“We are not idealized wild things.
We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”
Joan Didion, The Year Of Magical Thinking
Read this during a very apt time in my life, and if only I could have a tenth of her wisdom I would be very very happy.
• 25 July 2014
THIS ARTICLE IS GIVING ME LIFE RN. What favourite books say about them.
• 19 July 2014
Lolita – Vladimir Nobokov
I read this at seventeen and was put-off by the disturbing subject matter, but I re-read it this month and I actually loved it -maybe beause I’m now able to better appreciate the delicate craftsmanship of his writing, the way he seduces his reader, deliberately courts us with specific questions of morality. I think the reason why this book is so important, is Nobokov’s ability to align it’s readers with Humbert Humbert line of thinking. There are a lot of references in the beginning to Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “Annabel Lee” trying to inject an element of innocent purity to this romantic rhetoric of a doomed love and you almost feel compelled to sympathize with Humbert Humbert, and justify his despicable actions. It is only taking a step back from the book do you realize the disturbing nature of the subject, one has been simply glossed over because you are swept away by his sensuous almost poetry-like prose, which is proof of his finesse as an author. You also can’t help but wonder about the placement of Nobokov in the novel, the blurring of the narrative layers and the way he perhaps crosses them.
• 15 July 2014
It has been your skin since January
and I have nothing to show for it
rising like electrodes on my chest.
There is never
any sugar under my clothes
though I promised sweetness each time;
like my body could become
could be repeated and never lose meaning.
When we wait for each other we do not know,
the ship has sunk, the train has left;
a disdain born overnight.
Just new blood in new places,
the narrow stairs and the lock I forgot how to open.
• 1 July 2014
Two nights ago she’d yanked my hair into a tight shape underneath her, my mouth opened and pressed against the pillows. I froze, not knowing if I should’ve wormed out of her grip because I couldn’t figure out if I was really turned on or slightly afraid. There are moments when my body feels like it registers those two emotions as the same thing, with the same kind of physical manifestations. I sweat, my heart races, I shake and I forget how to breathe. She slid her palm along the base of my skull to pull me in for a kiss. I felt like tissue crumpled against her and let out a sigh that travelled to my toes.
• 30 June 2014
A lot of the time in the hospital waiting rooms mean’s I’ve had more time set aside to read. Not sure why I was suddenly in the mood for dystopian classics this month, I actually hated Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood which I read when I was younger, but I’m so glad I gave this two books another go.
1984 - George Orwell
Embarrassingly have had this book for awhile but never touched it and when I finally did, I read it in one sitting. (full disclaimer: I don’t know why I kept picturing xx as kaya scodelario which certainly helped) but on a serious note, this book kind of launched the entire concept of ‘Big Brother’ into our social consciousness, and the ideas of mind-control to the extreme, that all original thought had to be eliminated was severely fascinating. I honestly can’t rec it enough. The kind of details in this kind of help you picute an entirely new frightening social construct which at first seem completely ridiculous, but you get taken along the journey with the protaganist and begin to realize the complete inevitability of his course.
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Thinking about the themes in 1984 while delving into this book was great, just because of contrast between and the eutopia/dystopia ideas of both books. The idea of commodifying everything, the pure excess of the world which allows everything to loose meaning is a novel concept that Huxley puts forth, that gets you to think about everything from sexualization of humans to the dismantling of human connection and relationships.
Also slightly off topic, but along the same vein, I highly recommend the british mini-series Black Mirror if your into dystopian creepiness, just because it deals with the prevalence of technology in our daily lives.
• 24 June 2014
I traced circles in the sand with my toes, distractedly read the same sentence of my book thrice before I give up completely. I watched you from my sun lounger instead. The stretch of beach is studded with them, under bright red umbrellas offering some protection from the harsh glare of the sun. I have grown fond of your furrowed brows, as you paddled furiously into the water with great concentration. The waves crashed against the shore amidst the glint from your surfboard. There is a sudden surge forward and you managed to stand for a few seconds, before you toppled into the sea. I could barely suppress my smile from a distance. I was in thrall of you then. There was something about that sun drunk afternoon that left me giddy with the idea of adventure. I think you sensed this, my willingness to shake free from inhibitions, like a dog after a swim.
We rented a bike later, riding through the tiny alleys that snaked from the quieter, hidden pockets of sandy paradise to the dusty, main streets of Kuta, clogged with tourists and dripping in hedonistic excess. Advertisements for cheap backpackers hostels and happy hour tequila shots and magic mushroom smoothies jump out at us. Here everyone is either trying to sell something or is looking to have a good time.
At night we emptied sand from our pockets, shed our clothes onto the hardwood floors. My shoulders are pink and peeling, like a ripe peach from being on the back of the motorcycle too long. You kissed them furtively. I could still smell the coconut-scented sunscreen and salt that clung stubbornly to your skin. You rearranged your limbs and laid your head across my middle. “We should travel all the time, do this forever,” I murmured softly. You started to list out the places we could go next but I wasn’t listening: the hope of it was already swelling in me, fueling a dream.
• 21 May 2014