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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve and this blog's 1st Anniversary

I'm not big on new year's resolutions; however, it's been exactly a year since I talked about ice cream which precipitated this blog. So I'll talk about what's gone on since that fateful dream of vanilla ice cream that started this whole thing. What has changed since? I still work at the hospital. But I have started going back to school. I don't feel as listless and hopeless. Despite some nurses (ahem...a tall, leggy Russian one at that) rolling their eyes at me upon discovering that I'm not taking nursing but something as 'useful' as English Literature, it's been ok. I survived. My God. 2011. I wonder what's in store this year.

Please let me have the Fulbright.
Please let me have the Fulbright.
Please let me have the Fulbright.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

post-semester thoughts

It was a hard semester. I realized a few things though:
1. I missed school.
- While working at the hospital environment since 2007 gave me invaluable people and life skills experience, I really, really, REALLY missed school.
2. My brain actually still works.
- Didn't know if I could be in an academic setting. I mean, it's been almost ten years since my undergrad years. (Oh, snap...people will realize how old I am!!!)
3. I still can't write academic papers for shit.
- I practiced an unorthodox brand of writing that apparently had a name called "performative writing" (read up on Peggy Phelan). But sometimes, it's just plain old sloppiness. Got a lot to learn. I need to master the MLA or APA style of citation...

Anyway, I got an A- for one of the classes. I don't know about the other one but so far, it's looking like a B+/A-.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Breath of Air



I've been pulling hair, teeth and other non-appendage-like substances from out of me the past two weeks and will probably do so in the next two because, it is, tuh-duh-dum-!- FINALS. I'm only taking two graduate classes. But, man! Those two classes are kicking my butt. I'm taking two medieval literature courses - one on Chaucer and the other on Apocalyptic Medieval Literature. Fun. No, really - fun.

Now, some friendly words from our friendly (and deceased) neighborhood Spanish Jesuit and baroque writer, Balthasar Gracian:

Aphorism #82 Drain Nothing to the Dregs, neither Good nor Ill.
A sage once reduced all virtue to the golden mean. Push right to the extreme and it becomes wrong: press all the juice from an orange and it becomes bitter. Even in enjoyment never go to extremes. Thought too subtle is dull. If you milk a cow too much you draw blood, not milk.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Junk Touching

I went with my sister down South last month. The Delta flight from JFK was a very "intimate" experience so to speak. Pardon me. It wasn't the flight itself that was intimate. I mean, of course, it would be intimate in the sense of being 30,000 feet up in the air with 200 people where if you stuck your foot in the aisle, you'd get cursed at (silently) by the flight attendants for tripping them or maybe they'd just end up taking the emergency exit or something. No, I mean it in the sense that the security was in your face, in your boobs, in your butt and, literally, in your everywhere. It was very disconcerting. I tried not to think about it. Anyway, both of us were singled and were taken to the side. My sister started whimpering and crying (though it's kind of funny because she actually knew before we even came to the airport that this is the new policy) and I was just chatting away with the TSA officer like we were girlfriends or something. Don't get me wrong. It really was very uncomfortable. But what could I do?

What would you do???

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Shack



I heard of The Shack from Nathan Bransford's blog and one of my co-workers. They said it was a good read. So when I found myself in an airport at Atlanta, Georgia on my way back to New York, I ended up buying the book. I must say, I was surprised. It's one of the best reads I've had in a while.

The book jacket says it all:
Mackenzie Allen Philip's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a week-end.
Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.
In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question:
Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain? The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone and you know to read this book!

The phenomenal journey of this book began when William Paul Young decided to write a story about what he felt his children should know about his own dark night of the soul. No, according to him, he didn't have a child who was abducted or killed, but that he had that Great Sadness that his protagonist had. Then when he gave it to his friends and family to read, the story kept changing hands so much so that they encouraged him to publish it. In fact, two people from California that time when it was still in its bound format wanted to fly to Oregon to meet his protagonist personally thinking that Mack was a real person! So there is a current of energy, a kind of consciousness that this book raises that have people itching to pass it on. That's amazing. No publisher, religious or mainstream, would touch this book when Young tried to submit. So he and three other friends decided to open their own publishing company with only one book - his. Their first print was 11,000 copies and it was sold within two months. This book that didn't fit in to any category has found success much like Twilight (not that I'm a huge fan).

I'm not laughing at self-publishing now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Day at Work: The Armenian Mafia

My head was swimming over the week-end. Besides the drama I had with a supervisor who was extremely rude, there was other news/gossip floating around. Apparently, one of the workers at the hospital was very involved in medicaid fraud with the Armenian mafia. It's national news. I've seen the girl. She is one hot Spanish mama. But it doesn't mention it in any of the news articles I've read. Maybe she's trying to cut a deal with the Feds. Apparently, she was on her way to work last week when the Feds showed up and cuffed her. As I heard this, I kept thinking of the Russian spy girl who made the news. They have the same vibe. Anyway, she was supplying the mafia with information about patients coming in to the hospital.

There's a lot of action where I work. Damn.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Paper Topics



Philippe de Champaigne, St. Augustine (Los Angeles County Museum of Art

This may be foolish but I've decided to write a final paper on St. Augustine. Yikes! It's a 20-page monster. We read his conception of the third paradise/heaven for class. My one-page commentary on him wasn't the best work I turned in yet somehow I'm stuck with him. He's just that intense. Why couldn't I do something easier? I was even thinking of incorporating Buddhist thought comparisons into the mix. Sigh. Any suggestions?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another day at work: Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

There are days when I don't abjectly hate my job at the hospital. Today I had an educational conversation with a new patient that came, Ms. V. -akis. I asked her if she was Greek and she said yes. I told her that I was in Greece ten years ago, visiting Athens, Delphi and Kalambaka. She said she studied in Athens before but that she's originally from Cyprus. Then she proceeds to tell me her story. She said that the Turkish Cypriots invaded her village and she and her family lost everything. She talked about how they lost the embroidered silks they made with their own hands. She talked about her mother waking up at 4 in the morning to tend to their silk worms and their garden. She talked about her father's house built with stone with his own hands in the 1940s and how he planted citrus trees and lemon trees that bore many fruits. Then she talked about how when the Turkish Cypriots came, they tore the trees down, took their lands, defaced their village church that stood their for hundreds of years by taking down the cross that proudly stood on its dome and painted over the saints' faces. They used it as their mosque and right across from this church, they built their own mosque. They took the gospels and the artifacts from inside, looted them for their gold and destroyed what they thought was not fitting for them. But the land they used to build their mosque on was hers. It was her land, land that she recently purchased with money that she made from working as a school teacher. It was all gone. She became a refugee. A year later, she migrated to the U.S. This loss is a story shared by many. I'm not too familiar with the story since it's news to me. I know other histories. When she talked feelingly about her loss, I had to restrain myself from tearing up because it reminded me of others who had lost as well. It's the same story everywhere. The Chinese invading Tibet. The Palestinians caged into a small settlement in their own land. The Native Americans all but completely annihilated and displaced. It's about greed and power.

On a lighter note, Ms. V -akis told me that anytime I saw the surname with -akis in the end, I should be aware that this person comes from Crete. I told her I'd remember that.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Fulbright

I submitted everything for the Fulbright grant a few weeks ago after months and months at slaving away at the application. Just in case you don't know what it is, it's only one of the most prestigious academic/research grants out there. For U.S. citizens, it's the chance to explore another country in depth either for research purposes or as an assistant English language teacher. I applied for the research grant to go to Ukraine. I've been working on this story and going to Ukraine would just do wonders for it. It's like going to the super spa to get the book going, shaping it up to where it needs to. Of course, if I didn't get it, I would just have to find other means of getting the story into shape. It'll be harder but it must be done.

I've been preparing for this Fulbright for a while now and it even propelled me to start taking my Russian language study seriously. That's one of the requirements - to have a working knowledge of the country's language. My Russian is still bad but I think by next year, if and when I find out that I am one of the chosen 10 to go represent the U.S. to go to Ukraine, I figure I'd have mastered something more by then. Now, all that's left is the waiting game.
It's the time for desperate prayer. Dear God, please please please give it to me. Amen.

The $25 Pizza


I heard about a mythical pizza, so good that a sixteen-inch regular cheese pie costs $25 and if I wanted just a slice of it, it costs not $3 but $5. The special, with sausage and onion, is an unbelievable $30. I got the lowdown from Arthur, this Bakharian Jewish guy who manages the colonic place I went to recently. (I'll post about my gut-cleaning experience another time). Anyway, Arthur is this nice, gregarious Bakharian Jewish cutie who was asking me if I knew the holy grail of pizza, a place that only exists on Avenue J, in the midst of an Orthodox Jewish community.
No, I said, still in awe at the fantastically impossible price tag. I said I'd look into it. I did. The next time I drove to Brooklyn College, where my efforts to obtain some medieval English lit experience is making pottage out of my brain, I decided to drop by and get a pie. I always drove by anyway and because I knew at that point what to look for, I zoned in on the place. It's a non-descript storefront on the corner of Avenue J and East 15th. It was raining so hard that night that there were sharks swimming in my nice European sandals. However, it was crowded inside and I had to wait about 20 minutes to get my pie. So I went across the street to Walgreen's to buy myself an umbrella and stared at the cruel drops of rain greedily wetting everything it could wet, including my sandals. By the time I thought my pie was done, there was a cardboard "CLOSED" sign hanging between the door and I squeezed in. There she was, my pie, freshly out of the oven. Then the old man, the mastermind of it all, took freshly grated cheese and sprinkled it all over and if that wasn't enough, he took a bunch of basil and started clipping it into pieces all over the pie. It smelled like what a $25 dollar pie should. I rushed home and gorged along with my siblings. Then our taste buds exploded. This pie has killed the taste of pizza for us. This pie was the bomb. We're doomed. No other pizza shall do from now on.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tis the Season for the Sniffles



It started gently. It was an itch in the throat. Then there was the aching of the joints. Then the feeling came that pillows were lodged inside my throat. I knew I was in trouble. Damn. Flu season has started and I've been infected. Who's the culprit? Maybe it was Dixon from work who kept saying he didn't feel well and eventually went home. Or maybe because the weather suddenly made an about-face and blue-balled into a shriveling cold front. Or maybe because I've been exercising myself so much to the point of fatigue thanks to the super-strength I received from doing a colonic hydrotherapy and an ion foot bath. But it doesn't matter how it started. All that matters now is to get better.

Things to do:
1) Drink plenty of fluids (no alcohol unless it's in a cough syrup)
2) Rest
3) Take garlic capsules (garlic is really mother nature's antibiotics)
4) Plot (I could think about how I should be taking over the world)
5) Write (This blog counts)
6) Read (Other blogs count)
7) Pray (God, please take away what Thou has given)

I just started grad school and now I have to miss a class. I'll be missing the discussion on Macrobius' Commentary on Scipio's Dream and the Book of Revelation. Oh well...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To Be or Not To Be...

That really is the question.
I just realized a few days ago that I'm turning 30 very soon. (If 6 months counts for soon, then it really is soon) Then I became depressed. At least, depressing thoughts suddenly started overwhelming me.

Then I stumbled on Anis Shivani's article and somehow, it lifted me a bit. It's the fact that someone does not agree with the status quo, the elite chosen by the few from their pulpits and institutions. Overrated writers and underrated writers everywhere, jumbled, jostled and discombobulated. I'm not fit to be in that arena yet. Then all I have to do now is do what I do and do it the best that I can. Everything else is left to the critics...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Again

Should I even mention that I received another rejection? It's from Tin House...
Sigh...
Must be like Rocky...keep fighting...that's how winning is done.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year



I just watched the Bollywood film "Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year" courtesy of Netflix's instant play option. I haven't watched a lot of Bollywood films before and the movie that's turned me onto them doesn't exactly qualify as a classic Bollywood production. I'm referring, of course, to Slumdog Millionaire - a film I fell in love with because everything about it was amazing. Anyway, Rocket Singh, unlike other Bollywood films I've heard of and seen, doesn't capitalize on dance and song numbers just like others I've seen in the past. It delves into the world of modern India in the world of business and technology where a new graduate, a Sikh by the name of Harpreet Singh, finds a job as a salesman in a company that sells PCs. His righteousness and honesty soon lands him as the laughing stock of the other salesmen, a "Zero" in their eyes. He then hatches an idea to create Rocket corporation based as an inspiration from the malicious paper airplane "rockets" being thrown at him. From one employee, he expands to five as he works together with other disgruntled employees, operating their company with a business motto of people first - creating a customer-tailored service based on honesty - seemingly unheard of in the business circles. Rocket Company does this under the nose of their boss at AYS until he finds out about it and fires them all, making a hostile takeover of the company that his employees started. In the end, acquiring Rocket proved to be a liability forcing the boss to give it all back to them.

It wasn't a a bad film - entertaining.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do Good A Little At A Time

Aphorism #255 Do Good a little at a time, but often.

One should never give beyond the possibility of return. Who gives much does not give but sells. Nor drain gratitude to the dregs, for when the recipient sees all return is impossible he breaks off correspondence. With many persons it is not necessary to do more than overburden them with favours to lose them altogether: they cannot repay you, and so they retire, preferring rather to be enemies than perpetual debtors. The idol never wishes to see before him the sculptor who shaped him, nor does the benefited wish to see his benefactor always before his eyes. There is a great subtlety in giving what costs little yet is much desired, so that it is esteemed the more.
-Balthasar Gracian

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rejection Bites

I just found out that one of the contests I submitted for rejected me. Again. This is the tenth one I think since I started submitting seriously last year. They're all short stories. I haven't finished my novels yet. It's a bit depressing. But then I have to think about a writer like Stephen King. He had so many rejections - maybe more than 50, nailing them all to the wall - before Carrie was published. The man created his own household name, for crissakes!
So I have to keep writing and submitting. Maybe I should master the writing bit first...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Art of Worldly Wisdom # 245

Aphorism # 245:

Original and out-of-the-way views are signs of superior ability. We do not think much of a man who never contradicts us that is no sign he loves us, but rather that he loves himself. Do not be deceived by flattery,and thereby have to pay for it: rather condemn it. Besides you may take credit for being censured by some, especially if they are those of whom the good speak ill. On the contrary, it should disturb us if our affairs please every one, for that is a sign that they are of little worth. Perfection is for the few.

-Balthasar Gracian

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tamarind Soda




Whoever heard of Tamarind soda? It's one of the best things I've tasted! I was browsing through the Korean store in my neighborhood and I noticed some bottles on the floor. It was a bunch of sodas made from Mexico. Then I noticed the brown-colored liquid in several called TAMARINDO by a brand called Jarritos. I bought a bottle to try. It tastes just like tamarind. If you've never had tamarind it's a sweet and sour fruit that generally grows in Southeast Asia, Mexico and probably any other place with a tropical climate. In Thailand and the Philippines, it is used as a soup base to make those sweet and sour concoctions like the Filipino sinigang or the Thai Tom Yum Gum. I've had tamarind by itself in all its sweet and sour glory; in soups, candies, pastes...but never as soda. Wow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Asian American Movement

I always wanted to be part of something - to be a part of a force greater than myself. No one wants to be stagnant. Our nature is parallel to change.

Why does there have to be a "movement" in the sense of "Asian-American movement"? Why can't it just be movement for the sake of movement? Amiri Baraka - one of the titular Black Power proponents, so badass that he made one of my classmates from NYU disillusioned because he denied my classmate's blackness (because he looked more cracker white than anything) - anyway, he once said that "All art is political, otherwise it's fascist." But what if the art sucks? And who says it sucks? Who gets to be the judge and say that this one is good, bad or ugly?

I attended a book reading at the Asian American Writer's Workshop yesterday. I've never attended one of these events and wanted to see how it would be. Three of the leading Asian-American activists from the seventies were talking about their work - the seminal photographer Corky Lee, public artist Tomie Arai and writer Karen Tei Yamashita.

Tomie Arai said that all her art is political. That's her take, of course. Art doesn't have to be political. If it's not tested, crafted and refined, it's just a trend for the amateur to exploit to further their cause. One should strive for mastery - in entertainment, possibly even as a means to educate. She was painting such a glossy image of the Basement Workshop that was her life back in the day and how we - the generation of today - owe the Basement Workshop for what we have now such as the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, the A/P/A Studies at NYU, the Asian-American Writer's Workshop to name a few.

I'm not sure I totally agree with that because it comes back to what she said later on in the panel - that Asians are moving simply because there are more of us now than ever before, that there is a "critical mass" emerging. She and Corky were asked about what is the Asian-American movement now and Corky said that "it's moving."
It's in our nature.

Arai, in addition to her critical mass comment, even lamented the loss of Japanese-American identity, saying that the Japanese-American that once was won't be simply because they are marrying out of their race. What she didn't say but was apparent to me is that not only was that the issue but there is no longer any migration from Japan to here - a huge difference about what the face of the Asian-American movement would be. Because it's no longer a Yellow Power movement or an off-shoot of the Yellow Peril but a Rainbow face of sorts - it's the Global Village knocking at the door that's frightening. Everything is changing in such a fast rate. Everyone is becoming a product of miscegenation. We're all mixing and mixed-up. The borders we thought existed are moving, dissipating and reappearing elsewhere.

The Asian American Movement now has moved South to the Indian, the Pakistani, the Arab. It's no longer the yellow, it's gotten to mustard yellow brown.

Corky Lee astutely observed that it was war that galvanized them in the 70s. Now, the War on Terror has galvanized the South Indians/Arabs to becoming activists.

After that illuminating panel came the reading of I-Hotel about the Asian American movement in the 70s. The premise was interesting but given the author's reading of her selections, I was left disappointed. Did it need to be a 600-page tome? Perhaps she could have used judicious editing. After all, you don't need to know all the gory details of war to know that it's horrible. Also, she shouldn't have butchered her character's voice by trying to emulate an old Filipino migrant. She just sounded bad. It was painful to sit through that.

But in conclusion, these people have lived their lives actively being activists.
Their breakthroughs, though historical, have now become obsolete. (Ok, perhaps not in Corky Lee's case because what he has documented is phenomenal and RARE) As Henry David Hwang once said in a lecture, "One generation's breakthrough becomes another generation's trope."

So bottom line: just be aware and where there's injustice, stand and deliver whether you're yellow or whatnot. We're all human. Where injustice prevails, do something about it. Don't hyphenate.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Gardening, Work and Everything Else



I've been on a MiracleGro-gardening-soul-train mood the past month or so. I just planted two trays of marigold seedlings on the front yard, four hybrid begonias and I just ordered seedlings of lavender, blue veronica and yarrow. As if my outdoor green thumbing isn't enough, I just bought a few hydroponically-grown bamboo stalks and a money tree. I've also been thinking of sprouting avocado seeds...
What can I say? Plants and flowers make bad juju go away. There's a lot of that if you look anywhere. Let's start with the Gulf of Mexico. On second thought, don't look there. Europe? Well, what with the volcanic ash particules in the air, I don't want my dormant asthmatic lungs to inhale any of that. Volcanic ash may be good for the earth but I'm not terra-bodied.

Anyway, work has been a bit stressful lately - what with the new manager, new staff and new policies and all. So gardening is the answer! It was either that or cooking and I haven't felt the urge to stew, baste, bake, saute or broil anything lately.

It gives me a very pleasant jolt from the pits of my bowels just looking at my handiwork outside. Ah, flowers!

If I knew that it could have been an option, maybe I would have taken horticulture or something when I was an undergrad. Maybe I would have started working in a vineyard or a farm in Italy.

Oh well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Be Moderate

One has to consider the chance of a mischance. The impulses of the passions causeprudence to slip, and there is the risk of ruin. A moment of wrath or of pleasure carries you on farther than many hours of calm, and often a short diversion may put a whole life to shame. The cunning of others uses such moments of temptation to search the recesses of the mind: they use such thumbscrews as are wont to test the best caution. Moderation serves as a counterplot, especially in sudden emergencies. Much thought is needed to prevent a passion taking the bit in the teeth, and he is doubly wise who is wise on horseback. He who knows the danger may with care pursue his journey. Light as a word may appear to him who throws it out, it may import much to him that hears it and ponders on it.

Balthasar Gracian's Art of Worldly Wisdom
Aphorism # 207

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Know How To Transplant Yourself

I was just having a fit of the doldrums regarding my Fulbright application. Applying for the Fulbright is no easy feat. It's downright depressing, especially if you're the underdog type like me.

Anyway, I was wondering about what the whole point of going to another country was when I happened to read the words of a dead Jesuit Spanish priest that made everything make sense. And if that ain't a sign to keep going, I don't know what is.

Aphorism # 198

There are nations with whom one must cross their borders to make one's value felt, especially in great posts. Their native land is always a stepmother to great talents: envy flourishes there on its native soil, and they remember one's small beginnings rather than the greatness one has reached. A needle is appreciated that comes from one end of the world to the other, and a piece of painted glass might outvie the diamond in value if it comes from afar. Everything foreign is respected, partly because it comes from afar, partly because It is ready made and perfect. We have seen persons once the laughing-stock of their village and now the wonder of the whole world, honoured by their fellow-countrymen and by the foreigners [among whom they dwell]; by the latter because theycome from afar, by the former because they are seen from afar. The statue on the altar is never reverenced by him who knew it as a trunk in the garden.

-Balthasar Gracian

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Post



Last night was the end of my six-week class with Meera Nair. It was excellent. We did a writing exercise at the end and picked four words from different categories - Who, What, Where, Why. The results were interesting for me. I wrote about a demented guy who practically beats his father to death. Crazy. I read it to the class and they said it was so disturbing that they thought I had to tone it down some. I shrugged and said it was a writing exercise and we didn't have time to edit so I couldn't. I'd like to work on it. Though not sure yet how much I'll tone it down.

Anyway, one of the other girls in class read hers - about a dictator who is usurped by a clown. It sounded like something I would do. Meera said it reminded her of a poem by Carolyn Forche called The Colonel.


The Colonel


What you have heard is true. I was in his house.
His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His
daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the
night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol
on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on
its black cord over the house. On the television
was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles
were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his
hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings
like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of
lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for
calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes,
salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed
the country. There was a brief commercial in
Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was
some talk of how difficult it had become to govern.
The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel
told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the
table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say
nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to
bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on
the table. They were like dried peach halves. There
is no other way to say this. He took one of them in
his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a
water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of
fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone,
tell your people they can go f--- themselves. He
swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held
the last of his wine in the air. Something for your
poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor
caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on
the floor were pressed to the ground.

May 1978


Then we went out for pizza and everyone turned from literature to politics. I mostly kept my mouth shut because I didn't agree with a lot of what was being said. Then the discussion turned to China and I couldn't help myself. I opened my mouth and started talking. All in all, I loved this workshop with Meera and I would do it again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pulitzer-Prize Nominated

Back in my undergrad days, there was an upperclass man who touted himself as a "theater major who had never read Shakespeare." He was bald by choice, Hispanic and loud. He wanted everyone to know that he was in da house. But hey, something worked. A decade after he's done with his badass self from NYU, he went to Brooklyn College, he has six plays under his belt, grew hair, and was recently nominated for a Pulitzer for his latest play, "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety." The playwright's name - Kristoffer Diaz. He splices hiphop and theater.

Somehow, even if it's not me, I feel heartened. Kris is only 32. I'm not that far away from his heels. I'll be there one day on that coveted pedestal, standing, raising my arms and looking up at the sky saying, "I made it."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Brooklyn College

Victory! My sister just called and said I received a letter from Brooklyn College. I went to work so I missed the mail this afternoon.

I got in! It's not the MFA but the MA. It's still good. What a load off!

I will still write fiction but I will be doing a lot of theory work.

Bhaktin, Saussure, Foucalt, Derrida, Lacan...here I come (again).

Meera Nair

I am taking a six-week writing course at the Asian American Writer's Workshop with the writer Meera Nair (no, not the filmmaker and yes, they have the same name). She wrote a short story collection called VIDEO. I haven't read it yet. I recently put it on hold from my library. I heard it's good. She caught the wave after Jhumpa Lahiri so she wasn't as publicized I guess.

"Get your characters in trouble as soon as possible otherwise it's not interesting."
- Meera Nair

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Fiction is a waste of time."



This week-end, I was invited to have dim sum in Chinatown by a fashion designer. She said she would have a gathering of her friends and acquaintances working in different fields. We were supposed to go to Dim Sum Go Go in East Broadway but it was closed for renovations so we ended up going to the Golden Unicorn across the street which offered a sumptuous feast.

One of the guests during dim sum was a writer of some import. His name is Dennis Smith. As the course of the meal went on, I found out that Mr. Smith is a retired firefighter, a writer of fifteen books such as REPORT FROM ENGINE CO. 82, a business owner, one of the founders of the New York Foundation of Arts, one of the (non-official) first responders during the September 11 tragedy and, most importantly, he said that "fiction is a waste of time."

During that time, I was in the throes of politeness embedded in me from habit and culture. I smiled and said, "Yes, Dennis. I understand your opinion."
But I do, I really do. For my personal edification, I asked him how many of his books were fiction and he replied three out of fifteen were books of fiction. The ones that were NY Times best sellers were his non-fiction works, those that involved heroics and fire. After all, his entire career (or in publishing-speak, his 'platform') is based on the fact that he was a firefighter for eighteen years and everything else involving that fact. I think his opinion is a bit biased as is mine of course. Being a fiction proponent myself, I do not agree with his assesment.
Fiction can be based on fact.

Mr. Smith kept insisting that the writing of fiction is based on craft. I agree. Of course I agree. What keeps a story going? Plot, voice, characters? But his 'objective' opinion is still based on his own experiences (as are mine, of course). Doesn't that infer that his craft of fiction is not as good as his craft of non-fiction? His opinion is based on his success or lack thereof in the fiction department. His voice in fiction may be non-existent whereas his non-fiction voice is developed and rich. No question about that since the numbers say is all.

Anyway, lunch was good and though I differ in opinion with Mr. Smith, I am still glad I met him. It's good to meet a successful writer like himself even though he believes fiction is not a necessity but a frivolous activity. He even offered me help if I needed it - with craft questions, of course.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Alternate Route



When all hope was vaporized, I received a letter from Brooklyn College saying that my application was strong enough to be redirected to the MA English program. Since I am already planning to do that through College of Staten Island anyway, this is even better. BC is a stronger program. They even have a language requirement! (CSI does not)

I'll find out in May what the status is. I asked about what my chances are of getting in and I was told that most redirected MFA applicants get into the MA program.

So, we'll see.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Getting My Hands Dirty (Figuratively)



I just did something that was long overdue. To implement my plan of getting published, I've started reading literary magazines. I should have done it in the first place but I thought I could get by without so much as glancing at one. But lit mags, as I've come to realize, are the pulse of the publishing world. Everyone worth their salt checks this pulse - agents do it to find new clients and writers look at them obsessively trying to figure out the formula to get one of their submissions in. This is a gross analogy but I guess it's almost like a sperm cell trying to get to the egg before the other billions of sperm tadpoles do.

Lit mags are expensive. They cost almost as much as a regular book. I went to Barnes & Noble in Union Square a few days ago to pick up a few. If I had all the time in the world, I probably would have just stayed there and read whatever I could. But time is scarce and my brain can only process so much literature in one sitting. So I spent almost sixty dollars on the Paris Review, The Glimmer Train, Tin House, The Hedgehog Review (though it's a cultural criticism journal rather than a lit journal/mag) and the Writer's Digest special on getting agents.

So far, it's worth it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reasons Why Getting Rejected from an MFA program (or anything) is Good


1) It gives you a chance to re-evaluate your position and tactic.
(Why in the world did I tell them in my bio about how annoying high-heeled women were in Kiev?)

2) It gives you a challenge.
(As Rocky Balboa so eloquently said, "Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place. And I don't care how tough you are - it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't not about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now, if you know what you're worth, now go out there and get what you're worth but you got to be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying because you ain't where you want to be because of him, or her or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!)

3) It builds character - if you let it.
(See above, and really, there's nothing like humble pie to keep the belly from getting too big.)

4) It's a blessing in diguise.
(Maybe it really is good that I got rejected because my alternatives have suddenly increased. I mean, there were lots of things I didn't seriously consider before. After all, I only applied to 2 MFA programs. They probably rolled their eyes at my statement of purpose - I did say that I only applied for their school because it was my cheapest option. They were probably like, yawn, tell us something we don't know and that we'd be interested in. Now, I'm attacking my Russian language class with gusto. I'm applying for an MA in English at another CUNY program and I'm seriously considering applying for a grant to do research abroad. So it isn't as terrible as I initially thought.)

5) Things can only get better from here.
(Because I got a taste of "defeat," I automatically have the choice to use this and re-direct this energy in a positve way or a negative one. Self-preservation dictates that I do something uplifting that will make me feel like I'm worth something. Now I KNOW for a fact that my writing samples were too experimental and not polished enough in their eyes. Now I KNOW for a fact that there are just things you don't say in a bio or statement of purpose. It's like going on a first date and telling a guy telling a girl, I'm only going out with you because you're a cheap date. That's just insulting. So really, things are looking up for me - now more than ever.

Thank God for that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's not the end

Yes, I was going through post-MFA rejection doldrums. There is no shame in admitting that. But it's a good opportunity for me to look at other avenues. So I've decided that I'll try out for College of Staten Island's English MA program. I MUST go back to school this year. I don't know how much more of the hospital I can take. Just this week-end, one of the Filipina nurses was shaking her head at me (again), saying that she doesn't understand why I'm working as a clerk. Then she has another nurse ask me where I graduated from. So the nurse humored her. When this Spanish-Arabic nurse heard *____*, she gasped. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE? she asked. I just smiled.

Life is circuitous - the way how I'm living it. It's not bad. I don't understand why some people think it is.

Friday, March 19, 2010

MFA blues

I think it's relatively safe to say that I got rejected by the two programs I applied for. I read several posts from the MFA blog about people getting in already and hearing about others that are waitlisted. Since I'm neither and know that both programs had over 400 applications for 15 spots, I expect the worse. I thought I wouldn't feel anything - I've been bracing myself for the results, going so far as to plan through the application process for next year for even more schools. But I still feel the sting, the hollow ache. Why don't you want me?

Man, rejection bites.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Anti-clown


I just read an article from the Atlantic about MFAs, "Where Great Writers Are Made." Of all elements in the piece - the funding, the eminence of the faculty and the star power the graduates of a program possess - I am responding to what the director of Boston University's MFA program, Leslie Epstein, said. He is quoted,

Over the years, Epstein has condensed much of his teaching philosophy into what he calls his “tip sheet”—eight pages, double-­spaced, beginning with a disquisition on punctuation, with special distaste for the ellipsis: “those three dreamy dots.” The tip sheet is a compilation of the specific—“Clowns, midgets, mimes and people wearing masks should be abjured,” he writes. “Nor am I a fan of wind chimes.” He moves on to larger perceptions about the process: “One must have in mind between sixty-eight and seventy-three percent of the ending. Any more than that percentage and the writer will be in a strait-jacket … Any less and the project will meander and find itself in danger of sinking into the swamp of indecision.”

Oh great. He is against clowns, mimes and midgets. I am currently working on an edgy YA book employing all three devices. After all, the working title is CLOWN. The ending I've envisioned for the work is about that percentage. Oh, but the clown!I have the satisfaction, however, as one of his former students felt, to read from the same article:

Christopher Castellani has published two novels with Algonquin since finishing BU’s program. He says Epstein “used to read my work aloud in funny voices.” While Castellani says such treatment “can have short-term benefits for people who respond to it,” he confesses to feeling a perverse satisfaction when Epstein’s most recent book got banged around by one reviewer. Ha Jin, whom Epstein calls “the only true genius I’ve ever known,” has helped leaven the BU program.

It just goes to show that writing and its reception is subjective.

Although, in Epstein's defense, I can understand the harangue about the circus types. The images can be disturbing and low-brow i.e. genre. Clowns are almost synonymous with Stephen King,Shakes and It. Even Tim Burton the king of the grotesque was afraid of Bozo the Clown. Clown = irrational fear. Clowns hate mimes and vice versa. And don't get me started on midgets.

Then again, rules are made to be broken. So anyone breaking Mr. Epstein's cardinal rules, break them well with uneven sharp edges. Make him weep. He did say that he likes being moved.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Waiting



It's been only a few months since I've hit the send button for the MFA for Creative Writing program for Hunter College and posted my application for the Brooklyn College MFA. But since I sent my children to be dissected, judged and quite possibly rejected, I have been biting my nails in anticipation whether I was accepted or not. Now that it's March, the letters or calls for interviews should be coming in.

Meanwhile, I've been doing what 'normal' people do in this situation: writing, reading, working, eating bananas with peanut butter and visiting museums or indulging in things of the mundane nature. There's also this blog I recently started.

Anyway, why go to an MFA program? Here's a list that I recently read from Korean writer Alexander Chee's blog:

When a student tells me he or she is interested in pursuing a MFA, this is what I look for before I agree to recommend them:

■You write on a regular basis, even sneaking off to do so from whatever your job is, perhaps even becoming a bad employee.

■You frequently attend reading series at your local bookstore, college or university, you buy books to the point you have personal relationships with booksellers and you typically wander off to used bookstores at the drop of a hat.

■You talk about writing with friends and are friends with other aspiring or established writers.

■You have sent work out to magazines and journals, and have had work published or at least rejected with a personal note, or have placed as a finalist or winner in a competition.

■You have taken a writing workshop and found the criticisms helped your writing.

■You feel you’ve reached the limit of what the community around you can offer, or worse, that community is unsupportive or even hostile to the idea you want to be a writer.

■You seek a credential that would allow you to teach creative writing at a college or university level.


I don't necessarily fit into all the categories but I do most of them.
Anyway, there's nothing to do now but wait. If I don't get in this year, there's always next year. Maybe I'll expand my horizons and apply to other schools. It all depends.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year



Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the White Tiger.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cupcake Brown; The Time Traveler's Wife



I just read Cupcake Brown, a Memoir and The Time Traveler's Wife back to back. Good reads - as in my eyeballs were doing a gazillion RPMs per minute, inhaling the words off the page like I was snorting coke. So I started thinking that Clare is not a nice red-head girl aka Time-traveler's wife but becomes Cupcake - an 11-year-old African-American whose mother dies then her world changes as her birth father "the sperm donor" steps up and claims her and her brother and ships them off to Lancaster, California to a foster home where she gets whupped, raped, runs away to discover prostitution and drugs. Then after being a gangbanger cum prostitute cum narcotics fiend she falls for a librarian who disappears and re-appears out of nowhere time and time again. Then she cleans up her act becomes a lawyer, has a kid that could time-travel as well and becomes The Time Traveler's Mother and watches her husband die and gets jealous that her time-skipping daughter is able to visit her father in the distant past very much alive.

Yeah, good reads.

Seriously though, not demeaning Ms. Brown or being condescending to Ms. Niffenger, I couldn't put their work down. Ms. Brown's memoir is as riveting and awe-inspiring as Ms. Niffenger's is entertaining. I finished both books in three days. I only let go of the books because I had to sleep.

Pacing was, therefore, excellent. Read like a crime novel. Well, not really. I just wanted to know what happened next.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger Dies of Natural Causes



The first time I read Catcher in the Rye was in Mr. Brace's English class in '96. I think Mr. Brace LOVED that book. I mean, I can't see an English teacher not wanting to teach a book he didn't love. He strongly identified with the rebellious and apathetic infamous character. Who could blame him? Sounded like teen spirit even though Mr. Brace was over thirty.

I remember one of the multiple choice quizzes from Mr. Brace's quiz - we got quizzes about chapter summaries, vocabulary and technical forms (if any, though this usually happened when we studied passionate, putrid, permeating poetry - oh onomatopeaia!) -

1) What is a clavicle?
a) a musical instrument, b) a part of a neck bone, c) a violin, d) something else.

2) What can "phonies" mean? a) fake people, b) fake boobs, c) fake teeth, d) fake attitudes, e) all of the above.

Alright, he didn't really have multiple choice selections like that (I took creative license) but they were close. It made an impression.

I tried to find out more about Mr. Salinger but found out that he was a cantankaraneous old bastard that wanted nothing to do with the world. I guess Mr. Salinger really did hate phonies in real life. I'm sure, being the sensitive old bastard that he was, he really took sensitivity to phoniness to another level; hence, the disappearing act.

But, now - Wow. Death has finally made the recluse J.D. Salinger resurface. The 91-year-old writer that brought Holden Caulfield to life has met his Maker today.
His literary estate has fifteen unpublished Salinger novels locked up in a safe somewhere in his New Hampshire house. I guess the public might see a slew of hidden Caulfields in bits and pieces in the next couple of years.

Mr. Salinger, you made your mark. Now may you rest in peace.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chain Mail



I received an interesting chain mail from my step-mother who is a Muslim convert. She is half-Filipino and half-Japanese and worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia for seventeen years before marrying my father (who did not convert to Islam) and moved to New York with him.

Anyway, considering the source, I found the chain mail even more - shall I say - appealing.

Subject:Recent miracle in Egypt !

Broadcasted in CBS....


A Muslim man in Egypt killed his wife because she was reading the Bible and then buried her with their infant baby and an 8-year old daughter.

The girls were buried alive! He then reported to the police that an uncle killed the kids. 15 days later, another family member died. When they went to bury him, they found the 2 little girls under the sand - ALIVE!

The country is outraged over the incident, and the man will be executed at the end of July.

The older girl was asked how she had survived and she says:- 'A man wearing shiny white clothes, with bleeding wounds in his hands, came every day to feed us. He woke up my mom so she could nurse my sister,' she said. She was interviewed on Egyptian national TV, by a veiled Muslim woman news anchor. She said on public TV, 'This was none other than Jesus, because nobody else does things like this!'

Muslims believe Isa (Jesus) would do this, but the wounds m ean He really was crucified, and it's clear also that He is alive! But, it's also clear that the child could not make up a story like this, and there is no way these children could have survived without a true miracle.

Muslim leaders are going to have a hard time to figure out what to do with this, and the popularity of the Passion movie doesn't help! With Egypt at the centre of the media and education in the Middle East , you can be sure this story will spread. Christ is still controlling and turning the world. Please let this story be shared..



____________________


So, as interesting as the chain mail was, I decided to investigate a bit and found nothing to substantiate this claim. As far as I know, there was no CBS special on this.

This could be an urban Christian legend started from Egypt to promote Christianity. I've read some hardcore Christians who are presumably Evangelical say that the real story is being censored by the Egyptian government.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Earthquakes



When I was a teen-ager, I had a martial art teacher who happened to be Italian-American. He was one of the meanest, toughest bad-assed people I knew and he had a twin brother who was even more bad-ass than he was. I mean, it doesn't get any more bad-ass than being in the Navy Seals, right?

The twins were certifiable thrill-seekers. They've scuba-dived, jumped off of planes, fought evil guys in insurance company suits, walked on fire, laid down on a bed of broken glass and nails and, of course, played contact sports like Fight Club was going out of fashion. Well, this one twin, I'll call him Bob, said that there is one thing in the world that he would like - no - LOVE to experience. "I would LOVE to be in an earthquake." "Really?" I asked. "I'm dead serious," he said. He really was.

Well, he was out of his f*#*ng mind. I should know. I've been in an earthquake that hit 7.7 in the Richter scale. It was Baguio City, Philippines. The year was 1990. Thousands died. There was no running water and people were trapped in debris. Some people were reported to hydrate themselves with their own urine so they could stay alive. My family was in a refugee center. It was a public school - huge with a wooden structure and it was one-story. There was no fear of getting crushed by heavy floors and cement. It even seemed like we were playing house. I was ten so I guess it was kind of fun. What did I know? Kids seem to find humor in things.

Now that Haiti is devastated by an earthquake that has shattered the very core of its being, I hope that somewhere out there, wherever Bob is, he realizes that earthquakes are not fun. You don't go to one seeking to satisfy some cheap thrill. It can cost your life. People die. You don't wish to be in an earthquake unless you have a death wish.

Oh. Maybe that's just it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nat'l Book Award


Just finished LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann.

Esquire touted this book as "the first great 9/11 novel." I agree. It's a kind of work that you'd like to go back to, a kind of book that reads like a story of private lives.

Though I must say I wasn't too crazy with the opening chapter - it was a bit too slow for my liking. Ok, sure, there's a guy based on a real French man named Philippe Petit, up in between the World Trade Towers in the 70s on, gasp, what? He was walking on a tight-rope, yes, a thin piece of wire way up high in the air with NOTHING to hold him except sheer will and the grace of the good Lord. Anyway, I still found that part slow. Then, it happened. The tendrils of the story piecing itself together through several different characters - an Irish monk in the streets of the Bronx, a WASPy woman married to Mr. Solomon "The Judge" that loses their son to the Vietnam War, a prostitute whose kid also turns tricks - mesmerize the reader into this strange and yet familiar world of New York in the 1970s so full of brass, grit and heart. It's a story of a city breathing and seeing through a bird's eye narrative (because the reader gets multiple and layered views of these people) how connected we all are despite the differences we perceive.

I have no doubt why this work won the 2009 National Book Award. Well done. Well done. Mr. McCann, you do the Irish proud. Hell, you do the American proud.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I love the film 50 First Dates with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler because not only is it romantically improbable but the soundtrack was amazing. It was the first time I heard of Israel Kamakawiwo "Ole IZ" and his rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It is so filled with wonder, hope, joy and love. It is one of my favorite songs of all time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter and Joint Pain


It's cold out which means pain in the knees for me. (Though I get the pain when it's humid out or when it's about to rain). For the past decade, people have been asking me why I have an arthritic knee. It's strange because I am under 30. Arthritis is usually for the old bunch that scream with shaking joints, "Get off my lawn!" I'd like to tell them something obtuse like alien abduction or that it's a gov't experiment gone awry. But I just say the unadorned truth - that I had a torn ACL and that I had it done several years back.

It sucks to tear your ligaments. It really does.

So what is an ACL? For the uninitiated in sports or medicine, it stands for the Anterior Cruciate Ligament, also called...dadadada...the ACL. It is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It prevents excessive motion of the knee joint--patients who sustain an injury to their ACL may complain of symptoms of the knee "giving out."

Apparently, women have a higher risk for ACL tears than men. I even read an article years ago that the incident happens usually before the menstrual period. Strange but true in my case.

I didn't know it at the time but when your ACL tears, there is a popping sound - a loud, discernable popping sound. Anyway, I got the surgery and there are times when I wonder if I shouldn't have had it. I met a Muay Thai guy who kicks blocks of wood for a living with his naked shins who tore his ACL and opted not to get the surgery.

I'm jealous. I bet he doesn't have a weather barometer on his knee.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cameron and writing


So one of my buddies at the hospital, a surgery resident, told me that I have to keep writing. We started talking about James Cameron's new film AVATAR and how it's already made a billion dollars world-wide. What a guy, huh?



So my buddy was saying that James Cameron was a truck driver from Canada. Then he implied me, of course, as a clerk. Not that I will be earning studios billions of dollars throughout my future career, but there's a parallel. Like Cameron, I've taken a lot of odd jobs. I used to clean houses, be a clown, work in a doctor's office in the 'hood, work in a diner, etc. He was an underdog. He didn't have a formal film education. He just had his passion, impossible ambition and methodical doggedness to take the bull by its horns.

But best of all, I'm similar to James Cameron because we both had nurses for mothers. We had hospital lackeys for moms! Yay! My victory is ensured!

Seriously...

It's fascinating how we artists have to have inflated egos to be able to pull off anything. I'm sure the likes of Hemingway, Dali, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Warhol and fill-in-the-blank-here-famous-person wasn't actually an egomaniac. They probably were super-egomaniacs. You have to have some hubris, some chutzpah, a spine like a sting ray and skin like kangaroo leather to weather the blows of the world that beats down on you (not by choice) until you make your mark and scream MATSUTAKE! Ok, maybe some people will settle for EUREKA! or VENI VEDI VICI or whatever victory cry you'll have in your brain.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tragic Endings


So I just finished reading Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey.



The synopsis from the book cover reads:

"This sweeping, irrepressibly inventive novel, is a romance, but a romance of the sort that could only take place in nineteenth-century Australia. For only on that sprawling continent- a haven for misfits of both the animal and human kingdoms - could a nervous Anglican minister who gambles on the instructions of the Divine become allied with a teenaged heiress who buys a glassworks (factory) to help liberate her sex. And only the prodigious imagination of Peter Carey could implicate Oscar and Lucinda in a narrative of lvoe and commerce, religion and colonialism, that culminates in a half-mad expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback."

I loved the book for its prose, its incredible take on the human psyche and the passions for good and evil that each person possesses but I hated the ending.

(SPOILER ALERT!)

How is it possible to let a character, Mirriam Chadwick, usurp the main character heiress by seducing the poor hapless rather foolish Odd-Bod Crab Hopkins to become Mrs. Oscar Odd-Bod Crab Hopkins taking not only that precious title but all of Lucinda's wealth as well? Maybe because I'm sick and tired of tragic endings that I can't bear it; more than I can even bear the idea of a blond Barbie doll being tortured and decapitated by an innocent-my-ass little girl. There's too much uneasiness going around the world what with 2012 at our doorstep and trash-talking pundits having a field day with the global warming thing.

Maybe if this hussy was introduced from the beginning so that the reader is somehow aware of her plight, has time to sympathize with how she became the royal bitch that she is, that the reader - namely me - can say: Yes, I understand. And, certainly, it hand to end that way - with the defrocked Oscar Hopkins marrying the first wench to give a happy ending to his wee-wee, fucking (not in the literal sense) his one true love for life. And, certainly, he just had to die with the glass church crushing him and slicing his poor delicate white wrists to a bloody mess in the rustic wilds of the badass Outback. Certainly, certainly, certainly.

Of course, Mr. Carey still won the Booker Prize for understandable reasons. It's a mammoth sized work where all of Australia's strengths and frailties from its post-transport days are dissected with a human eye towards the leanings of male and female passions. It's all reality, no Cinderella and happily ever after here.

No wonder the movie didn't fare too well, from what I read, either. It just left people cold. There was an emotional investment that mounts up like a rushing sex drive that just pulls out before the climax. Reading the ending just made me felt cheated. What a shame.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reading, Peter Carey and Inspiration

Reading is fantastic:
a) for expanding the mind
b) for escape
c) for seeing yourself and the world in a different light
d) for procrastination (especially when you're writing a book)
e) for inspiration (especially when you're writing a book)
f) for overcoming boredom
g) for passing time away

----

Here's a passage from Oscar and Lucinda, a book that won the Booker Prize by Peter Carey that I'm reading right now:

"It had not taken him long to discover that the women were by far the most interesting of the two sexes in the colony, although you would never imagine it the case if you met them with their menfolk present. For then they affected the most remarkable vapidity. But alone, or with their own sex, they revealed themselves as scientists when it came to the vectors of the human heart."

----

I cried like a girl yesterday reading Peter Carey's article from the New York Magazine. Reminded me of the feelings I have whenever I read that part in the poem DO NOT GO GENTLY INTO THAT GOODNIGHT. http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/2007/32394/