On Love #27

"'The important thing is to love this world; if a man has loved so much as a grapefruit and found it beautiful, God will save him.'" -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

On Happiness #32

"The idea of perfect happiness and adjustment was exploded in Brave New World; what I am fighting for is the strength to claim the 'right to be unhappy' together with the joy of creative affirmation…" -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

On Love #26

"'Hate oughtn't to be stronger than love — but her hate was. And my hate for her is — I hate her — I hate her — I hate her.'" -Agatha Christie, Murder In Retrospect

Twenty-Eighth Pairing

Puck: If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearnéd luck
Now to scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call.
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends. -William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream


*Available for purchase on Etsy.

"Ice-Cold Blue Martini" Depression

"This morning, as they drove out to the nursing home, she realized that her life was becoming unbearable. Every morning she would play games with herself, just to get her through the day. Like telling herself that today something wonderful was going to happen…that the next time the phone would ring, it would be good news that would change her life…or that she was going to get a surprise in the mail. But it was never anything but junk mail, a wrong number, a neighbor wanting something.
The quiet hysteria and awful despair had started when she finally began to realize that nothing was ever going to change, that nobody would be coming for her to take her away. She began to feel as if she were at the bottom of a well, screaming, no one to hear.
Lately, it had been and endless procession of long, black nights and gray mornings, when her sense of failure swept over her like a five-hundred-pound wave; and she was scared. But it wasn't death that she feared. She had looked down into that black pit of death and had wanted to jump in, once too often. As a matter of fact, the thought began to appeal to her more and more.
She eve knew how she would kill herself. It would be with a silver bullet. As round and as smooth as an ice-cold blue martini. She would place the gun in the freezer for a few hours before she did it, so it would feel frosty and cold against her head. She could almost feel the ice-cold bullet shooting through her hot, troubled brain, freezing the pain for good. The sound of the gun blast would be the last sound she would ever hear. And then…nothing. Maybe just the silent sound that bird might hear, flying in the clean, cool air, high above the earth. The sweet, pure air of freedom.
No, it wasn't death she was afraid of. It was this life of hers that was beginning to remind her of that gray intensive care waiting room." -Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

L.M. Montgomery on "Loneliness"

"'"I've come home in love with loneliness…"'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"'…or just there are hours when sheer loneliness wrings the stamina out of me.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"'Oh, I am — I am — lonely — with the loneliness of unshared thought.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"A terrible, abysmal loneliness engulfed Marigold." -L.M. Montgomery, Magic for Marigold

Happy Birthday Chip Switzer

Random Musing
He would have been twenty-one today. Fittingly, his last song was titled "21."

Finals Week

"'I wish I were dead, or that it were tomorrow night,' groaned Phil." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

Random Musing
This is the only quote I have that is at all related to test-related stress. I know it doesn't exactly seem exam related, but I've read the book enough times to know the context. So you'll just have to trust me that it fits.

I don't personally have exams right now since I'm all gradumacated and everything, but I wish the rest of you good luck. Finals will be over very soon and then you can lie around and be lazy for a few weeks. Twill be loverly I'm sure. Happy studying!

Dreams and Dreaming #15

"…So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!…" -Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Frost at Midnight"

Chilly Awakenings

"But as she sat there amid her guests, she felt the old ennui overtaking her, the hopelessness which so often assailed her, which came upon her like an obsession, like something extraneous, independent of volition.  It was something which announced itself; a chill breath that seemed to issue from some vast cavern wherein discords wailed.  There came over her the acute longing which always summoned into her spiritual vision the presence of the beloved one, overpowering her at once with a sense of the unattainable." -Kate Chopin, The Awakening

"In the chill hours of the morning twilight, when all was dim around her, she awoke — not with any amazed wondering where she was or what had happened, but with the clearest consciousness that she was looking into the eyes of sorrow." -George Eliot, Middlemarch

"…This is the Hour of Lead—
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow—
First—Chill—then Stupor–then the letting go—" -Emily Dickinson, "After great pain, a formal feeling comes"

On Words #17

"There's more to it than that, because words are everywhere, even in silence, which is never complete silence is it?" -Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Translated by Natasha Wimmer)

On Sadness #7

"'Is everything sad going to come untrue? What's happened to the world?'" -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Foolishness in Pairs

"'It's rather hard to decide just when people are grown up,' laughed Anne.
'That's a true word, dearie. Some are grown up when they're born, and others ain't grown up when they're eighty, believe me. That same Mrs. Roderick I was speaking of never grew up. She was as foolish when she was hundred as when she was ten.'
'Perhaps that was why she lived so long,' suggested Anne." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

"'I used to dance and sing…on the shore, where nobody heard me,' said Myra Murray.
'Ah, but you've grown wiser since then,' said Agatha.
'No-o-o, foolisher,' said Myra Murray slowly. 'Too foolish now to dance along the shore.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside

"'How many will be brave enough to return when they feel it?' he whispered, his gleaming red eyes fixed upon the stars. 'And how many will be foolish enough to stay away?'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"'…Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth…'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Touchstone:The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what
wise men do foolishly. -William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Desdemona: …Good faith, how foolish are our minds! -William Shakespeare, Othello

On Happiness #31

"But there was happiness elsewhere which no description can reach." -Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

L.M. Montgomery on "Lonely"

"Anne was always glad in the happiness of her friends; but it is sometimes a little lonely to be surrounded everywhere by happiness that is not your own." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"'I feel as if something has been torn suddenly out of my life and left a terrible hole. I feel as if I couldn't be I — as if I must have changed into somebody else and couldn't get used to it. It gives me a horrible lonely, dazed, helpless feeling. It's good to see you again — it seems as if you were a sort of anchor for my drifting soul.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

"The wind had such a lonely sound tonight. It was reproaching her. It was saying, 'Silly…silly…silly,' over and over again." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside

"If she had taken time to think she might have been very lonely." -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"'Night is beautiful when you are happy — comforting when you are in grief — terrible when you are lonely and unhappy. And to-night I have been horribly lonely. Misery overwhelmed me.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"'I'm not lonely — I have my work and my books and the hope of spring…'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"'Oh, I am — I am — lonely — with the loneliness of unshared thought.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

Happy Thanksgiving!

"'Thanksgiving was last week. There was no school and we had a great dinner. I et mince pie and rost turkey and frut cake and donuts and cheese and jam and choklut cake. Marilla said I'd die but I dident. Dora had earake after it, only it wasent in her ears it was in her stummick. I dident have earake anywhere.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

On Friendship #22

"No, friends were like clothes: fine while they lasted but eventually they wore thin or you grew out of them." -David Nicholls, One Day

On Love #25

"…Love is not full of pity, as men say,
But deaf and cruel, where he means to prey…." -Christopher Marlowe, "Hero and Leander"

The Word is "Wicked"

"'Isn't it queer that the things we writhe over at night are seldom wicked things? Just humiliating ones.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars

"'Be merciful to the failures, Emily. Satirise wickedness if you must — but pity weakness.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

"'It's the fools that make all the trouble in the world, not the wicked.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Jane of Lantern Hill

"'I do not know whether it ought to be so, but certainly silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.  Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always folly.'" -Jane Austen, Emma

"'He was one of those creatures that are just simmering all the time with a silly sort of wickedness. Miserable devils that have no business to live at all.'" -Joseph Conrad, "The Secret Sharer"

"'People aren't either wicked or noble,' the hook-handed man said. 'They're like chef salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.'" -Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

"'I'm afraid that's the wicked way of the world,' Dewey said, with a shake of his head. 'Everything's covered in smoke and mirrors…'" -Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril

"He would argue with her about killing themselves; and explain how wicked people were; how he could see them making up lies as they passed in the street. He knew all their thoughts, he said; he knew everything. He knew the meaning of the world, he said." -Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

On Sadness #6

"The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that happy things are tainted with sadness, the way smoke leaves its ashen colors and scents on everything it touches. And you may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down." -Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

On Love #24

Biron: 'Tis more than need.
Have at you, then, affection's men at arms.
Consider what you first did swear unto,
To fast, to study, and to see no woman;
Flat treason 'gainst the kingly state of youth.
Say, can you fast? your stomachs are too young;
And abstinence engenders maladies.
And where that you have vow'd to study, lords,
In that each of you have forsworn his book,
Can you still dream and pore and thereon look?
For when would you, my lord, or you, or you,
Have found the ground of study's excellence
Without the beauty of a woman's face?
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive;
They are the ground, the books, the academes
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire
Why, universal plodding poisons up
The nimble spirits in the arteries,
As motion and long-during action tires
The sinewy vigour of the traveller.
Now, for not looking on a woman's face,
You have in that forsworn the use of eyes
And study too, the causer of your vow;
For where is any author in the world
Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?
Learning is but an adjunct to ourself
And where we are our learning likewise is:
Then when ourselves we see in ladies' eyes,
Do we not likewise see our learning there?
O, we have made a vow to study, lords,
And in that vow we have forsworn our books.
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
In leaden contemplation have found out
Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
Of beauty's tutors have enrich'd you with?
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain;
And therefore, finding barren practisers,
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil:
But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain;
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye;
A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind;
A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd:
Love's feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockl'd snails;
Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste:
For valour, is not Love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair:
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were temper'd with Love's sighs;
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world:
Else none at all in ought proves excellent.
Then fools you were these women to forswear,
Or keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools.
For wisdom's sake, a word that all men love,
Or for love's sake, a word that loves all men,
Or for men's sake, the authors of these women,
Or women's sake, by whom we men are men,
Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths.
It is religion to be thus forsworn,
For charity itself fulfills the law,
And who can sever love from charity? -William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost


Random Musing
The Fall 2011 issue of Flashquake was just published. If you'd like to read my contribution to it, click here and check out page 22.

Shakespeare Invented the Dirty Joke

Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done?
Aaron: That which thou canst not undo.
Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.
Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother. -William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus

*For the sake of context, know that Chiron and Demetrius are just finding out that their mother, who is married to the emperor of Rome, had an affair with Aaron (a Moor who is definitely not the emperor of Rome) and just gave birth to a child who was very obviously fathered by him

On Happiness #30

"'I just don't believe people are happy anymore, not like they used to be. You never see a happy face, at least I don't.'" -Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Time for An Adventure

"'I like adventures, and I’m going to find some.'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"'Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it's always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window.'" -Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

"'…to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"'And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'Don't adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story. Well, it can't be helped.'" -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Dreams and Dreaming #14

"'I think she is growing up, and so begins to dream dreams, and have hopes and fears and fidgets, without knowing why or being able to explain them.'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

From the Depths

Random Musing
About a month ago, From the Depths accepted a poem written in memory of Erica Teevens and Chip Switzer. The poem is currently being featured on their web page, you can read it here.

On Friendship #21

"Friends can make you feel that the world is smaller and less sneaky than it really is…" -Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

On Sadness #5

"…Then they both felt better. It was so wonderful to be young and sad together." -L.M. Montgomery, Pat of Silver Bush

It's About Waiting, Stagnancy

"'I'm so glad you're here, Anne,' said Miss Lavendar, nibbling at her candy. 'If you weren't I should be blue…very blue…almost navy blue. Dreams and make-believes are all very well in the daytime and the sunshine, but when dark and storm come they fail to satisfy. One wants real things then. But you don't know this…seventeen never knows it. At seventeen dreams do satisfy because you think the realities are waiting for you further on.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlead

"And after breakfast there was an hour when Jane discovered that the hardest work in the world is waiting." -L.M. Montgomery, Jane of Lantern Hill

"…for action is always easier than quiet waiting." -Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys

"'…when people are waiting, they are bad judges of time, and every half minute seems like five.'" -Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

"'I waited. I listened. Nothing came, nothing, I cried then with a sudden conviction of complete desertion, Now there is nothing. No fin breaks the waste of this immeasurable sea. Life has destroyed me. No echo comes when I speak, no varied words. This is more truly death than the death of friends, than the death of youth. I am the swathed figure in the hairdresser's shop taking up only so much space.'" -Virginia Woolf, The Waves

"Away down into the shadowy depth of the Real I once lived.
I thought that to seem was to be.
But the waters of Marah were beautiful, yet they were bitter.
I waited, and hoped, and prayed;
Counting the heart-throbs and the tears that answered them.
Through my earnest pleadings for the True, I learned that the mildest mercy of life was a smiling sneer;
And that the business of the world was to lash with vengeance all who dared to be what their God had made them.
Smother back tears to the red blood of the heart!
Crush out things called souls!
No room for them here!…" -Adah Isaacs Menken, "Myself"

"…She had to decide.

Do you wait for god to tell you what to do.

Or do you panic." -Kazim Ali, "Carlisle"

On Words #16

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'" -Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There

Before You Go

Random Musing
A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post recommending that my followers give The Soloists a listen. They're a band from Novi, Michigan composed of two super nice and talented guys, and I'm thrilled to be able to report that they have just released a new EP titled Before You Go. I think it's their best EP to date - which is high praise coming from a Soloists superfan - and honestly believe you'd be doing yourself a favor in buying it. So go ahead and click on that link - you will not be sorry.

Oh, and just in case the chance to add some excellent new songs to your music library isn't enough enticement for you, half of the proceeds from the album's sales will be donated to St. Francis Inn in memory of Chip Switzer. So you can feel good about your decision to buy the album on multiple levels. Now go click on that link. Go. Now. Do it.

On Happiness #29

"If there is such a thing as complete happiness, it is knowing that you are in the right place…" -Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

On Friendship #20

"He's a better person when she's around, and isn't that what friends are for, to raise you up and keep you at your best?" -David Nicholls, One Day

On Love #23

"'I have never known what it was to separate esteem and love.'" -Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Anomalous Press

Random Musing
Anomalous Press published the first five poems of my chapbook she wears grey in their latest issue. You can read the poems - as well as listen to me reading them - here.

The 22 Magazine

Random Musing
I had a poem featured on The 22 Magazine's blog today.

Dreams and Dreaming #13

"Her deprivation had been not having any dreams of her own at all." -Toni Morrison, Beloved

On Friendship #19

"Their friendship was like a wilted bunch of flowers that she insisted on topping up with water. Why not let it die instead? It was unrealistic to expect a friendship to last forever…" -David Nicholls, One Day

On Happiness #28

"'The happiness of one man and one woman is the greatest thing in all the world.'"
-Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles

On Love #22

"'…love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go…'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

On Sadness #4

"'My predecessor was the one who knew most about all of this.  It took him seven years to get a general sense of what was going on.  Life is unbearably sad, don't you think?'" -Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Translated by Natasha Wimmer)

Phantom Kangaroo

Random Musing
Phantom Kangaroo accepted one of my poems a couple weeks ago. As of yesterday issue no. 10 is up on the site; you can go here to read my poem.

When I first received the acceptance email I was really excited about having another poem published and out there for the world to see. But my excitement's been tempered by recent events. I'm just not quite in the mood to celebrate. Or maybe I just don't like this idea of life simply going on in the face of tragedy - even if I know that is of course how the world works. It feels like everyone should sit and mourn for a while before going on with life as usual; as if moving forward so quickly is disrespectful (and no, I'm not sure what "moving forward" even means exactly). I know that's all pretty irrational, but it's how I'm feeling right now.

Anyhow, just wanted to share my first online publication with my faithful readers.

Rest in Peace Chip Switzer

"'Dead?' said Sophie. She had a silly impulse to add, But she was alive an hour ago! And she stopped herself, because death is like that: people are alive until they die." -Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle

"'Among the tortures and devastations of life is this then — our friends are not able to finish their stories.'" -Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Random Musing
And once again, I find that Diana Wynne Jones' quote about death is spot on and sadly appropriate for the times. Chip Switzer, another Novi High School alum, passed away yesterday. He died peacefully in his sleep. He was twenty years old. He wasn't my friend, but he was an unfailingly kind person, and his passing away so suddenly is yet another (and at this point unnecessary) reminder of this world's constant, torturous transience. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

Six Months

"My friend has gone away from me
From shadow into perfect light,
But leaving a sweet legacy.
My heart shall hold it long in fee—
A grand ideal, calm and bright,
A song of hope for ministry,
A faith of unstained purity,
A thought of beauty for delight—
These did my friends bequeath to me;
And, more than even these can be,
The worthy pattern of a white,
Unmarred life lived most graciously.
Dear comrade, loyal thanks to thee
Who now hath fared beyond my sight,
My friend has gone away from me,
But leaving a sweet legacy." -L.M. Montgomery, "My Legacy"

Random Musing
I ran across that poem in The Watchman and Other Poems a few months ago and my mind immediately went to Erica Teevens. It just seemed so incredibly apt. That's why I copy down quotes from everything I read - it's so nice to run across something, anything that manages so succinctly to express thoughts and feelings you've had. Cause we're all a jumble of emotion most of the time anyhow, and nothing manages to get sorted out.

Today is six months since Erica Teevens passed away. It's a rather large milestone, and for the people who were particularly close to her, it's a horrible reminder that someone very near and dear to them is no longer around and hasn't been around for so many months. There's nothing anyone can do about the fact that time is going on and on and things are happening, and all the same Erica isn't around anymore to share in any of it. I know my sister is one of those people having a really hard time with that concept. I wish I could help, I wish I could do something or anything but in this situation there isn't anything to do really. So I'm limited to writing poems and making paintings and pulling quotes out of books thinking that at least someone out there will appreciate how perfectly writers like J.D. Salinger and L.M. Montgomery and Virginia Woolf were able to express how they're feeling. Cause I guess that's the only thing anyone can do for those people hurting so much right now: actually understand that terrible lonely ache and so somehow manage to make them feel a little less alone.

Some Advice

"'Never take advice!'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"Amy's lecture did Laurie good, though, of course, he did not own it till long afterward. Men seldom do, for when women are the advisers, the lords of creation don't take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do. Then they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it. If it fails, they generously give her the whole." -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"…'All children must look after their own upbringing.'  Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." -Anne Frank, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

"Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?" -Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

"'…advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise…'" -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

"If it isn't fun, don't do it.
You'll have to do enough that isn't…." -Robert Creeley, "Sad Advice"

On Love #21

"'Dexter, I love you so much. So, so much, and I probably always will.' Her lips touched his cheek. 'I just don't like you anymore. I'm sorry.'" -David Nicholls, One Day

I Write Letters

"Besides, doesn't everybody know that it doesn't make a mite of difference how a love-letter is spelled?" -L.M. Montgomery, Magic for Marigold

"…but her Letters were always unsatisfactory, and though she did not openly avow her feelings, yet every line proved her to be Unhappy." -Jane Austen, "Catharine, or the Bower"

"'Letters are no matter of indifference; they are generally a very positive curse.'" -Jane Austen, Emma

"Every body at all addicted to letter writing, without having much to say, which will include a large proportion of the female world at least…" -Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

"'Every body allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female.'" -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

"…as if letters couldn't lie.  But Philip knew better than that, sprawling his thanks across a page to Aunt Alice who had given him a teddy bear he was too old for.  Letter could lie all right, but they made the lie permanent.  They lay as evidence against you: they made you meaner than the spoken word." -Graham Greene, "The Basement Room"

"Letters, like compilation tapes, were really vehicles for unexpressed emotions…" -David Nicholls, One Day

"John Donne said more than kisses, letters mingle souls and so they do…" -Zadie Smith, White Teeth

On Friendship #18

"'If you're my friend I should be able to talk to you but I can't, and if I can't talk to you, well, what is the point of you? Of us?'" -David Nicholls, One Day

On Sadness #3

"The Potters smiled and waved at Harry and he stared hungrily back at them, his hands pressed flat against the glass as though he was hoping to fall right through it and reach them. He had a powerful kind of ache inside him, half joy, half terrible sadness." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Dreams and Dreaming #12

"'I'm afraid that if my dream is realized, I'll have no reason to go on living.'" -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (Translated by Alan R. Clarke)

On Happiness #27

"…never made the mistake of thinking gaiety was happiness…" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

Twenty-Fourth Pairing

"'Does color make you sort of dizzy?' asked Rebecca.
'No,' answered Emma Jane after a long pause; 'no, it don't; not a mite.'
'Perhaps dizzy isn't just the right word, but it's nearest. I'd like to eat color, and drink it, and sleep in it.'" -Kate Douglas Wiggins, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm


*Available for purchase on Etsy

On Friendship #17

"'You feel, I suppose, that, in losing Isabella, you lose half yourself: you feel a void in your heart which nothing else can occupy.  Society is becoming irksome; and as for the amusements in which you were wont to share at Bath, the very idea of which without her is abhorrent.  You would not, for instance, now go to a ball for the world.  You feel that you have no longer any friend to whom you can speak with unreserve; on whose regard you can place dependence; or whose counsel, in any difficult, you could rely on.'" -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


"Little, silly, dreamy, happy, ignorant Fourteen! Always thinking that something great and wonderful and beautiful lay in the years ahead." -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"'Her ignorance made the unknown infinitely vast.'" -Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

"The comforts of ignorance seemed utterly denied her." -Virginia Woolf, Orlando

"Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives." -Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

On Words #15

"'Words are the source of misunderstandings.'" -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (Translated by Katherine Woods)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"'I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best laid plans.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"He wanted to tell them what that meant to him, but he simply could not find words important enough." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"'All's fair in love and war,' said Ron brightly, 'and this is a bit of both.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"It was not, after all, so easy to die." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"…their presence was his courage, and the reason he was able to keep putting one foot in front of the other." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"'It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"'Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"'Tell me one last thing,' said Harry. 'Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?'
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.
'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Random Musing
When the first Harry Potter film came out, I was eleven years old and already in love with the book series. I went to see the movie with my family and, even at the very young age of eleven, it disappointed me. I didn't see another Harry Potter movie in theaters until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out and my mom decided (after seeing a well-done trailer) that she wanted to see it. We went and to my surprise I found myself really enjoying the movie. From there began the slow shift in my view of the movie series.

I went from being a vocal detractor of the Harry Potter movies to really appreciating them for their own merits. They're entertaining movies which do a fair job of adapting complicated material. Could they be better? Yes. Should you read the books instead of watching the movies? Yes. Are they very fun to watch despite not being nearly as good as their source material? Yes.

My opinion that the movies simply need to be fun and entertaining, as opposed to legitimately good, changed slightly with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Here was a genuinely good movie - not just for a Harry Potter movie, but simply as a movie on its own terms. I absolutely loved the film - thought it was a phenomenal adaptation, and I've watched it many many times. It's my favorite of the Harry Potter films, and because of how much I like it my expectations for the final film were astronomical. The other movies in the series could stay simply entertaining, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was going to be adapted into two genuinely wonderful films.

And so last night, like so many other people, I went to the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 expecting an amazing epic finale to the series. Unlike so many other people though, I don't think I loved the film. I say "think" because I need to see the movie one more time to decide how I really feel about it.

I was expecting a movie that would be just as good as Part 1. Personally I don't believe that the movie managed that gargantuan task. The pacing felt overly manic to me, deaths were (oddly) not treated with the respect or gravitas I was expecting, and special effects took over characters. This isn't to say that Part 2 isn't a good movie. I believe it is. There are some very well-done moments and it's entertaining and fun to watch in the same way most Harry Potter films are. I have no qualms about paying to see it again in theaters. However, is it what I wanted it to be? No. Did it live up to my expectations? No. And do I agree with Rotten Tomatoes (and apparently the public audience at large) that it is the best of the Harry Potter films? A very firm "no."

Dumbledore Says

"'It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"'…to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"'…humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"'…the best of us must sometimes eat our words.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

"'It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

"'Curiosity is not a sin,' he said. 'But we should exercise caution with our curiosity…'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"'Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young…and I seem to have forgotten lately….'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

"'I don't mean to be rude — ' he began, in a tone that threatened rudeness in every syllable.
'— yet, sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often,' Dumbledore finished the sentence gravely. 'Best to say nothing at all, my dear man.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right,' said Hermione." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'Ah, Harry, how often this happens, even between the best of friends! Each of us believes that what he has to say is much more important than anything the other might have to contribute!'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'It is natural to be afraid…'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'Killing is not nearly as easy as the innocent believe…'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'…I'm the one with the wand…you're at my mercy…'
'No, Draco,' said Dumbledore quietly. 'It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"'It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"'Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

"'Tell me one last thing,' said Harry. 'Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?'
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.
'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter Humor

"'I hope you're pleased with yourself. We could all have been killed — or worse, expelled.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"'What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally, the whole school knows.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"'Broaden your minds, my dears, and allow your eyes to see past the mundane!…'"
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

"Professor Trelawney behaved almost normally until the very end of Christmas dinner, two hours later. Full to bursting with Christmas dinner and still wearing their party hats, Harry and Ron got up first from the table and she shrieked loudly.
'My dears! Which of you left his seat first? Which?'
'Dunno,' said Ron, looking uneasily at Harry.
'I doubt it will make much difference,' said Professor McGonagall coldly, 'unless a mad axe-man is waiting outside the doors to slaughter the first into the entrance hall.'
Even Ron laughed. Professor Trelawney looked highly affronted." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

"'Harry Potter will do the task!' squeaked the elf. 'Dobby knew Harry Potter had not found the right book, so Dobby did it for him!'
'What?' said Harry. 'But you don't know what the second task is —'
'Dobby knows, sir! Harry Potter has to go into the lake and find his Wheezy —'
'Find my what?'
'— and take his Wheezy back from the merpeople!'
'What's a Wheezy?'
'Your Wheezy, sir, your Wheezy — Wheezy who is giving Dobby his sweater!'"
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"Hermione yawned widely and poured herself some coffee. She looked mildly pleased about something, and when Ron asked her what she had to be so happy about, she simply said, 'The hats have gone. Seems the house-elves do want freedom after all.'
'I wouldn't bet on it,' Ron told her cuttingly. 'They might not count as clothes. They didn't look anything like hats to me, more like woolly bladders.'
Hermione did not speak to him all morning." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

"…'Well, you have!' she said. 'And you won't look at any of us!'
'It's you lot who won't look at me!' said Harry angrily.
'Maybe you're taking it in turns to look and keep missing each other,' suggested Hermione, the corners of her mouth twitching." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

"'And from now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell die, Ron, die — I'm just chucking them in the bin where they belong.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Random Musing
In honor of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 coming out this Friday, let's have some Harry Potter posts for the next few days.

On Sadness #2

"All the same, without being morbid, and giving way to—to memories and so on, I must confess that there does seem to me something sad in life. It is hard to say what it is. I don't mean the sorrow that we all know, like illness and poverty and death. No, it is something different. It is there, deep down, deep down, part of one, like one's breathing. However hard I work and tire myself I have only to stop to know it is there, waiting. I often wonder if everybody feels the same. One can never know. But isn't it extraordinary that under his sweet, joyful little singing it was just this sadness—ah, what is it? —that I heard?" -Katherine Mansfield, "The Canary"

Black and White Phase #6


On Love #20

"It is so beautiful, so exciting, this love, that I tremble on the verge of it, and offer, quite out of my own habit, to look for a brooch on a beach; also it is the stupidest, the most barbaric of human passions, and turns a nice young man with a profile like a gem (Paul's was exquisite) into a bully with a crowbar (he was swaggering, he was insolent) in the Middle End Road.  Yet, she said to herself, from the dawn of time odes have been sung to love; wreaths heaped and roses; and if you asked nine people out of ten they would say they wanted nothing but this; while the women, judging from her own experience, would all the time be feeling, This is not what we want; there is nothing more tedious, puerile, and inhumane than love; yet it is also beautiful and necessary." -Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Happy 4th of July!

"Hermione yawned widely and poured herself some coffee. She looked mildly pleased about something, and when Ron asked her what she had to be so happy about, she simply said, 'The hats have gone. Seems the house-elves do want freedom after all.'
'I wouldn't bet on it,' Ron told her cuttingly. 'They might not count as clothes. They didn't look anything like hats to me, more like woolly bladders.'
Hermione did not speak to him all morning." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

There is a hole in the garden. It is empty. I envy it.

Emptiness: the only freedom there is
In a fallen world…" -Jay Hopler, "And the Sunflower Weeps for the Sun, Its Flower"

Lorelai: Oh, he's totally fine having his personal freedom slowly stripped away as long as he's completely unaware that it's happening. Just like a true American. -Gilmore Girls (Episode 6.13: Friday Night's Alright For Fighting)

Random Musing
I know these aren't exactly fitting for the 4th of July (except for the very last one, ha), but they're the only quotes I have that had anything at all to do with "freedom."

Can't Forget

"…instead of the misery and disillusion of sixty odd years of mental vacuum, of physical squalor, I would spare them all by ending everything at the height of my so-called career while there were still illusions left among my profs, still poems to be published in Harper's, still a memory at least that would be worthwhile." -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

"But the peculiarity of these two strong memories is that each was very simple.  I am hardly aware of myself, but only of the sensation.  I am only the container of the feeling of ecstasy, of the feeling of rapture.  Perhaps this is characteristic of all childhood memories; perhaps it accounts for their strength.  Later we add to feelings much that makes them more complex; and therefore less strong; or if not less strong, less isolated, less complete." -Virginia Woolf, A Sketch of the Past

"He smiled the most exquisite smile, veiled by memory, tinged by dreams." -Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

"Anyways, these ideas or feelings or ramblings had their satisfactions.  They turned the pain of others into memories of one's own.  They turned pain, which is natural, enduring, and eternally triumphant, into personal memory, which is human, brief, and eternally elusive." -Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Translated by Natasha Wimmer)

"Nothing told her anything, except one thing — unless she had lost her memory, she had lost her way." -Elizabeth Bowen, "The Inherited Clock"

"'…I shall sit with my memories. I expect to spend some time getting to know them.'" -Elizabeth Bowen, "The Inherited Clock"

"'People's memories are very short — a lucky thing, I always think.'" -Agatha Christie, "The Thumbmark of St. Peter"

"Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory." -James Joyce, "The Dead"

"No memory of the past touched him, for his mind was full of a present joy." -James Joyce, "A Little Cloud"

"He began to doubt the reality of what memory told him." -James Joyce, "A Painful Case"

"I liked the man. He was lean with memories." -Jack Kerouac, On the Road

"My memory is a goddamn liar." -Elizabeth McCracken, An Exact Replica of a Figment                                                                               of My Imagination

"It is only my memory that holds me here. Time, let me vanish. Then what we separate by our very presence can come together." -Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

"…It had been made for happy remembering
By people who were still too young
To have learned about memory…" -Ted Hughes, "A Short Film"

Random Musing
I don't think a post about "memory" would be complete without the following video:

On Happiness #26

"'But don't you think,' I persist, 'that it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?'" -Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Dreams and Dreaming #11

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting…" -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (Translated by Alan R. Clarke)

On Words #14

"…in search of some elusive word or phrase which might best describe the indescribable." -L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

On Friendship #16

"'I did not mean to quarrel,' said Rosamond, putting on her hat.
'Quarrel? Nonsense; we have not quarreled. If one is not to get into a rage sometimes, what is the good of being friends?'" -George Eliot, Middlemarch

On Love #19

"And, in that mood, he was grateful to be in love. When you are in love, things make even more sense, he thought." -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (Translated by Alan R. Clarke)

On Happiness #25

"Baines wasn't really happy; he was only watching happiness from close to instead of from far away." -Graham Greene, "The Basement Room"

On Sadness #1

"'You have to protect yourself from sadness. Sadness is very close to hate.'" -Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Souls: Second Look

"Oh, mother, if only you knew how I am forging a soul! How fortunate to have these two years! I am fighting, fighting, and I am making a self, in great pain, often, as for a birth, but it is right that it should be so, and I am being refined in the fires of pain and love." -Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

"The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it's all written there." -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (Translated by Alan R. Clarke)

"'Souls have complexions too: what will suit one will not suit another.'" -George Eliot, Middlemarch

"A hidden soul seemed to be flowing forth from Rosamond's fingers; and so indeed it was, since souls live on in perpetual echoes…" -George Eliot, Middlemarch

"He tried to weigh his soul to see if it was a poet's soul. Melancholy was the dominant note of his temperament, he thought, but it was a melancholy tempered by recurrences of faith and resignation and simple joy. If he could give expression to it in a book of poems perhaps men would listen." -James Joyce, "A Little Cloud"

"There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand." -Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"It is only when one has grown old and dull that the soul is heavy and refuses to rise." -Kate Douglas Wiggins, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

"It has come to my attention that your soul is in need of saving. Well, with all of your vice and your scorn. You spend a lot of time doing bad things, don't you? You might be asking yourself. How can I get into heaven? The truth is, there is no way. There is no heaven. The answer to Man's most asked question therefore has no answer. Let me tell you a story…" -Dorothea Lasky, "Dear Friend,"

"…Once at a funeral, a man had died
And with the prayers said, his soul flew up in a hurry
Like it had been let out of something awful
It was strangely colored, that soul.
And it was a funny shape and a funny temperature.
As it blew away, all of us looking felt the cold." -Dorothea Lasky, "Love Poem"

On Friendship #15

"'But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.'" -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (Translated by Katherine Woods)

Souls: First Look

"'I wonder what a soul…a person's soul…would look like,' said Priscilla dreamily.
'Like that, I should think,' answered Anne, pointing to a radiance of sifted sunlight streaming through a birch tree. 'Only with shape and features of course. I like to fancy souls as being made of light. And some are all shot through with rosy stains and quivers…and some have a soft glitter like moonlight on the sea…and some are pale and transparent like mist at dawn.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"'I read somewhere once that souls were like flowers,' said Priscilla.
'Then your soul is a golden narcissus,' said Anne, 'and Diana's is like a red, red rose. Jane's is an apple blossom, pink and wholesome and sweet.'
'And our own is a white violet, with purple streaks in its heart,' finished Priscilla." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"'Anybody is liable to rheumatism in her legs, Anne. It's only old people who should have rheumatism in their souls, though. Thanks goodness, I never have. When you get rheumatism in your soul you might as well go and pick out your coffin.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"She had one of those souls that are always tied to the stake, burning in the suffering of the world around them." -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

"The body grows slowly and steadily but the soul grows by leaps and bounds. It may come to its full stature in an hour." -L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

"'Lord, Lord!' he said to himself out loud, stretching and opening his eyes. 'The death of the soul.' The words attached themselves to some scene, to some room, to some past he had been dreaming of. It became clearer; the scene, the room, the past he had been dreaming of." -Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"…but it was her manner that annoyed him; timid; hard; something arrogant; unimaginative; prudish. 'The death of the soul.' He had said that instinctively, ticketing that moment as he used to do — the death of her soul." -Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"'Better lose your life than your soul…'" -Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys

"…I have a knocking woodpecker in my heart and I think I have three souls
One for love one for poetry and one for acting out my insane self
Not insane but boring but perpendicular but untrue but true
The three rarely sing together take my hand it's active
The active ingredient in it is a touch…" -Kenneth Koch, "Alive for an Instant"

On Love #18

"'…but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement.'" -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Dreams and Dreaming #10

Hamlet: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and
count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that
I have bad dreams.
Guildenstern: Which dreams indeed are ambition, for
the very substance of the ambitious is merely the
shadow of a dream.
Hamlet: A dream itself is but a shadow. -William Shakespeare, Hamlet

On Words #13

"'Jane, the most awful as well as the most beautiful things in the world can be said in three words or less…I love youhe is gonehe is comeshe is deadtoo late…and life is illumined or ruined.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Jane of Lantern Hill

On Friendship #14

"Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love." -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

On Happiness #24

"'If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man.'" -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (Translated by Alan R. Clarke)


Random Musing
So you might know by now that I paint. What you probably didn't know is that I'm now selling those paintings on Etsy. Considering that I only started listing paintings about 3 days ago, I forgive you for not knowing. It'd be a bit creepy if you did know actually....

Anyhow, here is the link to my Etsy shop, in case you were curious. And in general, you should just check out the site and look at all the amazing stuff people have made. It's a fun way to spend some of that time you've been wasting on Facebook. Though I admit it could end up being sort of expensive...

On Love #17

"But hers was not love compared with his." -Virginia Woolf, "The Introduction"

Random Musing
I find this quote utterly lovely. It just seems so true about love. People in love never seem to think that anyone else can understand how they feel. Plus it's just such a nice way of saying that someone feels they are hopelessly, inexpressibly in love with someone.

A Touch of Evil

"'Well, evil to some is always good to others.'" -Jane Austen, Emma

"'There is such a thing as evil…'" -Agatha Christie, Murder With Mirrors

"'…he looked at me as if I had been the embodied evil of life.'" -Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

"'…reflecting how much certain forms of evil are akin to madness, derived from intense egoism, inflamed by resistance, tearing the soul to pieces, and giving factitious vigor to the body.'" -Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

"'And yet — she's a good soul. So good — she bores me. No evil in her. Somehow — one needs — a spice — of evil — in every personality. It's the — pinch of — salt — that brings out — the flavour.'
Another silence. Then he added gravely,
'Trouble is — the Cook — makes the pinch — too large — in most cases. Inexperienced Cook — wiser after — a few eternities.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"…'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —
On this home by horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'

'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore —
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore —
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'…" -Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven"

"…It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
The best I had done seem'd to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre?
Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil,
I am he who knew what it was to be evil…" -Walt Whitman, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"

Change (Not Coins)

"'Oh,' she though, 'how horrible it is that people have to grow up — and marry — and change!'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"Kindred spirits alone do not change with the changing years." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"'Changes come all the time. Just as soon as things get really nice they change,' she said with a sigh." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

"'…you'll change, whether you think you will or not.  Nothing ever stays the same.'" -Sylvia Plath, "Initiation"

"'Young people think they never can change, but they do in the most wonderful manner, and very few die of broken hearts.'" -Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys

"'How wonderful, how very wonderful the operations of time, and the changes of the human mind!'" -Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

"…she was oppressed, she was overcome by her own felicity; — and happily disposed as is the human mind to be easily familiarized with any change for the better, it required several hours to give sedateness to her spirits, or any degree of tranquility to her heart." -Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

"Change leaves everything at the same level. Nothing stays bright but mornings." -Elizabeth Bowen, "Unwelcome Idea"

"'I remembered the old doctor – "It would be interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals, on the spot." I felt I was becoming scientifically interesting.'" -Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

"Then he asked if I didn't like things changing.  And I said I wouldn't mind things changing if I became an astronaut, for example, which is one of the biggest changes you can imagine apart from becoming a girl or dying." -Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

"Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change." -Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"'People change, they eat meals year after year and change with every meal.'" -Jack Kerouac, On the Road

"'The world changes, and all that once was strong now proves unsure.'" -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Random Musing
In case you were curious, I personally do not like change very much. I have very little use for it, and generally find it a huge (rather frightening) nuisance.

On Words #12

"Words could not express the dull pain of these things." -William Golding, Lord of the Flies

This Mother's Day

"The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlid here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter." -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"'What do girls do who haven't any mothers to help them through their troubles?'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"…for no matter how lost and soiled and worn-out wandering sons may be, mothers can forgive and forget every thing as they fold them into their fostering arms. Happy the son whose faith in his mother remains unchanged, and who, through all his wanderings, has kept some filial token to repay her brave and tender love." -Louisa May Alcott, Little Men

"…she rejoiced as only mothers can in the good fortunes of their children." -Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys

"'Mothers can forgive anything! Tell me all, and be sure that I will never let you go, though the whole world should turn from you.'" -Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys

"'A mother would have been always present.  A mother would have been a constant friend; her influence would have been beyond all other.'" -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

"…Mother, I
love you — for

whatever that
meant — more

than I know, body
gave me my
own, generous,

inexorable place
of you…" -Robert Creeley, "For My Mother: Genevieve Jules Creeley April 8, 1887-                                                                                                           1972"

"…When you are in your grave all that you will be able to say is mommy.…" -Dorothea Lasky, "The Poetry that is Going to Matter After You are Dead"

Dreams and Dreaming #9

"'It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.'" -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

On Happiness #23

"…it is well to have as many holds upon happiness as possible.'" -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

On Love #14

"'It's a hard thing, Knighton,' he said, 'how little one can do for those one loves.'" -Agatha Christie, The Mystery of the Blue Train

I'm Gradumacated

"'All life lessons are not learned at college,' she thought. 'Life teaches them everywhere.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

Random Musing
I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree today. A milestone - as everyone keeps on telling me. It doesn't exactly feel like a huge milestone when I have no real post-graduation plans. It also doesn't even feel entirely real given that I graduated after three years, which means the vast majority of my friends still have a year to go (aka: they didn't partake in graduation festivities with me). I'm sure the disbelief will wear off soon though and I'll be able to sink straight on into panic as I search frantically for a job. Particularly as I've realized that the only real difference in my life from yesterday to today is that I've gone from being a "student" to simply being one of the many "unemployed." Sigh. Yep, you guessed correctly ladies and gentlemen, this is yet another cheery view on life from Nazifa Islam. Over and out until next time.

On Friendship #13

"'There is so little real friendship in the world!'" -Jane Austen, Persuasion

Happy Birthday To Me

"That kind of crying, deep into a pillow, does not happen after we are twenty-one." -Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca

Random Musing
I turned twenty-one today. The only quote I had relating to the age twenty-one is kind of depressing. I guess it's rather fitting considering my usual gloomy outlook on life? I dunno. I'm not going to pretend to have an explanation for that.

she wears grey

Random Musing
My poetry tutorial doesn't have too many requirements. Four poems submitted every two weeks and - if you want to (so it's not really even a requirement so much as a strongly-pressed suggestion) - constructing a book of poetry by the end of the term. So while the four poems/week are the bulk of the work for the class, this book of poetry is kind of like the class' final.

For my book I decided I would compile my collection of Rosemary poems. I chose the title she wears grey for the collection, managed to get my graphic-designing-fiend sister to do all of the artwork, bought a lot of nice paper and PVA glue from Hollanders, took my files over to Kolossos Printing, and youtubed do-it-yourself book binding. While I didn't construct a book binding jig, I managed to figure out how to do what I needed with the following supplies: two very heavy books (it can be very convenient to have a roommate who's pre-med), two binder clips, cotton swabs, and an exacto knife.

I'm pretty happy with the final product. Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure:

I only made seven copies originally, but since some friends have expressed interest in buying copies I'm probably going to do a second printing. I'd just give them away but I'm a broke and soon-to-be-graduating college senior, so that's just not feasible.

So copies are selling for $11 each. If anyone reading this is interested in owning my first chapbook, let me know - I'm sure we can figure something out. The US postal system is a wonderful thing.

Rest in Peace Diana Wynne Jones

"'Dead?' said Sophie. She had a silly impulse to add, But she was alive an hour ago! And she stopped herself, because death is like that: people are alive until they die." -Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle

Random Musing
The above quote just keeps on being relevant. And it's sadly more than suited for this particular post.

I'm up writing a paper for my American Adolescence class. It's supposed to be 6-7 pages long and I'm only starting on page 4. Woo-hoo. I've just had coffee for the first time in months. Insomniacs don't generally need coffee. But tonight I did. So now I can be awake to fully process the horror of the discovery that Diana Wynne Jones passed away on March 26, 2011 and I only just found out.

She was my favorite fantasy author - responsible for the brilliance that is Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm, not to mention so many other wonderful books. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. Knowing this I've actually been checking her wiki page and searching the news every so often to see how she's been doing. I swear I just wiki-d her a few weeks ago and she hadn't passed away yet. It must have been just days before she did.

So of course now, in the midst of essay-writing procrastination, I discover that she died two weeks ago. Ugh. I'm sad. And I feel like a bad fan for only finding out now. Sigh. Irrational? Maybe...

Now there's nothing literary that I'm all excited about looking forward to. (Well, it'd be really awesome if they published all of the work J.D. Salinger'd been hoarding, but who knows when that's going to happen.) I don't want her to be dead. Yeah, mature thought, I know. I don't care. This year is stupid. (Lesson: Nazifa gets less and less sophisticated as the night hours pass by. Bodes well for my essay.) So many people have passed away. I didn't post about it in light of what happened with Erica Teevens, but Brian Jacques died on February 5th. So I guess 2011 is the Year of Beloved-Childhood-Authors-Biting-the-Dust. Or maybe it's just the Year of Beloved-People-Biting-the-Dust. Who knows.

Back to essay writing. I am so not in the mood for this.

On Love #13

"'Don't take it away! It's only a fancy, but a man must love something…'" -Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys

On Words #11

"'…for words also belong to the sheltering conception of light and order which is our refuge.'" -Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

On Happiness #22

"…Elizabeth, agitated and confused, rather knew that she was happy, than felt herself to be so…" -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Dreams and Dreaming #8

"…what splendid dreams young people build upon a word, and how bitter is the pain when the bright bubbles burst." -Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys

A Dash of Romance

"Elizabeth's spirit's soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. 'How could you begin?' said she. 'I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?'
'I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.'" -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"'I am happier than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh. Mr. Darcy sends you all the love in the world that he can spare from me.'" -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"My mother then said she wished she knew why she had married him, and would like still more to know why he had married her.
My father said, 'You were so lovely — you've no idea.'" -Elizabeth Bowen, "Songs My Father Sang Me"

"'I have given my heart to another,' he repeated over and over again to himself." -Edward Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

"They fell in love for no reason at all, in the park, on a bench…" -Graham Greene, "When Greek Meets Greek"

"'Forgive me. Don't love me any more. Yes. Love me. Love me.'" -Katherine Mansfield, "Je ne parle pas français"

"For they might be parted for hundreds of years, she and Peter; she never wrote a letter and his were dry sticks; but suddenly it would come over her, If he were with me now what would he say? — some days, some sights bringing him back to her calmly, without the old bitterness; which perhaps was the reward of having cared for people…" -Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"'You've destroyed my loneliness.'" -Virginia Woolf, Night and Day

Vesper: I can't resist waking you. Every time I do you look at me as if you hadn't seen me in years. Makes me feel reborn.
-Casino Royale

Ashley: She's the only dream I ever had that didn't die in the face of reality.
-Gone With the Wind

Mr. Darcy: If, however, your feelings have changed. I would have to tell you, you have bewitched me body and soul, and I love— I love— I love you.
-Pride & Prejudice

Harry: I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend a day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes, and I love that you are the last person I wanna talk to before I go to sleep at night.
-When Harry Met Sally…

Harry: I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody you want the rest of you life to start as soon as possible.
-When Harry Met Sally…

Happy Birthday Erica Teevens

"…possessed of that indescribable charm called grace." -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Random Musing
She would have been 20 years old today.

This Is Hamlet

Random Musing
My sister Namira bought a duckling to cheer me up since the past month has been pretty rough. Together we decided to name him Hamlet. He's pretty adorable. And a lot less messy/work than an actual live ducky. Not that I wouldn't want a live ducky - it'd be even fuzzier. And who says "no" to fuzzier?

Good News (for a change)

Random Musing
"When the World Gets Wise" was published in The Michigan Daily's annual Literary Issue today. And while there were some formatting issues with how they printed it - some of the spacing wasn't exactly what I intended - it's nonetheless exciting to see a poem in print. Especially when it got it's own full page.

Rest in Peace Diane Wells

Random Musing
I found out today that one of my supervisors from work passed away on Friday, March 4th. And while I love all of my supervisors - they honestly make going to work much less of a chore than otherwise - Diane was my favorite. She would schedule you for the south circulation desk if you had a lot of homework to do (it's very quiet there during late night shifts) or keep you at the north desk so you could talk to your friends. She was so incredibly accommodating. I mean, one semester I used to always take my 15 minutes break right as my friend Sahrish was getting off her shift. Diane let us work it out that way so me and Sahrish could go get pizza together every week. Not everyone you work with is that nice.

She'd been on medical leave since maybe October but I had no idea she was seriously sick. I'd actually heard that she was coming back to the library in January. When that didn't happen though, me and Sahrish talked a bit about visiting her. Unfortunately we never got around to it. The closest we'll get to saying anything to her now is the memorial site made in her honor. She was a really wonderful person.

This has been a really awful month.


"'Thank goodness, we can choose our friends. We have to take our relatives as they are, and be thankful…'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

"'…but ye don't be choosing frinds after all. They come to ye…or they don't. Just that. Ye get the ones meant for you, be they minny or few, in the time appinted for their coming.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Pat of Silver Bush

Sylvia Plath Audio

Random Musing
I love Sylvia Plath. That's probably not news. As is also probably common knowledge, she committed suicide at the age of 30. What might be a little less well known is that upon her death she left behind the manuscript of Ariel, her most famous collection of poetry.

While the volume wasn't published until two years after her death, there are some existing recordings of her reading poems from the collection. These recordings include a reading of my favorite poem ever "Lady Lazarus," as well as what is probably Plath's most famous poem "Daddy." In addition to those two, I'm also adding the recording for "Fever 103" - just to highlight a poem of hers that is a tad less mainstream. So here is Sylvia Plath for your listening pleasure:

"Lady Lazarus" (fyi: The recorded version of the poem is actually a bit different from the officially published version)


"Fever 103"

Right Now.

1. "'I don't have much time, I have to haul corpses.  I don't have much time, I have to breathe, eat, drink, sleep.  I don't have much time, I have to keep the gears meshing.  I don't have much time, I'm busy living.  I don't have much time, I'm busy dying.  As you can imagine, there were no more questions.'" -Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Translated by Natasha Wimmer)

2. "'Why isn't the wind happy, Mummy?' asked Walter one night.
'Because it is remembering all the sorrow of the world since time began,' answered Anne." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside

3. "'…I know it's good for me. Horrible things always are good for you, I suppose. After you've been killed a few times you don't mind it. But the first time one does — squirm.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

4. "'Just because somebody's dead, you don't just stop liking them, for God's sake — especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that're alive and all.'" -J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

5. "…and come back, come back, come back to me." -Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room

6. "One can get over anything in time." -Katherine Mansfield, "The Canary"

7. "'It makes me very sad at times to think about her. But really, Marilla, one can't stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Random Musing
Sticking quotes #6 and #7 in there is kind of misleading. I don't feel that way. Not at all. That's just how I think I'll probably feel one day. Or how I hope I'll feel one day. That's "one day," not "right now." Right now I'm just hoping that I'll eventually get to a point where the world seems utterly interesting. Or even remotely interesting. Cause it doesn't right now. Instead it seems surreal and sad and inexplicable.

I guess what I'm saying is that what I find so awful about right now is that no matter what else is going on in life the one all-consuming feeling I have can essentially be summed up by:

                 "…wondering what God had wrought when He made life so sad."

Dreams and Dreaming #7

"Grown people were so strangely oblivious to the truly important things of life.  Material for new garments, of night or day, could be bought in any shop for a trifling sum and made up out of hand.  But if a dream escape you, in what market-place the wide world over can you hope to regain it?  What coin of earthly minting will ever buy back for you that lost and lovely vision?" -L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

On Words #10

"…she knew few words and believed in none,…" -F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is The Night

On Friendship #12

"'There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.'" -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

On Love #12

"'Oh, no, no, I couldn't hurt her by loving her.'
'I'm not so sure of that,' muttered Old Grandmother, who was constantly saying things Marigold was to understand twenty years later." -L.M. Montgomery, Magic for Marigold

On Happiness #21

"'I suppose one gets a habit of doing without happiness or hope.'" -George Eliot, Middlemarch

The Trouble With Afterwards

"'I'm not afraid, but it seems as if I should be homesick for you even in heaven.'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"'Heaven must be very beautiful, of course, the Bible says so — but, Anne, it won't be what I've been used to.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"'…and he wasn't reconciled to dying. Dora told him he was going to a better world. "Mebbe, mebbe," says poor Ben, "but I'm sorter used to the imperfections of this one."'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars

Rest in Peace Erica Teevens

"…she was one of those happily created beings who please without effort, make friends everywhere, and take life so gracefully and easily that less fortunate souls are tempted to believe that such are born under a lucky star." -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"'She looks just as music sounds, I think,' answered Anne." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

"'Dead?' said Sophie. She had a silly impulse to add, But she was alive an hour ago! And she stopped herself, because death is like that: people are alive until they die."
-Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle

Random Musing
Erica Teevens passed away on February 8, 2011. It's almost too ridiculous and horrible to believe.

On Marriage

"'…marriage, they say, halves one's rights and doubles one's duties.'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"'…for I look upon the Frasers to be about as unhappy as most other married people.'" -Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

"'Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.'" -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate." -Kate Chopin, The Awakening

"'"For better, for worse."' That sounds wonderful…but is there really such a thing as love in the world? We all believe it until we are twenty. Why, I used to believe it. Before I married Ramsay I used to lie awake at nights to think about him. Well, I did it after we were married, too, but not for the same reason. It was to wonder what woman he was with. I wonder how his new marriage is turning out. Sometimes I think I was a fool to divorce him. A home and position means a good deal.'" -L.M. Montgomery, The Blythes are Quoted

"And I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered on a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted when the wedding service ended was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard's kitchen mat." -Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

"…there's nothing in the world so bad for some women as marriage…" -Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"But such things happen to every one. Every one has friends who were killed in the War. Every one gives up something when they marry." -Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"For at any rate, she said to herself...she need not marry, thank Heaven: she need not undergo that degradation." -Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

"A married state affords but little ease
The best of husbands are so hard to please.
This in wives' careful faces you may spell
Though they dissemble their misfortunes well.
A virgin state is crowned with much content;
It's always happy as it's innocent.
No blustering husbands to create your fears;
No pangs of child birth to extort your tears;
No children's cries for to offend your ears;
Few worldly crosses to distract your prayers:
Thus are you freed from all the cares that do
Attend on matrimony and a husband too.
Therefore Madam, be advised by me
Turn, turn apostate to love's levity,
Suppress wild nature if she dare rebel.
There' s no such thing as leading apes in hell." -Katherine Philips, "A Married State"

Maggie: Don't you believe in marriage?
Jane: Yes, for women.
-The Women (1939)

On Words #9

"'I like good strong words that mean something…'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

On Happiness #20

"'Dear me! how happy and good we'd be, if we had no worries!'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

From Easy A

Random Musing
I saw Easy A last weekend. It was hilarious. I am a big fan. I'm thinking about buying it. Jury's still out on that though. I'll keep you posted.

So there's this clip from the movie that cracks me up no matter how many times I've seen it. I've been watching it over and over again all day, which I freely admit is mildly weird. I don't care.

Here it is. It's funny. Go get the movie and watch it. Now. Go. Do it. Now.

The Great Gatbsy (2012)

Random Musing
This horrifies me. I mean, actually horrifies me.

I really love Baz Luhrmann - Moulin Rouge is a beyond amazing film and he has great flair as a director - but if he does this I'm going to have to rethink my adoration. 3D is that awful.

Sigh. This is so depressing. And I was so excited about this movie. Fingers crossed that this doesn't happen.

And once more, with feeling: sigh.

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