Unauthorized version of me

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Durham, United Kingdom
An avid bibliophile who all too often uses the words of others in place of the incredible difficulty of creating new ones that will not carry half the depth. Putting to use my degree in 'yeah, but what are you going to do with that?' with a minor in 'it cost how much!'

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald

When a book is given to me with such a title, at such a perfect time I hunker right down that very moment to read it. Not only do I believe books are the perfect escape, but escape, and more precisely a means to it is exactly what I have needed.
This is not an instruction manual, neither is it an adventure tale, but a set of often tragically hollow and compelling stories that leave one more alone and more content than any I have read in a long time. I do not think that any of the stories give the escape the characters want, and many end up giving more to think about the readers situation and how they are settled more than anything. Have you stagnated? Are you possessed of an exploring heart but meagre pockets, or debilitating fear? It may not be time for change, but perhaps it is always time to know where you sit in your own life.

We have the titular story set in 19 century Australia. It could so easily have been a preachers cautionary tale about the wiles of men, instead the preachers daughter originally taken up with an escaped convict, is the one left in her own lonely place we instead of with her, he takes up with am ex-convict spinster woman they employ to do the washing. The lesson- if there is one- is not ‘don’t be caught in the clutches of evil men’ but rather, ‘even a scorned woman has her charms and can be notably superior to a virtuous maiden in some respects’ or at least ‘in the words of Sondheim ‘if you know what you want, then you go and you find it and you get it’.
We also have a painter who wants to capture truth, but has problems both with his subject and his teacher; a child who can’t decide between his possessions, his curiosity and getting money from either; a man who comes for dinner in the middle of a woman’s labour and is unhappy to note that she won’t be cooking; and a man who has lived his live for a company who then lays him off. No one quite fits everyone is incomplete and many of the stories end mid sentence if not mid-breath.

I left my little retreat thinking: If someone looked through a window into my life, would it be one of these stories where the sidelines character steals the show from the main focus? Yes, we are all protagonists, but who drives you plot forward?

Friday, 19 March 2010

Life gets in the way

A little poem about dreams and a little addition, not disimilar from the Passionate Shepared to his Love and the Nymph's Reply. Call and response:

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams


Hearts were given, exchanged for dreams,
Exposed before my trembling feet
Not to move, lest disturb my loves dreams.
I would fear less the heaven’s blue cloth,
Embroidered dense with unearthly light,
For what he has placed remains a cloth
More costly than the midwinter’s light.

-Ummm, Not Yeats?

I love the phyicalness given to the dreams. Tangible and unchanging. It is an intensly beautiful vision.

I'm not to reading full books right now, but I have a collection of Short stories to post.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

From the brain Archives: on Movies

I was thinking today about what movies I like (it's an offshoot of some hoomework I've been making myself do) My first thought (and that was what I was going for) was Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady. Looking at them I realized... I like Audrey Hepburn...with thre biographies and sevral other things related to her, this is not a revalation.

So oviously I had to look a little deeper. Neither main character really has a love intrest, or refuses the ones that come (I always skip the end of Tiffany's, I think it's tacked on and the book ends so much better, with her remaining a mystery). Holly is a woman transformed, from a plain and very common girl into something of an icon for the age. Pure lessons and education transform her (btw it's also the theme in Sabrina and Funny face, Audrey really plays the hidden beauty well).

Neither woman is a woman in need of romance (money, education and maybe a good therapist, yes, but clearly not a lover. I expected something diffrent, I must admit. As much as I love playing the damsel in distress, love being pursued and caught, and really have wrapped my life around the affections of men, I would have expected my escapes (what else is hours of watching the same movie if not escape) to reflect that, but instead I get women who, while they have a man, or men in thier lives are able to do so because they are able to stand on thier own, and be friendly with them.

This isn't to say that I don't love Sleeping Beauty, and every Meg Ryan movie out there where the end is love, forget about all other obsticales, together is all we want, or need. It's sweet, and I do want a fairy tale ending, and I do think that womens greatest gift to this world is beauty (and the love of it, that men will never understand) and that women understand relationship better than any man ever could, but they also understand duty and love that isn't romantic. Anna in Roman Holiday doesn't go with the man she wants because there is something higher than her fleeting relationship, sure she's in love, but she is also Love and Beauty for an entire country she had her 'moment in the woods' and returns a woman, complete in herself, knowing that she is worthy of love (maybe it's that she never questioned it...how wonderful would that be?) but that her life will not end without it.

How did the girl who cheerily sang 'I'll know' and 'Happy to keep his dinner warm' start to love characters who only have relationships at a distance?

So what are your favorite movies?