Playlist For a Pivotal Character

Fifteen, Kiddo!

The heat is melting my brain, so here is another post, one that contains a playlist. It's not like the last post was written three days earlier or anything except it was.

This is a playlist for Axle, my little chain-smoking Hunter S. Thompson in army boots who tends to kick people, usually to the tune of, "Move your toches," with Ruuchuu blood running in his veins. He also tends to be the selling point of M+I, as I have convinced a few old friends to read an excerpt or two simply by describing Axle and his perpetual impish smile. In fact, some of the songs on this playlist were vested upon him by said people who were brave enough to read unedited work by a 20 year old writer.

It is also safe to say that Axle would be highly offended by the selections made here.

Track ListingCollapse )

And now I pass out from the heat. Why so late, Californian summers?
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The World is Round by Gertrude Stein

A long time ago, back when I was in college, I had a rather strange professor for Modern American Literature. When we started on Gertrude Stein's work, rather than require us to write a reading response, he asked us to write a haiku. Specifically about how Stein's work made us feel. You can guarantee that every single haiku turned in had something to do with how incomprehensible Tender Buttons was. However, I will never forget one student's haiku.

I didn't know him very well, other than that he was majoring in both English and History. As his haiku was read, I realized it was yet another poem about how difficult it was to understand Stein. But it was far more playful than the rest. He wrote about how he was on a boat, fishing, and all he could reel in were words. They had assembled in ways that he couldn't understand, no matter how hard he thought about it. That's always stuck with me. In one haiku, he had defined exactly what an English major does when approaching a creative work.

My initial reaction with Stein has always been to laugh. It's not that I'm laughing at her work because I find it ridiculous, but the liberation that her language exhibits has always elated me. When I see repeating words, names that double as words (Will he and will he; even Willie sounds like will he), the lack of punctuation, I laugh because . . . because I love it. I don't know why. But I do. I'm at a point where I realize I will never understand Stein's work fully and that is okay - so long as I can still appreciate what she did.

I am a little girl and my name is Rose, Rose is my name.Collapse )
  • Current Music: Life Line - Harry Nilsson

Another Introduction

In 2010, I decided to watch RahXephon and reevaluate my opinion of it. I knew that whatever I thought of it in 2004 or 2005 would change drastically. My relationship with RahXephon started with a recommendation from an old friend, which is why deciding to watch it so many years later was a test of my ability to overcome my past. The first five episodes, I was shaking. But it became easier over time.

I have a tendency to hate everything I write initially. It's a terrible trait. And my anger with the first post I wrote on RahXephon is justified. I didn't know what to make of it at that point. I didn't know whether I was saying hello or goodbye. If I was greeting a new relationship with the series or if I was just reliving an experience I once had. But I read over the other posts and realized that I grew. I became more inquisitive about the series. Enough so to crack out an old primer on music.

So what am I thinking of doing now, when I haven't even finished reevaluating Code Geass?

The truth of the dreamCollapse )
  • Current Music: Think About Your Troubles - Harry Nilsson
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Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I think I'm just going to have to accept the fact that I don't feel nearly as much of an emotional connection to Kazuo Ishiguro's works as others. This is not to say that I am hindered in the act of feeling. It just seems to me that what is universally accepted as "high-emotion" works never penetrate my barrier of usual indifference. There are some aspects of Ishiguro's work that are better visualized than read. This problem lies in his choice of narration. I could not connect with Stevens in The Remains of the Day and found the moment when he realizes how much he loved Miss Kenton not very engaging. However, when rendered on screen, without Stevens telling you everything, without language, that moment is heartbreaking.

This is my conundrum with Ishiguro's work. The narrator who tells all, while looking back on their life. In fact, Never Let Me Go is the science-fiction equivalent of The Remains of the Day. At the same time, I understand why he would choose this narrative style. He specifically chooses the voices of those disenfranchised by a society that makes them invisible. And ultimately, he makes their stories ones of emotion and connections, with societal impact at a distant second.

It is not the science-fiction that makes Never Let Me Go memorable, but the relationship Kathy has with her friends Ruth and Tommy.

Sometimes I get so immersed in my own company, if I unexpectedly run into someone I know, it's a bit of a shock and takes me a while to adjust.Collapse )
  • Current Music: Exit Only - Deerhoof

The "Architecture of Anxiety": Antonioni's Red Desert (1964)

"Who was singing?"
"Everything was singing . . . everything."

My experiences with Michelangelo Antonioni films have taught me that there are three reactions from people who are not fooled by the illusions of the world: disdain, apathy, and dread. It's been a while since I saw Blow-Up, but the insouciance of its protagonist has stayed with me, as he thew an invisible baseball to a group of performing mimes, indicating that he too was in the act. But the environment reflected that bland distaste.

Red Desert depicts a woman who is starkly at odds with her surroundings. Giuliana (Monica Vitti) is dressed in a green pea-coat as she wanders through a wasteland of gray petrochemical buildings. Yellow smoke pollutes the sky, as Giuliana holds onto her son's hand tightly and tells him that it's poisonous. It's hard to believe that this is post-war Italy. That this is the scenic Italy we are promised in travel books. What Antonioni is depicting is not necessarily Italy, though. It is modern life.

There's something terrible about reality.Collapse )
  • Current Music: Memories Can't Wait - Talking Heads

M+I Summary, Excerpts

I've been such a space-case lately (well, more so than usual) that I forgot to post the summary and excerpts I had for M+I. In the past, I felt as though saying as little as possible about the plot was beneficial to me, but I have learned otherwise. Not apologizing today. Not apologizing, practicing being unapologetic about writing.

M+I SummaryCollapse )

ExcerptsCollapse )

EDIT: As a totally out-of-left-field side note, I love Deerhoof even more today for mentioning Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain.
  • Current Music: Neko to Inu - Maaya Sakamoto
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Movie Reviews

The past two days have been a blur due to my allergies. I do remember my niece coming over and making me watch Ouran Host Club and Fairy Tail, shows she is crazy about. And at one point, she turned to me and said, "You're the only adult person I can talk to about anime." Cue my heart melting. It's the sweetest thing, honestly. Especially after a day of realizing that I'm not very good at communicating with most people.

This is starting on a mountain of films I should write about. And then I go and check out another one: Antonioni's Red Desert. I also checked out Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go today. While I didn't love The Remains of the Day, I was intrigued. Especially once I realized that Ishiguro has written across a broad spectrum of genres. If anything, he's a very interesting writer. I'm hoping to enjoy it and to post all the quotes on Tumblr. That is how I express my love for books now, it seems.

Stoker (2012)Collapse )

Chungking Express (1994)Collapse )

Get On Up (2014)Collapse )
  • Current Music: Did We Live Too Fast - Got A Girl
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

On memory, Jorge Luis Borges once wrote, "I remember him (I have no right to utter this sacred verb . . .)" The opening to Angela Carter's The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman begins with the narrator telling us, "I remember everything. Yes. I remember everything perfectly," about his exploits in a city of hallucinations. The past is a tricky being. Three people could have experienced the same event and come out of it with entirely different stories. Perspective colors our words, the stories we tell ourselves. We take pictures so that the past is physical, so that we can affirm our existence. We tell people that we are made up of interests and baubles from our childhood. And we remember incorrectly. Impartially.

In an entire novel, the subject of memory has eluded Neil Gaiman. He was incapable of expressing nearly as much about the past as Borges and Carter could in a few sentences. And strangely, one of the most touching pieces of Gaiman's latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was found in his acknowledgments, about his youngest sister, "who sent me long-forgotten memory-jogging photographs. (I wish I'd remembered the old greenhouse in time to put it into the book.)" It makes me wish that he had written a non-fiction novel about his childhood - as "non-fiction" as non-fiction can be. Because there's something there in the hidden memories that only become recognizable to us once we've seen an image. Once we've seen the old house that we used to live in. Once we see the people we used to be.

Our childhood memories are often locked away from us, due to an adapted ability to forget the past and move on. To survive is the most important instinct in human beings, even if it means cloaking us in illusions to make us move forward. We have no control over what we remember. The past disappears from us in a matter of seconds. In a matter of age. Disease. Until there is nothing left and all that exists is a blank stare. But these are my experiences. Not Gaiman's.

Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside.Collapse )
  • Current Music: Walking & Falling - Laurie Anderson

Current Reading

On my last library exploration, I picked up Lars von Trier's Europa, Louise Gluck's A Village Life, and Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I've never actually seen a Trier film, so this will be new for me! And I still have yet to watch Chungking Express, which I must because it's due on the 4th. I don't think I'll be getting around to it today either. There's a Mel Brooks marathon on TCM that includes High Anxiety and Silent Movie. Both of which I have fond memories of watching with my dad. I remember when he forced me to watch The Trouble With Charlie and D.O.A., which aren't Mel Brooks films at all. I watched some of Star Trek with my dad recently, too, and discovered that Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were both assholes.

I finished Invisible Man long time ago and read a collection of essays about it, I'm just having a hard time coming up with the words to talk about it. The same is true of Orlando. So, in the mean time, let's talk about the books I've been reading recently! A Village Life is a book of poetry. I've been slow with it, but I take poetry very slowly. You never read a poem once. In fact, I had a professor who insisted that you needed to read a poem at least three times. I find Gluck's prose to be very simple - not in a bad sense at all. Her poetry is rife with double meanings. Such as Twilight, which could be about the power of sleep after a hard day's work, or the voluntary letting go of the world that occurs within a creative person's mind. It's interesting. And certainly so, seeing as this is the first book of poetry I've read since 2011, with only Tumblr quotes in-between.

There's a meditative quality to Gluck's prose as well. I felt the world slow down as I read Pastoral.

Nobody came to my seventh birthday party.Collapse )
  • Current Music: Ave Lucifer - Os Mutantes
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