Monday, March 31, 2008

A Little Sense

Tonight you're mine completely
You give your love so sweetly
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow

~ Carole King, song lyrics from Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Now thou hast lov'd me one whole day
Tomorrow when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?

~ John Donne, Woman's Constancy

Oddly enough, after referencing Jane Austen in my post the other day, I stumbled upon a miniseries version of her novel, Sense and Sensibility, on Masterpiece Theater. True to form, although I have both read the book and seen the Hollywood version of the film (with Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Alan Rickman), I didn't recall much of the plot at all, so I settled snuggly into my oversized couch and prepared myself for an installment of a delightful period piece.

I must say that watching the film stirred up a feeling for me of what I might call righteous anger. Part one showed young Marianne Dashwood (a tender 17) spraining her ankle while out walking, and being tended to by the charming, affable Willoughby. He just happens to pop up at the moment she injures herself, and from that moment on, it seems he never leaves her side. She immediately falls in love with him, but what girl wouldn't? He asks for a locke of her hair (something that during that period of time was usually saved for those who were engaged or at the very least, about to be). He gives her a beautiful white pony that he had reared himself. He takes her out riding around the countryside, and even convinces her to see his estate whilst they are out together unaccompanied. But then, at the very moment when Marianne and her whole family expects him to propose, he backs out of the picture, making both his apologies and excuses.

Now I shall quote to you from an interesting book that I read a couple of months ago:

"The same tendency not to take responsibility-- to keep their options open, not to get involved-- is what makes young men so dangerous. The villains in Jane Austen's novels are not rapists, wife-beaters, or even jealous husbands. They're men who don't stick around. It's not men's violent, "controlling" urges that make it necessary for parents to look out for their daughters; it's men's tendencies to avoid (or weasel out of) commitment that do. In each of the novels there's at least one man who pays a woman the kind of attention he knows (if he thinks it through) that he shouldn't pay her unless his intentions are serious-- and they're not. In Jane Austen's views, this behavior seems to be an occupational hazard of being male."

This is taken from the book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature," by Elizabeth Kantor, Ph.D. The book takes a look at classic authors and their literature and makes the case that much can still be learned from these great Western works. I am sure it is a book that I shall quote again, but for the moment, I have to agree entirely with with what she writes above. If frailty, thy name is woman, then inconstancy, thy name is man.

My grief with every man who has ever professed to be in love with me is that they have the ability to be consumed by, and in turn, consume you in a great passion. But, that fire that burned so bright, and which made promise of enduring love, blows out just as quickly. How loathe I am to open my heart anymore.

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds
Lilies that fester, smell worse than weeds.

~Shakespeare, Sonnet 94

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.

~e.e. cummings

My dogsitting days have come to a close: yesterday my mom and I drove the two-hour trek to return baby Cole Bear (as I've taken to calling him) to his adopted mom, my sister, Erin. It was a sweet reunion, with Erin and puppy eager to see each other, and with Cole eager to see his twin sister, Lillie. I must admit that I was sad to see him go as he was quite the lover, and always wanted to cuddle with me. That said, I am also excited at the prospect of sleeping in again, not to mention the idea of actually sleeping uninterrupted through the night.

We took the pups to Trap Pond, somewhere near Laurel, Delaware, which has the northern most stand of natural Bald Cypress Trees. I had no idea what Bald Cypresses looked like, but upon seeing them I was overwhelmed by their majestic beauty. They stand in the water, with knee-like protrusions jutting out. There was a nature trail that winded up around whatever body of water that was, and afforded us great views of the trees. The puppies enjoyed the walk, and did mother and daughters, and the only thing we had to be wary of were ticks.

Today my mother and I arose early and went to our church for CPR training. I was reluctant to go, as it meant setting my alarm for 6:45am, but now that it is behind me, I am delighted to be a more useful member of society. I learned a couple of things which I thought were interesting:

1. If you don't do anything else, at the very least do the chest compressions,
2. Always call 911 ASAP (that seems a no-brainer but read number 3 to see why,
3. Once you start CPR you are legally required to continue until help arrives. If you don't call 911, you may be doing CPR for a LONG, long time.

My parents also indulged me in turning out all the lights tonight for Earth Hour from 8-9pm. It was meant as a show of solidarity to conserve energy. Apparently, big cities (including my former home-for-a-minute, Dubai) planned to cooperate and turned out the lights on some major buildings. 7:30pm found me circling around the house turning out every light I could find, as well as digging up, and lighting candles. My mom and I left around 8:45pm to drive around the neighborhood (I was curious to see who else participated-- about 30%) and to go to the grocery store, and when we came back, of course my dad had managed to spill wax everywhere. Somehow I knew he shouldn't have been left home unattended.

I took a test on Facebook (yes, very silly), entitled something along the lines of, "Which Jane Austen character are you?" My results said that I am Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. The sad thing is apparently I read that book last year (I keep a list), but I have no recollection of it whatsoever. I think I've come to the conclusion that Austen's books aren't that memorable, which isn't to say that they're not good. The truth is, I throughly enjoy a Jane Austen novel, but I can't seem to remember them or their characters much, or rather a few stick out (Yes, Mr. Darcy, please), but overall, give me a few months, and I forget what I've read. Now, I suppose I shall have to go back and re-read Northanger Abbey so that I can reacquaint myself with Ms. Morland so I know who exactly it is that I "resemble."

Also, I read a funny article on called, "It's Not You, It's Your Books." It's talks about how what someone is reading can be a deal-breaker. Perhaps sad to say, but I think that I personally subscribe to this philosophy. I am a bit of a classics fan, and while I might cut someone a break about Pushkin (see article), there are other authors I would not be so forgiving about. I have a clipping in my possession that was written by novelist Jennifer Egan. It's a little blurb that details how she fell for her future husband at the age of 23. She was sitting in a garden in Cambridge, when he joined her and referred to the "sticky little leaves" (which is what Ivan in The Brothers Karamazov calls them) that were being unfurled above in the springtime trees. Egan simply nodded and pointed to her journal she had been writing in, where written in her own hand were the words, "Sticky little leaves." Ahhh, a marriage of true minds.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Break-Up

I watched the Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn vehicle, The Break-Up (2006) the other day for lack of anything better to do. It's really not that memorable of a film, but what I keep coming back to is the ending. Spoiler alert ahead... I don't know how the ending went over with audiences, but I really liked that Brooke does not end up with Gary. Now, I imagine most guys would watch the film and see it as a classic example of a girl getting everything she wants, and then being wishy-washy, i.e., that a woman does not know her own mind.

I, however, strongly identified with that character. I've been in relationships where I loved the boy so much, but after giving him umpteen chances to figure it out and come around, I finally get to a place where my heart is completely numb. In the movie, Aniston keeps saying that she wants to get back together with Gary (Vaughn), but she wants him to appreciate her first. Gary, who obviously still has feelings for Brooke (Aniston), has to act like a total jerk before he ever gets a clue. When he finally begins to see the light, after their joint condo is sold, one wonders if he really does ever get it? Does he ever appreciate her for what she is? Perhaps he does, and the ending certainly does suggest a future for the two, but I'm very glad that she has the self-respect to walk out that door and do what she needs to do.

This blog was intended to reference more literature than I have hitherto done. My friend, Tony, emailed me today asking for the recommendation of a good novel, which sounds like a fun challenge. I've read a ton of books, but the tough part lies in finding one that would suit his particular tastes. I've thought for a while that I need to come up with my lists of "must" reads. I wonder how I can list them in the blog? I'm still figuring this stuff out-- how to customize things to my own taste. One day I will hopefully have my own domain, but for now must take these baby steps. So far, I've told one person about my blog, so perhaps I should think about spreading the news. I also need to work some photos in, which I may begin doing retroactively.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Full-time job

I must admit that this has not been an illustrious start to my very first blog. To be fair, I've never followed through with anything in my life-- except that which I was under supervision, or was required. I should say I've never voluntarily followed through with anything.

On Sunday, we went to church as a family-- mom, dad, sister, sister's husband, and niece-- for Easter to celebrate the risen Lord. Afterwards, mom cooked a delicious, albeit small-ish (for holiday fare) meal. We had ham with glaze; my green beans with almond slices and garlic; cauliflower with cheese; and my sister's strawberry, cream cheese, and pretzel concoction.

When my sister left to return to her house, she left something very precious behind: her 15-week old Papillon puppy. There are actually two puppies, but she thought it would be helpful if I took one for the week so that the twins can get individual attention. I, of course, took the cuter one (in my opinion). His name is Cole, and he's a really sweet teddy bear of a pup, except when he's keeping me up at all hours of the night with his insatiable need to go out. Like clockwork every night around 3am, I hear his little 5lb body stir, which means that I need to move fast, or there will be a mess for me to clean up. I've taken to sleeping with my coat and shoes on so that I, like Paul Revere, will be ready at a moment's notice. I'm also sleeping on the floor next to Cole's crate as he seems to really miss his sister, and whimpers unceasingly if he does not sense anyone is near. Individualized attention indeed!

I am exhausted, and unable to get much of anything done around the house. I am eager to get him back to his mother, which will be on Friday. During the day when he is sleeping, he seemingly has a halo placed above his head, but come nighttime, he begins to bare his teeth, and has enough energy for three. I am thankful to my parent's dachshund, Oscar, who keeps little Cole busy by tackling him and encouraging him to play chase.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Let's do it

Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, I'll start a blog
~adapted from a Cole Porter song

I've recently begun a new phase of my life: On March 1st, I left the city I've been living in for the past five years and returned to my parent's house. I'm not really working, have left behind many of my friends in New York and other places, am suffering from a recent heartbreak, and don't know what my plans are for the future. Without the luxury of having the Brooklyn Public Library a few blocks away, I find myself lacking an adequate means of procuring the foreign films and classic novels that I love. After a few weeks of moping around the house, I've grown bored, and have decided to buck up and get my act together. I have no idea who will read this thing, or if I even will tell people about it, but my general plan is to post things that I find interesting. I have a Moleskin that I carry around in which I write little things I have read. I suppose these observations shall inform much of what I post. I am a bit of a glutton when it comes to books, so when I'm not bemoaning my life (another favorite pastime of mine), I'll probably be talking literature. I'm also a bit of a tumbleweed, going wherever the wind blows me. I just returned from a month in India and before that was in the Middle East. Who knows where I shall end up, but stick around and you shall see.

A little note about the naming of this blog: I've been sitting around for weeks trying to figure out how I'd start my blog (the first entry seems so important!), and moreover, what I'd call it. I was thinking of calling it, "Waiting for Ulysses," in reference to Homer's The Odyssey. I find that I relate to Penelope, Ulysses' wife, who faithfully waits many years for her beloved to return to her from the war in Troy. I, too, am awaiting the arrival of my beloved, who, I can only assume is on his own Odyssey at this moment, all the while, making his way towards me. Just as Penelope is besieged by suitors, so am I tempted by men who would possess me and strip away my virtue. I'm growing anxious, and only pray that I can wait faithfully for he who my heart loves.

The name Dum Spiro Spero is the state motto for South Carolina, which is my home state. It is Latin for "While I breathe, I hope". I, like Alexander Pope, believe that "hope springs eternal in the human breast." My hope lies in many things, but most of all, I hope in a resurrection of my body and soul, a glorification of myself, and a wedding feast. I am a Christian, and as such, believe that we have every reason to hope, and to rejoice: we are intimately loved and cherished by the God who created us.

I hope you enjoy what you read and that you stick around for a bit.