Monday, December 16, 2013

Why I am a Terrible Blogger.

Let's talk: Why I am a terrible blogger.
In List form, lovelies.

#A) I feel like I have literally no time in my schedule to perform a superfluous task like blogging. Would blogging be a superfluous task if I was any good at it? No! Would it feel superfluous if anyone actually read my blog and enjoyed it? No! Would it be superfluous if I had exciting life events to write about so I could show off to the whole world wide web community that only exists abstractly? Of course not! Is the word superfluous starting to lose its meaning because I've used it too much? Yes. Yes it is.

#B) I'm trying to write a book. Laughable, admittedly, but time consuming: absolutely. Whenever I have random free time between school and work and cleaning and cooking and etc. and I feel the desire to write, I turn to that 52 page monster. (yeah, 52 pages, I'm going to be wildly optimistic and exclaim that that is an accomplishment worth noting!)

#C) I get discouraged. I stare at blogs all the days (at work, between working and pretending to work) and they are soooo interesting and fun to look at and, well, not about someone's boring life like mine is. Blogging is like internet cheerleading: One girl thinks she's super good at backflips until she joins the cheer squad and then sees another girl doing double back flips and she's all, "Oh crap, I didn't know people were doing doubles!" so she practices her cartwheels and becomes exceptional at those but then sees the cheer captain doing ariels and she thinks, "no hands?!" This is my life, but I'm the cheerleader in the corner still doing somersaults.

#D) I'm poor, so I can't do a fashion blog, I'm renting so I can't do a home DIY blog, I'm a student so I can't do a writing blog, I'm boring so I can't do a lifestyle blog, and I'm not very funny, which rules out basically all other options except porn. Which I'm not pretty enough to do.

#E) I consider THIS a blog post. Do you see why you never actually visit this site? Don't feel guilty, I understand. I wouldn't either. I don't, actually, HENCE the month of empty-no-blogging-ness.

And this, my friends, was my 100th blog post. Happy Birthday, meaningless words.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Halloween poem

A poem by Emily Dickinson

ONE need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
Far safer, of a midnight meeting        5
External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.
Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,        10
Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter
In lonesome place.
Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,        15
Be horror’s least.
The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre
More near.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This is yarn bombing

Artists. They do the wackiest things, and I just wish I was them.

This is yarn bombing. This is the article in the NYTimes about Jessie Hemmons, the notorious yarn bomber, which is apparently, a thing:

This is her website, where you can see other overnight masterpieces that can be attributed to her needles and hooks:

You go weird artists, you go.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Time is passing

Do you ever feel like time is passing, and you are standing still?

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood;
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
And do whate’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world and all her fading sweets;
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O, carve not with thy hours my love’s fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow
For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.

- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 19
I have these moments while I'm walking down the bike path or sitting in my kitchen, and I realize that time has passed, has slipped away. I suddenly remember the last time I was drinking hot cider or the first time I wore this teal shirt, and my brain grasps, for a moment only, that days and weeks and months have passed and I am older. Older and closer to death. Older and farther from birth. Older and growing ever weaker. If I could sit and watch my life in five minutes, if I could watch myself age in five minutes, would it seem more real to me? More tangible? Different in any way, or is that what we are actually doing here? Do we have no purpose but to rot and replace?

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Wild Nights of Women Writers

Sappho, Dickinson and Centuries Old Desire

Art of all forms has been struggling to define love since the first man fell for the first woman. Poets, in particular, use love as an encompassing theme, a foundation on which to focus their art. And yet a poet cannot be given love—if it were easy to love and be loved in return, there would be no conflict, no agony to translate to paper and ink. Emily Dickinson and the Ancient Greek Poet, Sappho, demonstrate this torment of love in quite a few of their most famous poems. Often for them, love is a kind of negative force that pains them beyond description, and yet fuels their fire for life simultaneously.  In this paper I am going to compare two poems: Dickinson’s “269” and Sappho’s “20”. These poems, written by women socially compelled to restrain from acting on their lusts, speak very differently about love; yet both women feel an unrequited passion that leaves the soul craving more than consummation. By their use of conceit, object correlative, and punctuation, both Sappho and Dickinson scramble to define and, thereby, dominate their overwhelming desire.
To go chronologically, we will start with Sappho. Poem “20” is written from the perspective of the poet quietly observing her beloved and the ‘other woman’ with whom he is flirting. Much of this poem can be called an object correlative, because Sappho never puts into words the emotion she is feeling, and yet when she speaks of the “laughter that stings (her) breasts” and the “chill sweat (that) slides down (her) body”, the reader is able to inference the wave of jealousy that comes over her. The way she describes her sensations paints us a picture that begins externally with the senses and eventually forms the poet’s internal thoughts and feelings:
If I dare the shock of a glance
I cannot speak,
My tongue sticks to my dry mouth,
Thin fire spreads beneath my skin,
My eyes cannot see and my aching ears
Roar in their labyrinths. (7-12)
She is jealous as well as desirous, irritated, amorous, nervous and enraged. Without explicitly writing any of these words, Sappho makes us feel all of those things in the split second with her, a beautiful example of the power of correlatives. Her sensations are a reaction to an observation that affects an emotion so deeply rooted in her Self, she cannot name it. By simply recording her sensations, she leads the reader on an even more involved journey while she is experiencing it herself.
               Sappho achieves these vivid images by her use of punctuation as well. No comma or period is haphazardly placed: all mean a change of thought, a dramatic pause, or a moment for reflection. See how she opens “20” with a stuttering, unsure air of tentative anxiety:
He seems to be a god, that man
Facing you, who leans to be close,
Smiles, and, alert and glad, listens
To your mellow voice (1-4)
She involves you in every moment, every touch, by unraveling the scene the very instant it happens. It takes longer to read these lines because they mimic the timeline of life. The reader is narrating what is happening before the poet’s eyes—the commas make it seem like that moment lasts forever. Dickinson, similarly, uses punctuation in a unique and effective way, though instead of commas, she uses undefinable dashes to sketch the speed of her thoughts in lines such as:
Rowing in Eden -
Ah - the Sea!
Might I but moor - tonight -
In thee! (9-12)
These dashes give the reader a sense of urgency in one interpretation, a feeling of the mind wandering in another, and some dashes even seem to be a symbol of interruption, where the poet is unable to articulate her true feelings.
               Dickinson embodies her passion in a poem addressed to her lover; “269” consists of only three stanzas made up of very short lines—some only two words apiece. Dickinson’s ability to capture the very essence of love in so few words is done through many techniques, conceit being one of the main ones:
Futile - the winds -
To a Heart in port -
Done with the Compass -
Done with the Chart! (5-8)
Here Dickinson uses an elongated metaphor to bring the reader on the ‘voyage’ of her emotion, which feels, to her, like a ship in port. She had already established the separation between her and her lover, and the helplessness she feels at this situation is a natural inference made in the first stanza. The parallel drawn between herself and a ship is meant to stir the image of a vessel that rides the waves (often representative of romance, love, and passion) and allows them to steer her. Ideally, the two beings (ship and sea) work harmoniously together, woven in a kind of symbiotic relationship that is liberating and unrestrained. However, when the ship is forced to dock, when it is tied or anchored down, neither the winds nor the waves are of any sway to it. Dickinson brings this image of an imprisoned ship gracefully into our minds without much description or explanation.
The startlingly sexual connotations of “269” are cleverly enveloped in this metaphor of a tumultuous sea stroking the sides of a stalwart ship. In only 43 words, Dickinson says so many things at once! She speaks directly to her lover leaving nothing undisclosed, so the reader feels almost like an intruder:
Wild nights - Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury! (1-4)
In this poem, Dickinson reveals her passionate, vulnerable side: a trait that she shares, incidentally, with Sappho. Both women have a quality to their poetry that is innately feminine and intriguingly honest.  Both are poets of desire, whether they are desirous of man, woman, child, sanity, freedom, or perfect poetry, their writing has great resonance with the readers who admire it because of the longing injected into every word.

               These poets of desire not only define love as something intangible and undefinable, they use the common feeling to unite all people and reduce them to their simpler forms: beings of lust and loss, ever seeking to find balance between the two. The only thing that could possibly unite these two unlikely poets is that transcendental emotion that strings centuries together: love. These two poems beautifully embody the synergy of technique and emotion, a formula for success that only great poets come to master. 
(By Kaylie Hayter)

Jane Eyre

Character Shaped through Negative Space in Bronte’s Jane Eyre

               Although Jane Eyre was written in the style of an autobiography, it is a work of fiction that psychologically explores the personality and life of an English governess in the nineteenth century. Bronte makes several statements about social class, family and feminism in Jane Eyre, using the development of the main character and her encounters with those around her to illustrate the shaping of a strong, independent woman. Through each encounter included in the novel Jane learns lessons and gains principles that ultimately define her by the end, and the reader meets others in the world of Jane Eyre and naturally compares them with what they know of Jane. The two most important foil characters in this novel are that of Mrs. Reed, Jane’s aunt and guardian, and Blanche Ingram, Jane’s stark opposite and competition for the love of Mr. Rochester. Bronte writes these two characters into the story in order to clearly define what Jane is not, therefore using the concept of “negative space” to define and refine Jane Eyre as not only a character, but a person the reader connects with and supports. 
               Sarah Reed is introduced to the reader on the first page of the novel. She is set in the drawing-room, reclining “on a sofa by the fireside, with her darlings about her”, her darlings being her three children, Eliza, John and Georgiana. Immediately, Jane is an outsider, looking in on this family of four in their great Victorian house. She is an ugly orphan who is unwanted and unloved by her relations. Mrs. Reed distances Jane from her three angels as a necessity until Jane can learn “to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and spritely manner,” and so forth. We have not yet made it to the third paragraph and we already dislike this haughty woman and her spoiled children.
               In this way, and through similar themes throughout the text, Bronte makes it very clear that the reader is to find in Mrs. Reed an antagonist most vile. We watch through Jane’s innocent eyes as Mrs. Reed abuses and frightens her, shames her for her “otherness,” and locks her in a terrifying room for a crime that could be called, at worst, self-defense. Mrs. Reed seems wholly bad, written only to torment Jane and build in her a sense of rebellion, and Jane wholly good: an innocent child wronged by circumstance as well as relation. This view changes somewhat during the interview with Mr. Brocklhurst where we see Jane stand up for herself for the first time. Fuming and embarrassed, Jane confronts Mrs. Reed and accuses her of “miserable cruelty” toward a child who only wished for her love.
               This incident is monumental in the development of Jane Eyre, because she speaks for and of herself for the first time. She is learning to define her view of her life, her personality, and the mistreatment that she has been forced to suffer in her short ten years of life. The encounter is also crucial in the development of Mrs. Reed. She is so startled at Jane’s outburst that she quits the room, hurriedly, looking “as if she would cry.” Mrs. Reed is deeply affected by this encounter, and when she reappears later in the novel, she brings it up as a moment that has been haunting her every day since. This is an example of two very different persons reacting to the same situation in starkly opposite ways. Both have a tendency toward the dramatic, and in both women we see a consciousness that holds on to guilt and fervently tries to avoid wrong doing. However, it is the actions of Mrs. Reed that form the negative space that obviously contrasts the rapidly developing individual, Jane Eyre. Mrs. Reed is written so clearly as an antagonist, all her traits and all her actions only contribute to the villainy she has established in the reader’s mind. This is her important role, and her static character brings out the change that takes place in Jane.
               When Jane hears that Mrs. Reed is laying on her deathbed and asking repeatedly for her, she wastes no time and runs to Gateshead in full confidence that she belongs there. Unlike her experiences as a child, when she belonged anywhere but Gateshead, newly mature Jane sees that the greater need within her hated childhood home trumps her dread of crossing the threshold. Through her forgiveness of and genuine care for Mrs. Reed, Jane becomes a protagonist with new, different layers to her character. The reader tends to wish Mrs. Reed would “get what she deserves,” but Jane chooses the higher ground and goes to her aunt in full compassion. In this way, Jane is now set above her guardian, and when Mrs. Reed laments that “she wished (Jane) had died!” the contrast between Jane Eyre and Sarah Reed is stronger and more potent than ever. Reed, begrudgingly wishing for the death of a child in her care, lays on her deathbed while Jane, benevolently leaning over the dying woman, verbally and mentally forgives her of the trespasses of the past. This act not only redeems Jane of any rash action or word toward her aunt in the reader’s eyes, it develops an element of her character that had not yet been explored by the novel by juxtaposing her with the greatest negativity yet.
               When Blanche Ingram comes on the scene by way of an extended party at Thornfield, she is immediately described by Mrs. Fairfax from head to foot as “beautiful”, “fair”, and “much admired.” At this point Jane is very much in love with Mr. Rochester but is still coming to grips with her feelings. Blanche floats in as Rochester’s particular favorite, and as the rumors of their engagement fly, Jane is invited to their evening social hour every night in order to watch their flirtation from the best vantage point. This is a very painful experience for Jane that further outlines her “otherness,” as she hides in a dark corner watching Miss Ingram prance and peacock through Thornfield.
               Blanche Ingram is both talented and accomplished and described by Mrs. Fairfax as “certainly a queen.” She is written to be the Victorian ideal, the “perfect woman” in the eyes of high society in the time Bronte was writing. Everyone has an obsession with her—even Jane thinks about her frequently and sketches her portrait in distaste. Although Blanche is the center of the attention at Thornfield, to the reader she seems a simpering, whining child who is both vapid and silly. Her name itself speaks of her personality: “Blanche” seems to us pure and cold as well as blank and empty. We see no depth to her, no intellect to speak of and definitely nothing to interest Rochester in the long term. An antagonistic view is immediately encouraged, and no woman could seem more opposite to Jane Eyre than Miss Ingram, an obvious fact made even more potent by the concept of negative space and how it shapes Jane Eyre at this crucial time of her life.  
               Bronte makes an interesting, back-handed statement with the character of Miss Ingram. Setting Jane Eyre against a Victorian stereotype and leading the characters and the reader to prefer Jane upheaves an entire set of beliefs for Victorian England. The two characters in contrast have entirely different motives for marrying Rochester, and although Miss Ingram’s is traditionally “right” and Jane’s traditionally “wrong”, Blanche is not the hero and does not win the reader’s support. As Jane says herself, “I would always rather be happy than dignified.” Plain, feisty, somber Jane who has no social qualities and no money to speak of should pale in comparison to the wealthy, fair Blanche, and if Jane knew what was good for her, she would try to be more like the idealistic Miss Ingram. And yet, Bronte sets up the story so not only Rochester, but the reader also prefers Jane to Miss Ingram a hundred to one, and Jane herself looks upon Blanche with disdain and pity: she has no desire to emulate her traits or actions in any way. This is Bronte’s biggest statement, and Jane’s most defining characteristic: that of love (both self-love and love for others) conquering social class as well as physical appearance.
The many differences between Jane Eyre and the ‘Victorian ideal’ are the very reasons that she must fight for herself, find her own place in the world, and move past the trials of her past and onto a brighter future. These elements of Jane are what bring us as the reader back to the book again and again. Bronte clearly breaks social constraints by pointing out the strength in the different, the frowned upon, the outcast and the unique, and turning the unusual into the hero. This resonating theme could not be achieved fully without the character of Blanche Ingram to hold up against that of Jane Eyre. Without Blanche’s form creating the negative space around Jane, without Blanche being exactly what Jane is not, the reader would not be able to as clearly refine exactly what Jane’s otherness is, and why it is so likeable.
These two characters set in contrast to the protagonist, Jane Eyre, form the image of the character of Jane for the reader by using “negative space;” by outlining what Jane is not and why. This is a very strong way to set up a character, because the reader is given to ability to inference the positive space or the actual form of the protagonist, therefore making her personally and individually relatable to each reader, yet still true to herself. Jane is formed by those she encounters, but it is not a passive, helpless process, it is active for Jane and exciting for the reader. Bronte uses brilliant literary devices to develop this theory of “otherness” about Jane as she tells her story and builds a frightened ten year old orphan into an assertive married woman with property and claims of her own. Through her use of contrast and comparison, Bronte creates Jane Eyre: a character that lives, breathes and demands to be remembered.

(Paper by Kaylie Hayter. Sketch by Amalia Zeichnerin)

A Flurry of Papers

Just wrote a paper on Jane Eyre and the foil characters in the novel. The next day, a paper was due in my poetry class, in which I compared "Wild Nights" by Emily Dickinson with "20" by Sappho, that was interesting. And now, I'm writing a paper on the Muslim mystic Rabi'a and her use of the feminine soul in her poetry.

School is in full swing, and even though I usually want to pull my hair out, I'm finally studying the things I love. Even if I have to write pages and pages analyzing literature, at least I'm analyzing literature, right? Sometimes I feel like the tiniest drop in the sea, sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in possibilities and responsibilities and the disabilities of my brain aren't letting me even make a ripple in the sea of humanity, of literature. But at least my little drip hasn't been dropped into a vat of oil.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A quick Dickinson to get you through.


Hope by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune-without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

"The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.

At the risk of sounding cliché:
The Lady of Shalott

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

John William Waterhouse
Part I.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
           To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
           The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
           Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
           The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veil'd
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
           Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
           The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
           Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
           Lady of Shalott."

Part II.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
           To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
           The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
           Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
           Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
           Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
           The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
           And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
           The Lady of Shalott.

Part III.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
           Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
           Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle-bells rang merrily
           As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
           Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
           As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
           Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
           As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
           Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
           She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
           The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
           Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
           The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse –
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
           Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Thro' the noises of the night
           She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
           Turn'd to tower'd Camelot;
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
A corse between the houses high,
           Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
           The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
           All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
           The Lady of Shalott."

This poem just takes my breath away, it makes me want to... paint something! Write a song! Kill myself in some romantic, poetic way! I just can't even deal with the beauty of it all. There's a ghostly quality about his writing here, and the flow of the words almost enhances that other-worldly-ness. I don't know about you, but I can so easily picture this woman alone in a great tower, weaving at her loom and constantly looking in the mirror that shows her the progress of her work. This was all she knew, and when that reality was shattered, she was overcome with a hopeless desperation that is so poetic. I can just hear her song pierce through the still air of the night as she rides her little boat down to her final destination, "The Lady of Shalott" written on the side, like a headstone.  This poem by Tennyson has inspired some of the most amazing artwork, throughout centuries and across many mediums. Some of my favorites:
Arthur Hughes

Janet Chui

John Atkinson Grimshaw

John William Waterhouse
John William Waterhouse

After I read "The Lady of Shalott" I wanted to sketch something of my own. Please forget that you ever saw those gorgeous paintings above while you gaze skeptically at my mechanical pencil sketch:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"A Handkerchief Dripping With..."

To start, I am not naturally inclined toward  poetry. It's not that I don't think it's valid or beautiful or interesting, I just usually... miss the point. I read a poem or a sonnet and think, "Oh how wonderful, he's being totally serious about how much he loves this girl and how she looks like a blossoming flower." Only to find out that it's all tongue in cheek and about child rape and I've missed the whole point of that poet's existence. I tend to take everything in poetry at face value, which is kind of the opposite of the point. 

I do, however, enjoy Sappho. Her poems were written before women could write, and they are so incomplete that I feel like I have a right to make up my own meaning and miss the point entirely because I have only been given one word per line.  I don't know if I adore them because of the way their written, or because of the beautiful fragmentation of the work. The one-liners that have been preserved are extraordinary. If I could evoke that many emotions with just four words, not even a full sentence, I would feel like I accomplished something. 

I mean, "A handkerchief dripping with..." 
That's been echoing in my mind for two days. 

Another of hers that I particularly love is, "I don't know which way I'm running, My mind is part this way, part that..." She just proves that women have been contradicting themselves for thousands of years! 

Her writing (since it wasn't exactly important or preserved, as it was done by a woman and was not about God and country) has been salvaged in a very broken, lost form and has been published as "fragments", which are wildly nondescript and incomplete but somehow still so beautiful. As an author of desire, her texts (and the lack thereof) leave you wanting. It's an ironic form of art. The original Greek has been translated and translated again, and I prefer some translations over others, but the mystery that envelopes this woman's life and the depth of her loves is something that clings to each and every word, no matter how it is translated. 

"Beauty is for the eyes and fades in a while,
But goodness is a beauty that lasts forever..."

And also, I'm back to school which means an oath: To Be a Better Blogger.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A weekend alone with me

A whole weekend by myself...that's a dangerous thing. So this is what I made, while of course, watching a lot of this: 
You can find that pattern I copied at this website

And for this one, here

And this (the easiest by far!) on this blog

Or, of course, you can check out all of these things and some of my other time wasting crafts on my Pinterest account

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


This post is almost unspeakably long overdue. I went to Australia over a year ago, and although this puts things quite a bit out of order, I can't overlook that trip because it was just so wonderful, it has to be included here! I went (courtesy of multiple benefactors) with my parents for their 25th anniversary in June, 2012. My father lived in Australia when he was nineteen until he was twenty one, and although he has always wished for an opportunity to go back, has never received one until now.

I may have dampened their romantic anniversary by...well...being there, but I couldn't have asked for a more special time to have spent with my parents.

Australia was, I imagined, a country of loud personalities and fried foods and people on nude beaches around every corner. I pictured lots of snake skin and khaki and cowboy hats. Basically, like, 22,906,400 people who looked and acted like Steve Irwin.

I realize that my preconceived ideas were wildly and inappropriately stereotypical and probably, somehow, racist, but one can't help one's subconscious ideas. Anyway, Australians may be that way in the summer, but we went in basically the dead of winter where no was went to a nude anything and I saw more parkas than park ranger outfits.

We spent the first week in Sydney, where my dad used to live. He doesn't know anyone anymore (it has been more than 25 years since he was there) but he did know his way around pretty well. Sydney was very different from what I expected; I was mostly impressed with the vastness of the city. It spread all along the harbor, across the Harbor bridge (the one we are in front of above [AKA the "coathanger"]) and to the other side of the water. It seems endlessly long, though it isn't very wide in depth--most of the structures are very near the water. It was a unique, huge city. Everything was very modern and somehow, cutting edge or new age, you could say. It threw me for a loop, somehow I didn't think of Sydney as one of the fastest progressing cities in the world, but in my experience--it is. That could be (in part, sorry I'm being racist again) because of all the Asian people that live there. I swear, I actually felt like I was in China more than Australia most of the time we spent downtown. There was a huge Chinatown that we explored one day, but the Chinese ethnic influence is almost overwhelming in Sydney, which is something I had no idea about previous to visiting there. While in Sydney we wandered around a lot, awestruck, went to a symphony (that's right, in the opera house), attended a museum and played giant chess, met a hairless Egyptian cat, fed wild Ibis on the street and walked through miles of gorgeous gardens. It was a lovely (wet [it rained basically every day]) time for us.

We spent the second week in Brisbane, where we had a most exciting week with a dear family who was putting us up. Brisbane was warmer (thank heaven) and more adventurous: probably because we had our own local tour guides who were willing to tote us around. We went to a legit Aussie Rules footy game, we took a ferry out to Stradbroke Island, we cuddled a koala and kissed a kangaroo, we watched whales in the ocean right behind us in this picture. Whales, I tell you! The wildlife that we experienced in Brisbane was beyond amazing, between the zoo/koala habitat, the crazy Carter family's backyard, and the random kangaroos crossing the street, I felt more "in-nature" than I ever have camping.

Anyway, here is your picture, word, and experience:

Okay okay I know I choose weird pictures for this over-all descriptive thing, but I can't help but think of Australia in its entirety when I look at this picture of me on a pole. Firstly, we spent so much time waiting for this train every morning. It took us into the city since we were staying at a beautiful house in the suburbs, and it was about a forty five minute ride every morning and then on the way back, too. We all read our books (I think I read eight books on my trips this summer) and were just glad to be in the heat. Which, yes, reminds me of the other reason I love this picture: look at how ridiculous I am dressed. In my head while I was packing for a 5-week long summer vacation to exotic places, I thought, "Oh, Australia! Maybe I will pack one jacket and then nothing but summery tank tops and bikinis." Big mistake. So basically every day I wore every piece of clothing I had, just in layers. We had to buy some sweaters and things (from Cotton On, I kid you not) and I wore thermals and two pairs of socks. I was a fool, but look at how much fun I am having despite the weather, the bad wardrobe, and the waiting. Australia was just a whole lot of fun, and that's how I always want to remember it.

Sigh, now the word. This is SO DIFFICULT, why did I ever start this pattern. My word for Australia would have to be "Ripper". Seriously. It basically means "great", which is not a strong adjective in itself but really it all comes together because of why I chose it. So much of what defines this country is the people. They are laid back, helpful, very kind and friendly to everyone. Their slang and accent are a piece of a culture that they take pride in. There's a competition between areas of the country, they're concerned about the environment, they enjoy a good beer on a Friday and overall, they are unique and don't really give a dunny what other people think. I loved hearing people use words I'd never heard before--it made everything else just seem to belong to them, like they owned a ripper country that I could never understand.

Everything I write feels like a tangent. Okay, the experience. Again, it's hard to pick just one thing that really sums up the whole trip, but I would have to say that the trip to Straddie was my favorite part. There was a moment as I was sitting on a rock, looking out on the blue blue ocean. I was thinking how vast everything was, and how little I had touched of it. I was squinting out into the blue to see whales, a new thing for me, and I saw them flipping in and out of the water and splashing right near this little boat and I thought, "Why do they do that?" It looked like such a manifestation of freedom,  a celebration of grandeur that only whales could communicate and understand. Even though that little boat was in his ocean, the whale was declaring that there was enough room for the both of them. Watching whales was so amazing, it is something that I have always wanted to do. The Carters took us there and we had such fun, it must be amazing to live so closely among these miracles of nature.

That's me with Utopia the koala.
If you ever go to Australia, pretend you've had Vegemite so they don't force feed you (it's really salty, just say that). Also, bring your own S'mores ingredients. Watch out on the roads for a) cars in the wrong lane and b) crossing marsupials. Bring an umbrella and you'll have a Sweet As time. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Wedding Day: The Finale

Basically, I love the man I married and I'm so grateful for him in my life. Every day as his wife has been an adventure, one that I never expected but could never replace. It's amazing to come home every day and see him there, to wake up in the middle of the night to him beside me, to panic about one silly thing or another but not have to do it alone.

Craig and I are not exactly what I always pictured: we're poor as hell and we fight all the time and we live in a huge empty house, but I guess when life turns out differently than what you planned for yourself, it's probably God stepping in and making sure you don't make some stupid choice that will sacrifice all of your future happiness. Riding the waves that led to this shoreline was the best choice I could have made, and the new life ahead of me looks shinier and newer than the old ever could.

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Wedding Day Part IV (Bridals)

I have to admit, one of the most exciting things, for me, is having my bridals that I can look at and print after the wedding.

First thing's first, my lovely photographer and wonderful friend Mary Taylor took these photos. She's great to work with and always spends time and effort to make her photos amazing. Take a look at her website for her pricing and availability details.

I got my dress custom made from an Etsy shop, which you can oogle at here. I totally recommend Yuan, who made my dress, if you have plenty of time between ordering and your wedding. When I received my dress it was beyond perfect, it didn't need any alterations and was so much cheaper than anything I could find in a store. Be brave and do something different--you won't regret it in the end! I sure didn't! 

These were taken at a public, free place in Sugar house called Garden Park Ward. It's technically the back of a church building, but it is so beautiful, photographers love it.

The First Look!

These were taken at The Lion House in Salt Lake City, Utah. They charge a small per hour fee but the building is absolutely beautiful, with a very vintage, antique feel. It's an old home that has been in SLC since the pioneers settled here, and is technically a reception center as well. For more information visit their website or take a virtual tour.