work in progress
with tiny letters
perhaps never written
in the restless narrator
work in progress
with tiny letters
perhaps never written
in the restless narrator
Festivals and holidays are different kind of affairs for introverts. We do not go out of our way to meet people, and the ones who make an effort to see us soon realise that they’d be making us even happier if they’d leave us to our plans. After all, holidays are all about taking it easy and doing what we enjoy.
So with only one day available to pack a good amount of fun into, I have decided to start a book I’d been meaning to read for quite sometime, and watch two movies (from a long list of supposedly great ones).Being a huge Haruki Murakami fan, I had been looking forward to watch, Drive My Car, but I couldn’t find it on the streaming service. The Power of the Dog and The Lost Daughter are the ones I shall be watching instead. I have read good things about them.
Previously skeptical, I have now wramed up to the idea of reading along with the audio narration and Audible has been great so far. I hope that Catch-22 will be an incredible experience. There’s no way I’d be able to finish it in a day though.😁
This year has been a blur and it feels as if all I have done is live from one break to the next. I find myself unable to recall what I had been taking a break from most of the times. It had felt good to dissociate nonetheless. I think.
Tonight, I am taking a break from taking too many breaks by taking yet another break. It involves me, a book (which I am co-reading with a stranger; he reads aloud while I read quietly, otherwise known as an audiobook), and some loose granola with chocolate chunks in it (got to keep things interesting). Have a great Saturday everyone!
*The featured image has been captured by me.
I hate to cheat
I feel scared
For there is a lot
That I need
But not enough time,
So with three
At the same time,
My heart looks
For a home
In the fourth one.
Two eyes, one mind,
And your entire world
A giant shelf,
With books spilling over!
to lose yourself
in the pages of a book,
someone else’s strange,
is not that unusual,
for the real
when you find
yourself in there.
I captured the featured picture today while enjyoing homemade dalgona coffee and reading Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevesky, translated by Constance Garnett.
I love trying my hand at blackout poetry (also known as erasure poetry)! When I am reading in bed after a long day, and have trouble focusing, certain words on the page pop-up. I used to think it was weird before, but ever since I found out about this form of poetry, I have been underlining the words in my books to later turn them into poems. It is fun!
woke up everything
in my memory-
darkness full of fumes
hovering over me,
seeking an outlet
You ask sceptically,
“Are you glad to see me?”
Taken aback by your inability
To recognise visible glee,
I tell you in a way
That I know makes
The most sense to you and me,
“I am as happy as I get
When I see a bookstall
In the middle of nowhere
With a sign that says “Free“!”
“The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more.”
Patricia A. McKillip, The Bell at Sealey Head
It is difficult to separate someone’s personal tragedy from their art. You cannot be oblivious to the darkness that peeks out from their masterpieces, especially if they were not even trying to conceal it in the first place. I remember struggling with The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath a few years ago. I had read it for my virtual book club, but I couldn’t bring myself to show up (virtually) for its discussion. Simply put, it had left me feeling wretched! The book had such a melancholic tone throughout, with no hope of anything getting any better. All I could do was empathise with the protagonist as she kept going deeper into throes of depression, but I also could not help but get frustrated by things getting bleaker with every turn of the page. I have a habit of reading books more than once, but I have not been able to pick up The Bell Jar again. No matter how much I want to.
A few days ago, I discovered a Sylvia Plath’s poem that made me want to read more. The poem is called Daddy and is quite famous, but somehow, I had never heard of it before, even though I was familiar with some of her poems. I discovered her collection of poems titled, Ariel, and immediately purchased it from the bookstore. Her poetry is as melancholic as her prose, maybe even more so, but boy, is it exquisite!
Her words are a cry for help and a reckoning at the same time. You feel her pain and despair but get taken aback by how observant she was of everything around her! She has written about everyday little things of life, vices of the society, and feminism with such shocking clarity that it makes you realise how deeply she had felt everything she wrote about, and how insightful she was! In every poem of hers in this collection, the flow is effortless, words are spellbinding, and in spite of palpable despair and a lingering feeling of impending doom, there is ethereal beauty. My favourite poems from the book are Ariel, Lay Lazarus, Daddy, Tulips, A Birthday Present, Getting There, Kindness and Edge. I am sharing excerpts from Lady Lazarus and Tulips.
The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut
As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.
(Excerpts from the collection of poems, Ariel by Sylvia Plath)
If you find The Bell Jar gut-wrenching, this collection can completely crush you, but it is worth it. You get a chance to see the world through her eyes while you, along with her, try to make peace with the tragedy of it all. You cannot.
I. A Beeping Reminder
Oh, how the beeping was fainting every day! Presbycusis was catching up with him. It was always 22:30, it seemed. A timer for something. He no longer remembers what he had set it up for.
22:30. The last time he had heard from his parents. Many years ago.
II. Hush up!
There is a stranger in the hallway. I have not talked to anyone today. They tell me that I go about deflating other people. I don’t know what that means. What if this stranger is actually looking for someone to talk to? Besides, his coat looks too big for his body. I should tell him.
I was enraged. All the A’s were missing from my cereal bowl. How I loved them! It is strange, but the A’s taste the best. I let my mother know about the missing A’s. She shows me my biology report card instead. There is a C there.
He works six days a week, goes on educational trips, attends seminars, and reads in his free time. He tells them that he has made it. He asks them to not waste a single minute of their lives.
He is her favourite motivational speaker. She listens to him while washing the dishes. Three times a day, for three hours. There are fifteen people in her house, and not enough money for a dishwasher.
My older brother has the best taste in movies. Every Sunday, I call him to get recommendations. However, I had not anticipated how different everything was going to be this weekend. I call him, and he suggests a documentary! My brother had his thirtieth birthday two days ago.
At different times.
She checks herself out
From her personal library,
Based only on what she sees;
For she was not like a cover,
But more of a book jacket,
Comfortable and beautiful.
He always buys books
From the wandering peddlers;
There is more than one town
On his nightstand.
If you do not want to hear a strange buzzing inside your ears, and do not feel like thinking faster than you can act, then it is wise to not have coffee muffin cake (with dalgona coffee icing) with coffee! I feel like staying up all night to read and watch a movie (taking a little break this weekend), but I’d be surprised if I manage to get anything done tonight! Turns out there is such a thing as too much coffee after all. 😁
I am currently halfway through Normal People by Sally Rooney, but I am not so sure if I’d finish it. The pile of unread books on my nightstand is calling out to me.
As for the movie, I want to watch Stowaway as I have heard good things about it, but I am pretty sure that I’d end up rewatching either The Shawshank Redemption or The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
There are so many books that I have yet to explore,
But I cannot keep adding to my shelves anymore,
And tonight there is nothing that I would like to do more
Than to sail away on a paper boat
Assembled from all the pages that I have read before.
“If you truly love a book, you should sleep with it, write in it, read aloud from it, and fill its pages with muffin crumbs.”
Featured image is from Pexels
The mystical aspect of life can both be wonderful and bewildering at the same time. You cannot help but marvel at the way certain events unfold sometimes – unexpectedly but not unnecessarily. I had Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet on my to-be-read list since ages, and a few days ago I suddenly got this strange urge to shelve the other book I had been reading, and go for it instead. I had not realised how much I had needed to read it until then. The universe must have known though!
It is rare to come across a book that does an excellent job of describing everyday feelings this eloquently. It is a marvelous, melancholic, and achingly wistful book, with so many quotable passages.
“Impressions are incommunicable unless we make them literary. Children are particularly literary, for they say what they feel and not what someone has taught them to feel. Once I heard a child, who wished to say that he was on the verge of tears, say not ‘I feel like crying,’ which is what an adult, i.e. an idiot, would say, but rather, ‘I feel like tears.’ And this phrase – so literary it would seem affected in a well-known poet, if he could ever invent it – decisively refers to the warm presence of tears about to burst from eyelids that feel the liquid bitterness. ‘I feel like tears’! That small child aptly defined his spiral.”
“I’m a navigator engaged in unknowing myself. I’ve overcome everything where I’ve never been. And this somnolence that allows me to walk, bent forward in a march over the impossible, feels like a fresh breeze.Everyone has his alcohol. To exist is alcohol enough for me. Drunk from feeling, I wander as I walk straight ahead. When it’s time, I show up at the office like everyone else. When it’s not time, I go to the river to gaze at the river, like everyone else. I’m no different. And behind all this, O sky my sky, I secretly constellate and have my infinity.”
Excerpts from The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
It was on a night as cold as this one when I had found out that I was one of those people who could study comfortably with noise in the background.
Everyone else in the house was sleeping soundly that night and I had a lot of studying left to do before I could go to bed. I felt angry and sad that I had to study so much and had to do it alone. I had one of those early mobile phones in which you could listen to the live transmissions broadcasted from the local radio stations but I was not a big fan of those. However, I ended up playing one of those stations in my ears while I studied that night and felt oddly at peace knowing that someone else had to be awake as well. I had studied that entire year with those radio stations serving as white noise. I got a better phone later and could play other things besides the local radio stations. I would then have my own playlist on while studying. I do that to this day. I cannot study at night without another noise inside my head.
I have listened to a few audiobooks but had to read the physical books later. Not a fan of those either. Yesterday, I stumbled across the audio-narration (on Youtube) of the book I was reading and I decided to do a little experiment – I tried to read along with it! It did not go well. I had to increase the playback speed but even then I kept reading at my own pace and completely ignored the audio-narration. It turns out that I can study with the background noise but I cannot co-read.
Here’s a short poem inspired by the above-mentioned events:
We are not keeping pace with each other,
one of us is always a few words behind,
pausing after every other line,
and exclaiming loudly at all the wrong points,
but we are still trying our best
to asynchronously co-read the night away!
This year hasn’t been great for reading for me. No surprises here, since this year hasn’t been great for pretty much anything. Despite having enough time on my hands in Summer while I was working from home, I couldn’t bring myself to finish whatever I was reading. I was not in a reading slump exactly – it was more of a general slump (apathy in other words)!
Last month was a little better though for I was able to finish two marvelous books. Now that the bookworm in me has slowly crept out of its den, I hope it will be making the ambitious November proud. Out of the eight unfinished books that I have on my nightstand (oh, my), fingers crossed, I have planned to read the following three books (small steps, if you will) to the end:
Happy reading to everyone out there! 🙂
I am drowning in a sea
Of unfinished books, calm and unafraid,
Don’t throw me a raft, I do not want to be saved!
The Octobers are all about fun experiments. Since I am a huge fan of Haruki Murakami, here’s an idea:
Wake up and pretend for the entire day ahead that you are a protagonist from any one of Murakami’s stories! Let the weariness wash over you, pick up those calls from unknown numbers and be creeped out, boil some pasta, stare and pet a few stray cats, take a stroll and listen to The Beatles all day long. Even then if you don’t feel blue enough somehow (highly unlikely), then start recalling every little thing you may have done wrong in your life, while lying awake at night with The Beatles still playing in the background (of course).
That’s pretty much the introvert’s version of things but if you are too out there, then you can throw some people in the mix too – the strangers with weird hair, pretty eyes and other physical features or personality traits you can spend hours mulling over in your head!
Wow, what an extraordinary day you’d have! 🙂