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time that is given us


9/14/07 08:32 am

Books I read in the last week: 7
Books I have, but not read: 57 ...and this is just in the bedroom, if I go downstairs to count the ones in the bookshelf I might cry.
Books I have started, but not finished: 28 (again, bedroom only)
Books that I read in the last week that I hadn't already read before: 0, or a half, if a half counts... somehow, something deep in my soul is telling me it doesn't.
Books I finished in the last week in no way related to vampires: 0.
Books I finished by authors other than Laurell K Hamilton: um...

Essays I haven't started: 4.

On the other hand, S. is threatening to move us to New Zealand and start a commune. Who needs a law degree when they're a free-loving, earth-grubbing dirty hippie?



... they have bookstores in New Zealand, right?

6/8/07 05:32 pm

I wonder if I can get away with titling my essay on Timon of Athens and The Great Gatsby: "Cars, Money, Bitches"? *ponders*

I also wonder if I can write finish it before I fall asleep in front the gas heater and suffocate...

2/13/06 07:32 am

I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year last week. Or, more correctly, I got dumped by said boyfriend. Having experienced neither breaking up with anyone, nor the more shocking process of being sat down and given the three-minute (if that! ha!) 'I need space' speech... I have no idea how well I'm dealing with it, comparatively speaking.

I imagine, in perhaps a slightly too dramatic manner, that this last week has given me a better understanding of what it must feel like to have a mental illness of some kind. It is so jarring to have reasoned everything down, to have worn it smooth and simple so it fits neatly in my palm, to have it all held there, in calmness and rationality, and then to lose it, to feel it slip from my grasp and swell, as it falls, filling the space available, till it presses against the edges of my bedroom walls, or the windows of the bus that I ride to work. And then the crying! I have never cried with such absolute unhappiness. I wept copiously at my grandmother's funeral, much to the delight of my relatives who I suspect thought everyone else's middle-class restraint just a little unsuited for a woman with my grandmother's beginnings, but this is not grief like that. I barely knew my grandmother, not once she moved out of the house we used to visit her in every Christmas, and her death was expected, natural and timely.

I wish that I could claim that the last time I found myself inconsolable, and gave in to lie on my bed sobbing like a child whose mother has thwarted their intense all-consuming desire for some small furry animal, that it was, well, the last time, but this week has been nothing if not instructional, and I must admit that this may be just another lull. I suspect there will be more empty moments where I find myself conversing earnestly with the air, bargaining for something that at this moment I know I can no longer have. I must confess to wanting it, though--wanting it against reason, wanting like that child, with a child's fury. It doesn't take a clinical psychologist to see that until I done with that desire there will certainly be yet more crying.

It almost amuses me to imagine his surprise should he ever come to read this entry. He expects none of this from the me of his imagining, not from his happy, silly, oh-so-very-casual girlfriend--that girl probably cried for about an hour, dried her eyes and blew her nose, indulged in several heavy drinking sessions when occasion called for it and will be ready to resume some semblance of normal, friendly interaction once she's fully sobered up. And by ‘almost amuses' I think we can all agree I mean ‘really gives me the shits'.

12/15/05 10:07 am

I figure since I'm staying at my old house for the week, it is a good time to try and entice myself into writing a journal entry. I'm wary of going back and checking exactly how long it's been since I wrote in here, because it's been months and months and I would probably end up with performance anxiety. (Heh--I say probably, knowing exactly how much of my life is ruled by said anxiety. I'm addicted to equivocation--if you don't believe me, go back one entry and count the adverbs.)

My brother's housemate (formerly mine) is busy sleeping through her alarm. She has done this most mornings that I've been here--the house is completely silent, so I can hear the insistent beep-beeping two rooms, three closed doors away. Being back here is such an odd combination of the surreal and the comfortably normal. My old room, that I lived in for, oh, ten years, is stripped of so much that made it mine, apart from the items large enough to resist the whirlwind of packing required to shift 20 years of accumulated junk (or alternatively, the items too large to fit into my new room). Nevertheless, I still think of it as my room, it still feels like I live here--I walked in earlier and tried to put an apple core in the now non-existent bin by the door.

Ok, I lied about not going back and seeing how long it's been since I last posted. It's been forever. Like, before I started my new job, forever. There's so much stuff that's gone on since I stopped writing in here, and the trouble with livejournal, of course, is that you feel obligated to detail it all, to fill in all the empty space, despite the fact that a) nobody cares, and b)...nobody cares. Let's see if I can do it in less than a hundred thousand words, *takes deep breath*

Lost job, displayed for the second time amazing luck at falling into employment and got new job at big commercial bookstore (thanks, Harry Potter!), loved new job, worked far too many hours at new job, spent far far too much money, worried that I was prioritizing work over uni to dangerous extent, bought ipod to distract self from worry, decided that I wasn't endangering my academic fortunes sufficiently by working 30 hour weeks and said yes to offer to move in with two best friends, lied to parents re: potential academic disaster by claiming that new place, being just across the road from uni, would in fact be beneficial for studies, bought new bed for new room, discovered night before moving that said bed was too big to go up the stairs at new house, had slight nervous break-down and frightened boyfriend, moved in anyway with old bed, made boyfriend sleep on floor, amazed friends and family by having time of life instead of crying incessantly and hiding out in room,


...found out laptop refused to believe there was a wireless network in the house, and thereby refusing to connect to the internet, had no internet for WEEKS (or possibly, a week), cried incessantly, finally dragged brother over to work computer magic and fix it in under five minutes, had INTERNET, realised that exams were in a week, sulked, studied, sulked, nursed boyfriend through group project from hell, finished exams, handed in final essay only a week or so late, slept A LOT, then worked A LOT, found out I did not fail the law course I deserved to fail, got credit in other law course, did quite well in English courses thankyou, was oh. so. RELIEVED, turned 21, had nerve-wracking dinner where boyfriend met parents, grandmother, and godmother all at once, boyfriend did not run screaming into night never to be seen again, was oh. so. RELIEVED, parents bought new, stair-friendly bed for 21st present, boyfriend bought gift-card from my own bookstore for 21st present, boyfriend believes himself to be some kind of comedian, had delightful 21st dinner with friends, and no relatives whatsoever, where boyfriend gave actual present, turquoise necklace, v. pretty, boyfriend then went away for two weeks to the coast WITHOUT ME, *sob*, old grumpy family tabby living with brother got in cat-fight, got sick, went to vet, went apeshit at vet as per usual, vet suggested test for feline aids, test came back positive, brother went overseas and I came to look after poor sick kitty. Also, I got married. (One part of this is NOT TRUE! I leave it to your discretion, gentle readers, to determine which.)

7/3/05 04:27 pm

The Inside has ten minutes left to download, so I'm going to spend it writing an lj entry and then, in a dramatic reversal of the trends of the last.. however long, I will post it! Right.

I finished reading Mrs Dalloway last... no actually on Saturday arvo, at work. Which was dead quiet, as per usual. Which is why I'm going to be out of a job in a month. *sob* I love my job! I never do any real work unless I get stuck with a bunch of miniatures to price, I can sit and read and occasionally have neat little conversations with obliging customers about this book or that. Of course, if it had been a less fantastic job, i.e if it had stayed as busy as it was when I first started two and half years ago, then I wouldn't have to scold myself for forgetting to get the paper yesterday so I could look at the jobs guide (because we wouldn't be closing down, duh.)

But, Mrs Dalloway. I really rather loved it. I love Virginia Woolf, at least what I've read of hers, but I kinda thought after the three or so abortive attempts that I made at this one that I'd never get around to finishing it. Then my mum and I hired The Hours when she was up here last, and I rather liked that, especially the extracts from MD, so I've been meandering through it over the past two weeks. I'm actually tempted to email my lecturer from the course on representations of the self in literature that I did last semester because I think Mrs Dalloway is a really interesting amalgamation of two different models which we discussed: the self as explicated by actions and other's perceptions and the subjective internal self--I really like that Woolf is cognisant of each, and they can exist simultaneously and without being seen as precipitating some kind of schism or as a betrayal of one self by the other. Which actually makes me wonder a bit about Michael Cunningham's interpretation of it, since the movie of his book takes a different view on the issue, from my reading of it.

Anyway--finishing MD is the only thing I have to show for the vast tract of time that has passed since I first got sick before exams. I don't know whether I'm still funny from glandular fever, or what, but I feel like those days must have been spent doing something because my memory of them is of cluttered rushing here, there, who knows where, and being exhausted by it all, and yet I... spent time with Zaius, went to work a bit more than usual, went to the movies (Mr and Mrs Smith--love! If only for the conversation that it provoked between me and Zaius, who apparently believes the Brad Pitt is the prettier of the two *coughbullshitcough*) and bought jewelry. I have bought so much jewelry lately--a ridiculously expensive silver bracelet that I probably only bought because it was so expensive, earrings that I had to return because they kept coming undone, a venetian glass pendant which is gorgeous gorgeous, even if it did give me a rash somehow when I wore it out dancing on Friday night, and a silver and pink heart pendant. The last is so terribly girly that how much I like it causes me slight concern. I've realised that being in a heterosexual relationship makes me a bit twitchy about how I dress and how often I wear makeup et cetera. I think it's because I tend to be very conscious of being a girl (I would say woman except I have trouble owning the term, which has to do with a slight reluctance to admit the arrival of my adulthood) when we're alone. The only physically demonstrative person in my immediate family is my mother. I am normally quite standoffish physically--my two closest friends and I only tend to hug or touch in a non-utilitarian manner when it is significant, i.e when someone's upset or something. I think I see the expression of physical affection as an inherently meaninful and an inherently female thing and I am subtly surprised every time Zaius initiates it. Touching Zaius feels oddly meaningful, one layer of which is that it feels like an expression of my feminity--it's odd because we are still very casual and I feel like I'm expressing something I don't feel (uh, in a very low-key way. It's not a 'oh, the dark emptiness of sex without love blah blah', I very much enjoy the contact, I just have a disconnect between what I know I mean and feel when I touch him and what twenty years of socialisation says I mean) and because I'm not terribly enamoured of 'feminity' as a concept, especially not when it is defined against masculinity and as something inherent.

(I finish this post, hours later, having been distracted 8 minutes into it and gone off to watch Scrubs. But I am posting it without editing, so that surely counts.)

[ETA: The last is a lie. But only because I had the remedy that last paragraph to insert some logic flow between sentences.]

4/21/05 05:20 pm

Ugh. Just awoke from unnecessary mid-day nap, and I'm feeling much the worse for it. I had the heater on, and was curled up under two doonas, and I woke up suddenly for no discernible reason and was very confused for a moment about why it was light outside. I lay there for about two minutes feeling weighed down by my limbs and the universe's perverse insistence on linear time and wondering how long I could ignore the desperate urge to pee. It wasn't very long, really. I tend to be stubborn about how often I pee. It's this irrational twitch of mine--my mother has pelvic floor problems and when she has to go, she has to go, and I always hate just giving in to the desire, especially if I'm in bed [Edit: OK. I just realised how that sounds. I hate getting out of bed in the middle of the night to pee. That type of 'giving in', not the type that involves late-night emergency laundry]. At folk-fest this year I slept terribly for three nights in a row, and it wasn't till I was on a night shift and thus not getting smashed before I went to bed that I realised I was just suffering the effects of too much cider preventing me from sleeping on my stomach like I like to. I'm sure there's a anti-drinking message in there just waiting for its chance at a national campaign.

I found a copy of Namoi Wolf's The Beauty Myth at work on Tuesday, and happily started reading it in favour of my admin law stuff. Earlier in the morning I'd finished off this Cosmo I'd started devouring the night before. After work I went about bought a wet, shiny chocolaty lip-gloss so I could wear it when I saw Zaius* later. If I was to write a silly overly-ironic novel about the contradictions inherent to modern female life, it'd be full of juxtapositions like that, and I would have to shoot myself for writing it.

It is a bit difficult to assess The Beauty Myth because it was written over fifteen years ago, and it has such an American focus. I don't disagree with Wolf's basic theory about the effects of our culture-wide obsession with image and beauty and the damage it does to women and the feminist movement, but the grand reactionary social trend that she posits reads almost like a conspiracy theory. Wolf knows this, of course, as she points out in the beginning--"societies tell themselves necessary fictions the way that individuals and families do". But polemics don't lend themselves well to abstract un-targeted arguments, and the way she talks about, for example, the 'professional beauty qualification' as being 'designed', as 'intended' to institute certain outcomes... I don't know---the human general resistance to change, economic opportunism, social unease at the idea of majority of the population suddenly acquiring unmitigated freedom from previously defined roles.. all these factors are demonstrably capable of resulting in the persecution that Wolf's seeing, but they exist at such a scale that it is at best a mindless persecution, and Wolf's terminology that suggests a focused design and intention... makes me squirm. It's ultimately irrelevant since surely the emphasis should be on the end result rather than playing semantics about how we got here, but but but...

*Not his actual name, obviously. But oddly fitting. For why_lederhosen's benefit: It's D.

4/11/05 04:45 pm

My mother has the most amazing view from her computer desk--it makes me want to write about the ocean, which is good since I have that thing I need to send to my creative writing lecturer um, today. The desk itself is driving me mad, however. For one thing, it is a tiny tiny tiny little computer desk that came in a box, and is about a tenth the size of my desk at home (which was supposed to end up in some dubiously decorated board room somewhere as a conference table, but I got it first, so nyah). And it, this teeny tiny thing, was covered in enough layers of paper sediment to over-excite ten archaeologists.

This is what happens to flat surfaces in my mother's house. Sediment. To be fair, that's what happens to such surfaces in my house, but I can't start work on anything unless I spend a good hour procrastinating cleaning, so it's usually not that bad unless you turn up mid-way through my essay writing process, in which case it's usually the day before said essay is due, and the sediment is all highly relevant to the topic at hand and cannot be disturbed without ruining my momentum.

My mother, having grown up in my grandmother's immaculate, flat-surfaces-are-for-china house, has never, I firmly believe, felt the compulsive need to clean anything. I grew up in her house, so I do. I used to get thumped over the head with it at 11 o'clock at night, and would send the next three hours going at the paper piles in the kitchen, with the recycling bin pulled up just outside the door. (This then necessitated my mother going through the bin in the morning because at 2am things like bank statements, patient files and various other important documents that were slowly decomposing under the ten millionth take-out brochure, well, they didn't seem quite as important as they possibly should have.)

I refuse to clean while on holiday, however, so I just re-located the mess. You can no longer tell we have a scanner, but I can see the required 70% minimum of the surface before me. Which means I should be engaged in 'creative' writing, not a journal entry, but well...(I still hate that term, despite having agreed with Richard's Hugo's defence that it is at least accurate, if redundantly specific).

I think I'm refusing to start this thing because I just finished Robin McKinley's Sunshine last night, and I'm still trying to sort it out in my head. It was good, and exactly the sort of thing I wanted and was expecting when I bought it, but I realised this morning when I was reading an interview McKinley gave about it that it reads very much like the short-story-turned-novel that it is, with the rest of the book sort of spooling out from a tightly constructed beginning. It also reads, apart from that beginning, like the first novel in an intended series, like set-up, focusing on character development/interaction, and a perfunctory plot designed to manoeuvre those characters into position for the real shenanigans to be concluded later, and given that it's not...*makes Marge Simpson hrmmmm noises*.

I don't mind perfunctory plots as a rule, because I tend to divide my reading into 'sum of their parts' books or 'ooo, I will like that bit' books. LKH's Anita Blake series is the most obvious example of the latter. I hate how LKH writes. I really do. The first AB book I picked up was the third, which we had a work (the curse of the second-hand book-store! You will read trash you would never, ever buy! You will regret it, but you have the Friday night death shift, and you will do it time and time again!)...and despite nearly turning blue with all the gagging and eye-rolling I did over her prose, with those little fucking cutesy catch-phrases tacked onto end of each chapter or particularly significant paragraph, and the fact that I finished it, put it back, and had no urge to pick up any of the others... when the others turned up on my shelves, and it was 7:30pm on a Friday night, I read them. And I got hooked. I am a LKH junkie. If I fully applied my 'sum of their parts' criteria to these books, I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror anymore. You can't help yourself to a certain extent, it's true, and thus I realise that they are truly the worst books I have ever liked this much. They are worse than Robert Jordan, and that is saying so, so much.

The continuation of the HATE... and other musingsCollapse )

3/12/05 06:05 pm

If I spent even half the time I spend thinking about journal entries actually writing them...well, there'd be more of them in this lj.

Entries currently under construction somewhere in my brain:

M. Night Shaylaman--The Village and Why I Loves It So, Opposing Weight of Critical Opinion Be Damned!
Anita Blake--The Mary-est Sue Who Ever Did Sue, and Why Can't I Hate Her?
Isobelle Carmody--Love, nostalgia, post-apocalyptic wastelands.
And relatedly--Stories I love because of the prose and stories I like despite it.
Also, Elitist Snobbery--Why I Am a Bad Bad Person.
1st World White Upper-Middle Class Guilt--Why I Am a Bad Bad Person pII.
My Cats--Just That Damned Cute

I could go on, but I won't. Mostly because now I'm late, but also...lazy. Now, if I post this, will it shame me into completing any of these? Hmm.

3/1/05 12:35 pm

I'm recklessly hogging a computer in the Chifley labs just to update lj. It's half-past the hour and people are still hovering like studious vultures. Hopefully typing will make me look sufficiently busy or I might lose something vital. (It's only the second week of semester, people! Go get drunk like normal students.)

Supposedly, I logged on to hunt down some of Ted Hughes' poetry--we had a sad tattered 'Collected Poems' at work that I picked up while dying of sitting on my arse doing nothing, and I quite liked a lot of it, to my surprise (I may or may not admit to refusing to read much of his stuff out of misplaced--and quite stupidly melodramatic, really--solidarity for Sylvia Plath. Too many Ted-blaming biographies, I guess).

We had to hand in our first poem for my CW class on Monday. I enjoyed the process more than all my bitching and moaning would have suggested (see, this is why I never update--it's my service to the internet. Not that would comfort poor Dendro much--I subjected her to endless whining and then made her read a first draft. Someone people are too saintly for their own good.) Before starting I buried into the hard-drive and found the stuff I wrote at 15 before I gave up on poetry. That was horrific. They may, however, have some sort of military application, if I could just figure out how to safe-guard the non-hostiles. Ear-muffs would probably not be sufficient.

And completely apropos of nothing (as all my paragraphs aspire to be, I suppose)--I just read Anton Chekhov's The Lady with the Dog for my speculative fictions class. As least, I assume it was for speculative fictions, being in the SF bricks and all--the story itself isn't at all SF, apart from its interest in the secret lives/worlds people create. I suspect the lecturer of simply making a point in regards to Kathryn Hume's ideas of SF as challenges to consensus reality (eg how do we come to a consensus anyway when we're all lying like skunks, and all), but I spent the entire story waiting for Anna to reveal her dastardly vampiric nature or some such, and yeah, not so much.

And now I'm really going to find that book. Absolutely.

2/23/05 11:49 am

"Would Clemency Oliphant please come to the information desk please. Clemency Oliphant."

I think someone is fucking with the poor library staff again.
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