I love my book collection to death and I’m very grateful that I’m even in a position to amass them, but it also makes me sad to know that the chance that I will actually get to share them with the people I care about is basically zero. Like, I know these fantastic people who love to read and I’m in another frickin’ continent sitting on about 300 books (they don’t fit on the shelves unless I double-stack now) that I value so much, and when I chat with my friends about books I just want to reach for the shelf and say “Here, this is my favourite book, will you read it?”
Sometimes I look at the shelves and think about how much time all those books represent- for the writing and the readings- it’s kind of staggering, you know?
And yet it’s a bit of an empty feeling. I’m lucky enough that my mother supported my love of hardcovers so- I remember we would send a bag of secondhand books back from the states when the USPS still had the M Bag, a freight bag for books only that took a few months to arrive but was cheaper.
Hardcover books that were meant to be read by more then two people. Made to withstand many more readings then this.
I love them and I know them and some of them have chunks falling out and I remember when I sat on that one and left a crease and who else will love them because please, let there be someone else who takes joy in them and let me know them.
I’m sitting here putting nice bookplates in my favourites and what is the fucking point of it all, who will ever read it? I still remember the times I have lent out books-
a friend I grew up with: I gave him Cirque Du Freak about 4 years ago so he could try the english version after liking the translation, Sh*t My Dad Says he took to the army when he was conscripted- they were impressed that he could read English, and recently, The Vampire’s Assistant.
A caregiver from Malaysia: the Artemis Fowl books- she enjoyed them up until the fourth, not liking the demons in it.
That’s basically it. I know I won’t (and can’t) bing them with me when I move on, and the thought of them sitting alone, unread, and gathering dust makes me sad.
(My books, the last year that everything fit on the shelves properly)
Do you ever realize, during a crushing case of the forever alones, that you’re lamenting on the internet to other people about your alones and that these other people seem to care enough about you to listen to you?
And even though they can’t be there in meatspace,
even though, for all its wonder, chat is never fast enough when your emotions are going ten places at once,
even though no matter how fast you go, line after line spilling across the screen in an obnoxious wall of words, you can never render text fast enough to describe your feelings and thoughts,
the hand motion and leg twitch and lip chewing that hold their own place in conversation…
There are people in the world that care about you enough to listen,
and that’s kind of giving me a case of the feels in a major way so,
Thank you. For everything.
Somehow it has gotten so that the words “repent!” and “confess!” seem inseparable from their exclamation, tinged with overtones of guilt and justice. “Repent! Confess your sins!” cries the memory of the fanatic seen in the corner of some forgotten film. “Repent and be saved!” it cries, probably followed with some threat of hellfire.
It’s a funny thing though, this repentance. Painted-perhaps by my own eye-as a sentence. All too often it seems a cry from some holier-than-thou type, or someone drunk on penance- and directed towards one who (as yet) needs none. What use is forgiveness to one who has done no wrong?
To repent, to seek forgiveness and penance, seems primarily for the seeker’ benefit. It is an admission that you did ‘wong’, that you no longer believe you were ‘right’, that you caused yourself suffering, which you now want to migate. (which isn’t to say the other won’t feel validated to see you beg forgiveness) it is a statement: “I did something to you that makes me feel low” and giving the ‘wronged’ power over you in hopes that you get back on equal footing again.
(publishing old drafts.Jan 23, 2015)
I’ve heard it said you can’t practice it.
That you can’t go off to “practice your style” because either you got it or you don’t.
I don’t rightly agree with this.
I believe everyone has style- no, I believe that we are born with style.
Being alive- every experience, everything that we see, adds to our sense of style.
The business of being alive and growing up often also ends up suppressing our style.
When you have to wear a uniform, your style is being denied. When you’re told to ‘put on something nice’ for a wedding, your style is being ignored. When you associate ‘dressing nice’ with a set or type of clothing, your style is being erased.
When all the cool- and uncool kids are wearing X brand sneakers and you start wanting them too, when you change something about yourself to fit in better, when you accept without question the improvement suggestions of others- you are ignoring your sense of style.
Unless you are mindful of it, it’ll grow fainter and fainter. Eventually, you’ll be unable to hear it at all. You will ponder over what flavor of ice cream you like, try to recall what you used to like when picking a notebook, and look for what you should like in the magazines, looking for an opinion that will make people think you know your style.
Not everything can be found in a magazine or on youtube.
You can bite moves, but you can’t bite flavor.
How can you practice style? Style is a sense, not a skill.
How to you practice inspiration? How do you ‘get style’ if you don’t got style?
How can you create, say, a signature cocktail? Or a signature, for that matter.
You have to the basics. You have to know what the individual elements taste like. How to write the alphabet.
Experience helps. Knowing what goes together with what. Drinking many different mixed drinks. Knowing what letters flow into each other. Seeing how others flourish their signatures.
Most important, knowing what you like. That is Style.
Style is that accumulation of all the things you like, wrapped around you.
How do you know what you like?
By knowing what you don’t like. What you’re OK with. trying things that you think are silly or stupid or weird and seeing what you feel.
By writing your name over and over and over again in every way imaginable, and looking for examples when you can’t think of any more variants.
By making strange and sketchy looking drinks that you’ll have to finish by yourself, and adding things to try and make it better till you’re left with a mish-mash of unrecognizable liquid that you gulp down so you can start again.
Making a space for yourself and disregarding everything you’ve learned about what is ‘proper’ and ‘right’ and ‘nice’ and ‘pretty’, so that it’s just you and yourself and the full range of possibilities.
And now you try to feel it.
It’s quite likely you won’t. Ads tell you what is cool and what is sexy and what is elegant and powerful; schools and societies and friends and pretty much every human being not you shows you or tells you what they think is right and hip and acceptable, what is gross and bad and wrong. You can’t just drop that all at once.
But slowly, you do.
You do all the things, starting where you’re comfortable and working out, and try to ask yourself, try to feel “Is this right? Do I like this?”
And you start finding things. Confirming and discovering what you like. Realizing what stuff you’re just OK with. Deciding what actually make you scoff.
Now you know style.
But knowing your style don’t mean knowing how to express it.
You just know what you’re looking for.
You throw everything at yourself and see what sticks. You overdo and overuse them because you’re so excited and finding something so unique and fresh and you.
You feel fed up and drop it for a year and pick up ten other things. You get a sense of a right time and place.
Finally you forget it all.
There is no ‘sense of style’, for it is inseparable from you.
You feel the music, or the mood, or the anything, and you know what to do.
Without thinking, with feeling.
The other day, I saw a post from a friend that got me thinking.
“Some people say home is where you come from. But I think it’s a place you need to find, like it’s scattered and you pick pieces of it up along the way.”
I thought many things. I thought:
Home is like dinner at a buffet-
You start with and empty plate and ideas of you you’ll fill it up with,
but as you pass different items at the counter you think
“Hmm, that might be nice” “That’s an option? SO GETTING IT”
There are some things almost everyone gets and some people might skip it, or eat it weird, but that’s their thing- it’s no one’s business but your own if you mash two cones into your ice cream and churn it into a mush, thankyouverymuch.
Then you get back to you table and maybe you realize you shouldn’t have gotten that much pasta salad even though it looked pretty good, but that’s okay, because you’ll get less next time.
Anyone can be depressed.
You don’t have to be poor or unloved or homeless. You can be depressed even if you are privileged. There is no “even” needed in that sentence.
Depression is not an award. You don’t get to be depressed only if you win at ‘who’s life sucks the most’
Depression is not like therapy or street performing. You don’t need a licence for sadness.
The depression police will not fine you $120 for being to rich to be depressed.
The depression police will not let you off with a warning if you cooperate.
Anyone can be down or sad or blue or feel like a sack of shit.
You can be depressed about being depressed. There are no rules. You don’t need a reason to be depressed.
You can even enjoy being depressed. It’s not uncommon.
You might feel guilty about being down in the dumps when you feel you shouldn’t.
There’s always that little part of us that says “Why the fuck are you sad? You’re not depressed. It’s not possible for you to be depressed. There are starving children in Africa whose lives suck more then you can imagine. You have different foods to choose from.”
You know the voice. It’s the one that tells you that your art is shit. Painful to look at. Maybe it’s right.
You don’t need to show your ten-year daddy-issues permit to enter Sadness City. You don’t need an excuse.
Why are the starving children always African? Perhaps so they don’t feel too close to us..
Still, why not say, Brazilian? Cambodian? Australian? Everywhere has their starving children. Why don’t the starving adults get no love? Love, name-checked, whatever.
You know what I’m talking about. A loss of will. A mental brick wall. A sense of lacking in your soul.
The nameless empty.
It comes and goes at its whimsy. It takes priority above all else. Even if you stick to your routine, It occupies your mind, turning everything to ash. Impermanent. Dust in the wind.
It is what makes you sigh a thousand sighs, drives you to lay on the floor, seemingly transfixed by the ceiling.
In truth, you are not transfixed on the pattern of the carpet nor the dancing of shadows, but by your own sorrow.
You have to rely on memories now. “I think this made me happy” and “The dishes must be washed to prevent badness” are what you sail by, even though the idea of happiness and unhappiness lose their sway.
You are not happy. You are not unhappy either, save for lack of happiness. You just…. are.
An existence without purpose. And it is purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us.
Pain and pleasure hold but wisps of their former power.
So it is. You will exist for a time, then you will live again.
Nothing will help you when it comes, there is little you can do then, save convincing yourself to get a few mundane tasks out of the way whist you care not about any unpleasantness.
But when it is gone, fret not. Do not berate yourself. It is said that the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time, but what of truly wasted time? When you did naught to gladden, satisfy, nor further yourself in any way?
Move on. You can’t change the past. That time, that part of your life is gone forever, so don’t waste time thinking about it.
Tell yourself that until you believe it. Do something that will make you forget.
I think people are made up out of parts, pieces of this and that. elements of your life that you put together for viewers.
It’s like there are all these different sections in me, and decide what parts to bring out for what people.
Like a maze with spinning walls and secret passageways that I can rearrange so the path suits the walker.
For every person, I create a new path. Bringing some sections out and hiding others. Sometimes a well lit path with the clean study and the neat room, most times simple and short. Respectable. Because I am a respectable person. Anyone who’s walked that maze will tell you.
Then there are my close friends. the closer you are, the more paths you’ll find. More forks in the road, more rooms to examine.
And for some, there is no path, no exit to be led to. The sliding walls are all open. The revolving rooms are stuck halfway. The secret passageways are all unlocked. nine thousand and one choices with no exit to this maze. Sometimes, there’s even a tentative map with the interesting bits circled in light pencil marks.
First off, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, an MPDG or Manic Pixie Dream Girl/Guy is explained here.
I’ve had quite a few thought on MPDG-ism.
I recall, after having the term explained to me, (and realizing I have quite a few of the books listed on the TvTropes page) that I wanted to be a MPDG, wanted to have an MPDG.
I’m not entirely sure if I’ve grasped the concept or if I have skewered the term to fit my world view, so this is how I think of MPDGs.
I believe MPDG is a state you take on.
You summon it like you put on a nice suit or a good cosplay.
Some people will love you for it, and, like Roxie said (in Chicago),
“I’m a star, and the audience loves me, and I love then for lovin’ me, and they love me for lovin them”
I saw a bunch of Bleach Shinigami dance battling at Connecticon, and I thought that was amazing. I’d also realized then, dancing in costume makes people like you more, because you don’t fit the breakdancer stereotype look (accurate as it is, somewhat).
This year at Connecticon, I did a fair bit of dancing in cosplay.
People thought I was cooler then I was.
I feel that my opinion doesn’t matter. I know, deep down, that I’m not doing anything special, that there are at least 10~15 people here that can smoke me easy, that I am embarrassed, but none of that matters
I am not dancing as myself.
I can make a choice. I can dance as a character, not for myself, but for others. I love that they love me. I do what I know they will want. It’s only for a moment, after all, and their excitement more than makes up for it. I get to have a bunch of strangers cheer for me, they get to see a dude dressed as a wizard dance. Win-win!
Maybe they get inspired or something. Not my business.
Of course, this is unsustainable, because I’m not doing it for myself.
If you’ve ever played a racing game, you know that little N20/Boost/Nitros gauge? There’s a reason you can’t use it from start to finish, the engine can’t take it. But for a moment you are flying, the fastest thing on the road, and it’s a fine way to get that edge to overtake.
Thus, Magical/Maniac Pixie Dream State.
I imagine it is the same with entering MPDS. You become great, You blow some minds. Inspire people. Make them think, make them dream, just like in the books. Be a character in their world.
At the end of the day, you use up the last of your gauge and return to normal.
They have a memory, an inspiration, a belief that their dreams may be achieved.
You know that you have made a difference. You get to feel admired, perhaps.
You know that someone saw you as greater than you are, and believed it.
You look at those greater than you, cooler then you, and feel that one day, you too could stand where they are.
They are your MPDGs. They don’t need to know you well to raise you up, make you shoot for the stars. Perhaps a word of encouragement. A slight half-nod of approval.
In fact I once read a post about how much one such inclination of the head from an older head was enough to feel welcome. To know they’ve been where you are before, and you might be where they are now.
I guess that I mean is to inspire.
A better example would be a speech writer. (something I know nothing about)
Yes, you’re spending time and effort to create words that move, that inspire people.
No, it’s not spontaneous inspiration that flows through you when you get on the stage, but is that so bad?
You prepared a speech for an occasion, you laboured over the wording, the length, and other minutiae, seeking the best way to express your emotions, to share your thoughts, your ideals with others. Does that make you fake? What if you’re practising your writing skills and write about something you didn’t feel that strongly about, but through the writing, understood? Is that worthless?
We ponder over the wording of letters, articles and speeches because they represent a statement, an expression of intent to other persons.
We do not, however, ponder over the exact wording of asking a librarian for help, ordering food at a restaurant, or explaining what we’re looking for to a staff member the store.
We know public figures don’t always speak like they do at the podium or on stage, as we know actors may be different from their characters. Still, we might think of the character when we see the actor in the news.
I guess what I mean is that to be an MPDG is to acknowledge that you are a character in the play of another person’s life. To look at your character and think “What role do I play? How can I further the plot? How do I develop this character and impact the MC?” (Main Character)
Just a title.
What’s the matter?
But a status, it defines not oneself
Perhaps the norm, at one time or other.
Is that all you have to speak, the wary route of conversation and askence?
Perhaps I’d mind not this dreaded business,
mind not this now intrusive inquisition
cringe not inside as you ask,
were the road less weary.
If the trails of conversation be as roads in the land,
Then this is the forest where lay all close to me.
Tread soft on the unbeaten path
and you shall leave no mark.
Dash along by guidance of your map
and the forest shall grow over your footprints.
But when every explorer on the land
would make the pilgrimage
though the forest,
A trail shall be blazed.
The path be cleared (of trees)
and shops will rise
as if from the earth
to walk the path
nay, the road.
Get the full tour
Please book in advance.
I remember after I read Shade’s Children I counted off several (at least 5) fractions of myself starting with
Primary:my main thoughts and personality who could and frequently over ruled the others and whom, under normal circumstances everyone else’s ideas were QCd by.
Secondary: The subtext, The first reaction- the thoughts and wants I turned a blind eye to, followed less, didn’t voice, or plain forgot about if I wanted enough.
3 through 5 or 7 Overwhelmingly emotional based thoughts/decisions, instinctive reactions, lashing out. Usually meditated or subdued by the Primary, occasionally let through by secondary. 3 was anger(combined with a slightly weakened Primary could produce a very balanced calm), and 4or5 was sorrow I believe.
I would run self diagnostic on myself and they would all talk to each other, like in the book. I wish I remembered how the system worked and who was what now.
Having every emotion a voice unto itself is rather complicated, and probably didn’t work out that well. Mainly it would identify the motivation behind thoughts, I guess.
A few years later, I notice many dancers have a persona of sorts. I was taught when you finish a set, you don’t pick yourself off the ground. you don’t turn around and walk away, or lower your head. No matter how much you sucked, how badly you messed up, you got up as if you had just kicked the other guy’s ass all the way to Spain and back. Looked at him with a “I’m better then you and you better believe it” look.
Some people I had met- kind helpful people, When there were in “battle mode” and looked you in the eyes, you backed up and got the hell out of the way. Others would become flamboyant and mocking, laughing at some secret joke.
When it was over, they immediately reverted back to being really cool and friendly people again.
I also noticed the different attitudes I took when using different names in different communities on the internet.
Thus came phase two.
Phase two consisted of different characters, with a different balance of emotions and thinking styles. In it’s current incarnation, which is by no means final, it consists of Skry, ink, and James.
James is my usual self. In new company. To elders. Those that intimidate me. Everyone else. The starting ground, if you met me IRL, You’d meet James..
James is at best intelligent, soft spoken, thoughtful, responsible. Not like “Those other kids,” the bad kids. Trusted by parents. Prone to “What a nice young man!”
ink is based on younger James, when he knew not how to think before speaking, and when to be silent. As such, ink is open, energetic, playful, silly. Most all the time quite happy and showing it. Dramatic. Empathetic. Cares for ‘his people’ If you knew me by the ‘net, you might know ink.
Skry is who ink wishes to be: A concept, a character that is executed to varying degrees of success. Skry is larger-then-life. Skry is the kid with the cool shades. Skry is earnest, friendly, excited, almost fearless in his enthusiasm. Skry is part MPDG. He will push you to do what you want to do. To ignore the fear. Skry knows not embarrassment and is up for anything.. Skry can be intimidating, but rarely does so. Unlike James, who is very careful about his opinions, Skry knows what he thinks and doesn’t care if you disagree.
These are also merely elements, albeit more complete elements, that make up the whole. Still, it was a step forward. Now there are three sets of mental/emotional profiles.
Sometimes I wonder what the point of the system is. I did always enjoy over thinking things.