December 2012

Dreams and Dreaming #21

"'Poor mother, have sweet dreams. Or no dreams. I wish you no dreams at all.'"
-Ross Macdonald, The Doomsters

Good For Us

"'I am lonely, sometimes, but I dare say it's good for me…'" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"'As I read it I feel humbled and insignificant — which is good for me. I say to myself, "You poor, pitiful, little creature, did you ever imagine you could write? If so, your delusion is now stripped away from you for ever and you behold yourself in your naked paltriness." But I shall recover from this state of mind — and believe again that I can write a little — and go on cheerfully producing sketches and poems until I can do better.'" - L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

"'…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

"'Cousin Jimmy thinks I did perfectly right. Cousin Jimmy would think I had done perfectly right if I had murdered Andrew and buried him in the Land of Uprightness. It's very nice to have one friend like that, though too many wouldn't be good for you.'"
-L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

"I used to read everything, Professor, I read all the time.  Now all I read is poetry.  Poetry is the one thing that isn't contaminated, the one thing that isn't part of the game.  I don't know if you follow me, Professor.  Only poetry — and let me be clear, only some of it — is good for you, only poetry isn't shit." -Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Translated by Natasha Wimmer)

"She said gently: 'My dear, I'm trying to be good for you!'" -Agatha Christie, Evil Under the Sun

What Mindy Kaling Got Wrong About Best Friends

Random Musing
I just finished reading Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). It was pretty entertaining, and I found myself laughing out loud exactly twice. I chuckled silently to myself many more times than that. This post isn't going to be a book review though. The book is a quick and fun read and if that sounds like something you'd be interested in, then I'd go ahead and spend a couple of hours reading it. I'm more interested in one very small selection from the chapter about Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities:

I know when you fall in love with someone that you will completely forget about me. That hurts my feelings, but it is okay. Please try to remember to text me, if you can, if you know I have something going on in my life, like a work promotion or something.
Re-read that. One more time. I'll wait. Done yet? Okay, good.

So that is the biggest piece of bullshit I've seen on the written page in a very long time. And I read the news. I mean, come on. You're giving your alleged best friend explicit permission to ignore you, to blow you off. Why Mindy, why? Why would you do that? People who blow you off are not good friends. They definitely aren't your best friend. Best friends don't blow each other off. I think that's actually a rule in the Unwritten Best Friend Constitution:

1A. Do not ignore your best friend for a boy. No matter how cute they are.
The only reason I can think of that Mindy Kaling condones this behavior is that she does the same thing to her friends when she meets a boy and so wants to pretend that it's okay. And having read her book and liked it, I really hope that's not the case. Because it isn't okay. If you entirely drop your friends - and I count only getting in touch for incredibly huge life events the same as "dropping" - when you meet a guy and fall in love, then you probably didn't deserve good friends in the first place. And definitely not a best friend.

Okay, rant over.  I just had to make sure that people were aware that Mindy Kaling made a mistake about one crucial aspect of best friendship.

In case you were wondering, I didn't find anything else in the book infuriating. It was a very pleasant read otherwise. So to try and end this on a more positive note, here are two quotes I really liked:

"One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about."

"There are time when friends have said they hooked up with someone and all it means is that they had a highly anticipated kissing session. Other times it's a full-on all-night sex-a-thon. Can't we have a universal understanding of the term, once and for all? From now on, let's all agree that hooking up = sex. Everything else is 'made out.' And if you're older than twenty-eight, then just kissing someone doesn't count for crap and is not even worth mentioning. Unless you're Mormon, in which case you're going to hell."

It Means Nothing

"Nobody meant to be unkind, but nobody put themselves out of their way to secure her comfort." -Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

"'I — I meant well. You must believe that, I meant well.'
Such sad words, Poirot thought, some of the saddest words in the world." -Agatha Christie, Hallowe'en Party

"…exclaimed Murray rapturously, not meaning a syllable of it, but devoutly believing he did." -L.M. Montgomery, "At Five O'Clock in the Morning"

"It appeared that nobody ever said a thing they meant, or ever talked of a feeling they felt, but that was what music was for." -Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out

On Hatred #1

"'…hate's got to be a disease with me.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars

On Beauty #6

"…she had the kind of beauty that made you want to explore its history." -Ross Macdonald, The Goodbye Look

On Happiness #39

"'Yes, yes, yes! I was happy there. I can't stand, just now, being reminded of happiness…. Don't you understand? A time when one didn't know what was coming. When one said confidently, everything is going to be lovely! Some people are wise — they never expect to be happy. I did.'" -Agatha Christie, The Hollow


"'My dear,' he said, 'so many people are disgusting about so many things.'" -Agatha Christie, Murder In Three Acts

"But I was quite breathless at the thought of what I had done. I had shown somebody both sides of my life. Told him everything as sincerely and truthfully as I could. Taken immense pains to explain things about my submerged life that really were disgusting and never could possibly see the light of literary day. On the whole I had made myself out far worse than I was — more boastful, more cynical, more calculating. And there sat the man I had confided in, singing to himself and smiling…. It moved me so that real tears came into my eyes. I saw them glittering on my long silky lashes — so charming." -Katherine Mansfield, "Je ne parle pas français"

"God, is this all it is, the ricocheting down the corridor of laughter and tears? Of self-worship and self-loathing? Of glory and disgust?" -Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

"'Lord, how unutterably disgusting life is! What dirty tricks it plays us, one moment free; the next, this. Here we are among the breadcrumbs and the stained napkins again. That knife is already congealing with grease. Disorder, sordidity and corruption surrounds us. We have been taking into our mouths the bodies of dead birds. It is with these greasy crumbs, slobbering over napkins, and little corpses that we have to build. Always it begins again; always there is the enemy; eyes meeting ours; fingers twitching ours; the effort waiting. Call the waiter. Pay the bill. We must pull ourselves up out of the chairs. We must find our coats. We must go. Must, must, must — detestable word. Once more, I who had thought myself immune, who had said, "Now I am rid of all that", find that the wave has tumbled me over, head over heels, scattering my possessions, leaving me to collect, to assemble, to head together, to summon my forces, rise and confront the enemy.'" -Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Catawampus Literary Journal

Random Musing
Catawampus Literary Journal just published three of my poems: "In the Ballroom," "Three Sheets Front and Back," and "For Typewriters." You can read them here. In a pleasant set of circumstances, a fellow MFA-er from Oregon State also has poems in the same issue, so make to check out Sean Beld's poetry as well.

Kisses with Fishes

Random Musing
I got my copy of Bank Heavy Press' Kisses with Fishes in the mail today! It's the first exclusively print journal I've ever had work in actually, which is exciting even if it also means that I can't share a link and show you the painting they liked. If you're incredibly curious - somehow just can't resist not knowing what the painting looks like - you can buy a copy of Kisses with Fishes here.  The painting (a black and white one) will be on page 18.

On Friendship #30

Random Musing
I saw this recently on my friend Claudia's blog, gruesome thursdays. The illustration is by Yumi Sakugawa and has been published in Sadie Magazine.

I find it absolutely loverly.

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