Thursday, January 20, 2005

V., my poems, Irish Pride and U2, Milton, incubus

Listening to the Velvet Underground's Temptation Inside of My Heart.

I've done some intense reading today. Milton, Austen, Jensen, Pynchon. Hm, they all kind of rhyme. But anyway, the most exciting thing on that list is that I finally found V., which means I have yet another reason to procrastinate with my homework. Pynchon's so great, so funny--he reminds me a lot of Vonnegut, actually. Since I have a tendency to deface any book I read by underlining and scrawling notes in it, I thought I'd share some of the best quotes from V. thus far:

"Politics is a lie."

"What is humanity."
..."ha, ha. Humanity is something to destroy."

"There is more behind and inside V. than any of us had suspected. Not who, but what: what is she."

"This secret is as well-kept as the others: that statues talk...that some government buildings go mad and mosques make love."

Alright, I'm about to break one of the original rules I had for myself when I began this blog. That being, no poetry. I tend to mock teenagers (especially teenage girls) who post their own pathetic poems in their Xanga accounts or whatever, but here I am, about to post my own pathetic poems. In my defense, I hardly ever write poetry. And it's not angsty, at least. There's two that I wrote in my mad poetic spree today; the first I wrote after we were talking about the 1972 Irish massacre in English class (more about that later); the second I wrote during Spanish class, because it's much easier to tune out a lecture when it's in a different language. So, here's the first one:

Fervent--louder than a heart's drum
--Heavier than a battle clock
--More urgent than that ringing anthem
Calling us all to stand forth.
"Come lead your people!"
She cried, her eyes' blood shot.
Wine is on the asphalt
And the sun rises.

(Did you guys catch my little reference to A Tale of Two Cities?) Okay. Here's the should know that its oddness was probably a side effect of me being awake entirely on caffeine, with no food in my stomach.

Harshly forth the sharp wolf moves
Afraid if not for that scarlet ice.
Not real, banana leaves like gloves
Encompassing that place.

Here until alarms flash weirdly, he sits,
Heavy thoughts of white metallic terror
Ringing through his limbs, the orbit
Of Pollux clashing impossibly with a low fire.

Beelzebub smiles kindly at his kind;
Our wolf cowers and knowledge bites his neck
Or evil thoughts soaring and a blind wind
Rattles deadly at his vulnerable back.

Ahem. I'm no Yeats. Anyway, back to the English class anecdote. We're studying British Lit this year, so my teacher decided that we'd do a mini-unit on Ireland for the next week (while we're reading Pride & Prejudice) since talking about P&P and feminist literature for excessive amounts of time tends to put my entire class into a coma. So, Ireland. Naturally, my Irish Pride flared up and I--unlike all my classmates--was extremely happy about this. I was exclaiming, "James Joyce! Oscar Wilde! The Pogues!" and other such nonsense to a rather unreceptive audience. Anyway, I'll get to the point... We read Yeats's poem Easter 1916 and then talked about the 1972 massacre. My teacher was saying that U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday was about the '72 event, and she had printed out lyrics for us to read and everything but apologized that she couldn't find a copy of the song.

T.C. to the rescue! I said, "I have Sunday Bloody Sunday on my iPod, and I have my iPod RIGHT HERE since it is surgically attached to me, so..." Someone else in the class procured a connector cable and we plugged my iPod into the classroom's speakers and voila! Victory was mine. I served my people well (my people being the Irish, even if my blood is diluted with some Italian, Polish, and Portuguese on my mom's side, ach).

Anyway, since I'm already on a roll what with the V. passages and all, here's a little of Milton's genius to chew on:

"...Into this wild abyss,
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds--
Into this wild abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage..."
(That's the passage from which Philip Pullman got the name His Dark Materials)

"...Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils."

"Our state cannot be severed; we are one,
One flesh; to lose thee were to lost myself."
(Says Adam to Eve, awww)

"Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell,
And devilish machinations come to nought!"

Sort of puts my poetry to shame, eh? Also, something I found out in a footnote during Paradise Regained: an incubus is apparently a "demonic womanizer/seducer, who usually descended upon sleeping women." It's kind of creepy to think that the thousands of 12-year-old girls who worship the band Incubus have no idea what that means.

Au revoir.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, you have no idea who I am, but I'm a friend of Shakeer's in Portland, OR, and I was incredibly impressed with your taste in literature as well as your own poetic talents. Isn't Milton marvelous? Speaking of feminism, which I'm not generally too into, there are some pretty interesting articles about how Milton's portrayal of Eve is feminist. I'm not sure I agree... but it's really interesting food for thought, nonetheless. Milton is a god of poesy, but you're not too bad yourself! At all. Keep it up! I've barely ever read a blog in my life, but this one made me want to keep reading!

4:05 AM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Well thank you. I'm blushing. It's nice that someone knows what I'm talking about with Milton; when I first read Paradise Lost I was rhapsodic about it but none of my friends had read it--I finally forced it upon one of them, but eh. Resistance is futile.

Regarding the Eve/feminism thing, I've never read anything about that but it actually intrigued me because my first impression was that Milton didn't portray Eve in a feminist perspective at all. I mean, as the story goes, she's the weak one who gives in to Satan and originally falls from grace. But then, maybe I need to re-read it.

Anyway, enough expounding on THAT--I could probably put someone in a coma if I were really allowed to ramble about books and such. And what's your name? It's weird to just address Anonymous, but then I suppose I shouldn't be one to complain, as you only have my initials to go by. Ah well, thanks for the kind words.


11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I have put people into a coma - or at least a deep sleep - with my endless obsessing about literature! But anyway, my name is Avital. I hate my last name, so initials are not an option. I figured I'd just come out and say it.

About Eve and Milton, I agree that from our perspective it seems blatantly UNfeminist literature - all that stuff about Even being "wanton" and needing to wrap around Adam and "worship the God in him" and such... But if you look at the church's attitude towards the Eden story at the time, Milton is actually pretty radical. And now I must have just put you into a coma! I apologize!

Feminist or chauvanist or unbiased or whatever, though, it's still a beautiful piece of literature! I love it!

Also, Shakeer mentioned that you were hunting for colleges? I've been doing the same thing since the fourth grade (messed up, I know). I'm no expert, but if there's anything I can do to help, let me know!

4:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I was thinking today that someone saying "You have excellent taste" is synonymous with saying "You have MY taste."

That's a really good point! I had to really think about that one...
But I'm not sure it's always the case. Sometimes people have the taste one wishes one had. Like I admire Audrey Hepburn's taste - it's flawless - but I couldn't even hope to emulate it. On the whole, though, I think you're right!

- Avital

1:42 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Avital is a pretty name, it sounds quite exotic, like you have much vitality. And hm, colleges. Yes, I am unfortunately beginning to hunt around, but I don't even know where to begin. The catch-22 is that I want to go to an academically rigorous school, but I also don't want to end up at a place where the kids have no interests outside studying. I don't know about your school, but in mine most of the Honors kids, the ones who will end up at Ivy Leagues, are generally very dull and spend all their time studying. I don't want four more years of being in classes with them.

Sorry to rant so--I know it will be a stressful time and I'm the sort of girl who will get very upset if I'm rejected from my top choice, so I don't want to get particularly attached to any one school. Oh, woe is me.

Incidentally, do you know where you're going to college yet?


4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're so sweet!
Avital's a Hebrew name. (My parents are both rabbis. Ugh.)
Anyway, about colleges - I completely understand what you mean! This last semester has been far too study-focused! But this next one looks promising. Just as busy, but filled with rehearsals, Model United Nations meetings, auditions, concerts, vocal competitions, and the like. Much better.

Anyway, what I've actually found is that there are many wonderful colleges that have great extra-curricular scenes. The ivies included, actually. It's up to you to balance the studying with the play. Yale's motto is "study hard, play harder" - well, not officially, but that's what people say. So in that case it's up to you. There are always going to be people who do nothing but study. There are always going to be people who do nothing but party. You have to find the balance for yourself.

As far as specific colleges go, you probably want to find one where YOU will be able to do as well as you wish to and still have time to have a life. Judging from the extremely little I know of you, I think that would be almost any good school. The danger for you is not being challenged and stimulated, as opposed to being challenged too much. But I'm just guessing. I really don't know what you want to study, but I'll tell you where I applied. No, I don't know where I am accepted or rejected yet. Also, please note: Do NOT ever, ever apply to this many schools! If you want to have a life, PLEASE don't! I beg of you. If I had this to do over, I would never do it like this again. Okay, here they are (in no particular order):

USC (California)
University of Oregon (my state school)
UNC, Chapel Hill

Oh, and by the way, I want to double major in theatre and English. That's why these schools are so all over the place. Sorry about that!

- Avital

5:34 PM  
Blogger Shakeer said...

Avital is our resident college expert. Without her, I probably would've had a much harder time not only finding what schools I wanted to apply to, but getting into those schools.

Also, I doubt all the kids in ivy league and other such schools are totally dull. At that level, it's probably pretty hard to succeed if you're completely uninteresting and don't know how to maintain a healthy balance of fun and studying.

6:42 PM  
Blogger T.C. said...

Wow Avital, that IS a lot of schools--I'll probably just apply to five or six. But you have a bit of an advantage; so many of those schools are in the New England area, and they're more likely to accept you if you're from far off. I live within a few hours of most of those colleges, which is good for visiting but bad for my chances of getting in.

In addition, my school is the kind that churns out about five kids to EACH of the Ivies and top schools each year--I have some tough competition, when the schools are deciding to accept T.C. or some kid with identical qualifications but who is also athletic. Dammit. Good luck with those acceptance letters, though--I'm sure you'll get in wherever you want. I want to major in English--journalism or English lit or creative writing, or all those--and Art History. The two majors with the least practical use, of course.

And Shakeer, I know that not every Ivy Leaguer is boring, but I stand by my claim that a lot of kids I know choose their extra curriculars and other activities (like volunteering) based on what will look good on their application. It really drives me mad--my who school is college-obsessed like that. And alternately, a lot of really interesting people I know--amazing musicians or artists or whatever--will never get into the top schools because they don't bother padding their resumes with things they don't care about. So. The catch-22, you see.

Whew, long response. Thanks for all the advice, though!


8:43 PM  

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