Take my current problem, for example: to write a 25+page in-depth analysis of Gertrude Stein's Three Lives; if possible, to come up with some original insight into its creation, reception, and influence on modern American literature.
What else is there to say, though? I can talk about how much of an influence Cubism had on Stein and her work (and how much influence she had on it, thanks to her and Leo's palling around with the Parisian artist's community); taking that idea further, I can write about how much her experimental style reflected and influenced early 20th-century literary modernism; we can discuss the sexual politics of "The Good Anna" and/or racial politics of "Melanctha", even though I find analyses like these irritating and exhausting; I can go back and mine Stein's work with William James and the Harvard Psychology Laboratory for some juicy tidbits about her characterization style.
Thing is, it's all been done. I'm currently surrounded by a sea of printouts of journal articles talking about everything I mentioned above. The only other approach I can think of at the moment is to discuss the significance of threes in Stein's life and work made manifest in Three Lives (also, Cubism. See, cube = three. Get it? *groans*), and right now I don't know how to spin that one without making me sound like some weird New Age fool.
The problem here, too, is that I have now read Three Lives backwards, forwards, and sideways, and I can tell you this: I hate it. I HATE IT. I have never liked the Modernist Literature movement and its dreary misery and emptiness. I hated the literary and linguistic experimentation and how it was all so dreadfully artificial and frequently got in the way of whatever story there was -- and sometimes there wasn't any story to speak of, nothing but a mess. It takes an extremely talented writer to make his or her experimentation seem fluid and organic, and as far as I was concerned Joyce (and to a certain extent Woolf) did it. I am a formalist at heart, and Miss Stein, all you did here was annoy me. Especially with "Melanctha" and its meanderingly circular way of storytelling. Talk about ending not with a bang but with a whimper.
I want to make it clear that I'm not against all literary and linguistic experimentation here -- literature would stagnate if it didn't occur -- but there's a huge slush pile of mediocrity to wade through, here.
It feels like a rat race, sometimes.
Gosh, that felt good. I'm sure I'll regret a lot of the things I've said here by tomorrow, but right now, it feels really good.
1. Me jogging around Makati?
2. Me jogging?
3. Me jogging around Makati and joining a fun run-type thing sponsored by Susan Calo Medina (who, thankfully, is not swanning about half-naked in a sarong like she usually is but actually dressed in jogging gear)?
4. Me joining a fun-run thing and agreeing to run all the way to E. Rodriguez Avenue from Paseo de Roxas?
5. Torchwood rolling up in their Torchwood (TM) SUV? Yeah, even the Miracle Day crew.
6. Captain Jack leering as he pulled out the Official Fun-Run Jogging Gear which wasn't even really jogging gear but khaki pants and a too-tight t-shirt straight out of the Pre-Teen Department at SM?
I don't know. I just don't know.
Right now I'm sitting in the Starbucks across the street from where I live, trying valiantly yet vainly to concentrate on Gertrude Stein's infinitely irritating prose style. I've got a whole sofa set, all four seats, all to myself--it pays to be here early--but I keep trying to eavesdrop on the pastor (and his parishioners? relatives? don't know, who cares) sitting on the set behind me.
It's annoying, though, that I can't make out the words. I'm particularly sensitive to low baritones--it overrides all other sounds, which is why I pitch my brother out of the living room whenever I'm trying to watch TV--so here I am, trying to read Melanctha but with a relentless susurrus (sic? can't look up proper spelling right now) in the background.
Gah. It's enough to make me scream in frustration. But since I would like to come back here in the future, am posting crossly about it instead.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
Sherlock Holmes' Diary, a Sherlock/Bridget Jones' Diary fusion by errantcomment
January 29th. Nicotine patches 5 Cigarettes 7 (Well) Flatmates 1? (Don’t want to discuss it)
1240 Text from Mike: "May have found you flatmate. Old friend from uni. Missed lunch for this so don't mess it up!" God knows who it is. Some dull middle-management type I imagine. Text back: "Fine. Will be as charming as you like."
1400 Oh my. Sitting in Molly’s office with soothing cup of tea. John Watson. Oh my.
I didn’t mess it up.
I think. I mean. Oh no.
He’ll come I think. Why wouldn’t he?
I mean, oh lord. Here’s the thing.
1430 Mike came in. "What the hell was that?"
"I don't know what you mean." Liar.
"If that's you trying to be charming I'd hate to see what you'd be like driving someone off!' He folded his arms.
"I just- look, it's fine. He'll come. He might even stay." Mike gave me a long look.
"Well, he'd better. The missus's eyes still glow red at the mention of your name." Not a joke.
Got John Watson's number (oh my) off Mike. Wonder if it would be stalker-ish to text him right now. Probably.
Eeeeeeeee! *flappy-hand chicken dance*
(The guy playing Sanosuke appropriately looks like he could cut you soon as look at you. I'd've cast the guy playing Jin-e as Saitou, though.)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Oh, I don't know. Something fried. Bacon? Chicken? Human flesh?
Woke up this morning just in time to realize I was nearly late for an appointment at the nail spa. Now bored, figured I'd finally try out the LJ iPhone app. And then check mail, or something, while the manicurist is still out. (Meanwhile the pedicurist is this close to getting an accidental kick in the face. I keep forgetting how ticklish my feet are.)
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
However, to show my UTTER CONTEMPT FOR THE GENERAL NARROW-MINDED SANCTIMONIOUS IDIOCY OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOP'S CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES*, I am posting SPOT.ph's link of Establishments That Will Be Remaining Open In Metro Manila from Thursday to Sunday, and you might actually find me at any one of the ones here in Pasig City:
Address: F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, San Antonio, Pasig City
Telephone number: 570-8181
Operating Hours: Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Eat My English
Address: Gold Park Center, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telephone number: 683-0449
Operating Hours: Thursday and Friday (24 hours), closed Saturday and resumes 6 a.m. Sunday (24 hours)
Address: Shaw Blvd., Pasig City
Telephone number: 638-0858
Operating Hours: 24 hours
Address: 682 Shaw Boulevard, Kapitolyo, Pasig
Telephone numbers: 631-3589, 631-6581
Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 12 mn
Address: G/F Emerald Building, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Telephone number: 631-2936
Operating Hours: Thursday (6 a.m. to 12 mn)
Address: Metrowalk Mall, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City
Telephone Number: 637-6893
Operating Hours: Saturday and Sunday (24 hours)
They're all 5-10 minutes away from my place anyway. It's high time I found out what Army Navy and Eat My English are all about.
*You stick to your guns, Wet Noodle, and I promise to NEVER call you Wet Noodle again.
I'm not sure how I'm going to tell my 10-year-old nephew about this. He totally adored Sarah Jane and watched every single one of her classic Who serials with Three and Four, and was always excited to bits over upcoming Sarah Jane Adventures episodes. I haven't the heart to tell him there wouldn't be any more. :(
Have fun with my Mirror and the Lamp. If something happens to it, you die.
ETA: Sus ginoo. It was a 4.6 pala. Seems worryingly shallow, though, as people actually felt that.
E(again)TA: Good grief, it was a 5.4 magnitude earthquake. Epicenter just off Mindoro Strait.
And in belated news, a 6.4 yesterday in the northern Philippines.
/keeps wary eye on the Marikina Fault Line
//two blocks away
This morning, I got a call from my mother, in Gubat:
"Did you see the news? Nag-erupt na ang Bulusan!"
"I'm doing the shopping, ma. Hasn't it been erupting for the past few months na?"
"Well, yes, but it BLEW UP!"
"WHAT?! Crap! Does this mean our flight this Wednesday's cancelled?"
"Don't worry, the wind's blowing the other way -- but WE CAN SEE THE MUSHROOM CLOUD FROM HERE!"
"Ooooh! Tita Betsy took pictures!"
I am, like Pam, also 30 (okay, 31) and not even the fact that I have two older unmarried sisters can insulate me from the inevitable questions and the consequent looks of pity. Just this past Christmas, at one of those aforesaid family gatherings, I was just sitting on the couch minding my own business when one of my older cousins sidled up and whispered, "O, ikaw, kailan ka naman ikakasal?" ("So, Mary Ann, when are you getting married?")
If she thought it was an ideal conversation-starter, well, it wasn't. If you're single and unattached and with no
And that's the trouble, isn't it? Most people who ask this question always mean well. They genuinely are interested in and worried about your future. I remember staring at my cousin for a full five seconds, searching for some sign of malice aforethought in her face (Alas, there was none. She's from the branch of the family that wouldn't know deadpan irony if it goosed them on the backside. She honestly believed that this was The Right Thing To Do) before smiling awkwardly and saying "Walang oras, alam mo naman, laging busy." ("Oh, you know how it is, no time, waaaay too busy.")
And that would have been the end of that, if she hadn't added, "Oo, kasi para habang pwede pang magka-anak, di ba?" ("Oh yes, you should get married while you can still have babies, right?")
Goddammit so much.
You know what really irks me about questions like that? It's the assumptions inherent in them. The state of matrimony and motherhood is apparently the Holy Grail of being a woman, and anyone who makes the conscious decision to either postpone or completely write off one or the other is apparently someone that needs to be saved from themselves. And any protest, however mild, is looked at as hurtful and offensive towards someone who only wants what's best for you. Looking at some of the comments left on Pam's article certainly cements that impression.
(Some people on that comments board do make the point that it's part of Filipino culture, this intrusive questioning. Oh yes, it's right up there with "near-non-existent grasp of irony" and "no concept of personal space". To people who try to excuse that behavior by saying it's "part of the culture": Screw you. It's annoying in every culture.)
Here's the thing: Yes, I am single. No, I am not seeing anyone at the moment, but even if I was it sure as hell wouldn't be with the intent of dragging him down the aisle lickety-split. Quite frankly, dearest cousin, I'm really not interested in getting married at this time because 1) I dislike fuss and weddings are the very definition of fuss; 2) it will inevitably lead to questions like "O, kailan ka ba magkaka-anak?" ("So, when are you having kids?") or, more rudely, "O, buntis ka na ba?" ("Aren't you pregnant yet?"); and 3) I have no interest in enabling your self-validation.
If and when I do decide to get married, it won't be because there's this societal, cultural need to do so before the age of 40; quite frankly, I'm quite open to the idea of--dun dun dun! LIVING IN SIN--provided it's with the right person. I will get married because I and whoever I choose want to. And if that happens when I'm 55 with no possibility of having kids, well, that's fine.
Don't worry, I'll still invite you to the wedding. Don't be scandalized if I don't wear white, though.
WERE YOU AWARE OF IT?: The Philippines is one of only TWO countries (the other being Malta) where divorce is illegal. So basically (except under extreme extenuating circumstances): you break it, you bought it.
Okay, time to catch up on the missed LJ entries and emails...
(Oh, and I'm about to post my first REAL entry of the year, which is a bit ranty, but it's been dying to come out since last week and needed a recently-published newspaper article to get its groove on.)
Don't crap out on me now, PLDT...
[really good pork chops + mashed potatoes]
+ [absinthe + whatever it is that goes into the drink called malibog]
= mild headache, a bit of a gippy tummy, and a missed deadline.
(damn you, insta-rakets. Why must you plague me so?)