dimanche 2 janvier 2011

Happy New Year

I have taken a couple good resolutions for 2011. I think they are realistic... Are they?

1. Learn the piano.
2. Stop eating at the restaurant 5 times a week. Cook more.
3. Go running at least once a week.
4. Save $8000 by the end of the year.
5. Finish my quilt and start a new creative project. 
6. I'm gonna have to read the California driver's handbook. The license can wait another year.
7. Read and make vocabulary lists. Improve my vocabulary.

dimanche 28 novembre 2010

On the Road Vocabulary

This is a list of new words that I found in Jack Kerouac's On the Road, in order of apparition:

1. Jalopy
Meaning: an old car in dilapidated condition.
Context: "Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on they way to Los Angeles.

2. Stultified
Meaning: bored or enervated, foolish or absurd.
Context: ...because my life hanging around the campus had reached the completion of its cycle and was stultified...

3. Haze
Meaning: i) a slight obscuration of the lower atmosphere, typically caused by fine suspended particles. ii) a state of obscurity or confusion: through an alcoholic haze.
Context: And here for the first time in my life, I saw my beloved Mississippi River, dry in the summer haze, low water, with its big rank smell that smells like the body of America itself because it washes up.

4. Hotrod
Meaning: a motor vehicle that has been specially modified to give it extra power and speed.
Context: A hotrod kid came by with his scarf flying.

5. Dismal
Meaning: i) causing or showing gloom or depression; dreary. ii) pitifully or disgracefully bad.
Context: ...it was only cute suburban cottages of one damn kind and another, all laid out in the dismal gray dawn.

6. Rawhide
Context: ...here came this rawhide oldtimer Nebraska farmer...

7. Forlornly
Meaning: i) pitifully sad and lonely. ii) unlikely to succeed or be fulfilled.
Context: Here Eddie stood forlornly in the road in front of a staring bunch of short, squat Omaha Indians who had nowhere to go and nothing to do.

8. Rickety
Meaning: Poorly made and likely to collapse.
Context: I bought cough drops in a rickety Indian store of some kind.

9. Howl
Meaning: i) a long doleful cry uttered by an animal such as a dog. a loud cry of pain, amusement, etc. ii) verb; make a howling sound.
Context: The train howled off across the plains in the direction of our desires.

10. Burlap
Meaning: coarse canvas woven from jute or hemp, used for sacking.
Context: ...and sleeping on some gilt wagon on a bed of burlap.

11. Contraption
Meaning: a machine or device that appears strange or unnecessarily complicated.
Context: A funny old contraption rolled by, driven by an old man...

12. Bumpkin
Definition: an unsophisticated country person.
Context: ...the most smiling, cheerful couple of handsome bumpkins you could ever wish to see, both wearing cotton shirts and overalls, nothing else...

13. Sardonic
Definition: grimly mocking or cynical.
Context: Montana Slim spoke to them occasionally with a sardonic and insinuating smile.

14. Disconsolate
Definition: very unhappy and unable to be comforted.
Context: when we all got back, they were still sitting in the truck, forlorn and disconsolate.

15. Somersault
Definition: i) an acrobatic movement in which a person turns head over heels in the air or on the ground and finishes on their feet. ii) a dramatic upset or reversal of policy or opinion.
Context: ...the truck bounced and teetered from one side of the road to the other [...] and I thought we'd all take a somersault.

16. Squander
Definition: waste in a reckless or foolish manner.
Context: They had no cigarettes. I squandered my pack on them, I loved them so.

17. Lanky
Definition: ungracefully thin and tall.
Context: ...tall lanky men in jeans clustered in the dim light like moths on the desert...

18. Lull
Definition: a temporary period of quiet or inactivity.
Context: There was a lull when we came in.

19. Tarpaulin
Definition: heavy-duty waterproof cloth, originally of tarred canvas.
Context: ...the best thing to do now was for all of us to bundle up under the big tarpaulin or we'd freeze.

20. Glorying
Definition: take great pride or pleasure in.
Context: Flat on my back, I stared straight up at the magnificent firmament, glorying in the time I was making, in how far I had come...

mercredi 24 novembre 2010

I'm going, Facebook.

I am leaving Facebook, indefinitely. As of Thursday 25 at 9am, I haven't checked my Facebook page for 15 hours.
I didn't close my account but I reinforced my privacy settings so that my wall is no longer visible.
I logged out.
I didn't leave any message, I made a perfectly unnoticed exit.

This is what is sad about Facebook: the illusion that you are connected. The soft, anonymous stalking has altered the palette of human interactions. Commenting on someone's pictures, leaving a message on a wall, slowly dissolves the necessity of actually spending time with others. It's self-service friendship.

I have grown mute.
With a community of friends that includes my husband, family, childhood friends, friends from grad school, and people I don't know; half of this community speaking French and the other half speaking English, what could I possibly say that is relevant?

Facebook is not weaving relationships, it is dissolving them.
It's wasting precious time with pointless, simili-interactions.
While you are on Facebook, you are not looking into your lover's eyes, your are not listening to your friends.

Loneliness is the feeling I always had on Facebook. Seeing other people's pictures, happier, together, good-looking, somewhere I'm not, reminds me bitterly that I'm only on my couch, by myself.
Hopefully my happy pictures thrown at their face have the same effects on them.
It's a war.

How many hours a day do we spend on Facebook?
It has become a reflex, even if we don't write, even if we don't stay: always, mechanically check the Facebook page. What are they doing, thinking, saying, liking?

Facebook, I'm gone.
It's difficult to accept that an entire world is happening without me, where I'm no longer playing any role, but I need to go away, for clarity of mind.

Are they talking about me? Did they notice my absence?
If they do they'll call me.

jeudi 18 novembre 2010

lundi 19 avril 2010

Ôde à l'Océan

I rarely write on this blog. I neither find the inspiration to write good things, nor the courage to report my grim feelings. Yet the background is black; I shouldn't be this reluctant.
Some days, I'll wake up and feel like I can't confront what's usually natural to me. I'm not strong enough to stand and go out to the world, smile to people and do my job.
Other days I'll float in the wind with a pretty flower dress, and I'll think: "I know this street I'm walking on, I know this city. They're mine." But this hasn't happened in a while.

Today, I feel doomed.
It's one of these days where I endure agonizing emptiness; I am unable to connect to the people I love. I am an island.

I have a picture of a man flying a kite on Ocean Beach on a grayday. The beach is empty, except for him, and completely silent. Even the sound of the wind has deserted this memory. The sand is golden-brown, the horizon line is blurry, the sky is an opaque gray lid. Everything is motionless except for this man, far in the distance, with a red jacket, flying a kite.

This is how it feels.
This is what I mean when I say
"I have Ocean Beach inside."

vendredi 26 mars 2010

We Are Bears

We are bears.
Striking broken cauldrons,
Firing sounds up to the stars,
To watch them dance in the infinity.

We are bears.
Trying to forget,
Along the spectacle,
That we’ll die without a name.

We are bears,
Grumpy and clumsy,
Hungry for creation.
Thirsty for destruction, we scream!
We bleed, and make bleed.

Then we sit in a circle
And with a quiescent smile,
We look at the moving pictures: Pretty white teeth, sharp.
Pretty brown eyes.
Soft, coarse fur.
Together, we learn.

My nocturnal monster,
In blue pajama pants,
Running like a child,

Your scars will turn into butterflies,
And beat their wings to the tune of your imagination.

jeudi 7 janvier 2010

I graduated!

Je viens de recevoir mes notes de ce semestre: A, A, A et A; de quoi casser la baraque au poker. J'ai enfin terminé mon MBA, et avec lui, l'école en général. Si on m'avait dit plus tôt que j'allais faire un bac+8, j'aurais choisi d'être chirurgien, ou architecte. Ou strip-tiseuse.
Ouf! c'est fini.

Bonne année 2010!

A Glimpse of the Moon

The screen framed a moon landscape, beautiful and gray, where a little wooden dwelling stood like an anomaly. The astronaut had finally received green light to approach the construction, and was trekking, laboriously, through the depressed gravity. He was breathing his words heavily inside the helmet. “This is not the work of the NASA."
His life system was gargling.
"It looks like a slump."

Ezra had turned the TV over to follow the developments of the mission and was watching the broadcast from the living room TV, mesmerized by the unexpected turn things took.

The gloved hand stretched to knock at the door—a silent knock—then waited.

He pushed the door open.

Inside the cabin, there was light. The camera slowly scanned the room. It revealed all sorts of objects: a heap of sheets and cloth, similar to a camp bed; a desk, pencils, a bookshelf….
These are human objects,” said the voice inside the helmet. And, zooming on a particular book lying on the floor: “It's a copy of The Odyssey. It is in English."

The camera shifted to explore the ceiling and structure of the place. The little house reminded Ezra of the cabin his father had built in the communal backyard, back in Boston when he was a child. Him and Gaël used to play there in the summer, until a hobo decided to make it its home, scaring the kids away.

There was a clicking sound and the camera operated a complete turn towards the entrance. A young man was standing in the doorway with a female companion behind him. The man was about 6 feet tall, with short dark hair and big brown eyes. Homo sapiens sapiens. He was wearing black jeans and a white shirt, and looked at the camera with defiance.
"What's going on here?" he said. And, without waiting for an answer, he commanded that the astronaut turn off the camera.

The screen went black.

"What a fucking joke!" cried said Ezra, throwing the remote control at the screen.
And he called Gaël.