So why does Tourmaline start a post on April 12, and only continue it in May? Because Tourmaline has, wonder of wonders, been writing. Actually proper writing, not blogging, emailing, putting up forum posts, but working on my Theocracy story and reminding myself why I am in love with at least one of my characters (I love all of them, that's why they are my characters, but this one I especially love. My dream man. Athaira, he is not a white-collar mathematician crimelord, but he is the equivalent in that world... You know who he is, I sent you the draft.)
I got a rush of beautiful creation at the dialogue and the paragraphs - and then I offered to show it to Concolor. I have given up on him now; he has not read it. Concolor is useless. And I find it amusing to note my transition from 11-year-old "I zealously guard my treasured writings" "Touch apply, and I swear that you will die" to the 20-21-year-old who, like Pushkin, seeks out a neighbour and "choke him with a tragedy in a corner." Comment, comment, tell me! Acknowledge, I am a writer of staggering genius. Or at least, offer me the wonderful constructive criticism that I love Shilhak-Inshushinak for, and indicate to me where, despite being a writer of staggering genius, I cannot speak English, or my characters are completely fictitious and bear no resemblance to any person living or dead. I will grit my teeth, exorcise, and laugh afterwards.
To exercise while exorcising is very useful.
Irene has waxed eloquent about the works of Gene Wolfe - the Book of the New Sun - for a long time. I claimed my state of poverty as an excuse to avoid seeking them out, until at the beginning of May, the idea hit me: "You are bilingual, you fool; get thee to www.lib.ru and see if Gene Wolfe existeth in translation."
He doth. And now I am working through Sword of the Lictor
consumed, even through the veil of a skilled translator's work (at least three skilled translators for the three books so far), with envy and fascination. Let others wax eloquent about the Lord of the Rings
: I have read fantasy and science fiction right, left, and centre, and Urth recaptures a desire I have not felt in a while, jaded and cynical twenty-one-year-old I am.
And (I dent my vow), how did he make a torturer
so darn sexy
I began re-hunting Moshkov's library for the free fantasy that I will probably detest once I get into the making of the rent money from my own books, but love now. In a week, I found that Anne McCaffrey's directory had suddenly vanished. I was shocked; let my brother criticise my taste if he will, I read MCCaffrey for the first time in grade four (outreading my "best friend" at the time, the sister of my later occasional stand partner and the daughter of the man who ran the robotics club at a fellow school) and thus they have become the comforting books for me. Dragonquest
, somehow, is the book I reread when the world is turning inside out. Don't ask me why, something in the meter, I suppose.
And it's gone?
I frantically saved files of a whole bunch of other works while I can, including, although I have not yet attacked them, the entire Riftwar saga of Raymond E. Feist.
I take my vow to not talk about love/sex and throw it at the wall and it takes a green-twig fracture. There is a woman I love. Not in the least bit in a sexual way; being bi would double my chances of a date on a Saturday night, but it is not the way I am. But if I have seen you twice, and talked to you once, and well over a year after that I still plan what to talk about when we meet again, that is love in my book; a girl-crush of helpless worship, of "I want this person to be my friend; I want this person to be me! (I still get my writing and aikido and dance and trivia, of course...)" She was the significant other of a man I had a crush on; not knowing that, he introduced me to her at the Bagelshop. I can pull up, right now, the feeling of a horse kicking me in the solar plexus when the two of them walked in; and, a twenty-minute-long girl talk later, while he politely perused the specials, the feeling that we had so much in common that I loved her too.
And she looked like a girl who had come to buy bagels months before, whose face at the time I did not file in my memory, but who had Magician: Apprentice
under her arm, and I asked her about it, having myself once picked up A Darkness at Sethanon
at a garage sale and never having gotten more than twenty pages in.
"Well," she said, "I love Feist, and so I would recommend him to anyone..."
I do not know if it was the same woman I later loved; she did not have a man with her. But Feist, to me, links together my crazy loves hereafter. My life is woven through with threads of books that are important to me though I did not finish them. Feeling I need to do research
before attempting Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon
led me to The Codebreakers
, to Shannon and information theory, to the idea that math and linguistics can
go together, and to who and what I am today. The Lord of the Rings
: book, movie, French speech, Athaira, Goblin translation, old Gam-Gam, two massive undertakings by the Graphic Arts Club and two respective dinners, a salute for inventing the modern fantasy genre for the rest of us - and unlike everyone else in my known universe, I
like The Silmarillion
These are stories I felt like recording. Why not now?Life without love, without love, without love is not worth living,
An hour without love is an hour, is an hour that time forgot.
We feel good, we feel good, when we are loving and giving,
Even if - they love us not.
Let me tell you a few of the events of April, and since I am insane, I will tell at least one of them in rhyme.One day, in the month of Taurus, under the rule of Ra and Horus,
(And whatever god it is that sends us cold and wind and rain)
My trip to Maryland was ending, when I got an email sending
From Irene: "A trip is pending! I go to Israel again!
Come and hear one last refrain!"There's a store called Shepherd's, fashion, for which Irene has a passion,
And a piece she had a crush on, by a gal named Rita D.
Bracelet 'twas, of turquoise mainly, but Irene had stated plainly
She had coveted insanely that piece for a year or three.
And although I say that mainly it's a style not for me,
'Twas a lovely piece to see.But at Shepherd's worketh there a girl of whom I am aware
That a dialect we share from a land of amber snow.
Seeing Irene dither a while, she showed her a piece in similar style
Such that I could not help a smile; 'twas a merry piece to show.
"Which is better?" "I don't know."Before the mirror pirouetting, with me aiding and abetting,
Irene tried in different settings both the bracelets she desired.
One was class monochromatic; the other whimsical, erratic,
Cheerful, with a bead emphatic... "Which," quoth she, "should I acquire?"
I gave her a look enigmatic: "'Tis you who those beads require."
I'm bad at poker, but no liar.With one my Irene is toying; in the other she is joying...
Till I said: "I'll toss a coin; we'll see what the coin will say.
If both love and logic fails, we'll decide by heads or tails
Which you'll wear at the Wall of Wails, which in Ottawa will stay.
And if both tell you siren tales, well, there's always layaway,"
I gave my dispassioned say.Once, twice, thrice I tossed my penny; Irene cried, "Don't tell me any
Of its answers; 'tis too many chances; sibyl, tell me true."
I regarded her, perusing: "Truly, if I'd had the choosing,
I would take the more amusing. It, I feel, is right for you.
And that's what the coin said, too."So the fun one she was keeping; 'tother stayed in Shepherd's sleeping.
Next day I get a message weeping: "Mother says 'twas the wrong ware!
She said 'tis a crime of passion to buy such a whim of fashion.
In my style I feel it's clashing, and hear not its siren air.
On n'est pas serieuse quand on a dix-sept ans, it doth declare.
Je veux etre serieuse. Quoi faire?"I wrote (though my French be dirty): "Could you name one gal of thirty
Who thinks she should have been more serious and had less fun at seventeen?
Wear it now; it makes me smile; and if you're not happy in a while,
There's a jeweller with a style, a young lady named Kythryne,
Who is known for many a mile for wirework ne'er before seen.
She'll make precious art of turquoise; darling, fear not, there's Kythryne."Irene left for the Holy City, feeling happier and pretty.
As for me, fate had no pity: 'twas the month of The Exam.
The syntax of transformation class had no examination,
To my joy and exultation; but the others: oh god d---.
There were essay expectations in His de Maths: what a sham;
For two years I have shunned essays, and no essayist I am.
On April 11, my brother's birthday (yes, our family had the annoying habit of all being born in April except for my father), I went to aikido again. Oakenshield taught, and put me on fourth-kyu review - sankyo, all the way! I, nervous and concerned, misjudged an atemi, and accidentally clipped Oakenshield on the nose hard enough to dislodge his glasses. I apologised immediately; when I have accidentally punched my brother he has a tendency to be very annoyed indeed, so I have learned the value of apologising immediately, frequently, and profusely when punching someone in the nose. Then I walked with Oakenshield after class, putting in yet another apology and discussing comic book characters, if I recall correctly.
We parted near the university. To get home, I took a favourite shortcut, near the school, having to go through the alleyway between the military buildings and the City Hall. Usually, it is quiet and dark there.
Tonight I saw soldiers running around with rifles, shouting at each other. One of the soldiers was sitting down, with something dark next to him. Pool of blood!
was my first thought, in the shadowy light of the streetlamps. Then I heard the yells "He is neutralised!" and looked closely to realise that, no, it was an M-16 assault rifle he had put down next to him (I later checked with Society Max to make sure the Canadian army does use M-16s; I knew what I saw was not an AK-47, because even in semidarkness I do recall the flag of Mozambique; and I was under the impression Uzis are a little smaller.)
I dismounted from my bike, uncertain.
"Come through, ma'am, it's all right," someone in authority yelled to me.
I walked my bike through, grinning with self-amusement at my adventure of passing through a war game exercise of the Canadian army, and trotted into the turning circle. It was a little after 9 p.m (my walk with Oakenshield had taken its toll on my usual cycling ETA to that point between aikido and home), and three guesses who I see heading to his car, on this hour of this day of all days?
The Dark Lord, for his walking silhouette I would recognise even in the streetlight shadows, turned his head to figure out what the shouting by the military buildings meant. To see a quick-stepping erstwhile volunteer who rarely crosses paths with him at this hour.
"It's a war game," I said. Excellent introduction, strangers in the night.
"It's a war game over there. Hello," I remembered Canadian formalities. Hey, in my world I would rather know what is the meaning behind running shouting soldiers near my place of work, than know that someone acknowledges greeting me.
"How are you?"
"Quite amused at going through a war game."
"Anyone getting shot?"
"No, but some people were neutralised."
"I guess it is a war game then. Have a good evening. Did you join in the fun?"
"No, I was unarmed. I prefer my fighting on equal terms. Have a good evening."
I rode off, giggling at my own evening of practicing torture methods of wrist controls, punching an instructor in the nose, apologising for it, walking through a war game, and meeting another instructor of very different things. Did you join in the fun
, indeed. I love my life.
On Easter Saturday I took the bus to Bayshore shopping centre: just to see what is there, although usually I refuse to go anywhere my bike cannot take me. What I saw there was yet another thing to covet and, on the way back, the Civic Hospital helicopter rising. It took it a long time to get going: first the engines began to whirr, and I stopped to watch, hoping. I was just about to give up when the great propeller blades began to spin, spun, spun, spun, then when I was already getting bored of that, with a light rocking, the helicopter rose from the ground, and I got the same thrill I always get at watching a flying machine, my heart in my mouth, as it described a rising arc to fly away to sick people unknown. I suppose the time saved by taking it compensates for the time lost through getting it going. I rode off singing. I do not know why flying machines - planes, helicopters - drive me wild, no matter what their size. They do. Maybe I was a pilot in a past life. Maybe my father designed helicopter drive shafts.
I spent the rest of my Easter weekend preparing my taxes. Now I want two years' worth of tax refundin', so I gotta learn to do my taxes. It is the
most boring job in the world that I have endured; I can see why professional tax preparers get paid their big bucks, to save the rest of us the boredom. And my taxes even lack the potential to be interesting: "Did you hold foreign property worth more than $100,000 in the past year?" "I wish." "Do you receive benefits as a member of the clergy?" "No." "Do you receive benefits as a member of the military?" "No."
Then I went to Magpie Rideau, as I used to do.
"So, did you do anything interesting this weekend?"
"My taxes," I sighed. April is the cruellest month...
"Is it because you are Russian?"
And that was when I decided I will no longer favour Magpie Rideau with my patronage. A few weeks later, I considered doing so, but just giving that girl a piece of my mind as to why, I understand now, you must never ever ever
start a conversation about ethnicity. I may buy jewelry from her, but she and I are not that intimate. And besides, what the heck does being Russian have to do with filing income tax by April 30, as all Canadians are supposed to do? Then I changed my mind about that. The girl is an idiot, true; nothing can change her. I just will not buy jewelry there anymore.
My birthday fell on Orthodox Easter, so instead of partying as such, we went to a celebration hosted by the church.
I have told Traci this before, "Judging by the number of older men hitting on me, I am destined to be a second wife."
And I have recently come to put into words what I had known instinctively for a long time: "There exist few worries that cannot be banished by stepping on a dance floor." As is usual, it was mostly women with a few men bouncing to the beat, and me doing cabrioles and pique turns. "Wow! You do dance professionally?" "I hang out at the rehearsals with a semipro troupe, and I am the worst of the lot and have to fight tooth and claw to get a walk-on part..."
If only all people got their highs at social events by dancing! No, people must also get drunk. And when men get drunk, they start thinking that because I danced with them politely once, I will do so again and again. For them there is an aikido move called double tenkan; I developed a whole choreoraphy out of pivoting out of the way, in perfect time to the music, whenever he tried to take my hand, Turn north, turn south; it looked like a jive move from a distance. Remember the dancefloor scene in Shrek 2
, when Prince Charming keeps on trying to kiss Fiona, and she pivots out of the way here, takes a rose in her teeth there? Someday, I will put my "Don't Dance With Me Dance" into a screenplay.
My brother put up the text to Yuri Shevchuk's song on his blog, wondering how to translate it.
Jurij Shevchuk, lead singer of rock group DDT, in live solo acoustic concert. (Rest of album is here)
This song actually taxes my Engrish. I am looking at it, and scratching my head, as I have no idea even how to start translating it. I’ve fed this text to Babelfish, but systran choked on it too. I guess it does not only tax me….
Россия (Небо на Земле)
Rossija (Sky on Earth) (mp3)
Then he went to me and said "Hey, can you translate some poetry for me?"
Well, I was trying to study for exams, I was trying to blog, I was trying to write, it was getting late, and I had given up trying to do anything productive. I printed the words he cited, and started sketching the translation. I saw a possible rhyme in the last verse, and worked backwards from there.Where till dawn stands darkness raven,Order sheets from prison sentAre obeyed by minds unshavenIn unfaith, like testament.Time upon their backs they carryPour it for weighing at each pass,Polish up the marble forehead, [?]And feed the Spassky hourglass.Beneath icons they moan by day,By night they howl at the sky,Always sit in the wrong sleigh,And head to the doctors by and by.How many heads by now ‘ve been offed,Not a single one sewn back.They sing of grandparents’ profit,While they trudge the bottom’s track.Save themselves for the first dying;Before the second come the wakes.All saints the devils are crucifying:God, it seems, his rest day takes.All’s wrong-coloured, all’s frustration,All the light one could see, and no light here.Ambushed by a grimbeard nation,And tortured many a year.They seek with fire by daylight clearA way to a world where it’s not the same.There’s many holes out, they all hear,And yet out no one came.There, where by light stands darkness,Where light by dark forever stands,From Gospel to Councils wanderMinds strange to understand.With hairy eyes their deeds they sew,Hammer out children forge-defined.They hitch sleds for summer’s snow,And resemble human kind.Hey you, cough to me, louse living,Softly sing beneath moon’s rest,Of how, in happy drunk oblivion,I slept on a stable’s breast.And I dreamed of other years:A world with neither fools nor war,Where maids nude and slim appear,Where men sober-minded are,Where a drunken angel wingingBrought us news of joy and mirth…All of us, on our beds singing,Build a heaven upon Earth.
Ha-ha. There was talk between my brother and his website partner of me attending or participating in poetry readings, but nothing has come of it yet. Anyhow, if my novel gets published, I am going to have to contact Shevchuk sooner or later, since I quote my translations of his work there too.
I was reading Black Phoenix Trading Post's Naughty or Nice inquisition
's examples of pleas people submitted to prove their naughtiness or niceness
. I was amused greatly. One person did haikus. I thought, "Hey, if it was me, I would not just do haikus, I would do a full-fledged poem!" Then I went to my morning shower thinking about it (somehow my poetry usually ends up being composed either on my bike or in the shower or while waiting for the laundry or otherwise...) This resulted, and I sent it to Irene, and she says it made her morning:
Listen, this lady is naughty!
She's proud, conceited and haughty
With lustful and fantastic dreams
(Never you mind that she seems
Gentle and pure,
Shy and unsure,
Caring and kind,
Never you mind:
In her eyes naughtiness gleams!)
She's a mathematician, that's right!
Doesn't that ruin her plight?
She would memorise,
Folks to terrorise,
Awful algebraic statements, that's right!
(Never you mind that two days out of three
She teaches, for free,
High school kids; you will see
It's only to find
Her love; never mind.
She's naughty as naughty can be!)
She's insolent, taunting, and bold!
And don't start on her passion for gold:
Her earnings she'd spend
On jewels without end,
No matter what common sense told.
And now she is crazy for oils
(Never you mind that she toils,
And would always lend
Cash and time to a friend,
Find the perfect gift,
Uncaring for thrift;
Doesn't that prove she's a serpent in coils?
She's naughty, as you have been told!)
She hates washing dishes; 'tis shady!
She can't sew and knit like a lady,
And, rather than learn,
Her money she'll burn
On clothes and shoes...or Mercedes.
She's a lover for chocolate dark:
Don't you see that evil spark?
(And never you care
That she'll always share,
And she would tell lies:
Claim it was free when she buys
It on purpose: she's a liar, so there!
That shows her naughty mark!)
She's a fantasy writer, alas!
She is doomed now, that naughty lass.
On pre-exam night
She's just sit and write,
Trusting to memory to pass.
And she always remembers all naughty affairs
(Never you mind
That a friend in a bind
Would always get time,
A sweet letter or rhyme,
And she'll rarely remind
Of dues; never mind:
When she does, him in debts she ensnares!)
I am certain you can hardly guess
From her looks, that her room is a mess:
Her clothes always look right,
So she's a hypo-crite,
And that's naughty forever, without cess!
Her bookshelves are constantly falling
(But when the BPAL oils come calling
She'll make everything clean
Lovely to be seen
To match the sweet smell
But, you know, well,
Forget it; her favourite oil is Fallen
And that means, as you surely can guess,
That she's fond of one sworn to the ruler of Hell!)
I have still, as of writing this, not received a shipping notification for my re-stock of Fallen. And I find that on every forum post I write, even in reviews of other oils, I always somehow mention Fallen. This girl has a crush. Come to me, o my love.
(More tales of April coming; just getting a post out.)