Now, before this becomes the too-personal power hour on all things Evangelion, allow me to explain the contextual emotions I went into this film with. I had put off watching Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo for some time even though I had pre-ordered it. This was due to the fact that I didn't think 1.11 or 2.22 were all that revolutionary or interesting, apart from the artwork. Then, a few days ago, I came across some information on an old friend that crushed me. There's no other word for it. It was as though I was being stabbed continuously. Spending the rest of the day sobbing, wallowing would have been easy. But I figured, I have this DVD, let's watch it.
There's something so incredibly genuine, emotionally, about 3.33's core that it helped me work through my feelings. And while the pain is still there, I have an understanding that the pain will always exist - the only thing I can do is move forward. My disappointment in 1.11 and 2.22 only made the good within 3.33 seem that much more impressive. As I said, there is an emotion that this film touches on, as the original Evangelion series did, that resonated with me so spectacularly.
3.33 is not a perfect film and I did have my problems with some of the changes, but I can't deny the fact that it has helped me in some way. In emotion and thematic elements, 3.33 has far more depth than 1.11 or 2.22 ever had.
Recently, I've seen a few blogs that have troubled me. This is mainly from the blogs of writers, usually young, who like to use depression and anxiety and other assorted mental illnesses as plot points or such. This was combined with a recent comment about a film I saw three years ago that I was slightly offended by due to its insinuations about people with mental illnesses. So I figured, why not. Let's start talking about this. Especially about medication, because even I harbored misinformed ideas about that aspect.
I'm willing to share this information, which is a big step for me. In the past, I would have believed that I was incapable of achieving normality (whatever that is) if I even admitted that my mental state was veering in the wrong direction. But I feel differently about it these days and it may be due to medication and therapy, or even that I've made an acquaintance now who deals with similar issues and has tried to press me to be more open about what I'm going through.
There are a few health problems in my life that exacerbate my depression and anxiety, such as an auto-immune disease that may be referred to as Hashimoto's disease as well as a perpetual, annoying, on-going problem with iron deficient anemia. I thought it was due to the cealiac disease. I'm wrong!
Apologies for posting with no plan in hand, but after my seventh listen of The Fiery Furnaces' I'm Going Away, I have to make mention that it is a stunning album. This is important for me to note, because though I love all of FF's albums (and they're always so fresh for me when I return to them), I'm Going Away was the album that I often ignored. I don't know why - I loved Drive to Dallas and Even in the Rain. But something kept me away from it. Like all FF albums, it takes a good five listens to catch every single change in chord and tempo that made their music so unique, even when they were as accessible as they were on I'm Going Away. It's accessible, but it's so unaccessible at the same time. And perhaps FF is the only band to have cornered this unique patch of musical territory (Ween comes close though).
Part of the joy was not knowing what I would hear and this is why I've avoided listening to Eleanor Friedberger's recent release New View. I'd prefer to hear it all in one go, new and fresh to my ears. I used to attribute motifs and melodies to Matthew Friedberger, but now I hear its prominence in Eleanor's work as well - they both have a penchant for stringing in melodies that replay in my head over and over and over. (That being said, Matthew Friedberger, you can write any soundtrack to any non-existent film as far as I'm concerned)
There are just so many good songs on I'm Going Away: Keep Me in the Dark, Drive to Dallas, Even in the Rain, Charmaine Champagne, I'm Going Away, Cups and Punches, Lost At Sea (the piano on that is fantastic), Staring at the Steeple, Ray Bouvier . . . It's such a joy for me to hear Matthew Friedberger's Sergio Dias-esque guitar riffs peeking through each song. And their lyrics are always a fun mix of personal references and mature loss. "There was a time when I was proud to be me, but now I'm all lost at sea."
It's such a clear and certain hell of thing: it's over. "You're on your own." You're on your own. Once upon a time (the other night), You couldn't do nothing right, "I'm on my own," you said to yourself down on your luck, woe is me, etc.: lonely. See, the worst times weren't so bad, compared to this. Though that ain't much comfort. I might try to reminisce. No.
What completely won me over though was the oddity of sound that became apparent in Cups and Punches, that reminded me of The Fiery Furnaces that was capable of making Bitter Tea, that was capable of capturing all the sounds that fascinate me. And I love how it was integrated into such an accessible song.
I love I'm Going Away. As much as I love any Fiery Furnaces album. As much as I love any solo Matthew or Eleanor Friedberger album. They're some of the most exciting names in music currently and it's a shame they aren't recognized enough for this. But that's often the way things go. And I should be happy, I mean, I saw Eleanor Friedberger live for only ten dollars at a rather small venue where I could talk to her and buy merchandise from her. I think that kind of accessibility (and I've used this word a lot today, but I think it's important) to fans might trump monetary gain for said Friedbergers.
I can appreciate that. Certainly.
Current Music:Cups and Punches - The Fiery Furnaces
This was a list of questions that I posted on Tumblr for anyone to ask, but seeing as the dream boy never asks, I think I'll have to dance with Cassie on this one. As I've said before, morale has been exceptionally low for me lately. This morning, I woke up and didn't want to do anything anymore. But I forced myself. I forced myself to get up and do my volunteer work, my exposure homework. I should be proud of myself. I did the impossible - I visited an old workplace without feeling anxious.
Perhaps I brought this dark cloud down upon myself. I listened to The Fiery Furnace's I'm Going Away last night and could hardly contain the tears. The feeling of loneliness. But. I think I'll be okay. I have Bentley! And, because I'm allowed to treat myself after exposure homework, I'll have a Hello Kaworu! soon enough. (No, I'm not kidding you. Hello Kaworu!)
I don't know what happened, but I was at a bad place last night and I started reading some of my older writing, and . . . I felt better about it. I think sometimes I'm just far too harsh on myself. It took me a while to realize that I'm a complete workaholic at my job and I still think I don't do enough. I can never extend myself enough. Part of this is due to the fact that I believe if I work hard enough, I can distract myself from those lurking thoughts.
But since I'm feeling better, I thought why not post some writing that I liked recently. This is all from M+I, because when do I ever write anything else? Other than a short story that has grown petulant. This is all from last year because any time I try to sit down and write, all I can think about is how much I hate everything on paper.
If the lack of posting is any indication, I've been feeling rather depressed lately. Hollow and empty, as if an aspect of myself that is integral has gone missing. I don't feel any passion for the things I do. And the days go by, and by, and by. Time slipping through my fingers that I am incapable of stopping because I cannot control anything. I told myself that I should not be posting in this mood, as anything I would write would probably sound forced. But is there any other franchise out there where it is okay to talk about while depressed than Neon Genesis Evangelion?
I mentioned this before in my review of Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, that returning to a creative work can sometimes have negative effects. You may have moved on from the feelings that beget the work in the first place. You may be incapable of writing those characters as well as you did before. Your themes might seem trivial in comparison to what you accomplished before. And I feel as though this is Hideaki Anno's trap. Continually, he returns to Evangelion to refine it when he had a glistening gem in the first run. Not perfect, but the Rebuild films are further away from perfect than the show.
2.22 revisits some of my favorite elements of Evangelion: Asuka, Kaworu, the question of sentience in the Angels, and Shinji's dilemma of wanting to please his father Gendo while also being horrified by the man's lack of humanity. As may have already been apparent, things have changed this time around. For the better?
The fantasy genre has become a weighted bag of cliches. If this seems like a presumptuous statement from a stranger, allow me to give you my qualifications: my teenage years were spent reading any fantasy novel I could find. Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman were my introductory drug. But when I was nineteen, I started to realize - these books were all the same. This is not to say that "sameness" is necessarily bad. There are many out there who are thrilled to find the regular conventions (I'm not one of those people, unfortunately).
Nor is this to say that every single fantasy book out there follows one of those five plots. Think about the innovation that some authors have brought to this genre. Terry Pratchett, who played with the very conventions. Ursula K. LeGuin, whose Wizard of Earthsea novels not only featured the first young wizard protagonist, but also set the novels in the Caribbean rather than bland ol' Europe.
With A Darker Shade of Magic, I don't think V.E. Schwab is ready to join that list of innovators just yet.
I'd written about half of a review for V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic before the creeping lethargy of a cold started to take over me. I realized then that if I posted this newer review, then my old one would be lost to the universe. And this saddened me, as the first time I reviewed this book, it was after reading about 100 pages at work (it's okay, I'm allowed to read there). What I didn't realize upon fully reading it was that this short review I wrote then still reflects my feelings about the book, just not in great detail. So to preserve it, I figured I'd post it here.
Just a tip for myself: perhaps reading adult books by authors who predominantly write young adult is not the greatest idea. Catherynne M. Valente's Deathless is proving that this is a trend you should avoid, me.
While I don't make resolutions, my intent for 2016 is to finally watch some of the films I have on my queue for Hulu (Criterion Collection, actually) and Netflix. Seeing all the Jacques Tati films on Hulu delights me greatly. I've already seen Jour de Fete and Play Time (Play Time is one of my favorite films, I can't recommend it enough), and now I've seen Les Vacances de M. Hulot. All that's left are Trafic and Mon Oncle.
Apologies if I haven't been on lately or providing content. There have been frightening things going on at work and anxiety has been eating away at me. The only comfort I can find now is that there are people who are looking out for me. Maybe someday I'll write about work but not now. Also, I've been more depressed than usual due to the gloomy weather.
So here are some more bits I wrote in the book 642 Things to Write About.