Fantasy Drawn Girl of Twenty Four

There stands a fantasy-drawn girl of twenty four
With crumbling cities of lovers, and unexecuted ideas at her feet.
Nothing to show for herself except for tears in her eyes and salt on her lashes.
She has a self-destructive tendency to discard everything she had once wanted,
Afraid that they will cling to her like the songs of dead singers.
Then she met and fell for a man. She couldn’t stop thinking until she met him
Somewhere, sometime. Once, beautifully sincere,
Over time, she grew restless and reckless with the hearts of men.
Her soul darkened like ash, like dust, like the burning of her bones,
but not her heart because that was lost long ago.   
She gambled it away in search of something better.
Once loved, she spat on fortune and now she must repent.
“You’re the best thing that ever happened to me,” he had said, feeling so lucky.
She washes her palms and face with tears, hoping they can absolve her.
Time falls like snow. Slow and distant.

And I almost said I love you. Instead I said nothing and you said nothing.

— Daniel Handler, Why We Broke Up

Life is energy, and energy is creativity. And even when we as individuals pass on, the energy is retained in the work of art, locked in it and awaiting release if only someone will take the time and the care to unlock it.

— Joyce Carol Oates

I took a trip to the seas
underneath the forest trees
open skies and ocean eyes
and scattered honey-salted breeze
like the waves you lapped my shores
on sandy sheets and wooden floors
slow sunrise and seagull cries
we kept behind of walls and doors

I am lost at sea
red moon rising
fire burning hollow

Snow Ghosts - Lost at Sea

Struck by the poetry of these lyrics

The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.

Junot Diaz

… and in front of me, like derelict snowflakes, moths drifted out of the blackness into my probing aura.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Suburban flowers

There’s nothing like the fear you feel when you are in the wrong life

— Jackie Kay, Reality Reality, 166.

in the thick of it
American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is the most depressing and disturbing book I have ever read. The novel is told from the perspective of a wealthy 27year old investment banker, Patrick Bateman.

"When we look up at the clouds she sees an island, a puppy dog, Alaska, a tulip. I see, but don’t tell her, a Gucci money clip, an ax, a woman cut in two, a large puffy white puddle of blood that spreads across the sky, dripping over the city, onto Manhattan." - Bret Easton Ellis, American Pscyho

The novel is disturbing for a number of reasons, but foremost for its accurate reflection of modern society. Descriptions of characters are marked by an analysis of what they are wearing and lists of expensive designer names. This emphasis on superficiality is supported by Bateman worrying more about his hair or getting a reservation at the ‘in’ restaurant than the consequences of his murder sprees.

Ellis criticises society’s superficial and consumerist values mainly through irony. Women are lured into their own bloodshed by their superficial attraction to Bateman’s money or looks. Similarly, victims Bateman murders on the streets, such as the ‘faggot’ with the sharpei, first fall for Bateman’s charm and good looks. Constant juxtaposition of a lifestyle most people apsire to (fine-dining, platinum Amex cards, model babes, exclusive gyms, facials and manicures, designer clothes) with nauseating descriptions of Bateman’s psychopathic murders (eating his victim’s intestines, burning eye sockets… will spare you the rest) portrays excessive materialism as similarly abhorrent.

Bateman reminds me of an extremely depraved version of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde’s novel by the same title. However, whereas Dorian Gray faces retribution, Bateman remains beautiful and free at the end of the novel, leaving the reader indignant yet hopeless. The ironic depiction of society’s vacuity is also reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh’s Handful of Dust and Vile Bodies, which left me with that lingering existential aftertaste. Like these two Evelyn Waugh novels, the dialogue in American Psycho reveals egotism and alienation between the characters. Throughout the novel, characters continue their trivial rants despite Bateman revealing his psychopathic activities. As the novel progresses, the writing becomes more fragmented and stream-of-consciousness-like. This aligns with Bateman’s increasing disconnection with the other characters and psychotic behaviour to suggest that it is this emotional disconnection that leads to his absence of empathy.

Ultimately, Ellis suggests that Bateman’s lack of empathy is universal in a society of people blinded by their self-absorption and superficiality.This blindness is what allows the evil embodied in Bateman to thrive.

Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.
If you change the way people think, she said. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. If you do that you can change the way people live their lives. And that’s the only lasting thing you can create.

— Chuck Palahniuk, Choke, p135

Growing up and not Being

They always tell you to write about what you know. So I never wrote because I felt that I was too young to really know about anything. Last winter I stayed at a woman’s home in Vienna. She was nearing forties and recently divorced. She lived in a one-bedroom apartment where she would proofread and subtitle other people’s works for a living and then read self-development books before going to bed. She wanted to be a writer. That’s why I had asked to stay with her. I believed that people who wanted to write must want to write because of a need to express all of their reflections on life, and that people who reflect are interesting to be with.

Our time together was marked by silences, and fragmented conversations holding them together like neat gift boxes of nothing. I felt like I couldn’t talk to her because I couldn’t understand her. I didn’t know (and still don’t know) what it feels like to love someone so much to move to foreign country for them, to have so much of your life shaped by them and then to talk about them as an ex-lover to a stranger sipping tea in your one-bedroom apartment.

I then realised that if I couldn’t write about all these things in life, I should just write about what I do know about - being young and what it meant and means to me.

I was reading a book called ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ tonight. It was recommended to me by a girl in highschool, who I thought was very interesting and clever, but now realise was very sad and fed us lies about a double-life. I had always meant to read it in highschool, but am glad that I have only read it now. The adolescent observations and reflections of Charlie (the voice of the book) remind me of my own - which are only interesting and valuable in retrospect.

It saddens me to compare the level of emotional engagement and sincerity I had with the world as an adolescent to that which I have now. I used to actually think about whether people were happy or not. I used to sincerely wish that every good person I met was happy. I used to listen carefully to everything they had to tell me about themselves - it was all precious and crucial to me genuinely understanding them. I used to think that friendships would last for longer than I had lived, if not for a life-time.

Isolated by preoccupations with romantic relationships, finances, and work, friendships rarely mean what they used to. Friends, like everything else, are part of a landscape - a setting for your life that you merely pass through and leave behind along with all the listless conversations and half read books.

Once Uncle Julian told me how the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realise that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.

My mother did not choose a leaf or a head. She chose my father, and to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.

— Nicole Krauss - The History of Love, 2006  pp. 45-46

The only time I get to take a proper photo of Lilo is when she’s asleep.