Posts tagged with "writing"

the other side

Lila’s been my inspi­ra­tion lately. Her pho­tos are of such rou­tine sub­jects, but every frame is more than that moment. There’s some­thing about them that exudes glam­our and inti­macy, as if her entire life was filled with cham­pagne and Channel.

I asked her what the­ory she fol­lows, what equip­ment she uses, expect­ing to learn some basic tech­nique I’ve some­how missed. Instead, she tells me she doesn’t do or use any­thing spe­cial. She doesn’t even know what she sets for expo­sure and tone, cause she always plays around and changes them for every photo she takes. A true Taoist when it comes to pho­tog­ra­phy, and a true pho­tog­ra­pher after my heart.

lila

best birth­day ever.”, “coolest guy on the block”, “he is the one”, “London, I love you”.

One of my favourite sub­jects is her perfectly-coifed, impeccably-dressed Norwegian boyfriend. Sometimes he’s just lying by the win­dow, and with his shirt off you can make out the fab­ric creases that have marked his back, reveal­ing that he’s recently turned over on the bed. It makes you won­der what’s hap­pened, or what’s about to hap­pen. These are the details she’s cho­sen to cap­ture. These things were impor­tant enough for her to pick up her cam­era. There’s such affec­tion under it all, and per­haps that’s why it’s so fas­ci­nat­ing to see how the girl looks at the guy.

It’s the same with Aurora’s old entries:

Rolf is sit­ting a few feet away from me on a Sunday night and we’re about to play Settlers Of Catan online together. He’ll wake me with a kiss in the morn­ing and we’ll drive to work together. I’m full of a tasty new sup­per that he intro­duced me to. We’ve just fucked on the floor.

Do I love him? Or do I love this? How big is the difference?

I’ve always won­dered what a per­son would say if she ever wrote about me the way Aurora wrote about him. To see a lover learn­ing and grow­ing, fig­ur­ing out their life and the world, and dis­cov­er­ing what part I play in all of that.

cause you're bored and you can doesn't mean you should

I always won­der if I’ll ever reach such a com­plete peace that I’d stop writ­ing com­pletely. One of the rea­sons I started this blog was to have a place where I could get things down and sort my thoughts out on a page, but I don’t need to do much of either nowadays.

I know so many peo­ple who’ve con­tin­ued writ­ing, even after find­ing that kind of hap­pi­ness in their lives. Unfortunately, hap­pi­ness has robbed them of lit­er­ary inspi­ra­tion, and now they have noth­ing inter­est­ing to say. It wouldn’t be so bad if they stopped writ­ing, but they post for the sake of post­ing instead of hav­ing some­thing to say or express or vent, and it reeks of des­per­a­tion and insecurity.

I used to worry that hap­pi­ness would make me a bor­ing per­son too, but now I wouldn’t mind as long as I real­ized it and gave up this blog. It’s so embar­rass­ing to write out of a belief that it’ll make you inter­est­ing. Or even worse, to be obliv­i­ous to the fact you’re writ­ing about the most inane things.

round my hometown memories are fresh

It’s good to be home.

By the end of my jour­ney, I started long­ing for the com­fort of my house and slip­pers, as I imag­ined being splayed out on the couch, watch­ing a movie with a bowl of ice cream in my hands. It’s been more than a week since I’ve been back, and I’ve yet to do this. It’s hard to pull myself out of the old habit of being pro­duc­tive. Sometimes I need to be wait­ing at a ter­mi­nal in New York with a three-hour lay­over to be able to sit down and enjoy a film.1

large bud

It’s dan­ger­ous to go alone! Take this.

At the same time, I’ve never been more indul­gent, my lat­est vice being those bags of York Peppermint Patties. I fig­ured out that life is too short and I should be enjoy­ing myself when I was sip­ping café allongé on a patio with Karin on a beau­ti­ful Paris day, and I could finally appre­ci­ate this fact when talk­ing to Dennis over our lager on an Edinburgh afternoon.

This is prob­a­bly why I don’t feel over­stim­u­lated, even though I’ve been going full-tilt for the last two months. Darren came over as part of his sab­bat­i­cal, and we did the things I rarely find an excuse to do myself, like going shoe shop­ping or order­ing sushi. Last week I staked him $20 and watched him win $600 when he hit his num­ber at the roulette table, five min­utes after we stepped in the casino. He gave me back a per­cent­age of my win­nings, and he spent the night play­ing black­jack while I bet on the elec­tronic horses. We didn’t end up win­ning much after that, but we both left up.

Lisa even took us danc­ing2, where I learned that the entire appeal of strobe lights is their abil­ity to make every­thing look like a Michael Bay movie filmed in 24p. It turns out this is also a great way to do some people-watching, although you start to get depressed when you see a pair of kids from their respec­tive groups pick­ing a fight with each other cause they’re drunk, then mak­ing up and play­ing grab-ass on the dance floor. Ironically, I ended up being the one sober enough to drive home.

sushi platters

From left to right: Yummy roll (deep fried crab, avo­cado, salmon, white fish — served warm), spicy salmon pizza, eel spe­cial roll, green dragon roll (avo­cado on tem­pura shrimp and cucum­ber), shrimp tem­pura roll, and Philadelphia roll.

Last time I checked, there were over 5000 unread items in my feed reader, and tweets from over a week ago in my Twitter time­line. It’s strange to be so dis­con­nected from life as I knew it. I haven’t writ­ten any­thing in as long either, which is a very long time for me. I con­sid­ered delet­ing this blog, then tak­ing a month off instead, then decided I’d write when I felt like it. The thing is, I always feel like writ­ing, but lately this urge has given way to being pro­duc­tive in other ways or hav­ing fun. It’s like I’m finally on the Taoist path, dis­cov­er­ing that my trip has changed me more than I first thought.

  1. I ended up watch­ing seven on my trav­els, which is prob­a­bly more than all of last year):

    • Sunshine — good as long as you can get over one really big, really stu­pid plot ele­ment. Which I couldn’t, so on the whole this movie sucked, even though it had some of the best direct­ing I’ve ever seen in my life.
    • Network — Unbelievably ahead of it’s time in terms of media commentary
    • The Last Picture Show — a great coming-of-age movie directed by that guy who played Dr. Melfi’s psy­chi­a­trist on the Sopranos, and Cybill Shepherd in her debut role
    • Ladder 49 — I don’t trust Pat’s taste in movies anymore
    • Kung Fu Panda — they were pretty good at the Chinese details
    • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — a fun movie over­all, the best part being that it’s set in Toronto. Also, very dis­ap­pointed at how much of a sell­out Bryan Lee O’Malley is for chang­ing the end­ing based on audi­ence reac­tions at test screenings
    • To Kill a Mockingbird — I wanted to be a lawyer after see­ing this

    []

  2. Which for me is pretty much just sway­ing back and forth while being mes­mer­ized by the gui­tar play­ers. []

Dear Lisa

It was this suc­cinct wit. She could say so much in a line or two, and any­thing left unsaid would only serve to feed your curios­ity. You’d be given the punch­line, this blow that would knock the wind out of you, then won­der what cir­cum­stances could have led up to that. I’ve always been after that style, that abil­ity to move peo­ple with words the way hers used to move me.

Dolly and Lisa

Of course Dolly has to sleep on any­thing new in the house, regard­less of whether it’s your sweater or not. It’s part of the sass, and yet one can’t help but reward her with cud­dles and love.

For a few years, I lost her to the hap­pi­ness (where I hope to lose myself one day) until we spent a rainy day together, blissed out and hope­fully obvi­ous only to the check-out lady who scanned all our vari­eties of chocolate.

Dear Lisa believes in me, and that’s the only rea­son I believe in myself too.

The Process (or why a tree is not a tree)

Take a leaf off a tree. Is it still a tree? Take a sin­gle twig off a tree. Is it still a tree? Remove an entire branch from a tree. Is it still a tree? Take off half of the branches. Is it still a tree? Cut down the whole tree, leav­ing only the stump. Is it still a tree? Many peo­ple would say no, it is no longer a tree, though the roots may still be in the ground. Well, where did the tree go? Removing a leaf, it remains a tree, but not by remov­ing all of the branches and the trunk?

In the real world, there aren’t any things as we com­monly think of them. A ‘thing’ as we refer to it is only a noun. A noun is merely an idea, a men­tal con­struct. These ‘things’ exist only in our minds. There is no tree, there is only the idea of a tree.

—Anonymous

I’ve been writ­ing here for almost a decade, pour­ing 10 years of my life into this blog. I recently con­sid­ered clean­ing up the con­tent by delet­ing a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of my old entries; I’m not the same per­son as when I wrote them, and I don’t even like who I was back then. Not to men­tion the fact that some are rather embar­rass­ing, like read­ing your old diary in high school when the biggest prob­lem was what peo­ple thought when you wore your uni­form cause you for­got it was a Civvies Day.

The prob­lem I was faced with was decid­ing what should be deleted. People aren’t sta­tic; they’re processes, events, evo­lu­tions, made up of cells that con­tin­u­ally renew them­selves on a daily basis. At what defin­able point can I say these entries are no longer me? It could be argued that even posts as recent as a few months ago aren’t an accu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion, though there may still rem­nants of the old me in the habits of my thoughts.

Then I came across this pas­sage in The Tao by Mark Forstater, on the sub­ject of how using human lan­guage to encom­pass and describe a con­cept such as the Tao is log­i­cally sus­pect: “Reality can’t be enclosed and described by words. Symbols aren’t real in the way that a tree is real, and how­ever much we may delude our­selves that they are, we’ll even­tu­ally find that the word ‘water’ won’t quench our thirst.”

I came to accept that the things I write here have never been and never will be a com­plete reflec­tion of who I am, so I’ve decided to keep all the entries. The ones writ­ten by my old self serve as a reminder of who I was, and at the very least, they tell me where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.