kitchen_kink: (mercenary)
The Rubenfeld Synergy folks have known for a long time that our bodies take what we say literally. We "dig in our heels" and "put our foot down," or we "bend over backwards." We feel "down" or "uptight." We "can't stand it!" We're "hip to it." We may feel "beaten down" or like we "shoulder" too many burdens, but we're told to keep a "stiff upper lip" and "keep our chins up." But we need "elbow room," "breathing space," and for someone to "have our back" if we're going to get "back on our feet." When we can "stand tall" in our spines we know that we can "be-long."

And now, The NY Times presents a survey of studies showing that this stuff is all true.
kitchen_kink: (words)
"'The girls,' as the phalanx of secretaries here calls itself"

or

"'The girls,' as the phalanx of secretaries here call themselves"?
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I'm just spinning some long-term thoughts here, but any leads would be appreciated.

On December 2, I'm having the Craig Lucas play, Reckless, read aloud at Theatre @ First to see if it's a viable candidate for production at said theatre. If I direct it, it would most likely happen next fall.

The play has two characters who are supposed to be fluent in sign, and another who learns it during the course of the show. I know very little sign, and don't feel confident that I can learn it fluently and accurately enough by next fall to teach the actors what they need to know to look convincing.

Is there anybody out there in LJ-land or in your extended network who might be interested in being an ASL consultant for a community theatre production next fall?
kitchen_kink: (Default)
This word, for some reason, is filling me with goofy wonder today - especially the second definition:

gnomon (NO-mon) noun

1. The raised arm of a sundial that indicates the time of day by its
shadow.

2. The remaining part of a parallelogram after a similar smaller
parallelogram has been taken away from one of the corners.


The word is ultimately from the root meaning "to know," which makes sense for the first definition. But the second?

All I can think of is a lonely parallelogram crying out after its fleeing part, "Come baaaaack!"
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I am supposed to write an essay for my grad school application in which I describe my experience of a work of art and why it was powerful and meaningful to me.

In 300 words.

Are they fucking kidding me? With the piece I've chosen, it takes me that many words to describe the piece, let alone my reaction to it, although I suppose those things are inseparable.

Sigh. I guess there's a reason I'm a fiction writer and not a poet. I'm not so great at the concision thing.

Hey, [livejournal.com profile] the_xtina - does that 100 words a day thing still exist? I think now would be a great time for me to try it out. Stories in 100 words, precisely. I could use the practice.
kitchen_kink: (grammar)
To me, it seems the process of writing a long piece is a bit like the process of putting together a patchwork quilt, then trying to turn it into a knitted blanket or woven tapestry. I start, usually, not so much with an idea as with a character and a voice. I start at the ostensible beginning, writing in the voice of the character or in third person around the character, describing her, building her, giving her surroundings, interests, relatinoships, place. Then I decide what situation to put her in. More often than not, other characters arise, situations develop, and more than one story starts to wind through the narrative. And before I know it, I have one storyline about a regular girl in love, and another about that same regular girl being dragged into an epic struggle of supernatural intrigue. It's all stitched together like a quilt made of little bursts of story, anecdote, description and dialogue, and then I need to tear apart all the little patches into threads and weave them together.

It's this last part that's so unbearably difficult for me, that I think is the reason I often start long projects and don't finish them. I go back and look at them, analyze them, enjoy the fact that some passages (sometimes, as now, even many passages) make me laugh aloud or move me, but I can't stand the idea of tearing them apart, filling in the blank spaces, rearranging them to make them work as a coherent narrative. Sometimes I think I should stick to short stories, but often when I try it they come out long, like mini-novellas that want expansion.

Ah well. Back to work.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I find I can't even think about this conflict between Israel and Hezbollah without wanting to cry, scream or tear my hair out. Or all of those things. Perhaps also rip W a new one. But what else is new.

The only think I've been able to focus on is the disparate panoply of pronunciations for one of the key players in this war. In fact, thinking about that keeps me just a little bit sane during the continuous barrage of news from NPR and the BBC.

So, forgive me if this seems flippant. But seriously:

[Poll #784507]
kitchen_kink: (romantic)
I asked [livejournal.com profile] sen_no_ongakyu to write a choral piece around the following text for my wedding, which he did, beautifully. At the same time, though, I realized that this poem pretty much sums up how I feel about the universe.


love is the every only god

who spoke this earth so glad and big
even a thing all small and sad
man,may his mighty briefness dig

for love beginning means return
seas who could sing so deep and strong

one queerying wave will whitely yearn
from each last shore and home come young

so truly perfectly the skies
by merciful love whispered were,
completes its brightness with your eyes

any illimitable star

-e.e. cummings
kitchen_kink: (writing)
The subject line: "The only real cure for we ght loss."

Too...many...jokes...

Okay first of all, in this culture, is anyone really looking for a cure for weight loss?? With apologies to those rare few who are underweight and have trouble maintaining body mass, to whom I doubt that this message was directed.

Secondly...notice that the subject line itself is already experiencing some weight loss.

And, without getting too punny about it...once you start losing 'i's, the rest of your sense is sure to follow...
kitchen_kink: (laughing domme)
Scene: Joshua Tree, a bar in Davis Square that's generally really loud. Dietrich and Imlad are there to get some food, worn out after respective long days. A little background: Imlad generally has some minor lapses in usage and pronunciation of English after 8 pm.

Dietrich: Isn't the game gonna distract us?

Imlad: What? No, I'm certainly not gonna watch it.

D: No, I mean the noise.

I: Oh. No, to me it all fades into black n- blah - white noise.

D: (genuinely curious) What would black noise be?

I: (instantly) *makes beatbox noises*

D: *falls over*
kitchen_kink: (scary)
If menstruating grosses you out or strikes you as improper LJ discussion, feel free to read no further. However, I hope that this will actually bring some cheer to people, particularly the ladies on my friends list.

I woke up in a terrible mood and without energy, due to it being the first day of my period. (My only reward for this event, monthly, is that my pants fit again after a week of awful bloating.)

I decided that the best way to deal with my resultant homicidal desires was to write poetry about them. Therefore I give you several angry period haiku. )

for [livejournal.com profile] regyt

Feb. 7th, 2005 12:44 am
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I've never quite understood New York. I like it well enough, but ultimately I find it too big, too ungainly and overwhelming, and after a few days there I'm usually happy to leave and get back to my funky suburb of my manageable little city.

But I appreciate people with a fierce love for a place like that; I think it says something brave and sharp and indomitable about them. People who love New York seem to me to be harder than most folks, but purer, too, more fully themselves. People who love New York have to protect their own personalities, not to get trampled or stripped by that impossible, merciless confusion. It crushes people under its teeming pressure until the ones who survive it are diamonds. [livejournal.com profile] dr_memory is another such sort. But when I read this passage in Jeanette Winterson's Gut Symmetries (incidentally, a book that's great in parts, but overall disappointing for those who love Winterson generally), I thought of [livejournal.com profile] regyt.

[After the first time she sleeps with her married lover, the main character Alice takes a midnight walk from Central Park to the Battery to think.]

I ignored the Stop-Go of the endless intersection traffic lights and took my chance across the quieted roads. Not night, not day, the city was suspended, its cries and shouts fainter now, its roar a rumble, like something far off. In the centre of it I felt like a creature on the edge. This is a city of edges, grand sharp, precipitous, unsafe. It is a city of corners not curves. Always a choice has to be made; which way now? A city of questions, mouthy and insolent, a built Sphinx to riddle at the old world.

I learned to feel comfortable in New York the way a fakir learns to feel comfortable on a bed of nails; enjoy it. Beauty and pain are not separate. That is so clear here. It is a crucible city, an alchemical vessel where dirt and glory do effect transformation. No one who succumbs to this city remains as they were. Its indifference is its possibility. Here you can be anything.

If you can. I was quite aware that much of what gets thrown into an alchemical jar is destroyed. Self-destroyed. The alchemical process breaks down substances according to their own laws. If there is anything vital, it will be distilled. If not...

Undecieve yourself Alice, a great part of you is trash.

True, but my hope lies in the rest.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Current university as consumer haven.

Some highlights:

How I feel in class every day:
"Too often now the pedagogical challenge is to make a lot from a little. Teaching Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey," you ask for comments. No one responds. So you call on Stephen. Stephen: "The sound, this poem really flows." You: "Stephen seems interested in the music of the poem. We might extend his comment to ask if the poem's music coheres with its argument. Are they consistent? Or is there an emotional pain submerged here that's contrary to the poem's appealing melody?" All right, it's not usually that bad. But close. One friend describes it as rebound teaching: they proffer a weightless comment, you hit it back for all you're worth, then it comes dribbling out again. Occasionally, a professor will try to explain away this intellectual timidity by describing the students as perpetrators of postmodern irony, a highly sophisticated mode. Everything's a slick counterfeit, a simulacrum, so by no means should any phenomenon be taken seriously. But the students don't have the urbane, Oscar Wilde-type demeanor that should go with this view. Oscar was cheerful, funny, confident, strange. (Wilde, mortally ill, living in a Paris flophouse: "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.") This generation's style is considerate, easy to please, and a touch depressed."

The value of genius:
"A world uninterested in genius is a despondent place, whose sad denizens drift from coffee bar to Prozac dispensary, unfired by ideals, by the glowing image of the self that one might become. As Northrop Frye says in a beautiful and now dramatically unfashionable sentence, "The artist who uses the same energy and genius that Homer and Isaiah had will find that he not only lives in the same palace of art as Homer and Isaiah, but lives in it at the same time." We ought not to deny the existence of such a place simply because we, or those we care for, find the demands it makes intimidating, the rent too high."
kitchen_kink: (skeptical)
Usually I like it a lot when a song's music mirrors the lyrics' intent.

But Robert Smith singing, "Over and over and over again," well, over and over and over again, is just freakin' annoying.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
The buzzer rang yesterday at around 6:30 and I was surprised: our guests weren't due until 7:30 or 8, and [livejournal.com profile] imlad wasn't yet home. As I trundled downstairs to answer it (our apartment has no way of buzzing people in), I heard the neighbor's buzzer sound as well, and though I could not yet see the visitor, I had some misgivings, though I hoped it would simply be the UPS man uncertain of which doorbell was which.

Instead, I was greeted by a smooth-cheeked, toothy young lady in a red shirt, bearing the DNC logo. She was brandishing a clipboard in my general direction, and was careful to get her entire enthusiastic speech out, all the time looking directly into my eyes, before I could interrupt or say a word other than "hello."

In spite of my natural desire to dismiss her out of hand and shut the door to return to my cooking, I simply couldn't do it. Not because the cause moves me particularly or doesn't - it does, in fact; I want Kerry elected more than I've wanted anything in politics since I wanted Bush not to declare war on Iraq two years ago. It's more because I'm particularly susceptible to young kids earnestly pushing their various fundraising campaigns door-to-door.

Sure, it's hard going up to individual people's houses and bothering them around dinnertime to beg for money, and I sympathize with that. But more to the point, I empathize with that - because I did it for a summer, and man, it's the hardest frickin' job in the world.

I'm not sure how most organizations work, but I know how PIRG and Clean Water Action - two of the most successful environment and other public interest fundraising organizations - operate in terms of their lowest level employees.

Ever see those signs that say, "Work for the Environment! Make $300-$500 a week!" Yeah, I answered that ad once. And ended up working for the New Jersey Environmental Federation, an inveterate group of young wiseguys and older, earnest types who spend their time between 4 pm and 9 pm going door-to-door in various neighborhoods, spreading the word about one disaster or another (poisonous insecticides on your kids' schoolgrounds, mercury in your fish) that we're attempting to pass a resolution or law to prevent, reverse or correct. All you have to do is give us some money.

If it matters to you, and if such people have come to your door in the past, you should know that half of that money (with taxes taken out first, of course) goes into that little college student's pocket, which, for the hot (or cold), potentially dangerous, humiliating, demoralizing nature of the work, seems to me to be far less than their fair share. The rest of it goes to fund their lobbying groups and keep operations up. The people who run these things are nonprofit warriors to a man or woman, dedicated, honest, and working in lousy office conditions. We drove to our locations in beat-up Econolines. We practiced our "raps" to each other, the enthusiastic speech I mentioned earlier, over the bumps in the road and the loud engine. We had a whole vocabulary, a parlance of door-to-door fundraising, starting with the word "canvassing." People in houses were known as "doors," as in, "I had this one door tonight that let me in the house and invited me to dinner!" Once you had your door's attention, you made sure to keep their eyes as you delivered your rap, and to clip them - get your clipboard into their hands - as early as possible, without letting them look at it until you were done talking. That attitude of sunny rapport, and the pushiness and lack of change in expression when you tell them, again and again, that you simply can't give right now, that you gave at the office, that you can't afford the $25 "membership" level donation - that's called "assuming support." "That's okay," you probably hear those kids say over and over when you insist that you can't afford it, "folks are just giving five or ten dollars." Assume support. Go to every door imagining that this person is already on your side, already reaching for their checkbook. In our case, we had weird numbers, to be fun and also to get checks instead of cash, to get addresses: $6, $12, $25, $60. A $60 giver was called a sustainer, and boy were they ever, in making up half of your quota for the night. The desperation with which the fundraiser will finally just ask if you can pitch in a couple bucks became known, thanks to a hilarious, extremely bright surfer boy called John Hogan, as the "buckertwo." Once he steamrolled over a door's noisy objections to his very presence by insistently chanting, "Buck-or-two-buck-or-two buckertwobuckertwobuckertwo buck - er - two!" He later became so disenchanted with the job that he replaced our field manager's common exhortation "Make it happen" with "Let it happen."

I had a lot of highs, a lot of failures, and a lot of stories from that job. Someday they'll become a short story, I think. In any case, now, whenever one of those people come to the door, whatever their cause, with their little clipboards and their hopeful faces and endless positivity, I smile back. I grade them on their technique. Sometimes I even give a contribution. Because that's their job, and I know what that job is like. It sucks. And if you don't make your quota, you get fired.

But yesterday, I didn't. I went back into my comfortable house, back to my cooking, after she insisted three times and I, like Peter, three times denied her. Maybe I'm getting a bit hard in my old age.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I'm interested in finding a group in which to practice Spanish conversation and brush up on grammar and vocab. Anyone either 1) know of such a thing that's cheap or free, 2) know where to look for such things, or 3) want to start one and has vastly superior Spanish skills to mine?
kitchen_kink: (pleased)
Walking through Davis Square this morning, I saw a poster at the Somerville Theatre for the film, Secret Window. Under the title, it said, "From the writer of Panic Room."

I must admit that what I thought next was, "And coming soon, Inscrutable Doorjamb, Neurotic Wainscoting, and Suicidally Depressed Linoleum."
kitchen_kink: (Default)
What's inherently funnier of these two spankin' new spam sender names?

Reprocess P. Buckley

or

Befog C. Demitasses

?
kitchen_kink: (happy)
I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude today, on the subway, then read the last few pages again over lunch. Its ending had a strange effect on me: I was moved to tears, but not necessarily because of sadness; they were the kind of elated tears that come along with a big, unbelieving smile, the sheer astonishment that an author could accomplish what he'd just accomplished, and also the vague sense that he's just had one over on you, but it was a really, really good joke with an important message, so you can't do anything but laugh.

I didn't find any quotations I really needed to have as sig files or anything until the very last section, at which point I found two meta-quotations that I adored:

"It had never occurred to him until then to think that literature was the best plaything that had ever been invented to make fun of people..."

and

"The world must be all fucked up...when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."

Especially considering the trick he pulls at the end, these two sentiments are just amazing to me. I won't reveal the magic key of this book that left me with a big smile on my face. Just read it.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
More anti-Franceism, more hatred toward Muslims, more clueless protestors! Yay! I can never get enough!

So the sidewalk across the street from my work seems to be a popular spot for idiot protestors. Today it was a Jewish group, once again protesting against France. When I emerged from the building, they were yelling, "End the hate! End the hate!" Good idea, I thought. Then a woman handed me this leaflet. Watch carefully for the hidden message, kids!

***
France: Arrest the Arab Thugs

On the Sabbath afternoon of March 22, three French Jewish children were beaten by racist thugs.

The incident took place during a massive anti-war anti-America protest. Among the "peace" marchers were French Arabs who marched carrying large sticks and wearing keffiyas. They spotted a Jewish boy on a sidewalk and beat him. The Muslims then raced down a street leading away from the line of march, shouting 'there are Jews over there.' When they reached the door of the JCC (the Centre Benard Lazare), they beat two more fourteen-year-old Jewish boys arriving for a Sabbath youth group meeting.

The marauding Muslims actually shouted anti-Semitic verses from the Koran as they beat the Jewish boys. They were attempting to batter down the door of the Jewish Centre when police arrived.

No arrests have been made despite the presence of numerous witnesses and the existence of television film shot by a French news crew that filmed the entire incident.

This attack is far from isolated. There were four times as many violent racist attacks in France in 2002 as in 2001, a wave of violent assaults on Jews not seen in Europe since before WWII.

We demand that the French government arrest the Arab thugs who beat up Jewish children.

***
Now, I won't even go into the little dig at anti-war protestors and the implication that this war is just. But I did go up to the little crowd and address the people who seemed to be in charge.

"Excuse me," I said. "I just got handed this leaflet. Can I ask you something?

Sure I could, they said.

"This is terrible, of course, and of course these people should be arrested. But does it strike you as ironic at all that while you're over here chanting 'End the hate, end the hate,' your literature refers to 'Arab Thugs' and 'Marauding Muslims,' and implies that all Muslims are bad??" (I wanted to say, "implies racism toward Muslims and obliquely implicates that religion and thus all of its members, rather than a small group of zealots, in the current wave of violence toward Jews?" But I don't think that fast on my feet.)

To their credit, I got some mumbles, an agreement from an older gentleman who said he had objected to the language in the leaflets, and no angry response.

Still. Calling for the arrest of these racist scum while at the same time pointing out as many times as possible that these racist scum are Arabs, down to describing their dress and hypocritically pointing out the hatespeech in the Koran? (Have they looked at their book lately?)

"Reactionary tactics don't make for very effective protests," I called over my shoulder as I crossed the street.

I know I'm probably going to get skewered and roasted on a spit for this, but it just made me hopping mad.

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dietrich

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