Man, I haven’t written a thing in my blog all week.

Sometime, it’s just too much.

I had to do a review (actualy two reviews, but who’s counting?) for the newspaper I write for. Now, to tell you the truth, I am really happy that I write for this paper, although I have some feelings of ambivalence about it’s quality. Even so, I feel like my ambitions are still burning when I have this place I write for.

BUT IT WAS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to write the review. It’s not that hard to do, normally. I just have felt under so much pressure. I felt completely incapacitated, like I oculdn’t write One single word. A sentence was too much.

“What?” you, my dear reader may ask. “You’ve just popped out several paragraphs right now, without a single whiff of agony.”

Indeed. This blog has no pressure at all. No discipline is required. There are more kinds of writing than one.

I finally finished the review, and it was a scanty one. I said nice things, but i just couldn’t quite hit the 400 word mark.

Isn’t journalism supposed to be concise?

Yikes. Well, I did finish it, and I did get the main points across. Some times, even doing the things you love, takes more effort than you can muster. Now that I’ve finished it, maybe i can beat back some of the panic that seemed to be overtaking me about all the things I have to do.

I think I am looking forward to january already. I think some things will ease off. I sure hope so.

Well, I will get through it. I’ll be stronger for it too.

The Bell Jar

Sometimes I think I should write two book reviews. I should write one when I’m in the middle of reading a book and I don’t know how it will end. And then I should write one after I’ve finished it.

Because a book is an experience. It’s not an entire thing. You can feel one way about it in the middle and very different at the end. The middle is often the best part, it’s like being on the rollercoaster. The end of the book is what you remember about being on the roller coaster.

The Bell Jar was amazing because of how it pulled me into the emotions without me realizing I was in the middle of them.

I’ll tell you, books pull me in. I felt sick and scared and weird when I read Beloved. The Fountainhead makes me cold and fierce and ambitious. I cried for days and days about the state of the world after I read The Poisonwood Bible. My speech pattern change entirely when I read Sense and Sensibility; I require far more clauses to ask for a cup of tea.

And Plath sucked me into the bell jar. I was there with Esther in the middle of all her strange feelings. Plath doesn’t go into huge explanations of why Esther feels pointless, so I didn’t realize when I started feeling pointless too.

But oh my god, I felt pointless. Everything seemed incredibly overwhelming. While I was reading the book, I had no desire to do anything. I felt like blowing off all my responsibilities and just curling up in a chair and reading.

I feel that way sometimes. It didn’t seem unusual that I felt that way while reading this book. But when some challenges showed up at work, they practically undid me. I felt like I totally couldn’t handle them, like there was no way out, that I was damned if I did and damned anyway. My stomach tightened up and I felt like crawling under my desk and hiding.

It was intense.

I blame the book. I mean, my job sucks, but wow.

And that’s why I think this is a great book. I didn’t feel fabulous reading it, absolutely the opposite. But the fact that it could operate on me so powerfully takes my breath away.

Plath is good.

So that stuff I just wrote might have been the stuff I would have written if I hadn’t finished the book. Now, after I’ve finished it I can say all kind of detached things.

Plath wrote a good story about suicidal urges. I have not been that kind of suicidal myself, but my frieds who have describe it in a very similar way. That suicide is a thing out there, a task to be done, something that needs to be done, and it’s just a matter of finding the right time.

When Esther recieves the “good” shock treatment, she describes how she kind of forgot that she needed to kill herself. To paraphrase, she says she went to dinner and could not quite remember what she loved the knives for.

I don’t know if other people would agree with me, but as I was reading the book, it seemed very easy to follow the logic Esther was using. It was hard to realize she was going crazy until she gave you the clues: she hadn’t slept for a week. She hadn’t bathed or changed her clothes.

The bathing part I felt was particularly significant, since she had earlier described how much she loved bathing. But then, she didn’t want to bathe anymore.

It was definitely not pleasant to read this book, but it was very powerful.

I Drather

It is getting dark, and I am still at work.

I woke up this morning to the sound of my cell phone ringing in the wee morning. Someone in a different time zone needed my help. I sprang out of bed to answer it, heading out of the bedroom and into more cell-friendly areas of the house.

But I immediately hit my head on the door.

I didn’t know I’d closed it.

And the man in Uraguay is telling me that he can’t make a connection because no one is there, and I am trying to ask him how he knows that no one is there if he hasn’t made the connection.

And I can’t seem to figure out how to open the door. Is it locked? I lock and unlock it several times before I realize that I can’t open it because I’m leaning against it.

But at that point, the cell reception fades entirely and the phone connection is lost.

I sit down on the couch and call the other person whose time zone it is and tell him what he needs to do to take care of Uruguay’s problem. Problem solved.

And I’m awake. And my head hurts a little. Might as well get over to the office.

I’ve got to find a better way to make a living.



People get ready
The busses are running
Don’t need no picket signs
Just get on board
All we needed was patience
To hear the diesel’s running
If you run out of health insurance
Just Pray to the Lord

Kabuki Dancer by Sawako Ariyoshi

This book tells the story of Okuni, the woman who started the tradition of Kabuki dancing. I know nothing about Kabuki dancing. I couldn’t pick a Kabuki dance out of a line up. I’m sure I would have gotten more out of the book if I had known about Kabuki.

But even so, the story is a really great story about staying true to yourself and to what you know. I mean, a lot of stories are out there about “Doing the right thing.” But when it’s an asthetic choice, there are not such strong guidelines. The difficulty of staying true to what you FEEL and know in your heart to be beautiful and right, that is worth a lot.

Beauty and dance are very important in life. They are the sorts of things that make life worth living. Okuni’s life is inspiring, to stay true to herself and her art.

The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard

This is the most amazing play. So much is going on.

South Africa has a lot of issues, on top of all the normal issues every human society has. The story of Helen, an old Afrikaaner living in her house in the bush, is faced with the problem of whether to go live in an old folks home.

But Helen is an artist. SHe has been making fabulous artwork, sculptures on her land. SHe calls them Mecca. Her friend, the only real friend she had, met her because of the beautiful statues. THey were drawn to one another because of the meaning of the art.

The troubles in South Africa, the treatment of women and blacks, and what art means in human life- all these are what make up the story. It’s dark and beautiful and powerful.

The Man in the Moon

Boy, this is a real tear-jerker. I didn’t know that when I started though; it just came on TV when nothing else worth seeing was on. It seemed like it was a sweet teenage love story.

And I kept thinking, “I’ve seen that girl before…Where have I seen that girl before? Turns out it was Reese Witherspoon in ’91, playing a 14 year old. She was pretty young, and I thought she was pretty good in the role.

TOTAL chick flick, but I enjoyed it. The pace was very slow and nostalgic of small town farm life. If you need a cry, this is a good one.

Reasons why I don’t like our school system

“As long as learning is connected with earning, as long as certain jobs can only be reached through exams, so long must we take the examination system seriously. If another ladder to employment was contrived, much so-called education would disappear, and no one be a penny the stupider.”
-E.M. Forster _Aspects of the Novel_

Westside Connection

Westside Connection has a new album coming out. Some hardcore gangsta stuff. Terrorist threat, the call it.

I heard a piece on the radio, I can’t quite remember what it’s called. Pimp the nation I think. Now, I’m not such a fan of pimping. But then, pimping is just one form of economic activity.

Check out this lyric:
My Hos wear Thigh-High boots
My Hos wear three-piece suits

Hmm…I think that’s clever. I think that’ exactly the kind of deadeye gaze at the world that’s worth thinking about. You’d think we knew by now…Why pimp hos when you can pimp CEOs?

Hard Core. Plus, the track is excellent. Westside Connection does it again.

_Under Milkwood_ by Dylan Thomas

I have the written version of this and I also havea recorded performance. It’s a play, so it’s nice to have both. It’s a different thing, reading a play versus seeing it performed. Both have merit, but in different aspects.

Dylan Thomas is a poet, and his play is appropriately abstract. It’s basically taking a day in the life of a Welsch town (remember, Thomas is Welsch) and writing about all the characters and dreams in it.

I reminds me of Spoon River Anthology, in it’s scope of characters. But the people move in and out of each other’s lives throughout the day. It is a very sweet look at what could be describes as the author’s hometown, showing the foibles and meannesses as well as the aspirations of the people who inhabit it.

t’s a little confusing, but I think if you let go and flow with it the experience is very uplifting. I think it shows a love for the brotherhood of humanity and a great sense of humor.