31 March 2011 @ 11:00 pm
I am really very sad to learn from Mr. Gaiman, among others, about the death of Diana Wynne Jones. She was one of my absolute favourite authors when I was a child and I passionately recommend her books all the time at work. In January I was gripped by a desire to amass a collection of them, with vague intentions to have them at hand for reading out loud should I ever procreate, and I reread a slew of them. They are still absolutely delightful:  smart, witty, heartfelt, magical. I will miss her.
17 November 2010 @ 11:28 pm
"He arrived one day at about three o'clock; everyone was in the fields; he entered the kitchen but at first did not notice Emma; the shutters were closed.Through the slits in the wood, the sun cast over the flagstones long, narrow stripes that broke at the angles of the furniture and trembled on the ceiling. On the table, flies were walking up the used glasses and buzzing as they drowned at the bottom, in the dregs of cider. The daylight that came down the chimney, turning the soot on the fireback to velvet, touched with blue the cold cinders. Between the window and the hearth, Emma was sewing; she was not wearing a scarf, and one could see, on her bare shoulders, little drops of sweat."
Madame Bovary, Flaubert, trans. Lydia Davis

I'm really loving this new translation. I read it years ago but it's a completely different book to me now--age and translation both are factors, I'm sure. (Lonelies:  Edmund got me to read it when I was like thirteen?? maybe fourteen? and though I dutifully ploughed through it meant nothing to me. Far too young.) Flaubert has my brain all atwitter about Realism once more. No coherent thoughts just yet. But how can one begrudge Flaubert his realism when those flies, that velvet soot, are just so perfect?
06 November 2008 @ 02:10 pm

That is all.
04 October 2008 @ 03:14 am
1. THE PUPPY. Who is at this moment sharing my lap with the computer, dreaming with his eyes half-open. His eyes are beautiful, jade-coloured, and I can see them flickering back and forth, making his eyebrows jump:  classic REM. Also, he's legtwitching and snuffling.  My heart, it overflows.

2. Dear Virginia. This is from Mrs. Dalloway:

"She would not say of anyone in the world now that they were this or were that. She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always felt it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. …She knew nothing; no language; no history; she scarcely read a book now, except memoirs in bed; and yet to her it was absolutely absorbing; all this; the cabs passing; and she would not say of Peter, she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that."
03 October 2008 @ 02:47 am
I am so fucking terrified about the outcome of this election that I can't even talk about it like a normal rational person. The insta-stomachache and panicky racing of my rabbity heart whenever anyone says "Palin" distracts me & I get too scared to even pinpoint what it is about them that I find so deeply frightening. This is what I get for trying to be politically aware and responsible:  an ulcer and a constant sense of forthcoming doom.
19 August 2008 @ 03:09 pm
"All men are deceived by the appearances of things, even Homer himself, who was the wisest man in Greece; for he was deceived by boys catching lice:  they said to him, 'What we have caught and what we have killed we have left behind, but what has escaped us we bring with us.'"

This is the epigraph to W. S. Merwin's The Lice, which has been one of my staple late-night poetry reads this summer.
18 August 2008 @ 01:49 am

Blind children playing hide-and-seek. Found here. See also:  Blind Children Studying the Hippopotamus, Blind Children Studying the Globe.

Annie Dillard in her essay "Seeing," reporting on Space and Sight, a case-study of the newly-sighted (by means of cataract-removal surgery), by Marius von Senden:

Many newly sighted people speak well of the world, and teach us how dull is our own vision. To one patient, a human hand, unrecognized, is "something bright and then holes." Shown a bunch of grapes, a boy calls out, "It is dark, blue and shiny....It isn't smooth, it has bumps and hollows." A little girl visits a garden. "She is greatly astonished, and can scarcely be persuaded to answer, stands speechless in front of the tree, which she only names on taking hold of it, and then as 'the tree with the lights in it.'" ... One girl was eager to tell her blind friend that "men do not really look like trees at all," and astounded to discover that her every visitor had an utterly different face. Finally, a twenty-two-old girl was dazzled by the world's brightness and kept her eyes shut for two weeks. When at the end of that time she opened her eyes again, she did not recognize any objects, but, "the more she now directed her gaze upon everything about her, the more it could be seen how an expression of gratification and astonishment overspread her features; she repeatedly exclaimed: 'Oh God! How beautiful!'"

Everyone who hasn't already should probably seek out and immediately read this essay. You will find it in Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek.
11 August 2008 @ 11:33 pm

My heart’s aflutter!
I am standing in the bath tub
crying. Mother, mother
who am I? If he
will just come back once
and kiss me on the face
his coarse hair brush
my temple, it’s throbbing!

then I can put on my clothes
I guess, and walk the streets.

I love you. I love you,
but I’m turning to my verses
and my heart is closing
like a fist.

Words! be
sick as I am sick, swoon,
roll back your eyes, a pool,

and I’ll stare down
at my wounded beauty
which at best is only a talent
for poetry.

Cannot please, cannot charm or win
what a poet!
and the clear water is thick

with bloody blows on its head.
I embraced a cloud,
but when I soared
it rained.

That’s funny! there’s blood on my chest
oh yes, I’ve been carrying bricks
what a funny place to rupture!
and now it is raining on the ailanthus
as I step out onto the window ledge
the tracks below me are smoky and
glistening with a passion for running
I leap into the leaves, green like the sea

Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.

— Frank O’Hara

27 July 2008 @ 01:47 am
Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned:
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned.
"The Sisters of Mercy," Leonard Cohen
15 May 2008 @ 05:41 am
I just turned in my last essay of my undergraduate schooling. I guess my graduation isn't official til I get the diploma, but it feels pretty real right now.

I'm confused.
16 April 2008 @ 10:33 pm

I still have over 500 photos from my Europe trip unprocessed and sitting around on computer storage. Most of them are pretty similar -- I became obsessed with headless statues and took several hundred photos of them in museums all across italy -- but there are some gems that I discover each time I open up the folder to resize and crop one or two a month.
14 February 2008 @ 12:24 am
“I know we're not saints or virgins or lunatics; we know all the lust and lavatory jokes, and most of the dirty people; we can catch buses and count our change and cross the roads and talk real sentences. But our innocence goes awfully deep, and our discreditable secret is that we don't know anything at all, and our horrid inner secret is that we don't care that we don't.”
—Dylan Thomas
17 November 2007 @ 05:34 pm
seaweed on a sunset beach

"I have a superficial, decorative concept of deep love and its useful employment. I am subject to visual passions. I keep whole a heart given over to unreal destinies."
--The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa

"I enjoy using words. Or rather: I enjoy making words work. For me words are tangible bodies, visible sirens, sensualities made flesh. Perhaps because real sensuality has no interest for me whatsoever--not even in thoughts or dreams--desire has become transmuted into the part of me that creates verbal rhythms or hears them in other people's speech. I tremble if I hear someone speak well."
--The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa

It's really sort of devastating and wonderful both at once that I find expressions of my deep secret inner soul on nearly every single page of this book. Wonderful because, well, obviously such a thing is wonderful. Devastating because it's such a nihilistic and depressing text -- not always, but often. 
"'The world is certainly a small place,' she said.

'What makes you say that?'

'I mean sudden,' Frankie said. 'The world is certainly a sudden place.'"
    -The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers

Dream Song 77
Seedy Henry rose up shy in de world
& shaved & swung his barbells, duded Henry up
and p.a.’d poor thousands of persons on topics of grand
moment to Henry, ah to those less & none.
Wif a book of his in either hand
he is stript down to move on.

—Come away, Mr. Bones.

—Henry is tired of the winter,
& haircuts, & a squeamish comfy ruin-prone proud national
mind, Spring (in the city so called).
Henry likes Fall.
Hé would be prepared to li­ve in a world of Fall
for ever, impenitent Henry.
But the snows and summers grieve & dream;

these fierce & airy occupations, and love,
raved away so many of Henry’s years
it is a wonder that, with in each hand
one of his own mad books and all,
ancient fires for eyes, his head full
& his heart full, he’s making ready to move on.
--John Berryman


(sometimes in the dark I see cities in my cigarettes)
19 September 2007 @ 01:32 am
simply a skyCollapse )

I miss Wyoming skies. California just isn't the same -- probably the lack of wide empty space, the constant foggy claustrophobia of the air. I like to go to the Berkeley Marina just for the air -- heavy with salt, but cold, and windy enough that it feels like it's cleaning your spirit.

It's easy to be nostalgic for a place when you're no longer there.
Listening: chopin nocturne #21 (have I ever mentioned my adoration of chopin?)
11 September 2007 @ 02:03 am


Lesson well learned.
08 September 2007 @ 04:52 pm
Madeleine L'Engel died on Thursday.  

This makes me very sad! I say we should all reread A Wrinkle In Time this weekend. I, for one, haven't read it in roughly twelve years. I can't think of a better way to mark an author's passing, even a childhood author with whom you haven't spoken in over a decade, than by reading her work.
05 September 2007 @ 10:36 pm
"Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader's recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book's truth." -- Proust

p.s. I FUCKING HATE SCHOOL. And everyone in it. God save me.
04 September 2007 @ 12:56 am
At some point this summer I fell out of the habit of writing down snippets from books. I hadn't even realized it, it was just something that slipped away. Only tonight, searching through two different notebooks for a perfect turn of phrase that I only vaguely remember and thought for sure I must have recorded, did I discover this. All I find are a few fragments of poems, several straight pages from Mrs. Dalloway, and this:

"Now, I believe that all troubles come from the misconception that human brains are located in the head. They are not: human brains are blown in by the winds from somewhere around the Caspian Sea."
"The Diary of a Madman," Gogol

So it would seem.
07 August 2007 @ 10:19 pm
“He did not know how wide a country, arid and precipitous, must be crossed before the traveller through life comes to an acceptance of reality. It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who look back upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life.”
 — Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham


Back in the bay area and feeling far too much like Maugham's Philip Carey in my inability to go into public without wanting to claw my face off with anxiety every time someone looks at me. Over-identification with fictional characters is vicious.
Listening: visions of johanna
"300 BC. The Ptolomies founded the great library at Alexandria.

400,000 volumes in vertiginous glory.

The Alexandrians employed climbing boys much in the same way as the Victorians employed sweeps. Unnamed bipeds, light as dust, gripping with swollen fingers and toes, the nooks and juts of sheer-faced walls.

To begin with, the shelves had been built around wide channels that easily allowed for a ladder, but, as the library expanded, the shelves contracted, until the ladders themselves splintered under the pressure of so much knowledge. Their rungs were driven into the sides of the shelves with such ferocity that all the end-books were speared in place for nine hundred years.

What was to be done? There were scribes and scholars, philosophers and kings, travellers and potentates, none of whom could now take down a book beyond the twentieth shelf. It soon became true that the only books of any interest were to be found above shelf twenty-one.

It was noticed that the marooned rungs still formed a crazy and precarious ascent between the dizzy miles of shelves. Who could climb them? Who would dare?

--Art and Lies, Jeanette Winterson

(No, I feel no guilt about typing up two and a half pages from this book. But I will take it down if anyone complains.)
08 July 2007 @ 01:16 pm
I keep trying to think of interesting things to say here, but I never can. It's been so very long since I've written here regularly that I have no idea what to say or how to begin to say it. You all are strangers to me, and that idea gives me performance anxiety or something. So how about a picture of Venice's San Marco instead of a proper entry?

The Duomo is pretty too. If you like these types of vaguely mass-produced tourist photos.
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25 June 2007 @ 10:48 pm
Lately I am constantly aware of my toenails. I can feel them growing. All the time. I check them first thing every morning when I wake up because I can never quite believe that they haven't grown into talons in the night.

I don't think I would find this as disturbing as I do if I had the same awareness about my fingernails. But I have never felt them grow. They don't seem to grow at all anymore.


I turned twenty-one last friday. If I think hard enough about it, I can almost convince myself that I feel different.


I've been playing at being a paralegal secretary this summer. I answer the phone upwards of fifty times a day and because of this I almost never actually answer my own phone anymore; I just can't bear the sound of ringing by the time that I leave work, so I usually turn it down. If I have missed your calls or not returned them, I apologize. I do love you anyway.
21 May 2007 @ 11:50 pm
My summer plans on Bainbridge Island fell through spectacularly on the fourth morning we were there, so forget everything that I said about coffee and chatter -- I am back in Wyoming. I may or may not put the full story up here. Who cares, really? The most basic way of telling it is that E. and I had a disagreement with the woman whose house we were staying at and she evicted us immediately. We drove back down to Oakland the next day -- thirty hours of driving in five days. I didn't have money to stay in the bay area, so I came home. Hopefully I can find as many jobs as possible and just work constantly.

I think that, in order to survive a summer at home, I must devote myself to writing fleets and fleets of emails and letters. And reading. Lots and lots and lots of reading.
11 May 2007 @ 07:47 am
I am going to be in Seattle for the summer starting TOMORROW (!!!) and going until mid august. If anyone is in the area and wants to meet for coffee, drop me a line, though I don't know that I'll have internet access at the house I'll be staying until June.

I'll be on Bainbridge Island, actually. Should be good.
25 April 2007 @ 09:35 pm
Today was really great.

I got out of bed very early to skip class and go to Nordstrom.

I feel a bit distraught because I am out of cigarettes and nicotine withdrawal is making my ears itch.

Last night I had to finish my term paper on the history of pre-communist Russian society. I focussed on the needs of women. I think it's ok, but if I don't pass this I'll lose my scholarship.

I want to tell the world that I love you all! You're all so special to me!

I am updating this journal for the first time in ages because I've been in prison.

I went to the doctor yesterday and he said I have a terrible skin disease which prevents me from coming into contact with other human beings. And bipolar disorder.

That's enough for now. But I'll leave you with the assurance that I am indeed alive and will post something real soon.

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Feeling: lazy
29 March 2007 @ 12:04 am
I have recently decided that the key to my survival really does lie in poetry. Reading, not writing. Today on the steps in the sun reading Frank O'Hara and reveling in his joyfulness I thought this, this, this is it! and I forgot to be afraid.


But tonight I started crying as I sat outside in the dark reading Laura (Riding) Jackson and I couldn't tell -- was it because of the poetry, or not having talked to my grandmother in a month, or the fat possum snuffling across the courtyard, or my aloneness?
21 March 2007 @ 10:05 pm

For anyone who's interested, I have been sorting through a lot of my Europe photos and adding bunches of them to my flickr account.
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