People have (with the help of conventions) oriented all their solutions toward the easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must hold to what is difficult; everything alive holds to it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself in its own way and is characteristically and spontaneously itself, seeks at all costs to be so and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must hold to what is difficult is a certainty that will not forsake us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it. To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all out tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far into life, is solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1904
in Letters to a Young Poet
I don’t smoke, but I do light candles, so I buy matches pretty infrequently. (If I smoked though, I would totally light my ‘rettes with matches, because HOT! Also, I would use the term ‘rettes. Conclusion: I would be a somewhat affected smoker.)
Every time, I freak out at how cheap a box of matches is. TWENTY CENTS! Fire is one of the most revolutionary human discoveries, but we can buy multiple easy-to-make portable fire opportunities for twenty cents. Insane.
Actually, that was all I planned on writing about today but then I took an accompanying photo (hey, I’m not allowed to talk about boys anymore, might as well cover the banal stuff real well), and noticed something interesting…
On the right, you have my old matches, proudly proclaiming their contents: 50 safety matches. On the right – whispering down in the corner of the pack – 45. [On the top – gratuitous Jo Malone]. And there goes my last haven of ‘the good old days’. I feel like BJ Novak providing the revelation of the shrinking creme eggs!
Still! Less than a half-cent each! AMAZING!
I hate sex metaphors. This song is full of them. Painful ones. And yet, and yet.
I’m drunk. I’m drunk.
And you’re probably on pills.
If we’ve both got the same diseases,
It’s irrelevant girl.
It’s gotta be all in the glorious way he hits the “irrelevant”, that has me feeling all odd and swoony over STDs.
My goals aren’t going so well. I’m more conscious of my swearing, but I don’t know it’s translating into action. Habits are so much easier to start than stop! (Except exercise.) Electing to perform 99 Problems at Karaoke last night didn’t help either. Onwards and upwards!
Also I keep mentioning the Other Thing, but not here! Small steps…
Image source – sleeping mississippi @ flickr
The library was my favourite place growing up, and I’d regularly have dreams about finding books there that didn’t exist, and then waking up just as I opened them. Me and my little brother used to play a game when we came home from the library: “First-you-read-it-then-give-it-to-me”. I worked there in high school, and used my librarian passwords to flout the computer system, which was only supposed to issue a max of 30 books out at a time. Like that was enough! And (embarassingly, because this is super rude), I always hid away with a book at big family gatherings.
It’s really sad to me, then, that I could barely pay attention to this LA Times article, The Lost Art of Reading. It’s well written, about a topic that interests me, and under 2000 words long. But still, every paragraph break, I had to consciously hold myself back from flicking to another open tab in my browser. This is, of course, exactly what the author is talking about:
What I’m struggling with is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there is something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it’s mostly just a series of disconnected riffs and fragments that add up to the anxiety of the age.
I’ve really gotten awful. I mean, I still read, but it takes me weeks to get through a book, and sometimes it’s days between me putting it down and picking it up again. I lose track of key players, especially when reading about different places/times when the names are slightly unfamiliar.
Also, for some reason lately, I feel like turning reading into a little ritual. Lighting candles, or getting all dressed up for it in lace and lipstick. I know, books don’t demand that kind of preparation, just time and attention. Time to switch off!
Image source: weheartit
I get ridiculously melancholy sometimes. It’s in my nature – my parents, normally so sensible, gave me the same name as a great-great-aunt who was jilted by the gentleman she was supposed to marry, and died of a broken heart. Obviously, I’ve never made it quite that far, but I’m pretty expert at spending a whole shoegazer album lying on the couch with a box of tissues. And even as a child, I always thought that if a book made you cry, it was worth something more.
I am pretty sure this is a LOSER way to be!
Recently, I’ve seen several friends have come out of relationships with such grace, dignity and optimism. I’m totally in awe. Being excessively sad doesn’t make things better and it doesn’t mean what was lost was worth something more. (I know this isn’t big news to anyone else.)
So here are my goals for the next month:
1. Do not talk about (my) crushes/love/romance.
2. Stop swearing.
3. Do not think about (my) crushes/love/romance.
It doesn’t mean I can’t have feelings or even dates, but I’m not to dwell on them. Until 12 December! Hopefully #3 will stem from #1. It’s REVOLUTIONARY for a girl like me (except for the swearing, until recently I was quite a princess when it came to speaking proper, and I hate that I’ve descended into sailor-talk in the past two years). I haven’t been non-dreamy over boys since I was about 12,almost half my life. It is definitely time for Time Out.
“Nothing was irrevocable; everything was within reach. Just around every corner lay something curious and interesting, something I had never before seen or done or known about… I could make promises to myself and to other people and there would be all the time in the world to keep them. I could stay up all night and make mistakes, and none of them would count. You see I was in a curious position in New York: it never occurred to me that I was living a real life there.”
— “Goodbye to all that,” Joan Didion
So I’m sitting at the bus stop, minding my own business, reading The Wit and Humor of Oscar Wilde, and thinking its kind of sad that they had to rename it that after its original title, Epigrams of Oscar Wilde was phased out in 1959.
This kid sits next to me, about 11, braces, freckles, etc; and he’s sitting a respectable distance away so I don’t really pay much attention until he says “Excuse me”. It’s funny that he bothered with that little piece of politeness, because next moment he had scooted over until he was right next to me, leaning his head in towards mine and pulling out his phone to take a couple-style photo with one-hand and a loud fake CHA-CHIING! I had less than a second to react, and faced with all these conflicty anger-shock-confused emotions sort of automatically ended up pulling a lame peace sign.
Straight after, he ran away to his squealing friends, and I was left to awkwardly pretend nothing had happened. Why do they always love me and leave me? Why are they never old enough to drive? What if those photos make it on to Facebook (or more likely Bebo) and are seen by my employer (or the police)?
(I suppose this is what I get for bemoaning the lack of “boys” in my life, huh K? From now on it’s “guys” all the way, promise.)