Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reading: Lonely, by Emily White

I have a copy with the blue cover (US edition vs. Canadian?). And while the image reminds me of the teenage I's favorite depressing book, The Bell Jar, the subtitle "A Memoir" feels less haunting than "Learning to Live with Solitude." White describes what for me are familiar experiences: a life in surreal tones that is, however, very real, but evades description as it evades relation. I don't think you can "learn" it because... what is there to learn? Renunciation? If so, why?

Why not "My Solitude and I"? If anything, White shows life from the vantage point of a solitary person, and the loneliness that makes this a different and difficult perspective is not "learnable," since it is hard to bear.

I haven't read the whole book yet, but here is one of the fragments that moved me--about the solitary "I" and language.

One of the things I'd done during lonely times in childhood was write out dictionary definitions and make myself memorize them. This isn't as entirely nerdy as it sounds. Words were something I cottoned to from an early age, and I loved flipping through the big dictionary my father had left behind. The problem was that, as a lonely adult, all the words I'd made myself learn seemed to take on lives of their own. Either they darted away just when I reached for them or they lunged back up at me with exhausting force. (39)

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 10, 2010

For now I have nothing to say.

Maybe only that it would be greatly appreciated (and I think I am safely speaking for all Poles in this particular case) if reporters would hold off on calling Poland "a young democracy" and did their research. Poland has very old democratic traditions and today's state is the Third Republic. Moreover, not othering us by prophesying "major turmoil and unrest" would be nice too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Those Damn Elves!

They don't exist!

I'm saying that just so we know where we stand. Back in the day, when I enjoyed role-playing games (not of the sexy kind, of the nerdy teenager kind!) and read a lot of science fiction with a tiny sprinkling of Tolkien & co., we said that elves stink. Let's keep that in mind too.

My thinking is somewhat circuitous: from this piece on Joanna Newsom, wherein the author quotes someone else's association of Newsom with Emily Dickinson, to comments on this piece, where someone mentions how Nirvana gets to signify "the grunge" while Hole is usually dismissed as Courtney Love psychodrama... although where's the difference between them, really?

The "lesson" is, I guess, that female musicians get compared to each other so much they end up spending a lot of time denying that they're not one and the same person (or one of the only two possible types). An interview answer condensed from several interviews would look like this: "No, I'm sure I'm not Kate Bush and my lyrics have really nothing to do with Emily Dickinson, I also don't steal unpublished songs from Tori Amos, nor do I surreptitiously record Björk singing in the shower."

And I guess that if you're not being asked these questions it means you're mere pop decoration or a Madonna-wannabe.

What it also means is that women artists don't really get to have mentors or idols unless those are men, since admitting to inspiration must necessarily mean that you're it and have nothing more to offer the world.

But no, really, it's all fine, we're so post-feminist it hurts.