Since I seem to continue to be on a kick of journalling in verse...

In an abandoned bandstand
By a freshwater inland sea,
Three teenage boys and two guitars
Sang a song in a minor key.
They were backlit by the sundown,
And no one else came near,
But they sang in open harmony,
And I had to stop to hear.

Backlit by the sundown,
A bass root and a chord.
Backlit by the sundown,
No matter that no one heard.
Backlit by the sundown,
The shadows hid their face,
But their voices lit the sunset
In that time and in that place.

A quarter of a world away
And seven years before,
Three other boys and another guitar
By another inland sea shore,
It was already past sundown,
And stars had lit above,
But they sang in open harmony,
In a song in a key I love.

Backlit by the darkness,
They had sung as I passed there,
And I never saw their faces,
But they brought me out of despair,
And so whenever chords will ring
By the shores of any sea,
I'll stop and I will listen,
And add a harmony.

And once upon some sundown,
By some other sea or star,
I may be the one who sits there
With a song or a guitar,
Unable to see the faces
Of listeners who came,
Just knowing the ones who'd sung for me,
And hoping I'll do the same.

Backlit by the sundown
Reflected in waves below,
Backlit by the sundown,
However the words may go,
Backlit by the sundown, 
Whatever chords are right,
Backlit by the sundown,
Singing against the night.

(Incidentally, these ones played a cover of something whose lines now escapes me; then when I made my presence known, they played "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green (but got lost at the bridge) and switched to Bob Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee", which is the first time I heard it. Wikipedia now says that the melody has a middle-Eastern flavour, which did not come across in that cover with guitar and unplugged bass. It's too late in the evening for me to listen to the original.

The lads by the Black Sea in Odessa, whom I've told about before, had sung "Autumn" by DDT, and I had joined in. Lake Michigan-Huron is an inland sea for all practical purposes.)

The night will be short, this I already know
I lie awake, relaxing muscles sighing in bliss
Computers created the music waltzing slow
And I really don't care about all this...

I told my ex-math teacher at dawn today
That I won't be coming back: I want my breaks to be clean
I lie; it's an ideal that I merely say
But in this case I will do it; appearances are made to be seen.

I need to change this life
I need to do
I need to leave before the end of this fall
But music and words and light
Wander my mind through
And thoughts flicker by with no feeling at all...
Thoughts flicker by with no feeling at all...

And morning is wiser than night
Morning is wiser than night
Every morning is wiser than every night
And so we waited for tomorrow's day
Every day we waited for tomorrow's day
And I wish I would remember to change while outside it's still light.

And this time there's no focus
In the coming days
No crisis point at all I can see
I am strong and I'm precise
And there's nothing I can't do
And everything I need is inside of me

But I laugh and I play and I write
And I look around and it's night
And another day has flown by
Shorter than the day before.
And I say I wait for cash and I lie:
I don't know what I'm waiting for.
I don't know what I'm waiting for.
So that Friday morning, I searched again through for my cellphone, and convinced myself that it is definitely gone. I used a calling card to call my mother on a payphone, and left a message about that. Then I made sure that the SD memory cards for the cameras were still there, because, lacking the cellphone, they would be the largest prize I would be bringing back from Vancouver.

One of them was missing.

I was so stressed out at this that that last straw was too much for me; there was no one else in the hostel room, so I burst into tears. "Tears will not help a sorrow, o daughters of Israel," but after a minute's crying, I did find the SD card, which had fallen out from the camera case into the bottom of my bag. I made sure both cards were safely stowed. Then I checked out of the hostel, put my big luggage into storage, and went to the Future Hope and returned my camera, uneventfully. I complained about the design as my reason to return it; it wasn't as bad as I made it seem (until I discovered on reviewing those SD cards that a bunch of what I thought were photos were actually videos without my knowledge, and had to rapidly learn Videolan's snapshot capabilities in order to get what I actually wanted.)

I killed some time in David Lam park again, and on the last day, I did indulge in Vancouver's famous sushi for lunch. I have forgotten the name of the place I got it at, but to my inexpert-in-sushi palate, it was very good and very generous. I forgot to pick up the Western cutlery for it, though, so for the first time in my life I ate an entire meal, rice included, with chopsticks. Usually in Asian restaurants and such, I would practice with the chopsticks for a while, on larger things, then abandon them when it comes to rice. I make no pretensions of being what I am not; I was not born to chopsticks, and do know how to use a few other culturally specific household items myself (I don't know if any non-Russian I know, European or Chinese, has ever heard of a podstakannik or knows one on sight and how to use it. Cheaters if you Google.)

And then I came back, took my bag, took the bus to Main Street, and went into the station, read Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See for a while (on the way there, it was mentioned by a very pivotal book in their lives) and then got on the train.

I was already settling and steeling myself for three days with very little option of sleeping, as I really can't sleep in a chair very well; without a shower; and living on snacks and sandwiches. All I could use these three days for, I thought, is introspection as much as possible, so that they will be useful for something, and then for trying my best to stay sane.

For the first leg of the journey, until Edmonton, thankfully I had a two-seat combination to myself. There was a redheaded guy travelling east for the first time in the seat across the aisle, and we played a magnetic chess game (which I was very close to losing, but may have fought to a draw if I didn't choose to abandon it after dinner; it was my first chess game in six years or so.)

I think that, over these three days, that redheaded guy at first entertained the hope of flirting with me. But, dude, I am sorry. You have no way of knowing, because I am not telling you, that with minimal sleep, showering, and personal space, I know myself enough to know that I am not just skating the edge of madness; I am trying to do triple Axels and Surya-Bonaly-type backflips on that edge as well. A half-hearted flirtation --- and it IS half-hearted if my intuition isn't crying out that this has potential at all, so I would go about this with only the advice of stupid self-help books to not miss a chance, and thus half my heart, the thinking part --- to quote the line I learned from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, I am not interested.

I am in steerage class, as a funny lady I got acquainted with, a mother of two, called it.

I cannot have interesting books any more
And without a string is my guitar.
And I can't go higher, I may go only lower,
And I can't have the sun and moon, and can't have the star.

And I can't go free now, for I have no right,
Only from door to wall may I.
And I can't go left, and I can't go right;
I may have only dreams and a piece of sky.

Dreams about how I'll come out when my lock's replaced,
How my own guitar they'll bring to me;
How they will meet me, how I'll be embraced ---
And what kind of songs they'll sing to me

Perhaps it is a little strong to use Vysotsky's words about jail to refer to train economy class, but that was how I felt. I cherished dreams, for they meant I actually did sleep some, and not just writhed and turned and tried to find a impossible comfortable position. I wrote them down; some of them are very interesting.

In Edmonton, there were seventy-five people getting on, so half of my two-seater was taken away by a young man about my age, whose girlfriend sat in the seat across the aisle next to the redheaded guy. And so this was until Toronto, and for the next two nights, I slept with him.

I have always wanted to use these words precisely as they should be used, meaning nothing more, and quite a good deal less, as I slept little.

They were nice people.

The tale devolves into soul searching and poetry, and gets long )This is getting very very long. I'll tell the rest of the actual story of my voyage home in a new post.
At Ottawa in this fateful hour
I call on AC's complex-valued power,
And the sun with its heat,
And intuition fleet,
Thinking with logic clear and pure,
Curiosity which all shall endure,
The patience of people who stand in line,
The cellars lined with sparkling wine,
Cameras to record whatever we dare,
Facebook albums which these things compel to share,
And sunburns in unlikely spot,
And running jokes never quite forgot,
And the singing of soft jazz above,
And knowing who, what, and how I love,
And the faux pas of Type talk with data we don't know,
And the late-night Market above aglow,
And 'treating my toes to Quebec's morning dew',
And singing this song that I'm singing to you,
Laughter at table's ends
And my wonderful friends,
And phone lines and attempts to call,
And on the river, thirty fuzzy goslings (I counted them all)
And drinking with others laughing with me
Or sitting alone in a willow tree,
And despite all efforts, a sleepless night,
And checking email before first light,
And taking a path well out of the way,
And buying a kid's iced tea to make his day,
And votive candles' fire
And backup lights' wire,
And per aspera ad astra we aspire,
And all the resources at my employ,
And my dear friends to whom I wish joy,
And the river with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And my life's skylark-ness,
All these I place
Between myself and the powers of darkness.
syncategorematic: (sophia - curlty and in a good mood)
( Apr. 16th, 2008 12:31 pm)
Dear mathematical analysis, which I took twice,

Particularly dear set theory, interval definitions, discrete and continuous sets, countability and uncountability,

I never thought I would find extensive applications for you in Semantics class.

I do. I hereby defined the stereotypical properties of being small, and I didn't even blush. Ana spoiled me by giving me 96% on the last test for no particular reason; I am slacking off somewhat now.

With love, gratitude and forgiveness,

A happy little math-linguist

Oh you people who knew
I was quicker than you
I bow my head humbly
And say I am sorry.
To hell I now go
And pay to do so,
So let me joy one last time
In my crowning glory?
It was only vanity ---
Now it's a spar
I cling to in the seas
Where the wild things are:
Infinite work, finite time,
And supplyless demand...
If you have swum there
You will understand.

(c)2004 and still true as true can be.
syncategorematic: (when I am tired)
( Apr. 5th, 2008 07:54 pm)

Last night...

Last night was not a good idea.

Someone once told me not to have one-night stands
because even though it may be beautiful and seem pleasurable
you hate yourself the morning after and regret it
And I didn't understand.

I didn't understand, then.

I understand, now.

retrace your reasons

remember the beauty the deceit the beauty such resemblance to one you truly did love

sigh at a mistake that cannot, now, be fixed,
it can only be let go of and

It must be just like wearing ill-fitting shoes, isn't it?

My poor dear metatarsals, I am sorry.
syncategorematic: (bookbird)
( Apr. 2nd, 2008 11:05 am)
Years stretch on ahead
Minds unable to grasp them
When even an hour is long, long, long
When even yesterday seems long ago
When everything is packed with events ---
You know how long a day it? It's longer than that.
You know how long a year is? It's longer than that.
You know how long ten years is?
Ten years ago I could not possibly imagine
being this ten years from then.
Infinity is well-defined
I can comprehend it
I can tell you many of its properties
I can tell you how to tame this beast
But it is a beast I cannot see.
Why, then, do we invoke it in time,
A scary bogey monster ---
You know how scary a rat is? It's scarier than that.
You know how scary a shark is? It's scarier than that.
You know how scary a madman is?
Is trying to comprehend it madness
Of trying for things that cannot be done ---
Which is only madness if you fail.
Ka_crow tempted me into National Poetry Writing Month.

Of course, poem quality is in no way guaranteed, but this is fun. Like in the joke about Tatar songs, what you see is what you sing about.
Drizzle, thin threads
Bores holes in the dirty mounds
That had once themselves spun out of the sky
Bores into them like a termite infestation
Gnawing away.

Like the vanguard
Of an insect plague
Spring comes.
syncategorematic: (so what do you want?)
( Mar. 17th, 2008 01:37 pm)

This is ridiculously apt to so many things right now. Scott Adams, you're on my side, I know.

[profile] ka_crow's challenge I came on too late
To write a sonnet in one-twelfth an hour
And while I'm at it, to within it state
The names of four tribes of Internet power,
To wit, of monkeys, robots, ninjas and
The pirate hordes i now shall have to tell
And all in fourteen lines, you understand;
I doubt their sagas will be rendered well
Except that I've a paper proposal due
Two days from now, and reluctant I
Am not inspired by any means to do
This thing; I'd rather mutter to the sky
Of pirates, robots, ninjas, monkeys -- so
Where did the five minutes asked for go?

So coincidentally enough, on the green-besplattered St. Patrick's Day, I received two pieces of jewelry of the

They are awesome as awesome can be.

You know, I really can get used to wearing rings.
[ profile] athaira9: "You don't blog about why sea cucumbers vomit their intestines when threatened. That's interesting."

Sea cucumbers
Vomit their intestines
When afraid
Do they believe it inspires fear?
Do they believe it would repel by being repulsive?
Do they believe in sacrifice
giving their innards, their innermost parts
to the sea-cucumber gods
or showing their vulnerability
as one does when in love
longing and yet afraid
and summoning up the courage
to throw the most delicate, the most fragile,
the most painful-to-touch secrets
into their lover/enemy's face
and say with a toss of the head from under dark eyebrows
"The things you wanted to hurt? Here they are,
Eat them,
What do you have left in your hurting arsenal now?"
Probably sea cucumbers cannot think that
Probably they do not believe anything at all
Slaves to evolution
We throw our innards in our enemy's face
as our fathers and mothers and asexual-reproduction-parents did before us
And scurry away
knowing that they will grow back.

My duty to threatened sea cucumbers everywhere to blog about them is now dispensed with.
I don't wanna do Semantics
TeXing syntax trees is a mistake
Can't say I'm one of the romantics
Unless you mean Wordsworth, Keats or Blake
(If poetry such as theirs I claim
England quakes; they're spinning in their graves!)
All the same, I tell you, all the same,
As I said, I need some handy slaves.

(Cue musical interlude:
All I need is a handy slave
Very clever and very brave
Who'd do my work and save me time ---
It would be lover-ly!
Write my essays and do my tests,
Do my job and do all the rest,
While I have fun and rest ---
Oh wouldn't it be lover-ly!)

I don't wanna read McNally
or Kennedy, talking about scales
I don't wanna ponder sadly
Comparison classes, females and males.
My reason for doing this I name
It's prestige, potential cash, and nothing more
All the same, I tell you, all the same,
I still spend once I go out the door.

To spend money on The Economist
Can't really be called economizing
But the cover of it did look fascinating
I fall to its econ-advertising.
From my own small woes I pull away
--- Think on a macroeconomic scale! ---
I promise I'll kick the next one who will say
That last dread word, in a semantic tale.
Sorry, not tale,
Pragmatically salient context!

I don't wanna do Semantics
I don't wanna do Semantics
I just wanna read about any other thing
I just wanna, I just wanna, I just wanna
That's it, I wanna sing!

(To commenters: When Ka_crow came
She and I began a merry game
And so now it almost seems a crime
To comment here other than in rhyme.)
The human mind, endowed with the powers of generalization and abstraction, sees not only green-grass, discriminating it from other things (and finding it fair to look upon) but sees that it is green as well as being grass. But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective: no spell or incantation in Faërie is more potent. And that is not surprising: such incantations might indeed be said to be only another view of adjectives, a part of speech in a mythical grammar.
--- J. R. R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories." 1934.
The other day I swapped two bottles of perfume oil for a "book on Tolkien's linguistics." The girl who sent it to me had received it by mistake from an independent seller on Amazon, and was glad to get it off her hands. I received it, Verlyn Flieger's Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World (Revised Edition) today (along with some other interesting mail) and began reading it after a work shift that got me quietly returning to my humourous, effervescent, performing self, although still joying in solitude. I began reading it, and found myself reading it with the Russian term zapoem which has no English equivalent I know of --- to drink in drafts, to drink oneself into a drunken stupor, unable to stop, because the draft quenches without fully sating a thirst within you --- and to read like that, drinking in knowledge in the same way. I got to this passage, quoted above, and froze.

All we've been doing in my only class this semester is discussing adjectives, day in, day out, with sets and lambda functions and Barbara Partee's vision of compositional semantics. Barbara Partee, you need an older and in some ways wiser linguist to balance your logic, to remind us --- to remind me, an aspirant to sub-creation like Tolkien was --- that beneath the sets and functions and types and categories of language, parallel to them, lies a magic of the human mind. To remind me once again that logic is magical, that the ability to define it abstractly is an act of magic in its own right, and perhaps the two are indistinguishable.

For indeed, what is logic, what is all of math and all of linguistics, but the abstracting out of patterns? And does not magic do the same thing? I speak of shamanic rituals, of astrology's "As above, so below", of any spell that says, "As this tree grows and bears forth green leaves, so shall my love blossom and grow, etc." --- all of these are the abstracting of patterns, of similarities, and the manipulation thereof. As does mathematics. Whether either has any power to act upon the real world as we know it is a different question entirely, one requiring extra steps into physics or metaphysics, and not one I will answer here. I deal with abstractions. I write fantasy. I study linguistics. I study math. And I need something like an apt quote by Tolkien to remind me again of how beautiful what I love is, and that it is all the same thing, at its heart.

As possibly the most apt poem I ever wrote goes,

I wandered near, I wandered far
Under lazulite skies,
Seeking the luck of the morning star,
Following the sunrise,
Seeking a plume from a Phoenix's wing,
The lands of light in a diamond ring,
Trying to hear the nightingale sing
And knowing truth from lies.

But the morning star I had sought so long
Remains where it always hung.
And the nightingale's silver song
Had already been sung.
The Phoenix is but fancy's flight.
So are the lands of diamond light.
The sunrise cannot be followed till night;
And down my hopes were flung.

They told me Phoenixes never flew:
'Twas only a myth of yore.
They told me all I thought was true
Had been proven a lie before.
Nightingales? They've all flown away.
Diamonds? Are you sure you could pay?
The only thing to believe, they say,
Is that two and two made four.

They told what wasn't possible and what was,
Putting me in a mental cage,
For that is the way a person has
To be in this day and age.
Trust the computer, not your foolish heart;
Believe what is analysed, taken apart,
Stripped to its core and reduced to its start,
Laid in code on a printed page.

I looked at the code that had been done
To my dreams of long ago.
I searched for the rising of the sun
In the cold one and the cold zero -
And out from the formulas a Phoenix flew,
And I built the diamond lands, with the facts for glue;
Come, there are still silver songs in the proven and true -
Do not tell me I dream. I know.

~1998-March 17, 2002

I need to capture my joy and remind myself of it. As Tolkien said about his idea for The Silmarillion (which I may be the only person on the planet to love more than The Lord of the Rings), "Do not laugh!"
What my parents don't understand --- what most of the world doesn't understand --- is that for me, song is NOT to express joy. Far from it. Song is a coping strategy "that helps us to build and to live," as a Communist propaganda song went. As such, singing is not inappropriate joy to a solemn occasion; singing is a means to endure it, and it is the last thing I will give up. Take my love, take my land...but don't take singing from me. The people I should be solemn for are worthy people; they will understand, wherever they are.

I have placed before you death and life, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, so that you may live, you and your children.

And with life comes song. And joy.

I did have a very joyful shift on Tuesday, heaven and my subconscious alone know for what reason, but the ways in which I manifested it shall come in two parts.

First of all, my subconscious, for reasons known only to it, got a perpetual soundtrack of love songs in my head today, after something like two weeks when I sang about everything but the overt ones (no, "I Waited For Her As For a Natural Disaster" doesn't count as a love song; you can argue about "Dechire", but I'll argue you into the ground.) After I had that post on love and friendship and got all of my doubts out of me, it felt completely like a weird abstraction to me. It still does, but at least I am starting to sing again.

When I was about seventeen, I think, I found Shakespeare's sonnets for the first time, and reading them drove all desire to write love poetry out of me:

My Last Love Poem

Read more... )

I can't remember whether I sold that one to Teen Angst Poetry or not. I remembered that poem then (what else is there to do when cleaning chrome but to ponder poetry?) Are there any actually original love songs out there? Well, there is Vysotsky's
Forever into nowhere, a longing in the blood
Is that sky-water there, is it a spring flood?
Maybe that's a song without an end, or perhaps without a reason
But I build a hearth by hand, or simply sow in season.

However, there are love songs I like. I think that next to Vysotsky's ballad I have quoted before, which is mainly about the very very abstract love that holds the world together, my favourite has to be Celentano's Italian song:

[Error: unknown template video]

Lyrics in Italian and English )

Admit it, the song is pwetty pwetty.

There was, of course, the other song that I had stuck in my head (Athaira will recognize it; I quoted it in the first draft of my novel, way back when)

[Error: unknown template 'video']

English lyrics )
The video is of the Latvian singer Laima Vaikule and composer Raimond Pauls (who is, in my opinion, something of a demigod). Forgive Laima's dress, the 80s knew not what they did (and didn't yield to what future years may do, with consequences nasty), but her voice is still good and I love the piano harmony even though I have heard it ten zillion times.

I suppose that I may have ONE romantic bone in my body --- my singing bone is deeply suspect (you don't have a singing bone? No wonder you don't sing!)

But I was happy. I was.
syncategorematic: (erythraean sibyl)
( Dec. 18th, 2007 10:22 pm)
I was not together today.

I got into an argument with my father and Society Max about washing the dishes, and instead of being my usual infuriatingly logical bloody-mindedly stubborn self, I was shouting and was near tears. Then again at the bagelshop, although I did not let anyone see, I found myself irritated by things and wanting to yell, or to go into the washroom or in a corner and cry. This is not my usual self; I have not felt anything near this for five weeks straight, and I wondered what it was. I only spoke to two people before the argument, both online and one turn-based, and neither of them can I imagine affecting me with willful harm. This is the wrong time of the month for this, and last month happened fine without it. I have heard that such emotional instability often happens in the early stages of pregnancy, but if I am pregnant, I am so going to sue the pants and robe off that Archangel Gabriel for not following precedent and making me an Annunciation of this fact. (Aside: Gabriel, you tell a sixteen-year-old girl that she is going to get all of the misery of pregnancy with none of the fun of sex, and you have the gall to call her blessed among women?)

So yes, I am not  fully together. Furthermore, I may be slightly insane from the possession by a pair of earrings. Yes, I did mean to write "by" and not "of."

syncategorematic: (durer - irascible curly-head)
( Dec. 16th, 2007 10:56 pm)
Today there was nowhere to go; the Snow Gods claim Ottawa rates
Forty centimetres of snow (eighteen inches, for you in the States)
I forgot where my porch is, I smile; the snowdrifts are up to the thigh!
Our car is a great white pile;
So is everything around for a mile;
And the snow keeps falling the while, spinning powder out of the sky.
syncategorematic: (erythraean sibyl)
( Dec. 11th, 2007 08:45 pm)
- that[personal profile] juniperus= most heartwarming awesomeness.

- I was sorting jams the other day,
Jams and marmalades, jellies and spreads,
Bumbleberry, lime mint, peachy habanero,
Ginger and green tea, and horseradish too
(Horseradish is past date, and will be returned
New ones will come next week, hopefully,
I have my eye on them; I am looking forward
To saying "XPEH BAM - hren vam - horseradish to you!"
In a completely literal context)
Nothing for brain to do, really, but float
And grab on to semantic or phonological priming...
I put in a new jar of marmalade ---
Orange, lemon and grapefruit marmalade.
"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement's...
You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St. Martin's,
When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey..."
"When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch,"
Said a voice behind me.
I looked up and a man was there,
Grizzled and life-weary and looking for jellies,
Probably to take home to his family, but
For a moment there, I loved him.
One path to my heart, so quick, so irresistible ---
Recite a poem with me, or sing with me.
Indeed, if you do that,
"If an old man you be, be a father to me,
If a middle-aged man, a dear uncle,
If a maiden fair, be a chosen sister,
If a warrior bold, I will marry you."
I smiled.
"That won't be now, says the Great Bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head."
syncategorematic: (durer - irascible curly-head)
( Dec. 5th, 2007 01:21 am)
Some people who see me from a distance
Conclude that I am in love
And other come to other conclusions.

An hour left until we close
and most of the errands done.
I organize Christmas chocolates,
singing to myself, as always.
I think I sang that song,
"Lovely are the spring flowers,
Even better are the girls in the spring,
Come out on the doorstep, o my heart,
Life will instantly seem a different thing."
My coworker with the same name
came down and sidled up to me
sliding her arm through mine
a rare intimacy that surprised me.
"Did you see that woman?" she whispers.
"She thought you were high."
I almost did not understand her sentence.
"She came up to me," she continued,
"And said, 'That girl there is high.
She smells of marijuana, and she's singing!!!"
I burst out laughing right there.
"I told her," she continued, "that you were definitely not high
But I am not sure she believed me."
I kept laughing to myself for the rest of the hour
(Which may have improved my singing).
I could have smelled only of Lurid:
Shocking, horrific, fierce, savage,
sensationalized, luminous and hazy:
black currant, Bulgarian lavender and white musk
with a dollop of thick resin
and a voltaic charge of ozone notes.

It is a cool and unusual scent I am fond of,
but I fail to smell any resemblance to marijuana
but I noticed no one come close enough to sniff me
so it may be that imagination
had run away with the woman where scent is concerned.
We've got lots of things that smell here:
bagels, chocolate, coffee, cheeses...
She could easily have been confused.
syncategorematic: (when I am tired)
( Nov. 25th, 2007 12:03 am)
The lovely Dinerdulcinea and I were discussing dream interpretation (having to do with a couple of posts ago, in my case, and with a recurrent dream in hers.) I said something which surprised me: "Dreams come out of the gap between the desired and the real."

They do. It is true that a few posts ago I railed against having regrets and allowing imagined pasts control over you. But we all do it, and we have to acknowledge it. All the people I know and care for, intelligent, imaginative people, have dreams. Dreams keep us moving forward in life. And along the way, many of them die.

What do you say to someone who is ending a relationship, or getting a divorce? Do you say "I am sorry"? If it is a bad relationship, the person may snap back, "I'm not!" But it is not the friend I feel sorry for. I feel sorry for the dreams that died. People do not begin a marriage dreaming of divorce. They both had other dreams, and those have now been overwritten.

It is embarrassing to tell of them after they die, after you have new information that makes you know they could not possibly have come true, and the self that believed in them once feels silly and childish. But although I've been fortunate enough to experience little yet of death, I've been raised to respect the dead and to honour them, for what they had been in life. So raise a glass and drain it --- never click glasses when drinking to the dead --- and drink to the dreams that died, so that they would not die in vain. Dreams die in the name of knowledge gained, of a better knowledge of our reality.

Nothing could be worse
Than self-denial,
Having to rehearse
The endless trial
Of a partner's rather sad demands prevailing.
Nothing you have said
Is revelation
Take my blues as read;
My consolation:
Finding out that I'm my one true obligation.
--- Chess
I know dreams well. I write fantasy with every breath I take, and thus it is incredibly important to me to know the difference between it and reality, even at the cost of shards' sharp edges when stars fall, shattering beautiful dreams. Would I prefer to live in denial, to craft my own interpretation of things without allowing new data in? Never, and if you thought for a moment I would, you do not know me and you never have. I have torn countless pictures to shreds in my young life.

I will keep crafting new ones in their stead.

What are my dreams and my desires, I ask myself as the joy and peace I had been describing for the past week gets suddenly pushed down again by cold dread at the thought of returning to grad school applications? My deepest dreams, the ones I will not let go of --- is getting a linguistics PhD one of them?

No, it's not, actually. I joke that I only have two true desires: for n+1 Hugo Awards, and for a happy family life. And I do not even mean n+1 Hugo Awards as such --- I mean to write books that will make people cry. And laugh. And see the world in a different way than before they read the words I wrote.

Any advanced degrees I would get, or any other achievements, my soul only views as steps towards one or the other of these two aims. I will keep filling out applications, and reading, and working --- yet knowing that graduate studies, unlike writing or my loved ones, are something I can give up. So it seems like a lie to project myself as someone for whom they are not. Dead dreams were lies to ourselves, yes, but so is the lie that we have a dream when actually, we don't.

You will tell me that there are plenty of people who become grad students without actually having their subject be what they live and breathe. So there are many who lie like me.

I'll take the path of least resistance
I have my game to play.

There was a poem I wrote as a teenager after a particularly broken dream:
Sine wave, right now I don't even know
What to ask of you to give my life ease:
Serenity, courage, wisdom, I guess so ---
And luck in at least the things I control, please...
And, oh, just the patience to make my wait peaceful
Until I can laugh at how silly this seems...
And, sine wave? Him and her? Make their path smooth and easeful
And give them joy golden, and untroubled dreams.

Technically juvenile, yes, but still true. As is my other one, of an even earlier era:

I wandered near, I wandered far
Under lazulite skies,
Seeking the luck of the morning star,
Following the sunrise,
Seeking a plume from a Phoenix's wing,
The lands of light in a diamond ring,
Trying to hear the nightingale sing
And knowing truth from lies.

But the morning star I had sought so long
Remains where it always hung.
And the nightingale's silver song
Had already been sung.
The Phoenix is but fancy's flight.
So are the lands of diamond light.
The sunrise cannot be followed till night;
And down my hopes were flung.

They told me Phoenixes never flew:
'Twas only a myth of yore.
They told me all I thought was true
Had been proven a lie before.
Nightingales? They've all flown away.
Diamonds? Are you sure you could pay?
The only thing to believe, they say,
Is that two and two made four.

They told what wasn't possible and what was,
Putting me in a mental cage,
For that is the way a person has
To be in this day and age.
Trust the computer, not your foolish heart;
Believe what is analysed, taken apart,
Stripped to its core and reduced to its start,
Laid in code on a printed page.

I looked at the code that had been done
To my dreams of long ago.
I searched for the rising of the sun
In the cold one and the cold zero -
And out from the formulas a Phoenix flew,
And I built the diamond lands, with the facts for glue.
Come, there are still silver songs in the proven and true -
Do not tell me I dream. I
ROMEO: And we mean well in going to this mask;
But 'tis no wit to go.
MERCUTIO: Why, may one ask?
ROMEO: I dream'd a dream to-night.
MERCUTIO: And so did I.
ROMEO: Well, what was yours?
MERCUTIO: That dreamers often lie.
ROMEO: In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.
MERCUTIO: O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
ROMEO Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.
MERCUTIO True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
BENVOLIO This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves;
Supper is done, and we shall come too late.
ORLANDO: Are you perchance in love?
ROMEO: Ay, that I am.
ORLANDO: And she loves you not?
ROMEO: Not me, and no one else; for she's so cruel
To hide her beauty all away from men
By vows of chastity, and ne'er the world again
Shall see the face of one in this way fair,
For ne'er a child she shall ever bear.
But I'll not bore one who has never loved.
ORLANDO: Ay, but I have.
ROMEO: You have? But not so true
Can be the passion that is king in you.
As streams before a dam run broad and deep,
So greater is the love of one who has
No hope of e'er being loved in return.
ORLANDO: I know not whether I could have that hope
For palace walls stand between her and me.
Our eyes met once, but once, and then we knew
We loved; and it was like a glorious sun
Had shone over my dark and empty life
And birds sang where I had let silence reign,
But only for an instant; Fortune's wheel
Then rolled between us, spokes like prison bars,
Concealed the sun, and prisoned me once more,
And doors of parting killed the singing birds.
ROMEO: At least she loves you. I have no such chance.
ORLANDO: But I face death if I return to meet her.
ROMEO: Death is a glorious sleep I'd gladly risk
To see my love and know that she loves me.
ORLANDO: Are you suggesting my love kills my courage?!
For her I'll wrestle Hydras and Pythons,
Face Jove himself, and from his mount him throw,
Walk down to Hades with a lamp lit by her hands.
What's Hercules to me? He did twelve labours,
I'll outdo him and twelve thousand do
For one fair smile of fair Rosalind.
ROMEO: Of who?
(c)2001 me (why, you were racking your brains for when this scene happened in Shakespeare?)

Yeah, someday I'll find again the rest of that grade ten assignment, to write an extra scene into As You Like It. I really don't know what possessed me ("You have? But not so true can be the passion that is king in you..."), but that very lunch hour after the assignment was handed out, I was bitten by the Muse,  and  Athaira was hard pressed to keep transcribing as my inspiration struck.  Romeo was at the time pining for Rosaline, wandering about pining for her, and so he and Orlando have a fight before they realize those are two different women with similar names.

ORLANDO: Capulet? Montague? Rosalind's uncle
Is the usurping younger Duke of France.
ROMEO: Have I strayed so far in my wanderings
To go from Verona straight to France?!

And now, walking home in the dark, muscles relearning the art of walking on uneven, uncertain, snowbound terrain and still swaggering kiss-my-ass while doing it, I found myself reciting Orlando's and Romeo's speeches, and laughing.

I still have a crush on Mercutio. And I probably always will.

P.S. I now remember that before we started studying As You Like It, or it was probably Twelfth Night,  because we did that earlier, Lord Toby had us fill out a question sheet concerning key things to think about when reading a Shakespearean comedy,
Q. Why do people fall in love? Is there such a thing as true love?
Tourmaline's A: Because one day a chemical at the base of your brain goes whacko and makes you long for the admiration of the first idiot you see. The effect is permanent and irresistible. Yes, there is such a thing as true love.

Too late to keep me from being a cynic. Far too late.
Such a fall of snow,
Such a fall of snow,
It's been long years since such a thing was seen.
But the snowflakes didn't know,
But the snowflakes didn't know.
They fell, and the earth lay beautiful,
Lay beautiful and clean.

Snow flies down, to whirl, melt, or hover,
And with flurries dancing through,
The winter sweeps over, sweeps over
All that's been there before you.

Upon the fallen white,
Upon the fallen white,
The first snow spreading over the damp earth
Come clear, though shy and light,
Come clear, though shy and light,
The first uncertain footprints
That look a bit like yours.

Snow flies down, to whirl, melt, or hover,
And with flurries dancing through,
The winter sweeps over, sweeps over
All that had been there for you.

--- the group Plamya, probably their most famous song. Cute how misremembering one one-syllable preposition could turn this into either a lovers-meeting song or a breakup song.