life in A minor

Posted by anya on June 5th, 2011 filed in Uncategorized
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hard to believe that this weekend is the six-month anniversary of me and London. It seems cliche to make a commentary on how quickly time flies, and yet it’s probably worth noting how alien this experience still feels sometimes. I oscillate between extremes, as I tend to, of absolutely loving my lifestyle and feeling lucky to be where I am, and then also of constantly questioning whether there’s any of me still left in any of these moments. It’s true that, when removed from the people who affirm who you always thought you were, it becomes a lot easier to doubt things you thought you’d established long ago. There’s also perhaps the reality of having a full-time job, of having a bathtub to clean, of having a lunch to prepare. I am scared by the fact that I’ve had so few moments that have urged me to write, to use words as a conduit for passion and expression and release. Wherever that came from before feels like a reservoir that’s dried up, or maybe bulldozed over by Excel spreadsheets ad e-mail signatures and fatigue. It’s not helpful, thinking of any of this as a sacrifice, but sometimes it sure feels that way. This city and I are in limbo, and it’s raining and my tea’s gone cold.

the city

regret is not appropriate, she said

Posted by anya on January 3rd, 2011 filed in Uncategorized
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I found it while I was on the Skytrain, listening to dummies and roads and thinking of what was. And 2010 and my long hair and the things and changes that stayed constant. And repeating all the funny ways in which that really didn’t work out as expected at all. Thinking about the word that gave each of us away. I am not sure how to describe the dialectic that seems to define moments like this, moments when the silence is deafening and I can no longer understand what’s going on. Sometimes it feels like nothing can feel these voids. And I wish like someone else would describe pain as well as Sherman Alexie, who can treat it wish to much lightness that all its weight comes crashing down. You’re reading the sentences and everything seems ok and then it just hits you and you remember how the simplest things often make the least sense. And then I shift back to Richard Powers, who takes the contradictions and twists them and keeps twisting until they start to look like life. And you realize that you’ve experienced it all and you’ve lived it and you’ve been told that this is what life looks like. You think that there must be more and that if you tell people about it they’ll think what you’re saying is profound, but really all we want is the waitress to come by. There’s music, too. There are lyrics and sadness and the bass and the goodbye. When I come home and begin to write like this I know how odd it is that you stay as my constant. I call it antisynergy, he tells me. Okay, keys, cooperate. We’re going to listen and we’re going to talk. The walls are built around this, you know. Overall this year has been amazing and now it’s one in the morning and I’m still thinking of the beat drop and my piano.

i fell too fast, i feel too much

Posted by anya on November 28th, 2010 filed in Uncategorized
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You know those days when you leave your house and everything seems that much more intense? It’s like all the colors are saturated and you can feel everything in the world acutely. Like every gust of wind is hitting all your pores and your fingertips absorb everything you touch. And you’re walking down the street and everything seems somehow more clear and less fuzzy than it usually is, and you feel like the puzzle makes a lot more sense than it usually does. That’s how being with you feels. Like I don’t dissolve but instead get put back together and emerge stronger and ready to face the next day. That feeling lasts even after you leave but it doesn’t stay, because reality sets in and I remember that I can’t keep you as my anchor. That I’m probably just one of the ships that you help keep at bay. (If time is my vessel then learning to love might be my way back to sea…) It’s nice to know that the rush of blood to my heart will help me heal, at least for a while. Sometimes a band-aid is the most you can ask for, ya know? How do you measure the weight of a thank you? It seems wholly inadequate to use the same expression for the way you make me feel as I do when somebody hands me the change. Crippled again by language, terrified of what imprecise gestures imply. (The stars I will navigate though the holes in your eyes)

the rival

Posted by anya on November 16th, 2010 filed in Uncategorized
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If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Both of you are great light borrowers.
Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected,

And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here,
Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes,
Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous,
And dying to say something unanswerable.

The moon, too, abuses her subjects,
But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand,
Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity,
White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.

No day is safe from news of you,
Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.

(thanks to Jessica to introducing me to this beautiful poem of Plath’s – I’d somehow missed it)

i like you without caffeine

Posted by anya on October 6th, 2010 filed in Uncategorized
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“On today’s market, we find a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol. And the list goes on: what about virtual sex as sex without sex? The Colin Powell doctrine of warfare with no casualties (on our side, of course) as warfare without warfare? The contemporary redefinition of politics as the art of expert administration as politics without politics? This leads us to today’s tolerant liberal multiculturalism as an experience of the Other deprived of its Otherness – the decaffeinated Other.”

[taken from Slavoj Zizek’s recent piece in The Guardian]

there is no shortcut through

Posted by anya on October 2nd, 2010 filed in Uncategorized
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“There is economy in this. For the attempt to see all things freshly and in detail, rather than as types or generalities, is exhausting, and among busy affairs practically out of the question. In a circle of friends, and in relation to other close associates or competitors, there is no shortcut through, and no substitute for, an individualized understanding. Those whom we love and admire most are the men and women whose consciousness is peopled thickly with persons rather than with types, who know us rather than the classification into which we might fit. For even without phrasing it to ourselves, we feel intuitively that all classification is in relation to some purpose not necessarily our own; that between two human beings no association has final dignity in which each does not take the other as an end in himself. There is a taint on any contract between two people which does not affirm as an axiom the personal inviolability in both.”

Walter Lippmann wrote this is in 1965.

note: when he writes “there is economy in this”, the “this” refers to stereotyping, which is the section of his book (Public Opinion) that this passage is taken from.

I wanted to tell them

Posted by anya on October 1st, 2010 filed in Uncategorized

I wanted to tell them that in St. Petersburg the nights are white for two months out of the year. I wanted to tell them that in China old apartment buildings were built facing one another, with a courtyard in the middle where neighbors meet. I wanted to tell them that in Tahiti it’s ok to hitchhike your way home. I wanted to tell them that in Finland hardly anyone uses cash anymore. I wanted to tell them that the prayer calls in Melaka are so beautiful that I still want them as a lullaby and as an alarm clock. I wanted to tell them that you can buy Colt 45s at roadside stalls in the Philippines. I wanted to tell them that the bar atop the Swissotel offers a stunning view of Singapore. I wanted to tell them that in Surabaya, sidewalks hardly exist. I wanted to tell them that we can change the way we measure time and that, according to the Balinese calendar, a year has 210 days. I wanted to start by telling them this, but then it dawned on me that I didn’t know who they were and whether they would want to listen. So I kept it to myself, and so I keep it to myself.


Posted by anya on September 18th, 2010 filed in Uncategorized
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“I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on our minds door at 4 AM of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”

-Joan Didion

(will you forgive me for me? one day, maybe. because all I’m doing is trying to catch up to you and I feel like I am falling further and further behind. and sometimes I fall so slowly that it doesn’t feel like falling at all, but then when I juxtapose myself to you and I try to translate it all, the height from which I’m falling becomes so evident. and I don’t know what to do with it once I begin to feel the magnitude, I just let it envelop me for a single, perfect moment and then I try to forget. so maybe, you can forgive me for me? and if there was a taxicab, you know I’d let you take me away. but there isn’t and there won’t be for a while, and so let’s just let this be how it is.)

whether i’m high or low

Posted by anya on September 12th, 2010 filed in Uncategorized
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On Friday night, I went to see The Do in concert. (Their music, when heard live, is actually much better than what’s their myspace would lead you to believe). Towards the end of the show, they did a brilliant cover of Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope”. I had to find out what the song was by googling part of the chorus – I missed the whole Janelle Monae hype while I was in Indonesia, and the way their cover sounded, I thought it was a remake of an old Janis-Joplin-era rock song. They put so much soul and blues into it – it was completely unexpected and brilliant. I don’t know whether I’ll ever hear that song performed that way again, unless somebody shot a grainy video of it (doubtful). But anyways, I just wanted to thank the band for making me remember why live shows, especially before they become scripted, are awesome.

For now, I leave you with another one of their songs…

the man with many pens

Posted by anya on September 12th, 2010 filed in Uncategorized
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With one he wrote a number so beautiful
it lasted forever in the legends of numbers. With another

he described the martyrs’ feet as they marched
past the weeping stones and cypresses, watched

by their fathers. He used one as a silver wand to lift
a trout from its spawning bed to more fruitful waters

and set it back down, its mouth facing upstream.
He wrote Time has no other river but this one in us,

no other use but this turn in us from mountain lakes
of late desires to confusions passed through

with every gate open. Let’s not say he didn’t take us
with him in the long current of his letters, his calligraphy

and craft, moving from port to port, his hand stopping
near his heart, the hand that smudged and graced the page,

asking, asking, his fingers beggar’s lucent black,
for the word that gave each of us away.

-Jonathan Wells

(taken from the July 26, 2010 issue of The New Yorker)

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