Posted by: beansai | June 9, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

     I began reading this book simply to pass the time, but quickly it became more than just a filler. Perhaps it is cliche to say so but this tale following the lives of two women from the late 1950’s to the early 2000’s is heartbreaking. Of course that is not the only quality to this book. It is filled with round, quietly compelling female heroines supported by a variety of others characters from gentle, kind-hearted men to dispicable abusive husbands and the terror of war. Read More…

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Posted by: beansai | May 27, 2009

Lit Bit Book Club

     After this month (May) I am putting the Lit Bit Book Club on hiatus. Since I am getting ready to head off to the UK for grad school, I have a lot of things that I need to focus on and get prepared; like applying for my student visa ;). With this in mind, and my recent attention to grad school stuff, I haven’t been as focused on the book club as I’d like to be. So I’m going to shut it down for awhile (I’m not exactly sure how long at this point), and think about what I want to do with the book club as well as taking more time before choosing books. I’ll let everyone know when I decide to get it going again. 🙂

Posted by: beansai | May 6, 2009

Getting Personal

     I’ve recently been toying with the idea of starting a personal blog. I hate mixing my personal posts and literature based posts here on Lit Bit. I’m okay with some overlap (because I consider this inevitable) as long as a semi-personal post has something to do with literature: like what book I am currently reading or plan on reading or struggling with writer’s block, etc. But the full blown personal, I-just-need-to-bitch posts generally drive me crazy and cause me some embarrassment, no matter how necessary they may have been when I wrote and posted them. So in comes the idea of a completely separate blog that is dedicated to me just saying whatever personal thing I need to say, no matter how irrelevant, mundane, exaggerated. I seriously tried to give this avenue a go. I could really use a place to just unload my thoughts. But I can’t. I tried to write posts for a personal blog. I can’t do it. I can’t be that blatantly personal, that open. I can only do it in vague, round-about ways like this post. How frustrating. I will have to come up with some other solution I suppose. I’ve tried just normal journaling… I only get on my own nerves doing that. :/ And I’m sure before an hour has passed I will be embarrassed by this post as well. *sigh*

Posted by: beansai | May 3, 2009

School, Books, Music, etc.

     I haven’t been up to much lately. Well, aside from accepting my acceptance to Royal Holloway, University of London for a Masters in Creative Writing (emphasis on Poetry, of course), and the ensuing paperwork and applications for financial lenders and housing and such. It’s a tedious and intimidating process still, even with the peace of mind that I have been accepted somewhere. Aside from school stuff I have also been reading. We just finished reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh for the Lit Bit Book Club, and on my own I finished reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and I have now started The Fellowship of the Ring. Can you tell what direction I’m going with that? Haha! I’ve read The Lord of the Rings series before and while I enjoyed the books (and the movies), they make me sad; so I’m making my way slowly through them… very slowly. I am also going to start reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. I’ve also been sporadically reading books of poetry. And the book club is reading Lila: An Inquiry into Morals by Robert M. Pirsig for the month of May.

     That’s a lot on my “currently reading” list. You’d think I’d have more to show for it here on Lit Bit. I’ve also been listening to a lot of new music. My friend introduced me to some really awesome post-rock bands. A couple of my favorites are Explosions in the Sky and MONO. One of my favorite songs for Explosions in the Sky is called “So Long, Lonesome” and is definitely worth listening to. Beautiful music! One of my favorite MONO songs is “Mere Your Pathetique Light” and I hope you give that one a listen too. This music makes me wish my ice skating days had never ended, because this is the kind of music I wish my coaches had come across for my routines. Anyway… aside from the nostalgia or whatever that longing is, it really is great music and very relaxing for a stressed out brain. 🙂

EDIT: I also read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë last month. That was the first time that I made it all the way through that book – and I still don’t get why people like it. Meh. Anne Brontë deserved so much more credit than she got.

Posted by: beansai | April 28, 2009

Lockdown

     I have been on mental and (primarily) emotional lockdown these past few months. As I try to push beyond this mental barrier I have raised against myself and everyone else, my mind pushes back – pushes against the desire to unleash, to let go. It doesn’t take much to deter myself from my goal. I know exactly what to think to make myself cringe and step away from the chink in the brick wall. This isn’t writer’s block – I can feel the store of information swelling behind the barrier, thoughts dammed together, waiting to spill over. I simply won’t let them, but I can’t bring myself to truly be angry either. So how do you get beyond a hurt that permeates into all your other thoughts until your mind draws a line beyond which you can no longer dwell without the wretched onslaught of anguish? This sounds like hyperbole, doesn’t it? I wish it were.

     I extracted myself from an unpleasant circumstance, hoping that the change in environment would allow my frame of mind to recuperate and move beyond. It has been a couple of weeks, but I still can’t bring myself to simply think of some things, much less speak of them. I know I should, I know I need to. I know that would help in the long run, but I just can’t. Even the slightest probing into this pool of thought results in an emotional pain that is nearly physical (and sometimes is). That being the case, my poetry writing has been severely handicapped. While I wish it was easy to write detached poetry (or even prose), it isn’t. It doesn’t matter if I am writing a political poem, or on a topic unconcerned with my personal life – writing still requires me to put something of myself into it. I have to think not only from outside myself, but from inside as well. Does that make any sense? I have to think in multiples when I write – in multiples of self (my better self, my darker self, my self as I am aware and unaware of, etc.), as well as in the multiples outside of the self. So it doesn’t matter what subject I choose to write about, because they all need me to cross that line, to cross into a territory that I can’t access at the moment.

     This battle between the creative urge and self-preservation has been hard. Writing is usually a relief, a place I can go to and say whatever the hell I want, then tuck it away to never be seen again or re-evaluate later. I want that relief very badly, but I can’t seem to make it to the page. I lose control over my thoughts before the beginnings of a poem have even been grasped and then it’s all downhill from there. When I try to unlock a small portion of thought, tangents leak through and eventually overwhelm. This is quickly followed by another mental lockdown. My brain retaliates by immediately staunching the flow and going off on a benign tangent. In the middle of emotional upheaval I’m suddenly calm as the contents of a recently read book or watched movie consume my thoughts. I find myself back in a safe zone, but there is no true relief here. I know my mind is trying to protect itself. I’ve always been passive, so this duck and run technique isn’t that surprising. And it is extraordinarily frustrating to be able to see myself from the sort of detached perspective (how else could I talk about all this (even if it is in vague, imprecise language)?).

     I’m just trying to write and read and hoping that at some point I’ll be able to move beyond. Even toeing the line as I’ve been doing this entire post is giving me a headache and drawing the pinch of skin between my eyebrows tighter and tighter. I suppose the best I can do is to just keep trying. Hopefully reading poetry and listening to music and such will help loosen the ties in my mind as well as spending time with close friends.

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