.  A firefly shaking the lid of a mason jar.  I hope my spirit will level off soon, because this bird is starting to give me a migraine!  My head is too small for so many ribbons of thought.  I know it's the English teacher in me, but I can't help thinking of Jane Eyre, longing for liberty and pacing her balcony...

"I could not help it; the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes.  Then my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third story, backwards and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind's eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it-- and, certainly, they were many and glowing; to let my heart be heaved by the exultant movement, which, while it swelled it in trouble, expanded it with life; and, best of all, to open my inward ear to a tale that was never ended-- a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence."
~jane eyre~

21 June 2009

"A night scene by El Greco..."

'Nevertheless you did throw me over,' said Jordan suddenly.  'You threw me over on the telephone.  I don't give a damn about you now, but it was a new experience for me, and I felt dizzy for a while.'
We shook hands.
'Oh, and do you remember' --she added-- 'a conversation we had once about driving a car?'
'Why-- not exactly.'
'You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver?  Well, I met another bad driver, didn't I?  I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess.  I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person.  I thought it was your secret pride.'
'I'm thirty,' I said.  'I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.'
She didn't answer.  Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away."
~the great gatsby~

(I know that I shouldn't let it get to me, I know that I should get on with my life, but I do feel thrown over.  I feel like I met a bad driver in the guise of a promise-making curly-haired bronze statue of a man...)

16 June 2009

One more night, I dreamed it was a good one

Try as he might he's unable to speak
He grabs her by the hair, he strokes her on the cheek
The bed is unmade like everything is
Dark little heaven at the top of the stairs
Take me like that, ruin it all
Then build it again by the light in the hall...
(photos are not by me!)
(oh, and New Guy disappeared.  Poof, like that...)

09 June 2009

"When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire"

This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin
Tried to reach deep but you couldn't get in
Now you're outside me
You see all the beauty
Repent all your sin
It's nothing but time and a face that you lose
I chose to feel it and you couldn't choose
I'll write you a postcard
I'll send you the news
From a house down the road from real love...
Live through this, and you won't look back...
Live through this, and you won't look back...
Live through this, and you won't look back...

please come together and tie a forget-me-(k)not...

08 June 2009

failure at life

I've really done it this time.  Seriously, I have screwed up so badly that I don't know if there's recovery from this one.  In the last few days I have disgraced my self-esteem, damaged my ex-love's opinion of me, and seriously threatened the new love interest's chances of sticking around.
A bit of background on the new guy (who very well might not be the new guy anymore after my display of freakishness): we met about 10 days ago and as of Friday had already been on 3 dates.  He's successful and sweet and was seemingly crazy about me until lukewarm actions made me wonder how someone's feelings could change so drastically in just 2 days.  Did we have an expedited honeymoon phase that is now over?  Or am I just being overanalytical and interpreting all of his actions as pulling away?  Maybe by freaking out about something nonexistent I am actually creating the problem?
My thoughts are getting all muddled and turning into babbling, which is definitely not one of my most attractive qualities.  I also, when overwhelmed (such as I was when meeting the friends on Friday), tend to turn into Prim Polly.  My teacher persona comes out with a vengeance, and suddenly I'm a Victorian in the midst of a bunch of Elizabethan rabble-rousers.  I even found myself, on Saturday morning after spending the night, launching into a nerves-induced explanation of the difference between an adjective and an adverb.  Yes, I know he loves Mad Libs, but still, that does not mean that he loves grammar dorks.  And yes, I know that whoever I'm with should love me for me, but it's been ten days, and I think my dorkdom may be something that needs to be eased into.  Lord knows he has his dorky, sensitive side too, but lately it just seems to be overshadowed by his equivalent love for playoff sports and beer.  
Maybe it's one too many viewings of He's Just Not That Into You, maybe it's watching all of my friends in happy, healthy relationships, but I have come to believe that if I'm not number 1 or 2 on a guy's priority list, and this does apply to the very beginning of relationships as well, then he's not really interested in me.  This guy could not get enough of me last week, and I was walking around as if I were walking on clouds.  Suddenly he's so busy that we'll have to play it by ear whether we can see each other this week.  If he were really interested, wouldn't he make time?  Or does that rule not apply to the beginning of relationships, when everything is still so raw, fresh, and vulnerable?  
With all of these thoughts in my head and my anxieties about New Guy's seeming about-face from Saturday morning's cuddles, drive home, and kiss goodbye, I proceeded to make the stupidest choice ever on Sunday afternoon, and now I can't shake the guilt and the feeling that I cosmically ruined the would-be-magical by tainting it.  And I've shaken up three people's feelings in the process.
What did I do that was so destructive and stupid?  Exbf was in town.  Is that enough?  And yes, one thing did lead to another, and yes, afterward (even though this has been happening for years now) I felt dirty, ashamed, borderline unfaithful (even though New Guy and I have no arrangement), and confused.  I also realized that I'm no longer in love with Exbf-- afterward, all I could think about was how I felt that my actions might ruin things with New Guy, whom I really like.  I know that these are two separate incidents, but my brain merged the two and not only do I feel like my messed-up actions have destroyed any chances of success with New Guy, but I have also hurt Exbf, who means the world to me.  My words caused him pain, and I feel terrible about that-- I don't think that he wanted to feel that the love that had been a given for so long was now ranked lower in importance than something burgeoning and uncertain.
I know this is a lot of personal information, dear readers, but I don't know who else to turn to.  I feel like an utter failure at life, and if things don't work out with New Guy, I feel that it must be something that I did, whether my dorkiness, my cosmic screw-up, or my urge to fix said cosmic screw-up by being in contact all of the time and eliminating any chance of the chase.

What to do?  Sometimes I think that my desire for everything to come together leads for me to destroy everything I have...

"Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword!"
~Oscar Wilde~