And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot

Thursday, February 28, 2008
the raven
everyday at dusk, hundreds of ravens come to the tree outside our house to roost. against the sunset, on the top of the hill, silhouetted, almost magical. twilight, and ravens. in myths, the raven is a trickster figure, something like the winnebago trickster--intelligent, a creator, formless, androgynous, fluid.

in the kitchen, i am a laughing woman. i sit with sasha, amidst the steam. i wonder what we'll all be, after college. we pause for a moment to take in the wonder of this life. i can't believe i met you at the shabbat dinner, and now you're living with me, she says. i can imagine you in san diego, in california, doing something. california, san diego. i laugh. spinach is being sauted--the smell of onions and butter. my chicken and tomatoes are frying. and in the oven, there is the smell of crust and ricotta. bundle up. i am already a stuffed whale, i reply. get your butt on a sled. in my mind, i am a raven, calling in the sunset, formless, androgenous, laughing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
science and biology
the day i turned 20, or was it 21?--i wasn't home, and only got the letter, on returning to singapore much later--the singapore government mailed me a letter, telling me that my organs had been preemptively donated--presumably to those in need--in the event i died and they were still operational. because we are--obviously--a democracy, of course i had a choice to refuse this by signing a form and mailing it back. but how could i refuse? in anycase, it was too troublesome to send out the form, put in a letter box, so why refuse?
now i'm reading agamben:

In the history of Western philosophy, this strategic articulation of the concept of life has a foundational moment. It is the moment in De Anima when, from among the various senses of the term "to live," Aristotle isolates the most general and separable one.

It is through life that what has soul in it {l'animale} differes from what has not {l'inanimato}. Now this term "to live" has more than one sense, and provided any one alone of this is found in a thing we say that the thing is lviing--viz. thinking, sensation, local movement and rest, or movement in the sense of nutrition, decay and growth. Hence we think of all species of plants as also living, for they are observed to possess in themselves a principle and potentialiy through which they can grow and decay in opposite directions...This principle can be separated from the others, but not they from it--in mortal beings at least--in mortal beings at least. The fact is obvious in plants; for it is the only psychic potentiality {potenza dell'anima} they possess. Thus it is through this principle that life belongs to living things. By nutritive power, we mean that part of the soul which is also common also to plants.

It is important to observe that Aristotle in no way defines what life is: he limits himself to breaking it down, by isolative the nutritive function, in order than to rearticulate it in a series of distinct and coorelated faculties and potentialities...To ask why a certain being is called living means to seek out the foundation by which living belongs to this being. That is to say, among the various senses of the term "to live," one must be separated from the others and settle to the bottom, becoming the principle by which life can be attributed to a certain being...the isolation of nutritive life (which the ancient commentators will already call vegetative) constitutes in every sense a fundamental event for Western science. (The Open, 14)

i'm interested in the line "this principle [of growth, decay, the stuff of nutritive life] can be separated from the others, but not they from it." there is the suggestion that when life was conceived, the divisions that took place were not in line with the nature of life. there is a disjunct between the system and metaphysics. for agamben, the reconfiguration of life undermined life, and in the process, undermined the power of man. the latin word for bodily functions and capacities is potenza, and when it's translated, it more or less means, power. but through the process in which bodily functions are divided by science, potenza loses the original sense of power it was supposed to connote.

according to agamben, the system of classification allows the state to intervene in one's biological welbeing, and for him there is an inextricable relationship between the state's protection of your body, as well as its ability to take your life--national healthcare system, biopolis hub aspirations, and death sentence, and political control go hand in hand:

when the modern State, starting in the seventeenth century, began to include the care of the population's life as one of its essential tasks, thus transforming its politics into biopolitics, it was primarily by means of a progressive generalization and redefinition of the concept of vegetative life (now coinciding with the biological heritage of the nature) that the state would carry out its new vocation. And still today, in discussions about the definition ex lege of the criteria of clinical death, it is further identification of this bare life--detached from any brain activity and so to speak, from any subject--which decides whether a certain body can be considered alive or must be abandoned to the extreme vicissitude of transportation. [] The division of life into vegetal and relational, organic and animal, animal and human, therefore passes first of all as a mobile border within living man. (15)

i'm not putting this here to show off or anything--i'm mostly just paraphrasing and i'm still working my way through the text. and i sound fundamentally rambly and confused. i'm putting this up here, because i'm troubled. because when i read agamben, and think about home, with its crazy, wonderful, admirable efforts at becoming a science hub, i'm worried about the link between science and power in the future. i start to wonder, whoever granted them the right to claim my organs, and to preempt my death? and then i wonder, is that question even relevant, because if i gave up my brain and kidney for r&d, that would be contributing to the trajectory of science, which must be progress (and of course "progress" itself is a really problematic word, but nonetheless). of course, if i were dead, obviously i wouldn't need my brains and kidneys and all that baggage, of course, i'd give it to someone else who needed it. when my dad was younger, he donated his bone marrow to a woman called stella. he didn't know stella, but stella had kids. his bone marrow didn't quite do it, and she died in the end.

j tells me about his work in the neurology department, sorting through shipments of human brains--("sickly smelling," he laughs, "i smell like someone who has put too much perfume, being around them all day, and with brain juice all over my shirt") tagged with a name and age. i tell him about the letter i received in the mail. but the difference between those pickled brains in the university's lab, my dad who donated bone marrow, and the lungs that would be given up on my part was over the question of choice, rather than policy.

Monday, February 25, 2008
i try to say goodbye and i choke
it used to be that something in me would break whenever the subway pulled away from the guitar strains of some musician in new york, hard for that seduction and loneliness now. union square, christopher street. watching macy gray's i try on youtube, and suddenly new york stabs me. these days, days of shopping at midnight, brie french toast and blueberry campote on sundays driving to rachael yamagata's i want you at night, watching the cat watch me as she crooks her tail while hiding in the fireplace in the blue living room of our house, blue like a geriatric home. ithaca is home, the home that defines the outside and other, the other that i love and loathe. new york's become mythical, the source of my desires and dreams, i dream, dream so bad, of spending summer in manhattan. i smell spring in my room today.

Sunday, February 24, 2008
sunday brunch at the carriage house! and homemade mexican dinner by lisa at home tonight. goodness.

Saturday, February 23, 2008
the prof who mentors me in renaissance texts wrote this. i think it's completely gorgeous. he was writing about shakespeare's Othello, and how Othello is essentially a play about the problem of rhetoric, metaphors and language, how implicit in language is that which undermines itself, thus the need for the violence, the representation to plug the space between language and intentionality.

Metaphors are always both more and less than the object, the idea, they would express. This “otherness” of metaphor makes it perhaps analogous to desire itself, always other, always “more” (but also always “less”). Metaphor attempts to “visualise” the world, make the comparisons “seeable” as images. In a sense a “metaphoric discourse” pains the world, but in so doing it reveals its own investments in an order of “visibility” that remains opaque. Things are in constant mutation, turning, kaleidescope-like, into something else, something marvelous but something that is essentially unknowable—a discourse of analogy needs the proof of the ocular in order to fix its own mutability, in order to impose being (although imposition is an illusion) on what is inherently a becoming.

Friday, February 22, 2008
fridays, at the public service center
Benyah meets Rena for the first time. Rena has a cold. I am sorry, I have a slight cold, she apologises. She dusts the snow off her shoulders. It is great meeting you, she says, carefully attempting to sound how Americans sound: careless. How often shall we meet? asks Benyah. Rena replies. I want to meet you every week, so I can practice my English. I want to come up with topics, so I can prepare for them. Benyah says, sure, attempting not to sound too American, too careless. They walk out into the snow, and the flakes fall around them till I cannot tell one from the other.

learning things
in winter, you learn what is simple, and necessary.
how to be kind, but to be honest. how to be forgiving, but not too much.
how to bring people together today, benzah, this is rena, i said. rena, this is benzah. rena, anxious, suffering from a cold, saying, i want to practice english, i want to meet you every week, i want us to discuss topics, set topics, so i can prepare topics , benzah, saying, we will meet every week then. get well soon, i tell rena. how to be the one who brings people together, the one wearing an oversized HEAD GARDENER t-shirt and striped tights.
do you know how to keep warm, and cool at the same time? not by closing the windows, but opening the windows, letting the draft enter to meet the heated air.
how one puts a bowl of water out, to keep the room moist. how to put a towel under the door to keep the light out.
how to walk across the bridge, where the snow is glistening, how to say into the phone, guess what? i'm looking at the lunar eclipse, and you know what's the funniest thing? no one else is looking.
how to say, we could be in love, but we are not in love, we would not be in love.
how to step into class, where we are debating over the importance of lunar eclipses.
how to cook soba and spinach till it is perfect, how to heat soymilk. how to sleep, do you know how to sleep? you ask to be free, that is how you sleep. how to put salt in the pot of potatoes, so that it boils faster. how to stop onions from making you cry, you immerse them in water. all these things, completely insignificant, completely simple.
how to read, do you know how to read? how you let the text first take you away, and then you arrest its seduction.
how to live? to forgive yourself, but not too much. how to speak, i still need to learn how to speak.
how to enter, when there are no more tickets. "we will pretend to me ushers," i tell her, "we will both wear white shirts and black pants, and then we will enter. see you at 7pm."
i felt a recognition on thursday that i didn't want to admit. you will have to know, what it is like there, what are the possibilities, i want to know what you will choose, he said, let's make an office appointment in two weeks' time, i enjoy talking to you.
how in another's office, it is a dance of competence, both of us, dancing through the books; and the other professor, who meets in a nervous embrace.
how to be happy in another country, is to be passing a recipe book to another, something like a secret conspiracy, except the recipe book is in spanish, and i have no idea why it is in my hands. he says, "but you cannot compare yourself to them. for you are doing what you can, and this is not your country, not at the moment." and i look over the quad, where it is snowing, everything is white, completely white, and i say, "yes, but i like it here," and i like it here too, he says in his thick peruvian accent, and we look over the snow, and we laugh ironically, because the places we come from are so hot. and i want to say, yes, it is not my country, but this country was never anyone's to begin with, it was never theirs. but i leave it at that, say goodbye, and walk up the hill.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
clothes announcements
so i have a bunch of friends of friends who set up a fashion thing. they design their clothes, and its inexpensive and cute.


you can also find them under facebook groups.

Saturday, February 16, 2008
sleeping animals
saturday is recharging. i slept well for the first time in a long time, this afternoon. i am morally against naps, but i was bone-tired from fractured sleep this whole week. in the morning i had a nightmare that i had to take an a math exam, in my dream i was seized by panic because it didn't make sense to have to take an a math exam, when was i even registered for an a math exam. i woke up, and went to the public service center, to get work done. i feel like a bloody bureaucrat, i told twyanquila. i also suddenly got scared tonight--by the drunk people next door, thank goodness they left for a frat party (ok now they're suddenly back, more drunk than ever) but my friends save me from myself, with stories about dogs and cats, crazy new york city chinese new year banquets and drunken chinese democrats. i've been reading, not a lot, but very meticulously. i am particularly struck by spinoza's formula for the interpretation of the scripture. i have new curtains in my room, and i want to step into the week calm, and i want to sleep well, not waking up at ungodly times, in shock.

Friday, February 15, 2008
replying to yantai
刘凤! 我怎么能忘记你! 我的中文退步了。 每天和美国人交往,我把中文字都忘得一干二净,可是我没忘记你。 你好吗? 下雪了! 外面一片空白。 我在报纸上读到,中国好冷。你要保暖ok?
对了!我又搬家了。现在和十三个美国女生和一个上海女生住在一个大屋子里。 我们也有一只小花猫, 她的名字是"chopper", 翻译就是"大刀"或直升飞机吧。 我当然爱和我的新加坡朋友享受天伦之了。 可是,在我的新家,我不用代表新加坡人,我不被困在那个小组,这是一个自由吧。
这个冬假, 我回到新加坡, 我的大哥结婚了。 昨天就是情人节。 我和我们家里的小猫有一个浪漫的约回。 你呢? 你找了对手吗? :)

much later: my friend replies with an email, telling me all my chinese mistakes. the funniest which is my mistakenly writing 对手 (adversary) when i mean 对象 (date, boyfriend, fiance). chinese freudian slips.

Thursday, February 14, 2008
my funny valentine
our cat (yes, our house has a cat, it's name is chopper), escaped into my room today, gazed itself in the mirror like narcissus, scared me in the toilet. (woah, what are you doing here? when you open the door, the last thing you expect is a cat.) my funny valentine.

i'm condensing, the necessary reading list and schedule for my weekend. writing it out on a blue piece of paper (i intend to write out everything i need to read for the next week on on a thursday afternoon, and actually, flip through the volume of pages i have to read while writing out the reading list, so i know the materiality of what is to come. because juggling multiple seminars, is not a skydive, or a ski where you jump randomly and the snow waits for you at the bottom, insulating and protecting you.) writing, it out, i laugh a little bit to myself (and to tell you the truth, this sort of scares me, this laughing to myself), almost amused, slightly uncomprehending, at the same time.

today is valentine's day, my parent's wedding anniversary. i'm glad they got married on valentine's day. because when i have no date, no boyfriend, no expectations, not even the disappointment at no date, no boyfriend (and thus i can safely say, i am truly happy, and at peace with myself, and say this without irony, but just very matter-of-factly, and well, happily), just the gladness that it is thursday, and not tuesday, or monday and i can thus treat myself to a long gym session (like now) i'm glad that i can be happy for them, glad to be happy for that which has lasted, for a love with all its flaws and disappointments, it must be something real. happy valentine's day, all of you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
i just got out from a class that was bad. it was hard, and i was presenting something, and then i freaked out in front of the grad students. i got home, and the girls were recycling, and i was so grateful to have a home to return to, a place i could say, i'm going home. don't ever be afraid, i tell myself.

Monday, February 11, 2008
animal lives
i was always difficult, difficult and demanding, an animal. they didn't know how to deal with me. because i was an animal, i was often beside myself with sadness and helplessness, at my own inability to communicate. the way you feel as a child, and are misunderstood. i met other animals in my life too, animals who said go away, when they meant, i love you. go away, he said, i'm going away, i'm really going away now. i love you, i said, to no one in particular, because he had already gone.

Sunday, February 10, 2008
the republic
outside is anniversary weather. wind that slaps your cheeks, cars riding through the blizzard.
he had to leave on a birthday, then new year's day, or was it new year's eve? i forget. my friends mythicised my life. no, i let them mythicise my life. i let my history be written by those i eventually fell in love with. so everything formed a teleological path that led to the present. i was safe the way i was safe in a republic, and also afraid. i wrote poetry because poetry was equivocation. i wrote, with guilt. and i started demanding others to write with guilt. that wasn't right.
what is the theoretical meaning of hiatus? foucault, the space between life as lived, and life as conceptualised. that impossibility of conceptualization.
if i had to fall in love again. i would only fall in love with someone who would not write my past for me. that love would not judge the past based on the conditions of the present. or i would rather not be in love, than to be subjected to forgetfulness.
i would not fall in love with someone who was afraid of my writing. the theoreticians of tragedy always say that the privilege of the great is death. but i was (am) not even near a mature writer--technically and emotionally--, my writing (especially the writing then, goodness) did not deserve the threat of death. it was why the first told me to leave. like the men of the british renaissance, he told me my writing was a sign of promiscuity, and threatened to show my writing to the world. the second one was more political, he presented me with a hegelian ideal that i should aspire towards in my writing.
now i live in america, which really does not exist, america is the gap between a theory and lived experience. i want to construct the gap between concept and life, so that i can live and love without self-betrayal.

Saturday, February 09, 2008
from wikipedia, under the keyword search "biopower." but it excited me.

For Foucault, biopower is a technology of power, which is a way of exercising various techniques into a single technology of power. For Foucault, the distinctive quality of this political technology is that it allows for the control of entire populations. It is thus essential to the emergence of the modern nation state, modern capitalism, etc. Biopower is literally having power over other bodies, "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations" (History of Sexuality, Vol.I, p.140). It relates to the government's concern with fostering the life of the population, and centers on the poles of disciplines ("an anatomo-politics of the human body") and regulatory controls ("a biopolitics of the population").
Biopower for Foucault contrasts with traditional modes of power based on the threat of death from a sovereign. In an era where power must be justified rationally, biopower is utilized by an emphasis on the protection of life rather than the threat of death, on the regulation of the body, and the production of other technologies of power, such as the notion of sexuality. Regulation of customs, habits, health, reproductive practices, family, "blood", and "well-being" would be straightforward examples of biopower, as would any conception of the state as a "body" and the use of state power as essential to its "life". Hence the conceived relationship between biopower, eugenics and state racism.
With the concept of "biopower", which first appears in courses concerning the discourse of "race struggle", Foucault defines power as positive, in opposition to the classic understanding of power as basically negative, limitative and akin to censorship. Sexuality, he argues, far from having been reduced to silence during the Victorian Era, was in fact subjected to a "sexuality dispositif" (or "mechanism"), which incites and even forced the subject to speak about their sex. Thus, "sexuality does not exist", it is a discursive creation, which makes us believe that sexuality contains our personal truth (in the same way that the discourse of "race struggle" sees the truth of politics and history in the everlasting subterranean war which takes place beneath the so-called peace).
Furthermore, the exercise of power in the service of maximizing life carries a dark underside. When the state is invested in protecting the life of the population, when the stakes are life itself, anything can be justified. Groups identified as the threat to the existence of the life of the nation or of humanity can be eradicated with impunity. "If genocide is indeed the dream of modern power, this is not because of the recent return to the ancient right to kill; it is because power is situated and exercised at the level of life, the species, the race, and the large-scale phenomena of the population." (History of Sexuality, Vol. I in The Foucault Reader p. 137).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Joyas Voladoras
i love the uneasy tension in the piece. is it, participating in a long historical tradition, following the lead of the first white explorers of the Americas, like Adam in Eden, naming the animal, so to speak, and does the moment of interpellation thus mark the institution of the kingdom of Man? or should one be less severe, and suspicious, and take on the view that perhaps, language and naming the only way of access to the animal, looking into the eyes of the other, and knowing that the other may be other, but still part of the same larger fabric of life?

"Joyas Voladoras, " The American Scholar, Brian Doyle

Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird's heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird's heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird's heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be. Consider for a moment those hummingbirds who did not open their eyes again today, this very day, in the Americas: bearded helmetcrests and booted racket-tails, violet-tailed sylphs and violet-capped woodnymphs, crimson topazes and purple-crowned fairies, red-tailed comets and amethyst woodstars, rainbow-bearded thornbills and glittering-bellied emeralds, velvet-purple coronets and golden-bellied star-frontlets, fiery-tailed awlbills and Andean hillstars, spatuletails and pufflegs, each the most amazing thing you have never seen, each thunderous wild heart the size of an infant's fingernail, each mad heart silent, a brilliant music stilled.

Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles -- anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures more than any other living creature. It's expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise, and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old.

The biggest heart in the world is inside the blue whale. It weighs more than seven tons. It's as big as a room. It is a room, with four chambers. A child could walk around in it, head high, bending only to step through the valves. The valves are as big as the swinging doors in a saloon. This house of a heart drives a creature a hundred feet long. When this creature is born it is twenty feet long and weighs four tons. It is waaaaay bigger than your car. It drinks a hundred gallons of milk from its mama every day and gains two hundred pounds a day and when it is seven or eight years old it endures an unimaginable puberty and then it essentially disappears from human ken, for next to nothing is known of the mating habits, travel patterns, diet, social life, language, social structure, diseases, spirituality, wars, stories, despairs, and arts of the blue whale. There are perhaps ten thousand blue whales in the world, living in every ocean on earth, and of the largest mammal who ever lived we know nearly nothing. But we know this: the animals with the largest hearts in the world generally travel in pairs, and their penetrating moaning cries, their piercing yearning tongue, can be heard underwater for miles and miles.

Mammals and birds have hearts with four chambers. Reptiles and turtles have hearts with three chambers. Fish have hearts with two chambers. Insects and mollusks have hearts with one chamber. Worms have hearts with one chamber, although they may have as many as eleven single-chambered hearts. Unicellular bacteria have no hearts at all; but even they have fluid eternally in motion, washing from one side of the cell to the other, swirling and whirling. No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside.

So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one, in the end -- not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman's second glance, a child's apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother's papery ancient hand in a thicket of your hair, the memory of your father's voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.

duck time
if time were clay. so much time, what could we do with it? there are immense possibilities. outside i hear men arguing, they sound like television, american television. i think i would shape time into the shape of a duck. so much time, jay said, folding clothes, five years, wasted. something is between us, something is blocking us, someone, but i don't know who. she said. yesterday, my grandfather fell from the stairs, while trying to balance mandarin oranges with two hands. i think of home. four-day holiday, my family red-faced and belligerent. i almost forgot that it was chinese new year. here there is no reminder, angel-hair pasta. the time of other people i've wasted, and i can still remember, some of them telling me, shouting at me, so much time, wasted, the people, the possibilities, could have, if. those were people who were not creative. they conceived of time in terms of spilt milk. out of yesterday's lunch, i make myself a wedding banquet, 3 minutes, medium heat. i have ceased taking responsibility for other's people time, for the spilt milk of other people. they should have known--they who thought of time could be molded into trees, boats, rivers--i was the girl who wanted to carve out of time, the shape of duck.

Monday, February 04, 2008
a certain violence
did an improv thing with jim, the dancemaster. we were paired up, and made to perform duets in front of the class. and i ended up with him, a strange pair, him with the baldness and paunch. i sprinted around the grandpiano, and entrapped him with chairs, while he in turn, tried to hold down my arms, upon which i ended up leaping through his arms and jumping over him. it actually turned out very beautiful, and i was stunned by the violence in me, that certain violence that has never seemed to leave me after all these years. sometimes i think this dance of death, is all we have, to keep us from weeping.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008
slush and snow
he passed me the keys in gym. that was it, no questions asked. you trust me, right? i said. yeah, he shrugged. so that was it. then the dark, over slush and snow, past midnight. past yellow blinking lights, police traffic, 5-way junctions. the left turn after the statler, then drove past the line that divides ithaca and lansing, past the cemetery--no lights, winding road, the need to keep your eyes on the road, to follow the bend, my headlights throwing itself on the tombstones. it's a little scary, i said. really? i think it's peaceful, he said. he had a lot of faith in my driving abilities, for someone who'd met me only twice. certainly he had more faith than i had faith in myself. (you're not getting out of this carpark till you do 30 right turns, another friend warned, in the memory of a beautiful, golden day. graduation is conditional, i'm sorry.) you're doing fine, we all need our first times, he said. i couldn't keep up with the conversation, i had to keep my eyes on the road. the dark in upstate new york is monstrous, is sublime, electrical. waited at the t-junction, for the speeding lights to pass. thanks, that's was great. i took in my groceries myself. felt vulnerable when i got home, kept turning to check if there was something, while i finished my dinner at 1am. then i got home, and had the strangest dream. in that dream i was in another house, it was the same dream i've always had since i came to ithaca.

Friday, February 01, 2008
the strangest thing
i got this in my email, while writing a resume for an internship. looking at this email is like a out-of-body experience. get what i mean?

Are you young, well-qualified & keen to immerse yourself in foreign

Are you looking for the perfect place to launch your career & have fun
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hopes and dreams
sent emails to my parents about hopes and dreams. im closer to them, now that the time and energy is freed up for them. i'm more forgiving, i see them growing old (as i begin to notice, silver strands in my own black hair). hopes and dreams. yesterday i went for an interview in the most beautiful house i've ever seen--just opposite valentine place, where i used to live, a building which used to be a hospital and infirmary (if you listen carefully, you can hear someone crying, he said), before it become the home of a professor and his family, and later, home to the oldest university press. there are beautiful, tiled mosaic fireplaces, books everywhere, intelligent people. i was worried about not being american enough, but the moment we started talking about ithaca, i had so much to say, so much to say about how much i loved. i realise, it doesn't matter where you come from for the place to accept you. but there is one caveat. only if you bother to get to know the place, it will bother to get to know you. maybe this is a cruel thing to say, but it had to be said anyway. anyway i got it--after emails to (the wonderful) theo about university presses, research on chronicle, obsessive emailing, disgusting lunch at the career guidance library. so i'm going to take it very seriously. i intend to work hard in these years i have here, grab the falling gold (and the free books), hold on to close friendships, make friends, be earnest. dream, but plan too.

[publishing] Publishers Weekly . Dystel & Goderich . New York Center for Independent Publishing . Association of American University Presses . Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

[people] clarisse . nurul . aunty zarina (ummi's bakery) . jeremy . pak . cyril . softblow . karen & kenny (booksactually) . eric . joel .

[other loves] digitaljournalist . ballet dictionary . poetshouse . urbanwordnyc

[me] dawn, singapore, new york city, ithaca.

[yesterday] holding on tight -- vol ii
death and new york city
ever get afraid of sounding stupid, boring, uninfo...
sleep activism
things im excited about
thinking about flight
accents and attractions
i got an on-campus job--production assistant at th...

[archives] January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009

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