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burning like matchsticks in the face of the darkness
 
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Saturday, October 4th, 2003

Time Event
8:41p
I hate when my friends are hurting and i can't do anything about it.

When they are too far away for me to hold them.

When i want to fight their battles for them.

I'm looking at 2 of you.

Writing this i remembered "The Body" and while i've never really identified with Buffy, i'm totally feeling the analogy here now. There are some things i can't fight, that no one can fight. And that's so scary.

Some people all i can offer is hugs and reassurances that i love you, that i value you.

And some people i can't even do that for.


After the battle and we're still around
Everything once up in the air has settled down
Sweep the ashes, let the silence find us
The moment of peace is worth every war behind us
You and me of the 10,000 wars



I fight fire with words. It's what i do. And i can't always do that. I can't find the words. Not mine, not even anyone else's. And sometimes the words aren't good enough. I can research things, but i can't stop things.

I keep quoting the same things.

21 January 2003:

I want to watch over you forever
Keep you safe with me
And I wish I could promise you a beautiful world
That would never break your heart
Maybe that's what we are here for
We try and fix what comes apart
-Catie Curtis, "Love Takes the Best of You"

1 March 2003:

"Colin," Dunworthy said, "Sometimes you do everything you can, and you still can't save them."
Colin swiped at his tears with the back of his hand. "But not always."
Always, Dunworthy thought. "No," he said. "Not always."
"Sometimes you can save them," Colin said stubbornly.
-Connie Willis, Doomsday Book [I haven't even read this one. Stole it from someone's profile. Sometimes you do everything you can and you can't save someone. And sometimes you can.]

26 February 2003:

I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came,
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor I learned to create
from another's suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.
-from "What I Learned from My Mother" by Julia Kasdorf


I titled an entry once, "I do what i do, because it's all i can do, and sometimes i do it well."

I feel better, seeing the past entries about pain and knowing that my loved ones made it through, that they are happier and stronger now.
11:17p
The theme of this semester is: "mad busy."
My compatriot pointed out that in my entry about the CoRo show i neglected to mention that later that night we looked at the sky through telescopes, and it has been so long since i posted “real” update that i still haven’t gotten around to mentioning that. I don’t think i had done that since grade school. I remember being outside the Cleveland looking through telescopes at stuff with Mr. Haffey. Anyway, we looked at Mars and i was unimpressed, but then we looked at the moon and it was so clear and kinda yellowish and you could see all these craters like pictures in books and i felt like i was looking at some tiny thing under a microscope and yeah the moon isn’t that far away, but it felt so bizarre to be able to see it that close up. (btw, mmartinez1, i think you would like nevers. Why is the sky blue?)

The Common Rotation show was September 5, and i kept writing down things which never made themselves into full updates, so today i finally got everything fully written and into one whole update because otherwise it was going to continue to bother me. And still there are many anecdotes which will be lost to the mists of time; this is a heavily condensed version.Collapse )

We now return you to your regularly scheduled LiveJournaling.
11:58p
Layna stopped by ever so briefly to see me and Carrot Ears before Emi’s housewarming party, and after enquiring after Carrot Ears she turned to me and said, “And how are you, besides loquacious?” I heart her.

Marnie is so my Layna this year. I was hugging her the other night and saying i feel like i don’t see her enough, even though i see her almost every day.

I also adore my advisor.

I e-mailed him Tuesday evening and his reply Thursday morning began "Sorry to be so long in replying."

In Harlem Renaissance class on Thursday, Kevin said "I'm a gay boy; I like drama." This reminded me of Michael talks about "boy poets" and "girl poets," something which i've always found terribly endearing. I thought about how referring to something with child words is something of a distancing mechanism -- for example, i often jokingly say i'm "a [insert negative adjective here] child" and calling myself a child further distances myself from the modifier, almost saying "my child-self which is not my real-self is that adjective." I remembered the paper i wrote for Doug’s English Language class about the use of the word "girl" and how he mentioned in his comments on the paper that while i argued in my paper that it's a derogatory, belittling term, many students refer to their housemates as "girls" and i didn't address that. That aspect had completely not occurred to me before he mentioned it, but after thinking about it a bit i came up with something of an explanation: it has to do with the fact that we still don't really think of ourselves as grownups, so we don't think of our age-similar housemates as grownups either.

Anyway, this was all simmering in my brain that afternoon, particularly the idea of displacing ideas, feelings, etc. onto a child as a distancing mechanism, a way of not really having to own negative ideas about ourselves, and i thought about the "the emperor has no clothes" trope (also known as "out of the mouths of babes..."), of having children say what no one else will say. In real life children often say the uncomfortable truths, so it's a very convenient mechanism for an author to put politically or otherwise dangerous things into their mouths (kind of like using an "unreliable narrator").

I said all this in my e-mail to him, ending with “So, because i am certifiably insane, i wondered if there was a thesis to be had in there. Thoughts?” and his response was:

The long time in reply comes from thinking about your question about the ways we refer to, and refer to ourselves as, children. Would this make a good thesis topic? The subject is fascinating. Part of me wants to say, "Yes, goddam right, it's an absolutely superb thesis topic!" But another part creeps up and says, "How much would I actually be able to say on this subject?" It's the kind of dangerous subject that's hard (probably impossible) to research--you'd have to develop all the fundamental ideas yourself. In other words: it's the very best kind of thesis subject, because it's also the hardest.

On theses, incidentally--you're obviously somebody who should do one if you want to. (And ONLY if you want to--there's no point in doing theses for the honor of it. The ONLY reason to do one is interest.) I'm going on sabbatical next spring, and so won't be able to an advisor in such projects; but if you decide to go forward, please let me know. I'll ask to be second reader.
Hope all's going well (it's been awhile since we spoke)--
Doug Patey

I need to e-mail him back so we can chat sometime.

OMG, just the idea that i might do a thesis is terrifying. I’m a junior. I’m gonna be a senior next year. I really doubt i’m going to actually do a thesis, but just the fact that i’m close to the time where one does such things.... And did you read what he wrote? I bounce every time i read it. He thinks it’s incredibly difficult, but also an “absolutely superb” idea. There may be no secret handshake, but i love my advisor.

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