Sunday, March 24, 2013



I turn sixteen. Not four or twenty, but somewhere in between;
a grown fern, a gold flare: I feel bold and already very old.

I have sixteen years of thoughts and fears behind me (mountain and sea):
all well-wrought and welded knots on an ongoing seam.


I have around 100 pages left for Love in the Time of Cholera, and I will stomach another 50 before bed tonight, hopefully.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

At nightfall, at the oppressive moment of transition, a tender breath of human sht, warm and sad, stirred the certainty of death in the depths of one's soul

I've had a wreck of a week, but my test-streak just ended so I'm about to go on a serious reading rampage. I'm currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; this is a book I considered picking up a while ago but could not stand. Now, I'm hooked.

It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.

How poignant, right??
[note from the future: I've just finished the book and Daza and Ariza meet under an almond tree... almonds this brilliant first sentence did have foreshadowing intentions]
So far so good - Urbino is a fascinating (but not very likable) character. He is a self-deemed devoted catholic, he hates animals (yet tolerates a parrot? Further expatiation on the parrot's significance will come later), and he seems to live off his reputation (background information: he was a doctor and is now incredibly wealthy). He is also a health-nut and at 81 years of age, is obsessed with longevity (and due to this he has sketchy medicinal routines) which is interesting because the book opens with the suicide of one of Urbino's close friends, Jeremiah Saint-Amour, who was determined to die at age 60; I'll delve into this as the book progresses.

The setting of this novel is relevant; it's a colonial city ("illusion of memory") and although Urbino (who lives in more of a high-profile residential area) is detached from it, after reading Jeremiah's note he is obliged to plunge into "the city drowned in memories." So, there is a sense of readers being taken back in time, back into the time of cholera...

Urbino despises animals yet diligently trains a parrot who is afforded "privileges that no one else in the family ever had." Many would visit Urbino to hear his talented parrot sing. Even after the parrot refused to sing for the president (why?), it still maintains its privileges. Why, why why? We'll find out.

LOVE is going to be a theme astoundingly expressed in this novel, I can foresee it... readers are already exposed to the relationship between Urbino and his wife which seems to be a "mutual dependence [... more based] on convenience" that with the decline of age, has also declined "beyond the reach of pity." Their gravest argument was over soap - Urbino's wife will not back down. Their love is "mythical and perverse" (the word 'darkness' is stressed many times in the passage that explores their relationship); how does the love between Jeremiah and his lover differ? We will find out.

OK enough vague rambling, off to read now...

Friday, March 15, 2013

I don't want to be a good man... I want to be a great one


I just got back from watching Oz: the Great and Powerful (aka much needed Franco time, aka much needed diversion, aka much needed reassurance of the legitimacy of 3D in film).

Time seriously whizzes by; I remember when there only existed a frail IMBD page of this movie, and now it's out! Next thing you know the movie adaptation of Child of God (seriously two of my favorite people smushed in one; Franco + McCarthy) will be out! Next thing you know I'll be 50! Lord.

Anyway, first off: THE SOUNDTRACK IS MARVELOUS! At times it resonates with the Star Wars theme, and even (strange: this could be just me) One Day More, but all in all it is extremely Elfman-ish (listen to the Charlotte's Web score and you'll understand) and he did a beautiful job incorporating circus-like/spooky/new-world elements into the score.

Music is fantastically used in this movie; Oz begins with his lame music box that 'his grandmother gave to him' and then we delve deeper into Oz, where the lilly pads resemble piano keys and the vines are wind chimes.

THE MAIN IDEA: Nothing is what it seems to be
Then entire world of Oz is proof enough of this theory - it is implied that Franco Oz winds up there after yelling at the heavens to give him a chance (which was a line, I must say, Franco could have put more effort into delivering). And it just so happens to be named after him, just so happens to offer the opportunities he did not have in 'real life' (fabulous parallels between Annie & Glenda, wooing May (!!!!!!!) and Theodora, not being able to help the little girl walk yet curing the China Girl...).

So nothing is what it seems to be! Glenda seems like the witch of death until she takes off her dreaded cloak (but to be honest, I always thought there was something sketchy about green-sequin-clad Rachel Weisz/Evanora). The China girl seems teeny weeny until she single-handedly delivers the magic wand to Glenda. Oz seems like all he desires is gold until he pulls his greatest act. And... what is the land of Oz? Just a figment of Oz's imagination to seize the girl of his dreams and become the great (or as Glenda later puts it, good) man he always wanted to be? Side note: the battle over greatness/goodness is a discussion for a later time; I think I touched on it enough in my East of Eden review.

Then again...

It is what it is if you believe it to be.

And this is the entire point of Oz sustaining his wizard status, and his purpose for remaining in Oz.

Overall, this movie was wonderful! Yes, this is a biased James Franco fan speaking. Still, the 3D was incredible at times (HONESTLY), the entire cinematic scope (the bubbles, the colors, the magical land of Oz) was beautiful, and the story was extremely well-rounded. It had all the necessary ups/downs/plot exploits.  Fantastic use of special effects (the opening credits especially)! Mila Kunis, may I add, was a fabulous screecher. 

There are many reasons to watch this movie - Franco  to admire the special effects used is definitely the top of the list! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Where can I go?

So many exciting things are happening -
1) 'Once I was an Eagle' confirmed release = May 27th (!!!)

This sounds exactly like Laura Marling (I mean, it is her but still), I'm thrilled.

3) I've discovered the glories of online-shopping.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Perfect rhyming

The great bronze gate began to crack
The sea broke in at every crack,
Pellmell, blueblack.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

2 reasons why Tchaikovsky is THE MAN

Metaphors are dangerous. Love begins with a metaphor.

I finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being! There were moments when I found it unbearable (ha...ha ha) and also times when I was blown away by it.

Something you should know about this book - Deep, deep, deep.
This is the recurring question throughout:

The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
All the characters are either light/heavy or torn between both. It's interesting.

So be prepared to come across the words 'unbearable,' 'weight,' and 'lightness,' MANY times.

Overall, I didn't really 'get' this book - I didn't love it, did not have the spirit to delve into it, but it definitely DOES express very profound ideas (perhaps if I reread in a couple year times I'll see it in another light). The conciseness with which Kundera expresses these ideas through his book is one of its most noticeable traits; personally, I prefer it when writers churn out/explore ideas a tad more clearly in their books.

Nonetheless, there was this SWELL CHAPTER on kitsch -

"kitsch is the absolute denial of shit both in the literal and figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence."

I generally have issues with profanity in literature (it's a besmirching of the English language; see quote 3 paragraphs below that rejects this, though) but then again there have been time when it is used so appropriately/perfectly (e.g. Of Mice and Men, Fraction of the Whole, etc.) so when shit popped up I thought I'd read on... and it was absolutely worth it!

 Kitsch (I understand that there are more connotations now, though) is the act of not accepting that life sucks... Sabina lives with the old couple, listens to beautiful music, and in that moment, is undergoing Kitsch, but as Kundera explains, this is inevitable as kitsch is an "integral part of the human condition."

Then, he started talking about TOTALITARIAN KITSCH which is a lot more complicated but basically the communist sense of it - individualism, doubt and irony banished.

You can't claim that shit is immoral, after all! The objection to shit is a metaphysical one. The daily defecation session is daily proof of the unacceptability of Creation. Either/or: either shit is acceptable (in which case don't lock yourself in the bathroom!) or we are created in an unacceptable manner.

In conclusion: Didn't particularly connect with this novel but it is written fluidly and has a brilliant chapter on Kitsch.

Currently: Listening to the Return of the King soundtrack (I'VE MISSED IT) and re-reading Sylvia Plath (despite my 3 month no-intense-Plath rule, because her depression is a tad contagious). This is the 2nd time this anthology has sat in my home but I'm reading it in a different light... I'm noticing new rhyme schemes (and being mind-blown, yes)... so many soft constants and "liquid vowels" as Ted Hughes eloquently put it.

Rediscovering my old favorites, like Daddy and Lady Lazarus (more recent, yes), but
IS INCREDIBLE; I DIDN'T LOVE IT THIS MUCH BEFORE! Perfect puns everywhere, so delicate (yet strong, esp. the 1st one); love it.
Hearing a white saint rave
About a quintessential beauty
Visible only to the pargon heart,
I tried my sight on an apple-tree
That for eccentric knob and wart
Had all my love.