Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Scars across my arms and thighs

"When inward life dries up, when feeling decreases and apathy increases, when one cannot affect or even genuinely touch another person, violence flares up as a daimonic necessity for contact, a mad drive forcing touch in the most direct way possible."
-Rollo May, Love and Will

I just started reading Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. He ends the first story in the collection, The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, with the quotation I've copied above. The story itself was dark to say the least but it's the quotation that really intrigues me.

It's easy to go through a day and realise that I've had no real contact with another human being, not physically and not in the way of having been affected by or affecting someone else. One can be surrounded by family or co-workers but have the most superficial of interactions. Sometimes it seems so unnatural, almost frightening. Certainly lonely.

Does that result in violent behaviour though? At least for some people? I think he's talking about a general increase in societal violence but not all violence is directed outwards. I would also expect an increase in the amount of mental illness and depression as well as drug use; probably rather more than violence. I'm intrigued enough to to give Love and Will a look.

As for the word daimonic, it appears to have been coined by May; here's link to a definition of sorts. This was certainly the first time I've come across the word.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Heaving bosoms and throbbing... stuff

I never feel so acquisitive as when I walk into a bookstore.

Sometimes I'm just overcome by my lust for words. I want to devour poetry and prose and the lyrics to CanCon rock/alternative songs I listened to in the 90's. Some authors leave me with a physical sensation after reading their work; there's a taste on my tongue and a weight on my body. In some high school English course, I remember coming across a quote by Coleridge. It defined prose as words in the best order and poetry as the best words in the best order. I don't think I really agree with that but I understand what he means. There's a point where the beauty of the prose is such that it feels like poetry. I'd rather read a dull book than a poorly written one.

I'm not sure what brought on this disjointed rhapsodizing. I'm just craving words right now. I can't find the right ones myself that will explain the near sensuous pleasure of walking into a used book store and breathing in the scent of crumbling, acid-yellowed paper and the older, crisper pages that hold up so much better with time.

One of my favourite poets is Rainer Maria Rilke. What astounds me about his writing is how beautiful it is even though I'm only reading the translations into English from the original German. It makes me wonder what I'm missing. I know that when I write I agonize over every word, waiting for one with the right weight, the right consonants next to the correct vowels. Even in translation Rilke's work consists of the best words in the best order which seems like magic to me.

Different authors do different things. I love Saki's sometimes morbid humour and William Gibson has the ability to make me feel like I've been drowning in his work and have finally come up for air at the end of it, especially in Neuromancer. Right now I'm reading a collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics and they're just so funny and disturbing; they remind me of Saki actually.

Truth is, I like books better than I like most people.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm a loser baby...

Having recently turned twenty-five, I am now officially an old maid. Spinsterhood has descended upon me, I have reached that expiry date stamped on the underside of my foot and girls in their teens will be warned against turning into me.

I've been trying to go out and have fun in order to distract myself from the feelings of worthlessness but it's not worked out too well. My mother starts calling me repeatedly after 6pm for updates on my location and to encourage me to "come home soon". Also, my socializing is interfering with Eid visiting and causes no end of embarrassment as my parents have to explain why I'm not home at 4pm on a Saturday.

Kill me now.

Even with being in the lab for most of the day I'm still going through two or three novels a week in an effort to escape from reality. I'm upset at the end of the day and read in bed by the dim light of my lamp until I'm too exhausted to keep awake. Then I spend the next day tired and jumpy. I'm still unemployed. Still plain and mouthy and graceless. Still a failure in other words.